Idols Rewind – Chapter 1: The Super Manager’s Regression

“Hurry up, Manager Kang! Why are you so late!”

“I’m sorry, sir. I went to buy some umbrellas.”

I brushed off the droplets of rain on my shoulders and set aside three umbrellas.

Looking at the table, the two had already emptied two soju bottles.

And half of the Korean halibut was gone.

“Is it raining outside?”

“Slightly. I was talking with the kids, and it started sprinkling. I bought some umbrellas nearby. Please, use these.”

“You got the longer ones… Very nice. I like the longer ones better than the short umbrellas. I hope your tenure at the company is long, like this umbrella.”

The Director looked directly at me.

Team Lead Na smiled. “Director, that won’t work on a guy who just resigned.”

**Team Lead Na is the team manager, Manager Kang is the manager (under Team Leader)

“Is that so? Well, you never know. Manager Kang – no, Mr. Kang. You’re planning on starting a company, right?

“Yes, I’m thinking of giving it my best shot,” I answered as I scratched my head.

Everyone asked the same thing even when they already knew.

“Figures. How could you not be ambitious when you’re that talented? You have a great eye for things and are very skilled in other ways too. There’s no one else here who’s gotten the nickname Super Manager! By the way, I encourage you to think about it again,” Director Park finished quietly.

He was trying to get to me again. How many times has this been?

‘There was a farewell party yesterday, so I was wondering why we had another one today.’

So this was the reason why there were only the three of us today, unlike yesterday’s lively farewell party. Because they know I’m close to Team Lead Na, I was made to attend this sham of a farewell party.

Seeing how he doesn’t give up so easily, I got the thought that he was called the Pitbull for a reason. Once he bites, he didn’t know when to let go.

I glanced at Team Lead Na for help.

He was the person I trusted the most and a person I respected.

No matter how underhanded the Director was being, he would be on my side.


‘He’s feigning ignorance…?’

Was it because I’ve already left the company, or was he also wanting me to stay?

Team Lead Na was silent even after my pleading gaze, and Director Park continued to speak.

“I’m saying I’ll promote you to Team Lead. I’ll create Team 4 for you, so feel free to mold them as you like. What’s so different about raising them here or there? It’ll be much more comfortable here. You can do whatever you set your heart to, and no one will be able to touch you. I can guarantee you that. And I won’t touch what you do either, Team Lead Kang. Seriously.”

He’s calling me Team Lead Kang, now.

Wasn’t he calling me Mr. Kang just a minute ago?

‘But too bad. Being President sounds like a better deal to me.’

No matter how hard I worked here, Director would be the limit.

Besides, if I don’t help Director Park become Executive Director, I’ll forever be a Team Lead.

“I’m sorry. That’s very kind of you, but I’d still like to try establishing my own thing.”

“…Is that so?”

Director Park guffawed and fiddled with his shot glass.

I quickly reached for the soju bottle and went to pour him a glass.

However, a hand stopped me short.

I looked up to see Director Park with a stone-cold expression. He swiped the bottle I was holding in one fell swoop.

In an instant, the atmosphere had turned frigid.

Director Park poured himself a shot and downed it.

“Phew… Say, Manager Kang. Have you heard of a saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?”

I didn’t think he was really asking me if I knew.

I kept my mouth shut.

“What about the saying about how you can’t hide a good man under a bushel? A thorn in the side.”

The leaf and thorn were probably about me.

“And… What about, ‘The nail that sticks out gets hammered down?’”



He momentarily glanced at Team Lead Na before turning his head to me again.

“Your name is too well known now. You’ve shown too much of what you can do. Do you think people will be wary of you or not, hm? Have you thought about what the hyenas would do to the lion cub that leaves its mother?”

Anyone listening could tell that he was warning me.

Appeasing me didn’t work, so now he was threatening me?

“I’m sure the lion cub leaves because it can withstand anything as long as it’s not going against its mother or siblings,” I answered, trying to sound calm.

I said it with the hope he would go easy on me.

“Even if the older cubs say that they need the baby cub? Even if they are pleading and asking him not to leave?”

I found that hard to believe.

The Director’s words sounded like a serious threat to me.

Being a Director at a major agency like HS Entertainment was a big deal.

At least, it was to me since I was trying to start my own company.

However, I wouldn’t have put myself in this situation if I was going to change my mind after one threat.

If that was the case, I would’ve become the Team Lead of Team 4 a long time ago.

I stood up without another word, and Team Lead Na facepalmed and let out a sigh.

It really seemed as if there was no place for me here anymore.

“Wouldn’t you say it’s better to walk away than to keep butting heads in the same garden?”


“I hope that we can help each other from our own gardens someday.”

Director Park stared at me with a cold gaze.

I turned toward him andTeam Lead Na and bowed ninety-degrees.

I grabbed one of the umbrellas and slipped out to see the rain pouring down.

“Lions? Heh. It felt like I was the only lion in a den of hyenas.”

My lips curled into a smile as I walked through the rain.

The very next day, I left the company with only four trainees instead of the entertainers that had their contracts ending soon.

This was my way of asking them to cut me some slack on my way out.

Had I wanted to do so, I absolutely could have easily taken a gold mine with me instead.



I stared up at the bright full moon as I sat on the rooftop of my flat.

On the flat table* were three and a half empty soju bottles and a torn bag of chips.

(*TL Note: He is using a flat table (평상), which is often kept outside in front of the house to eat meals or maybe take a nap.)

“I see, so I was a hyena too. Thought I was a lion.”

How did this happen?

My life sucked.

Wasn’t there a saying that in between the ‘B’ in birth and ‘D’ in death, there’s the ‘C’ in choice?

Well, I wonder what would have happened if I had accepted the Director’s offer.

“At the very least, I wouldn’t be in this pathetic state.”

While the full moon was shining as bright as ever, I was over here. A husk of myself.

Super Manager, my butt. I was a has-been, basically trash.

What was the point of being talented? In the end, you’ll just get stomped on by one of the giants.

“Hyuk,” a voice said suddenly.

I swiveled my head to the source behind me.

“Hee-yeon…? How are you… here?”

My eyes shook.

She was so beautiful and elegant; clearly someone you normally wouldn’t find around this neighborhood.

Actually no, it wasn’t just this neighborhood. She was one of the biggest stars in South Korea.

“Mind if I join you?”

Lee Hee-yeon took off her shoes and came up to sit on the flat table.

It felt wrong. The biggest celebrity in Korea was sitting in a shabby place like this.

Just her being here made this place seem not shabby.

“Why are you here…”

“Should I not be here?”

It was as if we only last saw each other yesterday.

Even though it had already been years.

“No, you shouldn’t. What’s a celebrity like you doing here?”

“I’m a bit late, aren’t I? I came to return the favor. I feel that I can properly protect my people now. You’re in this state because you tried to protect us. Plus, I missed you. No matter how hard I looked, there wasn’t a single person like you.”

A laugh slipped out.

Returning the favor for what? I still hadn’t done anything for them.

“What favor? For bringing you all out for no reason and debuting you late?”

“We never thought of it like that. The reason why we failed was because of those jerks. You did everything you could.”

“In life, results are everything.”

“No, it isn’t. Everyone might think that way, but you’re someone who values the process. I would know.”

“You don’t think that’s the reason I failed?”

“No, I don’t. You weren’t wrong.”

How stubborn.

She hadn’t changed a bit over the years.

I shook my head and responded.

“Yeah, you’re right. But if you want to return the favor, just leave and don’t try to find me again. That’s the way you can return the favor. It makes me feel less guilty when I see you succeed.”

Hee-yeon’s face didn’t falter at what I said.

She took a shot of soju from the shot glass I had been using. She spoke as she put down the glass.

“Let’s start over. Don’t waste your talent like this. The people you picked all proved that they were talented. From the songs to the works, everything you chose gained recognition. That was the case back when we were trainees, too. It felt like you could see through everything.”

“If I saw through everything, do you think I would’ve ended up this way?”

Hee-yeon was right. I had an extremely sharp eye for choosing songs, works, and people.

I could tell whether someone would be popular, whether they would shine, and if their personality was good or not. I could easily tell.

So I thought it would be easy for me to succeed, but being perceptive didn’t solve everything.

“Don’t think about it in a negative way. You’re someone with a special talent.”

“No, there’ve been a lot of cases where I’ve been wrong.”

“That was due to mismanagement.”

“You mean like how I failed to make you all into a success?”

I smiled wryly.

I wonder if she sees me as a pathetic person.

That would be nice.

I wanted her to think, it’s really over for him, and leave.

“You know, I succeeded but don’t really feel happy about it. It turns out that I don’t have a place to be myself. You’re not there, and the members aren’t there either. I feel like I’m on my own.”

“You’ve succeeded.”

“We had less in the past, but at least we were all together.”

“Everyone looks back to the past and misses it. That’s nostalgia. But if they could go back for real, they definitely wouldn’t.”

“And you? What about you?”

I smirked and looked around.

“You can’t tell by looking? I don’t know if there’s been a worse time in my life than now. Just so you know, this isn’t nostalgia.”

“That’s what I’m saying – let’s try again.”

“Didn’t you hear what I just said? You can return the favor by leaving and not coming back.”

“I heard you. But you said that you felt guilty towards me. So repay me by showing me what you look like when you’re using your talent and standing on your own two feet. That’s how you can repay me. Don’t just watch me on the screen in the corner of a room. What is that? Way to be irresponsible. That’s just for your own satisfaction.

Hee-yeon was more talkative compared to the last time I saw her.

Yeah, there were some things that didn’t change and other things that did.

It had been years, after all.

However, I hadn’t changed my mind.

“Go back.”


“It’d be one thing if I could go back to the past, but there’s nothing I can do for you right now. You’re already a top celebrity, and I’m in shambles.”

“But your guilt-”

“You can’t twist my words like that.”

I looked at her with a serious gaze.

She wavered a little.

“Thanks. For thinking of me.”

“…I didn’t say I was giving up. I’ll be back.”


“I will.”

She left, stubborn to the end.

And I would also be stubborn to the end.

She should live her life, and I should live mine.

It had been too long, and we drifted too far for us to dwell on the past.

I gulped down the rest of my alcohol.


It was too bitter.

It wasn’t this bitter just a moment ago.

I laid down on the flat table.

The soju bottle I kicked with my foot rolled off the flat table, as I stared up at the bright full moon.

“My own self-satisfaction, she said.”

That was wrong. There was no way I was satisfied with this life.

Years later, I still bitterly regretted the past.

I think to myself, I shouldn’t have been so stubborn over nothing.

“I also… miss those days, Hee-yeon. I feel like I could do really well if I went back to that time.”

If I went back… I feel like I wouldn’t fail like that.

As I felt my eyelids grow heavy, my consciousness slipped away from me.

And just then, the light of the full moon shining on Hyuk Kang’s body twinkled mysteriously.

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