TM Chapter 29

Chapter 29: The Calm before the Storm (4)

TL: emptycube

Editor: Isleidir


 

“Huh?”

“That day. I’m asking if there definitely was a situation where your picture could have been taken…”

I chose my words carefully as I asked Sung Dowon and his eyes bulged.

“I thought the photo came out like this because there are cases where the photo gets distorted depending on the angle…”

You thought?

“It is a bit weird. I don’t remember being so close to this woman.”

My heart was swept away.

Due to Sung Dowon’s involvement, I was able to overcome an obstacle.

And, looking at his reaction, the chances this photo was photoshopped went up.

“Dowon. Mm… Is it not because you were drunk and can’t remember?”

“Team Leader. I don’t drink until I black out. Because I’m scared I might make a mistake…”

Sung Dowon said as he bit his lips.

“Though I was a bit more drunk than usual that day…  My memory is clear. I know this is an emergency, but can’t we let a professional see like he suggested?”

Sung Dowon’s words were undoubtedly more influential than mine.

I couldn’t tell if those people believed in Sung Dowon or not, but either way, they were more seriously discussing the authenticity of the photo.

“Come, give it here.”

“Yes.”

CEO Baek Hansung, who received the photo, rubbed his chin as he mumbled.

“Photoshopped…”

Soon after, he placed the photo down and asked the lawyer.

“How much time do we have?”

“Not much. The other side is urging us to answer if we are going to buy it or not immediately, if we keep dragging it on, they might pass it over to someone else.”

Team Leader Park let out a sigh and added in.

“The national press is a problem, but if this goes over to the Chinese press, there’s nothing we can do. That neighborhood is chaotic enough to slap Hollywood in the face… If the photo is real, we won’t be able to handle what comes after.”

“Team Leader Park.”

“Yes, CEO.”

“Immediately contact a few trustworthy photo experts and request them to check the photo. Since we’re against time, ask them to do it as quickly as possible.”

Team Leader Park, who received the order, immediately picked up the photo and left the office.

“And…”

CEO Baek Hansung was about to say something before he looked at me.

“Jung Sunwoo?”

“Yes?”

“What do you think we should do now? Tell me your thoughts.”

It felt like getting attacked suddenly while I was relaxed.

“CEO. He’s just a new recruit, what does he know…”

“I just want to listen to a young man’s thoughts.”

CEO Baek Hansung cut the bearded team leader off and nodded at me.

I gulped down my saliva. It almost felt like I was being interviewed by the CEO.

I could foresee what sort of turning point this instant would be in my life.

“My thoughts are… that we should wait until we get the results and try to drag it on.”

“If we do that, the deal might completely crumble. Even taking that risk?”

“If this is Pure Star Entertainment’s trick, it might be leaked that we tried to cover this up with money. If that happens, there will be quite a few people who won’t believe the photo is fake even when it’s unveiled. They might think we gave them money because we had something to hide.”

I used what the future Director Park said as a background and added what I wanted to say on top of that.

And, to my surprise, it came out much more smoothly than I expected.

“And what’s more, they might be disgusted that we tried to cover it up and criticize us. I think that if we move hastily now, we might incur a result like that.”

“What if this photo is real and Pure Star Entertainment had nothing to do with it?”

Then, that would be huge.

W&U would be in big trouble and so would Sung Dowon.

And me… Let’s not think of the worst of the worst case scenarios now.

“Still, I believe if there is a possibility, we should confirm it. I think that it is better to take the risk now and buy some time to confirm it than getting hit by a storm that we could have easily avoided.”

I said what I wanted.

When I glanced at him, CEO Baek Hansung’s expression didn’t seem too bad.

“Impressive.”

Was this a compliment?

“Ah… Thank you.”

“Okay. You can leave now.”

“Pardon?”

The director pointed towards the door.

With a dazed expression, I bowed and left the office.

What the?

Though I did all I could before leaving… What did I have to do now?

I tried my best to persuade them, but would my words be enough? Don’t tell me they were going to continue with the deal?

The results of the photo were important. How long would it take before the results came out? Would they come out before articles were published?

“You, come here!”

Kim Hyunjo dragged me by the arm and entered the elevator.

“I was worried so I eavesdropped and I thought my heart was going to collapse. Is there really something wrong with the photo? How certain are you?”

“I am quite confident.”

“Can you bet your hand on it?”

No matter how you put it, betting my hand was a bit…

When I didn’t reply right away, Kim Hyunjo patted my back.

“Okay… Don’t be so worried.”

“Yes.”

“If you’re fired, I’ll introduce you to another company.”

Stop it, you’re making me more worried!

 

Kim Hyunjo had other things to do so he disappeared, and I returned to the office on the 4th floor and waited for the news. I didn’t think I would be able to rest easy in this state if I went back to my one-room apartment.

Also, there was another thing I needed to check.

I tried calling the acting teacher who criticized Lee Songha harshly. I needed to figure out what intentions he had by saying those things.

My senses told me there was something fishy going on here.

If the acting teacher had some ulterior motive and tried to break Lee Songha’s acting career by degrading her, then I could use this fact to convince her. Looking at her previous reaction, it didn’t seem like she didn’t like acting itself.

Then I just needed to show her the synopsis for Cat Guardian Ghost and have to go to the audition…

-The person you are calling is…

Damn, just what was this person doing?

I left a message asking the teacher to call me and then organized Neptune’s next week schedule. I consistently checked sites and searched Sung Dowon’s name. As articles about Sung Dowon could have been published.

And not long had passed.

Now, even if they told me to do more, there really wasn’t anything else I could do. When I looked out the window, I saw the moon.

So my precious break ended like this.

My throat felt dry so I went out to the lounge.

I stood in front of the vending machine, wondering what to drink.

Behind me, I heard female employees whispering to each other.

“Hey. Isn’t this Sung Dowon?”

“What?”

“It’s an article that just got published, ‘Top Star A who kept a clean image… Recently starred in two movies, mobilized 6 million viewers, confirmed ticket selling power’… Read this. No matter how I look at it, it’s Sung Dowon. Does the PR team know this?”

I left the drink that was dropping down the vending machine and returned to the office.

I refreshed the screen with celebrity news and didn’t see Sung Dowon’s name in the headlines. Even when I looked at the popular searches, I didn’t see his name up there.

However, when I searched ‘Top Star A’ like the female employee said, an article popped up immediately.

{Top Star A who kept a clean image gets thrown into a humongous scandal?}

When I clicked the headline, it opened an unfamiliar news site, News777.

There wasn’t even the name of journalist on the ‘Written by’ line. There was only an email to their entertainment department.

I gulped down my saliva and started to scroll down.

 

There have been rumors that National Star A, who is in his twenties and confirmed his ticket selling power by mobilizing 6 million viewers to the theaters in two movies he recently starred in, and a married woman had a sex party and are gathering the attention of interested parties of the entertainment industry.

We expect that the commotion this will cause when revealed will be as large as how much A has kept a clean, good-mannered image.

 

It really was Sung Dowon no matter who looked at it.

A clean image, explicitly revealing his viewer count, a national star in his twenties.

There was simply too much information to infer. Those who are interesting in the entertainment world would know immediately…

 

One related individual stated carefully that, “A is an actor who excelling in self-management,” and, “The reason why he hasn’t had any scandals until now was because he fully enjoyed himself in secretive places and had never been brought to light”.

An individual from the company A left rejected the scandal, saying, “No way. This is a baseless story.”

However, another news company has photo evidence, and specific rumors that they are conducting a deal with A and his current company are spreading, leaving many questioning the authenticity of the photo.

 

“… Dear God.”

For them to move this quickly as well as release the whole situation in one go.

Even the tabloids were very detailed. Seeing how they included the part about the photo deal, it looked like the person who wrote this knew exactly what was going on.

On top of that, what was this? A baseless story?

They had an interview with someone from Pure Star Entertainment?

Maybe this article was actually written by Pure Star Entertainment?

When I opened the comment section, there were already tons of comments.

 

-The hell? Trapped Sung Dowon.

-If you’re going to implicitly reveal the identity of the person, then you should reveal who the related individual is.

-I knew something would explode about Sung Dowon one day. I heard from someone I know that he plays really dirty.

-I screenshotted you. Be ready to be sued for libel.

-Sung Dowon lived off his clean image and now he’s fallen. Kekekeke.

 

When I searched even further, there was already criticism of Sung Dowon by name. There was another article. This time, it even included his initial by calling him ‘Top Star S’.

At this rate, it seemed an article with his actual name on it wouldn’t take long to be released.

It would spread like wildfire on social media and rise up on the ranking of popular real-time searches. If that happened, then Sung Dowon’s image would drop to the floor like they said in the future… Finished.

I let out a heavy sigh and flopped on the table.

I was frustrated and dejected.

I sort of expected my invention would change things but was it going to end this way eventually?

Once they finished assessing the photo and the fact that it was photoshopped comes to light, W&U would start their counterattack, but what if Reporter Song’s words were correct?

If this event was going to become a huge obstacle for Sung Dowon’s acting career, then it was already spilled milk even if they tried to counterattack later.

What would Sung Dowon be doing right now?

He probably read the articles, right?

It was a situation where everything he accomplished up until now and his future could be completely destroyed. He was pale before so he should be losing his mind right about now?

When I thought about Sung Dowon, I felt guilty for not being able to change the future even though I knew it.

 

Was my judgment wrong?

Should I have used another method or asserted myself more aggressively?

“Haa, if only the photo assessment came out early…”

That was so regretful.

If the results came out quickly, then they could have ended this situation.

Of course the professionals wouldn’t be playing around. They were probably late carefully examining the photo…

“Oh good. You haven’t left yet.”

“…!”

Surprised, I turned around to see Team Leader Park right behind me.

No, weren’t they in a hurry? Why was this person here?

Don’t tell me, they didn’t know yet?!

“Team leader! Right now, there are articles on the internet about Sung Dowon…!”

“I know, I’m the PR team leader and you think I wouldn’t know this?”

Then why were you so relaxed?

“I already finished writing a press release before coming down.”

“Pardon?”

“The articles being published now are being threatened by our employees, saying if they don’t want to get sued they need to immediately delete the articles. Our press release will be published by a news company in a few minutes. Then the reporters writing articles right now are going to throw what they have out and write a ‘happening’ article with our press release in mind.”

I was dazed and confused.

So… what she was saying was that it wasn’t the end?

Instead, it was being handled well?

Team Leader Park softly patted my shoulder.

“Since we stopped a big accident, I wanted to let you know. I thought I needed to thank you so I came down. You really did a big deed today. If it wasn’t for you, we would have thought the photo was real and made a deal with those guys. Haha, we joked and called you Lucky Charm{1}, but you really are one!”

Wait! Wait!

“Then, the results of the photo…”

“It was photoshopped. We asked 3 professionals and it was unanimous.”

 


{1} Bokdongee, I used the Korean version previously.

 

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Comments 10

  1. Thanks for the chapter.
    Kinda strange these people don’t recognize a photoshopped shot…which period this story take place? Maybe a few 10th years ago…

  2. ╔══════════════════╗
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    ║.`*.¸.*.•°*”˜˜”*°•.ƸӜƷ
    ║.•°*”˜˜”*°•.ƸӜƷ ✶* ¸ .✫ ♥
    ║✿ Thanks for the chapter ✿
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