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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
With a balloon in his mouth, Juho turned his head and looked back. He saw a familiar face blowing up a balloon. Though they had been in the same class, Juho hardly remembered ever interacting with him and became curious as to why that classmate was striking up a conversation with him.
“A little bit. It’s been a while since the last time I blew up a balloon.” Because he was starting to get bored, Juho decided to respond to him.
His classmate’s puffed up cheeks gave him a monkey-like appearance. After tying his balloon with a swift motion, he waved his red balloon side to side.
“Right? I think the last time I blew up a balloon I was in elementary school. Man, I feel kind of old having a conversation like this, haha!”
He laughed at his own joke. His reaction made sense considering that he was at his eldest in that moment.
“Do you think we’ll get a lot of visitors?”
Before Juho had time to answer, another voice interjected, “Of course!”
It was Seo Kwang. The classmate tilted his head like a puzzled monkey.
“I heard Classroom 1’s setting up a game room too.”
“Really!? Are we doing the same things then!?”
A serious look appeared on Seo Kwang’s face, but the classmate shook his head, still looking like a monkey.
“No. It seems like they are focusing on card games. Apparently, there’s someone who knows some magic tricks in that class, so there are going to be performances in between as well.”
“Fancy,” Juho said.
“Right? I don’t know how interesting we can get with balloons.”
“Classroom 1 is on the first floor, so it might work out.”
“That means it’s more likely that people will stop there before ours. Unless there are people who are actively looking for game rooms, most people won’t think twice about skipping on a theme that’s redundant to them.”
“This is unexpected.”
Seo Kwang and the classmate were having a friendly conversation with each other. Meanwhile, Juho listened quietly as he blew up his balloon. The monkey-like classmate knew quite a bit about what was happening in other classrooms.
“What do you think?”
“We’ll find out,” Juho said. Air leaked out of the balloon as Juho took his mouth off of it.
“Yeah. Who knows? That magic trick might turn out to be really sloppy,” Seo Kwang said. His conjecture wasn’t entirely unrealistic.
“Hey, we need to get going!”
“Oh, right! You guys are doing something with your club, right? Write your names on the paper on the podium on your way out.”
Juho saw the two girls crossing arms together walking toward the podium. There were some students who left in the middle of preparations because they were part of a club that had planned on participating in the festival.
Noticing Juho looking in their direction, the monkey-like classmate asked immediately, “Wait, you guys are part of the Literature Club, right?”
As Juho and Seo Kwang answered simultaneously, a bright smile spread across the classmate’s face. A small dimple in the corner of his mouth accentuated his already monkey-like appearance.
“I visited the library too. I really enjoyed it,” he paused and looked toward Juho. “Juho Woo’s, especially.”
“Thanks,” Juho said light-heartedly.
“I’m serious! I really enjoyed it! I was so shocked. To be honest, my expectations weren’t that high.”
“Yeah. OK, let’s be real here. If I had decided to not visit the library, thinking that the stories would read like those of an amateur at best, I’d have had to live the rest of my life in regret. I didn’t know short stories could be that interesting.”
A proud look appeared on Seo Kwang’s face. He was delighted to hear that his classmate was discovering the charm books had to offer.
“Speaking of which…”
“Can I ask you something?” the classmate asked in a cautious manner.
“What is it?”
“It’s about your work.”
Thinking back on it, Juho realized that the classmate had approached him like he had wanted to ask him something.
‘Was he curious about my story?’
“Sure,” Juho said, nodding.
“It’s about the woman,” he asked without hesitation after Juho’s permission.
“Why did she have to be silent? Was that on purpose, or a coincidence?”
‘I see,’ Juho thought. He decided to answer honestly, “She doesn’t want to be bothered by anyone, so as the author, I should be the one to respect her foremost.”
“So, it was the result of trying to bring out her personality as much as possible, right?”
He was quick to understand.
“In ‘Grains of Sand,’ there’s an old lady who mentions things that don’t change, and the readers have differing opinions in their interpretation. What is your take on it?”
The monkey-like face twisted into a silly scowl.
“You didn’t know? There’s been a long debate amongst your readers.”
“A debate? Over what?”
The classmate cleared his throat and said, “Over whether or not the old lady was the woman herself. FYI, I was on the side that believed that they were the same people.”
“… Where did this take place?”
“In our club.”
There was no way to know in that case. Frankly, Juho didn’t even know which club his classmate was part of. The classmate urged him for an answer with his clear, monkey like eyes.
“So, the things that remain unchanged signify the woman’s future, right? Would it be wrong to interpret that the woman remains unchanged even as she grows into an old woman?”
“Is that your interpretation?”
After a brief time thinking, Juho answered, “A book can be interpreted in multiple ways. I don’t think there’s such a thing as a wrong interpretation. So…”
“You’re not wrong.”
He felt like he was partaking in an interview. When Juho looked at his classmate, he was blowing up yet another balloon and was rather skilled at doing it.
“What are you doing?”
“You don’t know which club I’m part of, do you?”
“No, I don’t.”
“I’m part of the one and only Newspaper Club.”
Juho turned his head toward Seo Kwang and asked, “Is our school known for our Newspaper Club?”
“I have no clue.”
Despite Seo Kwang’s response, the classmate grabbed Juho by the arm with a balloon still in his hand. It was yellow.
“Would you mind if we write an article about you?” the monkey said.
“An article?” Juho asked.
“You mean for the newspaper?”
As Juho remained silent for a brief moment, the classmate parted his lips to explain.
“You’re good speaker. On top of that, you know your own mind. I’d like to feature an interview with Juho Woo as an author. The next issue’s going to be fancier than usual because of the school festival. This is great! You don’t know how powerful of a tool a newspaper can be when it comes to promotion, right? On your end, the demand for ‘Grains of Sand’ will rise. As for me, I get to write something cool. It’d be like killing two birds with one stone!” he said as his eyes sparkled.
Juho felt like he was reliving a past memory from back when he was being hassled by reporters.
“I don’t know…”
“Why not? What’s the issue?”
“It’s not that there’s an issue. I’m just not really up for it.”
The classmate grew anxious at Juho’s lukewarm response.
“It won’t take that much time. I’ll make sure it comes out really nice. It’s not like we’re writing about anything weird either. It’s about your story. I’m a fan too, you know? I loved ‘Grains of Sand,’ and I’m not the type to go around asking people for interviews. Mr. Woo, please.”
He clung on desperately. While Juho quitely blew up his balloons, another voice sounded, “Give it a shot.”
It was a unexpected suggestion from Seo Kwang.
“Sun Hwa said it herself too. We’re supposed to be promoting the heck out of out works. It’s true that this will work to your advantage,” he said with a smile.
“His first interview? Hehehe…” he murmured.
Juho realized that Seo Kwang was finding the situation to be entertaining. He already knew about Juho’s identity, so it was obvious that he would find it entertaining.
‘Promotion, huh,’ Juho contemplated, and the classmate took the opportunity to convince Juho further.
“I’ll treat you as the main figure for the next issue. First page, big pictures. Did I mention this is going to be a special edition for the school festival? We’re gonna be distributing copies from class to class and give ’em out even to the guests. You’ll really feel like you’re on the newspaper. You’re already pretty famous! The entire school might end up reading your story, who knows? I’m telling you, this is an opportunity. The fate of the Literature Club is in your hands, don’t you see?”
“That’s a bit exaggerated, don’t you think?”
“What are you talking about? Your story more than qualifies!”
“I’m not just sugarcoating it here. I approached you because I wanted to ask for an interview from the start!”
“Oh, don’t get me wrong though. I just wanted to have a conversation with you because I was moved by your work.”
Juho felt frazzled. Promotion, past and present, Yun Woo’s first interview.
“I won’t take any pictures,” Juho said as he let out a sigh.
“Yes!” The monkey-like classmate threw his fist into the air. “Hey, we have to get going now,” he said to the class president.
Juho jumped from his seat.
Juho was brought to the music room upstairs. He was not very familiar with the place. As the classmate opened the door, Juho was welcomed by warm air, and a strange smell washed over him. There was a newspaper and the pages of a sketchbook spread out across one of the desks. On it, were printed articles and photos cut out in varying sizes. A girl stood in the middle of the room.
“Hello,” the classmate greeted her.
“What the?! You’re not here to ditch your class, are you?” she asked, squinting at him.
“No, not at all.”
She was the head of the Newspaper Club. As her sharp eyes turned toward Juho…
“Juho Woo!” she said as her eyes widened.
Though Juho had never met her, she was rather friendly with him.
“I really enjoyed your work! Haha! You have no idea what kind of mess I was in the last several days. We argued night and day!”
Like the monkey, she too was laughing at her own jokes. It must have been the overall atmosphere of the club.
“I bring good news! I finally got him to agree to an interview!”
As the classmate pronounced himself proudly, a bright smile spread across the girl’s face.
“Good job, Seung! Oh, I’ll leave you two be, so make yourselves at home. Give him something to drink too! We don’t have anything to eat at the moment, but I can always bring something. I’m counting on you. Don’t ask anything silly now. Wait, maybe I should just interview him myself.”
“That doesn’t sound very ethical.”
“Then, do it right!”
They were rather busy, and the girl left the room in a hurry. The classmate led Juho into the room and said, “Sit wherever you’d like. I’ll go bring you some water.”
Then, he also left the room and made his way to the water dispenser at the end of the hallway. Juho looked around the room. There were long, rectangular desks lined up next to each other. It seemed like it would sit at least eight people comfortably. Maybe they were the same desks as the ones in the science room. The desks must have came from the music room.
Juho sat in the first row and saw a Janggu resting next to the chalkboard. A piano was on the other side of the board, and a Geomungo leaned against it. Eastern and western instruments came together harmoniously in that room. On the other hand, the newspaper spread about the middle of the room gave off a rather unorganized look. It suited the Newspaper Club members somehow.
(TL’s Note: Janggu: Traditional Korean drum. Geomungo: Traditional Korean Zither)
Juho had never been interviewed in a place like that. Usually, it had taken place in high-end restaurants or luxurious offices, where the place provided for a suitable background for photos. Now, he was about to have his first interview in a messy, unorganized space. Juho felt somewhat excited in anticipation for the upcoming interview.
“Thanks for waiting!”
The fact that he was being interviewed by a monkey-like boy made Juho look forward to it all the more.
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