History’s Strongest Manager Chapter 39

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Chapter 39 — Suspicious Party (3)

It wasn’t hard to guess Seol Yeong’s motive for bringing a simple manager to an executive level party. It was that she truly trusted Kang Joon, and she had brought him here to cultivate him no matter what.

“Oh, President Seol [1]. Long time no see.”

“It’s been a while, Director Jin.”

Seol Yeong politely bowed her head while covering around her chest with her hand, and the person she called Director Jin bowed his head as well.

“Kang Joon-ssi [2], over here is Director Jin Da Hoon [3] of Rosewald Agency.”

“Hello. My name is Choi Kang Joon. I’m working as a manager at Hero Management.”

“Oh! You must be that manager that everyone’s been abuzz about these days! Nice to meet you!”

Kang Joon shook hands with the man who approached. Seol Yeong and Director Jin exchanged conversation for a bit, and he departed after saying let’s meet again to Kang Joon. At the party, food was a given, and people carrying around trays with flutes of champagne offered them a glass. Both of them accepted one.

“Well then, we’re at a party, so we should surely have a drink, or?”

“Surely.”

– Clink.

With a light toast, Kang Joon took a few sips of champagne.

“Rosewalk is a foreign-based management company. In Korea, the Big Three management companies are firmly holding their ground, so they haven’t been able to expand, but counting in their foreign headquarters, Rosewald is in actuality of greater scale. They’re middle sized in Korea, but the fact that a route for foreign expansion is open is quite a merit.”

Seol Yeong concisely explained about Rosewald that had just dropped by to Kang Joon. Every word that Seol Yeong said was information that Kang Joon needed to remember. They hadn’t simply come here to play; rather, it was no different than a place to train Kang Joon. It was no different than learning the basics of networking while simultaneously talking about the features of each management company.

Greeting a few people they encountered, Seol Yeong smilingly exchanged pleasantries all around with the crowd. She didn’t forget to introduce Kang Joon. Some of them handed him their business card and went off after receiving Kang Joon’s in turn.

“As a middle sized management company, CheongMok [4] Agency can’t be considered too big, but it’s famous for treating hunters well. Without foul play in the contracts, too. The president is a good person, but the fact that he loves alcohol too much that he got caught for drunk driving last year is a bit of a vice.”

Seol Yeong expounded on every person and management company they encountered.

“Doler has a bit of a notorious reputation. It’s also a foreign-based management, but there are a lot of cases of them working their hunters too hard. Last year, among the hunters contracted with Doler, three of them died. There are rumors of them messing around in the tax adjustment process. I’ve heard a lot of complaints that the guidelines of the higher ups are hard to handle on many levels.”

Advertisement“…….”

“Kang Joon-ssi?”

“Ah, yes?”

When Kang Joon just stared at Seol Yeong dazedly, she tried wiggling her fingers in front of his eyes.

“What’s the matter?”

“Um, nothing. For a second, it was just… ”

“Are these sorts of events a bit difficult, after all?”

“No, it’s not difficult. I’m fine. I was just dazed for a moment.”

Seol Yeong lifted the corners of her red lips up into a smile. The hotel’s banquet hall was soon filled with people, and at the front of the hall, someone who seemed to be the master of ceremonies announced the start of the convention. As if drawing a line, a few people sat down at the designated tables at the front and bowed their heads appropriately towards the people standing around the banquet hall.

It was not hard for Kang Joon to tell that they were the executives of the Big Three management companies, Loeschen, AlphaSword, and Cloud [5]. Even at a glance, there was a bit of a distance between the party tables and the designated tables of the hall.

It wasn’t as if they had bluntly declared, don’t cross this line, but they were two clearly divided spaces. It looked as if they were saying, ‘you and I are not of the same level.’

“How arrogant.”

“On principle, people turn more arrogant the more money they have. And they become pettier.”

The story that when someone went to the birthday party of a big corporation’s household, they served microwave [6] foie gras to the guests and refrigerated foie gras to family was quite famous. Their elitism was to the extent that they themselves probably couldn’t even recognize it as elitism. Their attitude of entitlement as if it was only to be expected was all the more obnoxious due to lack of self awareness.

Of course,

Kang Joon summarized it concisely.

“It’s not like they’re still bratty children or anything.”

“That’s what I’m saying.”

At Kang Joon’s vitriolic words, Seol Yeong laughed as if amused. It was an exceptionally charming expression. Seol Yeong was, unknowingly or not, the center of attention at the party. In truth, Seoul Yeong was charming to a degree unbefitting of her age, and there was no one here around Kang Joon’s age range.

Even as the party progressed, Seol Yeong continued to exchange conversation with others. Seol Yeong remembered the names of many people in extremely good detail, and it was an ability even worthy of admiration the second time around. Let alone figures involved in the management industry, it was an event with those of executive level present, but ultimately, it was just a road to cultivating social bonds.

Kang Joon felt like he had vaguely grasped why this party was open to all management companies.

This was just a ploy for those three goliath managements to gather regularly. As much as talk of fixing prices or whatnot was easy to arise if they met separately, this was just a place where they were using the front of strengthening comradery amongst the management industry to provide a pretense for the hose three companies to meet.

Kang Joon had previously been employed at Loeschen and AlphaSword, but his experience there was so short that he couldn’t have any grudges towards the two companies.

So to say, the other management figures were basically all background characters [7]. In reality, they didn’t even spare a glance to the other side of the separate designated tables.

Those that were in attendance, too, knew that they themselves were mere extras but were exchanging information with each other despite of it to survive.

‘This thing called business, it’s really a pain in the ass.’

Kang Joon felt like even before properly understanding how the industry worked, he had already met something of a gigantic wall.

As if already knowing more than enough that that side had no relation to herself, Seol Yeong was diligently socializing without sparing them a glance.

“Speaking of Danger Zones [8]…. These days, the Hunters over in Gangwon Do [9] are saturated as well.”

“As for the new city jurisdiction, the Big Three have already split the pie amongst themselves, and there really are only islands left.”

Seol Yeong had run east and west [10] in order to land a job, but no matter where she inquired, the replies were not very satisfying. Management was already a red ocean so saturated that it could be called sea of blood, and if there was anything left behind, it would be Hunters; not a spec of Danger Zone was left behind. And even those the Big Three corporations swallowed up, and consequently middle to small sized management companies were expanding to Gangwon Do, Jeolla Do, and even to island territories.

In various ways, as much money as management made, it was just as hard to survive.

After striking out multiple times, Seol Yeong sighed. Sitting at a table, she looked at Kang Joon with a troubled air and frowned.

“Haaah…. it’s really hard after all. It would be good to get even something at the level of least one town, but if setting up shop is this hard….”

“It’s not something so urgent right now, so…. don’t feel too pressured about it.”

Currently their Hunter team was still growing, so it wasn’t like they had a team just lazing about. The two sat at the table and ate a few canapés. 

Just as they were about to get back up and resume business talk,

“President Seol Yeong.”

A man wearing a suit approached and spoke to them. As soon as she saw his face, her expression abruptly became rigid.

“It’s been a while.”

“Ah…. Director Jeong…. it’s been a while.”

“The chairman is asking to meet for a minute.”

“…….”

Seol Yeong’s expression hardened at those words. Kang Joon also stared at the man, wondering what this could be, but he simply stood in silence. Seol Yeong’s gaze wandered over towards the banquet hall’s designated tables, and looking as if they had already finished conversing, they were each sat at a different table and in the middle of dining. A middle aged man some distance away was staring at Seol Yeong.

Kang Joon realized that what he’d been somewhat speculating was the truth.

‘Seol Yeong has a definite relation with AlphaSword. One that’s not so friendly.’

Seol Yeong glanced at Kang Joon and the chairman back and forth a few times, then spoke up with a firm expression.

“Um…. Kang Joon-ssi.”

“Yes.”

“May I go over for a bit?”

“Yes. That’s fine.”

Seol Yeong was watching Kang Joon with a strange expression mixed with guilt and remorse.

“But, let’s go together.”

“Excuse me?”

As Seol Yeong stood from her seat, Kang Joon stood with her. Seol Yeong was even more surprised when Kang Joon, without precedent, said that he would follow her.

“Because I also want to get acquainted with a big corporation’s chairman.”

He was aware it was a indecorous thing to do, but Kang Joon had no intention of sending Seol Yeong alone.

“Kang Joon-ssi, I don’t know what you’re thinking, but….”

“I’m not thinking anything.”

Kang Joon shrugged.

“Really, I’m just curious what a chaebol [11] is.”

“The chairman would wish for President Seol to come alone.”

“That would be your problem, not mine.”

Kang Joon boldly insisted, and at those words, Director Jeong furrowed his brows.

“You must not know very well how the world works, son…. If a trifling manager says he wants to get acquainted, do you think the chairman has to oblige?”

“Uncle [12] definitely does look older than me, but I’m probably the one more familiar with how the world works.”

Kang Joon smirked, and Director Jeong frowned at his indecorum. But Kang Joon was a Hunter who had accumulated experience in the battlefield with his life on the line for ten years, and whatever it meant when he said how the world works, regarding life’s squalor Kang Joon was much more familiar. Watching Kang Joon who looked like his hackles were raised, Seol Yeong tapped his knee under the table.

“Don’t be like that. Let’s go together.”

“Alright.”

“President Seol.”

“We’re going together. It doesn’t really matter, now, does it?”

Either way, there wasn’t anything like a fence between the designated tables and the party tables, and all they had to do was simply walk over. Kang Joon and Seol Yeong crossed the invisible line to head towards the table with the AlphaSword executives.

The chairman of AlphaSword was a middle aged man, but he wasn’t yet elderly. His hard set mouth and wrinkles on his forehead attested to an obstinate personality, and the slightly narrow space between his brows along with close set eyes, at best, didn’t convey such a good first impression. The AlphaSword chairman nodded his head while still sitting. The executives stood up and retreated, and in an instant, only the chairman was left at the table.

“Sit here.”

“Alright.”

“And this person?”

“Oh, he’s a newly employed manager.”

“……I’ve heard about him. Quite capable, apparently. It’s way past time for you to marry as well…. Dating a bit isn’t bad.”

“Don’t speak about nonsense.”

Seol Yeong sat down with a rigid expression, and Kang Joon didn’t receive so much as a word to sit, but sat down somewhere anyways. Kang Joon’s attitude seemed to be an eyesore for the chairman, but he didn’t explicitly criticize him. It was a party, and everyone knew it wasn’t good to act high strung and raise a fuss.

“I haven’t seen you in so long, Yeong.”

“It’s been a while.”

Seol Yeong drank the champagne that lay on the table. Despite it having been drunk by someone else, Seol Yeong didn’t mind it.

“Brother. [13]”

“!”

At that word, Kang Joon was shocked out of his mind and jolted in a large movement. When both their gazes focused on him, Kang Joon scratched his head and chuckled.

“Ah, it’s…. I apologize. No matter how I look at it, I thought you were her father….”

The AlphaSword chairman’s name was Seol Woo Joon, if they had any blood relation, no matter how well someone guessed, it seemed likely had an early born daughter at most. It was because Seol Yeong had a baby face while the chairman had a face that looked much older than the real age. In addition, in no way did the two look alike.

It was just Kang Joon who didn’t know, however, and in the industry, everyone in the know was aware that AlphaSword’s Chairman Seol Woo Joon and Hero Management’s Seol Yeong were blood related.

And everyone in the know was also aware that they were on extremely bad terms.

But the chairman frowned for a bit before spitting out,

“I heard you’ve made a new Hunter team recently. Congratulations.”

“No, it’s nothing, really. It was all the newbie manager’s doing.”

“Sure, it’s a good thing that everything he’s entrusted turns out well. If you don’t have any jobs, though, then AlphaSword could set aside a piece of Danger Zone….”

“I don’t want it.”

“Isn’t it just about time you don’t have any jobs to take?”

Seol Yeong shook her head with a firm expression.

“There hasn’t been a single case so far where any good came from listening to you, after all.”

“That was a problem caused by your incompetence. You’re so stupidly nice that you were distracted by useless things and neglected your work…. You’re not cut out for business. I’m telling you now, even if it’s late, pack up and come back home. With your level, it’s not hard to meet a good man, you know that. Decent ones will line up for a chance.”

Seol Yeong’s beauty was not just outstanding, but as if she had eaten chemical preservatives or something. Therefore, Seol Yeong was a product that definitely wouldn’t lose on profit if immediately put up in the corporate chaebol marriage market. It was a horrifying thought process, but Chairman Seol Woo Joon nonchalantly admitted without compunction that he would use his younger sister as tool for arranged marriage.

And it wasn’t sincerity, but just mockery, to boot. Kang Joon couldn’t know what had occurred between these two, but he could tell the valley of animosity between them was not of an ordinary level. The older brother was the chairman of a Big Three management company, while the younger was disreputably in charge of a management company now nearing collapse.

“I have no intentions to marry, and neither can I agree with your methods of conducting business.”

“You know better than anyone that there’s no one accomplished among those who seek justice.”

“Just get to the point. Why did you call me over?”

“I wanted to ask if your body was doing okay these days.”

“Now that’s what I call not in your jurisdiction.”

“I’m being sincere. You should know that our parents always hold nothing but worry over you. Something like business, you should quickly wrap up, and even now you can…”

“Enough! Enough…. If you say anything more…. Any more, and I really won’t be seeing you….”

Seol Yeong cut off the chairman’s words in the middle and looked down at the table with her hands fisted. But the chairman looked at Kang Joon with a laid back gaze.

“That guy, can he even read the mood?”

“…….”

Seol Yeong didn’t respond with any answer.

 


[1] They’re calling everyone just daepyonim <대표님> as an address so I just inferred their actual rank and subbed them in, obviously Yeong is president of her own company, this Jin Da Hoon guy, probs not, so director or sth.

[2] I know the other translators didn’t use the -ssi suffix, but imma use this bc it conveys they’re still using formal jondaemal <존댓말> to each other bc they work together no matter how friendly they are, while Kang Joon uses casual banmal <반말> with Maria. Also using more “excuse me?” than “what?” for <네?> for the same reason, even though it might sound weirdly posh.

[3] I was too lazy to look up if the prev translators did it like this, but Korean name structure is like Chinese, last name one syllable, then first name, usually two syllables but can be one or three like Yeong.

[4] CheongMok sorta means green/blue wood? Just that it’s not koreanization for some foreign word like the other company names.

[5] I know the previous previous translator made it Raeshen but i thought Loeschen (oe for ö, pronounced basically le-shen <레셴>) was cooler cuz it means delete in German and it doesn’t mean anything in Korean so what if the author actually intended that? I mean there’s tons of German in supernatural genres anyways :3

[6] Sounded weird, so I subbed in microwave for naengdong <냉동>, literally freezer/frozen, both mean like ready-made, so.

[7] Background characters/extras subbed in for dulleori <들러리>, literally bridesmaid, bc that’s how it’s used in context, like backdrops or insignificant contrasts.

[8] Danger Zone for chwiyajiyeok <취약지역>, literally vulnerable area. Idk the prev translator’s terminology? If they used something else, y’all can request it.

[9] korean provinces

[10] Running east and west for dongbunseojoo <동분서주>, which means running around really hurriedly, Korean idiom.

[11] Romanized chaebol bc there’s really no sub, it’s a korean social strata of rich business people, it’s an adjective but also a noun for people, and according to google “a large family-owned business conglomerate.”

[12] Just saying uncle ain’t for familiarity here like literal uncle (samchon <삼촌>) obviously it’s for ajussi <아저씨> that can mean familiarity sometimes but here y’know it’s to demean his age and rank.

[13] Yeah, I’ll be using oppa, unnie, whatever, but only as suffix to a name. Brother actually makes sense here, so.

JEN: gosh dang so many footnotes sry peeps but taking over is hard :3 hope y’all were revived and your thirst sated from the excruciating wait in which you may or may not have resorted to MTL to find out what happens XD


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