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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Because Nam Kyung had been the only connection between fans and the young author, the editor quickly became the center of attention.
“Are you sure we aren’t rushing this?”
“You know the situation.”
“Mr. Woo has to graduate, too.”
“Whoever said anything about keeping him from graduating? Nobody has the patience to wait around anymore. Do you have any idea how many people out there are desperate to hear from him?”
“Words can’t be taken back,” the editor said lukewarmly, and the editor-in-chief pointed toward the window, saying, “There’s a whole crowd of ’em just outside of our building.”
Nam Kyung was fully aware of that. He had been running into the crowd on his way to work every morning. They were a throng of Yun Woo’s fans wanting to see the young author. There was a crowd of anywhere between forty and fifty people gathering at the entrance of Zelkova Publishing, watching those who went in and out of the building. Even when the publishers would call the cops on them, the crowd returned the next day. It was a sight similar to that of an entertainment agency. Nam Kyung had never seen anything like it in his time working at the company. The situation had forced the sales event to be delayed indefinitely, and going in and out of the staff room became seriously dangerous. Needless to say, the security guards in the building were on full alert.
“What I don’t get is, how are they planning on seeing him when they don’t even know what he looks like?”
“Where they’re coming from makes sense, though.”
“It seems like Mr. Woo’s really starting to be treated like a celebrity.”
The crowd had been gathering in front of the building since the day after the news of Yun Woo winning the Hugo Award. Coupled with the reporters, the front of the building was always in disarray.
“Shouldn’t we push the book festival back, too? The one that’s happening at the book district?” Mr. Maeng said anxiously. Often held in the book district, the mini book festival was just around the corner. Then, with a troubled look on his face, the editor-in-chief shook his head.
“No. It’s not like we’re the only ones involved, and we’ve already advertised for it. We’ll suffer a substantial loss,” he said, bringing up the name Yun Woo again in order to keep things from digressing.
“Maybe it’s best if we just reveal it,” Ms. Song said.
“I don’t know. I think it’d be better to wait until after Mr. Woo graduates,” Mr. Maeng answered. Since the individual directly involved was absent, they weren’t going to reach a conclusion no matter how much they discussed the matter. Meanwhile, Nam Kyung thought of Juho, as well as all the other authors he was responsible for. Yun Woo’s personality aside, he was still underage. Revealing himself meant standing before the eyes of the masses, which also meant bringing him face to face with the power he possessed as an author. By no means, was it a simple matter.
“What are your thoughts, Mr. Park?” Ms. Song asked. Nam Kyung found himself in a dilemma. While he wanted to see Yun Woo reveal himself confidently, he also wanted to respect the young author’s space, especially if it meant having a negative impact on his creative process.
“I’ll meet up with him in the near future,” Nam Kyung said evasively. Everyone had different expressions on their faces while trying to predict what Yun Woo would do, but it was clear that they were all both worried and hopeful.
“Personally, I really, really hope he reveals himself. So many people have been giving me a hard time, asking how I don’t know his face when I work for Zelkova.”
“There’s definitely pressure from around us. Although, I don’t see that changing anytime soon, even if Yun Woo were to reveal his identity.”
“All the details aside, I’m dying to know what Mr. Woo looks like.”
“Do you think he’s good looking?”
“How would an author benefit from good looks? What matters is their writing.”
“Sure, but is that what most Koreans would think, though? Looks come before everything else.”
Nam Kyung sighed heavily between his coworkers. If that was the kind of conversation that was taking place within a publishing company, it had to be much worse everywhere else. Having been next to Yun Woo since the beginning, Nam Kyung had been asking himself lately, “Why do people need pictures? Why do they need to know what the author looks like when they buy their book?’ If anybody were to say that it’s to know the author better, then it would be much better to show them a picture of the author’s hand. After all, authors wrote with their hands, not with their face.
“Maybe they’ll talk about how ugly or pretty his hands are and compare them side by side.”
“What was that?”
“Why don’t we get back to work? We have a lot to do,” Nam Kyung said, leaving through the door that would keep all the information in the room from going out.
During the break, Nam Kyung looked back at the voice calling for him and saw a new employee, who had recently come from another company. The editor was in a discussion with Jiyul Sohn about whether 5 percent was an appropriate figure for royalties or not. Nam Kyung didn’t know too much about him since they worked in different departments, but the editor did recall having talked to him a few times in the past. Seeing the pen in his chest pocket, Nam Kyung remembered seeing a similar pen in the same spot when they first met. Secretly, the editor had been entertaining the thought that the pen was actually some sort of recording device, contrary to its appearance.
“Yes?” Nam Kyung asked, and raising the paper cup in his hand, the new employee said, “Nothing really. I was just passing by and it seemed like you were talking about something fun. Back in my old workplace, people would always talk about minimizing the amount of time spent doing other things aside from working,” he said, joining in on the conversation candidly. Due to the demanding nature of the job, quite a few editors tended to burn out. In terms of experience, the new employee would probably be just as competent as all the other editors in the company. Nam Kyung was made all the more certain of that after talking about work with him. Then, changing the subject seamlessly, the new employee said to Nam Kyung, “Everyone seems anxious to know whether or not Yun Woo will reveal himself.”
Because that was the hottest topic within the company, Nam Kyung didn’t find the transition in their conversation jarring. Besides, he was often approached by other employees within the company who wanted to know about Yun Woo.
“I’m getting curious myself,” the editor said genuinely.
“Seems like Mr. Woo has yet to give an answer?”
“That’s not surprising. After all, we’re the anxious ones,” the new employee said and reverted the subject back to work. He seemed to have talent in storytelling. As Nam Kyung laughed at his joke, he asked, “Hey, why don’t we go for a drink one of these days? What’s your schedule like?”
At that, Nam Kyung groaned with regret and said, “Ah, man. I’m actually leaving on a business trip tomorrow and have dinner plans with Mr. Lim the next day. He recently decided to publish a book through our company.”
“Oh! Yes, I heard. You’re a busy man, Mr. Park. You must be hard pressed to make time for Mr. Woo.”
“Don’t worry. I intend on making it happen at all costs, even if it means staying up all night.”
Then, laughing cheerfully, the new employee checked the time and said, “Well, I better get back to work now. Nice talkin’ with ya, Mr. Park.”
After watching him from behind, Nam Kyung, too, went back to his desk.
‘Paparazzi Academy. Capture anybody you want, even Yun Woo!’
Juho looked intently at the advertisement. Although he had heard that there had been paparazzi out to capture him on camera, the young author had never actually run into one.
Defined as a hungry insect strolling about for an opportunity to feast, the word paparazzi had its origin in Italy. Nevertheless, it was most commonly associated with celebrities. Most recently, there seemed to be quite a few of them infiltrating illegally operated karaokes and private institutes, reporting them for rewards.
Unfortunately, the paparazzi were one of the reasons that the young author couldn’t go near the publisher’s building. Since Yun Woo’s victory over the Hugo Award, more and more people had been lingering around the company building in order to capture the young author on camera. The name Yun Woo was still drawing massive attention. Although one might wonder how the paparazzi would take pictures of him without even knowing what he looked like, media tended to focus much more on the potential for attention than the truth, much more than most people thought. There were a handful of people who had been mistaken for Yun Woo because they had been at the award ceremonies, which was further proof of that. Even when articles that denied the rumors turned up, it took time until the excitement died down.
“You’re early,” Juho said upon seeing Nam Kyung when he arrived at their meeting spot. As the young author sat across from him, Nam Kyung told him, “I drove here.” Then, sipping on the fresh fruit juice that Nam Kyung had bought him, Juho observed him. Something was different about him.
“How’s school?” the editor asked.
“Same ol’, same ol’.”
“And the Literature Club?”
“It’s been fun. The new members have been getting noticeably better at writing, so I’ve been on my toes as of late. I think our library can expect some fine pieces of writing.”
Then, Nam Kyung sucked on the straw in his cup. However, drinking the juice with a straw was proving to be harder than it looked. Something had to be caught in the straw. Meanwhile, the young author observed him quietly. The conversation wasn’t all that different, but there was something awkward about him. Although Juho had a vague idea of what it could be, he decided not to bring it up until Nam Kyung brought it up first.
“Well, that sounds nice. A quiet, humble life.”
“It sure is,” Juho said. It wasn’t bad at all. Then, after nodding, the editor gave his straw another try, but to no avail. Eventually, he pulled out the straw and threw it away as his patience failed him.
“Man, what the heck is wrong with this straw!?” he said, opening the lid on his cup and pouring the juice directly into his mouth in a very animated manner. Meanwhile, Juho drank his juice with a straw, peacefully. Then, after crunching on ice chunks, Nam Kyung swallowed them and said in a determined tone of voice, “Mr. Woo.”
To which, the young author answered calmly, “Yes,” noticing the editor’s Adam’s apple moving up and down.
“Do you know what the most popular subject between the people in our company is?”
“I wouldn’t know. I can’t remember the last time I was there.”
“It’s you, Mr. Woo. Yun Woo,” Nam Kyung said, adding, “Everyone’s dying to know about you.”
Despite his slightly unusual demeanor, he still had a look on his face that Juho knew very well. Then, the editor asked in a low, resounding voice, “Are you planning on revealing yourself, Mr. Woo?”
At that, the young author answered calmly, “Yes.”
Then, blinking, Nam Kyung said, “Wait, what did you say?”
As Juho gave no answer, the editor took a deep breath.
“Did you say you ARE going to reveal yourself!?”
Juho nodded and said, “I fully intend on doing so.” The young author seemed to have already made up his mind and was ready to come out to the world with his mask off. At that moment, Nam Kyung couldn’t help but feel like his entire company had been made a fool of.
“Just like that? Was it that easy all along?” he asked, perplexed and suppressing all of his pent up emotions.
“I wouldn’t say it was an easy decision.”
“Actually, it sounds like it was very, very easy,” Nam Kyung said and Juho simply shrugged it off. There was no need to explain every detail of his thought process.
“Are you sure about this?” the editor asked repeatedly in disbelief. Juho was ready to accept that there would be times when he would second-guess his decision. He knew all too well what it meant for him to reveal himself from firsthand experience.
“Yes. I’ll be fine.”
‘I’ve gone through it once. It shouldn’t be that hard the second time around,’ he thought to himself with unfounded hope. At which point, Nam Kyung poured even more chunks of ice into his mouth, organizing his thoughts while chewing viciously.
“Then, I’ll arrange with the press…”
“No,” Juho interjected, raising his hand and Nam Kyung asked, taken aback by the young author’s sudden response, “Pardon?”
“It won’t be through the press.”
“… Then, how are you planning on doing this?”
“The common way.”
Because of the distance between Yun Woo and the word common, Nam Kyung couldn’t grasp what Juho was referring to.
“We’ll include a picture in my new book,” Juho said, referring to the ‘About the Author’ section of every book. At that, Nam Kyung thought of the format of the book that was to be released in Korea and overseas. Although it was common in Korean books to include a summary of the author in either cover of the book, that wasn’t the case for books in other countries. Assuming that they were putting Juho’s plan to action immediately, there was only one book that would allow them to reveal the young author’s face in the most efficient way.
“A working title, but yes.”
At that, Nam Kyung chuckled involuntarily. Things were taking an interesting turn. In that case, Yun Woo would be including a picture of himself in his book for the first time, which carried a story that he had thought of after watching a video of himself speaking on the phone. He would be including himself in a book about people who were trapped, while at the same time, forever trapped in a photo.
‘Impeccable,’ Nam Kyung shouted internally.
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