Big Life

Chapter 7: A Bountiful Gift (3)

Chapter 7: A Bountiful Gift (3)

An hour, two hours, three hours, four hours…

It had been four hours since Ha Jae-Gun started working on revising his novel, but he was still engrossed in his work to the extent that he couldn’t even feel the passage of time anymore.

Sweat rolled down from both of his temples, and it had been quite a while since his heated, aching fingers working in overdrive turned pale.


Woo…!” Ha Jae-Gun let out a sigh as he hit the enter button for the last time and laid back in his chair. When he looked out the window into the moonlit cityscape, Ha Jae-Gun finally realized and saw that it was already deep in the night.

"Oh, my god! How long have I been working nonstop?"

Ha Jae-Gun looked at the clock, and it showed that it was already well past seven o’clock. He couldn't even recall what time he had started working. Recalling the phone call he had before he had started working, Ha Jae-Gun went to check his call history and saw that he had started working sometime around eleven this morning.

"Eight hours…? What was wrong with me?"

He got so engrossed in his work that not even a sliver of random thoughts entered his mind while he was working!

'This is interesting! The novel reads differently now after the revision!'

After doing a last run-through of his revised novel, Ha Jae-Gun clenched his fists. He wasn't confident, but he was certain that the editor-in-chief would like his manuscript this time.

Ha Jae-Gun had no idea why, but this was the first time he felt this way.

With that certainty in mind, Ha Jae-Gun sent the manuscript via email to his editor-in-chief. After doing that, Rika seemed to have noticed that he was finally done working, so it cried out from behind him.

"Ah, Rika. I'm sorry, you must be hungry, right?" The hunger pangs finally struck Ha Jae-Gun as well. It wasn’t really strange because he worked the entire day. He grabbed his clothes after deciding to head out to buy cat food and go for a stroll.

"The total is 45,000 won."

"What? It's that expensive?" Ha Jae-Gun asked in shock. He even forgot about getting embarrassed in front of the part-time female cashier at the pet store, even though she was chuckling at his dumbfounded question.

"It's actually pretty cheap for the amount you're getting. However, it could cost slightly less if you purchase it online."

"I see… it's more expensive than I thought…"

"Will you be purchasing it?"

"Yes, of course. Here." Ha Jae-Gun pulled out the cash from his wallet with hands that were trembling ever so slightly.

There was nothing else he could do despite his financial difficulties. Rika was cute, but the reality was harsh. How much rice and ramyun could he get with 45,000 won?

"Thank you for coming."

Ha Jae-Gun greeted the cashier in return and trudged out of the pet store, still dazed. In his arms, Rika looked up at Ha Jae-Gun with its blinking large round eyes, seemingly confused by Ha Jae-Gun's reaction.

"Are you making fun of me?"


"Forget it. What will you know? It's alright; noona always said that we should never skimp on food because we have to eat well and properly for us to survive. You’re my family now, so—Haa, let's go. I should make some ramyun for myself when we get back," Ha Jae-Gun muttered.

After making the decision to eat ramyun for dinner, Ha Jae-Gun turned around and decided to go home as well.

However, he came to a halt and looked at Rika sitting comfortably in his arms before saying, "I think I’ve run out of eggs. I should buy some on the way back. Eggs are a good source of protein, especially when I’m only going to eat ramyun…”

”Of course, I’m going to eat rice as well, and it should be enough to keep me full for the rest of the night. Yes, that’s it. Those are enough—I don't need any other ingredients," Ha Jae-Gun said.


Ha Jae-Gun retrieved the vibrating mobile phone from his pocket while thinking that the caller would only be Park Jung-Jin or his sister calling at this hour.

However, he was gravely mistaken.

Ha Jae-Gun’s eyes widened at the caller ID being displayed on the screen.

‘I wonder what’s going on…'

The caller was the editor-in-chief. It had only been thirty minutes since he sent over the revised manuscript to him, so why was he calling so soon? While feeling a bit nervous, Ha Jae-Gun picked up the phone.


— Writer Ha, did you really revise this manuscript in just a day?

"Huh? Yes, I did. Is something wrong?" Ha Jae-Gun asked cautiously with a soft voice. Ha Jae-Gun was wearing his heart on his sleeve by the way he spoke carefully.

Was the editor-in-chief going to say that his novel had become worse?

Ha Jae-Gun thought that the revised draft was so much better than the previous draft, but now, Ha Jae-Gun was starting to get worried about receiving harsh feedback again.

The thought of receiving another harsh feedback from the editor-in-chief made him feel gloomy. Ha Jae-Gun cowered and shut his eyes tightly, waiting for the editor-in-chief's feedback.

However, what he heard was a complete curveball.

— No, you should have written it like this from the start!

"Huh?" Ha Jae-Gun bolted upright in shock. He didn’t say anything and decided to continue listening to the editor-in-chief.

— Revising a few parts of the settings and changing the flow in a few areas worked wonders! I really enjoyed this volume.

“It’s… interesting?”

— Yes, it is. Do I look like someone who doesn’t mean what I say?

“N-no. Definitely not.”

One thing Ha Jae-Gun knew for sure was that the editor-in-chief was definitely not the kind to put on airs. Moreover, they had known each other for almost five years now, so if the editor-in-chief said that the novel was interesting, it couldn’t be anything else but interesting.

At the very least, Ha Jae-Gun could see that the editor-in-chief was excited about his work this time and that the latter’s feedback was positive.

—There are some typos and grammatical errors here and there, but they aren’t serious, so I’ll leave it to the editing department. Is that okay?

“Yes, yes, sure. I will have to thank you for that because I will have less work.”

— We’ll be working on it tomorrow and sending it for printing right away so that we can push to get the printed copies out in the next four to five days. Ah, I know it’s kind of out of the blue and weird to bring this up right now, but I’m thinking of increasing your downpayment.

“Downpayment? I’ll be extremely thankful if you do.”

It was the best news Ha Jae-Gun had heard in recent days. The news was so great that he almost screamed in response. It wasn’t really strange because Ha Jae-Gun was currently broke and in the red after spending 45,000 won on Rika’s cat food.

If he were a successful writer, he could have asked for a large downpayment, but unfortunately, Ha Jae-Gun wasn’t a successful writer. Downpayments were usually a portion of royalties that would be received from sales, and they were an upfront payment for the writer in question.

An unpopular writer like Ha Jae-Gun couldn’t possibly ask for a huge downpayment.

—Got it. Five hundred thousand was the amount we sent previously, right? I’ll add the number of guaranteed copies[1] for volumes 1 and 2 together and send you the remaining amount tomorrow at ten in the morning. Is that all right?

“Thank you so much!”

— You’ve taken the words out of my mouth. I should be the one who should be thankful to you for writing such an interesting novel. Let’s keep this up together, Writer Ha. This novel will definitely become a hit.


— Believe in my judgment. It will definitely sell. Please rest early since you worked hard today.

“I will. Thank you…”

The call was already over, but Ha Jae-Gun was still standing there like a statue made out of ice. He was still carrying the cat food in one hand with Rika in the other as he stood there without moving.

‘My work is interesting…?’

It had been five years since he wrote his first book. His first book was a third-rate work, but putting it badly, it was a complete failure. There wasn’t a single positive comment or review on the Internet about his book.

This was the first time Ha Jae-Gun received such a positive compliment on his work.

The compliment was a great deal, and it was reliable as well because it came from someone quite famous in the industry for being harsh when it came to feedback and constructive criticism.

Drip, drip, drip.

Hot tears started falling down Ha Jae-Gun’s cheeks. As if comforting Ha Jae-Gun, Rika looked up and gently touched his chest with its paws.

“Rika… My novel is interesting.”


“My novel is interesting! The editor-in-chief rarely gives compliments… You have no idea—you have no idea how he usually is…! Sniff! He told me… that my novel is… interesting…!”

The tears rolling down Ha Jae-Gun’s face soon turned into an uncontrollable waterfall.

Ha Jae-Gun dropped the cat food on the floor and hugged Rika tightly in his arms.

Rika stayed still and kept on crying out, seemingly congratulating him.

For some reason, the weather didn’t feel that cold anymore.

1. A fixed (X) number of copies are agreed upon to calculate the base royalty amount. So whether the book sells X number of copies or not, the writer will still receive the agreed royalty amount as per the contract. ☜

Tip: You can use left, right, A and D keyboard keys to browse between chapters.