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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“Man, flying for twelve hours straight is no joke,” Juho said, stretching his body. He wasn’t used to flying long distances. Nabi, who seemed to be well acquainted with being on a plane for an extended period of time, chuckled quietly as Juho let out a small moan. She didn’t let her time go to waste, even on the plane.
“You’ll have a lot of fun at the Messe. It’s a business day, so you might not be able to buy anything, but it should be much easier to get around. On public days is when things get really crazy. There are cosplayers and people carrying backpacks or traveling carriers, hunting for books. The Forum and the 3.0 Hall are the most popular attractions in the entire fair, and lately, K-Pop’s been getting really big.”
On their way to the hotel, Nabi told the young author about the area of the fair in detail. Held over five days, three of those days were reserved as the business days, which focused the entire fair on the business aspect of things. Civilians were not allowed to enter the fair during those days. With buying and selling of different copyrights from booths, there was quite an array of things to experience, including lectures from the participating authors. Nabi was well acquainted with the environment that was the book fair. She would fly to Germany every October on business. Of course, that alone didn’t make her special in any way, as countless copyrights were bought and sold at the fair.
“Would you like to take the rest of the day off, or would you like to look around a little bit?”
“I do wanna see the Main River.”
“Ah! The ducks there are adorable!”
Juho looked at the foreign surroundings attentively. Pointy roofs, streets that seemed like they had been around since the medieval age, skyscrapers that blended with the history around them, downtown, and the graffitis that decorated the walls. It seemed like a view straight out of the movies. After unloading at the hotel, the two went out to look around.
“Make sure to keep your hat on. People WILL recognize you.”
“But we’re in Germany.”
“And you’re Yun Woo.”
Since the Sun was quite hot, Juho put his hat on without complaint. Although there were quite a few people on the streets, there was something calm and peaceful about Frankfurt. The weather was quite hot for October.
“I see some sausage links hanging over there.”
“That’s the first thing you’ll see as soon as you walk into any market: sausages. They are really good. Speaking of which, how’s that for dinner?”
“Works for me. Oh! Isn’t that gelato over there?”
“I recommend mango. You know what? Why don’t we each get one right now? The weather’s just right.”
In order to see how much money he had, Juho checked the wallet in his pocket and said, “I’ll get it. I exchanged some money before I left Korea.”
With that, he walked toward the shop, which was quite small. Standing behind the glass counter, Juho looked through the variety of gelato in the shop, from banana to lemon, kiwi, mint, and coconut. After some contemplation, he decided to go with Nabi’s recommendation.
“Two mangos, please.”
“Both of them?”
Taking the money from Juho nonchalantly, the owner scooped the gelato out and put the scoops on two ice cream cones. As he took the cones from her, he felt the owner looking at him intently. Pretending not to notice, Juho asked, “Something wrong?”
At that, the shop owner shook her head with a brusque expression on her face, looking away from Juho nonchalantly. Although it was different from the attitude Juho was used to, he was thankful that the owner didn’t make a big deal out of his presence, which allowed him to walk out of the shop safely and soundly. When he had first noticed the shop owner’s gaze, Juho had tensed up, thinking that she had recognized him. Thankfully, she hadn’t seemed confident. Perhaps, she simply wasn’t a fan of the young author.
“This is good.”
With the cones of gelato in their hands, the two made their way toward the Main River. One of the first things that came into view were the joggers. On a bridge that had been built centuries ago, there were countless padlocks all across the fences to either side. There were ducks in the dark water, swimming about peacefully.
“You seem to speak German pretty fluently. You’ve never been to Germany before, have you, Mr. Woo?” Nabi asked while they were watching the ducks and swans that were swimming in the river. The gelato in Juho’s hand was long gone, leaving only the cone. The young author looked around at the people speaking in the foreign language. Although it wasn’t his native language, it was definitely a language that he was familiar with, and one which he was able to understand.
“Nope, this is my first time here. I hadn’t seen the cathedral in person until today.”
“The buildings here are really pretty, aren’t they?”
“They are. It’s interesting how the medieval scenery blends with the modern, commercial buildings.”
“The city’s been restored from the ground up, essentially.”
Frankfurt had lain in ruins during World War II. The historical aspect of the city was mostly the results of skillful restorations. As the two walked about along the riverbank, they saw a ferry on the water, which carried a crowd that appeared to be made mostly of tourists, who were busy posing before cameras set up on tripods. There were also some enjoying some beer amid the comfortable atmosphere. As if she had decided they had done enough sightseeing, the agent asked Juho, “Should we mosey on over to the square? There’s food there. Oh! There’s the Goethe House, too. Although, I doubt we’ll be able to see it today.”
“Actually, I wanted to look at the water for a little while longer,” Juho replied after brief contemplation. Nabi respected his decision without complaint.
“You seem to like rivers.”
Stopping in his tracks on the bridge, Juho held on to the safety rail and peeked down into the water. The dark water made it hard to see what was beneath it. The wave broke restlessly. It wasn’t such a bad sight.
“Careful, Mr. Woo.”
At the agent’s warning, Juho pulled away from the rail.
“I won’t be able to save you if you fall into the water.”
After a short walk across the river, Juho and Nabi made their way back.
“‘Scuse me, Mr. Woo. I need to make a phone call.”
With that, Nabi left the scene with her phone in her hand. Meanwhile, Juho strolled around the place. Even when he approached the ducks, they didn’t seem to find Juho’s presence frightening. They also seemed to be quite familiar with getting fed by people. Even when Juho was squatting right next to them, the ducks didn’t make a sound. At that moment…
The peaceful silence was broken by a child who started charging toward the unsuspecting birds without hesitation. No matter how comfortable or at ease they might have been, it only made sense that they would be startled by a presence charging at them, and they expressed that by flapping their wings. The child started chasing after a duck that had landed nearest to him, going into the water unhurriedly.
“Check this out!”
The child said in English. He had to be on a trip with his parents, who were walking toward him in the distance unhurriedly, their eyes fixed on their child. Meanwhile, Juho stared at the ducks without saying a word.
“You can’t do that.”
A man wearing a beret said to the child in German.
“You’re scaring them.”
Needless to say, the child couldn’t understand a word the man was saying to him. However, what was clear was the emotion behind his words, at which, the child’s eyes widened. At the seemingly unwelcoming tone and voice, the child ran to his parents, leaving only Juho and the man wearing the beret by the riverbank. Meanwhile, the ducks floated about in the water.
“Kids,” he murmured, probably thinking that the young author wouldn’t understand him. “I swear, they’re the bane of my existence. And don’t even get me started on old people. They can’t do anything aside from what they already know. They don’t even have their own pair of wings, yet they make fun of the ducks floating in the water.”
After staring intently at him for a little while, Juho replied, “They’ll learn. Both young and old.”
As the man wearing the beret was walking away, he stopped and turned slightly toward the young author. Although it wasn’t visible on his face, he seemed to be taken aback by Juho replying in German. Scratching his mustache with his blunt fingers, he asked, “Where are you from?”
“Did you live here growing up?”
“No. I’m on a trip. So, this is what the air is like in Germany, huh?”
Although the man narrowed his eyes, he didn’t question the young author.
“South Korea… Isn’t that where Cha’s from?”
“… Oh, you mean the soccer player,” Juho said, understanding what the man had meant in a delay.
“That’s what I thought!”
Contrary to his view on the children or the elderly, the man wearing the beret seemed to be an avid soccer fan. As he started raving on about the subject, which was mostly compliments toward the South Korean soccer player, Juho listened to him haphazardly, taking note of how talkative he was. At that moment…
The man started staring intently at Juho out of nowhere.
“What’s the matter? Did something get on my face?” Juho asked.
“You look familiar.”
Juho was caught off guard by the man’s observation. Meanwhile, the ducks sat on the lawn after having made their way out of the water.
“I don’t think we’ve ever met before.”
“Aren’t you that novelist?”
Left with no choice, Juho nodded subtly.
“I do write for a living.”
At that, the man took off his beret and said, “You’re Yun Woo, aren’t you?”
‘Dang it,’ Juho thought to himself, looking around. Thankfully, there were no other people listening aside from the ducks. At that moment, he saw Nabi walking toward him in the distance, studying the situation.
“Are you really Yun Woo?” the man in a beret asked again.
“Yes, I am.”
“Ah! Could I get a handshake?” the man said, reaching his hand out. As Juho approached him, a subtle whiff of duck feed came up to the young author’s nose.
“Are you in Frankfurt for the book fair? The newspapers write about authors for a week straight whenever that fair is being held.”
“I’m on a vacation. Thought I could learn a thing or two during the trip.”
“… Huh. Does that mean you’re not gonna be in the newspaper?”
“Well, in any case, I didn’t think I’d run into Yun Woo here. Today must be my lucky day,” the man said, looking through his pockets and pulling out his phone. During which, Nabi approached the young author and asked, “You got caught, huh?”
“Would you take a picture for us?”
“Sure, no problem,” Nabi said, taking the phone from the man as he stood shoulder to shoulder with the young author.
“What other languages do you speak aside from German?” the man asked casually after the picture. As if giving the young author the liberty to answer, he fixed his eyes on the peaceful water.
“A little bit of everything.”
Despite Juho’s ambiguous answer, the man smiled with satisfaction and asked no further questions. At that moment, Nabi said, sounding bothered “I keep getting calls from this one movie studio.” Judging from the look on her face, she was clearly tired, which made Juho think that they should start heading back to the hotel.
“Well, we better get going,” he said, waving at the man in a beret, who also waved back. Turning around, Juho and Nabi went back the way they came from. On the way, Juho saw a familiar looking child, the one who had been chasing after the ducks by the riverbank. While the child was being held in his father’s arms, the shop owner was standing behind the counter with a grumpy look on her face. At that moment, as Juho was walking past the shop, the child looked in his direction, whispering, “I know him.”
Although subtly, Juho was able to hear the child’s words clearly.
The child was bragging to their father. Ducks must not have been the only thing the child had been paying attention to. After listening to the child next to her and her husband, the mother also looked in Juho’s direction, locking eyes with the young author. Juho saw her blue eyes getting bigger and bigger. The family had to know the author before their eyes. Similarly, the shop owner also looked toward Juho.
“Oh. My. Gosh.”
“Uh… What are you talking about?” Juho said, playing coy, glancing toward Nabi, who shrugged carelessly.
“You’re Yun Woo, aren’t you?” the father said, putting the child down and reaching out for a handshake. Juho also grabbed his hand with a pleasant smile on his face.
“I have every single one of your books in my study! My whole family’s in love with your novels.”
“Gosh, I can’t believe we met you here!”
Meanwhile, with a look of pride on his face, the child looked up at his father.
“What brings you to Germany?”
“I’m on vacation.”
“Ah. Well, I hope I’m not bothering you.”
“Not at all. It’s not a problem.”
“Great! In that case, may I ask for your autograph? I should have some paper on me…”
Enthralled by the young author’s presence, the parents were completely neglecting their child. At that moment, without saying anything, the shop owner pulled out four sheets of paper. Three for each of the family members, and one for herself.
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