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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“I miss Baron.”
“Ask him to come visit.”
“He’s super busy though.”
As Juho and Bo Suk talked about Baron, a loud clapping sound came out of nowhere.
“What if you go professional? You know, as an author! You’ll be so popular,” Gong Il said looking like she was both serious and joking, while her twin brother was agreeing with her enthusiastically. At that, Juho simply smiled without saying much. Meanwhile, Bo Suk stared intently at the young author.
“There’s something about the name Yun Woo that makes people wanna buy more books. You have more than enough potential to be like him, Juho.”
“I have a better idea. What if you guys try to bring more people in with your writing?”
“That’s easier said than done,” the twins said, shaking their heads. Then, as the bell started ringing and the entire Literature Club came together in the science room, Juho opened his laptop. Although he didn’t have anything to work on necessarily, he had been in the habit of writing on a whim. And as usual, there was nothing out of the ordinary during club activities. While some talked to each other about books, others either joked around or help the younger members with their writing.
At the end of club activities, the club was divided into two groups: the juniors, who went back to their classes, and the underclassmen, who headed home. Unlike his peers, Juho had permission to go home like the sophomore and the freshmen, but because he had a place to be of his own, he parted ways with the younger members. It was the small library within the school, and as Juho had expected, there was nobody inside when the junior opened the door. It was as quiet and peaceful as usual. Remembering his younger clubmates telling him that the exhibition in the library had been getting fewer visitors than the previous year, Juho walked further into the library, toward his piece. Along with the sign that read ‘Literature Club,’ there was a brief description of each piece. There were quite a few books since all of the juniors and the younger members had participated that year. Then, as the junior looked through his clubmates’ well-written stories, he came across his own writing: ‘Fingernails.’ Although he started skimming through it briefly, it wasn’t long before he closed it back up and returned to pieces written by his clubmates.
Upon looking at them, Juho realized that his peers had come a long way from way they started. They had reached impressive skill levels, and each and every one of them had improved drastically since first joining the Literature Club. They had grown, matured, and become proficient, and as if to prove that, Juho saw traces left by other students who had read their stories. In other words, readers. At that moment…
“I enjoyed it.”
… a familiar voice said from behind him. ‘Isn’t she was my age? I didn’t think she’d be here,’ Juho thought to himself. To Juho’s surprise, the girl was still in the library, holding a book in her hand. She was the reader who had expressed hope that Juho would keep writing. Then, with a lingering attachment in her eyes, she stared intently at Juho’s piece.
“I guess I won’t be seeing your writing for much longer. It’s the only reason I’m not looking forward to graduating.”
“That’s flattering,” Juho said. Actually, he was quite fond of what she had said.
“Will I ever come across your writing again in the future?” she asked.
“Without a doubt,” the young author answered confidently. That day would be coming soon. Then, she looked at him with a puzzled expression on her face, as if confused by his confidence.
“I’m sure I will, as long as I’m alive.”
“That’s a fancy way to put it,” Juho said.
She seemed to be going through something in her mind. Then, after a brief pause, she said, “When I discover that not a single university in existence wants me, for example.”
Juho shrugged. Books had always been within their readers’ reach. As long as they made up their minds to reconnect with them, books were readily available for them. In the meantime, she returned to her post, and that was the end of their interaction. Coming out of the library, Juho walked down the stairs and, finally, out the front gate of the school. Then, standing still in front of the metal gate, which was closed halfway as if to convey that only certain individuals might pass through it, the young author looked up at his school. The security guard was nowhere to be found. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the person standing in front of the gate was a junior who was about to graduate in the near future. The realization that he didn’t have much time left in that school left a bitter taste in Juho’s mouth. Then, after staring up at the building for a little while longer, he went on his way.
“Should we go somewhere?” Juho said to his mother, looking out of the patio window. The weather was pleasant and, as if aware of that, the pedestrians on the street were all in a hurry to get somewhere, all while their faces were filled with joy.
“Sounds good! Should we go to the Han River or something?”
While talking about a potential picnic, Juho’s eyes went to the TV, which they had left on for a no apparent reason. It was showing a number of celebrities, and among them, was Myung Joo Mu, who Juho hadn’t seen in a while. The actor had been busy appearing on a bunch of TV shows in order to promote his new drama.
“He’s a good actor,” Juho’s mother said while looking at the actor on the screen, and the young author agreed. Myung Joo was an incredible actor, and most viewers who had seen him onscreen were bound to agree. His versatility as an actor brought joy to his fans. Before Juho realized, the subject of the conversation had taken a completely different turn, from a picnic to the actor.
“Do you still keep in touch with him?”
Unlike with Sang Young or Soo Jung, Juho hadn’t kept in touch with the actor. Although he had his phone number, they were never close to each other, and their relationship was no more than that of a fan and a celebrity. Besides, Juho hadn’t had the time to watch the drama Myung Joo was in, which meant there was even less of a reason to call the actor. Nevertheless, the young author was happy to see the actor onscreen.
“Your phone’s ringing.”
Juho rose from his seat at the sound of his phone vibrating on the desk in his room. Entertaining the possibility that it might be the actor, he checked his phone’s screen. However, to his disappointment, it was his editor, Nam Kyung. Blue sky. Picnic-goers. Peaceful day. Then, a disrupting buzzing noise came from Juho’s vibrating phone. Something wasn’t right.
There was no response.
“Hello? Mr. Park?”
“Your picture’s turned up.”
‘What does that mean?’ Juho wondered. The first thing that came to mind at the word picture was Coin’s face.
Then, in his distinctively low voice, the editor said, “Yun Woo’s picture’s turned up.”
“What are you talking about?”
The internet was the largest communication network for computers in the world, which connected the entire globe. Also referred to as ‘the sea of information,’ it was to that place that Nam Kyung was directing the young author, and Juho started to have a bad feeling.
“Why?” he asked.
“I told you. Yun Woo’s picture’s turned up,” Nam Kyung repeated himself.
Because Juho had left his computer on, it didn’t take long for him to access the internet. The first thing he saw were the most searched words, which were updating in real-time. Yun Woo. Yun Woo’s identity. Yun Woo’s face. Yun Woo picture. When he clicked the last one, he saw a list of articles that referred to another article with the word exclusive next to its title. The article at the top of the list read, ‘Paparazzi Snaps a Photo of Yun Woo Having a Meal with His Editor-in-Charge. Photo Revealed.’ Applying pressure into his fingers, Juho clicked the article in order to read it. Then, a massive picture of Nam Kyung and Yun Woo appeared on the monitor’s screen.
“Have you seen it?” Nam Kyung asked.
“I’m looking at it,” Juho answered and added, “This isn’t me, though.”
At that, a deep sigh came from the receiver of Juho’s phone. Just as the title of the article suggested, Nam Kyung was definitely in the picture. However, the person eating with the editor wasn’t Juho.
“It’s my nephew,” Nam Kyung said. “He’s your age. We ate together some time before I met with you,” the editor added, remembering the canceled business trip that day. He had met up with his nephew in place of a canceled business trip he had had one day, and it wasn’t until a week later that he met with the young author at their usual meeting spot: the botanical garden.
“So does that mean the paparazzo took a picture of some random person thinking that he was Yun Woo?”
“That’s right,” the editor said. Nam Kyung was well acquainted with the company responsible for distributing the photo. “Their articles are just ridiculous. I mean, their most convincing one is on a theory on the moon actually being a man-made satellite,” he said as if forcing the words out of his mouth.
Then, getting lost in the details, Juho asked in a delayed response, “How’s your nephew?”
At that, the editor answered with a sigh, “He’s having the time of his life. He’s exhilarated that he doesn’t have to go to school until this commotion dies down, and that he’s become a superstar overnight. I’m telling you, it kills me when I see him.”
The photo had come out with quite the energy to it, and Nam Kyung complained to the young author that his nephew had been fond of that.
“That’s good to hear,” Juho said and moving on to the next question, “So, how are you planning on going about explaining this?”
“How else? I’ll let the press know that it was my nephew. Although, the higher-ups seem to be worried about what to tell them first. In any case, there should be an article turning up by the end of today.”
The publishing company had the young author’s confirmation that he was planning on revealing himself. In which case, there would be a number of ways to go about handling the situation. One way was to leverage the commotion to their advantage. If they were to make a federal case out of an event, in this case, one of their employees experiencing hassling, it would prove to be a great promotional tool. While it was likely that people would criticize the publisher for mishandling the situation, people were bound to be equally curious about Yun Woo and how he would respond. At that point, the company would draw a line by the end of the day. It was clever judgment on their end.
“Everyone’s on full alert. There’s the book fest that we decided not to push back, for one, and there’s even a bigger crowd gathering in front of the building to see you. There are even reporters now.”
“That makes sense.”
“Anyway, DO NOT come near the building, all right? I gotta go,” Nam Kyung said and hung up in a hurry. Then, as the call ended abruptly, Juho stared at his phone intently for a little while, the busyness on the other end of the line still lingering in his years. Juho had been told a number of times not to go near the building by that point due to the paparazzi and reporters lingering around the vicinity of it. ‘There are just too many eyes. It’s risky for you to be here.’ Yun Woo’s popularity far surpassed what anybody could have imagined, and ironically, the young author himself was the only person who wasn’t aware of that fact. Looking intently at the picture of Nam Kyung and someone who was being assumed to be Yun Woo for a little while, Juho rose from his seat.
“I was planning on coming clean anyway.”
With that, he changed out of the clothes he was wearing. When he walked out of the room, his mother, who had been listening to his conversation with the editor, asked, “Is something wrong?”
“Oh, no. I think it’ll sort itself out,” Juho said, adding a brief explanation of what was happening.
“I’m goin’ out.”
“Where are you going?”
“The publishing company.”
“I want to see it with my own eyes,” he said with a smile. With that, the young author went on his way. It had been a while since he had been on the bus going toward the company. Although the bus was filled with people, it moved forward unhindered, passing the restaurant Juho had a memory of visiting with Nam Kyung. The photo believed to be of Yun Woo spread at an increasing rate. Meanwhile, Juho got off the bus along with many others who had been on the bus with him.
“So crowded in there,” somebody said. Just like they had said, the book fest was booming with people. When the young author went inside, there were a slew of booths set up by officials from various publishers, serving as guideposts while selling and promoting books. The book covers in different colors painted a beautiful scenery. If Seo Kwang were to be there, he would have been completely mesmerized by the view. Unfortunately, fate was cruel to him since he was a high school junior.
People were looking at the books, talking to their groups about them. While it was quite crowded, Juho didn’t sense any real danger. For a reason he couldn’t quite understand, Juho found himself having trouble remembering where to go. Perhaps, it had been simply too long since he had been in the area, or maybe, it was the busyness of the book fest.
After meandering through the crowd for a little while, Juho was able to find his way to Zelkova. He was made certain of that by the changing scenery around him growing farther away from the festival crowd and its friendly and welcoming atmosphere. They all faded away, as if the air had carried one’s desire for possession away.
“Who’s that?” a person in the crowd let out at the alarming sight. Reporters were camping out in front of the company building with large, black cameras set up to aim toward the building. A handful of them were aiming toward the crowd gathering in front of the building. Then, Juho realized that one of the circular lenses was pointed directly toward him.
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