Big Life

Chapter 3: Poor and Unpopular (2)

Chapter 3: Poor and Unpopular (2)

"Fantasy genres can be considered out of trend nowadays, but they still sell if written by popular writers," Ha Jae-Gun replied vaguely.

He didn't want to share too much information about his own work with his classmates, but Oh Myung-Hoon didn't take the hint and continued probing.

"I'm not talking about other writers. I'm asking about you, Ha Jae-Gun. Do you think your work will sell?"

"I'm not sure. I just handed over the manuscript, so we'll see when it gets printed."

"Won't you be able to estimate your sales based on the performance of your previous works? It's not a paid serialization, right? So it'll be printed and then turned into an ebook?"

"Well, yeah. I prefer that channel," Ha Jae-Gun shrugged.

"You'll have to write a full volume every month then. Don’t you think it’ll be difficult to sustain in the long term? You will have to rely heavily on the monthly sales revenue every month. Your works have to earn a lot of money, or you’ll become an ink-slinger in everyone’s eyes."


Park Jung-Jin put his glass down loudly after downing it. "Oh Myung-Hoon. I can see that you’re trying to hint at something by the way you speak. At first, I wasn’t really sure, but the more I listened to you, the more I became sure of it."

"Huh? What are you talking about?" Oh Myung-Hoon looked at Park Jung-Jin with a confused look.

Park Jung-Jin looked like he was ready to fight Oh Myung-Hoon as he glared at the latter and said, "Don't play dumb. I'm warning you—don't be a busybody and stick your nose into other people’s business. Let's keep things friendly, all right?"

Oh Myung-Hoon's ostentatious and opportunistic personality hadn't changed at all. In addition, he also had the tendency to act on his weird, twisted, and incomprehensible thoughts.

What was even worse was that Park Jung-Jin had already seen through Oh Myung-Hoon’s motives and why he wasn’t willing to let Ha Jae-Gun go upon arrival.

It was most likely because of Lee Soo-Hee, who was running a bit late for the alumni gathering. Park Jung-Jin was pretty confident that Lee Soo-Hee had to be the reason Oh Myung-Hoon was acting like this.

"All right, all right. Is there really a need to be defensive when I was just asking how he’s doing? I’m going to stop now because I’m totally scared," Oh Myung-Hoon sarcastically said, ending the conversation there.

The chilly tension in the air made Hyo-Jin look around in an attempt to start another conversation.

"Anyway, is everyone here?"

"Soo-Hee hasn’t arrived yet."

Ha Jae-Gun's ears perked up at the mention of Lee Soo-Hee's name. He suddenly recalled her refreshing smile, and it appeared vividly in his mind.

"Right, I'll give her a call." Min-Ah pulled out her phone.

However, Oh Myung-Hoon waved and stopped her. "Don't bother because she won't be able to pick the phone up."

"What do you mean?"

"She had a last-minute meeting that requires her attendance, so she's working overtime right now," Oh Myung-Hoon explained.

"Really? Wait, how did you know? Are you guys dating?" Min-Ah’s eyes narrowed, finding Oh Myung-Hoon's words to be incredibly suspicious.

Oh Myung-Hoon chuckled. He shook his head and replied, "Nah, we aren't dating. You guys know that Soo-Hee is working at a game development company, right? She’s currently a team leader of Nextion's mobile team planning department."

"What about it?"

"They’re releasing a new racing game, but there's a large romance portion in the plot. She seemed like she was ready to beg me for help writing them a scenario, and because we're classmates, I decided to help her out."

The other ladies at the table stared at Oh Myung-Hoon with sparkling eyes as if they were staring at a precious jewel.

"Wow, that's awesome! Does that mean the title Game Scenario Writer is now a part of your career portfolio as well?"

"How much are they paying you? Nextion is our country's best game development company, am I right? If someone as prideful as Soo-Hee had to ask a favor from you, your status as a writer has to be high up there."

The ladies showered Oh Myung-Hoon with compliments as the latter comfortably leaned against the sofa and enjoyed the interested and envious eyes of everyone.

He chuckled and said, “Hahaha, but yeah, I feel bad about how Soo-Hee can’t attend today’s gathering because of me, so this meal is on me! Order whatever you want, and I’ll pay for it!”

“Wow, really? Oh Myung-Hoon is awesome!”

“Hey, did you hear? Our famous writer is going to treat us! Everyone fill up your glasses, quick! Let us clink our glasses and drink!”

The table turned incredibly noisy at the announcement of a treat. Ha Jae-Gun did not join in the fun. He solemnly held up a bottle of soju and was about to pour himself a drink when a hand quickly grabbed his wrist, stopping him from pouring.

It was Park Jung-Jin.

“Stop acting, you punk.”

“Just leave me be.”

Ha Jae-Gun and Park Jung-Jin clinked their glasses. Ha Jae-Gun thanked his close friend in his mind as the cold soju went down his throat. He couldn’t even begin to imagine how he could endure this gathering if it weren’t for Park Jung-Jin.

Once the first round of drinks was done, the duo managed to escape from the group, but it was all Park Jung-Jin’s idea instead of Ha Jae-Gun’s.

They headed to an enclosed and quiet roadside stall and ordered fish cake soup and soju. The fish cake soup and soju would be what they would consume for the rest of the evening.

“It feels good to drink at a quiet place.”

“I’m sorry,” Ha Jae-Gun blurted.

“What for?”

“I know you’ve always been looking out for me.”

“The world doesn’t revolve around you, you know? I didn’t do this because of you. I just can’t stand that bastard Myung-Hoon.”

“He’s not wrong, though. Writers have to earn money, too.”

Urgh, shut up! Dammit, I’m so disgusted by how high and mighty he was acting. He even targeted you earlier just because of Soo-Hee!” yelled Park Jung-Jin.

Ha Jae–Gun could only smile bitterly in response.

Lee Soo-Hee…

She was one of the few women in their university to have hogged the limelight from all the men with her extraordinary beauty alone. Of course, Ha Jae-Gun was among the men attracted to her.

Naturally, Lee Soo-Hee wasn’t just all beauty. She had a great and kind personality as well, which allowed her to keep an amicable relationship with her fellow female classmates.

Back in their university days, Oh Myung-Hoon once confessed to Lee Soo-Hee but was rejected. The shock from the rejection was too hard for him to bear to the extent that he was absent for an entire week.

However, a few months later, just before their graduation, Lee Soo-Hee confessed to someone, and that guy was none other than Ha Jae-Gun himself. Apparently, she fell in love with him because he looked handsome whenever he was busy writing.

However, Ha Jae-Gun couldn’t accept her confession.

The reasons were simple…

His family was poor, and it was already tough for him to handle school and part-time work at the same time. In other words, he didn’t have the time nor the money to spend on dating.

Unfortunately, his circumstance back then was also the reason for his inferiority complex, which became an obstacle standing in his way when it came to experiencing love.

Ha Jae-Gun downed another glass of soju as he reminisced about those times. He found it a pity, but he had no regrets.

If he accepted her confession back then, he was sure that they wouldn’t have lasted long anyway. After all, nothing would really change even if he had gotten himself a girlfriend. He would still be worried about how he could pay his monthly rate, how he could save on utility bills, and showering using cold water.

He would still be the same Ha Jae-Gun of today—a poor ink-slinger.


Park Jung-Jin’s face distorted when he saw the message that just came in.

Wow, awesome. Just awesome.”

The message came from Hyo-Jin, who was at the gathering with them earlier. It was a group picture of her, Oh Myung-Hoon, and Min-Ah. They were smiling with wine glasses in their hands.

“Fuck, they’re having wine at Nigimi’s.”


“Hyo-Jin said that they’re at a wine bar in Itaewon which Oh Myung-Hoon frequents. He’s treating them to wine there. Those damn girls are following him because of the free wine. Look at them giggling away.”

Park Jung-Jin’s face turned bluish in anger as he shoved his handphone toward Ha Jae-Gun.

While pouring soju into Park Jung-Jin’s glass, Ha Jae-Gun asked, “You like Hyo-Jin, right?”

“Is it that obvious?” Park Jung-Jin didn’t even bother concealing the fact with his close friend.

Ha Jae-Gun smiled in return. “When did it start?”

Hmm, probably since the gathering last year? I always thought that she had a fresh charm to her, but somehow I got attracted to her more as time went on. Not to mention, she’s a strong independent woman, and she’s lively as well…”

”You know I’m always more attracted to girls like her, right?”

“Yeah, Hyo-Jin does look like a strong independent woman. She’s pretty cute as well.”

“Whatever. Dammit! She can get drunk with Myung-Hoon for all I care. From now on, I won’t care about her anymore. Let’s drink up.”


This time, the noise came from Ha Jae-Gun’s handphone. The screen showed that Ha Jae-Gun’s editor was calling him.

“Hey, I have to answer this,” Ha Jae-Gun said in a serious tone and left the store.

“Alright, come back soon.”


— Hello, Mr. Ha. I’ve just finished reading your draft. Are you available to talk?

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