Chapter 107

“An interview?” Dongyoung said in a flabbergasted tone.

“Each visitor has a different purpose for their visit, so this helps us determine the most appropriate discussion method,” Yumia explained.

“Why should we do this? Why is this so troublesome? Can’t I just meet and talk with them? It’s not like I’m interviewing a King. Don’t you think you’re going overboard?”

“Did you come with an appointment?” 

“I stopped by since I was in the area. I can’t do that?”

“Ah… I see. Then I’ll let them know that that’s the case. Is everyone else in the same position?”

Yumia smiled lightly. Then, without waiting for an answer, she bowed slightly and stepped back.

Dongyoung’s expression changed instantly. He unexpectedly felt ‘anxious’. In his mind, he replayed the first day at the estate’s entrance. The embarrassment and ridicule of that day filled his mind.

“Wait!” Gibin shouted.

“How does your master treat visitors who come without an appointment?”

“They usually have a cup of tea with the visitors and chat. They usually take about ten minutes per visitor,” Yumia replied after a brief pause.

“There’s no deeper discussion?”

“My masters do not discuss anything that they haven’t already prepared to discuss beforehand. They think that poor, unprepared responses are a great sign of disrespect for the visitor, who has made it all the way here to greet them. If you want to discuss something specific, you’ll have to make an appointment again. Looking at the waiting list, it’ll be at least 10 days before there’s an opening. It seemed like they had intentionally left an open appointment slot today…”

Gibin stared at Yumia, then suddenly reached out with his hands.

“Give me the papers!”

***

“Damn… there are so many questions.”

“There are over a hundred questions. By the way, isn’t this writing instrument unique? It looks like it uses oil. It’s convenient… Shall we get some?”

“Are they doing a background check on my family also? Do I need to answer such questions?”

“Who introduced me to them? What do they want to know that for?”

“How did we come here?”

“Why do they want to know what I like?”

“Where do I want to go on vacation?”

“The third topic I’d like to discuss with the masters of this household are…”

“Of the five, what do you like most? What do you hate?”

“Oh… there’s a calculation section also?”

The four people were squatting here and there in the waiting room, filling out the questionnaire. They were studiously and dutifully answering the questions. The questionnaire was elaborate. There were multiple-choice questions as well as short answer questions. The questions were different yet similar. Each question subtly overlapped with the other questions.

Most questions were easy to answer. Since they managed personnel in their respective organizations, they could understand the intent behind some of the questions. However, other questions completely baffled them. It was also their first time dealing with this type of investigative questionnaire. The questionnaire stimulated their vigilance and curiosity at the same time.

Their curiosity led them to guess what the question-maker intended. They found themselves going through some mental gymnastics to avoid saying anything that would not be accepted as appropriate. Their constant vigilance made it hard for them to be totally honest.

“Here you go. Is that it?” Gibin said as he handed over the completed document.

“Yes, please wait twenty minutes. They’ll come and see you shortly.”

Yumia smiled brightly and went out with each questionnaire organized in her hand. Turning around, the tail of her mouth gently rose up.

‘What is hidden will be revealed, and what is twisted will unfold. So far, there haven’t been any exceptions. It’s the hidden feature of this test.’

As a result of this process, 533 profiles of important visitors were created. Their tastes, backgrounds, personalities, connections, habits, handwriting, texts, reliability, intelligence, knowledge, computational skills, judgment, and their outside interests… as an added bonus, even the things they aspired or held in their subconscious were easily discerned and revealed…

Happiness – Chapter 6

The four moved to the meeting area with Yumia.

Following a corridor with an open view on both sides, through an indoor pond, over a bridge, and past the busy workshops and labs bustling with people and bright lights, they made their way to an office.

In the room, there were all sorts of machines, tools, building materials, and the smell of wood resin and various chemicals. Electric sparks occasionally brought bursts of white light through the gaps in the door against the darkness of night.

At first glance, they recognized a glass workshop, a pottery workshop, a charcoal workshop, a leather workshop, and a textile workshop. Various measuring instruments, specialized for each workshop, were installed inside and outside the workspaces.

There was also a sound that seemed to resonate from the heavens as if someone was constantly singing and playing. The music quietly flowed into every space.

‘Alchemists…?”

‘Electric and chemical workshops…’

‘Metalwork and metallurgy workshops? Dark Guild people?’

‘This strange sound… what kind of music is this?’

“I’m honored to welcome such esteemed guests. Welcome. My name is San.”

“You must have been waiting for a long time. If you had made an appointment in advance, we would have been better prepared to greet you. My name is Yeon.”

The masters of this place greeted them.

“I heard a lot of rumors about both of you. I am Gibin and this person is Giyoung. We are from the Ki-Jang Clan.”

“I am Dongyoung from the Dong-Myung Clan.” 

“I am Dongha, also from the Dong-Myung Clan.”

The greetings were formal and somewhat rigid. The two masters seemed to be at ease while the four visitors were nervous wrecks.

Everyone was polite to each other, but neither side lowered themselves to the other. It was basic knowledge in this society that a diplomat representing a sovereignty or a clan should not lower themselves in discussions or negotiations with another group.

A diplomat was defined as a representative who possessed the right of the owner. In other words, they were owners, so they never had to stoop down to another. In the case of individuals, they could respectfully concede some of their loftiness and show favor to the other side. However, the story was different when one was an envoy or representative of a clan, organization, or nation-state.

When a representative bowed one’s head, it meant one supreme sovereignty was bowing its head in front of another sovereignty. In other words, bowing first meant that one side recognized the other power as greater, so they essentially succumbed to the other’s sovereignty. Thus, when sovereignty and sovereignty meet, negotiations existed but humility did not. Also, sovereignty was absolute and equal. There was no small sovereignty.

Biyeon looked at the visitors with a light smile. Indeed, they were young with a strong sense of pride. Youth…

In this world, a full family is formed by the time someone reaches twenty years old. It’s an age where many people already have two children. Of course, warriors were an exception…

‘Young Absolute Clan warriors… Will they be a little different?’

Biyeon was curious about the intellectual level and logical reasoning skills of these similarly aged young warriors. On the other hand, the four were paying respect to the minimum extent allowed by their pride, taking into account the prestige of their clan. They were giving San and Biyeon a formal greeting worthy of an Awakened Warrior, but no more.

Gibin’s gaze was constantly following the two. In his eyes, the two looked too ‘ordinary’. The man looked strong and the woman was beautiful. That was all.

‘How should I interpret this? The feeling of an Awakened Warrior… I can’t sense anything at all! Nothing. There’s no emanating intension and no unique aura. Should I doubt my sense of recognition, even though I can correctly discern up to the fourth-level Awakened Warriors? This… this is uncomfortable. Is this a scam?’

Gibin blinked his eyes. He recalled Kinu’s request and warning to be respectful and careful around these two, but his sense of discernment kept betraying him from heeding Kinu’s advice. Gibin looked at San and Biyeon alternately and thought further.

Were these ‘ordinary’ people the ones who publicly killed Marquis Norian last year and defeated Elder Kinu, a second-level Awakened Warrior, with overwhelming force? Is she the person who made the Han-Sung Clan intervene so that the top three martial artists in the Ki-Jang Clan couldn’t assist Marquis Norian? Is she the mastermind who caused Marquis Altoran to give up his territories to Count Essen?’

Gibin’s gaze met San’s. San was grinning. Gibin laughed awkwardly. The laughter was oozing with a sense of sloppiness, as he had not yet decided on what attitude to take. On the other hand, Giyoung felt a strong discomfort from the host, Biyeon’s, generous expression. She bit her lips and looked at the woman in front of her. They were roughly around the same age.

She felt that Biyeon looked like a commoner, but there was more to it than that. She exuded a sense of moderation and dignity. However, why did Giyoung feel so uncomfortable and envious? Giyoung suddenly looked at Dongha next to her. She was a Dong-Myung Clan warrior of the same age. As an expert in information strategy, she was a well-known figure in the information community. Both of their eyes met. They laughed awkwardly at each other. They must have felt the same. Giyoung took a deep breath. She didn’t feel any better. It was a similar feeling as being ‘unjustly accused’. She felt that it was funny how she came all the way here just to feel so uncomfortable.

It was her choice to come. She wasn’t told to do this. Actually, she had to force her way to get this assignment. However, once she started on the task, she realized that she didn’t want to do this assignment. What the hell was this…?

            ‘I won’t get swept by other’s opinions and get involved in this sort of assignment again…’ Giyoung clenched her little fists.

“What shall we do? Shall we eat first, or shall we discuss first?” asked Biyeon. 

Her way of presenting the question was both comfortable and natural.

“It would be better to discuss first,” Giyoung said. 

The gathered party of four agreed. It was a natural question and a light answer.

“How would you like to discuss? All together? Or by clan?” Biyeon smiled and asked again.

“By clan sounds good,” Giyoung answered again. 

The others also nodded.

“Which clan should we start with?” Biyeon asked.

Gibin and Giyoung looked at Dongyoung and Dongha. They didn’t think deeply about the sequence beforehand, but it was now time to decide who should go first.

“We’ll go first,” Dongyoung said. 

Gibin nodded.

The Ki-Jang Clan probably had more to say. There were many questions and actions that had piled up between the clan and the two hosts. Biyeon raised her right hand lightly to announce the discussion location.

She smiled brightly. San nodded.

Biyeon walked ahead. The two’s steps were cheerful, and their expressions were pleasant. The steps of the four people following them quickened.

For whatever reason, the four felt a little better.

There was a pleasant smile on Biyeon’s face, who was furthest ahead. 

The four thought that they were finally going to get some answers to their burning questions. Plus, they would be able to finally create a formal relationship with this pair. After all, in any world, it was always good to know people who possessed information and were intelligent.

As Biyeon walked, she thought about the four individual’s strengths and weaknesses based on their answers to the multiple-choice problem. She would be able to garner their true intentions and desires through their responses. And as long as there was no intention to be hostile to the questionnaire maker, the respondent would choose one of the answer choices. Furthermore, the more reasonable a choice seemed, the more actively those who chose that answer are to defend their judgment. One would even force a colleague to make a similar choice. In other words, San and Biyeon had already laid down the framework from which the discussion and choices would naturally flow.

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