The Great Storyteller - Chapter 34

Published at 10th of October 2018 10:10:05 PM
Chapter 34: Chapter 34 - He’s Nearby (2)

Translated by: ShawnSuh

Edited by: SootyOwl

When Juho and the boy went into a common fast food chain, they were welcomed by its distinct deep fried smell . There were part timers in their yellow-and-red uniforms working busily at the counter . Juho got in line to order . The cashier seemed to be around his age, but it might have been her thick makeup .

The line was not very long, so he was able to order quickly . His eyes met with the cashier's . Her eyelashes were smothered in black liquid, and he was given a nonverbal signal to order . She was quite unfriendly, but he ordered a combo meal, paying no attention to her attitude .

"What are you getting?"

"The same . "

Juho and the boy each paid for their own meal . As Juho finished paying, the boy handed her a ten dollar bill . With an insincere tone, she asked him to wait about five minutes and then handed him the change . However, he wasn't moving for some reason .

"You didn't give me the correct amount of change . "


"I'm supposed to be getting forty cents, but you gave me eighty . You must have gotten one of the coins mixed up . "

With a bitter look, the cashier took one of his coins back and exchanged them for the proper amount . There was definitely something different about that guy . Heck, he even tried to take three dollars that he found back to the police station . He must not like getting any more or less than what he's due .

After they each received their buzzer, the two went up to the second floor and found a table by the window . The restaurant was not very crowded . In the distance, there were two couples in their suits who appeared to be corporate workers .

As the two waited silently for their buzzers to go off, the boy suddenly started talking, "What's your name?"

Juho realized that they hadn't introduced themselves to each other .

"Juho Woo . How about you?"

"I'm Pil Sung Choi . "

"I don't recognize the uniform . Where's your school? I'm a freshman . Are you older than me?"

Pil Sung shook his head and said that he was in the same year .

"I'm from a neighboring town . "

He made it sound like it was not a big deal . Seeing how he had caught Juho near the front gate, he didn't seem to know anybody at the school . He didn't seem like he knew the neighborhood either . The only thing that had brought him to Juho's school was a dated rumor about Yun Woo . He seemed like a doer .

"So, you just blindly made your way here?"

"I took the subway . "

Their conversations crossed, and Juho stopped talking . That moment, their buzzers started vibrating . He stopped Pil Sung getting up from his seat and went down on his own to pick up their meals .

"You came a long way . Stay here . "

Since he was hungry, Juho took a big bite out of his burger . It tasted like how he expected .


"So, is Yun Woo really not in your school?"

"Nope . We did have an impostor, but she confessed," Juho explained without getting into a lot of details .

"That rumor's kind of dated now . You must have heard it late . "

"I have no friends around . "

As if he were talking about the weather, he sounded humdrum . Juho found his attitude odd .

'He doesn't look like he's rough around the edges . Could it be his personality? Either way, it's not a good subject,' he thought .

He took a sip from his drink and asked, "So, what did you mean by rival?"

"It's exactly as I said . I'm going to be Yun Woo's rival . "

He sounded determined this time . 'Yun Woo's rival . He could not look any more unrefined chewing on his burger . '

"Is that what a rival means to you? Did you think about Yun Woo's perspective?" Juho said with a smile .

"That's why I came here, to see what that person looks like . "

"So, did you accomplish what you came for?"

His thick eyebrows scowled a little .

"I'm still not giving up being a rival," he said stubbornly .

"How come?" Juho asked .

"What do you mean?"

"Why do you want to be Yun Woo's rival?"

"Because I also write . "

Juho was slightly surprise . Of course, he assumed that the boy was also a writer when he first said the word 'rival . ' Yet, hearing it from him was a different experience .

He was a writer too . He was Juho's age . Yet, he boldly declared himself to be Yun Woo's rival .

"Everyone seems to think of Yun Woo as this mysterious, unreachable person . "

"Is that so? I'm not sure . "

"You're not sure?"

After some time thinking, Pil Sung said, "My friend lives far away . "

His answer was far from the subject they had been on, but for now, Juho listened .

"We'd been close since elementary school . We moved up to high school together, but we ended up in different classes . I adapted, but he was bullied . "

He picked up a french fry and put it in his mouth .

"It didn't matter that I was at the same school . Even when I told the teacher, it only went as far as a warning . What's funny is that both my friend and I received warnings . 'Be aware of the trends . Don't show off . Get used to people calling you names that you don't like . ' It sounded like we were the ones at fault . I was so pissed, but the teacher was looking the other way . So what could I do? My friend ended up transferring to another school, and I was left alone . "

He explained that in the process of standing up for his friend, he naturally grew apart from friends he was close to previously . He was alone .

"That's when I saw the name Yun Woo . It was in the school library . I had been thinking about why things happened the way they had, but it felt like that name would give me an explanation . "

"So, did you get an explanation from that author, Yun Woo?" Juho asked .

Pil Sung shook his head, "No . "

'Of course . ' He chugged his drink . Meanwhile, Juho ate a French fry . Somehow, Juho felt empty on the inside .

At that moment, Pil Sung continued,

"It was still comforting . You're supposed to be next to the person you're comforting . So I don't feel that Yun Woo is distant . "

Juho hesitated .

"I wanted to be like Yun Woo, but obviously, I'm not Yun Woo . So I'm going to be his rival . "

It still didn't make sense entirely, but if that was what he wanted…

After a brief pause, Juho took another bite of his burger . He was getting excited .

'Stay calm,' he reminded himself . The lettuce in his burger felt refreshing for no apparent reason .

The two quietly finished their meal . When they were down to a few pieces of french fries, Pil Sung asked, "So what's the Literature Club like? Do you have to run everyday?"

"Nope . We ran earlier because we were learning how to write vividly . You sprint with everything you have, and then you get to writing right away . Well, I was dying, so I couldn't even finish my sentence . "

"That's unusual . "

"Trust me . It's usually worse . "

Pil Sung seemed interested about the Literature Club, and Juho told him about what they had learned from Mr . Moon: word gathering, transcription, composition topics, charades… etc .

"Not too long ago, Mr . Moon even brought his goldfish in its bowl . We were learning about catching external and internal characteristics of what we were seeing . Towards the end, he told us to write from the perspective of the goldfish . "

He thought about what he wrote then, 'Gaping . Feed me . ' It had been something to that effect . Pil Sung's eyes sparkled as he listened to Juho .

"Did you not join a Literature Club in your school?"

"We don't have one . "

"That's a bummer . "

"I go to a culture center on the weekends instead . Sometimes, there are lectures given by famous authors . "

He listed the names of the authors . Dong Gil Uhm was one of them, and Juho was familiar with him .

"How how was Dong Gil Uhm's lecture?"

"It was edifying for the most part . Half of the people were falling asleep though . "

"It must have been boring . "

"I enjoyed it . It kind of sucked that there were no breaks in between . "

Juho was able to picture the scene . Dong Gil Uhm had a tendency of being serious about every matter . He probably spent a lot of time preparing for the lecture . Then, he probably poured out everything he had prepared .

Juho imagined Dong Gil delivering a lecture with his distinct, rigid expression .

'Actually, Dong Gil and Pil Sung are kind of similar in some ways,' he thought . They were both sincere and doers . The difference was that Dong Gil was cold, and Pil Sung was hot . It was the difference between being cold-hearted and passionate . As he was in his thoughts, Pil Sung started talking .

"Can you show me what word gathering looks like?"

"There's no reason for me to say no . "

Out of his bag, Juho took out a notebook and handed some of the pages with his writing over to Pil Sung . At that moment, his phone rang . It was a picture message from Seo Kwang .

The picture was filled with the excited looks of the four club members with a large plate of tteokbokki in the middle . There was text underneath .

'I'm worried that you might be starving somewhere . Fritters were on the house by the way . '

By contrast, Juho took a picture of his nearly finished combo meal and sent it to Seo Kwang .

'Thanks for your concern,' he wrote .

"Juho Woo . "


Juho lifted up his head after sending the message . Pil Sung had come uncomfortably close to him, and Juho pulled away out of reflex . Pil Sung drew even closer with his hands on the table .

'What's gotten into him?' Juho thought .

"Is there a problem?"

"I've decided . "

"You decided what?"

"To be your rival . "


"I want to be yours and Yun Woo's rival . "

" . . . I didn't know being a rival worked like that . " While looking at his paper in Pil Sung's hand, he asked, "Did you like what I wrote?"

"Quite so . "

A direct answer .

"I'm flattered, but I'm not into rivalry . A rivalry is only valid when both parties recognize each other as rivals . "

"Don't worry . My goal is to be a world renowned novelist . Once I accomplish that, both you and Yun Woo will come to recognize me, whether you want to or not . "

"I admire your confidence . "

Pil Sung wasn't entirely bluffing . The evidence was in the fact that he had ultimately accomplished his objective . He had wanted to see Yun Woo and he had met Juho .

As Juho pulled away from that reckless boy, he suddenly realized why he had felt a sense of déjà vu when he had first met Pil Sung .

'Bestselling author, Sung Pil . '

"Pil Sung . Sung Pil . "

"Hm? Who's Sung Pil?"

'Of course! Pil Sung Choi was Sung Pil . ' Juho had only seen his face in his profile picture before . Now, he looked much younger, and his eyebrows were much thicker .

'I knew I'd seen him before,' Juho thought .

He was looking at the face of a celebrity author as a teenager . The memories of Sung Pil slowly came back . Once the wall had come down, a wave of information flooded into Juho's mind .

That boy was going to be the next big-name author after Juho . He was Sung Pil himself, who debuted as a novelist at the age of twenty .

When Juho had wandered about the streets as a homeless man, Sung Pil had secured his place as one of the best authors the country had to offer . Juho smirked .

That incredible author had come looking for him, wanting to be his rival .

"Maybe this is an honor . "

"What is?"

Juho looked out of the window for a moment . The traffic lights had turned green . People were crossing the streets .

"OK . From now on, I'm calling you Sung Pil . "

"Why is that?"

"Instead of an answer, I'll give you my number, as a rival . "

Juho took out his phone . Sung Pil asked no more and nodded with a joyful look on his face .

Chapter 34 - He's Nearby (2); The End