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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
As soon as he opened the door to the cafe, Juho looked around to see who was shouting his name. Thankfully, there were no other customers besides Seo Kwang’s mother, who was happily waving her hand. The cafe was filled with warmth and the subtle fragrance of coffee. Having just come inside, cold air wafted from Juho.
“Hey, a word?”
“Hold on. Let’s order first.”
It wasn’t until Juho calmed his friend down and ordered a warm cup of herbal tea that he was ready to talk. Seo Kwang sat at a table far enough for the conversation not to be audible from the cashier. Wearing an excited look on his face, he moved his lips quickly and said, “Congrats, buddy!”
Puzzled, Juho tilted his head.
“What are you talking about?”
“What do you mean, what do I mean!?”
Appalled by Juho’s cluelessness, Seo Kwang took the phone in his hand and held it right up against Juho’s face.
Though Juho couldn’t make anything out from being too close to the screen, he immediately caught on. Seo Kwang was referring to the bestseller rankings. Seo Kwang was making a big fuss while Juho chuckled light-heartedly having already been informed by Jang Mi the night before.
“You’re within the top ten in the genre novels category! This is a victory!”
Being conscious of his surroundings, Seo Kwang emphasized his words rather than raising his voice.
“But I was never competing for anything.”
Seo Kwang glared at Juho and his lukewarm response.
“No! This is a victory, my friend. A victory! You survived in this cruel world where only the strong survive and made it right to the top! People are finally starting to recognize you for your skills! A rookie!”
Suddenly, he looked behind and told Juho in a whisper, “Yun Woo, the man who knows no failure.”
Juho had gotten used to the name “Yun Woo” coming out of his friends’ mouth. Seo Kwang, too, wasn’t awkward about saying the name anymore. By the time Juho and his friends became more familiar with the name “Yun Woo,” the readers began to respond to ‘The Language of God.’ The publishing company’s active marketing was really starting to pay off.
The sales rose steadily over time, and the book had eventually become a bestseller.
“You mean Won Yi.”
Correcting his friend in a whisper, Juho studied the expression on his friend’s face. They were meeting for the first time since the winter break, and Seo Kwang was doing the same.
“How’s your progress with English?”
“I’ve been shocking myself. I’m like a sponge, absorbing everything I’m learning,” Seo said proudly.
“That’s good to hear,” Juho said as he took some of the cookies brought out by Seo Kwang’s mother. They had a nice, pleasant snap to them.
“Soon, I’m going to read every single book written in English in our store. You just wait.”
It was a rather ambitious goal.
“When you reach a point where you can read books, I’ll give you a gift.”
“Yep. Whichever book and however many you want.”
After a brief time pondering it, Seo Kwang shook his head.
“Nah! One will do.”
“That’s a surprise. I thought you’d be a bit more enthusiastic than that. So, which book?”
“Yours,” Seo Kwang said as he reached for the cookies. “I’m going to translate it.”
Chewing the cookie in his mouth, he joked about how valuable the book would be, and that he would keep the money he got from selling the book as an emergency fund. Juho gave his friend permission willingly.
“A bunch of articles have been coming up. Hahaha! Oh, man! Look at this one. ‘The God of Genre Novels.'”
Seo Kwang laughed out loud while looking at the screen. He was poking fun at Juho. As usual, the news was filled with articles with embarrassing titles.
“Apparently, they believe that you’re going to represent the fantasy novels of Korea.”
“Well, it’d be achievable.”
“It says you’re the ‘Rising Sun.'”
“It also says you’re writing a reverse mythology.”
“That is true.”
A displeased look appeared on Seo Kwang’s face as Juho remained unfazed.
“Shameless,” he muttered as he looked at his phone’s screen. “Who wrote this article anyway? It’s filled with nothing but compliments.”
Upon scrolling down the page, the name of the reporter came into view.
“Myung Sil Oh? The way I see it, she’s a fan. I can just feel it.”
“She’s a reporter who’s doing her job: delivering objective information.”
“So, you’re admitting that you’re ‘The God of Genre Novels?'”
Juho shrugged, and Seo Kwang chuckled.
“So, are you content with this?”
‘The Language of God’ became a bestseller. Aside from writing the book, there was nothing else Juho had done. Without the readers and the publishing company, the results would look entirely different. The book ranked at number ten in the bestsellers’ list.
“Number 1 was ‘The Sound of Wailing.'”
Seo Kwang nodded. At the top of the list was Yun Woo’s sophomore title, ‘The Sound of Wailing.’ It was just as Dong Baek had predicted. A bomb was at the end of a fuse, and now, the fuse would burn up even quicker.
“Will Won Yi be able to surpass Yun Woo? Will it remain a secret that they’re the same person?”
“I doubt it,” Seo Kwang said as he waved his hand in denial. “You never planned on keeping it a secret from the start. It was pretty apparent in some places that Yun Woo wrote it. If you really wanted to hide your identity, you’d have written it in a different style.”
He was right. If Juho really wanted to keep Won Yi’s identity a secret and make sure that not a single person would recognize him, he would have written it in an entirely different style that was yet to exist in the world.
But, Juho didn’t do that.
He did intend on keeping Won Yi’s identity hidden. However, Yun Woo’s colorful style suited the book quite well. He wanted to portray the grandness of the world he had created. The reason why he published under a different alias was to be free from Yun Woo’s shadow. He believed using another name would be enough to accomplish that.
“I’m sure there are people who already suspect it, especially the experts.”
Juho laughed at the word “expert.”
“I don’t think that’s entirely true. Using a different name has a lot more of an impact than it sounds. Once you’re biased, it becomes impossible to think flexibly. The word “expert” tends to lure people into a trap from time to time.”
Because Seo Kwang was himself, he had been able to relate with Juho, Yun Woo and Won Yi simultaneously. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be the case for other people. Most people would judge an author and their work in their own way and reach a conclusion of their own. There was no guarantee that those conclusions would be close to the truth.
“Shouldn’t you be more worried?”
“There’s no reason to. I already got what I wanted.”
“What was it that you wanted? Money?”
“Did I not tell you about my royalties?”
“Then, what was it?”
Juho looked at the phone screen in Seo Kwang’s hand. Words were still going around. The book making the bestseller’s list would work as leverage. Even without the name Yun Woo, the book sold at an incredible rate. People started to recognize and think about the author, Won Yi Young.
“Let’s call it… proof of freedom.”
“I don’t get you sometimes, man…” Seo Kwang muttered as Juho sipped his warm herbal tea.
“Take care, Mr. Ju.”
Sang Young let out a heavy sigh as the crew and actors went their separate ways. He was facing a challenge in the filming process. From the scenario to the actors, everything was in order. There was no trouble with the site, and the set had been carefully examined to look as similar to how it was portrayed in the book as possible.
He looked at the set that was made to look like the inside of Yun’s house. In it, stood an actor wearing an expression as gloomy as Sang Young’s.
“Myung Joo,” Sang Young called for the actor, and the actor approached the director. Being in his mid-thirties, he was a no-name actor who had mostly been active in supporting roles. He was also the actor who Sang Young had handpicked for the role of Yun’s older brother.
“I loved the acting,” Sang Young said sincerely. The actor’s performance was more than satisfactory to him. “But I’m not happy with what I’m seeing for some reason. Why?” Sang Young asked the actor and himself simultaneously. Why wasn’t he satisfied with that particular scene?
“Mrs. Choi,” he called for the writer at a time most people had left the set.
“Yes, Mr. Ju?” she answered as she placed her hand on his shoulder.
Sang Young smiled at his wife’s lovely sounding voice, but the smile quickly faded away. He remembered the situation he was in.
“What do we need to change?” the actor asked in a pleasant voice. His voice stood out to Sang Young from when they first met. It was proof that he was properly trained in vocalization. His clear enunciation was also a big plus.
Myung Joo was determined. He was ready to take on any challenges thrown his way. His performance was not an issue, and he worked well with veteran actors with substantial amount of experience.
“You did great, Myung Joo. I think the problem here is our interpretation of the book,” the writer said with the script in her hand. “After all, there isn’t a whole lot of information about the older brother in the book.”
Sang Young agreed. He was a character who carried weight, and Sang Young had fallen in love with the character.
“We did the best we could up to this point, and there hasn’t been any issues. It wouldn’t have been odd if even Mr. Ju were to give an ‘OK.'”
Before Sang Young got to explain things, the writer beat him to it.
“But something doesn’t feel right, does it?”
She had also been watching the filming process, probably feeling the same way about the actor as the director. After all, she was the person who read and analyzed the original more than anyone.
“This scene is important. We have to be really intentional here.”
It was the the scene where the brother twisted a bird’s neck. It wasn’t about him overcoming or neglecting his fear. Rather, it was the very expression of it. It revealed the character’s personality. In other words, he was darkness itself. In a movie where light got engulfed by the dark, the dark had to be at its most prominent. That was the reason why Sang Young paid particular attention to the scene.
“So, am I supposed to be infuriated in this scene?” Myung Joo asked. He was holding his ragged script in his hand, open to the page containing the scene they were supposed to have filmed that day. It was the climactic scene where the character’s emotions reached their peak.
“You’re killing a bird here…” Sang Young said. Which meant…
“… So, yes, you should be.”
At the director’s answer, the actor dropped his head. It was obvious that he was having trouble accepting it.
The writer asked, “What’s the matter?”
Despite the nervous look on his face, he stood his ground and spoke up. The writer quietly listened without trying to comfort him.
“Something’s not right.”
“Oh, no! It’s my acting,” the actor denied.
Sang Young loved that his writer wife had a sense of humor that shone through from time to time.
She laughed as she pulled up her glasses.
After contemplating for some time, Myung Joo opened his mouth and asked, “May I act it out?”
“Sure, I think that’d be more efficient.”
Together, Sang Young and his writer wife watched the actor’s performance as he acted out the script. He raged and then killed the bird. His performance stood out because of his big motions and clearly enunciated lines. His expressions were stable.
Watching the performance, Sang Young pictured the scene in his head. The screen shook. First, a bird came into view, then Yun and his brother. The camera followed the actor. There were hardly any words. The actions pushed the story forward. After killing the bird, the brother became frightened, at first, but soon he became infuriated. Rather than cutting the scene into multiple segments, Sang Young imagined the scene in one long cut. The character left the view of the camera, all without any explanation. The audience was immersed in the scene filled with rough breathing, feathers, and the distorted expression on the characters’ faces.
As the actor pushed on, his script came into Sang Young’s view. There were notes all over the place. It was proof that he had studied it meticulously.
The performance stopped abruptly. Sang Young looked at his script, replaying the actor’s question from earlier. Would rage really be the appropriate emotion for that scene?”
“Do you have the book on you?”
“Yes,” the writer said with the book already open in her hands. The pages were filled with lines, which gave it a raggedy look. She was a quick thinker. Sang Young read the book over her shoulders. Unlike the rest of the book, Yun Woo’s colorful style was kept to a minimum in that particular scene. Because of that, the readers were able to handle the explosive emotions being portrayed in the book in safety.
“It’s intense. I feel something welling up from within everytime I read it.”
The existence of rage was apparent in that scene. Sang Young asked himself carefully, ‘Who’s raging here? Yun or his brother? Or is it the dead bird? No. It’s me. I’m infuriated with myself.’
“Do you think the brother’s really angry here?” Sang Young murmured.
“He throws the dead bird away. As if he’s finally lost it,” the writer answered.
“… I get a feeling that something’s missing here.”
Sang Young couldn’t answer her question.
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