The Famous Millionaire

박승연

Chapter 267 - Chapter 261

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Chapter 267: Chapter 261

The next evening National Assemblyman Chulwoo Chung drove down to Ansan to meet Hyunwoo.

Hyunwoo thought he might be a senior, but he was not. The Assemblyman was only 45.

Like a politician, he had the gift of the gab.

His first impression made Hyunwoo feel that he was like a kind brother in his neighbor.

After exchanging greetings and pleasantries with him for a long time, Hyunwoo mentioned Haenim School.

“By the way, how did you know about Haenim School? It’s a small school with only 50 students,” asked Hyunwoo.

“In fact, I overheard something about it by chance from Assemblyman Jungsang Kim as he was talking with his advisor in the National Assembly.”

“May I ask who Assemblyman Kim is?”

Hyunwoo tilted his head because his name was new to him. He was also curious about how Kim knew about Haenim School.

“Oh, he is a National Assemblyman with his constituency in Taean County. I thought both of you knew each other well, but it looks like you are not.”

“Ah, Taean County!”

Hyunwoo recalled Taeho Min. It seemed he was Assemblyman Kim who was coming down to see Taeho during the weekend.

Hyunwoo told him about his plan to expand Ani & Funny.

Mr. Chung brightened his face and said, “I’m glad to hear that. I was a bit afraid my meeting with you might not go well. I thought as Assemblyman Kim was from your constituency, you would build an alternative school in Taean.”

“No, that’s not true. I appreciate it if you can help me set up an alternative school anywhere.”

As if on cue, Mr. Chung immediately responded, “Please build an alternative school in Sosan. You can rent a vast lot of 10,000 pyong (3.3ha) on a long-term lease. If you want it, you can buy it, too.”

Hyunwoo opened his eyes wide at his mention of 10,000 pyong.

Mr. Chung continued, “The mayor of Sosan is affiliated with the same party as mine, and I grew up with him, so I’m very close to him. If you need it, I’ll ask him to make a relevant ordinance to help Haenim School actively.”

He prepared lots of material to show Hyunwoo.

“You have the map ready, right?” Mr. Chung asked his advisor.

His advisor opened the map. Mr. Chung already set an eye on a specific location as the future site of Hyunwoo’s alternative school.

It was a small village called Tapgokri, Umam-myon, Sosan City. It seemed to be in a good location, given that there was a highway linking Daejon and Dangjin as well as Sohae Coast Highway nearby.

What bothered Hyunwoo was that the location was in a very remote place. Though there were two cities Dangjin and Sosan, they could not be called a large city like Seoul or Incheon.

But that was not important.

Waiting for Mr. Chung to stop for a moment, Hyunwoo began to say, “But Haenim School has only 50 students. Do you know that by any chance?”

Hyunwoo thought Mr. Chung was not aware of that.

But that was his mistake.

Tilting his head slightly, Mr. Chung said, “Of course I know that. And I know where your current alternative school is. I also know its principal is Mr. Suyoung Oh, and that most of the teachers there are college students. I even know that even if you want to buy a lot near the school, you can’t buy it because they want to make excessive profits by selling it at too high a price.”

Hyunwoo’s jaw dropped at his remarks. It looked like Mr. Chung had been doing a background check on him for several months.

Hyunwoo got more curious and asked, “Why are you so actively trying to rent such a vast land and invite my alternative, unauthorized school with only 50 students?”

Mr. Chung just smiled at his question instead of replying. And then he looked Hyunwoo in the eye as if he wanted him to figure it out.

But Hyunwoo waited for him to answer.

After some time Mr. Chung opened his mouth, “I’m not saying this just to invite Haenim School. What I am going to invite is the future of Haenim School.”

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Hyunwoo was so happy to hear that. Mr. Chung’s mention of Haenim’s future thrilled him.

Mr. Chung continued, “Of course, Haenim School is not a great institution to talk about, and it might still be the same two or three years later. It might not bear its fruit during my or Sosan Mayor’s term.”

Hyunwoo could feel the sincerity in his words. He felt Mr. Chung didn’t approach him just for his own private interests. He has some great vision, Hyunwoo thought.

“But I’m confident that Haenim School will emerge as the best school ten years later. And I’m sure you can grow the school like that. I want to help you achieve your vision,” Mr. Chung said.

Hyunwoo was greatly touched by Mr. Chung’s remarks.

But Hyunwoo could not promise him right away.

The future of the students at Haenim School was closely related to its expansion. If he made the wrong decision, their future would also be affected.

He was also supposed to meet Assemblyman Kim over the weekend. He could make the decision after that.

“Can you give me some time to think over your offer?” said Hyunwoo.

“Of course. Please meet Mr. Kim during the weekend, too. The more prudently you think about it, the better. But I’m sure you will decide to build your school in Sosan,” said Mr. Chung confidently.

Hyunwoo also felt like making the decision in his favor.

Taeho Min, who was meeting Assemblyman Jungsang Kim, called Hyunwoo late in the evening during the weekend. He said he and Mr. Kim moved to another place after dinner.

Hyunwoo visited the sushi restaurant where Taeho and Jungsang moved.

Mr. Kim greeted Hyunwoo gladly.

Taeho and Jungsang were much closer than Hyunwoo thought. Taeho comfortably called Mr. Kim ‘Jungsang’, who in turn called him ‘brother.’

After a brief exchange of greetings, they got to the point.

Mr. Kim was also very interested in Haenim School.

But what he proposed was minor, compared to Mr. Chung’s, in terms of the size of the lot and subsidies program.

Hyunwoo frankly presented his opinion in the middle of the conservation.

“In fact, I met Assemblyman Chulwoo Chung who has a constituency in Sosan City.”

“Ah, Mr. Chung? I know him well”

Mr. Kim responded with a bright look, but it looked like he didn’t know that Mr. Chung met him to invite Hyunwoo’s alternative school in his constituency.

“He said Sosan City also wanted to invite Haenim School.”

“Sosan City, too?”

“When I made a comparison between the two cities, I see there was a big difference. Besides, various conditions such as the location and convenient facilities…”

Hyunwoo frankly told him about his opinion.

Listening to his explanation, Mr. Kim silently nodded and then said, “I heard a lot since when I was a child that I should put myself in the other’s shoes. So, I listened to you from your point of view. I think you would have no other choice but to choose Sosan.”

Hyunwoo was relieved to hear that. He was worried the two might have bad feelings because of that.

But Mr. Kim was pretty much open-minded about Hyunwoo’s feedback.

Maybe Mr. Chung was already aware of his fine personality.

Mr. Kim concluded, “We politicians are doing our job for the sake of the people’s interests. Sometimes, we have to sacrifice the interests of our own constituencies for the whole people. I don’t think the students should not be at a disadvantage because of our regional self-centeredness.”

Hyunwoo felt very satisfied with his remarks.

In fact, Hyunwoo thought that politicians were putting their own interests first before the people.

But he now realized that his prejudice was wrong.

“I can assure you that when I have a good project in the future, let me keep Taean County in mind. I’m sure I can find a good investment item for your county.”

“Thanks for saying so. Let’s have a drink in a relaxed mood now.”

***

Hyunwoo headed for Haenim School. If he had to move the school to Sosan, he would have to ask for the opinion of the students there.

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When he arrived, his father was taking a brief break after some research. As if he was lost in deep thought, Duyoung didn’t sense his son approaching him.

Hyunwoo covered his father’s shoulder with a thick blanket to keep off the cold winter air. Nonetheless, the wind was strong.

“Dad, it’s cold out here. I’m afraid you will catch a cold,” said Hyunwoo.

When he heard Hyunwoo’s voice, he turned his head.

But he had an unusual expression. He greeted his son very gladly as if he met someone he missed very much.

“Son, you’re here at the right time!”

“What’s the matter? Any good news?”

“Let’s go into my research room first.”

Hyunwoo pushed his wheelchair.

When he was in the room, he locked the door first then led Hyunwoo to the corner stacked with lab equipment.

Duyoung’s office was full of all kinds of lab equipment such as experiment tubes.

Hyunwoo knew what was inside the tubes.

Duyoung has long been studying microorganisms that broke down petroleum extracts. He looked like a microbes doctor, not a chemical engineer.

In the past, he explained to Hyunwoo microbes several times.

Countless microbes exist in the ground. Some of them were microorganisms that broke down petroleum, such as capitalomas, nocardia, and corynebacterium. Microorganisms such as candida are widely used as microbes that synthesize proteins from petroleum.

He was searching for such microorganisms under the assumption that some microorganisms would improve gasoline performance.

He whispered to Hyunwoo in a trembling but thrilled voice, “I have found it at last!”

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Chapter 268: Chapter 262

He opened his eyes wide with surprise.

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“Really? You’ve discovered microorganisms that can break down petroleum…?”

Duyoung quickly put his hand over his lips, and Hyunwoo also zipped his lips.

Only then did Duyoung nod slowly and said, “Yea, I have discovered microorganisms that only eat up gasoline impurities. I’m not sure I’m the first to discover it, but I have not seen any announcement about this kind of discovery.”

“Then, you’re done with your research! Finally, you can make green oil, your lifelong dream.”

“It’s too early to tell,” said Duyoung, shaking his head unexpectedly.

Hyunwoo tilted his head to one side and asked, “Why?”

But Duyoung didn’t tell him about it all.

Instead, he threw a ludicrous question at Hyunwoo, “Do you know how oil is made?”

Hyunwoo remembered he learned it in school. To the best of his memory, petroleum was created over a long period of time by the decomposition of organic matter in the ancient age.

Smiling at him, Duyoung nodded.

“Yea, that’s one of the theories on that.”

“Theory? What you mean is that nobody has yet exactly discovered the cause of the formation of petroleum, right?”

“That’s right.”

Then he briefed Hyunwoo several theories on the formation of petroleum.

What Hyunwoo just talked about was the theory of biological origin, the most influential theory. Another potent theory was that the microbes in the lakes became oil, and some scholars argued that petroleum was inherent in the birth of the earth.

Indeed, Titan, Saturn’s moon, contained a large amount of hydrocarbons even though life never existed there.

After finishing his explanation, Duyoung looked at Hyunwoo seriously.

“But I think I have to add one more theory to the existing ones…”

“Which theory?”

“In my mind, a lot of microbes eat carbon and water to produce hydrocarbons.”

Duyoung showed him his research notes.

Even though Hyunwoo didn’t have any expert knowledge, Duyoung wrote down what he discovered neatly in the notebook.

There was a surprising discovery noted there. Namely, microbes break down things like wood, graphite, and paper to produce hydrocarbons.

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Hyunwoo was thrilled to see that. If this were true, this would be a much greater discovery than green oil. He felt he could produce petroleum simply by making good use of garbage.

But Duyoung calmed him down and added additional explanation.

“At this point, this is no more than a dead theory that can’t be applied.”

“Why? This is a terrific theory…”

“Because it will take so much time to prove it. If you produce oil by using my theory, you have to invest ten years of time and energy in a research room similar to mine to make one liter of petroleum.”

“Oh my god!”

“Of course, adjusting the temperature and pressure for microbial growth will reduce research time a bit, but it is not economical at all. I think it will take dozens of years or maybe several hundred years to find how to put microbes for commercial use.”

In that respect, it was a dead theory, as his father described.

“In the case of gasoline, the prospect is a bit better. The purifying speed is quite good if I make microorganisms react to existing volatiles. Of course, it has not reached a point where it can be commercialized,” said Duyoung.

Hearing his explanation, Hyunwoo felt that it would take about one year to purify it to the point where he could be satisfied.

But Hyunwoo was not disappointed. He massaged his father’s shoulder and cheered him up.

“I think you can find a way to reduce the time. You have already discovered microorganisms unknown to the world. Cheer up, dad!”

“Of course, I’ll certainly find it. That’s why I’m doing an experiment on microbes in various environments. If I can discover a way to reduce the time, I can solve all the problems at once.”

When Hyunwoo looked around, his father was really ready for a variety of experiments.

His father was planning to combine temperature and pressure in a number of cases and experiment in closed and open, dry and humid environments.

Duyoung was also planning to analyze the effects of the sun or electricity on microbes.

If he wanted to do that, his current research room was not big enough. In particular, it would be much more effective to do the research on the sun outside his research room.

Hyunwoo said with a worried expression.

“Don’t you think your experiment will be exposed to the outside?”

“Well, there are only students here. I wonder if they can tip outsiders off on my secret research.”

“Still, you might as well be careful, I think.”

“I know, but I don’t want to distrust my students here.”

Duyoung said in a cheerful voice and then talked about microbes again.

Hyunwoo felt happy all along while his father was explaining his new discovery.

On the other hand, he was worried that his father would fall sick suddenly.

In fact, Duyoung was exhausted; his face was haggard. But his eyes were sparkling as ever, suggesting that he could hardly feel tired because of his thrill with the new discovery.

“Dad, please take a good rest today. You can resume research tomorrow morning.”

Though Duyoung said he didn’t feel tired at all, Hyunwoo insisted he should have rest.

“Okay, son. Let’s go out.”

Both of them came out of the room.

And then Hyunoo went into the broadcasting room of Haenim School and called a meeting of the teachers, students, and researchers.

The meeting ended quickly. The teachers and students were all aware of the problems the school was faced with.

“Sosan is far from us, but as there is a highway there, I think I can come back home anytime if I want.”

“As long as I live in a dorm, I have no problem with moving there.”

Everyone agreed with the relocation of Haenim School

Taeho also actively supported its relocation.

“I think I have to submit my resignation to the university on this occasion. I just feel it too regrettable that I have to sacrifice my research time for my teaching activities.”

Hyunwoo was surprised, and said, “You don’t have to…”

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But Taeho raised his hand, suggesting he didn’t have to worry.

“I can take up my professorship later when I need it. And I’m not in financial need. Don’t you think we can lead a happy life when we are involved in what we want to do?”

But Hyunwoo was curious how Suji, her daughter, and Mrs. Kong would react.

In particular, Suji would have to quit from Aurum if the school was relocated to Sosan.

“Okay, let me move Haenim Schoon to Sosan. It’ll take more than one year to relocate. I think we can move to the new school by next autumn at the earliest. Please be ready from now on.”

After the meeting, they all went back to their desks.

The next day, Taeho called him as if he was waiting for his arrival at Haenim School.

“Can I see you for a moment?”

Hyunwoo could guess what he was going to say.

“I’m afraid I can’t move to Seoul.”

“Looks like your family members are opposing your move.”

Taeho nodded his head with a bitter expression.

Comforting him, Hyunwoo said, “I think you should put the priority on your family. Don’t be too disappointed. You can stay and continue to do your research here.”

“Sorry,” said Taeho, lowering his head a bit.

Hyunwoo couldn’t pay much attention to Taeho at the moment.

In fact, he was preoccupied with someone for the last few days.

I can see her tomorrow finally!

Yu Zuung was in China at the moment, and she wasn’t coming back to Korea tomorrow.

Hyunwoo would fly there tomorrow.

Of course, he had a plausible excuse. He was supposed to visit the China branch of Ani & Funny. It operated the same way as the Vietnam branch did initially. Those working there were amateurs composed of students only.

Ani & Funny had three branches in China, one each in Beijing, Shanghai, and Kwangzou.

The Shanghai branch was the largest among them, with more than 400 students working as part-timers.

The next day, he flew to China early in the morning.

***

In a very quiet alleyway in Bono-dong, Ansan City, a middle-aged man in a trench coat was waiting for someone with his collar turned up.

A little later a boy who looked like a high-school student approached him. Discovering him, the man greeted gladly.

“Thanks for coming here.”

But the boy looked displeased.

“Why do you keep asking me to come out like this? I don’t want to meet you.”

But that man didn’t care. Instead he took out a thick envelope and gave it to him.

The student reluctantly received it. He felt it contained at least 500,000 won as it was rather thick.

“Why are you giving it to me? What do you want from me?”

“I told you already, boy. It’s necessary to bring justice in this world. We can’t improve our society if shameless people like Duyoung Jang prosper.”

In fact, the boy was a research assistant working for Duyoung at Haenim School.

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