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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“What could you possibly get out of interviewing me?”
“Mr. Woo, I need you to be on the same page as me. You’re a sensation with legs.”
“Maybe from afar, but I don’t have much to offer up close.”
“No. You’re an author of unlimited potential. I know it.”
“Thanks for saying that.”
“So, at least consider it,” Mideum said in a desperate tone as Juho contemplated the idea. “This is a novel, so it’s not like you’re exposing yourself or anything, you know? If you’re still not sure, do you want me to let you read the part you’d be in ahead of time?”
“I don’t know…”
“I’ll make it sound nice. Do you not trust me? My name isn’t Mideum for no reason, you know!?”
(TL’s Note: Mideum means trust in Korean)
Then, Juho thought of the articles he had read earlier. People were already ecstatic about the idea that there was a character modeled after him, and they waited desperately to read about the character in the book. That meant that his name would be attached to the character forever, no matter what Mideum made the character be like. In that case…
“Maybe it’s not a terrible idea.”
“Really? Really!?” she asked with her voice filled with excitement. And in the end, Juho ended up giving in to Mideum’s request. Besides, it seemed like it would be fun to be part of a novel.
“OK. I’ll cooperate.”
Then, a loud cheer sounded from Juho’s receiver. To get ahead of the interview, Juho told Mideum about his humble daily life. Without even a hobby, the only thing he did was write, whether at home or at school.
“Are you still interested?”
“Of course! Don’t worry. Leave all the question to me. All you gotta do is sit back and relax.”
Mideum was already ecstatic.
“What day works best for you? Where do you wanna meet? I’ll go to you.”
“Please be mindful that I’m a student. You said it would be an interview, right?”
“Actually, while we’re at it, I’d like a little tour of your writing environment.”
“Are you planning on visiting me at my school? You most likely won’t get past the front gate.”
“You know what, I’ll settle for your studio. Where do you write?”
“Mind if I come over, then?”
Although Juho had never had another author over at his house, there was no reason to say no, and just like that, he agreed to be interviewed by Mideum, completely forgetting about his prior engagement with the club members to update them on the contest results.
As Juho woke up early the next morning, he got out of bed and opened the window in his room for ventilation. There was no drastic change from the day before, except for his desk, which was slightly more organized. After all, what Mideum wanted to see wasn’t a tidily organized room. Then, Juho got ready to go out.
“Is that author coming over today?” his mother asked as he closed the door on his way out of the room.
“Yes. She won’t be around for too long. It’s not like there’s a whole lot to see or anything.”
“All right. Did you clean your room? Do you want me to go in and clean it up a little?”
“No, thanks. It should be OK as is.”
Then, his mother nodded willingly. She didn’t try to force herself into the life of her son, who had a social life while still being a student. She knew how to be respectful of her son as a student and a responsible adult in society, and Juho was grateful for having a mother like that.
“Be safe now.”
With that, Juho left his house to meet with Mideum. When he looked up at the sky, he saw that it was covered in clouds, and the gusts of wind made the weather all the worse. Fortunately, bad weather wouldn’t be enough to bring Mideum down.
As he walked toward the wind, the scent of freshly-baked bread in the air indicated to him that he was almost at the meeting spot, and when he looked up as he walked out of the alleyway, Mideum was standing in front of the subway station with her camera.
“That’s one hefty-looking camera.”
“For our occasion, it’s an essential,” Mideum said, shaking the camera that she was wearing around her neck. She seemed proud of herself that she had managed to remember to bring the camera with her, and she was just as bright as Juho had expected her to be.
“This is the perfect weather for an interview!”
Despite the wind blowing her hair all over, she paid no attention to it and looked around curiously.
“So, this is the neighborhood our man of the hour lives in. I love the smell of freshly-baked bread,” she said as she inhaled deeply.
“Where do you wanna go?” Juho asked.
“Obviously, it’s your studio that I’m most interested in, but we’ll save the best for later for now. Why don’t we walk around the park for a little while?” Mideum said, looking at the park on the other side of the street.
“So, I’ve never been interviewed like this before. What do I do?” Juho asked as they stepped into the park, and Mideum answered as she fiddled about with her camera, “Just… Whatever you feel like doing?”
“Sounds pretty lax for an interview.”
“This is my first time interviewing a fellow author, too. I’m sure we can figure it out as we go, as we always have.”
There was no way to predict when an author would come across inspiration. In Mideum’s own words, they were “figuring it out” as they went. With that, Juho went where his feet took him. It was a familiar route.
“I usually come here for my morning exercise.”
“You exercise? You don’t say?”
Then, she shared information about her gym membership, which was yet to be put to use.
“My covers feel so much warmer the day I decide to go to the gym.”
Juho couldn’t agree with her more. The covers felt much warmer before having to get out of bed for morning exercises. The two authors had a casual conversation about their daily lives.
“Oh, there’s a fountain show!”
As the two authors walked further into the park, the fountain at the center of the park came into their view, which was spraying water about in various patterns along with colorful beams of light shooting out of it. There were only a handful of people around the fountain.
“Ah, this is nice! Should we sit and watch for a few minutes?”
Then, the two headed toward the stair-like seating area around the fountain. Juho bought a couple of beverages from the vending machine and handed one over to Mideum.
“Do you come here often, too?”
“Yes. There’s a botanical garden past the fountain.”
As streams of water shot up to the sky, people looked up at them simultaneously. Juho found himself being drawn more to the crowd than to the jets of water shooting out of the fountain, and he realized that Mideum was feeling the same way, except she was more interested in Juho being interested in the crowd.
“I can’t tell if we’re looking at the fountain or the people around it,” Juho murmured.
“Well, we’re authors after all. What can you do?”
With that, Mideum picked up her camera, and it wasn’t hard to figure out where she was pointing it at.
“Should I make a V with my fingers or something?”
“Nah. Just sit still. Looking good.”
“Thanks,” Juho answered light-heartedly to the light-hearted compliment, and…
… the dull sound of the camera filled the void between Juho and Mideum.
“How much do you think I can sell this picture for?”
“Who would buy a picture of an average-Joe high school student?”
“I guess that’s true,” Mideum said as she put her camera down, smacking her lips.
‘So much for trust,’ Juho thought as he chuckled at Mideum’s exaggerated response.
“I read your book.”
“The new one?”
“Yes. Like you said, it was a really brief appearance.”
Juho was referring to Dr. Dong’s friend who sent a letter to him after he had solved a case toward the very end of the book. The book didn’t even clarify the character’s gender, and Mideum didn’t intend on making the character play a leading role in the novel.
“So, what am I like in the novel?”
“I’m not sure yet. I haven’t started writing the manuscript. I’m not in the habit of writing out the plot, and I mostly prefer to work with the bare bones. It allows me to have the flexibility to change things down the line. Of course, the downside is that I have to do more research and spend more time on revisions.”
There were other authors who approached writing in a similar manner to Mideum. Every author was different in the way they wrote, and there were no rules like those in competitions. If an author wanted to, they had the freedom to kick the ball from the audience.
“You have your own studio, right?”
“Yep. Dae Soo found me one. It’s a small office space, but it’s actually pretty nice.”
As the name, Dae Soo came up in the conversation, Mideum brought up something that she remembered.
“Oh, yeah! Dae Soo’s been staying in a hotel room somewhere.”
“A hotel room? Where?”
“Don’t know. All I know is that it’s somewhere in Gangwon-do. Whenever she’s struggling to make progress, she stays at a random hotel room.”
Dae Soo’s purpose for staying at a hotel was quite unusual, and it was as if the goal of her trip was to be in the hotel room.
“Isn’t she odd? Once she finds a room, she disappears with her laptop and research data, and then comes back with amazing results. Whenever I read her work, I’m tempted to try writing at a hotel room myself,” Mideum said, her eyes sparkling with curiosity. Even though she was still talking about Dae Soo, her eyes were fixed on Juho.
“What about you? Do you do anything weird when you’re stuck?”
Then, she blatantly changed the subject. It was obvious that her sole interest was Yun Woo. After a brief time thinking, Juho answered, “Not really. I don’t get stuck all that often.”
At Juho’s answer, a dissatisfied look appeared on Mideum’s face. She wasn’t afraid to show her feelings.
“I wasn’t expecting to write about such an arrogant character. This changes things a little bit.”
“That’s a little harsh, isn’t it?”
“There’s really nothing? Even when you’re making good progress?”
“Nothing out of the ordinary. I just pick up a pen and write.”
“Ordinary people don’t see ghosts, you know.”
“Of course they can, if they’re writers.”
“Are you saying that I’m not a writer, punk?”
“Well, it puts me in an awkward position if you put it that way.”
The ghosts she was referring to were Juho’s creative process of interacting with the characters within the novels. In other words, they were the interaction between the young author and writing that had no shape to it yet. If he didn’t write, he wouldn’t be seeing ghosts in the first place. After Juho explained, Mideum nodded affirmingly, adding, “You know, you’re kinda like a ghost at times.”
Although it had been a rather unexpected remark, Juho felt uncomfortable internally. He felt pricked in the heart.
“Why is that?”
“A ghost wouldn’t be taken aback by seeing other ghosts.”
Then, a gust of wind blew all of a sudden, and the streams of water from the fountain splashed sideways.
“You don’t get fazed by ghosts.”
She checked the picture in her camera.
“I see it in the picture.”
“Because it’s alive.”
“Kind of a letdown, ain’t it?”
Her disappointment seemed genuine, and it was only natural. If Juho were a ghost, he wouldn’t have to rely on the power of alcohol for the experience Mideum had been yearning desperately for.
“Well, I might be a half ghost.”
“What’s that mean?”
Since he couldn’t tell her that he had come back from the dead, Juho had to answer her ambiguously.
“According to this one famous scientist, there’s a high probability that this world is one giant hologram. There are a lot of things about this planet that humanity doesn’t know about.”
“What, are we going the sci-fi route now?”
As Juho took a sip of the beverage from his can and the liquid flowed into his mouth, he saw tall streams of water shooting up from the fountain.The wind gave them ghost-like appearance, and the drops of water plummeted toward the ground, never to rise back up.
“What the?! Why’s that thing stopping already? The announcement said the show would end at 9:00 a.m.!”
The children who had been running around the fountain stood confused, and the crowd who had been watching the fountain show began to leave one by one.
“It stopped,” a child said to its father as if it were telling a truth that was known only to it. Soon, they, too, left the fountain and headed toward the playground. Most people responded in such ways when the fountain stopped working. Then, feeling a piercing gaze beside him, Juho said, “It’s empty now.”
“Yep. Nobody’s interested in finding out the truth. Seems like we don’t have any detectives around here.”
“Maybe they left because they already found out the truth. Also, I think the weather has a lot to do with their behavior.”
The wind was strong, and the weather was not suitable for a fountain show. However, the detective writer was yet to be satisfied by what she had found.
“Let’s think about it some more.”
So, Juho played along willingly.
“Do you think this was a homicide case, then? Maybe the detective already smelled the blood and tragedy of the custodian’s death.”
At that, Mideum presented an argument as if she had been waiting for him, “The detective might not be all that good at what he does. No curiosity, reasoning skills, or an assistant.”
“Well, lucky for the culprit then. They have it easy with an incompetent detective like that.”
“No. The culprits always reveal themselves in my novel, so that I make sure they pay for their crimes in the most unfortunate ways.”
“Oh, man. I guess the culprit’s not so lucky, after all.”
Mideum wasn’t afraid to use the word ‘always,’ and insisting on the same ending was a big burden for writers as it could very well be their weakness. After all, there were bad people who lived prosperously while the good lived in poverty. However, Mideum had made her choice to show no mercy to the culprits in her novels, and Juho made no comment about her decision.
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