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Chapter 63

 

Two Nobel Laureates in Economics, whose theories had greatly affected Wall Street and global finance, had placed all of their money in LTCM and worked as partners in the firm. Everyone had thought that LTCM had gotten everything they needed to become a success story, and the firm became a global hedge fund. If LTCM, who managed a trillion dollar fund, placed large bets on Russian government bonds, it meant that the two Nobel Laureates believed that Russia would not fall.

Who would want to join us if things were like that? The two suffering staggering losses to their credibility would be Jillian and Cheongsoo Kim. At this time all of my offshore funds showed a two-digit loss rate, and the one with the most losses was nearing margin call. If this trend continued, I would lose nearly forty percent of my original funds. I kept reminding myself that Russia’s bankruptcy was a historical event, and my prediction was correct.  (EN: A margin call occurs when the value of an investor’s margin account falls below the broker’s required amount. An investor’s margin account contains securities bought with borrowed money (typically a combination of the investor’s own money and money borrowed from the investor’s broker). A margin call refers specifically to a broker’s demand that an investor deposit additional money or securities into the account so that it is brought up to the minimum value, known as the maintenance margin.)

 

However, this battle with the hedge funds had not been in the past, and while it had been our intention to go for a bigger payday by artificially creating a boom…

We were suffering great losses back when I did not have all my knights, like Jillian and Cheongsoo Kim. Even though things were better now, what if, a very big what if, something had happened that could prevent Russian bankruptcy? What if there was a secret arrangement with other nations underway? I glared at the monitor with my arms folded. I thought that I would only need to watch over things, and that was the right choice. However, while I was not anxious, I felt tense. The date on the monitor read July 13th, and while I was busy glaring at the monitor, it was then that the phone rang.

While it was a man speaking in English, it was not Jonathan.

 

<Hello?>

 

I guessed why he had called from that mechanical greeting, as I heard peoples’ death over the phone like this before. I got the ledger and waited for the man to speak.

 

<This is the Cayman office of Florida Wizer Securities. I called you to inform you that your deposit has gone below the maintenance margin.>

 

It was a margin call, which meant one of my accounts was dead.

 

<Please wait until I confirm.>

 

The account with the Wizer Securities had been trading on the margin.

 

[Account Name: Tailroad Corporation.]

[Account Value: $420,000]

[Estimated Loss: -$580,000]

[Estimated Profit: -13.50%]

 

<All positions have been cleared up according to the system, and your estimated loss is greater than 60% of the current balance of your deposit after all positions are finalized.>

 

The employee ended the call after hearing my thanks. Tailroad had been going through one of the most intense battles, and the account died without hitting the jackpot. It did not take long for the account to die out, and Tailroad and other accounts had failed.

I decided to leave them be, as this was only one of my many accounts trading on the margin. Those who were not in such danger were enduring quite well.

There had once been a boss fight like this, and while it was strong, it was not that complicated to beat it. It was a reinforcement type monster, and such monsters would return to their original weak state after a while. If we managed to last until the monster’s reinforced state dissipated, we won. If not, we all died. However, the rewards had been great, as there were Platinum Boxes everywhere.

Russia was harder than that, as we were fighting against the knights who were defending Russia to save themselves. However, the truth was that Russia was dying and would fall soon.

 

***

It was Korea’s constitution day, and I came to the office early.

 

“You came?”

Yeonhee Woo welcomed me holding a bow, as she had been diligently practicing, and she had finished preparing for my arrival already. I saw newspapers arranged neatly on the table, and the printer was spitting out hardcopies. The television was turned to CNBC Asia from Singapore instead of a Korean channel. She had started acting like my secretary since last week, and I had let her do so.

 

“Did you have breakfast?”

 

I nodded and went to the printer. Yeonhee Woo would bring the main articles from finance websites such as Financial Times because I was interested in them, and I felt it was more prudent to use her email account to register for the newsletters, particularly the English only periodicals. Anyway, yesterday’s articles were also about the war in the Russian market. Western finance journals had begun to use the word ‘war’ about the time Yeonhee Woo started acting like my secretary. There was a five-hour difference with Moscow as they would use Daylight Savings Time until 2014, and it would be five o’clock in the morning there. Major announcements usually occurred between ten-thirty and twelve o’clock, as the officials would be finished being briefed by then.

So, if things did not happen between two-thirty and four o’clock in the afternoon in Korea, nothing would happen that day. A week had passed since I stopped running into the office after school, and it was then Yeonhee Woo asked me a question.

 

“Summer vacation started, right?”

“From yesterday.”

“It’s nice. You waited for a long time. However, if we’re talking about explaining your absence to your parents, how about taking the CSAT? I was your first-grade homeroom teacher, and…” (EN: The College Scholastic Ability Test or CSAT is a standardized test which is recognized by South Korean universities.)

“Actually.”

 

I had been about to explain that the biggest reason I was going into dungeons and earning massive amounts of money was for my parents but stopped when I remembered Yeonhee Woo’s relationship with her family. I still remember how Yeonhee Woo’s mother shouted in her daughter’s workplace. Even if she had thought it was for her daughter, a mother should not have done such a thing.

 

“You can see that I’m already different from others physically. I don’t want to stray further.”

 

I wanted them to see me grow in a normal fashion, which was why I dropped the idea of immigration. Everyone my parents knew was here, and they would not be happy in a palace of gold in America. Mother had been like that as well in my past life.

 

“……”

 

Yeonhee Woo smiled faintly.

 

“Put away your bow and sit.”

 

It was time to warn her more realistically before going into the dungeon. Her face grew serious as I explained. While she would have realized how terrifying a dungeon was, talking to her about specific plans and contingencies when the plans failed meant that the time to go into one was near.

Jillian, Cheongsoo Kim, and I all decided the deadline would be from late July to early August. We would divest our accounts regardless of Russia’s state by then. Anyway, the timing was nice since this was summer vacation. My parents would feel relieved if I mentioned my former schoolteacher in my report of my summer activities. I could have a month to conquer the dungeon slowly and safely. I continued to explain what I knew about F class dungeons as the food we ordered came, and around two o’clock in the afternoon, I had nothing more to explain.

Yeonhee Woo looked at the clock and did not interrupt me, as she knew what I would do. I sat on the sofa, and CNBC Asia’s anchor was undergoing a serious debate about the Russian finance war with various talking heads.

 

“Hedge funds have been aggressive in the past to gain profit, and the effect was more negative than positive. Think about how Asia suffered from late last year to now.”

“I believe that hedge funds are like hackers, as there are both good and bad ones. However, I believe that hedge funds work the same way hackers do to the companies they target, as they expose their vulnerable points and give the targeted company a chance to reinforce or remove their weaknesses.”

“The problem is that the hedge funds are bad hackers who are after a lot of money. The Russian financial war is not between two hedge funds, and there will be a lot of collateral damage.”

“Well, I don’t think so. The majority of the transactions are dealt in the futures market, and most of them are institutions who use the hedge funds.”

 

One of them was attacking hedge funds while the other was defending them. It was then the main anchor stopped their discussion.

 

“There has been a major announcement in Moscow about a moratorium just now.”

 

I felt my body sink into the sofa at those words, and various muscles that I didn’t even know I had, unclenched for the first time in months. Russia had finally fallen.

 

Edited by Userunfriendly

 

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