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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“Want me to see you out?” Seo Kwang asked, and Juho shook his head as he gathered his senses.
“It’s fine. The next period is about to start.”
With that, his clubmates waved goodbye since they couldn’t leave the building. And with a reference book in his hand, which he planned on throwing out, Juho went down the stairs. When he reached the hallway, he came face to face with even more people. The long, straight hallway made it impossible for anyone to hide, as it exposed anybody walking through it. Being well aware of that, Juho walked while looking straight ahead. The students murmuring to each other became clearly audible, and Juho could tell that they didn’t look at him in such a positive light. It was quite strange. Not everyone seemed to think of him as a fake. There had to be those who believed that Juho was actually Yun Woo. However, it was likely that they wouldn’t dare speak up. The responses were obviously one-sided, and it was clear what the dominant beliefs were. ‘Yun Woo is a fake, at least in this school.’ It wasn’t exactly a conclusion Juho was fond of.
“Yo, Yun Woo,” a voice called to the young author mockingly.
Then, shortly after, Juho felt something hit the back of his head and fall to the ground. When he looked down, he saw a crumpled up piece of paper. Bending at the waist, he picked it up and opened it. It looked like a set of incomplete notes. Although Juho looked around in order to return it to whoever it belonged to, his efforts were in vain. Whoever it was, they were hiding in the crowd, never to reveal their face. In a situation where anonymity was maintained, even the crassest of deeds were tolerated. Feeling the heftiness in his hand, Juho couldn’t help but sigh. Then, he looked up at the sky, which was blocked by the concrete ceiling. With that, the young author went on his way unhurriedly.
When he was just about to go down the stairs, another voice called to him, “Hey!”
When Juho turned around, wondering what kind of projectile was coming toward him that time, he saw the monkey charging toward him at a frightening speed. Then, grabbing onto his shoulders, he asked, “You were Yun Woo!?”
Looking at the monkey gasping for breath, Juho said, “Yeah.”
“I knew it!” the monkey said, clutching his hair as soon as he heard Juho’s response. He didn’t seem like the type who cared about how others looked at him. “I got an interview out of Yun Woo!”
The monkey was having a deeply emotional experience, and after writhing with joy for a little while, he looked up all of a sudden.
“This will look good on applications, don’t you think?”
“I wouldn’t know.”
“C’mon. It’s interview time! The Yun Woo Special! Oh, yeah! Remind me where you were going again?”
He seemed to be thinking out loud at that point.
“Home,” the young author said briefly.
“I’m not coming to school anymore.”
After blinking quietly, the monkey started asking desperately for the reason behind Juho’s decision. Because he wasn’t in the mood to explain himself all over again, Juho gave him a brief summary instead, “Because I’m Yun Woo.”
Thankfully, that sentence was enough to convince the monkey.
“Right. Right. Then, what about the interview?”
“I’m afraid you’re too late.”
At that moment, the joy that had been on the monkey’s face disappeared at once as regret washed over him. Since becoming a junior, he had been distancing himself from the Newspaper Club for various reasons and, because of that, he hadn’t been able to interview the young author even after ‘Fingernails’ was exhibited in library. He had chosen to focus on preparing for the SATs instead.
Meanwhile, Juho comforted the monkey, “You gotta study.”
Unfortunately, Juho’s attempt at trying to encourage the monkey turned out to be in vain.
“How’s that an issue when Yun Woo’s right in front of me!? Are you trying to play hard to get now that you revealed yourself, or what!?”
“I turned down your interview last year too, didn’t I?”
“No! You can’t do this to me! I’m barely starting to understand your writing, which means I can ask even better questions now. I’m not letting you go that easily. Oh, no,” the monkey said desperately. Unfortunately, his desperation made little difference to Juho. While he was pushing the monkey away as he clung on to the young author’s arm, which was already heavy from the sheer weight of the things he had been carrying, a voice said to the monkey, “He’s not actually Yun Woo.”
It seemed to believe in what it was saying. Then, the monkey rolled his eyes around in order to find out from where the voice was coming, but he gave up shortly after.
“And how do you know that?”
That time, there was no answer. Instead, what returned to the monkey in place of an answer was anger. Rather than supporting its conjecture with evidence, the voice was backing up its statement with its emotions. Caught off guard by the sudden outburst, the monkey appeared to be slightly intimidated by it. Meanwhile, Juho quietly listened to the angry voice. He found himself remaining silent yet again, as if he didn’t have a mouth. Then, the young author brushed his hand down his face.
“I guess I can come clean now.”
Juho looked at the monkey. The young author was able to communicate with him just by looking, as if he were talking to him. After all, he was Yun Woo. Then, he handed half of the things he had been carrying to the monkey. Although taken aback, the monkey took Juho’s things from his hands. With that, feeling much lighter than before, Juho ran down the stairs, nearly leaping. His hair was blowing in the wind. Although he was clearly running downward, the young author felt as though he was flying. The faster he ran, the farther away he got from the voices around him. He bolted across the hallway.
“Hey! Where you goin’!?” the monkey asked with a puzzled look on his face, following him. To which, Juho answered while putting pressure onto his stomach, “The broadcasting room.”
“You know how to work the machine, right?” Juho asked, thinking of the broadcasts that played through the speakers during lunch every single day. The Newspaper Club had also taken part in them before. Meanwhile, the monkey answered, sounding unsure, “Sort of…?”
“OK, that’s good enough.”
“Why the broadcasting room, though?”
By the time the two arrived at the broadcasting room, the monkey was huffing and puffing. As Juho opened the door, he was greeted by an empty room that smelled of dust. Then, after turning the light on, they put down the things they had been carrying.
“Turn it on.”
Walking past the monkey, who was questioning the young author with a dumb expression on his face, Juho closed the door.
“Turn the thing on and make my voice go out every speaker in the school.”
“… I didn’t actually think you’d go this far, but isn’t this a bit excessive?”
“I’m just trying to explain myself, that’s all. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?”
“But you didn’t get permission.”
“Nobody out there got permission to insult me, either.”
As the monkey hesitated, Juho patted him on the shoulder.
“All you gotta do for me is to turn this thing on. You can go after that.”
Although he sighed, the monkey didn’t seem like he was completely dreading doing what he had been asked. If anything, he looked excited. He knew his way around the complicated-looking console, which was filled with all kinds of buttons. Then, moving only the necessary parts, the monkey managed to activate the P.A. system. Although his movements were still awkward, the system seemed to be in working order. Then, a jingle sounded throughout the entire school, indicating an incoming announcement. As the monkey nodded at Juho affirmingly, Juho brought the microphone up to his mouth.
“One. Two. Can everyone hear me?”
There was no answer. Then, peeking his head out the door, the monkey raised his thumb up at Juho as a gesture of saying goodbye and a signal that everything was good. “We’ll save the interview for another time,” the monkey said, mouthing the words silently. Then, he left the room without even looking back. Because the door couldn’t be closed from the inside, Juho found a broomstick and put it against the door in case anybody tried to come in.
“Hello. Yun Woo speaking,” he said into the microphone. Introducing himself with a microphone in his hand was quite a foreign experience.
“I repeat. This is Yun Woo. By now, I’m sure everyone heard the news that Yun Woo is in this school. Well, you heard it right. I’m Yun Woo.”
The hallway was still quiet for some reason, which gave the impression that everyone was listening to what he was saying. It wasn’t hard to imagine the students sitting in their classes, looking up at the speakers, discussing among themselves whether it was really Yun Woo or not. Among them, were a handful who recognized the voice and smiled.
“I was planning on leaving quietly, but I kept getting the impression that I’m not very well liked around here. Now, I realize that there is one last thing I want to say. Oh, is there anybody who doesn’t want to hear me talk? I understand. I know what that feels like. I heard some really harsh things through the course of the day. Well, anyway, sorry if you were expecting me to tell you how not to hear my voice.”
Then, Juho licked his lips, feeling somewhat thirsty.
“It seemed to me that a lot of people were having trouble accepting that I’m actually Yun Woo. I mean, at the end of the day, I can’t tell you what to believe or not to believe, but that isn’t to say that you can say whatever you feel like to me. Nor am I saying that you can throw stuff at me. I’m not saying that you can treat my friends badly, either. I’d like for you all to know this.”
With that, Juho moved around a little. As the microphone shook, a dull sound came from the speakers.
“Today’s been seriously hectic, let me tell you. You see, I’ve been planning to reveal myself for a while now, and I’d discussed with my publishers before putting it into action. But then, an unforeseen circumstance happened that forced my plan to take place much sooner than I had anticipated.”
Then, he paused, took the time to catch his breath and continued, “In other words, I had a very formal way of going about this in mind, and in there, you’d definitely find clues that would prove that I really was Yun Woo all along. If things had gone according to plan, though, I probably wouldn’t have been so excited about coming into the broadcasting room.”
The school was still quiet, and it was not a bad feeling.
“Thanks to those who claim that I’m a fake, my plan isn’t completely ruined.”
Juho cleared his throat.
“I’m Yun Woo, whether you believe me or not.”
No matter how much that offended people, nothing would change that fact. It couldn’t, it wouldn’t.
“Would you like to know the truth?”
At that moment, Juho heard footsteps approaching in the distance. It had to be of those who wanted to know the truth. In which case, Juho had only one thing to say, “Read the books. Not only will you find the wisdom of life, but also clues that will lead you to Yun Woo. Read the books.”
With that, Juho paused in order to resist the urge to chuckle. The message that had been delivered to an entire school would eventually be known to the rest of the world through another medium. ‘There has to be at least one person who’s recording all this,’ he thought to himself, rising from his seat. Then, he made a brief closing statement, “Thank you.”
With that, Juho walked out of the room, leaving the system still on. As soon as he walked out to the hallway, he saw a crowd walking toward the broadcasting room in the distance. At that, he rushed down the stairs and out to the schoolyard. Although he had a lot to carry, it wasn’t enough to slow him down.
Then, a voice came through the P.A system, “Yun Woo. Juho Woo! Where’d he go??”
Upon hearing that, Juho felt satisfied in knowing that he had been heard. ‘That should do it,’ he thought to himself.
When he looked back, there wasn’t anyone following him in the schoolyard. Soon, the bell started ringing through the entire campus, indicating that the next period had started. Assured that he had gotten away, Juho walked unhurriedly. At that moment, Juho saw a familiar face standing under a tree.
Wearing ordinary clothes, the recent graduate had been watching the young author since before Juho even realized that he was being watched.
“What brings you here?”
“I came here to see you. Heard you revealed your identity.”
“Did you hear it through the P.A system?”
“I would have heard it even if I didn’t want to. I heard it all the way from the other side of the walls.”
‘It must have been pretty loud,’ Juho thought, shrugging.
“I see that you’ve hardly changed.”
“But it seems like those around you are also always looking to cause a ruckus.”
“I am Yun Woo after all,” Juho said. He couldn’t remember how many times he had said those exact words, and it felt like he was trying to finish all of the homework he had been putting off at the last minute.
“Right,” Baron said in agreement. The schoolyard was empty and silent. Initially, Juho had decided to remain anonymous so that he could have a peaceful school life. However, as time passed and situations changed, the young author also changed his mind and eventually revealed himself to the public. Nevertheless, there were still quiet moments in life.
“How does it feel now that your face is known?”
Inhaling deeply, Juho said, “I think I’ll manage.”
“Tryin’ to play it cool?”
“I mean it.”
With that, Baron walked toward the school building, and looking at that brought Juho a sense of peace. Just because one had graduated, that didn’t mean that they could never return to their school. Then, Juho walked out of the gate to see, in the distance, a broadcast van heading toward the school, so the young author made haste.
That day, when he arrived at home from school, he received a text message from Nam Kyung telling him that the company had made an official announcement. Zelkova had talked to the press about Yun Woo’s decision to reveal himself and detailed how the young author was planning to go about it. Then, news regarding his new book turned up, and Juho logged on to the internet without a delay. There wasn’t even a need to type anything in the search engine. He simply looked at the list of most searched words.
“‘An Insect Leaves No Trace.'”
It was the new and finalized title, the result of the working title ‘Insect.’ Not only did it fit the contents of the book, but Juho was also quite fond of the critical edge pointing at his picture, which was included in the book. Then, unable to hold back any longer, Juho burst into laughter.
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