What image comes to mind when you hear the word ‘hiding’?
In the mountains with good air and water, living quietly in a deep place where no one visits? Or living a leisurely life in the countryside, teaching children or farming, and turn your back on the glamorous past? Or it’s a free-spirited life that is likely to be cast in ‘I’m a Natural Person‘?
Maybe it’s a life where you live in a well-managed Hanok and enjoy the atmosphere.
“Then where should we go?”
What if I have to go too far? Mieum and Lime need me to feed them. Should I book a train ticket? It’s better to take KTX even if it’s a little expensive, right?
Still, it wasn’t all.
The place where Ki Yoohyun called me was completely unexpected.
“Ah, Rieul-ssi, you’re here.”
“Wait, I’m fighting my own prejudice.”
The next day, the place where Ki Yu-hyeon called me was in front of Cheonggyecheon, Cheonggye 3-ga.
When I went there at the appointed time, Ki Yoohyun was already waiting.
The black coat covering the long stretched body looked good on him. The large eyes beyond the thick-rimmed glasses found me and he smiled.
Whenever his slightly long black hair swayed gently in the wind, people passing by glanced at him.
As expected, he has a very striking appearance.
‘Why are you wearing those glasses?’
I don’t think his eyesight is bad. In the first place, Hunter’s physical ability improves upon awakening, so there is no one with poor eyesight.
Is he using it to cover his face?
Eh, that’s not possible.
It’s not a worldview where people can’t recognize your face by putting dots under your eyes or wearing glasses, and the glasses did not even cover his bright face in the slightest.
Behind Ki Yoohyun, there was a beverage advertisement shot by the 17th ranker, Hunter Oh Seoho, who is famous for his handsome looks, but honestly, he stood out more than the billboard.
Is he just wearing the glasses because he likes them?
Hmm, yes, let’s respect his taste.
“Is she here?”
I glanced around and parted my lips.
Cheonggyecheon Stream … is too urban for a reclusive master.
This street is also close to the store. I only need to take the subway, get off at Euljiro 3-ga Station, and walk a little to arrive.
The surrounding area was crowded with shops that were just opening, trucks carrying goods, and office workers who were busy walking.
“Please step aside for a moment.”
The man who was unloading a large box from the truck called me. I hurriedly moved sideways to avoid it.
It’s complex. The shopping district’s unique hustle and bustle was filling the surroundings. It was very different from the image of hiding that I had vaguely imagined. I thought it would be a nicer place with better air and good water….
Ki Yoohyun talked to me, who was reflecting on my own prejudice for a while.
“Come here, please.”
“Oh, let’s go!”
Ki Yoohyun made his way through the complex Cheonggyecheon shopping district. He walks fast, perhaps because of his long legs.
I hurried after him and he waited for me in front of the entrance of a narrow alley. A sign that read ‘Cheonggye 3-ga Workshop Street‘ was seen right next to it.
In the Cheonggyecheon area, there were originally small workshops of hunters of the item-making industry. There were also street vendors that handled rare items, so it was quite crowded until a few years ago. There was even a saying, ‘If it’s not in the Hunter Market, go to Cheonggyecheon’.
By the way….
“Are many places closed?”
Unlike the lively surroundings, ‘Cheonggye 3-ga Workshop Street’ had a lonely atmosphere. Although it was a weekday morning, there were more closed places than open places, and there was hardly any sign of human’s activities.
“As the hunters in the crafting industry gradually moved to large workshops, they declined a lot. It must have been a difficult environment for small workshops to survive.”
As I went into that old-fashioned alley for a long time, I saw a certain commercial building.
It was difficult to find the entrance because miscellaneous etheric ore and crafted items were laid out in front of it.
“Here it is.”
Ki Yoohyun opened the door that had been hidden in all sorts of things. There was a squeaking noise, noting how long no one had come and gone.
‘Is it okay to come in?’
I went to get an item and fell into a different world, this scenario is not going to happen, right?
I carefully shoved myself into the door.
Compared to the narrow entrance, the inside was unexpectedly wide. There was even a courtyard attached to the renovated old Hanok building. If it wasn’t for this courtyard, it would have been a pretty quiet atmosphere.
After a long walk in the long courtyard, we faced a door again. The signboard covered in dust had the words ‘Kim Deokyi’s Workshop’ written on it.
Screech. I opened the creaking glass door and went inside. Soon, a harsh voice was heard from inside the dusty grass.
“I must have locked the door, how did you get in?”
“It was open….”
“I already said that I don’t sell items anymore. Hurry up and go home.”
It was a small, skinny old lady who came out from the inside.
Her face was wrinkled, but her posture was straight and her voice was clear.
The old lady, who was not easily approachable, frowned when she looked at Ki Yoohyun and tried to kick him out as if she had nothing more to say.
I immediately remembered where I had seen this old lady. She’s the old lady from the consignment shop in the Hunter Market at that time! Someone who sold me a set of miscellaneous items and a ring for 50 rubies.
“Oh, Grandma! Hello!
I bowed my head in delight.
The Grandma, who was about to kick us out the door right away, was happy to see me.
“You are … we met at the Hunter Market back then.”
“Yes, that’s right. Ah, please call me Kwon Rieul.”
“I am Kim Deokyi. Come on in. I know you have come to see me.”
“…. Didn’t you tell me not to cross the threshold here?”
Ki Yoohyun smiled bitterly.
“Even if I say that, you still come as you please.”
Ki Yoohyun and Grandma knew each other, the world is small.
Wait, so this old lady is the reclusive master?
Come to think of it, thanks to the ring the Grandma gave me, I was able to roast coffee beans without going into the dungeon. No wonder it was good, it was an item made by a reclusive master. My respect flared up.
I immediately held out the ring with a red stone and said, “Grandma, I really enjoy using this ring you gave me before. Thank you!”
“Really? What did it work for?”
“Huh? Didn’t Grandma make it?”
“I made it, but it was luck that I completed it. All I did was pass it on to the right person.”
I think you’re being overly humble. What do you mean it was luck? A genius needs 99% skill and 1% luck.
Anyway, I answered Grandma’s question.
“This ring, it produces fire! I’m using it well for roasting coffee.”
The calm conversation was cut off and a cold silence filled the place.
The old lady looked at me with a mysterious expression that was hard to describe. She seemed astonished, and she also seemed to be devastated.
Next to me, Ki Yoohyun was holding back his laughter. I poked his ribs as a sign of asking why he was laughing, but there was no sign of him stopping laughing.
Don’t tell me … is it not supposed to be used to light fire?
However, Grandma soon said with a soft smile.
“I’m glad you’re using it well.”
Huh, that means it’s okay, right?
Grandma took us to the room inside the workshop. There were mountains of items piled up inside the workshop, and they all looked amazing. I asked, pointing to one of the strange-looking bottles.
“Woah, there’s a lot of interesting things here. What is this?”
“It’s a potion that temporarily erases your presence.”
“What about this?”
“A neutralizer used to control the effectiveness of an item.”
“That stick over there….”
“It’s an item with only the last deadline left.”
“This brush … woah, grandma. How did you draw on such a small place?”
“Ehem, that’s about….”
While looking at the items inside, I chatted with Grandma for a while.
There were many strange items in the workshop. As I reacted enthusiastically, I could see the corners of Grandma’s mouth slowly loosened. As expected, there is no one who dislikes compliments.
The inside of the workshop, which looked like a mess at first glance, was well organized by its own laws. All of the neutralizers and etheric potions were labeled, and the item crafting tools were shiny as if they had just been cleaned.
Without attachment, someone wouldn’t have managed it this carefully.
It seems that she still like crafting items, so why is she hiding?
After a moment’s hesitation, I asked cautiously.
“Are you not making items anymore?”
“May I ask why?”
“Not for any particular reason. I just did my mission.”
Grandma didn’t say much more, she only smiled and changed the subject.
“So, why are you here today?”
E-eh. I almost forgot my point.
As I looked around, I realized that a lot of time had passed.
“I’m actually here to ask you a favor. I’m looking for a dark etheric item. I was wondering if you knew how to get it.”
The surprised old lady soon said with a stiff expression.
“Why are you looking for it? Dark ethers can seriously harm people depending on how they are refined. If that’s the case, I can’t tell you.”
“No, not like that!”
I hurriedly waved my hand. Ki Yoohyun and everyone else’s reaction was bad, so I guess it’s a really dangerous thing.
“You can’t tell me the reason?”
“It’s not like that … I’m just not sure if you’ll believe me.”
“Let me listen and judge it for myself.”
“I need it to save my friend. For my friend … I need it.”
In order to avoid the interference of causality, there is not much that can be said, such as the story that a dark-attribute dungeon will appear soon or that Choi Yichan is going to die there.
I just said that it was a necessary item to acquire the skill to protect my friend’s body.
It must have been an insufficient explanation, but Grandma did not ask any further questions.
“It’s a small amount, but I still have an unrefined dark ether. It will be enough to make one small accessory.”
It was as if a halo was shining behind Grandma.
“Thank you! Thank you so much!”
“But instead of just giving it you, there is something I want Miss Rieul to do for me.”
“Yes? What is it? Please feel free to ask me anything!”
“I am looking for something left by someone. Her name is … Park Heesun.”
Uh, this name is….
“Is it my grandmother…..?”
Just in case you don’t know what Hanok looks like, it’s a traditional Korean house.