TM Chapter 92

Chapter 92: From Now On, We’re (1)

TL: emptycube / ED: Isleidir


 

The sky at 7 a.m. was gloomy.

Thunder in the clear sky made me lose my sleep since early morning, and now, dark clouds were wriggling together like smoke. These dark clouds covered the red sun in the east, and the entire sky turned grey.

The weather was killer. It just had to be today.

-You said the recording was today, right? Are you prepared?

Hearing my brother’s gentle voice, I unknowing started groaning,

“Prepared? They didn’t give me a damn thing to prepare for. I think the staff might have gone insane. It’s an hour before the recording, yet I still don’t know what we’re doing. Even if it’s a ‘reality variety show’, this feels like I’m going out to war naked.”

Of course, since the staff should have already organized and prepared the show, there shouldn’t be any instances where I dig my own grave. Still, I thought they would at least tell us something beforehand. Neptune was new to entertainment shows, and I was a non-celebrity. Yet, they really didn’t tell us anything.

-The kids are jumping up and down after hearing that you’re appearing on that show. It’s the show they watch religiously on Saturdays. They’ll probably have a harder time waiting for the broadcast than going on an outing. (Uncle! Dad, pass me the phone! Me too! I said it first!) You hear them, right?

I could clearly imagine the quadruplets sticking to my brother and aiming for the phone. Even in the morning, they were energetic. Gyeoul{1}, who came out victorious in their intense struggle, shouted in excitement.

-Uncle! Uncle, are you going to be a celebrity? Will you be on TV a lot?

“No.”

-Then are you going to appear on a lot of shows? Are you going to appear like before? We’re going to invite our friends and watch the show together! Mom said she’ll order us fried chicken and pizza! Grandma and grandpa are going to watch it at the town hall…!

Oh, my god.

Like before, I should definitely, definitely avoid embarrassing things like last time.

“Oppa! We’re ready to go!”

I heard Im Seoyoung’s energetic voice behind me. The girls were looking out the van window after fixing their makeup. I said my farewell to the quadruplets as I got in the driver’s seat.

“Uncle has to go work now.”

-Cool! Good luck, uncle! Make sure to win all the games!

“Are you talking to the quadruplets?”

It seemed she heard Gyeoul’s spirited shout as Lee Songha asked as she leaned forward from the back seat. I felt like my eardrum would burst a second later. When I quickly moved my phone away from my ear, the children’s voices echoed in the van.

-Uncle, who was that? Who was it? (Why? What? What’s going on?!) Someone asked, ‘Are you talking to the quadruplets?’ A woman’s voice! (Must be Neptune! How lucky! Me too! Me too! I want to hear her voice too!) Uncle, tell them that we promoted their new songs a ton at school!

They were causing a huge commotion. The girls and their stylists burst into laughter at the back.

I was about to hang up, but Lee Songha stretched her arm out quite enthusiastically.

“Oppa, can I talk to them?”

“Huh? Yeah, here. Be careful of your eardrums.”

When I handed her my phone, everyone gathered around it like pigeons around food and each said a word. I let them be in hopes that it would be a nice change of mood before the recording began. It seemed like their entertainment show anxiety began to flare up after they were edited out a lot on the talk show they appeared on with Simon Lee.

It took almost five minutes for the phone to go around before they finally hung up.

“Do they resemble oppa?”

Lee Songha asked while sticking to the back of the driver’s seat.

“I don’t know. Their personalities definitely aren’t similar to mine, maybe our looks a little? Two of the four are similar to how I looked when I was in elementary school.”

“I’m curious. Oppa’s miniatures.”

Lee Songha mumbled seriously. I was about to reply that we weren’t that alike when I received a text. It stated to enter the parking lot now that they were finished setting up. I started the car and said,

“They are going to film us appearing by opening the car door, and supposedly, the camera is going to tilt up from the legs of the first person getting off the van. Who wants to get off first?”

“Then the one with the best-looking legs needs to get off first!”

“Then everyone besides Im Seoyoung can do rock-paper-scissors.”

“What? Why? Mine are good too!”

In the end, it was decided Lee Songha would get off first.

When we entered the parking lot behind PBS, we saw film director of photography holding a heavy camera, the lighting staff, and cameramen with 6mm cameras slung on their shoulders.

As soon as they finished filming our entrance, a cameraman approached us. The cameraman, wearing a khaki windbreaker, walked backwards as he talked to us.

“We’ll be heading straight to the entertainment department on the sixth floor. The cast members have already arrived and are waiting for the guests.”

Since it was before the morning rush hour, the inside of the broadcasting station was empty. The employees we occasionally saw seemed to have worked overnight as they were busy hiding their hollow faces from the camera whenever they spotted one. Hearing the thunderous rumbles from the windows, it seemed like we were entering a den of zombies than a broadcasting station.

We rode the empty elevator to the sixth floor. Im Seoyoung, who had been seeing her face reflected on the mirror wall, suddenly tapped my shoulder.

“Oppa, you know…”

“What?”

“Why am I not nervous when I think about appearing with you? I felt like my insides were shrinking before the start of other recordings, but today I feel like ‘Come at me’? Should I say it feels like I arrived with fortune on my back? Right?”

The girls nodded in agreement. Hmm. My shoulders felt heavy for some reason.

We followed the cameraman to a large waiting room. As soon as we entered, the loud noises immediately quieted down. The familiar faces sitting apart from one another stretched their necks as they looked in our direction.

They were veteran celebrities who hosted the 5-year real variety show ‘From Now On, We’re’, which was commonly shortened into ‘Now, We’. When I greeted them with the girls, five men shot up from their seats.

“Oh, Neptune! I know, I know, come in! What are you doing, hurry up and clear the seats of honor!”

“Our guests are a girl group? Ah, man! I told you to tell me ahead of time if you’re going to do things like this!”

“If they told you, then what? You’re going to go to a shop before coming? A squid is still a squid.{2}

“Oh, yeah! I went to the shop today. I knew I wanted to go for some reason.”

They should have known who the guests were, but their surprised and happy reactions looked incredibly natural. Of course, their reactions were being filmed by the cameras set up around the large meeting room.

While Neptune was dealing with the outpour of questions and interest, I stood like a male ballad singer who came to comfort the troops. Only after the mood died down a little did one of the hosts recognize me.

“You’re the manager who appeared on the New Year’s Special, right?”

“Yes, I am Jung Sunwoo.”

I recalled his profile. Hwang Jaehyun. He was a singer and a familial neighborhood big brother character.

“I’m on a cable broadcast with Taepyeong hyung{3}, and he boasted a ton about how the special had the highest ratings on New Year’s. So I watched the broadcast, and it was really fun. Please take care of us. Our ratings have been dropping these days so we need our guests’ help.”

“Ah, no, please take care of me. But what are we doing today?”

I asked, thinking that this was the perfect opportunity, but Hwang Jaehyun replied in a nonchalant manner,

“Did you not hear anything?”

“Only the date, time, and place. We weren’t told what to prepare for so we only brought ourselves.”

“You just need to bring yourselves since we’re a show that works people hard.”

Well, that was true. Before I came here, I watched previous episodes for research, and on their goal, it stated that they were a broadcast where the members challenged something new every week. However, in the end, the concept would change every week, but they would run around regardless.

“We don’t really know much either. I think they need some realistic reaction? If we knew, then it’ll become too obvious that we were coordinating with the staff so they don’t tell us on purpose.”

Realistic reactions, huh? I was becoming more and more clueless.

“So don’t worry. When we start recording, the directing team will follow and direct us. It’s not like they’ll make us do something we can’t, right?”

Hwang Jaehyun said while smiling brightly.

“Right, you’re appearing to promote Neptune’s new songs? If you brought their album, give me one so we can play it when we’re in the car.”

Of course, I brought it. A boxful of them.

I told him I would give him one later and glanced at the girls. Even though they are surrounded by ‘Now, We’ members, the mood felt comfortable, not awkward at all. Im Seoyoung chatted as she continued this cheerful mood.

Then a woman who seemed to be a member of the directing team entered.

“Bringing in the next guests!”

So there were other guests. As soon as I thought this, my surroundings became noisy.

“What? There are more guests today? Is it another girl group?”

“They are actors this time. Two of them.”

“If there’s an actress, I’m not leaving work today! Let’s record for two days straight without sleep!”

“I agree! I return my ‘right to leave work’!”

Their reactions were more realistic than mine.

Soon, the door opened, and the two aforementioned actors entered.

As expected of actors.

Her cheeks were plump and warm like freshly made rice cakes. Her eyes were so large that they seemed to be pasted on, and she had rose-colored lips. She was a child actress walking hurriedly with her short arms and legs.

A mixed-raced boy was paired the girl, but they were even younger than the quadruplets. Still, they seemed to have quite a bit of experience since they were children I had often seen in miniseries, daily dramas, and even movies.

“Oppa, I suddenly got a feeling.”

Im Seoyoung whispered to me.

“Maybe they cast oppa to take care of those two child actresses?”

I was a bit suspicious too since I became known as the ‘uncle of quadruplets’ because of Star Manager.

However, unlike the quadruplets, who still looked very childish, they gave off a completely different feeling. How should I say it? They didn’t seem so young as to need someone to look after them.

The girl smiled brightly as she acted cute in front of the uncles, but it was clear she was acting like that to doted on. The mixed-raced boy had the expression of a grandpa who seemed tired of everything.

The two child actors went around greeting everyone, and when they got to me, they tilted their fist-sized heads. It looked like they were confused as to whether I was a guest or not. I was about to speak first when-

“Since everyone’s here, including the guests, we’ll start the actual recording now.”

The woman who introduced the guests a while ago shouted while clapping her hands. When the conversations died down and their gazes focused on her, the woman took out a cue card.

“You must be curious why you’ve gathered here in the morning, but we’ll start individual interviews in another room first. You just have to enter the room to the side in the order your name is called!”

“What? What is it? You’re not going to give us some weird mission again, right?”

“Stop making us do weird things after inviting guests!”

The woman didn’t even bat an eye as she called Hwang Jaehyun’s name first. He disappeared with a leery expression. Soon, two more left the large meeting room. It seemed they would go somewhere else after their individual interviews as no one returned.

“Mr. Jung Sunwoo!”

I got up as soon as my name was called. Since I was the first in our group, the Neptune girls waved their hands as though they were seeing off someone going on a long journey.

“Oppa! Live so we can meet again!”

“If something happens in the room, scream.”

“Am I Shim Chung being dragged to the Indangsu Sea?{4}

I grinned as I followed the woman.

The room I was guided to had an unusual atmosphere for some reason. The window was blocked by blackout curtains, and the lights were a chilling purple color. The mood felt like someone should release some dry ice as well.

Inside were two cameras, a producer, and a writer.

The producer was a face I became familiar with after watching previous episodes, Bae Junghwan, the main producer. The short-haired woman giving off an urban feel was the second writer, Song Yujin, who had texted me previously.

When I sat at a table covered with a black cloth, Writer Song smiled as she said,

“You give off a stronger impression in real life than on screen.”

When I greeted them with a sour face, Writer Song continued speaking.

“We’ve been hearing that our program has fallen into a routine a lot these days, so we’ve been using guests to add fresh blood to the program. Writer Park, who planned Star Manager, suggested Mr. Sunwoo and Neptune.”

“Ah, that person.”

“I said that we wanted to bring out as much as that program, but we’re not really expecting that much, so there’s no need to be worried. If you can make things that fun every time, then you need to be on broadcasts than being a manager. You just need to act naturally with the Neptune members.”

“Yes, but… What do I have to do naturally?”

Seeing as they were calling us individually, it seemed like they were giving missions like someone mentioned, and I also thought that it could be a hidden camera prank.

Still, I hoped that, since I was already appearing, it would be something I was good at. Then I could obtain some air time and, like my original goal, promote Neptune’s new songs.

“Then I’ll tell you a secret first.”

Producer Bae said while making a serious expression.

“To be honest, there are people who possess special powers in the world.”

“… Special powers?”

“They’re called superpowers.”

I almost made a bizarre expression in front of the cameras.

Producer Bae unveiled the black cloth covering the table to reveal a few cards with large words printed on them.

“Now, pick one.”

Producer Bae said while gesturing to the cards.

There were a few cards, but only one caught my eye.

The card with the words ‘Future Prophet’.

 


{1} Gyeoul – Winter in Korean. So the quadruplets’ names are Bom (Spring), Yeoleum (Summer), Kaeul (Fall), and Gyeoul (Winter). (Not that you didn’t guess that)

{2} He’s saying he’s ugly no matter how much he tries.

{3} Park Taepyeong – One of the MCs on Star Manager.

{4} A folktale where Shim Chung trades herself for 300 sacks of rice to restore her father’s sight.

 

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Comments 14

  1. What’s running man? I never watch these TV show(don’t have a tv since a long time now) so I don’t know^^
    Him playing a futur prophete is…promising.also very dangerous if he play too good…he could start people suspecting him…the smartest ones and the other people with powers (they probably exist)

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