The Great Storyteller Chapter 295
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
After the friendly signal from an employee, another reader came toward the young author. It was three hours into the signing, and yet, the line felt just as long as when the event had first started. ‘Is there even going to be an end to this line?’ Juho asked himself. Then, Nam Kyung turned toward a Zelkova staffer, who had been taping the event for a future promotional video, and asked, “Are there a lot of people outside still?” Having gone outside not too long before in order to capture the line stretching endlessly, the staffer nodded affirmatively.
“A LOT more. At least a hundred, probably.”
The bookstore was booming with people. Although it was a sight to behold, the young author had started to grow weary.
“Book, please,” Juho said to Nam Kyung with a smile, astonishing the editor with his tireless enthusiasm. While the young author signed his autograph and conversed with a reader, Nam Kyung took the book from the next person in line and stood by, handing it over to the young author once he had finished talking, repeating the process over. Then, as a reader walked away, the next reader stood in front of him and asked, “Can I ask you a question?”
“Of course,” Juho said, nodding with a smile. In the meantime, Nam Kyung was busy flipping through their book.
“You didn’t actually write any of those books, did you?”
At that remark, Nam Kyung stopped what he was doing and looked up at the reader, who had an evil-looking smile on their face. A crisis usually tended to come without a warning. At that moment, the reader started shouting even louder, “I read every single one of your books, Mr. Woo and I loved every bit of them. But you didn’t really write of them, did you? You haven’t even been around for that long. How could you possibly write all that?”
At the reader’s provocative remark, Nam Kyung sprung up from his seat. Similarly, a commotion started breaking out among the crowd and the reporters. ‘Did this guy seriously wait all this time just to say all that!?’ Nam Kyung thought, dumbfounded. Yun Woo’s signing event would be the perfect place to draw people’s attention, and perhaps, that was precisely what the reader had been aiming for. As the staff on site led him out of the store, Juho watched everything unfold, and Nam Kyung busied himself trying to reassure the young author.
Then, Juho said toward the man being dragged out of the store, “Here you go,” and one of the staff took the book on the man’s behalf, unsure of whether the young author wanted them to throw the book out or to give it to the man.
“Would you give this to him?” Juho said in a friendly manner. There was no trace of emotion on his face. Meanwhile, the cameras around them pointed straight at the young author, taping everything that was taking place. At that moment, Nam Kyung felt the tension subside almost instantly. As long as Juho kept handling tense situations the way he had, future potential signings wouldn’t be a problem for him. Compared to his state not too long before that, not knowing what to do with the book in his hand, it was a significant improvement.
“Book, please,” Juho said as a round of encouraging applause came from the crowd. Thankfully, at the end of the day, no harm had been done.
“Next person, please.”
With that, the next person in line tactfully handed the editor their book, as if nothing had happened. Then, taking the book, Nam Kyung quickly handed it over to the young author, desperate to move on from what had just happened. At that moment, the editor read the sticky note, right as Juho took the book from his hands.
It took a little while to process what he had read. Then, taking his eyes off of the note, Nam Kyung looked toward the tall man walking toward the young author, looking even more shocked than earlier.
“What’s the matter?” Juho asked, seeing the look on Nam Kyung’s face. And, when he followed Nam Kyung’s eyes, the young author also let out, “What the”
Although the reader was wearing sunglasses and a hat, it wasn’t hard to recognize who it was. It was the actor who had played the brother in the movie version of ‘Trace of a Bird,’ Myung Joo Mu. There was a celebrity on the loose.
“Uh” Juho let out, looking around shortly after. They were surrounded by both a crowd and reporters, who were watching their every move from up close, not to mention the readers waiting in line. Nobody would have thought that the actor would show up to the signing in such a fearless manner. Then, realizing that his cover had been blown by the author and the editor, the actor chuckled quietly and said, “I see that you’re hard at work Mr. Woo. There are all sorts of people out there, don’t you think?”
As he subtly brought up what had taken place earlier, a bitter smile appeared on Myung Joo’s face. However, that was hardly a concern at the moment.
“What brings you here!?”
“Well, I want your autograph, of course.”
“… I guess that was kind of obvious.”
“I’ve been standing in line for four hours, but there was not a dull moment. You see, I was reading ‘Alexandria.'”
His voice was still just as pleasant as Juho remembered it. His vocalization was spot on, which made him clearly audible, even in low volume. On the side, Nam Kyung appeared to be hopelessly confused by the actor’s appearance. With that, just as he had been doing up to that point, Juho wrote the actor’s name and signed his autograph.
“Can I shake your hand?” Myung Joo said, making the same request he had to have gotten from his fans more times than he could remember. At which, the young author responded by reaching his hand out and grabbing it. Then, the actor came next to the young author for a picture, and Juho rose from his seat in order to pose with the actor. As the employee counted down, the two posed, during which time, the actor said to the young author quietly, “So, this must have been what it was like for you when you kept yourself hidden. You have no idea how much fun I’m having.”
“It’s probably similar, more or less.”
At the end of the day, Myung Joo wasn’t somewhere he shouldn’t be. After all, he was enjoying himself to the fullest extent. At that moment, Juho noticed that he was starting to feel slightly better.
“I got you some vitamins. You gotta take care of your health,” the actor said, handing the young author a shopping bag.
“Oh! You didn’t have to!” Juho said as he took the gift from Myung Joo, which was an entire box of vitamins. Now, the pressing matter for Myung Joo was finding a way out of the store. As one of the employees nearby handed his phone back to him, the actor took it from her hands. At that moment, she gasped out loud and covered her mouth immediately after. However, the look on her face was more than enough to get the attention of the reporters, the crowd, and the readers waiting in line. As expected, the readers who were standing closest to the employee started shouting, “It’s Myung Joo Mu!”
“There’s a celebrity here?”
The obnoxious reader who had picked a fight with the young author was no longer in people’s minds. Instead, people started looking for Myung Joo Mu, who was one of the most popular actors at the time. Of course, the reporters were even more eager to capture the actor on camera. The flashes started going off and a handful of people started approaching him past the line that was meant to keep them back. Taken aback by the situation, Myung Joo said his goodbye to the young author, “Hope you keep writing some more books, Mr. Woo.”
With that, the actor weaved his way through the crowd in haste, evading people reaching to grab him. However, his presence still lingered around the store.
“I came to see Yun Woo, but who would’ve thought I’d come across a celebrity?”
“Seriously. This is unreal! I’m gonna show off to my friends.”
“Did anybody take a picture of him?”
“Was Myung Joo Mu really here? Like, the celebrity?”
“I didn’t see him.”
“You’re not lying, are you?”
The remaining people in line were excited by the unexpected celebrity appearance, cheering just as loudly as they had for Yun Woo at first. However, that time, Yun Woo also joined in on the fun, laughing and getting excited.
“Seems like you’ve really made a name for yourself, Mr. Woo,” Nam Kyung murmured. Meanwhile, the reader who had been standing behind Myung Joo in line was beating their chest, claiming that they had recognized the actor from the get-go.
“Should we take a break?” Nam Kyung suggested, and everyone welcomed it.
“You know what? That doesn’t sound like a bad idea. I could use a breather after all that.”
Led by an employee, Juho and Nam Kyung went into a room with a sign that read: Staff Only. As the sound coming from outside faded away, the two sank into their chairs and sighed deeply, both of their ears ringing. Even with just a small distance between them and the crowd, their surroundings became much quieter, almost as if they were in a different world, a world similar to the one Juho used to live in before revealing his face. It dawned on the young author just how different his life had been at one point. Nevertheless, it was a welcoming change, and one day, that emotion would suffuse through his writing.
“Long day, huh?” Nam Kyung said, handing the young author a bottle of water. It was Juho’s first sip of water since the start of the event. In one corner of the room, were the drinks that the store had given out to the readers waiting in line.
“You handled that really well,” the editor said, which took Juho a little while to understand.
“Let’s see how things are looking on the internet,” Nam Kyung said, as if anticipating something. Considering how close the reporters had been to the young author and the editor, news of the confrontation had to be out already.
After tapping on the screen of his phone a few times, Nam Kyung started reading something. Meanwhile, Juho did his best to make himself comfortable on the rigid chair. The event definitely had been as physically demanding as Juho had anticipated. However, there was still a ways to go until the end, and the young author reminded himself that he shouldn’t let his guard down just yet. With that in mind, he focused on getting as much rest as possible.
“Of course,” the editor murmured.
“Any mentions of the book?”
Although normally it should have taken least a couple of days after the book’s release for reviews to start turning up, reviews of the golden book were already starting to appear, on the same day it was released. Looking at the screen, a big smile grew across the editor’s face, satisfied with the general response from the readers.
“Everyone seems to be digging ‘Alexandria.’ The short stories are doing pretty well too. ‘Yun Woo, the One of a Kind Author. A Peek at His Past.'”
When Juho had first come across the reade skeptical of whether Juho was really Yun Woo or not, the young author had been tempted to be direct and prove him wrong. It was for that reason that the young author had handed the reader his book back. Juho hoped that he would have a similar reaction to that of the title of the article.
“Maybe I am asking too much,” Juho murmured
As the young author leaned back on his chair, the fluorescent light on the ceiling came into view. It had a yellow tinge to it, and the light lingered before his eyes even when he closed them. At that moment, Juho heard somebody approaching the room. Then, the door cracked open shortly after, letting the surrounding noise from the crowd into the room.
“Are you guys ready?” an employee asked, peeking into the room. At that, Juho and Nam Kyung rose from their seats and exited the room, feeling as if they were on their way to the signing event for the first time all over again. There were no words to describe how taken aback they were by the sight of the massive crowd. As the two turned the corner, the crowd exploded into shouts.
“Gosh! A warning would’ve been nice,” Nam Kyung murmured, which was also representative of what Juho was feeling at the moment. He felt like now was the perfect time to warm up his hands, which had cooled down significantly. Just like they had before, the books started coming in along with their owners. Thankfully, it was nowhere near as nerve-racking the second time around.
“I’m a fan!”
Although it was a remark the young author had heard hundreds of times by that point, he was still able to maintain a smile and say from the bottom of his heart:
“Thank you very much.”
‘Alexandria Celebrates its Release with a Signing Event! The Reaction of the Fans on the Day of the Release?’
‘Yun Woo Holds His First Signing! A Closer Look at the Event and Photos Capturing the Heat of the Event!’
‘The Yun Woo Fever Strikes Gwanghwamun Again! What Was the Line Surrounding the Bookstore About? Reported to be Fans Waiting for Yun Woo’s Autograph.’
”The Crowd Goes Wild!’ Yun Woo Reported Having Been in the Center of the Crowd.”
‘Who’s Stirring the Pot? A Fan Who Claims to Have Read All of Yun Woo’s Books Reported to Have Called the Author Out. Attempt to Knock Yun Woo Off His Pedestal?’
‘Yun Woo’s a Fake? How Did Yun Woo Respond to the Skeptical Fan?’
‘Yun Woo’s Impressive Wit. The Author Reported Having Responded with Composure. ‘I’m Yun Woo.”
‘No Change in His Expression? “He Was Completely Unfazed.” A Closer Look at His Journey Leading up to His Successful Career.’
‘Fans Testify After Witnessing Yun Woo. How Did the Author Treat His Readers?’
‘An Unexpected Guest Shows Up at the Signing!? Who Was He?’
‘Myung Jo Mu Appears at a Bookstore in Gwanghwamun and Reunites with Yun Woo. The Author Said to Have Been Unsurprised. Did He Know?’
”’I Almost Missed It!’ Myung Joo Mu’s Surprise Visit. An Unexpected Collaboration between Yun Woo and Myung Joo Mu. The Crowd Goes Wild.’
”I Went Because I’m a Reader and a Fan.’ Myung Joo Moo and Yun Woo Reported Having Had No Interaction Prior to the Signing. ‘Both Alexandria and the Short Stories Were Great Reads.”
‘Yun Woo Said to Have Remained Unfazed and Collected. Signing Ends in Peace, Much to Zelkova and the Hosting Store’s Satisfaction.’
‘Alexandria, the Lovable, Embarking on a Journey to Expand Her World! A Peek at the World Born out of Yun Woo’s Mind and His Unique Sense of Humor.’
‘Yun Woo’s Unexpected Change? The Twenty-Year-Old Author’s Unbelievable Talent. Where’s the Limit to His Versatility? His Endless Challenges = Endless Joy for the Readers.’
‘The Signing and the New Book. Yun Woo Catches Two Birds with One Stone.’
‘The Controversial Signing Comes to an End. What Makes Yun Woo’s Life Special?’
‘”The Competition Will Be Fierce This Year,” Zelkova Publishing Speaks Up About Their Annual Contest.’
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