ENGLISH V.A.cayman klm
STORYHansaneega@Lee Jongbeom
Jang Yeong-SilThe genius with no limits.A genius of early Joseon; a man who cannot be labeled only as an inventor, engineer, or scientist, the only limit he has is the world around him. But after Stroke, all limits disappeared, and now he is able to use not just the Joseon of 500 years ago but the entire universe as his workbench. “He is of common origin!” “How is that lowly man someone you utilize for such important use?” “Your Majesty, please understand.” Joseon. The land of Neo-Confucianism. The land that looked down on all other studies, thus called the hermit nation even until the end of the 19th century.  ‘Goodness…’ Sejong wasn’t someone who had the gift of foresight, but he could see the future. The Realist School of Confucianism. And of that, he was sure this land had to uphold science to stand upright. But Joseon was a country with a strong divine right. There wasn’t much a king could do unilaterally. ‘Just look at this now.’ ‘The king is trying to bring his beloved vassal simply up to the third rank in court, but they’re acting as if he’s being selfish.’ “I’ve already made a decision, so stop.” “But Your Majesty!” “I don’t want to hear it! Jang Yeong-sil is already a great scientist who invented the honcheonui, the ganuidae, and the jagyeokru! The title of daehogun isn’t too much, it’s not enough!” “Your Majesty, it is an interesting object but it’s something we will be fine without.” Sejong was speechless at his vassal’s statement. ‘Does he mean predicting the weather by reading the heavens with the honcheonui and the ganuidae was just interesting?’ ‘Does he mean we’ll be fine without the jagyeokru, which told time accurately?’ “Enough. If you keep arguing, I will name him prime minister.” “Your Majesty…” “Enough!” “Your Majesty. Please consider…” They all had looked at the inventions Jang Yeong-sil made and thought about the utility of the inventions. It seemed vassals didn’t look useful in their eyes. It was probably because their eyes were blinded by the idea that neo-Confucianism was the be-all and end-all. No, it was possible the special treatment he gave completely made them forget opening their eyes. “Bring Jang Yeong-sil here.” Sejong thought back. He thought back to the day he named Jang Yeong-sil to the position of daehogun, and called him in. “Your Majesty, Jang Yeong-sil, at your service.” “Lift your head.” “I apologize, Your Majesty.” “Damn your apology! There is nothing to be concerned about with the talk outside!” Jang Yeong-sil looked diminished. It was the first time seeing him in a long time. He shouldn’t have had any issues with his health because Sejong had assigned a royal physician to keep an eye on his health. So it was clear the pain right now came from the rumors. “I feel as though I am becoming a burden on Your Majesty,” said Jang Yeong-sil, looking Sejong in the eye. For Sejong, who was looking at this Jang Yeong-sil, it was painful. ‘You’re a genius. A genius!’ The public spoke of Sejong as a genius. But Sejong thought of Jang Yeong-sil as the true heaven-gifted genius. He found reason without an education, and he made those things that traditionally came over from China, except much better. If he wasn’t a genius, then who could be thought of as a genius? “Do not worry. I will personally protect you.” “But, Your Majesty… Your Majesty has much more important things to do.” “What are you speaking of?” “I mean Hangeul, Your Majesty. I’ve heard that there are quite a few who protest even that. I am scared I may become a burden and a hindrance to more important things.” When he spoke of Hangeul, Sejong frowned. Hadn’t the people’s pain from the different spoken and written languages reached a climax? This was something he absolutely had to fix as a king. Perhaps… Jang Yeong-sil may be right. “Your Majesty, as your humble servant… You’ve already bestowed upon me too much kindness. It would be better to die from torture than be an obstruction.” But torture? Death? “Look here, Yeong-sil. You haven’t done anything wrong!” “It’s true that the gama that I designed broke as it was being moved.” “I have yet to even sit in it! And didn’t you say it was a self-moving gama? I am truly curious about the principle behind it.” “It’s not difficult to inform you of the principle… But it’s difficult to make it again. I’ve heard that appeals have been raining down.” Sejong unconsciously looked down at the pile of appeals next to him when Jang Yeong-sil said that. Like he said, appeals blaming Jang Yeong-sil had been raining down. And of those, there were quite a few that recommended beheading him. “Your Majesty… I have been given too much kindness. It torments me to see you in a difficult position because of me, Your Majesty.” “And so… You’ll die even when you’ve nothing wrong?” “I don’t have any strength to make anything new anyway. If I don’t have inventions, then Your Majesty should also know that’s no different from death.” ‘Sigh.’ Sejong sighed. His father and his grandfather had strengthened the royal authority so much. But perhaps he still couldn’t grab and shake those people any way he wanted. “Very well, if that is what you want, I’ll have to listen.” “Thank you for your grace.” “But I will decide on how.” Sejong made up his mind and sent Jang Yeong-sil away. He put the torture into motion as the appeals said. Sejong watched Jang Yeong-sil with his hair let down as he listened to his vassals. “We ask that you sentence him to 100 strikes with the cudgel!” Sejong shook his head as he looked at the man standing in front of him. “100 strikes is excessive, as he has accomplished much in the past. Proceed with 80 strikes.” He took of a fifth of the punishment right then and there. But his vassals wore smiles of satisfaction. ‘80 strikes with the cudgel?’ ‘Isn’t anything past 20 meaningless?’ The cudgel was a punishment that could kill you with just one proper strike. The vassals agreed with it, as they thought he would die either way, and soon, Jang Yeong-sil was tied to the rack. “Strike.” Sejong laid down his order, and the guards on either side began to strike him with the cudgel. “One!” “Two!” His vassals looked delighted as they watched it unfold. But as time passed, their smiles disappeared, and suspicion spread. “Sixty-one!” “Sixty-two!” It would be normal for him to be on the brink of death, if not dead already, but Jang Yeong-sil was perfectly fine. “Your Majesty…” “Hold your tongue! We are in the middle of torture! Do you want to be tied down instead?!” “I-I apologize, Your Majesty.” Sejong wasn’t simply a good and wise king. He was the grandson of Taejo Yi Seong-gye, and the son of Yi Bang-won. He was a man with leadership flowing in his veins. How many were there that could calmly remain standing at his raised voice? And in the department of justice at that? The man fell silent again, and they could only hear them counting the number of strikes. “Seventy-nine!” “Eighty!” As soon as Jang Yeong-sil was freed from the rack after taking 80 strikes, he stood and bowed. ‘Your Majesty… I thank you for your grace.’ The reason why he could be perfectly fine was because he was the one who made the cudgel. It looked like one, but it was extremely soft, so there was basically no damage. - Take the ship and go to the Netherlands. This will be enough for your travel expenses, so don’t worry. Jang Yeong-sil finished saying goodbye with his eyes and headed towards Jemulpo in Incheon, on Sejong’s advice. He wasn’t alone. The warriors Sejong had assigned to him were with him. -----------  “Thanks to you, I was able to gain broader experience.” Jang Yeong-sil was dressed in clothes that were a mixed blend of the clothes he used to wear when he worked in public office and a Netherlands-style suit. Behind him was the tall pile of inventions he’d made in years past. Some still worked, and some had broken long ago. If there was one thing in common, it was that they weren’t used anymore. The truly precious ones were in front of him. “But the Netherlands are too small, too. No, time is too short. If I am given more time… I would be able to finish these…” What was in front of him was just papers. To be specific, they were plans. The papers were full of lines and numbers that not just the best scientists in the Netherlands but in all of Europe couldn’t understand. Jang Yeong-sil was sure. If even just one of them could be finished, the world would change. Or perhaps ‘progress’ could be the right word. “Oh.” But what awaited Jang Yeong-sil wasn’t progress; it was death. No matter if he was heaven-sent, once he lived out his allotted lifespan, then he absolutely had to die. Wasn’t that the way of the heavens? So Jang Yeong-sil put aside his regret and slowly closed his eyes. No, he tried to. -Ring If he hadn’t heard the sound... he absolutely would have. “This…” If it was just any sound, then he would have died. But this sound was a power, and this power dragged Jang Yeong-sil through time and space to a free space. “Welcome, Jang Yeong-sil.” At the greeting from the guide dressed in white, the elderly genius Jang Yeong-sil realized his hair had turned black again. “What’s…” “This is the platform. You are free here. But remember: your choices always have a price…” Instead of listening to the guide, Jang Yeong-sil examined the platform. He could understand a bit of the platform due to his inscrutable power of understanding, and he realized this wasn’t the eternal place. “How much time do I have?” Instead of disappearing, the guide responded to this expected question. “That is also up to you.” “Ah. I see. That will be all.” Jang Yeong-sil watched as the guide disappeared, and soon turned and walked out to the platform. He didn’t know what he would find there. But he was sure he would find something he had never seen before. ‘It’s me we’re talking about; I’ll be able to learn anything. Also…’ For a moment, Jang Yeong-sil looked back on his past. His homeland, where he’d spent his whole life. A foreign land he’d spent time in after a death. He’d never had total freedom anywhere. His life was just too much of a fetter for him to freely explore, research, and do as he wished. But what was this feeling?  He was shrinking endlessly, and he felt powerless and ashamed. But for some reason, it also felt like unlimited freedom. Was it because he lived his whole life with fear as his companion? The foundational fear this place gave him rather made his heart race. ‘With a workbench this large, there wouldn’t be anything he couldn’t make.’