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Gyeongseong’s Hunter Academy Chapter 15

Lead Me Not Into Testing

After reading Baek Cheol-yeon’s suicide I realized something.

That is, when I graduate from this school, I was to enlist in the Japanese army. Regardless of my wishes, according to my father, Baek No-pyeong’s will.

‘No wonder he committed suicide!’

I could now completely understand Baek Cheol-yeon’s decision to take such extreme measures. No, it was even worse for me.
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‘I already did my military service, yet you want me to go back to the army? And the Japanese army, on top of that?’

In the 21st century, since I awakened at the late age of my mid-20s, I had done my military service like every other regular man, but now I had to enlist in the Japanese army……?
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As I was thinking how I could get out of this crisis late into the night, I heard the creaking of the gate opening outside from inside of my room.

The boarding house daughter opened the door of the room next door, and coming out, said,
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“Father is home.”

It seemed her father had come back. A middle-aged man’s hoarse, cracked voice answered back.

“What about the student guest? And even with the electricity on until so late.”
“In his room.…… He’s probably studying!”
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It seemed that he had seen my room’s lights still lit up and said this. I could hear the middle-aged man’s voice again, but now that I heard it, I could tell he had had quite a lot to drink as his tongue was getting twisted.

“Hmph! I’m sure his studies are the least of his worries and he’s probably just drinking in his room……”
“Oh, father…… Rather, it’s you who’s drunk! I haven’t seen our guest drink as of late, actually.”
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Hmm, should I go out and greet him?

I knew the father of the boarding house daughter was a rickshaw puller, but I had never seen his face as he went out to work early in the morning and came back late at night.

‘Alright. Might as well at least go say hi and……’
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I opened the door to my room, stood awkwardly at the doorstep and greeted him.

“Oh, hello. You are here.”
“Yeah. Hello.”

How old was he? Maybe it was because he had gone through a lot, but under the dim street lights right outside of the yard, he seemed to have a lot of wrinkles at first glance. He looked much older than he should have been, for a father of a fifteen- or sixteen-year-old.
He wiped his dark face with a wet towel as he answered to my greeting and then proceeded,
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“But, hey, let me ask you something. What’s your talent?”

He asked out of nowhere.

“Talent?”
“I heard you’re going to the Yeopsa vocational school. You’ll have a talent, right?”

It seemed he was asking about my Awakened ability. Hmm. How to answer. There was no way he would understand the 21st century term “Auror”, but would he be able to understand the term “infusion” that was used in this period……
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So I just said,

“I use a sword.”
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At my answer he smiled broadly and said,

“A sword…… Haha! I don’t know how good you are with a sword, but if it’s a useless talent, it’d be better just not to have one!…… Yeah, if you’re not good enough, it’ll be better for you to just find a regular job.”
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He was being sarcastic.

‘Wait, who the hell does he think he is?’

When the hell did he even see me? Sure, he probably saw me for a few days before I possessed Baek Cheol-yeon, but why would he just come out and make fun of me like this?
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Had Baek Cheol-yeon and him had an argument before I came into this body? Having made fun of my like that, he now turned his attention to his daughter,

“Seo-ju, you should listen too. I don’t care who you meet as long as it’s not an Awakened. If you do meet an Awakened, you’re bound to end up a widow or running away like your mother……. That’s the shortcut to ruining a woman’s life! Haha…….”
“Father!”
“What? Has this Ham Won-sam said anything wrong? I’m just being honest…….”
“Oh my God, I’m so angry! If you’re drunk, stop saying strange things and just go into your room!”
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The boarding house daughter – her name was Seo-ju, from the Ham family – grabbed her father and took him into the room next to mine. Soon After I could hear someone snoring.

A moment later I could hear the door opening and closing again, and the boarding house daughter, Ham Seo-ju, sat in front of my room and apologized.
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“I’m sorry. My father…….”
“It’s okay, don’t worry. It seemed he had quite a bit to drink.”

I said, and then continued by saying.

“Anyway, your father. It looked like he didn’t like me very much.”
“I don’t think it’s that.”
“Then?”
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Then did he just dislike all Awakeneds? When I asked, Ham Seo-ju seemed to think for a bit and then opened her mouth.

“Well, I guess there’s no use in hiding it. The truth is that my father also has Awakened abilities. It’s not that amazing, so…….”

Listening to Ham Seo-ju, her father, Ham Won-sam, was also, surprisingly, an Awakened. His ability was, in 21st century terms, a kind of inventory ability. In other words, he had the ability to put things in and grab them out of a subspace.
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However, as Ham Seo-ju said, it wasn’t that amazing of an ability, and all he could do was put things about the size of a few coins. It was an ability that wasn’t good enough to become a Yeopsa, or just in general, to put to any good use.

So, when he was young, the best thing he could think of to escape poverty quickly was to use his ability for theft and gambling.
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‘Oh my…….’

So, he had gone around gambling houses to earn money through fraudulent gambling, but he was eventually caught by the police and sent to prison, and this was why he was still under the surveillance of detectives.
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‘So that’s what happened.’

Thinking back to the Joseon people that had committed the robbery earlier at the tea house, Ham Won-sam, the boarding house owner, had a similar past.
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It was a vicious cycle where Joseon people with abilities that weren’t too useful would engage in illegal activities, and as a result, those who didn’t have a license would be treated as potential criminals.
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‘Maybe that was the reason they say Awakened abilities are just a curse.’

Then, what about my situation. I was in a situation where I was being forced to enlist in the army because I had Awakened abilities……. Baek Cheol-yeon would have thought that way as well.
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‘Phew…….’

Oh well, there was no meaning in just racking my brain alone like this.
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I looked at the calendar. Today was Thursday, the 6th of April.
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Tomorrow was Friday, so I would first go to school, and then the day after was Saturday, so…… I was thinking about maybe going to my house during the weekend.

What kind of household was this that they were forcing their son to enlist in the army?
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I had to check out what this father looked like.

***

The next day, morning, at school.
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I came into the classroom, sat down at my desk, and tapped on Song Byung-oh’s shoulder in front of me and asked.
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“Hey, if I wanted to go to the USA, I would have to take a ship, right? Then, where do I buy tickets to board the ship?”

At my question, Song Byung-oh turned around and answered.
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“Well, you would buy them at the steamship company, of course. But, why are you suddenly asking about the US?”
“Oh, just.”

I couldn’t answer saying ‘I don’t want to be forced into the army, so I’m going to escape Joseon and go to the US to start a dry cleaners’. I just went around the question.
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“I’m not saying I’m going to go to the US right now. I was thinking about maybe travelling after graduating.”
“Come one…… Look at what you’re saying! I have to earn money as soon as I graduate, but this guy is lucky enough to think about travelling. The bourgeoisie definitely have a completely different way of thinking!”
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As I and Song Byung-oh were talking like that, sitting in the classroom, a professor with a shaved head came into the classroom, holding a roll book. I didn’t know on the morning of the first day, but now that I saw it, it was professor Kanagawa, the Head of Cadets who had scolded me for using Joseon language.
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『Alright. We don’t have time, so instead of calling attendance, let’s check the number of people. Numbers from the first row by the window.』
『Ichi!』
『Ni!』
『San!』
『Shi!』
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The way everyone was calling out their numbers…… Was this the military?
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Anyway, when it was my turn I shouted out 『Go(5)!』 and the numbers continued after me all the way to 『Nijukyu(29)!』. As the number ended in 29, the Head of Cadets slightly tilted his head.

『Hmm? One person is missing. The total should be thirty…….』
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One person is missing. There was someone who already didn’t come to school? But then, the classroom’s back door quickly opened and a girl came in.
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When I turned to the sound of the door opening, there was a schoolgirl standing there. The male students that looked back let out exclamations.
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『……I am sorry. I am late.』

‘Lee Yu-ha?’
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The student that was late was Lee Yu-ha. But she didn’t seem alright. Her forehead was covered with beads of sweat, and her skin, which was already white, was even paler now.
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Her beauty stood out wherever she went, but right now, she looked sick and all over the place, and this seemed to catch the attention of the boys. The professor asked Lee Yu-ha, who was still standing at the center of the gaze of many male students.
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『Cadet Lee Ryu-ka, is it?…… Why are you late?』
『I woke up late, in the morning. I am sorry.』
『Well, first sit down.』
『Yes, sir.』
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She slept in late? Was she sick? As Lee Yu-ha sat down in the empty seat, the Head of Cadets too his pen and checked the roll book.

『Alright. Then everybody is here. Oh, also, we have to elect the class representative, but until then, I want attendance number 1 to be the temporary representative……』
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The Head of Cadets looked up from the roll book and said.
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『Number 1, Aikawa Satomi? Cadet Aikawa, please take the role of the temporary class representative.』
『Y-Yes sir!』

The Japanese student with the beige hair, Aikawa, answered, very nervous. Wow, being the class rep just because of the roll call order, it was the same in the past as the future.

After the morning roll call and assembly, I approached Lee Yu-ha.
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『Why were you late? And you don’t look good, either. Are you sick?』
『Ah, that, it’s…… It is not? I am not sick but,』

Lee Yu-ha was doing her best, but it was still hard to listen to her poor Japanese.

‘I guess Joseon language will be better.’
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I grabbed Lee Yu-ha and dragged her outside of the classroom. After all, only the roll call was done in our classroom. For the other classes we had to go to other classrooms and we still had some time before the first period.

I walked the quiet campus with Lee Yu-ha and said.
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“Just speak in Joseon language. It should be fine if there’s no one listening.”
“Wouldst that be fine…….”
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After looking around for a bit, Lee Yu-ha carefully said.

“Actually, I am not sure. I doth not think ‘tis a cold, but as I woke up in the morning, I hath felt weak and my mind was hazy-”
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Well, weren’t those exactly the early symptoms of a cold? I put my hand on Lee Yu-ha’s forehead.
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“Oh……!”
“Hmm…… You don’t have a fever.”
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It was quite warm, but it didn’t feel like she had something like a fever. If it wasn’t because she had caught a cold, was it because she had a hard time sleeping due to nerves?
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“I-I…… toldst thee ‘tis not a cold.”
“Well sure, but you’re still saying it would be hard for you to take classes, right?”
“…….”
“If you’re unwell, I think it would be better for you to just get some rest today. It’s the first day of classes today, so there won’t be too much to catch up, anyway.”
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As I told her this, I heard a young man’s voice coming from behind.
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『Hey, cadet Shirabayashi!』

When I turned around, a young professor was standing there, neatly dressed. It was professor Saigane. I bowed and greeted him.
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『Ah, professor Saigane! Good morning.』
『Are you going to class? Who is this person next to you?』
『She’s cadet Lee, same grade as me.』
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As I introduced Lee Yu-ha, she also bowed.
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『Good morning.』
『Ah, nice to meet you…….』

Professor Saigane, having come close to us to shake our hands, put up a serious expression in his face and said.
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『Anyhow, you two, you were speaking in Joseon language, am I right?』

Ah……!
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Did he hear us?

However, he kept his stern face only for a moment. He soon smiled kindly and said.
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『Haha! Of course, using the national language is a rule in school, but it is fine in front of me. I will not go tell the Head of Cadets about something like that……』

Professor Saigane continued.
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『Yes, actually, I majored in Joseon Classical Literature at the Keijo Imperial University. So my knowledge of the Joseon language is actually pretty good.』

At his words, Lee Yu-ha’s nervous eyes suddenly came to life and looked up at the professor. Having heard that he majored in Joseon Classical Literature although he was Japanese, I became interested as well and asked him.
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『Is that so?』
『Yes.…… Ah! How about this? There is a famous poem from the early Lee-Jo Period called ‘Kajoka(何如歌)’.』(note: Kajoka is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese characters for the Korean poem Hayeoga)
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Professor Saigane cleared his throat and started reciting the poem.

“Irondoru ottohari jyorondoru ottohari-” (note: Japanese poor pronunciation of Korean. Proper Romanized version of the line would be: Eereondeul Eojjeohari Jeoreondeul Eojjeohari)
“Pfft……”
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At professor Saigane’s poor Joseon pronunciation, Lee Yu-ha covered her mouth and burst out laughing. So these were the kind of things she found funny…… But wait, your Japanese is really poor, should you really be laughing at this?

And on top of that, it was in front of a professor. I poked Lee Yu-ha on the arm and scolded her.
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『Hey, hey……. That’s rude.』
『Ah…… Ah, I am sorry.』
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Only then, Lee Yu-ha bowed and apologized, but professor Saigane laughed kindly and waved his hand.

『Haha! It will probably not be good enough in the ears of a Joseon cadet! No matter how hard I practice, pronunciation of the Joseon language pronunciation is so difficult…….』
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‘He doesn’t mind this either.’
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What kind of person was this professor? However, there was something that had been bothering me, so now that I had bumped into professor Saigane, I asked.

『By the way, what happened yesterday?』
『Ah…… You mean the Joseon robbers.』
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Professor Saigane quietly answered.

『In the best case, it seems they will be released soon.』
『Released?』
『The police checked their record and they had no other criminal records, and their failed crime left no significant victims either. Well, it was hard to convince the cops, but…… Haha!』
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They were people that were about to get executed, but they were getting released just because a Japanese professor defended them. Was there no mid-point? Was it that the police was spineless, or this professor too influential, or all of that combined?

‘Anyway, I’m glad it’s not death penalty, but……’
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But they were going to release people that had just committed a crime. That in itself didn’t sit right with me either.

『Well, I shall get going. You should go to your classes as well.』
『Ah, yes. We shall see you later.』
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After professor Saigane had walked away, Lee Yu-ha asked.

“What is this about Joseon robbers?”

I roughly gave her an account of what had happened yesterday. Of course, I left out the part where I accidentally entered that café.
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“Thou ist great, but that professor is amazing as well……. A Japanese person using his power for Joseon people.”
“Well, he’s a good person.”

I said, and as I watched my clock I realized there was not much time left until the first period began.
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“I should go to class. What about you? I still think it’d be better for you to go back to your dormitory and get some rest.”
“I shall be better if I just taketh a small break…… The dormitory is too much, so I thinkst I shall go to the infirmary.”

The infirmary, so the nurse’s office. Did they call them health centers in the 21st century?
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I wanted to take her there if I could, but there wasn’t enough time so I asked.

“Can you go by yourself?”
“…… Dost thou think I am but a child?”

……Well, at 17, she was a grown-up girl, but for some reason it felt like she needed someone to protect her. And on top of that, compared to the age of the real me in the 21st century, she was still a little child.

Lee Yu-ha went back on her way to the main building, and I hurried across the campus planted with poplar trees towards the annex building.

‘Alright, let’s go to our first class…….’

***

As Baek Cheol-yeon and Lee Yu-na were conversing, there was a person watching them from behind a street tree.

It was Shimazu Renka.

She, too, had been informed by her subordinates that Baek Cheol-yeon had fought off some robbers in a tea house yesterday. And that he even calmly responded to a robber armed with a gun, and saved professor of general studies, Saigane.

The other day against the Takoashi, and the day before yesterday against the Onikumo, and even the events from yesterday, they weren’t things that a regular cadet that hadn’t even received a class could do.

‘I know there is something……! There must be……!’

That boy, Baek Cheol-yeon, definitely had some kind of secret.

This is why she had planned to go to Baek Cheol-yeon as soon as she came to school today, and talk to him about yesterday’s incidents, but he had gone straight to talk to Lee Yu-ha, so there was no way she could intervene.

‘Shirabayashi-san, what are you…….’

On top of that, seeing Baek Cheol-yeon and Lee Yu-ha talking only between themselves, so affectionately, it seemed Osue’s report had been true.
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‘Confessing his love on the first day of school……!’

And what was more, he had confessed to Lee Yu-ha, someone Renka had thought he would have friction with due to his family background and her misunderstanding.
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Renka grit her teeth.

But for Renka, this wasn’t jealousy due to the opposite sex.
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It was only because there was now an obstacle in her plans to directly approach Baek Cheol-yeon to find out his secrets.

‘However……’
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Renka thought about it again with a bright smile, as if nothing had ever happened.
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‘If there’s a will, there’s a way.’

If it was not possible to find out his secrets by approaching him directly, she could just find out through the people around him.

‘So, Shirabayashi-san is living in a very shabby boarding house.’
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As a matter of fact, this was questionable. It was clear to Renka that there was some other reason for him, the son of a wealthy pro-Japan baron, to not even enter the dormitories and live by himself in such a shabby boarding house.

‘For example…… If the owner of that boarding house happened to be your teacher, Shirabayashi-san.’
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In addition, according to a background check conducted by her subordinate, Takahiro, the owner of that boarding house was a person who had been to prison in the past for violating the use of his Awakened abilities.

Yes, why would an Awakened be working as just a rickshaw puller?
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‘The owner of that boarding house was currently a rickshaw puller…… However, that man who is hiding under the guise of a rickshaw puller is probably actually a Master.’
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There was a need for her to find out more about this. Renka quietly said.

『Osue.』
『Yes, my Lady.』
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As Renka said this, suddenly there was a schoolgirl kneeling behind her. Renka, without even looking back, folded her arms and told Osue.
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『Tell Takahiro. Test that boarding house owner.』


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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

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