“Man to Man? Who is Man to Man?”
“There was a lot of commotion that a rookie group was performing at the award ceremony. It must be that group.”
Jung Yoon Ki responded to Ahn Hyung Seo’s question.
Boom, boom, clap! Boom, boom, clap!
The members of M2M started dancing to the cheerful rhythm. In the middle, there was Seo Kang Jun. The camera did a close up on Seo Kang Jun’s face.
‘Seo Kang Joon…!!!’
Do Wook’s vision became blurry.
“Wow, how is he that good looking?”
Admiration came out of Jung Yoon Ki’s mouth. Even as a fellow guy, Seo Kang Jun’s features were impressive. He looked even more handsome with the spotlight on him.
“Oh hyung*~ That’s not good looking~! Do Wook is much better!”
(TL note* hyung is what males call older males)
Ahn Hyung Seo rebuked Jung Yoon Ki and unnecessarily fueled a sense of rivalry.
“That’s true, Do Wook is also the greatest of all time. Someone who’s unfairly good at everything.”
Jung Yoon Ki praised Do Wook excessively in case he hurt the visual member’s pride. Do Wook didn’t care because he was preoccupied watching M2M’s performance. He was watching Seo Kang Jun’s performance after becoming Kang Do Wook.
“I watched this performance back then too…..’
It was when he just stopped getting ostracized. He never wanted to see even his shadow ever again and the misery he felt when he saw him on the TV was indescribable. Maybe it was because 10 years had passed for Bo Myung, or maybe it was because it was his second time watching the performance, but it wasn’t as shocking as the first time.
It felt very strange that he borrowed someone else’s body to defeat Seo Kang Jun.
“Hey!!! That person…?!”
Ahn Hyung Seo suddenly yelled and pointed his finger at the screen.
Everyone’s gaze turned towards one of the backup dancers behind the M2M members. There was a face that everyone knew. It was Jo Jung Min.
“Wow. He quit being a trainee…why is he there…”
Ahn Hyung Seo muttered in surprise.
After the dance evaluation, Jo Jung Min couldn’t accept the fact that the person he looked down on was better than him. It would have been a good opportunity to grow if his thinking were a little different, but it was because his abilities and personality were lacking in the first place. Because of that, he later took his anger out with a bad attitude. Eventually, his behavior issues got worse and he was kicked off as a debut member.
Jo Jung Min couldn’t repair his damaged ego after the KK members were confirmed and quit being a trainee. Ahn Hyung Seo told Do Wook once he heard the news.
Do Wook did not feel sorry for him. It was all Jo Jung Min’s own choice to throw away his years as a trainee just because he couldn’t control his temper.
So when Jo Jung Min seeked him out to pick a fight with him, Do Wook told him to realize this was all his own fault for bullying someone else and being prideful.
Everyone was surprised except Do Wook, who alone was calm. Yoon Ki noticed Do Wook’s expression and asked him.
“…did you know? That he became a backup dancer?”
“No, I didn’t know.”
Even Do Wook didn’t know what made him change his mind, but Jo Jung Min seemed to have decided to start as a backup dancer. He was definitely a good dancer so it probably wasn’t a bad choice. It’s just that he felt it was ironic that he became the backup dancer for M2M of all things.
Jung Yoon Ki sighed, like he was contemplating Jo Jun Min’s actions as someone who was the same age as him. The same was true for Park Tae Hyung, who was watching the performance.
M2M, who had given a composed and sophisticated performance for 3 minutes, was saying goodbye and leaving the stage. They were accompanied by loud shouts that weren’t there in the beginning of the performance.
“Anyways, the song is very good.”
“Wow. It’s really sophisticated. It could hold its own against pop.”
“All five of them are good looking, and they’re tall…”
The members took turns expressing their opinion on M2M’s performance.
If this continues, M2M will definitely become a major star sweeping up all the Rookie awards next year, and Seo Kang Jun will gain a lot of popularity.
‘I can’t just do nothing. I can’t put it off any more.’
Do Wook didn’t watch the rest of the award show performances. He got up from his seat, changed clothes, and got ready to leave.
“Huh? Do Wook, where are you going?”
“…Oh, I want to visit my house today.”
Do Wook answered Park Tae Hyung’s question while he had his cap on. The members’ outings and overnight stays were under thorough management by the company while they lived in the dorms. Since the members were young, they were allowed to go back home for at least one day on weekends they didn’t have practice. Since starting the dorm life, Do Wook didn’t go home often but he had gone occasionally so it was not odd for Do Wook to say he’s going home. The members went back to focusing on the award ceremony performance.
Do Wook was full of determination as he headed out the door.
Soon KK will be deciding their debut song, a stronger song than M2M’s debut song.
‘The debut song has to be ‘that song’. Absolutely. I have to get that song!’
The place Do Wook headed to after leaving the dorm was not his house. Do Wook opened his phone and checked his texts. It was a text he got from the vocal instructor Kim Woo Yeon before he left the dorm.
“I’m sorry to bother you so late at night.”
-You don’t have to be sorry, forget about it. Anyways, Yong Soo Chul? I did find out where that DJ works but I don’t know his contact info.
Recently, Do Wook asked Kim Woo Yeon for help. He asked him to find a person who was working as a DJ – most likely a nightclub DJ.
A high school student asking to find a nightclub DJ could seem as a preposterous demand but Kim Woo Yeon just grumbled a word or two and readily agreed to the request. He knew Do Wook’s typical serious personality too well to dismiss it as unnecessary favor.
He had no choice but to ask Kim Woo Yeon even though he knew he’d think it’s suspicious. He thought it would be faster for Kim Woo Yeon to ask around than himself who was still a trainee and a minor.
He may currently be working as an academy instructor, but Kim Woo Yeon was still a skilled singer who even debuted. He knew quite a few people in broadcasting and entertainment agencies. He had close connections in the nightclub scene and the entertainment world.
Just as Do Wook predicted, within 3 days Kim Woo Yeon found the workplace of the DJ Do Wook asked him to find through a hubae* who usually runs nightclub events. The fact that the DJ had a unique name was also one reason he was able to find him quickly.
(TL note: hubae is a junior, a person with less experience at work or a lower grade in school).
“That’s ok. Thank you for looking into it. So where does he work now?”
-I don’t know during the weekdays, but during the weekend Emperor Night Club in Gangnam Station?
“Emperor Night Club…Ok, thank you teacher.”
– But why are you looking for that DJ?
Kim Woo Yeon nagged Do Wook over the phone as though he was asking Do Wook to tell him already. Kim Woo Yeon was curious from the moment Do Wook initially asked him but it was hard for Do Wook to answer him. It was because he couldn’t explain truthfully how he knew Yong Soo Chul.
‘It’s not like I can say I know the future.’
Do Wook went out to the street and flagged down a taxi that was heading towards him from the opposite side.
“Well…I saw him at Ssasam World!”
-What? Ssasam World? You saw him there?
Of course he didn’t see him. It was something all young people these days did so he just blurted it out, guessing that Yong Soo Chul probably also did Ssasam World.
-You’re not going to go look for him are you?
“Later, I’ll explain the details later. Thank you!”
Yong Soo Chul’s workplace was a nightclub. Bo Myung couldn’t confidently say he’s going to go look for him so he hurriedly ended the call. Do Wook only said thank you repeatedly so Kim Woo Yeon didn’t ask any more questions and hung up the phone. Do Wook planned on giving Kim Woo Yeon an understandable explanation when they meet in person later.
It was urgent that he find DJ Yong Soo Chul.
“Mister, to Gangnam please.”
KK’s debut song in the past was ‘You’.
KK’s debut song got lukewarm reactions saying it was ‘Ok considering they’re rookies’.
They were recognized as rising rookies making a name for themselves in the idol world but they were no match for M2M.
KK was able to get their name known and gain significant popularity thanks to the single album they released the following year ‘Sorry, but I love you’. They topped the charts for 4 consecutive weeks with this song, establishing KK as a popular group instead of rising rookies.
However, by then M2M had already consumed more than half the idol fandom.
KK had to draw the public’s attention and secure a share of the fandom before M2M took all the popularity. To do that, the point that KK became popular had to happen sooner.
‘We have to clearly make a name for ourselves starting with the debut song and gain popularity.’
It is meaningful to gain popularity little by little, as if you’re stepping on stairs, but he knew a shortcut so there was no need to go back. That’s what Do Wook thought.
It would be better to run to the top than to walk, and if he couldn’t walk he had to at least catch a taxi.
“Here, please drop me off here.”
“Here? That’ll be 6800won*.”
(TL note: about $5.25 USD)
At Do Wook’s request, the driver glanced at the rear view mirror and parked the car. Do Wook took out a 10,000won* bill from his wallet and paid the taxi fare.
(TL note: about $7.72 USD)
Gangnam Station Crossroad
It was close to midnight but the street was still packed with people. It was an even more chaotic scene because it was the holidays. As soon as he turned into the alleyway, it was full of all kinds of flyers and bulletins with flashing neon signs.
Do Wook wore his cap lower and looked around for the Emperor Nightclub. Loud music echoed ‘Boom! Boom!’ like it would fill the streets of Gangnam.
Do Wook immediately spotted the Emperor Nightclub without wandering around. The words ‘Emperor/Night/Club’ was engraved on a high sky dance sign. Next to the sky dance sign, big men in black suits were on both sides of the sign guarding the customers who were entering.
‘It’s probably impossible to get in.’
Since he was a minor, there were limitations on what he could do. He could have probably pretended to be 20 years old and gotten in if he tried, but there was no need to push it when he was a trainee getting ready to debut.
‘It’s always better to be cautious.’
Do Wook entered the convenience store located opposite of the night club.
He just picked a pack of gum. After additionally buying blue tape from the miscellaneous aisle, he stood close to the windows. Next to him was a slightly drunk man eating cup noodles.
‘I might have to wait longer than I expected…’
He was glad that he could clearly see the nightclub entrance through the window. If it wasn’t for that, he would have had to wait for Yong Soo Chul outside in the cold air.
He bought another can of soda just to avoid the gaze of the convenience store part-time worker then waited a long time by the window. Once it passed 2am, Do Wook’s blinking started to get slower, tired from having practiced all day.
Even the part time worker changed shifts to another part time worker. Was it ok to wait aimlessly like this? That doubt was brief.
‘It’s Yong Soo Chul!’
Translator’s Comments: Sorry guys, I tried looking it up but I have no idea what Ssasam World is.