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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“Do you have any award points that you’d like to redeem today?”
“No,” Juho said, pulling his hat down. At that brief answer, the cashier took the money from the young author’s hand with a mechanical movement and put the book into the plastic bag along with the receipt. Even as she placed the bag on the counter, the cashier was looking down.
“Thank you for shopping with us. I can help the next person,” the cashier said, her response remaining just as mechanical. Being the biggest bookstore in the area, that store had an impressive inventory of all recent releases. Walking past a handful of people sitting in the corner of the store, reading, Juho exited the store and waited for the light to turn green. He looked down at the book peeking through the opening of the bag. It was Hyun Do’s new book. Titled ‘The Full Moon,’ its ocean blue cover, which portrayed the moonlit night sky, was quite eye-catching. When Juho put pressure into the hand he was holding the bag with, thinking to himself, ‘I’m just gonna keep it for now. I’m not opening it,’ the bag’s handle crumpled helplessly.
Then, a group of shadows started moving around the young author as a pedestrian stepped forward to jaywalk across the street. Suffice to say, a look of displeasure appeared on the faces of those who had been waiting for the light, most likely thinking, ‘That’s exactly how you get yourself killed.’ Then, about thirty seconds later, the light finally turned green.
“Let’s cross now!” a child wearing a kindergarten uniform shouted, holding their mother’s hand and confidently raising their hand in order to signal their location to the drivers. The mother had the child’s bag over one shoulder. A child, who was still learning, was far more aware of safety rules than adults who had significantly more knowledge, and they abided by them.
Once the child graduated kindergarten, it would move up to elementary school. Juho imagined what their future would look like. As the child grew older, the idea of raising their hand and signaling the drivers would eventually fade away. Perhaps the child would even jaywalk for the first time in their life. Although there was no way to confirm that in real life, it was already a reality in the young author’s new story. Children tended to change as they grew up, and the changing sceneries in the background were proof of how much those children had grown up.
Upon arriving home, even before he changed out of his clothes, Juho put the bag down, took the new book and placed it on the bookshelf. Although he was adding only one more book to the collection, it felt like the book was taking up a significant amount of space. Then, after staring intently at the title, ‘The Full Moon,’ the young author looked away, feeling like he’d give in to the temptation to start reading. Only a few paces away, was the manuscript that he had been working on up to moments before he had stepped out of the house.
There had been cases when children, who acted their ages in front of their parents at home, became leading figures. A conversation between the children, who had just started learning about the world, and an old lady, who was still learning about the world, would be, simply put, unpredictable.
As children criticized adults for their stupidity, adults questioned the environment their children were growing up in. Then, those children eventually grew up to become adults. Despite looking nothing like they once did, adult and child became the same person.
After washing up, Juho walked back to his room and sat at the desk to resume writing, reexamining the overall story and the events that took place within it. Reading through the entire story rekindled the feeling with which the young author had been writing, and writing in an emotional state as close to that as possible was the only way to make the story flow. If he were to write while depressed one day, but write again in high spirits the next day, there were bound to be inconsistencies.
“Not too serious.”
Juho had been telling himself that throughout the entire writing process of that particular story. Although both the adult and the child were wrong, Juho wanted neither their portrayal nor the process to carry a serious tone. He wanted to write a story that could be read quickly but with a sense of anticipation. When he looked up from the manuscript, he realized that it had already gotten dark out.
“I better take a break,” Juho said, stretching both of his hands toward the ceiling, stretching his body that had become stiff after sitting for too long. Suffice to say, the stretch was turning out to be quite painful. Then, as he felt somewhat hungry and started thinking about what to eat, the full moon lighting the sky came into view.
“I really wanna read it.”
After some contemplation, Juho picked up his phone, which he left on his bed, and called Seo Kwang. Although it was well into the night, it wasn’t long before he answered the phone.
“Did you read it?” he asked out of nowhere, catching the young author off guard.
“Sure. I’ve spend most of my life reading,” Juho said in a higher-than-usual voice, confused.
“… I’m talking about ‘The Full Moon,’ doofus.”
“Ah,” the young author let out, his voice sinking low.
“I have,” Seo Kwang said confidently, yet calmly. Then, he asked the young author, “Have you?”
It was a question that Juho didn’t really feel like answering. Then, with a swallowed sigh, the young author said, “I haven’t.”
“Oh, no,” Seo Kwang said as if pitying his author friend.
“… How was it?”
“It. Was. Insane,” Seo Kwang said, as if he had been waiting for Juho to ask. “It’s my favorite Hyun Do Lim book by far.”
It was a similar response to Yun Seo’s. Perhaps, it was just the default response of those who’d read the book.
“For your sake, I won’t spoil it.”
“OK. Let me share my thoughts on the book. It caught two birds with one stone,” Seo Kwang said genuinely. From then on, he raved on about the book, from how reading the book came with a painful reminder that the more he read, the less there was left to be read, to the fast pace, the author’s philosophy and criticism, the characters and their personalities, and the author’s unique ability to write about such a twisted subject in a clean, polished manner. Then, as if remembering the content of the book all over again, he started talking even faster. Seo Kwang tended to be predictable like that.
“Not only is it appealing to the masses, but it’s also very artistic. There’s no way this book won’t make it.”
It was the voice of a reader who had been deeply moved by a book. At that, Juho thought of the synopsis in the back of the book.
“The protagonist predicts death on a full moon,” Juho said. This time, it seemed like Hyun Do had written about death, which he had never done before.
“Right. Death,” Seo Kwang said, his voice growing softer. Then, as it returned to its normal volume, he added, “It seemed like Hyun Do Lim really emphasized the aspect of death in this book. If I were to compare it to ‘River…’ Hm, how should I put it?” he said, groaning as if in pain.
“So, if you were to compare it to ‘River?'” Juho asked quietly, rushing his friend for an answer. It had caught his interest. Juho had become curious about the end portrayed by the literary great.
“I can’t say anything in terms of black and white, but I’d say they are different, yet similar somehow. From a reader’s standpoint, I think they both carry about a similar shock value.”
“Similar shock value?!”
Death had always been somewhat of a specialty of the young author because of his firsthand experience of having died once. Yet, Hyun Do’s piece carried a similar shock value. Juho was well aware of Hyun Do’s skills. That made his heart beat faster.
“I really wanna read it now.”
The urge was starting to get out of hand. Although he had read Hyun Do’s books as a homeless man who couldn’t even afford to eat, he couldn’t read the book at present, when he had more than enough money to buy hundreds of books. It was ironic, yet funny.
“I read it,” Seo Kwang said provokingly, finding the situation all too amusing. He was ecstatic. The emotional experience the book gave him was still fresh in his heart, and looking at the full moon in the night sky only accentuated the experience. Hyun Do Lim was an incredible author, and Seo Kwang found himself getting intoxicated by the emotions that the novel carried. The moon was noticeably brighter than usual that night. Then, after listening to his friend for a little while, Juho said in a serious tone, “Maybe I should just read it.”
At that, Seo Kwang attitude changed at once.
There was nothing more unfortunate than being in a situation that kept one from reading books. Which, in Juho’s case, the unfortunate situation was that he was in the middle of writing, and needless to say, it was not a welcoming situation by any means. Although he thought reading wouldn’t be a bad solution to his predicament, the young author had to come to terms with his conscience and recognized that it was merely his desire speaking.
“Do you think you’ll be OK? This book is seriously a game changer,” Seo Kwang warned him, and added, “I joined the Astronomy Club after reading that book.” The book had had a significant impact on the reader. “You know what, I know that you’re gonna do whatever you want at the end of the day, and I’m not gonna tell you not to read it. Besides, a book like this needs to be read by more people.”
After hanging up, Juho looked up at the moon for a little while and immersed himself in deep thought. ‘Should I read it? Or should I not?’ Then, walking toward the bookshelf, he picked up the book, which was solid and smooth to the touch. After brushing his hand down the book once, the young author placed it back on the shelf.
“After I finish writing.”
Sitting at the desk, Juho picked up a pen. However, it wasn’t long before he found himself standing in front of the bookshelf again.
“I’m gonna do it.”
With the book in his hand, the young author went out to the living room, sat on the sofa, took a deep breath and opened the cover. A photo of Hyun Do and his distinctive hair, which only half of had turned white, came into view. At that, the young author was reminded of a certain fan who had complimented him on his looks. However, the word handsome suited the gentleman in the photo a lot better. As he turned the front wing, the front cover, and the front page, the table of contents appeared. And soon, the very first sentence of the first chapter marked the beginning of the story. Feeling more excited than ever, Juho clasped the book tightly by the back cover. As the young author flipped through the pages, the house grew darker.
“Anybody home?” somebody asked, banging on the door and ringing the doorbell repeatedly.
As Juho remained in his seat, the door rattled, and the person walked away. The house sank into silence yet again. Juho turned yet another page, which was the last page of the book. The protagonist predicted death on a full moon, and in the end, he fails to escape the grasp of that dreaded moon. The full moon signified greed, envy, an absolute being, and power. The author’s portrayal of vertical power was quite powerful, enough to crush and overwhelm the world. Finally, the young author closed the book, feeling an intense burning sensation on his eyes, as if he had looked directly at the Sun.
He couldn’t move his head. It felt like all of the events that had taken place within the book were coming alive, filling every corner of the house. Juho had connected with the book almost instantly. No matter how far the protagonist ran, the moon kept following him. It was almost as if he was making a fool of himself by trying to outrun the moon. Then, covering his face with his hand, Juho knew that he wasn’t going to get any writing done that day.
At that moment, a vibration came from the room. It was a phone call. However, Juho stayed put, and soon, the vibration stopped. It almost sounded as if it was asking the young author for his thoughts on the book. ‘How was it? How was Hyun Do’s portrayal of death?’
As Juho took his hand off his face, his hair covered his eyes in place of his hand. A shadow was cast in the living room, and Juho reminisced to the conversation he had had with Hyun Do, who had told him that he asked questions when he didn’t have the answer. For example, to a homeless man, ‘Is this offensive to you?’ At that moment, finding himself answering the question without even realizing it, it dawned on Juho just how amazing of an author Hyun Do was.
“I’m glad I read it,” he murmured in a cracked voice in order to keep regret from creeping into his mind. If he had sat down and forced himself to write, wearing a naive look on his face, suppressing his urge to read, Juho would have been clueless. He was glad that he had given into his urge.
“I guess I lost.”
In reality, he was excited. He had met with the certain reader he had been looking forward to meeting. Then, he had caught up with his fellow authors. Prior to either of those events, he had even met the celebrity interviewer for an interview, which had aired on TV. Through the interviewer, the young author had learned how he was coming across to his fans. A humbling realization had occurred to him that he had been content and satisfied when, in truth, he still had a ways to go as an author.
Then, came the rain. Although invisible to naked eyes, it soaked every inch of the young author’s clothes. What felt like a heavy sigh came out of his mouth. Despite feeling his clothes getting wet, the young author closed his eyes without moving a muscle.
Juho opened his eyes at the voice calling to him from the distance. His living room appeared before his eyes. As he struggled to keep his eyes open, he realized that he had fallen asleep sitting on his couch. At that moment, a series of banging noise came from the door, followed by a series of doorbell rings. Only then, did it occur to him who might be outside of the door.
“Coming!” Juho said, walking toward the door as he tried to wake himself up. When he opened the door, he saw his editor-in-charge, who looked at him with surprise.
“Are you OK?” Nam Kyung asked.
“What do you mean?”
“Do you realize that you have some serious dark circles underneath your eyes?”
Then, as Juho stepped aside yawning, the editor came into the house. Taken aback by the jarring state of the living room, he asked, “What in the world is all this!?”
Being careful not to step on the sheets of manuscript paper scattered throughout the floor, Nam Kyung walked across the living room.
“For a second, I thought you’d just moved in.”
The table was also filled with stacks of manuscript paper, which had toppled over and made a mess. It was an intimidating amount. Then, as Nam Kyung closed the window, which Juho had kept open for ventilation, Juho looked around the living room. It was the result of not picking up the pages immediately after they had fallen. Nevertheless, the mess was proof that the young author had been busy at work.
After reading ‘The Full Moon,’ Juho had remained in a dazed state for a while. A wave of emotions flooded into his heart. He felt mortified and humiliated all at the same time, boiling with the ambition to be able to write like Hyun Do. Then, looking up to confirm that the sky and the ground were both in their rightful places, the young author reminded himself that he would never stumble again, rising from his seat and going straight to his room, writing frantically until he felt numb and out of it. Fortunately, he was able to pick up where he had left off for the most part. However, there was one critical issue.
“Still strugglin’?” Nam Kyung asked in a slightly low voice.
“Struggling? Do you see how much I’ve written?” Juho said, playing coy. At that, a smile appeared on the editor’s face.
“Except it’s not the manuscript I’ve been waiting for.”
Then, the young author looked toward the editor. The story about the old lady wasn’t making nearly as much progress as it should.
“Maybe I should join an astronomy club, too.”
“What the heck are you talking about?” Nam Kyung said, glaring fiercely at the young author.
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