“Why are you asking about my oppa?” Kang Eun-Yeong replied in a somber voice.

That one question forced Choi Yeon-Ha to revise many of her thoughts.
First of all, Kang Eun-Yeong ’s acting ability seemed to be even better than ’pretty good ’.

’Even her manner of speech has changed. ’ Choi Yeon-Ha inwardly noted.

The kind and polite girl from a minute ago who sounded so smitten with Choi Yeon-Ha was now nowhere to be found, replaced by a brash, ill-mannered brat.

If Kang Eun-Yeong ’s previous behavior was all a facade, then she should no longer be considered as ’just a pretty-good junior ’ working in the same profession as Choi Yeon-Ha.
No, this girl would be a heavenly-gifted top actor of her generation.
With Kang Eun-Yeong ’s looks and her acting chops, it seemed the entertainment industry was about to meet its next superstar.

The second thing Choi Yeon-Ha noted was…

’This girl, she is…
a brocon. ’

All Choi Yeon-Ha did was display a smidgen of interest in Kang Jin-Ho, yet Kang Eun-Yeong started glaring right back like a hissing cat.
She got so agitated that the mask she had been wearing all this time disappeared in an instant!

“Goodness me! I ’ve never met a guy who treated me that way before!” Choi Yeon-Ha suddenly blurted out something unexpected, causing Kang Eun-Yeong to frown.
“If that ’s not it, mm…
Ah! I ’ve never met a guy as handsome as him before! He ’s my prince!”

“…What are you even talking about?” Kang Eun-Yeong quickly ran out of patience and asked for clarification.

Choi Yeon-Ha burst out laughing.
Her laughter could be interpreted as a little flippant, but it was still enough to lessen Kang Eun-Yeong ’s wariness.
Choi Yeon-Ha ’s laughter softened to a grin.
“I ’ve been thinking about which of the two is more cliche.
If this was a manhwa, which of the two should I go for to grab the reader ’s attention?”

“I guess…
the former?”

“Mm, I see.
How unfortunate, though.
This is reality, and I ’m not a character from a manhwa, either.
And I ’m not young and naive enough to fall head over heels from our first meeting.
Don ’t you agree?”

“…” Kang Eun-Yeong was already back to maintaining a neutral face.

Although it was obvious what Kang Eun-Yeong was doing, Choi Yeon-Ha still waited patiently as a courtesy toward her fellow woman.
And she had no plans to criticize Kang Eun-Yeong for putting up a facade while talking to her, either.
Well, Choi Yeon-Ha was also guilty of the same behavior while hanging out with her seniors, after all.

Kang Eun-Yeong calmly muttered, “You still haven ’t answered my previous questions, you know?”

“Oh, that? I thought it ’d be a pity.”

“…I ’m sorry?”

Choi Yeon-Ha grinned brightly.
“His looks are too good to let go, you see?”

“…Oh.” Kang Eun-Yeong inadvertently nodded away.
She couldn ’t help but agree, even though she still hadn ’t figured out the true intent behind what Choi Yeon-Ha said.

“Miss Se-Ah, do you know just how many top-notch actors exist in South Korea alone? Even after excluding those who dominate the Chungmuro scene, this country is still littered with incredible stage actors capable of completely fooling you.
Compared to them, someone like me should just bite her tongue and kill herself.”[1]

“Eiii, senior.
That ’s too much exaggeration.”

“I ’m being serious, though.” Choi Yeon-Ha shrugged her shoulders.
“You think I ’m a good actress? To tell you the truth, I don ’t even know the basics of acting.
In that case, do you know why people say I ’m a convincing actress?”

Kang Eun-Yeong muttered, “…If you say it ’s because of your looks, is it okay for me to get disappointed beforehand?”

“My bad for disappointing you, but that is the truth,” Choi Yeon-Ha spoke ruefully.
“There must be over a hundred actresses better than me in Korea alone.
However, there aren ’t that many with better looks than me, you see? That ’s why I ended up as an actor ’s actor in the public ’s view, even though all I can do is read and memorize the script a little.
Do you understand what I ’m trying to say here?”

“No, not really.”

“Listen, being good-looking is an incredible blessing.
A powerful talent.
At least, in this profession, of course.
And your older brother, he—Well, he has that talent.
He sucks, but people still want to see his face again.”

“Hmm…” Kang Eun-Yeong groaned before gulping a mouthful of a half-cold Americano.
She then put the cup down and stared weirdly at Choi Yeon-Ha.
“I think I know where you ’re going with this…
However, isn ’t this the job of talent agencies? Senior, are you thinking of going independent and opening an agency?”

“What if I told you that this is coming from purely the heart of an actress who thinks such a talent not getting a second chance is too much of a loss for this industry?”

“I see, senior! I ’ve always believed that you are a kind person and a wonderful example for everyone! Goodness me~! You ’re exactly the same as my imagination!”

“…Okay, okay.
That ’s enough.” Choi Yeon-Ha put on a cramped smile on her face.
It seemed that this younger girl had decided to drop the act altogether at this point.
In that case, as her senior, Choi Yeon-Ha should respond in kind.
“There is a new big-screen project I ’m involved in, but its male lead hasn ’t been found yet.
And I ’d love to see your older brother getting that role.”

Kang Eun-Yeong ’s eyes widened.
“Huh? Even though he sucks at acting?”

Choi Yeon-Gi grinned refreshingly.
“That ’s not gonna be a problem.”

“Wait, you can ’t be thinking about dubbing his line again? That ’s only possible because his dialogue was short, you know? Dubbing all of his scenes would feel so unnatural and weird, right?”

“No, it ’s not that.” Choi Yeon-Ha continued to grin.
What she said next left Kang Eun-Yeong completely flabbergasted, causing her jaw to hit the floor.
Anyone who heard it would think that the role was custom-made for Kang Jin-Ho.
“The male lead can ’t speak.”

“Crazy son of a—” Kang Eun-Yeong couldn ’t control herself and spat out an expletive in front of her senior.
She sucked in a deep breath, then continued, “I can deliver the message to my oppa.
However, I must warn you beforehand that this is all a waste of time since that guy is totally, completely, and utterly uninterested in stuff like acting.”

Choi Yeon-Ha leaned back.
“If casting someone was so easy, every single filmmaker in Korea would have been successful.”

“This is waaaay tougher than that, senior.”

“Let me worry about that, Miss Se-Ah…
No, Miss Eun-Yeong.
All you have to do is give me his contact number.”

A quick look at tinyurl.com/2p9emv8w will leave you more fulfilled.

Kang Eun-Yeong crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes.
“Can I think about this?”

Choi Yeon-Ha silently nodded, her gaze still fixed on the younger woman.

Kang Eun-Yeong grew impatient from that gaze.
“What is it this time?”

”Well, it feels like you ’ve grown more comfortable around me. ”

“You mean, I ’ve got a bad personality? It ’s your fault, senior.
I wouldn ’t be like this if only you hadn ’t said those things about my oppa.”

Choi Yeon-Ha grinned softly.
“Still, you ’re not as bad-tempered as I heard.
Because of the rumors, I thought you ’d be like a thug, you know?”

Kang Eun-Yeong blinked her eyes.
“Rumors? What rumors?”

“I heard you had some trouble with Ra-En?”


“The Voice.”

“Aaaah, those idiots?” Kang Eun-Yeong nodded as if she had finally figured it out.

“The story about Ra-En being unable to get a booking anywhere while getting investigated for tax evasion has reached everyone ’s ears by now, you know? Before that, though, didn ’t you obliterate Starwiz before signing up with Code? All sorts of rumors about you being the real hidden power in the idol industry are doing the rounds, you know.
The way I hear it, you even have a huge corporation backing you, too.
So, I figured your real personality would be totally crazy.”

“Ah, so that ’s what it was.” Kang Eun-Yeong responded as if none of this was news to her.
Such rumors and gossip spreading around wasn’t good, but she knew that worrying about every single one of them would be a pointless waste of her mental energy.

Choi Yeon-Ha leaned closer.
“Is it true, though?”

“What is?”

“The rumor about Jaegyeong backing you.”

“Is that important?” Kang Eun-Yeong asked nonchalantly.

‘What, you thought it ’s not important?’

Choi Yeon-Ha was somewhat taken aback by that reply.

Kang Eun-Yeong had no idea.
She had no idea that some idols—no matter how hard they trained and worked behind the scenes—would never enjoy the glow of the spotlight after their debut.
So many prospects possessing the triple threat of pretty faces, great voices and convincing acting chops would never become popular for some reason and disappear into obscurity.
This was when the importance of ’background ’ would come into play.

Some idols would never get big even if a major agency pushed them hard into the spotlight.
That was still a thousand; no, a million times better than those hopefuls who didn ’t even get the push from their own agencies.

“What should I do here, though? If I ’m being honest, I have no connection to Jaegyeong at all, you see?” Kang Eun-Yeong faked an apologetic smile.

“…Ah, is that so? Okay, then.” Choi Yeon-Ha backed off, evidently not willing to dig in if the other party was unwilling.

Kang Eun-Yeong smirked.
“I ’m being honest, senior.
Jaegyeong doesn ’t have ties with me, but with my oppa.”

“…!” Choi Yeon-Ha ’s eyes gleamed softly just then.


Kang Jin-Ho had nothing to do.

That was all Jo Gyu-Min ’s fault, though, as he had taken over all the tasks that any aspiring business owner should be doing: such as choosing the franchise, calculating the potential cost of the interior decoration, finding a good location, and even deciding how much money to invest.

This was already distorting Chairman Hwang Jeong-Hu ’s original intention for making Kang Jin-Ho run a business, but Jo Gyu-Min knew.
He knew that letting Kang Jin-Ho handle such tasks would lead to the utter destruction of the store even before they had the chance to figure out the young man ’s business acumen!

So, Jo Gyu-Min resolved to create the best store he could and then let Kang Jin-Ho loose on it.
Which meant Kang Jin-Ho was currently…

“Dear customer, here ’s your espresso.”

“…I-is this really espresso?”

“Yes, dear customer.”

“But, uh… This cup is pretty small, isn ’t it?”

“Yes, it is, customer.”

“I-it ’s not only this cafe, right?” The panicking male customer stared at the coffee cup that was so small it had to belong to a toy picnic set and hurriedly looked around.
As for Kang Jin-Ho…

’Why can ’t they differentiate between espresso and americano? ’

That male customer wasn ’t the first person to confuse the two.
And it made Kang Jin-Ho wonder if he should include pictures of the different coffees on the menu board.
While still debating the merit of that move, he bowed to the customer and turned around to leave.
That male customer would soon take a sip of the coffee, and then…

“Ahk?! Why is it so bitter?! Eh?!”

Just as he suspected, Kang Jin-Ho slowly shook his head and headed back to the counter.

Obviously, Kang Yu-Hwan wouldn ’t leave Kang Jin-Ho alone now that his son had found himself with some—free time.
Kang Jin-Ho was thinking about going back to the delivery warehouse to work part-time there until his store was ready to launch, but Kang Yu-Hwan was faster.
The Kang patriarch dragged his eldest child into his cafe and forcibly made him work.

’This is inefficient, though… ’ 

Kang Jin-Ho shook his head.
This cafe was set up as self-service, so why was he made to serve the customers like this?

“Oppa! Can we take a selfie together?” A female customer waved at him.

“…Didn ’t we take one earlier in the morning?” Kang Jin-Ho asked back in an unwilling voice.

“But! The sun is so much higher now, you know! The lighting condition is perfect right now!”

“…I see.
I ’m coming.” Kang Jin-Ho sighed deeply and headed over to the table.

The female customer excitedly chatted with him.
“Oppa, why haven ’t you been coming to this cafe lately?”

“I have other businesses to attend to, you see.”

“Even so! Look how deserted the cafe has become after you ’ve stopped coming to work, oppa! It ’s gotten lonely here, you know? Even the folks I used to see every day stopped coming here.
Please, can you come to work more often?”

’…That problem would be solved by the dear customer not coming here anymore. ’

Kang Jin-Ho groaned softly under his breath.
This cafe wasn ’t even a zoo, so why would anyone come here to look at someone?

Still, his recent absence from the cafe seemed to have had an effect, judging from the lower number of patrons, but that only made it nicer for him to work.

“Jin-Ho, hold on!” Kang Yu-Hwan suddenly called out to his son.

“Yes, Father?” Kang Jin-Ho walked up to the counter to see what was up, only to be handed a slice of sweet-looking cake.

Kang Yu-Hwan grinned and pointed at the female customer.
“Give this to her.
It ’s on the house.”

“…I ’m sorry?” Kang Jin-Ho blinked his eyes, wondering what kind of cafe would give away a slice of cake for free.

“That miss has been coming to our cafe whether you were here or not! So, give her the cake and let her take a ton of selfies with you.
And chat to her lots, too!”


An iron-fisted dictatorship was a terrible thing.
While suffering from the tyranny of his own father, Kang Jin-Ho reflected on his past self for ruling the demon cult with an iron fist.

’I ’m sorry, Azure Demon… ’

If only he knew how things would turn out, maybe he should have listened to his subordinate more closely.
Maybe, he shouldn ’t have ignored the ardent pleading of Azure Demon back when he had decided to distribute the Records of Asura to anyone who wanted it.

Kang Jin-Ho brought the cake over to the table.
“Here, dear customer.
It ’s on the house.”

“Oh, my! Thank you so much!”

“You seem to enjoy our cafe often, miss?”

“Yes, I do.
I usually stop by later during the evening, but from yesterday, I started coming a little early.”

“Mm? It seems you have other engagements during the evening?”

“Oh, no.
It ’s not that, but…” A hint of anxiety and worry could be spied on the female customer ’s expression.

Kang Jin-Ho didn ’t miss that.
“Did something happen?”

“…Haven ’t you heard? A co-ed was murdered around these parts two nights ago.”

“Murdered, you say?” Kang Jin-Ho furrowed his brow.

Apparently, she was killed on her way back home.
And I heard that the state of her body was so gruesome, too.
Everyone has been raising a fuss about a psycho showing up, you know?”

“Hmm…” Kang Jin-Ho turned his head and scanned the interior of the cafe.

’I was wondering why we have fewer customers, and that was why… ’

With such a grisly crime, it was no surprise that fewer people decided to move about in the streets.

Kang Jin-Ho looked back at the female customer.
“I ’m sure the police are looking into the matter.”

“Even then, it ’s still scary, you know? But I thought I should at least catch a glimpse of you, and that ’s why I ’ve decided to come early since yesterday.

Kang Jin-Ho looked at her with an unreadable gaze, then turned around to face the counter.


“…Can you add a free cup of coffee as well?”

It seemed that Kang Jin-Ho was also human.

“Chungmuro” refers to an avenue and the area surrounding it located in Jung-gu, Seoul, which is known as the street of culture, artists and the film industry since the 60s.

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