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The Great Storyteller Chapter 333

Chapter 333 Two Years Without Yun Woo 1


Translated by: ShawnSuh

Edited by: SootyOwl

Heard your movies coming out? Sang Choi asked Geun Woo, almost as if picking a fight and in a way that wouldve been offensive to those who didnt know the romance writer. Of course, Geun Woo was fully aware that Sang Choi wasnt coming from a place of ill-intent.

Ah, right. I sold the movie rights.

Yun Woo went to Hollywood, you know.

Im aware, Geun Woo replied, feeling something well up from within. Despite the effect his words had on the author, Sang Choi became distracted by the menu. At which point, Geun Woo found himself getting confused as to whether there really was no ill-intent behind the romance writers words.

Well, congratulations. But you still have a ways to go as an author, though. You know this, right? There were about fifteen places that I didnt like in your new book.

Riiiight, Geun Woo said, dragging his response and wondering, Couldnt he be any less excited?

Thats fifteen! Sang Choi said, emphasizing his remark even further. When Geun Woo looked at Dae Soo, she nodded and said, Hes keeping you in check.

But I started out so late.

What did you say? Sang Choi asked.

Nothing.

(TLs Note: In Korea, people with more experience are commonly expected to be treated with respect by those who are newer and less experienced in life/job field. Simultaneously, those who are more experienced are supposed to be looking out for those who are less experienced. However, this culture is often abused by those who are older. In this case, Sang Choi, being a self-centered person that he is, is more concerned with his own career than looking out for Geun Woo, who is less experienced than he is.)

While Geun Woo was dealing with Sang Choi, Joon Soo talked with San Jung about Yun Woo.

He looks good with short hair. Although, it did take some getting used to.

Really? I gotta see it now. Do you have a picture?

Of course! How can I not?

Joon Soo took his phone out of his pocket and showed San Jung a picture of the young author. At which point, all of the other authors gathered around him to see it.

Huh! San Jung exclaimed upon seeing the picture of Juho looking straight into the camera, sporting the subtle smile with which she was well acquainted.

Not too bad! He looks cold though.

The reporters must be anxious to get their hands on this picture.

That takes me right back to when I was in the military.

As the waiter came into the room in timely fashion, Sang Choi placed an order for food. After the waiter stepped out, Joon Soo said to his fellow authors, Im about to start working on another book.

Are you now?

What kind?

Its a full length novel. I was planning on publishing it through my blog initially, but I got an offer from the publisher.

I see.

Nobody seemed to be caught off-guard by the news. Writing was an authors primary job description, and that remained unchanged with or without Yun Woo around. Joon Soo thought back to the day when he had taken pictures with the young author.

Whats with your hair? It looks good.

When Joon Soo had opened the door, he had been greeted by Yun Woo and his new hairdo. While Joon Soo had been thinking about the young authors noticeably shorter hair, Juho had said, Im enlisting.

Their brief conversation had brought a significant change for the next two years of Joon Soos life. Two years without Yun Woo. The absence of the young author gave what would otherwise be just a number a name. Juhos time in the military meant his absence was guaranteed. Noticing that his hand had started shaking subtly, Joon Soo hid it behind his other hand.

Do you think Juhos anxious right now? Mideum asked, emptying her glass of beer. At which point, Joon Soo looked up and looked at her. Its just that I cant seem to make peace with it for some reason. I wonder how hes feeling.

Hes probably not thinking about it all that much, Juho said. Juho had always moved forward while the rest of the world around him waited on halt. By that point, the young author had gone ahead of the world by a considerable distance.

Does he even have things to worry about?

He looked like he was already about to get discharged, Geun Woo said, looking depressed as usual. At the same time, everyone imagined the young author in their own way. Some pictured him struggling to adapt, constantly clashing with the senior officer, getting punished, and ending up in the guardhouse. However, Joon Soo pictured Yun Woo in his uniform, carrying a notepad issued by the military, which would contain his ideas. There had to be a number of awe-inspiring sentences in it. After being disciplined as a soldier, what kind of stories would Yun Woo write?

Well, I got my own things to worry about.

Same here, San Jung said, agreeing to Joon Soos murmur. Whether consciously or not, everyone in the room had to be thinking about the same thing: What do I do while Yun Woos gone?

You know, our clubs changed quite a bit since Yun Woo came along.

I dont even remember what it was like before, Dae Soo said, chuckling. That day, the atmosphere of the outing took a slightly more serious turn.

From cars spewing out pollution, to skyscrapers, to a street bar selling snacks, and pedestrians wearing various types of clothes, walking toward their respective destinations in various paces, Juho looked at everything attentively for a little while. As he inhaled, he felt cold air rushing into his nostrils.

Greasy food, Juho said, reading one of the words from the list of food items he had written down on his notepad.

A soldier! a child said, pointing toward the young author. However, its guardian merely repeated after the child without even looking toward Juho, Right. A soldier. Lets go.

A soldier!

Yes, a soldier.

Holding the child by its hand, the two crossed the street in a hurry. Brushing his hand down his face, Juho made his way home.

Is that you, Juho? Juhos father asked at the sound of the door opening.

Yes.

The mouth-watering aroma had been tempting the young author since before he had reached the door, reminding him of how hungry he was. Upon arriving, he was greeted with an impressive array of freshly-made food in the living room. As delighted as he was, there was a question that he had to ask.

Is today New Years Day?

From Japchae to various skewers, pan-fried cakes, and rice cakes, the table seemed set like a New Years Day meal.

(TLs Note: Japchae is a traditional Korean side dish typically eaten on New Years. It usually contains pork or beef, a variety of vegetables, and glass noodles, seasoned and stir-fried together. The ingredients for the skewers could also vary from household to household.)

You said you were craving New Years Day food, thats why, his father said, ecstatic to see his son home. Meanwhile, Juho looked at the array of food, noticing the grilled mackerel resting precariously on the edge of the table.

It feels like News Years all over again, doesnt it? We couldnt spend it together.

Well have some barbecue for dinner, Juhos mother said as she came out of the kitchen. As long as it was greasy, Juho was ready to eat anything. Then, just as he was about to sit, his mother stopped him, saying Go get changed first.

But Im starving.

Im gonna wash it soon, so just set it aside somewhere.

Standing back up, Juho went to his room to get changed. When he came back out, his mother asked, The food isnt all that great at camp, huh?

Needless to say, it was incomparable to the delicacies spread about before his eyes.

After sitting down, Juho took the grilled mackerel and split it in half down the middle. The meat was soft and buttery, while the skin was crispy.

The skewers are really good.

Here, have some Japchae.

Did you make this yourself?

You can find just about anything in the market these days.

Mm! This place knows their Japchae, Juhos father said after tasting the dish.

Right?

Meanwhile, Juho picked up another skewer for himself, which had slices of imitation crab, ham, and green onions. When he pulled them out of the skewer, the egg coating around them came loose and hung untidily.

Hows life at the base? his father asked, which was a question he tended to ask every time Juho would come home on vacation.

I think it suits me, Juho said confidently.

Ever considered it as a career?

I have. Didnt seem like itd be a bad idea.

Looking proudly at his son, the father asked, Its still hard even after you adapt to the environment, isnt it?

A little.

You did well it seems.

They let me out of the base on vacation from time to time, so its not too bad.

Have some short ribs. Theyre good, his mother said, putting a piece of short rib on the young authors plate. At the end of the meal, he felt his stomach was noticeably warmer than it had been.

Think Ill go out for a walk. Want me to get you anything?

Its fine. Be safe, now.

Will do.

Feeling bloated, Juho put on some clothes haphazardly and went out for a walk, meandering around the neighborhood. He had no destination in mind. Although he was walking quietly, he moved his eyes busily, looking around.

Maybe I should try the bookstore for the old times sake, Juho said to himself impulsively. Although he hesitated upon reaching the crossroads, he didnt change his mind. Once he left the neighborhood, there were significantly more people on the streets, of whom the young author soon became a part. Nobody was talking to him or causing a ruckus. It had been twelve months since Yun Woo had gone into the military, and the media had long stopped writing about it. Being conscious of the people walking past him, Juho kept walking forward, eventually arriving at the bookstore without trouble.

There it is.

Finding Dong Gils new book wasnt hard at all. Feeling a warm, stuffy air underneath his nose, Juho rubbed it.

Frigid Winter.’

The title seemed to suit its creator well. The book had already sold more than a hundred thousand copies by that point, and suffice to say, Dong Gils career had been flourishing since the book had been published. For a brief moment, Juho looked intently at Dong Gils picture in the paper band wrapped around the book. At that moment

Scuse me, a voice said to the young author from behind him, and Juho stepped aside to let the person through.

Then, reaching for the book Juho had been looking at, the person grabbed it and walked away. While he was at it, Juho looked around the store. Of course, he was bound to come across names with which he was familiar.

Dae Soo had also put out a new book about six months ago. It was a novel about a story that took place in the corporate world. Being the master of horror novels that she was, Dae Soos new book contained an element of horror that was unique to her, despite it being pure literature. As an author who was often criticized for being excessively grotesque in her writing, her new book was a meaningful attempt at something different, which made the young author feel a subtle pressure.

I think Joon Soo said that he was coming out with a book soon.

Juho walked further into the store, where there was an even greater variety of books, stopping in front of the name Hyun Do Lim. Before joining the military, Juho had visited Yun Seo at her house in order to let her know about his enlistment. Although Yun Seo had invited Hyun Do, he had never come, saying that he had been in the middle of writing. Juho still remembered the last time he had talked with the literary great on the phone.

So, youre enlisting?

Yes, sir. Im planning on going as quietly as possible, Juho had said.

Right, Hyun Do had said, sounding uninterested. Even as they were talking, never once had he wished him good luck or safety. It was as though the young author was on his own. However, by the time their conversation was nearing its end, Hyun Do said, You might not like what you see when you get out. Your friends will be soaring up to the sky while youre gone.

Juho brushed his hand down the cover of Frigid Winter. Just as Hyun Do had predicted, Juho had started to feel competitive. Instead of picking up a rifle, he wanted to pick up a pen and write even while on nightwatch duty. He wanted to write all day if he could. There were pent up emotions that needed to be released somehow.

Whew

Juho breathed slowly. Thankfully, there was another way for him to deal with the emotions pent up within him. Juho turned back, thinking about his ongoing piece, which had been progressing slower than his previous books.

Lets meet up, Seo Kwang said on the phone. Upon arriving home, Juho had started writing almost immediately. Until he had been interrupted by a phone call from his friend, that is.

I havent seen you since you first came out on vacation, you know that? The only way for me to hear about you is through news articles.

During the twelve months he had been serving in the military, Juho had met up with Seo Kwang only once. Aside from that time, he had been investing every minute of his vacation time into the piece in front of his eyes.

Sorry, Ive been working.

And I am happy to hear that as a reader, Seo Kwang said, implying that he wasnt as happy as a friend. Juho wasnt sure of what to say.

Well, if my author friend says hes busy, then hes busy. Ill manage.

Are you free tomorrow? Juho asked. He also wanted to catch up with his friend. Starting with the trip to Germany, to the military, and even now, writing the manuscript had been quite a time consuming task. There was a need to be intentional about maintaining a balance in his life. A sprint was an entirely different race from a marathon. Thankfully, Seo Kwang had reached out to the young author at just the right time.

Going to bed and waking up at the same time every night and morning, Juho looked over his manuscript while waiting for his friends unhurriedly.

Gosh, its like Im trying to meet the president or something, having arrived first, Seo Kwang grumbled. Upon finding Juhos uniform on one side of the wall, his expression changed almost immediately. When walking toward it, he shuddered and stepped away from it.

Egh! That smells like a soldiers uniform, all right.

Youre gonna be wearing that too one of these days.

Shut up! Dont wanna hear it!

Its not too terrible there, you know.

Uh, huh. Yeah, right. Couldnt you put it somewhere out of sight!? Seo Kwang said, raising his voice irritably.

Theres no place with better ventilation, though.

For goodness sake, man. I dont even wanna look at it, Seo Kwang said.

The rest were on their way to Juhos house. Then, staring intently at the young authors hair, Seo Kwang said, That hairdos gonna take me some getting used to.

Yeah?

Yep. Well, hows life at the base?

Its not bad. Its not the most comfortable either.

At that, Seo Kwang became teary-eyed, like a deer terrified for its life.

You get used to it though, as with most things.

It still scares me.

Seeing the frightened expression on his friends face, Juho chuckled quietly, thinking of a certain author who had tried desperately to scare him before he went off to basic training. The look on Seo Kwangs face at the moment was probably what Geun Woo had hoped to see from Juho back then.

Its OK. Its just this once, Seo Kwang said.

Speak for yourself, Juho thought to himself, patting his friend on the shoulder.

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