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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Before Juho knew, the crow was standing on the desk. Though it had been sad up to a moment ago, it stood confidently.
“I can do it.”
“Not like this.”
“There’s still time.”
“Time has nothing to do with it.”
“I said I can do it.”
It was impossible to communicate with it. At the sound of its stubborn cawing, Juho couldn’t do anything other than laugh.
The crow scratched its claws on the surface of the book underneath them, leaving long, thin claw marks on the gray cover.
“Hey, you can’t do that. You don’t even have money.”
Ignoring Juho, the crow shredded away at the book. The sound of ripping pages filled the room. It was somewhat horrifying, yet, Juho didn’t do anything to stop it.
The crow kept ripping the book apart angrily until there was nothing left. As it shook its body, another feather fell from it.
“What is it that you want to accomplish?” Juho asked. The crow didn’t give him an answer.
Instead, it gave a seemingly irrelevant response, “You want to be recognized.”
“The way you wrote it, according to your intention. You want people to accept your thoughts as they are.”
“The readers interpret things however they want. They won’t try to understand you.”
“You’re a know-it-all. It’s annoying.”
“That’s a lie.”
“You don’t believe me?” asked Juho, smiling. “A book exists to be read. A book isn’t just made of paper and letters. Without the readers, my story can never be completed. I’m so grateful for them and the fact that my writing becomes a turning point for some while it becomes entertainment for others. That’s the joy of being an author. That’s the happiness that can only be earned by authors. Can you hate happiness?”
The crow looked at Juho with its dark eyes.
Though it didn’t believe him until the end, Juho understood the crow. He had been the same way in the past. The mistrust went both ways.
“I can’t stand it. People who blabber their thoughts like it’s their birthright, people who doubt me, people who criticize me, people who think they know me, who judge me, tell me I’m wrong, I hate them all. I hate that these people are waiting for the next book in such a light-hearted manner. Nobody thinks of me. Nobody will know how much blood, sweat and tears went into this book, and the suffering I had to go through in the future. They only see results. They only see a small part,” the crow said with a slightly cracking voice.
“Caw!” it cried piercingly.
“I write because I love it.”
“As long as you show it to others, you can’t be free of their opinions.”
“A book is freedom.”
“The weak can’t endure that freedom.”
“I’m not weak.”
“Humans are weak. All of them.”
“Are all crows strong?”
The confrontation was getting drawn out. Juho started breaking out into cold sweats and was feeling dizzy. He couldn’t tell who was saying what anymore. The monitor kept blasting out light. Within it, the crow maintained its menacing color. It was bottomlessly dark. ‘What would happen if I were to touch it? What would happen to my hand?’ he thought.
“Everyone. Has. To. Praise. Me.” The crow parted its black beak.
‘That’s not what I want. I won’t let it get to me. I won’t let it hold me back,’ thought Juho, laughing at the crow’s foolish hope.
“I want to write freely.”
The room grew silent. Juho stood up slowly and opened the window. There was no breeze coming in. Nothing came in, and nothing went out. Air, his breath, it was all in its place. Juho and the crow were the only moving things.
“Between you and me, this will go on for a while.”
The moment his eyes met with the crow’s, Juho realized that there was no escaping it since he had recognized its existence. He put his hands on his forehead. Arguing with that nameless bird was rather demanding. Both parties were fighting desperately, and Juho started to feel confused. ‘Wait, who would be the winner? The one who gives in first, or the last standing? What would happen the moment that bird wins?’
“We’re way too different,” said the crow with a caw. The two very different beings were conversing within the same space.
“Yes, too different,” Juho said, smiling at the crow. The crow hated Juho’s smiles and laughter.
Infuriated, the crow spread its wings, blowing off the shredded bits of the book.
There was a gust of wind, strong enough to make Juho stagger. Another breeze blew into the room through the window. ‘It’s moving,’ thought Juho, closing his eyes. ‘There’s not going to be anything left after the wind. The crow, the debris, the book on the floor, nothing.’
“Juho, have some fruit.”
Juho opened his eyes. He was sitting on his chair, and his mother was standing by the door. He stared at her in a daze.
“Why’s your room so dark? It’s not good for the eyes. Don’t be looking at the monitor for too long. Look away and stretch from time to time. Would you like me to bring you anything else?”
“No, it’s fine. I’ll be out soon.”
With his answer, his mother walked away from the room, leaving the door open. Alone in the room, he looked around. There was no crow, and ‘The Trace of a Bird’ was still on the bookshelf. However, he felt something in his palm.
He had probably been clenching his hand into a fist for some time. There were scratch marks and shredded bits of the book on his palm. He turned his eyes to the desk and saw that the corner of the book cover had been ripped out.
A breeze blew into the room. That piece of the book fell onto the floor, but Juho didn’t reach for it.
Juho covered his mouth as it opened against his will.
“Tired?” Bom asked as she looked at his direction.
“What the? I thought you were sleeping better. Did you stay up again?” Seo Kwang interfered, with ‘The Sound of Wailing’ in his hand. He must have been reading it over and over.
“I did go to bed late.”
That night, he had to spend a significant amount of time writing. He wanted to organize the thoughts that had been clamoring in his head. The black ink had slowly filled the white page in the same color as the crow.
“What did you do at night?” Sun Hwa asked.
“I played with a crow,” said Juho.
“A crow?” She gave him a puzzled look and said, “OK, enough with the riddles.”
She paid him no attention. There was something that was of greater concern in her mind.
“What do you think we’re going to be doing today?”
“Write,” said Seo Kwang being a killjoy.
“Duh. I mean, it’s a new semester, so I’m wondering if we’re going to be doing something special.”
“Special? How’s that any different from what we’ve been doing?”
The memories of their past training played through in Juho’s mind. Things had been far from ordinary.
Sun Hwa agreed, “I guess so. But I think it’s more… unique, than special. I wonder if he’ll keep the same format…” there was slight disappointment in her tone.
“You never know,” said Baron.
Her eyes sparkled, and she asked, “What do you mean? Is there something you know?”
“I’m not entirely sure, but it looked like Mr. Moon was preparing something.”
“What could that be?”
“Who knows? When I saw him in the staffroom, he had this weird smile on his face, which it’s odd because the Literature Club is the only place in the school where he smiles.
It was true. The existence of the Literature Club had been sustaining him in his teaching career.
“What do you think it is?”
“I hope it’s nothing weird. Wait, we’re not running around the neighborhood this time, are we?”
“In this weather? That’s cruel.”
With the sound of the door opening, Mr. Moon walked out of the science room. Before anybody had the time to ask, he said, “Let’s write a novel. It’s the beginning of a new semester. You’ve been working on your basic foundations for the last six months, so I’m confident that we can actually start writing. This will be fun.”
Sun Hwa raised her hand, confused, “A novel? Didn’t we already do that?”
In her bag was everything she had written thus far.
“No, no, none of that short stuff. I’m talking about a single composition where you pour the rest of the year into.”
There was silence. A single composition written for six months. Mr. Moon was asking the club members to write an actual novel, unlike the shorter pieces in the past.
Of course, Sun Hwa was the first one to exclaim with excitement, “Whoa!”
Seo Kwang and Bom said in order. Baron also looked surprised while Juho was caught off guard by the sudden news. ‘A novel huh. Six months’ worth of writing, at that.’
“That sounds fun.”
He wouldn’t have to worry about his workflow getting disrupted or struggle to work with keywords that were absurd and incoherent. He’d be able to write freely. It made sense that Mr. Moon had come out looking that excited.
Looking around with a satisfied look on his face, Mr. Moon told Baron, “The cover will be designed by our very own artist.”
“That’s right. You’ll be drawing the face of whatever these adorable freshmen write.”
“I have no experience with book covers…”
“None of these guys have experience writing a novel either.”
The rest of the club members shouted excitedly, “Yes Baron! It’s our first time too! Please make mine as nice as possible!”
They were asking for cover designs before they had even started writing. Mr. Moon added as he calmed everyone down, “Now, before we start writing our very own novel, I’ll teach you the proper posture for writing.”
“You can count on me, Mr. Moon.” said Seo Kwang as he sat straight.
“Not exactly wrong, but not exactly what I’m looking for either,” said Mr.Moon.
A posture for writing. Of course, it would be best to write with a proper posture as Seo Kwang had demonstrated, but Mr. Moon was talking about the emotional aspect of it. Juho listened to him quietly.
“What do you guys think of your own writing?”
“It’s not good enough. It’s embarrassing to read when I’m revising,” said Bom. She felt that her sentences were awkward and loose.
“All right. So, does that mean you guys won’t be able to write any better unless you work on those awkward sentences?”
Nobody answered. As much as they wanted to answer with a resounding “No!,” the club members couldn’t muster the confidence amid the reality of having to write a novel. They looked at each other, wondering if they had what it took.
At that moment, Juho suddenly said, “Sure we can.”
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