TM Chapter 101

Chapter 101: Splashing while Riding a Sudden Current (5)

TL: emptycube / ED: Isleidir


 

The traitor’s agitation was visible to everyone.

He quickly fixed his jarred expression, but his face had already lost its composure as though it was warning of a storm. While I didn’t know if it was his true face or if he was acting, his poor excuse for a smile was worse than not smiling at all.

The team 3 leader sighed, breaking the troubled silence.

“Let’s hold personal meetings. The two of you.”

 

I pierced a deliciously cooked piece of stir-fried chicken and cabbage with my fork. The warmly melted mozzarella cheese stretched out. I put it in my mouth and chewed. Hmm, maybe it was because I was in a daze, but I couldn’t taste it.

In front of me, Kim Hyunjo was mechanically eating with his fork. He was probably thinking about the traitor who disappeared with the team 3 leader.

“We were going to tell you after resolving matters with Gunyoung.”

Kim Hyunjo said while placing his fork down.

“We were thinking about moving him to another team.”

“Pardon? Move?”

He seemed surprised by my immediate question as Kim Hyunjo replied a little late.

“Since you’re a chief, you can’t be working like you have been like now. No matter how close you are, there will be trouble eventually if your positions are different. Because we can’t move you right away, we need to move him.”

Was today my birthday? Would everything go right for me today? Should I buy a lottery ticket?

While I didn’t show it outwardly, my excited hormones were dancing inside me. This welcome news made my heart swell as much as the news of my promotion. I might make today a personal commemorative day.

I put my fork in my mouth again to hide my curving lips.

Oh my god. The moment I bit into the juicy piece of chicken, it felt like a chicken crowed in my mouth, and the sweet, crisp cabbage covered my tongue. Then the semisweet, tasty cheese left the finishing touch.

While I was in bliss, Kim Hyunjo continued talking.

“It’s either we send him back to Blackout’s team or Team 1 or 2… But if he goes to Team 2, he’ll definitely be in charge of Son Chaeyoung. I can’t put him there. It’s not like we’re exiling him.”

Kim Hyunjo clicked his tongue and shook his head.

“They’re a mess over there. Because of Son Chaeyoung.”

“Ah, I guess she hasn’t changed?”

“She’s gone beyond not changing, apparently, she’s uncontrollable. It seems like she’s acting out, daring us to renew her contract when she’s acting like this, but the innocent are the ones suffering in the meantime. I hear a few road managers have quit already. The last guy even took the van and fled, telling the company to eat shit. The new recruit joining our team would have gone there if he was unlucky. He came back from the dead.”

As expected, there no peaceful day for those around Son Chaeyoung. She was a walking natural disaster. However, if the traitor went to that team, I might cheer for her hysteria since I wasn’t the target of it.

Just as I was thinking this, Kim Hyunjo added,

“Chief Jo gave up and is letting her be. Things are going well over there.”

I was listening to him when a shiver suddenly went down my spine.

Wait.

In the future where I was assigned to Son Chaeyoung, I was a chief.

An unfamiliar, handsome youth was following me while calling me ‘Chief Jung’. Seeing as I was wearing a short sleeve shirt, it was probably summer. The uneasiness which rushed towards me like the tide rippled at my knees.

“But Chief.”

“Yeah?”

“What kind of person is the new recruit? Is he a guy?”

Kim Hyunjo smiled slightly as he said,

“Yeah, why?”

“Did you see him before?”

“Not yet. Well, I heard he easily passed the interview, so I guess he left a good impression.”

He wasn’t, right?

I hadn’t been able to think about it because I was focused on Neptune’s album for a while, but even though I rejected Son Chaeyoung’s proposal, I couldn’t be certain that I changed the future I saw.

I frowned at this unsettling feeling when Kim Hyunjo poured beer into my glass and continued,

“You’ll only know for sure after working with him. When I first met you, I didn’t think you would be like this. When you came, wearing a full suit, I wondered if you would even last a week, yet here you are, already promoted.”

“It’s all thanks to you, chief. Thank you.”

“Stop it. Go flatter someone else. Either way, I’m sorry about the mood when we should have had a party or something.”

“No, I think it’ll take about a day for me to realize that this is real.”

I was serious.

The first thing to do when I got off work today would be to examine the business cards properly.

“Don’t make it so apparent to Gunyoung.”

“Yes.”

The topic returned to the traitor. Kim Hyunjo let out a stifled sigh.

“He’s enduring it now because he’s mentally strong. How do you think he feels right now? He has a good personality and does a good job. If he was on any other team, he would be complimented constantly, yet no one showed him an interest during the six months you guys worked together. Since you’ve been promoted now, he must be upset.”

I silently drank my beer. Kim Hyunjo continued to speak with a complicated expression.

“The Simon Lee’s song he worked hard to get was tossed away because its performance was unexceptional. Honestly, I was surprised that you guys were so close. Do you know how many times I was worried that you two would start beating each other?”

I still wanted to fight him.

“If it was anyone else, they probably would have already quit from their insides twisting with a sense of inferiority. I think I would have been disturbed by you if I had less experienced, but Gunyoung, he really has a great personality. He’s responsible. It’s a shame to send him to another team.”

Kim Hyunjo’s gaze was filled with regret.

I was frustrated, unable to tell him he was being fooled. It felt like I had stuffed a box of steamed sweet potatoes down my throat. While I downed a glass of beer, it only washed away the surface of my frustration.

I blocked my throat with another piece of chicken and ordered another beer. Think positively. Anyways, this frustration would end now. I no longer needed to waste mental power worrying since the traitor would be going far away.

It would be the end of my six months of penance.

Goodbye, traitor. It was shitty for the past six months, and let’s not see each other again.

 

“I couldn’t say it because I was surprised before. Congrats on your promotion.”

Was this guy a zombie? Or a lover, no, an enemy from my past life?{1}

The moment I saw the traitor return with a bright smile on his face, I almost threw the box of donuts at him in front of Kim Hyunjo and the team 3 leader. I barely managed to place the box on the desk, and the traitor casually asked if it was dessert and walked over.

Oh my god. I felt like I was suffering from a never-ending nightmare.

The team 3 leader said with a distressed expression,

“Gunyoung, you eat that, Luck- Sunwoo, I want to talk with you.”

Soon, the team 3 leader, Kim Hyunjo, and I were sitting around a lounge table.

“What, hyung? How did your talk with him go?”

“I told him what we decided beforehand. ‘Since the situation is like this, we should transfer you. Where do you want to go? We will do our best to cater to you, whether it’s Team 1, Team 2, or Blackout.’ Then he…”

“Then he?”

“He said he wants to stay.”

I should have drunk soju instead of beer. The shock was too big for me to listen to this with a sound mind.

“Hyung, are you sure you explained to him properly? No, that means he’ll be working under Sunwoo, and he’s okay with that?”

“He said he felt bad to leave Neptune when it’s such an important time for them after they all they had been through for the past six months. He said he was fine with working with Lucky Charm.”

Damn it. I thought I was a squid that was finally going back to the sea after been stranded on dry land, yet this traitor was trying to cook me up on a stove.

I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster all today. My stomach ached. Damn, if I was more delicate, there would be holes in my stomach and my mind would have melted.

“Since he said that, I recalled how Lucky Charm rejected Sung Dowon because he kept thinking of Neptune. I just didn’t feel right. I did tell him to think over it since both of them will be uncomfortable, but Lucky Charm, what do you think?”

My thoughts? My thoughts were that there was no need to think about it any longer.

“I’ll talk with him.”

“The two of you?”

“Yes, we never really had the chance to.”

“Well, both of you were busy these days. You guys probably didn’t have the time to talk frankly with each other.”

It wasn’t ‘these days’, there wasn’t an opportunity for the past six months.

Kim Hyunjo looked a little worried, but the team 3 leader willingly nodded his head.

I returned to the office. The traitor, who was eating a donut, glanced at me as if asking if we were done talking already. When I glanced behind me, the team 3 leader and Kim Hyunjo turned around and acted as though they weren’t looking.

“Let’s talk.”

At my words, the traitor, who was licking the sugar off his fingers, paused.

“Talk?”

“Yeah, talk.”

Not act.

 

We were in a small, sealed meeting room, a perfect location for us to talk.

Rather than outside, where many people could hear us, the meeting room was probably better. The traitor was satisfied with this location. Since the lights were so bright that they irritated me, I turned them off. The darkness was good. This darkness suited our relationship.

I wet my throat with the coffee in my paper cup as I looked in front of me.

The traitor was looking around at the meeting room. His eyes were gently curved, making him look like he was smiling when he wasn’t. A nice-looking nose and slightly curved lips. On top of that, he was nice, polite, and gentle.

The summation of these things made Choi Gunyoung, someone anyone would like.

What was his true face? I was now suspicious if his mask even had the function of being taken off. His actions and speech, which flowed naturally like water, if all this was calculated… Then he was truly an incredible person in every sense of the word.

“Are you really okay with continuing to work like this? Even though you’ll be working under me?”

I shot the first question.

If he stubbornly kept his façade going until the end, then I might be branded as the bad guy, but I would take the risk rather than continuing to have him by my side.

The traitor smiled faintly as he replied,

“To be honest, I was thinking about changing teams. There has never been a time in my life when things went so badly for me. Before joining this team, I had a systematic plan prepared, but it was ruined. Because you were so good at your job.”

“Then why did you suddenly change your mind? When you say that your plan was ruined because of me?”

From my intuition, I felt like he had a different reason than Neptune.

The traitor stared at me as if examining me. My expression was probably stiffer than normal since my voice was the same.

He abruptly said,

“I don’t think you’re happy about continuing to work with me.”

“Wouldn’t you be uncomfortable?”

“Heh, I’ll endure it since you’ll be more uncomfortable than me from now on.”

“What?”

“Are you impatient because you were happy that the guy who you were secretly wary of was going far away, but then he decided to stay? Still, you should control your expression. Your expression looks menacing.”

I needed two more seconds to completely comprehend the situation.

When I blinked, the traitor smiled as though he was enjoying this.

“I’m quick-witted. I knew way back that you were excessively wary of me. I wondered if it was because you were competitive or because you were wary of me due to our personalities being so different. But when I brought Simon Lee’s song over and you hurriedly brought and pushed for Lee Taehee’s song, I became certain. You can’t stand me taking away the spotlight.”

At some point, the traitor’s smile changed into one of mockery.

“Now that you’ve been promoted, do you want to work with a junior who will listen to and revere you? But the more I thought about it, the more annoyed I became about leaving you rejoicing as though everything turned out well. I want to make you very uncomfortable. This is the time when you use your good reputation, you know?”

I continued to listen since I didn’t have the slightest thought of wanting to stop him.

However, the traitor seemed to have interpreted my reaction for something else.

“Are you surprised? The Choi Gunyoung you know isn’t like this, right? This is me. I’m only telling you, but I have never seen anyone as unpleasant and hateful as yo- Why are you smiling?”

His expression stiffened slightly.

Was I smiling? Ah, I was. At this rate, the tips of my lips would hang on my ears.

“I’m smiling because…”

I stopped answering and laughed loudly. I felt all ticklish inside that I couldn’t endure it. I almost exploded in laughter. My laugh rang out noisily in the meeting room.

For six months, he played the biggest role in making me a mental patient.

Because of him, I was struggling with distrust of others. I also felt guilty because I thought I might have been too obsessive over the things I saw and heard in the future that I had branded someone who might not necessarily be a bad person as a traitor.

Also, just now, I had thought that I might never see behind his mask.

After barely managing to contain my laughter, I looked at the traitor. He was looking at me too. Perhaps it was because my reaction was so different from what he wanted, but his expression was utterly odd.

I gulped down the rest of my cooled coffee and said,

“The reason why I’m smiling is because I felt so refreshed. No, should I saw reinvigorated?”

“What?”

“I feel like I’ve finally washed my hair in six months, you son of a bitch.”

 


{1} Korean saying, roughly about how couples who only think to receive love from one another were enemies in a past life.

 

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Comments 16

  1. Thank you very much for translating an updating one of my favorite series. Keep going!!
    Should this sentence be corrected from (No, should I saw reinvigorated?) to (No, should I say reinvigorated?)

  2. TBH, I always feel the hate towards Gunyoung is excessive. I mean, the guy did betrayed MC in the future vision, but did he now?

    His fake friendliness is a common workplace thing. Him stealing the chance? That is also common. And he was good enough to grab it.

    He is actually really good at his job. His Simon songs was actually vital that it allowed the album to be released this early and be this successful. (all top 50 songs.)

    He is an overly ambitious guy, one of the few ambitious guy that do have the skill for it.

    1. The reason is that if he ever gave him an inch Gun-young would take a mile, steal credit and deny opportunity. The reason nothing bad happened to the MC is because he reads it with future sense. If he didn’t Gun-young would just screw the MC over; read the series again and pay attn this time.

  3. Omg, yes. This is by far the most satisfying chapter end. If there’s been one thing that’s been doubtful its been the traitor and finally seeing his true side… such a blissful feeling. I can’t wait to read how their conversation goes, I hope he kicks his ass.

  4. Thanks for the chapter!
    This is truly refreshing! I felt like laughing too! The guy’s ambition was never the real problem. There will always be competition almost everywhere. It was the mask & the alternative-story paranoia which were making the MC, & us, run like a hamster on a wheel. Having the cards on the table is liberating.

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