Yess & Yes - Chapter 1.1
Lee Juwon, CEO of the hunter service company December, believed that the basis of business was to derive maximum efficiency with minimum cost. This was true for anyone in business, whether big or small.
It was a world where people exchanged words of blessing to work less and earn a lot more, even in their daily lives. However, he didn’t know why Kang Inheon would ignore such basics.
The first thing Kang Inheon did after returning from the dungeon was to do an interview. It wasn’t even an interview that earned money, but one that gave money. Kang Inheon donated 1.2 billion won to children with incurable diseases for Christmas. Since it was donated under the name of December, a group of child reporters from the health corporation came to cover it.
When Lee Juwon went down to the second-floor conference room where the interview was taking place, three or four children, all of whom appeared to be elementary school students and were the interviewers, were asking Kang Inheon low-level questions.
“Jjamppong vs jajangmyeon!”
Kang Inheon was about to open his mouth when a boy in glasses shouted, “You can’t say jjamjamyeon! That’s cheating!”
“Ah, that’s too much.”
Kang Inheon laughed like he was having a hard time. Sitting relaxed in his chair, Kang Inheon cupped his chin and pondered for a moment. Soon, he spoke vaguely, “…Jjamppong?”
The children, sprawled out on the long sofa, laughed merrily as they chattered among themselves, “As expected, it’s jjamppong!” and “There must be soup!”
A different young reporter, dressed in a green jacket, asked another question, “Eating carp bread from the head vs. from the tail!”
This time, Kang Inheon didn’t hesitate to answer the question, “From the tail.”
“Me too! I eat starting from the tail too!” The children made a fuss as soon as Kang Inheon finished speaking. “Why do you eat the tail first?”
Kang Inheon gave a refreshing answer to the questions pouring in. “Eating the head first is… a bit cruel, don’t you think?”
The children nodded vigorously, though Lee Juwon couldn’t see how the hell that was cruel to someone who burst monsters’ heads open by gripping them. The interviewer asked again, “Last choice, rivers vs. mountains!”
This time, Kang Inheon answered without hesitating for even 0.1 seconds, “Mountains.”
The children also clapped their hands in 0.1 seconds and shouted, “I like mountains too!”
They probably didn’t like mountains, but Kang Inheon instead. Tsk tsk, Lee Juwon clicked his tongue.
Amidst the harmonious atmosphere, this time a girl with her hair tied in two spoke, “Kang Inhunter-nim, it was a really tough choice, but thank you for answering well.”
“Okay, now the last question. This question is a common question from our Baeksong press corps.”
The interview seemed to come to an end slowly. The reporter questioned in a serious manner, contrary to the laughing and chatting up until now, “What is Kang Inhunter-nim’s dream?”
Kang Inheon also spoke in a serious manner, “Naturally… eternal youth?”
Question marks appeared on the faces of the children, who were expecting an ideal answer, such as world peace, the destruction of dungeons, or environmental protection.
What’s eternal youth? Isn’t… it something like a phoenix? As the children whispered amongst themselves, the responsible teacher standing next to them explained the meaning of the idiom, revealing that it was closer to the ten traditional symbols of longevity than a phoenix. Aah, the boy who made the sound of a rock breaking gave him a thumbs up.
 eternal youth= bullojangsaeng Phoenix= bulsajo
“Inhunter-nim will become the ten traditional symbols of longevity because he’s so damn strong! The universe’s strongest ten traditional symbols of longevity!”
He’s happy hearing a grade-schooler say damn strong… Lee Juwon leaned back against the wall and shook his head. Well, how happy he must be to have everything in the world without envy. He must want to live long.
He thought the interview was finally over, but now it was time for the autograph session. Kang Inheon wrote down each of the children’s names, signed their autographs, and even took pictures with them.
Kang Inheon had to bend his back and crouch down to be at eye level with the children. He took dozens of pictures, posing as the children suggested, including the peace sign, K-heart, and even cupping his face.
Only when the children sat around and checked the pictures they took on the phone did Kang Inheon straighten his legs. As he stretched, a woman who appeared to be the chaperone of the child journalists approached him.
“Hunter Kang Inheon-nim.”
When the woman said hello, Kang Inheon also bowed politely and greeted her. “Hello, Teacher Seo.”
“You must be busy, but thank you so much for always making time like this.”
Kang Inheon shrugged as if it was no big deal and said, “I see you got a haircut.”
“Ah… my hair got damaged, so… is it weird?”
Kang Inheon shook his head, and Teacher Seo laughed shyly as she tucked a strand of her short hair behind her ear.
What the hell are they doing…
Lee Juwon, who had been standing askew outside the door and watching the scene, entered the meeting room. All eyes focused on him the moment he entered. The room became as quiet as a dead mouse and Kang Inheon, standing in the middle, smiled while saying, “Ah, you’re here?”
Looking at Kang Inheon’s radiant face, Lee Juwon’s mood soured. Saying “Ah, you’re here?” when he was the one who called him over with a one-line message saying 「come to the second conference room now」.
“Did you have lunch?”
Lee Juwon nodded curtly. He’d skipped lunch because he’d been in a meeting since morning, but he didn’t feel like talking about every little thing. Despite his insincere response, Kang Inheon was friendly towards him.
“What did you eat?”
When their eyes met, Kang Inheon continued gently, “I haven’t eaten yet, so I thought we could eat the same thing.”
Lee Juwon frowned. What time was it, and why was he uselessly chattering away without even eating?
As silence fell in the conference room, the employee in charge of the interview closed their eyes tightly and lamented inwardly. Why was Kang Inheon trying to make small talk with Lee Juwon…? Instead of relaxing, the atmosphere was stiffening… It was so harmonious before, though… The person in charge, who was watching them carefully, interrupted. “W-we need to take a picture for the article, and I think it would look better if the CEO joined us…”
When Lee Juwon’s gaze fell upon the person in charged, it scared the living daylight out of him and he guided him with awkward hand gestures. “Mr. CEO, this way…”
Lee Juwon stood side by side with Kang Inheon in front of the camera. He hated having his picture taken, but there’s no helping it when Kang Inheon asks. He couldn’t understand the whole donating out of your own pocket in the name of the company thing, but it can’t be all that bad for the company.
Lee Juwon wasn’t short at all, but Kang Inheon was even taller. Not just in height, but in size too. Of course, Kang Inheon was a hunter, so his physique was quite suitable, but it was unsatisfactory being moved by anyone who didn’t match his size.
“I’m taking the picture.”
The two stared at the camera.
“One, two, three!”
The photographer looked at the screen to check the picture he had just taken. A groan came from his throat.
“Uh… CEO Lee?”
As Lee Juwon stared, the photographer spoke cautiously, “The… article is for children, so if you can smile a little…”
He wants me to do all sorts of things. It was unpleasant, but Lee Juwon roughly nodded his head.
The photographer shouted again, “One, two, three, kimchi!”
The corners of Lee Juwon’s mouth turned up at an angle. But his eyes were cold by nature, so it looked more like a sneer and was frightening. Kang Inheon, on the other hand, smiled brightly, as if to purify his dim surroundings.
The photographer’s lips were parched. The contrasting pictures were too much for the photographer’s aesthetic. A ghostly two-shot photo of an angel and a demon could not be included in a Christmas feature about sponsoring children with incurable diseases. With a strong sense of professional duty, the photographer spoke again, “Mr. CEO, a bit more brightly… Grin like Hunter Kang Inheon-nim…”
The photographer even demonstrated by pulling up the corners of his mouth with both index fingers, but even the crooked smile on Lee Juwon’s lips disappeared in an instant.
“There’s nothing good to grin about. Just take the picture.”
The atmosphere that had subsided after Lee Juwon’s arrival froze even more. The kids standing in the distance glanced at each other, and the person in charge of the interview couldn’t lift his face.
As the atmosphere became more rigid than intended, the photographer, who was desperate to get a decent shot, said something irrational, “Uh… If you don’t want to grin, then can you smile like a couple? Since there’s two of you… Hoho…”
Despite the photographer’s good intentions, the conference room became even colder. It seemed that no matter how unyielding the Siberian air mass generated from the north was, it wouldn’t be as cold as the disdainful expression that Lee Juwon was currently wearing.
The icy silence was broken by Kang Inheon’s refreshing laughter. Lee Juwon’s gaze shifted to Kang Inheon, and as their eyes met, Kang Inheon spoke in a chuckling voice, “That’s right, it’s Christmas soon.”
“Don’t frown like that.”
He pressed his index fingers firmly on both sides of his own cheeks and pulled them up, just as the photographer had done.
“Smile like this.”
A giggle broke through the silence that had fallen over the conference room. The chaperone and the person in charge were still reading the atmosphere, but the kids standing next to them were giggling in the silence.
“I guess Hunter Kang’s humour style is at the level of a grade-schooler’s?”
Lee Juwon looked around, and the children’s laughter stopped instantly.
“Finish up and come up to the representative office.”
It didn’t matter how it turned out, being able to take a picture was enough. Lee Juwon walked out of the conference room without looking back, not wanting to hang out with the idiots anymore.
“Ack, M-Mr. CEO! You’re supposed to take one with the kids too…!”
The photographer called anxiously from behind, but the person in charge of the interview and employees quickly greeted from behind him, “Thank you!”
“Thank you for your effort.”
Despite the outpouring of greetings, Lee Juwon didn’t look back. At that moment, he made eye contact with another employee who was walking down the hallway in front of the conference room. The surprised employee said, “H-hello,” but far from acknowledging it, Lee Juwon just walked past without even looking at them.
As the employee, embarrassed by the greeting that was left alone in the air, began to hurry their steps, Kang Inheon emerged from the conference room and answered instead, “Hello, Seohyun-ssi.”
Lee Seohyun couldn’t hide her delight and raised her hand in greeting, only to realize that Lee Juwon was still behind her. She pointed to Lee Juwon’s back and whispered, “What happened?” with her mouth.
“Um…” Kang Inheon scratched his cheek, and Lee Seohyun nodded in understanding. Well, it wasn’t like he was the type to have a bad expression on his face and ignore greetings because something happened. He was just always like that.
Lee Seohyun breathed a small sigh of relief as she watched Lee Juwon walk away, then spoke in a much more relaxed voice, “I heard you came back early.”
“I didn’t want to spend the rest of the year in a dungeon, so I pushed myself a bit.”
“Ah, well, it was all over the news. It’s the first white Christmas in 18 years.” Lee Seohyun laughed jokingly and continued, “Who is it that you’re trying to meet that makes you push yourself like this?”
“…I don’t know if I’ll be able to meet them.”
Kang Inheon’s forced laugh left Lee Seohyun confused. Who on earth could possibly dare to refuse Kang Inheon’s request to meet for Christmas?
After a few moments of silence, Kang Inheon asked, “Seohyun-ssi, what are you going to do on the weekends?”
Whenever the employees saw Lee Juwon in the distance, they would awkwardly turn around and go the other way, muffling their footsteps as if they had taken a wrong turn. Unless it was avoidable, they would quickly stick to the end of the corridor, lower their gaze, and greet him in a small voice.
Lee Juwon had never answered those greetings before, but within a few words, Kang Inheon knew that the sales team member Lee Seohyun was going to Busan with her boyfriend for the weekend and planned to eat lamb skewers for dinner. He asked her if it was good and even asked the name of the restaurant.
Lee Juwon pressed the up-arrow button on the marble wall and the elevator slowly descended from its stationary position on the 13th floor.
12, 11, 10, 9…
The slow pace was frustrating. Lee Juwon, who was only staring at the floor indicator on the wall, glanced toward the hallway. Kang Inheon was still standing slanted to the wall, chatting with Lee Seohyun.
Everyone’s been idle lately, huh? The company was about to get busier, so no one would be able to spend a relaxed end of the year eating lamb skewers. Especially Kang Inheon.
The elevator arrived at the second floor with a soft electronic sound. Lee Juwon immediately got on the elevator and pressed the close button first, then the 18th floor button.
Just as the elevator doors were about to close, a large hand stuck between them. Tong, the doors slowly opened again with a rubber friction sound, revealing a tall figure. Due to the height difference, Lee Juwon had to look up for a moment.
It was Kang Inheon. Kang Inheon stood there with his face wiped clean of the smile that had been on it earlier.
Kang Inheon stepped into the lift, keeping eye contact with Lee Juwon. Tuk, the silver metal doors shut behind him. Tearing his gaze away from Lee Juwon, Kang Inheon turned and stood facing forward.
In the elevator where the two of them were riding, there was only a low mechanical noise.
Kang Inheon stared in silence at the red digital numbers that grew larger unit by unit. His bent posture from being with the children straightened. Standing up straight, he was at eye level with the floor indicator at the top of the elevator.
Lee Juwon loosened his tightly worn tie a little. Even though there were only two people in the 12-person elevator, it felt cramped.
On a monitor on one wall of the elevator, a commercial for December was playing. The model was, of course, the company’s signature hunter, Kang Inheon, who was more recognisable and likeable than most Korean celebrities.
Hunter companies’ adverts often show the re-enactment of a hunter slaying CG-realistic monsters in style, but the December ad was a little different.
On the monitor, Kang Inheon was wearing a loose white shirt and blue jeans, smiling coolly and sweeping his windblown hair. Against a backdrop of blue skies and green fields, only Kang Inheon was shown for 30 seconds.
Thirty seconds is not normally a long time, but it was long enough for a single shot in an ad. But anyone would be distracted for the entire 30 seconds.
Below his figure, the words appeared.
<We’re here to protect your daily life. Join December>.
The ad was approved because of its low production cost, as there was no need to build a set and no model fees. They didn’t have the money to advertise it outside, so they only posted it on the official YouTube channel of December, but the response was explosive. He could only find one reason why this dull ad was so popular.
In contrast to the beautifully smiling face on the monitor, the real Kang Inheon’s expression was cold. Glancing at his side, Lee Juwon twisted his lips. Up until now, he was acting so friendly in front of people and laughing hard at their crappy jokes… There were a lot of crazy people in the world, but in Lee Juwon’s opinion, the worst lunatic in December was Kang Inheon.
The lift stopped with a slight rattle when it reached the 18th floor. Slide, the doors slid open. Lee Juwon, who felt uncomfortable in the enclosed space, got off first, followed by Kang Inheon.
Lee Juwon was a fast walker. Whenever he walked down the corridor, the team leaders who were in a hurry to report would follow behind him, panting.
Kang Inheon, however, had his hands in his pockets and seemed to be walking at a leisurely pace, but his large stride kept him from falling behind. His footsteps didn’t even make a sound until they passed through the long corridor and entered the representative office.
Tang, the sound of the door slamming shut echoed in the silent corridor.
Once inside, Lee Juwon held out the iPad containing the request to Kang Inheon. He took the pad and flicked through it absentmindedly, giving it a cursory glance. After checking the details of the request and the client’s personal information, Kang Inheon furrowed his eyebrows. Lee Juwon said, “You know that the youngest of BH and Sungwoon Construction’s second are getting married, right?”
Kang Inheon looked like he hadn’t heard that before. Lee Juwon, who had a troubled expression for a moment, leaned on the desk with his arms crossed and continued,
“BH’s youngest fell in love with Sungwoon’s second as soon as they saw them. They were on the verge of dying from lovesickness, so BH had no choice but to close their eyes and let them marry. Well, only Sungwoon won,” Lee Juwon said in an apathetic tone, even though he was talking about gossip.
“There’s nothing as stupid and easy to manage as a guy who’s blinded by love. Sungwoon’s second child wants to have a honeymoon in a dungeon or something, so they said they need a guard.”
Without finishing, Kang Inheon slammed the iPad down on the desk. He said in disbelief, “People are dying in dungeons, and they want to have theirs in one?”
Lee Juwon had expected Kang Inheon to hate the request. But can people make a living doing only what they love? But isn’t it fortunate that they can make a living doing only efficient work?
“It’s a tourist-level dungeon with no levels, so there’s no danger, and it’s for 2.2 billion won. They’ll have a proper bodyguard team, but Hunter Kang just needs to stay with them for three or four hours. They just want to get drunk on the hype of being guarded by Hunter Kang.”
Lee Juwon saw the disgust on Kang Inheon’s face. Did other people know that Kang Inheon, who was like a spring breeze, looked down upon people like they’re bugs? Kang Inheon’s front and back were different.
It was a bit ridiculous whenever he was met with such a gaze, but he didn’t care much. He was used to it, anyway. Lee Juwon gives him work, and Kang Inheon does the work. That was enough.
Lee Juwon said, looking Kang Inheon in the eye, “BH’s youngest is a fan of Hunter Kang, and you can go and make connections with chaebol families now.”
Despite his disdain, Lee Juwon knew that Kang Inheon would take the job. What hunter wouldn’t want to hang out with a third-generation chaebol for a while and make who knows how much money?
Lee Juwon’s filtering and filtering of requests to Kang Inheon, the only S-class hunter in Korea, always made remarkable profits with the lowest mileage. It was because of him, Lee Juwon thought, that December was able to become a well-known and influential hunter services company, and because he was in December, Kang Inheon was able to safely achieve the fame and fortune he has today.
People who portrayed December as the axis of evil and Lee Juwon as a demonic leader would comment to tell him to please escape. Many believed that Kang Inheon had signed an unfair contract with Lee Juwon when he was a rookie hunter and wasn’t able to get away yet.
However, contrary to what people might think, Lee Juwon was not blackmailing Kang Inheon and exploiting his weakness. It was also of his own free will that he signed the contract with December and kept renewing it.
He may pretend to be righteous in front of the public, and cast contemptuous glances at Lee Juwon, but at the end of the day, he was just a man pursuing profit. As with any profession, hunters are expendable. It was a dangerous, uninsured profession with a high mortality rate, and if you were injured or past your prime, you were considered used.
Even the same people who praise them now until their mouths hurt will be looking for another hunter in their prime by then. So, you had to paddle hard when the water came in, whether it was money or connections.
Their relationship was born out of mutual need, and as if to prove it, Kang Inheon said, “…When is it?”
As expected. Lee Juwon shrugged and answered, “The bodyguard team lasts three days starting tomorrow. Hunter Kang is only needed for tomorrow evening.”
Kang Inheon furrowed his eyebrows again.
Giving the returning Kang Inheon, who finished his clear schedule ten days in advance, another request, albeit short, was something he wouldn’t usually ask of him. In fact, he had regretfully passed over the request from BH because he didn’t know Kang Inheon would be back today.
However, they placed a large deposit to let them know the day before if Kang Inheon was perhaps available. Maybe they made several deposits to be able to go wherever they felt like that day. It was a common money waste from chaebols, and Lee Juwon welcomed it.
Kang Inheon was even in front of him now. The request wasn’t hard or difficult, and most importantly, Kang Inheon had to be busy right now.
If he listened to Team Leader Choi’s stories about Gangjin or whatever it was on his days off, he might actually do unpaid volunteer work. While he wouldn’t necessarily discourage him from projecting the image of a righteous hunter, Gangjin’s risk-reward ratio wasn’t good.
“…It’s the Eve, though.”
Lee Juwon didn’t quite understand Kang Inheon’s words, as he was thinking of replying that it would be a waste if Kang Inheon complained about the tight schedule, but that he would give him extra money.
It’s the Eve, though? Was he referring to the B-class monster Evendel? Seeing Lee Juwon’s expression, Kang Inheon sighed and said, “Christmas Eve.”
Tomorrow was the 24th of December. For Lee Juwon, it was just the fourth Saturday of December, but since profit distribution was the rule for request appointments, there was no need to pay extra, but things like social values existed, so Lee Juwon couldn’t help but say, “I’ll give you 5% more.”
Despite Lee Juwon’s shocking offer, Kang Inheon’s expression remained dissatisfied. “That’s not the problem.”
How could money not be the problem? If money didn’t solve the problem, it only meant that there wasn’t enough of it. Lee Juwon noted that Christmas Eve had become so socially valued that even an extra 5% profit share was not enough.
Yes, it’s a good day to have sex. So, was that why he pushed himself and came back early? He didn’t know who he was fucking, but the high pay, the chaebol connections, and the busy Kang Inheon were more important. Lee Juwon endured the unbearable pain and opened his mouth, “5.1%… No, I’ll give you 5.2% more…”
“Ha…” Kang Inheon sighed. How much more does he need to name to settle the mood? When Lee Juwon’s eyes sharpened, Kang Inheon said something out of the blue, “Mr. CEO, what are you doing on the Eve?”
At those unexpected words, Lee Juwon stared at Kang Inheon for a moment. But it was easy to see why he was asking.
Kang Inheon believed in the false labour theory that if the employees work, the CEO must work too. He seemed to feel that the idea of working alone was unfair, but Lee Juwon also had no intention of playing around.
“Even on Christmas?”
But even if Marx came back to life, Lee Juwon was confident that he would always be working day and night for December’s profits.
Kang Inheon, still frowning, said in a pathetic tone, “Did you know it’s snowing this Christmas?”
To Lee Juwon, it was more pathetic that Kang Inheon, who wasn’t even a child, was obsessed with Christmas. It was even more contemptible if he was obsessed for adult reasons.
In any case, it would be difficult if Kang Inheon argued about the social value of a White Christmas and asked for an additional distribution of more than 5.5%, so Lee Juwon replied by slamming that value as much as possible, “There’s going to be traffic.”
i forgot i could split chapters lol