Big Life-Chapter 282 - You Are Leaving When They Are Applauding? (1)

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Chapter 282 - You Are Leaving When They Are Applauding? (1)

The clear spring weather warmed up the world. A new piece of news decorated the headlines of major economic-related daily newspapers. OongSung Publication Group’s head, Oh Tae-Jin, announced his decision to retire through a general shareholders’ meeting.

Oh Tae-Jin had a profound influence on the development of the publishing industry in Korea for decades. He also had considerable achievements as a writer. Thus, news of his retirement garnered huge responses from the industry.

“You’ve worked hard, Father,” Oh Myung-Suk said to Oh Tae-Jin in the car while they were on their way home.

Oh Tae-Jin’s title was now the honorary chairman. He smiled faintly as he looked out the window. Then, he reached out and tapped Oh Myung-Suk on his shoulder and said, “I’m now feeling at ease since I’ve left everything in your hands.”

“I will do my best to achieve at least half of what you have done, Father.” Oh Myung-Suk’s pledge was as heavy as ever. He was no longer the editor-in-chief of OongSung Publication Group but had advanced into the position of CEO and was responsible for the entire OongSung Publication Group. Now that he had inherited the position, he needed to become qualified as soon as possible.

“Don’t say that.” Oh Tae-Jin returned a gracious smile and explained, “You’re not any worse than me. Your grit, talent, diligence, and upright personality; you’re not lacking any of them.”

“No, Father. I also...”

“I’m not saying this because you’re my son. I’ve only realized this recently, you’re amazing. Your experience as a business manager will only accumulate as time passes... OongSung will become a world-class company in its fourth generation.”

Oh Myung-Suk turned silent as he choked. He felt more lonely than proud knowing that he had been recognized by his father, the person whom he respected the most. What was his father feeling leaving the company that he had dedicated his entire life to? Oh Myung-Suk could not even dare to fathom.

“Anyway, I’m really relieved now. I can do whatever I want and even play as much as I want.”

“Haha, of course. How about going on a trip with Mother? She keeps talking about Swiss.”

“No, the holiday can come later.” Oh Tae-Jin shook his head firmly.

Guessing that his father had already made plans for himself, Oh Myung-Suk asked carefully, “Do you have something else you want to do first?”

“Yes, but...” Oh Tae-Jin trailed off and scratched his chin, falling into thoughts. After a while, his smile returned, and he tapped on Oh Myung-Suk’s shoulder. “I’ll tell you again next time.”


“There’s nothing I can tell you even if I wanted to. I’ll tell you after some time has passed, so don’t ask about it now.”

“I understand, Father. I’ll wait for you to tell me.” Oh Myung-Suk did not probe further. Of course, he had his guesses since he had been with his father all his life as his eldest son and was confident that he knew his father best.

The car soon arrived back at home. After their family dinner, Oh Tae-Jin headed back to his study alone. As he closed the door tightly behind him, his eyes shone.

‘Now I can live as an inkslinger all day.’

Oh Myung-Suk was right. Oh Tae-Jin had decided to become a writer after announcing his retirement, withdrawing his determination not to become one after the Last Trip.

Oh Tae-Jin walked to the end of his bookshelf and pulled out a book from it.

'The Malice...' Oh Tae-Jin’s eyes were set ablaze as he looked at the book cover. The unpleasantness buried in his mind was slowly creeping up.

‘If I can set my mind on it...! If I can focus really well...!’

The Malice was the deciding factor that pushed Oh Tae-Jin to make the decision to stay on as a writer. It was published around the same time as The Last Trip, and there was now an overwhelming sales performance gap between the two.

Oh Tae-Jin’s finger trembled as he flipped open the book. He admitted that it was as per the rest of the world’s acknowledgement—the book was amazing. Oh Tae-Jin had read it over ten times, and he still felt the same way every time.

Oh Tae-Jin gritted his teeth inadvertently. The inferiority complex and shame he felt from reading The Malice was too intense. He only felt anger despite the huge admiration he had for the amazing work.

Since when did he start feeling this way? He wasn't this kind of person. He would feel emotional whenever he read great novels in the past, and he'd worked to learn more. He had been living a positive life when he was still hoping to become a better writer.

“It’s because of you...” Oh Tae-Jin muttered with resentment. His eyes, filled with murderous intent, then moved to a specific spot on his bookshelf, landing on his own published book—The Last Trip.

“It’s because of you... If you hadn't appeared in my life—I... I’m also a talented writer...!” Oh Tae-Jin broke down, his hands touching the floor.

His one and only old foe was no longer in this world. However, there was still a wall around him, and he couldn’t seem to overcome that wall no matter how hard he tried to do it. He recalled his harsh days—back when he was still living behind those walls. He liked how he barely managed to take a breather in his old age, but those walls that reminded him of his old foe surrounded him again like a folding screen.

No, it might be more than just that old foe alone. ‘Having one alone is enough. Please just let me write at least a single piece of work that I will feel satisfied with...’

He didn’t believe in any gods, but he still prayed earnestly, hoping that he—as a writer—could leave the stage as elegantly as possible. Hoping that he'd be praised by many all over the world, including his eldest son. It’d be great to hear that once in this life, and he’d have no regrets about dying afterward.

A while after, Oh Tae-Jin stood up and stumbled back to his desk. On his way, he looked at the safe put away in a corner of the study. The safe that no one else could open aside from himself. After hesitating for a while, Oh Tae-Jin bit his lips and turned away from the safe.

‘If... I open that now; it’d be a complete defeat.’


“It’s good here, Mother.”

“Yes, Soo-Hee. We got good seats coming in early. Honey, let’s have lunch here.” The smile on Myung-Ja’s face did not stop as she spread the mat open. She couldn’t have hoped for anything more with a good spot and sunny weather.

Just then, they heard a roar in the distance from a tiger. The family was in fact, at the zoo today. Myung-Ja, Ha Suk-Jae, Ha Jae-Gun, and Lee Soo-Hee were here for a family trip.

“It’s great to come out for a trip, just the four of us,” Ha Suk-Jae murmured as he looked at the fresh grass on the ground. Myung-Ja was opening the bento boxes beside him when she stopped and replied, “It’s not just four of us.”

“What do you mean? Ah...” Realizing what she meant, Ha Suk-Jae turned around and faked a cough.

Myung-Ja burst into giggles as she turned excited, and Lee Soo-Hee looked down shyly, staring at her bulging belly.

“Are you feeling uncomfortable anywhere?” Ha Jae-Gun asked.

Lee Soo-Hee shook her head with a smile. “I’m fine. I feel so comfortable that I can’t even feel what our baby is doing. Maybe they’re staying quiet knowing that I’m out for a picnic today.”

“I’m proud. Seeing how considerate they are, she must be a girl.”

Ha Jae-Gun’s unintentional words only made Myung-Ja stop taking out the food and look at her own son.

“Son, isn’t it best to have a son as the first child?”

“I prefer to have a daughter instead...” Ha Jae-Gun shut up after saying that. He was too shy to continue what he had in mind. ‘If they're a daughter, she’ll definitely be as pretty as Soo-Hee.’

“What about you? What do you think?”

Ha Suk-Jae was hesitant for a while before finally saying, “I’m just worried that our daughter-in-law's pregnancy would affect her career. I hope she won’t push herself too much.”

“Ah... Yes, Father. I will keep that in mind.” Lee Soo-Hee had expected this to be brought up. She had intended to delay her application for maternity leave as much as possible for the sake of The Breath Online, which was made from her husband’s original novel. Lee Soo-Hee was hoping that she could stay on the team as the team leader up until the day of the official release.

“Aigoo, I’ll need to go to the washroom for a while.”

“Oh, Mother, let me go with you.”

Both Myung-Ja and Lee Soo-Hee got up and walked off into the distance. As he watched their disappearing backs, Ha Suk-Jae said, “Jae-Gun, you loved coming here when you were young.”

“Yes, Noona told me that often, too, saying that I loved coming to the zoo.”

“You would always beg to go to the zoo during weekends. You loved it here much better than the amusement park. Of course, I was able to save a lot of money thanks to that. That free pass was still expensive back in those days.”

The father and son burst into laughter. As their laughter died down, Ha Suk-Jae recalled a piece of memory, and his eyes squinted in response. “Hmm... I think you used to write somewhere around here...”

“A fairytale?”

“The animals there were where we were before... I think it’s somewhere around here. It might be this spot for all we know.”

“What do you mean?”

Ha Suk-Jae rapped his finger on the table and continued, “There was once when you, your mother, and your sister came here on a picnic. Maybe when you were in your fourth grade...? You came all the way here to write a prose for the writing contest you wanted to participate in.”

“Really? I don’t remember that at all.” Ha Jae-Gun tilted his head from side to side, trying to recall the same piece of memory, but he couldn’t recall anything.

It wasn’t just that particular day; Ha Jae-Gun couldn’t remember most of his childhood. He had forgotten most of it except for days when there was a unique event.

Ha Suk-Jae added, “You and Jae-In followed your mom to see the animals while I stayed back to rest and look after the bags. Just then, some man came over to talk to me, asking if I could read his work.”

“My work?”

“That’s why I remembered that day so clearly. I had forgotten all about it until today when we came back here. Anyway, I was so confused back then, thinking that he was a weird person. However, he looked quite serious, so I read it with my heart as well.”

Ha Suk-Jae paused briefly and chuckled before shrugging. “I read it quite intently for a while. The notepad you brought me had a lot of words. After I finished reading it, do you know what he said?”

“What... did he say?”

“He said that you’re a gifted writer.”


“He got so excited that he asked me how old you were and would like to give you guidance right away. He asked me to contact him and even gave me his number. I was really dumbfounded back then...”

Ha Suk-Jae looked at the next table, pointing at it. “His son was with him that day too. He looks older than you. Anyway, I remember his son looking all sullen sitting alone over there. That’s why I felt embarrassed as well.”

“I see... I think I would be hurt as well if I saw my own father praising someone else’s kid.”

“Of course. Now, let’s quickly pretend that we’re eating. Your mom is coming back.”

“Ugh, yes.”

Ha Suk-Jae and Ha Jae-Gun hurriedly stuffed a piece of kimbap into their faces. Ha Jae-Gun asked between chews about a question he had in mind. “If you got his name or contact number, you would have kept it, right? Do you still have it?”

“I’m not sure... it’s been so long after all. I did keep all of your things, so perhaps I should take a look in the storage back in Suwon.”

The conversation ended just as Myung-Ja and Lee Soo-Hee returned.

Looking at the food that was barely touched, Myung-ja asked, “What's wrong? Is the kimbap I made awful? Or what did you guys talk about that you forgot to eat?”

“No way. I’ve already had more than half of it.”

“No, I ate most of them, Jae-Gun. Not you.” Ha Suk-Jae hurriedly cooked up an excuse.

Lee Soo-Hee covered her face, unable to conceal her giggles.


“Sorry, but let me take this call. Hello?”

— Hello Mr. Ha. This is Lin Minhong.

“Yes, Department Head Lin. Hello. How are you and CEO Mao Yen doing?”

— We’re great, thanks for asking. CEO Mao Yen is brimming with energy, too. I’m calling to inform you about the release in China, and there’s something else I’d like to tell you too.

“What is it?”

— The response to the pre-media event is quite unusual.


— I’m referring to it in a positive way. Even Mr. Li Ziting saw it, and gave thumbs up for it.

“Mr. Li Ziting? Really?” Ha Jae-Gun asked, smiling in disbelief. His family members were curious about his phone conversation, looking at him intently.

— We’re anticipating a great response, so we expect it to become extremely popular in both China and Korea. We’d like to thank you very much for the great work, so we'd love to bring you over to Beijing in the near future, along with your family.

“Thank you. I’d love to go over.” Ha Jae-Gun felt a wave of relief as he ended the call.

He had received acknowledgement from Li Ziting, the man whom he had respected a ton. The fact alone made him forget all his worries about whether the movie would become a hit or not.

“Get us VIP seats this time.”

“Of course, father.”

“I hope there’d be at least 15 million viewers this time. Or am I hoping for too much?”

“I think that’s too much.”

“Let’s talk later and eat the kimbap first!”

Ha Suk-Jae, who was stuffing his mouth with kimbap, had no idea about it, but his expectations weren't unrealistic. In fact, it was the opposite. However, it wasn't really strange, as he had yet to realize just how terrifying his son had grown as a writer.

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