Chapter 86 - Genius and Genius #2
"What’s the trend among high school students these days?”
Joo Hyun-ho suddenly asked as he guided them around the school. However, he had prepared this question from the moment he met them.
It was the reason why he was accompanying the high school students. The answer would naturally be Phantom, allowing Hyun-ho to hear about him. Setting aside the public opinion on the Internet, he wanted to know what ordinary students thought about Phantom. Therefore, he would hear the answer from the high school students he met by chance.
An Eun-young tapped her lips with a finger and thought for a moment,
“It is calculus? Once it is learned properly, it is helpful in studying for university and is surprisingly fun. Interesting things like linear algebra and ordinary differential equations... In particular, I like the Laplace transform the most."
“I-Is that so?"
Joo Hyun-ho started sweating at the unexpected response.
These days, high school girls seemed to be learning university level maths as a hobby.
"In recent years, there is a tendency to have complex problems that can’t be solved by just one area, such as the matrix, function, derivative and integral. You need to know the exact intentions...”
An Eun-young suddenly bowed with a flustered face.
"I-I-I'm sorry. I don’t think that is what you were asking...”
“Haha. An Eun-young’s interest is studying. I suppose that is how you passed the special admission. That is how you passed right?”
Joo Hyun-ho nodded, and looked at the girl again. Come to think of it, the place where they were currently walking was S University. Those who entered through special admissions were considered to be the best of the best in the country.
On the other hand, the boy she was with had a different atmosphere. How did they become so friendly?
Joo Hyun-ho laughed at the thought. He was analyzing children. It was the so-called occupational disease. Come to think of it, he was like this before becoming an investigator...
“Then what is Seo Tae-hyuk interested in these days?”
This time, Hyun-ho shifted his gaze to Tae-hyuk.
"You don't have to be so nervous. I'm just asking as a personal interest.”
His heart was still wary after he accidentally stole a police badge before. When he first got the crime skills, he stole wigs, handcuffs, underwear and various other things, but he had rarely made mistakes recently. However, he had accidentally bumped into Joo Hyun-ho. In the end, Robbery was triggered. He was able to steal the other person’s belonging in one try thanks to his 50 points in dexterity.
Joo Hyun-ho might have been suspicious if it wasn’t for An Eun-young’s innocent face. It seemed like Hyun-ho had relaxed after talking to An Eun-young a little bit.
‘Huh? Wait a minute... He feels comfortable with Class President...? Is this also the impact of the studying skill?’
It hadn’t been to this degree before, so maybe her skill had also evolved.
'By the way, what am I interested in?’
Tae-hyuk thought for a moment before answering Joo Hyun-ho’s question.
“Isn’t it money? I want to buy a house. In today’s low-growth era, cash is the best. I recently found a good way to make money. I’m thinking of earning money whenever I can."
“…These days, children are growing up prematurely. I was busy talking about games all day when I was younger.
"I love games.”
“Eh? What games?”
"Poker, Go, Texas Hold’em, Blackjack... Well, anything that makes money. But rumors spread since I keep winning, so it wasn’t always good.”
“Cough. In my time, it was just flipping coins on a book...”
"Well, it is similar.”
In the end, Joo Hyun-ho’s expression turned grumpy because he couldn’t get the information he wanted. Were all kids like this these days?
Once they arrived at the destination, Joo Hyun-ho started to give an explanation.
"Why is there a museum on school grounds?”
"It says here."
Tae-hyuk waved the pamphlet about the school.
"In order to do community service, this university opened up some facilities for the public. It is a multi-purpose space boasting a unique architectural style and displays modern and contemporary art.”
Hyun-ho ignored Tae-hyuk and continued the explanation,
"Especially in the winter, it is displaying various works of art from the Baroque period in cooperation with the Russian Hermitage Museum.
It was a strangely familiar name. Tae-hyuk searched through his future memories.
"Isn’t it the museum created by Catherine the Great?”
Hyun-ho asked with wide eyes,
“Oh. You surprisingly have a lot of interest in art. Do you plan to pursue this path?’
"That’s not it. I just found out by chance.”
"I thought you were a chrysalis for a moment.”
Tae-hyuk narrowed his eyes.
Obviously, the Hermitage contained a collection of artworks from all over the world, causing it to be called one of the world’s three largest museums. And if his memories were right, Russia’s [Red Mafia] operated there. Ironically, the owner of the museum was the world’s foremost forgery specialist.
"Then the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Rubinson, Picasso, Van Gogh and Renoir are displayed here?”
“Aish, no way. No matter how cooperative, they wouldn’t lend us something so famous. At best, they have Poussin or Rubens pieces.”
"I am sure that the value of the paintings in the Hermitage Museum is close to a trillion won in terms of money.”
Tae-hyuk’s eyes shone.
As Joo Hyun-ho said, famous paintings were worth billions of won. The reason he came here was to get information on the machine ‘Machina’ for Kim Soo-bin. However, it was possible to raise his discerning eye by viewing artwork. He never knew when he needed Forgery again. It would be better if he could make some preparations in advance.
“Director! It has been a long time.”
Joo Hyun-ho greeted the man dozing at the entrance of the museum. The old man with grey hair acted ignorant.
“Eh? Who is this? If it isn’t Investigator Joo? But the people with you...”
"They are touring the school and wanted to see the museum. It is break time right now, so is it okay for them to look?”
"Of course. But Investigator Joo owes me.”
Kim Hyun-do, the curator of the art museum, easily nodded.
"Students are good at observing. Ah right, if you step over a line then you will hear a beep. Watch out, since the police will come.”
"Ah, yes. I understand.”
"Should I call a guide?”
“It is okay. Thank you for letting us in during the break time.”
The reason why Kim Hyun-do could look relaxed despite the museum full of expensive paintings was simple. The inside of the museum was so strictly managed that not even one ant could hide.
"Did you know that most paintings displayed in museums are forgeries?”
An Eun-young’s eyes widened since this was the first time she heard about it. Then people were paying to look at fakes.
Joo Hyun-ho said with a smile.
"Vincent van Gogh's self-portrait and Renoirs’ Bal du moulin de la Galette are worth billions of won, and are too valuable to be displayed in museums. So, as an alternative, replicas were made of ceramic plates. They stay well in light and are strong against fire. The guests can also touch them directly. They can also take a commemorative photo in front of it. A lot of people prefer this.”
"It is the first time I’ve heard of this!”
"The funny thing is that a replica created properly can be priced at hundreds of million of won. In some cases, a replica of the replica is on the market. It is like the Matryoshka dolls. Isn’t it funny?”
An Eun-young smiled without making a sound. Then she noticed Tae-hyuk staring silently at a painting.
Most of the paintings displayed here were authentic. They were surrounded by a barrier to prevent access. If someone stepped inside then the warning system installed would go off.
Seo Tae-hyuk looked at the painting with a serious expression and said in a quiet voice,
“…It is a wonderful painting.”
“Eh? Your eyes are surprisingly good. That is Rubens’ ‘The Descent of the Cross’.”
An Eun-young spoke with an impressed face.
"T-Then this is the painting that the protagonists from a Dog of Flanders wanted to see last...?”
“Correct. Ruben’s work is displayed directly in the cathedral.
An Eun-young looked at the displayed Rubens painting with shining eyes. He was a painter who painted many grandiose and brilliant mythical and religious paintings throughout Europe. Anyone would think of him when thinking of a Baroque master painter. Now she could see his paintings close up.
"Is this authentic?’
“Of course. So you shouldn't touch it. The huge security bell here will ring.”
"Famous works are being displayed. Isn’t it surprisingly not well know? I think the attendance would be big if it was advertised as the painting from a Dog of Flanders."
"Right? I also think it is a bit strange. Well, it seems like the director doesn’t like doing such a thing.”
“I see. Thank you for the explanation.”
"Then I guess I did a good job. There is a school club where I worked as the manager. Would you like to go? It is a mystery club. There are things like murder props, and we also have mystery novels so you will have fun there.”
"I also like mystery novels! What will Tae-hyuk do?”
“Um... I want to look at the paintings a bit more. I will follow you in five minutes, so go ahead and play.”
"Is that so?”
"Then don’t come too late.”
Hyun-ho and Eun-young were delighted to learn that they were both huge mystery novel fans. They left the museum while asking about each other’s favourite works.
Tae-hyuk’s eyes flashed as he stayed behind and looked at the Rubens painting. He wasn’t mistaken.
“This is a fake.”
There was a fake product in a museum that only displayed genuine items. It was made so well that his crime skills reacted.
[You have seen a forgery of incredible perfection.]
[The level of your discerning eye has risen.]
[The autograph of the artist is hidden behind it.]
Sometimes forgeries were brought in if it was too risky to display the original. But the expenses of the exhibition was too heavy to display a fake.
'There is something here.’
Fortunately, it was currently the museum’s break time. There was only a minimum of staff in the hall, with the rest eating or resting.
To avoid any doubts, Tae-hyuk first left the museum and hid behind the building and took out the opera mask. He also didn’t forget to use Disguise in case his mask was peeled off. After changing into clothes that looked like a tuxedo, the Phantom disguise was completed.
'Was his name Kim Hyun-do?’
Tae-hyuk boldly entered the museum thought the front door. The yawning Kim Hyun-do said,
"I’m sorry but we are currently on break. Please return 30 minutes later... A-Ack! Ah...I'm really sorry. Isn’t this in fashion these days?”
Since the advent of Phantom on the TV, it was the fashion to walk around with opera masks. Kim Hyun-do often saw people wearing opera masks so he was only a little surprised.
"I am the original product.”
Tae-hyuk smiled as he slowly took off his mask. The face behind it was Kim Hyun-do’s.
“Aaaaack G-Ghost, ghost...!”
Kim Hyun-do shrieked and fell off his chair. Then he stuttered out,
"H-H-Here, d-did you come here to blow it up?”
Tae-hyuk shrugged and replied,
"I don’t always bomb people. I just wanted to have a private talk with Director. Don’t worry. It will end very soon.”
The mouth below the mask slowly curved upwards.
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