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Gyeongseong’s Hunter Academy Chapter 24

It’s A Country We Don’t Have, Not Pride (2)

Choi Seong-gil raised his unfrozen hand and attempted to suck blood from Lee Yu-ha, but he was unable to draw any blood from her due to the medicine that Professor Kurobe had prescribed. Choi Seong-gil shouted in frustration.

“Why?! Why isn’t your blood draining?!”

Lee Yu-ha answered back to him with a cold tone.

“So ‘twas thee who hath been taking blood.”

Lee Yu-ha, having seen the shoes at the start of the trail and climbed the mountain path toward the temple, realized what was happening when Choi Seong-gil excitedly shouted out his identity and plans in Joseon language.

“I had thought thou was just a good Japanese Professor. I would have never expected thee to be a Joseon man of the name Choi Seong-gil. And to think that thou was a Joseon man pretending to be Japanese by sucking the blood of other people.”

Baek Cheol-yeon was collapsed next to the stone tower and Lee Yu-ha, who was standing next to him, was releasing her frost on Choi Seong-gil.

Lee Yu-ha’s silver hair and white nightgown fluttered in the frosty wind that blew around the temple, and frost continued to build up on Choi Seong-gil.

“Thou art also a person of Joseon, so why art thou sucking the blood of thy own countrymen and living on wearing the mask of a Japanese person?!”
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The harsh frosty wind clung onto Choi Seong-gil as if it was rushing towards him and soon Choi Seong-gil was completely trapped in ice.

But at the same time, Lee Yu-ha collapsed next to Baek Cheol-yeon as well.

“Urgh…….”

It was because Choi Seong-gil, the man pretending to be Professor Saigane, had started draining her blood some time ago, and the volume had been so great that she had been unable to recover from this completely.

“Hah…… Hahaha! Is this all? Oh my! You shouldn’t overdo yourself when you are feeling unwell, Cadet Lee! Cadet Lee Yu-ha! Mwahahaha!”

Choi Seong-Gil’s voice rang out from inside the thick ice. He had stretched out his lips like a diving snorkel before being completely covered in Lee Yu-ha’s frost, and could still breathe and talk thanks to this.

Choi Seong-gil had been frozen solid, but was still alive. However, Lee Yu-ha and Baek Cheol-yeon couldn’t attack him either. They were in some kind of seize fire.

However, as soon as the ice that was holding Choi Seong-gil melted, he would resume with his blood absorption. The seize fire would be broken and Baek Cheol-yeon would be in danger.

—And there was one other person watching all of this unfold from a distance.

A shadow on a tall old tree a little ways away from the temple.

The girl who had half of her face covered by hair, she was one of Baek Cheol-yeon’s classmates and a girl without much presence.

But the reality was that she was a member of the ninja unit that had been protecting the Shimazu family from the dark for several years,

Katsurai Osue (桂井 御末).

Osue, who had been hiding in the tree like a shadow and watching the situation at the temple unfold, thought to herself.

‘Should I intervene?’

The death of that Korean cadet was not something Renka, Osue’s lord, wanted. However Osue had also been ordered by Renka to keep an eye on Baek Cheol-yeon without revealing herself directly in front of him.

So this was not a situation Osue could intervene in.

As Osue was agonizing over the dilemma between intervening and just keeping an eye on the situation, the right candidate came to her mind.

‘Takahiro.’

He was escorting Baek Cheol-yeon under Renka’s orders, so there was no better person to intervene in this situation.

Osue jumped from tree to tree like a shadow and headed back to the dormitory. In the first floor lobby of the dormitory, Takahiro and his men were still restraining Professor Kurobe.

Before he knew it, Osue had appeared behind Takahiro and said.
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『Vice-Branch Manager Takahiro,』
『W-What is it?』

Takahiro, surprised to see Osue standing behind him without making a sound, tried to calm down his expression and pretend he had not been surprised. Regardless, Osue continued to speak to him without a change of expression.

『I have something to report to you.』
『…….』

Takahiro felt uneasy with this girl, Osue.

They were both on the same side in terms of serving Renka, but unlike Takahiro, who was a member of the Yeopsa group Shimazu Gumi, Osue belonged to a separate group of ninjas.

In addition, it was often said that Japanese people have two faces, but this group of ninjas were especially hard to read as they never showed any emotions.

This was why Takahiro always felt uncomfortable when having to face this little girl.

『……So, what did you need to report?』
『It is about Cadet Shirabayashi.』

Osue told Takahiro what she had seen and heard. Takahiro, having been informed about the situation by Osue, couldn’t hide his astonishment and asked back.

『Vampire? Really?』

When Baek Cheol-yeon started talking about vampires Takahiro thought it was just a metaphor, and he followed Baek Cheol-yeon’s orders without thinking about it too much. And Professor Kurobe, who Baek Cheol-yeon had said was the vampire, just looked gloomy and gave off an unpleasant sensation, but he didn’t really feel like a blood-sucking monster.

But having listened to Osue,

‘It just wasn’t Professor Kurobe, but a vampire really existed, and Shirabayashi is facing off against him right now?’

Takahiro was bewildered and said to Professor Kurobe, who was sitting on a chair in the dormitory’s first floor lobby.

『Hey……. Professor Kurobe.』
『What is it?』
『Well, it seems we have restrained you due to a misunderstanding. I am truly sorry.』

Professor Kurobe stared at Takahiro for a moment, then got up and spoke slowly.
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『……Then, may I go back to my lab?』
『Ah, well, you see. The thing is…… There is some place you must come to with us.』
『Where is that?』

Takahiro continued, receiving Professor Kurobe’s fierce gaze.

『To catch the real vampire.』

***

“You, catch me? Hahaha! Don’t get ahead of yourself! Cadet Lee Yu-ha! And you too, Cadet Shirabayashi!”

Shouted Choi Seong-gil from inside the ice.

“Let me ask you a question as your teacher of general studies! How long will this ice last? Huh? It’s simple common sense! Oh no! You can’t answer because you’re bad cadets!…… The answer is until the sun rises! As soon as the sun rises, this ice will melt!”

As he had said, the east sky was slowly being lit by the blue tint of dawn already.

“Huff, huff……”

And Lee Yu-ha, after having forced herself to release frost in her anemic condition, was sitting down next to me, catching her breath. Sweat was breaking out of her pale forehead.

“I am sorry. I had come here to help thou as best as I could, but I have not been helpful……”

I raised my hand with difficulty and comforted Lee Yu-ha, who was leaning her head on my shoulder.

“It’s fine. You were more than helpful. I’ll take care of the rest.”
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However, even though I had said this, I also had my blood drained and had no energy to move.

Meanwhile, the thick ice that was covering Choi Seong-gil had started to slowly melt as soon as Lee Yu-ha had stopped releasing her frost, and it had already grown so thin that it looked like it could completely melt as soon as the sun shone on it. Choi Seong-gil shouted.

“When the sun rises! When the sun rises I will win!”

And soon after, under the brightening east sky, the red sun began to slowly come up between the distant valleys. Choi Seong-gil, receiving a ray of light from the sun that had barely risen through the ice, shouted.

“Oooooh! The sun is rising! Look at it! Look at that sunrise!”

The ice melted at a rapid pace as the sun rose, and Choi Seong-gil, who had broken through the thinned ice, shouted full of emotion.

“The rising Wookil(旭日) is helping me!” (note: Wookil is the Korean pronunciation for the Chinese characters to “Rising Sun”, referencing the Rising Sun flag of Imperial Japan)
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At that moment, I used up all my remaining energy and threw the scalpel at his face.

“Argh!”

The scalpel, infused with mana, accurately brushed Choi Seong-gil’s face and left a cut. Surprised, Choi Seong-gil touched his face, but the wound was very light and only a little blood came from out of it.

“……?”

Choi Seong-gil, confused for a second, found the scalpel on the floor, picked it up and laughed out loud.
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“This is…… Hahaha! Is this a last ditch effort? Shirabayashi-kun! Hahahahahaha! Was scratching me with this the best you could do? I pity you! It looks like you don’t have any other weapon other than this, so what are you doing to do now? Huh? Shirabayashi-kuuuuuun!”

I muttered in a barely audible voice to Choi Seong-gil, who was grinning from ear to ear.

“I just thought the neurotoxin might work better if it goes in through an open wound.”
“What……?”

While he couldn’t understand what I had meant, a green fog began to rise from all sides.

“What is…… Uh?”
“You weren’t the only one waiting for the sun to rise.”

This was what I had been waiting for all this time.

Next to me was an empty medicine bottle wrapped in black paper. It was the antidote to the anesthetic poison I had received from Chun-wol, or rather Kye Chun-hee.

I had spilled all of the antidote on the temple’s floor as I was running away from him.

‘She said that when it comes into contact with sunlight the neutralizer evaporates and disappears, and it returns to being and anesthetic poison gas.’

As she had said, as soon as the liquid that was spilt on the floor came into contact with sunlight, it vaporized in an instant as if it were exploding and a huge amount of gas was formed.

When a substance that was a liquid vaporizes into a gas, the volume multiplies hundreds of times. Although the temple we were in was an open space, it had been completely engulfed in the anesthetic poison gas.
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Lee Yu-ha also inhaled the anesthetic poison gas, as she asked me in a sleepy voice.

“Baek Cheol-yeon, what is……?”
“It’s fine. Just sleep for a bit.”
“What do you mean so…… Mmm…… I can’t……”

Lee Yu-ha fell asleep, unable to resist the poison. However, as was the case in the tea house, this anesthetic poison gas made from mana had no side effects other than making people fall asleep under the effects of anesthesia. Those affected would just fall asleep and wake up fine.

Except for one person: Choi Seong-gil, the guy that had pretended to be Professor Saigane.

He was allergic to this substance. No, it wasn’t an allergy. As he had explained himself, he lost control over his metamorphosis ability when he came into contact with it. This was also the reason he had killed the robber Gye Heyong-bok, to prevent any further consequences.

Starting with the wound on his face, the skin on his face soon began to shake turbulently like boiling water.

“ARGH! My face! My face!”
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As Choi Seong-gil’s face lost control, the imitation Professor Saigane face he was hiding behind started to collapse. Holding his collapsed mask, Choi Seong-gil rolled on the floor in agony as I shot back.

“That’s not even your face, to begin with.”

This guy doesn’t even have pride.

Even if we don’t have a country, we’ve got our pride. You kill innocent people to continue living as a Japanese person even though you’re a Joseon person?

“Blood! I need blood!”

Being in a tight spot, he raised his hand out of reflex to absorb my blood, but before his blood absorption ability could reach me, he absorbed the anesthetic poison fog that was still surrounding him.

“Aughhhhh!”

His face having already collapsed, the form of his body soon started to convulse and change shape.

His ability to metamorphose.

He could transform into anything, but the moment he lost control over the ability, he could no longer maintain a human form.

With this, he was done for.
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“Aughhhhhhh! Shirabayashi-kun! SHIRABAYASHI-KUUUUN!”

From the mass of flesh that was losing shape and shaking uncontrollably, a gray-haired old man’s face popped out.

“You, how can you, do you think you have the right to kill me?!……”

This face collapsed like mud and then another upper body emerged. It looked like an old woman. The voice shouting in Japanese was a voice that suited this new form.

『You are siding with Japan as well! You’re enjoying the wealth built on the blood of other Joseon people!』

This new upper body also collapsed, and the newly formed face of a boy cried out in Joseon language this time.

“You want to become Japanese as well!”

The shape of the boy broke down as well, and now only a mouth shouting in Japanese was formed.

『At the end of the day, you’re just the same as me!』

“…….”

It was just a load of crap, not even worth answering back to. Me, wanting to be Japanese?

He was just taking shots in the dark because of my name, but it was my father, Baek No-pyeong who had sided with Japan. I had no intention of following suit and becoming Japanese.
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However, the reason I remained silent without answering back was because his words hit the nail in the head in a different manner.

Like Choi Seong-gil, who had stolen the real Saigane Seiji’s identity and lived as him, I too was living on, having possessed the dead Baek Cheol-yeon’s body.

I wasn’t the real Baek Cheol-yeon, but I was still pretending to be him and using his social status to my advantage.

Just as Choi Seong-gil couldn’t be the real Japanese Saigane Seiji, I wasn’t real either. So I muttered.

“Well, I don’t know if I have the right to kill you, either.”
『You see! You see! You don’t have the right to kill me! So hurry up and help-』
“But, you see.”

I interrupted him and continued.

“At least the child of the man you killed deserves to get revenge on you.”
“What……?”

This is out of the blue, but sometimes Awakened powers could be hereditary.

Even if the parents or child are not Awakeneds, the abilities could show up in the body. An example was my father, Baek No-pyeong. Although he wasn’t an Awakened, poison didn’t work very well on him.

So, when I saw Gye Chun-hee’s abilities at my parents’ house, it was not unreasonable that the robber at the tea house had come to mind.

At the moment I thought it was just a coincidence, but when I heard that she had been abandoned by her father as a child, and later learned that the robber’s name was Gye Hyeong-bok, I was convinced.
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Rare surnames.
Similar abilities.
A lost father.

So, it was not just speculation of my part that Chun-wol, Gye Chun-hee was the daughter of the late robber Gye Hyeong-bok. No, rather, I was almost completely sure.

Of course, Gye Chun-hee had said that she wished her father would just die even if he were alive……

‘There’s no way.’

No matter how much she resented her father for abandoning her, there was no way she would truly wish him to die. If Gye Chun-hee had known that her father was murdered, she would have sought revenge.

“So, I’m just getting revenge for her.”
“What are you…… Aaaagh! Save me! Save me! Save……”

From Choi Seong-gil, who had become a lump of flesh after losing his ability to transform, a young man’s head emerged and collapsed immediately. An old man screamed and broke down. A young woman cried and melted down.

Those were probably the faces that he had taken from hundreds of people so far in his life.

Like that, he continued to reconstruct himself and collapsing again and again, like the liquid metal robot in a furnace from the movie,

Eventually, that kind of movement slowed down, dying out,

And soon he became a handful of clay, leaving only a piece of clothing behind.

“Phew…….”

It was over.

The threat that was endangering the students’ lives before school started properly was no more. As I relaxed, my already tired body became even more exhausted.

I looked at the top of Lee Yu-ha’s head, who was sleeping peacefully, resting her head on my shoulder. The anesthetic gas had completely dispersed into the air, but she wouldn’t wake up until I forcefully woke her up.

‘…….’

Looking at Lee Yu-ha sleeping leaning on me like that, it made me sleepy as well. Although I wasn’t affected by the poison gas thanks to my poison resistance, I was also suffering from having my blood drained, and I hadn’t even been able to sleep all night.

As I looked at the slowly brightening east sky, I thought.

‘It’s Monday already…….’

I hadn’t been able to rest properly all weekend, and on top of that, I had stayed up all Sunday night, but it was already Monday. I was thinking about putting aside everything and sleeping a bit when,

『Young master! Young master!』
『Shirabayashi-kun!』

It was Takahiro and Aikawa’s voices, who had come up through the mountain path. Aikawa soon saw me lying behind the stone tower and ran straight to me.

『Shirabayashi-kun! Are you okay?』
『Take care of her first.』

I pointed to Lee Yu-ha. She was lacking blood and her exhaustion of mana was severe, so even if all Aikawa could do was just simple energy recovery, it was Lee Yu-ha who needed it more.

The little girl that had come with Aikawa helped Lee Yu-ha up, and Aikawa began to pour energy into her. Soon Takahiro came to me.

『Shirabayashi…… Young master!』
『Ow ow.』
『Are you okay?』
『Apart from missing some blood. Help me up.』

Takahiro helped me get up. However, there was one more person who had come up beside Takahiro, his men, Aikawa and the little girl.

‘……Professor Kurobe!’

Professor Kurobe looked at Lee Yu-ha, who was being healed by Aikawa for a moment, and then approached the lump of Choi Seong-gil that was collapsed at the center of the temple.

Professor Kurobe poked the lump, and then took out a piece of paper from his chest pocket and put it against the lump. Then he shook his head and muttered.

『Was this him. Professor Kurobe…….』

Then he found something shiny next to the lump. He bent down and picked it up.

『This is, it’s a scalpel.』

Professor Kurobe turned his head toward me and said, in a heavy voice.

『Cadet Shirabayashi.』
『……Yes.』

The ferocious faze in the hollow eye sockets turned straight to me.…… It could be just because of how he looked, but he was probably very angry at me, right? He had been restrained all night due to a misunderstanding, so he was bound to be angry.

『As a Cadet, for suspecting and restraining me due to some illogical and unreasonable speculation. And for unauthorized intrusion into my lab, and stealing. For this atrocity you have committed as a cadet-』

Urgh.

I couldn’t deny a single word. It was true that I had suspected Professor Kurobe and restrained him, and it was true that I had broken into his lab without permission and prodded around, and now that the misunderstanding had been resolved, it was completely my fault…….

Would I be suspended for this? Don’t tell me I’m getting expelled.

『I shall let it slide.』
『Pardon me?』
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What came from Professor Kurobe’s mouth was unexpected. He continued.

『Not only Cadet Lee, but other cadets and even outsiders of the school were experiencing anemia due to having their blood absorbed, so I was being investigated after receiving a request from the police. But in the end, you found out the cause and solved it, so I shall let you go this time.』
『Ah…….』
『I will clean up the mess. I will pick up the body, so leave it as it is, and you should go to the infirmary to get treated.』

Professor Kurobe turned and started walking down the mountain after saying this.

『We should get going as well, young master.』
『Ah, alright.』

The sun had rose completely now, and the chatter of students leaving the dormitory to go to school came from the path down the mountain. As I left the temple, helped by Takahiro, I looked back.

There, the morning sun was melancholically illuminating the old abandoned temple and the remnants of a man who eventually became nobody.


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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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