MinAh, who was drinking water in the resting area, twitched when she heard the slow and savory voice calling her.
“Whatcha doin’? ‘Rinkin’ wa’er?”
Jung MinAh laughed awkwardly.
She was fed up with dealing with Lee SamSoon, who was carefree and like a tomboy.
But as her skills were good, she couldn’t say anything and there was nothing that she could pick on in the dorms…
She knew that she was a good friend, but it was uncomfortable to get close to her. She was too different to the people that Jung MinAh knew about.
“Can you give me a cup?”
Jung MinAh was awkward in a different sense.
However, Lee SamSoon came close to her without any restraint.
Jung MiniAh found such Lee SamSoon very uncomfortable.
‘Just how did a person like her get chosen for the team?!’
This was a question that Jung MinAh had.
A tomboy look with an accent.
Who would like such a girl?
Jung MinAh really didn’t like such a girl.
More than Ailee, who get called by the trainer because she makes mistakes every day!
Whether she knew or not, Lee SamSoon kept calling out to her friendlily.
“Ya’know? Today’s singing prac’ice, rite?”
“Y, yeah. I, it is.”
“Singin’s so hard. Can MinAh sing well?”
“No, I…I’m no good. JooYeon’s good.”
“Oh, raelly? I should ask JooYeon for help, then.”
After a ‘thanks for the drink’, Lee SamSoon disappeared like an arrow.
Not minding everything else, she was an energetic colleague.
Jung MinAh softly shook her head while looking at Lee SamSoon’s disappearing back.
“Ah, she doesn’t fit with me…”
At the sudden man’s voice, Jung MinAh was exaggeratedly shocked.
When she turned back, KangYoon was there.
“Ahjussi!! I was scared!!”
“We’re at the company.”
“Ok, ok. Team Leader. Anyway, I almost felt my heart drop. From when were you there?”
“From when you said that you didn’t fit with SamSoon.”
KangYoon bought some snacks from the shop and sat in front of Jung MinAh.
Dieting was normal for those trainees so they sold a lot of diet snacks at the shop as well.
The snacks that KangYoon bought were of those kind as well.
“Thank you. But should I really eat something like this?”
“If you don’t want it, then I’ll eat them.”
“…No, it’s alright.”
Hunger was the best spice.
To Jung MinAh, who had to control her diet, these snacks were in truth, a blessing.
To Jung MinAh, who picked up the tofu-snack and soybean milk, KangYoon started asking about the things he was curious about.
“Do you really don’t get along with SamSoon?”
“Did you fight?”
“It’s not that, but…”
Jung MinAh mumbled her words.
Whether to speak her heart or not – She remembered that she got an earful when she said she hated SamSoon last time. Jung MinAh also reflected as she knew that she became a bit too emotional, but she couldn’t adjust to the carefree attitude of Lee SamSoon.
KangYoon spoke first after noticing that Jung MinAh was hesitating.
“You know, MinAh, I want you to learn SamSoon’s leisurely attitude.”
“Leisure? SamSoon has leisure?”
“Don’t you know already? Of course, SamSoon has something to learn from you as well. There was a reason why we didn’t let you girls choose a pair yourselves and did it one sidedly. You will have something to learn from each other.”
“Like what you said, Team Leader, SamSoon has a leisurely attitude. No, she’s overflowing with leisure that she’s too carefree. She does well in practice, but when it’s at the dorms or to her friends… I feel like I’m going crazy. I can’t get used to it.”
“I don’t know how you’re going crazy, but does she inconvenience other people like that?”
Jung MinAh couldn’t answer. There wasn’t a case where Lee SamSoon had inconvenienced others. Instead, she had a good relationship with other trainees when they were all competitors. There were cases where some of the tenacious ones also loosened their guard when against Lee SamSoon. There was a difference to Jung MinAh, who the other trainees couldn’t approach easily.
“MinAh, you have tenacity. You simply cannot watch yourself lose. You know this yourself, right?”
“Yes. If I think that I have to win, then I have to win no matter the method. Definitely.”
“That’s an amazing strong point. That’s how you improved yourself. Right?”
Jung MinAh could say with confidence that she was better in dancing than the other trainees. She was proud that even KangYoon had acknowledged her. However, KangYoon’s words didn’t end there.
“However, it may become a poison that can ruin you.”
“It may become a poison?”
“Overcompetition ruins people. That’s why I want you to learn to control that tenacity of yours from SamSoon. Do you understand?”
Jung MinAh couldn’t completely understand KangYoon’s words. It was because she felt it was unrealistic. However, she first nodded while saying yes. KangYoon was her mentor already. She thought that if it’s his words, then she obviously listen to it. It wouldn’t be easy, but she decided to look for points that she may learn from from SamSoon.
Jung MinAh, who separated from KangYoon, returned to the practice room. As the trainer wasn’t here yet, the girls were all chatting.
“Bwahaha!! Then did you play around on tigers’ backs when you were young?”
“There are no tigers nowadays. Come have a look in the future. I will cook you some nice food with kimchi and all.”
“Me too, me too!! I want to go to that mountain.”
When Jung MInAh had a look, SamSoon was at the center of the conversation. Han JooYeon was quietly listening, and Ailee Jung was saying incoherent stuff while making the mood, and even the youngest, Seo HanYu, showed interest. It seemed like even Christie An, who was expressionless, perked her ears and was listening.
‘So this team’s mood maker was SamSoon.’
Being unusual may be a weak point that makes one distant. However it could also be a strong point. Lee SamSoon had the leisure to calmly accept everyone while approaching her colleagues without restraint. She understood just a little why KangYoon said for her to learn the leisurely attitude from SamSoon.
“There, there. Shall we start practice?”
Then, the trainer came in. Everyone went in formation as if they hadn’t chatted, and the high-difficulty training started.
In a high-class bar quite a distance away from the company.
Inside the place, where faint violet and orange lightings could be seen and high class jazz music was flowed, KangYoon and President Lee HyunJi met.
“Thank you for your time today, Mr. KangYoon.”
“You’re not overexerting yourself, right?”
This was an obvious manner as a member of society. Before coming here, KangYoon had to hurry up his work today. Whether she knew or not, President Lee HyunJi poured some alcohol to KangYoon and went into topic.
“Today, I called you for more personal story. I wanted to listen to your opinion, too. People usually won’t talk about trivial stuff, but today, please answer as honestly as possible. I will do so as well.”
At President Lee HyunJi, who unusually requested for honesty, KangYoon silently nodded. KangYoon thought that something may be up the moment he was called out here. His ‘what if’ had become ‘as expected’.
“As you know well, Team Leader KangYoon, our company, that is, MG Entertanment is composed of the president and the Board of Directors with the chairman at the top. Whenever there is something important, it needs to go through the approval of all 3 of the Chairman, President, and the Board. You know this, right?”
“I want to talk about that today. Although it’s uninteresting, but please listen.”
President Lee HyunJi started talking about the company.
Chairman Won JinMoon was executing highest authority at the top within the company. He contributed the most in creating the company from scratch, and he had the most share in stocks. There were 2 factions under the chairman, and one was the Presidential faction while the other was the Board of Directors.
“The Chairman used the President’s faction and the Board well. He had thought that the company would develop further if the two factions compete with each other. His thoughts were right, and the Presidential faction and the board tried to show achievements while hindering the other. That’s how the current MG Entertainment was built.”
However, the problem occurred after the current President, President Lee HyunJi came into her position. As the previous President had to leave the company due to bribery and corruption, the Presidential faction started becoming weaker and the Board became stronger. Moreover, as their foreign relations became bad, the young Lee HyunJi, who studied overseas, came into the position of the President to make up for it.
“In those Directors’ eyes, I was too young. Moreover, the time was bad too. When I was just employed, it was recontract season for those big-name singers. As you know, Mr. KangYoon, the result was a big failure. Thanks to that, my power plummeted, and the power of those Directors shot up. In this situation, I met you, Mr. Lee KangYoon.”
To President Lee HyunJi, KangYoon’s existence was like a savior. Chairman Won JinMoon place KangYoon under President Lee HyunJi, and later, KangYoon started bringing out huge achievements. With JooAh’s debut into Japan as the beginning, the concert team was made, and its first work with Sedy’s comeback stage was successful, and following that, they were also expecting good effects from the work with SeasonS as well, and the concert team was showing the possibility for growth and lastly, the girl group project was progressing smoothly as well. Thanks to that, power started gathering under President Lee HyunJi.
“First, I want to apologize that you’ve been thrown into intra-company politics. However, the Directors all see you as mine. To them, you’re an enemy they have to defeat. Your success is my success and my success is like poison to them.”
“You aren’t going to say something like ‘Aren’t we all in the same company?’ and the like, right? I want to protect you, Mr KangYoon. Be mine. Let us go together for a long time.”
KangYoon quietly closed his eyes. He thought up of many things. Even the thought that there’s no way an achievement for the company will inconvenience them, as they were directors and the thought that he want to escape from all this. Various thoughts passed by in his head.
‘In the end, this moment comes.’
However, KangYoon eventually straightened his thoughts. It wasn’t like he hadn’t thought of intra-company politics while he was doing a big project. Of course, it was definitely not that he wanted to jump into it. He thought that impurities will start pouring into him. He had already thought that something like this may happen as he received a high salary and his responsibility became bigger. Everything had its consequences. He didn’t live his 10 years in his ‘past life’ for nothing.
However, KangYoon didn’t want to be dragged around. His standards were in some other place.
“First, thank you for thinking about me. President.”
“What I can definitely tell you is that I’m no one’s person, and just Lee KangYoon. The current Planning and Management Team Leader and at the same time, Concert Planning Team Leader at MG Entertainment. This is me at MG Entertainment. I’m nobody’s person so there’s nothing like that.”
KangYoon’s eyes looked strong. This looked like his declaration to not be dragged around by anyone at the same time of being a rejection. There was no way that he would look good to people like President Lee HyunJi.
“Is that so? That’s a pity. I’ll take it that you’re going to the other side.”
President Lee HyunJi laughed bitterly. Currently, she was walking on thin ice. To her, who was desperate, KangYoon was disappointment itself. However, KangYoon’s words hadn’t ended yet.
“My standards are simple. To make a singer do music. Isn’t MG Entertainment there to let the singers sing, and for those fans who listen to those songs?”
“If someone meets this criteria, then I’ll join that person whoever this person may be. This is all I can say to you.”
KangYoon didn’t say anymore. He drank the alcohol in the glass in one shot. A bitter feeling welled up in him, but he waited for President Lee HyunJi’s next words as if nothing had happened. This meant that ‘my standards are like this so you follow me’, or so it seemed.
Eventually, President Lee HyunJi calmly opened her mouth.
“…To make a singer do music. Quite simple.”
“That is so.”
“A singer, do music…? Music, you’re saying music.”
“Standards should be simple.”
President Lee HyunJi bursted out laughing. KangYoon didn’t submit to her at all. However, his words were refreshing.
“Good, it’s good. Then if I make singers do music, then Mr. KangYoon will be on my side? This is what you mean, isn’t it?”
KangYoon smiled silently. He meant agreement. President Lee HyunJi, who understood that intention, laughed even more loudly and poured out some alcohol for KangYoon.
“Hahaha!! I was done in today. I was trying to lure you into my side, and I was done in instead. Mr. KangYoon. You’re a scary person. Here, receive one from me.”
Principles and standards. KangYoon had clear principles and standards. President Lee HyunJi could understand about Lee KangYoon clearly today.
‘He’s a man of great caliber. He isn’t someone who’ll stay here forever.’
President Lee HyunJi judged like that after hanging out with KangYoon. He wasn’t someone that just did work well. She could think about a lot of things from his words.
Make a singer do music.
In the end, truth was simple. If singers did music, then they’ll produce profit, then the company will run smoothly, then more people will rejoice, and the company will grow more. It was oversimplification, but KangYoon talked about the ideals which was the most important thing.
She thought about intra-company politics, but KangYoon had seen through the most important thing.
In the end, President Lee HyunJi decided to go together with him for a long time, not as her subordinate, but as her colleague.
“Receive one from me.”
“You’re giving me too much…”
“Shut up. Just receive one from me.”
Amongst the amiable(?) atmosphere, the two’s drinking session lasted all night.
In a bar where most people have already left.
President Lee HyunJi was grandly drunk and was lying face down, and KangYoon was quietly tilting his glass alone.
“I have to leave MG Entertainment and do my own work someday… but there are too many homeworks.”
The day he creates a stage not under the flag of MG Entertainment, but under his name.
KangYoon imagined the scene where a singer was shouting and the audience was cheering in such a stage.
When alcohol entered him, such thoughts stirred up his mind.
“It’s too far away right now. I need to do something about HeeYoon’s condition as well, and my footing is weak too…”
However, KangYoon smiled bitterly while stirring the pumpkin-colored glass.
As of yet, it was too far of a dream. His footing and experience were all insufficient, and his circumstances weren’t good either.
“Even so, definitely…”
While thinking about the future, which was still far away, KangYoon’s eyes shined.
While thinking about the dream which will definitely come true.
He was embracing a truly huge exhaustion, but KangYoon’s commute wasn’t different than any other day.
KangYoon left for outside work after finishing the meeting with the concert team and the girl group-related work. It was to meet with the composer for an arrangement. If it was MG Entertainment, they could make the composer himself come, but KangYoon preferred going directly. It was because he could see the work environment and see through the characteristics of the person as well. KangYoon was a utilitarianist and cared less about face.
‘So today’s underground, eh? Is this traces of charcoal briquet?’
KangYoon went downstairs where it was written ‘Happy Man’ in a small sign. The one which caught his eyes more was traces of burns rather than the sign. The building was messy, but fortunately there was a doorbell. After he pressed the doorbell, a man wearing a tank top peeked his head out from the door.
“Who is it?”
“Hello. I’m called Lee KangYoon. I came here for the song request.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, but please wait a moment…”
The man wearing the tank top seemed embarrassed as he closed the door and went back inside. A moment later, A man wearing a leather jacket and a strange hat with a skull opened the door again.
“I’m sorry. Please come in.”
KangYoon went inside. Inside, there was a small studio facility and DJ equipments, other than that, there were audios and the like. The building didn’t seem that good as the ceiling was low. For a studio, this wasn’t such a good environment. KangYoon looked around the place for a moment before sitting down.
“Hello. I’m YHB. I’m sorry for before. I accidentally fell asleep…”
“Not at all. Is the song going well?”
“It’s about half-done. Would you like to have a listen?”
YHB started controlling the machine. Soon, the song, which was in the middle of an arrangement, started flowing out. The song flowed in a similar beat to the original in the first verse but when it came to the 2nd verse, the atmosphere changed clearly and the song flowed in a club beat. However, it stopped in the middle of the second verse as it wasn’t finished yet.
“I want it to be more rich. Put in a DJ effect. It will be difficult to use the actual machine so please arrange it inside.”
“I understand, that’s a pity.”
YHB showed his disappointment as though it was his desire as a composer. The song request which came after a long time was so much fun. The fancy electric beat made the body shake automatically. KangYoon moved his shoulders up and down while going into the beat. There wasn’t anything that he needed to point out. KangYoon was satisfied.
After having listened to the song, KangYoon stood up.
“Then I’ll believe you and go.”
“Do you have anything else you need?”
Unlike the peculiar clothing, YHB was a considerate man.
“You can decide on it. I’ll just believe in you.”
KangYoon didn’t say anything else. YHB asked as if this was out of his expectations.
“It’s not like I’ve received a lot of requests, but you say something different to those other people.”
“People who leave their songs with me have a lot of requests. It happens a lot because I’m a newbie, but… ‘Do this, do that’ – there were many such requests. I was all tensed up since I heard you were from MG Entertainment… But, I understand. I will show you a result that you will definitely be satisfied with.”
“Then I’ll believe in you and leave.”
KangYoon left via the stairs where traces of charcoal could be seen. He fell into thought while leaving the building which its traces of charcoal left a deep impression in him.
‘YHB, in other words, Yu HeungBoo, will position himself as the master of electronic music soon. It’s not time yet, but his skills are already there. There’s not much to talk about.’
KangYoon was satisfied with his results and got on the bus to go back to his office. However, at that moment, his phone started vibrating loudly.
“It’s Lee KangYoon.”
-Hello, I’m Moon JiHan from SunDae Rentals.
“Hello, President. What is it?”
-I called you for the renting of the lighting. The order form should have come in by today, but as it’s still not here, I’ve contacted you. I’ve called the Stage Production team, but they said that they didn’t know so I called you directly.
“I passed the notices around yesterday… Since the concept of the singing is not decided yet, I think it will be difficult to order by today. I will contact you tomorrow. I will make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again. I’m sorry.”
“Yes. I get it. Please call us tomorrow.”
KangYoon said he would order tomorrow and requested understanding. He had even notified the planning team to call the company. However, to think that they made them call him… KangYoon could only sigh.
“Don’t worry. Then I’ll see you later.”
After ending the call, KangYoon hurried to the company. As soon as he arrived, KangYoon headed to the Stage Production Team office.
“You didn’t check the notice?”
“I’m sorry. I think it’s because there was an error with the intranet yesterday.”
KangYoon let it go after he had heard the Head of the Stage Production Team’s embarrassing words. He had said that there were cases where messages didn’t get sent due to an error in the intranet, and that this was the first case a notice was like that. After telling the Head of the Stage Production Team to intimidate the Data Processing Team to make sure this doesn’t happen again, he left the Stage Production Team.
When he came back to his office, paper friends which had ‘Please approve’ at the top were piled up like a mountain on his desk.
‘There’s a lot today too…’
He sighed automatically, but after slapping his face a few times, he started working while attacking all those piled-up paperwork.
Regular Chapter 1/3
Kek, 3.5k words… (usually, 5k chars are 2.3k words…)