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The Great Storyteller (Web Novel) - Chapter 156 – Nothing Lasts Forever (3)

Chapter 156 – Nothing Lasts Forever (3)

This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog

Translated by: ShawnSuh

Edited by: SootyOwl

The disease, which the girl’s brother had suffered from, was leukemia. Divided into a number of categories, it tended to come with prefixes. From chronic and acute to lymphocytic, myelogenous, childhood or adulthood, the prefixes were often mind-boggling words, and without anyone knowing, the girl had classified her brother’s sickness by a standard that was much easier to understand: survival rate.

Unfortunately, being on the lower side of the survival rate, the brother had been the recipient of terrible luck because of a medication that had come out about a decade ago. Often referred to as Gleevec, the medication was known to improve the survival rate of a chronic leukemia patient significantly, eventually turning the disease around. Sadly, this batch of medication, created by a pharmaceutical company in Switzerland, had taken even the hope of recovery away the from the boy and his family. From then on, the sister had been thinking, ‘If my brother was born about a decade earlier, he would have been able to live with much more hope than now, living at least another year.’

Having immersed herself in pointless thoughts like that since the death of her younger brother, she had seized the opportunity to realize her brother’s plan, which had also been his wish.

“He suggested that we call the publishing company and tell them that I had a dying brother who was desperate to know the ending of the book. He added that I had to sound as sad as possible so that the person answering the phone would pity us, and that the plan would work if we rushed them.”

However, the sister had been against the idea.

“I couldn’t let him do that. I was emphatically against his plan.”

Of course, the brother had been sad that his sister had not been willing to get on board with him.

Although he had thrown a fit for a while, he had spent most of his time sleeping in the end. He had been perpetually tired, preventing him from reading his favorite books from his two favorite authors: Yun Woo and Won Yi Young. Eventually, his body had weakened to the point that it made the most basic of activities in life impossible, such as brushing his teeth or going to the bathroom.

“So, I had to read to him instead. He really disliked calling the traitor in ‘Language of God’ a traitor.”

She was referring the traitor of the animals, who was also a hero to the humans and who kept them out of harm’s way, and her brother was quite fond of that character.

“He would always imagine how the book might end. He believed that One would come to meet God, and God would grant him what he wanted,” the girl said, looking at Yun Woo sitting in front of her. “The outcome didn’t matter to me.”

“Right.”

“But that changed when my brother died.”

“How?”

“I had regrets.”

That was her reason for making that phone call. She had wanted to grant her brother’s wish and thought that she’d be freed of her regrets.

“What about now?”

“I’m regretting still.”

What had been intended as a counter for her preexisting regret had resulted in bringing about yet another regret. As Juho smiled warmly, her eyes remained fixated on his face.

“If I knew that you’d forgive me so easily, I would have called you with my brother when I still had the chance. What are the odds of actually meeting you in person? If only I hadn’t been against his plan, my brother would’ve gotten what he had wanted,” she said quietly. “Meeting Won Yi Young in person would have put him in high spirits, and he would have lived for at least another year.”

Juho took a sip of his coffee, and the bitterness lingered in his mouth. After a moment of hesitation, the girl brought up ‘Language of God.’

“So, the four companions leave on a quest to find God, each with an intention of their own.”

“Yes.”

“And Four’s reason being that he wants to know why humans die.”

“Right.”

“What do you think is the answer to that?”

The four companions with different intentions in mind set out on a journey to meet God, and Four was the one of those four who sought to answer the question:

‘Why do people get sick and die?’

If death was a punishment, then the newborn shouldn’t die. If death was a blessing, it shouldn’t be so frightening. In order to find the answer to his question, Four joined with the other companions in their journey.

Then, remembering his manuscript, Juho opened his mouth to say, “God lives up to three hundred years.”

“Huh?” the girl asked as she caught off guard by what he had said.

“I’m talking about God. He lives for three hundred years, at most.”

“Is this about the book?”

“Yes.”

With that, the girl glanced at Jang Mi, who remained unwavering. Juho was disclosing content that was yet to be published.

“Can you talk about stuff like that?”

“Isn’t it a little late for that question? You wanted to know how the book ends.”

“But that was a lie…”

“It’s fine,” Juho said calmly, and the girl’s eyes moved busily as she immersed herself in thought.

“What do you mean when you say that God lives up to three hundred years?”

“I mean that God dies after living up to three hundred years at most.”

“… Then, that wouldn’t make God, God.”

“That depends on how you look at it.”

The god who the four companions were about to meet had a lifespan of three hundred years. Although having a lifespan as a god would invalidate His deity status, humans still referred to Him as God. While the girl was still perplexed by Juho’s justification of God, Juho added, “Frankly, it doesn’t matter if He’s really God or not.”

“It doesn’t?”

“No.”

“Isn’t that THE most important thing?”

At that, Juho shook his head.

“What’s THE most important is that the four set out on a journey together, and that I successfully wrote the story in one piece.”

With that, the girl’s forehead furrowed.

“But, what about the ending?”

The one her brother had desperately wanted to know.

“In the end, a novel is about people, and ‘Language of God’ is no different.”

Novels were about portraying a person’s life in writing.

“What do you think it’s at the end of life?”

“Death,” she said quietly, yet emphatically.

“And why is that?”

“Death is the most clear-cut ending I’ve ever experienced.”

“That’s a delusion.”

“‘Scuse me?”

“You’ve never experienced it yourself.”

She couldn’t give him an answer. To be precise, what she had experienced had been the death of another person, and nothing was more mysterious than the boundary of death.

“The things that we’re certain to be true often turn out to be misinformation, and that’s why there are books that end anticlimactically and get on its readers bad side. After all, the end most people experience is not all that different. Well, there are times when an author simply needs to work on his craft.”

Juho didn’t believe that to be a bad thing.

“Because of that, we live on knowing that we’ll die one day.”

People often forgot about the approaching end, and they didn’t bother to remind themselves of it. Perhaps death wasn’t as important as most people understood it to be.

“… Is that how ‘Language of God’ ends?”

There was a faint trace of anger in her voice, as if she was still in disbelief.

“Beats me.”

“… What?”

“I haven’t written it yet. Earlier, you said that your brother would’ve gotten what he had wanted if you had been able make that call while he was still alive, right? I hate to say, but you’re wrong,” Juho said calmly. “I wouldn’t have been able to tell him what he had wanted.”

“But…”

“In other words, it would change nothing.”

As he locked eyes with the girl, her eyes wavered with a subtle sense of relief.

“That can’t be true,” the girl said emphatically as she tried to hide that relief.

She was confused. Unlike her normal self, she had made a prank call to the publishing company and obsessed over any trace of her brother. At the same time, she couldn’t ignore her brother’s death. Her ending, too, was just as ambiguous as anyone’s in the cafe.

“You don’t think it’s true.”

‘What do I say to her when she’s so confused? Should I just ignore her, or force her to understand? Should I be comforting her?’ Juho thought, but he couldn’t reach an answer, so he decided to bring up what he did best.

“Then, you write it.”

At that, her eyes shook anxiously. Instead of communicating to her that he wasn’t angry, he added, “You just want to be free from your regret, and are willing to do whatever it takes, right? Even if it means calling Yun Woo.”

The guilt of not granting her brother’s wish had been keeping the girl captive, and she was doing everything she could to free herself from it. She was still alive and still had a future to look forward to. She was wise and didn’t indulge in sadness, or give into wailing uncontrollably.

“This is the answer I can give you. Try writing.”

As a novelist, it was the best way to help her.

“There’s no such thing as a limit in writing, and you can travel through time and space, however and whenever you wish. It’d be possible to meet with your brother, even.”

“… What am I supposed to do when I meet him then?”

“Like I said, you can do anything. You can even tell him about what happened today.”

“But that’d be fake.”

“Sure, depending on how you look at it.”

The girl stared blankly at Juho as he gave her a series of ambiguous answers.

“It’d be better than making a prank call, wouldn’t it?”

“…”

Personally, Juho thought it would be a much safer means to lie.

“Well, the choice is yours.”

Until the end, the girl gave no answer or try to debate whether or not it would be real. Instead, she pondered desperately, ‘What would be my best choice? Which choice would keep me alive?’

Pale skin and long hair. A pimple on her cheek. As she fought her own battle, Juho took a notepad out and wrote a set of numbers.

“Would you like this?”

“What is it?”

“My number.”

In a battlefield, there was always an ally. Even turning one’s head slightly would be enough to make them realize that there were others who were fighting alongside you, willing to help when asked. All it took was to ask for help.

“What if I spread it around?”

“My phone will probably ring a few more times.”

At that, the girl stared intently at Juho’s face. A peaceful face like that was hard to come by when living in a hospital because everyone was being chased by time, death, end, and pain.

She knew the exact look on the face of a person who had accepted death. Her brother had looked peaceful, almost to the point of looking bored. Only those around him had lived that moment in anxiety as they were chased by time. Ironically, the brother, too, had worn the exact same look when he had been slightly further away from his last moment.

“You remind me a little bit of my brother.”

“Is that right?”

“Yes. You look like you don’t fear death.”

Juho chuckled without saying anything, and the conversation came to an end. Then, as they stepped out of the cafe to go their separate ways, the girl bowed to Juho in order to express her gratitude.

“It’s fine,” Jang Mi and Juho said. Left by themselves after sending the girl away in a taxi, Jang Mi told Juho that she needed to head back to her office. Then, Juho looked in the direction the taxi had left in.

“I think I’ll be able to finish my manuscript soon.”

“Well, that’s a good news! What’s the progress on it?”

Juho thought of the manuscript that was yet to be completed.

“I’ll write as soon as I get back home.”

At that, Jang Mi asked, “Is this about God living three hundred years?”

“No.”

God and His existence was not at the center of the manuscript he had been working on. Juho thought of the beach he had recently visited. Along with the grains of sand, there had been a tide in the distance.

“Nothing lasts forever.”

That was the message he wanted to embody in his story and was in the process of writing. The four set out on a journey to meet God. They were neither close or understanding toward each other and they weren’t exactly fond of each other either. The only thing that kept them together was the fact that they shared the objective of meeting God. As they came across countless people and languages along the way, they saw and experienced all sorts of things that changed them in the end. Then, God finally made an appearance in order to declare the end of their journey.

Jang Mi thought of the girl she had just met. Although she had been able to talk about her loss calmly, she was still at a loss. She still seemed sad. Then, Jang Mi chuckled as she remembered what the young author had said: “Nothing lasts forever.”

“I’ll be waiting,” she said, believing that the girl would be victorious in her battle. After all, nothing lasted forever.

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