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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Malddong was among the lowest class of servants who took care of the horses in the stable. Unfortunately, his dim-witted character led him to his demise after getting kicked by a horse. For a character that had been modeled after a real person, it was rather merciless.
“My husband told me once that he’d rather get kicked to death by a horse than suffer through tuberculosis, so I tried to make his dream come true,” she said light-heartedly as she smiled. There was affection behind it. She was still in love with her eccentric husband.
‘Bark!’ a dog barked in the distance, and she laughed at the sound of it.
“If Wol was still around, he’d have run out the door to pet that dog.”
Her pupils didn’t stop her from reminiscing about her loved one. She slowly turned her head and looked at Juho, and he quietly stared back at her.
“You remind me of him for some reason.”
“Of course! My husband was the best looking man I’ve ever met.”
“For some reason, I can sense the trace of time from you. It’s rather baffling considering your appearance.”
“That’s interesting, ma’am.”
“Indeed… my husband often acted much younger than his age. He was the polar opposite of you, but maybe that’s why I’m getting the feeling that you two are similar.”
“It’s an honor,” answered Juho with a smile. Yun Seo looked intently and quietly at his face.
‘Bark!’ the dog barked again. ‘Why was it barking?’ It was rather loud, yet, having heard it repeatedly, it started to sound weak. Juho remembered his first encounter with the dog. It was when he had walked into the alleyway. That was when he first became aware of the dog’s existence. ‘Maybe it’s calling for its owner. A dog on a leash barks loudly as it waits for its owner. If the owner was the narrator, what kind of story would that be?’ he thought.
“What were you thinking when you heard that?” Yun Seo asked.
Juho blinked quietly for a brief moment. He hadn’t quite understood her intention behind the question.
“You mean the dog?”
“Yes, the barking sound.”
The dog was still barking. ‘What had I thought of when I heard the dog? What was it?’ Juho tried to remember.
“Mrs. Baek, Juho probably doesn’t understand what you’re asking. It took us a while before we were able to give you a proper answer.”
“Quiet,” said Joon Soo. He had somehow managed to shut Geun Woo up while maintaining his friendly look. Yun Seo waited quietly for Juho’s response. He couldn’t give an answer because there was no answer. The house was filled with silence, and Juho moved around for no apparent reason. The air was heavy. He had no choice. He had to answer honestly.
“I thought that dog was barking,” said Juho as he scratched his head. It had been no more than that. His thought hadn’t gone far beyond. ‘A dog is barking in the distance. It’s barking with gusto. It must have smelled someone that isn’t its owner.’
“Hahaha!” Yun Seo laughed.
“Shh,” Geun Woo and Joon Soo were still whispering. All Juho did was answering honestly. Yun Seo nodded and asked again.
Suddenly, Juho remembered Mr. Moon’s go-to phrase. “Not exactly wrong, but not exactly what I’m looking for either.” ‘What kind of answer was she looking for?’
“I’m sure a lot of things came to you the moment you heard the dog’s bark. Then, they died out in the blink of an eye. It all happens at once, so it’s difficult to distinguish the process, but it’s not impossible either. Try to pick out the thoughts in your mind while they’re bunched up together like a lump of mud. It’ll help you to keep them organized. Once you have them organized, your thoughts will be at your disposal when you need them.”
Whether it was a conscious effort or not, the brain interpreted signals coming in from the outside. Juho, then, took his time exploring his thoughts.
‘The sound of barking. What was hiding behind it?”
After a brief momentary thought, he opened his mouth and asked, “That I should go meet the dog?”
“Deeper. Predicting yourself is also a way to go about this. Think about all the things you were thinking about at the same time. What would you have thought?”
‘Dig deeper. What were the thoughts that I was having. Predict yourself,’ he concentrated.
He had heard a barking dog. Then, he had thought, ‘A dog is barking.’ Mrs. Baek asked a question. ‘Then, what else was there? What kind of thoughts was I having?’
“For now, tell me what you know,” Yun Seo gave him a hint. He spent a brief time organizing his thoughts and said, “Dog, puppies. Commonly seen animal. Symbol of loyalty. A figure of speech for describing a loyal person. Mammalia Carnivora Canis. Domesticated wild animal. Common companion animal. History of its domestication goes back as far as 9,500BC. Walks on four legs. It has five toes in its front paws and four in its hind paws. Sharp teeth. Developed sense of smell. Sensitive hearing. Duration of pregnancy can range anywhere from sixty-two to sixty-eight days. Capable of reproducing approximately one year after birth. Gives birth to four to six puppies at once. Its offspring feed on their mother’s milk for six to seven weeks. They start eating softer food around the fourth week. It has emotions and it expresses them through barking. There are cases of abandonment, in which they often die or adapt to nature and become wild dogs. It’s widely understood to be on bad terms with cats. It’s trainable. In as long of a history as it has had with humans, there are countless books that beautifully portray their relationship,” he took a deep breath after pouring everything he knew about dogs out.
While he’d been thinking about whether he should be say more, Geun Woo asked, “Do they teach things like that at school nowadays?”
“No, I just happen to enjoy watching ‘The Animal Kingdom.'”
“I should check it out.”
“I recommend the bonobo episode to you.”
Yun Seo asked again when Juho finished making the recommendation, “What else?”
There had to be more, but he was getting closer. He was able to tell that from Yun Seo’s expressions. So, he calmly retraced his thoughts, calling back the ones he had let pass. There, he found emotions.
“I thought of its heartbeat,” Juho had thought of the dog’s heartbeat as he heard its low resounding cry.
“I wanted to portray it into a sentence.”
He had wondered if there had been a way to describe it in writing, a sound that can only be made by a live animal. On the flipside of its rigid surface of knowledge, there were emotions breathing with life. Juho felt it subconsciously and wanted to express it into writing. Yun Seo’s smile grew bigger. She had found his answer satisfying, which told him he might be going the right direction.
“What was behind it?”
He looked up to the ceiling. ‘What was I thinking?’ He wanted to include the dog in his writing. He had also thought about potential stories he could write with a dog. He had imagined the dog barking before the narrator. ‘Why did I want to include the dog?’
“Adorable,” he murmured. “I thought the dog was adorable.”
He had found the dog adorable as it barked at him. It had smelled a stranger, and tried to protect its owner. He had thought that he wanted to go meet the dog, pat it and scratch underneath its chin. Yun Seo smiled quietly, and Juho was made certain by that smile that he had the answer she’d been looking for.
“An author is a person who writes.”
“What kind of sentence did you want to write?”
All. He didn’t make any distinctions. He believed that he could write whatever he put his heart into it. He believed that an author was a person who was capable of that. However, it wasn’t entirely true. There was something he wanted more than others. His heart went out to it first. There were things that one could and could not find in novels.
“When my heart is tugging.”
He had been fond of the dog barking. Its sound resounded in his heart. It had moved him from within. After receiving a signal, his emotions had transferred it onto his hands and made him feel urgency. It made him feel like he had to reach for his pen. The mere sound of a barking dog had had such a profound impact on him.
“I’ve been way too easy,” said Juho as he chuckled.
“Try presenting it in another way.”
She smiled brightly. He understood what she had been trying to teach him. After some thought, he came to realize the processes he went through when writing. There was a big difference between acting on cognitive awareness and depending on the subconsciousness. He felt at ease and like he’d gotten his hands on something that only existed in the form of a sense.
At that moment, he couldn’t help but think repeatedly of a certain individual. The woman in the white dress, exposing her stretched out belly that hung loosely. The woman who had run after her baby. Juho wanted her to regret. Her life had been destructive and immoral. Yet, he had been desperate to catch her at the cliff when she threw herself off. He had hoped to catch her by the hand. However, she had already vanished in the dark.
‘What was I thinking as I watched the world around me came crashing down?’ It had been the regret of not being able to protect her. ‘Why did I want to protect her?’ It had been because he had been in love with her. He had been loving her from the time her mouth had just opened up on her empty face. That was why he had been in such pain. That was the reason why he had wanted her to regret so badly, and he finally came to realize it.
“Barbecue for dinner!” Geon Woo said with excitement. The meat was in the center of various side dishes and fresh vegetables. Everything on the table looked scrumptious.
“Eat! There’s plenty more of where that came from,” Yun Seo said as she scooped out the rice to the bowls. The rice in the reddish brown bowl had an appetizing shine to it. It looked like it would even be good with kimchi alone.
“Thank you Mrs. Baek!”
With Yun Seo tasting the stew, everyone else picked up their chopsticks. Juho started with the side dishes that were around him.
While he ate, Joon Soo stood up from his seat with his plate to take some meat over for Juho.
“I bet you were hungry. Eat more.”
Impressed, Juho almost exclaimed out loud from his kind-hearted consideration.
“Here, try the pepper too. It’s really hot.” In contrast to Joon Soo, Geun Woo was anxious to share his experience with the pepper with Juho. He’d been breathing raggedly after taking a bite and had chugged his water in a hurry. Geun Woo was quite the rowdy person.
“I’m OK, thanks,” declined Juho firmly as he brought the meat up to his mouth. It had been perfectly cooked.
“This is great, Mrs. Baek.”
“She’s an amazing cook,” said Geun Woo as he tried to cool his tongue down.
Everything on the table had been delicious so far, and there was plenty of food.
“She’s also generous,” added Joon Soo gently, and Juho remembered the pile of fruits she had brought out earlier.
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