“A gossip of his sister ’s…
love life?” Hwang Jeong-Hu asked back in a daze.

A quick look at bit.ly/3iBfjkV will leave you more fulfilled.

The first thing Jo Gyu-Min did after stepping foot on Korean soil was to rush to HQ and report the situation to the chairman.
He nodded and quickly replied, ”Yes, Chairman. ”

“Okay, so…” Hwang Jeong-Hu shifted his dazed gaze to the ceiling of his office while trying to organize all the information he received.
“So, the reason for your sudden, swift return was…
was all because Jin-Ho ’s younger sister has gotten involved in some kind of salacious gossip?”

“Yes, Chairman.”

Hwang Jeong-Hu ’s dazed look morphed into a flabbergasted one.
“Okay, so…
I don ’t know much about that part of the world, so I need your help on this one, Gyu-Min.
Tell me, aren ’t these gossip pieces about who ’s dating who a common thing in the entertainment industry? And, uh, don’t half of those rumors just end at that, a rumor?”

“You ’re absolutely correct, sir.”

“But, just because of one gossip piece, Jin-Ho flew back into the country without even bothering to find out what really happened?”

“Yes, Chairman.”

Hwang Jeong-Hu chuckled in disbelief.
“I knew that Jin-Ho is someone who cares a lot about his people and his family, but this is a bit over the top, isn ’t it? Isn ’t he acting like a dimwit right now?”

Hwang Jeong-Hu ’s chuckles morphed into hearty laughter before he collected himself.

“Okay, so? What is the truth, then? Is Jin-Ho ’s sister really dating that idol?”

Jo Gyu-Min frowned a little as he replied, “Unfortunately, it ’s hard to know the truth behind a gossip like this unless you ’re one of the people involved, sir.
Her talent agency manages her life, but it ’s still impossible to accompany her twenty-four hours a day or wiretap her phone.
If she wishes to date someone in her free time, there ’s no stopping that, sir.
Well, some other agencies include no-romance clauses in their contracts to manage their talents, but…”

The Jaegyeong Corporation had Kang Eun-Yeong ’s back, so Code wouldn ’t be brave enough to include an unfair clause like that in the contract.
No matter how large a talent agency Code was, it was still no bigger than a local record shop compared to the might of Jaegyeong, after all.

“I see.” Hwang Jeong-Hu slowly nodded.

“More importantly, though, we ’ve already tasted defeat when the gossip piece was published, sir.”


“Sir, an idol isn ’t simply a singer.
No, it ’d be more correct to label them as a salesperson selling the idea of a ’pseudo relationship.’ In that case, imagine an idol you ’re a fan of, someone you long to hang out with, is rumored to be involved with another man.
Sir, that could lead to said idol ’s public image crashing to the ground.”


“It ’s pretty common to see a successful idol suddenly disappear overnight after a rumor of their romantic life blows up online, sir.
The talent agency has promised to respond strongly regarding this situation, but it ’s standard practice for every agency to respond like that every time their talents become subjects of gossip.
That ’s why I fear the agency will fail to suppress this rumor, sir.
Worst of all, the other party involved hasn ’t come out publicly to deny it…”

“Is that so?” Hwang Jeong-Hu mouthed a cigarette.
“Well, she ’s Jin-Ho ’s little sister, so we can ’t stay back and not get involved now, can we? Do what you can within reason to help her out.”

Jo Gyu-Min ’s expression stiffened.
“Sir, I need to be able to use Jaegyeong ’s name to pressure the other talent agency.”

“I permit it.”

“Thank you, Chairman.” Jo Gyu-Min bowed while sighing in relief.

He had just received the minimum-required permission to resolve this crisis.
If both talent agencies simultaneously released statements denying this rumor of romance, this whole thing should quickly fade away from public consciousness, even if some suspicion might linger.

’Still, it ’ll be fatal for that girl… ’

Kang Eun-Yeong was still too young to easily brush aside a common rumor like this one.
The fact that she was still a high schooler was definitely going to be an issue.

Hwang Jeong-Hu took a drag of his cigarette before asking another question, “So, how is that little girl doing, then? She must ’ve been shocked by all this talk of romance and whatnot since she ’s still a child and all.”

Maybe because she ’s Mister Jin-Ho ’s younger sister, but her mentality is as tough as nails.
Despite her agency trying to dissuade her, she apparently still went ahead to perform the scheduled live TV appearance, sir.
Actually, I think she should be on TV right now.”

“On TV, eh?”

“Yes, Chairman.”

Hwang Jeong-Hu seemed interested, so Jo Gyu-Min switched on the TV by the corner of the chairman ’s office.
A man from the bygone era, Hwang Jeong-Hu still had the old habit of watching the TV news bulletin even during his work hours.

“There she is, sir.” Jo Gyu-Min pointed at the TV as Kang Eun-Yeong ’s dancing figure appeared on the screen.

Hwang Jeong-Hu grinned in satisfaction.
“Last time I saw her, I didn ’t think she was that pretty, but now? She ’s quite a looker, isn ’t she? Did she get plastic surgery in the meantime?”

“No, sir.
That ’s a hundred percent natural.”

“Hmm. Well, Kang Jin-Ho is also quite a looker himself, so that makes sense.
The Kang family DNA must be pretty good.” Hwang Jeong-Hu ’s satisfied grin got even deeper.
It was as if the chairman was watching his own granddaughter.

Jo Gyu-Min could only chuckle wryly.
Inwardly, of course.

’Even though I heard he ’s not even interested in his own blood-and-flesh granddaughter… ’

Maybe Hwang Jeong-Hu was suffering from a phobia of his own family, as he often displayed his warmer side only to those unrelated to him.

“Mm?” The brows of Jo Gyu-Min watching the screen quivered in surprise.
Kang Eun-Yeong suddenly stopped her dance routine, her expression clearly that of panic, as she stared in front of her.
Even worse, the camera was zoomed in on her face at that moment, making it unmistakably clear how panicked she looked.

’Could she have run into some kind of a broadcast problem? ’

Jo Gyu-Min narrowed his eyes.
The song was about to start in earnest, and that poor girl didn ’t even get a chance to strut her vocal chops.

’Still, she ’s not the type to get flustered like that, so why? ’

Hadn’t many coaches and trainers walked away impressed by Kang Eun-Yeong ’s professionalism and said she was better in that aspect than some established singers? To think that someone like her would slip up during a live broadcast…

Jo Gyu-Min was starting to think that the poor girl was indeed suffering from some kind of ill effect from that rumor.
However, before he could finish his train of thought, Kang Eun-Yeong powerlessly dropped her mic.

“Nnnng?” Jo Gyu-Min hurriedly got up to his feet.
That girl, she…
Rather than missing the song ’s beat, it seemed more like she had lost the will to sing! Something on this level would be seen as a major incident no matter how it was dressed up!

“What ’s going on? What happened?”

Obviously, Jo Gyu-Min knew his shouts would never be heard by Kang Eun-Yeong.
But he still ended up shouting, anyway.
Committing a serious incident on air like that could cause a major setback to her future idol activities.
Who would want to entrust the stage to a singer unwilling to sing a song during a live broadcast?

“Just why is she…
Ehhhh?” Jo Gyu-Min ’s wide-open eyes quaked powerfully.

No one knew whose decision it was, but the camera ’s angle suddenly changed to shoot the audience and the back of Kang Eun-Yeong from the rear of the stage.
Maybe it was the PD ’s command or a wily cameraman being too enterprising for their own good.

“W-w-when did he get there…?!”

The screen was showing Kang Jin-Ho standing in front of the audience and beckoning at Kang Eun-Yeong.
After letting go of her mic, she stared at her older brother in a daze before slowly nodding away.
While making a sorrowful face similar to a cow being dragged to an abattoir, she trudged toward Kang Jin-Ho.

He reached out, grabbed his little sister ’s hand, and began dragging her away while breaking through the crowd.
The duo eventually disappeared into the back of the crowd and out of the camera ’s frame.

“T-t-that crazy boy?!” Even Hwang Jeong-Hu jumped up and cried out in shock.

’Well, it ’s over. ’

Jo Gyu-Min could only chuckle despondently.

No matter her story, there wouldn ’t be a stage willing to accept a singer who had walked away in the middle of a performance.
Even worse, Kang Eun-Yeong was ’under scrutiny ’ for that rumor involving her romance as well.
It no longer mattered what kind of press release her talent agency would release, as the industry would not be so understanding of her situation anymore.

Jo Gyu-Min shifted his focus away from the screen, hurriedly switching to a different scene and yanked out his phone.
Something major had gone down, so he figured that social media should be blowing up right about now.
While ardently praying to the heavens, Jo Gyu-Min typed ’Kang Se-Ah ’ into the search engine.

– During Kang Se-Ah ’s performance, a man suddenly appeared! She got dragged away! Lolololol

– Turn on the TV! Hurry! This incident will go down in history! Kang Se-Ah gave up in the middle of a broadcast and went down to the audience section!

– Who is that dude? Her BF?

– Kang Se-Ah disappeared with a man in the audience, but instead of getting pissed, I ’m feeling defeated from how good-looking he was…

Every time Jo Gyu-Min refreshed the feed, new posts he hadn ’t seen before popped up so quickly that the previous posts were no longer visible after getting buried.
In the blink of an eye, Kang Se-Ah ’s name became the most-searched topic.
Jo Gyu-Min watched this play out as a despondent expression slowly formed on his face.
He leaned back on the couch and chuckled weakly.

Well, Jo Gyu-Min already knew about Kang Jin-Ho ’s tendency to lose all objectivity when it came to matters involving his family.
Even then, he did not expect that young man to cause a major incident like this—live on air, no less!

Jo Gyu-Min suddenly recalled all those sleepless nights and hardships he had to face while molding Kang Se-Ah into a top star.
He sneakily wiped away at the corners of his moistening eyes.

Hwang Jeong-Hu asked in a stupefied voice, “So, hmm…
What ’s going to happen now, Gyu-Min?”

“Chairman, sir…”


“…Sir, our Jaegyeong Uni has a special admission screening.
I think we need to use that to enroll that girl in our university for the time being.
For her to find a new career, I fear the minimum she has to do is to further her studies.”

“Mmm…” Hwang Jeong-Hu groaned heavily after understanding the severity of this situation from Jo Gyu-Min ’s ’explanation ’.

“And, well, they created this mess, so I ’m sure Mister Jin-Ho will deal with it.” Jo Gyu-Min told himself that, so he could maintain a grip on himself, but his eyes opened even wider at the new post appearing on his phone.

– Hey, someone who went there to do a vlog is now doing a live stream! The dude dragging Kang Se-Ah away is having an interview with the entertainment reporters! Here ’s the link!

– Wow, it ’s for real?! They are really interviewing Kang Se-Ah and the dude dragging her away!

Jo Gyu-Min ’s shaking finger tapped on the link.
The phone ’s browser opened an internet streaming platform, then a black screen appeared, followed by the familiar buffering circle.

“…P-please, dear lord.
Don ’t do it.”

It would already be so difficult to fix what just transpired live on air.
But this…

‘Those crazy reporters! What are they thinking, trying to shove cameras and mics in front of Kang Jin-Ho ’s way! Don ’t interview him or anything like that, you foools!’

Unfortunately, Jo Gyu-Min ’s ardent prayer was ignored.
The buffering finally ended, and the black screen changed to a chaotic scene of Kang Jin-Ho and Kang Se-Ah, currently surrounded by a gaggle of reporters.

“What the f*ck?! It ’s just a simple live music show, so why are there so many bloody reporters present in that place?!” Jo Gyu-Min cried out as spittle flew out of his mouth.

Objectively speaking, it would be weirder for no reporters to show up at a live gig where a top idol mired in a dating rumor was supposed to perform.
However, Jo Gyu-Min was too far gone to think objectively at the moment.

The voices of the reporters surrounding Kang Jin-Ho could be heard so vividly in the stream.

[What is your relationship with Miss Kang Se-Ah?]

[I ’m her Oppa.] Kang Jin-Ho replied in a very forthright manner.

The resident Kang Jin-Ho expert—Jo Gyu-Min—quickly read the young man ’s expression and interpreted it as ’why are all these annoying people bothering me? Still, I shall answer you if you ask me politely enough. ’

[When you say oppa, do you mean you ’re dating her?]

[No, I ’m her real Oppa.]


The reporters must have been hoping for a tale of romance to end all romance just then, judging from the disappointed sighs coming from everywhere.

[What was your reason for taking away Miss Kang Se-Ah in the middle of a live broadcast?]

Kang Jin-Ho cocked an eyebrow as he replied.
[A wet-behind-the-ears kid is already the subject of salacious gossip, so I ’m taking her away to verify the truth.]

[That sounds like Miss Kang Se-Ah ’s family had no idea about her dating rumors, then! If it turns out to be true, what will happen?]

[She will retire.]

[I ’m sorry?!] The reporter asking that question gasped in shock.

Retirement?! Who in their right mind would retire from the industry just because one gossip piece about their love life had gotten published?!

However, Kang Jin-Ho remained utterly resolute.
With an expression of a man repeating an irrefutable truth, he replied in a firm voice.
[A student her age should be focusing on her studies right about now, but she insisted on her dream of becoming an entertainer.
So, as a family, we supported her choice.
However, if all she wants to do is date some guys instead of performing on stage, we might as well force her back into studying.
If the story of her dating someone turns out to be true, she will retire immediately.]

The reporters sensed the unyielding, inalienable truth in Kang Jin-Ho ’s voice, then hurriedly turned their attention over to Kang Eun-Yeong.

[M-Miss Kang Eun-Yeong! Your older brother has made his statement.
However, will you really retire if your family insists you must?]

Kang Eun-Yeong making a tearful face cried out, [No, wait! That ’s all a pack of lies! That never happened!]

[If! If by any chance! Even though it won ’t happen, hypothetically, will you do it?]

[…Well, if they say I must jump, I gotta ask how high, right?] Kang Eun-Yeong said some things that an idol shouldn ’t say, but the reporters didn ’t have the mental leeway to point that out right now.

[Miss Kang Se-Ah!!! What you said just now, are you being serious?!]

At this point, Kang Jin-Ho was frowning deeply.
[I don ’t quite understand what you all want from us, but…!]


[This is a family matter.
Once a family comes to a decision, the family members will abide by it, that is all.
And as a family, we shall discuss a way forward and make a decision accordingly.
However, my sister is still a student.
If we find out that she has been involved in matters that don ’t match the scope of her identity as a student, we shall definitely make her retire.
That will be all.

Jo Gyu-Min turned off the stream and accessed the portal site once more.
And loud guffaw exploded from his mouth after confirming the current no.1 most-searched-for topic, which was ’Chad ’.

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