Solo Swordmaster

REAPER SCANS

 

Solo Swordmaster

[Translator –  woni]

[Proofreader – sharlottle]

 

Chapter 89: Please Be My Substitute

 

TL/N: It turns out that Eugene has been a girl all this time. Their pronouns have never come up in the raws before, so we took it as a guy’s name. We apologize for any confusion.

 

Perhaps it was the erraticism of the performance or the overly shocking music. Everyone in the restaurant—the customers, staff, even the bluebird—blinked in silence—except two people.

“How’s that, partner?”

Eugene grinned while Limon massaged his temples after setting the guitar down.

“…Don’t you think you were jumping the gun there?”

“But you did it, didn’t you?”

“Mostly thanks to luck.”

“Still, you don’t have anything to worry about now.”

Limon was quiet. He watched Eugene and her smile with a troubled expression.

“Sure… I think you helped me realize something,” he sighed.

“Alrighty! Then, you owe me one now! Next time, repay me whenever I want to have a performance, all right?”

“That’s not it.”

“Huh?”

Limon apathetically pointed to the empty plates on the table.

“Shouldn’t you take what you’re eating into consideration while talking about debt?”

“Huh? Wasn’t it your treat, partner?”

“I never said so,” Limon quietly scoffed.

One can get a friend food, but that friend should never become a pushover. Certainly, Limon got a hint about catching the criminals thanks to her, but he wasn’t about to let himself get ripped off.

“[Wow, that’s dirty.]”

“I’ll make you repay all your food bills—with compound interest.”

“[…Of course! Friends should set clear boundaries on money. But surely it’s a different matter when a superior buys his subordinates food, umu.]”

Eugene didn’t know that the food might become her debt to Limon. Looking down at the stacks of empty plates, she innocently smiled.

“Partner, you know I can’t save money because of my debt right now, yeah? So…”

Limon was also smiling innocently.

“So you’ll repay me once you’re in a better place?”

“…How did you know?”

“That’s what everybody who doesn’t pay back says.”

“Partner, I’m sad that my partner doesn’t trust me.”

“Not as much as me having a friend who can’t repay me.”

From that point on, the two were at war:

Eugene blatantly tried to make Limon indebted to her by making him her performance sheep. And Limon, with his brazen attitude, wanting Eugene to pay for the food before anything else.

Yoo Na-kyung, taken aback for a new reason now, covered her face with her wings.

“[Why am I always the one with any sort of embarrassment?!]”

Suddenly, in the middle of their vocal dispute, another voice emerged from between them.

“Excuse me, may I talk to you for a minute?”

“Nope. We’re busy. Go away.”

“I’m talking with my partner.”

Limon and Eugene completely disregarded the voice, but the owner of that voice was not displeased in the slightest. As if he had just met a savior to pull him out of hell, he put on the best twelve-out-of-ten smile he could.

“I will pay for all the food if you allow me the time.”

“Okay! Have a seat!”

Eugene did a complete one-eighty and beamed at the man.

‘…Fucking hell.’

Contrasting with Eugene, Limon’s face turned sour as he lost his card. He stared at the man disapprovingly.

“Who are you? You’re not here to complain about our volume, are you?”

“Oh, pardon me. I haven’t introduced myself yet.”

Despite Limon looking much younger, the man ignored his informal way of speaking. He handed them his business card, grateful for the reminder.

As soon as the pair saw the card, their expressions changed again.

The man smiled as he introduced himself.

“I am pleased to meet the two of you. I am Kim Seungjun, a producer for KTB.”

 

***

Reaper Scans

Translator - woni

Proofreader - sharlottle

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“Where was it… KTV?”

“…B. Not V. KTB.”

“Oh, right. My bad. I don’t really watch cable.”

“I understand. Some say that our cable is leaning towards the unpopular side.”

Kim Seungjun smiled bitterly. Cable was about as popular as terrestrial TV, but that was only the popular ones. There were countless broadcasts with worse viewership than the patriotic broadcasts, and KTB was one of them.

Lack of financing, budget, labor, deteriorating facilities and recognition—it was a miracle they were still in business. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say their graves were already dug out.

“So a screwed cable network, and you’re preparing music…”

“‘Music Challenge’. It’s a program where singers and musicians try to answer difficult questions and get rewarded for getting them correct.”

“So it’s some kind of game quest? Giving them work and rewarding them?”

“Actually… The sponsor of the program is a gaming company. Should things go well, they might name a game after our network.”

“…Aren’t you getting your hopes a little too high?”

“As I mentioned, our network is struggling.”

It would be a normal program anywhere else. But to KTB, this was a grand project that would make or break the company. There were already several rumors going around that they would get sold or merge with another company if they failed again.

“And casting Claire was our trump card to ensuring that the project succeeded.”

“Claire, you say… Is she the one on TV?”

“Yes. Her singing alone would draw in at least eight-digit viewer counts.”

Ten million in just this one country. With her at the height of her popularity, she must’ve had thousands of fandoms globally. And since she was a well-known Duke, her success in the entertainment industry was handed to her on a silver platter.

“We got WIM, the guild Claire is in, to confirm her presence in the program thanks to our sponsor investing a large sum of money. But…”

“That promise went down the drain.”

“…It was my mistake. I should have at least gotten a physical meeting with her, no matter what that son of a bitch Moon said!”

Kim Seungjun gritted his teeth. He should have known better after the numerous times Chief Moon would bring him out for a treat, but always never bringing along his stamp for signing contracts. It was his mistake for letting it slide every time, thinking that he was just trying to get better terms on the contract since Chief Moon was one reputable bitch.

“Well, it’s no surprise a high-level player is a shitty person.”

“Claire is all right. It’s WIM and Chief Moon who are the bullies.”

“I don't know about that. You sure?”

“What?”

“Guilds, bullies, whatever. What’s important is the person’s opinion.”

It seemed Kim Seungjun had difficulty understanding Limon, so he continued.

“I’m not too knowledgeable about the entertainment industry, but do you think a guild could move around a level 80+ Duke so willy-nilly unless she didn’t want to be in your show?”

The Iron Age considered level 60s as high level. A Duke had the income, influence, and power of a corporate enterprise. They were people incredibly close to the top. A guild changing her schedule without her consent would be absurd.

“…WIM could do that sort of thing.”

Limon looked doubtful.

“When it’s not even in the top ten?”

“It’s possible to have the same influence as one of the top guilds, even if it’s not in that ranking.”

Limon stroked his chin.

‘Hey, Na-kyung. Is the WIM guild master some monarch’s brother-in-law?’

“[How would I know? There are completely different managing teams for the entertainment business.]”

‘Still, you haven’t heard anything?’

“[I’m not sure. I have heard that WIM is pretty reputable in that field, but I haven’t heard any other rumors…]”

Limon and Yoo Nakyung tilted their heads to the side in unison. As former PAB agents, the two knew well about the top domestic guilds. And so, even the best entertainment guild would be nothing more than just a talent agency. It was hard to imagine that WIM wielded that much authority.

“So?”

The two snapped back into reality after a blunt voice spoke out.

“What’s the point in you saying all this?” 

Eugene had greeted him with a beaming smile when he first offered to pay for the food, but it appeared that she had a change of heart.

“To get straight to the point… I want to cast you two.”

“Hm. You want us to replace Claire’s spot?”

“Yes, basically.”

For a moment, Limon had an odd expression on his face at the somewhat expected words. He scratched his cheeks.

“I have a lot of questions… But let’s start with this.”

“What is it?”

“What are you trying to do here?”

“What?”

“That singer, Claire. You said that she was a famous singer. It’s weird you want us to substitute her, yeah?”

It was a cold but rational statement to make. Claire was a singer at the peak of her fame with over ten million fans. It would be hard for the majority of singers to fill in for her. How could he cast Limon and Eugene, people he’d never seen before, and people with no fame? Even Limon, who didn’t know much about the entertainment industry, couldn’t help but be confused.

Kim Seungjun had a clear answer.

“Yes, it is weird.”

“…Admitting that a little too fast, ain’t you?”

“It’s true. If anyone asked me to have you two in Claire’s place an hour ago, I would have thought them insane.”

“And what’s changed from an hour ago?” Limon asked, both parts baffled and interested.

“I listened to your performance,” Kim Seungjun answered immediately.”

“I may be a rookie producer, but I know enough to differentiate good and average music.”

“So our music is good?”

“No.” He looked Limon and Eugene in the eyes with a serious expression. “It’s music that guarantees success.”

 

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