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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Wearing his uniform, which had the name of his school sewn on it, and after eating a quick breakfast, Juho went on his way earlier than usual. Because it was still early in the morning, there weren’t all that many people on the streets. He walked unhurriedly. Whenever he would walk up the hills, Juho would find his body tensing up. To go to school was to climb up a hill. Because of its location, there was no other way to get there. Upon arriving at the building, Juho had to walk up a set of stairs… as if he hadn’t been climbing enough. Eventually, he got to his classroom before anybody else. Although it was way before school would start, the junior had things to do. After putting his backpack down on his desk, Juho opened the window. Even the schoolyard was eerily silent. With that, after looking down at it for a little while, he headed for the staffroom, where he found his homeroom teacher.
At that, the teacher turned around.
“Mornin’,” he said while wearing his usual expression. However, something was different. Then, without saying much, the teacher rose from his seat and started walking toward another room, which was connected to the staffroom. Being the tactful student that he was, Juho followed him into the room. Juho remembered seeing some of his peers, who had some of the highest GPAs in the entire school, in that very room with a teacher, discussing their career paths. There was a clunky-looking desk in the center, which had a sheet of green cloth between its surface and the sheet of glass on top. Underneath the glass but above the cloth, was a list of things students needed to be mindful of when deciding on a career path. Each and every one of them sounded cumbersome.
“So, you’re Yun Woo, huh?” the teacher asked somewhat awkwardly. It had to be his first time saying something like that.
The teacher raised an eyebrow.
Staring at his student intently, the teacher burst out into a hearty laughter, either as if in disbelief of what Juho had just told him or that he had been Yun Woo’s teacher all long.
“So, is there some sort of document you can bring that will prove that?”
“And what kind of documents would that be?”
The teacher didn’t seem to have an answer in mind either. In the end, what came out of his mouth was a suggestion that didn’t sound like it was well-thought of.
“Well, you know… paperwork that shows that you’ve actually published those books. You can talk to your publishers about it, can’t you? If you really are Yun Woo, that is,” the teacher said, adding the last sentence quietly. At that, Juho was reminded of the living hell that he had found himself in in front of Zelkova’s building. Although he felt bad for his teacher, the young author had no intention of submitting any kind of document to him because he didn’t feel the need to do so. Then, thinking about the amount of time he had until the release date of his new book, Juho said, “It might take a while.”
“All right. Sooner, the better.” With that, the teacher stopped talking, as if trying to figure out what to say next. “You know, I’ve taught for thirty years now, but I’ve never experienced anything like this.”
Then, he added, “Although, it seems like going to college won’t be a challenge for ya. If you really are Yun Woo, that is.”
That time, the teacher let his thoughts out blatantly, but packaged as a light-hearted joke. Listening to him chuckling, Juho also said what was on his mind, “I’d like to drop out.”
“I’d like to drop out of school.”
After repeating the words drop out to himself in a murmur, the teacher said, “I wouldn’t advise it.”
That time, the teacher looked much more at peace. After all, he had a teaching career that spanned three-decades and he had to have met a number of students who had wanted to drop out of school.
“We’re almost at the end of the semester anyway. Besides, you’re a junior. You’ve met the required number of attendance days already. I understand where you’re coming from, so it might be better to just not come to school instead,” the teacher said. Surprisingly, he didn’t try to force the junior to come to school.
“There’s a whole process you have to go through in order to drop out. Not only will it be time-consuming, but you also have to go through counseling for a number of weeks. By the time you’re done with everything, all of your peers should be graduating.”
Adding some slight exaggeration, the teacher tried to talk Juho out of dropping out. As for Juho, it didn’t matter as long as he didn’t have to come to school. According to his past experience, his peaceful school life was about to come to an end. Although he would have considered staying in school if he had been younger, he was already a junior, which meant that he would be with his peers in an area secluded from the underclassmen. Because there had been times that his anonymity had worked to the disadvantage of others, Juho wanted to be as mindful of those around him as he could be after having revealed himself. Besides, he had never been all that attached to school. The only thing that was holding him back was the Literature Club. Although Juho wasn’t adamant about dropping out of school, he wasn’t exactly adamant about graduating either.
Still, he asked, “If everyone else will be graduating by the time I can drop out, what difference would it make if I were to just drop out?”
The teacher looked at his student as if looking at a naive child that knew nothing about the realities of the world. Then, Juho remembered that his teacher knew nothing about what kind of life he had led up to that point. At which point, the teacher gave him some lackluster advice.
“You won’t get your diploma,” the teacher said, as if telling him an answer to a question on a test. “You’ll regret it.”
Regret. Juho nodded in agreement. He had regretted attending a university in the past. But would it be the same this time? It was a possibility. Regret tended to come as an afterthought and, unfortunately, regret had always been able to latch itself onto most decisions. In other words, it was always possible for Juho to regret the life he had led up to that point altogether. After some contemplation, the junior said, “I don’t believe that I’m at a tight spot.”
“You said I’ll regret it if I drop out, didn’t you? One only finds themselves in a tight spot when they’re forced to do something they know they’ll regret doing. You see, I don’t think I’ll have to worry about regretting my decision because dropping out seems like a legitimate option for me.”
Then, caught off guard by his answer, the teacher said to him as if he was a freak of nature, “That’s because you’re Yun Woo.”
“So, now you believe me,” Juho said with s mil.e
At that moment, somebody came in through the door. It was Mr. Moon. As Juho greeted him, he greeted Juho back and told the homeroom teacher, “The principal wants to see you. Oh, bring him with you.”
At that, the two rose from their seats, opened the door and headed for the principal’s office, which was on the same floor. There had been quite a few students who had come to school while Juho had been in counseling with his teacher. Meanwhile, when the students who had been standing in front of the staffroom saw Juho, their eyes widened, as if they wanted him to walk away from them far enough so that they could talk about the young author among themselves. Just as they were wishing, Juho went into the principal’s office.
“Good morning,” he greeted the principal, who was sitting on a leather chair. As if preoccupied with something, he asked Juho and his teacher that they take a seat and wait. As Juho breathed in quietly, he noticed the smell of red ginseng in the air. Soon after finishing up, the principal sat on his desk, and Juho started to have a bad feeling that things were about to get complicated.
Juho heard those words a number of times after he walked out of the principal’s office and as he was climbing the stairs. The fact that people had started calling him Yun Woo made the junior feel frustrated. At the same time, part of him also felt relieved. While it all felt foreign to him, it also felt familiar at the same time. Juho stretched toward the ceiling. The talk with the principal had proven to be quite cumbersome. Maybe it was because it had been mostly the same as what he had talked about with his homeroom teacher. Repeating himself was quite tedious. At that moment, he heard Mr. Moon chuckling from behind him.
“So, you’re Yun Woo, huh?” he asked despite already knowing the answer.
Still, Juho played along, “Yes. I’m Yun Woo.”
“The twins are losing it.”
“I know. We talked on the phone.”
“What’d they say? Did they even believe you?”
Then, as Juho saw all the text messages piling on his phone, he was reminded of when the twins had learned that he was Yun Woo. He had called them without a delay, without fear, because he was confident of the evidence in his hand. In case the twins didn’t believe him, Juho had planned on bringing up the new book he was releasing. Gong Pal already knew a part of it and it would be more than enough evidence on top of the photo of himself with Kelley Coin. However, as soon as the ringing stopped, the twins let out with excitement, “So that’s what it was!”
They were exhilarated, like they had figured out the answer to a difficult question. When hearing their voices, Juho couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Everyone else is in the science room,” Mr. Moon said. Juho recognized the need to explain the situation to his clubmates. As Juho walked up the stairs and along the hallway with Mr. Moon, James turned up. Upon seeing the two, the English teacher walked toward them at once.
“So, that voice WAS you!” James said in English. It occurred to Juho that James might have recognized his voice since they had had quite a few conversations.
“Yep. You recognized my accent, didn’t you?”
While looking like he couldn’t believe that he was acquainted with Yun Woo, James also seemed quite excited to have learned the truth. He had accepted that Juho was the mysterious young author all along, and his knowledge of Juho’s language skill had to have contributed significantly to that.
“Your name always came up whenever my friends and I would talk about Yun Woo. I would always tell them that I have this student with an unbelievable sense of language and that he’s so impressive that I want to introduce him to a professor I know. But who would’ve thought that you would be Yun Woo? Everything’s falling into place!”
Juho had never heard James talk so fast since they met.
“Life can be funny, don’t you think? By the way, I put your data to good use.”
“Wait… you don’t mean…?”
“For ‘Language of God.'”
As James’ earlobes turned bright red, he threw his arms up in the air. It would be obvious even to students who didn’t speak English that he was exhilarated. Although James wanted to talk some more, Mr. Moon intervened, saying, “Juho has a place to be. Why don’t you two catch up another time?”
“Another time? Who knows when that’ll be!? Are you planning on still coming to school?”
Then, Juho calmed James down by sharing his phone number with him.
“If there’s anything I want to ask regarding the English language, I’ll give you a ring.”
“You got it. I’ll give you a call if I have a question about English as well,” James said briefly, nodding, and Juho smiled. Even if Juho were to graduate, there were relationships that were meant to continue. Then, as Juho walked through the hallway with Mr. Moon, the teacher looked at the young author and said, “It feels like it was just yesterday that I doubted you were Yun Woo.”
“Tell me about it.”
The hallway had been empty back then. But now, there were a number of students around them staring at the young author. Because he was with a teacher, Juho probably looked like he had gotten himself in trouble. Although there were students who put themselves on equal footing to Juho or that looked down on him, Juho paid no attention, knowing that they were coming from a place of lack of trust. Thankfully, there were no more students around by the time he and Mr. Moon were getting close to the science room. As Mr. Moon opened the door, Juho saw his clubmates sitting around his seat.
“Hey,” Seo Kwang said, waving at him, and waving back, Juho took his seat. Then, as soon as he sat down, the twins struck up a conversation with him, “Yun Woo.”
“What do you want?”
“It’s Yun Woo!” the twins let out, locking eyes with each other, intrigued. The rest of the club also brought up the name Yun Woo for no apparent reason.
Meanwhile, Bo Suk asked with her eyes sparkling just as much as her name, “Did you hear? The library is off limits.”
At that, Juho brow furrowed slightly, and he asked, “It’s not because people are rushing in to read my writing, is it?”
“It’s precisely that.”
It wasn’t all that difficult to imagine the situation. There were still students who doubted whether Juho was really was Yun Woo. In order to find an answer, they had all rushed to the library to read the piece written by Yun Woo, which had been written under the name Juho Woo.
“I’m telling you. The name Yun Woo is an advertisement in and of itself,” Seo Kwang said, nodding. Meanwhile, the twins had unusually cheerful smiles, and Mr. Moon had an unsurprised look on his face.
Then, Juho sighed as he gave up trying to explain himself and said, “Yep. It sure is important to promote.”
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