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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Upon being reminded by the young author that he had had his hands on the trophy that previous night, Nam Kyung’s face lit up.
“I gotta see the trophy myself,” the editor said as he walked right past Juho. Then, while Nam Kyung was busy making a big fuss after seeing the trophy sitting haphazardly in Juho’s carrier, the young author left him be and went downstairs.
Coin was cooking the egg in bacon fat, which gave off an irresistible smell. Juho helped Coin by putting the soup into bowls until Nam Kyung came down. Seeing as though the young author was acting tactfully, Coin didn’t say anything.
“Man, I gotta say, Mr. Coin. You’re a great cook!” Nam Kyung complimented the author with a cheerful expression on his face, unlike his normally rigid demeanor. Coin shrugged it off.
“All I did was panfry,” he said while cutting his bacon.
“Which is one of the foundational skills in cooking.”
“This is good bacon,” Juho chimed in, and instead of giving him an answer, Coin brought mashed potato up to his mouth. Meanwhile, looking unbothered, Nam Kyung chewed away at his food.
“What do you have going on today?” Juho asked the editor.
“Why do you ask?” he answered.
“I wanted to look around a little.”
Because of the location, Juho had to be accompanied by someone else even if he wanted to go out alone because he had to rely on those with driver licenses. Meanwhile, with an ambiguous expression on his face, Nam Kyung said, “I do have plans to visit a publishing company in the afternoon.”
“Great. Do you think you can take me with you? You can just drop me off anywhere.”
“Without a guardian? I can’t do that.”
“It’s really OK.”
“On the off chance that you get into some sort of accident, things will become much more complicated. We might not have to deal with the language barrier, but might I remind you that we’re in another country, Mr. Woo,” the editor said, clearly with no intention of letting the underaged author loose. Although Juho didn’t have a problem being on his own, he also understood that Nam Kyung was justified in his attitude, especially as an editor. With that, Juho had to make due with going on walks around the house.
“I’ll take you,” Coin interjected. And sensing the puzzled look the guests were giving him, the author explained, “I’m the one who invited you here, so I should see it to the end.”
“You’re not gonna leave me in the middle of nowhere, are you?”
“If that’s what you want.”
Juho imagined Coin forcing him to get out of the car in the middle of nowhere, shouting, “This is the end, kid!” By contrast, Nam Kyung was delighted by Coin’s suggestions. Frankly, looking around the country while staying in Coin’s house was an incredible luxury.
“Well, I’ll be counting on you,” Juho said as he finished his meal.
Letting Susan know that he had enjoyed the soup, the young author went upstairs to his room, which was the second to the left from the stairs. The first room on the right was for Nam Kyung. As he was going into his room, Juho saw the tightly shut door to Coin’s room. Although he briefly entertained the thought of taking a peek, he chose to prepare to go out instead of carrying it out.
“What’s with that hat?”
“Is it weird?”
“You’ll look right at home standing in the cornfield.”
Because he had started showering when Juho when to get his hat from his room, it wasn’t until much later that Coin showed up, after the show Susan had been watching had ended. Juho was puzzled by why he had taken so long when he saw the author in his T-shirt, unshaved.
Then, putting on his sunglasses and hat, which looked like the type explorers would wear, he rushed the young author, “Shouldn’t you cover yourself up a little more? What if people recognize you?”
“No need when I grow out a beard. This is how I usually dress. Must I make more adjustments to my lifestyle for you?”
Juho looked at him. Although he was unmistakably Kelley Coin to Juho’s eyes, Coin had already covered more than half of his face.
“Aren’t those the same sunglasses you were wearing in Korea?”
“You have a good memory,” Coin said as he started the engine. The car started moving without trouble. While his car was clean for the most part, the cup holder had vivid coffee stains on it. When Juho cracked the window open, he was greeted by the earthy scent in the air.
“This place is massive,” Juho said. The entire area was flat, even into the distant horizon. Having lived near the mountains all of his life, it was quite an unusual sight.
“It’s nice, isn’t it?”
“It sure is,” Juho said in response to Coin’s confident remark. It was a nice place indeed. Peeking his head out the window, the young author looked back at the house as it grew farther away into the distance. The white building reflected bright lights, enough to make his neighbors complain to him about it. If he had had any, that is. Built in the middle of nowhere on flatland, the house looked more steadfast than lonely.
“What you lookin’ at?”
“You know, that house looks a lot better from afar.”
Instead of looking back while driving, Coin revisited his memory of the appearance of his house.
“My house looks beautiful, no matter from where you look at it.”
“Right. Your house is known for its interior,” Juho said, remembering an article about the beautiful interior of the infamous author’s house. “I heard you had somebody you met during an interview do the interior of your house. Is that right?”
“That’s right. You know your facts.”
“I also heard that he’s one of your only friends.”
At that moment, as the car shook violently, and Juho immediately closed his mouth.
“It’s a professional relationship.”
From then on, they remained quiet for a while. Then, by the time a corn plantation appeared in view, Juho opened his mouth again and said, “Where are we going again?”
“There’s nothing but corn around here, so I’m taking us downtown. They have some stores and restaurants there, at least. Well, I don’t know if there’s gonna be anything to do for a kid like you. Maybe a basketball court?”
“I’ve been to the restaurant, though.”
At the mention of the restaurant, which Susan had taken Juho and Nam Kyung to, Coin nodded his head. Then, he raised one of his fingers on the hand with which he was holding the steering wheel.
“It’s a bit of a drive, but there’s a state park with a lake beach a little farther out. I’m sure there’s a flea market happening right about now. The beach is perfect to walk around in. The only thing is that it gets way too packed since there are more things to look at in that area.”
Then, Coin raised another one of his fingers.
“There’s also a small neighborhood park nearby, but there’s nothing there that’s worth the time. They don’t even have an art center, let alone a gift shop. On the other hand, that also means there are less people there. There’s a decent spot in the park under a willow tree. It is well maintained, so you’ll see people taking wedding photos there every now and then. So, what’s it gonna be?”
After some contemplation, Juho answered, “Somewhere quiet.”
Without saying anything, Coin jerked the steering wheel.
“Havin’ a long day, hon?”
The journalist opened his eyes at the sound of the voice asking him a question. When he turned toward it, he saw a lovely face looking in his direction. He had been working on an article until the day before, and work had been getting increasingly busier, as it tended to be around that time of year.
“Something crazy happened this year, which means things will be even busier for me.”
At that, his wife brushed her hand across his face.
“Maybe we should’ve waited a little longer.”
“No, no. I can’t just think about myself, you know? There’s nothing more important in my life than you.”
“In that case, should we just leave for our honeymoon this instant?” At that, the husband quietly begged for her forgiveness. To which, she smiled and brought up what had made his schedule so hectic, “It’s because of what happened with Yun Woo, right?”
“I get a lot of clients who are Yun Woo fans, so I talk about him a lot.”
Being a yoga instructor, there were definitely moments when she would talk candidly with her students. In her class, Yun Woo had been the hottest topic, and the husband thought that made a lot of sense.
“The Black Book was incredible. Do you know which one I’m talking about? ‘Sublimation?’ I got curious, so I ordered his other books, too,” she said, and he nodded. Yun Woo had been active across various styles, like pure literature and genre novels.
“He might be young, but he’s versatile.”
“Have you ever seen him in person?”
The journalist chuckled at her childlike question.
“I don’t even know what he looks like. The people we send to Korea have been coming back empty-handed.”
The journalist remembered his visit to Fernand Publishing. He hadn’t been able to get a single piece of information out of its senior editor, known for the pungent cologne he wore.
“Man, if only I could find out,” he let out with a sigh. He was curious about the identity of the mysterious author, Yun Woo.
‘What does he look like when he writes?’ he wondered. Unfortunately, the only thing he knew about the young author was his voice giving brief answers to questions during Kelley Coin’s interview.
“He’s still young. He should be protected.”
“Right,” he said affirmingly, but he wasn’t being entirely genuine. Yun Woo might be underage, and he definitely needed to be protected from the press, but he was a world-class author. ‘In that case, it wouldn’t be an issue even if I were to know, as long as I kept it to myself.’
Then, as if she had read his thoughts, his wife whispered to his ear, “If you find anything out, though, you let me know, all right?”
Though he felt pricked in the heart, he acted candidly and said, “Of course. I couldn’t possibly keep secrets from you.”
With that, the two kissed each other. At that moment, the car came to a stop, and the cameraman, who was driving, looked toward them and said, “We’re here. Get outta here, ya lovebirds.”
The journalist got out of the car, holding the hand of his bride-to-be wearing a white dress.
“Whoa! This is actually kind of big,” Juho murmured, looking up at the willow tree before his eyes. Meanwhile, instead of giving him an answer, Coin, who had been standing next to Juho with a paper cup filled with coffee, sat under the tree. He didn’t seem to mind his pants getting dirty, and Juho was quite familiar with his demeanor.
“You come here often?”
“Occasionally. It’s a good spot to rest my mind.”
Juho observed the small pond in front of him. The landscape carried a western feel. With the bridge in the center, there were symmetrical sceneries to either side of it. The park was, aesthetically speaking, quite beautiful. Streams of water were springing up from the pond with angled corners, which was surrounded by various plants. It wasn’t clear if the trees were of species that didn’t have budding flowers, or if they were simply not in the proper season, but it was green throughout the entire park. Unlike how Coin had described it, the park was more than big enough for Juho.
“It’s peaceful here,” the young author let out. Then, he walked over to the pond and looked into the water. It didn’t seem like there were any fish, or ducks for that matter. There was only grass and pebbles, and because they couldn’t move on their own, the pond was completely still, as if time had stopped ticking. Nevertheless, it was romantic, and it made sense that people chose to take their wedding photos at the park.
“So, there’s this author I know. She lives in the mountains.”
“In the mountains?”
“Yes, mountains. She built a studio in the middle of nowhere.”
Coin pulled his sunglasses up above his head. Meanwhile, his hat was already rolling around in the grass.
“The way to her house kind of looks similar to this place.”
“What’s her name?” Coin asked, focusing on what he wanted to know.
“San Jung Youn. She won an international award in Italy, I believe. Do you know her?”
“I’ve heard the name,” Coin said, which made Juho certain that he had read her book. Then, after looking at the charming sight of the willow tree from the pond, Juho joined Coin in the shade.
“Can you take that thing off?”
“I don’t understand why people hate this hat so much. I just don’t get it.”
“It’s tacky as hell. It hurts my eyes when I look at it and it’s annoying me.”
Although Juho didn’t necessarily agree with him, the young author decided to practice some flexibility and take the hat off. The breeze blowing through his hair felt quite refreshing. Juho brushed his hair back, watching the pond rippling in the wind. It almost looked like an omen of sorts.
“You happy?” Coin threw the question at the young author out of the blue.
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