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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Juho was able to understand the absence of courage in the boy on the screen, who answered the reporter’s questions while cautiously studying his expressions. The boy’s behavior was closer to basic courtesy and bore a close resemblance to pretense.
“How did it feel when you found out that the classmate next to you was Yun Woo all along?”
“I was taken aback.”
“Had you noticed anything strange before?”
“Yes, I had.”
“Then, how would you like to leave a message for Yun Woo?”
A troubled look appeared on the boy’s face, and the camera was capturing every moment of it.
“Hey. So, you were Yun Woo all along, huh?”
He was unbearably awkward, and Juho heard the students in the background looking and laughing at him. At that moment, Juho had the liberty to watch the interview whenever he felt like.
“Did you know that Yun Woo was a part of the Literature Club at his school? We will now take some time to meet his clubmates, who were active in the club with Yun Woo, also known as Juho Woo.”
“Finally,” Juho let out. He had been waiting anxiously for his clubmates to appear on the screen. However, something was odd. The camera showed the crew heading in a completely different direction from the one Juho had in mind. They were headed for the English class. Yet, the crew kept on as if nothing was wrong. As they arrived in front of the classroom and opened the door, Juho let out, “What the…”
The screen showed his clubmates sitting shoulder to shoulder in the English class, tense and frozen. The atmosphere was noticeably different from that of the science room, which was run down, yet welcoming. Juho started to get a feel for the situation. The camera focused on his clubmates’ faces, one by one. They looked quite funny.
“Could you guys introduce yourselves briefly?” the reporter asked. Knowing that his clubmates were capable of fulfilling the request, Juho was able to relax. Seeing his friends on the TV screen was quite a strange experience, but an entertaining nonetheless.
However, as the self-introductions dragged on, Juho noticed the segment had been cut short by adding strange visual effects along with their names and grades in subtitles. It was clear that the interviewer was interested in Yun Woo and Yun Woo only. The interviewer asked the club members the same ol’ questions, and the entire interview lost its charm at once. The interviewer kept asking questions the club members had no way of answering. Yet, they were answering them to the best of their abilities.
“… You mean, Yun Woo never won an award in an essay contest?”
As the interviewer let out, a sound effect came from the TV speakers, and the screen quickly transitioned to a different scene. It was the part of the science room where they used to keep Bom’s trophy. In other words, it was completely void of Yun Woo’s awards. It was a scene that was included to emphasize that Yun Woo had never won an award at an essay contest. It was unexpected, shocking, and intriguing all at the same time. Then, after raving on about his thoughts in the matter, the screen transitioned to yet another scene. Mr. Moon was nowhere to be seen for the entire show.
“They must’ve cut him out completely,” Juho said, wondering what the teacher might have said.
‘Yun Woo. What Kind of Student Was He? We Visited His School in Search of the Answer.’
‘We Find Out Just How Popular Yun Woo Is. The School Puts Up a Banner with His Name on It: “A Proud Author.”‘
‘Yun Woo’s Real Name Reported to be Juho Woo. An Ordinary Member of a Literature Club was Actually Yun Woo!’
‘Anecdotes Relating to Yun Woo. The Writing That Shocked His Peers.’
‘Juho Woo, the Proud Pupil. His Teachers Speak Up. “There was Something Extraordinary About Him.”‘
‘The Student That Stood out for Some Reason. Juho Woo, a Teacher’s Pet?’
‘Yun Woo was a Model Student. Remembered to be Well Behaved.’
‘The Pride of the Underclassmen. Yun Woo According to the Younger Members of the Literature Club.’
‘Viewers Respond to the Interview. Highest Viewer Rating at the Time. The Show Marks the Highest Viewer Rating in History. The Interview of the Literature Club. The Best One Minute?’
‘Did Yun Woo’s Friends Know About Yun Woo’s Identity? “It Was Hard to Keep the Secret.”‘
‘Yun Woo Was NOT in School During the Hugo Award Ceremony! All the Pieces Come Together!’
‘What was Yun Woo’s Response After Winning the Nebula? Reported to Be Calm and Unfazed. “I Didn’t Notice Anything Different.”‘
‘A Closer Look at His Peers’ View on Yun Woo as Juho Woo, and His Ordinary Daily Life.’
‘Yun Woo Really is Nineteen? What Makes It Shocking When We Already Knew It? The Reason He’s Drawing So Much Attention.’
‘An Unexpected Truth Revealed During Interview. “Yun Woo Never Won an Award in an Essay Contest!”‘
‘To Yun Woo is to Double Crown? ‘Juho Woo Had No Part in It?’ A Suspicious Truth Discovered.’
‘What Were Some of the Contests That Didn’t Give Yun Woo an Award? Controversy Rises.’
‘The Web in Confusion. “There’s Not Enough Room for a World-Renowned Author in This Country?”‘
‘An Author That Nobody Recognized. Why Did the Essay Contests Neglect Him?’
‘Who Won the Awards That Yun Woo Couldn’t Win? Inquiry In Progress.’
‘What Are the Criteria in Essay Contests? Varies Per Contest. “There’s More than a Possibility That Yun Woo Couldn’t Win.”‘
‘Yun Woo Reported Having Separate Manuscript for Contest. “It’s Not the Same As Writing a Book.”‘
‘Why Couldn’t Yun Woo Win? Questions Grow.’
“Questions?” Nabi let out with a chuckle. The so-called questions were a mere product of the media. Despite the interview containing noticeable edits, the reporters were spewing out articles that caused confusion among fans.
“These morons,” Nabi said internally. Yun Woo was an author of international recognition. In other words, it wouldn’t be long before the video of the interview spread to other countries. Yun Woo was essentially the face of Korea at that point. Yet, the broadcasting industry was preoccupied with its own benefits, all the while making a fool of itself.
“Not a chance,” she said while looking at the data on her ongoing projects. She was in the process of reviewing the various requests flooding in from overseas. The press started coming for the young author as soon as he revealed himself, and Yun Woo also seemed to have accepted that reality, as if he had been expecting it. He was quite trustworthy, and as his agent, Nabi had been giving her best in every regard.
What she wanted wasn’t just another interview for the sake of damage control for the recent so-called interview, which was of embarrassing quality. She believed that people needed to have a long-term perspective since Yun Woo would continue to write for a long time. Therefore, his fans needed a deeper understanding of the young author, and Yun Woo’s activities had to work in conjunction with that. Looking at the renowned companies that wanted Yun Woo, Nabi comforted herself.
“Yun Woo doesn’t have to hold back anymore.”
The theories and assumptions running rampant in the media would no longer be true.
“Is it time?” Juho said, checking the time and rising from his seat. In order to avoid being recognized, he had been wearing a hat whenever he had to go out lately. And just as a precautionary measure, he put a mask in his pocket. At that moment, he received a text on his phone. It was from Nam Kyung, saying that he had arrived at the front of his house. As the young author stepped out, he saw a car, and as he soon as he got into the car through the passenger’s side, the editor said with a determined look on his face, “Today’s the day.”
Juho was well aware of what was happening that day.
“It sure is. The first official interview.”
“Yun Woo’s first official domestic interview to be precise,” Nam Kyung said as he pushed his glasses up. From then on, the car would be heading for the station.
“Did you warm up your face and all?”
“Yeah, sort of,” Juho said with a yawn. From what he had been told, the questions had been chosen based on the number of votes they had received by the fans.
“Seems like they did a lot of the work.”
“Of course. They’re interviewing Yun Woo of all people. They have to.”
Juho looked forward to how the interview would go. And opening the window, he said, “I’m sure they’ll keep us on track. Besides, it’s not live either, so they can always edit things out later.”
“Absolutely not. Do not trust anyone there. They’re determined to get as much out of you as possible. They’re enemies, every single one of them. Do you understand?”
Nam Kyung’s driving was slightly more aggressive than usual, and Juho knew the reason behind it. It was because of the articles that said that Juho Woo, unlike Yun Woo, hadn’t won a single award in an essay contest.
The young author reminisced to the day when Nam Kyung had first called him regarding the matter, as well as to bring up the plan that he had had in mind, “What do you say we do an official interview, Mr. Woo?”
In other words, he was suggesting that they fight against the press in the way the press understood best: with media exposure. Juho was also aware of people’s reaction after the interview had aired. There were quite a few people wondering why Yun Woo hadn’t been able to win a single award in an essay contest. There had also been signs of conspiracy theories brewing. Because the young author had yet to make an appearance on TV, all the articles up to that point had referred to the photos included in his new book. Seeing as though his picture with Coin was floating around on the internet, Juho had had a good feeling, and because he had discussed things with Nabi prior to the question, he had been able to reach a decision with relative ease.
“Aren’t you nervous? It’s your first interview,” Nam Kyung asked, and Juho said with a smile, “Probably not as much as you are.”
“Me? I’m not nervous.”
“Is that right?” Juho said, looking at his deathly pale face. “It’s not my first time, technically.”
Though Nam Kyung seemed puzzled for a brief moment, he caught on to what Juho was referring to shortly after.
“You mean the interview at school?”
“Yes,” Juho nodded, thinking of the monkey.
Meanwhile, Nam Kyung’s brow furrowed, and he said, “That’s different. Do you not know where we’re going?”
“Of course, I do. To an interview that we chose carefully.”
“You know, I feel uneasy looking at you at times.”
“I feel uneasy about you driving feeling uneasy, Mr. Park.”
At that, Nam Kyung grasped the steering wheel by reflex.
“I know you’re not the type to get fazed by anything, but things might be different once you get there. Prepare yourself. I brought some sedatives too, so let me know if you need any.”
“Will do,” Juho said, nodding for the time being.
After a brief silence, Nam Kyung brought up a different subject, as if feeling the need to comfort the young author, “Well, how’s it been? Things are a lot different now than they were before you revealed yourself, huh?”
“Not that different, actually. The only thing different is that there are more people who recognize me.”
“C’mon, now. Don’t be modest. Tell me what it’s like to be a star,” Nam Kyung said, but the young author responded by simply smiling. After looking out the window for a while, Juho felt the irresistible urge to yawn. Because he had gone to bed late the night before, he felt his eyelids getting heavier. In the end, the young author told his editor, “I think I’ll get some shuteye.”
“I’m sorry. I feel bad when you’re the one driving.”
“No, that’s not the issue. Are you saying that you’re gonna take a nap now?”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“You do realize you’re about to make a TV appearance, right?”
“Of course, I do. I can’t fall asleep during taping, so I’ll get some sleep while I still can.”
“You’re serious? That wasn’t a joke?”
Instead of an answer, Juho pushed the backrest of the seat all the way down.
“Rise and shine! We’re here.”
Juho opened his eyes at the sound of Nam Kyung’s voice. When Juho sat up and looked around, he realized that they were in a parking lot.
As he rubbed his face with his hands, Nam Kyung said in a dumbfounded voice, “You slept like a baby.”
“I sure did,” Juho said, feeling much lighter. He didn’t feel too terrible.
“C’mon,” Nam Kyung said, rushing the young author while getting out of the car. After putting his hat on and pulling it down, Juho followed him.
“Hello, Mr. Woo.”
“Pleasure to meet you.”
The two exchanged greetings with two other people who had come out to welcome them, the main producer and the main writer, respectively. There was a banner that read ‘Yun Woo’ on the door of the waiting room, and following the young author into the room, the main writer gave a brief explanation of the show and left the room, returning yet again shortly after. There were bento boxes on the producer’s and the writer’s hands. It seemed excessive that two people were carrying such a load.
“Please feel free if you haven’t eaten yet.”
Along with four kinds of side dishes, there were pieces of deep-fried pork cutlet next to the rice, and on the wrapper of the wooden chopsticks, was the logo of a famous bento box chain. Even after handing the young author the bento boxes, the producer and the writer lingered in the room, as if they had a question. In the end, Juho looked at them and asked, “Would you like some?”
“Oh, no. We already ate. But, uh… Would you be willing to take a picture with us?” the writer said, adding that he had enjoyed the new book with a cheerful smile. Since he had no reason to decline, Juho posed for a picture with them.
“Enjoy your meal, Mr. Woo.”
With that, the two finally left the room, and having been feeling hungry since waking up, Juho picked up one of the bento boxes.
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