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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“Can I see it?” Juho asked while drinking tea with Coin. Neither Susan nor Nam Kyung were around.
“See what?” he asked, looking up from the book he had been reading.
It was a peaceful afternoon with all the electronics switched off. Juho closed the philosophy book in his hand, which he had borrowed from the study on the first floor. The vocabulary in a philosophy book written by an actual philosopher tended to be quite different from the norm. If anything, it was closer to being another language. Philosophy was one of the characteristics of a country, and one needed to be taught to understand its language because of the widely perceived notion that it was difficult to understand. Fortunately, just like anything else in this world, it was possible to get used to it, and once one got used to it, it became more fun: To peek into the worries of a proud intellect, while resonating with them as a fellow human, and the intellectual joy that came with understanding the language.
“What gave you that idea?”
“It just occurred to me while I was reading this.”
After reading the book, Juho became curious about Coin’s studio. It would be absurd not to see his writing space when he had flown all the way from another country. Then, wearing a brusque expression on his face, Coin rose from his seat and said, “Come.”
At that, Juho followed him with a mug in his hand. Within the scenery he had gotten used to seeing, was a door that had always remained tightly shut. Then, as Coin cracked the door open, the first thought Juho was struck by was:
There were paper cups and mugs spread throughout the room, most likely filled with coffee. The walls were surrounded by bookshelves containing his books and research data. There was also a metal desk facing the window, and there were stacks of papers jumbled in no particular order. A lot of Coin’s writing was also visible, and it dawned on Juho that the author had an atrocious handwriting, probably from being half asleep or drunk with caffeine. His letters were rugged and sharp, like their creator.
“Because I’ve been writing up until recently.”
“Do you need help cleaning?”
“Don’t even think about it,” he said, waving his hand as if scaring off a fly.
“You don’t seem to keep your trophies here.”
“There’s not enough room.”
Considering the number of trophies and the cash prizes he had won thus far, what Coin was saying made sense. There would be more than enough to fill every inch of his room.
“It kind of feels like an attic, too. Maybe the wooden walls got something to do with it.”
“Bah, I don’t care,” Coin said indifferently. Although it was a big room, Juho was getting the impression that everything was close to each other. While he was looking around, Coin sat on his bed, drinking his coffee. Then, Juho walked over to his desk.
“There’s nothing here I shouldn’t look at, right?”
“I know how to take care of my data.”
Juho felt the words ‘I don’t think you can say the same about your room, though,’ welling up to his throat, but he chose to swallow them instead. Looking through sentences arranged in a context that only Coin would know, Juho moved on to the medical and legal data.
“A lot of technical stuff here.”
“I’m sure there are even some you wouldn’t be able to understand.”
“You think so?”
There was not a single written language the young author couldn’t read. Dilated Cardiomyopathy. Batista Operation. Ineffective Tissue Perfusion. Escharotomy.
“Quite an array of data you have, here. It didn’t end up in your books, did it?”
“That’s right. It got left out,” Coin said, looking intently at the young author. “Your language skill developed in the most obscure places. You were reading a dense philosophy book earlier without trouble, and I know for a fact that one needs to be taught how to read those.”
“That’s the kind of author it takes to write a novel like ‘Language of God.'”
“Your self-esteem is just through the roof after getting those awards, isn’t it?”
At that, Juho gave Coin an evasive answer, saying that he had experience researching for his novel as well. Then, after taking a swig of the coffee in his hand, Coin said, “I didn’t see any medical things in the Black Book.”
“The Black Book? You mean ‘Sublimation?'”
“Well, it’s an honor to hear that you’ve read it.”
Then, Coin brought his mug up to his mouth again.
“What was with that ridiculous writing? That ending bothered the hell out of me. I hated it,” Coin said harshly, but the young author shrugged it off.
“Let’s just say that I went through hell to come up with that ending.”
At that moment, an explosive sound came from the hallway instead of an answer. When Juho glanced over in that direction, he saw that the mug, which had been in Coin’s hand up to a moment ago, shattered in two pieces.
“I’m not angry. I just can’t help myself whenever I think about that ending. I have to throw something.”
“… Are you expecting me to do something for you?”
“Just stay where you are,” Coin said, taking a newspaper out of a corner of his room. Then, violently ripping it in half, he added, “You just wait. My current work-in-progress will be far superior to that absurd ending of yours.”
At that, Juho slowly raised his hand and scratched his cheek. It was a favor that the young author simply couldn’t grant, unfortunately.
“You seem confident about it.”
“That goes without saying.”
“That sounds like you, all right. The thing is, if what you’re saying is true, then it makes me wonder how convincing you can be when you’re asking me about my ‘ridiculous writing.’ If your novel is going to be far superior to mine, but you can’t understand my ending, then how convincing could that be?”
“There’s is such a thing as a tolerable level of trainwreck. Anything beyond that makes the writing ambiguous and convoluted. Just listen to the people who read the Black Book, saying stupid things like the Eighth Wonder of the World.”
Unfortunately, the words that were coming out Coin’s mouth weren’t that far off from the words of those who called the ending of ‘Sublimation’ the Eighth Wonder of the World. Instead of bringing it up, the young author smiled.
“Aren’t you being a little harsh, though? It did turn out pretty good in the end, so why don’t you go easy on this young author and congratulate him on a job well done?” Juho said light-heartedly.
To which, Coin snorted and said, “There is no such thing as rank here, in the literary world. There is no difference whether you’re in second or tenth place. But I’ll tell you what there is. Subjective opinions and discouragement. Do you have any idea how many greenhorns are out there, discouraged, void of confidence after reading your book?”
Juho was all too well-acquainted with the discouragement that came with the realization that he was inferior to others. He had gone through it way too many times in the past.
“Let me show you the manuscript,” Coin said, placing the shattered pieces of his mug on the newspaper. He was crouching, like an ember that was ready to burn up at any given minute.
“All right,” Juho answered quietly, remembering the manuscript that he had revised on the plane ride to the States. It was a frame story.
“Would you like to read mine and keep yourself occupied in the meantime?”
“Let’s see it.”
Just like that, the two authors exchanged their manuscripts with each other. While Juho read through Coin’s manuscript on his desk, Coin read through Juho’s lying on his bed, flipping through it abrasively. They didn’t talk to each other. While Coin sipped on the new cup of coffee he had brought to the room, Juho changed his posture while reading. Although they were similar in length, their contents were completely different. The message they conveyed, the stories, characters and writing styles. It was a difficult piece to compare his writing to, so Juho decided to focus on reading instead of lingering in thought. Four hours had passed by the time the two authors had finished reading the manuscripts. There was a long silence. Then, as Juho flipped to the front page of the manuscript he had been reading, Coin did the same.
They said simultaneously. Their words may have sounded different, but they were essentially the same in meaning. Juho put the manuscript down. Nobody was discouraged. If anything, something told the young author that they had both tapped into heightened emotions. ‘Does that mean I’m not below him, at least?’ Juho asked himself, hoping it was true.
Then, they heard somebody coming into the house downstairs. After wondering about the first floor for a little while, the person came up the stairs shortly after. Because of the room’s location, it was easy to identify who was coming up. It was Nam Kyung. Upon seeing the two authors together, he stopped in his tracks and slowly walked toward them, trying to grasp the situation.
“I came with Susan. I’m not interrupting, am I?”
“No. I was just showing him around,” Coin said and left the room shortly after. As Juho followed the author out of the room, Nam Kyung poked at his side as he moved aside to let the young author through.
“I’ll tell you in a little bit.”
Later that day, Nam Kyung couldn’t have been more excited after hearing Juho’s story.
Having come up to his room after dinner, Coin was staring up at the ceiling while lying on his bed. There was a bunch of crumpled up manuscripts in his hand. An image of a picture came to mind, but it wasn’t necessarily because of Juho’s new frame story. A trapped image was proving to be an effective tool when it came to portraying the foolish tendency humans had of staying in one place for their entire lives. Coin looked at the camera on his desk along with his research data.
After reading Juho’s manuscript, the experience of holding a camera had turned into something completely different, and Coin found the influence to be undesirable. Then, in order to put the camera away, Coin got out of bed. While he looked around his room with the camera in his hand, he noticed a commotion coming from downstairs. When he went down the stairs, he saw his mother standing by the door, looking disgruntled.
“What is it?” he asked.
Standing in front of Susan, he looked out the door through the crack. There were quite a few reporters crowding the doorway. At that moment, he was struck with the realization that it had something to do with the young author. ‘That punk,’ he thought to himself. As he opened the door angrily, the reporters came flooding through.
“What do you want?”
“We heard that Yun Woo was staying with you,” one of the reporters said, followed by a series of voices speaking over each other. Then, annoyed, Coin took the camera and took a picture of them. The flash took the unwelcomed guests by surprise, as if they weren’t used to getting a picture taken of them, an irony of their occupational habit of bringing their cameras up to their eyes before asking questions.
“You all came at the perfect time. I’m suing the hell out of each and every one of you. Mom, call the cops.”
“Way ahead of ya.”
“Is it true that you’re currently with Yun Woo?”
At that moment, as a slower-to-catch-on reporter asked a question, Coin took yet another picture.
“He’s not here, damn it.”
“We had some leads that he’s here.”
“And you must’ve missed what I said just now. I’m suing all of you. You’re screwed,” Coin said and took a step forward toward the reporter. “I don’t know where you’re from, but something tells me that your company isn’t well off enough to put themselves through a mud fight just to save your ass. If you’re here to interview me, that already goes to show how disposable you are to them.”
As the reporter remained silent, the author took yet another picture of his face.
“But don’t you worry. I’m a generous man. I’ll sue your whole damn company.”
At that moment, sirens sounded off in the distance. Recognizing that the cops had arrived, Coin closed the door and walked back in. While Susan was watching the TV and eating popcorn, Coin sat on the chair next to her. The two being the only people in there, the house was quiet.
“About damn time,” Susan said sarcastically. It was clear who Coin took after.
“Seriously. Yun Woo left ages ago,” he said as he took some popcorn from his mother. Yun Woo had already left, and he had to be flying back to Korea by now. Then, bringing his phone out, Coin checked for an update. Yun Woo had definitely been in the States. “Boy in Red Hat Spotted.”
“Ugh. Couldn’t they take it elsewhere??” Susan grumbled, raising the volume on the TV. It was a peaceful day.
‘Yun Won in the States? Was He at Worldcon? Confirmation in Progress with Broadcasting Stations.’
‘Yun Woo Finally Reveals Himself. A Man of Asian Decent Caught On Camera. Confirmed to be Yun Woo.’
‘Yun Woo Caught On Camera? The Man Reported Being Chinese American. “I’m not Yun Woo.”‘
‘Yun Woo Was with Kelley Coin All Along? He’s Everywhere! Foreign Reporters Return Home Empty-Handed.’
‘Presses in Desperate Search for Yun Woo Criticized by Fans.’
‘The Reporters at Coin’s Residence Reported being Driven Out without an Answer.’
‘The Young Author Flooded with Congratulatory Messages. Yun Woo Puts on Both Crowns. Will He Be Able to Handle It?’
‘Yun Woo, the Boy in Red Hat? Theory on the Asian Boy Who Is Reported To Have Been with Kelley Coin? Where’s the Evidence? Yun Woo Disappears into Thin Air.’
‘Where Is the Champion? Gone with the Wind.’
‘”Yun Woo Is an Amazing Writer” Becoming an Inarguable Truth? What Are Some of the Rumors Surrounding the Young Author?’
‘Yun Woo’s Language Skill as Showcased in “Language of God.” His Writing Is, Simply Put, a Language of God.’
‘Yun Woo, the Readers’ Choice. Humiliated by the First Asian Winner? What’s the Significance? The Ratio of American Hugo Winners.’
‘The Dispute that Brought Yun Woo to His Present Glory. “We Knew He Had What It Took, All Along.” His Accomplishments Outside of the Alias Yun Woo.’
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