The Foreigner on the Periphery - Chapter 9
With a thoughtful expression, I placed the documents back in the envelope. Turning, I noticed something – or more aptly, someone – on the living room sofa.
“…Did I sleep here yesterday?”
“…Huh, I see.”
Cassie stood up with a pale appearance as she lowered the blanket. It was as if she was finding it hard to come to his senses, judging from the way she was staring at the fabric blankly.
With this, Ming-jun opened up a drawer and took out the new medicine bottle the doctor had prescribed. It had been twenty-four hours since the last time he had eaten. Cassie spoke as he brushed the blue pull into the palm of his hand.
“Is that some sort of hangover cure? Give it to me, then.”
“No, this is a laxative.”
After a moment’s silence, she spoke up once more.
“Are you serious?”
“Yes, I’m serious.”
Cassie’s expression turned serious at this point as she began muttering to herself. ‘Huh… I’ve heard that sweet potatoes are good for constipation….’
Ming-jun knew she might come by with a box of sweet potatoes soon. All in all, it wasn’t a bad gift for him.
He then spoke as he opened the refrigerator. “I’ll make you some haejangguk. Eat it before you go.”
Ming-jun had hired her on the premise of working from home, so that he didn’t have to get a face stamp in the office every day. Honestly speaking, he had to go in and out of the immigration office more than he did here for work. Even so, he tended to listen to Cassie once or twice a day.
“Do you have the toothbrush I used?”
“It’s in the bathroom cupboard. Do you want to brush your teeth before eating?”
“Doing so makes me feel refreshed.”
As soon as she entered the bathroom, she heard a short scream erupt, “Damn!” followed by a subsequent speech.
“What, uncle Jeong Pal… why are you sleeping here?”
Cassie had ended up waking Jeong Pal, who had fallen asleep in the bathtub with his limbs twisted. After several attempts, the Orc could barely wake up, letting out an eerie groan, almost as if he had been immersed in the furnace of hell. He squeezed his temples and mumbled, “…I feel like I want to rinse my head with tap water.”
As an exhausted Jeong Pal made his way to the living room, he found Ming-jun preparing breakfast.
“How’re you feeling?”
“Next time, let’s be more moderate about this.”
“As we should.”
I then sat down in front of the table and turned on the TV. The morning news broadcast was running.
In the process of coordinating Princess Vermi’s visit to Korea, differences between the parties have not yet been resolved. It is said that the biggest obstacle in their way is the issue about security…
News from the entertainment industry. Arenta Serepi, an elf actress who was also active in Korea, has been selected as the muse of Hermes and has finished filming for a perfume commercial. The new product that’s been released under the name of ‘Jardin des Elfes’ explains the reproduction of the unique body scent of elves in an alluring yet light sense. It is scheduled to be released in Korea next month.
Cassie, who had finished brushing her teeth and tying her hair, now approached Jeong Pal, who was watching TV with a bewildered expression. They then watched the news together and quietly took out the phone, holding it up.
‘Shall we spray on that one more time?’ Cassie started writing a KakaoTalk message to send to the seller in charge. In Korea, it was said to be released next month, but it was also possible to prepare cheap items such as perfume in advance.
Ming-jun began to mutter in the kitchen as he tuned in to the news as well.
“A perfume that smells like elves? I don’t even know what it’s like to make perfume. I’m not good at it at all.”
Cassie then responded by erasing the message she was about to send to the seller.
“Come to think of it, why doesn’t Ming-jun smell like that? The first-floor bookstore owner said yes because he was old, and Ming-jun was in his prime as an elf.”
Ming-jun’s hand, which had been working away on the cutting board, stopped for a moment. Soon, he began to respond in an unfamiliar tone of voice.
“They said that, if it became diluted to the extent of a quarter, that kind of expression definitely won’t work well.”
“Hmm, is that so?”
With this, Cassie’s gaze shifted over to him. He was busy slicing the brisket. Seeing the knife in his hand, her expression hardened.
“Wait a minute. Ming-jun, can you use another knife?”
What he was holding was a stone knife that had cut his hand whenever he was charged with black magic.
“I’m tired of washing the dishes. And this is for the best.”
“It was said that it was a relic that was used to sacrifice human sacrifices for slaves in Mexico, or elsewhere in the past?”
It was true.
After coming to this world, Ming-jun, who was looking for a suitable magic source, did not know how excited he was when he found this sword. In the past, the natives of distant continents had sacrificed thousands and tens of thousands of humans as tributes and used this sword to rip off the heart of a living being.
“Due to my talent in remodeling, there’s always a small amount of magical energy flowing through this blade. It’s automatically sterilized, maybe even cleaner than an operating room scalpel.”
Cassie refused to be swayed by this. However, she decided to stop arguing with the person who was tasked to prepare their meal.
“Really, Jeong Pal. Were you really planning to go back to each other today?”
“Yeah. We have to report that we’re folding.”
“Well? What’re you going to be folding?”
“I’ll put that off for some other time. Today, I got a letter from the head office…”
Cassie and Jeong Pal’s faces began to harden seriously as they listened to the explanation. Seeing this uniformed expression, Ming-jun began to regret it. ‘Did I say something after eating?’
“Then, will you go straight to the headquarters today?”
Ming-jun nodded and put a lot of meat into the pot.
I had a schedule that would continuously suck up my energy, so I had to make sure I filled up my stomach with confidence.
“Agent Ming-jun Yee, I’ve been waiting for you. I’ll take you this way.”
He followed an employee at the Jenkinson Company headquarters into the conference room. When Ming-jun opened the door, he was greeted with the scent of a body mixed with the scent of fresh grass, as well as the delicate scent of flowers.
Humans who wanted to resemble everything akin to an elf evaluated this particular fragrance as superior to any artificial fragrance, but it did not fit Ming-jun’s taste well.
Inside, there was an elf woman in a suit who had already taken a seat in the conference room.
“Long time no see.”
She was Jenkinson’s chief of staff. He had known her for as long as Lakefield, but Ming-jun didn’t like her very much.
“Why did you call me?”
“I will tell you what the president’s said.”
As Ming-jun sat down, they got straight to the point.
“Chairman Jenkinson’s been paying close attention to the disappearance of Hyosung CEO Jang Tae-joon, which is currently being investigated by the agent.”
Upon hearing this, Ming-jun fought off the urge to curse.
The story then began with the expected flow of events. The president’s secretary began to list the clerical language. The gaze that could not read emotions had gone silent.
“After receiving a report on the identity of the Hung Clown Society member who was arrested yesterday and the client who sent the request, the chairman ordered the agent to get called in immediately.”
It was yesterday afternoon that the wizard had been arrested in the Orc community. Ming-jun, who had not decided on his position until then, deliberately did not report separately to the immigration office, but it must have been shared within the police that took over his personal life.
In the end, President Jenkinson officially got inside the police, which was a completely separate organization, and thus began to act immediately. The result came in the form of a letter found in the mailbox this morning.
The dragons that were moving this society were such beings.
“Agent, who do you think the dragon tribe who commissioned the criminal organization is?”
A slightly dazed Ming-jun began to answer without much thought. “Isn’t that Ayudeltas?”
The elf answered in a matter-of-fact fashion. “The news is a bit slow. She just laid eggs.”
How old was Ayudeltas, really? Ming-jun tried to remember.
Listening to the story that followed, it seemed that he had an accident with a man he met whilst going out to play.
“Anyway, I’m on maternity leave, so I won’t have much time to focus on the affairs of other races.”
Then, that meant that there were three candidates left.
“The president is Vetravia, Jalispard, and Edelinis. You can think of these three as the prime suspects?”
This was a list that coincided with Ming-jun’s thoughts. He had never thought of anything akin to the vain delusion that President Jenkinson had had contact with the Society from the very beginning. This was because it was too big for that.
It was true that the Balaur were the highest class on Earth, but not all were equal. Among them, there were those who lagged behind in abilities, those with relatively small assets, and the group of thoughts. Such dragons had to be dealt with through criminal gangs.
Those three were young and inexperienced people.
‘By the way, the part I don’t understand right now is…’
What was the reason behind the president’s coming to the fore?
“President Jenkinson is not related by blood to them.”
The elf then began to answer after a brief silence.
“Do you know what kind of company Hyosung is, Agent?”
Ming-jun began to recite what he had read in the document.
“I know it as a pharmacist.”
“The president found out that the company had a secret task through a reliable channel. It is said that CEO Jang Tae-joon operated it himself until his disappearance.”
“Well, since it’s a company, there must be a reason behind that.”
“But the research subject of the task poses to be a problem.”
“What was it?”
“We couldn’t figure out the detailed experimental data, but it seemed that one of the main themes turned out to be a research on the genetics of the dragon race.”
Ming-joon licked his tongue inwardly. Did they leave this important information out of the file?
Dragons did not contract infectious diseases, nor did they recover on a whim if the infection was left untreated. Therefore, there was no need to develop drugs for dragons, and no dragons invested in companies with the premise of studying their genes. Obviously, the company was not licensed by dragons.
“A young, juvenile dragon could have been angry when he found out about this. It must have felt pitiful to have dared to study the genes of a noble race without permission. You know? Such is the psychological state of the dragon at that age. The only material left to decorate himself was his race, so he was more obsessed with it.”
There were people everywhere who took an asset they never put a handful of effort into in order to acquire it as their only source of pride.
“So, do you even mobilize the Society to play chess?”
At this moment, the unknown client’s motive was revealed.
“If he disregards the tacit advice of the grown-ups and commits a foolish thing, then the president thinks it should be stopped.”
Most elder dragons didn’t want the presence of dragons behind the world to appear in the mass media. The most effective way to rule was to rule without the subordinates even noticing it.
If rumors spread that a young dragon was trying to destroy a company that was colluding with a criminal organization, public opinion would fall into chaos. Media control was not a panacea, after all.
Now, Ming-jun’s understood even President Jenkinson’s motives. Because of the Dragonic Code, he couldn’t personally interrogate the young dragons and beat them, so he intended to use an agent for this.
Then, the last question remained.
“How can you guess that CEO Jang Tae-joon might be an alien?”
“There’s no confirmation of it, but looking back on his history, we began to suspect that he appeared out of the blue and started the company.”
Ming-jun could read the space between the lines.
The reason why the government and the immigration office wanted Hyosung’s stock was that they wanted to completely discard the secret task research data. To draw such a picture, a scenario in which Jang Tae-joon was an alien was the cleanest.
“Ans, in this situation where CEO Jang Tae-joon is missing, he simply told the agent to say something helpful.”
She continued to say things that Ming-jun wasn’t expecting her to say.
“A few days ago, the chairman mobilized several brokerage films to try to purchase a large amount of Hyosung Industrial stock. This was after CEO Jang Tae-joon had already disappeared. He had judged that the response would be slow because the position of the chief was vacant.”
The stock held by Jang Tae-joon, the major shareholder, couldn’t possibly be touched right away, but right now he was trying to pick up the items for sale on the market.
“I don’t know if you heard the news yesterday.”
“Hyosung suddenly started buying treasury stock.”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
The shares he issued and then repurchased in the name of the company did not have any voting rights, but this could prevent any attempts to gain management rights.
“The thing to pay attention to here is that such a decision was made in the absence of our President.”
Ming-jun now knew that Jenkinson had deliberately shaken Hyosung. As a result, it seemed to have been a fairly effective method.
‘It feels uncomfortable to dismiss it as having received approval in advance. Jenkinson’s intervention begun as soon as he disappeared.’
With these thoughts running through his head, Ming-jun spoke up softly. “Someone put a gun on it and ordered it. Is that the purpose of protecting the management rights of the missing CEO Jang Tae-joon?”
“It could be, or it could be with bad intentions. It could be a resistance wherein you don’t want to be taken away because you think it would soon become his ‘own.’”
“Do you have the confidence to seize the stock by stalking CEO Jang Tae-joon later?”
“I’m not sure about that yet.”
With this, the elf held out a file.
“Let’s open it.”
This was the personal information of Managing Director Kim Yeonjoo. He was the Lee In-ja of Hyosung Industries.
It was said that at the temporary board meeting not long ago, the managing director passed the agenda by presenting a power of attorney from Jang Tae-joon, the CEO and major shareholder. This was the power of attorney for someone who had already disappeared.
“If you interrogate me now, I would excuse myself for having received it in advance.”
However, President Jenkinson didn’t think so, and Ming-jun hoped to meet her in person. The police had an interview with the managing director before the case was passed onto Jeong Pal. However, he also expected Ming-jun to see something else with his own eyes.
“So you’re feeling suspicious of this person.”
“Yes, I can think of a scenario by combining the two pieces of information I found out yesterday… The identity of the society’s client and the strange behavior of Executive Director Kim Yeon-ju.”
While making eye contact with Ming-jun, the secretary put in her mouth the hypothesis of the person she served.
“Think. On top of that, if you’re in a position where there’s only one boss, Jang Tae-joon… Wouldn’t it be such a sweet temptation? The temptation to get rid of that one person, even if it meant leaking information to the dragon. I must say that this method of killing a boss is quite sophisticated.”
Upon hearing this, the elf laughed.