Chapter 54: Secret of the Gilt Bronze Buddha (2)
Haejin momentarily looked at Sujeong. He only did that because he didn’t know what to do, so, of
course, Sujeong didn’t have any idea, either.
Then, Eunchae continued again.
“At that time, I was so impressed by you, and I really wanted to invite you home; however, you looked
busy, so I couldn’t. I was so sad about it but, now that we met again, it would be great!”
Haejin didn’t have nothing to do after the preview today. He was going to Taean after a few days and,
until then, he planned to take some rest, so there was no reason to not go.
“I hope we are not bothering you.”
“Of course not! Oh, wait. I should tell the housekeeper to prepare some food. What do you like to
Normally, in this kind of situation, it would make anyone feel uncomfortable, but Haejin found himself
talking because of Eunchae’s warm eyes.
“I like meat.”
“Then, I will prepare a delicious steak.”
She asked someone on the phone to prepare steak and other foods as there will be important guests
Sujeong whispered that wouldn’t it be too rude, but as Eunchae seemed very delighted, Haejin
thought it would be fine.
Unlike before, the preview had nothing worthy of Haejin’s attention. The previous auction had been a
quarterly auction, so there had been much better things than in this monthly auction.
Afterward, they got on Eunchae’s car and went to her home.
She lived in Pyeongchangdong like Lim Sungjun. Although her house was a little smaller, the high
walls and two-story mansion showed that she was also very rich.
At first, Haejin had thought they would have dinner and talk but, the moment he entered the mansion,
“Wow… you really like antiquity.”
The mansion was absolutely different from Sungjun’s, which overwhelmed people with an expensive
In Eunchae’s home, artifacts like porcelains, buddhas from South East Asia, and paintings of the east
and west were carefully stored in glass boxes.
Now, Haejin could see why Eunchae had invited him. She liked antiques this much, so she wanted
Haejin to look at her collection, appraise it, and talk about it with her.
“Please, come to the dining room, first.”
Eunchae’s housekeeper was very good at her job. The big table was already full of dishes.
“It’s nothing much, but please, enjoy.”
That day’s dinner was very delicious.
“Do you have an artifact you are especially curious about?”
They were eating dessert in the living room. Eunchae’s eyes sparkled as she answered Haejin’s
“Actually, I wanted to ask you something when I invited you. However, I have been worried that you
might think that I invited you to just ask you that. Well, I am very grateful that you asked first.”
“Please, ask me anything. What is it?”
“I have been troubled about that painting on the left wall. A friend of my sister brought it last year
when she moved in Korea, but she said she didn’t care much about paintings and I should buy it if I
liked it. So, I asked a curator that I know of for the right price and bought it… but I wondered if that
was the right decision.”
The painting was a portrait of a man with impressive short hair. His gaze was strong, challenging and
What was strange was that he looked both gloomy and serious, and the fact that all these emotions
were there proved that a very skillful artist had painted it.
“How did she get that painting?”
“I don’t know. She just told me her husband got it instead of the money he should have been given,
and she wasn’t happy about it… anyway, she sold it to me at a considerable price, so I think she
hasn’t lost much.”
“How much did you pay for it?”
“Five thousand won. Is that too high of a price?”
Eunchae’s eyes showed that she was hoping for Haejin to say no. Luckily, her choice had been right.
“No. You have bought it at an extremely low price. That is a painting of Mohammad Reza Irani. I am
so curious about how his painting went to your friend.”
At this, Eunchae brightened and smiled.
“Really? Oh… I have been worried too much. I couldn’t be sure if that painting is really good, so I
couldn’t invite my friends. If that painting was weird, they would talk behind me and say that I know
nothing about paintings. I hate women talking behind my back, but I cannot ignore them, right?”
“Yes, life doesn’t work that way.”
“Thank you for understanding. I know you would think I am a snob, but this is who I am.”
“Haha, it’s okay. You’re just honest, that’s all.”
Eunchae felt good. She talked to Sujeong next to Haejin.
“You said you specialize in restoration? Is it Ms. Sujeong?”
“In fact, to people like us, restoration is a little difficult. However, when you collect artifacts like this,
they sometimes get cracked or damaged, and we normally entrust them to experts who the galleries
introduce to us.”
“That would be right.”
Sujeong thought she was about to get something, too, so she replied politely.
“The problem is that the result is often not good. And they charge a lot… anyway, apart from money,
the result is too disappointing.”
“Oh, I see….”
“I have a meeting I often go to, so I will tell them about you to the people there. Everyone would like
Haejin smiled bitterly. Eunchae didn’t know how good Sujeong was but was offering to promote her to
the people around her. It was only to be nice to Haejin.
He had appraised for free today because he thought he should pay back for the nice dinner which he
didn’t have for a long time, and she was also going to help Sujeong. Haejin was grateful.
“This is my business card which I made a while ago. Then please, take this.”
Sujeong shyly gave Eunchae her business card.
The doorbell rang, and the screen showed a car coming with some goods.
“Oh, he shouldn’t come so soon.”
Eunchae was a little surprised. She didn’t know that her husband would come now.
“Oh, then we should get going now.”
Haejin and Sujeong didn’t want to cause any inconvenience and stood up. Eunchae also stood up.
She looked sorry.
“I am sorry. He usually doesn’t come at this hour.”
They were about to go through the front door when someone flung it open.
It was a man in his early 50s. His face was slightly red. He quickly glanced at Haejin and Sujeong.
“Oh, you’ve come.”
“Who are these people?”
He sounded displeased. Haejin sensed that something was wrong and locked eyes with Sujeong.
She thought it was time for her to talk, so she offered the man her business card and spoke.
“Nice to meet you. I am Yang Sujeong, an antiquity restoration expert. This is Park Haejin, an
appraisal expert. We came here to appraise something.”
She meant to eliminate the man’s suspicion with a natural smile, but he didn’t believe that easily.
He looked away from Sujeong and stared at Eunchae and Haejin.
“I am in no situation to say hello. What is going on?”
Eunchae looked troubled. She covered her forehead with her hand.
“He is such a great appraiser that I invited him to dinner. I met him at Korea Auction. He currently
works with Saeyeon Gallery’s director.”
Haejin couldn’t say no to this. Maybe giving trust with that excuse wasn’t that bad…
“Is it true?”
The man pressed Haejin with a sharp gaze. Of course, Haejin would not get scared, but he felt
“Do you have some delusional jealousy of your wife?”
Both Eunchae and her husband didn’t think that Haejin would ask so openly. They were both shocked,
especially the husband. He looked at Haejin with glaring eyes. Haejin didn’t care about it and added.
“You have many artifacts inside, so your wife can call an appraiser to ask. What are you so afraid of?
Are you imagining that I, Ms. Sujeong and your wife have… well, are you really thinking so?”
Haejin couldn’t say in bed, but everyone knew what the part which he couldn’t speak out loud meant.
“Khmm… that’s not it. It’s because suddenly there are strangers in my home.”
Only then did the man get rid of his suspicion. Then, he started to make excuses. He must have
thought his suspicion had been too much and, as Haejin was so confident, he suddenly realized his
“Anyway, I am sorry for making a situation you might misunderstand. However, what you are thinking
has never happened, so please talk with your wife in a calm and logical manner.”
“Then, we will go now.”
It was about to end like this. Eunchae gestured them to leave.
“Yes, I am sorry. Please, go.”
Her trying to make them go faster touched her husband’s nerve. He got mad again.
“Why are you trying to send them away so quickly? Have you really done something?”
“Done what? Nothing happened.”
“Then why is this fellow leaving in such a hurry. That’s suspicious.”
Haejin was now irritated and couldn’t hear more.
He said, “Your wife cannot even call a friend. I don’t think she is happy, even in this nice huge
mansion. We will go now.”
That last sentence really upset the man. He started to insist on his nonsense.
“What, what? What do you know when you are so young… an appraiser? How can someone like you
appraise? You must lure in the girls and bluff by saying that you are an appraiser.”
In any other situation, Haejin would have shown his skills to make him pay for that, but as the
situation was too dirty, he just wanted to leave.
So, he took Sujeong’s arm and walked away. However, the man kicked at the gilt bronze buddha
“Why? You are afraid? This fake buddha you have brought, some stupid appraiser said it was
valuable. Was that him?”
“Please! Stop saying nonsense!”
Haejin didn’t look at that buddha, not because he wanted to find out what it was, but because he felt
sorry for Eunchae living such a miserable life because of her pathetic husband. So, he turned again,
but he couldn’t walk away.
Haejin was about to slam open the door and leave, but he stopped. Sujeong looked at him and asked.
“I changed my mind.”
He turned around and went to the man who was kicking the buddha on the floor. He flinched.
“I didn’t want to get involved in this mess, but I really cannot leave this buddha like this.”
“Why don’t you sell it to me?”
Eunchae and her husband couldn’t say anything. They looked at each other. However, soon, the
“Why would I?”
“You said it has been appraised by me. If there’s a problem with something I appraised, shouldn’t I
buy it? Or have you babbled just to let out your anger?”
He flinched. He couldn’t argue. He looked at the buddha lying on the floor. Then, he looked at Haejin
“How much you will you pay for it?”
“How much you will you demand for it?”
Then, Eunchae waved her hand and told Haejin to go.
“No, there’s no need. We’ve already been told it is not worth much. So please leave. I am so sorry.”
However, this stimulated her husband’s pride.
“Why? Are you really up to something with him? Is that why you are stopping him?”
Haejin had heard jealousy is dangerous, but now, to see it with his eyes, it was really creepy.
It was so absurd that even Sujeong opened her mouth and said, ‘Wow…’
“So, how much do you want for it?”
“Ten million! Buy it at ten million!”
Eunchae was horrified at her husband’s scream.
“Ten thousand? What are you talking about?”
“Be quiet! Are you going to buy it or not? If you have the guts, do it!”
Haejin would offer his own organs if he could buy it at ten million; however, all he needed was money
“Then, let’s write a contract.”