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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
A new semester started at the end of the break. Now a junior, Juho had to walk up a significantly higher number of stairs than during his previous years. On the floor where the exhibition with the frog picture had been held two years prior, there was a walkway to another building, and after walking up the stairs of that walkway to a floor above, was the smaller floor where all the juniors were. Neither freshmen nor sophomores had any business going up there, and the juniors also had no business on the underclassmen’s floors. Those who had been in lazy clubs in the past years had applied for yet another lazy club that year as well, not even bothering to go to club activities. Instead, they stayed in their classrooms in order to study.
For that reason, there were only a handful of students who kept their clubs alive with the support of their homeroom teachers, and they, active members since freshman year, were usually students who were part of clubs with elements worth of being included in student records. The Broadcasting Club, the Literature Club, the Newspaper Club and the Art Club were some of the clubs in that category.
“Oh, my! This is so exhausting,” a person said, fighting for breath and collapsing on the seat in front of Juho. It was Sun Hwa, complaining about the distance of the floor they were in. Unfortunately, she had reached the age where she had to climb to the highest floor in the school on a regular basis and, needless to say, she wasn’t the only student who got exhausted from all the climbing.
“Which way did you come from?”
“I met up with Bo Suk, so through the freshmen’s floor.”
She seemed to have come from the same direction as Juho. There was another route around the building that led directly to the floor. Of course, the downside was that one would have to climb a steep hill, but the general consensus was that it was far better than climbing a seemingly endless number of steps. Sun Hwa, too, declared that she would take no other route from that point on while fixing her messy hair into a neater ponytail.
As she fixed her hair, her neck became bare, and the tip of her ponytail dangled around it. Juho and Sun Hwa were juniors now, and after being placed in different classrooms in their previous years, they ended up in the same class that year. In a classroom located further down the hallway, Bom and Seo Kwang were probably talking to each other.
“I thought I was gonna die from carrying all these workbooks,” Sun Hwa grumbled as she took the workbooks out of her backpack, shoving them into the compartment under the desk. Considering her grades, seeing her with one or two workbooks was not a surprise. After all, she was still maintaining the impressive grades she had been bragging about since her freshman year. “Man, I even have a classmate who makes a living by writing. What am I gonna do for a living?”
“What’s with the long face?”
“No reason. Bom already started looking into creative writing, Seo Kwang’s considering linguistics or interpretation/translation. Baron has already gone into design, and you… Well, I don’t even have to say it. Finally, Bo Suk still has some time to consider. I, on the other hand, still have no clue about what I wanna do.”
The junior year was off to a sad start, and was accompanied by big, intimidating decisions. She had nothing to offer aside from having looked at the chalkboard in front of the classroom throughout her high school career and, now, she was expected to write out her career path and take it to her teacher. She was utterly lost, feeling like she had nothing with which to prove herself.
“I don’t even know what my strengths and weaknesses are, or even what I like, for that matter. In my entire life, I’ve never been in a rut, or been through a shocking, life-changing event. I’m just an average, run-of-the-mill girl.”
“That doesn’t sound bad, actually.”
“Of course, it is! You know what the adults say, ‘Ordinary is extraordinary.’ What I don’t get is why I even have to bother going to college. You get accepted into schools based on your grades, right? You can’t go to a good school unless you have the highest grade in the entire school, right? Think about it. What’s so ordinary about that? How’s a student with a record full of awards, ordinary? Do you have to be inherently special to be ordinary or what? What sense does that make?” Sun Hwa said, sharply pointing out the convoluted reality of a high school student in Korea.
Then, Juho nodded solemnly and agreed with her opinion, “Well, that sounds like something worth writing about.”
“I did think about that, too,” Sun Hwa said, opening one of her workbooks and jotting down a brief summary of what she had just said in the corner. Having improved significantly from when she started, her writing skill had reached the level of being able to develop her plot through layers of different dynamics, unlike in the past, when she insisted on keeping the tension at a constant climax, all without any sort of plot development. After immersing herself in thought, she said, “So, there are these students who have a passion for straightening their crooked world, and they plant a bomb in their school.”
… Of course, her habit of getting ahead of herself was still very much intact. However, Juho clapped, telling her that it wasn’t half bad. At that moment…
“Yo, you two from the Literature Club.”
… a classmate called to them. Before Sun Hwa even had the time to ask what, she and Juho rose from their seats upon seeing Bo Suk.
“What brings you here?”
“Mr. Moon wanted me to bring everyone to the science room,” Bo Suk said, fighting for breath.
“As in… everyone?”
Mr. Moon had a brief announcement to make, and he had called for his students to gather in the science room. Then, the three ran into Bom and Seo Kwang walking out of their classroom, and the club members all walked down the same stairs they had walked up previously, toward the out-of-sight science room. When they arrived, the room was empty.
“Where’s Mr. Moon?”
Everyone had arrived around the same time, and as everyone took their seats, Mr. Moon said, “I have a job for you all. Go around the classrooms and advertise our club.”
“Advertise? You mean going-into-the-freshmen’s-classes-and-convincing-them-to-join-our-club advertisement?”
It was completely unexpected news. When most of the club members were freshmen, the Literature Club hadn’t even bothered to advertise, and even when they were sophomores, they didn’t recall going around advertising for their club. While a puzzled look appeared on everyone’s faces, Mr. Moon explained, “Seeing how we were winning awards and all, the school seems to be taking interest in supporting us more. From what I hear, there’s a fad among elementary school parents of sending their kids to private writing institutes because of the Yun Woo fever. You guys know that we have an Ice Skating Club, right? They came about during an ice skating fad, too.”
Schools tended to be more sensitive to trends, more so than one would imagine. While Juho ignored Seo Kwang poking at his side, Bom asked the teacher, “So, what you’re saying is that we’re going out as recruiters, right?”
At that, Mr. Moon answered with his trademark phrase: “Not exactly wrong, but not exactly what I’m looking for either. There are a lot of students who are still inherently turned off by writing, and unfortunately, that’s just how they were brought up. Nobody expects to expand their club with a single day of advertising.”
“Then what did you mean by ‘advertising?'”
“It’s about making it look as official as possible. Students don’t need to be involved in expanding the club. That’s the school’s job. I’m sure we’ll move to a bigger room and all that starting next year. Not only that, we’ll probably grow out of being another ordinary club, offering after-school activities, inviting guest instructors, having boot camps, and so on.”
“Wow! That sounds serious.”
It was up to the school. The phrase, ‘The Literature Club wins awards,’ was not only a major boost to the school’s reputation, but it was also a great boost to the students’ university applications, allowing them to get into better universities. In actuality, the school that Dong Gil Uhm and Seo Joong Ahn had gone to was known for their Literature Club, and suffice to say, it hadn’t happened overnight. Although there wouldn’t be significant progress at the moment, they had to appear as established as possible. They had to take their first step. Therefore, advertisement. Juho reminisced to the time when he saw the upperclassmen advertising for their respective clubs in his classroom. Most of them had been active, which involved either activities outdoors or on a stage. It was obvious that they had all worked hard for their clubs, and it was of that group, that the Literature Club was about to be part, blending in with other clubs that were more active.
Although the club members understood the situation, understanding and acting on a situation were two different things. And quite frankly, they found themselves caught off guard by the sudden, unexpected task.
“So, how do we do this advertising?”
There had only been one new addition to the club in the previous year, and she had joined of her own volition, just like everyone else in the club. Although they had never experienced the club’s recruitment process, they had all joined the club of their own will. Then, Mr. Moon said in a calm tone of voice, “Just wing it for now. Explain what we usually do and things like that.”
“Isn’t that kind of… haphazard? What if nobody wants to join? Besides, the club is mostly made of juniors,” Sun Hwa said.
At which point, Mr. Moon smiled without a care in the world and added, “You don’t think we had that concern last year, or the year before that?”
Adding that the same concern had always existed from the time he had first formed the Literature Club, he said, “People will still join even if you guys do a crappy job at advertising, so stop worrying preemptively and relax.”
“That’s easier said than done!” everyone grumbled, but their expressions looked much brighter.
“So, when do we start?”
“In four days.”
There wasn’t a lot of time. Then, telling them to return to their respective classrooms before the end of the morning study session, Mr. Moon left the room, leaving everyone clueless.
“What do we do?”
“I don’t know.”
Not a single person in the room had experience with advertising for a club, and everyone was worried,
“Should we make picket signs or something?” Juho suggested, remembering what he had done in the previous school festival. However, his idea was met with strong opposition from his clubmates.
“That’s way too ordinary! Boring!”
“Aren’t you the one that said, ‘Ordinary is extraordinary?'” Juho murmured, but with the exception of Bo Suk, who listened to him intently, everyone else paid no attention to his suggestion.
Then, Bom said, “Why don’t we think about how we came to join the Literature Club? We might be able to think of something.”
At her suggestion, everyone thought back to what made them join the club, and everyone reached a mutual conclusion, “Because I wanted to slack off.”
“Wouldn’t that mean that it would be better not to advertise, then?” Seo Kwang said, and the room sank into silence.
“Maybe it’s best if we stick to how it’s always been done, just like everyone else,” Bo Suk suggested light-heartedly, and Bom agreed.
“On top of that, we should offer to show our compilations and our stories that are exhibited in the library.”
“Tell them about Yun Woo a little bit, too.”
“What’s Yun Woo have to do with this?” Juho rebutted Seo Kwang.
Then, raising his finger, Seo Kwang said, “If we don’t talk about Yun Woo at this point, when would we ever talk about him, then? If we don’t bring up the literary divine miracle, and focus on it while advertising for the Literary Art Club, I mean the Literature Club, when would we ever bring that name up?”
As Juho opened his mouth to answer, Seo Kwang interjected, “You know what kind of power the name Yun Woo has. A book that bears that name is bound to sell. Although, we’re not selling a book here, so we can just use it as a bait to bring people in and approach them in a friendly manner.”
“Bait? It’s not like Yun Woo’s in the club or anything.”
Feeling everyone’s gazes fixed on him like arrows, Juho added in a hurry, “From the freshmen’s perspective, of course.”
At that moment, the bell rang, putting an end to their first meeting. From then on, after discussing a few more times during recess, the club members were able to come up with a more definitive plan, and Juho headed to the library in order to take the compilations and the stories that were being exhibited in the library back to the club. When he arrived, there were two people reading the exhibited books, and after trying to peek at them through the cracks in the bookshelf, he turned around.
“I see that you’re still in the Book Club.”
“Same to you,” the girl in the library said in a calm tone of voice, and Juho took the compilations from her hands. The club members had decided on using only the two volumes they had made themselves during their time in the club. As he checked to make sure he had everything, Juho realized that there was a book missing.
“Where’s ‘Grains of Sand?'”
At his question, the girl pointed somewhere, and when Juho turned toward it, he saw a pair of feet through the bookshelf. Then, he asked in a whisper, “You mean, somebody’s reading it?”
“Yeah. If you’re in a hurry, I can go talk to them.”
“No, it’s fine. This should be enough.”
Juho didn’t want to be the author who took books away from his readers. Then, thanking the girl, he walked out of the library feeling like he had locked eyes with the person reading his short story for a split second on his way out.
“Man, I’m so nervous. What if I get made fun of?”
“Made fun of? You’re probably no more than a junior who came to advertise for her club. The freshmen should be getting tired of all the advertisements by now.”
While Seo Kwang made fun of Sun Hwa when she was at her most vulnerable, Juho knew how nervous his friend really was on the inside. He was merely trying to cover it up by talking more than usual. When the club members arrived at the freshmen’s floor, they realized that there were a lot more people in the hallway than usual because of the upperclassmen who had come to advertise for their respective clubs, much like the Literature Club. Each was carrying a picket sign or wearing a belt made for advertising purposes, and they were exactly the same as the ones the upperclassmen had worn while advertising for their clubs during Juho’s freshman year. There seemed to be quite a few props that were handed down from the students who had previously graduated.
“We don’t have anything like that.”
“We have our compilations,” Bom said as a reminder for Sun Hwa, who was looking at the props in other people’s hands with envious eyes. Just like Bom had said, the Literature Club had the compilations. Although work on the compilations had stopped midway at some point in the past, they had managed to bring them back.
“OK, those guys are from the Cultural Exploration Club. Let’s go.”
Because they intended to start with Classroom 1, the Literature Club went in after the Cultural Exploration Club, as if taking turns, and as soon as they went in, they locked eyes with the freshmen sitting in their seats. They were looking at the club members with lively, yet curious eyes, carefully considering which club to join.
“Hello, we’re from the Literature Club.”
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