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The Great Storyteller (Web Novel) - Chapter 277: A Bad Tasting Drink (3)

Chapter 277: A Bad Tasting Drink (3)

This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog

Translated by: ShawnSuh

Edited by: SootyOwl

As the value of the two short stories rose at an exponential rate, the school officials also started paying close attention to maintaining the books. Some argued that they needed to be removed from the library in order to conserve the work of the school’s very own world-class author. However, the young author wanted the exhibition to continue, and the school had no choice but to respect his opinion. To make matters worse, as the school’s concerns about the exhibition grew, one of the attending students had been caught trying to steal the very books the school had been worried about. From then on, it became obvious what would happen next.

“Just like that, nobody can read those short stories anymore.”

The fans were envious of Yun Woo’s schoolmates for their access to the young author’s short stories. However, that envy had been short-lived, and the schoolmates were no longer the subject of envy.

“That moron really stirred the pot,” Sun Hwa said, and Seo Kwang gnashed his teeth as if the thief had become his worst enemy.

“I feel really bad for the underclassmen. There’s only so much fun they can have at school, and without those books, school will become even less interesting for them,” Bom said. Meanwhile, Baron was resting his chin on his hand with an unsurprised look, just as unfazed as the time when he had heard his posters had been trampled over by the frantic crowd.

“That’s as expected. If anything, I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner. Those were Yun Woo’s unannounced short stories.”

“That doesn’t mean some dimwit who can’t even control himself should have the same privilege as everyone else. If he had actually gotten away and had those books to himself, that would have been stomach-churning,” Seo Kwang said, looking explicitly at Juho. He had to be expecting a certain answer. Although Juho avoided his friend’s gaze, drinking his beer instead, Seo Kwang didn’t let up.

“Are you STILL not gonna publish them?”

And after immersing himself in thought for a little while, the young author said, “I don’t know.”

Needless to say, his clubmates didn’t find his answer satisfactory.

“Just do it already!” Sun Hwa shouted, as if representing the deepest desires of the young author’s fans. Seo Kwang, too, nodded with exaggeration and agreed with her.

“I think you should do it, Yun Woo,” Baron said, sitting on the couch, and Bom also agreed with him. Then, Juho couldn’t help but chuckle as he saw an uncanny resemblance to another experience.

“I feel like I’m reading through the comments on some article about me.”

“See? You get where we’re coming from. C’mon, we wanna read those short stories again!”

“I actually have them with me right now. Do you want them?”

As Seo Kwang hesitated noticeably, Sun Hwa grabbed him by the back of the collar of his shirt and said to Juho, “OK, I have to ask you. Why are you so against publishing them?”

“I didn’t realize I had scheduled a meeting with my readers today?” Juho said.

“Damn it, you’re killin’ me!” Sun Hwa let out, almost as if she’d punch him at any given minute.

“They’re both incredible, and to be honest, none of us thought that they should stay in school. And now, just look at how things turned out! Just publish them already! What’s keeping you?” Sun Hwa asked.

Juho was in a tighter situation than he had realized, and he was certain that his clubmates wouldn’t take it well if he were to tell the truth. Their piercing gazes came at the young author like arrows, anxious to hear his answer.

“I just don’t really see the point.”

“What?!” Sun Hwa let out as her brow furrowed. To which, Juho explained, “I’m not all that interested in the things that have been happening at school lately. Most people are curious about the short stories because of their correlation with ‘Language of God’ and the Black Book’s cover.”

“But…”

“And I, personally, don’t think those short stories are all that great. That isn’t that say that they’re so bad that I’m afraid to let others read them, either. Either way, they still have a ways to go until they’re decent, and I don’t even feel like reading them again. So, with all that said, I have no passion for publishing them.”

“Still…”

“And there’s the writing style. Since I wrote as Juho Woo, they won’t feel even remotely similar to Yun Woo’s style. If anything, it won’t all that long until people realize just how alien those stories feel.”

“…”

With that, Juho took a sip of his beer.

“But they’re still your stories,” Seo Kwang said, and Juho nodded, saying, “That’s right. I wrote them.”

“And you wrote the ending to ‘Sublimation,’ too.”

“Yep.”

“If the short stories get out to the world, people will realize just how versatile you are as a writer,” Seo Kwang said in a calm tone of voice, and seeing the lack of change in Juho’s expression, he added, “I’m sure you don’t really feel like explaining yourself to anyone, but once your readers realize your versatility, they’ll be able to appreciate your books at a much deeper level, which also means they’ll be able to enjoy them even more.”

“You think so?”

“Both of your short stories are topnotch in terms of quality. On top of that, how many short stories has Yun Woo published in relation to the number of full-length novels? This would be an opportunity for you to give your fans just what they want.”

“Hm…”

“Although, the outcome could always be different from the hopeful picture we have in mind. What IS certain, though, is that your readers are thirsty for them. Desperately so. Are you just gonna neglect them?”

“If you put it that way, then that makes me the bad guy,” Juho said, chuckling.

“Well, you might not be far off. In fact, it won’t be long until people start complaining about you not publishing them.”

Then, Juho asked out of impulse, “Should I?”

“Really!?”

“But what if Juho Woo gets his feelings hurt? They’re his first pieces.”

“Nah! He’s a bigger man than that. He’ll understand.”

“Then, should I go for it?”

“You mean it though?”

“But they’re just too short.”

“….”

As Bom guzzled down her beer, Juho offered her some snacks.

“Don’t drink too fast.”

With that, Seo Kwang started moaning about how ineffective his speech had been. However, he couldn’t be further from the truth. As it dawned on the young author that he no longer had the luxury to remain silent, he started entertaining the thought of meeting up with Nam Kyung to discuss the matter. Then, remaining unfazed on the outside, Juho put his beer down quietly.

“Be safe,” Juho said as he saw his clubmates out. Although they looked much more excited, their excitement had little to do with alcohol.

“Seriously, give it some thought,” Seo Kwang said, grasping Juho’s shoulder.

“All right,” Juho said haphazardly. After waving his hand at his clubmates and closing the door, their voices could be heard fading into the distance. The once-boisterous house was now silent.

‘Everyone’s grown up now,’ Juho thought to himself as he gathered the trash and wiped the table. None of his clubmates were in high school or had to dress in uniforms anymore. The conversation about the immediate future was still fresh in the young author’s mind. They were worried about what was ahead of them: the new beginning. Was that because they were no longer within the safe boundaries of school, or were they thinking outside of the boundary of the present? Having become part of their past, high school was no longer a subject of fear for them. At that moment, Juho rubbed his right hand as he felt a tingling sensation on it, struck by inspiration.

“School.”

“Oh, yeah! That’s the stuff!”

After coming home earlier than usual, Nam Kyung took a beer out of the refrigerator upon arrival. Since he had already eaten beforehand, he didn’t need anything else. Then, walking over to the living room, he sat down and took his laptop out. His biggest concern had been the requests by Yun Woo’s fans flooding the office as of late, wanting the young author to publish the two short stories.

“What a mess,” the editor let out as he logged into the company’s website. The bulletin was filled with people’s requests for Yun Woo’s short stories. It was quite the contradicting sight from the past, when there had barely been any users. The fan cafes and blogs were in a similar state, and there was a considerable number of people who had become members of the cafes or the blogs for the sole purpose of leaving a request. As a reader and a fan himself, it wasn’t hard for Nam Kyung to understand where those people were coming from. After all, the editor was also one of the people who sincerely hoped for the short stories to come out to the world.

“I don’t blame you people. I’d pay to read those short stories.”

The two short stories written by Yun Woo under the name Juho Woo had been growing increasingly valuable among his fans. Not only had the stories been written while the young author had still been anonymous, but they had also been written in secret. The fans were entirely justified in their curiosity and their desire to read and own them. Knowing all this, Nam Kyung was predicting that the short stories would be massive success.

“Although, it’s still a mystery to me why he’s so uninterested.”

However, Yun Woo tended to be aloof when it came to success. While it did set him apart from all other authors, it did leave the editor perplexed. The young author didn’t trust the overwhelmingly positive response of his fans. On top of that, the result was only good when he was satisfied with his work, no matter how successful it might be. It was no different this time around. The fact that there were countless people wanting the short stories to be published didn’t necessarily lead the young author to believe in his skills. Although Yun Woo’s posture made him a trustworthy author, Nam Kyung found himself in a bit of a tighter situation than usual.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to publish them now, when everybody wants it the most.”

If it had been up to Nam Kyung, he wouldn’t have hesitated to get started on the publishing process. ‘How can I convince him?’ Nam Kyung thought to himself as he organized the data about Yun Woo in his mind, thinking about bringing the idea up to the young author the next day. At that moment, as he was looking piercingly at his phone next to him for no apparent reason, the screen lit up all of a sudden.

“Juho?”

Yun Woo was calling. Then, without hesitation, the editor picked up the phone and answered the call with gladness.

“Hey, Juho.”

“Are you busy?” the young author said in his distinctively calm and peaceful tone of voice.

“I’m havin’ a drink,” the editor said, shaking the beer in his hand.

“By yourself?”

“Nothing too fancy, though.”

“I had a drink earlier, too,” Yun Woo said. At that, an unexplainable emotion washed over Nam Kyung. The young author, who the editor had known since he was a minor, had reached an age when he was legally allowed to drink. Time had flown by.

“Maybe this is what it’s like to be a father.”

“What do you mean?”

“Let’s go out sometime, you and I,” Nam Kyung asked, feeling warm on the inside, possibly from the alcohol. As an editor in Korea, watching an author grow up into adulthood was an incredibly rare experience, and knowing that, Nam Kyung considered himself lucky.

“Speaking of which, why don’t we meet tomorrow? I have something I want to talk to you about.”

“Is this work-related?”

“Yes.”

“Then, my answer is always a resounding yes.”

Yun Woo’s writing had brought absolute benefits to Zelkova, which also placed him on a rather influential position.

“But what is it that you want to talk about?” Nam Kyung asked. It wasn’t common for Juho to take the initiative to talk. At which point, Juho responded in a calm tone of voice, “My short stories.”

When the very words that he had been thinking intensely about up to a moment before came from the receiver of his phone, Nam Kyung sat up involuntarily.

“As in THE short stories!?”

“Are we on the same page here?”

“School.”

Then, a low, but innocent-sounding chuckle, which implied confirmation, came from the receiver of the editor’s phone.

“Are you thinking about it!?”

“I just wanted to talk about it with you.”

“Yeah! Absolutely!”

Although it still wasn’t clear what it was going to be about, it was certainly good news. Then, after making plans with Juho, the editor hung up, determined to convince the young author to publish those short stories.

“Been a while since we came here, huh?”

“Yeah.”

For the first time in years, Juho was at the restaurant near the editor’s office, which they had visited once in the past. The fact that there were private rooms in the restaurants made it a convenient spot for a meeting.

“The magazine’s doing pretty well, huh?” Nam Kyung said light-heartedly. Since the release of the magazine, fans had been absorbing every bit of information about Yun Woo like sponges, and its sales alone were proof of that.

“There are quite a few people who are impressed that the interview was carried out entirely in English.”

“Is that right?”

Although it was trivial and insignificant, seeing Yun Woo on the screen of a computer or a TV had been alien and distant to his fans. The interview in the magazine had successfully removed that distance between his fans and their favorite author almost instantly.

“But nothing comes close to how much people talk about the background in the photos.”

The place in which the interview had been carried out, the author’s home. Stacks of manuscripts of towering height. The fans had grown wild, as if having obtained clues that they had long sought after. They were ecstatic that Yun Woo could be within the boundaries of common knowledge and rationality.

“A lot of people seem to see your frugal lifestyle in a positive light.”

“See, I don’t think I’m frugal at all. Yet, I get that a lot.”

“That’s because you’re Yun Woo.”

“I get that a lot, too,” Juho said, chuckling quietly. He was starting to get a grasp for how others viewed him, and Nam Kyung seemed to be quite satisfied by how the young author was being received, saying, “I don’t think there’s been a single reader who came to oppose buying your books after finding out who you really were.”

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