Author: LyraDhani

“How do you do that?” 

 

“You just do it.” 

 

I struggled and tried to get some useful advice out of Joo Woosung… but it was really hard because he was simply too talented. 

 

There was no advice so irritating as ‘You just do it. Why can’t you do it?’ by a talented person.

 

“Why can’t you do it? Ooh, Pick a Card, and that’s it.” 

 

“Wow, amazing.” 

 

When Joo Woosung sang a bit, the members clapped enthusiastically. 

 

‘Just how great is Joo Woosung’s talent…?’ 

 

With that kind of talent, everything must have been easy… So that’s how he had time for relationships… 

 

He was distinctly different from me. The difference between us was so great that I found it difficult to follow him. 

 

Emotions. Just what are they? How am I supposed to use them? 

 

“Uhm…”

 

Joo Woosung stroked his chin and gestured toward the manager. He was telling him to turn off the camera for a second.

 

When the manager hesitantly turned off the camera, Joo Woosung whispered something quietly to me. 

 

“Seo Hoyoon. You’re good at acting, right? Last time you acted as if we were close friends in front of those sasaengs… Ah! That’s it.” 

 

“What is it?” 

 

“Do it like that time you were threatening me.” 

 

Those were extremely specific instructions. 

 

“You were fucking insidious back then. Like a giant sly snake.” 

 

“…So you’re holding a grudge, huh?” 

 

“Woosung doesn’t hold anything like that.” 

 

Did this bastard also have to randomly select dialogue options?

 

Anyway, what did I do back then? I silently tried to rewind my memory. I had been absolutely confident that both Lim Hyunsoo and Joo Woosung would fall into my hands. 

 

I mean, look, aren’t they both currently donating their talent to me for free? 

 

“Hurry up and do it.” 

 

“Yes.” 

 

I opened my mouth and sang softly trying to recall the feeling I had ‘back then’. 

 

[Ooh, Pick a card, a clear future

 

Low chances make you anxious 

 

There’s no need to be, it’s okay, I’ll lead you. ]

 

“Oh, that’s it!” 

 

“What? How did this robot suddenly get emotions?” 

 

“You did it, Hoyoon! Like a completely inscrutable psychopath!” 

 

“I think you’ll be very good at scamming people!”

 

Everyone clapped when they heard me. They didn’t know what Joo Woosung had said to me so they didn’t quite understand this situation, but they poured all those compliments on me.

 

I glared at them. Joo Woosung also nodded proudly. 

 

“Hey, the planning team judged you quite well. They gave you the role of an insidious bastard. It’s perfect!” 

 

“Hyung, why are you saying that about me?” 

 

“…”

 

I whispered quietly so that only Joo Woosung could hear me. He quickly shut his mouth and tried to change the subject.

 

“Shall we do it one more time?”

 

“Yes, sir!” 

 

Everyone got up and started practicing again. They didn’t really have a trainer before, so they sucked up the small tips Joo Woosung gave them like sponges and quickly made these moves their own. 

 

“Put your hands out!” 

 

“Shout a little more! Raise the tone at the end more neatly!” 

 

Sung Jiwon’s learning speed in particular was staggering. 

 

All the members finished the song by following Joo Woosung’s advice as if they were of one body. 

 

‘He’s great, this kid…’ 

 

As I was evaluating Joo Woosung, he was also evaluating The Dawn. 

 

“This team is pretty good. Why did your debut flop so much?” 

 

“Thank you very much!” 

 

At that time, 

 

Ring! 

 

[Your condition is getting worse!]

 

“…”

 

I instantly gritted my teeth. My complexion turned pale. Joo Woosung tried to get us to practice more, but he looked at me and frowned.

 

“…I think we just need to do it a few more times, but let’s take a break first.” 

 

“Yes, thank you!” 

 

Good.

 

The members bowed to Joo Woosung before falling flat to the floor one by one, but I got up and headed to the bathroom. 

 

My head vibrated every time I moved, to the point where my vision was dyed yellow. I hurriedly opened the bathroom door, grabbed the toilet, and threw up everything I had eaten. 

 

“Hurk…”

 

Ring! 

 

[You are suffering from a status abnormality!]

 

[Do you want to open the quest window?]

 

“Stop being so clingy, it’s not very attractive.” 

 

I mumbled as I put two fingers down my throat. After clearing my entire stomach, I dragged myself out of the stall and opened the faucet above the sink. 

 

When I raised my head after washing out my mouth with water, I saw someone standing behind me in the mirror.

 

“…”

 

It was Joo Woosung. 

 

“You’re holding up better than I thought.” 

 

Joo Woosung commented sarcastically with his arms crossed. I ignored him and took out a paper towel to wipe my mouth. 

 

“But continuing to practice even though you’re sick doesn’t mean you have guts, it’s just ignorance.”

 

“Is that advice?” 

 

“Yeah, well. Let’s say it’s advice.”

 

Joo Woosung shrugged his shoulders. 

 

“What are you sick with?” 

 

“Gastritis. A cold and sore muscles.” 

 

“You’re seriously ill. Have you been to the hospital?” 

 

“Even if I go to the hospital, I won’t get better.” 

 

“What the…? Are you afraid of the hospital? At your age?” 

 

Seriously. I was completely dumbfounded by his nonsense. 

 

I had already taken medicine. However, the stuff didn’t work because of that damn system window. So even if I went to the hospital, I wouldn’t be able to get better. 

 

“Then what are you going to do now?”

 

“So you’re talking informally to me now?”

 

Joo Woosung laughed emptily when I answered him roughly. It seemed he was too lazy to react more.

 

“Going back in. I have to practice.”

 

“Why are you working so hard?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“I just thought you’d just do it half-heartedly. But you don’t.”

 

“…”

 

“You’re a bit weird, you know that? You don’t seem to have any passion to be an idol, but you also keep practicing like crazy and try to get your group known.”

 

‘His evaluation is accurate.’

 

Although Joo Woosung had been preoccupied with dating, he seemed to have taken notice of this because of his experience as an idol.

 

“Hey, hey.”

 

I tried to ignore him and pass by, but Joo Woosung blocked the bathroom door and didn’t get out of the way. It seemed he wouldn’t budge until I spoke to him.

 

If I were in a better condition, I would have been able to force him to move, but this body didn’t have any strength at the moment. I sighed deeply.

 

‘What a bother…’

 

“I want to rise up.”

 

“Why?”

 

“I got really unlucky. But I’ll still take responsibility for that.”

 

I was unlucky to have gotten involved with that system window.

 

I guess my answer wasn’t enough for Joo Woosung. He looked even more confused, but I just left him alone and exited the bathroom to return to the practice room. Joo Woosung hurriedly followed after me.

 

“What kind of riddle is that supposed to be?”

 

“Be quiet, my head is ringing…”

 

“You’re so mean…”

 

Joo Woosung grumbled as I opened the door to the practice room. But as soon as I opened it, everyone looked at us blankly.

 

“…”

 

“What’s with this atmosphere?”

 

When Joo Woosung muttered that, the manager turned off the camera to look at him. It was the atmosphere of a funeral home.

 

I had a feeling.

 

Ring!

 

[Please check your quest.]

 

“H-Hoyoon-ah.”

 

Sung Jiwon looked at me with a pale face.

 

“What is it?”

 

“D-Did you see this?”

 

Sung Jiwon held out his cell phone with trembling hands. It was a black-screen video posted on YouTube.

 

‘Second Chance – The Dawn.’

 

It was only 35 seconds long, but it was clearly our song.

 

“Our… Our comeback song was leaked.”

 

“What?”

 

Joo Woosung frowned on my behalf. However, I, the person concerned, was indifferent.

 

No, rather, this long-awaited moment had finally come.

 

“G-Guys, things will be okay if you go talk to the president first.”

 

“Who… Who leaked it?”

 

“Let’s first calm down for now. We’ll find out later.”

 

Looking at the manager and the other members who were panicking, my eyes met Joo Woosung’s. His gaze was fixed on me.

 

“Why are you…”

 

“…?”

 

“Why are you smiling?”

 

When I ran my hand over my mouth, the corners of my mouth had definitely risen.

 

Joo Woosung’s eyes shook. At the same time, the quest failure alarm popped up.

 

Ring!

 

[Quest failed!

 

‘Stop the leaking of the comeback song!!’ 

 

Someone is trying to leak your song.

 

Reduce the damage by preventing the song leak.

 

If successful: Dance +10 

 

If you fail: Status abnormality

 

The status abnormality will get worse as the quest deadline approaches.]

 

“Hey, Seo Hoyoon!”

 

I staggered for a moment, my vision blurring. The quest window also shook and my body collapsed.

 

Everyone ran toward me in shock.

 

“Seo Hoyoon, wake up!”

 

[Quest failed.]

 

My vision flickered. My legs trembled and my mind went out, just like the screen of an old TV turned off.

 

That was the first time I failed a quest in my life.

 

*** 

 

‘When I opened my eyes, I saw an unfamiliar ceiling.”

 

Ah, I always wanted to say these words.

 

I grabbed my head and looked around. The quest window was floating by my side shining blue.

 

[Quest failure penalty time has ended.]

 

It seemed some time had passed.

 

As I stood up, I saw an IV stuck in my arm. A long scar that hadn’t appeared in a long time was also revealed.

 

It seemed I was in an emergency room. I looked for my cell phone to check the time, then I saw Soe Hojin sleeping below.

 

“Seo Ho…”

 

I tried to call out to him, but my voice didn’t really come out well.

 

Ah, how do I wake him up like this?

 

Annoyed, I dropped my phone that I found in the drawer next to the hospital bed to his body. Seo Hojin jumped in surprise and woke up.

 

“H-Hyung.”

 

“Hey. I–water…”

 

“Hyung, you woke up!”

 

Seo Hojin made a fuss and rushed to me. I was going to ask for water, but this bastard was out of his mind right now.

 

“I seriously didn’t know what would happen to you, hyung…”

 

When I looked at him, I noticed that his eyes were swollen. I was really dumbfounded so I asked him in a cracked voice.

 

“Did you cry?”

 

“I didn’t.”

 

Ah, I knew what this was about. Soe Hojin was clinging to me because I was the only family he had left in his life.

 

All our relatives were trash, so I disowned them, and our parents were dead. I was the only one left.

 

When I died, he’d be all alone. Even though I felt sorry for that, it felt like a new burden had been placed on my shoulders.

 

“Give me some water.”

 

As if all his worries had been relieved, Seo Hojin let out a deep sigh. He seemed really upset, but it was too troublesome to comfort him.

 

“Ah, shit…”

 

As if he knew that his fuss was embarrassing, he took out water from the refrigerator while muttering curse words. After quenching my thirst and looking at my phone, I confirmed that I had passed out for about half a day.

 

“I’ll call the doctor first and tell him you woke up, hyung.”

 

“Okay…”

 

Seo Hojin hesitated a bit and then he left.

 

It was two in the morning. Ah, I could still join the music video shoot.

 

I lay down again and checked the messages on my cell phone.

 

24 missed calls and 278 unread messages.

 

…What the hell?

 

I checked my phone, truly bewildered.

 

I first checked the missed calls. Seo Hojin, Seo Hojin, Manager, Manager, Lim Hyunsoo, Joo Woosung, Lim Hyunsoo, Lim Hyunsoo, Kim Sunghyung… And all the other members called me in a variety of combinations. 

 

I ignored that for a moment and skipped past it. It seemed they had added me to a group chat.

 

[Kang Yichae: Hyung ㄱㅊ???]

 

[Sung Jiwon: He must have pushed himself too hard…]

 

[Jung Dajoon: Hoyoon hyung ㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠ Why aren’t you getting up ㅜㅜ]

 

[Kim Sunghyun: Our manager called us, we’ll be right back. Call us if you need anything.]

 

‘Oh…’

 

I was in a strange mood.

 

‘…These good-natured guys.’

 

It had been a while since someone other than Seo Hojin was worried about me like this. Just as I was about to reply to tell them that I was okay, my phone rang.

 

[Pushover 2]

 

What’s up with this guy?

 

I answered the phone without hesitation.

 

“Yes, this is Seo Hoyoon.”

 

[…Oh, hey. Are you okay?]

 

I could hear Joo Woosung’s awkward voice. I leaned against a pillow and answered him roughly.

 

“I’m alive.”

 

[Your personality is seriously…]

 

“My personality is what?”

 

[Really reckless…]

 

I ignored him. If he had nothing important to say, I would just hang up, but Joo Woosung hurriedly continued to talk.

 

[Did you collapse because you overworked yourself too much? It’s seriously bothering me.]

 

“It’s nothing like that.”

 

[…I see.]

 

“Is that all? I’ll hang up then.”

 

[Ah, no. I’m not done.]

 

Just what is wrong with this bastard?

 

[I called because I wanted to ask you something.]

 

“What is it?”

 

[The leak… You knew about it, didn’t you?]

 

I remembered that Joo Woosung’s eyes were fixed on me before I collapsed.

 

I was silent for a moment, then opened my mouth again. Joo Woosung wasn’t a member of my group, and I had his weakness, so it didn’t matter if he knew the truth.

 

“I knew.”

 

[Why did you just let it happen? You had enough time to stop it..]

 

“Why should I?”

 

[…Are you just going to give me short answers today?]

 

“I didn’t do anything to draw attention.”

 

I said with a sigh.

 

“I received a Blue Tiger song, but I tried to do noise marketing again due to the leak, to strike when the iron is hot.”

 

[…]

 

“Did you see the reactions?”

 

[Oh, I heard that the song is good. There are a lot of articles about it. Blue Tiger is well known. Your fans are increasing little by little…]

 

Joo Woosung answered in a detached manner.

 

It was adequate. My condition wasn’t that bad now, but I didn’t have the energy to check the netizens’ reactions by scrolling through my phone. It was quite a relief that Joo Woosung could give me some objective information.

 

“That’s alright then.”

 

Some of my conditions had been met.

 

A great song, moderate popularity, and even members who had the basics down. We would slowly reach stardom.

 

The rest was a matter of showcase and content production.

 

I heavily tapped on the calculator in my head.

 

“Thank you for telling me.”

 

[Y-Yeah. Hmm, Seo Hoyoon.]

 

“Yeah?”

 

[You… I really cursed you out a lot in my head. I’m sorry.]

 

What the hell is he talking about? I could hear Joo Woosung sighing over the phone.

 

[You’re really… I thought you were just a scammer with no passion or talent who only tried to use others… I was a bit harsh, sorry.]

 

“It’s okay, I saved you under the name ‘Pushover’ after all.”

 

[Do you really want to die?]

 

There were many things to be concerned about, but first of all, as Joo Woosung wanted, I kept my mouth shut and listened to him.

 

[Anyway, I was mistaken. You worked really hard to climb up this steep mountain no matter what, even putting your life on the line.]

 

Was Joo Woosung in his fourth or fifth year now? As an idol, he seemed to have reached the period where he got a little careless.

 

Well, everything would wither away with time after all. No matter how popular they were, once you got to know them, the lives of celebrities were meaningless.

 

Now that I thought about it, Joo Woosung seemed to be like that as well.

 

[Your members are also very hard working… Looking at the kids, I kept thinking that the way I was acting at the moment is just pathetic.]

 

“Joo Woosung-ssi.”

 

[Huh?]

 

“Where do you think this is… A church? Why are you confessing your sins to me all of a sudden?”

 

[You’re so mean…]

 

When I said that because it was too troublesome, Joo Woosung mumbled quietly before bursting into laughter. I didn’t mean to make him laugh.

 

I glanced towards the door and saw that Seo Hojin had returned with the doctor in tow. Joo Woosung gradually stopped laughing and spoke a few more words.

 

[Just, hang in there.]

 

“…”

 

[Take care of yourself.]

 

“…Yes.”

 

I hung up the phone, feeling strange. When I was a producer, Joo Woosung hated me, perhaps because I kept bullying him for the sake of the program or maybe because he felt something from me with his incredible intuition and talent, but now we had an unexpectedly friendly relationship.

 

‘…Should I change his display name on my phone?’

 

I pressed down on my cell phone. Then, as soon as I tried to say something to Seo Hojin, who had returned with the doctor, I suddenly heard some loud noise coming from the entrance. It was the other members.

 

“Hoyoon hyung!”

 

Jung Dajoon, covered in tears, and the members urgently trying to stop him were approaching this way.

 

“Hey, hey. This is the emergency room. Be quiet.”

 

“You’re alive, hyung!”

 

“Be quiet, guys! Hoyoon-ah, I’m sorry!”

 

Even Sung Jiwon’s tension was rising. Looking at them blankly, the doctor asked me.

 

“Your friends?”

 

“No, I don’t know these people.”

 

Embarrassed, I covered my face and pretended not to know… That excuse didn’t work well.

Table of Contents
Reader Settings
Font Size
Line Height
Font
Donation
Amount
LyraDhani

Ko-fi Ko-fi

Comments (8)

  1. AWWW WAIT things are already changing for hoyoon!! it’s really sad how he’s surprised when people care about him, or when he has a relationship that’s not transactional. the world he lived in before must have been ruthless if it shaped him into this. also, i feel like hoyoon doesn’t know this about himself, but he’s surprisingly charismatic. maybe he’s got that star quality he thinks is so important?

  2. im not a person who thinks about things beyond its surface (im just dumb) but i could see that while hes got those two (lhs and pushover 2) bastards on his hands, hes also –unintentionally and slowly– making them realize how much of a trash they were or still are… i loved this chapter for some reason TT

  3. i was not expecting him to fail a quest so early but it makes sense that as a pd he knows what type of marketing will work the best

  4. Is it soe or seo? It kept flip flopping throughout…