The 100m dash finished. In the finals, Jung Yoon Ki unfortunately got 4th place and Do Wook got 2nd place, getting KK one more silver medal nevertheless.
The celebrities as well as the fans were exhausted from filming since dawn. Once it got later in the evening, there started to be empty spaces here and there as younger fans left the filming location.
On top of that, KK fans were feeling down because of Ahn Hyung Seo’s injury.
As soon as the 100m dash was over, the KK members went to the audience area. They also had a big box with them. The fans got excited that KK came up so close to them. Do Wook started to speak.
“You all must be exhausted.”
“Not at all-!!!”
“Hyung Seo’s not hurt too badly so don’t worry too much.”
At Do Wook’s reassuring words, the KK fans replied in unison as if saying they had never been feeling down. They responded in a really high pitch and with incredible unity. It seemed like a kindergarten teacher and well-behaved children.
When they saw Do Wook smiling at their response, the fans who were holding the Do Wook banners covered their mouths with their hands.
“There’s only the relay left~! Let’s all keep it up until the end!”
It was none other than Suk Ji Hoon who yelled that. When the blunt youngest winked, the fans went crazy.
After the rest of the members gave their greetings, they started taking out one bread at a time from the box.
At Jung Yoon Ki’s suggestion to do something nice for the dedicated fans, the idea Do Wook brought up was distributing snacks. Under Do Ra Hee’s leadership, the fan managers quickly distributed the snacks to the fans.
When other idol fans saw KK fans eating snacks they personally received from the members, they whispered among themselves. 10 pm. Seeing as it was more than about time they’d be hungry, they couldn’t help but be jealous.
To prevent further delay in recording, the track for the relay was quickly prepared.
The first relay was a match between the female idol groups, Milky Way and Pinky Girls. The KK members cheered for Milky Way, who were from the same agency on top of being in the same group for today’s ‘Idol Olympics’ as they were wearing the same sky blue sweatsuit.
The second relay was a match between the solo singers, and lastly the third relay was a match between KK and M2M.
The KK members did some light warm-ups.
“Guys, I apologize in advance.”
Although he didn’t participate in a single event because he wasn’t athletic, Suk Ji Hoon, who ended up running in the relay due to Ahn Hyung Seo’s injury, muttered dejectedly. Jung Yoon Ki patted the depressed Suk Ji Hoon’s back.
“Just do your best, man!”
“Yeah, and don’t worry.”
“That’s right. You just have to trust in Do Wook.”
The members looked at Do Wook, who placed 2nd in the 100m dash, and stared at him with a gaze full of pressure. Do Wook laughed and averted his eyes without a word. In front of them, the M2M members were also doing warm-ups.
Oh Bin, who was stretching his legs, saw Do Wook and waved his hands vigorously. Do Wook also comfortably greeted Oh Bin. Behind Oh Bin, Seo Kang Jun was frowning.
“What are you happy about, you desperate* bastard.”
(TL note: it was really talking about someone with no self-respect/pride, which is why Do Wook’s thought 3 paragraphs below says “self-respect”)
It was a voice low enough for only Oh Bin and Do Wook, who was paying attention to Oh Bin, could hear. Oh Bin’s expression hardened.
Do Wook was unexpectedly surprised at Seo Kang Jun today that he would talk with such a tone even to a fellow member. It seemed like he had subconsciously been differentiating between the student Seo Kang Jun who used to harass him and the celebrity Seo Kang Jun.
‘He doesn’t even know what real self-respect is.’
With that signal, the relay started. KK won the Rookie of the Year award by a landslide, but there were still people who called KK and M2M rivals.
The fans were still wary of each other. Among the cheering heard in the stadium today, the two sides were cheering the loudest.
KK’s first member was Jung Yoon Ki, and for M2M it was Seo Kang Jun.
Seo Kang Jun was the second fastest member in M2M. He placed 3rd in the 100m dash. M2M’s strategy was to widen the gap at the start. Seo Kang Jun was one step ahead of Jung Yoon Ki and passed the baton off to the next person.
However, in a relay, teamwork while passing and receiving the baton was as important as running. In that regard, KK was significantly superior to M2M. At that moment, the KK members moved as one body.
“Everyone’s really fast…”
Suk Ji Hoon muttered with his jaw dropped. They didn’t say it aloud because it was embarrassing, but with Ahn Hyung Seo out from the injury, the KK members wanted to try even harder and comfort Ahn Hyung Seo with a victory.
Suk Ji Hoon, who was taking Ahn Hyung Seo’s place, felt even more responsible.
However, the overwhelming difference in skills wasn’t something they could overcome with willpower. A gap appeared between the two teams, who used to be neck and neck, after Suk Ji Hoon and Oh Bin’s turn. Suk Ji Hoon was about a ¼ of a track behind.
It was the final match now. Suk Ji Hoon passed on the baton to Do Wook and breathed heavily.
M2M’s final participant was short but as fast as a flying squirrel. If Ahn Hyung Seo were here, they would have had similar physiques. As he looked at the M2M member in front of him, Do Wook grit his teeth and started running at top speed.
‘It’s good I saved my stamina.’
Do Wook’s goal was winning the relay rather than an individual victory at the 100m dash. He felt If they lost the relay while Ahn Hyung Seo was gone, the injured Ahn Hyung Seo would feel bad.
The members, the attendees watching the relay, and the fans were jumping up and down. The MCs in the booth were speechless. They had been preparing to talk about M2M’s victory thinking KK would probably lose.
“What is with Kang Do Wook? He was called a monster rookie, isn’t he truly a monster?”
“I guess there’s no need for words.”
One big stride after another, Do Wook’s long legs were quickly catching up with the runner in front of him. His strides were long, and they were fast.
It was a pretty big gap but he caught up before long. The M2M member was in no way slow either.
Do Wook ran with all his might until the last second. After winning, he headed towards the members who were waiting and cheering for him from far away. The members ran to him and hugged him.
“KK! KK’s Kang Do Wook did it! Victory goes to KK!”
“Incredible, truly. With that, KK has a total of 4 medals. It looks like KK’s group, Group 3, will win by a landslide.”
From beginning to end, everything had been an absolute battle. On top of that, turning the tides. It contained all the charm of sports. Somehow more worked up than when they got first place on the music program, the KK members lifted Do Wook and tossed him in the air amid the cheering of fans.
As the broadcasters said, Group 3 that KK was part of won thanks to KK. Do Wook, who was the individual with the most medals, stood on the podium.
The tediously long recording ended as the confetti congratulating their victory fell.
“This day felt like it was 48 hours long. I’m so tired.”
Jung Yoon Ki said as they headed towards the waiting room to get changed, after saying goodbye to the fans who had stayed with them this whole time.
“Still, it feels nice to win.”
Do Wook said. Park Tae Hyung nodded his head enthusiastically. As the rest of the members went into the waiting room, Do Wook, who was at the end, saw Seo Kang Jun heading towards the bathroom alone.
Do Wook excused himself saying he was going to the bathroom real quick and headed towards Seo Kang Jun. Do Wook called out to Seo Kang Jun when he was about one step away, causing him to stop.
(TL note: Sunbae is what you call someone who is your senior at school, work etc.)
Seo Kang Jun had an expression as if Do Wook belatedly adding “sunbae” was outrageous. He was already irritated by Do Wook the most out of the KK members because of his off-putting gaze.
“Be careful from now on.”
“Who do you think you are, talking casually to me? Be careful?”
“We’re the same age and you’re not using honorifics either. Then me just adding ‘sunbae’ is good enough, isn’t it? Sunbae?”
Do Wook was regularly praised for being very polite to the staff. Even Seo Kang Jun knew that despite not liking him, because Do Wook was also good at greeting the M2M manager.
He didn’t expect that such a person would confront him like this. All Seo Kang Jun could do was look dumbfounded.
“Because you’ll continue to lose and fall like you did today before you can even climb very high.”
“You crazy bastard. Hey, you ass…”
Still, since he was aware that they had just finished recording, Seo Kang Jun stopped himself from cussing and looked around the surroundings. The hallway was completely empty.
“I’m saying be careful of your head. When you fall to the ground, that is.”
Seo Kang Jun raised his hand as if he were going to punch him any second, but stopped. He used to have a bad habit of resorting to violence, but he was someone who even made it into Hollywood in the past. He seemed to have learned at least this much self-restraint.
Do Wook snickered at Seo Kang Jun and left.
‘Why hadn’t I been able to say anything to someone like that before and had just let it happen…’
At the same time he thought Seo Kang Jun was pathetic, he thought his past self was pathetic. However, the future was undoubtedly changing.
Do Wook walked quickly. Even more quickly, even more cruelly, the day he would get his revenge on Seo Kang Jun was inching closer.
When they returned to the dormitory after finishing all the recording, Ahn Hyung Seo was lying on the bed sleeping after getting a proper cast from the hospital. Since he had gone to the hospital in the middle of recording, it was understandable that he was drained.
The cast was just to keep his leg in place, he was definitely not in a serious state. It was to the point that he just had to take it easy and monitor his progress for about one week.
Still, moving around was uncomfortable and not being able to practice dancing for a whole week was a huge burden to Ahn Hyung Seo. It was really lucky that it was an inactive period.
Do Wook wasn’t thinking of going as far as declaring war on Seo Kang Jun, but it also wasn’t a rash, thoughtless action. They said the injury wasn’t Seo Kang Jun’s fault, but he didn’t want to just let the Ahn Hyung Seo incident go.
Do Wook needed something to help whip himself back into shape after inevitably loosening up following their Rookie of the Year award win. With his personality, it was obvious that Seo Kang Jun wasn’t going to just ignore it.
‘He must be going even crazier to trample on KK, especially me. Still, the more he tries to trample on us, the more Seo Kang Jun will be trampled on.’
The next day, KK was given a day off. However, Do Wook headed to the company immediately after lunch.
As soon as possible, he wanted to even more perfectly prepare their next album. Do Wook was now halfway to being producer-status for KK.
The Album Production Team Leader Shim Joon also talked with Do Wook about the KK album concept and songs, almost to the level of PD Yong Soo Chul.
Do Wook first went to find Yong Soo Chul, who was most likely at the studio, and wanted to have an in-depth discussion with him about the title song.
“Hello Mr. PD.”
Yong Soo Chul was sitting kind of sprawled out on the sofa provided for the studio instead of on a chair in front of the machine. Additionally, his expression wasn’t bright.
“Mr. PD, should I come back at a later time if you’re tired?”
“Ah, no. When is a working person not tired?”
Yong Soo Chul got up, sat up straight, and tried to smile. However, Yong Soo Chu’s darkened expression didn’t go away easily.
Typically Yong Soo Chul would bring up the song first and show enthusiasm, but there were no signs of that at all. He wasn’t in the mood to talk about the song right away.
‘Is he worried about something? What is it? Something that could worry PD Yong Soo Chul…Could it be…’
Do Wook was looking for the right words in his head during the silence. Yong Soo Chul started to speak first.
“Mmm…I thought I should tell you Do Wook, no, Mr. Do Wook, before I tell the company.”
With a serious expression, Do Wook waited for Yong Soo Chul to continue.
Do Wook thought it might be the case, but he felt it was too early for ‘that incident’ to happen.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to produce KK albums anymore.”
It was something that would have inevitably happened at some point. Just as Yong Soo Chul’s debut as a composer was accelerated, his going his separate way from KK had also been accelerated.
Do Wook slowly nodded his head.