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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Hyun Do Lim was paying a quiet visit to Zelkova. Upon realizing his presence, all the editors jumped from their seats and greeted the literary great. Not only was Hyun Do the author behind the book that drove Yun Woo to his wits’ end, but he was also the prime example of how authors should conduct themselves. Along with Yun Seo Baek, there was no reason not to respect him. Mr. Maeng was wearing a peculiar look on his face, looking as though caught off guard by the literary great’s sudden visit and overwhelmed by the fact that he was seeing Hyun Do face to face. Thankfully, Nam Kyung was able to collect himself quicker when he saw the look on his coworker’s face.
“What brings you here, Mr. Lim?” he asked. To which, the author replied, “I just met with the president.”
Because the president of Zelkova had a background as an editor, it was common for him and Hyun Do to meet.
“May I talk to your director?” the literary great asked.
“Oh, of course! One moment, sir,” Nam Kyung answered, eying Mr. Maeng. At which point, the coworker rushed out of the office to bring the director of the editing department over. While waiting for Mr. Maeng’s return, Nam Kyung offered Hyun Do a seat and asked about the author’s meeting with the president, “So, how’d it go?”
“He seemed busy, so I just left him be. Besides, it gets stuffy in his office real quick,” Hyun Do answered nonchalantly. He seemed to have gone looking for the president’s office himself instead of waiting to be greeted. There had to be a reason, and suspecting that it most likely had something to do with Yun Woo, Nam Kyung closed the blinds in order to create a more private setting. After that, the editors who were glancing over in their direction all turned their heads to their respective desks. As Nam Kyung sat down, the door opened gently, and Ms. Song, wearing a big smile on her face, came into the office with two cups of green tea.
“Oh! You didn’t have to. Thank you very much.”
“Oh, no! It’s my pleasure, sir,” Ms. Song said, shaking her head emphatically. After she left the room, Nam Kyung and Hyun Do picked up their cups at the same time and started drinking. The room sank into silence, and the editor started the conversation off with small talk, which was quite obvious.
“I really loved ‘The Full Moon.'”
Although there was no change in Hyun Do’s expression, things didn’t come across as brusque, either.
“I hadn’t realized how frightening a full moon could be until I read that book.”
Then, in a slight delay, the author answered unhurriedly, “I’m glad to hear that. There’s nothing like getting complimented by editors.”
Nam Kyung chuckled on his own from the considerate response, and the sound echoed through the office. At that moment, the name Juho popped up in the editor’s mind. What did the young author think of the literary great? Although Juho had been quite reserved about his opinions of Hyun Do, Nam Kyung suspected that it was something close to admiration.
“So, you mentioned Yun Woo earlier,” Hyun Do said.
“Pardon?” Nam Kyung said, caught off guard and feeling slightly exposed.
“Do you think he excels at bringing the most out of his characters?” the author asked, bringing up what Nam Kyung had meant to say to his coworker while clueless that Hyun Do had been in the office.”
“Haha. So you heard? I’ve been quite satisfied with his work as of late.”
“I heard he had to take a breather.”
Although it wasn’t clear how Hyun Do had access to that information, it was clear that he already knew what had happened. Besides, it wasn’t anything problematic, as it was a thing of the past. Currently, Yun Woo was wrestling with his new story and making significant progress.
“He got back up on his feet. He’s back writing.”
“Is that so?” Hyun Do answered, unfazed. His new book had stirred up Yun Woo’s competitive spirit within him, and considering the scale of the impact ‘The Full Moon’ had had in the literary world, it wasn’t a surprise that it had had an effect on other authors, including the young author. Since Yun Woo’s book was still in its early stages, there were rumors circulating within Zelkova that something big and worthy of looking forward to was coming.
Although ‘The Full Moon’ didn’t quite have the same effect on Nam Kyung, it had left a deep impression on him nonetheless. He was able to look at the full moon in a different light, and the editor was certain that his new-found perspective would have a profound impact on his future. It was a thought that was both scary and exciting.
“Did you meet with Mr. Woo?” Nam Kyung asked.
“No. I’m sure he’s busy writing.”
“If he sees your name on the screen of his phone, he’ll answer without thinking twice. Even if it was in the middle of the night,” Nam Kyung said, observing Hyun Do’s expression, and whose eyes seemed cast down.
“I wouldn’t count on that.”
“I called him just yesterday, actually. He didn’t answer.”
“…” Nam Kyung remained silent, caught off guard by the young author’s unexpected behavior.
“He must’ve had his phone on silent,” the editor said, barely managing to think of an answer. However, Hyun Do denied it, remaining calm and unfazed, “He called back much later, just as I was about to go to bed. He was probably taking a break.”
“… He must’ve been preoccupied with writing. Oh, Mr. Woo.”
“He told me that he waited until his phone stopped vibrating, which means he kept writing through the distraction of people calling him. He knew where his priorities lay,” Hyun Do said.
“Is that what Mr. Woo said?”
When Nam Kyung glanced at Hyun Do’s face, there was no trace of anger in his expression. Rather, he looked delighted. As concern faded away, Nam Kyung became curious about the kind of conversation that took place between the two authors.
“So, what did Mr. Woo have to say about ‘The Full Moon?'”
“He was very open about it. He said that there’d been an aftershock he had had to deal with after reading my book, but he did get something out of the experience, for what it’s worth.”
For the young author, reading ‘The Full Moon’ had been both a loss and a gain.
“Did you two talk about his work-in-progress at all?”
“Not really. It seemed to be going OK,” Hyun Do said, picking up his cup. When he took a sip, his white hair covered his forehead. That time, the author took the initiative to ask, “Well, what do you think? You’ve read his manuscript, right?”
The story about Alexandria had gone through an interim evaluation, and the editor recalled just how bright and cheerful the protagonist’s life was when he read the manuscript. It had the power to put a smile on readers’ faces. Although it was likely that some would find the story shallow and lacking in substance, it was more than enough to get the readers to be able to connect with it emotionally. On top of that, the two short stories that were going to be included with the new story were more than enough to prove Yun Woo’s skill as an author.
“I think this just might be Yun Woo’s most lovable novel to this day,” Nam Kyung said, marketing the young author’s work-in-progress to Hyun Do. To which, the author nodded affirmatively.
“I look forward to it.”
Nam Kyung had never heard of a remark like that from Hyun Do, since it was extremely uncommon for him to express his expectations to others. He felt a heavy responsibility on his shoulders. However, the editor was fully aware that he wasn’t the only one bearing that burden. The burden on the young author had to be significantly heavier.
“You should encourage him sometime,” Nam Kyung said with a subtle smile.
At which, Hyun Do also responded with a subtle smile, giving off a serene, unhurried impression, “I don’t have that kind of time.”
Nam Kyung looked at the author’s flawless posture. It was impressive how straight the line from his shoulders to his lower back was. However, the editor wasn’t convinced that somebody who sat with such a straight posture on a regular basis couldn’t afford the time to check in with the young author.
“But, Mr. Lim, ‘Language of God’ essentially came about because of you,” Nam Kyung said.
“At the end of the day, it’s the author who does the writing, and I’m sure Juho knows this very well.”
Because the young author was aware of that, he had expressed his gratitude toward Hyun Do for giving him the inspiration.
“There, you guys are!” the director came in after knocking, and Nam Kyung rose from his seat to greet her. The director seemed to be glad to see the editor and Hyun Do in one place. After greeting the author briefly, the director struck up a conversation with him, “I would’ve gone to you if you’d stayed in the president’s office.”
“I had business to attend to,” Hyun Do said, and the director smiled as if used to his demeanor. Meanwhile, as Nam Kyung stood in his place and observed the situation, the director looked at him and asked, “How’s Mr. Woo been?”
“Very good,” Nam Kyung answered without hesitation. Just like he had said, Yun Woo was doing incredibly well.
Then, with a look of relief on her face, the director replied, patting the editor on the shoulder, “I’m telling you, he makes everything so much easier for us! He knows how to build trust with people. Well, you better start getting ready.”
‘To do what? Resign? Publish? Outside duty? Business trip?’ Nam Kyung thought to himself, confused by the director’s remark. At which point, she explained in a friendly manner, “Mr. Woo’s signing event?”
“Ah!” Nam Kyung let out as he was reminded of what he had been forgetting. Since revealing himself, not only had Yun Woo made an appearance on TV, but also participated in interviews. He was able to present himself on official occasions, and it was normal for an author of his scale to have a signing event. Nam Kyung looked at Hyun Do by reflex, but he learned little about what the author was thinking. Then, as the editor thought of Juho, his busy mind came to a sudden halt.
“I’m pretty sure he said he wasn’t going to do it,” Nam Kyung said quietly, dragging his answer out. At which point, the director’s hand on the editor’s shoulder grew tighter, implying that she wasn’t going to go into details about the matter in front of Hyun Do.
“He’s already revealed himself. I know he’s gonna come around. Riiight?”
“Right,” Nam Kyung said, smiling along with the director. Now, he had to convince the young author to have the signing event at all cost, no matter what.
“Shall we?” the director asked Hyun Do, walking out of the office with him. The voice fading into the distance made Nam Kyung feel disconnected almost instantly.
“A signing event, huh,” Nam Kyung said, sinking into a chair. The time came for the young author to go through a bigger event. Although there was still time since the event would take place after the release of the book, even if the young author were to change his mind, that day was bound to come eventually, which meant Nam Kyung had to plan for it ahead of time and think about how to convince the young author.
“Who knows? Maybe he’ll just do a complete one-eighty all of a sudden,” the editor murmured. However, he knew full well that that was merely wishful thinking, as other thoughts were already running amok in his mind.
“Make sure to place those orders by the end of the day, yeah?”
With that, Nam Kyung rose from his seat. When he walked out of the building, he narrowed his eyes from the bright sunshine on his face. The weather was quite pleasant that day. Then, trying to remain composed, Nam Kyung got in his car and went on his way. The GPS was leading him to one destination, the house of the author with whom he had been working. Although it wasn’t his first time visiting the young author at his home, he felt noticeably more nervous than usual. Nam Kyung thought back to the text he had received that morning then, and after which, he immediately called the young author. The message read: ‘I’ve finished my first draft.’
“You mean, you’re done with your first draft?”
“Yes, I am,” Juho replied. The manuscript had finally been completed, and considering how troublesome the process had been, the editor welcomed the news much more eagerly. Meanwhile, the young author told his editor-in-charge that he had successfully overcome the predicament he had found himself in, which made the editor even gladder.
“I’ll send it your way.”
“Hold on,” Nam Kyung said while checking the scheduling app on his phone. There was some business that needed to be addressed, and doing so in person seemed to be the best way of going about it.
“I’ll go to your house and pick it up in person, if you’re OK with that.”
“Sure. Whatever floats your boat,” Juho replied affirmatively and in his usual demeanor.
As the voice sounded from the GPS, Nam Kyung snapped out of his thought. At the end of the road, was the manuscript, and he was anxious to read it. The trip to meet with the young author to read the manuscript came with excitement. The fact that he, as Yun Woo’s editor, would get to read it before anyone else was also incredibly rewarding, and it validated his decision to choose a career that could easily suck the life out of him.
“Sigh,” Nam Kyung let out, as if exclaiming. Unfortunately, being an editor meant that there were times when he had to disagree with the author’s choice in sentences. It all came from his efforts in trying to make better books. The revision process could be described as the saying: in with the new, out with the old. It involved undoing what had been completed and rebuilding it, and that process tended to come with guilt. It didn’t help that he had to tear down a building that was already well built.
Nam Kyung turned the steering wheel unhurriedly. As he drove, he rolled the window down in order to let the fresh air into the car. As always, his job required him to think, read, and edit carefully, and the editor kept reminding himself of that in order to keep himself calm. However, maintaining a peaceful mind was proving to be a lot harder, as other concerns tended to pop up despite his efforts to silence them.
“Better talk to him about the signing event.”
At that moment, he was forced to slow down at the sight of the traffic jam. The honking of horns and what sounded like the noise of construction followed, and before long, the road was in a state of chaos. At the sight of the unexpected traffic conditions, Nam Kyung clicked his tongue irritably.
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