Ian, who slept until the afternoon after the schedule was over, completely forgot that he was on a bunk bed and stretched his body until his hands hit the bed’s ceiling.
Jo Tae Woong’s face, swollen from a long-overdue good sleep, appeared from upstairs.
“I hit my hand on the ceiling. Are you up?”
“Just now. Ah, my back hurts.”
No matter how expensive the bed was, they couldn’t escape the inconvenience of a bunk bed. Jo Tae Woong clumsily climbed down from the bed. Then as he turned his neck and stretched, there was a cracking sound.
“What about Ju Young and Seo Dam?”
“Went to buy ramen.”
“Is today’s brunch ramen?”
Jo Tae Woong excitedly opened the door. When Ian followed out, Kim Hyun was seen sitting in the middle of the living room.
“Wow. It looks really cool after seeing it again.”
“Hyung! Was there no fan letter with it?”
Jo Tae Woong and Ian were captivated by a large frame.
It was decided to place the collage of Kim Hyun in the center of the living room since the bedroom was small.
“There’s a postcard, but there wasn’t much written. Just a message saying they’ll always support me.”
Kim Hyun didn’t take his eyes off the artwork even as he went to the bathroom to wash up.
translated by maroonmaru.xyz
* * *
translated by maroonmaru.xyz
“Jin Hyuk, you’re going to ‘Idol Rapper’ next week?”
“Uh, for a meeting.”
After slurping down the ramen, Kim Hyun let out a deep sigh.
“Can you give me some advice?”
At Park Jin Hyuk’s words, other members turned their attention to Kim Hyun’s expression.
‘What’s this atmosphere?’
［Haven’t you seen YANG Entertainment survival show?]
Surviving on my own was already too much to handle. Did I even have time to watch other people’s survival programs? Ian swallowed his ramen, trying to adjust to the atmosphere.
“First. Even if you’re not captured on the screen, keep smiling.”
“And just give compliments. You’re going to have a diss battle, right? Instead of dissing anyone when you come out, just say how handsome you are, how great your rapping is, and how perfect you are.”
“But it’s a hip hop survival show. Won’t that be too boring?”
“Hip hop? Hey, people don’t recognize idols doing hip hop. And…”
Kim Hyun picked up his chopsticks and stabbed towards the air. At the other end was Park Jin Hyuk with a smile.
“A bright fool is better than evil edited.”
translated by maroonmaru.xyz
* * *
translated by maroonmaru.xyz
Today, Jo Tae Woong was in charge of washing the dishes. As he washed, the sound of clinking dishes filled the air.
“Aren’t you gonna break all the dishes?”
“If you don’t like it, you can do it yourself.”
“Nope. I won’t.”
“Anyway, our handsome Choi Ian-ssi seems to have a talent for pissing people off. Any expertise in that?”
Jo Tae Woong grumbled and splashed the water on his hand at Ian.
Ian wiped the water off his face and glanced around. Everyone else was taking a break in their respective rooms.
“By the way, what happened to Hyun-i hyung that everyone took notice of him?”
“Don’t you know the ‘Desperation Discrimination’ incident?”
“Ah, right. You were in America.”
Jo Tae Woong roughly wiped his hands and settled down next to Ian.
“You know, Hyun-i hyung participated in YANG Entertainment and N-Net joint survival show.”
“I know that.”
“What happened there was….”
“Why are you guys talking about me when I’m not even here?”
Kim Hyun spoke quietly from behind. When did he come? Goosebumps ran down Ian’s arms. Jo Tae Woong and Ian quickly turned around.
“Heok. We’re not gossiping, Hyung.”
“I had a feeling something was up with Hyung, but I couldn’t ask openly.”
Kim Hyun sat opposite them.
“What’s with that, I’ll just let you know.”
“Are you okay now, Hyung?”
Jo Tae Woong asked worriedly.
‘Looks like something big happened.’
［Well, it’s not a big deal though.]
“You know that I’ve been on audition programs three times, right?”
Ian nodded. Kim Hyun had a complex and subtle expression.
When Kim Hyun was 8 years old, he had appeared as a dance prodigy on Station S’s ‘King Star’ program and attracted so much attention that he could even choose the agency he liked to enter.
‘I want to debut soon.’
And the company that he entered after carefully selecting was a place that persuaded him they would debut young children to launch the youngest idol group.
Of course, the debut was canceled and the company went bankrupt. Kim Hyun, who repeatedly joined and left three companies after that, became a middle school student and challenged Station K’s survival audition program called ‘K-Star’.
‘Kim Hyun! Unfortunately, is the third place.’’
‘I really like the friend named Kim Hyun.’
Although Kim Hyun didn’t win, he became known to the public as the third place. And Lim Soon Hyun, the CEO of YANG Entertainment, who appeared as a judge there, took a liking to him, leading Kim Hyun to join YANG Entertainment.
Because it was a major agency and known as a prestigious company for a long time, Kim Hyun spent four years as a trainee at YANG Entertainment.
The 3rd Evaluation Result Announcement, Final Debut Group.
He was brimming with anticipation as he could finally become an idol that he had dreamed of since he was eight years old, but life wasn’t always smooth.
‘You’ll be participating in a survival program in collaboration with N-Net to select the next group.’
‘What happens if you don’t go out?’
‘Well, expelled of course.’
The voice of the employee who spoke casually was scary. It was to the point that Kim Hyun even had an illusion that the back of his head was tingling the moment he heard those words.
He had vowed not to participate in any more audition programs, but upon hearing the news of expulsion from the company if he didn’t go out, he had to submit an application reluctantly.
(As expected, a strong candidate for debut is this friend. Kim Hyun.)
There was a time when he watched the audition trailer video of CEO Lim Soon Hyun, which he had never seen since K-Star, and was moved without knowing anything.
Ian brought water and held it out in front of Kim Hyun. Kim Hyun drank water and let out a queasy sound, perhaps finding it was absurd upon second thought.
“There was this kid who won K-Star Season 2, and he was favored so much.”
“Huh? But didn’t you say it was shown in the trailer video?”
“That was all bait. Anyway, since I’ve been getting recognition since I was eight, it’s to be expected that I’d get more buzz than him.”
(12 trainees! Only 6 of them survive!)
‘Weren’t all 12 supposed to debut?’
Kim Hyun couldn’t forget that moment when he stared blankly at the end of the teaser video. Other trainees were in similar situations.
As idol groups with a large number were increasing these days, they only thought YANG Entertainment, which was specialized in small groups, was also following the trend.
‘They said if you don’t want to participate now, they’ll let you go. I’m not going to participate.’
‘Me too. I’ve decided to move to another place.’
The two trainees, who had shared ups and downs together for four years, moved to another company even before the program started.
‘Hyun, let’s go out too.’
‘I… I’ll try one more time.’
Even until that moment, Kim Hyun didn’t want to miss on YANG Entertainment’s name value and believed that there was a possibility because he never missed the top rank in the company’s evaluation.
‘Hey, Park Seong Hoon. Wake up. We need to match the choreography.’
‘I’m sleepy, can’t I just sleep and do it tomorrow?’
‘The stage is just around the corner, there’s no time to sleep.’
‘I’ve got all the moves down.’
Those words pissed people off, but Park Seong Hoon was a true genius. However, this evaluation wasn’t just about doing well alone, but for the whole group to do well.
‘Are you not desperate?’
‘It’s okay even without it.’
‘Hyung don’t know, right? You guys don’t know either, right? This is all a show. All of you are just extras.’
The other trainees whispered among themselves, wondering what he meant. Kim Hyun closed his eyes tightly. He had actually noticed something strange since they started filming this program.
(As expected of Park Seong Hoon.)
(He’s the trainee I’m looking forward to the most out of all the trainees.)
The editing focused only on Park Seong Hoon, excluding important scenes of the other trainees, and the attention of the CEO and the agency’s singers were also focused on Park Seong Hoon. Kim Hyun was okay with that, thinking he could still debut if he persevered.
However, Park Seong Hoon shouldn’t say it out loud. What was he doing, discouraging fellow trainees?
Kim Hyun couldn’t stand seeing Park Seong Hoon’s face as he spoke full of smiles. Kim Hyun clenched his fists.
‘What are you talking about?’
‘This is a program where most trainees will be expelled. I heard from the CEO that he’s wedding out the current debut group and reorganizing a new one.’
‘Hyung thought this would be the end, right? New trainees will join during this program. To fit me as the center.’
Even though Kim Hyun had already noticed it, hearing the definite facts made his vision blurry. He struggled to put strength into his legs, feeling them weak and he might collapse. They said it was the final debut group. They said he would be on the path to debut just by being on the show.
“Wow. Isn’t he such an insanely crazy jerk? He pulled that off when the camera was rolling?”
Ian chugged down a lot of water in stupefaction. Jo Tae Woong wrapped his head in anger as it was also his first time hearing it straight from Kim Hyun.
“So? So, did you schooled him?”
“I did get him schooled. But Tae Woong, you know, right? What happened next then?”
“Hyung schooled him, but ended up getting roasted instead.”
‘Okay, to say the least, there’s already a nominee for this and I’m doing all this for nothing. But, are you going to perform like this?’
‘This evaluation is about the group’s perfection. But, do you really think this performance will be perfect just when you’re the only one who’s good at it? Are you going to keep acting like this even after debut? You should’ve gone solo, why did you join this?’
Since then, he got pissed off and fired at Park Seong Hoon. Park Seong Hoon tried to fire back, but then suddenly changed his posture, twisted his expression, and lowered his head. Kim Hyun should’ve found it strange at that point.
“Wow, no way…”
“That no way happened. They edited everything where Park Seong Hoon was bragging and I became the only f**king bad guy on the aired show. But you know what? He’s good at acting, too.”
“Wow, so that whole crying thing…”
“Another trainee who was watching secretly told me that the PD asked him to cry.”
Kim Hyun smiled self-deprecatingly.
-Really, he dare coming out with desperation discriminationㅋㅋㅋㅋ
-But if it’s Kim Hyun, isn’t it understandable?
-BullshitㅋㅋㅋHey, who wouldn’t be desperate over there? Everyone is desperateㅋㅋㅋ but pretending to be desperate and fighting the world aloneㅋㅋㅋㅋ
-How much did he grind the kid to make him so intimidated?
-Heol, Park Sung Hoon is crying. Crazyㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠ
“Even that bast… CEO Lim Soon Hyun who watched the broadcast looked for me.”
It was CEO Lim Soon Hyun, who hadn’t shown his face since K-Star.
‘Why did you nag him like that?’
Kim Hyun was dumbfounded and let his arms hang down. He asked back because he felt wronged.
‘Is it true that there’s a nominee? That you’re forming a new debut group with Park Seong Hoon as the center?’
‘Just what can you do knowing that?’
‘Are you recording this?’
Kim Hyun stepped back at his sudden frighteningly hardened expression.
‘That’s not it…’
‘Really? Work hard. I’ll let you join the debut group.’
Did that mean the previous debut group wasn’t a real one? Kim Hyun couldn’t help but feel miserable and shabby upon hearing those words that were said as if extending a helping hand.
“After that, this Hyung turned evil on the broadcast.”
“What turned evil, please call it a scary leader concept.”
Kim Hyun was desperate to debut, but he had no intention to live under such treatment.
‘Are you going to keep making mistakes?’
He whipped the other trainees who had lost their motivation after hearing Park Seong Hoon’s words. Influenced by Kim Hyun, they confront the stage with the mindset of ‘Okay, let’s do well on stage even if we can’t debut’.
It could be said that Kim Hyun took the lead in changing the atmosphere that Park Seong Hoon had ruined.
“But, even that was portrayed as if Park Seong Hoon had led it on air.”
“Cider…! Someone give me some cider!”
Ian collapsed in frustration.