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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“We have some new members in the club. Put your hands together for them,” Mr. Moon said, and the club members all applauded simultaneously, the crisp sound reverberating throughout the science room. Waiting patiently for the applause to die down, the teacher opened his mouth and said, “Needless to say, we’re going to be writing, but should you have anything else in mind, don’t hesitate to come and find me in the staffroom.”
“Yes, Mr. Moon,” the club members answered in a dry tone, as if they had no intention of actually visiting him in the staffroom.
“This year, four of our members are juniors, and as most of you may have seen from the recent graduate that the juniors most likely won’t be able to participate in club activities due to exams, SAT preparations, and figuring out their career paths.”
There was no way around it.
“Building student records, SAT preparations, interviews, self-introductions, activity records, etc. There will be all sorts of tasks waiting for you.”
“Agh! I hate my life!” Seo Kwang murmured, and from his deeply sincere expression, the club members all empathized with him.
Then, with a serious expression on his face, Mr. Moon added, “You can’t afford to get distracted. Otherwise, you’ll end up regretting not having worked hard enough later, when you can now. You’re facing the situation of having to sacrifice your present as an investment for your future.”
At that, Juho stared intently at Mr. Moon. Although he was still distinctively blunt, those words felt odd coming from him. Then, the teacher sat on his comfortable chair and crossed his legs.
“Instead, you have my permission to come and write when you need to. If anybody gives you a hard time for writing, stand against them and keep writing.”
That statement made Juho relieved on the inside. That was the Mr. Moon he was used to. Despite the club members locking eyes with each other in confusion, the teacher maintained a straight face. There was nothing about his appearance that would make one think that he was joking.
“Writing is an acceptable form of distraction. The way I see it, some of the most painful regrets are in wondering: ‘Why didn’t I write more before?’ Compared to that pain, your regrets as a junior in high school are nothing.”
“… I thought he was giving the juniors advice?” Bo Suk let out. However, Mr. Moon couldn’t be more serious.
“Yes, I am giving advice. To be more accurate, advice none of you asked for. Call it the self-gratification of wanting you all to turn out OK in the future. I want you all to be better writers.”
Just like he had said, nobody had asked for the advice. He had taken the initiative to bring it up himself and expressed his sincere wish that his students would stick around in the club and write, regardless of their grades. Needless to say, he was a teacher at that school.
“I wanted to be a novelist.”
As Mr. Moon went even further and started talking about himself, Seo Kwang chuckled silently. That was what Mr. Moon was like. Although being hopelessly lost from the advice they had just heard a moment ago, the club members took interest in his story.
“I had talent too, but in the end, it didn’t work out, so I fell behind everyone else.”
When he finally failed and gave up, everyone else around him had already been doing something with their lives. Mr. Moon was left all alone, with nothing in his possession.
“But now, as you can see, I’ve become one impressive teacher. Does that mean this will last for the rest of my life? No way. I’m tired of teaching. It’s just not for me. I’m sure I’ll either get fired or quit, and eventually look for another work. Better yet, I’ll be even older by that point. The thought of it alone just makes me shudder,” the teacher said, letting out a heavy sigh.
“The situation I’m in is no different from the one you guys are in currently.”
By that point, everyone had a noticeably different look on their faces.
“So, that’s why I formed the Literature Club: to get away from the loathsome worries of life. I wanted to laugh while reading your awkward pieces of writing. I wanted to eat fried chicken at school and pieces of dried squid, all under the excuse of leading the Literature Club. I wanted to be lazy and relax, knowing that there was always going to be tomorrow. So, you guys have my permission to do the same. Your parents and teachers might not approve, but I’m willing to let it slide.”
With that, the teacher finished his speech, and the room sank into silence. Then, Juho cautiously looked around and observed his clubmates. While everyone had different looks on their faces, they all knew that they wouldn’t have to worry about ruining their lives by following Mr. Moon’s advice. Then, he rose from his chair, and said, “With that, we’ll take some time to introduce ourselves today.”
Some wind blew and ventilated the room. With the exception of the twins and Bo Suk, the rest of the club members exploded into a clamor at those words.
“We’re not doing it too, are we?”
“Of course, you are.”
“We’ve been talking about ourselves all day while advertising for the club!”
“Then, I guess you just gotta write it out.”
“If you don’t feel like writing, you can always come up to the front and introduce yourself in front of everyone.”
“… I’ll just write.”
Everyone was tired of talking in front of a crowd. Therefore, Seo Kwang picked up his pen quietly. Then, looking at the twins, Mr. Moon gave them a choice on how they could go about introducing themselves. Bom was already up and ready to get the sheets of manuscript paper for them.
After locking eyes with each other, the twins answered, “We’ll come up to the front.”
They were the first members to choose to introduce themselves in front of everyone else, and taken aback, the club members stared at the twins. Meanwhile, Mr. Moon sat back down on his comfortable chair and pushed himself away from the podium with his feet, making a rattling noise as the wheels of the chair turned.
“Who wants to go first?”
“Me,” Gong Il raised her hand, and Gong Pal didn’t make any objections. Then, Gong Il went up to the front without a delay, and putting her hands together in a polite manner, she opened her mouth to start her introduction, “Hello, My name is Gong Il Kong. I’m a freshman from Classroom 2.”
After locking eyes with each other, the club members applauded awkwardly. Although Gong Il herself looked just as awkward, she kept on in a calm, composed manner.
“A lot of people ask me about my name.”
“Yeah, I was about to ask, myself,” Seo Kwang murmured quietly.
“I have a twin brother who was born one minute ahead of me. Needless to say, we’re twins, born on the same day, on the eighteenth of that month. From what my parents told me, my father conveniently had the last name ‘Kong,’ which is how they came to name us. ”
“Her parents have a sense of humor,” Seo Kwang muttered, looking somewhat disappointed.
“I’ve always thought that it was sad that I wasn’t born on the seventeenth instead. If we had, my brother would’ve ended up with a cool name, Gong Chil Kong.”
(TL’s Note: Last names comes before first names in Korea, which would make the name “Gong Chil Gong (or Kong),” “Gong Gong Chil,” which means 007 in Korean.)
Bom chuckled quietly at her witty remark, and the twin brother narrowed his already-narrow eyes, glaring at his sister.
“By the way, my nickname is Gong Il Gong.”
(TL’s Note: “Gong Il Gong,” or 010, is usually associated with spam calls in Korea.)
“She has her parents’ sense of humor,” Seo Kwang muttered, and he didn’t stop talking until Sun Hwa kicked him in the shin.
Oblivious to that, Gong Il kept on, “I, personally, have a keen interest in love.”
Love. After the intriguing remark, Juho listened intently. It had a pleasant ring to it. Unfortunately, he had to force himself from thinking of Sang Choi’s face.
“Question!” Bo Suk let out, raising her hand as she saw Seo Kwang rubbing his leg. At that, Gong Il looked at Mr. Moon, who nodded affirmingly.
“There exists all sorts of love in this world. Which love are you most interested in?”
“The physical love,” Gong Il answered immediately, and Sun Hwa let out a long, mysterious exclamation.
“I have a lot of interest in the physical love that takes place between two people. When did humans start having intercourse with each other? Why does that function exist? Where do the desires come from? What sets humans apart from animals? Why are bolts and nuts, bolts and nuts? Why do bolts and bolts or nuts and nuts get ostracized? Which bolt or nut is the most superior? Is one superior or inferior to the other? Where did the standards come from? How does the bolt in our minds affect our physical bolts and nuts? Why are we born with either a bolt OR a nut, only? Why do or don’t we want the other? Bolts and nuts…”
“Hm. I think that’s enough bolts and nuts for the day,” Mr. Moon said politely in order to stop Gong Il’s ongoing exposition, and the club burst into laughter. As Seo Kwang offered an explanation of the nuts and bolts that no one asked for, Gong Il changed the subject, unfazed, mostly about her favorite or least favorite subjects, shows, and books.
“After moving up to high school, I visited the library by coincidence and came across a book called ‘Grains of Sand.’ It was very moving,” the freshman said, and returned to her seat.
Then, Juho shared his thoughts on her self-introduction, “Very philosophic. I liked it.”
At that, her lips puckered up ever so slightly. It was her way of being bashful.
After Gong Il, the turn went to Gong Pal, who placed his hand on the podium gently.
“Hello. My name is Gong Pal Kong, and I’m a freshman from Classroom 1.”
Like done previously, the club members applauded, much more stable than when delivering the applause to Gong Il. The awkwardness in the air dissipated.
“The reason I’m up here second is that I had lost the competition that determined who would go first.”
Lost. It had a heart-aching ring to it.
“Because we spend so much time together, our experiences often overlap with one another. Therefore, on an occasion like this, the person who goes second tends to have nothing left to say. We both dreaded being the second in line, but since we’ve been born twins, it was inevitable. If there’s a first, then there has to be a second. So, in pursuit of fairness, we agreed to compete for our turn. The rights to be the first in line for the rest of our lives have been decided by one single game of rock-paper-scissors, and as a result, despite having been born first, I was made the permanent second in our lives.
“Then, I came to realize that there were indeed strengths to being second in line in its own right. For example, it gives me more time to think ahead or the opportunity to use my time to the fullest.”
“I think I get the gist,” Bom said, identifying with him.
“Oh, by the way, my nickname used to be ‘Kong Pat.'”
(TL’s Note: “Kong Pat” means kidney, but the nickname had to have come from the fact that it sounds like his name, “Gong Pal.”)
“So, not a number, this time,” Seo Kwang murmured in an even quieter voice.
“I like video games.”
“Oh! Video games!” Bo Suk exclaimed, raising her hand as she had previously and asking, “Which games are you into?”
At her question, Gong Pal answered without a delay, “There is a game that I started playing when I was in sixth grade, and I’ve been playing ever since.”
“You mean, one game?”
“Yes. Although the genre can be identified as a roleplaying adventure, you can also think of it as a story-driven game for the sake of convenience. It involves taking control of a character and going through the storyline within the game.”
“So, do you get different endings depending on the choices you make, and things like that?” Seo Kwang asked, thinking there had to be an element like that if one were to play the same game for four years. However, Gong Pal shook his head.
“No, there’s one ending to the game, and it’s fixed.”
“And you saw it?”
“Yes, I did.”
Considering that he had been playing it for the last four years, he had to have seen it. Then, looking perplexed, Sun Hwa asked, “And you still play?”
“Yes. I tend to play games when I’m sad or happy.”
“Huh. Hm. I’m kind of like that too. I tend to read when I’m hungry,” Seo Kwang said, raising his hand.
Then, with her eyes sparkling with curiosity, Bom asked, “How many times have you seen the ending of that game in the last four years?”
At her question, Gong Pal stared off into thin air for a little while and said, “More than I can count.”
As the club members exclaimed, the freshman began to explain the plot of the game in great detail, as well as the format, genre, production, climax, hidden secrets, the power within the story, the tear-jerking ending, the creators, and how one can go about playing the game. Listening to him, Juho remembered the story about the grilled-mackerel, which he had written as his self-introduction when he was a freshman.
“Hm. I think that’s enough description of a video game for the day,” Mr. Moon said, interjecting once again in order to stop the ongoing exposition of the freshman. Then, with a lingering emotion on his face, Gong Pal wrapped up his self-introduction. From sixth grade to a freshman in high school, he had spent those four years playing video games. That meant that either the game was a masterpiece, or he had an obsessive personality and liked to see things to the end. Perhaps both. Nevertheless, the club members were able to get a much better idea of what kind of characters the twins were.
“After moving up to high school, I visited the library by coincidence and came across a book called ‘Grains of Sand.’ After that, I dragged my sister along with me to the library and read it again. It was very moving,”
As Gong Pal wrapped up his self-introduction, Mr. Moon complimented him on a job well done.
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