is Park Jongil from Chuncheon.
Feel free to call me Myeongri.”

“Hmm, Myeongri, you can call me Joam.”

Joam is my father’s pen name, meaning morning rock,[3] and it is said that he got this name because he climbed the Rocky Mountain behind our house every morning.

“It’s an honor to meet Teacher Joam.”[4]

“I, too, am truly grateful for this day, as I have met a new friend called Myeongri.”

“Please feel at home and rest.”

“Thank you.”

After introducing Jongil to my father, the elder of the house, I was able to have a more in-depth conversation with him.


“Kim Sangseung, despite your young age, you have an eye for commerce, so I believe you won’t stop at just fishing.
Am I right?”

This man deduced from a few facts that I am a conspiracy theorist leading the change in Ulsan.

Most conspiracy theories are dismissed as nonsense, but this conspiracy theory is close to the truth.

At the moment, Joseon is in a state of peace, almost like the Golden Age, before the fake leader, who is really a dark horse, starts trolling.

No, in fact, after founding the country, King Taejo, backed by a strong military, kept foreign forces in check and Joseon did not experience any major wars for 200 years.

The most that happened were minor incidents like Eulmyo Waepyeon, where Japanese pirates raided, but there were no major events like the Imjin War.

Usually, when peace lasts for a long time, commerce naturally develops.
Still, unlike the Goryeo Dynasty, Joseon had a reduced trade with China because of the latter’s seafaring ban policy.

Trade had naturally declined because of the absence of foreign exchange, and the majority of logistics in Joseon were handled by cargo ships.

“May I ask why you think that way?”

“Are you not considering other products besides the salted fish, young master Kim?”

What on earth is this person up to? Is he some kind of Joseon version of the Illuminati?

Or did he sneak a peek at my notes where I wrote down my future plans?

“Could you perhaps tell me your next product, young master Kim?”

As this gentleman had anticipated, my second product was already well-prepared.

Who am I? Am I not the writer who had to cut back on sleep and research to persuade those fucking readers?

I had already completed my research on the “items” needed for industrialization after securing food sources before I landed in Joseon.

“Actually, I do have another product in mind.”

To be precise, it’s not a product but a technology.
A technology so incredible that it could bring about the industrial revolution.

“A good product… that piques my interest.”

However, it’s also true that it’s a bit burdensome to reveal this technology to just anyone.

So, I plan to ask this conspiracy theorist gentleman a few questions.

Shall we say a Joseon-style pressure interview?

“But before that, I’ll ask you three questions.
If I like your answers, you’ll also hear about my next product.”

Gulp!

Inside the cozy sarangchae[5], tension filled the air.

“I’m not sure if I can provide the answers young master Kim is looking for, but I’ll do my best to give you the best answers I can.”

“First, if you’re interested in my product, I can’t help but ask this question.
What are you able to do with my product?”

“What can I do…”

Jongil took a sip of tea from the table, seemingly parched, and began speaking.

“I may sound boastful, but I run a small organization.”

Is this gentleman the leader of a trade organization?

Being a traveling merchant in early Joseon was a very dangerous job.

First of all, this era in Joseon is very vicious, with one or two tigers in every neighborhood.

Moreover, the tigers in the Korean peninsula, called Joseon Tigers or Baekdusan Tigers, are distant relatives of the Siberian Tigers, which are known to be the largest and most ferocious of all tiger species.


Although I’ve only spent a year in Joseon, from what I’ve heard, stories of villagers being attacked by tigers are quite common, so it must be a huge threat to traveling merchants who move goods by land.

Not just tigers but also moon bears, wild boars, Korean wolves, and even the supposedly extinct Ussuri brown bears are said to roam the north.

Even in this era of peace, there are bandits targeting travelers, so traveling merchants could be considered an insurable 3D occupation in modern times.

It’s only natural to form a trade organization in the face of external threats.

“My organization mainly handles the logistics of Gangwon Province, including Hanyang and other parts of Gyeonggi Province to the west, Hamgyeong Province to the north, and Gyeongsang Province to the south.
There are over a hundred traveling merchants in my organization alone.
And we work together with street performers, where we help each other.”

I know that street performers have difficulty making ends meet, as they don’t have many opportunities to perform except during spring and autumn.

They seem to work together with merchants, taking responsibility for escorting them.

“The first question is a pass.
However, with just over a hundred traveling merchants, I doubt you’ll be able to handle all of my products.”

Come on! Just a hundred people? Not a chance.

“There are no products worth selling in this land of Joseon.
At best, the craftsmen from each village showcase their skills to sell to high-ranking officials in Hanyang or risk their lives crossing the Imjin River for trade with Ming.
There’s no other way to obtain proper products.
More traveling merchants would find me if there were products, so you don’t have to worry.”

“Then I’ll ask my second question.
What do you intend to do with my product?”

“Although the goal of a merchant is to accumulate wealth, I know that’s not the answer you want, so I’ll honestly reveal the true intentions in my heart.
Do you know about Gangwon Province, young master Kim?”

Gangwon Province? Even in my numerous novels, there’s not a single episode about Gangwon Province.
How could I know about Joseon’s Gangwon Province?

At this time, even the potatoes that Gangwon Province is famous for are just beginning to spread from the American continent to Europe.

“My knowledge is limited, and I only know about Ulsan.
Would you kindly enlighten me?”

“Young master Kim may not know, but Gangwon Province is a very barren place.
It’s a highland area where farming is difficult, and even if you do farm, the crops are often lost to wild animals.
Winter in Gangwon Province is so cold and long that it falls as high as a person’s height when it snows.
The reason I gave up on advancing in society and started a trade organization to make money is because of this.
I just want the people of my hometown to eat and live a little better.
That’s why I sell the abundant leather in Gangwon Province and send the overflowing goods from the rest of the country to Gangwon Province.
Most of the people in my organization also became traveling merchants to support their families.”

Oh, he’s not only capable but also desperate? This feels like the author giving the main character a much-needed asset, like a plot convenience.

It’s like the situation in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms when Liu Bei gained Zhuge Liang and learned of the Shu-Han Confederacy from his brother.

“I really like your second answer.”

In the web novel genre, “hunter” stories are major works.

However, many hunter stories tend to utilize concepts such as Necromancer or Summoner].

As a former web novel writer, I know these concepts are popular because they create a consistent plot that doesn’t betray the characters.

As soon as the characters called “comrades” start to act on emotions, readers will likely develop the “sweet potato syndrome” and keep saying “sweet potato.”

In that sense, characters like summoned creatures are perfect for utilization in novels, as they have no personality and are easy to manipulate.

But there’s no such thing as a summoned creature to comfort me in this damn world.

People in the real world each live to achieve their desires.

In that sense, Jongil’s motivation is perfect.

At least if he’s that desperate, our relationship will continue as long as I bring him benefits.

“Last question.
Can you provide me with something?”

[1] The eight provinces of the Joseon Dynasty were Gyeonggi, Gangwon, Chungcheong, Jeolla, Gyeongsang, Hamgyeong, Hwanghae, and Pyeongan.

[2] Technically, the merchant called Sangseung by a different name, Kim Doryeong.
However, for simplicity’s sake, I’ll stick with Kim Sangseung.

[3] 조 (Jo) can mean “morning” and 암 (am) is “rock,” hence morning rock.

[4] 선생 can be translated to “teacher” in English, but it is also used more broadly to show respect to someone who is esteemed or accomplished in their field, even if they are not a teacher in the traditional sense.

[5] A traditional Korean living room

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