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Gyeongseong’s Hunter Academy Chapter 37

At Least My Heart Is Honest
[User information]
Name 洪玉禮 (Hong Ok-rye)
Age 17
Mana class D-class
Awakened abilities
Strengthening/C-class
Electricity release/D-class
Status Fainted
[▷Main screen]

Inside of a small warehouse building near the Shinto shrine. A ray of sunlight enters through a crevice into the dark space, illuminating the dust in the air.

In that place, a girl with a rust-colored ponytail, Hong Ok-rye, is tied to a chair, fainted. I looked at the girl and thought.

‘Hong Ok-rye, huh…….’

I was surprised earlier.

I didn’t know much about martial arts, but I knew that the movements the girl was making were characteristics of Taekkyeon. Foot movement that makes it impossible to know when and where she will move.

‘……This is a pain in the ass.’

I had never mastered the skill of fighting against people even in the 21st century, so it was impossible for me to fight with my bare hands. However, considering how nimble she was, it would be impossible to subdue her without injuring her if I used my sword.

‘But where there’s a will, there’s a way.’

Aoki-shosa’s sword.

An artifact that increases your speed when it absorbs blood. I slashed the tip of my thumb and gave the sword a little bit of my blood, and was granted speed by the sword.

Of course, I didn’t swing my sword. I only held onto the handle of my sword,

“……!”

She was surprised by my movement, but it was a little too late and she couldn’t take the foot she had already raised high to kick me back right away. In an instant, I got within range and took her gasmask off, and,

Slap-!

“Yeek……!”

As soon as I slapped her with the right hand I had Aoki-shosa’s glove on, she fainted and collapsed to the ground.

‘It’s certainly effective.’

I had seen Aoki-shosa knock Renka out with this glove, but it was the first time I’d ever used it. Such a useful piece of equipment. Without needing swordsmanship or martial arts, all I needed was to get a hit in and I could easily down my opponent. And it was non-lethal.

So I knocked the girl out and brought her to this warehouse near the worship hall, avoiding any potential eyes that could be spying on us.

And I brought out her status window again, which had analyzed her after the physical contact.

[User information]
Name 洪玉禮 (Hong Ok-rye)
Age 17
Mana class D-class
Awakened abilities
Strengthening/C-class
Electricity release/D-class
Status Fainted
[▷Main screen]

‘Hmm…….’

Her Awakened ability was in the line of body strengthening, but considering her Taekkyeon movements earlier, unlike Murasaki who had completely focused on muscle strength, her ability probably leaned more on dexterity.
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And, even though she was able to release electricity, she hadn’t used in when facing me earlier. She had probably only used her Taekkeyon so that she could hide her identity.

So, why would she try to hide her identity? Why did she carry a Taegukgi, wear a gasmask, and try to terrorize the on-campus shrine?

I got closer to Hong Ok-rye, who was tied up to the chair. She had strengthening and electricity release abilities, so I had tied her up tightly with a rope I found in the warehouse.

I tapped her on the cheek a couple times to wake her up.

“Hey, wake up.”
“Urgh…….”

Opening her eyes, she looked around to work out what was happening and where she was, and then glared at me and said.

“You! You fucking traitor……!”

I ignored her cursing, took out the Taegukgi handkerchief in front of her and asked.

“This is yours, right?”

The moment she saw the Taegukgi handkerchief in my hand, she sneered and said.

“Hmph……! So it was indeed you who picked it up! It got to you by mistake, but it wasn’t meant to go to you. It was supposed to be for Lee Yu-ha.”
“What? This, to Lee Yu-ha?”

I was stunned for a moment when Lee Yu-ha’s name suddenly came out. But when I thought about the girl’s reddish-brown ponytail, there was something that came to my mind.

‘This girl, she’s one of the Joseon girls who approached Lee Yu-ha.’
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A couple days ago, during the squad tactics class, she approached Lee Yu-ha, who is a frost release user, asking for tips, saying she was an electricity release user. Of course, now that I had heard that she was trying to give Lee Yu-ha the Taegukgi, I realized that her approaching Lee Yu-ha was just an excuse to try to get closer to her.

As I went through my memory for a bit, Hong Ok-rye stared at me with a ferocious look and said.

“Someone like you won’t know. Unlike you, Lee Yu-ha is the perfect person to share our desire with.”

When she said this, I asked again. Cursing at me, calling me a traitor is understandable, but why did she approach Lee Yu-ha?

“What’s so special about Lee Yu-ha?”
“Hah!…… You’re always flirting with her but you don’t know? She is the granddaughter of Lee Min-am, a former military officer and the 10th generation of the Chungmugong family of the Deoksu Lee clan……”

I had never asked Lee Yu-ha because it was awkward to ask her about her family history, but now I knew. I thought she was just an old-fashioned daughter of some countryside aristocrat, but if she was from the Chungmugong family……

‘My god. That means she’s a direct descendant of Admiral Yi Sun-shin.’

Now I understood. This was why Hong Ok-rye wanted to get close to Lee Yu-ha. (note: Admiral Yi Sun-shin is considered a very important person in Korean history, famed for winning various battles against the Japanese navy during the Joseon Dynasty. Also, Yi is a different Romanization of the surname Lee.)
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Lee Yu-ha was slowly gaining prominence among the students, and gradually became the idol and envy of the female Joseon students on campus.

And she was a descendant of Admiral Yi. Could there be anyone that Hong Ok-rye could want on her side more than Lee Yu-ha for her campaign for independence on campus?

‘But……’

I shook my head in my mind.

‘You can’t have Lee Yu-ha.’

Lee Yu-ha was essential for my school life.

‘I need her by my side.’

Since I was still just in the first grade, most of the classes were theoretical classes, and even the practical classes were pretty loose, but I had heard that in the process of promotion to the second and thir grades, there were a lot of dropouts, with some students even dying or getting crippling injuries. It was difficult to qualify for graduation at this school.

But if I continued to be in a squad with the talented Lee Yu-ha, I would be able to get good scores despite how low Baek Cheol-yeon’s ability level was.

And……

Aside from my personal circumstances, I just didn’t want Lee Yu-ha to get into the independence movement.

Of course, if Hong Ok-rye asked Lee Yu-ha to get on the movement with her, Lee Yu-ha would probably gladly accept. But having come all the way to Gyeongseong, just getting used to a new-style school was too much for her already. If the clumsy Lee Yu-ha went down that dangerous path.
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If she ended up being used as a pawn on a chessboard.

I didn’t want that.

Of course, I had no intention to insult the independence movement.

Although they didn’t manage to directly contribute to the independence of our country, the sacrifices of freedom fighters accumulated over time, and eventually they became a symbol of Joseon’s desire for independence.

However, I had no intention to get onboard, and I didn’t want anyone close to me to become a sacrifice either.

It was already the year 1939, Japan was at war with China, and under international pressure from the United States. If the big historical events proceeded according to how I knew them, as they had so far, Japan’s defeat would also be set in stone, so all I had to do was wait. The stage at which I could contribute anything towards the independence of Joseon was over.

I, Lee Yu-ha, and this girl named were just 17 years old. We were just young children. In a situation where Joseon was bound to be liberated if we waited a few years, I couldn’t allow them to dangerously get involved in the independence movement.

I sighed and said.

“Give up.”
“……What?”
“The independence movement isn’t something that young kids like you should get involved in. You’re just throwing away the bright life you have in front of you.”
“You……!”
“Joseon will—”

But she was having none of what I was saying,

“Ptooey”

She spat straight to my face.

“You’re spouting nonsense out of your open mouth, you disgusting traitor! Just kill me!”

‘God damn it……’

She crossed the line. You spit on the face of someone who’s worrying about you? Pissed off, I raised my hand at her.

No, I was about to raise my hand but stopped myself.

‘Wait.’

If someone saw us right now. Saw this scene……

Isn’t this the cliché situation of a Japanese minion getting spat on his face as he interrogates a freedom fighter?!

Of course, in this situation the Japanese minion was me. I suddenly felt a sense of shame.

‘Damn it…… How did I end up in this situation?’

But then again, my outer image was that of the son of Baek No-pyeong, a traitor who even had a Japanized surname. On top of that, I hung around someone like Yang Bok-ja, who was a real traitor and stayed close to Lee Yu-ha, forcing her to speak Japanese, so I probably just looked like a villain to this girl, Hong Ok-rye.

This image didn’t help in my attempt to discourage this girl.

‘First of all, I need to get rid of the misunderstanding that I’m pro-Japan.’

That would be easy. Even if I looked like this, I was a Korean with strong patriotism, so it would not be difficult to resolve the misunderstanding that I was pro-Japan just like I had with Lee Yu-ha.

However, unlike when I solved the misunderstanding with Lee Yu-ha, there was one more issue right now.

‘Even as I do this, I have to distance myself from the independence movement.’

This was the issue. If I explained that I am personally not pro-Japan and that I love Joseon, wouldn’t this girl, Hong Ok-rye, try to recruit me to her independence movement instead of giving up? He has a strong patriotism and love for his country, and on top of that has a lot of money? That was a chance she probably wouldn’t let go.
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‘So, in this case……’

I put my thoughts together for a moment, and asked Hong Ok-rye at once.

“You, do you know Baekbeom Kim Gu?”
“What……! Don’t you dare mention Mr. Baekbeom! That’s not a name a Japan-lover like you can say!” (note: Kim Gu (penname: Baekbeom, literally white tiger in Korean) was one of the leaders of the Korean independence movement.)

‘I’m glad she knows him.’

I took a short pause and taking a breath, I told Hong Ok-rye, who was visibly upset, firmly.

“Listen now. I am on a secret mission under his orders……!”
“What?”

Indeed, this was the best way to discourage this girl, Hong Ok-rye, from being involved in the independence movement while not getting on her bad side,

Telling her to not act recklessly since I’m on their side and on a secret mission!

By borrowing the authority of such an important man like Kim Gu.

‘Such a devilish idea……!’

However, of course, Hong Ok-rye, not believing what I told her, glared at me and refuted.

“D-Don’t lie! You’ve never met Mr. Baekbeom!”
“Yes, I have.”

I answered calmly.

“When I met him, he was over 180 centimeters tall, and wore Kim Gu glasses (note: the glasses Kim Gu used to wear are very iconic)……”
“W-What glasses?”
“Ah! Ehem, he wore round glasses. Hmm……. Yeah. His magnificent figure, wearing that white robe. He was rather imposing.”
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I spoke as if I had seen Kim Gu in person, but, obviously, I had never. The image of Kim Gu I explained was the image of Kim Gu from the photograph that everyone knew in the future.

However, having heard my explanation, Hong Ok-rye couldn’t hide her astonishment.

“H-How do you…… It’s the same as what my superiors have told me……”

It seemed she had never seen him. Well, of course, the Provisional Government had changed locations within China several times, hiding as much as possible to avoid Japanese surveillance,

There wouldn’t be too many freedom fighters in Joseon who would have seen Kim Gu in the flesh, and they would have taken as few photographs as possible to avoid the pursue of the Japanese.

I murmured to add.

“He’s in Guangzhou, or was it Liuzhou now? He’ll probably move to Chongqing soon.”
“E-Even that much……? Do you really know Mr. Baekbeom?”

I put the seal on it as Hong Ok-rye started to doubt.

“……I want our nation to be the most beautiful in the world.”
“What?”

Hong Ok-rye raised her head at my sudden remark and stared at me. But I looked in the distance and continued.

“By this I do not mean the most powerful nation. Because I have felt the pain of being invaded by another nation, I do not want my nation to invade others.”
“W-Wait. That’s……”
“It is sufficient that our wealth makes our lives abundant; it is sufficient that our strength is able to prevent foreign invasions.”
“T-That’s Mr. Baekbeom often wrote in his letters…… How do you know even that?!”

‘I know it, obviously.’
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I read it in the Baekbeom Ilji (note: Also known as the Diary of Kim Gu) since I was in elementary school, and it was a famous quote that was rediscovered as the Korean Wave grew in the 21st century. It was a verse that anyone would be able to memorize since it had been posted again and again on so many online communities.

‘Flap……!’

With a picture of the Taegukgi. I ended the verse in front of Hong Ok-rye, who was listening dumbfounded.

“The only thing that I desire in infinite quantity is the power of a noble culture. This is because the power of culture both makes ourselves happy and gives happiness to others.”
“……!”

Hong Ok-rye just looked at me with a bewildered expression, unable to say anything for a while. I thought this would be enough and finally broke the silence.

“Do you understand, now? I and Lee Yu-ha are on a secret mission, acting according to the special mission Mr. Kim Gu gave us. So, I’m sorry, but neither I nor Lee Yu-ha can help you.”
“I…… I didn’t know……”
“Alright. So don’t hold any activities in school. No, not just in school but outside as well. The secret mission that Mr. Kim Gu gave me and Lee Yu-ha could be ruined.”

Now she didn’t try to refute me or resist me anymore. She seemed to have completely fall for what I had said. But,

“……I- Understood, Comrade Baek…….”

The way she spoke had suddenly changed, calling me comrade and being more formal. I waved my hand.

“Don’t call me comrade, that sounds cheesy. And you don’t need to be so formal with me. Lee Yu-ha alone is enough of that.”
“A-Alright.”

Good. This meant I wouldn’t get involved with her any longer. If I was on a secret mission specially given to me by Kim Gu, how would she be able to tell me to do this and that?

Of course, the only proof I had that I was on Kim Gu’s special mission were my words, but there wasn’t any evidence that I wasn’t either. Unless she asked Kim Gu directly, there was no chance of me getting caught lying.

At least until Kim Gu returns to Joseon after achieving independence.

‘Of course, by then I will be long gone to America.’

***

『Princess Shimazu.』

Renka, who was walking through the campus, looked back at the sound calling her, and was surprised by the unexpected figure. There stood a female Joseon student with aqua-tinted silver hair in daenggi-style looking at her. It was Lee Yu-ha.

『Lee-san.』

Renka bowed slightly to greet her. However, she thought this somehow felt strange. Although they could hardly say they didn’t know each other, it was the first time Lee Yu-ha had ever spoken to her first.

Of course, Renka had never spoken to Lee Yu-ha first, nor had they ever conversed. The only common thing they had was Baek Cheol-yeon, so they were the friend of a friend to each other.

So even though she felt it was strange, Renka smiled slightly and asked Lee Yu-ha.

『How may I help you, Lee-san?』
『I thought you maybe know, so I came to ask this but……』

Lee Yu-ha was going to ask Renka something, but she stopped speaking. Seeing Lee Yu-ha, Renka thought.

‘You national language skill has improved.’
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Although Renka had never directly spoken with Lee Yu-ha, she knew Lee Yu-ha’s Japanese was poor due to Osue’s reports and some indirect interactions.

The reason why Lee Yu-ha’s Japanese had already become this fluent was probably because she was always with Baek Cheol-yeon.

『…….』

For a moment, Renka thought about Baek Cheol-yeon who wasn’t there.

‘Why is it?’

Thanks to Baek Cheol-yeon, Renka was able to break free from the shackles from being engaged to Aoki-shosa. But, since the Aoki incident, for some reason it was awkward to face Baek Cheol-yeon, and it was also somewhat awkward to deal with Lee Yu-ha, who was always with Baek Cheol-yeon.

‘Of course, it is not because of sexual attraction.’

Renka thought. She didn’t have the time to think about relationships between men and women, and she had never felt anything like that in her life.

Nevertheless, what bothered her about Baek Cheol-yeon was probably because of the awe she felt for the strong.

‘So there is nothing for me to worry about.’

Renka, with this in her mind, quietly waited for Lee Yu-ha’s next words. However, Lee Yu-ha’s question was something that Renka hadn’t expected.

『By any chance, do you know where Baek Cheol-yeon is?…… No, if it is you I should use, maybe, the name Shirabayashi-kun……』

Hearing this question was surprising,

‘Why is she asking ME this?’

Renka thought. Rather, weren’t Lee Yu-ha and Baek Cheol-yeon in the same class and even in the same squad, and weren’t they almost always together on campus?

However, there was a reason why Lee Yu-ha had come to Renka to ask if she knew where Baek Cheol-yeon was.

After hearing the scream, Lee Yu-ha had ran to the otherworld botanical garden with Baek Cheol-yeon, but then suddenly realized he had disappeared. She wondered if she had lost him amidst the crowd, but that wasn’t it.

Where could he have suddenly gone?

She could have thought that he just went back home as school was over, but it was quite strange that he had suddenly disappeared without even saying goodbye to her, who had been with him until just seconds ago.

At least the Baek Cheol-yeon that Lee Yu-ha had seen so far would have done so. Lee Yu-ha knew that it was only when something happened that he would suddenly disappear.

And she knew that it would probably be linked to the fact that the otherworld biology professor was knocked out here. Lee Yu-ha had a hunch that something was happening again and that Baek Cheol-yeon was involved in it.

‘I have to help him this time, as well.’

Thought Lee Yu-ha.

He had been kind to her since the morning of the first day of school, and even thought she had been rude to him, assuming he was pro-Japan and looking down on him, Baek Cheol-yeon had even taken her side and been her friend.

When she was suffering from Choi Seong-gil, the fake Professor Saigane’s actions, he risked his life to protect her as if it was his own body. At the end of the day, it was Lee Yu-ha who had been helped.

Even though he was misunderstood, he was a good person.
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He was the person that guided her every time she made a mistake.

‘A friend I can rely on.’

Baek Cheol-yeon was such a person to Lee Yu-ha. He had, before she knew it, become someone that Lee Yu-ha absolutely needed to attend school.

So, if something happened to him, Lee Yu-ha thought that helping him herself was the right thing to do.

But, where would she find Baek Cheol-yeon when he disappeared without saying a word? The person that came to Lee Yu-ha’s mind was this Japanese female aristocrat name Shimazu Renka.

Since Lee Yu-ha had also seen Baek Cheol-yeon treat Renka without any restraint, she thought that Renka might know why Baek Cheol-yeon had disappeared.

Lee Yu-ha continued.

『The otherworld biology professor passed out and Baek Cheol-yeon, no, Shirabayashi-kun disappeared. I think something is happening, but I ask you because I know that you are close with Shirabayashi-kun as well.』

Looking at Lee Yu-ha say this with serious eyes, Renka, who had been wondering what was happening, slightly frowned, feeling that something had gone completely wrong.

『Shirabayashi-san has disappeared……?』


Translator’s Note:

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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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