“I just finished, so yeah. Didn’t you finish a while ago?”
Okseon nodded at Maru’s question. This was unexpected. Okseon had never taken the initiative to talk to him until now. She looked like someone who innately refused to join a group. She appeared in places she deemed necessary and liked to stay alone otherwise. Of course, this might be all wrong. She might actually be someone who had a shy personality around other people. The reason Maru had to deduce even such a simple thing was because he knew absolutely nothing about her. Okseon even quietly disappeared during meal times and only came back just in time for the shoot, so there was no opportunity to talk to her.
“Then why are you here?”
“Because I had something to ask you.”
Maru looked at his watch. Okseon’s last scene should have ended 20 minutes ago.
“You should’ve texted me. It seems you’ve been waiting for quite some time.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Well, if you say that, it doesn’t matter to me either. So? What were you going to ask?”
“Kang Giwoo, what do you think of him?”
“Kang Giwoo? Kang Giwoo is Kang Giwoo.”
“You haven’t noticed?”
Maru scratched his eyebrows.
“I’m sorry, but I have a train to catch, okay? There’s not long left until the last train. So if you have something to ask, ask properly. I don’t like puzzles.”
“Good, then I’ll ask right away. Giwoo seems to be copying you, what do you think about that?”
“If he’s copying me, then he’s copying me.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah. Is that all you wanted to ask?”
Maru looked at the time. If he missed the last train, he would have to take a taxi and pay nighttime fares. He wanted to avoid that.
“Was I wrong this time? I thought you weren’t like this.”
“I don’t know what kind of Han Maru exists is in your head, but can I get going if you’re going to keep beating around the bush? Nighttime taxi fares are scary.”
“Don’t you need to solve the problem?”
“Is the fact that Giwoo is copying me a problem? If it’s that, you can just ignore it. Whether he copies me or not, it’s up to him.”
“I thought you were more mature than the others, but I guess I was wrong.”
“Me? Of course not.”
“There’s that time with Dongho as well - you proactively solved trouble that other people created. You handled it maturely too. I thought I had a lot to learn from you based on what I saw. However, it seems that I was mistaken. You were just cocky. You don’t know the real problem.”
“You sound so serious, but I’m fine. I’m thankful if you’re worried about me, but you don’t have to mind it at all. Like you said, if it’s a big problem, I’ll take care of it by myself.”
“No, you don’t know how serious this is. Giwoo isn’t just imitating your acting. He looks like he’s imitating everything about you. Recently, Giwoo’s acting skills rose a lot. I can tell that from how the producer doesn’t say much about him. That’s all thanks to him copying you.”
“That’s good. If Giwoo’s acting skills improve, New Semester’s viewing rates will rise and our faces will become more well-known as well. I don’t see what’s bad about that?”
“You are a really stupid kid, huh. You didn’t calm Dongho down back then. You are just both stupid and somehow just clicked and synergized with each other.”
“Well, this makes me thankful. This is the first time we talk like this after the months we spent shooting together, and the conclusion is that I’m stupid, huh. I always forget that I’m stupid, so thanks for reminding me of that. Is that all you had to ask? Your question should have been answered with the conclusion being that I’m stupid. I think I'll have plenty of time to catch that train if I go now, so can I get going?”
Maru looked at Okseon’s mouth. He thought that she was some female monk who chose to be mute outside of work, but she turned out to be some alien girl from the 4th dimension. He thought that she didn’t have any interest in the others, but it turned out that she had actually been observing everyone this whole time.
He already knew that Giwoo was imitating him. All forms of studying started from imitation, did they not? Maru didn’t mind it since it would be laughable for him to scold Giwoo over copying something abstract. It would be much more beneficial for him to research facial expressions if he had the time to do something like that.
“I told you all this, and yet you’re going to stay still?”
“Please, I beg you. Tell me what you want from me. I want to stay friends with you as much as possible. We are coworkers after all, aren’t we? Even if we can’t be friends, I don’t want to be at odds with you either. But, if you keep beating around the bush like this, I have no choice but to ignore you. You don’t want that, do you?”
Hearing those words, Okseon’s lips twisted. Whew, so she could make expressions like that. She always stayed expressionless except when she was acting, so Maru thought that she switched her emotions off when she wasn’t acting, but it turned out that she could make expressions after all.
“Go up to Giwoo and tell him to stop copying you.”
“You want me to tell him that?’
“What do you mean why?”
“I think it would be strange instead if I understood.”
“You are really stupid, aren’t you? Don’t you know the meaning behind what I just said? He improved his acting by imitating you.”
“I got that, but I think I’m a bit stupid after all.”
“Then you should obviously make him stop.”
“Like I said, why? You don’t want the reputation of the drama to rise?”
“The problem is not the drama. The problem is that Kang Giwoo is getting the focus. You really can’t calculate, can you? Are you naive? Or are you stupid to the point that you can’t take care of yourself?”
Okseon walked out from the shadows under the school gates. She had returned to being expressionless, but her eyes were still fierce.
“This is why I don’t want to hang out with kids like you. It’s hard to give you advice. What else would I talk to you about?”
“Okseon, did you perhaps lie about your age?” Maru asked with a smile.
“What do you mean?”
“You said ‘kids like you’, so I just asked. If you’re older than me, I’ll treat you as such. If that’s what you wanted, you should’ve told me sooner.”
“Are you making fun of me?”
“Of course not. I’m just asking purely. I’m a bit stupid after all, so I don’t know the underlying meaning behind words so I just interpret them as they are. You understand that, right?”
Okseon sucked her lower lip inwards before biting on it.
“Anyway, you must say that to Kang Giwoo. We are all creating this drama together, but the popularity will be divided among us. Looking at the interviews and news articles recently, I can see that they’re all focusing on Giwoo. Until about episode 4, the child actors were lumped together, but after that, the spotlight is going to Giwoo and Yeseul, these two. This is because Giwoo’s acting skills improved. Yeseul is just riding his popularity.”
Okseon stepped a bit closer to him. The light from the lamp cast a long shadow over her face.
“You might not know because you’re young, but this is a fierce competition. If one person becomes a star, then the actors beside that person will just fall to being extras. The viewing rate for this drama is pretty high. From the way it’s gaining more and more views with each episode, it’s clearly gaining momentum so we need to suppress Kang Giwoo before he gets even more attention. Okay? Popularity is limited. The more popular Giwoo becomes, the less known we’ll be, you idiot.”
“So the conclusion is that you’re dissatisfied with the fact that you aren’t popular, and the reason is Kang Giwoo?”
“This is why kids are no good. I’m not talking about my popularity.”
“Then what are you talking about?”
Maru quietly looked at Okseon. Okseon tapped on her chest as though she was feeling stifled.
“You are just a fool who’s a bit good at acting, huh. If Giwoo’s popularity rises, yours will fall in comparison. In this field, there is no such thing as two similar characters. To actors, being number one is important, but being the only one is just as important. Do you understand? The more popular Kang Giwoo becomes, the less your worth will be. Do you know what lies at the end of that? You'll never make it past being a child actor. Why? Because rather than using you, they’ll decide to use the much more popular Kang Giwoo. Because you two are similar after all. It doesn’t matter what you say at that time. Even if you go around telling people that Kang Giwoo stole your acting style, you’ll just get mocked by the others. You understand, idiot?”
“Yeah, I do. You’re really smart. Also, I was a little surprised. You can talk so well, so why did you stay silent this whole time?”
“Didn’t I tell you? I don’t talk to you guys because you’re kids. I’m not working half-assedly like you guys are. I’m serious. I found out that the world isn’t a place where many people can climb to the top together.”
“So you aren’t on the same level as us, huh. You’re amazing, I’m amazed.”
Maru clapped loudly. Okseon frowned and told him to stop.
“You get it now? If you don’t say it, you’ll never receive attention. And that’s critical as someone reliant on the media.”
“I understand you now. So can I get going?”
“Honestly speaking, you probably didn’t understand anything I just said. You might be wondering what kind of nonsense I’m saying. However, you’ll thank me later.”
“Of course, of course. I’m thankful. I’ll get going then. You should go home as well. It’s cold.”
Just as Maru smiled and was about to turn around, Okseon moved next to him.
“So, when are you going to tell him?”
“Well, I’m not sure.”
“Did you not listen to anything I just said? The later you do so, the more you’ll lose, you idiot. Do you want to make losses in life? No, right?”
“Of course not. I hate making losses.”
Maru started walking towards the station.
“So? When are you going to tell him?” Okseon followed him and asked.
“When should I do it?”
“As early as possible.”
“How should I tell him?”
“Just tell him to stop imitating you. Be strong. Only then will he stop.”
“So, when are you going to tell him?”
“In about 30 years?”
Okseon stopped. Maru calmly kept walking forward. He was wondering what she was up to, and whether it had something to do with the ‘toy’ thing that concerned Giwoo, but it turned out to be nothing much.
“Are you really stupid? I said all that and you still….”
Maru stopped and looked at Okseon.
“I usually don’t give out advice, but allow me to give you advice today. If you don’t have confidence, you should quit this line of work. You clearly seem like someone who’ll ruin yourself while trying to do this job. Also, you should be more careful about saying words like that. What are you doing telling me everything when you don’t even know me? Have you thought about what would happen to you if I happened to be close to Giwoo?”
“I observed you all enough by now, and I saw no interaction between the two groups separated by main and supporting characters. There’s no way you guys are close.”
“We met up and hung out a while ago, did you know that?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“We tried to call you too. Don’t you remember? That day when you just walked away when I tried talking to you. Oh, I guess you don’t remember it since it happened so many times, huh. The six of us met up quite often without you. Of course, like you said, it’s not proof that we got closer, but wouldn’t that make me at least closer to them than you? I mean whether it’s Giwoo or Yeseul.”
“You, so you’re telling me that you’ll tell him what I just told you?”
“No, I don’t plan to do that. That would be childish of me. Also, didn’t I tell you? I want to get along with you as coworkers. I’m willing to listen to you talking behind his back any day, so don’t worry about that.”
Maru took a few more steps before clicking his fingers and turning around to look at Okseon.
“Also, if you would allow the stupid me to give you a tip, if you want to use others, you better prepare some form of compensation. Trying to use only your words is well… childish. Plus, before you worry about your popularity, why don’t you try analyzing your character more? If Seri instead of Giwoo is getting edited out more, I think that’s because the actress’ skills are lacking, not because Giwoo is good.”
“Don’t try to put down someone who’s doing well. I thought you were an adult, no? Have some generosity. See you tomorrow. You can ignore me if you like.”
“Wait! I said you’ll regret it, didn’t I? You just don’t know how scary this field is. Are you letting him go because he’s a friend? Is that what you think? Hey, you stupid idiot. There’s no other way of moving up other than by stepping on others!”
“I just don’t have to be stepped on.”
“If I get stepped on by someone who’s imitating me, I might as well quit. If that’s all I amount to, I might as well stop this line of work and join a company. This line of work is definitely fun, but I’m not doing this because I want to earn a small sum. Well, no, I can’t be sure about that. I might still be doing it while earning really little.”
Maru shrugged. Okseon looked like she didn’t understand.
“And this is the most important bit, but.”
I don’t think Giwoo is good at acting - Maru added before turning around. He thought that he should walk to the train station and go home. Just then, he heard quick footsteps.
“...Gee, you are more tenacious than I thought, huh.”
Maru looked at Okseon who fiercely glared at him before running towards the station. He heard something behind him, but he ignored it.
“Hey, Han Maru!”
“Sorry! I already have a partner, so I can’t accept your love!”
He waved at Okseon who stood there in a daze before running again.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Lol whut, this is how you going to use the observer girl character, author?
Interesting. It looks like the author is trying his hand at creating a clown character. I expect quality comedic relief author. She might become Maru's 'toy' in a similar sense for Giwoo if she keeps clowning. She deserves it though.