The Trashy PD Has to Survive as an Idol Episode 167

Episode 167

Kang Ichae was acting strange.

“Ichae~ come eat. I bought your favorite hamburgers!!”


No matter how much I tempted him with food.

“Hyung, hyung! Do you want to play a game? I charged it for you. Jiwon-hyung said Ichae-hyung could take a break!”


Even if I shoved that crazy game he used to rave about to his face.

“Kang Ichae, uh… want to go for a walk?”


Whatever I tried, it was in vain.

“…Shall we go practice instead?”


At least the mention of practice got some reaction out of him.

Seong Jiwon looked at Kang Ichae with a worried expression.

Even during our intense practice for the final competition, Kang Ichae suddenly ran forward, turning off the song while declaring it hideous.

“No, no, no, no, this isn’t it!”


What exactly was “isn’t it”?

We were doing well, weren’t we?

Everyone looked at Kang Ichae in shock as he threw himself to the floor of the practice room and rolled around.

“Ah!! I’m so worried about myself, I think I’m going crazy!!”



[Has he finally lost it?]

My thoughts exactly.

“…Should we just leave him be for now?”

“Yeah, maybe…”

There was a new pattern added to his list of behaviors, aside from wilting and then exploding.

He would lock himself in the company’s recording studio or our room, headphones on, with bloodshot eyes, constantly working on something.

Occasionally, he would even start crying.

“I’m so tired… I want to cry…”


I could swear there wasn’t a single tear on the keyboard.

After silently observing him for a few days, we quietly left Kang Ichae in our room and went into an emergency meeting in the living room.

While everyone was whispering with their voices low, I pointed toward Kang Ichae’s room with my thumb and said loudly,

“Does anyone know why he’s like this?”

“Didn’t we agree to keep our voices down?”

Kim Seonghyeon looked puzzled.

But seeing him struggling for attention like that, it seemed only right to meet his expectations.

Scanning the members, Jeong Dajun suddenly raised his hand.

“Dajun! It’s because he lost in the promotion match, isn’t it?”

“Seonghyeon. Is now really the time for games? And Kang Ichae, even if he loses, he just laughs it off. That doesn’t seem right.”

Everyone quieted down at Kim Seonghyeon’s response.

Then, Seong Jiwon quietly raised his hand and said,

“Jiwon. He’s dissatisfied with his skills.”




“…Right, sorry. Guess I was wrong.”

Seong Jiwon muttered sheepishly, but something still nagged at me.

“When did he start acting like this?”

“Two days ago… precisely 47 hours and 23 minutes ago!”

“That was around the time we were shooting, wasn’t it?”

Almost at the end of our shoot.

Recalling the timeline, I sighed.

“Stay here for a second.”


This was definitely Lim Hyeonsu’s doing.

“I’ve never seen Kang Ichae say he’s having a hard time before.”

“Should we try playing Halli Galli for a change of pace?”[1]

“Dajun, something other than what you want.”

I stepped out of the living room onto the balcony to make a call, leaving the members still buzzing about Kang Ichae.

After a few rings, the call connected.

The cute, pretty, gorgeous genius composer Lim Hyeonsu at your service~.”


I think I understood why Kang Ichae got along so well with her from the start.


Even though I just sighed without saying a word, Lim Hyeonsu seemed to guess where this was going and laughed cheerily.

– “Hey~, how’s Ichae?”

“What did you do to Kang Ichae?”

– “I just sent a track to our student.”

Student, my foot.

Desperate times called for desperate measures, and it was me who brought up the main issue.

“Just sending a track made Kang Ichae like this? There must be something more.”

– “What’s got into Kang Ichae?”

Sensing my irritation reaching MAX, Lim Hyeonsu added with a still laughter-laced tone,

– “I told you. There’s this piece among those I haven’t released yet that turned out really well, so I let Kang Ichae listen to a bit of it. That’s all.”

But what on earth made her confident enough to send it to Kang Ichae?

Lim Hyeonsu usually worked with big-name agencies, especially producing for idols from WH Entertainment.

There was a chance that one of High Five’s songs would be chosen for this final competition as well.

“Could it really be a High Five song?”

Despite Lim Hyeonsu’s usually clear distinction between personal and professional, I wondered if she might have done so.

When I asked, I heard a snicker over the phone.

– “It’s not that. Do you think I’m crazy?”

“Why would you send an unreleased song to Kang Ichae?”

– “Why? Are you afraid Kang Ichae might plagiarize? Hey, do you think he’s me or what?”


Lim Hyeonsu, really…

– “I’ve washed my hands off it, for real. I got a bit obsessed for a while there. Pathetic, really… I lost all my dignity.”

“Your dignity was gone a long time ago.”

– “You bastard.”

But it was hard to imagine Kang Ichae, of all people, getting gloomy just because a song was exceptionally good.

“Please, do something about this. We can’t use him if he’s like this just before the final competition.”

Lim Hyeonsu burst into laughter.

– “Ahaha, you really don’t get it, huh?”

“What don’t I get?”

– “Hey, can’t you guess why he’s so down right now? Nobody can help him. That’s something only Kang Ichae can solve.”


– “To be honest, the track turned out really good. It’s gonna be bittersweet for Kang Ichae.”

“…Kang Ichae?”

– “There aren’t many who understand my songs like he does. The more you understand, the broader the range of emotions you feel.”

A composer’s world, was it something like that?

I didn’t quite understand, but after hearing Lim Hyeonsu’s explanation, things seemed a bit clearer.

So, it seemed like Kang Ichae was in this state because he felt the limits of his talent after hearing Lim Hyeonsu’s track.

What was going on was roughly something along those lines.

Rich people problems.

Unable to comprehend such nonsense, I sighed again.

“So why did you send it?”

– “He’s my student.”

“Fine, but if it turned out well, you should’ve just been happy by yourself. Why send it to Kang Ichae?”

– “Wow. Seo Hoyun, pretending not to care, but your arm is twisted towards you.”

I hesitated a bit, thinking of a time when Lim Hyeonsu sounded overly depressed on the phone.

– “Pfft.”

Obviously, Lim Hyeonsu, with her sharp mind and quick wit, would have figured it out.

– “Hey, Seo Hoyun. Have you gone soft?”


– “I’m so proud. It feels like I’ve tamed a street cat with no manners. Ah, sorry. I meant to say, a rabbit.”

“Are you joking right now?”

I could hear a faint tapping sound from the phone, likely Lim Hyeonsu hitting her desk with a cigarette pack.

– “Why did I send it? Hoyun, you know. I’ve unwittingly become Salieri. Kang Ichae feels it, and he’s fucking watching me.”


– “But have I ever been like that? Have I, at some point, believed that I was the best?”

Lim Hyeonsu muttered bitterly.

– “And then, I faced a massive reality check.”

She spoke with conviction.

– “He’s not going to end up like me. No, he shouldn’t. That’s why I’m guiding him to the right direction before it’s too late.”

To make the tough road she had already traveled a bit easier for him.

To correct Kang Ichae’s arrogance and to motivate him to not settle but to strive for more.

That was why she guided him.

“Even so, right before the final competition, really?”

– “Ahaha, sorry for being a bit mean. But isn’t it true that heroes are born out of adversity? That’s what they say in comics, right?”

Adversity, my ass.

Amused by my reaction, Lim Hyeonsu continued in a sing-song voice.

– “It took me over half a year in California to recover. Sharing love and all. I’m really curious how long it’ll take for Kang Ichae~.”

“You just wanted to go on a vacation. Don’t use someone else’s member as an excuse.”

– “Seo Hoyun doesn’t know love, so he’s being all prickly~?”


Fuck, that damn California.

As I listened to Lim Hyeonsu, fully recovered and teasing away, and reminisced about my hard times here in Korea, I couldn’t help but rub the back of my neck.

– “I’ll buy you a drink later, okay? Don’t be mad, my Hoyun.”

“I’m already mad.”

And without hearing the rest, I abruptly hung up the phone.

Habitually fumbling in my pocket, I let my hand fall and breathed out a heavy sigh.


Mozart and Salieri, my ass.

This was… well.

“This is exactly what they call self-improvement.”

But there was something Lim Hyeonsu didn’t know.

That this guy was “Kang Ichae.”


There was not much time left until the final competition.

After hanging up the phone and organizing my thoughts, I decided to get things sorted quickly.

“Kang Ichae. Let’s talk.”


Entering the room, I took off Kang Ichae’s headset.

Almost lying back in his chair, Kang Ichae was slouching like a wilted flower.

At my signal, Kim Seonghyeon quickly got Kang Ichae up on his feet.

“Why~? Am I a teenager? Leave me alone…”

Despite the nonsense, he seemed to lack energy.

Seong Jiwon seemed worried as he looked around.

“I heard from the Composer.”


A spark of spirit flashed in Kang Ichae, who had been slumped to the side.

I dragged a small folding chair over and sat in front of Kang Ichae.

“What’s the problem?”

After keeping his mouth shut for a while, Kang Ichae mumbled with his head hung low.

“…I don’t want to do it.”


At that moment, I reflexively turned my eyes toward Kim Seonghyeon.

Kim Seonghyeon was also looking at me.

– You too?

– Yeah.

Seong Jiwon, who was raised by his grandmother, and Jeong Dajun, an only child, were deep in thought with serious expressions.

However, Kim Seonghyeon and I, who both had siblings, immediately understood where Kang Ichae’s reaction was coming from.

Right now, Kang Ichae was acting like a spoiled brat.

He was throwing a fit.

It was of the same vein as not wanting to go to school, not wanting to go to taekwondo practice, or not wanting to play the recorder for tomorrow’s performance assessment.

It was that tone and expression people have when they were annoyed by something minor but couldn’t quite put their finger on it, so they start complaining.

Kim Seonghyeon’s expression suggested he had come to a similar conclusion.

We nodded to each other as our eyes met.

– Let’s go.

– Yeah.

There was a special measure for times like these.


I said, crossing my legs and propping my chin on my hand.

“Then don’t do it.”


“If it’s so tough, you shouldn’t do it. You’ve worked hard.”

No matter how young, they clearly knew they were acting out and acting improperly.

So, when suddenly the other party switched stance and agreed with them, they didn’t know how to react.

Looking at Kang Ichae now reminded me of a young Seo Hojin.

He had cried and fussed for days not wanting to go to school, but when I told him he didn’t have to go if he hated it so much, he sniffled and reluctantly went to school.

Later, he returned home with a sheepish look, holding a Pikachu pork cutlet.

He was cute back then.

Ah, memories.

Anyway, he was definitely throwing a tantrum, but there was something else.

This is Kang Ichae.

The guy in front of me wasn’t ten-year-old Seo Hojin, but the incredibly perceptive Kang Ichae.

He probably guessed that I knew he was exaggerating his tantrum.

He even glanced at me earlier.

After throwing the bait and waiting silently for a reaction, Kang Ichae blinked.


And then, seemingly truly flustered, he looked at me, having forgotten he was in the middle of throwing a fit.

That’s when I was sure.

This kid…

He wasn’t flustered because I told him to quit but because he thought his act had fooled me.

It was too obvious even to him that he was exaggerating.

By this time, Seong Jiwon had roughly grasped the situation and was wearing a light smile, while only Jeong Dajun brightened up, thinking Kang Ichae’s mood had improved upon seeing his expression change.

But it wouldn’t do to just stop here.

Kim Seonghyeon stepped in at the right time to lend some strength.

“It’s. ok. ay. I. chae.”


“I. res. pect. you. too.”

Kim Seonghyeon, with an acting skill of E-, was almost like an old model of Alexa.

Jeong Dajun also looked at him strangely because of the way his words were cut off.


Kang Ichae couldn’t keep his mouth shut for a moment, then brushed his hair back and let out a hollow laugh.

“…I was totally fooled. I forgot for a moment that you’re an actor.”

Kang Ichae grumbled at me.

I responded with the pretty answer he was expecting.

“Here, have some attention.”

“……I sometimes really get annoyed by you, hyung.”

“Only sometimes? I appreciate it.”

Kang Ichae pouted his lips and propped his chin with both hands, still seemingly wanting to act spoiled toward the other members as he tapped the floor with his toes.

“Well, it’s just… it’s the first time I’ve felt such a barrier after listening to Composer’s music…”

That statement was likely true.

However, the Kang Ichae I knew—not that I thought that was all there was to him—had such a strong personal philosophy that, even if he hit a slump, as long as he and the people he cared about were happy, that was enough.

So, I judged that he wouldn’t let his daily life be shaken up to this extent.

Also, having unintentionally seen various sides of Kang Ichae, the alien feeling emanating from him now was strikingly noticeable to me.

If you think about what happened in Japan, this is nothing.

If he truly felt overwhelmed, he’d likely shut down instead, and the atmosphere around him would completely change.

That means he still has some leeway.

Watching him still pretending to be gloomy, I was torn between playing along to cheer him up or just ignoring him, when Jeong Dajun moved closer to Kang Ichae.

“Ichae-hyung, you know.”


“It’s better not to care about others.”


We all looked at Jeong Dajun with shocked faces.

“I felt it too, this time. During the performance competition… I was so immersed that I couldn’t see anything else.”

Under our collective gaze, the maknae’s face turned a bit red, seemingly embarrassed.

“So, hyung, don’t compare yourself to others. Just like you always say, what’s important is if you’re having fun.”

He really got told by the maknae.

It seemed Jeong Dajun’s sincere advice got through to the previously petulant Kang Ichae.

He was silent for a while.

I had to hold back my desire to snicker from the sidelines.

After a delay, a small answer came.


Jeong Dajun smiled a bit.

Anyway, Lim Hyeonsu was right.

He truly felt a barrier in himself.

“Let’s eat.”

The rest was up to Kang Ichae himself.

Just as Jeong Dajun had done.


With a sigh, Kang Ichae trudged along and then, sitting at the table, he reluctantly started to eat the meal prepared for him.

Eventually, he cleared three bowls before heading back to his room.

With no hint of a smile, he busily scribbled something on paper with a pen and, only after several hours, finally turned on his laptop.

He didn’t close the screen until the sun rose and set again.

[1] See for a very good explanation of this game.

The Trashy PD Has to Survive as an Idol

The Trashy PD Has to Survive as an Idol

Score 9.8
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: , Artist:
[Congratulations Seo Hoyun! You have been selected as a player in the Unknown Idol Tycoon.] The good-for-nothing PD, who is criticized by everyone, becomes a unknown idol in a parallel world. Only his younger sibling remembers him. To return to the original world, he must become a top idol and clear the game! “…Quest accepted.” “Are you crazy?” “Don’t we need to eat and live?” His specialty is blackmailing, his hobby is persuasion. The survival story of the unscrupulous PD-turned-idol who will stop at nothing!
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