Descent of the Demon Master - Chapter 275
“Was there something else left to discuss?” Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head while following Jo Gyu-Min into Jaegyeong’s HQ. Weren’t they already done discussing the important matter? Why did he have to come all the way here?
Jo Gyu-Min blinked his eyes. “Didn’t I tell you? You still need to choose your next car.”
“Mm? I thought I left that job to you, though…?”
“Yes, you did, and so, I tried to pick one according to my own tastes, but… I didn’t think that was something a devoted secretary should do.”
“In this case, my tastes shouldn’t come into the equation. Well, you’ll see once we get there,” said Jo Gyu-Min in a confident tone.
Kang Jin-Ho stopped inquiring at that point and silently walked alongside Jo Gyu-Min. Since the chief secretary said he would see after reaching their destination, Kang Jin-Ho would do just that. Jo Gyu-Min would have explained it verbally if he felt the need anyway.
Besides, Kang Jin-Ho could trust Jo Gyu-Min even if there were no sufficient explanations provided on some things.
Jo Gyu-Min pressed the ‘down’ button on the elevator, which was different from what they had been doing until now. Instead of going to the usual top floor, they were now headed to the lowest basement floor.
Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head again. “We’re going to the basement?”
“Yes. More specifically, the basement parking lot. Your prospective next car is on standby there, ready and waiting.”
“Mm? Are we gonna take it somewhere?”
“Fufufu…!” Jo Gyu-Min meaningfully smirked. He even looked a bit sinister just then.
“…?” Kang Jin-Ho faintly trembled after sensing an onset of an unexplainable nervousness.
‘Even though I trust him, this guy can sometimes do weird things…’
Jo Gyu-Min was usually a composed, well-behaved person. But then, once every blue moon, he would cause a bit of a scene as if the urge to show off had gotten the better of him. With the way things looked this time, Kang Jin-Ho grew just a bit concerned that he would have to deal with yet another Jo Gyu-Min catastrophe pretty soon.
The elevator chimed, and its doors slid open after reaching the basement floor.
“Mm?” Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head again after noticing that all the lights were turned off. “Are there no lights down here?”
“No, but the fifth basement floor isn’t used all that often. When this place was designed, it was initially planned as a space to park all the vehicles belonging to the chairman that he wasn’t using. But, as you know, our chairman isn’t the type to own several cars, so nowadays, this floor serves as a storage unit more than anything else.”
“Anyway, time to… turn on the lights!” Jo Gyu-Min felt around the wall nearby, leading to a series of ticking noises breaking the silence of the darkness, and bright lights soon started to illuminate the basement.
“Ta-da!” Jo Gyu-Min theatrically spread his arms wide open and pointed to the parked cars. “There are your candidates, Mister Jin-Ho!”
Unfortunately for him, Kang Jin-Ho wasn’t paying attention to the trio of vehicles parked in the middle of the basement. Instead, his eyes were ‘arrested’ by the sight of many spotlights arranged all around said vehicles. “Uhm, excuse me…? Haven’t I seen those lights from the film set…?”
“Indeed, Mister Jin-Ho. A protagonist’s entrance needs proper spotlights, after all.”
“But, uh, was there a need to go this far…?”
“Uh-huh! This is important, Mister Jin-Ho!” Jo Gyu-Min put his foot down. And when Kang Jin-Ho helplessly shook his head, Jo Gyu-Min grabbed his arm and pulled him toward the waiting cars. “In any case, why don’t we take a closer look!”
“Of course…” Kang Jin-Ho stared weirdly at Jo Gyu-Min.
It seemed Jo Gyu-Min’s eagerness was being focused in a weird direction, but such a thing could be overlooked since he had clearly spent a lot of effort for Kang Jin-Ho today.
With a weird look on his face, Kang Jin-Ho closed the distance toward the cars… And had to contend with the sights of three extraordinary-looking vehicles slamming into his retina. “…Did you purchase all three of these?”
“I wouldn’t waste money like that. No, we just asked the owners of these vehicles for their understanding and borrowed them for a bit. It would be better for you to see them in the flesh first, but you’re too busy to visit the individual dealerships, so I figured this was the next best thing.”
‘But I sell pizzas…’
Something about being unable to go and see expensive supercars in showrooms because Kang Jin-Ho had to sell pizzas sounded a bit ironic, to say the least. But what could he do about it when that was his reality? Moreover, one of the trios on display right now didn’t even have a showroom model in the country. Obviously, test-driving one was also out of the question.
This meant that this method was probably the best when trying to directly compare the cars. Although it would have been impossible to arrange this display without Hwang Jeong-Hu’s personal connections and the name of Jaegyeong.
The pretext used was that Chairman Hwang Jeong-Hu wanted to buy a new car and would love to see one up close. After paying a handsome amount of… ‘usage’ fees, Jo Gyu-Min managed to bring these cars together.
‘And those fees were gobsmacking, weren’t they…’
Officially renting one of these cars would have cost at least a few hundred million won per day, so it wasn’t hard to understand why the fees were so astronomical, but…
‘I better keep my fingers crossed that the accounting department won’t throw a hissy fit later on.’
Jo Gyu-Min suppressed his subtle anxiety and smiled gently at Kang Jin-Ho. “So… Does any one of these catches your fancy?”
“Mm? This one over here…” Kang Jin-Ho pointed to the red supercar by the corner. “Isn’t this the same one as my old car?”
“It’s a newer model, and some of its specifications have been upgraded to reflect that, but it’s not majorly different from your old car, yes. Oh, and its exterior has been subtly updated while you were serving in the army. Its performance should have improved compared to the old model.”
“Mm…” Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded. As he thought, this red supercar did feel familiar, but… “Well, this car is pretty good at most things, but…”
“Driving it around in Seoul is a lot of challenge, you see.”
“Oh, that. Yes, it does have a downside like that.”
Kang Jin-Ho’s head snapped to his side, and he shot a glare at Jo Gyu-Min.
Jo Gyu-Min nearly stumbled on his feet. “B-but, why…?”
‘Why haven’t you said anything about that the last time?! If only you’d told me that ahead of time, I wouldn’t have looked for this car, you know!’
Kang Jin-Ho moved on to the next example. “What about this car?”
Jo Gyu-Min straightened his tie and chuckled ominously. “Fufufu…! I see that you do have eyes for cars, Mister Jin-Ho. This particular vehicle is the current holder of the top speed record for production cards…”
“Hmm, this guy won’t get over a speed bump, either.”
Jo Gyu-Min did stumble this time. How could Kang Jin-Ho’s criteria for choosing his supercar be… bloody speed bumps?! Jo Gyu-Min suddenly wanted to lodge a strongly-worded protest to South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport for carpet-bombing the entire country with merciless speed bumps!
Kang Jin-Ho’s gaze shifted over to the final candidate of the trio.
What about this one, then? With its all-black exterior, gleaming headlights, and sleek, aerodynamic shape, it’d surely…!
“Fufufu, this vehicle is a pride of Germany, Mister Jin-Ho. This car here is! None other than! Porsc—”
“Looks like a frog?” Kang Jin-Ho innocently cut Jo Gyu-Min off.
“No, that’s wrooong!”
‘Of course! Some dumb people! Do mock it! Like that! But! You can’t desecrate its beauty by calling it a frog!’
Kang Jin-Ho was clearly unimpressed. “It’s not even a toy, so why does it look like that?”
If all the proud owners of this particular vehicle heard Kang Jin-Ho right now, they would have sighed deeply in lamentation. Yet the latter was unhesitantly spewing such opinions out!
‘Damn, I made a mistake.’
Jo Gyu-Min could only kick himself inwardly. His initial idea of making Kang Jin-Ho come and see the cars personally seemed like a good one on paper since the two of them had different tastes. Unfortunately, Jo Gyu-Min failed to take into account Kang Jin-Ho’s terrible personal taste.
“H-how about the one in the middle, Mister Jin-Ho?”
“Mm? But what about the speed bumps…?”
“You’re driving around in a car like this, so you should at least be prepared to deal with such minor inconveniences, you know!”
Kang Jin-Ho still didn’t seem all that impressed as he scanned the blue car in the middle. “Hmm… This one is a bit round and squishy-looking.”
‘That’s because your old car had all sorts of sharp angles and stuff! Besides, this isn’t ’round and squishy’, you know! Sure, its horseshoe grill’s kinda, sorta looks a bit roundish, and that’s why it feels that way…!’
“Mister Jin-Ho, please listen to me! This car here is the Bugatti Veyron! As I said before, it’s the fastest production car in the world right now! Nothing can go faster than this bad boy unless you go for extremely-limited special edition models or hire a tuning firm!”
“Mm…” Kang Jin-Ho contemplatively nodded. “But, here’s the thing…”
“There hadn’t been any opportunities for me to travel at my old car’s top speed, you see?”
‘Say what now, you brat?! I know you’ve sped down the highway the wrong way ’round three hundred kilometers per hour not too long ago, so you dare lie to me this way?!’
Jo Gyu-Min’s lips trembled from his barely-contained rage, but he desperately kept his mouth shut. He tried to remind himself that today was a good day. A good day, indeed! There was no need to lose his cool and sour the nice mood of today!
But then, Kang Jin-Ho continued to demonstrate that he had no ability to read the room. “Besides, when I went faster and faster, I could actually see the fuel gauge needle drop in real time. It’s kind of annoying to stop for fuel often, you know.”
“Isn’t there a car that doesn’t need lots of fuel but is still plenty fast enough for me?”
Jo Gyu-Min slowly blinked his eyes while thinking, ‘Why don’t you ask for your private airplane instead?’
But then, he suddenly remembered that there was a car like that. What about those hybrid supercars getting all the press coverage lately? Considering the electric motor’s unique aspect of having tremendous torque at all rev ranges, such a car might just suit Kang Jin-Ho’s peculiar taste.
“There are cars like that in existence, yes, but I think you might find them just a little bit lacking, Mister Jin-Ho. If you’re only looking for great acceleration, then fine, but they are still a bit behind in terms of responsiveness, you see.”
“Please choose out of these three. I’ve selected them after careful consideration, you know. And I can tell you for certain that, even though there are cars with similar specs as these three, you won’t find a better one than them.”
Kang Jin-Ho stared at the cars while making the face of a man experiencing a serious dilemma.
Jo Gyu-Min chuckled and lightly patted Kang Jin-Ho’s shoulder. “You aren’t supposed to choose a car this way, Mister Jin-Ho. Why don’t you sit inside, then take them out for a test drive? That’s the reason why I borrowed them in the first place. I promise you; you’ll have made up your mind by the time you’ve driven all three.”
“Yes, Mister Jin-Ho?”
“Which car will be the least eye-catching, you think?”
“…!” Jo Gyu-Min sucked in a deep breath. He knew everyone had different needs when choosing their car, but he just couldn’t remain patient with Kang Jin-Ho’s criteria and ended up yelling, “In that case, just get a family sedan! A family sedan, I say!”
“No, because when I went to a supermarket with Mother in her sedan, its small trunk proved inconvenient.”
‘In that case, get a pick-up truck or…’
“Feels like people will notice me wherever I go in such a vehicle, so that’s a no as well.”
‘I-in that case, why don’t you get a car only a cow would drive?! No one will notice you in that case!’
“So, I was thinking…” Kang Jin-Ho made a serious face while getting ready to unleash more of his nonsense, causing Jo Gyu-Min to groan inwardly. “Isn’t there a car that is… responsive, fast, and fun to drive, but also practical?”
“Can you bake a pizza that tastes exactly like how you would want a delicious pizza to be but isn’t as oily or fatty no matter how much you eat? And on top of that, it has the distinctive taste of cheese but goes well with a traditional Korean stew?”
“There isn’t a pizza like that, though?”
“Then, why are you asking me to find a car like that, Mister Jin-Ho?! Why!”
“Aaah, so that’s what you wanted to say? I honestly thought there was a car like that.” Kang Jin-Ho nonchalantly shrugged his shoulders.
However, it only made Jo Gyu-Min more furious inside. He dearly wanted to flip a table or something right now, but he held himself back by repeatedly thinking, ‘I’m Mister Jin-Ho’s loyal, supportive aide. Yes, I am!’ The fact that he had already raised his voice like that was already a big black mark on his name. He shouldn’t disrespect Kang Jin-Ho any further than this.
“Urgh…” Jo Gyu-Min held his head and groaned.
Kang Jin-Ho saw the pained look on Jo Gyu-Min’s face and apologized. “I’m sorry. It’s just that I’m clueless about these things.”
“Mister Jin-Ho, it has been so many years since you started driving your own car. So, how could you be this disinterested in motoring in general?”
“Well, I never had a reason to care, you see.”
“Hah…” Jo Gyu-Min suddenly displayed a mystical skill of sighing deeply while still making a proud face.
‘I see. Without me, nothing can be done around here.’
Kang Jin-Ho leaned in closer and cautiously muttered, “So, here’s what I was thinking…”
“Chief Jo, I think you’re probably the best when it comes to stuff like this.”
“Ha. Ha. Ha…” Jo Gyu-Min stood straight and tall. Any taller, and he could have a problem with his spine later on!
“To think that someone as competent as you will be working alongside me. That gives me great confidence about my future, Chief Jo.”
“Fufufu. Well, thank you so much. Actually, I should be saying that to you.”
“So, like… As I was saying…”
“I can’t help but think that… there has to be a car that fits my criteria. You know, a comfortable car that is also practical and economical so I can avoid the annoyance of stopping at a filling station all the time. That kind of a car.”
“H-hold on, Mister Jin-Ho.”
‘That’s like trying to find a Kirin! An animal straight out of imagination, Mister Jin-Ho. You know, a thing out of legends or mythical tales!’
Kang Jin-Ho confidently declared, “I believe in you, Chief Jo.”
“N-no, Mister Jin-Ho! That’s like finding a Kirin! You’re practically telling me to go out into the wilds to hunt a Kirin here!”
It can be hard to make great work when its stolen from bit.ly/3iBfjkV.
“Mm? But you can find plenty of giraffes in a zoo?”
“No, not that kind of Kirin! I’m talking about, you know, dragon-like creatures!”
Kang Jin-Ho made a resolute expression and stared at Jo Gyu-Min. “I don’t know how difficult such a thing will be, but…”
“I believe that if it’s you, you can hunt even a dragon, Chief Jo. So, how hard could finding a car be?”
“Well, then. I’ll believe in you and go home for the day. Contact me when you have good news.”
“M-Mister Jin-Ho?! Mister Kang Jin-Ho?!” Jo Gyu-Min urgently reached out, but his hand could only grab at the empty air instead of Kang Jin-Ho’s arm as the latter strode gallantly away toward the waiting elevator.
Jo Gyu-Min could only stand there and stare in stupefaction before slumping onto a nearby couch. He stared at the ceiling for a while in a daze, then pulled out his phone and called someone.
“Evening, Mister Choi. I know you’re a car dealer, so… I wanted to ask you about something. Uhm… If I call the Lamborghini factory directly, will they build me an Aventador with a big trunk and four seats?” Jo Gyu-Min weakly asked, then silently waited for a reply. However, sorrow quickly filled his expression. “…No, listen, Mister Choi. I’m not drunk. And no, I’m not messing with you, either. Yes, I… I’m sorry about this. I really am.”
Jo Gyu-Min ended the call there and buried his face between his knees.
This was why people shouldn’t be too adventurous with their lives. Jo Gyu-Min was suddenly reminded of how nice a settled, comfortable path to success was, and his shoulders started to shudder in response.
1. LOL, this novel’s showing its age, doesn’t it? ☜
2. “Car only a cow would drive” was a ‘nickname’ Korean drivers gave to Hyundai Sonata. In Korean, “Sonata” can also be read as “only cow will drive”. Hence that nickname. ☜
3. A “Kirin”, or “Qilin” in Chinese, is a mythical creature appearing in various East Asian literature. It’s the same word for ‘giraffe’ in Korean. ☜