TL by Myoni
Edited by Myoni & Yoni
“However, team leader.”
Hyunjo tapped the table with his finger as he pondered.
“Don’t you think that we’ll get criticized if we release articles too aggressively? Netizens these days are quick-witted and are able to tell if an article was sponsored by their agency or not.”
“That’s why we have to make sure we’re not too aggressive.”
“Was it Star Trend? Not long ago, I couldn’t read their one of their articles since it was plastered with words like successful debut, strong impression and rising star.”
“I will make sure to tell them to refrain from doing that. We all know they flopped so it would have been embarrassing… The reporter’s intern probably wrote it.”
Listening to the conversation, I started to connect the relationship between the management team, PR team and reporters.
A manager would hand over article-worthy materials to the PR team and the PR team would send it out or give it to a close reporter to release a more sincerely written article.
If the celebrity had enough following, that article would be copied exactly by other mass media outlets, in other words, Urakkai articles. If not, it would be buried without any replies.
Just like Neptune’s articles that could only be found by searching through a search engine.
“And Chief. The afternoon interview we have scheduled today.”
“The G-Today one?”
“Yes. I think it’s best we tell them not to say, ‘it must have been hard’, ‘you guys have endured a lot,’ excessively. We might get reactions like, ‘Just how hard could being a celebrity be?’ and ‘Who in the world hasn’t endured a lot.’”
“Then I guess we’ll just have to say that we’ll try our best.”
“That’s probably the best. Since they are going in as a replacement, if they even look a bit bad, then they will probably get criticized.”
“Then let’s wait for the reactions of the first broadcast before moving forward…”
I didn’t know when, but the meeting was proceeding more and more like a meeting. Even the male-female pair were tapping on their laptops. They were writing something on Word.
I didn’t feel right just sitting there so I took out a new notebook and jotted down the words coming out of Team Leader Park and Hyunjo’s mouths.
“What do you think about asking Blackout to mention them on their Instagram account? If the article headline contained both Blackout and Neptune, I think it will have quite the media following.”
“Let’s wait on that. When we showed them off last time as Blackout’s younger sister group, the reactions weren’t very good. If something goes wrong, Neptune, who are just starting to get attention, might be branded as unlikeable. Blackout fans are so intense.”
“If we do that, the company will even receive complaints.”
“That’s right. Hundred percent right. Hundred percent.”
Team Leader Park who was scratching her head suddenly asked.
“But, Chief. The Neptune girls have no personal problems, right?”
“If there is anything that can’t be revealed to the reporters, we have to know first. What could have been stopped with a short-handled hoe will grow to something that can’t be stopped with a shovel.”
“They really don’t.”
“No one with a boyfriend? The rapper from Punchline seems to have taken a liking to Songha.”
Hyunjo was surprised.
“Who’s the guy, are you sure?”
“I’m just telling you what I heard from their stylist. You have to say I’m almost sure. Punchline will appear together with Neptune on Next K-Star. Since they already have a fanbase, it’ll be bad if there’s a scandal. We really can’t.”
“I know that already. I’ll keep a careful watch.”
“Both of you should watch them with care as well.”
Team Leader Park advised as she looked at Gunyoung and me.
“If a suspicious situation arises, we’ll tell you immediately.”
I noted down some suspicious situations and underlined the words, ‘The guy who raps in Punchline’, a few times. If a nationwide emotional scandal pops up, the female side is usually the one to get harmed. Although it had only been a day since I had met Neptune and Songha, they were the still the first celebrities I was assigned to. It was obvious I wasn’t going to look at the guy who raps in Punchline favorably.
As the door opened, a man I had never seen before popped his head in. He had the friendly impression of a hyung next door.
“Oh my, I’m sorry to bother you while you’re busy. I just had an urgent favor to ask Team Leader Park.”
“What is it?”
“Our Chaeyoung is going to a preview tomorrow.”
Chaeyoung? Did he mean Son Chaeyoung?
Although she was only in her mid-twenties, she was an actress who started out as a child actress and has more than ten years of acting experience under her belt. Although she didn’t have the fame of Sung Dowon, she was still someone who’s name would always appear on the headlines of top articles. Even her filmography was robust.
I went to see a movie that cast Son Chaeyoung as an innocent university student three times.
Was this person Chaeyoung’s manager?
The person who saved a nation in his past life wasn’t me, but this person.
“She’s going to wear a Balmain one-piece dress and she’s asking if you could write an article that says she wore it better than a model.”
“Are you talking about that combat uniform-like one-piece dress? Is she going to wear that? Chief Jo, you should have stopped her.”
“Since there isn’t much time left until her contract renewal, could you please release an article. Team Leader Park has a lot of reporters she has close ties with. Please save me.”
Team Leader Park sighed at Chief Jo’s exaggerations.
“It’s not a problem to release an article, but that dress really doesn’t suit her.”
“I guess we’ll hear lots of insults like ‘her stylist is her anti-fan’ and ‘what’s her agency doing’ again.”
As the PR employees were mumbling, Chief Jo kept exaggerating his hardship while pleading.
“Ah, by the way!”
The person who was about to leave turned back around.
“Are you two new?”
Gunyoung and I who were waiting for the right time to greet him both got up at the same time.
“Hello, I am Jung Sunwoo.”
“I am Choi Gunyoung.”
“Yeah. It seems like they change whenever I am about to familiarize with them. Since you guys have good appearances, it looks like you’ll have some stamina. If you start on this team, you’ll adapt quickly to wherever you go next. Let’s talk longer when we have a company get-together.”
“Yes, I under…”
We stared at the door for a moment, but it didn’t open again.
Afterwards, the meeting went on for another hour. During that hour, I filled two pages with notes and admired Team Leader Park and her employees. Even though I had only met them a little while ago, I felt friendly with them like I had worked with them for a few months.
Hyunjo tossed the van keys at Gunyoung.
“I have continuous meetings lined up today. So you guys need to prepare for the G-Today’s interview.”
“Gunyoung, you must have done it before. I’ve already called Taehee, so go take the girls to the shop, their stylists will be on their way as well. After putting on their outfits, they just need to go to the newspaper company. A reporter will guide you once you arrive. I’ll get there before the interview starts.”
He said while staring at his notebook. In the schedule section, his schedule was densely packed with things he had to do today.
“The girls’ residence and shop address are already on the GPS so you just need to follow that and I’ll send you the stylists’ phone numbers, company address and the reporter’s contact information via text message. Eat lunch at the shop like yesterday. Since the interview is at 2, be there by 1:30 at the latest. If there are any problems, call me. Okay?”
“Right, at night, we have a preliminary meeting/ dinner with the staff of Next K-Star. It’ll probably take a while. I already told the girls, so just letting you guys know.”
The traitor and I hurriedly packed our bags and went on the elevator.
Getting off work today was off the table again.
I sent a Kakao message
“Since it’s 9:30 already… If we want to get there by 1:30 we don’t have any time to waste.”
“Why does this place progress so fast on so little time.”
“When Next K-Star starts, we might even have to start living at the company.”
“It looks like the chief already lives here.”
“Yeah. He said he slept at the company yesterday.”
It was hard to talk like there was nothing wrong.
I understood why mind readers in movies and dramas were portrayed as cynical and warped characters. I was already uncomfortable knowing one person who was different on the outside from the inside, imagine how horrible it would be to see what was on everyone’s minds.
How fortunate I was for not having a mind-reading ability.
I shook my head as I inwardly sent my support to a mind-reader I didn’t know existed.
Soon, the elevator arrived at the basement. The van was where we parked it yesterday. We stopped in front of the driver’s seat. There were two people, but only one could be the driver.
“You good at driving?”
The traitor asked first.
I got my license as soon as I graduated high school. After that, I only used my brother’s car a few times. Although I received some training prior to this job, I was honestly a bit scared of driving in the complicated streets of Cheongdam-dong.
As I cleared my throat, the traitor opened the door of the driver’s seat.
“Sure. I’ll make up for it by shuttling our lunches.”
I didn’t decline and got on the passenger’s seat. As soon as we operated the GPS, the van started to move smoothly.
The traitor was even good at driving. Well, he did say he drove when he was working part-time for Blackout.
On our way to their residence, I searched Sung Dowon on the internet. During the meeting, my concentration almost broke a few times because of sudden thoughts of Dowon. Now, I could leisurely search to my heart’s content.
Let’s see… Sung Dowon’s recent condition, rumors on his new movie, groundless tabloids. I thoroughly went through information related to Sung Dowon. There weren’t a lot of negative public opinions.
There was a recent article about Dowon’s worth. $60, 000 per episode of nationwide dramas and in China, he received somewhere of $100, 000 per episode.
With articles like these, there would usually be some disruptions in public opinion, however, the majority reaction was that he deserved it. He really was an actor with a very good public image.
Handsome, good acting skills, a lot of charity work and had never caused any controversy in an interview or on social media. There wasn’t even a single wrinkle.
Just what happened to an actor like him? Just how big was the incident that Sung Dowon himself would say that his life as an actor could have been over? And what did he mean by he almost fell for their trap? And who were ‘they’?
And why was the future I saw earlier different from the past?
Ah damn… I so curious I could die!
 우라까이 (Urakkai) articles are just copy-pasted articles with just slight deviations from the original. It is not seen often in America, but seems to be common enough in Korea for there to be a word for it.
 Korean Idiom, just thought you guys might find it weird. It’s quite self-explanatory. Sort of on the line of ‘Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill’.
 Kakao is a popular Korean messaging platform, sort of like Facebook’s Messenger.