“Cough, cough! Agh…… Cough!”
I woke up to a splitting headache.
Only after I had coughed up blood for a while that I was able to come to my senses.
‘Huh, I actually managed to survive.’
The memories before I lost consciousness flashed through my mind.
An unexpected accident.
I lost consciousness thinking I would just die like that, but I guess I somehow managed to survive.
Had the rescue arrived, even if a little late?
I painfully raised my curled up upper body and looked around.
Contrary to my expectations, this was not a hospital where I woke up.
A small room, no bigger than about 70 square feet.
All you could call furniture were a small blanket closet and a small floor sitting table.
Other than that, all that there was in this room was a couple of coats hanging on the yellowed newspaper covered wall.
‘Where am I?’
I got up completely and walked towards the door.
As soon as I opened the door covered in window paper, fresh air and the outside caught my eye.
What I saw was a girl that looked about 16 years old hanging laundry to dry in a small yard.
I barely managed to call out to her.
“Hey, hah, student.”
Hearing my voice, the girl turned to me and replied with a grin.
“What do you mean student? If anything you, our guest, are the student! The only school I have been able to go to is a regular school.”
Guest? I’m a guest and a student? I was so dizzy I couldn’t understand what she was saying.
When I looked around the yard, it looked like any ordinary family house.
To be specific, it looked like a rural family house, the kind you would see in old dramas.
Why am I in a place like this instead of a hospital? If I had been saved by the rescue team, they would have taken me directly to a hospital.
Could it be that I was rescued by a civilian hunter and not a rescue team?
“Did you save me? And what’s this place…….”
“What do you mean by save you? Seriously, you came home late at night after going to Jingogae* yesterday, are you still drunk?”
*TL/N: Jingogae was the name given to a hill located in Seoul back during the Japanese colonial era.
It was located in the place that’s now known as Chungmuro-2 ga, a neighborhood in Seoul.
I imagine it’s one of the downtown locations in Seoul back during that era, having a lot of bars and entertainment businesses, hence the girl’s comments.
Drunk? I’m still drunk?
“It’s too late for breakfast.
Should I at least serve you lunch?”
I don’t know what’s happening.
I waved my hand in the same awkward pose, with only my head out the door.
“No, ah, no.
“Some people, seriously…….”
I left the girl shaking her head in disappointment behind, closed the door and crawled into the middle of the room and grabbed my head.
I didn’t understand what in the world was happening.
I let out a sigh and wiped my face down.
But I was suddenly startled by an unfamiliar sense of everything feeling out of place.
‘It’s so soft!’
Astonished, I looked closely at the hands that I had just taken off my face.
The hands were white and thin.
Compared to my own hands, these looked like a woman’s—
Fortunately, they were a man’s hands.
Even so, what was so surprising was that there were no signs of the calluses and scars that had been formed from my years of rolling around as a hunter.
I urgently looked around the room for a mirror.
Next to the floor sitting table a mirror, about the size of a palm, was hanging.
When I looked in the mirror, what was reflected was the face of a young boy about the age of a high school student.
‘Who…… in the world is this?’
It definitely wasn’t the face of a younger me.
Where had the original me gone, and why did I look like a boy that I’ve never seen before in my life?
Looking around the room again, I found a calendar hanging on the wall.
It was a calendar that, to say the least, looked retro, but in reality looked crude, and looked like it had been printed through engraving.
But what was even more surprising were the numbers printed on it.
昭和(Showa period) 14
四 月(Month April)
The year on the calendar was 1939.
This, is this the home owner, or that girl’s hobby? Did they hang this ancient calendar to decorate the interior on purpose because they like things that are “antique” or “retro”? There are people with all sorts of strange tastes in the world……!
But, if that’s not it.
It couldn’t be.’
I opened the door and stumbled across the yard barefoot.
“Hello? Dear guest?”
I ignored the girl who called me, surprised, and opened the gate across the yard.
As soon as I opened the gate I could see the scenery spread out over the narrow alleyway.
It looked like the house was located on a hillside.
Under the blue sky, I could see the spiky mountain range in the distance, and the city area extended wide beneath it.
Tiled houses and wooden buildings close to each other.
In between, I could also see large buildings made of grey cement or reddish-brown brick.
When I looked down somewhere closer, I could see people walking around the streets dressed in white jeoksams* and fedora hats, and every once in a while a man dressed in a suit passed by on a bicycle.
There were signs and flags in Chinese or Japanese hanging on the streets.
*TL/N: Jeoksam: A single-layered upper garment that is similar to jeogori, a traditional Korean upper garment.
I mean, this is……
‘……the Japanese Colonial Era?’
What I saw across the gate was the scenery of Seoul, or rather “Gyeongseong*”, of the Japanese colonial era that I saw in movies or dramas.
*TL/N: During the period of Japanese colonial Era, Seoul was referred to by the Japanese exonym Keijō (けいじょう or 京城), or Gyeongseong (경성; 京城) in Korean.
‘We are really in the year 1939?’
Whilst I was confused about what had happened, I suddenly remembered the wish I had made just before I lost consciousness.
‘Please send me back to the past.’
That was it.
I had definitely made such a wish.
Had God listened to my wish? But what I had meant with that wish was……
‘TO SEND ME BACK TO WHEN I WAS YOUNGER!’
However, it seemed this god that granted wish interpreted it a little differently.
Since I asked him to send me to the past, he literally sent me back in history.
‘I can’t believe it.’
However, whether it was from my wish or not, that fact that I had entered the body of a boy who lived in 1939, during the Japanese colonial era, was not a dream but reality.
‘But, even if it’s the past, why the Japanese colonial era?’
The more I thought, the stranger it was.
Even if the god that had heard my prayer to ‘send me back in time’ had misinterpreted it, why did it have to be the Japanese colonial era and not some other period?
Could there be a hidden purpose to all of this?
In the small chance that God, or whatever may be, had an intended purpose to all of this, why was I sent to this era? I tried to guess that purpose.
The reason why my spirit, that of a hunter, was sent to this era.
However, there was nothing I, a (former) hunter, could do in this era.
Not only was I not in the body that had awakened its powers, but the awakening ability of mankind had started in 2019 after the first gate incident happened.
In this era, 80 years before the gate incident would even occur, monsters that threatened mankind, let alone the awakening of abilities and magical powers, would not exist.
If so, it must be that.
This present period of Japanese occupation was definitely a dark period in history, but on the other hand, it was also a period where gates and monsters didn’t exist.
So, if I dare make a guess……
It’s clear that God’s intention in sending me to this era was in consideration for me, to forget everything about the gates, monsters and hunters, and live a normal life, since I’ve suffered so much so far.
While enjoying myself by using my knowledge of the future moderately!
‘Knowledge of the future, huh.
I never imagined awakening so late would help me in this way.’
In my 21st century life, I awakened at a late age, in my late twenties, so before that, as an ordinary person, I studied hard to enter into the job market and to get various qualifications.
I even graduated a four-year college, spoke a bit of English, and since I once wanted to become a civil servant, I had quite a bit of knowledge of Korean history.
So, if I can use my knowledge of the future I can lead a comfortable life.
I would be the perfect Hoi Bing-Hwan……!
Since I came back in time: “HOI-gui”*; since I received another person’s body: BING-eui*; and since I get to live another life: HWAN-saeng*.
Now that Hoi Bing-Hwan had become certain, there was nothing for me to worry about anymore.
*TL/N: HOI-gui: to go back, BING-eui: possession, HWAN-saeng: reincarnation
‘This is a second life that God has given me.
A second chance!’
“Sorry, dear guest?”
After having seen me standing at the gate for a while in my delusion, the girl came to me asking, with worried look on her face.
“Are you okay?”
Yeah, I’m fine.
I’m sober now.
Since I took some fresh air, yeah…….”
After evading her question like that I ran away, back into the room.
And I looked at myself in the mirror once again.
In the mirror, it was still the face of an unfamiliar boy that was staring back at me.
Who was this boy? Since I would have to live my second life as this boy I would have to at least learn what kind of person he was.
I put the mirror back down and slowly looked around the room.
In the small room there were no significant living amenities or artefacts apart from the small table and the closet.
It felt like a boarding room for someone who had just started living alone.
‘That girl called me ‘student’ and ‘guest’, right?’
Just as she had said, on the wall a black school uniform that looked new was hanging.
I could make the guess that I had just come to Seoul from the countryside to attend a school and stay here.
As I got close to see, the old-style black school uniform had a badge that read “白林哲然(Baekrim Cheol-yeon)”.
‘The name is 4 letters long?’
I wondered why I had a 4 letter name but I realized after a bit.
‘It’s the Japanese Colonial Era!’
Even if the “Cheol-yeon” at the back might be the original name the front “Baekrim(白林)” was probably a Japanese style surname.
In other words, it was name due to the Japanese Name-Changing Program! Wow, so this is the sorrow of losing your country?
Inside the front pocket of the uniform, there was a wallet with yellowed Japanese money.
There was obviously no student ID card like we have in the 21st century, but there were some folded pieces of paper.
When I unfolded them I saw they were documents written in Japanese.
I don’t know that much Japaneses…… What?’
But I could easily read what was written on them.
Was this because I had po
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