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    2. Shadow 2 (Part 6)


    The pliers fell into the large sink with a loud noise, rolling around. Turning on the tap, Cheon Sejoo lathered his hands with soap, thoroughly washing off the dried blood. When his calloused white hands finally emerged clean and he turned off the water, Sunhyuk, who was standing next to him, handed him a towel.

    “Are you going to leave right away?”

    “I should.”

    The second delivery man who had been dragged by the disposal team had finally declared his surrender after nearly five days. Despite having all his nails pulled out and his skin burned in several places, he didn’t utter a word. But as soon as his family was mentioned, he confessed in less than half a day. The delivery man revealed that the stolen drugs were hidden inside the club where the items had gone missing, and now Cheon Sejoo had to retrieve them.

    Glancing at the blood-soaked figure slumped on the floor, Cheon Sejoo clicked his tongue and left the workshop. Only after stepping out of the stifling space without a ventilation fan did he finally feel a breath of fresh air. Standing in the hallway, he leisurely smoked a cigarette lit by Moon Sunhyuk.

    Some of his hair, damp with sweat, clung to his forehead. Sunhyuk’s gaze skimmed over his flushed earlobes and cheeks, reddened from the heat. Ignoring him, Cheon Sejoo brushed his hair back. He noticed how long it had grown, the strands clinging to his grip.

    “What should we do with the delivery man?”

    “Take care of it.”

    “Are you going to handle it yourself?”

    At Sunhyuk’s question, Cheon Sejoo pressed his lips together and let out a low sigh. The delivery man’s condition was not good. Although he wasn’t on the verge of death, if left untreated, there was a high probability he’d develop sepsis within a day or two. So, it would be better to dispose of him quickly, but it was uncertain how long it would take to resolve the matters at the club.

    There would be even more to do once the drugs were found.

    After a moment of contemplation, Cheon Sejoo shook his head. “Contact Dalma,” he said. Sunhyuk gave a short reply and took out his phone.

    The fate of those who were dragged to the workshop was already set. Dying there was almost merciful. As it meant they could leave the world without any further pain. However, those who lingered between life and death faced much worse. Most of them were dissected alive for organ trafficking, and sometimes they were handed over to a broker who supplied drugs to clubs, aka Dalma.

    No one knew what happened to those who were dragged by Dalma. There were rumors that they were doing something similar to human experiments, but the truth was uncertain. Nonetheless, it reduced Cheon Sejoo’s concerns, so he often called for Dalma. Moreover, this delivery man had almost caused significant damage to Dalma by stealing the drugs, making it all the more appropriate to send him there.

    As the soft ringing of the phone signaled the call, Sunhyuk spoke.

    “I got a call from Dalma earlier. He specifically asked for this guy to be handed over.

    “Really? They must be furious too. Good. Tell them to take him after we retrieve the goods.”

    While Sunhyuk spoke with Dalma on the phone, Cheon Sejoo headed upstairs to the second-floor office. As he entered, the processing team members, each busy with their tasks, greeted him with a nod. He approached one of them, who was sitting near the entrance.

    “Where’s Jinyoung?

    Seo Jinyoung, the fourth member of the disposal team, was currently out on a fieldwork. He was the one who had taken the photo of the delivery man’s niece, which made him confess. At Cheon Sejoo’s question, Haewoong, who was typing on the keyboard, blinked and replied.

    “He’s still keeping an eye on the target. Should I call him in?”

    “Yeah,” Cheon Sejoo replied briefly, grabbing a beer from the fridge on one side of the office. He popped the can open and drank it down without taking a breath. Haewoong, who was calling Seo Jinyoung, shook his head in disbelief.

    “Manager, don’t you ever get tired of drinking? You drink it like it’s water.”

    “That’s his lifeline,” Yoon Chuljoo joked from across the room, who was typing on a keyboard. Haewoong chuckled at this, bursting into laughter.

    Cheon Sejoo frowned and threw the empty can at the guy who made the lifeline comment. With a thud, the can hit Yoon Chuljoo’s head, making him groan in pain, which only made Haewoong laugh harder. Rubbing his throbbing temple, Cheon Sejoo cursed at them.

    “F*ck it, if you know it’s my lifeline, why don’t you try buying some? Stop sneaking it away.”

    Even though he stocked the fridge with boxes of beer, a few cans always went missing whenever he stepped out even for a moment. He knew it was Haewoong and the others who were the culprits, but he let it slide. Now, they were getting too bold. At Cheon Sejoo’s reprimand, both of them shut their mouths as if on cue. Seeing them pretend to be engrossed in their work again, he could only scoff.

    It was then that he got a call from Kim Donggil of Shinsa Capital. Kim Donggil always burdened him with annoying tasks whenever he called, so Cheon Sejoo frowned with displeased and glared at his phone before answering.


    – Boss, did you sleep well last night?

    Who knows what kind of nonsense he’s going to spew next. Cheon Sejoo stood leaning to one side and turned up the volume on his phone. He took an apple that Haewoong had bought from the fridge, bit into it, and replied.

    “Why did you call?”

    Despite his cold tone, Kim Donggil was unfazed.

    -I just wanted to hear your incredibly handsome voice, hyung. Actually, there’s something else. There’s this homeless guy hanging around the first floor. I was hoping you could take care of it…

    This guy has gone crazy. Now he wants him to deal with a homeless person. Cheon Sejoo, taken aback by Kim Donggil’s request, hung up without responding. When the phone rang again immediately, he declined the call and blocked the number.

    Shin Gyoyeon had instructed him to maintain order at Shinsa Capital, not to do some dirty work. However, apart from the day he had disciplined the two main instigators of a gang fight at Shinsa Capital, most of what he did there was just menial tasks. He had indulged them too much, and now they were asking for ridiculous favors. Cheon Sejoo decided he needed to tell Shin Gyo-yeon to pull back from that place as soon as he stood up.

    He went into the room attached to the corner of the office and changed clothes. After putting on a spare suit he had brought and stepping out of the room, he found Sunhyuk waiting for him outside the door with a phone in hand. It seemed he had finished his call.

    “I’m going to the club to pick up the goods. Who coming with me?”

    He picked up the apple he had left on the table, took a big bite, and asked with a muffled voice as he chewed. Haewoong raised his hand high as if he understood.


    “Get out.”

    “What’s this? Where are you going?”

    Realizing belatedly that Cheon Sejoo had chosen the person to accompany him, Yoon Chuljoo stood up, his eyes gleaming like a hyena’s, but it was already too late. Cheon Sejoo waved his hand dismissively and pushed Haewoong out of the office.

    Unlike at Shinsa Capital which have full of blockheads, the members of Cheon Sejoo’s disposal team were all quick-witted and intelligent. Yoon Chuljoo had graduated from a prestigious university and worked as a hacker, while the youngest, Haewoong, was a genius who had graduated from the police academy. The reason why Gu Haewoong, the third-generation heir of the Gu family, was not serving as a respectable police officer despite graduating from the Korean National Police University but was working here, was due to one thing. It was because of his anger management disorder and his moral values that were slightly off from social norms.

    “Manager, to the back, to the back seat!”

    Though he often bickered with his fellow team member Seo Jinyoung and occasionally stood up to him, Haewoong was still the adorable youngest in Cheon Sejoo’s eyes. With a carefree smile, Haewoong pushed Cheon Sejoo into the back seat. Of course, it wasn’t out of respect for him as a senior but because everyone knew how horribly he drove. The team members generally avoided letting him drive as much as possible.

    Sunhyuk drove the car. The three of them headed to the club located in Cheongdam-dong in a black sedan used for work. While Cheon Sejoo, who had stayed up all night, lay down in the back seat to catch some sleep, Moon Sunhyuk scolded Haewoong. Most of the scolding was about managing his anger issues.

    “Yes, yes,” Haewoong replied calmly, seemingly unconcerned. Judging by how he asked if they could get something to eat, it seemed he had tagged along because he was hungry after hearing they were going to a club. Haewoong, who was quite large, was always hungry. Cheon Sejoo drifted in and out of sleep, vaguely hearing their conversation.

    -Sunhyuk hyungnim. [T/N: A more formal way to call brother/boss]

    In the midst of this, Moon Sunhyuk received a call. Since Cheon Sejoo hadn’t answered, Kim Donggil had turned his target to Sunhyuk. When he connected the call via Bluetooth, the grating voice echoed through the car. This caused Cheon Sejoo, who had been dozing off, to stir and open his eyes slightly.

    “What is it?”

    – “Are you with Manager Cheon by any chance?”


    Sunhyuk, observing Cheon Sejoo’s expression in the rearview mirror, gave a brief reply. Kim Donggil sighed deeply and began explaining in a tone appealing to sympathy, quite different from before.

    -You know that kid, right? The one who was whining last week about wanting to meet his mom. He’s shown up again and is sleeping in the hallway. We tried to get him to leave, but he threatened to call the police if we laid a finger on him. We can’t exactly beat him up. So…

    Ha. Lying with his arm over his forehead, Cheon Sejoo let out a dry laugh and opened his eyes.

    Seriously, after leaving so confidently, he ended up homeless?

    The absurdity of the situation woke him up completely. As he sat up straight, Sunhyuk glanced back and asked,

    “So, you want us to deal with it?”

    -Yes. You said you’d kill us if we caused any more trouble. If the cops show up, our guys will only get blamed, so I’m asking you.

    There was a reason they couldn’t just kick out the homeless kid and had to call him. Sejin seemed like the type who would make a huge fuss and gather a crowd if anyone touched him even once.

    “Then just call the police first and say there’s a minor wandering around without his parents.”


    Sunhyuk’s straightforward answer seemed to give Kim Donggil a moment of clarity, but then he hesitated and asked again.

    -But if the kid gets taken in by the police and says we kidnapped his mother, won’t that be a big problem?

    “If they come, tell them to show me the evidence. They can’t search our office without a warrant, so what can they do?”

    -No, but still…

    “Then just leave him alone if you’re so worried.”

    -But the kid…

    It was clear that Kim Donggil was really bothered by Kwon Sejin. After hearing his continuous rambling, Cheon Sejoo finally speak up.

    “Hey, just leave him alone.”

    -Boss? Leave him alone? But every time we walk by, he’s just lying there, being a nuisance…

    “If I say so, then leave him alone, you idiot.”

    Annoyance surged within him. If that little thing bothered him so much, calling the police over it seemed pathetic for such a big guy. At Cheon Sejoo’s fierce voice, Kim Donggil let out a groan before quickly agreeing and hanging up. Soon, a chilly silence settled inside the car. Sunhyuk and Haewoong both noticed that Cheon Sejoo was in a bad mood and refrained from talking to him. Cheon Sejoo himself didn’t know why he was so irritated, but he didn’t feel like pretending to be okay, so he kept his mouth shut.

    In that state, the car stopped in front of a building in Cheongdam-dong. The place where the delivery man had hidden the drugs was a social club run by Shin Jihan. Shin Jihan was one of the five sons of Shin Gyeongju, the head of DG, and he was the younger brother of Shin Gyoyeon, Cheon Sejoo’s superior, and the representative of DG Entertainment.

    The club he operated wasn’t open to just anyone. It was a members-only establishment, and without a membership card or being accompanied by a member, ordinary people couldn’t even enter the parking lot. Because of this, their sedan was blocked from entering the parking lot.

    “Who are you?”

    The man who asked this, supposedly a security guard but more like a thug, flaunted his massive chest muscles and glared menacingly. Moon Sunhyuk silently lowered the rear window. Sitting behind the driver’s seat, Cheon Sejoo reached into his pocket and pulled out a business card. He handed it to the guard, who inspected it thoroughly as if checking if it was a counterfeit. Eventually, convinced of its authenticity, the man bowed at a 90-degree angle and greeted them.

    “Hello, Manager Cheon Sejoo. Please follow me inside.”

    The barrier lifted, and the sedan entered the underground parking lot. Cheon Sejoo took back the business card that read “DG O&M Strategic Planning Office Manager” and tucked it back into his pocket. DG O&M, an investment company, was run by DG’s successor, Shin Gyoyeon, and being part of the strategic planning office meant that Cheon Sejoo was a direct subordinate under Shin Gyoyeon. That business card was essentially an all-access pass to any DG-affiliated building.

    Parking close to the elevator, the three men, led by Cheon Sejoo, went straight up to the fifth floor. When they stepped out of the elevator, the hallway before them was eerily quiet. It wasn’t a time when people came and went, and the soundproofing was so good that even if someone screamed their lungs out inside, it couldn’t be heard outside. Without hesitation, Cheon Sejoo moved forward. He already knew where the item was hidden.

    Finally, he found room 13 in the middle of the hallway and turned the doorknob. But it was locked. Cheon Sejoo squinted and looked around, spotting a camera in one corner of the ceiling watching him. He gestured at it. After a few minutes, a man in a perfectly fitting suit appeared before them. He was the manager overseeing the club.

    “Open the door.”

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