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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
(Editor’s Note: We are going to change the Annular Award to the Nebula Award. Every piece of information aside from the name of that specific award within the novel is based on reality, so to keep everything consistent, we are changing the award’s name to its real name. We’ll also go back and change the previous chapters to reflect that, but it might take a few days before that happened. Again, we don’t think it was a mistranslation on our part, and we don’t have access to the author to check, but seeing as how everything else kept its real name, we’ll move forward with the award’s real name as well.)
“The Nebula Award Ceremony Finally Draws Its Curtains! Who Will Win? Will Yun Woo Attend the Ceremony?”
“No Response from the Publishers. Where Is Yun Woo Now? The Nebula Award Ceremony Set to Take Place on the 16th in Texas. Authors from All Across the Globe Coming Together.”
“The Nebula Award, The New Sensation. No Cash Prize? The Significance and Meaning of the Award. What Are Some of the Novels That Were Imported and Translated?”
“Yun Woo. Will He Become the First Asian, First Korean, and Youngest Winner of the Nebula Award? The Significance Behind the Records He Would Set.”
“The International Media Focuses on Yun Woo. What Would It Mean for Him to Win the Nebula Award? In Tonight’s News: An Interview with an American Celebrity Book Critic.”
“Why ‘Language of God?’ The Internationally Recognized Novel and Its Message to the World. What Was Yun Woo Trying To Tell Us?”
“Linguists Speak on the Languages within ‘Language of God’ and Find That It More Than Qualifies for the Award. The World Recognizes the Young Author’s Incredible Potential and Talent.”
“A Congratulations from Yun Woo’s Fellow Authors. ‘We Don’t Know If He’ll Attend the Ceremony or Not.'”
“A Sincere Congratulatory Message from Myung Joo Mu, the Star of Chungmuro, to Yun Woo Draws Massive Attention. ‘I’m a Fan.’ The Star’s Relationship with Yun Woo.”
“Will Yun Woo Get the Honor of Being the First Asian Winner? Yun Woo’s Chances of Winning the Nebula Award According to the Fans and Critics Overseas. His Disadvantages?”
“The Birth of the Genius Author from a Small Country in Asia. How Did It Happen? The Power of Korean Novels? Fans in China and Japan React.”
“The Show Must Go On! The Nebula Award Said to Take Place As Planned While ‘Sublimation’ Remains Controversial. Winner Announced Tomorrow.”
The day was the sixteenth of the month. Kelley Coin had come to a three-star hotel for the Nebula Award ceremony, located in Northern Texas, on Yun Woo’s behalf. The hotel was brimming with people and cars, and a slew of cameramen sent by a number of different media was filming the hotel from the distance. Surrounded by gray and brown walls, along with windows that reflected the sky rather than revealing the interior of the rooms, the building was somewhat massive, but with nothing impressive to show for.
After taking a break in the hotel room reserved for him, Coin headed out of his room to go for a walk. Then, he returned around the time the ceremony would start with a cup of coffee in hand. Meanwhile, Isabella, his editor, stared fiercely at him. However, without a trace of remorse or regret, Coin went on to make all sorts of unreasonable demands, from wanting to see the restroom on every floor of the building to pressing every possible button in the elevator, to looking at a painting in the hallway and trying to deliver a spontaneous speech on how unsavory of a forgery it was, to waving his empty hands and insisting on returning to his room just to get his coffee, to refusing to wear a name tag and pretending to be traumatized by a mere scratch, completely unlike himself.
“You committed to this. Please, practice some self-control.”
“Yep. You see, it turns out that prick was keeping track.”
“Then, do what you need to pay him back.”
“What’s the hurry? There’s still time.”
“Are you even aware that the ceremony has already started!?”
“C’mon, now. It’s not like this is our first or second time here. The VIPs should still be delivering their speeches by now.”
Then, ignoring what the author said, Isabella urged him, “Just be quiet and hurry up!”
The presenter working the crowd in the event before the name Yun Woo got called out; the crowd shouting and cheering with joy, wanting to share the moment with the winner, but to no avail as the winner never turned up. Imagining it all taking place, Isabella led the way.
“If I may, I’d like to second that request as well,” Nabi, dressed in black, formal attire for the occasion, said politely. Then, after looking briefly at her, Coin continued on his way. Nabi checked her phone and saw that it was exploding with text messages from the anxious officials of the Dong Baek Publishing Company, who had all already arrived.
“Bah, maybe this was a mistake. If I don’t get the awards, then I will have come here for no reason. I think I feel like going home all of a sudden.”
“Ha! That sounds good. I could use the tea time with Susan right about now.”
“Don’t be childish now.”
“I’m afraid I’m not the one with that problem.”
Nabi had been fed up with Coin’s temper long ago. Upon exchanging an awkward glance with Isabella, the unfortunate editor whispered to Nabi that the author was much worse than usual. To which, Nabi nodded. From the never-before-seen environment to being in a city that she had never been to, everything was new and overwhelming to her.
“Coin, do NOT forget that you’re representing another author today,” Isabella warned him in a heavy tone, and Coin walked without giving her an answer. The hall was already brimming with people, most of them from famed publishing companies, magazines, or agencies, including those from Fernand. However, Coin walked right past them, unimpressed and unhindered.
“Oh, my! Is that Kelley Coin?”
“The rumor was actually true!?”
A couple of people let out. While some looked appalled to see him, others looked at him indifferently, as if they had expected his presence. Nobody dared talk to him first, and Coin, too, walked on without even bothering to strike up a conversation with anybody. It was all too revealing of his position in the literary world. Nabi, on the other hand, followed him quietly.
“Is it here?”
Then, without hesitation, he flung the door open, and Nabi inhaled slowly as the view of the room appeared before her. There were round tables set up throughout the large hall, about eight people sitting on each table in the tight space. Every single one of them was an established author. ‘Is this what it feels like to be at an award ceremony in Hollywood?’ Nabi was surrounded by celebrities, no matter in which direction she turned. The dim lighting and the nude-colored interior made the place all the more suffocating to be in, and the chairs dressed in red velvet jumped out at her.
“Is that Coin?”
“What’s he doing here?”
People whispered amongst themselves upon seeing the author, who had turned up late and with confidence. As usual, some frowned or looked at him with disgust, while others smiled with interest. Then, having witnessed the looks on the people’s faces, Nabi murmured by reflex, “Man, this is insane. I’m so glad I was born.”
“Oh, no, nothing.”
There were a bunch of cameras and photographers, even within the hall. At Kelley Coin’s appearance, they turned their cameras toward him, and the shutters sounded off restlessly.
“With that, in this 47th Nebula Award Ceremony…”
The person speaking behind the podium was the executive director of the World Science Fiction Society, and he was delivering his speech while paying no attention to the shift in atmosphere. Because of that, things quickly returned to normal.
Meanwhile, looking clearly displeased, Coin took his seat at the backmost table. Isabella and Nabi also took their seats on the chairs placed in a row against the wall.
Nabi brushed her hand down the name tag on her chest, feeling the texture of its material. It had her name and affiliation on it. It was dreamlike. One of the books written by an author she was working with had been nominated for the Nebula Award, making it all the more emotionally overwhelming.
In the audience, was the author of a popular series that had been made into a TV show in the US alongside one of her favorite authors, who had part of a famous science fiction magazine. The winner of the previous year was also sitting there, as a nominee once again. While some were dressed formally, others wore blazers on top of that in their usual, comfortable attire. While there were some wearing fancy dresses, there were others in simple, one-piece dresses. They, too, were wearing similar name tags to the one Nabi was wearing.
“Coin? What brings you here?”
“Do. NOT. Talk to me.”
Nabi almost bit her tongue at the barely audible voice nearby. The author who had tried to strike up a conversation with Coin had the record of selling a whopping 120 million copies of his books. At the same time, Coin was also a renowned author, and someone who had won the Nebula Award four times.
“I’m telling you, he’s a time-bomb,” Isabella murmured to Nabi, and the publishing agent couldn’t do anything but to smile awkwardly. The editor was watching Coin like a hawk.
The ceremony was tedious beyond belief. Upon being called, the person went up to the stage in a hurry and took a piece of paper out of their pocket, where they had written down their speech. Feeling the trophy in one hand, the winner of that particular award expressed their joy, and the crowd, in unison, congratulated them. Within that joyful occasion, Coin was the only person with a crabby expression on his face.
“This is bullcrap,” Coin muttered, but his voice was buried by the loud cheering of the crowd. To make matters worse, the author sitting next to him was stamping his feet as if overwhelmed with joy. Then, taking the water glass that had been prepared ahead of time for each table, Coin brought it up to his mouth. Lukewarm water rushed into his mouth as the distinctive dryness of the ceremony made the inside of his nose even dryer, reminding him why he hated award ceremonies so much.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we will now announce the winner of the Nebula Award in the full-length category,” the presenter said with a smile on his face and a card with the name of the winner written on it in his hand. Meanwhile, feeling the lukewarm surface of the water glass, Coin thought to himself, ‘If it’s Yun Woo’s name on that card, I’ll have to get off my seat and go up to that stage.’
After the presenter’s light-hearted joke, the audience broke out into a quiet burst of laughter. Attending an award ceremony on behalf of another author was not something Coin was used to, let alone for Yun Woo. At the same time, he was quite used to receiving awards on behalf of something because he had been the one receiving the awards for his books. Authors received awards on behalf of the pieces of writing the awards were given to. A book had no mouth or limbs, and it was completely incapable of getting up on a stage on its own or thanking its readers. It was for that very reason that authors received the awards on behalf of the books, celebrated on the others’ behalf, and returned to their seats. In that case, where was Coin’s unfamiliarity with the situation coming from?
People around him took deep breaths, looking nervous. Like Yun Woo, they, too, were all nominees for the award, growing anxious as the winner was about to be announced at any given minute. At that moment, Coin locked eyes with another author. Being in his forties, he was someone who had written a number of bestselling books. However, he, too, was just as nervous as everyone else around him, and in his eyes, was the answer Coin had been looking for all along: Yun Woo. They were afraid of the young author from the East, afraid that they would get pushed aside.
The anxiety the nominees shared was not a new development. It had to have been following them from well before entering the hall, when they had first heard the name of the young author after arriving at the hotel. Despite the ridiculous look on his face, that author was still staying in his seat because of his foolish hope that it would help him write, and his unfortunate curiosity toward the unseen.
At Coin’s short burst of laughter, the author’s face twisted into a scowl. The crowd kept laughing meaninglessly at the worthless jokes, and hearing the laughter reverberating throughout the dry hall, Coin thought of Yun Woo’s voice. Calm and unfazed, the young author’s voice lingered in Coin’s ears, asking him to retrieve the award on the author’s behalf, all the while keeping his face hidden, as always. Yun Woo was neither foolish nor jealous, and his tone was anything but pure.
“Now, the winner in the full-length category is…”
Coin put pressure onto his legs. He still remembered his first encounter with the young author. It was almost as if by coincidence. Yun Woo had come without warning, and the mysterious author had appeared in front of him carrying a different name, and it wasn’t until everything had gone past him, that the young author revealed his alias.
“Won Yi Young of ‘Language of God!'”
At that, the infamous author gnashed his teeth, and the presenter adding the name Yun Woo with a delay, bothered him all the more. He chugged the remaining water from the glass. The sensation of the water flowing down his throat couldn’t have been more unpleasant. Then, with only one corner of his mouth turned up, the author went up to the stage. The red carpet, the velvet covers, and the warmth of the spotlight all came at him at the same time. Unfortunately, none of the beautiful scenery laid before his eyes belonged to him.
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