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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“Been a while.”
An employee in the bookstore greeted the editor. Despite having had impressive grades, which would have allowed him to apply to Ivy League schools, the man had chosen to work at a bookstore instead. It was a well-known tale within the publishing industry. Having had an immense passion for bookstores since young, he knew the books being sold in the store better than any other employee there.
“Are you here to pick up your order?”
“Yes. It’s here, right?”
“It sure is. It got here in one piece. Don’t forget to pick it up from the cashier on your way out.”
Isabella nodded. Then, the editor struck up a conversation with him about the most recent trends in the bookstore. At that, the employee lowered his voice all of a sudden, asking “Any news on Kelley Coin’s new book? If there is, can you tell me?”
There was a tangible sense of affection in his voice. He was an avid fan of Kelley Coin.
“Hard to say. He’s always writing, but only he would know whether or not he’ll publish it.”
“C’mon, now. Help me out here.”
Those who loved Kelley Coin and his books tended to take after their favorite author. They weren’t afraid to show their affection. Although she found his attitude to be quite pleasant, she didn’t relent. In the end, the man let up, smacking his lips.
“I, personally, am grateful for Yun Woo.”
“Yes. The literary freak of nature.”
Despite the odd-sounding nickname he was using to describe the young author, he wasn’t far from the truth. Considering his accomplishments up to that point, one was bound to see him in that way.
“You’ve met Yun Woo in person, haven’t you? I mean, what happened with him and Coin is already pretty well-known. You were there at the scene, weren’t you?”
“If you’re trying to get answers out of me, you’re wasting your time. In fact, why don’t we keep talking about what you just brought up? What did you mean when you said you’re grateful for Yun Woo?”
“That was cold,” the employee said without a trace of disappointment, as if he had expected it.
“I’m not the only one who’s grateful for him. I’m sure every single one of Coin’s fans feels the same way. I mean, Yun Woo managed to have Coin represent him at the award ceremony. It’s not every day that you see Coin so well behaved.”
‘So, that’s what he meant,’ Isabella thought and agreed with the employee.
Needless to say, a lot had happened at the award ceremony. However, they were hardly any concerns. Once Isabella managed to bring him into the conference hall without the author acting up by leaving in the middle of an event or causing a ruckus, the editor had been able to rest assured that the rest of the ceremony would go as planned. Coin had been fully aware that the occasion had been for Yun Woo, which had been why he had dreaded going into the conference hall so much.
“Is he going to the Hugo Award Ceremony on Yun Woo’s behalf, too?” the employee asked, and sensing the expectation in his voice, Isabella chuckled. In the end, his efforts to get an answer out of the editor proved to be somewhat successful, as he managed to get her to tell him one thing.
“You see, Mr. Woo likes to be thorough. He never leans on just one side.”
“My. Goodness,” the employee let out, clenching his hand into a fist. “I really hope that day comes sooner.”
“It’s actually happening pretty soon.”
Then, bringing his voice down to a whisper again, he asked, “Do you think Yun Woo will get the Double Crown?”
Isabella smiled at his question.
“I think you’d know the answer to that question better than me. You work at a bookstore. You’d know which books are popular, and the Hugo Award tends to stress popularity. Well, how’ve Yun Woo’s books been doing?”
“It’s just as you would expect. First, ‘Language of God,’ and now, ‘Sublimation.’ ‘Trace of a Bird’ or ‘Sound of Wailing’ are still just as popular. People who are curious about Yun Woo tend to buy his books more often, and as you know, everybody wants to know who he is. It only makes sense that we’d carry more and more of his books.”
Referring to ‘Sublimation’ as the Black Book, the employee explained that he found the book to his liking.
“The Black Book has everything I like about some of my most favorite books. Philosophy, life, suspense, and the author’s experimental spirit. He managed to come up with an ending that no writer had ever been able to imagine, and I have genuine respect for him. No matter who he turns out to be, the Black Book will always have a place in my collection.”
“All right. I get it,” Isabella said impatiently, looking toward other books in order to distance herself from his ongoing exposition.
“So, I shouldn’t be telling you this, but the majority of people who work here are predicting that the award will go to Yun Woo.”
While Isabella was taken aback by what she had just heard, the employee reminded her, “Don’t forget to update me on Coin’s new book, next time.”
With that, the employee went back to work without even waiting for her answer. Shaking her head, the editor left the store. The store sold many more books after her departure, and the books it sold the most copies of were Yun Woo’s.
“Hey, Susan. It’s Isabella.”
“Come on in.”
In order to get updates on the progress of Coin’s new book, Isabella visited Coin’s house for the first time in a long time. Since the Nebula Award Ceremony, he had been busy writing.
“Here. This is the book you’ve been wanting to read, right?” Isabella said, handing over the book from the bookstore to Susan. Upon checking the title of the book, Susan brushed her hand down the editor’s cheek, saying, “You should stay for lunch.”
“Don’t mind if I do.”
After briefly catching up with Susan, Isabella naturally went upstairs. When she opened the tightly-shut door, she was greeted with the smell of caffeine.
“Well, how’s it looking?”
“If it looked good, then I wouldn’t be sitting here, wasting my time with revisions,” the author said, annoyed. He was quite on edge, and Isabella was all too familiar with the situation. He tended to be the most on edge during the revision process.
“Damn it,” Coin let out. It was directed at his own writing. Looking for ways to move forward while denying oneself had always been agonizing. In terms of sports, it was the equivalent of an athlete repeatedly watching a game he had lost. Revision was closer to writing yet another draft that was different from the first. In other words, it was the next game. When a team or an athlete lost a game, they always took time to analyze what brought them defeat, and then, improved on it before the next game. Then, after repeating the process for some time, they stopped once they reached a level with which they were satisfied. There were a number of standards that determined the result of a game in sports, and scoring took longer for certain sports. There were even athletes who weren’t recognized until after their deaths.
“There’s still time, Coin. You can take it slow.”
“These damn sentences are getting in the way of my novel, and you expect me to take it slow?”
“Those damn sentences came from you, too, so why don’t you try to be more loving toward them?”
“Tell me to love on a piece of stool, why don’t ya?”
Isabella chuckled quietly at the author’s sarcastic remark. She had expected him to respond like that. Then, she opened the window in order to let the room breathe. Meanwhile, Coin glared fiercely at his laptop’s monitor, deleting sentences, switching paragraphs, and flipping the overall order in which the events took place back and forth. While there were times when his hands moved busily, there were also times when they didn’t move at all.
“There’s not enough weight.”
“In which part?”
“The part that leads to the crisis is a little weak.”
At that, Isabella read the part of the novel he was referring to over his shoulders. It was a well-written novel.
“I think there’s plenty of suspense.”
“That’s exactly the problem. I wanted to let it build up more and make it explode later. It shouldn’t be this suspenseful already. Ugh, things are just fizzling out. This is unbearable. I hate it,” the author said, grumbling about his writing repeatedly. However, Isabella left him be. When she interjected before she officially received his manuscript, Coin tended to throw tantrums like a spoiled child. Then, with a deep sigh, Coin leaned back on his chair’s backrest. Although his eyes were fixed on the monitor, still, his gesture suggested that he was taking a break.
With that, the editor brought up the real reason for her visit, “You know you have to start getting ready for the Hugo Award Ceremony soon, right?”
“Damn it,” the author let out, scratching his head annoyedly.
“Also, Worldcon is being held in Colorado, this year.”
The Hugo Award Ceremony took place during a massive science fiction convention by the name of Worldcon, and it was easily the highlight of the of the convention. When tracing the roots of the Hugo Award, one was bound to find readers. In other words, it was an award ceremony styled to be most enjoyable for readers.
“Damn, I could really use a drink right about now.”
“Don’t you even think about it,” the editor said emphatically in order to prevent him from thinking about alcohol any further. “You made a promise with Yun Woo. I stopped by a bookstore on my way here, and the people who work there seemed to be predicting that Yun Woo was going to win.”
“Yun Woo this, Yun Woo that.”
“C’mon. You were so motivated when you came back from the ceremony. I’m sure something good will come out of the Hugo Award Ceremony too.”
With that, Isabella waited patiently for Coin, expecting him to refute her or curse up a storm. However, to her surprise, Coin remained silent. To be more precise, he seemed to be lost in thought. ‘Did he think of an idea or something?’ Isabella asked herself, waiting patiently. Then, instead of placing his hand on the keyboard of his laptop, he said, “It’s not fair.”
It was out of the blue. On top of that, for someone who was complaining about unfairness, he was smiling ominously. Sensing trouble, the editor’s brow furrowed.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Exactly what it means. It’s not fair. Why am I the one getting on an airplane? It’s not even my award.”
“Because you agreed to help Yun Woo out of your own volition.”
“It’s just not fair.”
It was impossible to communicate with him, and Isabella’s face twisted into a scowl. ‘Is he implying that he’s not gonna go to the ceremony…!?’
“You’re gonna be there. No matter what,” she warned him before the author had a chance to say anything.
At which point, Coin answered, “Tell Yun Woo to come, too.”
She couldn’t believe what she had just heard.
“… What was that?”
“Tell Yun Woo to come.”
“… Do you think that what you’re saying makes any sense?”
If that’d been possible, Yun Woo wouldn’t have asked Coin to be his representative, putting his safety on the line. In actuality, there had been an incident in which a staff member of Asian descent at the Nebula Award Ceremony had been mistaken for Yun Woo. To make matters worse, the hall had been filled with cameras already, and there was the live broadcast. As Isabella stood in her place with her mouth parted open in disbelief, Coin waved his hand in denial.
“Whoever said anything about putting him up on stage? All I’m saying is that I shouldn’t be the only one getting on a plane. Therefore, he should be suffering with me.”
“I’ll invite him over.”
His absurd stubbornness was coming out again.
“Seriously? Invite him over? My goodness, are you listening to yourself, right now!?”
“What? Do you have any idea of how difficult it is to get invited to my house? I’m telling you, let’s bring him here. We’ll cover the plane ticket. With layover and delayed flights. Even better if there’s a hurricane.”
Crossing her arms, Isabella asked, “You’re kidding.”
“About the hurricane, maybe.”
Then, their eyes locked. Having stayed up all night, Coin’s eyes looked noticeably more threatening than usual. However, the editor remained unintimidated.
“We’re talking about an underaged person. He’s still in school,” she said with a snort.
“What’s he got to learn from school?”
“That’s not for us to decide.”
“You know what, yeah. You bring up a good point. Let’s send him an invitation. He’ll decide whether or not he’ll come here.”
As Isabella remained silent, Coin snickered with confidence.
“My house has to be significantly more charming than some school.”
Then, the editor raised her hand while thinking that she would prepare the plane ticket, “I’m sure he’ll say no.”
“No, he’ll come.”
Isabella let out a heavy sigh at the author’s stubborn remark. And before leaving the room, she said, “Don’t forget about the award ceremony.”
“C’mon, now. You know me. I’ve never given up on a task midway from the moment I was born.”
“Oh, is that why you always bail in the middle of an event?”
“I decide when an event ends.”
“Why do I even bother?”
With that, Isabella walked out of the room and went down the stairs, calculating the time difference between the States and where Yun Woo lived. She was planning on emphasizing to him that it was entirely OK for him to turn down her request.
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