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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“Huh. I read that book.”
“It’s a good read.”
Juho looked at the screen. The authors who won the award in the short story category were running up to the stage from the dark. There were two winners sharing the prize, and both of them seemed to have paid close attention to their clothes. They were each dressed in a black, one in a suit and the other in a dress. The female author received her trophy first, and with the consent of her co-recipient, she gave her speech. Looking deeply moved, she spoke clearly, facing the audience. Meanwhile, the black trophy in her hand shone from the spotlight. She brought up the messages she had conveyed through her writing, as well as some of the realities she had faced while writing. At that moment, Juho felt a weight on his arm.
“This is it, Mr. Woo.”
Next, was the full-length novel category. There had been five novels that had been nominated for that category, including ‘Language of God.’ Meanwhile, feeling Nam Kyung’s hand tightly grasping his wrist, Juho felt just how nervous the editor was. It was ice-cold, and the young author was fully aware that his hands were just as cold. Then, afraid that the editor would catch on to his faster-than-usual pulse, Juho move Nam Kyung’s hand off his wrist, chuckling.
“Breathe, Mr. Park,” the young author said. Nam Kyung tried to look composed, but to no avail. Despite having taken no part in the book that had been nominated for the award, Nam Kyung was still on the edge of his seat. Having been reading Juho’s writing in its rawest form, Nam Kyung was the strictest and most level-headed when it came to editing the young author’s novels. Juho reminisced to his failures in his past life. He recalled Nam Kyung trying to talk him out of a decision that would lead him to tragedy, but Juho hadn’t listened to him. As a result, their relationship had come to an end.
“Now, I’m getting all nervous,” Susan said, rubbing her hands together. She was enjoying the contagious thrill.
“I think you’re gonna get that award, young man,” Susan said with her eyes fixed on the TV. The camera was showing the hall.
“What makes you think that?”
“Because nobody there is as riveting as you are, aside from my son,” Susan said, and Juho smiled. Seeing his own writing on the screen was quite the fascinating experience. And now, after causing a ruckus, it was chasing after an award.
“This must be how parents feel, wishing that their child gets the award,” the young author said.
“Well, ain’t that an interesting analogy,” Susan said, laughing, but she soon disagreed with him.
“How are they different?”
“How often do parents go up on stage on behalf of their kid? If their kid did well, then the award will go to the kid, and what the parents end up with is the gratitude of their kid, not their award.”
At that, Juho nodded in agreement. Coin had mentioned his mother’s name frequently in his speeches at award ceremonies.
“But books don’t thank their creators. Books don’t get awards because they don’t do jack.”
Then, thanking her parents in closing, the female author stepped down from the stage on the screen.
“The way I see it, my son’s been getting those awards because he earned them himself.”
“Your love for your son is admirable.”
Laughing heartily at the young author’s remark, Susan said, “So, stay on your toes a little. After all, one gets nervous when one expects something, like your editor next to you.”
At that, Juho looked at Nam Kyung, whose legs were shaking uncontrollably still. He was genuinely hoping that Yun Woo would receive the award. Then, before Juho had time to say anything to him, the editor pointed toward the TV.
“All right, now, that brings us to the full-length category,” the presenter on TV said, holding an envelope that contained the name of the winner within it. The three fixed their eyes on the screen and watched the presenter open the envelope in his hand, slowly taking out the paper within it. Juho clasped his hands together. They were cold and damp, telling him just how nervous he was with expectation for the award.
“C’mon,” a voice murmured from the side. At that moment, the presenter on the screen moved his lips for a split second, announcing the winner. At that, Nam Kyung jumped from his seat, and Susan threw both of her hands in the air. The audience was exploding into applause, its loudness incomparable to that directed toward the previous winner.
“Yun Woo! Congratulations! Oh, right. Also known as Won Yi Young!” the presenter added in a hurry, but it got buried by the applauding audience.
At that moment, as Coin rose from his seat, a handful of the audience members let out a gasp in awe. Everyone there knew that the young author had set a new record in winning the two awards considered to be the highest honor in science fiction.
Then, the camera focused on Coin going up to the stage, wearing a seemingly sulking look on his face. The applause continued even as the presenter handed him the trophy and while Coin took a piece of paper out of his pocket. With both of his hands on his head, Nam Kyung was about to fall over backward, and Susan was getting a good laugh out of him. Meanwhile, Juho couldn’t keep the corners of his mouth from turning up. Taking the hand that he had shared Nam Kyung’s anxiety with, Juho covered his mouth and locked eyes with Coin on the screen.
“Mr. Woo!” Nam Kyung let out, charging toward the young author. His weight tipped the young author backward. Then, with his back on the floor, the young author burst into laughter at the sight of the ceiling.
“Starry night,” the young author let out, looking up at the sky outside. Although it was late, he was wide awake. Juho recalled seeing only two stars in the sky when he’d first asked Coin to be his representative. And now, the sky was full of them, more than he could count. Depending on where he was, the night sky also changed its appearance.
Since news had gotten out that Yun Woo had won the Hugo Award, Juho and Nam Kyung were getting flooded with phone calls. Nam Kyung, in particular, had to answer call after call, all the while trying to calm himself down. Meanwhile, Susan took them to a restaurant in order to celebrate the young author’s victory. Although it wasn’t exactly close, their food turned out to be worth the drive.
“It’s so flat here,” the young author said as he looked around at the scenery. Although he had felt that way when he first arrived at Coin’s house, the view was completely different from Manhattan. Unlike downtown, which was filled with skyscrapers, famous brands, and pedestrians, there was nothing around the house but flatland stretching endlessly into the horizon. Coin’s house was built in the middle of nowhere. Juho recalled corn being the only thing he had seen on his car ride there. It was the countryside, and seeing the open field brought peace to the young author’s heart. It made sense that Coin had decided to write there.
After a little while, Juho saw a pair of lights approaching from the distance. A car was coming. The house was just about the only thing around in the area, which meant that it was highly likely that the car was headed for the house. Juho stood straight as the car approached the house at a dangerous speed, stopping shortly after.
“Coin,” the young author let out as the driver came out of the car. Coin, too, was looking in Juho’s direction, looking as crabby as ever.
“Why aren’t you sleeping?”
“Because I can sleep when I want to.”
It didn’t sound quite like a conversation between a guest and the person who invited him to the States. Then, as if he was having a similar thought, Coin, too, snickered. After that, taking something out of the car, he threw it at Juho, and the young author caught it by reflex. It was a trophy.
“Did you have to throw it? It would’ve shattered into pieces if I hadn’t caught it.”
“That’s a shame.”
Long and shaped like a rocket, the trophy had some weight to it. After feeling it and tapping on it, he asked his representative, “Aren’t you gonna congratulate me?”
“All right. I still have a ways to go until I get congratulations from Kelley Coin.”
“You should be showing off.”
“That’s not necessary for a person who actually has something to show off.”
“Why? Because you’re Yun Woo?”
“Well, you’re not wrong.”
Then, after turning off the engine, Coin approached the young author.
“Can’t sleep, huh?” he asked, looking around at the dark.
“You must be pretty excited,” Coin said, narrowing his eyes at the young author.
To which, Juho answered honestly, “It’s the jetlag.”
Coin didn’t believe him for a second. Then, seeing a smirk on his face, Juho remembered something he had seen on TV earlier that day.
“Seemed like you caused quite a ruckus at the ceremony.”
“I didn’t do anything.”
Then, Juho quoted his interview, which took place after the ceremony, “I don’t think I’m lesser than Yun Woo. In other words, the reason I couldn’t get the Double Crown is solely on you people, who clearly haven’t learned how to count.”
Among the suspicions that had been following Coin, were also scandals relating to the ballot, which most people knew about.
“Seems like things are about to get noisy again.”
“When haven’t they been?”
“I guess you’re right.”
“You make it sound like it only applies to me.”
Just as Coin had said, Yun Woo’s decision to have Coin represent him at the ceremonies turned out to carry just as much noise.
“Do you have any idea how much of a hassle it was to answer all those questions about you?” Coin said, wearing a similar expression to the one he had had on the stage.
“I’m never doing this again,” he said, just like Juho had expected he would. From the start, the young author didn’t think that he would be able to ask him to do it again. On top of that, nobody else would be as daring as Juho to ask Kelley Coin to receive an award on their behalf.
“Well, I appreciate you trying. Although, I don’t think I can ask you to do this again. I’m afraid you’d break my trophies.”
“Oh, no. I’m sorry. Maybe I should’ve snapped it in half on my way here.”
As absurd as it sounded, it was more than possible for Coin to carry that out into action. And knowing that, Juho didn’t comment on it any further. Then, the two went into the house, and each went back to their rooms. That night, Juho couldn’t get any sleep.
When Juho went downstairs the next morning, he saw Susan on the couch, watching the TV with a cigarette in her mouth. Although it wasn’t exactly late, she seemed to have finished all the housework that she needed to do. Juho walked over to an antique-looking chair next to her and sat on it.
“Do you know that your son came home last night?”
“I saw his car.”
“He must’ve driven into the night. What was the hurry?”
“There is none. He’s just impatient,” Susan said, shaking her head subtly. Then, following her looked over his shoulders, Juho turned back and saw that Coin had also come downstairs.
“Kind of early for gossip, ain’t it?” he said. Still wearing his pajamas, it seemed like he hadn’t even washed his face yet. Despite having come home well into the night, he had managed to wake up quite early. He, too, had to have quite the stamina.
“Did you sleep well?”
“Yep,” Susan said, picking up a magazine from the stack on the table.
“I already ate. I made soup.”
“Is there bread?”
“I bought some hand-cured bacon, too.”
Juho remained silent between their conversation. Then, he watched Coin go into the kitchen and take a frying pan out.
“Are you gonna cook?”
“I’m hungry,” Coin said. As Coin took a couple of eggs out of the box, Juho stood next to him and asked, “Are you gonna make me some, too?”
Coin remained silent, and it wasn’t clear what answer he was giving Juho. In order to confirm, Juho observed the space left and where the oil was on the the frying pan.
“There’s one more aside from myself, don’t forget.”
“Are you telling me to make breakfast for somebody who’s not even awake yet?”
“I’ll go wake him up.”
“Well, hurry up. You wouldn’t want it to get cold.”
With that, Juho went upstairs. There were five rooms on the second floor. While two of them were facing each other, there was another room that was facing the stairway, which was Coin’s bedroom that also served as his studio. Standing in front of the first room, Juho knocked on the door.
“Mr. Park?” Juho called to him, wondering if the knock was too subtle. Then, he heard a rustling sound coming from the room. When Juho opened the door and went into the room, Nam Kyung was putting his glasses on.
“Come get your breakfast. He says he might change his mind if we don’t come down in time.”
“But I don’t eat breakfast.”
“It’s made by Kelley Coin, himself, though. Would you still not eat it?”
Blinking his bloodshot eyes, Nam Kyung went into the bathroom, which was connected with the room. He was making quite a bit of noise washing his face. And as he came out shortly after with water dripping from his face, he looked at the young author, looking slightly more awake.
“That wasn’t a dream, right? You winning the Hugo Award?”
Perhaps he wasn’t entirely awake, just yet.
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