Chapter 208 – Finally, to there… (1)
“That is a legacy that must be returned. It shouldn’t be concealed in a room without a ray of light.”
Hadake frowned hard and asked, “I really cannot understand you Koreans. Why are you so obsessed with An Gyeon’s Mongyudowondo? Tenri University has allowed Korea to exhibit it for three times. Isn’t that enough? Do you really have to take it back? It is being cared well, just leave it where it is.”
Haejin thought Hadake was so shameless for him to say such things as he led the artifact smuggling process.
“Huh! Aren’t you ashamed of babbling such nonsense? You have stolen countless artifacts from Korea!” Haejin replied.
“They wouldn’t have been taken cared of properly if they had stayed there. Wasn’t it a better choice for their preservation to bring them to Japan?” Hadake asked back.
“Get rid of that bullshit. You think I don’t know Japanese art historians are hiding Mongyudowondo so hard because they want to keep it more than anything?”
When asked to choose just one painting of Korean art, most art historians would pick Mongyudowondo.
Even Hadake couldn’t deny it. He put his hands together and asked, “If you know that, you must know it would be hard to take it back. Let’s say you know the president’s secret. How are you going to take it? Are you going to swim to Korea with it?”
“That is my problem. So, shut up and die, or give me that secret. Make a choice. There isn’t much time,” Haejin replied.
Hadake looked at Haejin’s firm face and sighed, “Hu… it looks like I still fear death, even at this age. Okay, fine. Sasaki Takaeshi, Tenri University’s president, has a girlfriend.”
Haejin wondered how it could be Sasaki’s weak point, but what Hadake said next made him immediately understand.
“Was she a sophomore of Tenri University? He is having an affair with one of his students. That is the only thing I know.”
It was a weak point, indeed… but it wasn’t enough to make him give up the painting.
“Is that all?” Haejin asked.
“Yes. I will give you Sasaki’s address, so leave now. Take that painting and get out of here.”
Hadake wrote the address for Haejin and turned his wheelchair to go into his room.
Haejin had asked the last question with magic. So, he knew Hadake meant it. He realized he had no more questions and left, leaving the gun behind.
He didn’t worry about being pursued. He thought he would be able to win the fight anyway.
No one followed him.
Haejin couldn’t give it up there, so he went to Tenri. He thought he might be able to think of a way once he met Sasaki Takaeshi.
On the way, he kept questioning himself if this was necessary, but he couldn’t stop.
Maybe his instincts knew. He would not be able to come back from the trip to Antarctica. That was why he was doing this.
It was easy to find Sasaki as Hadake had given his address. Actually, it wouldn’t have been a problem even without the address as he had to be at Tenri University.
The problem was how to make him give up the painting…
Haejin went to the university first. He wondered how he could meet Sasaki, but then he decided to just go and went to the president’s office.
“I would like to donate money for a scholarship. I wish to meet the president to discuss the procedure…”
Surprisingly, it allowed him to go into the president’s office in less than five minutes.
Sasaki Takaeshi was a stubborn old scholar.
“Such a young gentleman with great ideals. We are happy to…”
Sasaki smiled, but Haejin cut his talking.
“I came to see An Gyeon’s Mongyudowondo.”
Sasaki’s expression turned cold and said, “You’re a Korean. Never! You said you wanted to donate, and that’s what you are really after. Never. I will never show you the painting.”
It looked like blackmailing him for his personal faults wasn’t going to work. No, he wasn’t going to back off no matter how much he got humiliated.
Then there was only one way left.
“Please return Mongyudowondo to Korea. It would be even better if you return the Korean artifacts you illegally got.”
Sasaki was now in a daze. His mouth opened and nodded, “Okay… okay…”
This was only possible as Haejin had met Sasaki in private by saying he wanted to donate, but he would have still made a chance to meet him in private.
Sasaki was going to suffer some serious side effects because of the spell, but Haejin left him in his office and headed to Niigata Port.
He couldn’t go back on a plane. As he was carrying a painting, he had to leave Japan in secret on a ship, and it wasn’t a problem as he knew a man in the National Intelligence Service.
When he went back to Korea, he went to his museum and showed the painting to Eunhae. However, she was already shocked by something else.
“Have you seen the news? President of Tenri University has…”
“What? Has he announced to return Mongyudowondo?” Haejin asked.
“Oh! How did you know? Was…” Eunhae looked around and lowered her voice, “Was it your doing? He has promised to return most Korean artifacts owned by the university and shocked all of Japan!”
Haejin smiled and nodded, “Yes, it was me.”
“Wow… how did you manage it?”
“That’s secret. Don’t ask further,” Haejin replied.
“Huh…” Eunhae looked very disappointed, but Haejin thought it was better for her to not know.
Although she already knew about magic, if she got to know how he had forced Sasaki’s mind to decide to return the painting, she was probably going to fear him.
“Then, when are you going to leave?” Eunhae asked.
“I’ve booked a flight to New Zealand that leaves on Monday. I will take a plane to Antarctica from there.”
Haejin had gotten permission from the governments of Korea, America, and New Zealand to get that plane from New Zealand to Antarctica.
Of course, Eric Holton had made it possible.
“Hua… so, you are really going. Isn’t it dangerous there? How cold is the North Pole? What if you freeze to death?” Eunhae was worried, but she knew she couldn’t make Haejin change his mind.
“Don’t worry. I’ll come back safe. Oh, and which museum is going to keep the artifacts that Tenri University will return?” Haejin asked.
“As they haven’t said anything, I guess they will go to the National Museum,” Eunhae replied.
Haejin wanted to keep them in his museum, of course, but he told himself it was right to give them up.
“I guess you are right.”
“Haha! Of course, when the returning process starts, I will try to get some of them. We have that much power,” Eunhae mentioned.
Considering the friends Eunhae had and how Haejin had brought back many Korean artifacts from abroad, it sounded likely, but both of them knew it was impossible.
“Okay, I’ll look forward to it,” Haejin then said.
“Now go home and get some rest.”
Haejin turned to leave, but Eunhae grabbed his arm. He looked back.
“Hey… just be safe, okay?”
“Don’t worry,” Haejin spoke as if nothing was wrong, but he couldn’t concentrate on work because of his fear and excitement.
Eventually, he decided not to work until he went to Antarctica, saying he had to take some rest after the long trip.
He didn’t want to waste energy on appraising.
When Haejin went home, he was surprised. He saw Silvia smiling at him.
“How did you get in?”
“I asked the janitor. I can do some simple charming magic,” Silvia replied.
“I should stay on bed for a few days after using it. Actually, I just got up.”
Silvia was wearing Haejin’s shirt and shorts. She used to meet Haejin only when she was looked perfect, so she looked very different now.
In the end, it meant she had had a reason why she had to do it.
“What’s wrong? There must have been a reason why you used magic suffering such a side effect,” Haejin sat down on his bed and asked.
Silvia stroked down her face and said, “It looks like what we took care of in Italy isn’t over yet.”
Haejin’s heart dropped. He grabbed Silvia’s shoulders and yelled, “What? What happened while I was gone?”
Silvia looked down and spoke with fear, “They came looking for me. They were not priests, but I could tell. So, I escaped. If you hadn’t come today, I wouldn’t have been able to wait here any longer.”
Haejin couldn’t believe it. Cardinal Pierosa, who he had killed, was the leader of Trinitatis.
He had figured that out with magic, so it had to be right…
“Let’s go, now.”
Haejin told Silvia to get changed and put arctic clothes in a huge carrier.
He hadn’t booked a flight, but as he didn’t know what kind of abilities his pursuers had, he thought it would be rather safer to wait at the airport.
He finished packing and left his home in less than 30 minutes.
He called Eric to ask him to change the flight’s time and went into the parking lot. At that moment, he could feel his hair erecting high.
If he hadn’t instinctively rolled to the side with Silvia, they would have lost their heads.
He moved between cars to dodge the bullets. Then, he threw Silvia in his car and climbed into the driver’s seat.
There were three masked men, and they all had shotguns.
Haejin had been bracing himself for such a thing. However, now that there were three men firing a gun at him, he didn’t dare to make them sleep with magic. At least they didn’t have a body strengthening spell. If they had it, they would have grabbed Haejin and Silvia before they could even get into the car.
“What, what? Isn’t this the sound of guns? Are you filming a movie or something?”
Eric was still on the line. Haejin could hear his voice from the car’s speaker that was linked with his phone on Bluetooth.
“I’m leaving earlier than planned. You must advance the flight from New Zealand to the North Pole!”