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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Juho was catching up on the sleep he had been putting off while translating. There were boxes filled with the manuscripts he had written towering over him, surrounding the bed, and there was a clear trophy, which looked out of place, by his feet, looking like it was about to topple over at any given minute.
Fast asleep, even the sunlight shining through the window wasn’t enough to wake up the young author. However, it was at that moment that his phone began to vibrate next to his head, waking Juho up. Having just awakened from a deep slumber, he barely managed to open his eyes.
“Hello,” he said.
“Were you sleeping?”
“Yes, I was,” Juho answered. Judging from the unapologetic attitude, it occurred to Juho just who was on the other end of the line. It as Sang Choi. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“… I’m sorry, what?”
“I said let’s play.”
“Do you need a reason to play?” Sang asked, completely misinterpreting Juho. Then, burying his head into the pillow, Juho asked himself, ‘What time did I go to bed last night?’
“You asleep?” Sang asked as Juho remained silent, and…
“Yes, I am,” Juho murmured.
Impressively, understanding what Juho was saying, Sang said, “I got my hands on an extra ticket for the theme park, so that’s why I’m calling: to let you come with me.”
“Why me, though?”
“Because you’re the only high school student I know.”
“I appreciate that. Well, let’s say we meet… tomorrow?” Juho suggested, thinking that he’d quickly be able to go back to sleep if he were to hang up then. Everything around him was leading him to a world of dreams, and Juho had no intention of resisting the impulse, nor did he have a reason to. From his hazy consciousness to the phone in his hand, everything was just barely staying in its place.
“It expires today.”
Sang seemed to believe that he had a good reason for waking Juho up. In the end, as a means of resisting, Juho said, “Can’t you go with another person?”
“There’s plenty. There’s Dae Soo…”
“Are you telling me to go to the theme park with Dae Soo? Just us two?”
“I’d die from embarrassment walking around in public with her.”
“There’s also Dong Gil.”
“Uh-huh, right. I’m sure he’d love to go to some theme park with me.”
“Are you asleep?”
Juho chuckled at Sang’s audacity, feeling wide awake. Then, it dawned on the young author that going back to sleep was no longer an option.
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner? What if I had plans?”
“But you don’t.”
“Yeah, yeah, sure. Where are we meeting?” Juho asked, and Sang said the name of a station next to the theme park that wasn’t all that far from where Juho lived. Somehow, Juho found himself in the position of having to go to a theme park with Sang Choi, moments after waking up. Then, after washing his face, Juho changed into different clothes and came dangerously close to knocking over the stack of boxes nearby. Thankfully, it was only the trophy that fell to the floor. After placing it somewhere haphazardly, Juho went out of his room.
“Where you goin’?” his mother, who was sitting in the living room, asked.
“To the theme park.”
“Oh, with friends?”
“No, with a professional romance writer in his forties.”
“I’ve been asking myself the exact same question. Why did I agree to this?”
Sadly, it was too late for an answer, and Juho suddenly found himself bound to go to the theme park with a romance writer.
“Well, I’m goin’ now,” Juho said to his mother, thinking, ‘I might as well get my fill of churros while I’m at it.’
“Hey! Over here!”
“Did you have to wait long?”
“Nah, I just got here.”
In a crowded subway station, Sang, dressed in comfortable attire, was standing in front of a plaster cupid, which was naked as a means to express freedom. While Juho was busy looking at the cupid statue and Sang in turn, the romance writer asked, “You haven’t eaten yet, huh?”
“Nope. I just got out of bed.”
“Good. I say we eat before we go in,” Sang said, leading Juho to the food court within the station. Then, going into the shop with the least number of customers, Juho ordered a rice bowl. They took a seat while Sang brought out the lunch box he had prepared ahead of time. Despite the man, who appeared to be the owner, glaring at him, the romance writer paid no attention. Even though he was quickly becoming the center of attention, Sang didn’t seem to mind one bit.
“People are looking at us.”
“I think it has something to do with your lunch box.”
“Are you embarrassed?”
“A little,” Juho didn’t deny it.
“Hehe. Well, I used to be conscious of how others looked at me when I was your age too.”
“Dong Gil told me that he’s embarrassed by you.”
“Eh, he just doesn’t know what it means to enjoy himself,” Sang answered, shamelessly eating his every bite of his lunch. He wasn’t ashamed to express his pride in his cooking skills.
“It’s packed today.”
“Of course. It’s the weekend,” Sang said, striding onward. As Juho followed Sang, the young author found a ticket in his hand before he noticed it being put there. Then, when they passed through the entrance, Juho was greeted by adorable-looking decorations, as well as the vendors selling headbands and balloons. People were shouting in all directions.
“What?” he answered brusquely, and following his question, Juho asked, “I don’t know if now is the best time to ask this, but what are we here for?”
Then, Sang answered Juho’s question with yet another question, “What do you think authors would come to the theme park for?”
“To get on the rides?”
“No! To find inspiration!” Sang said. Then, upon stopping, Juho realized that they were in front of a churro stand. ‘I thought something smelled good,’ he thought to himself. Shortly after, handing Juho a churro and a corndog, the romance writer said, “This is where love and dreams reside.”
At that, Juho looked at his surroundings. There were massive rides designed to provide for the daring souls with a hunger for thrills, as well as people waiting in a long, seemingly endless line for a ride next to an LED board that read: 100. It was indicating the wait time.
At the thought of getting on the rides with family, friends, or their significant others, everyone was in high spirits, even those who sat on the bench and appeared to be exhausted.
Then, a mascot walked by, waving at the customers and posing for photos by request. There were quite a few people who weren’t afraid to hug the mascot. Despite knowing that it was just another person in a costume, everyone played along and let themselves be deceived by the adorable-looking mascot.
“This is some good churro.”
“It better be. It was expensive.”
“I never asked for it though.”
“Then give it back.”
“No. It’s not like you’re gonna eat it anyway,” Juho said, taking a big bite of the churro. If there were those who were yet to reconcile to a world where love and dreams resided, it had to be the two authors sitting on a bench shaped like a zebra, munching on churro and corndog. Because of the gift shop near the bench, the area was particularly crowded.
Everyone looked similar, and was in a similar state, raising their cameras in effort to capture the joy-filled moments. Nevertheless, they seemed happy, and there were quite a few people wearing matching headbands or T-shirts. There were also those who had just gotten off the ride, the excitement still raw and fresh in their voices. When Juho looked at Sang, he noticed the romance writer listening to the voices around them.
“You’re not hoping for any trouble, are you?” Juho asked. What was he really looking for?
“Of course not! If anything, I’m someone rooting for all the kinds of love that exist in this world.”
“That, I didn’t know,” Juho said as he wiped the cinnamon sugar off his mouth and bit into the corndog. The strong flavor of ketchup and mustard spread in his mouth.
“That way, I don’t starve,” the romance writer said. From his point of view, living in a world without love was no different from unemployment.
“I thought romance novels were stable, even more so than government jobs?”
“I don’t think you understand. Nowadays, even love is in recession,” Sang said, leaning back on the bench. “Love is truly magnificent.”
“Yep. Magnificent,” Juho said, agreeing with him haphazardly while wiping the ketchup off his hand with a napkin.
“And if anybody were to ask why, I’d say it’s because I’m a romance writer.”
“That could be an answer, although I doubt anybody would be interested in knowing,” Juho said, chewing the corndog in his mouth while looking at the romance writer. Sang was definitely exuding a boundless love. Self-love, to be more precise.
“You seem to be pretty well off, lately,” the self-loving author said, changing the subject all of a sudden. Meanwhile, Juho kept chewing the corndog in his mouth. “Especially overseas.”
“What can I say? I’m grateful.”
“Don’t you think it’s OK to have a little more pride?”
“Well, it’s not like I did everything on my own.”
As Juho answered in a calm tone of voice, Sang crossed his legs, looking dissatisfied by the young author’s answer.
“Do you see how vulnerable these people are?” Sang asked, and looking away from him, Juho looked straight ahead, to where many were talking out loud.
It was inevitable that their voices were audible to those around them. Yet, as if oblivious to that, people spoke even louder in order to cut through the other voices coming from all directions. Because they were in a noisy environment, they, too, were raising their voices naturally so that the people they were talking to could hear.
“You can tell that the people who walked past us earlier were students.”
“Yep. Sounded like they were trash talking their teachers.”
“And the people that walked past us just now seem to have a mutual friend.”
“Discussing what to get him as a gift.”
“And the people that just walked by were on their way to buy something.”
“They seemed like they wanted the headbands. They were saying that they would be useless outside of the theme park, yet they were letting the atmosphere carry them along.”
Yet, with the exception of the two authors, nobody else knew that those people were students, or had mutual friends, or were on their way to buy headbands. Everyone was busy talking among themselves, occupied with getting to the rides on time while hoping the line would move faster.
“This is Yun Woo, everyone,” Sang murmured. Thankfully, there was not a single person who responded to him. Of course, hardly anybody would believe him, even if they were to have heard him.
“Why don’t you shout out while you’re at it?”
“Eh, it’s not like anybody’s going to believe me,” Sang said, and Juho put the wooden skewer in his mouth.
“I love the theme park. The excitement in the air, the busyness, everything. In a colorful, and noisy place like this, people tend to be short-sighted. Everyone focuses on their own party or themselves. It’s love. Selfish, individualistic. Only those who love will receive love. Just how I like it,” Sang said. His preference had been well reflected in his writing up to that point. However, his novels weren’t so short-sighted as to stress only how magnificent love was. They included emotions like yearning, resentment, and hatred. Emotions associated with love weren’t always positive.
At that moment, a high-pitched scream came out of nowhere, indicating the ride had reached its apex. The scream continued until the ride reached the lowest point, and it wasn’t hard to imagine how fast their hearts would be beating.
Then, a couple with their arms wrapped around each other’s waist walked by, giving each other a quick kiss. Imagining how fast their hearts were beating wasn’t all that difficult, either. In a place where fear and romance coexisted, both sets of hearts had to be beating a lot faster than usual.
“Well, I better head back,” Sang said in a calm tone of voice. In it, was the heavy sigh of an experienced lover, concerned for the new love that he was about to face. His heart, too, had to be beating slightly faster than usual. Then, as the romance writer looked at Juho, the young author realized immediately that there was another reason Sang had invited him out.
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