On the top floor of the Joo-Oh Group headquarters building, at the VIP lounge for executives.
Did they adjust the route in advance
With the guidance of the secretary, we were able to reach our destination without encountering a single person.
While walking, Joo Soogyeom was busy giving instructions to the team leaders of the secretariat and security teams.
Most of the instructions were about the recent attacks of Oh Hyejung and Semin of April.
“You can check the CCTV yourself, team leader.
Yes, you can do that.
… What do you mean there’s no video in the device in my office … Please repair my office window before lunchtime is over.”
Since the window is completely gone, it would be more accurate to say that it’s going to be replaced rather than repaired.
In that short time, no one noticed anything weird at all until Joo Soogyeom informed them that Oh Hyejung had invaded the headquarters.
It’s said that she’s a soon-to-be bride of Semin of April, but she still looked like a player from Joo-Oh group.
‘Looking back, Semin of April was skillful enough to rescue Saeum from the auction.’
Unlike how he helped infiltrate the Joo-Oh Group headquarters, Semin was eventually caught during that auction.
Maybe it’s because he wasn’t equipped with the right information, or maybe he was just unlucky.
Joo Soohyuk and I sat opposite Joo Soogyeom.
“So, it was the Nameless Supernova who contacted Oh Hyejung”
After finishing his call with the security and secretary teams, Joo Soogyeom suddenly addressed me.
Soogyeom spoke again before Soohyuk could make an excuse.
“And Soohyuk, you knew that Oh Hyejung was coming.”
Joo Soogyeom briefly recalled the situation.
For him, it was strange for Joo Soohyuk, who knew about the events of the engagement ceremony and just how dangerous Oh Hyejung was, to have his friend tag along.
Of course, I knew he’d notice, but it felt unpleasant for him to point it out loud.
After a brief explanation, Joo Soogyeom turned his attention from Soohyuk to me.
“Soogyeom hyung… You see…”
“I’m sure you did it for Hyeji.”
Joo Soogyeom gave a firm statement before the kind title hero can make any excuses for me.
He’s right that everything I did was for Oh Hyeji, but I don’t like him pointing that out.
“I’ve heard about some sort of chess competition at Eungwang High from Hyeji.
Perhaps that’s where you met her.
And when you saw the sad and hurt Hyeji today, you decided to let her talk to Oh Hyejung.”
The more Joo Soogyeom spoke, the clearer my feelings toward him became.
Why does he keep saying Oh Hyejung’s full name but only the given name for Hyeji
It’s impressive though that he was able to decipher the whole situation almost accurately, but I still didn’t like it.
“So, Nameless Supernova, how do you and Oh Hyejung know each other”
He keeps using ‘that word’ to refer to me and it makes it difficult for me to speak.
It was a question that I’d hesitate to answer regardless of who asked it, but I realize that I have no obligation to give an answer to Joo Soogyeom.
“I don’t think I can tell you.”
When I gave my answer, I looked directly at Joo Soogyeom and one corner of his mouth raised a little.
Perhaps he was surprised that I answered with little nervousness.
It’s unexpected for someone being questioned by Joo Soogyeom, who is at the center of the royal family of Joo-Oh Group, to remain so calm.
‘Someone working for him must’ve sent him my profile before giving me that temporary ID pass.
I’m pretty sure he’s aware of my history.’
He knows that I’m in the same class as someone from the Hwangmyeong Group.
Joo Soogyeom’s eyes looked empty.
“Soogyeom hyung, why don’t we have lunch next time”
As Joo Soogyeom’s eyes stared at me, Joo Soohyuk broke the silence.
Perhaps Soohyuk’s words really mean “We’re leaving now before you ask any more questions”.
The title hero showed great care for me.
Let’s eat before you go.”
Joo Soogyeom smirked again before pressing the bell on the table to call in an assistant.
The summoned waiter lowered his knee next to me and carefully asked if I were allergic to anything.
‘I guess Soohyuk visits the headquarters building often too.’
The waiters only asked Soogyeom and Soohyuk a few questions.
Shortly after, the food was served immediately.
Sanratang, a soup dish with bamboo shoots and pepper.
Elephant clams stir-fried with black bean sauce and Sacheon sauce.
A dish with abalones and ginkgo flavor.
All dishes served were at the level of professional restaurants.
‘Are there many gourmets in the Joo-Oh Group’
When the appetizer and the main dish were served, Joo Soohyuk started the conversation.
It was kind of him to lead the conversation and search for common interests between us.
It was only small talk, but it was effective enough to keep the awkwardness off.
The main thing that we talked about was Eungwang High.
‘So Joo Soogyeom graduated from Eungwang High too.’
Joo Soogyeom is quite a good player so it’s not that surprising, but I didn’t consider him a respectable senior given that he made Oh Hyeji sunbae cry.
Time passed and a tofu dessert was served to us.
Joo Soohyuk said something.
“I didn’t know that you became close to Hyeji noona, Soogyeom hyung.
You seem to have been nice to her.”
For the first time, Joo Soohyuk brought up the sensitive topic.
Joo Soogyeom didn’t answer right away.
He took his time to think of a reply.
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“…I haven’t talked to Hyeji since ‘Joo-Oh’s Rebellion’ incident.”
Why did he mention that out of nowhere
‘The reason why the connection between the Joo Family and the Oh Family was briefly cut off is because of that incident.’
Joo Soogyeom’s low voice subsided one tone lower.
Joo Soohyuk’s voice is already low enough, but Soogyeom’s voice is even lower than his.
“What do you think happened at the Joo-Oh’s Rebellion incident”
“Huh … I understand that there was a conflict of opinion regarding the management policy.”
Joo Soogyeom shook his head.
“The underlying cause is the ‘bad luck of the Oh Family.”
“There are many people in the Oh Family who are especially short-lived.
Among them was supposed to be the next president of the Joo-Oh Group.”
Although the Joo-Oh Group was built from the joint efforts of both Joo and Oh families, I always thought that the president always comes from the side of the Joo’s.
Joo Soohyuk also looked surprised as if he’s never heard of this before.
“The people from the Oh Family are fragile.
There are lots of them who die out of nowhere, so their lineage is quite small.
That’s the reason why no one wants to put an Oh in an important position.
Only the Oh Family.”
“Eh But… There are a lot of affiliates from the Oh Family now, aren’t there”
“That’s the result of Joo-Oh’s Rebellion.”
That must’ve been the real cause of the incident in which the Joo’s and the Oh’s almost broke down.
“So the two families wanted to be wed.
It was the plan to make it one big family.
From there, there was also a plan to change the family name to Joo-Oh.
“What What do you mean change the family name!”
So there was that kind of agreement!
Just as Oh Hyejung said, there seemed to be a lot of crazy heads in the Group.
“They planned to combine the two families before the Oh’s are completely gone from this world.
The Joo’s were hushed about this.
I’m older than you so I guess no one thought that you’d have to know about this too.”
“But Oh Hyejung and Hyeji are different.”
Joo Soogyeom held the lighter in his hand.
Don’t tell me he’s planning to smoke right in front of us again.
“The only people who can get married in the Oh Family are Oh Hyejung and Hyeji.
They must be under considerable pressure.
I didn’t expect this to happen to Hyeji, who’s not even of legal age yet, but I know she must be having a difficult time.”
I didn’t know that my playable character, Oh Hyeji, was silently shouldering that burden.
It made me proud of her that she grew up well even though she’s under a lot of stress.
I suddenly remembered something.
‘…Oh, I think there was a scenario when Oh Hyeji was a little off during her freshman year.’
Currently, the top and second spots of the Third Year students are ‘Do Wonwoo – Kihwan’, but the ranks below them are different.
The battle from third to tenth place was fierce, especially with Oh Hyeji and Yoo Sanghee’s rivalry.
The two’s academic grades were always on par with each other.
It’s rumored that the relationship between Yoo Sanghee and Oh Hyeji is quite awkward.
“Joo-Oh’s beginning was just a family business, right …I don’t understand why it’s going against the flow of the times.”
“There are many executives who have conflicting ideas.
It’s still a few years before I get to take over.”
When the conversation stopped for a while, Joo Soohyuk spoke again.
“…But why are you telling me this”
I had the same question in mind.
Why did he bring this up in front of me, an outsider
Most of what he said was quite predictable in hindsight.
But I don’t think it’s any of my business nor would the family want any outsider to easily have this information.
I don’t know why he had to talk about it in front of me.
Joo Soogyeom soon answered.
“I wanted to be nice to Hyeji.
At least outside our suffocating family relations.”
“Is that the reason why you were so kind to Hyeji noona”
Joo Soogyeom fiddled with the lighter in his hand.
He turned his attention from Soohyuk to me.
“Please comfort Hyeji well.”
So that’s why he brought up all those things.
Since I am someone who knows how to contact Oh Hyejung, who’s hiding from the Joo-Oh Group, he wants me to take care of Hyeji.
Of course, I will be good to my playable character, but it felt very strange to have Joo Soogyeom tell me what to do.
After finishing lunch, Joo Soogyeom said another thing to me before we left.
“If anything happens to Soohyuk or Hyeji, contact me.
And if anything happens to Oh Hyejung… Well, I don’t think she needs my help.”
The name Joo Soogyeom and a device code were written in cursive on the business card.
It was obviously not a corporate business card.
He remained in his seat, looking like he wants to light a cigarette as soon as possible.
Before I shut the door behind me as I left the room, I heard his lighter turning on.
Joo Soogyeom is really a mindless heavy smoker.
* * *
After the incident at the Joo-Oh headquarters.
I wanted to go separate ways, but Soohyuk insisted that we go to Hongcheon.
He said he was afraid that he’d be thinking useless thoughts if he was left alone, so I had no choice but to accompany him.
While Soohyuk and I were heading to Hongcheon, we came across another smoker.
“Oh! How did you guys get here!”
Joo Soohyuk, who had a dark expression throughout our trip, suddenly smiled again.
His face was smiling, but his voice still sounded rough.
“Yoonseob, you came all the way to Hongcheon for training but you’re just smoking over here Where are Grandpa Tak and Hyodon”
As soon as we reached Hongcheon, we encountered Bang Yoonseob who had a cigarette in his mouth and smoked behind a broken tree.
* * *
At Eungwang High landscape area, at the far side of Cheongrang Lake.
Below the west chilsu, the White Tiger spoke as he held the White Fang.
“I have no interest in what your goal is.”
An unknown creature was crouching and curled up.
It was none other than the mountain spirit of Cheonik Mountain.
“I’m willing to turn a blind eye on pranks that will not do so much as to hinder the character of the descendants.
The White Tiger lifted the mountain spirit by the back of its neck.
“Don’t disturb Jo Euishin.”