Big Life

Chapter 10: Popularity Comes Knocking (3)

Chapter 10: Popularity Comes Knocking (3)

Ha Jae-Gun warmed up his numb fingers and made up his mind. He was going to complete an entire volume in one day.

"Rika, you're going to be my witness. Watch how fast I can complete this volume."

"Meow, meow."

Ha Jae-Gun faced the laptop screen and returned to typing away on his keyboard.

Rika walked out of its bed and sat by Ha Jae-Gun's bed where it could see, and watch as Ha Jae-Gun worked the day away.


"Ah, I'm tired."

It was around six-thirty at night when Park Park Jung-Jin finished his dinner. He was in his slippers and was working overtime in the office.

The planning he had to create for the latest dungeon event was never-ending, and the beta test was coming up as well. He had already resigned to fate and decided to face the continuous overtime days in the near future.

"Section Chief Lee, do you want a cup?"

Park Jung-Jin asked in passing. Section Chief Lee was one of the few who Park Jung-Jin was on good terms with in this chaotic company.

"Sorry, Deputy Park. I want to finish reading this before working overtime. You can go ahead and grab one for yourself," came the soft reply from Section Chief Lee.

Curious as to what the section chief was burying his head in, Park Jung-Jin walked up and asked, "What book are you reading? It actually got you hooked.”

"You know me, I'm always reading martial arts novels. This is an interesting read."

"Martial Arts?"

Park Jung-Jin's eyes widened in an instant. He recalled that his best friend was currently working on a martial arts novel.

"This author's previous works were quite… how should I put this. The sentences and composition were there, but the contents weren't exactly appealing. The author was too verbose—too much tell and not a lot of show—so I stopped reading after two or three volumes…”

”But it seems like they did some studying during their downtime, seeing that it had been a while since they published anything else. I actually can’t stop reading their latest novel."

Hearing the section chief's words, curiosity got the better of Park Jung-Jin. He grabbed it and flipped over to the book cover for a closer look.

Park Jung-Jin's eyes shone at the title and author's name—Records of the Murim Master by Poongchun-Yoo.

"Oh? T-this is…"

"Deputy Park, you read this before? Do you know this author?"

Ah, no. Just… I seem to have read something similar in the past. The title is pretty familiar," Park Jung-Jin answered with much hesitation.

The section chief nodded like it wasn't a big deal and returned to the book. "Well, most martial arts novels titles are pretty similar to each other, so it's not that surprising."

"Haha, that's right. Anyway, I'll be going to get myself a cup of coffee. See you later, Section Chief Lee."

"Yeah, sure. See ya."

Park Jung-Jin quickly left the office and headed for the elevator. While waiting for the elevator, he took out his phone and dialed Ha Jae-Gun's number. There was only one person he knew who went by the pen name Poongchun-Yoo.

— Hello.

Ha Jae-Gun answered the call shortly. Park Jung-Jin stepped into the elevator that had just arrived.

"Hey, is there any other author who has the same pen name as yours?"

— What’s up with that question out of the blue?

"Just tell me. Is there another author by the name of Poongchun-Yoo?"

— I don't think so. Yeah, I'm sure of it.

"Then is your latest novel titled ‘Records of the Murim Master’?"

— Punk, didn't you say that you were too busy to read my novel?

“Yeah, I wasn’t lying when I said that. I’m really too busy; I can’t even read anything else these days. I called because our section chief was so engrossed in reading your book."

— Really?

Park Jung-Jin could hear the happiness in Ha Jae-Gun's question and continued, "I'm not saying this just to make you feel good, but our section chief loves martial arts novels a lot. He reads a lot and is extremely fastidious about them, so he was disappointed in most of the martial arts novels he had seen so far…”

”But he said your novel is entertaining—so much so that he couldn't put your book down and even rejected my invitation to coffee."

— Wow, I'm so happy to hear that

"How's the novel doing? Are the sales good?"

— Don't be surprised. It's going into reprint, another thousand copies!

"What?! A thousand copies?!!"

Park Jung-Jin was so shocked that he stood bolt upright and even hit his head against the elevator walls, causing him to yelp in pain.

"Wa-oww..! Hey, is that for real? Damn, another thousand copies in these times?! This novel is a sign! It’s a sign that your efforts are finally paying off! You'll be able to buy your own house, car and all!"

— Don't get too ahead. It's not that easy to purchase an apartment in full.

"All right, I got it. That could happen later on, too. I'm just too happy for you, man. I'm just talking nonsense right now. Your hard work has finally paid off, my friend. Damn, I'm so fucking happy for you."

— Just you wait. I'll treat you to a huge meal after I'm done with my deadline.

"I'm going to rip you off real bad, so be prepared. Call me when you're done with your deadline!"

— Thanks! Good luck at work.



The call ended…

Ha Jae-Gun ended the call with a smile and put his phone down.

He was in the middle of his writing when Park Jung-Jin called him, but he wasn’t mad that he had gotten interrupted. In fact, he was even thankful that Park Jung-Jin called. Park Jung-Jin's words encouraged him, and the call also gave him a chance to stop and take a short break from working.

'So there really are people who find the novel entertaining.'

Ha Jae-Gun was still feeling uncertain about the public's response.

He used to look up the comments and reviews that readers had left about his past works on the Internet. However, they were all bad reviews, so he stopped reading reader reviews for the sake of his mental health.

Some of the reviews left a huge mark on Ha Jae-Gun’s mind, like the comment ‘How did this even get published?’ and the comment ‘Is he not sorry for the trees that got chopped up to be used as paper to print this nonsense on?’

Ha Jae-Gun would always get depressed whenever he read reader reviews, and his motivation to write whenever he read a bad review would always disappear, so he simply stopped reading them at some point.

'Let's not give in.'

He very much wanted to look up the responses on the Internet but chose to suppress the desire to do so. He made up his mind to only look them up and slowly read them after he had completed the entire novel.


Another call came in. This time, the caller ID was unknown. Ha Jae-Gun still picked it up while wondering if it were one of those sales cold calls.


— Hello. Is this Writer Ha?

"...Who is this?"

Oh, no, you don’t recognize my voice? I'm Department Head Ma Jong-Goo from Haetae Media. Hahaha, how have you been?

Ha Jae-Gun's hand trembled. He even bit his lip so hard that it started bleeding, but it was only a natural response.

Haetae Media.

Five years ago, Ha Jae-Gun published his first novel through them.

Those times were Ha Jae-Gun's worst period, and he wanted to forget all about them. It was the same reason he had deleted his number in the first place.

The slick voice from the other end of the call continued.

—I haven't kept in contact with you for the past few years because so much has been happening within the market, and I also had an increased workload aside from my post as the department head—

"Will you get straight to the point?" Ha Jae-Gun cut him off mid-way.

"I'm busy writing my manuscript, so if there's anything you wish to say, say it now."

Ah, of course. You are working on Records of the Murim Master, right? I have been enjoying it a lot recently.

Ha Jae-Gun snorted at the mention of his latest novel. All that fuss Park Jung-Jin made earlier didn't seem unfounded now. Records of the Murim Master was definitely climbing in popularity because this man even tracked him down like a hyena stalking its prey, even though it had been a long time since they cut contact.

— It's a really interesting read. The storyline is refreshing and straightforward. It's great, really great. I always knew that you would make it one day. Hahaha.

An expression fitting the words 'this fucking bastard' appeared on Ha Jae-Gun's face.

This man had never treated Ha Jae-Gun like a proper writer. He even often insulted Ha Jae-Gun whenever he performed badly. However, the same man was now flattering Ha Jae-Gun so much after seeing his recent performance.

—I'm hoping to visit you sometime soon. Are you still living in Suwon? I will head over to where you are, and maybe we can have a meal—

"No, thank you."

Ha Jae-Gun flat-out rejected his offer because his motives were clear as day. The man would definitely talk about signing a contract while treating him to an expensive meal. Ha Jae-Gun had no plans to sign any contract with Haetae Media at all.

"I'm doing fine these days. If you've got nothing else to say, I will be ending the call."

— Writer Ha? Wait, wait. Writer Ha. Please don't hang up and hear me out—


Ha Jae-Gun ignored him and quickly ended the call. Of course, the man called again ten seconds later, but Ha Jae-Gun directly blocked his number.

With that, peace returned to his world once more.

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