The Great Storyteller Chapter 354
Chapter 354 The Showdown 3
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“I feel kind of bad that we didn’t bring anybody else out with us to eat,” Juho said on his way into the hotel.
“They can take care of themselves,” Coin added, snorting.
“You’d be surprised. People tend to hold grudges, especially when there’s food involved.”
“It’s just a kebab.”
Shrugging, Juho went into the hotel with Coin. Upon entering the lobby, they ran into Isabella, who was waiting for them.
“I can see that you took your time,” she said.
“We’re not late.”
“Do me a favor, Kelley. Do NOT be late for the ceremony.”
Standing behind Coin, Juho wiped his mouth to make sure that it was clean. After glancing at Coin, Isabella asked, “Did you guys eat something?”
‘How did she know?’ Juho thought.
“Kebabs,” Coin said, and a dumbfounded look appeared on the editor’s face. She seemed to be flabbergasted that Coin would go out for a kebab just before an award ceremony that was taking place at a five-star hotel. Looking toward Juho, she asked, “You too, Mr. Woo?”
“We were gonna bring you some, but the truck left us before we had the chance.”
Isabella laughed cheerfully at the young author’s reply, which was something Coin would never say. Seeing as she was alone, Juho asked, “Where are the others?”
“They’re coming. Ah! There they are.”
Juho saw Jang Mi walking toward them with Nabi and Dong Baek in the distance. However, something didn’t seem right. They all looked somewhat tense. To be more precise, they all looked quite serious. When Juho saw that there was another person walking toward him with the three, the look on their faces started to make sense. Recognizing the person, Juho poked Coin on the side. Although appearing irritated initially, Coin hesitated upon recognizing the certain person in the distance.
“It’s that old man,” Coin said, clicking his tongue irritably.
“Mr. Kings,” Isabella murmured. Kings was attending the ceremony as the presenter of the award. Meanwhile, spotting Juho in the distance, Nabi let out a sigh of relief. As the four drew closer, Juho stared at Kings dazedly.
“There you are.”
Kings seemed much more clear-cut than in the picture in his books. Juho had only seen pictures of him while the author had been on trips. Seeing him in his suit in an urban setting made Kings seem more like a businessman than an author. It was astonishing how much impact the surrounding environment had on a person’s appearance. Then, Juho became curious as to how he would appear to Kings.
“We finally meet, Mr. Woo,” Kings said, initiating a handshake. Juho grabbed his hand by reflex. Kings had quite a grip. “My, you’re even better looking in person!”
“I enjoyed your new book.”
Juho had had conversations similar to that a number of times by that point. However, now that he was talking to another author, it felt like a completely different conversation.
“You don’t seem nervous at all, Mr. Woo,” Kings said, and Juho smiled for no apparent reason. Kings seemed to know what had happened between Juho and Coin prior to the ceremony.
“I believe you and Coin reached a consensus a while ago?”
As Juho stared at him quietly, Kings added, standing straight, “I also happen to have a similar experience. What really matters, though, is in the heart, don’t you agree? The moment I read my opponent’s work, that’s when I realized that I’d lost.”
“And who did you lose to?” Juho asked.
As Kings smiled at the young author’s question, Coin burst into laughter, holding his side.
“I’m afraid there are too many to name,” Kings said. Then, stepping back, he asked Coin, “How’ve you been, Coin?”
“How many times is that now?”
“It’s just that I have a feeling that you’ll get yourself into some serious trouble one of these days. So, I might as well hear you say that you’re well while I still can.”
“That’s rich coming from you. You do realize that you don’t have much time left on this planet, right?”
At that moment, Isabella pinched Coin in the back. Despite Coin’s remark being extremely rude, Kings didn’t seem to take offense to it whatsoever. It was almost as if he were used to it.
“Your recent work was quite interesting,” Kings said.
“I write nothing but interesting books.”
“Sure, assuming that you don’t include your debut title.”
As Coin’s face twisted into a scowl, Kings reverted back to the subject he had been meaning to talk about all along, “You know, I couldn’t stop thinking about your book when I came here.”
“Why? What do you mean why? Oh, is it because Yun Woo’s here?”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
Then, narrowing his eyes, Kings asked, “Do you know anything about jealousy?”
Although the author was looking toward Coin, Juho realized that the question wasn’t directed to the same person. After a brief pause, Juho replied, “It’s when you’re envious of another person.”
“Do you know how many people I met today that were feeling that way?”
Instead of giving an answer, Juho looked around. There were pockets of people spread about the lobby, talking casually with one another, enjoying the moment. However, Juho had a strange feeling that all of them weren’t being entirely genuine. Perhaps, it was the gold interior of the lobby. People playing mind games with each other with piles of gold before their eyes, scheming to take it all for themselves.
“Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves,” Juho said.
“Envy and jealousy might have a lot in common, but they’re inherently different,” King said emphatically, looking at Juho now and observing him with eyes filled with interest.
“When do you think one experiences those two emotions?”
“Mostly when another person has something that they don’t.”
“Such as language skills?”
“Geniuses often tend to be the target of those two emotions,” Juho replied, remaining unfazed.
“I’m sure you’ve been in that position yourself, right?”
“What are you trying to get at, old man?” Coin said annoyedly, and Kings replied, “It was Cain’s jealousy that killed Abel.”
Mankind’s first murder was the result of jealousy, and Coin’s new book blatantly exposed that. At that moment, Juho locked eyes with Coin.
“So, what? Are you begging him to be jealous of you? Are you that desperate for younger friends?”
“Oh, no. Don’t get me wrong. I was just wondering if any of that applied to your relationship. You two are close, aren’t you? The closer you are to someone, the stronger your feelings tend to be.”
Whether it was envy or jealousy, one had to know the other first, and Coin and Juho knew each other quite well. Kings kept on, “You ever thought to yourself that you could let go of your fear of defeat if you could just get that trophy? You ever thought about that?”
What if not winning the trophy rendered one’s sense of victory meaningless?
The excitement in the air was more than enough to stir up such questions. The air sank into silence as the three authors observed each other quietly. They knew each other’s writing. They knew each other’s preferred subjects and the style with which they depicted characters. At that moment…
“No,” Juho said unhurriedly.
“No?” Kings said, his cheek twitching ever so slightly as if caught off guard by the younger author’s answer.
“That’s right,” Juho clarified.
Isabella looked toward the young author with widened eyes, and Dong Baek, Jang Mi, and Nabi looked at each other as if wondering if they should intervene. Without hesitation, Juho added, “I don’t intend to ignore anything or act as though nothing happened. Coin and I made our decision before coming here through a game of heads or tails.”
“Heads or tails?”
Both Yun Woo and Coin had come willingly to the hotel filled with golden glory. There was no reason to be swayed by anybody else, and Kings was completely oblivious to that. At that moment, Juho heard people around him whisper to each other, glancing in his direction. They had to be wondering what Kings, Coin, and Yun Woo were talking about. Seeing Juho standing there awkwardly, Kings let out a hearty laughter.
“Then, I’m glad to hear that. I was just worried that you two might get overly competitive over the award. I can see that the younger generation these days has really wisened up! They’re smart.”
‘Right’ Juho murmured internally. Then, Kings pulled his sleeve up slightly and checked the time on his watch, which seemed like a thing hikers would find useful when stranded.
“Well, I better get going. I don’t know which one of you will end up on stage, but I’ll see you later.”
With that, Kings walked down the golden hallway without hesitation, and Juho stared at him fading into the distance. Nobody dared to speak up. While Nabi seemed exhausted, Isabella seemed to be lost in thought.
“Have you wanted to kill me, by any chance?” Juho asked.
“Took you long enough to realize that,” Coin said in a serious tone.
“What about the award?”
“How many times do I have to repeat myself? It’s mine. Period.”
At that, Juho clenched his hands into fists. Coin had something that he didn’t.
“You’re probably gonna be writing for a while, right?”
“Duh,” Coin replied without hesitation. Just like he had said, Juho knew that Coin would live out that answer.
“Which means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to win awards.”
“So?” Coin said, snorting like usual.
“Well, I’m not saying that I’m gonna do anything about it.”
Then, Juho asked to be excused to his room, leaving only Coin and Isabella. Looking toward the elevator going up, Coin clicked his tongue and said, “That prick.”
“Are you envious of Yun Woo?” Isabella asked.
“Pff. What’s that supposed to mean?” Coin said, breathing unhurriedly and adding, “I clearly have the upperhand,” and walked down the hallway.
“So, they did compare themselves to each other at one point,” Isabella murmured. The two authors shared a truly unique relationship, and the fact that they would go out for a kebab together only accentuated that further.
Juho saw a trophy shining in the spotlight.
“It is truly an honor,” somebody said on stage, sounding emotional. The audience was looking intently at the author who was delivering the speech. Sitting with five other authors, one of which was yet to be known in Korea, Juho’s table was right toward the center, neither too close nor too far from the stage. Juho looked around the hall, which was also covered in gold, much like the lobby. Although the stage was quite dark around the spotlight, it still shone brightly.
“I would like to think of this award as a reminder to push myself even harder,” the winning author on stage said. Although Juho hadn’t read his book, the young author fully intended on applauding him on his way down from the stage. Seeing as the author on stage was genuinely happy about winning, Juho also felt happy for him.
Drinking the water in the wineglass in front of him, Juho looked toward Nabi, who made an ‘X’ with her fingers. Coin hadn’t arrived yet. ‘What is he up to? Sleeping? Lost? Did he get into an accident? Maybe he ran off?’ Juho thought to himself.
“All right. We’ll move on to the next nominee.”
‘What if he really did run off in search of his own path, away from me or the award?’ Juho thought. If what he had thought was true, then Juho would fully support Coin’s journey. There were countless other things that were more important than a mere award. At that moment…
“Why are these people in such a hurry?”
Juho heard a door open. Even without looking back, it was obvious who it was: Kelley Coin. As he walked unhurriedly toward Juho’s table and sat next to the young author, some let out a sigh, while others clicked their tongues bitterly or glared at him piercingly. Then, with an awkward tension in the air, the person on stage resumed hosting the ceremony.
“I was starting to think that you’d run off,” Juho whispered.
Holding back his laughter desperately, Juho handed Coin a cup of water. Coin took it without complaint and drank from it.
“What were you doing?” Juho asked.
“What’s it to you?”
Seeing as Coin was getting dangerously close to chucking the cup at him, Juho stopped pestering him. At that moment
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.”
A familiar voice came from the stage. When Juho looked toward it inadvertently, he saw Kings up on there.
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