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Big Life Chapter 286: You Are Leaving When They Are Applauding? (5)

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Chapter 286: You Are Leaving When They Are Applauding? (5)


[In China for the movie opening of Records of the Modern Master, Ha Jae-Gun and Park Do-Joon enjoy free pa.s.s into China without immigration procedures]


[China expert: The person who gave them a free pa.s.s must be a high-ranking Chinese official]


[Ha Jae-Gun and Park Do-Joon sighted checking out of the 5-star hotel, w.a.n.g Fu Jing, next destination unknown]


[After winning Prix Goncourt, will The Malice be the final nominee for U.K.’s Man Booker Prize?]


It was just past noon, and the restaurant near the arcade in the city center was br.i.m.m.i.n.g with office workers. Nam Gyu-Ho and Lee Soo-Hee came to a popular grilled fish restaurant and found themselves a table.


“The internet is in chaos again with brother-in-law’s news,” Nam Gyu-Ho muttered as he looked at his phone.


Lee Soo-Hee didn't respond. She was busy finis.h.i.+ng the tasks at hand on her laptop.


“Hey, Team Leader Lee,” Nam Gyu-Ho called out, but there was still no response. It was when he rapped the table top that he finally got Lee Soo-Hee’s attention.


“Y-yes, Director. What did you say?”


“At least take a rest during lunch break. You’re not feeding yourself now, so you should take extra care of your body.” Nam Gyu-Ho’s voice was filled with worry. His worries were valid, as Lee Soo-Hee even refused to spare time to have even a cup of tea just to focus on the final inspection for The Breath Online.


“I’m sorry. Ms. Hye-Mi and the rest of the planning team are skipping lunch just to complete the final inspection, and I’d feel apologetic if I didn’t give them feedback on time. I’m almost done now.”


Lee Soo-Hee pressed on the touchpad a few more times before putting her laptop away. Just then, their delicious meals were served up.


“Thank goodness it came on time,” Nam Gyu-Ho said as he picked up the spoon.


Lee Soo-Hee nodded, immediately understanding what he was trying to say. Nam Gyu-Ho was referring to how The Breath Online was able to officially launch immediately after the movie’s release in the U.S..


“There’s no need for us to worry about China or Taiwan, as you've established a solid foundation there so well.”


“I didn’t do much; it’s all thanks to you, Director.”


“How are you feeling? I’ve mentioned this a couple of times like a broken recorder, but please use your leave if you’re feeling sick.”


“How can I do that when everyone is working so hard? There’s not much time left now until the launch, so I’ll just work a little more,” Lee Soo-Hee said before asking, “How is unni doing? Is she okay?”


Huh? Yeah, uh… well, she’s doing great.” Nam Gyu-Ho replied between chews as he quickly became embarra.s.sed. Lee Soo-Hee was asking about Ha Jae-In’s pregnancy, who got pregnant around two to three weeks earlier than Lee Soo-Hee.


“Our babies will be born around the same period. I hope they’ll get along really well in the future. Wouldn't that be great?”


“Yeah, yeah. That’d be great,” Nam Gyu-Ho said, and then he put a huge spoonful of rice into his mouth. It was without a doubt an embarra.s.sing topic for him to discuss with Lee Soo-Hee.


Ah, the princ.i.p.al sent me a message.” Nam Gyu-Ho read the message excitedly. Ha Jae-In’s message came in like a savior. “Team Leader Lee, you remember that you can’t work overtime tonight, right?”


“Pardon? Why?”


“Why? Because we agreed to watch Records of the Modern Master today, and then we'll have dinner afterward.”


“Oh… right.” Lee Soo-Hee looked down. Her long and thin eyelashes were trembling. She very much wanted to work overtime today, so she found it regrettable that she couldn’t do it. Of course, the movie based on her husband’s novel was precious, but since it had already been produced, she could watch it anytime she wished.


Meanwhile, the game wasn't complete yet.


“You don’t look happy at all. It’s your husband’s work.”


“Seriously, Director. Stop teasing me.” Lee Soo-Hee replied cheekily as she picked up her spoon. But before she could take a spoonful of food, the planning team called.


“h.e.l.lo?”


— I’m sorry for calling during your meal, Team Leader Lee. The graphic team leader said there seems to be a problem with the Abandoned Farm instance dungeon.


“What problem? But didn’t we finish all the inspections for it?”


— The fourth area, Well of the Abyss. I heard that casting long-range spells from the corner would make the character go out of bounds. Sorry, but I couldn’t understand the rest of the message.


“Why would you apologize for that, Mr. Beom-Suk? You’re in charge of scenarios and quests, so it’s natural that you don’t understand it. Anyway, this is something to be discussed with the server team. Is there anyone from the team in the office now?”


Lee Soo-Hee wedged her phone between her ear and shoulder before turning on her laptop once more. Seeing that, Nam Gyu-Ho let out a sigh internally. Clearly, he’d be watching Records of the Modern Master with Ha Jae-In alone tonight.


***


The wave of popularity that started in China soon inundated Korea as well. In the first week of release, Records of the Modern Master had surpa.s.sed seven million viewers, and its popularity in China was still going strong. Matching the fact that China occupied the largest land on Earth, the movie was on the verge of surpa.s.sing a ginormous record of 80 million viewers.


Proving the strong box office success, the imports from countries all over the world were also increasing by the day.


“They’d really b.u.mp into each other if this goes on.”


“What would?” Yang Hyun-Kyung asked, with his hands on the steering wheel. They were driving somewhere with the old car that he had purchased just a few days ago.


Looking at his phone in the front pa.s.senger seat, Lee Yeon-Woo continued, “Records of the Modern Master and The Breath. If they begin to screen both movies long-term, they’d appear in the cinemas at the same time.”


“And here I thought we’d crash into some car. But even if that’s the case, the hype of Records of the Modern Master is going to be relatively weak, so I don’t think it’s right to say that.”


“But still, they’re both Jae-Gun hyung’s works, so things like scores and viewers.h.i.+p will definitely be compared on many levels. Isn’t that right? I hope they’ll make a new record in the Korean film industry.”


“Your love for Jae-Gun hyung must definitely be acknowledged. You never said thank you when I’m driving you to see houses.”


Ah, hyung. Why are you doing this? I said I’ll treat you to tripe today.”


“Whatever. Just know that I’m going to have ten portions today.” They soon arrived at a shabby-looking apartment complex. Regardless, Lee Yeon-Woo’s dreamy eyes scanned the apartment complex.


“Why are you standing in a daze? Let’s go already.”


Ah yes, hyung.”


The two of them took the elevator all the way up to a higher floor, and the real estate agent who had already arrived greeted them at the lobby.


The agent began immediately with laughter as soon as they stepped into the unit, “There’s no better unit than this in recent days. It’s really rare to find any unit with this yearly rental price. You’ll definitely regret this if you miss out on it.”


Lee Yeon-Woo looked around the place calmly, ignoring the agent's pretty words. He was told that a couple and their son had lived here for twenty years. It seemed like they were careful while living in this house, as he could barely find any flaws in it.


“Hyun-Kyung hyung, what do you think?”


“The condition is good and all… But wouldn’t it be slightly small if you're going to live here with your mother?” Yang Hyun-Kyung carefully shared his opinion as he opened the bathroom door.


The unit was 13 pyeong wide, consisting of a living room, a large room, and a smaller room. Lee Yeon-Woo laughed as he shook his head. “I’m already feeling grateful for this unit of this size. And I’ll still be commuting to and from the office, so I won't be able to work at home. It’s going to be fine.”


Lee Yeon-Woo went to the balcony to look at the view outside and choked up. Although he wasn’t going to buy it, it was still a house that he was looking forward to living with his mother. The days throughout his career as a writer flashed by his eyes, and tears started welling up in his eyelids.


Yang Hyun-Kyung suddenly asked, “Are you crying?”


“...I’m just… feeling proud of myself.”


“How honest. At least you’re different from Jae-Gun hyung in this aspect. He would give an excuse that something had gone into his eyes.” Yang Hyun-Kyung then patted Lee Yeon-Woo on the shoulder.


Lee Yeon-Woo smiled awkwardly as he wiped away the tears. “Oh and Epic Sphere said he’d schedule a lecture for me.”


“Lecture?”


“Yes. He said there are a couple of places like the reading club for office workers and a few other small-medium enterprises looking to hold lectures, and they recommended me to them, saying that it’d help with the essay sales as well. But I’m not so sure. What topic should I talk about?”


Hmm, I agree with you taking them on.”


“You agree?”


“You watched the lectures that Jae-Gun hyung did when you were following him around, didn’t you? I'm sure you gained some experience and learned the know-how from them. you’re relatively good at talking as well, so I think it’d be great if you could give it a try.” Yang Hyun-Kyung grinned and added, “And the lecture fee will be a huge sum, too. Since you want to be a good son, you should earn more money."


“Well, earning more would be great but… it feels like I’m getting out of touch with my life as a writer.”


“Didn’t Jae-Gun hyung say that a writer isn't necessarily a novelist? Chill out and let your talents flow toward where they should.”


The agent, who had stepped out briefly to answer a call earlier, finally returned.


Before Lee Yeon-Woo expressed his intention to sign the lease contract, he sent a message to Ha Jae-Gun first. This house was almost as good as a gift from Ha Jae-Gun. He had to crinkle his nose as much as possible to hold back his tears.


***


Knock, knock, knock.


“Come in.”


Oh Myung-Suk opened the door and stepped into the study to see Oh Tae-Jin’s back.


Oh Tae-Jin's fingers were typing away diligently on the keyboard.


“They’re almost here. Please take a rest while writing, Father.”


“I’ve rested a lot so don’t worry. Wait a while, just a few more minutes.” Unlike what he said, Oh Tae-Jin did not stop writing even ten minutes later.


Oh Myung-Suk waited quietly, without making a single breathing sound so as not to disturb his father, who was completely immersed in his work.


Aigoo, I’m sorry.”


Oh Tae-Jin finally put the period to his last sentence for the time being and turned around in his chair. Oh Myung-Suk’s heart ached as he watched his father turn older in just a few weeks.


“So, what do you think?”


“Sorry?”


“My draft. It’s only 50,000 characters long, and I think it’d be sufficient if given another week more. Writer Ha also said he’s done reading it.”


Ah… Yes. I’ve finished reading it as well.” Oh Myung-Suk took a while to organize his thoughts. He had been careful before, but now, he had to be even more careful with his choice of words. He wanted to boost his father’s confidence, who had returned to writing after his retirement as CEO.


“You don’t have to be careful with your words,” Oh Tae-Jin said with a meek smile.


Oh Myung-Suk flinched in surprise.


Oh Tae-Jin added, “I know very well that you’re worried about me, but I hope you’d be honest with me.”


“Father, it’s not because of that…”


Oh Tae-Jin slowly shook his head, cutting off Oh Myung-Suk. He then signaled to the laptop with his chin. “Do you know what results appear when you search ‘Writer Oh Tae-Jin’ on the internet?”


“...?”


“The reviews of the critics are weak and biased.”


“Father, why are you saying that?” Fl.u.s.tered, Oh Myung-Suk straightened himself in a hurry.


However, Oh Tae-Jin continued, “Yeah, your father is a decent figure in the publis.h.i.+ng industry. That’s an undeniable fact. But if you ask anyone if I’m a decent writer—no, it’s absurd to even talk about that…”


Oh Tae-Jin revealed a mocking smile. Then, he let out a heavy sigh and looked down on the floor. “No one critic said bad things about me. Of course, it’s not that my writing was flawless and perfect, but they would emphasize the good parts repeatedly and sing high praises of them.


"However, they never mention the bad parts of my writing at all, as they're being careful around me.”


“Why are you saying that? No, Father…. the books you’ve published so far are all good.”


“Thank you, but I've had enough of such politeness.”


“Father, I’m not sure why you are choosing to suffer when you’re supposed to be enjoying your retirement. Please, if you could share with me what exactly is bothering you—”


Knock, knock.


“Excuse me, Chairman. The guests have arrived.”


“Ah, is that so? We’ll be there soon.” Oh Tae-Jin held on to the armrests and stood up with a grunt.


Oh Myung-Suk was upset, as the conversation had been interrupted. Moreover, how could he greet the guests in this state of mind?


“I’d like to hear feedback from my eldest son first, but I guess we’ll have to delay it.”


Oh Tae-Jin and Oh Myung-Suk then headed to the reception room.


The guests stood up as the father and son entered and bowed with a gentle smile.


“h.e.l.lo, Chairman.”


Aigoo, Writer Ha. Welcome, welcome. I’m really happy to see you coming here at my invitation.” Oh Tae-Jin hurried over to Ha Jae-Gun and held his hands.


Oh Myung-Suk smiled, concealing his worries about his father before saying, “Thank you for coming, Mr. Ha.”


“No, it’s been a while since the Chairman stepped down, but I’m sorry to only be visiting now.”


The three men moved to the dining room to enjoy a table of traditional Korean food. As they enjoyed the table of delicious food, they naturally exchanged small talk as well.


“Right, are you not going to the U.K., Writer Ha?”


The topic at the table soon moved to the Man Booker Prize, which The Malice had gone into the final nominees list. The award would be presented in May at a historic museum in London. The award ceremony would be held together with an official dinner, and Ha Jae-Gun had been sent an invitation as well.


“Yes, I’m worried about my wife, so I’m trying not to leave the house as much as possible until she gives birth.”


Mm, I see. Seems like you’ll have another reason to have a proxy accept the award for you this time. It’s fine; you’ve won the award after all.”


“Hearing your words feel like I’ve already won the award without even having gone to the U.K. Thank you very much.”


The three burst into laughter, but Oh Tae-Jin felt a little cold instead. His novels did not perform well overseas, despite the company having poured a huge amount of capital into its marketing.


Meanwhile, Ha Jae-Gun had just turned thirty, but he had already achieved dazzling success at such a young age.


That friend of mine would go crazy wanting to keep him as his student right away if they ever meet.


Their meal soon ended, and they returned to the reception room.


Oh Tae-Jin had been waiting for this moment for the longest time.


“Please enjoy your conversation while I get on the phone for something about work.” Oh Myung-Suk excused himself.


It was time for his father to hear Ha Jae-Gun’s feedback on his novel. Ha Jae-Gun wasn’t the type to beautify his words, so it was his calculated move to stay away.


“Do it later if it’s not urgent.”


“I’m really sorry, but I won’t take too long. I’ll end it quickly and come back down soon.” Oh Myung-Suk then took the stairs up to the second floor.


Whenever he took a step up, his heart would pound as heavily as his steps. Oh Myung-Suk desperately pleaded in his heart, hoping that Ha Jae-Gun would not say the same thoughts he had when he finished reading the draft.


He hoped that his father, who had grown weaker than before, would be able to end the day with a smile.


“...do so.”


Oh Myung-Suk barely heard Ha Jae-Gun’s voice. He had stopped in the middle of the stairway unknowingly. His mind told him that he should go farther up the stairs, but his body wasn’t listening to him.


“I’m not sure what the story is trying to say. I think it’s a much-regressed work that cannot be compared to The Last Trip.”


“...!” Oh Myung-Suk wanted to cover his ears so much.


However, Ha Jae-Gun’s next words echoed vividly in his ears.


“All in all, the story is too boring.”

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Big Life Chapter 286: You Are Leaving When They Are Applauding? (5) summary

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