Episode 97

Journey To Yichang (4)
2 weeks ago
Click or tap inside the chapter body to show/hide the bottom settings

What could Tang Hwarin be suspecting?

She must still see me as a close friend of a poison human. Then, what could be the reason for her suspicion again?

‘It’s because the motives of the character ‘me’ are superficial.’

Favors that resembled friendship, a cure completed for a friend. These ultimately stemmed from external factors, such as relationships with others, rather than from the character ‘me’ itself.

Some might view this as too superficial a reason.

This problem could be approached like a web novel author.

Let’s add depth to the character ‘me’.

By attaching a pre-prepared story to the character.

“Actually, no.”

I wanted to help you because I was attracted to you. I’m the type who doesn’t care about things like skin. She would never believe this.

I would like to extract the poison from the poison bags during Miss’s escape from the Central Plains. Then, you would be able to meet Tang Hwarin, who is skilled in poisoning.

“So?”

I couldn’t just tell her directly.

I had to melt her heart and settle the motive in her softened heart.

Now, let me tell you an incredible story.

I drew one knee up, wrapped my arms around it, and looked up at the ceiling for a moment. Pretend to be a man with a past. Become a man who wears an expression of reminiscing old memories.

“When I was a child, I lost a childhood friend to an unexpected accident and was engulfed in sadness for a while.”

The past Kang Yun-ho was devastated by the loss of Cheon Sohee. Let’s start with an introduction to prevent any possible setting conflicts.

“A childhood friend? That friend who is a poison human?”

“No. Another friend. After losing my childhood friend, I was living in despair when, one day, I saw kids throwing stones at another child. ‘Leprosy! A leper!’ they were shouting.”

The boy, engulfed in sadness, met a friend who was being bullied, a poison human.

“That child must have felt the same.”

Tang Hwarin showed a sympathetic expression at the mention of leprosy.

Sympathetic and relatable, right? I created that setting after seeing you being called a leper.

“Was it because I lost my childhood friend? Or was it a young child’s sense of justice? I couldn’t stand seeing a weak child being bullied like that. So, I punched the leader of the alley right in the face. Then, they all ran away.”

I wore a smile, as if reminiscing about a joyful memory.

“That child must have been thankful.”

“No. On the contrary, he scolded me.”

“Why?”

“He said he was enduring it because he was learning martial arts and asked why I intervened. He said it’s not right to bully weak people. Sounds foolish, right?”

My inseparable friend. A friend you couldn’t hate. Tang Hwarin couldn’t feel any hate from the face I made while talking badly about my friend.

“Uh…”

Tang Hwarin seemed at a loss for words.

“Haha. Right. That was exactly my expression. To be scolded for helping. Eventually, I fought with that child. And that’s how… we became friends.”

First, I added a story to my setting that she knew, a friend of a poison human.

“An inseparable friend, as it was said.”

“Yes. A friend like no other. I said we both thought so, but later I started to doubt that.”

“And you doubted?”

“My friend. As the side effects of the poison grew worse, he began to push me away. ‘I’ll make a cure instead of meeting you. Don’t come looking for me. I don’t need someone like you. Get lost.’ He even cursed at me. One day, we had a huge fight, and I stormed out of his house, shouting, ‘Don’t you ever come back!’”

“Why did he do that?”

Tang Hwarin asked me in a bitter tone.

It must be hard for her, who had no friends, to understand rejecting a friend.

“After that, it wasn’t long before I heard of my friend’s death.”

I shocked her for the second time.

“What?”

Tang Hwarin’s eyes widened at my words.

“Did he not want to show his last moments? Or was he pushing me away because he was in too much pain? Either way, I didn’t realize at the time that it was a signal he needed me more than anyone else.”

Should I include in the will to complete the medicine or not? I muttered, my voice full of regret, pretending to speak to a friend in heaven who might be listening.

The patient’s tantrum.

The situation where you became so sick, so overwhelmed, and so distressed that you even resented the friend who stayed by your side until the end.

In such cases, you should silently comfort the patient, stay by their side, and watch over them until the end, but Kang Yun-ho didn’t know that.

Because he was young.

“…That’s possible.”

What did she mean by ‘that’s possible’? The friend? Or me? After saying something that seemed to empathize with my past, Tang Hwarin lowered her head and looked at the bed.

So far, it’s Kang Yun-ho’s painful past.

But it couldn’t end here.

I needed to create a connection between her and I.

“Why did he tell me to go then? I wanted to be by his side by any means. The friend. He wouldn’t leave, so he even threw a secret weapon later. ‘Next time, I’ll hit you right between the eyes.’ He even threatened me.”

I emphasized the forehead while looking at Tang Hwarin. Then, she was surprised, raised her head, and looked at me.

“That’s what I said.”

“Haha. Yes. Honestly, I was surprised, too. I didn’t expect to hear that phrase again.”

I laughed briefly to lighten the mood and then looked at Tang Hwarin with a sad smile, as if overlapping her with my friend.

“I’m not your friend.”

Did she understand the meaning of my gaze? Tang Hwarin turned her head away with an embarrassed expression.

It’s effective.

She must have softened her suspicions after hearing about my painful past.

“Right. You’re not my deceased friend. And wanting to see the effect of the medicine my friend made is just a minor reason for wanting to help you.”

I naturally transitioned to the core of her inquiry.

In truth, the discussion about my friend’s medicine wasn’t the real motive. A fact that, if disclosed too soon, could elicit shock and disbelief.

I gently prepared her for what was to come by sharing my past, ensuring a smooth revelation.

“So?”

“My atonement.”

I faced her with utmost seriousness.

A motive deeply rooted in the person named Kang Yun-ho, beyond mere superficial connections.

I admitted this to her openly.

“Atonement?”

“Atonement for failing to be there for a friend in need until the very end. Being by your side, I feel I can achieve that atonement.”

My gaze conveyed an unvoiced apology.

“…”

“Initially, I was full of doubts. Was this truly atonement? There were practical issues too. But, you know what’s ironic? The moment you pushed me away, that’s when it hit me. I saw my friend in you. Needing someone, yet stubbornly rejecting help. That’s when I made my decision. I wanted to be there for you.”

To avoid repeating past mistakes.

Regardless of Tang Hwarin’s response, Kang Yun-ho always returned.

With Tang Hwarin remaining silent, I kept talking.

“I claimed it was purely out of goodwill at first. Reflecting on it, it wasn’t the fatigue recovery agent, but rather my words to you that were untrue. My desire to help wasn’t driven by that, but by my own selfishness.”

I shared this embarrassing truth with her, unable to meet her gaze directly.

Yet, the desire for atonement itself cannot be deemed selfish.

I could not say I deceived her.

The goodwill stemming from my friend’s memory and my feelings towards her were both sincere.

It’s merely that including my personal quest for atonement among my reasons for helping her added depth to my motivation.

But what to do when, despite knowing all this, I found myself unsure and despondent?

“Hey, lift your head. Who would deem that selfish?”

I took her hand, assisting her to stand.

It was at this moment that she truly recognized my goodwill.

“I appreciate you thinking that way. And I’m sorry for not being able to reveal it until now.”

“Such personal stories. You can’t just tell them to someone you’ve just met.”

She remained silent for a while before speaking to me.

Right. That’s why I prepared a setting to gradually reveal it over time as we traveled.

Tang Hwarin. Now you know what’s inside me, right? Stop doubting. Doubting only tires us both out.

It was really hard to get to Yichang comfortably.

I nodded at her once and silently lay back down on the bed.


A bird thrown out of the cage.

After being expelled from the Sung Family, Tang Hwarin felt as if her world had crumbled.

The fence that had protected her all her life was gone, and she was exposed to the disdain and contempt of people.

The poison techniques she had learned were killing her, and the people she trusted were using her.

A pitiful bird that couldn’t even flap its wings. But there was one man who reached out his hand to such a bird.

Kang Yun-ho. A strange man.

He treated all the problems caused by her as nothing serious

When someone saw her bare face, they first looked at her lower face and immediately frowned. But he naturally looked into her eyes.

He treated her ordinarily.

No. By treating her ordinarily, he treated her more specially than anyone else.

This kind of goodwill was new to Tang Hwarin, making her comfortable yet feeling like wearing clothes that didn’t fit.

People who had never properly received goodwill distrust it and suspect people.

Therefore, even though she had heard reasonable explanations from Kang Yun-ho, she doubted the reason for his goodwill throughout the trip and looked for other reasons.

‘Could it be a peculiar taste?’

Tang Hwarin had heard servants gossiping. There are men with incomprehensible tastes in the world.

Could he feel lust for her face? Or perhaps for her body?

When they ended up sharing a bed, that thought eventually exploded.

‘Was he really looking at me with such eyes?’

What if, suddenly in the middle of the night, he grabbed her chest? Should she scream like a lady? Or should she decisively cut off his hand?

Worry. Anxiety. Tension. A night spent awake, eyes wide open.

However, the night passed without the incident Tang Hwarin had imagined. Unaware of her feelings, the man slept comfortably until dawn.

‘What’s so good about me that he would think that way?’

Tang Hwarin thought it was fortunate, but a strange dissatisfaction formed in her heart, making her glare at the man all morning.

It’s not about lust for her. Observing the man’s behavior, it didn’t seem to be about money either.

Then, was the reason the man gave her really everything?

一 It was nice to see people praising you and all the medicine you made being sold.

The man’s praise seeped into Tang Hwarin’s heart. When was the last time she received praise from others? She couldn’t remember.

Being by Kang Yun-ho’s side made her feel like a normal person. But the more he treated her ordinarily, the more goodwill he showed, the more her heart filled with trembling and anxiety.

“You. What’s the real reason you’re traveling with me?”

Why did this man keep helping her? What did he think of her?

“I told you. It’s because of my friend’s medicine…”

“Is that really all?”

Was it really just because of his friend?

What did he think of her?

She wanted to know, so she asked.


“Atonement for not being able to stay by the side of a friend in need until the end. Being by your side, I feel like I can make that atonement.”

The emotion Tang Hwarin felt after hearing the whole story was neither anger nor touch.

Envy.

Tang Hwarin envied someone who wasn’t here.

Kang Yun-ho might not understand, but Tang Hwarin, as a fellow poison human, understood his friend’s decision.

The skin she wanted to hide. If it was to eventually crumble and melt away, leading to death, would she have wanted to imprint that painfully dying image in her friend’s eyes?

She wouldn’t have wanted to show that image if it were her. But the man had suffered his whole life just because he couldn’t be there at the end.

To the extent that he wanted to help a person who was threatening his life at first sight.

Kang Yun-ho said it was not pure goodwill but selfishness.

Nonsense.

The relationship and feelings shared between those two were exactly what she had longed for. How could helping her as a fragment of that relationship be considered selfishness?

‘If I had met Kang Yun-ho first.’

If she had met him when he was young, not his friend, would her life have been a little different?

Why didn’t she have such a friend?

“Hey, Kang Yun-ho.”

Tang Hwarin called to Kang Yun-ho, who was lying down in solitude, burdened with guilt.

“Why.”

“You don’t seem entirely pure, after all.”

“I know.”

“…But I think I’m the same.”

“Huh?”

“Shit. I’m the one making a fuss. Forget it. Let’s sleep and leave tomorrow.”

Cowardice. A cowardly heart had formed.

If this man had such wounds, could she approach him?

By being by his side, helping him over and over, could she gain his trust as he said?

‘Then, instead of a friend, I could be…’

It’s an impure thought.

Trying to fill someone’s wounded heart in place of another is not pure.

Yet, she felt a warm hope.


Daehung County, Sung Family.

The office of the Sung Family head.

There, Seong Sehwi, the head of the Sung Family, and a man were standing, both restless.

“It’s been a long time.”

Seong Sehwi tried to hide the cold sweat running down his back with an awkward smile.

“Where have you been?”

The man asked Seong Sehwi with indifference, yet filled with anger.

“Ha-ha. That is…”

Seong Sehwi looked at the man with a flustered face.

The man’s presence was like a tiger, but strangely, his face seemed more like a giant viper than a tiger.

The man Seong Sehwi hadn’t expected to appear here.

Purple hair. Green eyes.

The man’s name was.

“Where did Hwarin go?”

He was Tang Geoho from the Sichuan Tang Family.

📢 New! Donation Section - Support early translations!

👀 Seeking Korean Translators - Get paid per chapter!

Your support helps keep our chapters free. Consider subscribing, purchasing, or joining our Discord for updates and discussions!

Enjoying the series? Leave a rating or review on Novel Updates.

⚠️ Do not post a spoiler without a spoiler tag ⚠️

<spoiler>INSERT YOUR TEXT</spoiler>