Chapter 26: Power Deployment #3
For the next day and the day after, Tae-hyuk could feel someone’s gaze while he was working in the art room.
Tae-hyuk showed an irritated expression as he wiped off the moisture from his brush.
"Ah, it is like having a pebble in my sneakers.”
While he could ignore it, it was still annoying and constantly jarring.
He remembered the saying of a person in a marathon who was eliminated just before the finish line.
‘The hardest part of the race wasn’t the other people pressuring him from behind, but the small piece of sand in his shoes.’
That was Tae-hyuk’s state right now. He had four crime skills, but he didn’t have the skill to detect another person.
“Who the hell is it?”
He couldn’t bear it and finally shouted.
The door of the art room opened like there was a reaction.
"Who’s in here?"
A schoolgirl with short hair that exposed her ears entered.
Tae-hyuk was filled with embarrassment. He was illegally occupying the art room. He felt sorry.
“Ahaha... Hello. I was just painting.”
The schoolgirl came in and examined him.
“Are you in the art department? I know that the art department was closed due to a lack of resources.”
"I’m just a student who is interested in painting.”
Tae-hyuk smiled as innocently as possible. This was a workshop that he was barely able to find, so he didn’t want to be kicked out of here.
“I see. I’m actually retired, but I was also in the art department. Are you in the first grade?”
"I’m in the second grade.”
"It is the first time I’ve seen you...”
Tae-hyuk gave his pre-prepared excuse.
"Ah, I just transferred this week.”
"A transfer student! I am Lee Hana. If you are interested in the art department, then I will let you know the name of the teacher who is the adviser.
“Haha... I will think about it. Oh right, my name is Lee Cheol-su.”
Tae-hyuk gave her a pseudonym.
He met someone a few days after starting to work here.
He didn’t want to advertise that he wasn’t a student at this school.
Lee Hana approached Tae-hyuk, then she laughed softly as she said,
"Can I see what you are doing?”
Lee Hana looked at the painting that Tae-hyuk copied. Her face was filled with surprise.
"Wah! Wah... Did you really paint this?”
"I am practicing drawing by copying art.”
"It's really great! Have you ever gone to art school? I will go to the adviser immediately. We need such a talent in the art department!”
Lee Hana spoke excitedly.
Tae-hyuk was silent for a moment. He had just copied the original with a skill, so it was strange to hear such praise.
"I-It isn’t that great. I merely copied the brushstrokes.”
"Don’t be shy! Well, if I look closer, then I can see that there are definitely a few missing details.”
Lee Hana squinted at Tae-hyuk’s painting again.
“Is it not enough?”
"This figure is drawn with a simple technique, so you can never perfectly copy the original. It is withdrawn? Do you understand the difference between this painting and a withdrawn work?”
Tae-hyuk shook his head. He was just a high school student who could use crime skills, and didn’t have a profound knowledge on art.
Lee Hana laughed like she was glad to discover a new talent.
"While your painting doesn’t have a soul, you have great technique. You literally copied the painting that you saw, but you won’t be able to move the heart of the person who painted it.”
“Yes. Do you know what type of heart this painting was drawn with?”
Lee Hana pointed to the original painting that Tae-hyuk had copied.
It was a landscape painting that depicted a forest where the falling rain had stopped, and a beam of light was shining through the clouds.
Tae-hyuk replied honestly.
"A wonderful landscape. It feels like a living forest.
"Doesn’t it? The rain has stopped, and the forest is full of life. It is a place that I really like. When I die, I would like to die in a place like this. Everything felt so vivid when I was painting it. I was so grateful to be alive.”
Suddenly, Tae-hyuk discovered a strange fact in Lee Hana’s words.
"Uh, then Sunbae painted this?”
"Omo, did you only just find out? It is something that I painted in my first year.”
"I only used it as a reference because I thought it was the best painting here. I didn’t know that it was Sunbae’s.”
“Ahaha. At any rate, bend the brush. I’ll tell you about the brush strokes.”
From then on, Lee Hana’s drawing lesson began.
Tae-hyuk focused on her words, ignoring the notifications from the Demon Revealing Mirror.
He could guess what the contents were.
While his skill was enough to copy the artwork, he learned that it was also important to read the heart of the picture.
“Ah. It is already this time... I’ll have to end here today. Think about what you have learned today, and you will know why the painting was drawn.”
Lee Hana gently winked.
Tae-hyuk used the moment to quickly glance at the Demon Revealing Mirror, where numerous messages had appeared.
[Your understanding of art has deepened.]
[The Forgery skill proficiency has increased by a lot!]
[More sophisticated work is now possible.]
After checking the skill, his proficiency level had gone up by around 20 points. He couldn’t miss this good chance.
Tae-hyuk asked with a puppy-like expression.
"Thank you, Hana sunbae. Can I see you again next time?”
“Ahaha! I'm a busy person. Well, it does feel good.”
Hana laughed like she enjoyed it.
Tae-hyuk was startled.
All of a sudden, he felt that Lee Hana’s face was familiar.
‘Wait. Surely she isn’t that Lee Hana?’
She reminded him of someone. She was a genius female painter who became so famous that she held a solo exhibition in Paris in her early 20s.
'It is obviously the same name. She was primarily a landscape illustrator. Eh...? Don't tell me?'
She was famous for the dreamlike atmosphere of her paintings.
‘Wait. Then I was copying the painting of a person like that?’
He felt strange all of a sudden, as he never imagined that a celebrity would be so close.
It had only been a few days since Tae-hyuk first held a paintbrush. But now he had a discussion about painting with a genius painter. It was like practicing dribbling in front of Messi.
‘I heard that she went straight to Europe after graduating from high school. I guess that is the reason why she seems to be so strangely relaxed for a third year in high school.’
Tae-hyuk looked at Lee Hana, and suddenly felt like there was a subtle halo around her.
Lee Hana waved her hand as she turned around to leave.
"Wahahat ~ ah, that’s right. There are rumours that a stalker is wandering around the school. Have you ever seen someone suspicious lately?”
“Yes. They say he is a voyeur.”
"I haven’t seen anyone suspicious.”
Tae-hyuk replied with a face that made it seem like he didn’t know anything.
In fact, he was the most suspicious person in this school.
"If you find something then please tell me. If the incident becomes bigger and the police comes, then this place might be closed down.”
“This would be difficult.”
"Right? I think so as well! Hahat!”
Lee Hana laughed and exited.
* * *
After Tae-hyuk was sure that she was gone, his smile disappeared.
"Stalker or a voyeur.”
Lee Hana spoke calmly but he got the impression that she was nervous.
Of course, he had never seen such a person. But he had some ideas.
"Then, the eyes looking at me...”
The mystery was unravelled.
Tae-hyuk searched the art room, and noticed several hidden cameras that were installed throughout.
“Ohuhuhu. I got the bastard!”
This was what had been missing.
He discovered traces of the crime, and received a message about a new skill.
[Crime Skill: X-ray Vision has been learnt.]
- You can see through things (this doesn’t apply to creatures).
-The criteria to fully learn it has yet to be met.
-A skill has already been registered in the temporary skill window.
If you are register a new skill, then the existing skill will disappear.
Tae-hyuk almost screamed at that moment.
X-ray Vision! It was literally a man’s romance.
"Crazy, my heart!”
He cried out.
It was impossible to make a living with X-ray Vision.
However, that’s why it was better. He could literally see through the clothes that people were wearing.
"Ohu, ohuhuhu, ohahahahat!”
The feature was so perfect that Tae-hyuk felt like crying.
He then recalled the last messages on the Demon Revealing Mirror.
“Wait a minute. There is something strange.”
He was so excited about the X-ray Vision skill that he hadn’t properly read the rest of the message. Tae-hyuk felt anxious and confirmed it in the Demon Revealing Mirror. His face fell like a dog that had been neutered.
“... I have to give up Forgery to learn X-ray Vision?”
It was the limit of temporary registration. The skill was temporary, so if he learned a new one, the existing skill would disappear.
He would miss the opportunity to learn it forever.
"Ugh, no! Then, is it asking me to choose between X-ray Vision and Forgery?”
It was like choosing between jajangmyeon and jjampong. It was a fateful decision.
Tae-hyuk bit his lip. X-ray Vision was a skill that couldn’t be abandoned. But Forgery...
"Ugh, damn! What is this?”
Tae-hyuk’s hands hovered over X-ray Vision, which he had always desired.
He then stabbed his thigh with a sharp brush tip. He felt as if his spirit had come back due to the shock.
"Goodbye, my pink life...”
He couldn’t give up Forgery that had over 50 proficiency points.
Eventually, Tae-hyuk tearfully abandoned the X-ray Vision skill. Tae-hyuk sat in the chair for a while with a sense of emptiness.
Then he muttered.
"Even though I didn’t get it... I will catch the strange voyeur.”
There were rumours of a voyeur.
Maybe he wasn’t enjoying it alone, but was spreading it on the Internet.
If the incident became bigger, then the police would be dispatched, which would result in an almost 100% chance of this place being closed down. They would search through everything to collect evidence.
Tae-hyuk had only just found this workshop. Besides, he was able to raise his proficiency at a high speed due to Lee Hana. He was unable to abandon this place.
For one thing, he would never do anything completely selfless.
Tae-hyuk put away his brushes and paints and stood up. He set up a trap to catch the enemy.
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