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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
When the reader looked at the young author, she immediately remembered what Juho had looked like when they had first met while waiting in line for the concert. As the light shone on his face, it dawned on her that Yun Woo was still quite young.
“Honestly, I appreciated you talking to me. I’d never been to a concert up to that point.”
“I’m so glad that I was able to help in some way. I’ve actually been to quite a few.”
A concert hall was a familiar environment to her, and the Yun Woo she had seen back then had obviously not been used to being in one. If she had known that the young high school boy was Yun Woo, she wouldn’t have been so brave as to strike up a conversation with him so seamlessly. If anything, she’d have frozen like she was in the present,
“I’m not quite used to eating at a place like this,” Yun Woo said, which the reader thought was directed at her. As she watched the young author looking around the interior of the restaurant, a question that she had been meaning to ask finally came to her.
“Is this your first time here?”
Which the young author answered calmly, “It is. I asked my editor-in-charge for some recommendations, and he brought up this restaurant. I gotta say, the food is quite good.”
The young author’s considerate nature was more than enough to melt the heart of the reader. Unfortunately, she had no time to savor the food. With Yun Woo before her eyes, the taste was hardly a concern. Then…
“Thank you,” she said rigidly, and the young author waved his hand in denial. As his long fingers came into her view, it occurred to her that it was with that very hand that the young author wrote.
“The pleasure’s mine. Also, I apologize for not introducing myself properly and openly back then,” Yun Woo said.
“Oh! No, no!”
Considering that Yun Woo had had to keep his identity hidden back then, it made sense to her that the young author had had to be so discreet. In her mind, the author didn’t owe her an apology. At the same time, his humble and modest nature made him all the more likable. After that, the reader looked up to observe him some more. He was in the middle of eating. She looked attentively at her favorite author, from his eyes, which were looking down at the plate, to his lips, and his thick, dark eyebrows. His straight posture stood out. He gave an impression that he would naturally smell like paper and ink. She clasped her hands together as the desire to take pictures of him came rushing back. Although his pictures were no longer a rarity on the internet, that didn’t make her any less willing. There was something special about Yun Woo. If she were to describe him as food, he would be similar to a stockpile of emergency rations: the bigger the pile, the more at peace one would feel.
“Did you realize that I was talking about you when you saw the interview?” Yun Woo asked, looking at the reader.
“I did. I remember writing a post on the fan cafe. I still remember it.”
She also remembered Dae Soo Na pointing to the young author in the audience as the concert had neared its end. She recalled having been quite suspicious back then. When she told the author how she had felt during that time, Yun Woo was impressed.
“You’re quite observant.”
Then, she felt all of her facial muscles moving up on their own, much like her mood. As an active member of the fan cafe, who uploaded at least three posts a day, her state of bliss was completely justified, and it was no longer possible for her to act normal while the person she had been writing about was sitting in front of her. But what about Yun Woo? This had to be his first time eating with an actual reader after revealing himself. Then, after glancing at him, the reader looked down. There was a question in her mind that she wasn’t entirely comfortable asking.
“Do you have something you wanna ask me?” Yun Woo asked.
“Please, feel free.”
The young author had an attitude that was consistent with the one he had had in the recent magazine interview. The celebrity author who had been interviewed by a renowned American magazine was sitting right in front of her. In the end, the question that had been lingering in the back of her throat came shooting out of her mouth.
“How does it feel to meet with a reader?”
At that, a gentle smile spread across his face.
Unfortunately, what came out of the young author’s mouth wasn’t exactly the sweetest sounding words.
“How so?” she asked.
“It’s my first time. I’m delighted to be here, but I’m kind of nervous at the same time.”
“Nervous? I wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t told me.”
“I suppose that’s a good thing.”
When she discovered that the author was actually nervous, she felt more at peace. Then, as she became more comfortable, the question she had been holding back came out involuntarily.
“Would you mind showing me your hands?”
“I’m curious about what your writing hands look like.”
“They’re just as plain as everyone else’s,” the young author said, putting the knife down and putting one of his hands out. Although she reached for it with both of her hands, she didn’t grab it. Instead, with her hands lingering around the young author’s, she scanned through the hand she had been so curious about. With its long, bumpy fingers, it was a neat looking hand, and the young author had written a number of masterpieces that had brought him to the top with it. When she thought about that, the author’s hand looked much more magnificent than any other hand she had come across up to that point. She felt an affection for him. She liked the young author in front of her. More precisely, she liked his writing.
“Would you like to take a picture of my hand too?” Yun Woo asked. At that moment, a waiter, who was dressed in the traditional attire of white shirt and black pants, walked past their table, glancing at the young author and briefly locking eyes with the reader. When she saw that another person had recognized her eating, taking pictures, and talking to Yun Woo, she felt a sense of bliss and happiness wash over her.
“Oh! I’ve been curious about the bird.”
“The bird, you say.”
“Yes. I’ve always wanted to know what it signified in your writing.”
Usually a significant being in his novels, the bird had always been closely associated with Yun Woo, and he had offered no explanation in any of the interviews he had been a part of, either. When she observed him, he was deep in thought. Then, his eyes narrowed shortly after.
“I’m afraid I’ll have to keep that a secret.”
“That’s not surprising.”
“But if I were to tell you just a little bit,” Yun Woo said, pausing briefly before adding, “There’s a part of me that always wants to soar up to the sky.”
That was the reason for the bird to be included in most of his novels. It was ambiguous on one hand, but it somehow made sense on the other. The bird was a representation of Yun Woo.
“Then why did you have the brother twist the bird by the neck and kill it in ‘Trace of a Bird?'”
Then, Yun Woo looked intently at her, and it occurred to her that she might have made a big mistake by asking that question.
“That’s a sharp question,” he said.
“You think so?”
With that, Yun Woo looked to the side, into thin air, deep in thought.
“That’s a good question. Why do you think I killed it?” he asked. However, he didn’t sound like he genuinely didn’t know. It wasn’t a difficult question by any means. In fact, it was so easy that a possible answer came to the reader’s mind almost instantly. Ironically, Yun Woo wasn’t big on coincidence. However, once the author brought up the answer, her doubt became fact.
“You’re a handsome man,” the reader said in order to salvage the situation. Yun Woo seemed to be caught off guard by her remark, as if he had heard a word that he had never heard before. However, they weren’t merely empty words. There were quite a few fans who thought he was handsome, and as an active member of the fan cafe, the reader would be able to testify to how her fellow members thought of the young author and his looks.
“Beauty is very much subjective,” Yun Woo said as he barely managed to think of an answer. Then, recognizing that the precarious atmosphere had passed, the reader asked another question in order to confirm that the young author was still open to answering more questions.
“So, there’s something else I’ve been really curious about.”
“I’m not sure if I can ask about something like this.”
At his answer, the reader felt relieved. Like most fans, there was a burning question on her mind. It was a topic that was bound to come up at the mention of the young author’s name: The fate of the short stories.
“It’s about the short stories,” she said, and Yun Woo nodded quietly, as if he had predicted she would ask about them. ‘How old was he again?’ she thought to herself, feeling less confident about the things she knew about the author.
“Will you publish them at all?” she asked.
“Would you like to see them published?” Yun Woo asked the obvious question, and the reader responded by nodding emphatically.
“Yes. I’m dying to read them,” she said, hoping that her eagerness would get across to the young author. However, unlike the reader, a peaceful smile appeared on Yun Woo’s face.
“So, I’m gonna tell you a little secret.”
“I’m listening,” she said in anticipation for what he was about to say. Yun Woo had always been mindful of his readers’ expectations.
“They’ll come out in the near future.”
And it was no different that time. The reader felt her heart jump. And being the tactful author that he was, having recognized that she wanted a confirmation, he explained it more to her in a friendly manner, “They’ll get released, no matter what.”
Upon hearing the exciting news, she felt the sudden urge to scream with joy.
“You’re serious, right!?”
“I wouldn’t dare lie to my reader.”
“Would it be OK if I told other people?”
After all, good news needed to be shared.
“I’d prefer it stay a secret between us, but I don’t think it’ll change the world or anything if you were to spill the beans, either.”
Although it was an ambiguous answer, the reader was still ecstatic that Yun Woo was finally publishing the short stories, just like his readers wanted. Then, despite having decided to not let her emotions get the best of her, she said, “Honestly, I had really debated on whether or not I should take pictures of you back then.”
“Back then as in…?”
“In the concert hall.”
“Ah,” Yun Woo let out, indicating that he understood what she was referring to. As Yun Woo answered Dae Soo’s questions, the reader couldn’t help but think that the boy might be Yun Woo, and her intuition had led her to take her camera out. However, what had kept her from pressing the shutter release button had been the signs within the hall, which read: ‘Photography Prohibited.’ Although she had been fully aware that she shouldn’t be taking pictures, her urges had been quite strong. In the end…
“So, I ended up putting it back in my bag,” she said, wearing a candid smile for the first time, adding, “In hindsight, I think I did the right thing.”
Because she hadn’t given in to her urge, she had been able to meet her favorite author at the restaurant. If she were to have given in to her desire and taken pictures of the young author, she wouldn’t have been able to come out to meet him. She would have been known as a reader with no regards for rules by her favorite author, and it wouldn’t have been long until the news had gotten out that she hadn’t abided by the rules.
“Also, I think meeting you without knowing who you were was for the better.”
“Why is that?”
“Because if I had known who you were, I would have been way too nervous to even say a word, frozen, kind of like how I’ve been today. You wouldn’t have remembered my challenging spirit either,” she said, adding shortly after, “and I’m genuinely happy that you took your time with your decision to publish those short stories. Thanks to you, I have the privilege of being the first fan to know.”
Although she was fully aware of how selfish that sounded, she wanted to remind the young author that there were readers who found delight and joy in his decision. Then, with an ambiguous look on his face, Yun Woo said, “Right,” clasping his hands together and rubbing them. The seemingly strange behavior continued throughout the meal. Scratching and pinching, the young author behaved as if his hands itched unbearably, all the while with a peaceful look on his face. However, when she decided that it was time to take pictures of the author, his behavior was no longer of concern. She was also preoccupied with thoughts of getting the best photo possible. With that, she took her camera out of her bag.
“I recognize that camera,” Yun Woo said. To which, she replied, “I made sure to bring this one.”
Standing shoulder to shoulder with Yun Woo, the shutter sounded from the camera.
“Oh, no! I blinked!” she said. From then on, they took a few more pictures together, and needless to say, the first thing she did after returning from the glorious meeting with her favorite author was to write a post on the fan cafe.
“I took pictures with Yun Woo! Picture included. A gift from Yun Woo.”
‘Hello! Yes, I am that person you’re thinking of, the one who ran into Yun Woo by coincidence. Well, let me tell you, today was anything but coincidental because I met with him. For those who might not be aware, although you’ll know what I’m about to tell you immediately if you’ve read the recent magazine interview, Yun Woo shared an anecdote in his most recent interview: that he had attended the book concert as a member of the audience. Shocking, I know. And I happened to have talked to him while waiting in line for the concert, all without even knowing he was Yun Woo. Anyway, as you’ve probably figured out from the title, we had a nice conversation over a delicious meal in a high-end restaurant in Cheongdam-Dong followed by a brief photo session. Unfortunately, I don’t have a whole lot to say about the food since I was too nervous to even taste what I was eating.
‘First of all, I’m sure most of you are curious about what the experience was like. At first, I was so nervous that I couldn’t say a word to him, like a fan meeting their favorite celebrity. Not only did I get a closer look at his writing hand to my heart’s content, but I also took pictures of it. He was very open to answering my questions, but I don’t think I even went through to a tenth of the number of questions I was meaning to ask him. I guess there’s nothing really I could’ve done to change that, and thinking about that honestly makes me a little sad. But that isn’t to say that I came back empty-handed. First, he sent me a copy of each and every one of his books up to this point by mail the next day, including the ones I haven’t gotten to read yet. Crazy, right? But that’s not even the best part. If you’re still reading, I want you to pay very close attention to what I’m about to tell you. I’m only sharing this because I got the OK from Yun Woo personally. Still with me? Good. Then, let me ask you this. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the name Yun Woo? Personally, I think it’s his unreleased short stories. A lot of people have been wanting to get there hands on them, myself included. Now, do you see where I’m going with this? That’s right. I heard confirmation from the author himself, in person. If I were to describe the situation… Tell you what, I’ll just cut to the chase and quote what he said, word for word.
‘”They’ll get released, no matter what.”
‘All right! How’s that for good news? I’m sure you’re all doing this already, but let’s all take a moment and shout with joy. Let the world know just how happy we are.’
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