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Chapter 58

 

“Think about what stocks you want to buy with that money and tell me when you decide. We will have a long talk about that.”

 

Father said that to me after placing a million won in my stock account.

 

“I’ll study a lot.”

 

Father would have wanted to hear these words.

 

“Are you crying?”

 

***

 

One may think this event may be a trivial domestic event that would not affect the world. However, everything started from here, despite the timing being inexplicably early. I had been surprised at the amount in the past, after all, we just ran a small grocery store, and bought a beginner’s book for stock trading. I had picked the obvious choice, as the dotcom boom came to Korea at that time and the Korean stock market also rose. My stock account grew, and in March 2003, I would go and visit my friend Sungho and would boast like I had become a success.

However, that was an era when an unidentified company would become the next hope for the future if they were a dotcom company. Koreans exploded after hearing amazing stories of instant millionaires, after the IMF, and I had not understood that even monkeys could get lucky. I lived a few days in fantasy and thought it was too easy to earn money and thought of myself as talented.

It was a ridiculous memory now, and I cringed remembering asking Father for additional investment funds. I was now a successful high school trader and used the little knowledge I had gained from books and the internet.

 

“Is that so? But this time, I’m lending you the money.”

 

I do not believe that Father had guessed it was just a bubble, but he probably thought that his son’s beginner’s luck would not last long despite being happy for me. Things turned down after a while, and in April 2000, the ceiling broke. When the American dotcom bubble broke, the Korean stock market also fell. I did the same thing every day after my studies. I would not do my homework but stare at the monitor of my computer after the markets closed. When my account became a quarter of my original amount, Father quietly came to my room.

 

“You will need to pay back the money to me by next week, son.”

 

I cried at his words, but Father was cold to me as I sobbed.

 

“Then, get the money from your mother since I need it badly.”

“How?”

“Give me your allowance, and I will take away your CD player, cell phone, and computer. You realize that it is not nearly enough to pay me back, right?”

“……”

“You will have to tell your mother this. Don’t pretend you’re a grown up, and if you act nicely, your mother may forgive you and give you the money.”

 

I realized that it was a minuscule version of the IMF later. I decided on my future path and had a goal. I had a school and a major I desperately wanted to go to, and I worked hard to get into an elite university. (EN: Sun is Korea, his mother the IMF, and his father the foreign creditors. ^_^ )

After military service, I prepared to study abroad in England and went to Wall Street after being impressed by Jillian. I had suffered losses and won victories until I was in my thirties, and it was then I was sent back to Korea after losing my company’s money. The gates opened later, and I was thrown into the Trial Tests.

While I lost heavily at Wall Street, I survived the Trial Tests. The reason I managed to come back here was due to this account. My bankbook started everything, and this had been my talisman like someone’s pictures of their loved ones. It helped me whenever I wanted to die, and just before my return, it had been ripped and stained with blood.

However, I now had it in its plastic envelope, and I thanked my father for it.

 

***

 

My phone rang after I brought my bankbook with me to the office, and her voice was weak and almost indecipherable. However, Yeonhee Woo mumbled a word out for me to hear.

 

<I found…it…>

 

Yeonhee Woo found the dungeon? If it was true, it would be a memorable day for her too! It had been a week since I sent her, and I thought she had given up by yesterday. I had gone to her house and her family’s house, but she had not returned. My cell phone rang about the time I thought it had been long enough, and it was time to go and pick her up. I had requested Yeonhee Woo to survive with the prepared food, walk as much as she could in the daylight, and get used to the darkness at night. I had not asked her to survive with nothing, and I just wanted her to find the dungeon entrance by herself.

 

<Wait right there.>

 

I went by driving her car, and she was sitting down where we had separated. I thought she was not moving because she did not have the strength to block the headlights with her hand, but I saw her smile. She was enjoying the light. She was wearing the training outfit I put in her backpack as an extra change of clothes, and the outfit was ripped and stained with blood.

Her hair was all messed up, and she was smiling like that. Villagers would send her to a mental clinic, but I knew why she smiled like that. It came not after mere survival but a step forward. I supported her to the car.

 

“I…lost the back…pack…”

 

It did not matter.

 

“But…not this…”

 

Yeonhee Woo took out the metal box with the syringe.

 

“Did you see the System message that said you discovered the dungeon?”

“Ye…s.”
“You did well. The rest will hold until Seoul…”

 

It was then a message popped up, and I read it with raised eyebrows.

 

[Yeonhee Woo invited you to her party.]

[Will you join?]

 

“What is this…?”

 

I turned to face Yeonhee Woo, but she was already unconscious after sending the message. She did not answer as she slept deeply.

 

***

 

It was the weekend the next day, and she was still sleeping where I laid her down yesterday. Her face was better, and her breathing calm. Her eyes were moving rapidly underneath her closed eyelids, and she seemed to be dreaming. I went to the computer room as I was going to wait until she woke up on her own.

I had received emails from the Isle of Man, the New York firm, and the private investigations company.

 

The Isle of Mann email:

[Title: Investment Proposal On-Track.

We confirmed that your prediction of Russia’s treatment of the American Deputy Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Finance was 100% accurate the next day. We were impressed with the  accuracy of analysis and projections, and your data on Russia’s foreign currency reserves decreasing despite an increase in repayments of international debts helped us a lot. Russian funds are being transferred into Swiss banks now, and we project the announcement of Russia’s moratorium on transferring foreign currency out of domestic banks from late July to early August. Based on this, we are aggressively investing in short-term Russian government bond swap transactions from now to early July. (EN:  How a Bond Swap Works. When an investor engages in a bond swap, they are simply replacing a bond in their portfolio with another bond using the sale proceeds from the longer-held bond. There are a number of reasons an investor will swap bonds, one of which is in anticipation of the original bonds reducing in value. )

 

Therefore, we are devaluating the Russian currency and projecting a decrease of stock prices in major European and North American countries, decrease in prices of major Asian currencies, and decrease in oil prices. Our portfolio is based on these decisions, and if we push on, Russia’s announcing a moratorium on moving foreign currency out of the country may come earlier. However, the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) has a large amount of Russian bonds, The worth of their products being dealt in the major global banks is more than a trillion dollars, and the Russian moratorium announcement may lead to a global financial crisis for the LTCM. We request an additional proposal and we hope that we would be able to freely talk about our opinions with those involved in this proposal. Please send a reply.]

 

I sent a reply and then read the New York email.

 

[Title: A major player would be better than several minor ones, right?

Jeffrey Kay brought in an investment company that went solo from Bank of America (BOA) last year. It’s Onider Associates, and they manage three funds. Since you probably know them, I won’t explain much. There are three hundred traders from Ivy League, Wall Street, and major English financial firms with another thousand support employees. If we bring them in, we will have to manage a hundred billion dollars of client funds in total, and our eighteen billion will have to go in. Sun, the total would be manageable only barely with just Onider Associates. The government is suspicious about the New York firm’s management structure, and I think we need to hurry before they change their minds. Jeffrey’s report is attached, so give me an answer as soon as you can. I will expand the New York office to receive new clients if you confirm. The phone’s ringing even now, and it’s probably from a millionaire asking me to double his money.]

 

I replied and then opened the mail from the private investigator company.

 

[Title: No title

No content / Attached: Fifty photos.]

 

Another mail had come from a private investigator company I had asked to find Cheongsoo Kim, whose English name was Brian.

 

[Title: Request completed.

No content / Attached: Brian Kim.ppt]

 

I sent an email to Cheongsoo Kim’s address happily, and it was then Yeonhee Woo came in with a tired face.

 

“I got a Master Box. I thought you would be waiting…oh!”

 

Edited by Userunfriendly

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