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Chapter 67 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

"You all worked hard! Cheers!"


As Young-ju, the mood maker, stood up to propose a toast, the juniors who had worked hard for the past three months happily emptied their glasses. Although the atmosphere hadn't fully warmed up since the event had just started, given their youth, the drinking session would quickly heat up.


Young-ju, returning to me as I sat in a corner, sipping soju, said,


"You've worked hard, boss."


"Yeah, you too. Who did you decide to leave behind among the juniors?"


Young-ju had individually interviewed the juniors to select those who would stay with our company.


"Three. The rest said they would use the money they earned this time for travel or as study abroad funds."


Out of ten, 30%. It's not as many as expected, but it's a sufficient number.


It's a suitable number to manage a still relatively small company.


"Who?"


"Yeonjung, Jiyong, Jiyeon."


Yeonjung, the ace of the art department, Jiyong, the class president of the painting department, and Jiyeon, the top student of the Oriental painting department.


The most skilled ones stayed with us. It's a very satisfying outcome.


"I'm relieved."


Youngju said with a smirk.


"Smart move, what else? Working hard to enter a design company only to get a modest starting salary. It's better to stay with a smaller company that pays more. These three realized that early on."


We must continue to do well.


We owe it to our juniors who trusted us and stayed, to keep providing them with financial rewards.


Youngju massaged my shoulder, asking,


"Aren't you tired?"


"No, I'm okay."


"I returned the theater access card key when I came out today. You haven't returned yours yet, right?"


"No."


"Do you have any plans to meet President Minyoung again?"


"I don't know."


"If you do, return it then. If not, return it at the hotel lobby."


“Yeah.”


I'm sure there will be an opportunity. I'll return it when the time is right.


Is it because I thought it was the last time?


Today's drinking session was very long. We celebrated with comrades whose future reunions are uncertain, until four in the morning.


The next day, at two in the afternoon.


Thanks to last night's prolonged gathering, I slept in and went to the hotel to return the card key and to check the painting one last time.


Since I had to return the key at the lobby, I first went to the theater and was puzzled to see the security guards stationed there.


Knowing none of the foreign security guards spoke English, I couldn't ask them anything and was wondering what to do when one who recognized me opened the door.


Ah, I guess I can go in.


But aren't these Irina's security guards?


Seeing them in front of the theater, Irina must be inside.


There was an opening ceremony yesterday, but she's already warming up in the theater?


The performance is still two weeks away.


With the guards only outside, the inside was empty.


I listened for piano sounds, thinking she might be playing, but it was silent.


If I had heard piano sounds, I would have waited.


She's a world-renowned pianist.


Even though the guards let me in, I couldn't dare to disturb her.


With a hopeful heart, I quietly opened the theater door.


"Wow."


An empty theater.


In the center of the stage, there stood a black grand piano.


Its sleek curves, silent yet overwhelming presence.


A Steinway & Sons piano.


I recall hearing in my school days that owning one of these pianos was a dream for music students.


Since 1853, only 42,000 of these pianos were made, each requiring a lot of effort. It takes 12,000 parts and two years to make one, a 100% handcrafted piano.


'I guess a pianist like Irina would play such a piano. I wonder how much it costs?'


At least two hundred million, probably.


What kind of sound does such an instrument make?


Curiosity welled up, but I didn't dare touch the expensive piano owned by someone else.


I forced myself to look away from the piano and turned my attention to the ceiling painting, my original purpose.


The ceiling painting, completed after three months, revealed its majestic form as I sat in one of the best velvet seats, which had been covered in plastic.


"So much has happened."


My circumstances changed rapidly over the past few months.


From a street artist living in a semi-basement.


But now, I am the CEO of a small company and live in a house in Paju.


I'm neither tremendously successful nor famous as a painter.


But I am very satisfied with the present.


A year ago, I couldn't even dream of such a life.


The happiest part is living with my family.


Dinners of convenience store meals thrown together in a pan with sugar and syrup.


But now, I eat warm meals prepared by my mom.


We removed the label of basic living recipients that we had maintained since dad passed away.


My hands trembled when I submitted the paperwork, not because I regretted it, but out of overwhelming emotion. It took nearly 20 years to submit that document.


That day, we all returned home and cried in our respective rooms.


Worried that showing our tears to each other might lead us to cry together.


Looking at the ceiling painting, I smiled faintly.


'It's all thanks to that peculiar art gallery.'


What would my life be like if I hadn't encountered that gallery in the alley of Jongno?


What if I had passed it by?


'I would probably still be wandering the streets of Ikseondong, painting portraits.'


The thought makes me worry about the gallery.


The gallery with hardly any visitors. I don't know who the owner is, but what if, after finally making money, the art museum closes down? Should I think of a way to regularly support it?


While my mind was immersed in various thoughts, my eyes were continuously searching for imperfections in the completed ceiling mural.


Then, I heard a very small and beautiful sound in my ears. Was it an auditory hallucination?


Turning my head, I froze as I saw the beautiful ice maiden sitting alone at the piano on the stage.


Irina Sevanova.


The so-called Titan, all alone, playing the stunningly beautiful piano.



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