Chapter 2. The Blind Man
“You got hurt again. That’s why I told you not to follow us when we go tiger hunting.”
A snowflake that was in the branch of a tree fell and landed on Eunha’s nose.
After noticing the wound between her middle and index finger, Shihoon took out his handkerchief. Unlike his cold voice, his eyes were full of concern.
“This can’t even be called a wound. Young Master slipped on the snow earlier. Didn’t you get hurt? Maybe you shouldn’t have followed me.”
Seeing as she still had her usual brave attitude, despite having a relatively large wound, he sighed.
“Please forget about that. I won’t show such shameful act anymore.”
“It wasn’t shameful. I was worried.”
“Really? Why were you worried about me?”
“Isn’t it obvious? Do you remember when your ankle got sprained? Madam got so mad at me. That’s why you should take better care of yourself and stop worrying about me.”
After cleaning the injury, she bowed at him and then ran towards the captain of the hunting group. Today, they were unable to catch the tiger, but they’d found traces of where the tiger is hiding. They marked the area and then placed some traps. The good news is that the town would probably to be safe for a few days, but no tiger meant no big money.
It was a relief that they’d killed a wild boar. Thanks to that, she would be paid five tael coins.
“Here. Take ten tael coins.”
She was surprised at the amount of money the captain had given her.
“Ten coins? Didn’t you say that if we couldn’t catch the tiger, we’d only get five tael coins?”
“You caught the biggest wild boar all by yourself. That’s why it’s okay for you to receive ten tael coins.”
“Really? I’m glad, thanks.”
“Next time, we’ll definitely catch the tiger and take home a gold coin. You’re going to join us again, right?”
“Of course, you only need to call me.”
Eunha received the money bag with a bright smile and then walked away. Since she had received ten tail coins, she planned to use five to pay back the bookshop owner. The rest was going to be put in her piggy bank, where she has been saving up her earnings. If she’d continued saving up, maybe one day, she would be able to save her sister. Then they could start living together. They probably wouldn’t have any kind of luxuries, but at least they wouldn’t starve.
Eunha ran towards Yoon Shihoon was waiting for her while accompanied by his servants. When he saw her approaching, he smiled at her,
“I’m buying dinner tonight. Also, you can drink as much as you want.”
After ordering two plates of food, they ate and drank everything served to them. Filling their stomach while relaxing made them feel tired afterward.
The captain of the hunting group had accepted her request to join them mainly for two reasons. The first reason was due to her superb skills with a gun. The second reason was that she could approach the tiger silently thanks to being lightweight.
The people in the inn were talking very lively. Eunha smiled brightly with a face that was red because of the alcohol.
“It’s thanks to you that I can earn money to eat and live.”
While enjoying a drink, Shihoon laughed at her playful tone of voice.
“It isn’t thanks to me. It’s because you’re brilliant. I can’t beat you in hunting anymore.”
“That’s not true. I still have a lot to learn. That’s why I’m very thankful to the young master. You’re my benefactor.”
“I’m tired of hearing that word.”
“But I’m still thankful.”
Eunha bowed her head and smiled while looking at the rice on top of the brass spoon. Then she had a sudden thought about her sister.
Her sister, Lee Yongi, who was nicknamed ‘Flower of Elixir’, become a courtesan because they were poor. They had no parents, unlike others, and needed to take care of a younger sister. The only thing she had was her youth and beauty.
Lee Yongi had a strong sense of responsibility. Even if she hadn’t drunk water in three whole days, all she cares about is Eunha eating as much as possible.
The problem started when her sister accompanied a friend’s mom to receive her payment one day. After seeing her pretty sister, the woman who ran the courtesan house, lured her with silk clothes and a warm room.
It has been ten years since Lee Yongi become a courtesan. The only future available to a courtesan after the marrying age, is to live as a concubine of a noble or to start a courtesan house of her own.
Eunha wanted to save her sister from such a fate. She didn’t want her to become a concubine of an old man or become an old courtesan lady. She wanted her to live a normal life.
“Then I’ll be going. They’re going to get mad at me if it gets any later.”
She had left early that morning without telling her sister about the tiger hunt. By now, the news should have reached her, so she would be anxiously awaiting Eunha’s return.
“Are you going back?”
After hearing his question, Eunha tapped at some books she had.
“Before going back home, I want to stop by the bookstore. I want to exchange these books for new ones. Now that I have made some money, I want to pay off my debt.”
“Then let’s go together. I’m going in that direction to visit my mother.”
They got up after Shihoon left some coins on the table. They had been drinking since this afternoon, which left their faces as red as persimmons.
The gazes towards a woman dressed in men’s clothes and a man wearing silk robes weren’t pleasant, but they were used to it.
The cold wind brushed against her exposed neck, the chill causing her to immediately hunch her shoulders. Shivering from the cold, she asked Shihoon, who was walking at a relaxed pace, to walk faster and then ran towards the bookshop.
The weather was so cold that she could see her own breath and her vision was blurry from the alcohol. Today she had gotten drunk faster than usual.
“Is there anyone here?”
Eunha opened the door of the bookstore. Maybe it was due to the cold wind, but the owner seemed surprised by her arrival and shouted at her.
“Why did you open the door so suddenly?!”
The owner looked around with a pale expression while Eunha frowned at him. After entering the shop, she shook the snow off her clothes and placed the books she had borrowed on the counter.
“Why are you acting so strange? Don’t you want me to pay you back?”
“Lower your voice!”
“Huh? You’re acting very strange today. Anyway, I wanted to return these books and borrow some others. Ah, also here are the five tael coins I owed.”
The shop owner nervously looked at the other side of the room. He took the books Eunha has brought, and after checking their condition, he gave her a book he had hidden in the corner.
“You’re the only one around here who knows the Western Language. Since you always pay what you owe on time, you don’t need to return this book. Just keep it.”
The owner, who was usually very sweet towards her, seemed different today. It was clear that he wanted to kick her out of the shop. Even though she had received a gift from him, she still felt bad.
“I’ll gladly accept the book. But mister, are you feeling okay? You’re sweating a lot.”
“I’m okay, don’t worry. It’s getting colder, so hurry back home.”
“Young Master Yoon is outside, right? Don’t make him wait anymore. Just go.”
The owner of the bookstore pushed Eunha outside. He indeed enjoyed her presence, but there was a very good reason for his strange behavior.
After closing the door, he walked towards the backroom.
“I’m sorry about that. If there’s a book you’re looking for, please tell me the book title, so I can better assist you.”
There were two individuals standing in front of the bookstore owner. A man wearing silk clothes and a round hat. Next to him, there was another man wearing full-fledged armor. It was clear that these weren’t ordinary people.
The man with pale skin and beautiful features asked,
“Is there a book written in Western Language?”
While holding his breath, the shop owner was searching for the book Eunha had just brought.
“I had more books written in Western Language, but I’ve already sold most of them. Right now, I have two left in stock.”
“Is there someone who knows how to read Western Language in the area?”
“Yes, there are two people.”
“So, there’s two, huh.”
The owner nodded his head and handed the book to the warrior standing behind him.
“Yuljae, it seems like we have found someone worthy.”
“I will gather additional information on them, my lord.”
The nobleman seemed satisfied with the answer. He walked towards the exact spot Eunha had been standing. On top of the desk, there was a pouch of coins she had given the owner.
The silk pouch had a red logo on it that caught his attention.
That voice he heard earlier definitely belonged to a girl.
Why was she using the same pouch as tiger hunters?
You could see the interest for the girl stirring in his eyes. His lips, which were as red as a poppy flower, curled into a smiled.
“If you introduce me to the girl that was just here before, I’ll compensate you generously.”
Surprised by the sudden request, the owner scurried towards the nobleman and asked,
“Why are you asking about her? She’s not a servant from a noble family.”
“I already know that. There’s no way a servant would come here to rent books.”
“Do you know her? If not, why are you asking me about Eunha?”
“I need someone to read for me since I’m blind.”
“Eh? You’re blind?”
“Why? You don’t believe me?”
The owner of the shop looked at the man’s eyes. It was hard to believe that he was blind. Even if he was as beautiful as an angel descending from the heavens, his eyes revealed the madness that lied within.
If a man says that he’s blind, he’s blind. If he says that he’s a farmer, he’s a farmer.
The owner opened his mouth and carefully spoke to the man in front of him.
“Eunha is a child, who is being raised in a courtesan house called Buyeong. If my lord agrees, I will send word and have her pay a visit within the next few days.”