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Gyeongseong’s Hunter Academy Chapter 31

What Was Hidden

The envelope I got from Renka was thicker than I had expected.

‘I don’t know how much mana stones go for right now, but I think she gave me more……’

Anyway, before heading to the Spirit Gate near Dongsomun after school, I stopped by the boarding house first to leave my bag and to hide the money envelope. As I opened the front gate and entered, Ham Seo-ju was sitting on the veranda and she got up to greet me.
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“Welcome back.”
“Thanks.”

But when I tried to go into my room, Ham Seo-ju hesitantly called out to me.

“Mister, um……”

Then, she pointed at the room the father and daughter used, and continued.

“Father wants to talk to you.”
“Your father? Why?”
“I don’t know……”
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I checked my watch. The hour hand pointed at 4. It was still the middle of the afternoon. Wasn’t this a time when Ham Won-sam would usually be working, pulling his rickshaw?

As Ham Seo-ju asked, I took my shoes off and went up to the room they lived in, and Ham Won-sam, who had gone to work in the morning, was already back, sitting on his butt, drinking soju with kimchi.

“Oh, our guest, you’re back! Please sit for a bit.”

When Ham Won-sam, who was already somewhat red from drinking, asked me to sit down, I did as he asked, with the table in between us, and still wondering what was going on. Ham Won-sam looked at his daughter, Ham Seo-ju, who was standing by the door and said.

“Seo-ju, don’t just stand there and go out to play for a bit.”
“So suddenly, where?”
“You girl! I have something to speak about with our guest here so go out for a bit, I said!”
“Pfft! It seems like you’re going to speak about something I shouldn’t hear……”
“Yes, that’s it! When your father asks for something just say “yes” and -”
“Alright then, I’m going! And you father, not even working and drinking from so early in the afternoon!……”
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Ham Seo-ju closed the door, and as soon as we heard her go out the front gate, Ham Won-sam made a sound like if he was deep in thought for a while and finally opened his mouth.

“Well, you see, I picked up something! Yes, of course…… I picked it up! It was on the ground……”

From the empty space in his rough palm, an apple-sized stone popped out. It was similar to a mana stone, but if the regular mana stone gave off a bluish glow, this one was slightly red.

‘A Redstone?’

Wait, why is this there?
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“Yeah, I heard some Japanese guys saying akashi this, Akashi that and…… Judging by how you were surprised at seeing this, it seems you know what it is, huh?”

I do. Of course I know what it is. It was a Redstone, something well-known as a rare mineral in the 21st century. It seemed they called them Akashi(赤石), or literally “Jeokseok” in this era. (note: Akashi and Jeokseok are the Japanese and Korean pronunciations for the characters “赤石”, literally meaning “red” and “stone”)
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Of course, it was my first time seeing a Redstone of that size in person. In the 21st century, most of the Redstones were owned by large corporations and guilds, and ordinary Hunters never got a chance of seeing them in their lifetime……

Why did Ham Won-sam, a rickshaw puller, have this?

“Wait, where did you get this?”
“I told you, I picked it up……”
“It’s a foreign mineral, how did you pick it up? Did you offer a monster a rickshaw ride inside the Spirit Gate and get paid with this?”

As I pried in, Ham Won-sam finally confessed that he had sneaked it out from a safe inside of the Spirit Gate near Dongsomun.

‘That’s a headache.’

Hadn’t this guy gotten arrested for theft before? So what would he do if a detective came?
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“Why did you steal it?”
“It’s, I just couldn’t help myself……”

Ham Won-sam humbly said, scratching the back of his head. Well, after all, it was an object that would definitely make the heads of anyone who knows the value of a Redstone turn, and it would definitely do the same to anyone who’d never seen one……
Ham Won-sam asked nervously again.

“Well, anyway, how much do you think this would go for? Someone like you, who’s attending a Yeopsa school probably knows about these, right?……”
“Hand it over for a bit.”

I took the Redstone, no, the Jeokseok, and checked the mana pattern engraved into the Jeokseok through my mana detection.

‘Hmm…… This is complicated.’
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The mana pattern in the Jeokseok was one I’d never before seen, completely different to the mana grammar usually seen in 21st century mana-engineering artifacts. And, on top of that, it was more complicated than I imagined, so I couldn’t even get a proper grasp of the structure.

However, even though the grammatical structure was different, just from a glance, it seemed that it was similar to the pattern I knew in the fact that there was a pattern that I presumed were coordinates and a pattern that probably was a spatial distortion series. From this I could assume that this would functionally serve as the key to a Gate.

‘The Oriental Development Company.’

I had thought of the possibility, but the Spirit Gate had actually been opened artificially. I told Ham Won-sam.

“This, I’ll buy it.”
“What? You want to buy it? For how much……”
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I put the money envelope Renka gave me on top of the table.

“This should be more than enough.”

Ham Won-sam’s eyes grew wide open at the envelope’s thickness. Well, Renka seemed to have put quite a bit in, so it would be at least a few hundred won. It would be half a year’s salary for most office workers.

I bet you’re wondering if I didn’t think it was a waste to give him all the money I had earned by difficultly hunting so many monsters.

Not at all.

A Redstone, or well, Jeokseok, was a rare mineral, and the fact that it could open and close Gates would make it even more valuable. Being able to get a Redstone of this size for only a few dozen mana stones was almost like getting it for free. This was something you couldn’t even imagine in the 21st century.
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Of course, it was impossible for me to make good use of it – or open a new Gate for only me to get in and out of – at the moment. It was hard to make a new mana pattern and engraving it.

However, even if I couldn’t make good use of it right now, I was sure it would come to be very useful in what I was trying to do.

‘So the Dongsomun Spirit Gate is open right now thanks to this.’

It was hard to build a new mana pattern once it was engraved on, but it was easy to break. This meant that I was now able to make the Spirit Gate open near Dongsomun collapse with this Jeokseok.

‘Good…….’

***

『Haha! Looks good on you, Shirabayashi!…… If you’re a Joseon person, a porter is your best fit, after all!』
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When I arrived at the Spirit Gate by Dongsomun wearing Ham Won-sam’s clothes again, Murasaki, who had arrived first, burst into laughter as soon as he saw me.

『Whatever. Let’s just go in.』
『Hmph! I was already planning on that……. The soon-to-be defeated dog urging on his own death.』

Murasaki approached the Spirit Gate and as soon as he did, an ODC employee stopped him to check for his Yeopsa license.

『I need your license……』
『I am Murasaki Kenji, the son of Murasaki, chief of the Jongno Police Station.』

Murasaki said proudly, looking at the ODC employee. However, the ODC employee responded with an expression of helplessness.

『Eh, but that is still a problem. If you don’t have a license……』
『Nani? Kora (this guy)!』

Slap! Murasaki slapped the employee in the face, raised his voice, and spoke forcefully.
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『You, tell me your position and name! If you’re an ODC employee, you can do whatever? Are you taking the son of the chief of the Jongno Police Station for a fool? Alright, if I tell my father, a low-rank like you-』
『Ie ie(no no), please go in!』

As Murasaki used violence and force to threaten the employee, he let us in reluctantly. Watching this from behind, I thought.

‘He’s definitely worse than Renka as an entry ticket.’
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He had to use his father’s authority and violence while yelling to barely get in. Renka only had to show her face for us to get in scot-free.

‘Maybe I should have just brough Renka.’

***

‘Shirabayashi-san.’

Under the twilight Gyeongseong sky, in a Japanese style mansion somewhere around Namsan.

Renka, standing by herself in her garden still wearing her school uniform since coming back from school, was lost in thought, holding the hem of the sleeve that wrapped around her right wrist.
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Yesterday, it was Baek Cheol-yeon who had wanted Renka to accompany him to fight a dangerous monster, but how come he was now saying that he didn’t want to enter the Spirit Gate?

Was he suddenly afraid of the unidentified dangerous monster? Renka shook her head. Or maybe, was he satisfied with the money he earned yesterday? That wasn’t it either…….

Renka quietly said.

『Osue.』
『Yes.』
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All of a sudden, a girl was kneeling on one knee behind Renka, Katsurai Osue.

With her bangs flowing down one side of her face and half her face covered, she looked like an ordinary, gloomy girl, but she was actually part of a ninja unit that Renka had planted on campus.

Renka asked, without even looking back.

『Today, what did Shirabayashi-san do on campus?』
『My Lady, I shall make my report.』

The order she received after starting school was to monitor Baek Cheol-yeon’s activities on campus and report to her Lady, Renka. Osue reported what she saw at school, and when Renka heard the report, she turned back to face Osue, and asked.

『Shirabayashi-san, facing off against Murasaki?』
『Yes. He asked to fight inside the Spirit Gate.』
『……The Spirit Gate?』
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Renka was well aware that Baek Cheol-yeon and Murasaki didn’t get well along. But why did he want to fight at this point, out of the blue, and why inside the Spirit Gate?

Renka thought hard and soon realized what Baek Cheol-yeon was thinking.

‘He wants to get into the Spirit Gate.’

Just like he had entered into the Spirit Gate through her, the head of the Shimazu Gumi Gyeongseong Branch, it was obvious that Baek Cheol-yeon was planning to enter the Spirit Gate through Murasaki, son of the Jongno Police Station chief.

‘But, why?’

Why had he told me that he did not want to enter the Spirit Gate, but then decided to go in through Murasaki? Why? Was it because, as Takahiro usually says, Joseon people are a deceitful race? Because they are a race that stabs people in the back?

‘No!’

It wasn’t that. There must have been a reason behind Baek Cheol-yeon’s actions.

However, Renka had a hard time reading what Baek Cheol-yeon was thinking. If he was planning on fighting a dangerous monster in the Joseon people’s area, she would be much more helpful than that good-for-nothing Murasaki.

And what would he do if he ran into Aoki-shosa again?
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Aoki-shosa would most probably remember Baek Cheol-yeon’s face. Aoki-shosa would probably think it suspicious that Baek Cheol-yeon, who was Renka’s porter yesterday, was Murasaki’s porter today, and it would probably lead to a fight. And if that happened……

Unlike yesterday, she wouldn’t be able to stop the fight. If a fight broke out in such circumstances, Baek Cheol-yeon, who only defended, wouldn’t be able to properly confront Aoki-shosa.

Renka knew too well. Aoki-shosa had slaughtered so many Chinese and Joseon people in China and Manchuria. And even though he was a non-Awakened, he had killed several Awakeneds.

On top of that, Aoki-shosa would just call it “hunting”. It was one of the reasons why Renka was afraid of and despised Aoki-shosa.

‘I do not understand why such a person has come all the way to Gyeongseong to investigate the disappearance of Joseon people but-’

Why was it that Aoki-shosa, who hated Joseon people so much that he described killing them as “hunting”, using his vacations to investigate this case?

But Renka, having thought this far, suddenly had a realization crack through those thoughts,

‘No way.’
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She tried to deny it, but nevertheless, as this presumption gained weight the more she realized how the circumstances matched up,

Renka bit her lip.

‘Shosa, you.’

The dangerous monster that was hunting Joseon Yeopsas. Then, this time it was Baek Cheol-yeon’s life that was in danger.

‘……Shirabayashi-san!’


Translator’s Note:

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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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