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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Juho too had watched that interview, and the internet was in a commotion over the snippets of information that had been disclosed during it. Among them, were opinions about Yun Woo’s handwriting. The clues presented by the young, anonymous author had drawn massive enthusiasm out of his fans. From the offshoot volume of ‘Language of God’ to the meeting with Kelley Coin, the speech at the Dong Kyung Literary Award ceremony and the recent interview, Juho had been leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for his readers, both consciously and subconsciously. Because of that, most of the fans had been focusing on putting together the clue pieces rather than demand the author reveal his face.
Then, Juho looked down at his notebook.
“They’ll probably think that I happen to have a similar handwriting.”
“But it’s way too similar,” Bom said, still looking concerned.
“It seems like that to you because you already know.”
“No. They’re the same, to the tee. I have a bad feeling about this. Hurry up and cover it before anyone sees it!”
“I gotta write this if I wanna turn it in though.”
Then, Bom raised her hand to cover Juho’s notebook, and he barely managed to stop her. She, too, was deeply concerned, and under her watch, Juho wrote as fast as he could and finished his assignment.
The next period came, and the class president who had come to collect Juho’s notebook struck up a conversation with him all of a sudden.
“You have a similar handwriting to Yun Woo’s.”
Having barely talked to him to that point, Juho was not very well acquainted with him. Despite his soft spoken nature giving off a timid impression, the fact that he was trying to start a conversation with Juho was proving him to be otherwise.
Feeling Bom’s anxiety from his seat, Juho answered light-heartedly, “Maybe it’s because I am Yun Woo.”
“Oh. Right,” the class president said with a scoff, and then their short interaction came to an end as he collected Juho’s notebook. After that, Juho looked at Bom and said, “See?”
As a disappointed look washed over Bom’s face, Juho observed her expression for a little while and then picked up the book that he had set aside on his desk. It was the book by Kelley Coin that he was in the middle of translating, and Juho had been reading the book exclusively during his free time as of late.
“If Seo Kwang were to see what you were reading, he wouldn’t have let it slide without making some sort of comment,” Bom said as she saw the book title written in English. Seo Kwang was known to be excitable whenever he saw Juho reading a book written in its original language.
“Seo Kwang’s been hard at work lately,” she added as if she wanted to bring something up, and knowing exactly what she had in mind, Juho answered, “Yep. He wants to be a translator.”
What Yun Woo had done in becoming a translator was the dream Seo Kwang had been running toward.
“What do you think?”
“About Seo Kwang. The way I see it, he seems kind of anxious.”
At Juho’s words, Bom was reminded of herself.
“Should we talk to him?” Juho asked as he thought of Seo Kwang’s recent appearance. Since finding out that Yun Woo was translating for Kelley Coin, Seo Kwang had been noticeably absent, reading English texts instead of another book, memorizing English words and perpetually murmuring them on his own. Those might have been signs of anxiety.
“I doubt it.”
Seo Kwang wasn’t anxious. If anything, he was fighting desperately against the temptation of giving up, and fighting against his past failures to prevent himself from repeating them. Amid a breakthrough in his life, he was working toward his goal, and there was no need for Juho to go out of his way to help him.
All eyes turned toward the shout that came from the back door. It was Seo Kwang, and as he walked into the class without hesitation, everyone lost their interest quickly and went on about their businesses.
“Look,” Seo Kwang said, and Juho looked at the book in his hand, which was written in English. Upon reading, the language acquisition device in his head decoded what was written on its pages: ‘Trace of a Bird.’
“I can read this now!” Seo Kwang said with a bright smile, and as if to prove his point, the pages were filled with word definitions and underlined phrases. At the sight, Juho accepted Seo Kwang’s words quietly.
“How long did it take you?”
He asked Seo Kwang how much time it had taken him to finish the book, and Seo Kwang answered proudly, “A month.”
Depending heavily on the dictionary, he had read the translated version of the book for one whole month, and as Juho realized Seo Kwang was not in need of help. He hadn’t given up. When Juho looked at Bom, she was taken aback by Seo Kwang’s answer to Juho’s question.
“For a month straight?!”
“Yep,” Seo Kwang answered. “I wanted to be someone who’s a bit more persistent.”
He had discovered his dream of translating Yun Woo’s book after having given something up, and he had come to realize that the question of what kind of person he wanted to be in the future was overshadowed by his goal of becoming a translator.
“After this, I’m sure that I developed enough persistence for translating an entire book!” Seo Kwang said as he laughed energetically. Juho scanned through the book that was filled with traces of his progress.
“Well, I can’t just sit here and lose,” Juho said as he looked at the book he was translating and decided that he’d make it the best translation there was within a month.
Feeling a dull pain on his back, Juho opened his eyes. The impact had been louder than painful. As he opened his eyes and slowly regained consciousness, only then did he realize that he had been asleep. Sitting up and feeling the stiffness of his neck and the numbness in his arm, he groaned in pain and took a sheet of paper off of his face.
“Did you stay up again?” his mother asked as she opened the window in his room.
Since he hadn’t gone to bed and was waking up just now in the morning, there was no way to argue against that. Then, out of concern for her son’s health, she went on to explain the importance of sleep for people, and the positive ways the body responded to a consistent sleep routine.
“So, sleep early, mister.”
Then, she went out of the room and began to vacuum the living room. She seemed to be in the middle of cleaning, and unlike usual, it had to be related to the reason why she had awaken her son. Juho barely managed to wake himself up after washing his face, and when he walked out of the bathroom, he saw that all of the windows had been open.
“Should I go take out the trash?”
With that, Juho helped his mother with cleaning the house, taking the trash bags gathered in one place, he went outside to separate the recyclables. Looking at the trash after it ended up where it needed to be, Juho asked himself, ‘Where would ‘Utopia’ be for these bottles? What if they’re mourning the fact that they were born as plastic bottles as they’re facing the reality of it?’
Then, he picked up a glass bottle and wondered, ‘What about this one?’ Despite it being a recyclable glass bottle, it was made of beautiful curves and transparent skin. Unfortunately, that appearance was overshadowed by a greater power or a system, and the glass bottles were reduced to the equivalent to plastic bottles, which polluted the Earth. It was unfair and tragic.
The bottle made a dull sound as Juho flicked its surface with his finger.
‘It would’ve been nice to know what these plastic bottles were saying.’
Unfortunately, it was only wishful thinking.
From then on, Juho wasn’t able to return to his desk until he had gone back in and had breakfast. While the room was clean, the desk looked the same as he had left it as his mother tended to avoid cleaning his desk when he was writing. Although it would stay that way until the end of the day, the desk maintained its untidy appearance.
As he turned on the computer, the finished translation appeared on the screen.
Since meeting with Kelley Coin, being requested by the author to translate his book, and being given three months by the publishing company for the process, Juho had spent an entire month solely on translating and reading Coin’s book, and finally, the journey had come to an end.
Juho looked down at the last page of the manuscript, where Bill was dead. Even after his death, the world was still the same, divided into three parts, just as it always had been. As an individual, he had failed to make a difference in the world in any way, and just like that, Bill, the pretentious, ambitious, timid and foolish, had faded away.
That was how Coin had decided to end the book, and Juho pondered as he read the sentences he had translated. It was a strange feeling, and none of them felt like he wrote them himself. It was a book written by Coin, and that meant the sentences belonged to him as well. Although Juho was looking at the product of his effort, which came from referring to the author’s book hundreds of times and reading through them tens of times, there was not one single trace of himself in those sentences. It was the exact opposite of what he had been doing, and Yun Woo was nowhere to be found in that world.
“That’s a little depressing,” Juho said as he looked at the bright screen. Coin’s descriptions were beautiful and fantasy-like, as if they were wrapped in a heart-patterned wrapping paper.
‘What could be in it? What’s underneath the wrapping?’
It was reality, filthy and ugly. Coin’s book was like a burn. Once reading it, there was no going back to how things were, and it continued to influence its reader’s life as it lingered.
Juho put pressure into his hand. He had been reading Coin’s book tirelessly while translating and found himself getting impressed by how the author handled sentences and his plot development. There were even times when he caught himself looking to change some of the sentences subconsciously. All in all, it was an invaluable learning experience.
Then, Juho made a call on his phone.
“Hey, what’s up?” a slightly tired voice sounded from the receiver.
To which, Juho answered, “I’m finished.”
“I finished translating.”
Then, Juho heard some commotion in the background.
“What’s today’s date?”
At the seemingly random question, Juho answered him.
“There are still two whole months left until the deadline.”
“But it hasn’t even been a month!”
“I’m aware of that as well.”
“And you’re finished? You finished translating Kelley Coin’s book within a month!?”
“Yep. All done.”
After contemplating what to make of the situation, Nam Kyung said, “Send me the manuscript.”
Then, Juho immediately put himself into action. As he sent the email while staying on the phone with Nam Kyung, Juho heard him give a status report to the editor-in-chief, and after yet another commotion, Nam Kyung returned to his phone.
“Yeah. OK. I got it. Great job. I imagined it would’ve been difficult being your first time,” he said, sounding like he was still struggling to accept the situation. He wouldn’t have thought in his dreams that he would be saying those words so soon.
“Not at all. It was a new experience.”
“Now that you’re off the hook, are you finally going to relax?”
At Nam Kyung’s excited voice, Juho chuckled and said, “No, I’ll be writing.”
Juho was planning to keep on writing, and he needed the means to release the emotions that he had been suppressing.
“I’m telling you, that kid’s really something,” Nam Kyung said as he hung up, clicking his tongue. If he were in Juho’s shoes, he wouldn’t have even bothered to think about writing, and there were actually quite a few authors who went on to rest for several years after writing a book. While it seemed unrealistic, writing a book was an incredibly demanding task to say the least.
“Maybe it’s because he’s young.”
‘I mean, even just now, he translated an entire book as if it was nothing.’
Then, Nam Kyung opened the manuscript Juho had sent him over the email, and a series of letters filled the screen.
Whenever he looked at Juho, he was reminded of how much the young author had in common with a spring that would never dry up. Cold, yet flowing gently, the water always left a trail, and its undilutable color emitted a presence that was unmistakable.
When Juho first agreed to take on the translation work, Nam Kyung hadn’t been very concerned because he was Juho’s editor and was well aware that the author excelled peculiarly in language. However, there was one thing that had bothered him, and it was the fact that Yun Woo was an author. He was a novelist who wrote his own, unique stories, and it was uncertain whether a writer would be able to remove his voice entirely while leaving Coin’s writing intact and as he had intended.
Even Dong Gil, the leading figure in strict and elaborate writing styles, had undergone a great deal of difficulty in translating.
“Well, that’s something even translators often struggle with.”
Nam Kyung read through Yun Woo’s translation of Kelley Coin’s book, ‘Belongings.’ Wondering if the young author had recognized that the story belonged to Coin or if he had ever given into invading Coin’s creative boundaries, Nam Kyung was filled with unexplainable excitement and anticipation, and the feelings were different from those of receiving Yun Woo’s manuscript.
“Nam Kyung, I heard the temporary binding’s out,” Ms. Song saig to Nam Kyung on her way back from from the sales department, but he gave her no answer.
“Nam Kyung’s busy at the moment,” Mr. Maeng, who sat next to him, answered on his behalf, and Ms. Song asked why. To Which, he answered, “He’s reading Mr. Woo’s manuscript.”
“Mr. Woo? Which one? I didn’t hear anything about a new book?”
At her questions, Mr. Maeng shook his head and said, “It’s the translation.”
“Yep. That’s why he’s reading it so intently.”
Then, both Mr. Maeng and Ms. Song looked in Nam Kyung’s direction. He had a rather peculiar expression on his face and was murmuring something that were yet to be words.
He rose from his seat slowly, asking, “Where’s chief?”
At his voice that was strangely suppressed, Ms. Song pointed at the conference room.
“Why do you ask?”
“There is no Yun Woo.”
“There. Is. No. Yun Woo,” Nam Kyung said as his voice grew louder gradually. “There’s no trace of him anywhere in that manuscript. Do you realize how incredible this is!?”
There was none other than Coin himself in the translation. Despite the manuscript being a translation, it was filled to the brim with the original author. Although it was rewritten in a different language for a different country, after arriving at that distant country, Coin’s voice was left entirely untouched.
“I don’t see it.”
“Everyone has to know about the greatness that is this manuscript. There’s not a minute to lose. Chief!”
Leaving his two coworkers behind in confusion, Nam Kyung ran toward the conference room in search of the editor-in-chief. At that, the two wondered, ‘What’s gotten into him?’
“Should I print out a copy?”
“Yes, and get me one, too.”
It wasn’t long until the two had caught on to what Nam Kyung was experiencing.
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