Chapter 38: Misunderstanding (2)
Though Yun-jeong had small eyes and a low nose bridge, her face was overall very small, and she had full, red lips like those often described in fairy tales. Therefore, she was most used to being called “cute” and “doll-like,” but despite such an appearance, she was more greedy than her peers. Her gluttony was especially notable, though she couldn’t really seem to eat much at once. Indeed, her gluttony manifested more along the lines of obsessing over different flavors. This meant that whenever food was nearby, she was sure to pounce on it.
For example, when someone had brought a snack to class, she unmistakeably sniffed it out and showed up before anyone could stop her. “Hey, what’s that?” She asked excitedly. “Can I have some?!” At least she knew her manners enough to not touch others’ food without permission.
“It’s a macaron…” the classmate replied.
“Oh, so that’s what a macaron looks like! It’s my first time actually seeing one!”
Yun-jeong looked at her classmate with eyes full of wonder and expectation. Her doll-like features were an effective measure against girls just as much as boys, and there was no way her classmate could flat out refuse her.
“You can have one.” As soon as permission was granted, Yun-jeong took a macaron in both hands and nibbled on it, looking much like a hamster. Food had to be respected, and tasting new things always required a certain level of focus and devotion. At least, Yun-jeong thought she looked poised and focused. She had no idea that to all her classmates, she only reminded them of a small, well-behaved hamster, happily wagging its tail about as it ate. She also didn’t know that that was the exact reason they kept bringing snacks to class.
When Yun-jeong began her second year in high school, a strikingly cute boy had been admitted to the institute. All her friends had gone on and on about how he looked like a sculpture, but truth be told, she hadn’t cared all that much. She simply didn’t have the time to bother with a first grader, especially when there were still so many foods, so many flavors she had yet to discover. She was, after all, the only student who helped out the cafeteria cooks (with permission from the teachers, of course) in return for learning new recipes or using the leftover ingredients to experiment with her own cooking.
Then, one day, she saw the famous first grader in the cafeteria.
“Wow.” The exclamation left her lips before she even realized, and her friend smirked at her.
“See? Told you. He’s like, really good-looking. Which is ridiculous, cuz he’s so little! Can you imagine what he’ll be like when he’s older?”
Yun-jeong didn’t answer. Rather, she couldn’t answer, because the boy’s looks weren’t what had grabbed her attention. It was his tray of food.
‘Such deep respect!’ She thought. What she saw was a boy who didn’t waste a single grain of rice, who didn’t leave any side dishes behind. To others, he might have been “just eating,” but to an expert like her, it was so much more. She knew that this boy loved and respected food just as much as she did. And from then on, whenever she was in charge of handing out food, she would always make sure to give the boy a little bit extra. After all, he deserved it.
Then, when the institute was overcome with news of a terrible incident, one of the teachers came to Yun-jeong.
“There’s an elementary schooler who really likes books, and he wants to go to the public library, but we can’t send him alone. Could you make some time over the weekend?”
“Is it that “plaster face” kid?” She asked.
“Goodness, you older kids call him that, too? I thought it was just his classmates.”
“We all do. It suits him. He does look really good.”
And he eats well, she added in her mind. As things were, she had plans with friends anyway, so she gladly volunteered to chaperone the boy. She could use this opportunity to buy him some food and watch how he ate, which was, unbeknownst to her, the same reasoning her friends had for eating with her.
“Here, try this! And this, too! Do you want some of that?”
The street down to the public library was nothing short of a food adventure. From street foods to shops set up in alleyways, the two stopped by every single one to taste all the different morsels they found. If they had been in a food court with samples, they would have gone round and round, all day long. Thankfully, however, they weren’t in a food court, and were instead headed towards the quiet peace of the library, which is possibly why their “food trip” ended so soon.
“What do you think?”
“There’s… So many books.”
As they walked into the library, Lucid smiled for the first time in a long time. However, that wasn’t the answer Yun-jeong had wanted. As food wasn’t allowed in the building, she had given the boy the last of the chicken skewers, and watched proudly as he ate it up like a cute baby hamster. Her question was more an attempt to get his thoughts on the food.
“And the taste?”
“Oh. It’s good. They’re good. Chicken skewers, I mean.”
And what a lovely smile he had!
“God, I wish you were my little brother.” She blurted out.
She had only meant to think about it, and when the words left her mouth, she was just as taken aback as Lucid was. Still, she laughed it off, stroking his head and moving along. Yun-jeong was rather proud of her accomplishments for the day.
“So, how long will you stay here?”
“I’m not sure. How long can I stay?” Asked Lucid.
“Well… We need to get back by 6, so we should leave at 5 at most. I have some things to do, so I’ll be back in a bit, alright? Be a good boy and just stay here and read up. If you have any questions, you can ask that teacher over there, behind the desk. Got that?”
“Still, I can’t leave you all alone until 5, so I’ll be back really soon. Maybe two hours? So you just have to hold on till then. Don’t cry, even if you’re alone, okay?”
“Yes, I don’t mind. I’ll just be here reading.”
“And you’re so polite, too!”
The library was section off into a children’s wing, for infants and young students, and a regular wing for adults, with books ranging from novels to academic references. Lucid, of course, headed to the latter wing and began looking at all the available books. The subject that most recently grabbed his attention was, without a doubt, physics. As middle school physics was closely tied to math, he could make some sense out of it, thought it was difficult. It was, all in all, a perfect subjects to learn about in terms of efficiency. However, as he was self-taught, he took a rather long time to fully grasp each concept, and he therefore chose to consult as many references as he could so he could have a deeper understanding. Learning quickly was important, but Lucid had decided that being accurate and learning correctly was his top priority.
A faint sound resounded through the library, but Lucid ignored it. Rather, he didn’t even notice it, as engrossed as he was in his book. This, however, also meant that he didn’t notice the amount of people who kept gathering near him.
Everyone at the library watched Lucid as he read, observing him as if he were some rare specimen. After all, he looked so young, yet here he was, with a pile of books titled “Physics” next to him. But that wasn’t all. He wasn’t just a young child. He was a really, really pretty young child. This led some people to sneakily snap some pictures of him, and a few people even chose to upload the pictures to their social media.
“Weekend study session at the library. Gotta study hard! But look at what I found. An adorable little kid! #library #studyhard #littleprince”
“At the #library with some friends. There’s a #littlekid here who looks #straightoutofapainting here! What do you think?”
“I’ve always heard about so called prodigies, but I think I actually saw one today. He’s not only smart, but really good-looking too! #childprodigy #prodigy #lifeisntfair”
As people got more and more excited, so did the library grow noisier and noisier, resulting in the library staff having to dismiss them all. Still, the boy didn’t once look away from his reading. He didn’t even raise his head, simply moving his fingers turn the page every so often. People couldn’t stop admiring this sight. Some parents pointed to him and told their children, “You have to study hard like him, if you want to succeed in life.”
Students who had come with their friends and had spent their time chatting and loitering about all took a look at Lucid and, with newfound motivation, returned to their seats and began to read their textbooks. Adults who had been displeased with the commotion took one look at Lucid and smiled to themselves about how the future of the country was looking bright.
That day, everyone at the library focused on studying, their motivation fueled by this small child. And, on that same day, people who had seen pictures on social media all “liked” the photos of the boy, wondering if this was some new form of advertisement for the public facility.
When Yun-jeong returned to the library, she saw that everyone was immersed in their own studying. The place was full of people choosing books from the shelves and reading at their seats, and it almost felt overcrowded. Still, there was one person who stood out, who shone the most amongst everyone else, and it was none other than Lucid. Yun-jeong couldn’t bring herself to interrupt his focus, and therefore waited until it was time to go. The fact that she had felt the need to fit in and thus chose a book to read herself was just an added bonus.
“Director, have you heard about the increase in library traffic ever since those pictures went up on social media?”
“Oh, yes. I’m not good with that tech stuff, so it still feels a bit surreal to me. Is this what they mean by word of mouth?”
“Yes,” continued the Chief of Management, “and that’s why one of our employees came up with a proposal.”
“To put it simply, it’s about shooting an ad. With that child as our model.”
As the director paused to think things through, the chief quickly pulled up some photos on a tablet and showed them off.
“We’re preparing for the fall exhibition anyway, and we were just in need of a publicity campaign. Isn’t this the perfect opportunity? It’s much more refreshing than using a celebrity or a professional model, and we all agree that it’s not a bad look.”
“… Is that so?”
Surely, the cost would be drastically reduced if they could avoid hiring a model or celebrity. However, they both refrained from pointing this out. It was an obvious fact, and there was no need to look greedy by stating this outloud. It looks good, on a marketing perspective, was a perfectly good way of referring to it."Read latest chapters at Wuxiaworld.site
“Who is this, anyway?” asked the director.
“We weren’t quite sure, at first, but the clerk who worked the desk that day happened to know him. He’s a child at the Agnes Institute.”
“Yes. An orphanage, to be exact.”
“… Reach out to them, ask for cooperation. No, scratch that. We’ll pay them a visit. I think this might prove to be a really good opportunity.”
<Misunderstanding (2)> End.