Chapter 43

Biyeon looked at San’s retreating back meaningfully.

Her instinct allowed her to understand the true nature of people. Even if she showed this skill to San, he probably wouldn’t fully understand.

Her mouth went up playfully.

‘The Count seems to think differently though?’

The banquet was now approaching its end. The ending event was something that the nobles enjoyed the most during this era.

The ending event was an open mic event. Nobles could participate and show off their music and literary talents, mainly through songs.

Bards talked about hero battles, war sagas, love stories, explorations of the unknown north, and the mystical stories they recently heard from other travelers. From time to time, in between their stories, they would call upon the nobles to share their personal stories and exhibit their lyrical talents.

This part of the banquet was definitely fun. In particular, this corner was being led by ‘Cecil’, a famous bard in this area.

He led a sophisticated performance, encouraging the audience to respond by properly mixing music and poetry.

People were enjoying the performance by tilting their glasses in pairs. The performance consisted of a format in which everyone participated.

At the bard’s request, a talented young man would stand up and sing a song dedicated to a deity or a woman he loved, and people danced to the song’s beat.

It was the northern people’s tradition.

Most nobles were good at singing. They would often recite a poem, asking a musician to provide a melody. The meter and rhyme didn’t seem to be strictly adhered to, and the subjects typically revolved around nature, love, patriotism, and heroic narratives.

The musical form was monophony similar to Gregory’s choir pieces on Earth. The harmony method was not yet applied in the songs, and the melody was reminiscent of northern Russian folk songs.

San drank a little more fruit wine. He drank quite a bit. The meaningful feeling that Biyeon mentioned earlier was silently sticking into his mind.

He wasn’t ready to answer the question, “What if I’m never able to return back to Earth?”

‘So? If I had to live here…’

He suddenly raised his head. Everyone’s attention was focused on him.

“Now, shall we listen to the stories and songs of Sir San? A person from a mysterious land where no one has ever been! What adventures and heroic stories await us?”

Cecil’s voice echoed across the hall, requesting San to sing a song. The people burst into cheers.

Me?’

San pointed to himself as if he was asking for confirmation.

Cecil nodded. San looked around. He saw the guests with rounded eyes full of expectation. The atmosphere made it seem as though he couldn’t refuse. There was no avenue for retreat.

San’s gaze instinctively found Biyeon. She glanced at him with slightly drunk eyes, but her expression didn’t contain any message.

He laughed. His mind was strangely relaxed. That didn’t mean he felt good.

Biyeon’s expression was similar to a person waiting for the next song in a karaoke room… telling him to get along with it and get it over with.

But why did San feel so offended?

He rose from his seat. Isn’t singing after drinking a specialty of Korean people? He slowly made his way to the left of the hall, heading straight for the band.

His gaze fell on the various musical instruments in the band’s hands. He saw an instrument that looked like a guitar. The number of strings was the same, and the shape was similar.

He had already thought of a song earlier, so why not just sing it to his heart’s content? A band member looked questioningly at San as he approached.

“Will you lend me your instrument for a moment?” San asked softly.

“Do you know how to play this instrument…?” the musician asked back with a surprised face. The band was playing new instruments that were recently developed, so those who could handle and properly play them were very few.

“Well… it’s similar, so I’m sure it should work?”

When San reached out his hand, the musician took off his instrument and delivered it to him. 

“I’ll handle it with care, so don’t worry…”

San took the instrument and sat comfortably in a chair. After grasping the chords skillfully on the fretboard, he lightly strummed the strings.

He tilted his head and tried adjusting the string fasteners. The musician tilted his head. It was the first time he had seen this motion.

The banquet hall was quiet. Only the sound of San tuning the guitar-like instrument rang through the hall. It took quite some time to tune, but no one thought it was a waste of time.

People were watching his actions with interest.

Very few aristocrats handled musical instruments.

While civil servants with high positions enjoyed poetry and music, military officers would rather spend their time honing their martial skills.

In this era, when war was rampant, it was difficult to find a person who focused their study on the liberal arts.

‘Hmm- I think it's roughly done.’

The instrument in San’s hands looked more like a mandolin than a guitar, but the overall sound was similar. He closed his eyes.

What kind of song suited this atmosphere? That was the problem with modern Korean pop songs.

It was difficult to find lyrics with poise, rhyme, and dignity. This was why he chose a 70’s song, a time when Korea was going through its own rough patch. It was a time when people needed uplifting, hopeful songs.

He started with the prelude. People were listening intently while holding their breaths. Two things were drawing their attention.

One was the completely unfamiliar way of playing the instrument. The other was that it sounded oddly beautiful.

The way the strings of the guitar were strum one by one was novel and the strange sounds that the strings made when different chords swept together created a fresh musical experience. The musician who handed San the instrument intently looked at San’s way of playing.

“Where I’m from...”

San looked at the audience and quietly spoke as if talking to a friend. His hands were still playing the instrument quietly.

His voice was low and heavy, but he could be heard clearly by everyone.

“Mountains and rivers dominate the landscape, and beautiful people live there.”

“…”

“People are strong. However, they loved peace more than fighting, and they loved the arts very much.”

“…”

“Our people lived very well. Ordinary citizens could enjoy more things than the kings of these days.”

“Citizens were equal and respected each other’s freedom. But… there were still many people who disagreed with one another.”

His monologue continued quietly. People were listening while holding their breath. The atmosphere was very comfortable, and San’s words held a strange sense of persuasion, harmonizing with the novel music.

“So… the struggle is still going on. However, people still love each other and miss each other. Rather than wanting another to do something for oneself, one wanted to do more for another. This is their song.”

Before long, the sound of the guitar grew louder. The tone changed, and a more lyrical, yet strong, powerful resonant sound circulated around the hall. It seemed to bounce off the walls and reverberate in the deepest parts of each audience member’s stomach.

The song started with a very low key as if foreshadowing the start of an epic journey 

If I were the sky

I want to shine on your face, 

like the sunset on a red evening 

I want to reflect on your cheeks

If I were a poet

I will sing for you

I want to sing happily

like a child in his mother’s arms

Anything in the world

I want it to be all for you!

What a joy for me

to be together with you like today!

My dear one!

Do you know?

That my heart is like this...

Gulp-

Nobles collectively swallowed and gulped. The bard and band members were all standing up. Cecil had his mouth wide open.

The musicians put their instruments down and widened their eyes. It was a completely new type of song. This was the first time that a song was sung with an accompanying instrument in such a way. Even though they were listening to something novel like this for the first time in their lives, they didn’t feel any rejection.

Like all masterpieces, the combination of fluid melody, harmony, and well-equipped rhythm was a blockbuster form of music that would make fans in any era.

A completely new song, a completely unfamiliar singing method… and in the second half, when the low-mid-pitched voice suddenly went up, it sent a shock throughout the room. The guests could feel goosebumps bumping out at every transitional high note.

Their hearts trembled. For some, they were finding it hard to contain the trembling, yet they didn’t want to stop listening.

People were in constant shock and awe throughout his performance. Whether it was good or unfamiliar, they hadn’t experienced anything like this from a human voice.

His strong voice made even the windows of the banquet hall vibrate and ring…

Biyeon’s lips fluttered. She was shocked in a different sense. His song continued.

His instrumental performance was really good. She felt that his song was like… yeah, like a pleasantly drunk giant belting out a confession song.

He sang without hesitation, ran through the various chords cheerfully, screamed cheerfully, and was full of emotion…

If I were a cloud, 

I would rain for you,

like a hot summer’s rain shower,

I want to express myself without holding back

Anything in the world

I want to be for you,

just like today,

how great a joy it is to be with you

I want to be for you!

How great a joy

to be with you

like today

My dear person, do you know?

Oh! That my heart is like this

Oh! That my heart is like this…

** Chi-Hwan Ahn, ‘If I Were'**

Tuk- 

The instrument’s sound suddenly stopped as the strings snapped. The music stopped.

Tok-

A tear dropped from Biyeon’s eyes. This was the first time she received a confession.

People were staring at him in a stupor.

They forgot to applaud or shout.

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