TM Chapter 34

Chapter 34: The Moment Your Talent Buds (1)

TL: emptycube


 

I thought the pronunciation was weird just now. {1}

Did he call me Luck Thrower?

He wasn’t the only one who called me this.

“Luck Thrower, you’ve come?”

“Ahh, he’s that guy? He’s team 3’s Luck Thrower?”

People I had never talked to before acted as if they knew me as they passed by. There were even people who chattered from a distance.

What was this?

It seemed that I wasn’t aware of something. Was it because the news of what happened yesterday spread? Someone tapped my back as I was looking for someone I knew to ask.

“Luck Thrower, you’re here?”

It was Kim Hyunjo.

“Hello, chief. But what are you calling me? What is Luck Thrower?”

“Rumors that you rejected Sung Dowon spread like wildfire. There are no secrets in this goddamn place. Anyways, your nickname changed from Team 3’s Lucky Charm to Team 3’s Luck Thrower. As the guy who throws away luck.”

“Ah…”

“They say the director personally came up with it.”

My social image, would it be okay like this?

I was about to think about it more seriously when Kim Hyunjo hurried me.

“Let’s go down quickly. A film crew will be here soon. Gunyoung went to receive them.”

“A film crew?”

“We discussed filming an insert of the girls practicing.”

There indeed was a schedule for Neptune today. Since the Next K-Star mission filming would be tomorrow, they said they needed a scene of them practicing to edit in later.

“But didn’t we schedule it for 5?”

“They originally planned on filming another team first, but their local shoot is taking longer than expected and the schedule messed up. So they said they’d film us first before going to them. In any case, we’re the easiest to push around.”

Kim Hyunjo grumbled worryingly on our way down to the basement practice room.

“Ms. Jieun needs to push them hard. I wonder if she’s going too easy on them in front of the camera.”

Ms. Jieun was the vocal trainer helping us with the filming today. I saw her in a meeting last time, her face was cute, and she was really short. She had been a faceless singer{2} for a few years before becoming a vocal trainer.

“Shoots like this are more effective than multiple interviews saying they practice for hours every day or that they try hard. Then viewers will think positively of them as they think, ‘They practiced hard. It’s not easy being a girl group.’”

I nodded my head as we entered the practice room. I saw the girls dancing and singing without the instrumentals in preparation for the mission. The trainer had her arms crossed as she watched them.

I quietly entered and watched them practice as well. Admiration unknowingly welled up inside me.

Although I didn’t have a good ear for music, Lee Taehee especially sounded amazing. It was to the point where it was amazing that such a rich and powerful voice came out of a slim girl who weighed less than 50kg.

Even as she sang while dancing so lively, there was no hint of her voice wavering as it resounded out. She even sang the high notes so easily that if someone who didn’t know anything saw her, they would think it was easy.

While I was watching in a happy mood-

“Lee Songha!”

Gosh.

The girls immediately paused at their trainer’s shout. Lee Songha, who had been called out, lowered her head while wiping her sweat.

“I’m sorry.”

“If you’re like this with your title track that you’ve practiced for over half a year, how are you going to prepare for the other missions? Are you going to embarrass me? You are going out in front of the whole country, would you like it if people swear at me for debuting unprepared kids?”

“I’m sorry.”

“If you’re going to be like that, ask them to play a recording for your part!”

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

Fierce remarks that even made me, who was watching, flinch rained down on her. It seemed this hadn’t happened once or twice as Lee Songha vigorously lowered her head and repeatedly said she was sorry. I was worried she might cry, but I didn’t see any hints of that happening. Instead, the other girls glanced at her with sympathetic eyes.

No, but… I didn’t think she did badly enough to be punished so severely.

After becoming Neptune’s manager, I started to monitor music broadcasts of other groups, and to be honest, Lee Songha was average. With my biased perspective, she was slightly better than average.

She wasn’t at the level of ‘she’s really good at singing’, but it wasn’t like she was bad.

It only sounded like she wasn’t very good compared to Lee Taehee, who was overwhelmingly good at singing, LJ, who didn’t lose to others in rapping, and even Im Seoyoung, who specialized in dancing but was good at singing as well. Songha wasn’t so bad that she would be called incompetent in other teams.

Also, she practiced so much.

How wonderful would it be if your skill could increase by how much you practice, but it was simply regretful that it wasn’t so. If even I, who was a spectator, thought this way, how frustrated would she be?

“Oh, you came?”

The trainer, who had spotted us now, approached us with an awkward expression.

“Chief, are we going to start filming now?”

“The film crew will be here soon.”

“What should I do during the filming?”

“Just do what you normally do. Like now.”

Kim Hyunjo gave a satisfied expression as he nodded.

 

A few minutes later, the traitor came in with the Next K-Star film crew. They were the young producer and writer I saw during our get-together. There were also a film director and other staff who held boom mics and lights. As people came in, the practice room became pack instantly.

“Please take good care of us. We’ll only shoot for 30 minutes.”

The producer said as he yawned.

Then the film crew really filmed for exactly 30 minutes and left. It looked to me that there would be one or two shots of the girls practicing, and the rest would be the trainer pointing out their faults. It especially looked like shots of Lee Songha getting criticized to the point of turning to dust would be broadcasted.

I sincerely hoped that when viewers watched this, they would think, ‘That’s too much. She didn’t so bad to be criticized so severely.’

“Sunwoo.”

Kim Hyunjo came up to me as I was cleaning up.

“Leave the rest of the girls to Gunyoung, you take Songha to meeting room B. I’ll bring Younghoon hyung there. We need to finish our talk from yesterday.”

“Ah, yes!”

I was about to wonder when he would bring that up as well.

I passed between the completely exhausted girls, who were flopped all over the place whispering that they thought the shoot went well, and found Lee Songha. She was in the corner, lying facedown on the ground like laundry.

Did she faint?

“Songha.”

“Yes.”

When I called her, she shot back up.

“Chief and the team leader want to have a talk, are you okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine.”

Lee Songha grabbed her bag and left. The girls behind her saw her off.

“Songha, have a good talk.”

“Come back soon.”

“Go tell the team leader exactly what you heard, you dummy!”

We got on the elevator, and I pressed the fourth-floor button.

Since we were in a small, contained space, I could hear her panting. When I looked at Lee Songha and her heaving shoulders, she looked like a kid who had come back after a sprint. Sweat dripped from her forehead, chin and even down her long neck.

Still, she never said that it was hard… I didn’t know whether to say she was praiseworthy or foolish. Or if she was resolute.

To be honest, it looked like her heart had it tougher than her body.

“Your vocal teacher was scary.”

“Pardon?”

“She might have been more severe because a film crew came today.”

I said these words in hopes it would make her feel a bit better, but she tilted her head.

“The teacher was going easy on us because there was a film crew.”

“… That was going easy?”

“When we are actually practicing, she’s 10 times scarier. Also, this is nothing.”

A thought suddenly popped up.

She was someone who could say that it was nothing after getting punished so severely and even 10 times more severely. But when she was getting acting lessons, she had become stressed and was having a hard time. To the point where she would be depressed while eating 3 servings worth of food at night before eventually quitting.

Fucking bastard. Just how harsh was he on her?

Although I hadn’t met him yet, the teacher was becoming a monster in my mind.

I left Lee Songha in meeting room B and brought the muffins I bought on my way to work. She probably had no energy after practicing, filming, and getting punished, so she should have some snacks.

“Songha, these are muffins, do you want to ea…”

“I will.”

“Okay. I bought it for everyone, so you eat one first.”

Lee Songha, who had pounced on the muffin box and was about to open it, paused.

“Just one? Are there different kinds?”

She asked while giving me a serious look.

As if she was asking why I was making her make such a difficult decision.

Nonetheless, I was the uncle of quadruplets.

“No, they are all the same. There’s no need to choose.”

“Wow. Thank you.”

Lee Songha acted as though someone was going to steal it if she hesitated and quickly grabbed one. A fist-sized muffin with walnuts on top disappeared in a blink of an eye. I wasn’t exaggerating, it really disappeared in a blink of an eye.

What the, did she drink the muffin?

Lee Songha picked up and ate the crumbs on the table as well, yet she licked her lips as if she was still unsatisfied. She might have some talent as a food fighter. Since her looks were amazing, she could make easy money broadcasting herself eating food{3}.

“I bought one for myself as well, but you can have it since I don’t really like them.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

“Thank you.”

She was happy, really happy. It seemed it was tasty.

She was a girl whose expression didn’t change much, but it was good to see her happy expression when she ate. Although it came with a ridiculous price of 4,000won{4}, and I would never buy one for myself, when I saw her eating happily, it didn’t feel like a waste at all.

Kim Hyunjo and the team 3 leader didn’t arrive even after Lee Songha had finished off two muffins. I was glancing at the door when Lee Songha looked through her bag, making ruffling noises. She brought out a stack of A4 papers.

It was the Cat Guardian Ghost synopsis.

“I read… everything you gave me.”

“Really? How was it?”

The synopsis wasn’t much, but I asked just in case.

“The unnies{5} said it was meh.”

As expected.

“I like it.”

“… Really?”

“I especially find the story at the end fun.”

Lee Songha flipped the synopsis and showed me.

An outline of the beginning plot of Cat Guardian Ghost was attached at the very end. Although there were many synopsises with story-like outlines, maybe it was because Writer Hong Jumi was a romance novel author, but hers felt like a genuine novel. I, too, enjoyed this part the most.

“Which character do you like the most?”

Lee Songha flipped the page forward and pointed.

“This person.”

I was almost about to shout.

The interpreter Jung Haewon.

Lee Songha pointed at her.

I read the synopsis tens of times when I got it as well. I substituted each female character with Lee Songha and imagined which of them suited her the best.

And I hoped that if Lee Songha was to do this drama, she would choose the role of Jung Haewon. It wasn’t because of the information I received from the future, but because I truly felt this character was appealing.

Also, because it suited Lee Songha well.

 


{1} Explained last chapter, but I changed it to Lucky Charm/ Luck Thrower (as in a person throwing luck away). This line is referring to how the raws, Bokdongee and Bokdangee, sound similar.

{2} A singer whose face is not known. Only releases songs.

{3} Reworded for flow but the author is talking about Eating Show/Social Eating popular in Korea. Twitch has a section for it now.

{4} ~3.38USD

{5} What a younger female calls older females.

 

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