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Chapter 112 Part 1 - The Mysterious Art Museum

Roseto Valfortore Village (2)

Sophia, sitting at the dining table and sipping coffee while looking out the window, asks, "Can we really trust him?"

Responding to Jung-hoon's urgent call, Monica, who dropped by Sophia's house before work, drinks her coffee and nods affirmatively, "He's going to be a star in the East, I guarantee it."

Sophia watched Lea struggle to carry a bucket full of water. Despite the hard task for such a small child, her daughter's face was bright with enthusiasm.

"I don’t know what 'star of the East' means, but Lea seems to really like Jung-hoon."

"He's pure-hearted."

Sophia looked out at the wall with a troubled face.

Strictly speaking, that wall isn’t exactly part of her property. It’s a public structure blocking the boundary between the mountain and the road, having been there since the village was established.

Yet, from Sophia’s house, where the doors are always open, one can see it directly when sitting at the dining table and looking out the window. A bad painting on it could ruin her delightful afternoon tea times.

Sophia, squatting on the floor mixing paints, watched Jung-hoon explaining something to Lea, who couldn't understand his language.

The remarkable thing was that Lea, despite not understanding, was trying hard to listen.

"It's strange. She rarely opens up to men."

Hearing Sophia’s words, Monica smiled and looked at the two, "Lea does that?"

"Yeah. She doesn’t have guards up around locals, as she grew up with them, but she never goes near the foreign technicians you hired for the construction. She's especially scared of men."

"Why? Did something happen?"

"No, it's not that. She just finds them scary. It happens with kids sometimes."

"But she's different with him."


"You two came over the night before last, it’s only been three days since she first saw his face, but look at them now? The usual Lea wouldn’t get this close to a foreigner she can’t communicate with."

Monica, resting her chin on her hand, watched Lea.

Lea, holding a brush, asked Jung-hoon something.

Jung-hoon smiled back, explaining the use of the brush.

He's earnestly explaining, even though she won’t understand.

"Children see things adults can't. Lea must have seen Jung-hoon’s purity."

Sophia's eyes widened in surprise as Jung-hoon began painting the wall with a large brush.

"He’s painting it that big?"

The wall was once filled with Lea’s scribbles.

Chalk-like powder from white stones could easily be wiped away with a rag, but this was different.

"Monica, you know this house has been in our family since my great-grandfather's time? I'll hold a grudge if you ruin it."

"Ha ha, just leave it to me. Jung-hoon is skilled enough to paint theater ceilings in Korea."

"Theater ceilings?"

"Yeah, have you seen any?"

"I saw them during my honeymoon in Venice. He paints such incredible pictures? Is he famous?"

"In Korea, he is. His name often appears in newspapers."

"Does he do exhibitions?"

"Of course. He recently sold over twenty paintings at a joint exhibition. Why else would I ask him to design my first store?"

Hearing about his achievements – selling out at an exhibition, painting theater ceilings, and being chosen by the discerning Monica to design a store all the way from Korea to Italy – Sophia felt a bit relieved. But a part of her was still anxious.

Monica noticed the changing expressions on Sophia's face.

"Don't worry, if you don't like it, we can always repaint it in the original color."

"Won’t it leave marks? I saw some murals being removed before, and they left uneven stains."

"That happens when non-professionals do it. As I said, he's painted ceilings. If he makes a mistake, he covers it cleanly with different paint and starts over. He's a professional."

"Phew, I was really shocked earlier."

In the morning, after seeing off her son to school and her husband to a job training session at the factory, Sophia was returning home.

Lea was smiling and waving at something, and when Sophia turned around, she saw the young man from the East smiling and waving back. He squatted down, said something to her daughter, and then spoke to Sophia in English. Not knowing any English, she was taken aback and stepped backward.

The young man from the East gestured to wait for a moment and then called Monica. When Monica arrived at the house before going to work, she relayed that the young man had asked permission to paint a mural on the wall in front of the house.

Initially, Sophia wanted to refuse, but Lea, who had listened to Monica's Italian translation, looked at her with such eager and sparkling eyes that Sophia couldn't bring herself to deny the request.

Sophia, looking worriedly at Jeong-hoon and Lea, raises her eyebrows.

"What are they doing?"


Both Sophia and Monica, prompted by Sophia's question, look outside with puzzled expressions.

Jeong-hoon briskly covers the wall with white paint. Leah seems to have helped as well, evidenced by the white paint on her nose. Suddenly, both of them stop painting, climb onto the wall, and sit looking at the house.

Jeong-hoon sits with his arms crossed, while Lea swings her short legs hanging down from the wall, gazing at the house.

Monica, resting her chin on her hand, says,

"He said he'd paint the house, so they must be observing it."


"I need to go to work now. I'll see you in the evening."

"Okay, thanks for coming. Go quickly."

"Enjoy your coffee before you leave."

Monica came out and waved to the two people sitting on the wall, then headed to the construction site.

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