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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
The day after arriving in Germany, Juho spent the entire day going on walks, visiting the library and the museum nearby. First, Juho decided to start with the places that Nabi had recommended. The agent knew her way around the city. Thinking about the upcoming schedule in passing, Juho sat at the desk in the room and tried writing down the words that came to him.
“Ducks, child, gelato.”
As usual, the story that came out of them was far from satisfactory, which kind of made the young author worried about the long-anticipated sequel to ‘Language of God.’
After a two-hour nap, hunger was the first thing that came to his mind. Despite feeling half asleep from the jetlag, Juho got out of bed to order room service, thinking that he’d go out again after eating, perhaps see the city at night. At that moment, while Juho was looking through the room service menu, the once peaceful evening quickly turned into chaos.
The doorbell started ringing and his phone started vibrating shortly after, followed by the knocking sound coming from the door. In order to grasp the situation, Juho reached for his phone first. Upon seeing the name on its screen, he felt wide awake all of a sudden. ‘Is he really here?’ he thought, rising from his seat.
“That took forever.”
Of course. Kelley Coin appeared as Juho opened the door, holding his phone on one hand while clenching his other hand into a fist. While Juho was glad to see him, it was simply too sudden.
“I thought there was a fire or something,” Juho said, rubbing his face.
“Did you just get out of bed?”
“Yes, I did. It’d be nice if you could let me know ahead of time from now on.”
At that, Juho checked his phone, which showed a text from Nabi and a few missed calls, including the call from Coin. It was the very call that Juho got while Coin was banging on the door. As Juho was writing a reply to Nabi on his phone, he said to Coin, “I’d prefer if you called a little sooner.”
Although Juho hadn’t seen him in a long time, Coin was just as impatient as the last time they met. Opening the refrigerator, Coin took out a bottle of iced coffee and started drinking it. Then, he sat on the couch, looking at the interior of the room in an arrogant manner.
“What brings you here? I wasn’t expecting you’d come here,” Juho asked.
“What are you talking about? I got to Frankfurt before you did.”
“That’s not what I’m asking, you know.”
“I heard you were in town, so I thought we should grab some dinner together.”
After Staring intently at him, Juho stated, “You’re bored.”
… Which he didn’t deny.
“There isn’t a whole lot to see here, either. It’s just as boring as the States.”
“You’re not planning on saying that at the fair, are you?” Juho asked, realizing what it must be like for Isabella, who had to deal with Coin’s infamous temper on a regular basis. Drinking the water he had bought from a store outside the hotel, Juho sat across from Coin.
“You’re gonna be onstage, right? The theme is… ‘Meet the Author,’ isn’t it?”
“Yeah. What a hassle,” Coin replied, his face twisting into a scowl almost immediately. The Frankfurt Book Fair was a massive fair with over a hundred participating countries every year. That year, there were over eight thousand companies participating in the fair, and suffice to say, the local newspaper wrote about the fair on a daily basis. It was in that very fair that Coin was participating. Assuming that he’d be busy, Juho hadn’t reached out to Coin on purpose. However, to his surprise, Coin turned up in front of his door.
“Shouldn’t you be preparing?”
“I have enough time,” Coin said, resting his chin on his hand. Then, he asked, “What about you?”
Being well aware of what he was referring to, Juho replied with a mellow smile, “I got nothing to prepare for.”
“No interviews? Nothing?”
“Nope. I didn’t make any plans whatsoever.”
“So, you have all the time in the world to dilly dally, huh?” Coin said, clicking his tongue, envious of the young author’s lax schedule. “I’m sure the Korean publishers would’ve loved to have you promote for them. The Asian section is nowhere near as popular. Why aren’t you participating? You might have been able to turn things around for the booths in the Asian section, especially the South Korean booth.”
“I don’t think I could’ve helped in any way. Besides, I wasn’t even planning on coming at first.”
“As boring as usual. Then what changed your mind?”
“It’s not the fair, I’ll tell you that much,” Juho said, subtly changing the subject. Although slightly annoyed by it, Coin drank his coffee without complaining.
“I do NOT wanna go to this thing,” Coin said genuinely.
“You should be telling that to Isabella.”
“I wouldn’t be here if she listened.”
Juho shrugged nonchalantly and said, “Isn’t it a pretty big segment, though? Created for the one and only Kelley Coin?”
“Please. Feel free to take over if you like it that much.”
“You know what? I’m famished. You’re buying, right?” Juho asked, remembering how hungry he was getting. After glancing at the menu on the table, Coin said, “What do you want?” And after some thought, Juho replied, “Sausages.”
“Isn’t that Kelley Coin?”
Being conscious of his surroundings, Juho cut the sausage on his plate. People in the restaurant were, one by one, starting to recognize Kelley Coin’s presence. Although the two were sitting at the innermost table of the restaurant, that did hardly anything to keep them from the eyes of the public. Not only was the restaurant quite small, but the tables were spread out uniformly.
“I feel like it gets a lot harder to stay unrecognized whenever we’re together.”
People around them were speaking in German. Although Coin didn’t speak it, he had an idea of what they might be talking about.
“By tomorrow, I’m sure the world will know that you had sausages for dinner today.”
“Doesn’t matter. What’s so interesting about me coming to Germany on vacation?”
“And that’s how you find out that there are people flying to Germany just to see you.”
Juho chuckled, doubting anybody would have that kind of time.
“Germany’s a big country, you know.”
“If people find out that you’re in Frankfurt, wouldn’t they make the connection that you’re here for the book fair? You know how one-dimensional these people can be.”
“And the fair is massive.”
Shrugging, Coin looked around and said, “Well, they won’t bother us while we’re eating. Assuming their thoughts can get that far.”
It was a warning of sorts. Of course, nobody in their right mind would dare to interrupt Coin during a meal.
“Damn it, I’d kill for a beer right about now,” Coin said, taking a big bite of his Schweinshaxe. By that point, Juho had lost count of how many times he had heard Coin say those very words. However, he did understand where Coin was coming from. In actuality, almost everyone in the restaurant was enjoying a glass of beer with their food, fitting to the reputation of the country.
(TL’s Note: Schweinshaxe is a roasted pork hock, a dish traditional to Germany.)
“I saw an array of them at the grocery store. It was impressive.”
“Are you telling me to get one?”
Juho remembered the conversation they had had some time ago when Coin had shared his personal experience with alcoholism.
“You said it yourself, you’d be back in hell the moment you let alcohol touch your lips.”
“Ugh. I hate myself. Why did I have to drink myself to near death? I can’t even enjoy myself a drink anymore.”
“Well, what can you do?”
“I hate myself,” Coin said, fiercely chewing his meat.
“You’re really hard on yourself. Although, you’re under a lot of criticism even as we speak,” Juho said, avoiding the gazes directed toward them.
“You know, this would be the perfect time for you to tell me something along the lines of ‘Oh, you gotta love yourself more. Don’t give up, even if everyone else around you does.'”
“I thought you weren’t into that kind of stuff?”
“And feel free to add something like, ‘What harm is there in having a drink or two every now and then?'”
“… Haha,” Juho let out, catching on with some delay that Coin was cracking a joke. The serious look on Coin’s face made it nearly impossible to distinguish if he was joking or being serious.
“If that’s what you want, then, so be it. Love yourself, but properly. That way, you don’t have to drown yourself in alcohol,” Juho said, brushing his hand across the hat on his head. Words tended to carry different meanings depending on the person delivering them. In that case, who would be in a better position to say what he had said to Coin? Yun Woo’s successful self, or his wretched self?
“Acknowledge that you need help. You said that was the first step to recovering from alcoholism, right?”
“I did. Most alcoholics are in denial that they’re addicts. Yet, they keep pouring alcohol down their throats. Nobody can think when their brain is pickled in alcohol,” Coin said, agreeing with Juho.
“And what’s at the end of that road?”
“You’re dead. What else is there?”
Looking intently at him, Juho said, “So, in this case, to neglect is to die.”
As if he were stating the obvious, Coin tilted his head, saying, “Isn’t that obvious? Even two-year-olds would know that much. Do not lie. Isn’t that one of the first things you learn about survival when growing up? There’s a reason why that’s common knowledge. One can tell themselves that they’re OK all they want, but does that really change anything at the end of the day? That’s just negligence. I almost died back then.”
The conversation stopped briefly as Juho brought a piece of sausage up to his mouth. Then, he briefly immersed himself in thought.
“I think that’s Yun Woo sitting with Coin.”
As the air sank into silence, Juho heard the whispers around him and Coin. Meanwhile, Coin guzzled down on his water, as if he would a beer. Then, he asked Juho, “Wait, what brought you to Germany?”
Juho looked up at Coin’s question, thinking, ‘I guess he didn’t forget.’ Meanwhile, Coin was busy eating the meat off the bone, a sight that looked quite threatening for no apparent reason.
“What did you come here for?” Coin repeated himself.
“I got an offer.”
“An offer? What offer?”
Juho looked around, locking eyes with a few people. Although most people pretended not to look in their direction, Juho was well aware that they were keeping their eyes on him and Coin, which made it a less-than-ideal setting to tell Coin the truth behind his visit: to write a sequel to ‘Language of God.’
“I don’t think it’s something I can bring up in here,” Juho said. At that, Coin put the bone down and reached into his pocket for a pen with the same hand he had been holding the bone. Then, along with a piece of tissue, he pushed it toward to the young author. ‘Huh, didn’t think he would bother,’ Juho thought to himself, impressed by Coin’s eagerness to hear him.
“Is this really necessary? We’re still eating.”
“I can’t stand being curious.”
After putting a piece of sausage into his mouth, Juho picked up the pen and wrote: Materials for the sequel of ‘Language of God.’ Writing in progress. Upon reading the message written on the tissue, Coin took it and blew his nose with it, which echoed through the entire restaurant.
“Speaking of ‘Destroy after Reading.'”
“I’ll make sure to flush it down the toilet.”
Juho didn’t go out of his way to add that Coin was one of the reasons that had brought him to Germany. After replaying the words that had been written on the tissue, Coin murmured, “Yun Woo, writing a sequel.”
“You’re doing it, aren’t you?” he asked.
“That’d be nice,” Juho replied.
“Well, this just got interesting.”
“I’m still kind of lost, though.”
“But you’re gonna make it happen, eventually.”
“I don’t know…”
“Whatever it is, do it well, and go to the award ceremony yourself,” Coin said. At which, Juho chuckled quietly.
“Aren’t we getting ahead of ourselves here? I haven’t written a single word yet.”
“It means I’m not going to another ceremony for your ass. I thought it’d probably be better to warn you now than later.”
Of course. There was no way that Coin would offer words of encouragement without a catch. After finishing their meal, the two authors left the restaurant, Coin turning down every autograph and photo request. Juho, on the other hand, stayed behind briefly to take some pictures with a few people, which made him have to rush to catch up to Coin. After sunset, the streets of Frankfurt were just as exotic as they had been during the day.
“There are a lot of people out even after sundown.”
Coin answered indifferently, as if he had no interest in the people whatsoever. Of course, Juho was well acquainted with that attitude by that point.
“Oh! I saw this manual traffic light on the way. That’s something you don’t see every day where I’m from.”
“Really? You’re getting excited over a traffic light?”
“You don’t see things like that anymore these days, especially when everything’s automated. Sometimes, it’s more efficient to keep things manual.”
“That is true, I guess.”
At that moment, just as Coin was about to ask the young author for the location of the hotel he was staying in, a loud commotion came out of nowhere. When Juho turned in the direction it had come from, he saw two people about to get into a fight at any given minute. Judging from their faces, which burned red, both of them seemed to be drunk.
“I guess you’ll find drunk people anywhere in this world.”
“Drunk people fighting, I might add.”
Things were only getting tenser, and neither party looked like they were about to back down, drawing the attention of those around them. Without getting involved themselves, the pedestrians simply watched the quarrel from a distance. As the two drunkards held each other by the collar of their shirts, Coin asked the young author, “What are they saying?”
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