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“Oh, Director Cha. How long have I been in Jungcheon?”
“You’ve been here for 3 hours and 11 minutes.”
As soon as a specific time came out of Ji-Won’s mouth, Gaon, who realized that she had disappeared without a proper explanation in a hurry, looked sorry. Gosh, he must have been looking at the clock all the time, feeling anxious. He’s so skillful that she keeps forgetting that he’s a beginner.
“No, I’ve only been watching from behind, but the CEO’s face seems hurt. Did the old man cause a lot of disturbance in Jungcheon?”
“A little. Still, I sent him safely to the place he deserves. We have to go back to London now.”
When they came out of the mansion, the traces of the heavy rain that had been pouring mercilessly disappeared, and the clear sky with shining stars welcomed them. Gaon, who looked back at the old mansion where evil energy had disappeared, got into the car with a nod of satisfaction. In the future, girls of this family will not be killed for no reason at a young age.
Of course, she wouldn’t do anything to spite anyone again. There should be a sincere apology for the victim. Although the price paid by descendants was a high amount due to the fault of their ancestors, they would not have provided an excuse to the evil spirit if there was no one who did evil in the first place.
“Sir, would you look at me for a moment?”
When Gaon, who had been burying herself in a soft blanket while organizing things to ask the Head of Rosenvalov family, turned her head reflexively to Ji-Won’s demand, Ji-Won wearing sanitary gloves, was seen holding a bottle of disinfection.
“You’ve injured your face. It’s not a wound that looks like it’s going to get worse, but it’s better to apply medicine because it’s the face.”
Gaon nodded and applied disinfection on a cotton swab and spread it gently on the wound. There was a slight sting, but Gaon tried not to make a face. Ji-Won, who had a very serious face, was so diligently taking care of her that the sharp pain was nothing in contrast with that. So she couldn’t express her pain.
“By the way, Sir.”
“How did you know that the old man was not the real Archduke Rosenvalov? He looked pretty real to me. There was nothing awkward about the way he spoke and walked.”
“It wasn’t me. I didn’t recognize him at a glance either. If it wasn’t for Director Cha’s point, I would have noticed it much later.”
“Yes. You said that the face in the portrait was the face of a man in his 30s.”
The dead usually take their forms as they are. Therefore, the appearance rarely changes significantly from the time of death to any age of their lives. So she thought it was somewhat unnatural that the evil spirit had the same face as the portrait of the young man. The deceased, who imitated Archduke Rosenvalov, probably refined himself by looking at the portrait every day.
“The decisive thing was the hand. The hands of an aristocrat could never be rough and rugged. He was able to copy the surface, but he couldn’t copy fully. He must not have known how much the aristocrats of that era cared for their hands. It’s a bittersweet thing.”
“I thought the CEO was able to tell that only by looking at the deceased’s face.”
Gaon, who smiled quietly, shook her head gently. Perhaps because both her body and mind became drowsy after heavy work, her inner thoughts, which she had never told anyone before, flowed out without her realizing it.
“Director Cha. I am not a god. I’m just struggling to pass my term safely because I am playing the role of a judge. Now I’m getting more experienced and more sensible as time passes. I just looked at the old man’s hand and was able to guess everything. But at first, I was a real mess. For about 30 years, I wanted to cry every day and run away from such a heavy responsibility.”
Gaon still vividly remembers the day when she first saw an empty Jungcheon with nothing in it. She still clearly remembers the face of the deceased who stood in front of her for the first time on the day she started her mission as a judge. When the ugliness that she never wanted to show in front of others was listed one by one, Gaon finally realized how heavy and scary the responsibility was given to her.
“I order you to go to Hell.”
She will never forget the moment when she gave the final command to the deceased while holding her trembling hands for the first time. The conclusion was the same even if she spent countless nights reflecting on it a thousand times, but the regret that she might have given too cruel punishment to a soul that could be saved has been difficult for Gaon to accept for a very long time.
“Gaon. You’d better set up a system so that you don’t face the dead face to face. If you use up your emotions like this, you’ll get tired in a short time. Even if you’re guaranteed to live a thousand years, it doesn’t even remain your own life if you keep struggling like this. It is also irresponsible of the owner of Jungcheon to abandon her place in the middle. I’m not talking about duty. I’m worried about your soul.”
It was a great decision to take Chaeyi’s advice. If the system had not been established at that time, it would have been physically impossible for Gaon to handle the exponentially growing population. There were many difficulties, but when the plague spread in Europe, she was so relieved that she patted her chest in comfort. She heard that the war was the hardest and fiercest when it broke out. No war in the world kills 100 million people in just seven years.
“It’s either become the Head of Jungcheon or don’t. I’m no different from the guides on duty. I can only distinguish the truth from the lies, but not all the lives of the deceased are visible to me in detail. It’s just that I’ve lived longer than Director Cha, so I’ve got the hang of it that much.”
Gaon, who seemed to have said too many useless things, smiled quietly, and closed her mouth with a little embarrassed face. There was a pile of things Ji-Won wanted to ask, but he couldn’t say anything more seeing her melancholy expression.
Arriving in London at dawn, the two of them relaxed for a while. Gaon was finally able to sleep well without thinking for the first time in a long time. After she woke up slowly, Ji-Won, who had already been groomed, was making calls here and there to adjust Gaon’s future schedule.
“CEO. The reserved flight is tomorrow night’s flight, but if you want to return home today, the Chief of Security will immediately book an Air Charter. What do you say?”
“You don’t have to. I’m going to ride it alone. What do you mean booking the entire plane? It’s a waste of money. Tell them that we’ll be returning tomorrow as scheduled.”
Gaon decided to stay in London for one more day because she didn’t want to make many people busy, but after having a late lunch, she had nothing else to do. What was there to see in London…. She couldn’t sleep any more, so she thought it would be great to walk around. Ji-Won stared at Gaon, who was looking at the air with a thoughtful face, and carefully suggested.
“CEO, if you don’t have anything else you want to do, would you like to go to Sotheby’s Preview with me? When the auction is over, a personal collection of the organiser’s would be shown. Most of the works are pretty high-end and you may never be seen in person again. So it is worth seeing at least once.”
Director Cha will also stop by anyway, so wouldn’t it bother him much if I followed him? No. Should I tell the tell person who was dragged out half way during vacation to stop cleaning up after the boss? Ji-Won laughed a little inwardly when he saw Gaon, who couldn’t make up her mind easily, was pondering so hard. Are my eyes playing tricks on me? Why doesn’t anyone know what’s inside of a person who reveals every emotion on her face?
“I’ll be bored if I go alone, so please go with me. It’s fun to watch it together.”
“Then…, shall we?”
Gaon, who had visited the exhibition hall after a long time, seemed to be enjoying it much more than he expected. She didn’t appreciate each work with great care, but sometimes when she saw a work that she liked very much, she was so immersed that she didn’t even notice that she bumped into the person next to her. Then, when Ji-Won stood in front of a glass vase, which was his original purpose of visiting London, Gaon unknowingly uttered a small exclamation.
Gaon stared at the beautiful vase in the shape of a flower with a harmonious mixture of purple and wine red for a very long time. On the other hand, Ji-Won, who was staring at Gaon without even giving an eye to the much desired vase, barely swallowed the abusive language that was about to burst out, and closed his eyes tightly before opening them. Her cheeks flushed like a child, and eyes soaked with admiration, could not look so pretty.
I’m in trouble. I’m doomed. Cha Ji-Won, you’ve gone crazy. You have a crush on a woman who you don’t even know if she’s a human or not. As soon as Ji-Won became aware of his heart, the behaviors that he had never understood why he did were explained very clearly in an instant. He was so ridiculously fascinated about this woman’s face from the start. Yeah, actually, I thought it was just because I’m too kind.
Now what? As he was looking at the ceiling with a stunned face, a vibration rang in his pocket. When he checked, it was a phone call from a friend whom he was supposed to meet in London. When he realized that he had completely forgotten his promise with his friend, he just laughed ridiculously.
“Director Cha, didn’t you get a call?”
Ji-Won, who simply hung up on his friend like a 10 year old boy in love, quickly sent a one-handed message explaining his situation.
[Sorry. Something urgent came up, so I’m just going back. See you next time.]
“When is the auction?”
“It’s next Friday. Don’t worry, because now that I saw it in person I just can participate in the auction online or send an agent.”
The next night, Ji-Won, who eventually got on the plane to Jungcheon, sighed silently and constantly, looking alternately at the dark night sky and Gaon’s beautifully asleep face.
“A whisky, please. Johnny Walker, strong.”
He had vowed not to drink alcohol during his business trip, but now alcohol is desperately needed to calm down. As he inhaled the 40-degree Scotch whisky like water, a thrilling energy went down the esophagus as if he had swallowed a fire. Sadly, it was not enough to soothe the complicated and noisy heart.
A man in a loose, loose-fitting gown was sitting crookedly in a large, splendidly decorated chair, looking down at the sinners with a languid face. It was the judges who decided the sentence anyway, so he didn’t have to step up himself. Ha-Yul, who was just sitting by to create an atmosphere of fear, couldn’t stand the boredom and jumped up.
I’m bored again today. I’m gonna go take a nap. Ha-Yul was about to leave the Beopgung Palace, stopped walking with a slightly interesting face when he saw a shabby-looking dead man was dragged inside. Well, the big shot who died in the 18th century is here?
“Oliver Mason. 350 years in prison for one human trafficking, 34 murders….”
“Wait a minute.”
Ha-Yul, who was looking closely at the very frightened deceased, lifted his chin and gritted his teeth fiercely, flashing red eyes.
Isn’t he the old man from Chester? He dared to make a busy woman go all the way to the countryside? Because of guys like you, I can’t even look at her face once! Ha-Yul proudly looked down at the trembling dead and made a bold decision out of the blue.
“Since the criminal did not follow the instructions of the extradition and caused a great deal of trouble to the heavy duty, it shall be executed by doubling the sentence sentenced by the judge.”
‘Oh, Ju-on is really being harsh at this time. He could just kill him with his sword, so simple. No need to go all out for such a simple thing, tsk. I’m sure that’s why she’s taken away from him in the first place.’
Ha-Yul, who caught the afterimage of the deceased’s last memory with a languid gesture and floated it in the air, smiled happily with his mouth wide open. It was a small pleasure that felt like a gift in a boring daily life.
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