Chemistry

Chapter 79
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Chapter 79

    Spring Countryside Chronicles(3)

    Jeong-woo stopped by the shower room at the company gym because the smell couldnt go away with the antibacterial treatment. After coming out, he shook off his wet hair and sat down on a chair in Research Lab 1.

    In the afternoon, should I work on research projects or explore?

    He turned on his laptop, but as he received a text on his phone, he took it. Suddenly, a tingling sensation, like static electricity, coursed through his fingertips, causing him to drop the phone on the desk.

    Ouch, its hot. Those darn dust particles.

    He zoomed in to check, but there was no apparent cause for the static electricity.

    Whats this?

    As Jeong-woo tried to grab the mobile phone again, he suppressed a groan at the sight of sparks flickering in the molecular world, a spectacular scene.

    A tiny current delivered from the mobile phones battery. It lingered at his fingertips and then suddenly emitted a flash in the molecular world.

    The specks of dust around his hand seemed to protest, but they were drawn to the flash and adhered to his fingertips.

    And thus began a disruptive neural interference with a sudden surge of waves.

    As the entirely natural world of colors unfolded before Jeong-woos eyes, he immediately closed his eyes and took a deep breath. This had become somewhat familiar, so he could quickly calm himself.

    Once again, the ultrasound stimulated Jeong-woos eyes and ears.

    A thunksound of a door opening and closing resonated like waves throughout the entire office.

    What in the world am I going to use this for?

    The thunk sound wave reached Jeong-woos left hand. To be precise, it was drawn to the hand, which was filled with the phone batterys alternating current.

    As if filling a sink with water and then suddenly opening the drain, the waves of ultrasound poured into his fingertips. They created subsequent echoes, spreading throughout the entire office.

    Thanks to that, Jeong-woo began to appreciate the sound of doors opening and closing as if it were a natural sound. The sound of What is this was drawn back into his fingertips.

    Startled, Jeong-woo placed his phone on the table.

    This time, the sound waves detected in his sight began to transmit sound throughout the office in a normal wave.

    Could it be?

    He poured water into his drinking bottle, sprinkled some on his hand, and then gripped the phone again. Along with a flash, he saw the energy transfer process in the microcosm.

    Eventually, he drew the sound waves, which were being scattered as they reached the wall in the distance, into his fingertips. The sound that shouldnt be seen but heard began to resonate in Jeong-woos eardrums.

    In-beom. Are you going to submit the Polyamide Resin project plan?

    Well, Senior. Will it get approved? There are so many outstanding project proposals, especially Jeong-woos its nothing short of amazing. Do you know he applied for two patents in the past two months?

    Just go ahead and submit it. Research proposals can sometimes evolve into projects if the timing is right.

    This conversation took place as Jeong In-beom and Shim Jeong-hee walked down the corridor.

    RustleShh

    Ugh.

    The consecutive sound waves sounded like rice grains falling on the floor, possibly coming from the mens restroom.

    Jeong-woo extended his arm as if the sound waves were tainting his hand.

    The drawn-in sound waves rebounded and flew towards the door.

    Song Boyeong, who had just entered the restroom, heard the sound and looked around with a puzzled expression.

    Observing this scene, Jeong-woo couldnt close his open mouth.

    Transmission is possible?

    As Jeong-woo gazed with a surprised expression, Song Boyeong approached.

    We both stink, so if you tease me, Jeong-woo, youll be hurt too.

    To erase the view of the sound waves, Jeong-woo tightly closed his eyes. After about 10 seconds, his vision cleared.

    If I can selectively view other waves, can I control them in a similar way?

    It was still an unknown.

    Seeing that the battery level displayed on his phone had significantly dropped, Jeong-woo connected it to a charger and then looked back at Song Boyeong.

    Right, senior. I just took a shower

    Shut your mouth.

    Yes.

    Song Boyeong, who had just returned from the microbiology lab, was sharper than ever. Jeong-woo refrained from teasing and opened a text message he hadnt checked earlier.

    [I bought a car!]

    It was a sudden message from Park Soo-chan.

    [What kind of car?]

    The picture that appeared looked like a very shabby, red used car.

    [Is this thing even roadworthy?]

    [I cant believe this kid. Apologize to my Laura!]

    Even a name had been given. Jeong-woo found it amusing, but Song Boyeong turned around suddenly, and her eyes seemed to question if he had just laughed.

    Because of Laura

    Who is Laura?

    My friends car.

    Funny.

    In hindsight, it was perfect for misunderstanding it as a joke.

    Soo-chan, this guy.

    Annoyed, Jeong-woo was about to show the picture, but Song Boyeong spoke.

    That laughter. Lets see if you can keep it up tomorrow.

    Tomorrow?

    Song Boyeong didnt say anything more and turned her head.

    Thud.

    Jeong-woo.

    At someones call, Jeong-woos gaze shifted.

    Kang Sang-gyu, the senior who had performed a powerful fainting act yesterday, beckoned him in front of the door. As he walked down the hallway, he immediately got to the point.

    The training coordinator from the Personnel Department asked me to schedule it. For the first month, regular researchers will be taking new recruits around and giving them tasks one day at a time. Youre going on assignment next week, so youll do it this week.

    What kind of tasks for new recruits?

    Just a close adaptation process. Seniors just letting them observe what they usually do. Since I saw you explaining things to the newcomers yesterday, I know its not a problem.

    Displaying seniority in front of the newbies is no joking matter.

    Were you saving that up? Hehe.

    When should I do it, then?

    Ill send a message when this weeks personnel assignment is done.

    Although there might not be much to assign, Jeong-woo nodded without hesitation, as he had experience at the Fragrance Center.

    The next day, during the Research Lab 1 briefing.

    a business trip to Hongcheon County Agricultural Technology Center for the day. Boyeong, do your best.

    Got it!

    Song Boyeong seemed to have been waiting as she stood up. Oh Seung-ju, who was going through official documents, raised an eyebrow.

    Oh? Theyve requested Jeong-woo too. How did Chief Choi find out about our Jeong-woo? Have he heard the rumors about him being good at his work?

    Jeong-woo turned to look at Oh Seung-ju at this comment.

    I have a business trip too, you know?

    Well, it cant be helped. Our client is a government official. Come back with a refreshed mind. All right, thats it! Have a great day today too.

    Jeong-woo, who had been pushed outside, met eyes with Song Boyeong, who was grumbling.

    Our young recruit, are you mentally prepared to work hard? Theres a lot of physical work here, so we dont need you to be too smart, Jeong-woo.

    Her declaration of intending to tease him thoroughly. She had often teased him in the past, but it seemed that she had prepared these revenge tools. However, Jeong-woo couldnt help but chuckle, thinking it was just typical of her to choose today for this.

    Well, its perfect timing.

    Yes, its perfect huh? Im the one whos in luck, and Jeong-woo, youre the unlucky one, right? Are you getting all flustered and talking nonsense because youre too irritated right now? Hmph.

    Today, Im not the youngest.

    Jeong-woo remembered the message he received from Kang Sang-gyu on his way to work.

    Thud.

    The door of Research Lab 1 opened, and five new recruits entered.

    Han Jeong-woo senior! Were counting on you!

    Me too.

    Today, the five new recruits, full of passion and ready to help with anything, were here to assist Jeong-woo.

    Jeong-woo said to Song Boyeong, who was eyeing him with curiosity,

    Shall we go, Senior? Ill take all the new recruits with me.

    Why are they?

    Oh, right. Since youre the highest-ranking, lets treat them to lunch as a celebration.

    A 12-passenger van exited the highway and entered the Hongcheon tollgate.

    Yong-sik, you drive smoothly.

    I used to be a military driver. Haha.

    Jeong-woo, seated in the front passenger seat of the rented car under the companys name, briefly glanced at Song Boyeong, who was in the middle seat.

    She had been staring at documents the whole time and meticulously examining the locations of rice fields and fields in the selected demonstration area of the village.

    The name of this project sponsored by the Rural Development Administrations Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is the Support Program for High-Value Clean Agricultural Produce Cultivation. Not only KG Chemical but also numerous related companies have participated and provided technological support.

    What kind of sample analysis are we going to do, Senior?

    Well measure pollutants and pesticide residues. If there are plants, we can collect them and observe the absorption process by the roots.

    Root absorption?

    By examining the ion concentration in the root cell membrane, we can determine whether its passive or active. Ion density. Cation exchange. Have you heard of these terms?

    Song Boyeong, who had spent the past year as a dedicated microbiology lab specialist, was practically an expert in this field.

    The new recruits showed great enthusiasm throughout the trip, asking numerous questions. As the senior responsible for teaching them, Song Boyeong patiently answered each question.

    Im unexpectedly enjoying this.

    Having Song Boyeong above and the new recruits below made the trip surprisingly comfortable. Todays business trip seemed like a perfect opportunity for relaxation.

    How can work at the company be difficult every time? These business trips are also necessary.

    As he had entrusted Yong-sik with the driving, not knowing when the interference waves might disrupt his vision, Jeong-woo had nothing to do but hum along. It put him in a great mood.

    Jeong-woo gazed out the window at the mountains and fields passing by. It was a familiar and unremarkable landscape, but he couldnt help but mutter, Wow, the scenery is beautiful.

    The most mild weather of the year so far. Spring.

    Did one of the landowners express their refusal?

    The news that arrived just after arriving at the 1st assembly point, the Hongcheon Agricultural Technology Center parking lot, sent a slight chill down Jeong-woos chest as the spring breeze gently blew.

    Among the approximately 50 company representatives who had gathered for the conversation between Manager Choi Jae-woong and the director of the Technology Center, there was a sense of unease.

    In this situation where a 2-hour trip from Seoul could become in vain, even the KG Chemical team felt the tension.

    The director spoke.

    If it were an ordinary farmer, excluding one person wouldnt be a problem, but its the elderly owner who owns half of the demonstration area.

    This is quite a dilemma.

    For now, the crop and livestock technology support teams will move. The local residents are supposed to gather at the village hall at 1 oclock in the afternoon.

    Choi Jae-woong nodded and directed the company team leaders to proceed to the village. Then, he approached Song Boyeong.

    Did you hear that?

    So, should we just go back since we cant conduct measurements?

    No, you dont have to. Since the other half has agreed. If youre working on the approved land, I will meet with that elder to persuade them. KG Chemicals fertilizer is the core of this project. We need to do it right.

    Choi Jae-woong asked him to contact the chief, then he left in a car.

    Song Boyeong looked at Jeong-woo.

    Did you hear?

    I was right next to you.

    No, its about the landowner. Its a significant landowner, probably from an influential and wealthy family. Could it have been such a household?

    Jeong-woo shrugged, indicating he didnt know. Song Boyeong cast a brief glance at the new recruits gathered by the van, then lowered her voice.

    They might be quite demanding.

    How do you know that?

    Ive dealt with elders from influential and authoritative families. Ive experienced it quite a bit.

    I see.

    Jeong-woo had no choice but to nod in response to Song Boyeongs account of her experiences as the 20th successor in a chaebol family.

    The van stopped at the entrance of a village, about 30 minutes further into Hongcheon.

    Well use this field as our base since the ground here is elevated. Lets set up quickly and then go for lunch.

    Upon Song Boyeongs voice, the new recruits started unloading equipment from the cargo compartment.

    Jeong-woo, who was contemplating whether to join in or not, eventually approached since he couldnt find his fun-loving senior.

    While doing so, he noticed Jin Mi-so, who was murmuring while taking out a soil tester.

    Feeling that she might need some assistance, he offered.

    Here, give it to me.

    Ah, no, its okay.

    Nevertheless, he swiftly grabbed it and placed it in front of the field. Jin Mi-so, smiled showing her attractive dimples.

    Thank you, senior.

    Just focus on the lighter stuff.

    Even though this is a diplomatic courtesy after the discrimination we faced yesterday, I dont mind this kind of special treatment.

    Jeong-woo had nothing to say in response to Jin Mi-sos mention of the previous mistreatment, so he just smiled awkwardly.

    Five minutes later.

    While organizing the places where soil samples needed to be collected, Jeong-woo approached Song Boyeong, who was busy looking at topographic maps.

    Are you planning things out?

    For now, yes. But if the landowner refuses, the measurement course will be completely messed up. It seems that all the prime land is owned by that elder.

    Jeong-woo also examined the layout of the village in front of him. It was a typical rural village with rice paddies and fields scattered around the hills. The traces of winter and spring were shared, painting the mountains and hills with various shades of brown and green.

    Observing a farmer burning grass on the embankment was a somewhat novel sight, so he watched for a moment.

    Then, he shifted his gaze to a scene where a black goat, which he rarely encountered in the city, leaped over the embankment and dashed through the fence towards the mountains. It was certainly not a typical rural landscape.

    Wow

    With a jolt, the fence broke, and the black goat dashed down the road toward the mountains. No matter how you looked at it, this wasnt a normal rural scene.

    Senior, do you see that? The black goat is running in a strange direction.

    What?

    Jeong-woo pointed with his finger, but the goat had already vanished from sight. Song Boyeong sighed, looking at the empty road.

    Theres nothing there. Dont play pranks on me today.

    Right, sure.

    Jeong-woo remained silent, waiting for Song Boyeong to finish setting her course. But then, the loudspeaker of the village hall in the center of the village, which was quite far away, produced a faint broadcast noise.

    -Uhm, uhm, this is an announcment

    Due to the distance and the poor performance of the loudspeaker, the sound was not very clear.

    Right.

    Jeong-woo went back to the van and, using a water bottle to moisten his hand, he touched his smartphone. With a wet hand, he touched the screen, and suddenly, the molecular world sparked to life, drawing in the surrounding sound waves.

    When Jeong-woo returned and pointed his hand toward the loudspeaker, Song Boyeong gave him a puzzled look.

    What are you doing?

    I thought Id try to absorb some of natures energy while were outdoors.

    Without a better explanation, he resorted to humor. Song Boyeongs gaze quickly returned to the map.

    Jeong-woo observed the sound waves emitted from the loudspeaker concentrating intensely toward his hand, and he gained confidence.

    Chemical energy and waves. AF-5 was not just a compound that caused visual changes.

    The sound wave that hit his hand caused vibrations in his eardrums.

    1 p.m. Gather at the village hall with Nonghyup representatives. Nonghyup, right? Yes, the Technology Center. Its the same thing, isnt it? Either way, those planning agricultural activities should gather. There will be training.

    Though he didnt know who it was, the speech was quite engaging.

    Ill tell you once again What? Grandma Jin-sim called? She said to come in a little while. What? Is it urgent?

    The broadcast suddenly cut off. Jeong-woo was about to lower his phone.

    Beep

    Ah, an urgent situation has arisen, so I will tell you. Hong-chil has escaped from Grandma Jin-sims house and is wandering around the village. Please perform gate checks diligently. If you encounter outsiders with Hong-chil, dont be alarmed; just run away quickly.

    Hong-chil? Run away?

    In the midst of his confusion, something unexpectedly sprang out from the distant thicket where the black goat had leaped earlier.

    It was a wild boar covered in bristly fur. It wasnt very large, but for some reason, it dashed down the unpaved country road toward the opposite mountainside.

    The black goat followed it and leaped over to the place where the wild boar had disappeared.

    Wow.

    What?

    Do you see that?

    Since both animals had vanished in an instant, Song Boyeong didnt see it this time either.

    Huh? Whats this about Hong-chil? Ah, a black goat. Hong-chil has gone a little crazy, so anyone can catch him. Be careful, gentlemen.

    The broadcast ended this way.

    Jeong-woo, his eyes widened, focused his gaze on the trace of the wild boar that had chased the disappeared black goat.

    Whats wrong with this village?

    Ziiing.

    Song Boyeongs phone rang. She immediately brought it to her ear upon checking the callers name.

    Yes, Manager.

    Elder Choi Sun-jae says they need to meet the KG Chemical team.

    The head of the family?

    Theyre concerned about people recklessly digging up the land near Sunsan. You should explain the soil sampling process in detail.

    Got it.

    As sound waves were still being drawn into his hand due to the ultrasound, Jeong-woo could hear the phone call as well.

    After ending the call, Song Boyeong looked at Jeong-woo.

    It seems we need to go to the Jonggats residence.

    Since he was worried about the black goat he had just seen, he couldnt let Song Boyeong go alone.

    Lets go together. We dont know whats going to happen. The new recruits can handle things here.

    For once, Jeong-woo took the initiative to assist, and Song Boyeong looked at him with a somewhat suspicious gaze.

    Im just offering to help.

    Without saying anything more, Song Boyeong began to walk towards the house where Manager Choi had informed her to go.

    Junior colleagues, once the setup is complete, please wait a while. Manager Choi will meet with us and then well come back.

    Yes, senior!

    As Jeong-woo spoke toward the van, the responses from the new recruits were loud and enthusiastic.

    On the way to the outskirts of the village.

    Boyeong, if you happen to encounter a slightly deranged black goat, run away quickly.

    Carefully repeating the information he had heard from the broadcast, Song Boyeong squinted her eyes and stared at Jeong-woo.

    Whats that all about? Is that what youre concerned about? Today seems to be a day for strange pranks.

    Yeah, youre right. I hope its just a joke.

    A neighborhood where you had to be cautious while searching for a deranged black goat. It had turned a pleasant spring outing into a chilling suspenseful moment.

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