The Great Storyteller Chapter 375
Chapter 375 An Elusive Moon 6
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
As the conversation started to steer in an unexpected direction, Seo Kwang felt a sense of crisis. On the other hand, Juho looked completely unfazed, drinking from the straw peacefully as if completely unaware of what he had just said. Feeling burdened by what he had just heard, Seo Kwang looked at Juho with narrowed eyes.
“Don’t you do anything stupid after you’re done with that manuscript!”
“Stupid? Like what?” Juho scoffed asked nonchalantly. However, Seo Kwang remained serious.
“Whenever I see you, I get the feeling that you’ll die early.”
“OK, that’s just a-whole-nother level of trash talk.”
“It’s not trash talk. It’s a legitimate thought. You tend to rush things, you know.”
Seo Kwang had often felt like Juho wouldn’t live as long as the others, something that caused him significant anxiety. Anything rushed tended to yield a similarly precarious emotional experience. Then, seeing that Juho had stopped talking, Seo Kwang rubbed his eyes and corrected himself in a hurry, “As in… like a dog.”
“You know, they grow really fast!” Seo Kwang said, feeling relief when Juho chuckled. Then, leaning back on his chair, Seo Kwang tossed the rice puff up into the air and caught it with his mouth. Glancing over at Juho, the translator said, “Well, since you’ve already committed to it, you might as well give it all you got.”
Then, Seo Kwang took the rice puff in his hand and crushed is, the snapping sound fading into the air.
“It’s already hard enough as is to wait.”
Given that the white book would be a collaboration between Wol Kang and Yun Woo, almost all of their fans would feel like Seo Kwang. Juho rubbed his chin. He was well aware of the expectations that would be put on him when he agreed to finish Wol’s book.
“You mean you can’t wait to find out if I’ll make a fool out of Wol Kang or not.”
“That’s part of it,” Seo Kwang said. Curiosity of that was bound to exist when taking up a task that had been left unfinished by another person.
Massaging his shoulder, Juho replied, “I wonder if you’ll be the first one to show up at my door to beat me up for doing Mr. Kang a disservice.”
“Me? Beat up Yun Woo? Nah, I doubt that. I’ll just keep it at cursing you out.”
Juho imagined the disappointed look on his friend’s face, something with which he was well acquainted. In his past life, Juho had learned for the first time that disappointing someone could hurt significantly more than getting beat up.
“I gotta see him, no matter what,” Juho murmured, resting his chin on his hand. Meanwhile, Seo Kwang stared at Juho with a slightly disconcerted look.
“Don’t do anything extreme, my friend.”
Although it was better to stay alive, Wol Kang was still nowhere to be found. Juho remembered having heard about Wol from Yun Seo at one point. According to her, he had been incredibly stubborn and tended to do whatever he pleased. Apparently, he had also tended to be rather unpredictable, which meant that he would only show up when he felt like it.
Juho was tempted to draw him out somehow, but the young author’s position didn’t allow him to focus solely on Wol either. Between the late author and Juho, there existed a crow.
“Is everything OK?”
When Juho looked up, he saw his editor’s shiny head.
“It’s nothing,” Juho replied and asked, “How’s the manuscript?”
“I think we can keep it as is.”
Juho was paired up with a new editor, someone assigned by the editor-in-chief. Looking quite nervous, the new editor took the manuscript from the young author. Due to the nature of the work, most editors tended to be quite sociable. Those who weren’t so tended to work hard to improve that aspect of themselves. The editor in front of the young author seemed to fall under the latter category. Staring at his balding head, Juho asked, “Are you hot?”
“I’m sorry?” the editor asked, looking up, his face glistening.
“You seem to be sweating a lot,” Juho said.
“Oh, I’m fine. Thank you for your concern.”
The new editor’s attitude was somewhat rigid. Remembering the editor-in-chief, whom he had met at one point, Juho nodded. The editor-in-chief had been confident in the editor’s skills, and Juho hadn’t gotten a bad impression from the editor either. Besides, in Juho’s mind, it was more interesting that there were editors as diverse as authors.
“This part here…”
“Yes?” Juho replied, looking at the spot his editor was pointing. It was the part where Juho had lost control of his emotions while writing. Then, placing the final draft next to the first draft, the editor started his explanation, rushing slightly to get the words out of his mouth.
“So, this book is definitely on the darker side of things.”
“You think so?” Juho asked, tilting his head. Although the young author hadn’t intended for the novel to be heavy, he was also aware that it wasn’t light-hearted either.
Seeing the look on the young author’s face, the editor added in a hurry, “Not that it’s a bad thing. The struggle between the crow and the protagonist is completely justified.”
“Right,” Juho replied calmly.
Then, clearing his throat, the editor added, “It almost feels as though the two characters have dedicated their lives to fighting, but at the same time, it doesn’t make you wonder if it’s really necessary to fight that hard, which only happens because the narrator specified what the crow is to him. There’s something very convincing about their struggle.”
Juho listened intently to his editor and his feedback. As far Juho could tell, the editor was speaking very cautiously.
“But, things get a little less straightforward toward the end of the story.”
“Less straightforward… Right,” Juho said, nodding in agreement. By then, the editor seemed to be much more at ease.
“The crow becomes much too metaphysical toward the end, which, in turn, makes the narrator look like he’s losing his mind. Of course, that isn’t to say that it’s wrong in any way! The narrator definitely has issues that he needs to deal with. Personally, I was hoping that the story would stay a bit more rational,” the editor said, wiping the sweat off of his forehead with a handkerchief.
“I understand. It’s something we’ve already discussed,” Juho said.
Just as he had said, the editor had suggested that the author take a slightly less ambiguous approach toward the end. Since Juho had been thinking something similar, the author had been able to take up his editor’s suggestion. On the other hand, Juho tended to go overboard with the abstract, and Nam Kyung had often pointed that out to him. In actuality, it had been a habit that had come with age. As Juho grew older, his stamina also naturally diminished. Therefore, when he wrote, he left things ambiguous rather than being deliberate. The contrast was comparable to the difference between a sinking beer bottle and a professional swimmer diving into the water. Then, pushing the edited version toward the editor, Juho said, “So, I made some changes accordingly.”
“The ending is what makes this book what it is! You never fail to impress me, Mr. Woo,” the editor said, holding the edited version of the manuscript in his hands with a bright smile. Having a feeble appearance to begin with, the smile on his face made him look even more innocent.
Staring intently at his face, Juho said, “All thanks to you.” At which point, the editor’s cheeks flushed bright red.
“Your writing never ceases to amaze me, Mr. Woo. It’s truly an honor to be working with you,” the editor said. Juho remembered hearing the same remark when they had first met. As they were being introduced to each other, the editor-in-chief had said, “He reads your books the most out of the entire editing department. Eventually, he’ll follow in my footsteps as editor-in-chief.”
Back then, the editor had sweated profusely. Although appearing calm, the sweat had indicated to the young author that the editor had been trying as hard as he could to remain that way.
“I’ve read ‘The Crow.'”
“I was… overwhelmed,” the editor had said, covering his mouth. At which, Juho had chuckled awkwardly. Then, after explaining the strength and charm of the book bashfully, the editor had asked, “I assume that there are some changes you’d like to make?”
From then on, the two had gotten into a heated debate, which had been very exhausting. It had been as if the editor had learned from the editor-in-chief himself. Because of that, Juho had found himself having no time to work on the white book. Having finished revising the manuscript for ‘The Crow,’ Juho let out a deep sigh. ‘NOW, I can focus on Mr. Kang.’ At that moment…
“So, are you planning on going back to Mr. Kang’s manuscript?” the editor asked out of nowhere. However, Juho remained unfazed, as it wasn’t entirely unusual for the editor to bring up that subject. The fact that Juho was working on Wol’s unfinished book was already widespread news. As the young author nodded, the editor said, “Well, if you need any help, please don’t hesitate to call me.”
“Actually, the chief asked me personally to show him the manuscript once it’s finished,” Juho replied with a smile.
Then, looking toward Juho with sincerity, the editor wiped the sweat off his upper lip and said bashfully, “I just don’t have the guts to ask for a favor like that. So, are you planning on showing it to the chief?”
“No. I haven’t even started on it yet. I can’t make any promises just yet.”
At that, as if the answer had left him wanting more, the editor rubbed the back of his neck and said, “Break a leg, Mr. Woo.”
With that, as Juho rose from his seat, the editor offered to give him a ride, which Juho accepted. Juho waited for his editor in the underground parking lot. As several cars went past him, Juho stood with his arms crossed, lost in thoughts about the white book. Then, noticing the moon in the still-blue sky, Juho stared at it dazedly. At that moment, a car came to an abrupt stop nearby. When Juho looked ahead, he saw somebody familiar getting out of the car in a hurry.
He was a reporter who had interviewed Juho at one point. Remembering getting bombarded with questions by him, Juho sensed trouble, sighing internally and thinking, ‘Of all people…’
“What brings you here?”
“I’m here on work-related business,” Juho replied briefly. Nevertheless, the reporter still seemed happy to see the young author. Naturally updating Juho on how his life had been, the reporter started to investigate. At which point, the author realized that it was too late to run.
“That reminds me! I was shocked when I heard about Mr. Wol’s unfinished book! I didn’t even know such a thing existed.”
“Me neither,” Juho said. Whenever he would take a step back, the reporter would follow him even closer.
“When I heard that you were working on it, though, I just couldn’t contain myself.”
“Thank you,” Juho said, trying to be sparing with his words, waiting desperately for his editor’s car to arrive.
“Are you working on it right now?”
“No, not yet.”
“Have you always been a fan of Wol Kang?”
“How can one not be?”
“Well, it’s just that you’ve never mentioned his name before.”
Juho forced himself to answer the reporter, resisting the urge to sigh. However, the reporter didn’t let up.
“How was it staying with Mr. Lim? I’ve been very curious about that.”
“There’s not much to be curious about. He invited me, and I went.”
“C’ mon, Mr. Woo. Every reporter knows how Mr. Lim can be. He’s notorious for not taking visitors.”
“I think you might be better off asking Mr. Lim himself,” Juho said in an attempt to deflect the reporter’s attention away from him. However, the reporter didn’t budge, determined to focus on Juho.
“How’d you feel when you were invited?”
“… I was glad. Wait, is this an interview? In that case, I’d much rather meet in an official capacity.”
“Well, not necessarily. But, are you saying yes to a potential interview?”
“Not necessarily. As you’re already aware, I have work to do.”
“It’ll be just a minute, Mr. Woo. I won’t publish anything.”
“As it should be. Especially if you wanna interview me in the future,” Juho said with a smile, and the reporter smiled as well, asking, “I assume that you’ve already read the book?”
Suddenly, the reporter asked desperately, “Could you please tell me what it’s about? I’m a huge fan of Wol Kang. He was my hero growing up.”
With the corner of his mouth turned up, Juho replied, “I don’t think so.”
At that moment, a car arrived, and Juho turned toward it. As Juho started walking toward it, he felt a hand clasp his shoulder, which was followed by a voice that said, “One last thing, Mr. Woo.”
“Isn’t it a lot of pressure?”
“What is?” Juho asked, playing coy, and the reporter clarified himself, “Finishing the job left behind by a dead author.”
Then, as if having caught on to the situation, the driver started to honk, which reverberated through the parking lot. Looking into the air for a brief moment, Juho replied, “Well, I had the urge to do it. What can I do?”
With a brief goodbye, Juho got in the car and left. Meanwhile, standing in place, the reporter stared at where the author had been standing.
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