TM Chapter 39

Chapter 39: When an Unexpected Event Occurs (3)

TL: emptycube


 

They looked like they were about to go to battle. I gave each of them words or encouragement to boost their morale.

Lee Taehee who was always dependable at times like this, Im Seoyoung who looked a bit nervous, luckily, her condition was good, and LJ who was so focused that I felt bad saying something.

Lastly, to Lee Songha, who was silently burning up.

“Songha, just do like you did in practice.”

“Yes. I will do my best and return.”

Lee Songha nodded her head and followed behind the other girls who going to the front.

Just then, the first mission recording of Next K-Star had begun.

 

I realized something considerably while watching the recording scene.

It wasn’t that the recording process, in which they stopped and resumed with multiple times, was very tiring or that VJs who went around putting cameras in people’s faces and filming managers and staff members’ reactions were very bothersome either.

The biggest thing I realized was that you couldn’t thoughtlessly tell people to sing without instrumentals.

Of course, there were teams or members who did well enough that the spectators shouted in admiration. The ones who the judges clapped for and praised that they could become the next generation K-Star.

However, the performances of some teams literally made you shout. Even though they were new, it came to a point where you would worry whether it was okay to show a performance like that on a show with the words ‘Next K-Star’ in its title.

The ones who were unrivaled amongst them was precisely the team currently on the stage.

Sugar Cats.

“…. Hmmm.”

Eventually, a sound I couldn’t keep contained escaped. It wasn’t only me, the people next to me were unable to look at the stage directly and avoided their gazes. There wasn’t even a need to look far, Kim Hyunjo even covered his face with the hand that had been supporting his chin.

He couldn’t help it. Even if they had insufficient time to practice, this was too severe.

After the shocking 3 minutes and 30 seconds had passed, the Sugar Cats members stood in front of the judges’ table. Although their hearts were probably thumping right now, I was calming my heart as well as we waited for the judges’ evaluation.

This moment right now was filled with more anticipation than the first episode of a drama and more excitement than its last episode.

The malicious character who stood out even amongst the three judges, Cha Suzy who had smashed the mentalities of those who performed ahead with her harsh criticisms was first to grab her mic. I didn’t think too well of her since she was the type to give overly strong remarks…

“You should have called your team Bitter Cats instead of Sugar Cats. Bitter, bitter. It’s my first time scowling while listening to a song.”

I think I might become her fan.

The Sugar Cats girls were taken aback as they stammered and tried to pass each other the mic. However, there were still two more judges left. Before the Sugar Cats could say a word, the criticisms poured in.

“Because you’re singing without instrumentals, your skills are clearly revealed. This means that you were more or less covering your insufficiencies with the instrumentals up until now.”

“Your key was wavering from the beginning to the end, and you lost the beat so many times I gave up counting.”

“There’s nothing to compliment about. And you were a team that had good preliminary responses from our viewers…”

“That’s because they went on a lot of variety shows.”

My blood seemed to flow with bubbling soda.{1}

Ah. It felt like my heart had finally found peace at last.

The Sugar Cats got off the stage while crying. When two VJs filmed their crying figures on their way back to the seats, they wailed, saying that they made so many mistakes because they were nervous as this was their first mission.

After their interview, the Sugar Cats returned to their seats behind us.

The Sugar Cats chief clicked his tongue.

“The judges said those words to make the first episode stimulating.”

 

“Still, that was too much. Honestly, if we had more time to practice…”

“They said we were Bitter Cats, oppa. Were we that bad?”

“No. You know Cha Suzy’s style. Because people tell her she’s a tough unni and a girl crush, she said those harsh comments to harden her character. You didn’t do so bad to hear those words. Look at the other teams, the evaluations will be similar.”

At his final words, Kim Hyunjo flipped his head around. The Sugar Cats chief cleared his throat and avoided his gaze.

It was because Neptune was up next.

The girls, who were waiting with other teams in the front row, cheered and got up. Then they calmly walked in front of the judges’ table.

“Neptune… They have the lowest popularity amongst the participating teams.”

“Their skills were pretty good when I saw their music video.”

“If we judged that, then no team would have been criticized.”

The judges, who had seen Neptune’s preliminary video ahead of time, exchanged some light chatter. Lee Taehee and Im Seoyoung smoothly answered their questions.

“Good. Then, let’s see your performance.”

“Yes!”

I clenched the armrests and watched the stage.

Breaking the silence, their no-instrumentals performance began with Lee Taehee’s lead.

A bittersweet voice that contained a deep reverberation roused the open hall. A monitor, placed to one side of the stage, caught the judges fixing their postures. It wasn’t only the judges but the spectators in the seats, and even the staff stopped talking and turned to look at the stage.

Im Seoyoung’s lively tone added life to the song, and LJ’s rap was so powerful and strong that my shoulders went up and down without me noticing.

However, the most surprising part was Lee Songha.

During this time, I had seen Lee Songha practicing a few times, but she was currently better than any of those times. It was to the point where I thought that effort didn’t betray you. Those who weren’t familiar with her may think that this much skill wasn’t worth getting in a fuss, but I knew that this performance was the result of endless effort.

It wasn’t only Lee Songha, all four of them poured all the time, sweat and effort they had spent practicing since the moment the mission was announced into these 3 minutes and 40 seconds. They didn’t make any mistakes, and their performance made you forget that there weren’t any instrumentals.

“Good. This is good.”

Kim Hyunjo, who was in front of me, mumbled in an excited voice. I nodded my head as well.

“Looks like she really did get rid of her bad luck this morning. I didn’t think she’d do this well.”

Once their performance ended, the girls waited for the judges’ evaluation as they calmed their breaths. The girls were obviously nervous, but even I, who was watching from afar, was quite nervous as well.

Cha Suzy raised her mic.

“It was really good. I’m curious why you weren’t popular until now. Why didn’t you become popular?”

The expressions of the girls, who were waiting on top of the stage for their evaluation, brightened at the compliment that exceeded their expectations. Even our side was in a festive mood. Kim Hyunjo hit the traitor’s and my shoulders with his excited palms, and I was too excited that it didn’t hurt. I currently didn’t care about the Sugar Cats grumbling behind me in the slightest.

“Taehee is really too good. No, I’m not saying that you’re too good to be an idol, but it’s just I want to listen to you sing the song for the full 3 minutes and 40 seconds by yourself.

“Seoyoung balances out the team well. Your tone and even your image. Above all, even though you aren’t very tall, you catch people’s attention as if the camera is zoomed in on you. It’s because you absorb 120% of your choreography. Looking at your record, I want to quickly confirm the entertainment sense you’ve shown in variety programs.”

“Even if the underground community hasn’t heard of Neptune, they know LJ. So I was inwardly eager to see you, but after I seeing your performance, it was beyond my expectations.”

Simon Lee and Producer Song Baekjin exchange some generous compliments. After every comment, the girls would express their thanks in proud expressions. It was to the point where the mood on the stage couldn’t get any better. Light expectations brushed over Lee Songha’s flushed cheeks. I gulped down my saliva and perked my ears up as well.

Cha Suzy raised her mic.

“Lee Songha.”

“Yes.”

“You alone lowered the team’s average. Are you practicing properly?”

I almost stood up.

I thought there was nothing I could do about criticisms about skill. I still didn’t know much about music, and these people had at least ten of years of music experience, so, of course, their words were right.

However, asking whether she practiced properly or not was being too cruel to Lee Songha.

She was someone who always stayed behind to practice some more after the girls had finished practicing and returned to their residence. To make matters worse, Simon Lee and Song Baekjin also added in,

“That is a bit regretful.”

“Your visuals are too good. Since you’re so eye-catching, my vision keeps going to you, but when I look at you, there isn’t anything beyond that. It would make more sense if you had a record in acting or entertainment, but that’s not the case either.”

“Since she has the basics if she increases her practice time from now on…”

Lee Songha’s head drooped. A camera caught her expression as it was displayed on a stage monitor. The camera director may have expected to see tears, but she was silently enduring their cold-hearted evaluations.

“Haa…”

Kim Hyunjo rubbed his face. Unable to calm my complicated heart, I simply sighed. All of a sudden, I realized that the voices behind me suddenly became brighter. Because we didn’t want to show Lee Songha their deceitful figures, we got up from our seats.

The girls came down from the stage. Although they ended up with a much higher score than the average team, they weren’t cheerful. A VJ stubbornly asked Lee Songha questions, but when she showed no signs of crying, he left soon after.

When Lee Songha came close, Kim Hyunjo patted her slender shoulders.

“Songha, I said it before, right? The words the judges are saying…”

“I know. It’s fine, oppa.”

“Okay. Since this is the beginning, you just need to show that you’re improving.”

“Yup.”

Lee Songha smiled faintly as she nodded her head.

Seeing her face, I suddenly thought.

How many times had Lee Songha said she was fine today?

 

The recording ended well after midnight.

“There is a week left until the next recording, so don’t practice today and go home and rest.”

Kim Hyunjo requested. The girls nodded heavily and got in the van. I was thinking about whether to sit in the passenger seat or at the back when Lee Songha slowly approached me from behind and grabbed my clothes.

“What’s wrong?”

“One second.”

When I took a few steps towards in the direction she was pulling, she looked around and mumbled in a small voice,

“Oppa.”

“Yeah.”

“My foot hurts a little.”

“What?”

I quickly looked down.

“It hurts? Since when?”

“Since I fell.”

If it was after she fell… Don’t tell me it was back during their rehearsal in the rain? That was so long ago. Didn’t that mean she didn’t say that she was hurt since then?

“You’re telling….!”

“I’m sorry. Please don’t tell the unnies.”

Lee Songha tightly held on my clothes with both her hands and prevented me from moving. Dumbfounded, I looked at her, but she shook her head.

That moment, I recalled the conversation we had on our way back from the morning schedule. They talked about thinking of it as getting rid of her bad luck and that it would have been more troublesome if she got hurt and it affected their Next K-Star schedule.

If the girls somehow found out that Lee Songha was hiding the fact she was hurt, they might blame themselves. That was probably why Lee Songha was so desperately asking me now.

“I get it. I get it, but I need to tell the chief. We need to go to the hospital. I’ll come back after telling the chief so let go. My clothes will rip.”

Only then did her white-knuckled fingers loosen up.

 


{1} Meaning he felt refreshed like drinking soda.

 

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Comments 10

  1. |  THANKS FOR THE CHAPTER!!!
    | ̄””‘、
    |ω` |
    ⊂  ;゙   Wow she’s performing even if her feet hurts
    |   / LS is the one who good at acting right?
    |U”” She really is a good actress (´。• ᵕ •。`) ♡

    1. Yeah,me too:(
      That’s the kind of story made for one chapter a day,but we can’t ask that if the translator can’t:/

  2. Thanks for the chapter:) took my time for reading;)
    Her guts are strong:o kinda expected that with the title(that kind of spoil the events before reading the chapter:/ and hard to just pass)

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