Chapter 20: If you don’t step, you get stepped on (3)

TL by Myoni

Edited by Myoni & Yoni


 

After calming down my frustration, I started to find this situation interesting.

Someone was secretly planning a trap for Sung Dowon.

And W&U and Sung Dowon had no idea.

Could I say it felt like I was laying on my belly with my hands supporting my chin as a war scene was about to unfold? And with prior knowledge of which way the war would go.

Of course, the most interesting point was that unlike watching a movie, I could personally take part in this.

First, let’s quietly wait until it begins. If I was to talk about it now, people would call me delusional.

Also, the future… I need to see that last scene.

It would be incredible if I knew all the details of this incident. Perhaps, I could even manipulate the board myself.

Let’s focus on Neptune in the meantime.

When I organized my thoughts and returned to the interview room, Hyunjo gave me a happy welcome.

“How is your dizziness?”

“It’s fine now.”

“Let me know immediately if your body feels weak. I’ll feed you stamina foods. You’re not allowed to faint.”

… I would need to stay alive until then.

“Now, this is the last question.”

“Yes!”

The gloomy girls brightened up at Producer Joontae’s words. They were so energetic even after practicing all night, just how much torment did they go through?

“When I was interviewing Sugar Cats, I heard that Ms. Seoyoung was originally supposed to debut with them?”

As if it was an unwelcome topic, Seoyoung bit her lips.

“Ah… We were trainees in the same company.”

“Sugar Cats members seemed very sad to see you go to W&U?”

“Pardon?”

“Of course, they told me they understood even though they were sad. Although Sugar Cats’ company wasn’t small, compared to W&U, they are a bit… However, don’t you feel jealous that Sugar Cats you left have become more popular than Neptune? Do you ever regret your decision?”

A girl who betrayed her long-time colleagues to go to a bigger company but was jealous that they became more successful than her. It felt like they were trying to make her into that character. The amount of malicious comment that would immediately follow the broadcast, it was obvious.

When I looked to the side, I saw Hyunjo nervously shaking his leg.

Seoyoung tried to stay as calm as she could and said.

“First, I didn’t leave them.”

“Hmm?”

“I didn’t know if it was because of my bad luck, but during my trainee days, my debut was canceled multiple times. I heard rumors that Sugar Cats would be separated without being able to debut, so when I got a call from W&U, I transferred. Even I was surprised when they debuted as Sugar Cats.

“Ah… Is that so? Then was there a miscommunication with the company?”

“And I am envious of their popularity and I sincerely feel happy for them. However, I do not regret debuting as Neptune. Taehee unni and LJ, Songha, all the members are really great.”

Hyunjo gave an ‘OK’ sign with his fingers. And once the interview was over, he grabbed Producer Joontae and carefully asked.

“Mr. Producer. I ask that you do not distort Seoyoung’s past.”

“Although I might exaggerate for the viewers; I do not lie. I am not that cheap.”

You may not lie, but you probably won’t reveal the whole truth either.

Don’t tell me it was because of Seoyoung that Neptune got insulted…?

Since I only knew the future in snippets, it felt like I was getting more suspicious.

Once the preliminary interview was over, the youngest writer I saw at the get-together led us to our waiting room. It seemed like other groups had arrived as I could see a few pretty and handsome young kids in the hallway.

“This is Neptune’s waiting room.”

The writer who stopped in front of the door avoided our eyes.

There were two names on the door. Neptune. And Sugar Cats.

Were these people joking?

“Sorry, there weren’t enough waiting rooms… You will only be using it together for today.”

Were there really not enough waiting rooms or did you want to see Neptune and Sugar Cats fight after pushing them into the same room?

“Well, if that’s the case, there’s nothing we can do.”

Hyunjo opened the door with a tired expression.

“Hello!”

“Hi, Seoyoung!”

Hmm?

The girls I saw during the music broadcast previously jumped up to greet us.

Just what were those exaggerated reactions?

Seoyoung looked like she was surprised as well as her greetings came late.

“Uh… Hi, guys.”

“We were so happy when we saw that Neptune was going to join. We were thinking about calling you, but decided to endure it since you were probably busy. We’ll see each other often from now on!”

That girl was the leader of Sugar Cats, I think? Was her name Han Saebyeol?

Her cute, round face and she had lots of charm like Seoyoung.

When I was wondering why they were overreacting, the youngest writer gave me the answer.

“There are cameras installed in the waiting rooms, so if you need to change please go to the changing rooms.”

Aha.

“Since we are just trying to record your natural behavior, you don’t need to care about the cameras.”

The youngest writer told us something even a child wouldn’t believe and left.

While many cameras were watching, Sugar Cats and Neptune introduced each other. They only discussed superficial details of what happened recently. After all the teams had arrived, we all went out to the hallway. Since we had to introduce ourselves before we started filming.

The hallway was already noisy with people introducing themselves. Since there were so many kids, it felt like I was at a student camp. The oldest here was 25. I think the youngest was 17?

These eight teams were chosen out of the tens that came out every year.

Put in a good way, they were rising stars, but even then, they were only at the bottom of the music industry food chain. Those who were thirsty for popularity.

Maybe because of this, there were many kids who didn’t act their age. On their face was a superficial smile, exaggerating how they didn’t have enough time to practice so they were worried about their score, while in secret they were comparing, guarding against, jealous of and ignoring each other.

Although they were all about the same, there were still differences between them.

There were people surrounding those who had a bit of popularity, for example, Sugar Cats who were next to us, and those who were ignored like us. Only courtesy greetings went back and forth, no one wanted to stay and talk.

Since there wasn’t a lot of time, they were gathering to those who would be of help to them, those who would be good contacts.

Pictures taken with them would result in a hotter topic and if they said they were friends with them, it would raise their standing.

So, those that looked like they would be successful.

On top of that, since Neptune joined late, they were treated as those who got a free ride. Even though they were all the same, it looked like they thought there was a difference as their eyes weren’t friendly.

Well, it wasn’t surprising.

Those papers with the reasons why Neptune was going to be last that Producer Joontae read to us. Just looking at those, I could tell that most the groups here didn’t think well of Neptune.

Still, since it was different to personally experience it than hearing about it, the girls, Hyunjo and the traitor’s expressions weren’t good.

And I kept an expressionless face to not stand out…

If I was being honest, I found this situation quite funny.

Since I knew Neptune’s next album would be successful.

Even if they were to compare everyone’s popularity, it was like measuring acorns[1].

From my preliminary research, I knew that none of the teams placed even in the top 10 let alone first or runner-up.

I didn’t know this, but getting first in a music broadcast was definitely not easy.

However, Neptune was going to take first place with their next album. When that happened, no one would describe them as unknown or a second-hand rookie group.

Although there were many one-hit wonders who would disappear without a trace since Director Park said ‘Neptune’s first hit song’, there definitely was a second one.

Anyways, unless they constantly placed first in music broadcasts, Neptune would no longer be similar to them.

So in my position where I knew all that, I could only see their actions as laughable.

The more they disregarded and ignored Neptune, I was expectantly waiting to see their reactions when their positions reversed.

“Huhuhu.”

“Just what is so funny, oppa? I feel like I just entered the enemy camp.”

Seoyoung poked my back and whispered.

“It’s just interesting.”

“What is?”

“People’s actions.”

“…I say this oppa is quite strange sometime.”

Though there were times when I felt so frustrated I could die, my foresight ability was definitely good.

 

Even though it was the first filming, the judges didn’t come. The staff said that this was their first meeting before the first mission and pushed them all onto the stage. Like a battle under the cover of introductions and questions. After that was done, there were more individual interviews with the staff.

Since we were constantly nervous, the girls and even us managers were getting tired out.

Then we received our first mission. It was a group singing mission where each team would have to perform one of their songs in front of four judges, a mc who used to be a solo artist, a former girl group leader, a current producer and a current songwriter.

I thought they would at least play the MR, I mean the instrumentals, but when they said to perform without any music, all the teams panicked. They said something about clearly hearing their sense of rhythm and beats and their singing ability.

Although the risks were high, it was a mission with a lot to gain. Anyways, it was a chance to properly promote their best song. If the viewers liked the song without the instrumentals, then there were going to be an increase of people who would find and listen to it in stores.

However, if they failed, that song would forever remain as a dark splotch in their past.

 

As soon as their first filming was finished, the girls didn’t head home, but shut themselves in the company’s practice room. Their drive was incredible. They even missed dinner, so I bought them some food.

And I was on my way to the office once again.

I met with two people, one with a face I was a bit familiar with and the other with a face I knew very well.

It was Son Chaeyeong and her manager who I saw a few days ago at the PR team meeting, Chief Jo.

The two were sitting in the fourth-floor lounge. Chief Jo was talking passionately while holding a stack of A4 papers in each hand and Son Chaeyeong wore sunglasses and looked like she was bored of listening to him.

It was really Son Chaeyeong. The one who I had only seen on TV and in the theaters, the one who was synonymous with innocence, Son Chaeyeong.

Should I introduce myself?

While I was worrying over the decision, Chief Jo suddenly gestured with his hand.

“Team 3 Bokdongee!”

“…Me?”

“Yeah, you. Come here and talk.”

Did my face show that I was worrying whether to introduce myself or not?

When I approached them with a bashful expression, Chief Jo handed me both stacks of A4 papers.

What was this? It was quite thick.

When I looked at the cover, there was a title written on each.

<20-part miniseries – Time Slip>

<16-part miniseries – Mermaid out of Water>

Don’t tell me these were drama synopses?

I quickly received them and flipped through a few pages, they were synopses. Unreleased, hot-off-the-press synopses to boot. On the front page, there was the title and the names of the director and writer. A detailed outline, the descriptions of characters and a summary were well organized afterwards.

I wanted to read them in detail. No, I wanted them.

But why did he show these to me?

“One is PBS, Monday-Tuesday, the other is IBC, Wednesday-Thursday. Since the broadcasting periods are the same, we can only choose one out of the two, but both have trustworthy writers and directors and the payments are the same. If we found out later that the one we threw got higher ratings than the one we chose, we’ll go crazy. So it’s a troublesome decision, right?”

“Yes, I think so.”

This was why it was important for managers and actors to have a discerning eye and luck. There were some actors who unluckily passed up on hit projects and others who took up roles they weren’t supposed to play and rose to stardom.

Since there was no way to know which drama would be a hit and which one would flunk, there was no way they wouldn’t be troubled when picking out their projects.

“I am just asking you as if I was getting my fortune read by a tarot card reader. So don’t feel any pressure and just pick one.”

“Sorry?”

“Which one do you think is going to be more successful?”

 


[1] measuring acorns means that it was pointless as the results are insignificant.

 

[Previous Chapter] [Table of Contents] [Next Chapter]

9 thoughts on “Chapter 20: If you don’t step, you get stepped on (3)”

  1. I’m late to the party but I’m happy coz I have two chapters of TM to read in one sweep! 😄😄😄 Yeah, just that. The real comment will be in the next chapter.

Comments are closed.