Chapter 50: Needle in a Haystack (4)
Haejin assumed that his magic had evolved because of Lee Shian’s ring.
Lee Shian had been wearing it a long time, but it turned dull only now. It meant he had never used it
while wearing it.
It also meant Lee Shian couldn’t use magic.
“Khmm… then let me explain.”
The painting was tragic, even to ignorant eyes. There was a man with a towel wrapped around his
face in a tub. There was a piece of paper in his left hand, and his right hand with a quell was dropped.
It was Jacques-Louis David’s The Death of Marat. Lee Shian chimed in before Haejin could start
“That painting is in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium. You must have a great
The comment was so correct and logical. However, there was a reason why Haejin had brought that
First, he couldn’t find any evidence of forgery in the painting. There were many paintings that didn’t
have proof of forging in that room; however, the presence from Jacques-Louis David’s painting was
“You told me earlier that the reason matters… if this is fake, why?”
If you become the superior and start teaching others, you sometimes forget to look back upon
Lee Shian flinched at the abrupt question. However, he soon approached the painting and pointed at
the man’s face.
His face had a very faint smile that didn’t match with the dark mood.
“When David painted this, he still had a passion for the French Revolution. So, he would never have
made fun of Marat’s death. He made Marat’s dead posture resemble that of Christ’s.”
David was the best political artist in history. He helped the French Revolution happen. His Oath of the
Horatii is explained that it was meant to urge the French to join the revolution.
If Haejin hadn’t used magic, he would have absolutely agreed with Lee Shian.
So, he planned to pass this painting. However, he couldn’t ignore the smile on Marat’s lips.
It could not be a mistake as the muscles, skin, and even the veins on the arm were so delicately
Finally, he used magic to look into the past. He could see David being tormented after finishing The
Death of Marat.
The smile of the dead Marat would certainly cause a controversy, but David had been extremely
shocked by his death.
The ideal of the French Revolution had been corrupted and, after Marat, who had been called the
Friend of the People, was killed in a bathtub, he started to rethink thoroughly about the revolution he
had believed in.
Finally, David drew another painting. His apprentice, Francois Gerad, painted the face and finished
He couldn’t burn the first painting and hid it in the warehouse of his house, thinking it would be gone
without anyone noticing… but the warehouse was opened.
Even Haejin hadn’t seen that coming. It was partly because his mana had increased, but certainly,
Lee Shian’s ring had a part on it.
He saw the whole past of the painting till the modern age.
David’s real The Death of Marat was stolen by a German soldier. On his way, he was ambushed
before he could cross the border, so he hid it and ran away.
Then, someone, who knew about this secret hiding place, took all paintings the German soldier had
hidden there and sold them to a Jewish art dealer. However, on his way to China, that art dealer was
caught by a Japanese soldier.
The Japanese officer didn’t know about the value of the works of art, so he sold David’s painting to
buy a girl he wanted and hid the rest near Shenzhen, China. He planned to get them back after the
However, unfortunately, a battle took place when he was about to make the deal and he died.
Eventually, David’s real painting went to Jason Chang in Hong Kong and showed itself now.
Haejin thought that verifying its authenticity would be enough… but he saw something much more
“Do you think the smile of the artist is a mistake?”
“What else could it be?”
“Look how natural the expression is. How can this be a mistake? The artist intended to make it like
“No way! Why would David do that? For what reason would he paint it like that?”
“That, I don’t know.”
In fact, it was not something Haejin could convince him with logic, unless he showed Lee Shian the
moment when David was working on the painting.
“Then give me a piece of evidence that says David didn’t paint it. Not the smile in Marat’s face, but
something else… you said the paint was wrong earlier. Is there anything like that in this painting? Or
was the canvas made in the 19 th century? Or is there a trace of someone painting over it?”
Lee Shian couldn’t answer this series of questions. He couldn’t conclude the painting as a fake just
with an assumption.
He needed an objective proof that could convince anyone. That is why there are more than a hundred
Rembrandts that can’t be concluded as neither fake nor real.
Lee Shian stared at the painting. He looked as if he could find a flaw at any moment, but he couldn’t
bend his back after 10 minutes.
“Has the appraiser gone somewhere?”
Yaerin pretended to look at her fingernails and sneered. She probably had played Baduk often. Or
had watched her grandfather play…
Lee Shian frowned and went closer as if he were about to kiss the painting, but that couldn’t bring out
Anyway, the ill-tempered lady stood up and raised her index finger.
Even Haejin and Yaerin were surprised at her loud voice. So, imagine how much Lee Shian was
He turned back at her. She glared at him and gestured to him to back off.
Lee Shian couldn’t say anything. He stood away from the painting. The woman exchanged glances
with Yaerin and waved her hand at the employee.
It meant he should take out Mariano’s painting. Apart from her anger, it also meant that she would be
“You are an impressive young man. I’ll see you later.”
She took out a business card from her expensive bag, handed it to Haejin, and immediately turned
around to leave the room.
Haejin looked at the card. It said Director Wang Mingwan of China Gwangmyeong Electricity Industry.
“China Gwangmyeong Electricity Industry? Wow… I knew she was rich, but not this much.”
Yaerin didn’t get surprised easily, so it made Haejin wonder.
“What is that? Is it bigger than Yuseong?”
“Yes. About… three times bigger?” Yaerin replied.
“Wow, that’s no match.”
“At least she didn’t hold any grudges. With that kind of position, she must be really powerful around
here… I think it is probably because of you.”
Yaerin pouted her lips and nodded as if saying ‘not that bad’.
“You are acknowledging me now?”
“I did that when I got a blow from Eunhae thanks to you. I just didn’t admit it because you are such a
“Huh… you are a bigger show-off than I am.”
“I know that. Hey! How much is this painting?”
The male employee, who had been following them, had already seen a great match of skills. At
Yaerin’s question, he talked to someone on the phone for a while and came to them. He was much
politer than before.
“Mr. Jason Chang will give you that at a special price.”
“Why?” Yaerin put on her sunglasses and asked.
She could have just taken that special price, why is she asking…
“He has found your conversation very interesting. So, he is offering you less than half of the original
“Oh, he has been watching us through the CCTV this whole time?”
“Every corner of the first ground level and this place is being recorded. Of course, it is to protect the
paintings, so it will never be revealed, so you don’t have to worry.”
“Still, I do not feel pleasant about it. Anyway, okay. So, how much is it?”
“Twenty million Hong Kong dollars.”
Haejin couldn’t calculate fast. He looked at Yaerin.
“How much is that?”
“About… 2.7 billion won? Good. I can buy it at a much cheaper price thanks to you.”
However, that wasn’t good news to Haejin. He would get a bigger fee if the price was high.
Yaerin read that on his face. She curled up one corner of her lips.
“My grandfather will pay you a high fee, so don’t worry. We are not stingy like Hwajin. Why are you
getting disappointed because of that? You are a man. When working, you sometimes get less
incentive than you thought or more.”
“I wasn’t disappointed.”
“Oh… okay. Then, I will say you were feeling sad about it, okay?”
Haejin didn’t know what the difference was between the two, but he decided to move on.
“I am sorry that I disappointed you today.”
Lee Shian apologized in the passenger seat. Wang Mingwan replied on the back seat. She wasn’t
“No one can always win. What matters is whether you can get over with it and get to your feet again.
You didn’t make a mistake earlier. Rather, that handsome young man’s skills are very impressive. I
want to see that again.”
“Should I contact him?”
“No, I gave him my business card, so he will contact me someday. If I need him, I can just ask that
“We can ask Jason Chang. He should know.”
“Yes. Anyway, you have done well today. Don’t forget Christies’ auction next month…”
“Of course. Don’t worry about it. And… please give my regards to…”
Lee Shian was talking politely to Wang Mingwan behind him. Suddenly, he happened to look at his
right hand. His eyes started to shake when he saw the ring that had lost its lust.
“Hum? What is it?” Wang Mingwan realized something was wrong and asked.
However, Lee Shian couldn’t come down easily. He was nervous.
Wang Mingwan raised her voice. Only then did Lee Shian come to his senses and bowed his head.
“I am sorry. I should go now.”
As Lee Shian was about to go now, Wang Mingwan had to let him go. Moreover, she had never seen
him so pale, so she thought something bad had happened.
Lee Shian got off the car and ran up the emergency stairs as fast as he could. He saw Yaerin and
Haejin waiting for a valet at the lobby on the ground floor.
He quickly hid behind a large pillar and looked at Haejin.
“You have nothing to do at the hotel, anyway.”
Yaerin grabbed Haejin and said they should go shopping together.
“I am not interested in shopping. I don’t care about luxury brands…”
“I am not suggesting because I like you. It’s because getting around alone scares me. Being alone is
dangerous for a rich woman, don’t you know that?”
“Why didn’t you get a bodyguard.”
“That’s too old-fashioned. I should go around with a person to talk to. Or I’ll get bored. What fun is
there in going around with a bodyguard?”
That wasn’t all wrong. However, Haejin didn’t want to go shopping with her and didn’t have the
strength, so he was about to convince her when he saw a man reflected on the glass window.
“I need to go to the toilet.”
“Oh, but the car is here…”
Haejin ignored that and quickly went to the toilet inside. When he got there, he saw a small door that
led to the outside.
He still had enough mana after using magic once, probably because of the ring. He used water from
the faucet to use magic. Then, he slowly left the toilet.
Lee Shian could feel something was wrong. He quickly ran to the toilet. However, Haejin was nowhere
to be seen.
Lee Shian thought Haejin had sensed him. He picked up his phone with a shaky hand and called
“I found a man who uses magic. A Korean antique appraiser. He probably has been affected by the
A blunt British accent was heard from the other side.
“Okay. He will be tracked.”
He hung up and called someone else. This time, he spoke Mandarin instead of British English.
“Go to Insadong, Seoul. A young appraiser in his early 30s. He won’t be hard to find.”
He hung up and held his shaky hands. Then, he talked to himself.
“Finally… the wish of the syndicate is about to be fulfilled…”
Haejin left the building with an agitated heart and called someone. As he had expected, he heard
Yaerin’s angry voice.
“Where are you? Have you left the toilet? I am at the entrance now.”
She couldn’t see him, but Haejin had already passed by her. He had become invisible with the illusion
magic, so both Yaerin and Lee Shian couldn’t realize he was close.
“I’m sorry. I must go somewhere, it’s urgent.”
“What? Are you kidding me? That’s too mean!”
In fact, Haejin was a little sorry, but he was with Yaerin for business and they would not see each
other once they’re in Seoul. Therefore, he decided to not care about it.
“I will buy you dinner when I get back to Seoul. But now, I must go. Then…”
Haejin hung up and looked back. Lee Shian was quickly leaving in a taxi. He couldn’t help but talk to
“Why is he looking for me? And, what is the syndicate?”
Haejin dismissed the thought as he could not get any answers now. He will get to know this in time
when someone comes to find him.
After the magic faded, he caught a taxi.
If… if he was right, then great artifacts were sleeping in there. At a place where no one can get…