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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“When I first met you at the bookstore, I thought you’d been born in an English-speaking country or was a student abroad or just a really smart student.”
‘I wouldn’t have thought in my dreams that you’d be Yun Woo himself,’ Juho read the expression on the author’s face. The book that had really challenged Yun Woo’s language skill was ‘Language of God.’
“You must’ve read ‘Language of God.'”
“What did you think?”
“I didn’t like it.”
Juho was used to the author’s blunt answers by then. Coin drank his coffee, and he opened his mouth and said before Juho even had a chance to ask, “You killed a cat.”
Juho paused for a little while and asked, “Are you talking about my novel?”
“Yes. There’s a scene where a massive number of cats get massacred. After I read that part, I was able to predict how the book was going to end.”
‘Language of God’ was still an ongoing series, and not only was the last volume yet to be unpublished, but there wasn’t even a manuscript for it. The faint idea in his head was yet to be translated into writing, and Juho became curious of how Coin thought the book would end.
“So, what was the ending that you predicted in your mind?”
“The extinction of mankind.”
Though it was a rather extreme answer, it wasn’t entirely out of place.
“There is no future for humans who would massacre cats.”
“Do you like cats?”
“Not really,” Coin said, emphasizing that he was only stating the facts proven over the course of history. He was deliberate in using words that were difficult to understand. Of course, Juho was able to understand every bit of what Coin was saying. Cat, sign of ominous future, death, humanity, extinction. After thinking over it for a little while, Juho asked, “You’re not referring to the Black Plague, are you?”
“The Black Plague?” Nam Kyung murmured at Juho’s question, and it was obvious that he wasn’t seeing how the word was relevant to their conversation.
“That’s right. It was the humans who killed those innocent animals, accusing them of being witches’ familiars. Thanks to those idiots, the rest of humanity was blessed with a god-awful number of rats.”
The witch hunt first began to take place in the fifteenth century, and that also meant that there had been witches then. Many people believed that cats were witches’ familiars. Those who weren’t suspected of being witches burned those who were suspected of it alive, including their cats. The Black Plague spread by rat fleas, and the absence of cats meant that the population of rats grew uncontrollably. As the population of rats increased, so did the population of rat fleas. Humanity’s greed for power and vested interest had brought them a tragic result, costing a fourth of the European population.
Coin had used the word “extinction” to describe the ending of ‘Language of God.’ As people blamed and killed each other, they declared war against each other and made weapons to fight with. Those who watched from afar would be bound to ask, “Where is God?”
“But we survived.”
The Black Plague had failed to drive humanity to extinction. Humans had survived, just like in ‘Language of God.’ Coin had been referring to the massacre of cats in the mythology of the book. In other words, the past.
“We repeat the same mistakes, walking toward our own downfall,” Coin said sarcastically. Although it wasn’t necessarily a terrible way to end the book, Juho couldn’t help but think otherwise.
“What if they survive? Wouldn’t they keep going?”
As Juho asked, Coin took a swig of his coffee.
“I’m telling you, I just don’t like that book.”
“They do receive their due punishment.”
“You mean being ostracized?”
Animals witnessed what took place, and they sensed threat in what they saw, predicting that they would meet the same fate as that of the cats. In order to prevent such disaster, they created a written language that only humans wouldn’t be able to read. Knowing that humans couldn’t survive on their own, the animals tried to leave them behind by using their own written language.
“But they failed.”
The existence of the four traveling companions indicated that animals’ effort had ultimately been in vain. There were certain occurrences in the world where failure had yielded a more beneficial result.
“All thanks to the traitor.”
There were bound to be crimes amid the animals who possessed intelligence. Rape, murder, and war. Ironically, what held them back in their efforts to leave humans behind was the influence that humanity had spread among them. The “traitor” commited a crime in order to repay the favor it had received from the humans.
“Pff! That’s barely a punishment. It’s nothing more than a series of useless information One happens to discover as he delved into mythology. Just end it all. It’s not too late.”
“I’ll think about it.”
With that, the conversation ended abruptly. The story of ‘Language of God’ was still ongoing. Then, Juho saw Isabella staring daggers at Coin. Although he disliked the book, there had to be something about it that he had been drawn to. Otherwise, there was no way that he could’ve known so much about it.
As Juho was made certain of that thought, Coin opened his mouth to say, “You showed your readers the unreadable language.”
Although it was a language beyond what humans in ‘Language of God’ could perceive, it was the component that he had put in the most amount of time and effort in.
“I thought the readers should know what they were seeing.”
Although there was a traitor in the story, Juho had left out the details of the character intentionally, and because of that, there were a number of interpretations of the character and images comparing the different languages in the story floating around the internet.
“Did you really come up with all those languages on your own?”
He was a rather doubtful person.
“Nope,” Juho said with a smile.
Then, Coin furrowed his brows and asked, “Is that a confession?”
“I’ve always written with the help of those around me.”
“Don’t be boring now.”
“Can’t you tell? We’ve been talking for some time now.”
Then, Coin looked at Juho intently for a little while and nodded. The young author had presented more than enough proof so far. Of course, creating a whole new language took more than speaking fluent English, but it did break Juho free from Coin’s doubt that an eighteen-year-old boy had created a language based on Old and Medieval English. In Coin’s mind, the young author sitting in front of him had the ability to accomplish that.
“People aren’t made to live in solitude,” Coin murmured as he remembered another character from ‘Language of God,’ one named Bird. Waiting for One to return from his quest in search of God, the character played a crucial role in enabling One to leave on his journey. After all, a trip could never be completed without a home to return to. Otherwise, it would be no different from wandering around.
“Coming to think of it, there are a lot of birds in your books.”
“Do you like birds?”
“I don’t dislike them.”
“Why birds though?”
Juho let out a light chuckle and asked, “Why Susan though, Mr. Coin?”
Coin clicked his tongue annoyedly. A character signifying something bigger, Susan was also a component of the mystery in Coin’s book, and as soon as the author revealed that mystery, the book would become bland and flavorless to the readers. Coin was not about to let that happen anytime soon, and that was also the reason why he didn’t give Juho an answer.
“Speaking of which, why don’t we talk about your books?”
“We did, back at the bookstore.”
“I know for a fact that’s not the only book you’ve written,” Juho said as he remembered a book that had been mentioned just a moment before. It was Coin’s sophomore title, which took him five years to write, and the very book that placed him at the top.
“The book was about the life of a thief, right? It’s well known that you actually joined a gang of pickpockets to write that book.”
“I used a fake ID to join them.”
“Were they not suspicious at all?”
“Of course, they were. They recognized me the second they saw my face. I even “smelled” different. Still, they pretended not to know me. They probably thought that I’d be useful somehow.”
‘Belongings’ was a story about a thief’s life, and it was widely known that the protagonist, Bill, was a character based on an actual person. In the same way, Coin had revealed in the past that the victims in the book were also real-life victims he had seen in person. The book was rather explicit in its description of techniques used by pickpockets and confused the readers as to what to make of the author as a person.
Despite its controversial content, ‘Belongings’ was considered to be one of Coin’s masterpieces. Mixing the perpetrators and victims into a fairy-tale-like scenario, Coin found his distinct voice as an author, and Juho remembered being impressed by it when he had read the original.
Then, Coin thought for a brief moment and asked, “My understanding is that ‘Belongings’ hasn’t been translated to Korean yet, right?”
“Yes, we’re working on it, and it’s planned to be published through our company. Thanks to Imperst Agency, we’ve been able to focus on your books, Mr. Coin,” the editor-in-chief answered, coming to his senses after listening to the conversation between the two authors in a daze.
“I see,” Coin said indifferently while raising his eyebrows, his eyes moving left and right with them. He was thinking about something. Soon, a mischievous smile appeared on his face. Sensing trouble, Isabella tried to keep him from talking, but it was no use.
“Are you talking about the ‘collection?'”
“Oh! You must have seen them. We’ve published four volumes so far, and there will be total of eight.”
“Who’s the translator?”
“We chose the very best in the industry, so there’s nothing to worry about, Mr. Coin.”
“Is there an opening?”
“… As in…?”
“I’m asking if you guys are looking for another translator.”
“Uh… I suppose we are, for the future projects,” the editor-in-chief answered, flustered. Considering the author he was dealing with, there was no benefit in dragging the meeting on longer than necessary.
“Give him that position.”
“… As in…?”
The editor-in-chief’s voice shook. He wasn’t reiterating because he didn’t understand what Coin was telling him. With the author pointing at another person in the room, there was no way to misunderstand him.
“Me?” Juho asked, sounding just as flustered as the editor-in-chief, and Coin let out a hearty-laughter at the sight.
“Yes, you, Yun Woo. I want you to translate my books.”
“Because you’re fluent and a great interpreter?”
“There are other interpreters who are much better than I am. There are professionals.”
“Who cares? I want you to do it.”
“Why?!” Juho asked again at the unexpected request. As Juho sat dumbfounded, he felt someone tapping his leg. It was Nam Kyung, whose eyes were sparkling with interest. Then, Juho remembered his offer in the botanical garden about a book about languages.
“This might be an opportunity,” he whispered.
“This is Kelley Coin we’re talking. He’s asking you personally!”
Yun Woo’s age and experience had always worked to his disadvantage whenever a publishing company went to him for translations. Taking up Coin’s offer would mean that those things would no longer be issues. People would be astounded more than doubtful by the name Kelley Coin, and Coin, the eccentric brat and problem child, had acknowledged Yun Woo personally.
“Not only do you get to stay anonymous, but it’s also the perfect platform for you to put your language skills to full use.”
The center of attention of the entire room, Juho contemplated the idea. Although he had read countless books written in their original languages, Juho was well aware that translating took more than the ability to speak the language fluently. It was a task that involved rewriting a book in a new language.
Even with the help of a language-acquisition device, it wouldn’t be an easy task by any means. On top of that, he would be translating Kelley Coin’s books. It was much too difficult for a first gig, and the stakes were rather high. Anything less than perfect would cost him and Coin a great deal as authors.
Juho looked in Coin’s direction and saw him rushing for an answer. He had to be aware, yet, he was willing to take the risk.
“That’ll be tough,”
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