Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 599
When Jeong Ayeong left, Bak Inbo covered his face with his hands. Even though Hwaja was a lost cause, she was still his child. Of course he would be worried.
“It’s my fault for not raising her properly. It’s all my fault.”
Bak Inbo sighed regretfully. Hwaja was 13 when she drew the Big Dipper on Mu Ssang’s thigh. At that age, she had to know it was wrong. Of course, it was her mother’s fault for making her do that, but still, Hwaja was laughing as she burnt his flesh.
He was supposed to discipline her at an early age. Now he is reaping the consequences of neglecting that duty. He wasn’t normal either, whipping with a thick leather belt. Ms. Jang murmured, scanning his face. It irritated Bak Inbo greatly.
“What? Do you have some other business?”
Ms. Jang couldn’t say it. There was an unbreakable wall between them. If she asked him for some money for the use of the company’s operations, she thinks he would just swear at her. She didn’t feel like asking him to buy the stocks either. Her pride didn’t allow it. Ms. Jang gathered her purse and stood.
Ms. Jang muttered and left the CEO’s office.
“Take care? If she meant those words even the slightest bit, I would help her family right away.”
Bak Inbo shot a murderous gaze toward the door. Their unfortunate relationship is inconveniencing others too.
Ms. Jang shook her head. Once family but now he has become her nemesis, she would rather kill and forget, instead of having these thoughts haunting her like sticky phlegm.
“Go! You ingrate. I fed and clothed you, only to be betrayed like this. Go die!”
Ms. Jang imploded. It wasn’t enough that her short, impotent husband treated her like some stray dog. Nor that his lowly employee dismissed her. Or that her own son betrayed his already isolated mother, and sided with her wretched husband. Her daughter, missing. All of these events mingled in her head.
Red fog covered the ground. A ghost wearing a blue hanbok and a black traditional Korean hat rose from the ground. His face was as pale as plaster, and his eyes were bloodshot. It was her dead brother-in-law, Bak Jinbo. He roared, “How dare you disturb my sleep? You shall be cursed!”
Ms. Jang clung to the wall, trembling. Her eyes turned all white, and she started to foam at her mouth. A technicolor hallucination is the usual symptom of the frontal lobe’s fusiform cells malfunctioning.
Utak, shocked, ran to the bathroom. He threw a basinful of water onto Ms. Jang’s face. He was used to his mother’s fits, which have been happening several times since last year. The physician’s treatment was simple. Whenever she starts seeing unreal things, she should be slapped several times or be splashed with cold water.
Ms. Jang opened her eyes and looked around. Her unfocused gaze meandered the space.
“What happened to Jinbo’s ghost?”
“Mom, wake up! There is no ghost.”
Utak yelled. Ms. Jang, stared at her son absentmindedly. It was almost laughable. The ghost she had seen when she was scheming to poison her husband and the family elders before had appeared again. Of course, any ordinary person would have a mental breakdown after this, but Ms. Jang is no ordinary person. Nevertheless, her steely resolve remained unshaken despite the ugly scene that just happened.
“I am not going to die. I am the eldest daughter of the Jang family.”
She stood and entered the bathroom.
Utak kicked his suitcase. Even though he hated her, she was still his mother. She ruined their family, but he couldn’t just leave her after what happened.
“Mu Ssang, I envy you. Your father and mother loved you. I even liked them more than my own parents. That’s why I hated you.”
Utak heaved a deep sigh.
The next day, just past noon, the elders from her family barged in. This has become a common family scene, happening again and again over the years. Her two-story manor was no longer her family’s home, but had turned into the headquarters for her family’s operations.
Ms. Jang greeted them reluctantly. She already knew what they would say. As expected, her uncle, Jang Gyeongmo, spoke even before he sat down on the sofa.
“Did you ask your husband?”
It felt more like an interrogation rather than a question. Ms. Jang’s gaze rested her uncle’s sparse eyebrows. She wanted to rip off the remaining strands right there and then. But she couldn’t do it, not with everyone around watching.
“Because of Hwaja, I couldn’t even bring it up.”
She expressed her dissatisfaction with a soft sigh. This crown no longer felt like respected elders, and instead, more like haunting ghosts.
“What are you talking about? Our entire family is going to the dogs. One lunatic shouldn’t matter.”
Ms. Jang gave him the evil eye.
“Don’t you have children and grandchildren? What kind of mother would turn a blind eye to her child missing? You shouldn’t say such a thing.”
“Should I not say such a thing?”
Jang Gyeongmo gave her the evil eye as well.
“He said nothing wrong. But, if she was dear to you, why did you allow her to be a drug addict? Everyone knows that there is a drug addict in the Jang family. Our reputation has hit rock bottom. I am very embarrassed.”
Aunt Nakdong lashed out. Ms. Jang glared at her. They used to pamper her when she owned the company. Now, this is how they treat her.
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“You are picking a fight, aren’t you?”
All of them ganged up to blame her whenever the situation got worse. She can feel a pain at her temple, as if pecked by a woodpecker. Ms. Jang pressed the spot with her hands.
“Please watch your mouth.”
Jang Gyeongju glanced at her daughter and tried to rein in his brother. He addressed his brother Jang Gyeongmo, but his gaze was actually on his wife. Nakdong Daek bowed and withdrew without saying a word. They may be in a pickle, but the people in the Jang family still respected the basic traditional hierarchy.
“We were blinded by greed.”
Jang Gyeongmo glanced at his brother and heaved a deep sigh. He considered himself to have been fooled by his niece. But his greed was the primary reason as to why he ended up in this situation. He believed that once they become Hyangsim’s significant shareholders, they wouldn’t need to negotiate with tenant farmers anymore. Their children would have guaranteed employment forever. Such words were sweeter than purified sugar, it was no wonder they went all in.
On October 25th, 1981, he bought a CB bond that he didn’t even fully understand. He was willing to do everything, even if it cost him his soul. But had he bought it with his own money, it wouldn’t be a problem now.
The nightmare began when he took out a loan from Samsik Capital. He lost 50 majigi of high-quality paddies as interest, and 150 more as payment for the actual borrowed amount. Then he converted the wretched CB bonds to shares.
His family and other relatives soon followed suit, unable to withstand the high interest payment and conversion price. All of their CB was converted to shares at 28,000 won per share in May 1984. Eventually, after two years and seven months, they finally gave up, their burden was gone. It was a good decision in the end. Despite the circumstances, they were still able to keep what they have and to prevent further loss.
The dividend rate of Hyangsim is on the higher side at 12 percent per share, but once the conversion price is considered, it is only 2.1 percent. Still, it was better than the CB bond which is only one percent of the annual interest rate. In the end, he sold 375 majigi of paddies for 17,857 shares. He also took out a loan for 300,000,000 won. Considering all the costs, he bought a 5,000-won stake at 50,000 won. As a result, the after-tax dividend of his shares came down to 8,900,000 won. Had he put the same amount in a savings account, he would have earned an interest of 80,000,000 won. It was definitely an outrage.
Samsik Capital had shaken up their entire family to the core. But no one knew that Bak Inbo, husband of their eldest daughter, was the man behind Samsik Capital. Bak Inbo himself sustained heavy damage too. After purchasing the Jang family’s vast farmland under Samsik Capital’s name, he became short of cash. It was a lose-lose situation in the end.
The Jang family converted all of their CB to shares. Jang Gisu and Jang Sangsu had 53,571 shares. Jang Pilnyeo had 17,857 shares. Jang Gyeongmo had 17,857 shares. Jang Gyeongtaek and Jang Gyeongnam had 17,857 shares. 117,142 shares were newly issued. As a result, the total number of shares increased to 507,142 shares.
Bak Inbo’s share dropped to 41 percent with 208,000 shares. Jang Gisu and his brother’s share dropped to 22.4 percent with 113,571 shares. Jang Pilnyeo – 11.4 percent with 57,857 shares. Jang Huija and siblings at 7.9 percent with 40,000 shares. Jang Gyeongmo at 3.5 percent with 17,857 shares. And finally, Jang Gyeongtaek and his brother at 3.5 percent with 17,857 shares. Other shareholders had10.3 percent with 52,000 shares.
Bak Inbo: at 41 percent with 208,000 shares
The Jang family: at 40.8 percent with 207,142 shares
Jang Huija and sisters: at 7 percent with 40,000 shares
Other shareholders: at 10.3 percent with 52,000 shares
In the end, Bak Inbo and Jangs’ shares were roughly the same. The majority of the shareholders, together with Jang Huija and her siblings became the decision-makers. Everything went according to the Bak Inbo’s plan.
The Jang family couldn’t participate in the decision-making despite their huge shares since the general shareholders sided with Bak Inbo. Bak Inbo trusted them to side with him when he promised Mu Ssang the company’s steering wheel. And so they did.
The Jang family sustained tremendous damage. The interest payments alone were enough to strangle them, and they lost 4,000 majigi to Samsik Capital. Even so, they were still not free from the interest payments.
The remaining 60 majigi of paddies were for bank security. Basically, they only had 20 majigi of intact paddies to themselves. Minus the farming costs, the annual profit didn’t even exceed 3,000,000 won. They were finally able to pay off the loan shark, but the interest payments to the bank still remain.
Their lives started to go downhill due to the burden of debt. The family’s main house was still doing relatively well, but the other properties are facing the risk of getting auctioned off.
“You may be able to withstand all this, but I can’t. Gyeongtaek and Gyeongnam are suffering as well. She told us that she would pay for our interests, but she stopped after three months. So we had to give up our lands to Samsik Capital to be free of these payments.”
Jang Gyeongmo explained. No matter how bad the situation got, he couldn’t be mad at his brother. However, their family will be ruined if this keeps up.
“Utak’s mother is not doing well financially either. Still, the shares are worth 36,000 won each.”
“That’s why we ask Bak for his help. If he buys our shares, we can finally be free. We won’t be able to steer the company, but we will be able to survive now. She owes us that.”
Jang Gyeongmo pounded his chest. Jang Gyeongju was exasperated because he understood what his brother felt. But his son-in-law changed all of a sudden, and even abandoned his wife. There was nothing he could do. Jang Gyeongju darted an accusing look at his daughter. Had their marriage been successful, they would have been able to withstand conflict. But, now they couldn’t even stand each other anymore.
Jang Gyeongju cleared his throat and closed his mouth. His son-in-law had treated him like a serf. He was no better than a stranger now. He needed to go himself, otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to get out of this whole mess.
“Let’s use the pig aphrodisiac again.”
Jang Chisu, who was cowering in a corner, suggested with glinting eyes.
Jang Gyeongju shook his head.
“We have no way to poison him now. At his company, Jeong Ayeong checks everything he drinks. He has no favorite restaurant. His doctor cannot be bribed. There is no way.”
Jang Sangsu added.
Jang Gyeongtaek, nibbling on his lip, blurted out.
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“I am sorry, Gyeongju. But I am going to sue your daughter for fraud. I met my lawyer yesterday. He agrees that everything that has happened sufficiently constitutes fraud.”
His words were unexpected and shocking, especially in this traditional family. Silence descended upon the living room. Jang Gyeongju, Jang Gyeongmo, Jang Pilnyeo, and Jang Sangsu’s mouths were left hanging open with shock. Everyone else said nothing, and simply stared at the ceiling or the floor.
The seed of division finally sprouted in the Jang family. The situation is that bad. The strife Bak Inbo orchestrated has finally happened.
“What? Sue me? Everything I did was for the benefit of my family, not just my own. How could you say such a thing?”
Ms. Jang protested in a shrill voice.