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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
The twins adapted to the Literature Club without much trouble. Not only were they keen on Mr. Moon’s lessons, but they didn’t have any noticeable resistance toward writing, either. Since they had chosen to introduce themselves through presentations, Mr. Moon put them to the test immediately in order to gauge their foundations in writing. After a round of the word-chain game, the twins had wound up with, as expected, three words that were completely irrelevant to each other with which to come up with a story: scissors, duck feathers, and glass slippers.
Gong Pal, in particular, knew the best yet most obvious approach to plot development. He knew all the cliches. The fact that they were obvious meant that they were used very often, and the fact that they were used that often meant that they were very effective. He seemed to have had some experience with story development.
On the other hand, his twin sister, Gong Il, wasn’t quite as skilled yet. She appeared not to be as well acquainted with handling a story. However, she had a keen interest in people, particularly, in the origins of humanity. The love of which she had spoken had neither been romantic nor sexual in nature. If anything, it was closer to mathematics, but substituting an equation with a question and drawing an answer out. Much like her twin brother, she, too, had been playing the same thing for a long time. Game and love. Although they were seemingly different on the surface, they were quite similar in the way they were handled.
“I want this book, too.”
“No, I had it first!”
At that moment, the two, nearly identical siblings were fighting over a book.
“Aren’t you popular,” Seo Kwang whispered to Juho ominously, and Juho responded by pushing his head away. Then, Juho looked at ‘Grains of Sand’ placed in the middle of a desk. There was a tense-looking pair of hands, which belonged to one of the twins, on top of it. Juho remembered what had happened just a moment ago:
After explaining in great length what transcribing was and its importance, Mr. Moon had said, “Now, go to the library and bring back books for you to transcribe. It doesn’t matter what they are as long as you pick them yourselves. Also, they HAVE to be books that you’ve read before.”
After that, the twins had bolted from their seats and out of the science room, their hurried footsteps fading into the distance. They had realized by instinct that they were both thinking the same thing. The battle was on. First, Juho tried to calm them down, “There are other books too, you know? The library has a whole array of them.”
“I’ll pick another book after I’m done with this one,” the twins said simultaneously. With that, ‘Grains of Sand’ had been chosen for their very first transcription assignment.
“Don’t even think about sharing. One. Book. Per. Person. No exceptions. Now, make a decision. Fight if you have to,” Mr. Moon said. It was just like he said. For transcription, sharing one book between two people had to come with significant inconveniences. Because their paces would most likely be different, one wouldn’t be able to flip to the next page when they wanted to, at which point, the flow of the entire process would be disrupted. Because it was a process that involved following the author’s intent and thoughts down to every period and punctuation, concentration was crucial in transcription. The slightest differences that could occur from the two sharing the book would be an incredible distraction.
“One of you will have to yield,” Sun Hwa suggested the obvious. And while the twins locked eye with each other, neither of them took their hands off the book.
“Didn’t you say that you guys agreed on a rule? So, what if you just follow that? Gong Il goes first, and Gong Pal, second.”
“But I’m the one who read ‘Grains of Sand’ first. In that regard, my sister was second. So, I think it’s only fair that we approach this matter in the same manner.”
“No, no. That’s strictly regarding the act of reading. It has already happened, so it makes sense to start fresh and apply the rule that we agreed to follow.”
Gong Pal glared down at ‘Grains of Sand’ fiercely, and without an inkling of letting up anytime soon, Gong Il held on to the book tightly.
“Seems like they both have obsessive personalities,” Bom murmured quietly, and Juho agreed. Meanwhile, the twins were engaged in a fierce quarrel.
“I can just give it to you when I’m done. I don’t see an issue there.”
“Yes, I’ll give it to you when I’m done.”
“You know, I saw a book on love in the library earlier. You should go with that. I can run there and fetch it for you this instant if you just agree to it.”
“No. You’re gonna be busy with that video game of yours anyway. I’ll just finish it fast and hand it over to you.”
“I’m taking it first.”
“No, I’m taking it first.”
Despite their default, blank expressions and rigid speech, the two didn’t hesitate to use poignant words with each other. They were undoubtedly siblings, and they seemed to be quite used to their dynamic. Though subtle, there was enough indication in their interaction to show that the order the twins had agreed on in the past wasn’t always respected.
“OK, how about this?” Bo Suk said, raising her hand as though she had had an idea. At that, the club members, including the bickering twins, fixed their eyes on her, who was looking at Juho.
“Why don’t we let the author decide?”
With the exception of one person, everyone agreed, and with a proud expression on her face, the sophomore looked to the author of ‘Grains of Sand.’ No matter how accomplished she might feel, her assurance provided no help to the trouble the author was about to go through, not in any way.
“Why are you dragging me into this?”
“Because you’re the author, AKA The Owner of the Book.”
“But Seo Kwang said that books belong to the readers.”
“Only if you paid for them. Of course, there are different ways readers can become the owners of books from a broader point of view, which would require us to take a closer look at how the book came about.”
Then, cutting Seo Kwang’s ongoing exposition off, Sun Hwa exclaimed, “Good! You decide who gets to take the book first.”
“Remind me why I’m the one making that decision?”
“Majority rule. Sorry, buddy.”
At that, Juho let out a faint sigh, and the twins waited anxiously for the author’s decision. Aside from the siblings, who seemed quite serious, the rest of his clubmates seemed to want to put him through some trouble.
“Are you really gonna follow my decision?” Juho asked, and the twins nodded reluctantly, taking their hands off the book slowly. ‘Is this really worth it?’ Juho thought to himself.
“Hm. All right.”
Juho was given the rights to choose, as well as the promise from the twins that they would conform to the result unconditionally. And some brief contemplation, Juho opened his mouth, and said light-heartedly, “Then, neither of you get to transcribe ‘Grains of Sand.’ There, fair and square.”
As their plan deviated from their expectations, the crowd jeered at the author, and Juho snickered without a care in the world.
“You two are the ones who agreed to follow my decision.”
The twins turned deathly pale and looked at ‘Grains of Sand’ filled with lingering attachment.
Then, the club members interfered, “No, no. Forget it. Seriously, you are no fun.”
Just like that, the club members, including the twins, went back to their previous status quo and began to discuss amongst themselves as if there had never been rules from the get-go. That was the very example of the danger of verbal contracts. It rendered decisions by majority useless. Meanwhile, Juho spectated over the members of his club in peace.
“Just do rock-paper-scissors.”
In the end, the twins agreed to a more definitive approach. One would have to stand on top of the other in order to obtain what they wanted. Then, as a means to comfort them, Seo Kwang reached toward the anxious twins and said, “And one of you gets to transcribe one of Yun Woo’s books.”
“Why Yun Woo?”
The twins asked simultaneously, and Seo Kwang asked back, unfazed, “Don’t you like Yun Woo?”
“No, I do.”
“I like him.”
The twins answered without a delay, and Seo Kwang said, in a serious tone that time, “The way I see it, Yun Woo and Juho have a lot in common. First, their ages. As you guys know, Yun Woo’s a junior this year, same as us. And most importantly, the skill. Juho, our ace and the pride of our club, has a skill comparable to Yun Woo’s, and I’m sure you guys, having already read ‘Grains of Sand,’ would know that by now.”
The twins didn’t deny it.
“‘Grains of Sand’ was a big enough deal to be in the school newspaper, and everyone who read the book knows about it, which is also why you two are trying to get your hands on the book at the cost of your friendship. Unfortunately, there’s only one copy in existence, which means it can’t be shared, and the only thing the less fortunate of you two can do is wait. The loser suffers from heartache, and the winner, too, has to deal with that remnant of guilt in their heart. But what if a book that is comparable or even better shows up? Not only that, one that yields a very similar emotional experience?”
“It justifies the situation.”
“The heartache would be significantly less.”
“That’s it!” Seo Kwang said, proud of the tactful freshmen who were quick to catch on.
“You guys know how much I read, love, and know about books, right?”
“How can they not? You’re probably all over your book whenever they see you,” Sun Hwa muttered, and at that, the twins nodded.
“Which means, you can trust my suggestions, right?”
“I trust you.”
“Which also means, you recognize that I have an eye for books, right?”
Then, Seo Kwang got to the point, “Then, I would recommend ‘River.’ It has a lot of similarities with ‘Grains of Sand,’ both being short stories that capture a specific moment in life. On top of that, it stirs up uncontrollable emotions within its readers, along with a deep sense of admiration. Furthermore…”
The twins agreed at the same time, and without hesitation, Sun Hwa raised her hand, marking the start of the battle.
“OK, then. We’ll start with a round of rock-paper-scissors.”
The twins both clenched their hands into fists, and after promising to give it their all, they raised their hands in the air. Rock-paper-scissors. The winner exclaimed. A bright smile appeared on Gong Pal’s face, his hand shaking with joy. It was a cheerful smile that they had yet to see, and which brightened the entire room. After looking at ‘Grains of Sand’ with lingering eyes, Gong Il, too, gave into her brother’s joy.
“But there is no ‘River’ in the library, is there?”
“Don’t worry. I have a copy,” Seo Kwang said, taking ‘The Beginning and the End’ out of his backpack as if he had already had it prepared ahead of time and handing it to the twins proudly.
“It’s for practical use, so you may use it in peace.”
“For practical use?” Gong Il asked.
“You guys transcribed too, right?” Gong Il asked. Her desk was occupied with her new transcription notebook and the copy of ‘The Beginning and the End.’
Then, Sun Hwa answered proudly, “Of course, I still do when I’m at home.”
She had been transcribing even without being told to, and the desire to write better was mutual among the club members. In order to achieve that desire, she worked hard, giving it all she had.
“I’m about twenty books in now.”
“Wow, twenty?! That’s incredible!” Gong Il said, taken aback. Juho had also had no clue.
And pointing at Bom, who was sitting quietly, Sun Hwa said, “She just broke thirty.”
“Whoa! I barely got to ten,” Seo Kwang exclaimed. Transcription was a physically taxing task. Then, feeling uncomfortable with being the center of attention, Bom waved her hands in denial.
“I just happened to have too much time in my hands. That’s all.”
“Don’t be so bashful now. You should be proud and confident while saying something like, ‘I’ll become a writer that surpasses Yun Woo one day.'”
Bom was still simply too timid to deal with Sun Hwa’s ambitions. Then, as Bom curled up with embarrassment, like a mouse looking for a place to hide, Sun Hwa slapped her friend on her back with a full swing, making a sound loud enough to startle the twins.
“We haven’t heard from Juho yet. How far did you get, Juho?”
In the end, under pressure, Bom changed the target of the subject, and that proved to be quite effective.
Juho answered light-heartedly, “Half a book, maybe?”
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