I felt like the system’s special rewards came late all the time.
‘What is the new system?’
[You can earn points by completing the quests.
With the collected points, you can purchase items you might need to proceed with the scenario from the item shop.]
“Hey, look at this bastard…”
Well, tycoon games were still somewhat like management games.
Making me buy items when I needed them.
However… In that case, shouldn’t it give me something like that from the beginning?
[It has been added now!]
The moment I said that, a system window opened up.
I was a little impressed by the UI-like game.
No matter how hard I looked at it, it really looked unrealistic.
I was expecting that they would have some kind of item that could instantly increase the dance stat.
[There are no items like that! You have to work hard to raise your level!]
‘What the hell do you want…’
I looked through the list of items.
It was pretty empty except for a few things.
The word [Updating] showed up almost everywhere, but honestly speaking, I didn’t really look forward to those additions.
There was only one item that stood out to me the most.
[ Cheongshimhwan 
It completely calms your nerves.
It wouldn’t hurt to buy one just in case.
It wasn’t for me though.
I looked at a few other things before closing the item shop.
I had no points to spend anyway.
“Is the quest to earn points starting up now?”
This was enough for now.
I kept the items in the item shop in mind and then slowly headed to the practice room.
I just hoped that the day would come when these things would come in handy.
“Tan, Tadan, Tadadan!””
“It’s not Tan, it’s Tadan, Hoyoon-ah!”
“Tadan… What is that?”
“How do you do that?”
Sung Jiwon was a stricter teacher than I first thought.
Wasn’t he the one who said he’d just give up the first time we met?
After the meeting with the planning team, I practiced for six more hours.
It was almost 11 pm and these guys didn’t even think of leaving this place.
“This sure is weird, hyung… You definitely have the moves memorized, but why are you still so bad?”
“Hyung, do you want to take a break?”
Jung Dajoon asked, but I shook my head.
As if responding to Sung Jiwon’s tough training, the system notifications continued to pop up.
I didn’t know why the amount kept going down, but fuck it.
It was still increasing even if by a little.
After some time, I stood up again after catching my breath, and Kim Sunghyun lightly threw a water bottle at me.
As soon as I caught it, Kim Sunghyun plopped down on the practice room floor next to me.
“Let’s take a break.”
“Why? I think I can still do more though.”
“We almost danced for six hours straight, Sung Jiwon.”
After Kim Sunghyun said that, Sung Juwon suddenly looked at his watch before shyly scratching his head.
Was I overdoing it?”
“No, this is fine.”
“No, hyung, do you want me to do even more?!”
Jung Dajoon freaked out, seriously trying to stop me.
No, but… We have to do it.
Jung Dajoon, who pulled on me and pleaded with me to stop, soon more or less melted like ice cream on the floor as if all his stamina had run out.
The manager had already left, so now we were the only ones left in the practice room.
Kim Sunghyun looked at the members and shook his head.
Resting is also part of practicing.”
“Wow, wise words.”
“‘Resting is also part of practice…’ If I die while practicing I’ll have that engraved on my tombstone.”
When Kang Yichae and Jung Dajoon made fun of him, Kim Sunghyun threw water bottles at them pretending to get angry.
Seeing Sung Jiwon giggling, he just sighed quietly and stood up with a shrug.
“I’ll go to the convenience store for a bit.
We ran out of water.”
“Get some Melona  when you’re there.”
“Aren’t you sick of those yet?”
“Please buy some~!”
“Oh, I’ll come with you.”
I sprang to my feet.
If I wasn’t going to practice more, I might as well go to the convenience store and get some fresh air.
Kim Sunghyun still seemed a bit awkward with me, but it was none of my concern.
“See you, Hyungs!”
Let’s practice this part again.
I think it would be better if you moved your right hand a little faster…”
Sung Jiwon didn’t give up and continued to teach him the choreography, as if he was trying to bully our maknae.
When the door of the practice room closed behind me, the noise drastically decreased, only the silence between me and Kim Sunghyun remained.
It didn’t feel particularly uncomfortable, so I just kept walking in silence with my legs shaking.
Kim Sunghyun was really quiet and I didn’t really want to talk either, so there was only silence between us.
He didn’t seem particularly friendly, so how did he manage to become the leader? Since we were all the same age anyway, Sung Jiwon, who had been a trainee for a long time, would have been more suitable for that position.
We reached the convenience store and went to the aisle where ionic beverages were on display.
“What should we get?”
“Sung Jiwon and Jung Dajoon like Pocari and Kang Yichae likes 2%.
So let’s buy those.”
Kim Sunghyun took out the drinks as if he was accustomed to it.
Then he stepped aside signaling me to choose one.
When I just roughly took one out, he stared at the drink in my hand.
“…Do you really want to drink that?”
What I held in my hand was a Pine Bud drink.
It was a drink made of pine.
I didn’t really like or dislike it, but I did enjoy the scent of pine trees coming from it and its sour taste.
Kim Sunghyun looked at me weirdly.
I’ll get it for you next time then.”
After answering me like that Kim Sunghyun went to get some bandaid and ointment from a different aisle.
It seemed he had noticed that Jung Dajoon had been in pain after these long hours of practice.
‘Ah… I see.’
I felt like I knew now why the leader was Kim Sunghyun.
Despite being so blunt, he was a lot more considerate than I thought.
“Yes, I would like to pay for this.”
“Also, add some Mal*o–”
I almost ordered cigarettes out of habit, but I managed to stop myself.
Because Kim Sunghyun was glaring at me pretty hard, and the system window also popped up.
[Cigarettes are harmful to idols!]
Cigarettes are harmful to anyone.
Well, I did have a recording tomorrow, and… I did say that I wanted to quit…
My rational judgment told me to quit smoking, but my instincts refused.
[Seo Hoyoon-ssi, you have a recording tomorrow, come to your senses!]
“Just ring these items up.”
Kim Sunghyun quickly interrupted my words.
I fell back sullenly.
The cigarettes that I kept smoking while editing was like real honey… And yet I couldn’t even do that anymore…
To be honest, the shock I felt was almost as big as when I found out that I had been possessed by this game.
The part-time worker of the convenience store continued the payment procedure with a confused look.
I felt depressed, so I added two ice pops to the items.
“Please ring these up as well.”
They were chestnut-flavored ice creams that fathers would buy their children after work before getting scolded.
Kim Sunghyun clicked his tongue but held on steadfastly beside me.
It was comforting that I would get these for free.
I immediately opened the wrapping and left the convenience store eating the ice cream.
“Fuck, life is hard… Can’t even smoke anymore.”
“…The fans don’t like it.”
Kim Sunghyun admonished me.
I couldn’t even refute it because he was right, but I still felt annoyed.
He also took out some ice cream from the bag.
I bought this because of Jung Dajoon, who had been talking about ice cream earlier.
When I stared at him, Kim Sunghyun opened his mouth.
“Destruction of evidence.”
“Ah, I see.”
Idols had to diet.
We had to record the song, have pictures shot for the album cover, and film the music video once the planning was done.
We were in quite a hurry to do these things.
The conversation had stopped for a while and only the sound of us eating ice cream could be heard, but then Kim Sunghyun asked me something.
“What did you talk about in the president’s office?”
It was obvious that the trust in our relationship would fall apart if I told him about the settlement and cancellation fees.
“I told him that I’d overturn the plan.”
That’s why I wanted to cooperate with the planning team.”
“I think it went better than we thought.
I don’t know if they’ll manage to finish everything by tomorrow though.”
“I think it’ll work out.
That team’s maknae seemed really passionate.”
I didn’t know what the results would be, but they should be able to finish a rough data analysis by the deadline tomorrow.
If we kept what we liked and cut out what we didn’t like, the rough skeleton of the plan would be completed to some extent.
“When we get the plan tomorrow I should go to Lim Hyunsoo-ssi… No, the Blue Tiger and ask him to revise the lyrics.”
“That’s right, we have to make our comeback in about three weeks.”
If we didn’t work fast, the comeback would be delayed, which would cost more money, leading to the president being unwilling to invest more in The Dawn, whose future was uncertain.
We had no other choice but to somehow make this work with our current budget.
“You’re a bit different.”
Kim Sunghyun suddenly spat out these words.
“You seem like a different person from one year ago.”
That was surprising.
I wasn’t really a different person, but I did get rejuvenated and had to pretend to be an idol that didn’t even exist before, so I guess he was right as well in saying that.
I spoke quickly.
“I just decided to do my best.”
He was pretty sharp.
Through the choreography practice, I was able to grasp the characteristics of my fellow members with whom I would share joys and sorrows in the future.
Overall, they were pretty quick-witted.
Except Jung Dajoon.
I felt like someone had sucked out all his common sense when he grew up.
“Anyway, thank you.”
“It felt like the other members had already given up, but now the atmosphere has completely changed.
So, thank you for that.”
Kim Sunghyun pretended to be calm, but after he said everything he wanted to say he looked embarrassed.
I shrugged and answered him sincerely.
“If you’re thankful just give me a cig…”
“Are you joking?”
He was firm… With tears in my eyes, I let the thoughts of getting cigarettes leave my mind.
“Are you okay with the practice?”
“Sung Jiwon is scary.”
“He scares me too.”
Before entering the practice room, Kim Sunghyun seemed to have an easier time talking to me, probably because he felt more relaxed.
In this choreography, it was easier to make the movements a bit bigger, I also had to learn where to breathe as part of the choreo.
I was given a lot of tips and taught a lot of tricks so I tried to engrave them all in my mind.
When I entered the practice room, the members welcomed us.
“Hyung, ice cream!”
“Just take this.”
This sight made me feel strange.
As a PD, it was a sensation that a third party could not feel.
I couldn’t quite figure out what this feeling was, so I just pushed it aside and spoke with a nonchalant expression on my face.
“Hey, let’s stay up the whole night.”
“A–igoo, if this isn’t Seo Hoyoon-ssi who doesn’t need to work for anything―.”
“Did you have a drink this early in the morning already?”
“And whose fault do you think it is that I can’t get through the day without alcohol?”
Lim Hyunsoo greeted me sarcastically.
When I talked back to him before entering the recording studio, the members behind me looked at Lim Hyunsoo and me alternately with shaken eyes.
I glanced at the quest window before me.
Let’s finish our first recording safely.
The quest will continue until Kim Hyunsoo is satisfied.
Failure: Lim Hyunsoo’s favorability will decrease significantly.
In addition to choreography practice, we practiced the song according to the guide song’s lyrics during breaks until 7 am.
Of course, I had no time to practice a single line because I was busy with the dance.
After sleeping in the break room for two or three hours, we went straight to Lim Hyunsoo’s studio, so the members looked terrible.
“Hello! I’m looking forward to working with you.”
“It’s an honor to be working with you!”
“Ah, yeah, yeah.”
I just sat down on the sofa familiarly, leaving behind the others who were diligently greeting Lim Hyunsoo.
Lim Hyunsoo just casually held a cigarette between his fingers and turned on a lighter as if he didn’t care about my attitude anymore.
“Do you want a smoke as well?”
I glanced at the members.
Lim Hyunsoo took the cigarette out of his mouth, making a ridiculed expression.
“What? Why? Didn’t you have one the last time you came over as well?”
“There are minors here.”
Jung Dajoon was a minor.
Lim Hyunsoo had an expression that seemed to say ‘You care about that? Weird’, but surprisingly he put away the cigarette obediently.
Of course, he still mumbled something.
“So you’re not going to smoke at all?”
“I want to quit.”
So I also took away Lim Hyunsoo’s cigarette right when he was about to smoke.
If I saw him smoking, it would make me want to do that as well.
But I couldn’t smoke right before the recording…
Lim Hyunsoo’s eyes opened wide as he shook his head.
“That won’t last long, Hoyoon.”
“Yeah, thank you for sharing your experience.”
Just show me what you prepared.”
Lim Hyunsoo held out his hand as if asking for the plan we wrote up.
He nodded when I handed him the printout we received from the planning team.
So it’s that kind of plan.”
I could feel the members growing more nervous every time Lim Hyunsoo nodded.
They looked like they would faint immediately if he were to frown.
He didn’t even say anything.
There’s no need to be so scared, guys.
After reading the printout till the end, he nodded.
“Phew, I’m glad…”
“Overall, this is planned out well.
This concept works well for songs like this.
These days, they only add trendy settings… I just have to convey the vibe with the lyrics.”
We’ve already distributed the parts, so keep that in mind while writing the lyrics.”
“Hey, that’s a given.
I’m Lim Hyunsoo.”
“Of course, our great Blue Tiger-ssi.”
“You bastard, bow down to me.”
Even while swearing, Lim Hyunsoo continued to help me obediently, as if he liked the plan a lot more than he let on.
I gestured to the members who were hesitating next to me.
They should pour out the ideas they had thought of beforehand.
“This part, there should be more flashback to the past…”
“Oh, I’d like to keep the word target locked on.”
“I think it’s better to use words that people can remember right away than vague ones…”
Looking nervous, the members continued to talk about their opinions and commented on their part.
Lim Hyunsoo replied sincerely to them.
“Oh, the word target should be fine.”
“No, that sucks.
It feels more like it would suddenly accelerate at this point.”
After 30 minutes, Lim Hyunsoo was even more excited than the members.
This was why I liked him.
As we looked at each other with our arms crossed, Lim Hyunsoo, who had roughly finished organizing the lyrics, looked around the members and said.
“Yeah, that’s enough for the lyrics… I can just edit them again later anyway, so just go with the guide lyrics this time and sing them once.”
“First… Let’s see, the main vocalist should go in.”
Sung Jiwon nodded.
…You look a bit nervous.
1. Cheongsimhwan is a pill formulated with thirty odd herbs including bezoars, ginseng, and Chinese yam root, used to treat various symptoms such as numb limbs and fit of apoplexy, epilepsy, etc.
in traditional Korean medicine.
Sumber: Wiki. 2. Melona (메로나) is a South Korean ice pop, manufactured by Binggrae Co.
Although the product is called “Melona” and is identified by its melon flavor, the ice pop also comes in other fruit flavors, such as strawberry and coconut.
Each 80 ml/2.7 fl oz bar contains 130 kcal of energy as of 2009.
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