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    “Neither less nor more, it would be great if I had exactly two bodies.”

    As the year of the Ulsa treaty came around, Hyang frequently started to grumble like this.

    Because, as far as Hyang felt, there indeed had been a lot of work. And behind the work becoming this busy, there was Sejong. To be exact, the problem was Sejong’s ‘purchasing habits’.

    “The Kingdom of Jin has made its own characters…”

    “Mongolia also had its own letters?”

    “Try to obtain some characters of Tianzhu (India) while you’re at it.”

    “I need some records about Hyangchal (writing)[1]. I should know where the rules of using Idu (script)[2] started.”

    “…Yes, Your Majesty.”

    Every time Sejong requested a purchase, Hyang had to twist and turn to get the books.

    “The military system of the Jin Dynasty established by the Jurchen tribe will help us understand the behavior of the Jurchen tribe. Please get related books. Preferably, first obtain the ones recorded in the script of Jin.”

    “I want to know about the Northern Yuan, so get me records about Yuan, its predecessor. Since the ones written by the Ming Dynasty can be biased, first get the ones written in Mongolian and also get the explanatory books.”

    “Tianzhu had made significant advancements in mathematics. Could you get related books?”

    “I need to look at the academic books written by our ancestors. Get them.”

    “The book you got last time had a lot of Idu. Can you get some more records on Hyangchal?”

    After twisting and turning to get the books, it wasn’t over. While the actual destination was Sejong, the recipient that was made public was Hyang. Therefore, Hyang had to understand the content of the books with a reluctant mindset. Because of the questions sometimes thrown by the elder gingers-like officials.

    “Your Highness, you said you got a peculiar book last time? You seem to be interested in foreign books. Can we know what it’s about?”

    “Ah, I’m still organizing it. There were many books that came with it.”

    “Is that so? Those books cost a lot…”

    Hyang instantly caught the hint of them trying to pressure him about the source of funds.

    “Haha! That’s why my pocket is always empty. Unlike some people, I have no ties to gifts.”

    “Oh, is that the case? Hmm! Hmm!”

    Because of such reasons, Hyang had to learn foreign languages in addition to phonetics against his own will.

    Hyang’s hardship didn’t end here. He also had to open the library he made for money laundering and reference purposes.

    “Are a lot of books missing?”

    “His Majesty has taken them.”

    “Is that so?”

    Listening to the answer of the interior minister, Hyang looked at the empty slots in the library.

    ‘He should’ve just taken the phonetics books, why the math books…is he laundering money too?’

    ‘The library in Eastern Palace has a lot of amazing books!’

    ‘His Majesty even borrows a few books!’

    Those attracted by such rumors were the staff of the research institute.

    “I would like to see a more advanced academic book…”

    “I want to see the original books about city creation that I’m working on for a project…”

    Unable to resist their desires, the staff members wrote a formal request and submitted it to Hyang.

    “Sigh! Can’t help it! It’s troublesome to write down each one separately. With the amount obtained so far, money laundering should be somewhat done.”

    Hyang, who made the decision, immediately requested to build an annex in Eastern Palace.

    “Isn’t it okay to just modify and use the rooms in the Eastern Palace as we do now?”

    “I need a personal space to live.”

    “It’s really convenient to visit now.”

    “Your Majesty, if you want to hide a tree, you have to hide it in the forest.”

    Upon Hyang’s last words, Sejong accepted the request.

    Thanks to a large number of skilled builders gathered, another annex was quickly completed.

    As soon as the building was completed, Hyang moved most of the books he had there, except for a few he absolutely had to keep by himself.

    “Now… I’ve moved everything, but if there’s a fire, it’s all over?”

    Worried about a fire, Hyang immediately took action. He placed buckets full of sand at regular intervals, and dug a small pond outside the annex.

    After all the preparations were done, Hyang made a request to Sejong.

    “Please bestow it a name.”

    “A name…”

    After contemplating, Sejong picked up a brush instead of a golden pen and wrote a name on the paper.

    ‘Jipjiwon (Collective Wisdom Institute)’

    “Books contain knowledge. Your library has not only our Joseon books, but also books from faraway Western countries. Isn’t it a place where all the world’s knowledge gathers? The name Jipjiwon suits best.”

    “Thank you very much!”

    With Sejong’s handwriting on the signboard, Jipjiwon officially started its activities. The main business of Jipjiwon was book management and lending.

    There was a hierarchy in book lending: Hyang and Sejong, who were the owners of the books, had no deadline; the royal family had a maximum of ten days; the staff of the research institute had five days, and the staff of other departments had four days.

    After returning, they prevented one person from monopolizing the book by prohibiting immediate re-borrowing.

    When making rules about lending, what Hyang worried about was ‘the royal family’.

    “Would there be royalty who come this far to borrow books? However, one cannot predict the far future, so preparing in advance may not be a bad idea.”

    What Jipjiwon sought out the most when he started his activities was Sejong.

    “These are books that the prince referred to, so I thought the scholars might want to refer to them as well.”

    Saying this, among the books that were being borrowed six at a time, there were always books related to language.

    “All the books are in their original language, so there is a need for translation…”

    Whenever the officials saw him, Sejong would give this excuse and naturally borrow linguistic books.

    * * *

    Of course, with Jipjiwon and the research institutes being built around Eastern Palace, people always came and went around Eastern Palace.

    This bustling scene drew Yu’s attention.

    “Why are there so many people at Eastern Palace?”

    Yu, who was just turning eight, was trying to behave more maturely.

    In response to Yu’s question, the prince’s tutor simply answered.

    “Because His Highness the Crown Prince has a lot of work.”

    “My brother?”

    Yu, who had been tilting his head, asked the prince’s tutor, “Can I go see what’s going on?”

    Considering Yu’s request, the prince’s tutor weighed the possibilities.

    ‘The prince is very active, and there are many things in the institute that could cause problems if tampered with recklessly… But might he become interested in academics if he gets stimulated there? I need to make him interested in learning, even if it’s not formal learning!’

    Having decided, the prince’s tutor answered Yu, “I will ask His Majesty and the Crown Prince.”

    Upon hearing the prince’s tutor’s request, Sejong asked him.

    “There are many delicate items in the institute that must not be touched recklessly. Won’t Yu touch them?”

    This was a question Sejong asked because he knew well that Yu was full of energy.

    In response to Sejong’s question, the prince’s tutor answered in a firm voice, “I will personally stay by the prince’s side and supervise him.”

    “Hmm…”

    Upon hearing the prince’s tutor’s words, Sejong stroked his beard and fell into deep thought. After a long time of consideration, Sejong came to a conclusion.

    “Alright. Tell the prince to set a date.”

    “Your grace is immeasurable!”

    Upon receiving the prince’s tutor’s message, Hyang set a date and responded.

    “Your grace is boundless, Your Highness!”

    “Immense? Thank you for caring about Yu’s education.”

    At Hyang’s praise, the prince’s tutor remembered all his hardships and shed tears.

    “Your grace is boundless, Your Highness! Sob, sob!”

    “Hey! A grown man shouldn’t be weeping so much! Stop!”

    A peculiar situation unfolded where a fresh-faced child was comforting a middle-aged man with a white beard.

    * * *

    When the promised date came, Yu visited the institute with the prince’s tutor.

    “Your Highness, how are you?”

    “Ah, it’s been a while since I’ve seen you too. I’m sorry I’ve been too busy to see you often even though we live in the same palace.”

    “No, Your Highness.”

    At Hyang’s words, Yu hurriedly shook his head.

    From Yu’s perspective, Princess Jeonghye and Hyang were the same.

    – People who cause others distress when seen often.

    This was how Yu felt about Princess Jeonghye and Hyang.

    Despite this, Yu couldn’t help but be interested in the equipment rumored to be in the secret area.

    Once inside the institute, Yu gaped at the exhibits displayed in the corridor.

    “Wow~ Wow~.”

    Yu repeatedly exclaimed “Wow~.” as he looked at all the strange equipment.

    Especially at the place where models of battleships and battleships were displayed, he couldn’t even take a step, standing there like a statue.

    “He’s a child…”

    Hyang said a single sentence when he saw Yu, who was lost in sightseeing, and everyone around looked at Hyang with an absurd expression.

    ‘Then, what are you?’

    This was a common thought among everyone present.

    * * *

    Yu, who was forced to move his feet, arrived in a room that surprised even Sejong.

    “Your Highness, what is this room?”

    “This is the room with a geographic model of Joseon and a model of a train.”

    “Geographic model? Train model? Tutor, what are those?”

    At Yu’s question, the prince’s tutor answered with a puzzled expression.

    “I… I’m not quite…”

    “This is a place that’s supposed to be confidential, so there are many things that people don’t know. Especially since you, Yu, are here, I will show you. Open the door.”

    “Yes, Your Highness.”

    At Hyang’s command, the inner officer opened the door of the room. When the sliding door opened, the first thing that entered Yu’s eyes was a huge table in the middle of the room.

    Being a young child, Yu couldn’t see what was on the table.

    “Bring the stand.”

    “Yes, Your Highness.”

    “Wow!”

    Yu, who climbed onto the platform brought by the inner officials, yelled at the geographical model on the table. It was the most marvelous spectacle he had never seen in his life.

    “Is this Joseon?”

     

    “It’s a rough imitation of the land and rivers of Joseon. It’s not accurate.” 

    ‘Wow.’ 

    Looking at Yu, who kept exclaiming in amazement, Hyang grinned slightly. 

    ‘He’s like children who’ve just been to an amusement park.’

    With a wide-open mouth, Yu kept spouting words of admiration, which brought a chuckle to Hyang. Seeing the prince, who was also staring in amazement just like Yu, Hyang had to tightly grip his fist to suppress his laughter. 

    “Your Highness, what is this path?”

    Responding to Yu’s question pointing at the railway, Hyang immediately answered, “It’s a path for trains to run on. It’s called a railway.”

    “Railway?”

    “Inner officials.”

    “Yes, Your Highness.”

    At Hyang’s command, the inner officials brought over the model locomotive and passenger car displayed on one side and placed them on the railway. The officials connected the locomotive, passenger car, and freight car, then inserted a lantern filled with alcohol into the locomotive and lit it.

    “Just wait a little.”

    “Yes, Your Highness.”

    Yu, who had been impatiently waiting for the water to boil, quieted down at Hyang’s words.

    Squeak!

    As soon as the signal indicating sufficient pressure was heard, Hyang loosened the lever and set the locomotive in motion.

    “Ah…Ah!”

    Seeing the locomotive move, Yu was left dumbstruck. Just opening his mouth and watching the model locomotive run on the railway, Yu’s breathing began to hasten.

    “Haaa~. Haaa~.”

    “Yu?”

    Seeing Yu’s strange symptoms, Hyang called out to him, but Yu only kept panting and watched the movement of the train in a daze.

    Seeing Yu like this, something occurred to Hyang.

    ‘Could it be! A train fanatic!’

    The model locomotive, which was puffing steam and pulling the model passenger and freight cars, made two rounds around the large geographical model and stopped when it ran out of water.

    When the locomotive stopped, the inner officials removed the model locomotive and trains from the railway. Yu, who had been watching the model locomotive being safely put back on display, turned to Hyang in a rush.

    “Bro, No! Your Highness, Your Highness! Do they actually move like this in reality?”

    Just by his address, it was clear that Yu had lost his bearings.

    “That was just a demonstration of the theory, the actual thing looks different.”

    At Hyang’s gesture, the inner officials brought over the model locomotives on display on one side.

    From something that looked similar to Stephenson’s Locomotion to the steam locomotive familiar through movies and dramas, four types of locomotive models had been made under Hyang’s order after Sejong’s visit. However, unlike what Sejong and Yu saw, these models were just models and didn’t move.

    Starting from the locomotion, Hyang pointed out each one and explained.

    “As industry and technology advance, they’ll progress from this to this.”

    “Wow.”

    “When these locomotives and trains are complete and the railways are laid, traveling across Joseon will only take a day.”

    “Wow!”

    Yu’s mouth gaped wider at Hyang’s explanation. While looking at the model locomotives and listening to the explanation, Yu said to Hyang.

    “Your Highness! I want to make these locomotives!”

    But Hyang shook his head immediately.

    “You can’t.”

    “Why not!”

    “You don’t study, do you?”

    At Hyang’s blunt statement, Yu’s face fell. Looking at Yu’s face, Hyang explained in more detail.

    “To create this locomotive, not only do we need skilled craftsmen, but also smart scholars. To give a simple example, at our research institute, passing the state exam is basic, and there are also quite a few who have passed the higher state exam. Of course, you may think that classics and industry don’t have much to do with each other. But do you think a guy who doesn’t even properly study Confucian classics because he finds them boring, will do well in industrial studies?”

    “Hiii…”

    At Hyang’s stern words, Yu began to well up with tears.

    “You are a prince. If you get involved in this work, you’ll have to start with a responsible position. Can you receive proper treatment if you’re poor not only in classics but also in industrial studies? Will you then try to get your way by crying, like you’re doing now?”

    “No, no I won’t!”

    “Confucian classics are both a basic subject that you need to learn and a discipline that harmonizes human relations. If you want to participate in this grand project, start by studying properly!”

    “Huhu!”

    At Hyang’s stern words, Yu wiped his tears with his sleeve and asked, “Then, if I study hard, can I participate in this?”

    “If you have the skills!”

    “I will definitely make you satisfied, Your Highness!”

    “……”

    Looking at Yu’s determined eyes and his fervent declaration, Hyang mumbled in surprise.

    ‘What, what’s with this scary passion!’

    After that, Yu’s behavior changed completely.

    He studied Confucian classics with a serious attitude, not to mention his martial arts training, and whenever he had time, he spent it in the room with the train model, reaffirming his determination. Unbeknownst to him, he began to fall into the path of a train fanatic.

    “Haaa~. Haaa~. Trains are the best~.”

    Of course, he sometimes made such remarks, causing the inner officials to become tense.

    With Yu’s transformation, this time, it was Yong that made trouble.

    1. Hyangchal is a traditional Korean writing system that uses Chinese characters to represent the Korean language. This writing system is unique because it transcribes the sounds of Korean using Chinese characters, rather than using them for their semantic meaning.[]
    2. Idu is an archaic writing system that represents the Korean language using hanja.[]

    Lol. Another fanatic has been born >.<

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