Chapter 103

‘Change is by no means always good…’ San thought.

One of the changes he was referring to was Biyeon’s appearance. The shape of her face didn’t really change, but the subtle lines that weren't visibly apparent to the naked eye had changed.

From one laugh or one change in facial expression, her entire being could exude openness and attraction, causing people to feel closer to her without reason. When the non-visible subtle lines changed for someone, another’s emotional response to that person would also change.

‘If we figure out that secret, all the Korean plastic surgeons will be ruined…’

A deafening silence flowed between them for a while.

The voice of their assistant, Yumia, rang out“Uhm- Director?”

“?”

“I think you may be late for the Count’s luncheon?” 

“Is it time already?” San responded.

“Oh, there’s a special guest today!” Biyeon cried out.

Their next moves happened surprisingly quickly. San took the lead and walked forward. Biyeon seemed to disappear for a moment but then reappeared next to San with her arms wrapped around his. The sequence of their movements was quick yet naturalIn contrast to their leisurely pace, the hem of Biyeon’s azure scarf fluttered vigorously backward. A bright smile spread on Yumia’s face as she looked at their receding backs.

‘I always pray that you'll be with us forever…’

***

“Hello!”

“Hi!”

“Dono’s grades have risen a lot! Congratulations…”

“Yes… thanks… eh… is that so?”

San and Biyeon greeted Dono’s father. He tried replying, but the two were already ten steps past him when his mouth opened.

“Did your mother get better?”

“Yes…? Ah! Yes… thank you. Uh-Uhm…”

A lawyer, ‘Anon’, bowed his head and expressed his gratitude in the direction where the two were heading. San and Biyeon had always been this way. They seemed to come and go like the wind.

“Oh, you’re absolutely glowing today. Did you get a proposal from your lover?”

“Uh… yes… it happened yesterday… that’s…”

Dane bowed her head towards their backs. Thanks to them, she achieved the love she dreamt of.

“They’re coming in now, the old man, who had combed his hair neatly, said, looking out the window from the third floor. He carried a warrior’s gait and a strong muscular body, but the overall impression he gave off was somewhat warm and comforting. He was dressed in a simple leather jacket and comfortable pants, so his clothes weren’t flashy. His style of dress was not found anywhere else on the continent, but thanks to the sophisticated patrons who supported him, he was enjoying this convenience before it became popularized by the others. He was Count Essen.

“Those young people…?” Rain muttered briefly.

“It’s really surprising. No matter how I look at them, I can't help but think that they're backward villagers. Their outfits are so simple. Such vulgar tastes… Are those people planning to attend a Count’s luncheon like that? In that manner of dress?” Gun said beside Rain with his head tilted to one side.

“Well... yes, but... isn’t it too early for you to make conclusions? Looking at the vast work and achievements done on this estate…” Rain replied.

“Not really… If I were them, I would look for a city-state on the southern coast. There are many more diverse and outstanding talents to utilize there,” Gun replied.

“Stop it with your nonsense! I didn’t ask you to follow me, okay?” Rain retorted.

“Oh, I feel so unappreciated. Are you not able to acknowledge my hard work in protecting and accompanying you to this point?”

Gun shrugged. It was a playful look.

“I didn’t ask for you to come. You just have to stick to your original purpose for coming here, alright?”

“…”

At that time, Count Essen quietly intervened in the two’s conversation.

“I might be too presumptuous, but may I give you some advice?”

“?”

The two stopped talking and fixed their eyes on the Count. Gun was showing disdain. A local noble dared to interject in his conversation… However, Gun shut his mouth when he saw Rain’s ferocious expression focused on him. Rain signaled the Count to continue.

“I’m not sure why you’re looking for them, but I ask you to consider not forcing them to say or do something against their will. They hate it very much,” said the Count.

“Didn’t you say that they are wise people?” Rain asked.

“They probably are,” the Count replied.

“Probably are? Are you still not sure yourself?”

“I never thought of myself as unsure.”

“The wise like to argue and discuss heatedly, will that not be possible?”

“They don’t like talking a lot.”

“Then how do you know they are wise?”

Once some time passed, I found out on my own.”

“After some time? You said you hired them, right? That’s a very irresponsible answer for someone who is placing his trust in them,” Gun quipped with a sarcastic tone.

“Honestly, I’m relatively dull, so I still don’t know. What I know for sure is that if you don’t win their hearts, they will never give you what you want,” the Count said with a bitter smile.

This is becoming more and more of a spectacle. Hey, count of the countryside. They don’t have the right to refuse me, okay? Do you really believe in what you’re saying? Isn’t it that you don’t know how the world works anymore after expanding your power a little in this remote area? Does it make sense that a countryside count can hire them, but we can’t? Are you really thinking that your logic makes sense?” Gun went on.

Gun! Stop it! I hope you keep in mind that this is my work!” Rain growled. 

Gun glanced at Rain and turned his head around.

Rain settled down and looked towards the entrance. There, two people were entering the luncheon while laughing out loud. 

***

“Very good to see you again, Count Essen,” San said as he greeted the Count with a bright smile.

“It’s been ten days. It is good to see you again as well, Mister San.”

“After completing some tricky assignments, I feel relieved,” Biyeon commented from San's side.

Count Essen’s gaze soon went to Biyeon. The Count’s eyes also opened slightly wider before settling back down.

“Wow… Miss Biyeon becomes more beautiful every time we meet. What’s your secret?”

“I must eat three full meals a day, no matter what.”

“…?!”

The Count glanced at Biyeon for a while and then laughed with his head bent backward. It was a form of speech that he’d already grown accustomed to.

“In the morning, she forced herself to eat all the leftover meat imported from the neighboring province, so she’s not in a normal state right now,” San said as he walked past the two. 

Biyeon glanced at San and smiled. However, her gaze remained somewhere behind the Count.

San and Biyeon happily greeted the Count’s wives and children in succession. They gathered and dined together every ten days. It was a time the Count’s children, as well as the young, old, and lower nobility eagerly waited for the most.

Their luncheons were always pleasant, and it was also a time to experience new and exciting cultural experiences and stimulating discussions. Of course, it was also a venue for the formation of public opinion that carried new innovations and political rules throughout the Count’s territories. When the two were persuaded, the Count’s job became easier. Of course, the Count was already very well off due to these two supporters. The Count’s main thoughts these days revolved around what he needed to do with his overflowing coffers, which only grew more with each passing day…

Before everyone moved to the dining table where the luncheon was to be held, the gathered members greeted each other and made small talk in a reception area decorated like a modern cocktail-party lounge. Attendants could be seen carrying food. Biyeon’s eyes shone. The ‘observer’, who had stimulated her sensitive nerves when she walked in, was finally approaching.

It wasn’t a strong or threatening human. However, she sensed something strange about this person. The person gave off a deep smell of paper, unlike anyone else in this world. There was also a smell of fishy ink mixed in.

San casually leaned against a wall while holding a large glass of fruit wine. He didn’t have much of a hobby in the nobles’ chit-chat. Next to him was the 20-year-old Yesil, the much more mature Yeria, and the Yekin couple.

“You are Miss Biyeon? My name is Rain,” Rain, who had walked straight up to Biyeon, spoke first. 

Gun followed right behind Rain. He glanced at Biyeon, opening his eyes wide for a moment before they returned back to normal. He then narrowed his eyes. He took deep breaths to calm his ragged breathing. Meanwhile, he shifted his eyes at San, who he saw walking in with Biyeon just a moment ago. It was a male instinct. San was quietly enjoying a conversation with the Count’s people in the corner of the lounge. He gave off the appearance that he didn’t care what went on with Biyeon.

Well… it wouldn’t have really mattered to Gun if the man called 'San' felt slighted or concerned. It was the first time Gun felt that this trip was not a total waste of his time.

“Rain… I like the feeling your name gives off. Is it your real name?” Biyeon replied naturally, biting into a piece of cake. There was some cake powder that remained on the tail of her mouth. Rain strangely felt that Biyeon looked cute and pretty.

“Yes, Rain is my real name. Even though it’s my real name, it’s unfamiliar to me because no one calls me by my name…” Rain covered her mouth and laughed.

“That’s a shame. My name is definitely mine, but it’s others who use it… but it wouldn't be fun if there was no one to call my name.”

“Why do you think so?”

“Because it’s one of two things. A person who hides one’s original name is in a position that is so terrifying that the name cannot be said carelessly. Or maybe the person doesn’t have enough of a presence to have one's name called aloud.”

“That’s an interesting point of view. However, is it that bad to be in one of those positions?”

“What they have in common is that there’s not much one can do with their own name. Rain is probably the former case, right? Would you like to try this snack? It’s very delicious.”

“Snack?”

“It’s made with three grains, and it’s very sweet and savory. In the Imperial Palace, of course, there are probably many more delicious things, but this is also worth eating as a delicacy in these parts.”

Biyeon picked up a snack and recommended it to Rain.

Rain’s mouth opened and closed briefly without uttering any words. Her eyes were wide from surprise. She accepted the recommended snack. She felt a chill run down her back.

“How? How did you know?”

“I don’t think a noblewoman of such stature has anything to do with me, right?” asked Biyeon. 

Rain stared at Biyeon’s eyes with the snack still in her hand.

“I've come this far because I have work to do. It seems Miss Biyeon already knows why I’m here?”

“I don’t have the skill of looking into someone’s head.”

Rain was still staring intently into Biyeon’s eyes. All the senses in her body seemed to be boiling upwards, making her head feel heavy. She felt as if the countless people who had challenged her up to now were intently watching and judging her. A bit of saliva started pooling inside her mouth.

“I’m looking for someone. Unfortunately, I haven’t found that person yet. However, someone told me that if I come here, I would find that person,” Rain finally managed to say.

“Probably, someone with the last name of Han told you this, right?”

“I’m sorry, I’m not able to confirm.”

“He’s a very narrow-minded old man. Don’t listen to the old man’s stories. And finding people is not our business. If you ask the Dark Guilds, they’ll kindly assist you. I heard recently, they even helped find a dog that had run away from its owner’s house. They safely brought the dog back to the owner. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help. If you’ll excuse me…”

Biyeon smiled brightly and stepped into the dining area. She perceived that Rain was staring at her with a face of astonishment, and the expression of the man who followed Rain like a dog, Gun, displayed the same expression.

“I heard you are looking for ‘A-Pian’ (Apian)?” Rain suddenly muttered in a low voice.

Biyeon stopped walking and stood tall.

In the distance, San gazed towards them.

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