Chapter 256

‘There is always a way out and this seems to be mine!’

He was lucky. He never imagined that he would come into contact with someone belonging to JA Production in such a manner. He checked the papers he saw behind the ripped envelope. It was definitely a contract form.

“You look like you got a burn. Are you really okay?”

The child looked at him worriedly. Dongwook decided to take back his words of being okay.

“It prickles a little, so I might have a serious burn.”

“That’s not good. There’s a pharmacy nearby, let’s go there for now.”

“Sh, shall we?” Dongwook almost couldn’t hold back his laughter. He thought that the effort he put into prying into the internal affairs about JA Production was finally receiving a reward. Now, he had to be careful. From how this child was worried for him despite the fact that his wound was small, it could be said that this child was a kind boy. If he convinced this boy well, he might be able to get some info about JA Production.

“It’s not that serious, so this will do,” Dongwook spoke as he applied the ointment he got from the pharmacy. The child still had a worried expression on his face.

“Are you really okay?”

“It prickles a little, but this won’t hurt me.”

“I’m really sorry. I should have watched where I was going.”

“No, no, not at all. It’s me who spilled my coffee after all.”

Dongwook took out a laptop and a camera from his bag as he put the ointment inside. On top of that, he pretended to rummage through his belongings and dropped a few of his business cards on the floor. After seeing that the child saw the business card falling on the ground, Dongwook pretended to know nothing and kept looking inside his bag.

The child bent down and picked up the business card.

“Uhm, here.”

The child gave him the business card. Dongwook smiled as naturally as possible as he received it.

“Are you a journalist?” The child asked with curious eyes.

He fell for the trap. Rookies were especially vulnerable to journalists. It was because they didn’t know anything. They always had the expectation that the journalist would write a good article about them.

“I once worked in a TV station. You know YBS, don’t you?”

“Of course I do. Wow, you’re actually a journalist.”

Although he quit that job a long time ago, he wasn’t exactly lying. After all, there was a time when he was a journalist at YBS. After seeing the wariness around the boy disappear, Dongwook started speaking about his true intentions.

“Uhm, it was kinda unintentional, but I kinda ended up looking at something that I shouldn't have.”

Dongwook carefully looked at the envelope that the boy was holding. He could not be hasty here. He had to look as though he was at ease. He had to show that he was only slightly interested in the contents. After all, if he showed too much interest, the boy might suspect him.

“Oh, this?”

The child pushed the envelope towards him as he spoke. It seemed that he wanted to boast about it. Dongwook inwardly rejoiced.

“I signed a contract recently.”

“With JA Production?”

“Yes.”

“Is that so? Hm, I’m writing an article about the entertainment industry recently and….”

“Oh really?”

“You can call it a special edition article talking about new actors that still haven’t received the spotlight despite being in famous companies.”

The boy widened his eyes when he heard the words ‘special edition article’. Yes, there was a reaction. He didn’t seem that shy and he seemed to be somewhat ambitious as well. In cases like these, he would start spilling out all sorts of information with a bit of a push.

“It would be really good if my name got on it, right?”

“That’s right. What, are you interested?”

“...Hahaha,” The boy laughed awkwardly. Dongwook pointed at the cafe across the street and spoke.

“Then let’s have a little talk then, shall we? Something that we can both find profit in.”

Dongwook put his arms around the boy’s shoulders.

“My name is Kim Dongwook, what’s yours?”

“Ah, that’s right. My name is Yoo Sooil.”

“Sooil? That’s a good name.”

Dongwook smiled and walked towards the cafe.

* * *

“You look tired.”

Junmin smiled back at the chef who said those words to him as he put down the tea.

“Looks like decreasing my sleep just a little is showing its effects already. Looks like I’m getting old as well.”

A bittersweet smell came up from the tea. It seemed to be ginger tea. The chef left after saying that health was the most important thing. Junmin replied that that was the case as he drank the tea. The sweetness from the dessert was washed away. The tea made him breathe some hot air out subconsciously.

“I’ve confirmed the two leaving.”

Junmin nodded his head when he heard the words that came from behind him.

“Head manager Kang. What of Maru?”

“He just left.”

“How about president Park?”

“She couldn’t be seen anywhere.”

“Looks like I was worried for nothing. I thought she’d probe some more.”

“She’s not foolish enough to do something that displeases the party she came to ask something from.”

“You’re right. Head manager Kang. Have you had dinner yet?”

“Not yet, sir.”

“Then have a seat.”

“Yes, sir.”

When Junmin raised his hand, one of the female staff approached him quickly. He asked head manager Kang what he wanted.

Ramyun and eggs. Is that possible?”

The staff made a slightly awkward smile at those words.

“Just give him what he wants. Sorry for the weird request,” Junmin followed up. The staff bowed before going away.

“Don’t you ever get tired of ramyun?”

“I probably won’t get tired of it my entire life.”

“Someone might make a mistake and say that you’re paid badly.”

“Don’t worry about that. I have proper meals when I’m outside. I had beef barbecue for lunch as well. Though, I feel a little oily now thanks to that. My taste buds are really craving for some ramyun and eggs.”

Junmin smiled back as he drank his tea. After the ramyun came out, Junmin looked outside the window while head manager Kang ate his meal. According to his report, it was about time he got a call. Indeed, his phone started ringing just at that time. Head manager Kang looked at the phone that was vibrating on the table.

“Keep eating. I’ll take the call.”

Junmin picked up head manager Kang’s phone.

“Hello?”

-Oh, president.

“Is that you, Sooil?”

-Yes, but why are you picking up the phone, president?

“I’m with head manager Kang right now. Rather than that, what happened to the thing I asked you to do?”

-For now, I’m talking with him at a cafe. As you’ve instructed, I was planning to drop the contract form right next to this journalist named Kim Dongwook, but things went better than I expected, so I was able to show him the forms without becoming suspicious.

“How did he react?”

-It’s just as you predicted, president. He’s overjoyed to death. I had a hard time concealing my emotions. I almost ended up laughing with him.

Junmin could picture Sooil’s prankful smile. Yoo Sooil. He was one of the youths that Lee Junmin was raising with all of his support. Junmin had big expectations of him so he already had a verbal agreement with him on their first meeting.

“Are you with him right now?”

-Yes. I pretended that I got a phone call and briefly left him for now. I can see him smiling over the window. I should really smile back at him.

“He doesn’t find you suspicious?”

-He doesn’t. I don’t think he’s as sharp as you make him out to be, president. I don’t find him that reliable since he’s showing off how he’s a ‘great man’.

“That’s because he isn’t at his prime yet. He was a scary man before. He was really capable up until he quit his former job. He’s a capable journalist that wrote five exclusive articles when he was still new.”

-Really? Why does he look so shabby now?

“He must have his reasons. In any case, he’s the only one that’s following us, so we should give him something.”

-Aha.

“What kind of questions did he ask you?”

-He didn’t ask anything yet. He’s just telling me about the recent matters in the entertainment industry. You know, like, there was this news, but it actually turns out it was something else, and the like.

“He didn’t ask anything about our company yet?”

-He didn’t. If you didn’t tell me, I would’ve thought of him as a smooth talker. Oh, he’s looking at me now. Do you think he might get suspicious of me?

“It’s just a phone call. Rather than that, act as I told you. If he mentions the company, you can leak the news to him.”

-But president. Isn’t it a matter of time before it’s released to the public? I think we can just tell him the information now.

“If we do things like that, then he will have a voice as well. We have to make it so that he has to put in the effort to make out proper information from the things we give him by coincidence.”

-Haa, I don’t get it. I’m really stupid after all. I’m more comfortable with doing the things you tell me to rather than thinking about complicated things. Then president, I’ll keep doing what you told me to do.

“Alright. Then, please work hard.”

-Yes, sir!

Junmin finished the call and put the phone back on the table.

“I think of this all the time, but Sooil really needs to learn some manners.”

“What? He’s cheerful and I like it. It’s better to be free than mind about useless manners.”

“That’s on the condition that he has the skills, no?”

“Naturally.”

Head manager Kang spoke after eating a mouthful of ramyun.

“But weren’t you planning to have a meeting with that journalist later? We’re about to start our activities soon so we do need a main journalist to spread the news, don’t we?”

Then he finished off his ramyun.

“That’s true. But since we’re going to work with someone, it’ll be better if that person is competent, don’t you think? For now, I have my eyes on him, but we don’t know whether he can bring out the skills he had in the past,” Junmin spoke as he looked outside the window.

Entertainers and journalists were ultimately in a symbiotic relationship. Although there were times where they competed with each other, most of the time, they worked with each other throughout their careers. Without entertainers to write news about, journalists would not be able to make a living, and the opposite was true as well. Without journalists to write articles, entertainers would never make an impression on the public. It was one of the very few win-win scenarios in society.

The world of entertainment journalists was filled with hyenas. They competed with each other for prey, but they gathered up and prepared to attack together in front of a common enemy. But even then, when a nice prey appears, some will leave the pack in secret to hunt alone.

It was an incredibly hard thing to work together with such people in pursuit of the common interest. There were many CEOs that had scandalous articles written about them by the journalists they trusted. There were also malicious journalists that wrote malicious content after being paid by a rival company.

However, there rarely existed some that were above the rest of the pack. They were journalists that were both capable and faithful. With a connection to such a person from the media, it would become very easy to build up a good image of the company.

Junmin came across the journalist named Kim Dongwook a long time ago, but it was only recently that he thought of using him when he found out that that journalist was chasing after him.

“What are you going to do if that journalist goes and writes random things based on the things Sooil tells him?” Head manager Kang spoke in a worried tone.

“Then he might get attention in the short term, but that’s it. But that journalist, from what I read from his previous articles, does not write things unless he’s entirely sure. Even after entering an internet news company that mostly writes baseless rumors, he still writes proper articles. He’s a hard journalist to come by these days. If he really knows what he’s doing, he’ll probably stay quiet with our information for a few months. Then, he’ll burst out with the article and attract a huge amount of attention right about the time we start making a move.”

“...Sheesh, you test people too much, president. There’s a possibility that he might turn his back on us after finding out that he was fooled.”

“I’m not that worried since I have a huge ace up my sleeve known as money. And if I’m right about who he is, then I don’t think he’ll feel deceived with just that.”

“Money is not omnipotent.”

“But it gets people to work. The reason you’re here with me is thanks to money as well.”

“Oh, that’s how you see me? I’m disappointed. I’m here because of my loyalty.”

“Then how about I shave your salary down a little?”

“I meant loyalty towards money. You knew that, didn’t you?” Head manager Kang chuckled.

Junmin put on his beret again and stood up. It was about time he called in the sheep he let graze freely in the plains. Right now, he still hadn’t found actors that gave him electric shocks like Haejoo, but they had the potential to become like that in the future. What he needed to do now was to provide them a path for them to experience a wider world.

To do that, he needed more connections and money. There were times when relationships didn’t go as people wanted to, but money wasn’t like that. Junmin was preparing in order to make sure that money wasn’t the thing holding him back.

‘And that’s my job.’

Junmin had a look at his watch before turning around.

“Then go rest.”

“Yes, sir. Please have a good night.”

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KTLChamber's Thoughts

The kid wasn't Maru! Did anyone realize that in the previous chapter when I said 'kid' instead of Maru in the thoughts section?

Also, I'm kinda making a list of characters. Would you like to see one created? I think that people will get really confused with the names or forget the names really quickly.

I think I saw someone forgetting Haejoo in mere 3 chapters after she was introduced (do you still remember her? lol), and even Jiseok (the cheerful dude) after a few chapters.

e.g. Suyeon (new instructor) vs Soyeon (former acting club member)
Dowook (classmate) vs Dongwook (journalist)

Also, I'm running out of chapters... (this is my last available chapter as of posting). I do work under a contract, so you won't miss any chapters, but don't expect mass releases for Christmas... (my last exam for this semester is on the 19th, which is the day this chapter goes live for free readers)