Big Life

Chapter 275: How Far Can I Go (7)

Chapter 275: How Far Can I Go (7)

[Breaking news. Writer Ha Jae-Gun is revealed to be the author behind the Prix Goncourt-winning novel, The Malice. Our reporters are at the scene right now…]

[The real identity of Eden Smith, named the winner of one of the top three most prestigious literary awards in the world, is made known to be Writer Ha Jae-Gun. The editor-in-chief had to accept the award on his behalf because he had to nurse his sick wife…]

[A certain netizen’s comment saying that even if it were to snow in the middle of summer, it wouldn’t be as shocking as this piece of news. Literature-oriented communities on the Internet and social media are boiling over with news of Writer Ha Jae-Gun.]

[We’re currently outside the HQ of OongSung Publication Group, where Writer Ha Jae-Gun’s fan meeting is being held. As you can see behind me, there is a long line of countless reporters. The entrance has been blocked, so we are unable to find out what is happening inside.]

[Movie Director Woo Jae-Hoon was revealed to have used violence at the venue where Writer Ha Jae-Gun is holding his fan meeting. The victim is a reporter from a certain broadcasting station. When he asked the movie director a question, he was punched out of the blue, causing him to fall to the ground.]

All private and public news channels were reporting about the fan meeting even though it was still ongoing. The news even appeared as a news crawl in the middle of dramas, variety shows, and movies.

Five hundred readers were in line, each with a copy of The Malice held tightly in their hands. They were engaged in conversations with people around them, with shock still evident on their faces.

“I’m really shocked. Mr. Ha, The Malice left me a deep impression which made me apply for this fan meeting, and I was pleasantly surprised to see you here. I love your novels a lot.”

Ah, to think that Mr. Ha is Eden Smith. I really can't believe it! I went to your autograph event for Summer in My 20s, and now, I feel so happy… like I’ve been selected for this!”

“Wow, I’m still in disbelief. I’d like to get two autographs on both sides. One from Ha Jae-Gun, and one by Eden Smith.”

“So is The Malice getting a movie adaptation? The main character is going to be a Korean, too then? Will Park Do-Joon be taking the role this time again?”

While Ha Jae-Gun was working on giving his autographs diligently, Oh Myung-Suk had just received a report from the head of the security personnel. He looked behind the podium and nodded.

He had expected it, but people from the movie distribution and drama departments of many broadcasting stations had gathered outside along with the reporters. There was no way Ha Jae-Gun could exit from the main entrance.

The Prix Goncourt… He’s truly amazing.’ Oh Myung-Suk recalled when the first Korean had won the Man Booker Prize from the U.K. not too long ago. A day after the winner was announced, over 7,000 copies were sold, and sales on that day increased by sixteen times.

How many copies will The Malice sell?’ Ha Jae-Gun was a writer who had long hit the pinnacle of the novel industry. If The Malice had been published in his own name right from the start, the sales would have hit over a million copies by now; it wouldn’t just be sixteen times, but probably over a hundred and sixty times in sales volume.

Oh Myung-Suk was looking forward to the future, and he couldn't help but scream inwardly in happiness. He had already thoroughly made sufficient preparations at the printing factory in case the existing books ended up getting sold out.


“Yeah, Yoo-Jin," Oh Myung-Suk answered the call from his pregnant wife, who would soon give birth. Chae Yoo-Jin replied to him with double the happiness in her tone.

— Wizardry and Teencent both called at almost the same time, and both sides seem to have flipped internally. They called me because Mr. Ha hasn’t been answering any of their calls so far.

“He’s busy now since the fan meeting is still ongoing. It’s chaotic outside the office building because of the licenses as well. Movie distributor Newdon and the producer from MBS even ran here personally to talk.”

— I’m not envious of the billions you’ve put in for the marketing of the Prix Goncourt award-winning novel. The response in the U.S. is also growing.

“Yeah, the era of the Internet makes news travel scarily fast.”

— I shouldn’t hold back a busy man for too long. Just drop me a text when the fan meeting is done. Teencent’s Lin Minhong desperately wants to talk to you over the phone. He sounds like he’s ready to fly over tonight.

“Alright, I’ll text you later.” Oh Myung-Suk hung up and put his phone away, but it rang once more. This time, the phone call had come from OongSung’s business development team. It was time for Oh Myung-Suk to get busy, as he had just received a report about how The Malice had just sold out at major bookstores.


“Great job, Mr. Ha. Your arm must be hurting; thank you so much.”

“No, it’s fine. Thanks for coming.”

The autograph event officially ended as Ha Jae-Gun finished signing for his last reader in line. His hand felt quite sore, as it had been a while since he had done an autograph event.

“Mr. Ha, now it's time for the reporters…”

“Yes, I know.” Ha Jae-Gun patted his shoulders and stood up. He now had a Q&A session with the reporters who had sent in their requests in advance. It was good timing, as there were still many readers hanging around as well.

The questions that the reporters had prepared in advance had to be amended after the shocking reveal.

“I hope for your understanding and excuse us, as we had to come up with questions on the spot. So um… no, wait. Mr. Ha Jae-Gun, this isn’t really a joke, right? This isn’t a hidden camera event that you came up with Eden Smith, right?”

“I wanted everyone in the world, not just Koreans, to read this novel without prejudice. In fact, responses in the U.S., Europe, and especially France, where the novel has won the Prix Goncourt, were pretty great even before the novel was nominated for the award. It might possibly be due to the gloomy vibe of the story. Are you trying to say such things have changed as an Asian writer?”

“News that The Malice has been sold out at Bandi & Lunia had just come in. It’s been only a few hours since the truth of you being Eden Smith had just been released. How much sales do you expect today? And did you already have plans for the novel’s movie adaptation in advance?”

Ha Jae-Gun tried his best to answer a few questions from the reporters. The reporters typed away furiously on their laptops, not missing a single word from Ha Jae-Gun's answers.

The short answers were fluffed and uploaded as articles on the Internet. Thanks to that, the hundreds and thousands of readers who couldn't attend the fan meeting had their curiosity satisfied to a certain extent.

Sometime later and before the next reporter could ask any questions, Oh Myung-Suk took advantage of the momentary pause and walked up next to Ha Jae-Gun. He could no longer watch on as Ha Jae-Gun had broken out into a sweat.

“We’ll be stopping here today. We’re way past the scheduled time and Mr. Ha is clearly exhausted as well, so we seek your understanding.”

Ha Jae-Gun was led by Oh Myung-Suk and the security guards toward the back of the multipurpose hall and made his way out through the emergency exit. It was only when they arrived in the car that Oh Myung-Suk heaved a sigh of relief.

“I knew it would happen, but there's chaos at the main entrance. The representatives from movie production and broadcasting stations even gathered at the door. Let me drive you back today, and I’ll have someone drive your car back to your residence.”

“Okay, thank you for helping.”

“But thinking back, I’m quite worried that reporters would gather outside your house as well.”

“I had the same thoughts as well. I’ll go back to my wife’s apartment instead. Let me give you the address.” The address on the navigator was changed to Lee Soo-Hee’s apartment.

Seated at the back, Oh Myung-Suk smiled faintly and said, “I was honestly surprised by you, Mr. Ha.”


“I didn’t think that both Assemblyman Kwon and Director Woo would come out like that.”

Ha Jae-Gun chuckled and scratched his nose. His smile slowly disappeared, and he replied, “I’m a human myself, too, so… I think there are times when I can't hold back my anger as well.”


Just then, Ha Jae-Gun’s phone rang. It was a call from Lin Minhong. Ha Jae-Gun exchanged glances briefly with Oh Myung-Suk before answering, “Yes, Department Head. How are you?”

— Congratulations on winning the Prix Goncourt, Mr. Ha! I am both moved and shocked at the news. I’m once again amazed by your overwhelming writing skills that have destroyed both the literature and national borders.

Loud compliments poured from Lin Minhong as soon as Ha Jae-Gun answered the call. Lin Minhong was so loud that even Oh Myung-Suk could hear him. The embarrassed Ha Jae-Gun was about to reply when Lin Minhong beat him to the chase.

— CEO Mao Yen is with me as well.

“Ah, CEO Mao Yen, too?”

— Yes, she expresses her utmost regret that she couldn't speak with you personally and would like to convey her apologies.

“I'm apologetic for not learning Mandarin as well.”

— She would love to meet you as soon as possible. Since you have wrapped up the Records series and The Malice, will you be able to set aside some time to meet?

Ah, um… sure.” Ha Jae-Gun trailed off as he recalled his schedule for the next few days. It was as Lin Minhong said, there was nothing else urgent on his plans, and since China was nearby, he could take a day off to fly over, treating it as a holiday as well.

“Okay, I will make time to fly down next week.”

— No, we will fly over instead.


— CEO Mao Yen would like to fly down to Korea personally, saying that you must be tired after working on The Malice, so she doesn't want to let you take a tiring flight over here. We will go over to Korea instead.

Ha Jae-Gun didn't reply immediately but swallowed nervously. The head of Teencent Pictures had just declared that she would travel to meet him personally, which meant that they would definitely bring up the topic of purchasing the license for The Malice, as it was yet to be released in China.

“I understand,” Ha Jae-Gun replied.

Ha Jae-Gun thought it was too early to be talking about that right now, which would naturally make him feel burdened, but he still gave consent to their actions. At least this was how he thought he could repay CEO Mao Yen, who had been giving her full support in all aspects of their collaboration.

“I'd be grateful if you could come to Korea. Please let me know when your schedule has been fixed. I will make sure to buy a delicious meal.”

— Yes, Mr. Ha. Congratulations to you once more. I will contact you again soon.

As soon as Ha Jae-Gun's call ended, Oh Myung-Suk’s phone rang. He straightened up and listened to his subordinate's report.

“It's already sold out? All 20,000 copies of it?”

— Yes, editor-in-chief. There's chaos in the online stores. After news of Mr. Ha was released, all the stocks in the physical stores had been cleared out as well. We'll make sure that the restock does not get delayed.

“Alright. Call me again once you have another update on the situation.” Oh Myung-Suk hung up and rolled his tongue along the walls of his cheeks.

“Mr. Ha, The Malice has been sold out in all major bookstores in Seoul; even the online stores are sold out.”


“I’ve received news much earlier that all 8,000 copies with Bandi and Lunia had been sold out. In fact, it's just been a few hours… but I didn't expect that all 20,000 copies would be sold out, too.” Oh Myung-Suk adjusted his glasses; he was too shocked to even smile. “I think this will surpass your current bestseller record. No, I think it might rewrite history altogether and become a record-breaking bestseller instead.

"I can guarantee you that The Malice will be added to the literature textbooks in the future as well.”

Ha Jae-Gun found Oh Myung-Suk’s fuss to be quite amusing and burst out into laughter. He was feeling relieved, and he laid leisurely back into his seat. He also felt pretty proud that he had passed another huge hurdle.

However, there was one person he wanted to see the most right now, and it was none other than the Elder, whom he'd never met even once in his life.


“Yes, father. I came back home after the fan meeting. No, I came back to Soo-Hee’s apartment instead, as there were too many reporters gathered there for me to return home.

"Yes, I will head down to Suwon in the next few days. Please rest, Father.” Ha Jae-Gun hung up the call and let out a sigh as he took off his coat. Now that he had arrived home, he could finally feel the exhaustion setting in. He had indeed used up quite a substantial amount of energy at the fan meeting.

“It must be tiring, right? Hurry in and shower.”

“Are you not joining me?”

“I'm going to wash up in the other bathroom.”

“But why? Are you not going to scrub my back?”

“Do you think I don't know what you're planning?”

“I won't do anything to you. I'll not move a single finger.”

“I think it's enough that I've allowed you to fool me umpteenth times now. We can't do it today; it's a dangerous day. If you really want us to shower together then drop by the convenience store first. I told you that we've run out of it in the morning.”

“All right, I'm going right away.”

“But I won't wait for you~” Lee Soo-Hee stuck out her tongue playfully and ran into the other bathroom, locking the door behind her.

Meanwhile, Ha Jae-Gun walked into his designated bathroom defeatedly, as if he had lost a country. After finishing their shower, the couple sat down across from each other at the dinner table.

It was a quiet night with a plate of braised fish and wine for dinner. They smiled at each other as soft music played from the speakers.

How many glasses of wine did they end up having? Lee Soo-Hee’s face flushed, and she rested her chin on her hands. Her glazed eyes were fixed on Ha Jae-Gun as she muttered, “Why is my husband so handsome?”

Ha Jae-Gun smiled and looked back at Lee Soo-Hee. The dense air touched their skins. Their gazes were locked onto each other, and the alcohol influence only made them feel hotter. No matter how they had planned out their marriage life, there was truly still a chance that things would turn out this way—was what came to Ha Jae-Gun's mind for some reason.

Ha Jae-Gun did not go to the convenience store that night.

J. Andie's Thoughts

Veela: Ey yooooo???? Wdym he did not go to the convenience store?

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