The Great Storyteller Chapter 232
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“They’re a couple.”
“I saw. I don’t speak Japanese,” Sang Choi said indifferently, adding that his years of observing love had enabled him to be able to catch on to the relationship between couples merely by looking at them. Although there wasn’t really a way to prove it, he was quite confident in the statement he was making. Juho looked at his surroundings. Every couple had characteristics that gave out their relationship, and that gave Juho an idea of how Sang’s trick worked. At that moment, an upbeat tune came from the distance.
“Well, we’re at a theme park, so shouldn’t we get on at least one ride?”
“Hm, should we? Then, let’s get on the one with the shortest line, and we’ll be on our way.”
With that, the two meandered through the theme park for some time, walking through all the shouting and long, endless lines until they found the ride with the shortest line. The ride consisted of a number of massive mugs, in which people sat in groups, spinning them ruthlessly. Just the sight of it was enough to induce preemptive motion sickness.
“Are we getting on that?!”
“Yeah, why? You said you wanted to get on a ride, didn’t you?”
“It looks dizzying.”
“Don’t you worry. My semicircular canals are rock solid.”
Although Juho wasn’t expressing his concern for the romance writer’s semicircular canals, the young writer decided not to comment on it. Once a certain number of people stepped through the entrance, the mugs, which had been spinning all around and in all directions, came to a stop. Then, as the next group of people got on the ride, the mugs and the floor started to spin all over again. Everything spun, and there were even those were daring enough to spin the handle in the center of the mug in order to make it spin even faster, enjoying themselves like there was no tomorrow. Some were spinning so fast that their faces were unrecognizable, and Juho could only imagine how they would have played in the playground as children. Then, the young author looked to his side. How had Sang played growing up?
“Are you planning on making us spin that fast?”
“If we’re doing this, we might as well do it right.”
Then, the people exited the mugs, and the next group went in, including Sang and Juho. The two authors sat on the innermost, pink mug, and the rest of the group who came in with them went into their respective mugs as well, looking both excited and anxious. Some were afraid that they would vomit during the ride, whereas a group of three well-built men sitting in a mug together declared out loud that they would spin as fast they could. Juho placed his hand on the silver handle in front of him. It still maintained the raised temperature from the people who had been previously in the same mug.
“Here we go!” the employee said, and the mugs and the ground began to spin leftward. The mug was spinning even without the silver handle being turned, and the mug with the three well-built men was spinning at a truly frightening speed, their scream-like laughter provoked fear in Juho’s heart.
“Off we go.”
While the young author was distracted by the three men, Sang began to spin the handle. There was no trace of fear in his eyes, and he seemed to trust his sense of balance and the state of his semicircular canal wholeheartedly. Before Juho even had time to stop him, their mug began to spin, and the employee urged people to spin even faster on the microphone, which turned out to be the last thing Juho heard while his consciousness was still intact, “C’mon, you guys! Is that the best you can do!? Faster!”
The world spun just as much as Juho’s eyes and the romance writer. Juho felt his body tossing left and right, and before he knew it, he was shouting along with everyone else around him, and Sang, too, was shouting what sounded like words. Although he was incoherent, it was clear that he was having the time of his life. Then, after closing his eyes, Juho opened and closed them again. It hardly made a difference. The sound of wind was just as fierce, and everything around him began to lose its shape, lines, and colors. Everything was mixing into one single concoction. At that, Juho remembered his most recent novel, ‘Sublimation,’ and asked himself, ‘I wonder if this is what it felt like for them.’ After asking himself that question, Juho felt a sense of guilt toward the characters in that novel.
“All right! That was fun!” the employee said on the microphone, indicating the end. However, the mugs were still spinning, slowing down gradually. As the spinning world began to recover its shapes and colors, Juho was overcome by dizziness .
“I think I feel the corndog coming up,” Juho said, covering his mouth while Sang fixed his hair.
“We can get on up to five rides for free with this ticket. Let’s get on four more.”
“Then, leave me out, please.”
“It’s nowhere near as fun on my own.”
Adding that he’d feel better with some fresh air, Sang led him to the outdoor portion of the theme park, where there were even bigger rides. Fortunately, just as Sang had said, Juho did feel significantly better as he got some fresh air. Taking care of Juho staggering his way through, the romance writer led the way to the line for another ride. From then on, they spun in midair, plummeted from a terrifying height, and soared up to the sky. Juho lost count of how many times he experienced the tickling sensation in his gut and felt like his heart was dropping out of his chest. Nevertheless, the two authors were ecstatic, shouting at the top of their lungs, laughing, and looking just like everyone else around them. There was no doubt that they had entirely adapted to the land of dreams and hopes.
“There’s gonna be a parade soon,” Juho told Sang.
There was a large crowd waiting for the parade in the distance. Naturally, the two authors stood among the crowd in order to watch the parade. Along with the prince and the princess standing on stop of a large carriage decorated with leaves, a fairy and a clown were also on a moving platform, dancing and waving. They were all dressed in colorful costumes. With the train flashing its light, the parade came to an end as people exploded into applause. It was an uplifting sight. With that, after watching the parade disappear in the distance, the two moved on. Although they hadn’t said anything to each other, they were both making their way out of the theme park. It was time to go home.
“Hold on, I’m getting a call.”
As his phone rang, Sang walked away in search of a quieter spot. Meanwhile, after staring at him for a little while, a vendor selling drinks appeared in view. Juho was quite thirsty, so after choosing a flavor, the young author bought himself and Sang a beverage. Then, Sang made his way back after his phone call.
“Here!” Juho called to him. Taking the beverage from the young author’s hand, Sang guzzled it down in a hurry.
“I’m curious,” he murmured.
“Your next piece,” the romance writer said, chuckling quietly. “I’m pretty sure the entire world will flip upside down, saying that you’re in love.”
“You think so?” Juho asked, expecting yet another rumor to spring up. Because there were so many rumors already, one more wouldn’t make a difference.
“What do you have going on next week?”
“Me? Well, I don’t have any deadlines to meet or anything, so I should be free.”
“Wanna go over to San Jung’s place with me?” Sang asked, adding that he had business to attend to there. Then, feeling like climbing the mountains again for the first time in a while, Juho nodded without hesitation.
“Would you mind driving a little safer, Mr. Choi?” Juho asked, letting go of the assist grip above the passenger seat, the one he held on to for dear life their entire way there.
“It’s not my driving that’s the problem. It’s the road.”
Juho couldn’t remember the last time the car wasn’t shaking. Nevertheless, the romance writer exited the car with his backpack and lunch box, paying no attention to Juho’s complaints. In a similar manner, Juho, too, took his backpack out of the back seat and left the car. The distinctively fresh mountain air was quite pleasant, and it made it easier for Juho to breathe after the long drive through the rough, unpaved road in the mountains.
“Let’s go,” Sang said, putting on a baseball cap, and Juho also took his red baseball cap out of his backpack. Seeing that, the romance writer looked at Juho with disgust and said, “What’s with the hat? It’s tacky as heck.”
“It might not look like much, but it’s made of quality material. Just feel it. You’ll know what I mean.”
Staring at the young author’s bright red hat with loathing for a little while, Sang looked away and began to walk, and Juho followed him quietly. It was his second time there, and everything felt just as unfamiliar as it had during his previous visit. There was a saying that the mountains changed their appearance with each season. Then, after looking around briefly, Sang stepped forward with confidence. However, Juho couldn’t help but feel uneasy by his confident appearance. ‘We’re not gonna get stranded, are we?”
“Are you sure we’re going the right way? I feel like it’s different from last time.”
“It’s a shortcut I found.”
“What if there are snakes?”
“Tell ’em we’re just passing by.”
Despite the uneasiness, the leaves and earth underneath their feet felt quite pleasant. The rocks that turned up every now and then were also pleasant surprises.
“How long has it been since we started walking?”
“Don’t know. Why do you ask?”
Juho felt his sense of time growing dull, just like during the previous time. From then on, the two authors didn’t talk about anything in particular. They would simply try to figure out the kind of butterflies that were flying around, fiddle with mushrooms hanging from trees, or some grass, wondering if they were lucky enough to come across wild ginseng.
(TL’s Note: Wild Ginsengs are incredibly precious commodities and are usually sold for a substantial amount of money in Korea.)
“We’re here,” Sang said as they arrived at San Jung’s house, which existed in harmony with the mountains. It blended well with the surrounding environment.
“Hello,” San Jung greeted the two authors. Her black clothes accentuated the lively look on her face. Her writing space had hardly changed since their last visit.
“Congratulations on the award,” she said, bring out a cup of water for each of the authors as they came in and unpacked their things.
Although Juho had already received all the congratulatory messages, San Jung didn’t hesitate to congratulate the young author again, in person.
“Should we eat first?”
“I still have some of the seafood you sent me.”
Then, Juho looked at Sang, who was shaking his lunch box insistently, as if he didn’t need to remind her about his habit of not eating food prepared by most people. Nevertheless, San Jung opened the refrigerator nonchalantly and said, “I have a feeling he’s going to sneak into the kitchen later, so I’ll just make enough for the three of us.”
Although the romance writer insisted on not eating food prepared by others, his standards were extremely subjective. He was willing to be more flexible when he was treated to a meal by people he was even remotely close to. When it came to his favorite food, the standard became even more subjective.
“These look fresh.”
As expected, Sang showed interest upon smelling the fresh seafood.
“Doesn’t look like some cheap seafood, does it? Considering that it was sent by Yun Woo.”
“Of course! I made sure I picked the best.”
“Thanks. I’ve been enjoying them.”
Juho had been sending food to San Jung every now and then, just like most of the other authors in the club. It was only natural that her fellow authors would be concerned about their fellow author who lived in the middle of the mountains all by herself. Not to say that she didn’t know how to take care of herself, of course.
“Dae Soo sent me some really good beef not too long ago, but I finished it just yesterday. If I had known you guys were coming, I would have saved it for today. Bummer.”
“Yeah, we should’ve come yesterday.”
“Aren’t you a junior in high school? Can you do that?” Sang said, interjecting for no apparent reason, and Juho shrugged it off.
“I’m Yun Woo.”
“You should’ve told your classmates that.”
“You know, I did have some trouble getting excused from the late-night study sessions.”
With the exception of students pursuing a career in arts and physical education, every junior was forced to attend late-night study session as a rule. Because of that, the young author had had to prove to his teacher that he was one of the students seeking a career in the arts.
“How did you manage to do that?”
“I told my teacher that I’ve been learning from Mrs. Baek.”
“I see. Well, you’re not lying.”
That had been precisely what Juho had aimed for. In reality, Juho really had been learning from Yun Seo at her studio. Although he wasn’t officially her pupil, it didn’t change the fact that he was learning from her.
“But then my teacher tried to talk me out of it.”
“Talk you out of it?”
“Yes, saying that it was not too late to back out.”
Juho’s homeroom teacher was acquainted with Yun Seo and the fact that she had been investing heavily in the future generation of authors. Secretly hopeful, the teacher had looked into Juho’s student record. However, to the teacher’s surprise, the young author had no record of winning any awards. So, the teacher probably thought that Juho was someone putting in all that effort without having any talent.
“He was telling me that it wasn’t too late, saying that life was all about timing.”
“You mean, to give up writing?” Sang said sarcastically, laughing while holding his sides. Something about it felt slightly spiteful. Meanwhile, San Jung snickered as if sighing. However, it wasn’t a laughing matter to the young author. Although he had managed to be excused from the late-night study session with Mr. Moon’s help, he had been labeled an unfortunate youth meandering his way toward a goal while having trouble accepting reality.