Sora cooled off a bit and her eyelids began to close. At that moment, Hayeon walked in with a small box.
“Sweet donuts are here…!”
She spotted Sora lying in the middle of the room and her face fell. It wasn’t easy to avoid Sora who didn’t approve of Hayeon getting close to Minho.
Hayeon moved forward, considering. But that wasn’t the only obstacle.
Hyorim who was sitting at the entrance looked up. Hayeon hesitated.
“Did you buy them for us?”
“Well that’s, unnie.”
Hyorim’s eyes glinted at Hayeon who didn’t know what to do. The man who Hayeon wanted to take care of was deep into the question sheet and not even paying attention to the entrance.
“Just for you? You’ll get fat if you eat all those by yourself.”
It was a question asking ‘Are you only going to give them to Minho?’ The youngest Hayeon was a fox who experienced all sorts of things while filming Youth Journal but she was only a cub compared to the rest of the members. She had no choice but to take the bait from her older sister who was also her senior.
Hayeon had to answer even though she felt disappointed.
“No. We should all eat them together.”
“Of course, it’s only Hayeon who cares for us.”
Hyorim smiled connivingly.
Minho was someone Hyorim wanted to get close to as well. But she wasn’t able to really talk to him because he was part of the same company as Sora, who she wasn’t close with. And Hyorim couldn’t just sit and watch Hayeon proactively building a good impression during a time like that.
“Come on over, everyone. Hayeon bought donuts.”
Sora who was lying on the sofa stood up immediately when she heard this.
“Hayeon! How did you know my blood sugar was low?”
All the members of Girl Seven swarmed around and the donuts that were bought for Minho disappeared in an instant. Hayeon made a crying face after seeing only one left.
“Oh no, there’s only one left. If no one’s gonna eat it, then I’ll….”
Hayeon couldn’t say anything as she saw Hyorim go after even the last one.
“Hey, you took one already.”
A hand snatched the donut before Hyorim could grab it.
“You can’t maintain your figure if you eat too many sweets. Your stomach fat was in folds the last time I saw you on stage.”
“Sora, what nonsense are you saying!? If someone hears they’ll think it’s real. I haven’t gained any weight!”
Quick-witted Sora just scoffed ‘hmph’ at Hyorim. She handed Hayeon the donut she had snatched.
“Hayeon, take this to that oppa whose attention is totally distracted by something else.”
Hayeon’s complexion brightened in an instant as Sora gave her a wink as if to say she would let her off this time.
Hayeon took the donut and skipped over.
“Oppa, eat this.”
Hayeon handed over the donut she had barely managed to defend. Minho who was completely engrossed in preparing answers to the questions looked up saying, “Huh?”
“Woah, thanks. That looks great~”
Minho took a bite and exclaimed,
“Wow this is delicious!”
“Isn’t it? It’s a specialty donut here.”
Hayeon was so happy as she put out both her hands like a chipmunk. Minho thought that was cute so he unconsciously patted her head and turned his eyes back to the paper.
Hayeon’s face bloomed into a wide smile.
The broadcast station set was decorated with a farm village background.
All the members of Girl Seven held farming tools and got into poses of doing field work. Minho posed next to them but couldn’t easily adjust to the mood of their purposely exaggerated postures.
This was a desperate struggle to stand out for even one cut in one second.
‘Only those who suit it, suit it.’
It wasn’t easy to display poise with farming tools. They were also wearing their respective groups’ costumes rather than work pants like at Yulchiri, so it was even stranger.
They could hold a hoe like microphone and pretend to sing into it. But a farming tool like a shovel or pickax couldn’t really be used as a fashion item.
She lost at rock paper scissors so she was holding one of those items. There was nothing for it but to put the shovel on her shoulder and display the charisma of the party girl older sister. She scowled at Minho’s amusement.
“Oppa, you’re not gonna do it?”
“I will, I will.”
Minho shouldered the pack frame as if it were a brand name backpack and became a student going to school.
“The broadcast recording is starting.”
The lights brightened following the words of the floor director who was holding the film slate. A pleasant-looking man wearing round glasses stood in front of the set.
At the producer’s signal Saengmin Jo, a veteran reporter with 15 years of experience doing only celebrity news programs, began the introduction in a dramatic tone from off set.
“Hello viewers! How are you? I am here to meet the people who are actively involved with the shovel and hoe in the middle of Yulchiri.”
Of course this Yulchiri was just a set but everyone shamelessly got into their poses. Sora, never awkward when filming started, looked nonchalantly into the camera.
Minho was swept up by the mood and was composing his face as the reporter walked onto the set.
“Look at these proud Youth Farmers! Shall we meet them one at a time now?”
As the opening remarks finished, all of Girl Seven giggled and relaxed their poses. The interview started as Saengmin Jo settled next to them.
The first runner up was Sora who played the role of the leader of Girl Seven.
“You threw a fit of rage while working at the stable. Do think you’ll be able to continue as an idol? Don’t you think the male fans will desert you?”
“Then those fan would’ve left after the first episode when we were a wreck, don’t you think? The fans get angry with me these days. And worry more for me about my skin getting ruined while working in the sun.”
All the members agreed saying, “Right!” Hayeon cut in from the side.
“Look around. We live like people now!”
Sunhwa spoke as well.
“Those people who screen capture the broadcast and upload on the fan page. You’ll be automatically removed as soon as you post it so don’t do that. Please.”
The dam broke and everyone spoke at once. The audio began to overlap and Sora glared and spoke.
“It’s my turn! Be quiet!”
“We’re trying to help you, unnie.”
“You lose fans if you’re just angry all the time. Wrinkles, wrinkles! Stop frowning!”
Sora stabbed the shovel she was holding into the ground.
Saengmin Jo cheerfully laughed because of the chaotic interview. From his experience as a reporter he instinctively knew what scenes would actually be aired. And this scene was one of them so he laughed automatically.
“One of the aspects of Youth Journal is the outdoor filming. Is there anything especially difficult about that?”
“It feels like we’re learning all of the study of life here. We plant and harvest. We often experience the difficulties of country life that we could never feel on a stage.
Minho was admiring the answer that flowed out fluidly like water as Sora’s last question came.
“Punkyline is a group known to have a blunt and individualistic charm. Is there anything you want to say to your fans as the leader of Punkyline?”
“We’ll keep showing you our very best.”
Hayeon Gu and Sunhwa Kim leaned their heads in and made hearts with their hands.
“Why do you keep cutting in?!”
Sora pushed both girls’ cheeks away as if they were being annoying. They seemed very close so even a small quarrel made the laughter come naturally.
After this there were questions about each person’s current activities and future plans, following the order on the question sheet.
Minho was shocked as he watched. Sora’s turn had been easy. He couldn’t even begin to try to say one word because the girls were jumping into each other’s questions fighting for footage time to get on the air even a little bit more. It was a situation that just made him laugh and say ‘Wow~’ just as Sora had said.
‘I’ll just concentrate on my turn for now.’
Minho refrained from jumping in and being too chatty to get more footage. He discerned that going outside of his smart image would be a minus.
“By this time, the viewers might wonder about the only male standing with Girl Seven. He played a remarkable role at Yulchiri last week. Hello!”
It was finally his turn.
“Nice to meet you, viewers. I’m professional gamer, Minho Kang.”
Minho eloquently delivered his words of greeting standing in the most courteous posture. If he were famous the interview questions would be about his activities right away, but since he had only recently started appearing on the air, Minho had to start with his name.
“Professional gamer! That’s a very unique occupation. Can this be!?”
Saengmin opened his eyes wide in emphasis. It wasn’t one of the planned questions, but Minho realized it was on point and would get the attention of the viewers so he replied accordingly.
“Yes it’s true. It’s the dream job where you make a living by just playing games. That’s what everyone says. So I live everyday like a dream.”
Saengmin smiled slightly at his half joking reply.
“What I heard was you won a quiz show not too long ago? I heard it was almost impossible to win. You must be really smart.”
Quiz talk, his experience with Youth Journal, future broadcast plans and aspirations. This was the flow of questions.
“The quiz show……”
Only one or two answers would air if he gave an average reply and it wouldn’t be enough to leave a deep impression on the viewers.
‘Shall I answer after seeing the situation?’
Minho grabbed the pocket watch with his left hand that was hidden since he was standing next to Sora. Then he opened it.
Tick tock. Tick tock.
The watch gears interlocked and the flow of the interview for one minute passed by in Minho’s head.
“With my interest in various topics I was lucky enough to win. The Youth Journal producers knew that and came up with really hard questions.”
When he finished here, Hayeon moved forward to jump in.
[That’s right, we all almost went to dig out potatoes but Minho oppa…!]
He recalled Hayeon’s words that he heard first through the pocket watch.
‘This part edit out.’
Minho waited for the timing and calmly called Hayeon over.
Minho called Hayeon as if he was waiting to as soon as she walked forward. Hayeon flinched as soon as he called and answered “Yes?” and turned her head.
“Don’t you think you should refrain from spoiling this week’s broadcast?”
Hayeon stepped back, speechless, and Minho continued to answer the next question.
“I’m not used to farming but I had the chance to learn it. Since it was my first time on a variety show I studied thoroughly about what crops would be good for the field, and what should be planted and harvested in early July.
It was Hyorim who jumped in this time.
[We ate so well thanks to that. I didn’t know we would have to worry about our diets while eating a meal in Yulchiri. Mr. Minho, you’re the best! Come next time as well!]
It was immensely awkward as she forcefully butted in even though she wasn’t close to him. The chance of his whole interview getting cut out increased. Minho looked back at Sora and asked before Hyorim could open her mouth,
“What did we eat for the mission success that day?”
“Chuck eye steak. I gave up the matsutake mushrooms.”
“Either way, I thought Sora usually only pretends to eat, but it was really refreshing to see her sitting and patting her swollen belly. I thought this was the charm of Youth Journal.”
Sora glared at him right away and Minho chuckled. Hyorim bit her lip because she had lost the timing to jump in.
[Mr. Minho was frozen stiff in front of the stable not able to go in!]
“The stable was a new experience. I was really surprised to see the girls name the calves while they worked.”
[We thought you were the foreman when you started the tractor after we ate the watermelon.]
“The tractor? Well, you know, when you go visit your grandparents’ house during school break it feels like a fantasy world with the landscape so different from the city. I had the chance to operate a tractor in my adventures around the countryside.”
Minho continued the conversation, handling each member of Girl Seven as they jumped in.
Everything flowed smoothly from beginning to end. Saengmin was bursting with admiration for Minho who gave his own remarks leisurely even as he had Girl Seven in the palm of his hand.
“It feels like a prepared broadcast. I see why people say you’re smart and intelligent, Mr. Minho.”
“I’m flattered. I’m not to that extent.”
Sora smacked Minho’s back due to his modesty.
“What do you mean you’re not! You’ll know this week, but there’s nothing this oppa can’t do.”
“Really? I’m really excited about this week’s broadcast.”
Saengmin cheerfully laughed.
‘Whew, this is good enough.’
Minho completed the interview with a contented smile.
Minho didn’t really jump in during the group questions because they were mostly talking about Dojin Lee and Producer Na, insulting them behind their backs.
“This has been the interview of the Youth Journal team.”
The light dimmed after Saengmin’s closing remarks.
Sora complimented Minho on the interview as they came out of the set and headed towards the parking lot.
“Oh gosh. The fuss. Oppa you were really good.”
“The Girl Seven girls aren’t easy but I thought you were some professional MC leading a talk show.”
Minho was relieved to hear Sora’s words. He expected he would get a lot of airtime in the broadcast if his plot to differentiate himself by organizing the situation and not just chiming in with the others had worked.
“It’ll be a commotion when you start a permanent program. An uproar.”
“How do you know that?”
“I know right away when I see it.”
As they arrived at the parking lot, Minho turned to Sora and asked,
“I don’t have anything scheduled so I’m going back to the gaming house now. How about you?”
“I have a fan autograph event so I have to go to the company right away.”
“No rest for the weary. Good luck.”
Minho waved and walked away. But Sora hastily call him over.
“What about Manager Gong?”
“Huh? I came alone today. So Manager Gong could get a break.”
“Ah! I should’ve called, then.”
Sora looked disappointed.
“I sent the other members to go to the company and wait comfortably there. I was going to catch a ride but I guess I’ll take the taxi.”
“I’ll give you a ride if it’s to the company.”
Minho shrugged his shoulders. He’d been planning to enjoy a drive around with Bumpety Boo anyway.
The roof of the classic convertible opened.
Sora sat in the passenger’s seat and rolled the window up and down, up and down, as if she were fascinated to see a manual one.
“The car has some sort of charming ambiance even though it’s not the atmosphere to make you say ‘Oppa, drive~’”
“Really? Bumpety Boo she’s complimenting you.”
“What’s this? You gave the car a childish name like Bumpety Boo?”
Minho gave an inscrutable smile as he looked at the radio and then spoke as he turned his head.
“I’m going to drive fast so don’t be surprised. And fasten your seatbelt.”
The car started with an acceleration that pushed Sora’s entire body back into the seat.
The sudden acceleration that reached 70 km in two secs. The car came out into the streets and passed the intersection with sharp cornering.
“Slowly! This isn’t the highway!”
“It says it’s 5 km slower than the speed limit.”
“Something. It’s like a friendly traffic guidance program.”
He keenly decelerated at the stops and then quickly accelerated, leaving the other cars unable to keep up. Sora closed her eyes due to the dizziness that washed over her as her body was pulled from side to side.
“You never been on a roller coaster have you? You’re more gentle than you look. You were like that at the run down house too.”
“No I’m not!”
Sora threw a fit of rage but couldn’t open her eyes.
They drove fiercely for about five minutes. The car that moved roughly became gentle like a butterfly floating in the spring wind.
“Open your eyes now.”
Minho spoke as he laughed.
“I think you’ll feel better now. He’s showing me a smooth driving method.”