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Gyeongseong’s Hunter Academy Chapter 14

There Is (A Choice)

‘Is this how I bite it?’

However, after inhaling the anesthetic poison for a few seconds, I only felt a bit of an unpleasant tingling in my head but my cognitive abilities remained the same.

I tried moving my fingers under the table. As I thought, the anesthetic poison had no effect on my movements. In other words, it didn’t affect me the same way it did other people. Wait, did this mean……

‘Resistance to poison?’

When I checked the state of my mana in the morning, I felt something that felt much like a hidden passive ability, but was this it? If it indeed ended up being resistance to poison, it would be quite useful.
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‘The problem is this situation, now.’

I decided to put aside my passive ability later, and I focused on the situation at hand, where I was in danger due to some robbers.

Of course, these guys wouldn’t try to threaten our lives and would just take our valuables, like wallets and watches.
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However, what I had in my wallet was all my money, and I had no wish to hand this over to a robber.

Of course, if I needed money, I could ask my family back home, but at the moment I had no way of contacting them……. And even if I somehow managed to contact them, it’s not like they could immediately wire it digitally, like in the 21st century.

So, if I got my wallet stolen, I would have to go a few days, or maybe weeks straight without having a single jeon to spend.
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And it would look bad for me to borrow money from classmates or the boarding house daughter.

Besides, it would be ridiculous for a Yeopsa vocational school student, or a student of the “Hunter Academy”, if we were talking about the 21st century, to get mugged by some simple robbers.
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‘I can’t have that.’

I can’t let myself just get mugged like this! So that I wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb in front of the robbers, I laid down on the table with only my head slightly raised to first figure out what was happening around me.
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Professor Saigane, who was crouching down in front of me, hadn’t fallen asleep or fainted like the other people but was instead lying down groaning, covering his face where hives had swollen up.

It didn’t seem that he was lying when he said he was allergic to certain substances. No, more than that, his situation looked really bad.

‘From what I can sense, he seems to have a bit of Awakened ability, but he did mention that he was just a general professor who teaches general studies. Then he probably doesn’t know how to fight…….’
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There didn’t seem to be any other Awakeneds inside this tea house either. Then that meant that the only person that could move would be me.

I slightly raised my head and observed the robbers. Perhaps the three men had taken an antidote before coming in. They were stripping the blacked-out customers of their wallets and valuables through the thick poison fog.
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But watching them do this, their robbery looked somehow sloppy.

No matter the fact that this tea house was in a small alleyway far removed from the bustling streets, they were still performing a robbery in the middle of the afternoon right at the center of Gyeongseong,

Besides, they had yelled out at us to take our belongings and put them on the table, but they had prematurely sprayed the anesthetic poison fog before people could even do anything.
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So they were now searching the people’s pockets one by one themselves.

It was clear that they had only committed a couple of robberies if any, or they were complete novices(?), and this was their first time. Banks were heavily guarded, so they had probably decided to rob a small tea house like this one.
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Compared to them, I was someone who had been part of a counterterrorism squad in the 21st century when I was an active Hunter. I would have been able to defeat sloppy robbers like them with a blindfold on, but……

The problem was that I wasn’t my 21st century self right now.
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The guns they had were certainly dangerous. I didn’t have any bulletproof magic barrier artifacts like in the 21st century. Although I didn’t know how advanced medical technology was right now if I got shot, I would end up dead, or at the very least, I would end up crippled and in an intensive care unit without even a phone.

‘No!’

Fortunately, only one robber had a gun on him. I thought it would be easy to subdue that much.
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I turned my head around to see if there was anything I could use. There it was, by the turntable still softly playing some jazz music.

I quickly rolled my body in that direction and forcefully took the vinyl record off the turntable. The turntable’s needle scratched the surface of the vinyl disc, and a tearing sound screeched from the horn, but I didn’t pay it any attention and infused the disc with my mana.

‘It might have been better if Song Byung-oh was here with me.’

My main ability, Auror Blowing – or in current terms, power infusing ability – would lose its power as soon as the object left my hand.

It was the complete opposite of the mana bullet ability, where the magic damage is applied after the projectile leaves the hand and lands on a target.
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But right now, my ability is more than enough.

“W-What are you doing?!”

The one robber who was holding the gun was about to turn to face me when he heard the noise coming from the turntable, but at that moment, I powered myself up with mana and threw the record.
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I didn’t need it to explode when I hit my target anyway. I just needed to infuse it with mana until it left my hand so that it could fly straight to my target.

The record left my hand and flew right above the heads of the customers who were lying on the tables. It flew from one end of the tea house to the other and hit the hand of the robber.

“Ugh!”
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As soon as the robber, now with his hand cut open, dropped his pistol, I broke the window right next to me and helped the professor out. Then I grabbed a rubber hose of just the right length that was plugged into a decorative fishbowl.

I blew Auror into the rubber hose, making it a stiff rubber stick, and ran over the tables towards the robber.

I jumped off the table and,

Whack-!
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I hit the robber on the neck with the rubber stick knocking him out, and proceeded to hit the other two robbers on the temple, subduing them.

As the Awakened who was spraying the poison fog had been taken down, and the tea house was being ventilated through the broken window, the poison fog started to lift. The people that had lost consciousness started to come to their senses one by one. Fortunately, it seemed the poison wasn’t deadly.
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As soon as the situation was over, a group of policemen rushed in. It seemed the same here or in the future that the police arrived late to crime scenes.

『What are you doing?! Hands where I can see them!』

An officer wearing an inspector general badge shouted at me as I stood in front of the knocked out robbers. I calmly raised my hands and said.
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『I am a cadet at the Gyeongseong Yeopsa Vocational School.』
『A Yeopsa vocational school cadet? Alright, what happened here?』

I gave him a brief explanation of what had happened. Whilst explaining, the other officers skillfully restrained the robbers and made them stand up. In particular, the robber who had sprayed the anesthetic poison fog was so tightly bound that he couldn’t even lift a finger, and on top of that, they blindfolded him and even gagged him.

After hearing my explanation, the inspector general nodded and asked.
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『So, you solved it…… You, what’s your name?』
『My name is Shirabayashi Tetsu Zen(白林哲然).』
『Hmm, Tetsu Zen? Are you a Joseon person? Japanese?』

The inspector general with the moustache asked me. It was only natural that he would; after all, “Shirabayashi” was a Japanese surname, but the name Cheol-yeon was a Joseon name, and it sounded awkward when the characters were read in Japanese. I had no choice but to answer.
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『I am from Joseon, but…….』
『The you should come to the station with us as a witness, as well. It probably won’t happen, but we’ll have to find out if the events that occured are any different to your testimony.』

Hey, wait. Was this what Song Byung-oh had mentioned the other time? He warned that if a Joseon person who had not yet received his Yeopsa license were to be involved in an incident, they would be held responsible for it. He told me that this was why you had to make it big……
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‘But still, I’m a baron’s son. Should I just use my status as aristocracy and get out of this? But would it work on the police as well?’

I was contemplating on my next move, when suddenly someone yelled from behind,
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『Hey, wait! Officer!』

It was Professor Saigane’s voice. It seemed that as soon as the professor had gotten away from the anesthetic poison, his allergy symptoms had recovered, and he was back to the image of a neat gentleman as if nothing had ever happened. The inspector general asked.

『Who are you?』
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Professor Saigane handed over his business card to the officer and said.

『I am Professor Saigane Seiji, professor of general studies at the Gyeongseong Yeopsa Vocational School.』
『So you’re a professor.』
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And what professor Saigane said right after wasn’t something I had expected.

『I guarantee this cadet’s identity and actions. I shall go with you as a witness instead of this cadet.』
『A teacher?』
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The inspector general’s eyebrows wiggled. Professor Saigane continued.

『Tomorrow we start actual classes at our school, so this cadet has quite a lot to get ready for. Is it alright to take time from such a cadet?』
『Hmm…….』
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After thinking for a while, the inspector general said,

『Well, sure. Mr. Saigane. Let’s see…… Then, come by Jongro station by 14 o’clock today.』
『I shall.』
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After the officers left, I asked professor Saigane.

『Professor, thank you, but why would you go in my place? 』
『Did I not mention it? We should not take time off a cadet…….』
『……Is that all?』
『Haha! You are not just going to let it slide…… Well, you see, it’s actually due to that Joseon Awakened robber.』
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Professor Saigane said, bursting out laughing. But soon after, he put on a serious expression and said.

『He will probably be sentenced to death without a proper trial.』
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What do you mean sentenced to death?

Of course, it was true that this criminal had not only pointed his gun at regular civilians and even abused his ability. No matter if he was committing crimes just to be able to survive, he had to pay the price for his crimes.
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But wasn’t death penalty too much?

『Yes. Crimes committed using Awakened abilities are considered greater than other crimes. And, on top of that, a poor Joseon person would not be able to get a lawyer. So he will probably be sentenced to death…… However, I want to save him if possible.』
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At the words that came out of professor Saigane’s mouth, I was genuinely surprised.

『Save him?』
『Is it not unfortunate? A lot of Joseon people are born with Awakened abilities, but they cannot escape from poverty and fall into a path of crime. Despite the fact that they have plenty of ways to contribute to society…….』
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What was up with this guy? A Japanese professor of high social status defending a Joseon criminal who almost put his life at risk. Was he the reincarnation of Buddha?

However……
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‘This was probably the limit he had as a Japanese person.’

What professor Saigane was saying was just a Japanese person looking down on Joseon people.
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The clumsy robbery of that Joseon Awakened was just a crime he had committed to survive through his poverty. If he had had other options, would he still have committed such a clumsy crime?.

‘He didn’t have a choice.’
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To be honest, even me right now, I was just able to get by due to my past life experience as a Hunter, but Baek Cheol-yeon’s level of Awakened ability was somewhat poor for an Academy student. Baek Cheol-yeon had probably been able to come into this school due to his parents’ connections and status.

If I had been born into a poor family instead of a wealthy pro-Japan family, I would have probably fallen into the same life of crime.
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‘……At least I had a choice.’

Although it was deplorable to be the child of a pro-Japan family, thanks to that I could attend a place like the Hunter Academy, and I had the option of moving to the US after graduating if I wished, so it could be said I was fortunate…….
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***

After parting with professor Saigane, I wandered around Gyeongseong for a bit longer and returned to the boarding house. I was thinking up a plan to go to the USA as soon as possible after graduating.
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‘The only problem with going to America would be that there’s probably a lot of Hunters there. Well, if it’s hard to make ends meet as a Hunter, I might just start a dry cleaner……’

As I was thinking this I lied down in my room when,

“Excuse me, mister.”
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The boarding house daughter called out to me from outside my room. I wondered what was going on and opened the door, and the boarding house daughter just stood there, at the doorstep, looking at my face without saying a single word. And then,

“This!”
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She said as she showed me something. She held out a small brown glass bottle, very similar to a Bacchus bottle (note: Bacchus is the name of a very popular energy drink in Korea), in her tiny hands as if she was saying “you don’t have this at home, right?”.

I thought she was suddenly giving me something, so I took the bottle, but then I read the label…… 「青酸カリ」, in other words, it had “potassium cyanide” printed on the label.
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‘Is she telling me to just go die……?’

I started sweating. I couldn’t understand what she meant by suddenly handing me a bottle of potassium cyanide, so I asked, nervously.

“…… What about it?”
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The boarding house daughter answered.

“I found it in your room…… Inside the trash can!”

What?
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“I was throwing out the bottles of alcohol, and I saw something unusual. So I looked at it and it was cyanide. And an empty bottle, as a matter of fact……. It doesn’t seem you used it as rat poison either……”

What she was saying was that when she was emptying the trash can, she found a bottle of cyanide among the bottles of alcohol. It seemed that she was asking what something like this was doing in the trashcan in my room.
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But there was no way for me to know. Why was there a bottle of cyanide in the trashcan in my room, and moreover, empty……

‘Wait…… suicide?’
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Potassium cyanide was a poison that was the epitome of suicide. If an empty bottle of that was discovered, it could only mean one thing. I had thought that this student I possessed, Baek Cheol-yeon, had died from drinking, but had he committed suicide after drinking cyanide?

As I stood silently with the bottle in my hand, the boarding house daughter continued with a worried tone.

“Well, I was just worried hoping you weren’t trying to do something with that……”
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I rushed to avoid her getting suspicious about anything.

“Oh, this. Well, you see, I used it yesterday at school, during, you know, practice.”
“Practice?”
“Well, I wanted to see if we could kill monsters with poisons…… We were doing experiments! I used it there!”
“…….”
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The boarding house daughter, having listened to my excuse, seemed unsure for a while, but then soon after she giggled as if something funny had happened.

“Monsters aren’t like rats. How would they die from cyanide? Then all Yeopsas are probably going to lose their jobs soon!”
“Hey! Keep listening to the end! We tried it out on small, low-level monsters like the Kedama! Do you even know what a Kedama is?”
“I know that much as well. They’re the small fluffy ones……”
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Didn’t someone say that when you lie you should mix in at least 1% of truth? Well, it was true that yesterday we had a practice to hunt small monsters like the Kedama, so my words would at least be a bit believable.

“Anyway, I should have put it in the school’s dumpsters, but I accidentally brought it here! I’ll take care of it so just leave it! And you, clean your hands well if you handled this!”
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After having told her this much, the boarding house daughter seemed to be somewhat convinced.

“……Alright.”
“Well, then……. I’m going to study for a bit, so please get me dinner later.”
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After having convinced her, I hurriedly closed my room and even locked it up.

‘Phew…….’

I had managed to get around the boarding house daughter, but the real problem was myself. I couldn’t think of an answer that would be enough to convince myself.
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I picked up the potassium cyanide bottle and checked it. I had realized this the moment I took the bottle, but it was completely empty.

‘Did he drink all of this?’
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Potassium cyanide. Chemical formula KCN. It was a deadly toxic substance that could kill a person even with small doses. If he had drunk this as if it was just an energy drink……

Even if he had poison resistance as a passive ability, this much would kill him. But, why?
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Why had he come to such an extreme decision?

It wasn’t something I could easily understand. He had enrolled into a high school where he could graduate as a Hunter, or “Yeopsa”, and end up with a well-paying job. And, although somewhat deplorable, he was from a wealthy family.
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Why did he take this decision?

I looked around the small boarding house room. I searched the room to see if I could find anything useful, and I found an envelope stuck between the notebooks and the textbooks that were on the desk.

I read the names written on the outside of the envelope without a stamp. The sender was Baek Cheol-yeon, me, and the recipient was Baek No-pyeong, the father.
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I opened up the envelope and what was inside was a long letter that started with

‘To my father. I am here in Gyeongseong…’

I sat down and quickly read through the letter.

‘…I have not forgotten your grace for giving birth to me…’
‘…Ever since my mother passed away when I was born, father, you have treated me as a child that should not exist, and my elder mother always regarded me as a thorn in her side…’
‘…I, as the bastard of a concubine……’

Wait, what? Bastard? Concubine? Elder mother?

What was going on with this guy’s family?

I took out the family register I still had in my school uniform pocket and started transcribing the names and ages of the people on the family register onto an empty notebook.

I was able to draw the following family tree.

            Baekrim No-pyeong (69)
         Hwang(Wife) ────┴────Yoon(Concubine, deceased) 
                                     
   Baekrim Cheol-woo(46)        Baekrim Cheol-yeong(17)
          
   Baekrim Nam-soo(24)

(The family register obviously used the Japanized surname “Baekrim” instead of “Baek”.)

Looking at the family tree, Baek No-pyeong, my father, had a different wife, and I, Baek Cheol-yeon, was a child he had conceived with his concubine later on.
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‘So I was the son of a concubine…… No wonder.’

Someone who was supposed to be the son of a baron shouldn’t be staying in such a shabby boarding house. This might have been the reason why I felt that the financial support I was receiving was worse than I would expect.
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‘Anyway, what the hell kind of family is this.’

My half-brother, Baek Cheol-woo, was old enough to be my father, and even my nephew, Baek Nam-soo, was much older than me.

So I was the son this man, Baek No-pyeong, had with the concubine he brought in when he was over 50 years old.
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‘Damn, the old man must have had a lot of energy…….’

Having roughly understood the family’s relationships and affairs, I continued to read the letter.

‘…Father, you told me that the only way I could honor the Baekrim name as an Awakened would be to join the army as an officer of the Imperial Army, qualified as an Awakened ability user, …’
‘…To that end, you told me to graduate from a Yeopsa vocational school. To follow your wishes, I came here to Gyeongseong…’

‘……What?!’

Imperial Army? Enlist? What the hell was this? I suddenly felt sick.
I quickly read the rest of the letter.

‘…However, I find it too daunting.
I am afraid of being criticized by my fellow Joseon classmates for using a Japanese surname, I am afraid whether I will be able to complete my studies at a Yeopsa vocational school with my lacking talents, and I am afraid of going out to the battlefield after graduation.
I feel that the Awakening of abilities for someone like me has been more of a curse than anything.
I have no intention of becoming a Japanese soldier as you have told me to, father. However, I cannot go against your wishes, so I have decided to take a different path.
Please forgive this foolish son for leaving first.’

.
.
.

The letter ended there. No, this wasn’t a letter. It was a suicide note left right before dying.
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I finally understood why Baek Cheol-yeon had ended up making the extreme choice of taking his own life. And I currently felt the same way he did.

‘It’s been decided…… that I will enlist in the Japanese army after graduating……?’


Wanna read ahead? You can access the Premium chapters here

Gyeongseong’s Hunter Academy

Gyeongseong’s Hunter Academy

경성의 헌터 아카데미
Score 9.2
Status: Ongoing Type: , Author: , Released: 2021 Native Language: Korean
I woke up during the Japanese Colonial Era. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Comment

  1. Sentiment says:

    Hmm… I’m thinking, why write a letter and then commit suicide before sending it off? If he died before sending it off, what’s the point of writing it…

    But at least the reason he died is revealed now… Hope the MC can empathise a bit with the guy

  2. Now I Care says:

    I think based on his circumstances, it’s not that he didn’t want to send it as shown by his action of completing the letter.. but instead he couldn’t bring himself to send it after all he went thru which matches with his heavily insinuated cowardly/escapist mentality

  3. Oriedroc says:

    You don’t necassarily need to send the letter, when the cops come in to investigate how he died and why, they would find the letter and deliver it to the father

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