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Chapter 64 Part 2 - The Mysterious Art Museum

A street artist's life changed when he ended up at a mysterious art museum. DBT,Korean,Novel,Translation,Art,Artist,Slice of life,Poor to Rich,Mystery

'What's this? I thought she was lukewarm about it, but she's watching for quite a long time.'

As a painter, it's an honor to have someone look at my painting with such a detailed eye. I gestured Monica towards Irina and then waited a bit longer.

Monica stepped back with me and waited for Irina before whispering,

"Where did you go?"


"The same place I went to find Jeong-hoon in the past?"

"Yes, I just remembered the old days and went there, but it was pointless."


"Those things that I used to admire and like now seem so empty, you know?"

Monica smiled with her eyes and said,

"I see, I was thinking of going to Jongno too."

"Huh? Why Jongno? Do you have an appointment?"

Monica gestured towards Irina and said,

"I was thinking of showing Irina around Korea."

Huh? Are they close?

"Do you know each other?"

Monica looked at Irina's beautiful profile. "Irina came to our school during our time at the Florence Academy of Art. She was visiting a professor, and we greeted each other then."

Hmm, what kind of place is the Florence Academy of Art that it becomes a networking hub for artists worldwide? I'd like to visit before I die.

"That's nice," Monica said, as if she had a good idea.

"Ah! Jung-hoon, are you busy right now?"

"Hmm? I can delegate the finishing work to Young-ju, so not particularly."

"Then, can you show us around Jongno?"


"You know Jongno well, right? You worked there for a long time."

"Well, yes, but..."

"Please? Please?"

Wow, the Italian goddess is displaying her charm. I can't resist this. I scratched my head and nodded.

"Alright, but Monica will pay."

"Of course!"

Well, that's fine then.

I need to try everything I couldn't afford earlier.

Others' money might change my perspective, right? Hehe.

I chatted with Monica for a while, then noticed Irina looking at me. Her expressionless eyes reminded me of a mannequin staring my way.

I unfolded my arms and asked, "Are you done looking?"

Irina nodded slightly. I was about to suggest moving on to Jongno after asking Young-ju for the photos, but I closed my mouth as she began to speak.

"Can I call you Ban?" she asked.

Hmm, Europeans think Ban is my name. Teacher Mucha also thought so.

"It doesn't matter, call me whatever you're comfortable with."

Irina looked back at the painting.

"Cold winter, the wishes of a freezing boy fulfilled by many intellectuals and the wealthy," she murmured.

"If you weren't tasked with convincing these board members, who would you have chosen as the hand that opens the curtain in your painting?" she asked.

That's an unexpected question.

If I had no such intention or responsibility?

I wouldn't have painted it at all. That's the answer.

But she asked assuming I did.

If I were free of such intentions, who would I have painted?

Her question had a freshness I had never considered.

"I think it would have been the artists of this land," I replied.


She looked at me. I smiled and continued, "Art is more valuable when it can be consumed as a part of our everyday lives rather than as untouchable, noble beings. What could be more valuable than artists themselves opening that door?"

Monica's mouth formed an 'O'.

Irina silently nodded, looking back at the painting.

"If that were so, would you have painted past artists like Michelangelo, Picasso, or musicians like Mozart, Beethoven?"

"No, I wouldn't have."

Her gaze returned to me.

I thought of Klimt from my dream and said, "Every art carries the imprint of its era. The artists we remember are those most deeply marked by their times. If I had painted such a picture, I would have chosen contemporary artists for future generations."

Surprise appeared on Irina's usually impassive face. She stared at me for a long time.

Embarrassed by her intense gaze, I heard Monica whisper behind me.

"You would have been in that painting too."

Huh? What does that mean?

Monica whispered again.

"Just say that."

What? I barely knew her until recently. Even if it were true, the chances of painting her would be almost zero.

Contemporary art masters like Jasper Johns, Gerhard Richter, or Edward Ruscha would have been more likely protagonists. I doubt she would expect me to say otherwise.


Confused by Monica's whisper, I look at Irina. I see a longing in her eyes. But I don't want to lie. Choosing silence over false words, I feel sorry as Monica steps back, but I still believe my choice is right.

Whether it was genuine expectation or Monica's misunderstanding, Irina looks at my face for a long while before turning away.

Ignoring Monica's expression, which seemed to say, "Why not offer a little service when it costs nothing?" I approached Irina and said,

"There's a big fan of yours here, would you mind taking a photo with her? In return, I'll guide you through Jongno after today's schedule. I believe only a local guide can give you the real feel of Seoul."

Irina glanced at Monica and then asked,

"Ban himself will be guiding?"

"Yes, I know a lot of good restaurants and sights."

Irina pondered for a moment and then nodded.


"Right this way, please."

Yeong-ju, who had been eagerly listening like a rabbit, looked jubilant. Oh, such a fuss.

After taking a photo with Irina, Yeong-ju bowed 90 degrees and shook hands, spending 10 minutes explaining how big of a fan he was. In moments like this, I regret that Yeong-ju is fluent in English due to his studies abroad.

Having finally managed to peel Yeong-ju away, I led the way, saying,

"Now, shall we really see Seoul?"

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