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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
At Juho’s suggestion to ask Baron, who was in college, the faces of the club members lit up. Not only was it a simple solution, but it was more than possible to put it into action.
“Honestly, I was thinking about talking to him too.”
Sun Hwa and Bom said candidly. Although Baron had been the only upperclassman they had interacted with, that didn’t take away from the fact that he was their upperclassman. Even if it wasn’t clear as to whether or not he’d be able to offer any helpful advice, it was a far better option than remaining silent and hoping for the best.
“How close is he now?”
“Don’t know. Give him a call.”
Baron was joining them a little later because of his part-time job. At that moment, just as Sun Hwa was about to call him, the doorbell rang, and everyone immediately thought of Baron at the same time.
“Do you think it’s Baron?”
“It’s gotta be.”
Then, after checking through the peephole, Juho said, “I’m telling you. It’s almost like he knows when we’re talking about him,” and opened the door.
“Baron!” a voice cried out before Juho even had time to greet the guest.
Then, walking into the apartment without hesitation, Baron greeted his former clubmates. Seeing as though they were drinking, he said, “You guys already started drinking?”
“We just started.”
“Come join us!”
At the club members welcome of him, which was noticeably more aggressive than usual, a suspicious look appeared on Baron’s face. Then, spotting the magazine, he asked, “Is that the magazine that’s so hard to come by?”
“Would you like one for yourself?” Juho asked, nearly giving up at that point.
“Hey! You tryin’ to leave me out of this!?” Seo Kwang interjected in order to make his struggle to obtain a copy of it known.
“We barely got our hands on it too.”
“Good job,” Baron said haphazardly. Then, he sat on the couch and started reading the interview in the magazine.
“I’ll just have one. I have to work tomorrow too,” he told Sun Hwa, who was offering him a can of beer. There was no excitement in his voice, nor was he making a fuss over the fact that he was drinking alcohol.
“College really changed you, huh?” Seo Kwang said. Unfortunately, the upperclassman was busy looking at the photo of the young author.
“This is a good photo.”
“Good thing the photographer knew what he was doing.”
With that, Baron immersed himself in the magazine, his eyes scanning through the pages. And as Juho watched him quietly, Seo Kwang asked, “Did you ever catch up with that person?”
“From the book concert. The one that met you.”
Juho had yet to have made contact with her. Although, it hadn’t been that long since the magazine had been published.
“I’m still waiting,” Juho said. He was waiting for her to show herself first. At that, a mischievous look appeared on Seo Kwang’s face.
“I hope she takes her sweet time and makes Yun Woo antsy.”
“And how would she benefit from me being antsy?”
“You know, seeing things from her perspective. Do you have any idea how badly these people wanted you to reveal yourself?”
“But you knew. You’re guilty by association.”
“… Touché,” Seo Kwang let out as his confidence faded away quickly.
Then, ignoring Seo Kwang, who was struggling to understand if he was a reader or an accomplice, Baron, with his eyes still fixed on the magazine, told Juho, “You sound like somebody who’s gone through his share of failures.”
At that, Juho felt as though the can of beer in his hand was getting heavier.
“Is it that apparent?”
“There’s consistency to your answers. You knew the things you were saying.”
Then, looking piercingly into the magazine, Baron said, “Judging from these answers alone, I don’t think you’ll ever let your success get to your head. Seems like your readers will be able to rest assured.”
That was the reason why so many readers, who had worried that the young genius might change one day, were so fond of the interview. Then, Sun Hwa interjected, “I mean, you can just tell from the apartment that he chose to live in,” and pointed around the room.
“It is a little modest to be Yun Woo’s home,” Bom said quietly.
“It’s so small! It’s tiny!” Sun Hwa said emphatically.
To which, the young author rebutted, “It’s just right for me.”
“It’s just too small for Yun Woo, you know?” she said, impressed, and added, “People will be shocked when they find out what kind of place you live in. Oh, wait. They already do.”
“That shock is very much ongoing,” Seo Kwang said, confirming Sun Hwa’s statements.
“I don’t think it’s all that modest. Isn’t this house plenty big for a first apartment?” Juho asked. Considering when he had been homeless in the past, his current situation was a tremendous blessing. A good house wasn’t determined by its size, and Juho knew that from firsthand experience.
As the young author looked around his new home with a satisfied, affectionate look on his face, Bom said, “I think you forget that you’re Yun Woo sometimes.”
Then, nodding emphatically to Bom’s statement, Sun Hwa narrowed her eyes and said, “This might be a big house for us, but you can afford to live in a much bigger, nicer place.
As his clubmates agreed with Sun Hwa, the young author smiled and asked, “You sound as though you know how much money I have.”
“Of course, I do!” she said emphatically. “You have quite a lot,” she said confidently. There was not one bit of doubt in her voice.
At that, Juho stared into the air for a brief moment and said, “Well, yeah. Sure.”
“What’s with the answer? You’re loaded, aren’t you?”
“OK. Now, I’m getting suspicious.”
“It’s just that everything’s relative. Besides, didn’t you guys have questions for Baron?”
“That can wait. Seriously, what’s going on?”
Despite Juho’s attempt to change the subject, being the children of the capitalist society that they were, his clubmates insisted on knowing more about the subject matter, and the fact that there was alcohol involved didn’t really help the situation.
“Just give me a ballpark, then. I’ll tell you how much I make in a year later, too,” Sun Hwa said in attempts to make a tempting offer.
In the end, Juho fessed up, “I used up all my money.”
At that moment, an array of expressions appeared on his friends’ faces. Then, Sun Hwa shouted, “I knew it! I knew you were just too clean! What is it? Are you a spendthrift? Did you get into gambling? Did you start a business that fell apart?”
“They all sound kind of scary for jokes, Sun Hwa,” Bom said with a smile. However, the subject at hand remained unchanged. A wealthy boy had spent every last penny in his possession. When that sentence started to sink into the clubmates’ minds, they all reached similar conclusions.
“If that’s the case, then people might view this interview in a slightly different light,” Baron murmured. The news would not only affect the interview but the young author’s writing as well. However, Baron didn’t sound all that serious.
“C’mon! Does that sound like something he’d do?” Seo Kwang said, taking Juho’s side and asking in a serious tone, “You invested into your next project, huh? What did you need? A world-class painting? A boat? A personal plane? Whose thoughts did you want to know?”
“Maybe that’s it,” Sun Hwa said, nodding as if convinced by Seo Kwang’s conjecture. Considering Yun Woo’s character, it made sense that he would invest large sums of money into things like that. As everyone’s eyes sparkled with curiosity, Juho said, “That’s not it,” to their disappointment.
“Then, what is it!?”
“I thought my friend was loaded!”
Seeing his clubmates were reacting very emphatically, Juho said nonchalantly, “I just let ‘it go where it wanted to.”
“OK, now you’re just pulling my leg. What? Did your money tell you that it refused to be in your pocket?” Sun Hwa said without hesitation.
“I would if it had a mouth! Seriously, what did you spend your money on!? How much did you spend!?”
As Juho took his time answering, Seo Kwang grasped the young author by the shoulder and said, “All right. I won’t force you to tell me. It might be something a lot worse than I realize. But know this, your friend will be living in a perpetual state of fear and unending curiosity.”
It was closer to a threat. Although Juho didn’t deny that he had to think quite a bit before telling the truth, he wasn’t necessarily trying to hide it, either. After all, he hadn’t done anything wrong. As the young author immersed himself in thought for an even longer time, the silence grew heavier. Then, moving Seo Kwang’s hand from his shoulder, Juho said, “I donated it.”
“I’ve been donating it to different places.”
As dumbfounded looks appeared on his clubmates’ faces, Juho took the opportunity to take a sip of his beer.
“That’s it?” a voice let out, disappointed.
“Well, that’s good,” another voice let out, relieved. Eventually, it wasn’t long before the sense of relief became mutual among the clubmates.
“OK. Fine. Yun Woo’s impeccable in every way. Whoop-de-doo,” Sun Hwa said, throwing her arms into the air. Soon, everyone was giving the young author an admiring look that made him feel uncomfortable. What Juho had predicted would happen was happening before his eyes, which validated him taking his time in answering his clubmates bombarding him with questions. Then, Seo Kwang straightened Juho’s clothes, only adding to the discomfort Juho was feeling.
“Well, then, I guess that settles it. So, what was it that you guys wanted to ask me?” Baron said, changing the subject in the nick of time. As Baron started talking about his college experience, it became more apparent to the others that their futures were looking less and less hopeful, which caused them to drink even faster than they had been. Just like that, they acquainted themselves with alcohol.
“Slow down, now. Eat something,” Juho said in an attempt to keep his clubmates from drinking too fast. Meanwhile, after emptying an entire can of beer in the blink of an eye, Seo Kwang called to him, “Mr. Woo.”
“What?” Juho answered, checking his face to see if he was drunk. Thankfully, one can of beer didn’t seem to be enough to get him drunk.
“When are you gonna publish those short stories of yours?” Seo Kwang said clearly, which made Juho realize that his friend wasn’t drunk. Juho was well aware of what he was referring to. Seo Kwang had been referring to the two short stories that Yun Woo had written as Juho Woo. Since their existence became known, that became a much-discussed topic among fans, and their requests for them to be published had been ongoing to that day.
“I already said that I wasn’t going to,” Juho said, remembering what he had said in the TV interview.
“But things are different now, don’t you think?” Sun Hwa said.
Just like she had said, the situation had changed. During the interview, Juho had answered the questions with the certainty that those short stories would remain as pieces written by Juho Woo. He had assumed that he’d be able to remain as Juho Woo. However, the young author’s assumption had turned out to be false.
“Nobody can read those short stories now,” Juho said, taking another sip of his beer as the words left a bitter taste in his mouth. The two stories that he had intended on keeping at school had been taken down as the exhibition period expired.
“I’m still in denial about what happened at school back then.”
Juho had also heard the news. As the interview, which had been held at the school, came out to the world, every student at school had the same thought: ‘I gotta read Yun Woo’s short stories.’ Suffice to say, students started flooding into the library, and the policy to keep exhibited books in the library proved to be a disadvantage at the time.
“All of our books got destroyed,” Bom said bitterly. The books written by the club members had been destroyed by the crowd. The two books that had been exhibited to either side of the two short stories had fallen to the floor. Yet, nobody had bothered to pick them up or even pay attention to them, ruining them eventually.
“Mr. Moon was so angry that day.”
The teacher’s anger had been fully justified. Although those books might not have meant much to most people, they had been the fruits of the club members’ labor.
The books had been put together with the help of many, Baron, who had taken the time to design their covers amid his hectic schedule, being one of them. Care and anguish, burden and effort. Gratefulness and guilt. Those were the very things that had been destroyed by the students who had flooded into the library. The Chinese teacher, who was also the Book Club’s homeroom teacher, had even made rounds through the entire school to warn the students of each and every class, saying, “If this happens one more time, there won’t be another exhibition, ever!” Meanwhile, Mr. Moon had written an announcement and passed it out to each and every class. It had been a strong warning and it seemed to have had been somewhat effective. However, it wasn’t long until the students started acting out again.
“And the exhibition eventually ended, just like that,” Baron said as if sighing. The result had been obvious.
“Thing is, I wish I could say that that was the end of it, but it wasn’t,” Seo Kwang said, looking at Juho. Then, after taking another sip of his beer, Seo Kwang said, “There was this prick who tried to steal both of your short stories.”
At that, a bitter smile spread across the young author’s face.
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