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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Having taken the figure to a corner, Juho plunked himself down on the floor. With his chin resting on his hand, he began to think. Confused, the club members watched Juho quietly and then each found themselves a spot. In the not-so-spacious room, the members scattered throughout, each glaring at their figure intently. Baron was sketching quietly from his seat at the moment.
People murmured quietly. One would think that they were part of the Cooking Club. Seo Kwang flicked his finger on the figure’s head. ‘Thud.’
“Mr. Agrippa, please say something,” he muttered.
“Keep it down, will ya?” Sun Hwa said.
“You’re the loudest one in the room. Stop looking for salt.”
Having been looking for sugar, Bom clenched her lips in embarrassment. They wanted an eye-opening discovery, something that would shock the world, flip it upside down.
According to Mr. Moon’s analogies, they were attempting to cook steak.
Juho turned his attention to his figure. There wasn’t a need for anything impressive. All it took was to come in contact with one single emotion. That was more than enough to start.
Soon, salt and sugar turned into impulsivity and curiosity. ‘What kind of truth was this figure harboring?’
When he thought of the plaster busts, the first thing that came to mind was Pygmalion. He was an artist who fell in love with a sculpture he had sculpted himself.
‘Should I try going in this direction? Or…’ Juho thought as he examined the outer appearance of the Agrippa bust.
It was heavy and rigid, but it had no shape below the chest. Juho gave it an imaginary pair of hands and feet. The figure grew in size. Juho stood up, following the figure as it grew taller.
No blood flowed underneath its ivory skin. Juho imagined it having blood. The heart started beating as it pumped out blood, transferring oxygen throughout the body. Agrippa started to breathe, and Juho put his hand underneath its nose. He felt air coming out of it, carrying body heat. A warmth spread throughout its cold, lifeless skin.
As it breathed, it gained the ability to move. Juho watched Agrippa as it walked around the science room, touching and feeling various objects, occasionally breaking them. It doubted objects that it had never seen before while being wary of people it had never met. It became angry quickly, but on the other hand, it became happy just as easily. Juho quietly observed its behavior. He had been solely responsible for granting Agrippa such attributes. In real life, Agrippa was no more than a plaster figure. It couldn’t move or be wary of people. As Juho took away its hands and feet as well as its blood and emotions, Agrippa quickly shrunk in size. Sitting on the floor, Juho was back to where he had started. He tried feeling Agrippa’s head.
‘Rigid. Cold,’ he thought. ‘What else can I take away from it? What else can I get rid of from this cold, rigid plaster figure? Is there a way to describe that as freedom?’
Time kept ticking as Juho immersed himself in thought. Soon, the club members started to reach their limits. Each of their concentration started to fail.
Sun Hwa made a noise as she twisted her body. Bom sighed while Seo Kwang moaned mysteriously. Baron was sketching Agrippa in his sketchbook.
In the end, Sun Hwa was the first to explode, “I don’t get it!”
She paid no attention to Seo Kwang.
“What’s so new about this? New perspective? Creation? What is all that? I can’t think of anything. Have I been this stupid all along? I have good grades though!”
Seo Kwang pushed away the figure with his feet, joining in on Sun Hwa’s ranting, “Mr. Moon must have a story that involves a plaster figure. This happened at the essay contest too! Does he have a thing for plaster figures!?”
Juho quietly agreed. There had to be a story.
“I don’t know where to start,” said Bom with a timid voice. Seo Kwang and Sun Hwa were both in situations similar to hers. Creation. New perspective. It all sounded too difficult. Bom quietly called for Juho, “Were you able to think of anything?”
“A little bit.”
“What??” Sun Hwa asked fiercely.
After a brief time thinking, he decided to give her a hint, “Try not to complicate it.”
With that, he picked up the figure from the floor. The coldness pierced through his hands. ‘Feelings that come from the outside. That’s what I need to focus on.’
“To start with, it’s hard to be creative. Start slow, one step at a time.”
“How do you do that?” Seo Kwang asked.
“Just… however you feel like it?”
Everyone sighed out loud.
“You. Mr. Moon. Not helpful,” said Sun Hwa.
“That’s a little harsh,” Juho said with a chuckle. In order to escape the accusation of being ambiguous like Mr. Moon, he approached Baron with the figure still in his hands. All eyes were on him.
“Can I borrow your pencil?”
Without saying much, Baron handed the pencil he was using over. With gratitude, Juho pointed the pencil in his hand at Agrippa.
After drawing on its face for a brief moment, he turned Agrippa around and showed it to the rest of the club members. On its once pale, lifeless face, there was hair sticking out of his nose.
Nose hair. Seo Kwang gave Juho a dumbfounded look.
“What?! Are you kidding me?”
“You can’t be serious.”
Everyone seemed disappointed, but Juho paid no attention to their expressions.
“Just like that, my Agrippa now has luscious nose hairs, unlike yours.”
In those seemingly trivial words, there was something that the club members couldn’t catch. Something different from the others. Juho had obtained it easily, but he didn’t stop there. He raised his hands high, drawing everyone’s attention. On his hands, was the only Agrippa figure with nose hair in the room. It didn’t look very stable.
‘What else can I take away from it? What else can I get rid of from this cold, rigid plaster figure?’ With those thoughts, he threw the figure down at the floor.
With a loud noise and faint sense of pleasure in Juho’s mind, the Agrippa bust shattered into pieces. Someone screamed. Now, Agrippa had lost his shape. Juho had taken away its shape, freeing it from its confinement. “What should we call it now?” Juho asked himself as he picked up the Agrippa pieces. “Debris? Shattered figure? Trash? Agrippa?” Nobody answered.
“You scared me!” Sun Hwa said annoyingly. Bom was covering her mouth. Baron stared at Juho from afar quietly. Nobody was hurt because Juho had made sure to throw it in a safe direction.
“What the heck is this about?”
“What? What’s so wrong about it?”
Sun Hwa was at loss for words. He was right. Nothing was wrong. She simply couldn’t think of it. She hadn’t had the courage to throw Agrippa at the floor. A slight sense of bitterness rushed over her. ‘Why can’t I be as brave as him?’ Then, she remembered what Mr. Moon had said earlier. ‘You won’t get much from just sitting there and looking around.’ She had finally understood what he had meant. She had been much more timid than she had realized. ‘I’m so mad…!’ she thought, clenching her teeth.
At that moment, she’s had another thought, ‘What about my Agrippa?’ Her figure was standing where she had left it, staring in the direction of the shattered figure. ‘I wonder what it’s thinking. Maybe it’s jealous since that’s the only figure that broke out of its mold.’
“I see now.”
The shattering sound pierced Sun Hwa’s ears. The impact outside had kickstarted a chain of thoughts in her mind. Sensation moved feelings, and those feelings that shook loose belonged to Sun Hwa. Once she gave its empty face an emotion, she eventually came to believe it to be real.
Seo Kwang and Bom seemed to have caught on as well. They started examining their figures with serious expressions on their faces. They were working hard to find their own Agrippas. As Juho watched them with a satisfied smile, his eyes met the shattered pieces of his Agrippa. Then, he quietly made his way to his class to get a broom and a dustpan.
Upon seeing the figure in pieces in the dustpan, Mr. Moon smiled with satisfaction. He had had a good reason for buying them with his own money.
‘Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.’
Waking up, Juho checked the time. It was 8:00 a.m.
Lately, he hadn’t been writing much outside of the Literature Club, which was different from usual, when he wrote into the night regardless of where he was. The change was somewhat unfamiliar. He felt sluggish and thirsty. Although there was a cup of water on the desk, it was out of his reach.
Instead of sitting up, he stayed on his bed, staring at the ceiling. After some time, it almost felt like it was spinning.
As time went by, more and more people evaluated ‘The Sound of Wailing.’ Juho had been reading the reviews as much as he could. Each person had read the book with their respective point of view, interpreting accordingly.
“I’m noticing more depth in his writing.”
“His book got darker.”
“I wonder if something happened to the author?”
The critics took ‘The Sound of Wailing’ apart and analyzed it from different angles. Some were rather plausible whereas others weren’t.
Juho blinked, and the ceiling stopped spinning.
Overall, the book was well-received, and there were more positive reviews than negative ones. Juho felt relieved as he thought about his past works. They were deep-seeded memories. The most commonly used word to describe his book then had been ‘bubble.’
It meant that it lacked substance. The readers had been disappointed and had started to associate him with ‘bubble.’ As a person who had been content with the simple pleasure of being called a genius, it had been more than enough to tear his world apart. As he reminisced, Juho felt a strange sense of betrayal boiling up from within. Just like that, Yun Woo had met his downfall in the past.
Now, there was a sense of relief in place of that sense of betrayal. ‘What am I feeling relieved about? The present that’s different from the past? All the compliments?’ Juho felt confused. At times, emotions were a pain in the neck. They sprung up without warning, like a waterfall that flowed in reverse. They weren’t reasonable and they weren’t the most flattering either. There was no way to know where they would be stored. The biggest issue was that Juho himself was entertained by them, so he couldn’t ignore them completely. If anything, he wanted to draw them closer. He wanted to dip his hand in the stream of water that flowed up to the sky.
In the end, he wanted to translate that cool, refreshing sensation into writing.
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