Chapter 87 - Genius and Genius #3
Hyun-ho’s eyes shone as he saw the new manager of the school club.
“Eh? You’re the manager? Weren’t you a freshman?”
"That was four years ago. At any rate, I called all the members after hearing that Sunbae-nim was coming. We can listen to the vivid scene directly from the mouth of someone on the industry... Kuheok...!”
"There are more people?”
"Three of them?”
"But this year, I am one of them...”
It was curious that this club was still alive.
"In fact, today I brought a candidate. Unfortunately, she left because there was a problem at home. Still, she’ll definitely accept this place. Perhaps she’ll join after being admitted?”
"Wah. Thank you, Sunbae-nim.”
Joo Hyun-ho looked at the club that was filled with memories of his university days. As a mystery club, the bookshelves were filled with mystery novels. Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr, and so on. Most of the novels were classics.
"Due to this place, I was called a genius investigator.”
"Praising yourself in this situation! Sunbae-nim is wonderful!”
Joo Hyun-ho pulled out a small envelop and held it out.
"Are you not getting proper support? Add this to supplement your budget.”
“Heok... T-Thank you. Attention! Salute towards Sunbae-nim!:
The members stood up and bowed towards Joo Hyun-ho.
“Thank you, Sunbae-nim!”
"Well, I don’t want to lose this place where I have some fond memories of Kang-suk sunbae.”
A woman, who heard Joo Hyun-ho’s murmur, asked,
"Is that who Sunbae-nim won the mafia game with?”
"Uh, it has been seven years but someone still remembers.”
"Of course! I saw it and became interesting in deduction! Whoa, whoa. In this type of place, the best stars of the mafia game...”
“Huhu. Do you want my signature?”
Mafia Game was the name of a popular TV entertainment program a few years ago where the contestants were divided into police or mafia and played a variety of reasoning games. National MC’s with an IQ of 150, comedians, politicians, etc. were all contestants. There were hundreds of participants, started from broadcasters to ordinary people.
After Joo Hyun-ho won it twice, he was called the genius of deduction. Even now when he was an investigator, he would recall that experience and sometimes a flash of inspiration would come.
“So there was a connection like this. It was a vivid scene for a club junior...”
At that moment, he received a call from Kim Do-shik. Joo Hyun-ho had been planning to tell his juniors some exciting stories.
“This was my only vacation. Indeed, if I’m not present then there is no investigation. Excuse me while I take this call.”
Joo Hyun-ho pressed the call button on the phone as he left the room. Then he heard Kim Do-shik’s agitated voice,
-Investigator Joo Hyun-ho. I’m sorry to call on your day off. But aren’t you at S Univeristy right now?
“Haha. Inspector. This isn’t like you. It hasn’t even been a day and yet...”
-Stop joking. At any rate, if you are at S University then go to the museum there.
“Has something happened?”
-Do you know the Rubens painting there?
“Yes. I was just looking at it.”
-There is a chance that the painting is a forgery. I arrested a Russian smuggler this morning and many Rubens paintings were found. I’m not sure yet so I wanted you to go and see if there is anything suspicious. Can’t you read them using human psychology?
Joo Hyun-ho’s eyes sharpened.
"I think it will be hard for me alone. It isn’t my area of expertise.”
-An expert will soon arrive on the scene. I don’t have a warrant yet so just talk to people.
-You can hear the details from the expert. Then do your best.
Joo Hyun-ho sighed as Kim Do-shik hung up. It was a place where he was meeting his club juniors after a long time, yet there was a new case.
His heart started to beat faster at the thought of meeting his rival.
“C-Can I call you Phantom?”
Tae-hyuk replied while blindfolding Kim Hyun-do,
"Let’s talk comfortably.”
“Yes, I understand. Why are my eyes...”
"Don’t worry too much. It is just a safety device. It will be tiresome if there is some trouble.”
The tuxedo suit that Tae-hyuk was wearing now had been made using his leather jacket and Counterfeit. It would last exactly 300 seconds. It was impossible to make something else with it using the Forgery skill, so no matter how fast he used the skill, he wouldn’t be able to prevent his clothes from suddenly changing.
'Originally, I wanted to finish this in five minutes. But it seems like the situation is more complicated than I thought.
He sent a message to An Eun-young using his phone. A reply came back in less than 10 seconds.
-Hmm, I suddenly had to go home so I will be leaving first. I’m really sorry.
Fortunately, it seemed possible to investigate the imitation art without a time limit.
"First of all, I want to ask Director something. The Rubens painting displayed here is a fake, a finely crafted fake. Do you know anything about it?”
“T-That can’t be. The exhibition here is scheduled to be displayed for two months with the cooperation of the Hermitage Museum in Russia... Surely there wouldn’t be anything wrong?”
Tae-hyuk had wondered if Kim Hyun-do was Red Mafia’s accomplice. He was suspicious because there was no publicity, despite displaying one of Rubens works. It was as if he didn’t want a lot of guests here.
Tae-hyuk looked around the director’s room. He could see the personality of the person by looking at their room. First of all, the room was very tidy. The broom in the corner indicated he cleaned it directly.
‘A very neat and meticulous person.’
Then he noticed a book that was on the desk. It turned out to be A Dog of Flanders, a book where Rubens’ painting appeared. Tae-hyuk went through the desk and found some additional clues. On the calendar, there was a museum schedule written by Kim Hyun-do.
‘He is inviting kindergarten and elementary school children nearby to see the painting for free.’
By default, the art museum belonged to S University and operated with the aid of the university.
'His financial status is also clean. This means...’
Considering all the information, Kim Hyun-do was very sincere in operating this museum. Tae-hyuk finally said,
"You like A Dog of Flanders.”
“Yes. It has been my favourite novel since I was a child. I applied to be the director of an art museum before I wanted to make other children feel the same emotions. Fortunately, I was able to acquire a Rubens painting for this museum... I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep properly for several days.”
It was the reason why he had been dozing off.
With this, Tae-hyuk was convinced that Kim Hyun-do wasn’t related to Red Mafia. If he was wrong…
‘No. I trust my judgement. Director Kim Hyun-do isn’t a criminal.’
Tae-hyuk released Kim Hyun-do’s blindfold.
"How long until the other guards return?”
"There are around 20 minutes.”
"Then I’ll finish it before that. First, let’s take a look at the Rubens painting.”
"You didn’t come to blow this place up?”
"I told you. I came to help you.”
Kim Hyun-do was still confused.
The man called Phantom wasn’t a simple criminal. The two people headed to where the Rubens painting was displayed.
“Looking again, it really is well-made. The parchment it is drawn on is actually more than 500 years old. It really looks like an old masterpiece, but I would like to take a closer look.”
"For the sake of a perfect masterpiece, a craftsman with considerable ability would have suffered for a few months to create this, so of course they would feel attached to it. Then they will play a joke.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you mean.”
No matter how he looked, he couldn’t find any differences.
“Look at this.”
Tae-hyuk pulled red sunglasses out of his pocket. When he used it, hidden initials showed up.
“Heok... Don't tell me..."
In the painting, some Chinese characters were hidden. It was written with special ink that could only be seen through red glasses.
"I doubt that Rubens would’ve learned this language. Do you know that that means?”
This was a very sophisticated forgery. Rubens paintings were extremely expensive. He left behind more than 2,000 works in his lifetime. Even so, he was still one of the most popular artists when it came to auctions. Rubens’ works had one of the best records at the famous auction house Sotherby’s.
"T-Then what should I do?”
Tae-hyuk tried to figure out the purpose by combining his knowledge of the future actions of Red Mafia.
"Maybe they are preparing for a huge scam. Then let’s return to your office to talk more.”
“Yes, I understand.”
He didn’t know when the other guards would return. The situation would become complicated if he was discovered by others.
Tae-hyuk and Kim Hyun-do returned to the original location.
"Would you like a cup of coffee or something?”
"No, I’m fine. First, I will briefly sum up the situation.”
Tae-hyuk wrote down the name Red Mafia on a piece of paper.
"It is the largest criminal organization in Russia. They have committed many crimes in this world.”
“Yes. What are they...?”
"From now on, the secret I will tell you has been classified as a class 1 secret by the CIA.”
Kim Hyun-do’s eyes widened and he closed his mouth.
"It’s the Red Mafia that runs the Hermitage Museum.”
“O-Oh my god...”
"I think I know what their purpose is. Sooner or later, I think there will be a tremendous amount of imitation art in the world. In particular, there will be a lot of Rubens’ works. There will be no rumours about fakes circulating.”
What if Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was copied and released on the market? It was such a famous work that everyone would know it was a fake. But what about Rubens’ the Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus, or Massacre of the Innocents? Few people knew who owned them.
In other words, there were two reasons why the Red Mafia targeted Rubens’ works for this crime. He was a painter of high value who left behind a lot of works.
"Then why was a forgery provided here?”
"To sell a fake, it needs to be made real. The painting would be worth billions of won. They don’t want it compared to the real thing.”
“Soon, there will be more people looking at the painting displayed here for a variety of reasons. They will be completely fooled by the Red Mafia. Director Kim Hyun-do as well. You were used by the Red Mafia without knowing it yourself.”
Kim Hyun-do sat down on the spot.
He loved art. Among them, Rubens’ paintings were exceptional. He had rejoiced at being able to display it...
But it was all to sell a fake.
"Director won’t be hurt if you pretend not to notice anything. I just feel a little bit of conscience. But will it be finished like this? The Rubens that they are trying to fake and sell is your favourite painting. Can you just watch knowing that?”
"T-Then what can I do? I’m just an old man who can’t do anything.”
"I do have one suggestion.”
"Will it give me a shot at the Red Mafia that deceived me?”
"They will be quite upset by the end of it. You will also get extra income from it.”
“I will do it. I can’t forgive those bastards who defiled Rubens’ name.”
Tae-hyuk smiled and explained his plan to Kim Hyun-do, who felt faint as he heard the whispers of a devil.
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