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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Bo Suk remained silent for a while.
“I don’t know,” she said calmly. She wasn’t embarrassed. “But I do know that I want to do a good job writing about you,” she added.
“Then, you do just that.”
Bo Suk smiled at his light-hearted remark. As a large, dog’s stool-like cloud floated by in the sky, Juho thought about how the protagonist in his story would see that cloud.
“It does kind of look like a dog’s stool.”
“Well, I’m gonna get going now. Feel free to use any computer.”
Leaving Bo Suk on her own, Juho left the computer room. She didn’t follow him. His footsteps echoed throughout the hallway.
Juho was no different from Bo Suk. He had returned to the past as if he had been washed ashore at the Han River. He was struggling to lead a life that was different from his past, all without any particular goal. Wavering and steadying himself, happy and sad, relieved and afraid. His life was rather hectic. However, it didn’t stop him from writing. With the finished story in his hand, Juho walked down the stairs.
“There’s a construction going on across the street from the bookstore.”
“What’s coming in?”
“A famous cafe, apparently. You know, the one with the bird logo. People have been raving about it opening in Korea.”
“That was a bird? I thought it was some sort of monster.”
It was a famous cafe that used a mythical, half-woman, half-bird creature as its logo. As Seo Kwang told him the location, Juho realized that it was near the bookstore that he visited frequently.
“Did you do something bad?” Seo Kwang asked, giving Juho a side-eye.
As they conversed in the hallway, Juho immediately realized who was watching him.
“She’s watching you like a hungry predator. She’s scaring me.”
The person Seo Kwang murmured about was none other than Bo Suk. Since their last conversation, she had been appearing around Juho to observe him no matter where he was. Despite being seen by the entire Literature Club, she didn’t let up.
“It’s gotten better though. She used to follow us without even eating her lunch.”
Without even talking to him, Bo Suk had been watching from afar. Although he offered to answer any of her questions, she shook her head and turned him down, claiming that she was making observational notes. While Juho was cooperating with her to the best of his abilities, he couldn’t deny that it was getting bothersome.
“This must be how Baron felt,” Juho said with a sigh. He started to understand what Baron might have felt like when he had been hassled by the club members.
As Seo Kwang snickered, a voice sounded from behind them, “Juho.”
Surprisingly, it was Bo Suk. She seemed to be in a better mood than usual.
“I read ‘Grains of Sand.’ It was great. It really stirred up my interest in literature. Speaking of which, could you give me a recommendation?”
“Ah! Rookie! You know your books! Yes, yes. What kind of book would you like to read? I have quite a few of them, so don’t hesitate to ask to borrow them!” Seo Kwang answered on Juho’s behalf.
Then, Bo Suk answered with a slightly put off face. “Well… I guess I’ll start with a short story. Something similar to ‘Grains of Sand,'” she said, expressing her preference clearly.
However, Seo Kwang had a mischievous look on his face for some reason.
“Seems like Yun Woo or Won Yi Young are the authors you’re looking for.”
“Yun Woo? But he’s only written full-length novels.”
“I promise you. It’ll be closer to what you’re looking for than anything else.”
Juho quietly watched his friend at work, and after nodding in affirmation, she walked to the stairs.
She had the finished draft of her work in her hand. Writing about “Juho Woo” proved to be a difficult challenge. As a person who wasn’t capable of writing even a short story, she had chosen to write an observational assessment With Juho as the subject, she recorded her observations, most of them of his habits.
‘He smiles often. He looks up at the sky often. He never complains about the school lunch that is notorious for being unpalatable. He types incredibly fast. He’s always calm. He becomes ferocious when he writes. He tends to stare at someone intently. He writes memos on his notepad. He reads a lot, although not as much as Seo Kwang.’
She was also aware that the cloud that appeared like a dog’s stool to her appeared like a sweet potato to him. Although she had wanted to find out what kind of books he was into, her efforts had gone in vain because of Seo Kwang.
At the end of her list of seemingly insignificant information, she wrote her thoughts: ‘In person, he’s the most friendly and charming person I’ve ever met at school.”
“Yeah,” he answered Bo Suk half-heartedly. He was lost in a book, and the neatly printed letters came into her view.
“Here’s my draft.”
“So, you managed to pull it off. Good job,” he said as he took the papers from her hand.
“He’s a real stickler, isn’t he?”
“Somewhat. It was impossible to read his thoughts.”
“That’s his charm.”
As she agreed with Mr. Moon, she asked him about another stack of papers in hand.
“Your draft,” he gave yet another half-hearted answer. However, she caught on immediately that it was Juho’s story about her.
“May I take a look?” she asked respectfully with her both hands forward, and Mr. Moon reluctantly handed her the papers. It was obvious that he had been meaning to read them first.
“Thank you,” she said as she took the papers from his hand.
‘It was a gem that sparkled on its own. Everyone wanted and coveted after it, but it wasn’t long before they all turned away from it. The gem wasn’t sparkling for them, and it couldn’t be worn as a jewelry. People grumbled, saying, “That’s one stubborn gem.”‘
“A stubborn gem,” Bo Suk’s eyes lingered on that sentence, and Mr. Moon asked, “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”
She nodded enthusiastically.
“I want to be able to write like this,” she said as she was inspired to something. It was a story about the son of a pencil factory owner who had a passion for table tennis.
“That depends on how much work you put into it.”
“Of course,” she said smiling. “I’ll do my best.”
With that, she went out of the room and then out to the schoolyard. The pull-up bars appeared in front of her. No one was around them. Mimicking someone she knew, she looked up at the sky. She knew the secret behind the gem in Juho’s story. It sparkled because of the sun, the source of light in this world.
A sweet-potato shaped cloud floated by.
“It’s bright out,” Myung Joo said.
Feeling nervous, he took off his sunglasses and went inside the theater, where he was greeted by familiar faces. Sang Young and his crew were making an official announcement about his movie that day. Following the staff, Myung Joo was brought to the waiting room. He had already stopped by a famous beauty salon for his make up.
It all felt too unfamiliar. While he wouldn’t be getting much screen time, Yun’s brother was a character that had a lasting presence in the readers’ minds. Although it was natural that he was receiving so much attention for his role, he was unfamiliar with being on the receiving end of that attention.
Myung Joo remembered his last encounter with Yun Woo, the author of ‘Trace of a Bird.’ Despite being a high school student, he gave a stronger impression as an author than a student. In other words, the high school side of him was covered by his presence as Yun Woo.
Then, he had a powerful realization.
“So, this is the person who wrote the book, and I get to act out a story that was written by him.”
“Myung Joo, are you here?” a voice sounded as the door opened.
It was Sang Young Ju. Unlike his usual attire of black T-shirt and jeans, he was dressed in semi-formal wear. Without hesitation, Myung Joo rose from his seat and greeted the director.
“No, no. Stay in your seat,” Sang Young said as he sat across from the actor. “This is your first time being part of something like this, right? You don’t have to be so nervous.”
“Yes. It still feels surreal to be honest.”
“There’s nothing to it. They ask you questions, and you answer them. That’s it,” Sang Young said as he removed his uncomfortable jacket.
In that case, what Myung Joo would say would carry significant weight. The actor nodded quietly. In order to ease him up, Sang Young made small talk with him and then lowered his voice to emphasize, “Just to make sure…”
“You know about Yun Woo, right?”
Myung Joo nodded at once. He was well aware of the sensitive nature of the author’s identity. Seeing that he had no intention of mentioning anything about his identity and that he was aware of the sensitivity of the matter, Sang Young smiled with satisfaction and moved on to another subject. It was mostly about his wife, Soo Jung Choi. Recognizing that his story had an calming effect, Myung Joo listened to him intently.
“Mr. Ju, are you here?”
“Oh! Ji Hye!”
An attractive actress in a clean cut formal wear walked into the room. Her name was Ji Hye Goo. The actress and actor exchanged a brief greeting. Due to their roles, there was no interaction between them on set, so they had often watched each other’s performances from afar. Because of a scene that involved burying a dead body, she had always been covered in dirt, unlike her current appearance.
“Yun Woo isn’t coming, right?”
“Of course not.”
She asked the director about Yun Woo from time to time. The fierce conversation between the director who closely guarded his secret and the actress who didn’t let up was well known among the crew.
“Thanks for the invite, you two,” Ji Hye said playfully. The news of the director, writer, and the actor who played the brother meeting Yun Woo spread quickly, mostly about the thoughts and intentions Yun Woo had had in creating that character.
To be more accurate, it was gossip that Sang Young had spread as means of marketing the movie under the author’s consensus of leaving out any detailed description of him.
When she heard that, she grew all the more excited and curious about the mysterious author.
“We didn’t have a choice. We needed help.”
“I was having a hard time getting the scene right, too.”
“But you, Ji Hye, your acting is top-notch!”
“Don’t change the subject, Mr. Ju,” the actress said. Seeing that the director wasn’t going to open up anytime soon, she moved on to the actor. “You saw him too, right? Yun Woo? What does he look like?”
“It’s hard to say.”
Her skin sparkled brightly when she talked.
“Ugh, seriously!? You too, Myung Joo!?”
As Myung Joo smiled awkwardly, Sang Young groaned from the side.
“We’re going to be flooded with questions in a moment here. Have mercy, Ji Hye.”
“I know exactly what you’re going to say: ‘I prefer to keep that to myself.'”
“You know me so well,” Sang Young said.
Her impersonation was quite impressive. Though they went back and forth for quite a while, the director didn’t budge. In the end, she let up and said, “Frankly, I do believe that it’s most ideal to meet the author through their work, just like myself.”
The actress on screen. The author of a book. There were similarities.
“Yes. Especially for authors like Yun Woo, who keep putting out amazing books back to back. That was my reason for asking. I have no intention of meeting him in person. Besides, it’s fun to hear it from someone else. I get to think whatever I want and judge it for myself.”
Having debuted at an early age, Ji Hye had climbed her way to stardom. From the streets, to the TV, and to cell phones, she was a commonly seen figure in advertisements. People both envied and yearned for her, in reality and on the internet.
Myung Joo resolved himself. He was about to be exposed to the masses in many different ways. Just as he had judged those around him, he would be judged in the same way.
Then, the actress’ smile brightened the room.
“What was Yun Woo like?”
Sang Young’s hearty laughter resounded in the waiting room.
“I prefer to keep that to myself!”
With that, he jumped from his seat and told Myung Joo, “I’ll be going now. Break a leg.”
“Alright, Mr. Ju.”
Just like that, Sang Young successfully escaped the waiting room, leaving the actor on his own. While the actress snickered at the director’s ludicrous exit, Myung Joo couldn’t do anything but look away.
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