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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Juho knew that Hyun Do wasn’t simply referring to a stomach problem.
‘What would happen if I couldn’t digest my own emotions anymore? Would I last? If the organs in my body stopped working one by one and I became incapable of perceiving any emotion, would I still be able to write?’ The likely answer would have to be, ‘No.’
“Don’t be too scared.” Juho looked up at the sound Hyun Do’s voice. He wore a warm smile and said, “You’re different. You’re not like that fool.”
“Earlier, I said I was puzzled about your book, right?”
Juho remembered the conversation that had briefly gone astray in which Hyun Do had said that he had been puzzled by Juho’s new book.
“I think I’m starting to get it now,” Hyun Do continued.
“You must be a light eater. All it takes to fill you up is a handful of food. It gives you the energy you need to write.”
That had been how Juho had been able to write a new book in such a short time. Juho looked at Hyun Do’s nearly-empty plate. He was right. More so than others, Juho was able to spend the energy and able to fill his stomach up just as quickly. He was able to find emotions faster, enabling him to write more often.
“You do seem to be greedy about food.” Because of his greedy side, he had stored up the food that he hadn’t gotten to eat at his house. Hyun Do was incredibly accurate. “As long as you chew your food, you’ll be fine.”
“How was Mr. Wol Kang?” Juho asked before realizing it.
“He didn’t know what it meant to be efficient. He would cause all kinds of ruckus when he was trying to fill his stomach. He wasn’t the type to think about consequences, so he ate recklessly. Light eating was far from his lifestyle,” Hyun Do said with a chuckle.
Juho became unbearably curious about him. He was dying to meet him. If possible, he was even willing to ask Hyun Do. Unfortunately, Wol Kang was no longer around. Even if Juho had asked for it, Hyun Do wouldn’t have been able to help. However, as an author, there was a way – to write. ‘As long as I stay active as an author, I’ll eventually get to meet him on paper,’ Juho thought. He was dying to know more about him.
Despite how Juho had been feeling, the meal was nearing its end. With the exception of a few pieces of tomato, there was nothing left. As if he had been taking Juho’s pace into consideration, Hyun Do, too, had nearly finished his food.
Three pieces. At that sight, Juho thought of a couple of things to talk about.
“What do you think about the number three?” Juho asked, and Hyun Do looked up at him. “I happen to have three pieces of tomatoes left on my plate,” he explained.
Despite the light-hearted subject, Hyun Do answered with a smile. He was growing fond of the young author who wasn’t afraid to talk to him, “The number three, huh? It’s a number easy to give significance to.”
Hyun Do took his dishes and shook them lightly. It was more than enough to catch Juho’s attention.
“Earth is the third planet in the solar system, and we eat three meals throughout the day.”
“Pork belly is a wonderful thing,” added Juho.
“There are three medals in the Olympics. The first three get a medal.
“You stay in high school for three years.”
(TL’s note: In Korea, high school lasts for three years whereas elementary school spans six.)
“Korea was labeled a third-world country after the war.”
“It was also divided into three nations at one point in history.”
“Also the current government is divided into three major branches. Legislative, Executive, and the Judicial. Separation of Powers.”
It had been fun and informative, but now, it was Juho’s turn. He thought of a person who immediately came to mind when thinking about the number three.
“Do you happen to know Joon Soo Bong?”
He was an author who had a habit of gathering luck by tapping things three times. He was also very considerate toward others.
“He used to be one of Yun Seo’s pupils. I believe he’s an author now. I saw him a few days ago.”
“He loves the number three.”
“He did have an odd habit.”
Hyun Do must have known. Of course, considering how sharp Hyun Do was, it would have been odd if he hadn’t.
“He’s just the kind she would like.” He was referring to Yun Seo, and after seeing the curiosity in Juho’s eyes, Hyun Do added, “Joon Soo loves people. It’s apparent in the way he writes. Affectionate, but delicate at times.”
“Learn to like people who are rough around the edges in a way. That would mean that you’re learning to love humanity in its entirety.”
“Nobody’s perfect after all.”
“That’s right. Just like how there’s no such a thing as a perfect sentence.”
Juho thought about Yun Seo’s pupils. Geun Woo, he wore a depressed look at all times, regretting on a daily basis. Joon Soo, he was somewhat obsessed with the number three. In that case, did that mean that Juho, who Yun Seo had grown fond of, was rough around the edges in some way? It was likely. After all, he too was a person. That also applied just as much to Hyun Do, who was a figure of respect for all authors.
From that point of view, perfection didn’t seem all that desirable. If anything, Juho no longer wanted to be a perfect person. With that, he picked up one of the pieces of tomato that had made a perfect triangle and put it in his mouth.
Another subject came to mind about the number three.
“There’s also the three brothers from ‘The Mirror.'”
The three brothers who the old man had peeked at. The eldest had been greedy and foolish, coming up with rules that only worked to his advantage. Though the two younger brothers complained, the eldest didn’t budge. When he lost even with the rules that gave him an advantage, he didn’t hesitate to contradict himself. In such a hypocritical world, the two younger brothers weren’t the only people who were unhappy.
“In the end, the eldest gets ostracized by his two brothers. Just as the old man wanted.”
Hyun Do nodded quietly.
“Then, he loses his family.”
As he celebrated the misfortune of the eldest of the three in his heart, the old man received a phone call, announcing his solitude. There was no longer anyone around him to listen to him, except for himself in the mirror.
“It was merciless,” said Juho.
Cruel. He had wanted someone to show mercy to both the eldest of the three and the old man. Because he had been so emotionally invested in the old man, Juho always became immersed in those feelings.
The creator who had been responsible for such a merciless story was sitting peacefully in front of him.
“While we’re at it, I’d like to hear your interpretation,” said Hyun Do, his eyes filled with interest. “Where is it?”
It was the old man’s monologue. At the end of the book, the old man asked himself. “Where is it?” He was asking for his location. It signified his identity being shaken to the core. The book came to its unfortunate end without getting into too much detail about how things turned out for the old man. ‘What happened to the old man afterwards?’ Juho had asked himself. Ever since his first read of Hyun Do’s book, he had expected the demise of the old man.
Taking a fork, he mushed the two remaining pieces of tomato. Its juices gushed out.
“I’m assuming he died.”
“Why is that?” Hyun Do asked.
“People aren’t made to live in solitude.”
“Did you ever think that another person might appear?”
“I did. I even thought about him starting a new family after falling in love all over again, but I think that’s a little sad.”
“What would make it sad?”
“The fact that the stubborn old man was disappearing. He kind of grew on me, so I wanted him to be around. If he couldn’t die, then it’d be better for him to live in his home alone.”
“Don’t you feel bad for the old man? That sounds kind of selfish,” said Hyun Do, smiling. Juho’s interpretation had no regards for the old man’s point of view. However, starting a new family didn’t seem like it would make the old man happy. Though he didn’t have any basis for his thoughts, that had been Juho’s understanding of the old man.
Bringing the remaining pieces of tomato he had mashed up previously to his mouth, Juho said to Hyun Do, “A reader gets the privilege of being selfish.”
Hyun Do admitted it with calm eyes, “Now, should we get some dessert?”
With that, the meal came to an end.
Having been excused, Juho made his way to the restroom. Talking with Hyun Do had been an odd experience. Though he had felt comfortable in the moment, in hindsight, he learned that he was rather worn out, which meant that he had spent a lot of energy trying to keep up with Hyun Do.
‘Buzz,’ his phone rang as he washed his hands. It was a curious text from Seo Joong. As he was in the process of writing a quick reply, Juho remembered what Seo Joong had said about the restaurant, “That place is well-known among authors.”
He had also told Juho that he might run into a famous author if he was lucky. As he walked out of the restroom, he secretely looked around the interior of the restaurant. Unfortunately, he couldn’t see anything but the customers’ backs from where he was. He was about to quietly go back to his table, when…
A shout sounded from the ladies’ room. He stopped in his tracks at the sound of the excited voice.
“OK. I’ll be quiet, but really. I saw Mr. Hyun Do Lim! I’d never met him in person before! It’d be rude to try to talk to him right? I want his autograph so bad! Please, stop me.”
The woman sounded rather excited. She had to be Hyun Do’s fan.
“This world is worth living in after all. Are you jealous? Haha! I can think back to this day and write for at least a couple more years!”
It sounded like she was also a writer. Juho became curious about the kinds of things the woman wrote and decided to stick around a little longer to listen to her.
“But I didn’t just see Mr. Lim.”
‘Was there another author here?’ Juho wondered as he tried look in the direction of his table.
“There was another person. Yes, it’s possible, but I never said it was anything weird. He was young too. Now, I can’t just sit here and not think about this.”
She was talking about Juho. She cleared her throat.
“On the outside, he seemed to be a high school student. He came into the restaurant around eleven in the morning, and judging from his observant attitude, it seemed to be his first time here. Madame Song seemed a lot more excited than usual, so he must be no ordinary guest. Besides, he’s with Mr. Lim. Doesn’t that paint a picture?”
Juho grew somewhat anxious. It felt like she was about to bring up the name “Yun Woo.” Suddenly, she stopped talking. Instead, she started to beg the person on the phone to listen.
“Hold on, I’ll get to the point. So, the person Mr. Lim was with would be no other than…!”
No other than…
“His own family!”
Juho chuckled. Her reasoning had been less than impressive. ‘Nope. I’m not a family member.’ No matter how many times he repeated himself, it wouldn’t have reached her. With that, Juho made his way back to the table. As he went into the private room, he saw that the desserts had already come out – fresh fruit juice and herbal tea. The tea was in front of Hyun Do, while the cup of juice had been placed on Juho’s side of the table.
He took a sip of the juice. Because it had been blended with ice, it was rather refreshing. After having been in a somewhat heated situation, the juice also had a calming effect on him. He wondered if the silence between the conversations was Hyun Do’s way of providing a place for him to rest.
He took another refreshing sip.
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