“The world sure has gotten cruel.”
“What the heck, that was so random?”
“Why can’t the young’uns grow up more brightly?”
“Park Daemyung, what did you feed this guy?”
“I-I don’t know.”
Maru patted Dowook’s shoulder before picking up his food tray and standing up.
He just got a text from Okseon.
She told him to forget about the conversation they had yesterday in an imperative tone.
It was cute to see her thinking that she could tell others what they should do with every word and every sentence of hers.
Though, she might be thinking that she was being serious.
He talked with her a bit yesterday since he thought that she was impressive for trying to do something proactively, but her insufficient mindset and actions made him almost encourage her instead.
“It really doesn’t matter what people look like on the outside, does it?”
“Are you picking a fight with me? You’ve been saying weird things for quite a while now.”
“Even the angry-looking Dowook is actually a cute little brother in front of his big si… whoa there, put your hands down.”
After sending off the steaming Dowook, he walked onto the school field with Daemyung.
“Have you picked the ones for the play?”
A total of 13 of them.”
“I guess the ones that didn’t get picked are disappointed right now.”
“That’s why I’m planning to pick different members for the winter competition.
Getting the prize is important but having everyone enjoy it is even more so.
Oh, how’s it going with the shoot? We discussed that we should send people down, but we just ended up practicing because I didn’t hear anything.”
“We were originally going to shoot on Thursday, but something came up on the drama side.
Thanks to that, I got an earful from Sora.
Why am I being scolded when I’m volunteering for this?”
“You did break your promise, so you can’t help that.”
“Wow, you sounded quite firm there.
I really have a good friend.
Why don’t you stand surety for me later?”
“Daemyung, you’ve become a lot crueler.
Is it because of Jiyoon?”
“Wh-why would Jiyoon come up here?”
Daemyung turned red up to his ears in an instant.
“You know, that must be a talent you have there.
Your ears turned red in an instant.”
“That’s because you said something like that.
Are you shooting the drama today too, then?”
“That was an awkward change in topic, but I’ll let it slide.
I have a full schedule on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
I’m about to cry tears of happiness because I’m flooded with work.”
“Will it be like that next week as well?”
“Who knows? I’ll find out about it next week, but I think so.
We’re practically overhauling an entire episode, so I think I’ll be busy if we don’t want blanks in the shooting schedule.
It’s all because the writer suddenly decided to overhaul the script.
I do like the new one better, but it’s hard to get adjusted to the new schedule.”
You’re working hard,” Daemyung said as he looked away.
Maru stared at him.
“Oh yeah, you look a little tired today.”
“I-is that so?”
“You’re wearing the same clothes as yesterday too.
You’ve been looking after yourself quite a lot ever since you met Jiyoon though.
This is pretty strange.”
“H-have I now?”
“Don’t pretend that you don’t know.
You looked like you stayed up the night a few days ago, and it’s like that again today.
Did something happen? I heard from Dowook that you left during practice because of some matters.”
“The thing is, I met them again.”
“Oh, the acquaintances of writer Ahn Pilhyun?”
Maru smiled and patted Daemyung’s back.
“I thought there was a big problem or something, but it turned out to be something good.
You should try to act affable in front of them.
Meeting such people is a part of work too.”
“I-I want to do that, but….”
Daemyung looked at him before lowering his head.
His reaction was somewhat down.
Maru pointed at the gazebo in the corner of the school field.
It was an octagonal one, and apparently, the head director bought one for the school for aesthetic reasons.
Of course, it wouldn’t make a worn-out school look good just by itself.
After sitting down in it, Maru spoke,
“What’s up? If it’s something you can’t tell me, you wouldn’t have talked about it in the first place, and if you are going to tell me, you shouldn’t be hiding it so much.
So what’s up with this vagueness?”
“So, the thing is…”
Maru quietly looked at Daemyung.
Daemyung was capable of knowing what he could and could not say.
From the way he hesitated a lot, it meant that he was wondering whether it was really okay or not.
“If it’s something you can’t tell me, you don’t need to….”
“I saw mom.”
“Mom? Whose mom? My mom?” Maru asked as he pointed at his own face.
Daemyung shook his head.
Mom? Just what was he talking about? At that moment, an unexpected name came out of Daemyung’s mouth: Choi Haesoo.
“Oh, it’s just a habit of mine to call her that, so don’t mind it.
Rather than that, you met mother-in-law?”
She is one of the acquaintances of teacher Ahn.”
“That was surprising.
She can be quite mischievous at times.
Were you okay with her?”
Daemyung only made an awkward smile and did not reply.
The answer was obvious from just that.
She was someone who could play high-level pranks.
Moreover, she was impulsive as well.
The words she said were all direct-to-the-point and might hurt someone weak-hearted.
Of course, she was a good person.
“Actually, Haesoo-ahjumma is okay.”
“It is a bit strange to hear her name from you.
Anyway, if you’re okay with her pranks, then there should be no problems, no?”
“…There’s one more person.
Another friend of teacher Ahn.”
“So the reason you look so gloomy is because of that person.”
“That writer isn’t so bad.
We’ve only met twice until now, but I can tell that much.
In fact, it’s the opposite.
I got a lot of helpful advice.
A lot, like, really, a lot… really, really, a lot….”
Daemyung’s voice became quieter and quieter.
Perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence that he looked like someone who was tired from work.
“Looks like that writer scolds you a lot.”
It’s a bit scary.”
I guess it must be scary if a middle-aged man shouts at you.”
“…She’s a woman.”
“In fact, it’d be less scary if it was a man instead.”
“Just what happened last night?”
He asked for more details, but Daemyung no longer spoke.
He just trembled once before staring at the ground.
Maru decided to stop since he might traumatize him if he asked any more.
“You’re having a hard time.”
It’s good since I have a lot to learn.
Though, I do wish that she can take it easy on the alcohol.”
“Don’t force yourself to drink.
If you keep accepting drinks, they’ll keep pouring you a glass thinking that you’re good with it.
Even if you get scolded or insulted, you should firmly reject it at the beginning.”
“They aren’t people who would force me to drink.”
But who is this female writer?”
After hesitating, Daemyung slowly spoke.
“It’s writer Lee Hanmi.”
She shouldn’t be the Lee Hanmi that I know of, right?”
“She should be.
She writes New Semester.”
“Hey, this isn’t the time to be grumbling.
Bear with it and stick to her.
She’s known to be a big shot writer, isn’t she? Such a connection has to be maintained at all costs.
It seems like she takes good care of you from what you just said though, huh? They say scolding is a waste for hateful kids.”
“I’m not so sure.
She did thank me, but from how I had to hear her scolding all night last night, I think she might hate me.”
“She thanked you?”
“It seems like she had hit a writer’s block or something.
She told me about the situation while drunk, but the details… are a bit hard to disclose.
You get me, right?”
“Yeah, those kinds of things aren’t supposed to be told to other people.
It would be disrespectful.”
Anyway, while I was listening to her, I ended up showing her my novel.”
“Novel? Oh, the one you wrote?”
“I’m surprised you decided to show her that.”
“I-it was really embarrassing, but I still wanted to show it to her.
She said that writing is always supposed to be fun.
When I wrote that novel though, there were many occasions where I felt agonized.
That’s why I showed it to her.”
“Always having fun while writing, huh.
She’s one incredible writer.”
“Apparently, she never failed.
I also looked it up after I got back home, and all the works she wrote were huge hits.
She also told me that it took her only 3 days to lay out the groundwork for some of them.
And here, I’m having a hard time writing a single page over several days.”
“I don’t like this phrase that much, but I guess I can use it today.
That writer must be a genius who enjoys working.”
I was really surprised when she read my novel.
I thought that she’d just skim over it, right? But she read it very seriously.
At first, I was really embarrassed to show her the novel, but I realized that I shouldn’t be when she read it so seriously.
I felt like I would be betraying my own work if I thought of my work as embarrassing when someone’s earnestly reading it in front of me.”
Maru nodded as he listened.
He didn’t know what that exactly felt like.
He never wrote something, much less showed his writing to others.
But this much was for sure.
There was nothing more joyful to a content creator than the content consumer taking that content in with all of their heart.
“I fell asleep because it was late at night, and when I woke up in the morning, she was writing on a laptop.
It looked very cool.
Though… she went on to criticize my novel so badly and was insistent on telling me about just how horrible of a novel I wrote.”
“Consider her a good teacher and study under her.”
“That’s what I should be doing, right? But I don’t know if I can adapt to her personality.”
“There’s no free lunch in this world.
A writer on her level should be earning tons by holding seminars and lectures.
You get that for free.”
“Yeah, that’s what she told me.
That her words are worth hundreds of thousands of won.”
“You lucked out then.
Try to earn as much as you can from her.”
“It’d be better if she went a little easy on me.
I feel like my soul is being dried out when I listen to her words.
Yesterday, she made me wonder if it was okay for me to keep writing, you know?”
He didn’t know the specifics, but from this, it was clear that Daemyung was the reason why episode 13 of the drama was changed so suddenly.
An aspiring writer who cleared the writer’s block of a genius, huh.
If the thing she wrote overnight was episode 13, that means that she just wrote it in one day?’
Maru clicked his tongue as he thought back to the script for episode 13.
The actors discussed and said that the new episode had a lot of good lines while going over the script.
Thinking about how those lines were created in less than one day, he laughed like an idiot.
An aspiring writer might go beyond the point of despair and start worshipping her.
“If you ever direct your own film, ask her to write something for you.”
“Even if I do become a director, I will never, ever, ask her to write something for me.”
“Because I’ll obviously have a hard time.
I want to avoid that at all costs.”
“Just how hard was it…?”
Daemyung smiled bitterly before standing up.
It was about time for 5th period.
* * *
“Good night sounds so weird.”
“Then should we call it a ‘let’s-go-home-early night? I think I like that better.”
Maru greeted Joomin as he walked inside the classroom.
Okseon watched them from behind.
Maru talked for a bit with the people gathered around as he put his bag on the desk.
He then looked at her before approaching her.
Okseon did not reply.
When she didn’t, Yeseul, who sat at the front, said ‘oh my’ while widening her eyes.
Okseon did not feel the need to react to such a childish reaction.
Did she act like that at school as well? Yeseul was really beneath her level as always.
Maru shrugged before walking over to Dongho.
Dongho also looked at her before turning away.
Okseon observed Maru for a while after that, but fortunately, it didn’t seem like he talked about the conversation he had with her yesterday.
He was an idiot, but it seemed like he could tell what was right from wrong at least.
The door opened and Giwoo came in.
He kept smiling as though he wanted to infect the others with his bright smile.
Okseon thought that he was really a viper at heart.
She had to admit though, Giwoo knew how to act in society.
He was worth observing.
He sometimes had others see through him, but that should be because he was still young.
“You’re saying good night as well?”
Giwoo laughed before sitting down.
The adult actors were waiting in the next classroom over.
In the beginning, they all shared one classroom in an awkward manner, but they naturally split apart after some time.
Both groups created a space that was more comfortable for them.
“Okseon, let’s practice our lines together,” Giwoo said.
Okseon did not reply and just picked up her script before walking over to the others.
“Okseon, isn’t it about time we became friends? I’m worried about you.”
Yeseul said that with a faint smile.
Okseon maintained her expressionless face.
If you want me to use me to raise your value, go ahead, do what you want – Okseon had no plans to follow along with childish things like that.
 This sentence: “A genius will never surpass a hard-worker, and a hard-worker will never surpass one that enjoys” became quite popular in self-improvement books.
Maru is saying that she’s a combination of the 1st and the 3rd.
Basically saying that she’s invincible (if that’s the right word for it)
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