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The Great Storyteller (Web Novel) - Chapter 193: Burning Away (3)

Chapter 193: Burning Away (3)

This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog

Translated by: ShawnSuh

Edited by: SootyOwl

“Come on in!” Dae Soo said, opening the door for Juho after he rang the bell. Since he had been there once previously, finding his way to the office wasn’t all that difficult. There were numerous corporate buildings around, as well as people dressed in professional attire. As always, Dae Soo’s office felt more like a rest area than an office, and the walls were covered with pictures. Also, like in Juho’s previous visit, one of the walls was hidden behind a black curtain. The only thing different in the office had to be the miserable-looking author sitting in front of a laptop, as opposed to the author eating apple slices out of his lunch box.

“I’m here, Mideum.”

“Yun Woo. Save me!” Mideum said with her limbs hanging limp, and Juho smiled awkwardly at the sight.

“Deadline, don’t do this to me. Have mercy!” she cried out as if having a nightmare. That was what an author looked like when they were being chased by a deadline, and there was no better way to describe it. Just as the word suggested, it was a chase, one where the author had to finish their work before the deadline caught up to them.

“Deadlines have no feelings,” Mideum said weakly. And just like said, deadlines were heartless. No matter how much an author begged it to wait for them, it didn’t listen, only drawing closer to the helpless author. Merciless. It didn’t shed tears or smile.

“Deadlines don’t have a body, either,” Dae Soo said. Deadlines didn’t have bodies, so they never got sick or grew weary. The idea of rest only applied to authors. Despite the essential needs authors had of having to eat and sleep, to their misery, deadlines drew closer day by day and with a disconcerting noise.

“So, that would make deadlines time,” Juho clarified their identity. Having no bodies or hearts, deadlines were time, and humans had always been desperate for its mercy, just like the author in front of Juho’s eyes.

“I see that you’re in your uniform today? Are you done with school already?”

“Yeah, something like that.”

“Well, have a seat. I’ll bring out something to drink. Would you like something cold?”

With that, Juho thanked Dae Soo and sat across from Mideum, who was glaring fiercely into the laptop screen with bloodshot eyes. She seemed to think that if she were to glare at it long enough, the laptop would give into fear and spew out the information she needed. It was the look of a colleague in anguish, wrestling with her work. Looking at her intently for a little while, Juho opened his mouth and asked, “Should I give detective novels a shot?”

At that, the sound of what seemed like a bowl falling on the floor came from the distance. Then, Dae Soo came out of the kitchen, asking, “What!? Yun Woo? Writing a detective novel? Like, as a challenge to yourself?”

“Haha.”

By adding a detective and an element of reason to the piece Juho had been working on, there was no reason not to call it a detective novel. Although he had never intended on turning it into one, nobody knew what the future held. After all, uncertainty was a shapeshifting trickster. The culprit hiding his identity became a hero, while a mother became a teacher.

“… No.”

It was a quiet murmur. Mideum was burying her head on the table.

“No, not now. You’re a sneaky one, aren’t you? Striking when your prey is most vulnerable…”

Juho had no recollection of challenging her, but what he did know was that he was finding her eyes peeking through her hair covering her face quite terrifying. Before she went on any further, he shook his head in a hurry.

“No, no. There’s a piece I’m working on.”

“Is it a detective novel?”

“Well…”

“Thriller? Grotesque?”

“Would you listen for a minute?”

Her bloodshot eyes followed Juho’s movements.

“Well, I’ve been kind of in a rut. There is a culprit, but no detective. Tension, but it’s not enough to be scary.”

“Ambiguous.”

“It’s unclear, I know. I kind of liked it at first, but now, I’m trapped by it.”

After thinking for a brief moment, Mideum asked, “What about finding more answers in your fantasy? Like a true novelist.”

Unfortunately, that was no longer possible because Juho had trampled on what had been left of the man as he melted away from the heat: his mouth. The man no longer had the mouth he would need to answer Juho’s questions. Besides, Juho wasn’t entirely sold on that idea. With that, Juho decided to give her a brief explanation of his situation.

“So, I’m here to get some advice from you.”

“I’ve got my own issues, man,” Mideum said, still burying her head on the table. It was a familiar sight, and seeing it, Dae Soo clicked her tongue with pity.

“Getting sick is just an everyday thing for you now, huh?”

“It’s because you kept saying that I was coming down with a cold. I’m terrified of feeling like this in between seasons.”

For some reason, seeing her drowning in anguish didn’t seem all that foreign to Juho.

“Really? You’re blaming me, now?”

“Argh! Whatever! You’re too heartless toward a patient.”

As Mideum muttered something about having a drink, Dae Soo swiftly ignored her whining and made her way to the kitchen, bringing back a can of beer and a cup of green tea.

“As you can see, she might not be in a place to offer any advice at the moment.”

With that, the crisp sound of a can opening resonated throughout the office.

To which, Mideum responded at once, “Yeah, you’re THE Yun Woo, a fairy who can fly to fantasy land whenever it wishes. Fly away, already.”

“Speaking of which, you have the incredible ability to act and sound like a drunkard even without the power of alcohol, don’t you?”

“What’d you say!?” Mideum said, furrowing her brow.

Then, Juho said, “Yun Pil was not at all like a fairy.”

At that, her face lit up all of a sudden.

“So, you read it! I thought he was such a charming character even though I’m the one who came up with him. You like it too, right?”

“I got made fun of by Geun Woo, saying that the character was arrogant as all heck, just like me.”

“Made fun of?! I swear, that Geun Woo doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The shameless rich or the clumsy genius have been some of the most popular characters in the history of literature. On top of that, I added a little spoonful of my conviction as an author. Yun Pil is such a charming character… to the point of threatening Dr. Dong’s place!”

“Well, thanks to you, a lot of people have been overlapping my image with his.”

“Which means a lot of people read my book, right?”

Although it was a strange thing to be optimistic about, Mideum seemed to be quite proud of how her character had turned out. And at the sight of that, Juho wondered what the point of her previous interview with him had been. Then, he remembered why he was there. The whole reason for him to go all the way to Dae Soo’s office had nothing to do with Yun Pil.

“How do you usually go about writing?”

“Writing?” Mideum asked back at Juho’s unexpected question.

“Yes, writing.”

At that, she rolled her eyes away from Juho, saying, “You just write. What else is there to it?”

“Yeah, right,” Dae Soo said mockingly. “Who are you trying to fool? Remember how pissed off your neighbors were whenever you started writing? That’s why you decided to get an office to begin with.”

“Oh, c’mon, Dae Soo! Way to spill the beans while Yun Woo here telling us that he’s working on a detective novel.”

“What secrets can you possibly have? You’d tell everything if a reporter were to walk in through that door and ask questions.”

At the word reporter, Mideum clenched her lips tightly. She was well aware of her prior deeds, remembering the trouble she had caused. In any case, the fact that Mideum was being so defensive had to mean that there was something.

“I’d like to see what it is like,” Juho said instead of asking a question.

“See what?” Mideum muttered.

“Your writing process, which your neighbors couldn’t stand.”

Reporter. Interview. Visit. Revealing information. As Juho brought up those words, one by one, Mideum’s brow began to narrow more and more. And eventually, she chugged the cold water in Juho’s cup without hesitation.

“Fine. I might be able to figure something out along the way, too”

It could be a win-win situation. Dae Soo, too, seemed quite pleased with what was about to take place, and Mideum rose from her seat in order to prepare herself.

“Dae Soo, you mind if I move the desk in the living room over there?”

“Sure.”

“I’ll do it.”

The three moved it swiftly and made space in the living room.”

Mideum gave Juho a brief explanation of the plot of the piece she was currently working on, which was a story that incorporated elements of dancing, murder, and detective work. Also the narrator of the story, the protagonist was a student majoring in dance who had lost her friend and was searching for the murderer responsible.

Then, Juho saw Mideum in the spacious living room, holding her laptop in her hands. There was always a culprit in her stories, who used various excuses to commit crimes. The well-known detective was merciless toward them, and so were the victims and/or their families and friends. The culprits remained culprits until the end in Mideum’s novels, and were given no other name. While that was an element that her fans had polarizing responses to, the author stood her ground, not giving into negotiations of any sort. Juho, on the other hand, was quite fond of her novels.

“Where in the novel are you stuck?”

“The part where the culprit gets revealed. It’s the climax, but it just felt lukewarm.”

Fans of detective novels tended to be quite enthusiastic. While being well-acquainted with tricks and devices within the novel, they enjoyed the mystery, challenging the detective and solving the case alongside them. Detective work was both beautiful and powerful, and had an uncanny resemblance to both hunting and thinking games. There was a reason that those were hobbies of the noble families in Europe.

There were countless detectives in modern society, and having survived the competition as a detective writer, Mideum had standards that were very harsh, which was why she was in despair before her craft, as if coming down with a cold.

Looking at her own writing, Mideum’s brow began to narrow. It was clear that she was getting frustrated, and the frustration on her face drew closer to Juho’s. Then, putting down her laptop, she pulled out her hand.

“Grab my hand.”

At that, Juho stared at her hand in confusion.

“What for?”

“You said you wanted to see it.”

“I didn’t mean your hand.”

“The writing process,” she said, lowering her hand impatiently. Then, reading a passage on the manuscript, she collapsed onto her knees, onto the floor.

“Ahh! I’ll never forget this! I’m going to find him and bring him to justice. No matter what it takes!”

Then, she went even further, grabbing her head and groaning in pain.

“Ughhhhh.”

At the bizarre sound coming out of the author, Juho took a step back, questioning Dae Soo, who was drinking a beer.

“What’s this about?”

“Acting.”

Authors each had their own way of writing, and among them, were those who acted out the characters within their novels. Mideum was one of them.

“She always makes a commotion whenever she’s writing. It makes sense that her neighbors were so unhappy, right?”

There were quite a few scenes in Mideum’s novels that included use of a weapon or a description of a person writhing in pain or struggling while being on the verge of death. Due to the nature of her novels, a commotion like that had to be a necessity.

“Did anybody call the cops on her?”

“Not yet.”

Despite Juho and Dae Soo’s conversation, Mideum stayed focused on her acting. It was a writing process that suited her expressive personality very well. Although the vocalization needed work, the emotions in her performance were quite impressive and comparable to professional actors. If Sang Young were to have seen her, he wouldn’t have hesitated to cast her.

“Ah!”

At that sound of what seemed to be sudden realization, the acting came to an abrupt stop, and Mideum stood up with a bright expression on her face.

‘Did she think of something?’ Juho wondered, realizing that the detective writer had her eyes fixated on him.

Just as the young author was about to realize that he had a bad feeling about what was to come, Mideum opened her mouth and asked, “Would you like to try?”

Of course. Juho took a step back, and Mideum came a step closer.

“Me? How?”

“You have what it takes. You’re Yun Woo. Seize the opportunity, become the hero that discovers who the culprit is. Be fancy. Stylish. Don’t let anything hold you back. I know from experience that something good comes out when I refer to you,” Mideum said. She seemed like she was fully intending on using Juho’s acting as reference for her writing.

Unfortunately, Juho wasn’t a detective, so he was incapable of doing any detective work. Although he declined Mideum’s offer repeatedly, she was already mesmerized by her own idea.

“You can do this,” she said, explaining the alibis and the evidence that pointed toward the suspect to Juho. The time of the crime, motive, suspicious behaviors, doubts, and the most likely suspect. Although the words each carried an unmistakable presence, Juho remained confused and clueless. The main characters were the dance instructor and the students. Then, Mideum pulled out her hand again.

“Dance with me.”

Left with no choice, Juho took her hand. Then, the detective writer said, “The culprit is in here.”

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