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Gyeongseong’s Hunter Academy Chapter 35

Who’s That Masked Person?

‘Who was that? And why did they bring something this dangerous to school?’

On a white background, red and blue are intertwined to make a circle, and long and short black lines are overlapped in the corners.

The pattern on the handkerchief was something that all Koreans would recognize. It was the Taegukgi (note: South Korean flag).

‘Seriously, who the fuck was that?’

The student that was carrying this was in the same class as me. But who were they? And, if they were someone who would carry something like this around……

‘Could they, by any chance, be a freedom fighter?’

No way, it couldn’t be. Or actually, they had to be. If they weren’t, they would have no reason to carry this around. A female student fighting for independence on campus?
I broke out in a cold sweat as I thought.

‘I shouldn’t get involve with them.’

I had already thought I should never get involved with the independence movement.

I had no intention to belittle the independence movement. After all, the sacrifices of all the freedom fighters piled up and eventually became a manifestation of the Korean people’s desire for independence, which at the end did lead to liberation from Japan.
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But I didn’t want to get involved in it.

It was already 1939. Just as it had gone so far, if all big historical events followed what I was familiar with, all I had to do was wait for Japan’s huge defeat. The Sino-Japanese War had already broken out, and newspapers were reporting about British and American pressure on Japan.

So Japan engaging against the US in the Pacific War was bound to happen, and the result would be, as everyone know, two nuclear bombs.

At this point, there was nothing I could add to the goal of achieving Joseon’s independence. So my only goal was just extremely personal, getting my Yeopsa vocational school diploma.

‘I’m going to get my diploma from this Yeopsa vocational school and move to the US, avoiding getting drafted for the Pacific War.’

At least this was what I was thinking, but this dangerous thing had somehow made its way into my hands.

‘What should I……!’

I couldn’t even leave this thing in my boarding room. It was seriously more dangerous than a gun. If the police somehow found Aoki-shosa’s pistol, which was now in my possession, I could just get around by saying that Renka had given it to me but,
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This? A Taegukgi? If I got caught with this, I wouldn’t be able to get anybody’s backing.

‘Should I just throw it out?’

No. What if someone picked it up after I threw it out? And what if any traces are left behind, then?…… Or, should I just cut it up into pieces and burn it?

As chance would have it, there was an incinerator right behind the monster stable—

But I couldn’t get myself to do that. Burning the Taegukgi! As a Korean myself, I couldn’t bear to do such a thing.

‘Argh……’

『Cadet Shirabayashi, do you still need more time? You’re the only who hasn’t come out!』
『Aah! I-I’m going!』

I was the only student left in the otherworld botanical garden, so Professor Nakami, my otherworld biology teacher, came in to call me. I panicked and scrambled out of the botanical garden, crumpling up the handkerchief into my school uniform jacket’s pocket.

***

『Squad Shirabayashi! Start!』

The period after the otherworld biology class, squad tactics practical period.

It was a practice class where we dealt with medium-sized, low-class monsters in training field 1, which looked like a Roman era arena.

In order, our squad came out to the training field, and at the shout of Professor Kidamura, who was in charge of the tactics class, to start, a monster was released into the training field.

The monster we were facing was a medium-sized, low-class monster, a Nissokumukade, which had been bred in the practice monster stable.

Just like the name “two-legged centipede” suggested, this monster had a long, arthropod-like appearance, just like a centipede, and ran on two reverse jointed legs just like and ostrich.
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‘Okay, forget about the Taegukgi for now…….’

I thought, as I raised my sword, glaring at the Nissokumukade. Although it was a low-class monster and it had been pumped full of drugs, its movement was still quick and cooperation between squad members was important.

‘and let’s concentrate on the class.’

I put my anxiety from picking up an ominous object aside and began to fight the monster with my squad members.

『Murasaki! Block off that side!』
『Hmph……! Don’t order me around!』

Murasaki blocked the Nissokumukade’s path and lured it into a corner,

『Heigo! Load a mana bullet!』
『Roger!』

Song Byung-oh started to infuse mana into the bullet loaded on his practice pistol. Charging enough mana into a bullet to down a monster of that size and level in one shot would take anything from a few seconds to a few dozen seconds, so the timing of when you start to charge the bullet was also important to get the perfect shot.
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『Ryuka!』

I shouted at Lee Yu-ha.

『Frost release! Tomiko, I want you to aim considering the margin of error from travel time! Aikawa, you support their energy levels!』

The next bit was the most important.

The majority of small and medium-sized monsters were arthropods or crustaceans. When fighting against arthropod-type monsters like these, cutting one or two legs off wouldn’t damage them too much, and fire and ice attacks were the most effective.

『Three, two, one…… Release!』

The frost coming from Lee Yu-ha’s hands hit the Nissokumukade directly through Yang Bok-ja’s control. The Nissokumukade ran around trying to flee, but Yang Bok-ja controlled the frost so that it would continue following it. The monster’s movement slowed down noticeably.
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『Heigo! Now!』

Finally, Song Byung-oh’s mana bullet flew toward the slowed down Nissokumukade. A small explosion went off, and the monster collapsed to the ground after suffering devastating damage.

I ran to the fallen Nissokumukade, slashed it with my sword to tear its shell open, and removed the mana stone. The goal of the exercise went all the way to removing the overpowered monster’s mana stone so that it could not recover.

Fweet-!

Professor Kidamura, in charge of the squad tactics class, blew the whistle and shouted.

『Squad Shirabayashi, 2 minutes and 37 seconds!』
『Whoa……!』

The students watching on from the stands were amazed.

As soon as my squad’s turn was over, I wiped the sweat and the monster’s body fluids from my face with a towel and went back to the stands surrounding the arena-like training field.

I sat next to Lee Yu-ha and said.

“You did well out there. When releasing, it is important to maintain the output uniform for a long time so that the telekinetic ability user can control it without any problems, and that’s not easy.”
“’Twas all thanks to thy orders.”

Lee Yu-ha answered, smiling. It was true. The reason Lee Yu-ha and Yang Bok-ja could work so well together was because of my orders.

Even though they had worked together for a while during the pre-field practice that last time, they were still awkward with each other. If I wasn’t in the middle they wouldn’t even look at each other’s faces.
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Lee Yu-ha was a frost release user. Yang Bok-ja was a telekinetic user. I definitely felt it last time during the Onikumo incident, but cooperation with a telekinetic user was more important than anything for an elemental release user to be able to accurately hit targets at a distance.

Anyway, they were people that I would have to work with for a year, and maybe even next year after going up a grade. To get a good grades in the squad performance evaluations, making sure that these two had good chemistry was crucial.

I asked Lee Yu-ha.

“Are you doing well with your Japanese lessons with Yang Bok-ja?”

Cooperation was important, of course, but I had assigned Yang Bok-ja with teaching Lee Yu-ha Japanese so that her Japanese skills could improve, as well. I considered teaching her myself at first, but……

I had acquired my Japanese skills automatically by inheriting Baek Cheol-yeon’s knowledge of language, unlike Yang Bok-ja, who had taught herself from an early age. So Yang Bok-ja would be better suited at teaching her than me.
Lee Yu-ha said.

“Ah…… Yes. Miss Yang speaks Japanese very well, after all. However, I would have preferred thee-”

At that moment, a few girls approached where we were sitting.

“Miss Yu-ha! You were so great!”
“Hey, could I get some tips? I am an electricity release user……”

They were Joseon girls from other squads. I shooed away the approaching girls.

“Shoo! Shoo! Yu-ha’s busy right now so come later!”

“Hmph! What does he think he is……”
“Is he a soldier or something?”
“…….”

As I drove the girls away, waving my hand at them, the Joseon girls left grumbling.
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‘Phew.’

Although Lee Yu-ha was still not good at Japanese and clumsy, her skills couldn’t be hidden, and she slowly started gaining prominence among the students thanks to her talents.

Outstanding talent, a well-established noble family, and her elegant appearance……. Lee Yu-ha had slowly started becoming the idol and envy of the female Joseon students on campus.

‘I’m not letting her go.’

Since my current ability as Baek Cheol-yeon wasn’t very high, I needed to get high scores during squad evaluations, and you think I’d left Lee Yu-ha go? I couldn’t have that.

So I was even acting as some kind of manager to make sure that other students wouldn’t be able to approach her.

“Good. Keep working hard on your Japanese with Yang Bok-ja. After all, you need to have a better grasp of Japanese to follow the theory classes. And my orders are good enough, but the closer you become, the more effective you two will be together.”
“I understand…….”
“Alright? Hmm, well, then I’ll go over to Yang Bok-ja. Yu-ba.”
“……?”

I left Lee Yu-ha behind and got up from my seat. Sitting somewhat far from Lee Yu-ha, Yang Bok-ja waved at me as soon as she noticed me coming near, and shouted cheerfully.

『Shirabayashi-kun! Here here!』
“Can’t you just speak in Joseon language when there’s no one around?”
“But…… Japanese is more comfortable for me!”

I sat next to Yang Bokj-ja and asked her.

“So, are you doing a good job teaching Yu-ha Japanese?”
“Yeah…… I don’t enjoy, but it’s Shirabayashi-kun’s request!…… Anyway! As you promised the other day, you’re getting me to meet Lady Shimazu face to face, right?”
“Yeah.”

Despite the fact that Yang Bok-ja didn’t like Lee Yu-ha too much either, this was the reason why I was able to keep them working together.

That is, the fact that I promised to introduce Yang Bok-ja to Renka if she fulfilled my request. This was an offer that Yang Bok-ja, who wanted to acquaint herself with an aristocrat lady, couldn’t refuse.

“Shirabayashi-kun, you’re so amazing! You’re acquainted to a noble Lady, and even call each other by your names! Is there a chance I can be like that?”
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Hmm, well……

I wasn’t sure if Renka would entertain her. I mean, Renka had been avoiding me these days, so would they be able to become friends just because I introduced them?

‘I guess that’s not really my problem.’

As the assistants cleaned up the corpses in the training field, Professor Kidamura stepped forward and said.

『Squad Shirabayashi outscored every other squad overwhelmingly again…… Well, that is it for today! Class rep!』
『Huff, huff…… Yes!』

Aikawa, who hadn’t even done that much but was still catching her breath, jumped to her feet.

『A-Attention! Bow!』
『Yoshi! Dismissed!』

At those words, the students got up and quickly left the practice field. It was lunch time right after this, so it was no wonder the students were in a hurry. Yang Bok-ja stood up and said to me.

“Class owari! Then, Shirabayashi-kun, onegai!”

I looked at Yang Bok-ja who was bouncing off after saying this and thought.

‘It’s definitely not her.’

The owner of the Taegukgi handkerchief.

I thought as I put my hand inside my uniform pocket and touched the hidden Taegukgi.

The owner of the Taegukgi handkerchief was definitely a girl in my class. Out of 30 classmates, 15 of them were girls. It had to be one of the fifteen. However,

‘There’s no way a Japanese or pro-Japan girl like her would carry a Taegukgi on her.’

Then, among the 15 girls, it had to be one of the 10 Joseon girls. And it was not either of Lee Yu-ha or Yang Bok-ja.

I had only slightly bumped into her, but the body shape I felt when we bumped was different. I would have noticed if it was someone I knew. So, if I excluded Lee Yu-ha and Yang Bok-ja, that made eight.
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One of the eight, but……

‘Should I check their underwear in secret?’

That would be useless. Most of them would be wearing white, and they may be even wearing different colored underwear now.

As I was thinking this, Song Byung-oh, who had seen me talking to Yang Bok-ja, approached me as he said.

“Hey, you, Baek Cheol-yeon, you make a good match, huh! This is the youth of Joseon, indeed.”
“That’s now what this is.”

I said, as I got up from my seat. Whether I denied it or not, Song Byung-oh continued in the tone of a literary novel.

“Ah! But he could not get his eyes off her, after all! Her bosom was so full…….”
“I told you that it’s not like that, for fuck’s sake.”

I seriously wanted to punch his nose flat. Song Byung-oh walked beside me as he said.

“Then, let’s go eat!…… Anyway, you’re a man after all!”
“What are you saying?”
“You! Do not try to fool me. I have seen you peep at the girls since the morning? What has gotten into you?”

Seriously, fuck. It’s a misunderstanding.

I had been looking at the girls to find the handkerchief owner, but apparently it had been very obvious.

‘Maybe I looked at them too blatantly.’

But there was nothing I can do about that. The girl had seen my face, but I had no idea who she was. It was natural I would feel uneasy.

‘……Wait.’

Thinking about it, my thoughts turned in a completely different direction.

‘Why is it me who should be scared?’

It was not me but her who accidentally dropped the Taegukgi.

On the surface, I was just “the son of a pro-Japan traitor”. Now that she’d been caught by such a guy, wouldn’t it be the girl that should be afraid about having gotten caught with a Taegukgi in her possession?

It was me who held the edge.

‘Let’s take the first turn.’
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I would look for the girl first. And if I finally found who the girl was, I’d convince her not to carry out independence movements at school and to not carry such dangerous objects.

‘Good.’

But how would I find her? I was back to square one. Feeling like I was grasping at straws, I slightly hinted at Song Byung-oh.

“Hey, hey, listen. Truth is, I picked up a girl’s handkerchief yesterday. But I don’t know whose it is.”
“Oooh……!”
“I want to find the owner. Do you have any good ideas?”
“So it is girl problems, after all! Alright, so you are planning on going into dating, huh?! Haha……”

Song Byung-oh smiled, and raised his glasses before continuing.

“But, you are overthinking this too much! Is there not a bulletin board on the first floor of the main building? Could you not just hang the handkerchief on the board with a note saying “I am looking for the owner of this handkerchief”?”

You think that’d work?……

You’re telling me to hang a Taegukgi on the school bulletin board? Unless I was planning on getting expelled from school right away, get dragged to the police station and tortured, there was no way I’d do that. Not in a million years.

I was thinking this, when Song Byung-oh opened his mouth again.

“Or, you know, if that girl accidentally dropped her handkerchief, would she not return to look for it?”

Oh……

That made sense.

“Get lunch by yourself first. There’s somewhere I have to go.”

I said this to Song Byung-oh, then hurried out of training field 1 and headed to the otherworld botanical garden.

It was true that the girl hadn’t seen me pick up her handkerchief since she ran out of the botanical garden right after she bumped into me.

Then, she would most likely come back to the otherworld botanical garden, the place she would presume that she lost her handkerchief.

‘The criminal always returns to the scene of the crime ……!’

***
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Back at the otherworld botanical garden.

Instead of going straight in, I wandered around for a while. I couldn’t sense any human presence coming from either the otherworld botanical garden or the lecture room connected to it. Professor Nakamori, who was in charge of the otherworld biology class, seemed to have gone out to eat, and there was nobody around.

I approached the door to enter the otherworld botanical garden. I intended to break in, but contrary to my expectations that the door would be locked, it had been left open.

‘Eureka.’

It was right in the middle of the day and the otherworld botanical garden was a glass-walled greenhouse, but the interior was darkened by dense leaves, like if it was a rainforest.

Not long after I sneaked in, laying low under the darkness, I found a girl wearing a gasmask.

‘It’s her.’

Still crouching and hiding in the darkness of the shade, I pulled Aoki-shosa’s leather glove out of my pocket, and put it on my right hand as I thought.

‘I’ll take her somewhere quiet so we can talk alone.’


Translator’s Note:

Wanna read ahead? You can access the Premium chapters ko-fi/taxingcorn117

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Gyeongseong’s Hunter Academy- Dropped

Gyeongseong’s Hunter Academy- Dropped

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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