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Gyeongseong’s Hunter Academy Chapter 36

History & Tradition…… (New content starts here)

“The early bird wakes up……!”

Waking up in my boarding room, I put on my school uniform and looked at the calendar as I thought.

‘It’s already the 15th.’

I woke up on the 4th of April, so more than 10 days had passed since then.

‘A lot has happened.’

I went on a walk as soon as I woke up, to check the surroundings, and ended up fighting a monster that appeared suddenly, defeated the monster that broke into the practice grounds on the first day of school, got rid of the Joseon vampire that was pretending to be a Japanese professor, and a few days ago, even crushed a soldier that was slaughtering Joseon people.

As I thought this, I was putting on my jacket, when something fell to the ground.

The handkerchief.

Right. I thought I could finally attend school normally, but suddenly this had appeared in front of me.
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I unfolded the handkerchief again. Compared to the one that became the official flag of the Republic of Korea after liberation, this had crooked lines all over, but it was definitely a Taegukgi.

‘……Yesterday.’

I recalled yesterday’s events, when I sneaked into the otherworld botanical garden looking for the masked girl.

The girl wearing the gasmask was circling a table planted with various otherworld plants.

‘Good……!’

I put Aoki-shosa’s leather glove on my right hand and even did the buttons up, and I was flexing my hand as I looked the moment to go out when,
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『Yuuko! Is this it?』

The girl, who had been looking at the otherworld plants for a while, looked at the back of a nearby jungle tree and called out at someone. Then,

『No! The one next to it! That’s the nemukusa!』
『Eh— This plant really has the effect of attracting the opposite sex?』

Next to the girl wearing the gasmask, a couple of girls appeared, also wearing gasmask.

‘She wasn’t alone?’

I laid low again, hiding myself as I overheard the girls’ conversation. But the conversation was kind of weird.

『I’m telling you! Kaneko, from the next class, also managed to capture Kishiro-kun’s hear with this!』
『Will I be able to win Saito-kun’s heart with this? Ah, isn’t Saito-kun so handsome?』
『Tamura-kun is the most handsome! And kind……』

‘What?’

You, what are you girls talking about?
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『Anyway, did you see that today? I mean, about Shirabayashi-kun……』
『Yeah, yeah! He was peeking at all the female cadets today!』
『He looks okay as well. Maybe it’s because he’s from Joseon……』

The girls’ conversation was not, by all accounts, that which someone who carried around a Taegukgi and fought for independence would hold. They were just ordinary Japanese girls who came to steal some plants that would help their dating lives.

‘Damn it…….’

I had been completely off my mark. The girls giggled as they left the otherworld botanical garden, when you could hear Professor Nakamori’s angry voice shouting out 『You girls!』.

『Eek! Let’s run!』
『Hahaha! See you tomorrow, girls!』
『You girls! Stop right there!』

The voices of the girls who laughed as they ran away, and the voice of Professor Nakamori who chased the girls, gradually faded into the distance.

‘Sigh.’

After crouching down in the silence of the botanical garden for a while, I got up with a sigh. I hadn’t been able to find the girl. I thought she would return back to the scene, but it didn’t seem to work like that.
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I was about to leave the otherworld botanical garden, when I stopped myself and turned around, approaching the place the girls had just been in.

‘Did they come to steal this? It definitely does have a mild aphrodisiac effect.’

I had seen them in the morning due to the test, but these otherworld plants weren’t just ordinary plants. They were plant that could be processed as ingredients in medicinal concoctions or to make items with various effects.

Among these otherworld plants, the “mandrake” was famous, as well as the “shosankusa”, which was called “nitro grass” in the 21st century due to its explosive properties.

Apart from those, there were “something flowers”, “something grass”, “something fruits”, etc. I didn’t know what they were called now, but there were various useful plants. I glanced back at the entrance.

‘The professor will think it was the girls who stole it, anyway.’

I shoved some leaves and some fruits into my pocket, slipped out of the botanical garden and returned to the boarding house.

‘I couldn’t find the girl yesterday, but today……’
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I would find her, however I could, and warn her not to do anything dangerous in school. If anything happened in school, it could adversely affect me in some way.

‘If she starts independence movements at school……’

For example, if a professor is injured or a facility destroyed and lectures are cancelled or delayed, my graduation would be delayed as well.

I firmly held the handkerchief in my hand and made up my mind.

‘I can’t allow that to happen.’

“Hey, mister. Are you not going to school?”
“AAH!”

Since I didn’t come out of my room despite it being time I left, Ham Seo-ju, the boarding house daughter, had come in to check on me.

“Oh my, what’s with the handkerchief…… May I see it?”
“No! Never!”
“……?”

I shoved the handkerchief into my inner pocket, and came straight out of the room, put on my shoes, and hurried across the yard,

“Hmph, you can’t even show me? Was it a gift from some girl, maybe?……. Have a good day.”

I left through the gate, listening to Ham Seo-ju’s brusque remarks.

This was definitely dangerous.

***
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“Hey! Baek Cheol-yeon!”

Just as I passed the entrance to the path toward the school’s front gate, a guy called me from behind, catching up to me. It was Song Byung-oh. I greeted him cheerlessly.

“Byung-ha.”
“……? Oh, anyway, Baek Cheol-yeon, lad, did you find the handkerchief owner?”
“No…….”
“Drat! But it seems you’re very serious about having a relationship with that girl. I mean, you’re looking so bleak after just one day.”

Of course. Try walking around with a Taegukgi in your pocket, yourself. But, of course, Song Byung-oh had no way of knowing how I was feeling, so he continued as if nothing.

“But aren’t there only 15 girls in our class? You’ll soon find her.”
“Yeah…….”

After the morning assembly, the morning common period, basic otherworld biology class. Professor Nakamori raised her glasses as she said.

『Eto, today is page 24…… Miss Ryoo, please read.』
『Hai!』

Yang Bok-ja answered brightly and got up from her seat with her textbook in hand, and began reading.

『……This otherworld plant is called 「mandarake」 and is basically harmless, but it can cause harm to humans through its screams when removed from the soil!』

Professor Nakamori raised her glasses and said.

『Well read! As you had just read, the mandarake lets out a horrible scream the moment it is pulled out of the ground! This scream can cause you to lose your mind or faint, so you have to be very careful. Miss Lee, read the next paragraph.』
『Ah…… Yes!』
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Lee Yu-ha lifted her textbook and started reading line by line.

『…It looks like a root plant that grows in the na…』
『…ture, and due to civilians? that enter the mountain to…』
『…collect herbs, there have been many accidents?….』

She stuttered a bit, but she was doing well. She was reading the text well, but when she got to the next sentence she started to suddenly blur the end of the sentence with a questioning voice.

『…Especially, due to this form, it is mistaken with the expensive 「Joseon-jin」……?』

With those words, the atmosphere in the classroom sharply subsided. I was surprised myself.

…What did I just hear? Why does the word Joseon-jin suddenly come out of there? Lee Yu-ha frowned and looked into the textbook, wondering what she had just read.

Wondering how she had just misread that, I looked up the text in the textbook myself and read it,

特に、そのような形のため、高価な朝鮮人
(Especially, due to this form, it is mistaken with the expensive Joseon person)

was what was written down! What? So it wasn’t Lee Yu-ha who had misread it? What the hell was with this sentence?

I was taken aback for a moment, but when I turned the page and read what continued from the sentence, there was nothing wrong with it..

特に、そのような形のため、高価な朝鮮人
参と勘違いして採取を試みたところ、悲鳴
を聞いて気を失う事故が頻発している。

(Especially, due to this form, it is mistaken with the expensive Joseon gin
seng, and attempts to dig it up end up in accidents caused by
the screams causing people to lose their minds.)

‘……This happened due to the line break and page turning being in such an awkward place.’

It was a mistake caused by the characteristics of Japanese, where the same Chinese characters can be read in different ways depending on the word.

There were various ways to read the letter for person “人”, but the word for ginseng in Japanese was read as 「ninjin」, so the word ‘Joseon ginseng’, the portmanteau of the words ‘Joseon’ and ‘ginseng’ would have to be read as 「Joseon ninjin」.

But, due to the change in pages, the word “Joseon ginseng” had been cut off at the “人”, which was the reason Lee Yu-ha had read it as 「Joseon-jin」.
(note: the Chinese characters for “ginseng” are 人 and 蔘, which literally stand for “person” and “plant”, respectively, but the Joseon students seem to be confused due to the text referring to Joseon people as “expensive”, making them look like objects in an educational textbook, when it was referring to Joseon ginseng.)

I quietly whispered to Lee Yu-ha in Joseon language.

“The 人 for ginseng is read as 「nin」 and not 「jin」. So Joseon ginseng would be 「Joseon ninjin」 …….”

Lee Yu-ha turned red. Professor Nakamori tried to clear up the awkward atmosphere saying.
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『Ah…… Sit down, Miss Lee. Hmm, this……. Shirabayashi-kun, do better in your teaching Miss Lee the national language! Now, as mentioned in the textbook, there are various accidents caused by civilians mistaking this plant as a medicinal herb, so…….』

***

“Yet again, I hath made the same mistake.”

Said Lee Yu-ha, as she walked the campus next to me after the common period.

“Despite learning so much from Miss Yang……’

Lee Yu-ha didn’t look very happy as she said this. Seeing her like that felt bad, so I gave her a pep talk to try to cheer her up.

“Well, it’s a mistake that can easily happen. Japanese is such a pain in the ass to read, so you shouldn’t worry too much about it.”
“……Is that so?”
“Yeah. Not knowing how to read Chinese characters properly is a problem Japanese people often make as well. Apart from those, you read well, don’t you? To be honest, you’re a really fast learner.”

I tried to encourage Lee Yu-ha, despite being the guy that learnt Japanese automatically thanks for getting Baek Cheol-yeon’s memory.

“……Anyway, thou art good with words. But, even if ‘tis just words, I thank thee.”

Lee Yu-ha put on a slight smile as she said this, but the gloomy look she had was still there.

After all, the reason Lee Yu-ha’s expression was so dark wasn’t only because of the mistake she made earlier, but also because of the place we were heading to right now.

This afternoon, instead of our major classes, there were other activities prepared for us. Regardless of major, all students moved to the entrance of the “torii”, or Japanese temple.

Beyond the red pillars of the torii, there was an uphill staircase and a small shrine at the end.

Well. There was a Shinto shrine, or a shrine dedicated to the gods that Japanese people revered, on the school grounds, and students had to visit the shrine on campus on the 15th of every month to worship.
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So this afternoon, on the 15th of April, instead of taking their major classes, the students gathered in front of the Shinto shrine.

‘They say this shrine is to honor the souls of the cadets who dies on campus, but……’

In the 21st century, there were also many student deaths due to accident every year. The school I was attending, this Gyeongseong Yeopsa Vocational School, was the same in this regard.

So it was no wonder that the school had a facility to honor the victims who had died on campus, but it just had to be a Japanese shrine.

‘Just the Kyujo-yohai and the Imperial Oath felt like shit already, but now having to worship at a Shinto shrine.’

On top of that, the main god worshipped in the school’s shrine was “Susanoo”, the god of storms in Japanese mythology. And this Japanese Susanoo happened to be the god that Imperial Japan claimed was the same god as the Joseon Dangun.

I was offended by such a scandalous attempt to destroy the history and traditions of Joseon right from the roots, so the daughter of a deep-rooted noble family would most likely be even more upset.

‘Hmm.’

I glanced at Lee Yu-ha. Now that I thought about, I wondered what kind of family she was from. From what she slightly let slip a few days ago, I remembered she had mentioned something about her grandfather being a Yeopsa or something similar.

‘Well, let’s go worship.’

When it was finally our turn and we had approached the worship hall I, like the other students, closed my eyes and put my hands together as I thought.

‘Please, let me graduate safely and run off to the US.’

Whether it was Dangun or Susanoo, I just prayed that they wouldn’t take my wish and grant it in some weird way the way that god, or whatever it was, sent me to the past when I asked to be sent back in time.
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After the worship, I was walking down the steps from the shrine when,

—EEEEEEEEEKK……

I could hear a faint scream coming from afar. Lee Yu-ha turned her head in the direction of the sound, as if she had also heard the scream.

“That sound just now, hast thou heard it too?”
“……It’s the otherworld botanical garden!”

The direction the scream came from was definitely from the edge of the campus, where the otherworld botanical garden was. As I ran and got there I saw Professor Nakamori, who was in charge of the otherworld biology class, fainted in a corner of the lecture room connected to the botanical garden.

As I got through the crowd and got closed, I saw a whole mandrake, or 「mandarake」 in today’s lingo, root lying on the ground next to the collapse Professor Nakamori. It seemed to be this mandarake that was the source of the scream.

Given that there was a small pot on the ground next to her, it seemed that Professor Nakamori had tried to replant the mandarake but accidentally pulled it out and fainted due to the scream.

The students and professors muttered among themselves.

『Nakamori-sensei making such a mistake……』
『Well, she probably made a mistake because she has such bad eyesight.』

However, something felt suspicious to me.

‘There’s something.’
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There was no way a professor of otherworld biology would make a mistake like this. Looking closely, the small pot on the floor had a tag that read “kagebana” (shadow flower), which belonged to a completely different plant. So, someone had secretly planted a mandarake in a different pot.

All of this just to knock out Professor Nakamori, who was about to repot the plants without knowing anything.

‘But, why?’

Why would they need to knock out a professor? To steal something? Having come into the botanical garden after going through the crowd of students and professors, who had all gathered due to the commotion, I was able to find something suspicious.

‘The nitro grass is gone.’

It was an otherworld plant called shosankusa now. Compared to the little that I had taken yesterday, today almost all of was gone. The soil that was exposed from it getting uprooted was still moist. Not long had passed.

‘A material that, when combined with several other components, can cause huge explosions the moment it reacts with mana. The fact that that is gone……’

It was obvious. They had stolen it to make explosives. On top of that, the way they had attracted so many people to this remote area, it seemed that they were planning on doing something, somewhere else, at this very moment.

‘But, where? Where are you going to blow up?’

If they were trying to conduct a sabotage operation on campus, what would they aim for? The main building? The practice grounds? The professors’ labs? The dormitory?

No. A student fighting for independence wouldn’t discriminately sacrifice the lives of civilians like a terrorist. There was no way they’d set up bombs on school facilities where most innocent students and professors are……

‘……The shrine.’

What suddenly came to my mind was the on-campus shrine.
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It was a place where no civilian casualties would happen as there weren’t too many people around, but above all, it was a symbolic facility. If the girl carrying the Taegukgi was to wreak havoc with explosives, that place was the first thing that came to mind.

I sneaked out of the crowded otherworld botanical garden that was not full of students and professors,

Then running across the campus, almost from one end to the other, I passed the torii as I climbed up the stairs and reached the shrine. The shrine was in such a remote location, and all the students that had finished their prayers had left, so it was completely empty.

Empty, apart from one person. In front of the worship hall of the Shinto shrine was, as I had expected, a girl wearing a gasmask.

‘This time it’s definitely her.’

The girl was standing in front of the worship hall, holding a glass bottle that contained an unknown blend of liquid and nitro grass.

‘You can blow up the shrine, for all I care, but.’

I put the glove on my right hand and ran fast toward the shrine.

‘Why are you doing this at the school I’m attending? There’s shrines all around outside of school.’

The girl saw me only then, and tried to avoid me by ducking down, surprised, but I was already within striking distance.
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“……!”
“You! How dare you!”

I lifted my hand and swat the glass bottle off the girl’s hand. Or rather, I tried to swat it off. However, the girl,

“Ik!”

She shouted sharply, and moved nimbly, dodging my hand. Not only that. After this,

“Ek!”

She shouted out as she lifted her foot high in the air, and sent it flying to the side of my head.

Whoosh!

A sharp wave of sound flashed across my ears. I took a step back, narrowly avoiding the kick.

‘What is this?’

Due to the sudden movements she had performed just now, a reddish-brown ponytail peeked out of the girl’s gasmask hood and was swinging behind her.

After pulling her foot back from the attack, the girl reassumed her pose, keeping her distance from me, and began to rhythmically swing back and forth.

I was bewildered by what I was seeing and thought.

‘……Taekkyeon?!’ (note: Taekkyeon is traditional Korean martial art characterized by rhythmic and fluid foot movement)


Translator’s Note:

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

You can rate this series here

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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