TM Chapter 97

Chapter 97: Splashing while Riding a Sudden Current (1)

TL: emptycube / ED: Isleidir


 

While it was a short news brief, its effect was enormous.

If the witness testimonies and internet articles posted during the day were oil, then this news brief had pretty much set it on fire.

The picture captured from the news brief was instantly sweeping through social media and large community forums. As there were more than one or two celebrities involved, the magnitude of how trendy it had become was also incredible.

Because of this, the PR team office was noisiest it had been since Neptune’s comeback.

“How are the reactions towards the four Neptune members?”

At Team Leader Park’s question, the PR team employees focused on their tablets and answered,

“A huge hit! While the incident can’t be bad for them, it’s the first time people’s reactions have been so heated since their comeback!”

“Their performance in Sinchon was a divine move. The reactions to the fancams are amazing. At this rate, the number of views for their performance will be higher than the views for their music video on their official channel.”

“Their image can’t be any better right now!”

The female employee, who had been stomping her feet from excitement, suddenly snorted.

“Neptune’s Neptune, but team leader, Mr. Sunwoo has completely left an impression on the public! Here someone said, ‘Seriously, shouldn’t W&U kowtow to Manager Jung Sunwoo?’”

“Here too. ‘Doesn’t the celebrity management association give out manager of the month awards or anything?’”

“Give it here.”

Team Leader Park stretched out her hand. The female employee, who had been tearing up from laughing so hard, handed over her tablet. A page from an entertainment community forum was open. Team Leader Park, who had been clicking on related posts and scrolling through comments, paused her finger.

 

  • Because the entertainment shows Neptune have been on since their comeback were a bit boring, their fans were anticipating another entertainment show with Manager Jung. They were hoping for another hit like Star Manager… But for there to be a hit on the news.
  • They said they were going on an entertainment show, not ONLY an entertainment show. One shot, two kills!
  • I just came back from Neptune’s official site, and it’s so funny. If Manager Jung said that he’ll be going to another celebrity, it seems their fans are going to pull him by his pant leg and tackle him at every step.
  • He’s been quite talked about amongst Neptune’s original core fans.
  • Apparently, the video on the news was filmed by ‘Now We’s filming crew. Since they say it’ll be more detailed in their broadcast, I guess I’ll be tuning in after a long time.
  • But I think there are a lot of people interested in Neptune through this incident.
  • I’m one of them. I saw the fancam of their performance, and the quality of their performance was amazing, despite the fact the members must have been shocked by the incident as well. I was supposed to go to Sinchon today, but it sucks I couldn’t go.
  • Although Neptune’s talent has already been confirmed on Next K-Star, that song keeps getting better the more I listen to it. I’ve been playing that one song on repeat the whole day.
  • Apparently, that song was made by Lee Taehee, but it’s so addictive.
  • It’s not the one by Simon Lee? I thought I saw it in articles?
  • That’s another song. That song has been mentioned more because of Simon Lee, but they released double title tracks. Lee Taehee composed and wrote this one on her own. Their fans were sad about its ranking, but it explodes like this.
  • A lot of people around me listen to that song. I feel like it’ll be a huge hit.

 

“You’re constantly checking the music rankings, right?”

The employees nodded at Team Leader Park’s question.

“We are checking it through an app every hour. They were third and fifth before.”

When Neptune’s name first appeared on the 5-minute prediction chart on a major music site, all the employees who worked on Neptune’s mini-album, including the PR Team and the Management Business Department Team 3, stopped what they were doing and cheered.

Lee Taehee’s song ‘Satellite’ was third. ‘Pisces’ was fifth.

“It’s almost time, check again. I feel like it might have gone up.”

“Yes, since it was on the news, maybe it’ll be second?”

“They could have been first if it wasn’t for the Sugar Cats.”

“My words exactly! BYG fans are creating a fuss right now! Saying ‘they need to work hard and stream the song so that they don’t lose first place’ and ‘to endure until they got first on a music broadcast’. While our Blackout fandom is hardcore, they aren’t worse either. Oh my, it’s first.”

“Huh? What?”

The male employee asked when the female employee abruptly ended her sentence. Team Leader Park, who had been only starting at her tablet screen, turned her gaze towards her. The female employee showed them her phone with wide eyes.

“Satellite is first!”

That moment, the phones in the PR Team’s office began to ring noisily. Having enjoyed this sound for a few seconds, Team Leader Park said in a big voice,

“Now, now. I’ll face the reporters so you tell Chief Kim Hyunjo and you tell Mr. Sunwoo… Wait, are they done?”

“I got a message saying that they had finished a while ago and were eating dinner with the cast!”

“Then call and tell him the news! That the song he pushed is first right now!”

***

“Your glass is empty? Have another glass of cola, Mr. Sunwoo.”

“Ah, thank you.”

“I’m the one who should be thankful. Even my CEO hyung told me to give you his thanks.”

Lee Yoonho filled my glass with cola. Since he asked that we should help each other out in case we need some personal connections, I readily exchanged phone numbers with him. With this, my phone contacts were filled with personal numbers of all the ‘Now We’ members.

“Move over, hyung.”

Im Joowon pushed Lee Yoonho away and sat next to me.

“What is Ms. Lee Songha’s next project? If it gets decided, let me know. So I can consider it.”

“It hasn’t been decided yet.”

Im Joowon clicked his tongue and chugged the last of his beer.

“I need to pick a good next project. I’m suffering from insomnia these days, insomnia. Damn company, I should change to a better-“

“That’s why I told you to come to W&U.”

I said jokingly while pouring beer when Im Joowon blinked.

“What? Are you proposing an exclusive contract?”

Why was he acting like this was his first time hea-… Then I remembered.

Damn it. That happened in the previous future.

I quickly came up with a believable excuse and clicked my tongue. After seeing that future, which had no static nor was it far off into the future, I kept getting confused.

The biggest problem was that I wasn’t completely certain whether this current situation was real or not. After getting my future foresight ability, I had been worried that I might get a mental illness on multiple occasions, but I didn’t have to worry about that any longer.

To get reality and non-reality confused… I was already amazingly mental. Haha.

I was laughing dispiritedly when my phone rang.

After a few seconds, the thoughts that had filled my head were swept away. As soon as I hung up, I downed the cola in front of me. It felt like the carbonation had pierced through my veins and were spreading throughout my body.

Of course, I did hold some hope since I heard that the song was going up in ranks.

Maybe it might reach first? No, since it was trending this much, wasn’t there a possibility? Even while thinking this, I had swallowed my expectations so that I wouldn’t have to feel disappointed like the first day.

Swallowing my dry saliva, I opened an app on my phone.

It was there. First. ‘Satellite’ was on the very top of the list.

I tightly gripped my phone and looked beside me. The girls were chatting with other cast members while eating.

“Girls, one moment. First, put down your spoons and swallow what you have in your mouths.”

“Pardon?”

“I have something to tell you, but I’m worried you might spit out what you’re eating.”

At my words, the girls hesitantly put down their spoons. Lee Taehee took her hand off the beer glass she had been holding onto like a treasure. Even Lee Songha quickly swallowed the mouthful of crab carapace bibimbap{1} that had been in her mouth.

When the chatty girls quieted down, the other cast members looked in my direction.

Im Seoyoung staggered over to me and asked,

“Wh-what is it, oppa? You’re making me nervous.”

“It is-“

“Wait! If it’s something bad, say that first! So that we can prepare our hearts!”

“We are first on the music charts.”

I showed them my phone screen as I said this.

“It’s not just here. Apparently, it’s first on seven charts.”

While talking, I felt the tips of my lips curl upwards. The girls didn’t react for a few seconds. Instead, it was the other celebrities who tapped their glasses with their chopsticks and said,

“Wow! Really? Are they really first? Is it some kind of day today?”

“Oh my god. Congrats! Isn’t this the same as climbing back up the charts?”

“Let’s have an after party!”

During this commotion, Im Seoyoung snatched my phone. The girls pressed their heads together and looked at the screen.

Soon, Lee Taehee’s light brown eyes widened and alternated between the screen and me. Lee Songha blinked her eyes twice before nodding.

Soon, Im Seoyoung let out an incredible scream.

“Uh, uuh, oppa. Is this real? This isn’t photoshopped?”

“No way, if it really is, I’m going to break this bottle.”

LJ added while grabbing a bottle.

“Don’t worry since it’s not photoshopped. Don’t break that bottle either.”

When I said while laughing, only then did they cheer. Im Seoyoung, who had the most severe mood swings, teared up already. She was biting her lips and enduring because there were other celebrities around her. If she was at home, she would have already burst into tears.

“Euaaah, screenshot! I’m going to screenshot it a million times!”

“Why a million.”

“The music charts are a war zone. Do you know how many songs don’t last an hour?! We might drop from first in an hour too!”

“Do you want it to go down? It hasn’t been long since you told me not to say unlucky words.”

Surprised by LJ’s scolding, Im Seoyoung quickly held my arm and mumbled, ‘Cancel. Cancel.’ When would she stop with this?”

“Let’s screenshot it first, then print it. Should we print it in the size of a wedding photo? So that we can frame it and put it up in the living room?”

“Don’t do that, dummy. I’m going to have nightmares.”

The members of ‘Now We’ were chuckling as they passed around the bomb shot they had carefully created. Hwang Jaehyun handed me one as well. I readily accepted it with both hands. I only drank cola until now because I had to drive, but now I felt I needed to drink a little.

“Since our recording today was a hit and Neptune’s song is a hit, let’s hit three consecutive home runs with the success of our broadcast!”

“Let’s do it!”

The glasses clinked loudly. Even the girls, who were partly happy and partly dazed, quickly joined in this cheerful mood. While successively downing glasses, I suddenly thought of something and took out my phone.

“In celebration of being first on the charts, let’s take a group photo. Gather!”

“Im Seoyoung in the middle!”

The girls gathered together in a familiar manner when the ‘Now We’ team members joined in around them.

“The spot next to Songha is mine!”

“Ah, damn. Are you senile? Don’t bring up any ulterior motives and moved aside! She’s young enough to be your daughter, hyung!”

“Won’t the people at the end be cut out? Get closer!”

I was about to press the shutter when I asked,

“This might go up on our official social media account, will that be okay?”

“It’s fine, it’s fine!”

“Since we ran around together for the entire day, we need to take a group photo! If there wasn’t alcohol, we should have brought the kids as well. What a shame.”

Since everyone said they were fine with it, I was about to press the shutter when-

“But Mr. Sunwoo should join in too.”

Hwang Jaehyun gestured to me while telling me to ask someone else to take the picture. I handed my phone to someone’s manager and went over to the group. Lee Songha almost crumpled in order to make room for me. I was barely able to stick my head out, and the picture was taken.

The girls took a few more photos before sending it to the PR Team, and it immediately went up on their official social media account. My face was clearly in the photo.

Below the photo were the words, ‘Neptune’s first song to reach 1st!’

Below that was Im Seoyoung’s comment, ‘The happiest night.’

 

Im Seoyoung predicted that the song would only last for an hour, but ‘Satellite’ didn’t drop down after an hour. Not even the morning after the sleepless night. Not even the next day when the dark clouds had cleared and warm sunlight shined down. Even the day after that.

It continued to be first.

Neptune handled their schedule almost in a trance for the next few days.

Interviews poured in from internet news and magazines, and they appeared on various entertainment and culture shows from public and cable networks.

Ah, and they really hung the screenshot of the music chart in their living room. Im Seoyoung was so moved that she cried every day looking at that picture. With LJ as a witness, apparently, Lee Taehee secretly looked at it too.

Either way, that was how the team didn’t tire out and handled their busy schedule like a runaway engine with the fuel known as ‘first in the charts’ for the next few days.

The day of TVL’s Kpop concert live broadcast returned.

For the first time since they debuted, Neptune was one of the first place candidates.

 

The area behind the fences in the street corner leading from the parking lot to the broadcasting station was crowded with fans, who were waiting to see the singers appearing on the music broadcast, today as well. People with camcorders, phones, and even DSLRs with long lens shouted and pressed their shutters every time a celebrity passed by.

It was the same scene I had seen since I started working as a manager.

Of course, there were some changes.

“It’s Neptune, Neptune! Please look over here for a moment!”

“Unni, please give me your autograph!”

“Mr. Manager! Since the day is good, it’s okay to take a picture with Neptune, right?!”

I remembered how there were no reactions on my first day, to the point it was almost embarrassing, but there were quite a few people looking and gesturing at us.

Also, while they might not know each member’s name, it seemed like everyone knew the name ‘Neptune’, seeing as other idol fans were looking at us and murmuring amongst each other.

The problem was that they weren’t only looking at Neptune, they were looking at me as well.

We had stopped for a moment so they could give autographs and get their pictures taken when a familiar male fan asked,

“Mr. Manager, I heard that W&U are gathering members for Neptune’s first official fan club? Please give us some official information.”

“News gets around fast.”

“What’s the name of their fandom? Everyone’s worried about that.”

“Why?”

The male fan glanced at his surroundings before saying in a quiet voice,

“The Sugar Cats’ fandom has been confirmed, and it’s ‘Nyan-Butlers’. ‘Nyan-Butlers’. It’s not some sort of humiliation play, think about dark-skinned male fans and uncles{2} going ‘Nyan, nyan.’ Wow, crap. That sent shivers down my spine. I bet even thousand-year hardcore fandoms will chill with that name. Please tell me it’s not something like that.”

“Yeah, it’s not.”

The official fandom name we were planning on using was ‘Triton’. Something about it being Neptune’s biggest satellite. I quickly glossed over it because it wasn’t official yet, but the male fan asked another question. This time, he said it in a voice so quiet even the girls would hear it.

“But, it’ll be difficult to be first today, what if the girls are disappointed? While they shouldn’t lose out much in broadcast, sales, or album portions, but that damn voting portion. They just had to be faced up against the Sugar Cats, no, BYG.”

The male fan glanced at the crowd of BYG fans. Compared to other fans, they were different in terms of numbers and spirit. Because of them, the company and Neptune weren’t hoping for first today.

Because real-time text voting would apply when choosing first place.

We monitored internet reactions, and BYG fans were uniting, saying that, while they lost getting first place in the charts, they must get first on the music broadcast. They were so spirited that it seemed like they might borrow phones from distant relatives to vote.

I was licking my lips when I heard a commotion behind us.

Looking behind me, the Sugar Cats were waving at the excessive photo takers as they made their way towards us. Then, as if they discovered us, they stopped in their tracks. Perhaps it was because of the numerous cameras or because they were certain they were going to be first today, their expressions were bright.

They were horrible every time I saw them.

I glanced at Neptune, and their expressions weren’t bad either. LJ put on a calm face and, like as though she was a ventriloquist, mumbled, ‘We run into each other often even though I don’t like seeing your faces.’

I patted the grumbling male fan’s shoulder and said,

“Either way, give your vote when the voting starts later.”

“Of course. But still…”

“Still, you never know.”

Until you show your hand.

 


{1} Bibimbap is a Korean rice dish where you mix rice with various vegetables and sauce, usually chili pepper paste. The crab carapace, in this case, is used as the bowl.

{2} In Korean, it’s ‘uncle fans’, but I kept it as uncles. Basically, middle-aged fans.

 

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Comments 11

  1. That last sentence.. . Sunwoo’s cooking up schemes again?

    I’m really excited to see the reactions to the Now, We broadcast. Hopefully next chapter 😀

  2. I never know two weeks was that long.
    Finally Neptune touch the apex. I am waiting for sunwoo to be the chief. Thanx emptycube. I am sure more chapter can also bring more Fandom.

  3. Thanks for the chapter!
    Before anything else, I really, really don’t want to imagine the uncle fans… Too bad anime has already provided me with a lot of backup footage of creepy middle aged dudes.
    & I’m really happy for the girls & their manager. They got good publicity the right way, by doing a good thing, no underhanded stuff needed. & since the song is good, they deserve their first place.
    Mr. Manager, what are you planning now?

  4. i’m back too^^
    nice little arc but i probably would not do what the mc did.i would only have saved the girls and did that just in time,filmed.i’m a terrible person don’t cha?:/ the guy has been proactive and that turned well but there is so many way to mess up his reputation or even fail to stop the truck(after all,if the truck had speed when the mc found it he could not have done anything and would maybe have been too late to save the crowd and the girls inside.

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