tion, with a large travel suitcase in hand, and that made me think that the piece of paper she had in her hand probably had instructions about where to take which bus written on it.
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It looked like she hadn’t gone to the preliminary call-up and this was her first time to school, and the large suitcase probably meant that she was going to be staying in the dorms.

Looking at her get flustered like that, a slight doubt about whether it would be okay to follow her grew inside me…….

Soon enough, a bus started to get close.
Looking almost like a box, it was a jeep with a protruding front bonnet and a capacity of about 20 people.
Above the front window there was a sign hanging, showing the route: “Jeongneung-ri – Jongro – Namdaemun.
This was probably the bus that the boarding house daughter had mentioned.
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The door opened, and I stood behind the girl.
But then,

‘What’s this?’
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The girl in front of me had suddenly bent over and started taking off her shoes! Hey! What the fuck? I was taken aback by the sudden collapse of common sense.
Did you take off your shoes before getting on buses in this period?

For a second, I started wondering if I should be taking my shoes off as well, but fortunately it didn’t seem I had to.
The guide girl who was standing by the door was also surprised by the girl’s behaviour,
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“Hey girl! What are you doing?”
“Sorry?”
“Why are you taking your shoes off?”
“Huh……?”
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The silver, daenggi-haired girl stood awkwardly and looked up at the guide girl, with an anxious expression that said she didn’t know what to do.

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The guide girl looked at the flustered silver-haired girl, as if bewildered, then saw me standing behind her and asked.

“Hey, hey, wait.
You, the other student behind.
Aren’t you both students going to the Yeopsa School?”

At that, the daenggi-haired girl also turned around to look at me.
Even though she jumped back, surprised, as if she had just realized I had been there this whole time, she still had an expression on her face as if asking me to save her from this puzzling situation.
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I replied to the guide, over the girl’s shoulder.

“Yeah.
Why?”
“The car to the Yeopsa School is the opposite direction.
You need to take the bus from across the street.”

The guide girl said this and pointed to the other side with her thumb.
There was a bus station there, as well.
I thought it was obviously this way because there was a girl from the same school waiting here…….
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‘I had been wondering if there was another countryside kid like me who would get lost going to school, but I can’t believe there is.’

I almost got into trouble, tricked by this girl.
I bowed to the guide.

“Thank you.”
“No need to thank me…… Ah, it’s coming right now.
Hurry up and get on it.”
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As she said, a bus was coming close from the opposite direction.
The guide added, looking at the girl.

“And you don’t need to take off your shoes when getting on a bus.
Are you someone from the Lee-Jo period*, gosh…….
Alright, let’s go!” (*note: Lee-Jo period is an unused term to refer to older Joseon.
The joke here is that in modern-day Korea people trick people from the countryside that they should take their shoes off to get on public transport, and make fun of them when they do, saying they’re from the Joseon period)

With the guide’s banging, the bus we almost wrongly got on, went away.
The girl, with her face flushed red, followed me silently as we crossed the street.
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After getting on the right bus and asking the guide girl if the bus went to the Yeopsa Vocational School and where to get off, I finally felt relieved.

Phew.
That was an eventful morning.
Even going to school is this difficult…….

Holding on to the handle to avoid falling over on the rattling bus, I glanced at the girl standing to my right.

‘Anyway, this girl…… How should I put it? She’s amusing.’
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I didn’t mean to watch, but looking at her again, I thought her appearance was quite impressive.

The strange combination of silver hair, uncommon even in the 21st century, in a daenggi-style.
And, on top of that, she didn’t even know how to ride a bus properly, and carrying her huge suitcase, she seemed to have recently come to the city from the countryside.
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But, strangely, she didn’t look rustic at all.
On the contrary, she seemed quite refined, to put it one way.
It gave me the impression that she was maybe the daughter of some nobleman in the countryside.

I kept on observing the girl like this, but rather than interest in her in a sexual manner, it was more curiosity from the sense of nobility she gave off, completely unlike her sloppy first impression.

“Hey……”
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But, it seemed I wasn’t the only one who was looking at the opposite person.
The girl timidly approached me, and with her eyes still fixed out the window, softly said.

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“I thank thee.
It was thanks to thee that I avoided any trouble.”

Wait, what’s with her way of speaking?

It wasn’t something someone from the future like me should be saying, but was this girl seriously from old Joseon?
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The way Song Byung-oh talked like an old man already made me want to punch him, but it was the kind of speaking young people would use in this period,

But, even in this period, wasn’t her speaking too much for a 17 year-old girl? Was she an online cosplayer from the early 2000s…….

“No need to thank me…… Ah, that’s right.”
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Now that I started thinking about her speech, I was able to talk to her comfortably, thinking she was obviously the same age as me, as she was a freshman as well, but in this era it was common for people to enter a few years later than others, or even to stay behind.

So, even if we were in the same grade, there could be a huge gap in age difference.
Song Byung-oh, who I met yesterday, could also be older than me.

‘Then that would mean I’m the asshole who spoke so informally from the very first meeting.’

I thought about this, so I asked.
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“You.
If it isn’t too much of a bother, your age…….”
“What about mine own age…….”

The girl hesitated for a bit, but immediately raised her head and answered.

“I wast born in the year of the Shin-Yoo*…….
If thou are also a freshman, art we not the same age?” (*note: Metal Rooster in the Chinese zodiac)

For fuck’s sake, what year is Shin-Yoo supposed to be.

Argh.
Let’s think for a bit.
Gab, Eul, Byung, Jeong, Moo, Ki, Gyeong, Shin, Lim, Gyae*… 4567890123… If I wasn’t mistaken, if it’s a year that starts with “Shin”, it means that it’s a year where the last digit is 1 in AD.
(*note: reciting the Chinese zodiac)
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And we’re in the year 1939AD.
She didn’t look like she was born in 1901, 1911 or 1931 – at least she didn’t seem to be 37, 27 or 7 years old – so the only logical conclusion would be born in 1921, 17 years-old.
It was the same age I checked on the family registry yesterday.

“You’re right.
We’re the same age.”

As I nodded, the girl glanced at me slightly and timidly spoke to me again.

“It…… It must be destiny that we hath met like this …… May I asketh thy name? I am Yu-ha, from the Lee family.”

She asked me out of the blue, after revealing her name.
As she had said, on the name tag hanging from the front her dark blue uniform the name Lee Yu-ha(李流河) was written in Chinese characters.
As I was about to show her my name tag and tell her my name,
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I realized that showing her the Japanized name Baekrim, or Shirabayashi (白林), on my name tag I would be hated for being pro-Japan.
This was the case yesterday with Song Byung-oh until I cleared up the misunderstanding.
On top of that, this girl seemed to be the daughter of some nobleman.

‘You bastard! You’re the son of a traitor!’

…I imagined I might hear something like this, so I covered the name tag with my cloak so it couldn’t be seen and said.

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