“So you’re shooting a film?”

“Yes, grandfather.
I’m playing the lead role,” replied Kang Giwoo politely as he put down his spoon.

His grandfather scooped a little of the radish soup with his spoon and put it in his mouth.
Giwoo watched as his grandfather’s chin moved slowly.
His grandfather’s spoon then headed to the multigrain rice.
He scooped out enough for just half of his spoon before putting it in his mouth.
While his grandfather savored the rice, Giwoo waited as he placed his hands on his lap.

“The lead role, good.
Since you’re doing it, you might as well be the main character.”

“Yes.”

“Oh, yes.
Isn’t Jaeho working as an actor too?”

“Yes, Jaeho is also working in the entertainment industry.”

“What was his stage name again? Sooil?”

“He goes by the name Yoo Sooil.”

“Sheesh, I never knew that chairman Lee would let his grandchildren be entertainers.”

“I’m not sure because I don’t meet him that often, but from what Eunjoo-noona is saying, his house still seems to be against it.”

“If a man has made up his mind, he should try at least once.
Jaeho, that boy, his eyes looked smart, so I’m sure he’s doing well.”

Giwoo replied ‘yes’.
His grandfather’s words were always correct.
It was on the level of foretelling.
Giwoo admired his grandfather for his exceptional judgment and decisiveness.

“Eunjoo, that girl, she’s pretty decent for being a girl.
They say a hen crying means doom for that household, but it should be fine for a girl of her caliber to cry.
Giwoo, how about it? I think she’s not so bad to be your companion.”

“Eunjoo-noona isn’t ordinary.
She probably still treats me like a child.”

His grandfather smiled pleasantly.

“Yes.
Chairman Lee’s blood won’t go anywhere.
Both his daughter and his granddaughter.
They would be generals if they joined the military.”

“Last time I met her, Eunjoo-noona said she wants to meet you, grandfather.
Apparently, she got her hands on some good wine.”

“Tell her to visit any time.”

His grandfather nodded before continuing his meal.
After making sure that he did not have further questions to ask, Giwoo picked up his spoon again.
He filled just half of his spoon like his grandfather did, remembering his grandfather’s words: don’t put too little because it will make you look poor but don’t put too much because it will make you look greedy.
His grandfather’s spoon was an old iron spoon.
Compared to a normal spoon, the head was more concave compared to other normal spoons, and the handle was rough, making it look bad compared to factory-made spoons.
But, while his grandfather was okay with changing out anything else, he never changed his spoon.

“Giwoo.”

“Yes, grandfather.”

“It’s up to you to do what you want, but you have to look after your health at all costs, okay?”

“I will bear that in mind.”

“Yes, yes.
Losing health means losing everything.
You must be healthy in order to look around you.
You must chew your food before swallowing, and wash your hands after going o….”

Ugh – a groan interrupted his words.
Giwoo didn’t mind, but his grandfather’s face had turned stiff.

“Junior director Kim.”

His grandfather put down his spoon.

“I-I’m sorry.”

“Junior director Kim.
You’ve worked with me for years.
Can you still not fix that habit of yours? Who am I talking to? I’m talking to my cute little grandson, aren’t I?”

“Y-yes.
I’m sorry, sir.
I subconsciously….”

Giwoo looked at junior director Kim, who was kneeling next to the dining table, through the corner of his eyes.
It had only been an hour.
He found kneeling for merely an hour[1] so hard that he twisted his body and ended up making a sound.
He was pathetic.
He had been serving his grandfather for months, yet he couldn’t even keep his table manners.

His grandfather took his spoon and went to the kitchen.
After hearing running water, junior director Kim became shocked and shouted ‘sorry’.
Giwoo inwardly clicked his tongue.
He was so stupid.
If he made a mistake, he should get punished for it, yet he was trying to make do with an apology.
He needed a beating.

After shaking off the water on the spoon, his grandfather stood in front of junior director Kim.

“Junior director Kim, you can do better, can’t you?”

The spoon was placed on the ground.
While kneeling down, junior director Kim started shaking.
Giwoo held back from letting a smile creep onto his face.
He didn’t want to become a rude boy in front of his grandfather.

Junior director Kim bashed his head against the handle of the spoon.
Thud- a heavy thump resonated across the ground.
Giwoo looked at the rough curves of the handle.
Whenever junior director Kim bashed his head on it, the curvature of the spoon changed little by little.
How many foreheads have gone through that spoon? He started feeling admiration for his grandfather.
Giwoo looked at his own spoon.
Perhaps it wasn’t a bad idea to get one ready right now.

His grandfather spoke again when junior director Kim’s forehead started bleeding,

“Enough.
You are getting on with age, so I should give you proper treatment.”

“Thank you, chairman.”

Just as junior director Kim picked up the bent spoon with both of his hands, he put it back down again.

“Chairman, the spoon is a little bent, allow me to straighten it back out.”

“This is why I cherish you, junior director Kim.”

His grandfather patted junior director Kim on the head like how he would treat a child.
Junior director Kim flipped the spoon over and started bashing his head on it until the curved handle became flat again.

After washing the spoon and placing it on the table again, junior director Kim bowed before going away.

“Giwoo, people, you know, are very sneaky.
Give them an inch, and they will try to take a mile.
They don’t know their graces.”

His grandfather picked up his spoon and looked at all sides of it.

“But objects are honest.
Just look at this spoon.
This one has never betrayed me.
It has always made those arrogant, bow their heads to me.”

Giwoo nodded.

“Sometimes, you come across people who are mistaken.
They are strange creatures that believe that they are more precious than objects because they are people.
That’s because they are not educated properly.
If people were more important than objects, people like this grandfather of yours would have long since been thrown out onto the streets.”

After looking at the spoon with sharp eyes, his grandfather eventually put on a gentle smile.

“Giwoo, people like us must be able to discern the sea of objects very properly.
And we must also know how to handle people like objects.
It does not matter where you are.
Regardless of your position, you must know how to order others.
That is the duty of those who own objects.
You must never let the foolish ones make a mistake.
If you let the stupid people be, society will become a mess.”

“Yes, grandfather,” Giwoo replied as he looked at the old spoon.

* * *

“When does the shoot start?” asked Ahn Yeseul, who sat next to him.

Giwoo accepted the yuja tea that she gave him and replied,

“I think the crank-in will be within the year.
I’m not sure about the details, but since the background is set in winter, it’ll probably start before the season passes.”

“You said it was a disaster film, right?”

“That’s the frame, but the plot is closer to a thriller.
The content is really good.
I read it a few times, and I keep getting absorbed in it.”

“That sounds good.
I want to try acting in a film, but I don’t have the skills.”

“Yeseul, you are more than good enough.
I’m sure you’ll be able to do it if you have the opportunity.”

Giwoo smiled and put the cup against his mouth.
Talkative women were annoying to deal with.
They lacked wits, so the conversation could drag on limitlessly.
She seemed to think that her smile was her charming point, but to Giwoo, she looked stupid no matter how he looked at her.
If possible, he wanted to splash this hot yuja tea over her face to stop her from grinning, but he decided to hold back since it would be such a waste of tea.

“Uhm, Giwoo.”

“What?”

“It’s my birthday the day after tomorrow.
Can you come?”

“To what?”

“What else? My birthday party of course.
I’m going to rent a party hall and invite some of my close friends to play around.
You should come over too,” Yeseul said as she moved closer.

Giwoo maintained his smile and scanned her from top to bottom.
Was this girl not capable of differentiating drama from reality? He had realized that she was showing more than just goodwill towards him from a while ago.
She seemed to like him.
It seemed that romantic feelings blossomed inside her just because they hugged and kissed once in the drama.
He, on the other hand, just found it absurd.

“I don’t think the day after tomorrow is a good time.”

“Why? Do you have a shoot?”

“I have something to do.”

Yeseul smiled awkwardly.
She looked away while saying that it was okay, but she clearly seemed disappointed.
Giwoo thought that this was enough and put his hand on top of hers.

“But it’s your birthday, so I can’t be the one to miss it, right? I’ll try to make some time.”

“No, it’s really okay.
You can’t miss your work because of me.”

“But I want to go.”

He tapped the back of her hand with his fingers.
He could see Yeseul flinch before relaxing her expression.
The way she was swayed by her emotions without using her head was the stereotypical example of a foolish person.
She was such an easy thing to toy with.
There were people worse than objects all over this world.

“Can you really come?”

“Just text me about the details.
I’ll definitely make it.”

“Thanks.
It’ll be a great party.”

His grandfather once said that having the other party say ‘thanks’ would mean that he would be in the superior position in the relationship.
Giwoo didn’t consider Yeseul someone he needed; however, he believed that she would be a decent lackey that he could make use of some time.
It was a trivial investment towards a better tomorrow.

“It’s starting to get cold.”

Park Jichan arrived.
Giwoo greeted him with a smile.
Jichan approached him and started talking about what happened yesterday even though no one told him to.
When Jichan looked around cautiously, Giwoo signaled to him that he was listening.
After receiving that signal, Jichan became more excited and talked about all sorts of things.
Giwoo looked at Jichan, who rejoiced at every one of his reactions, and thought about junior director Kim.
The sense of superiority that seeped into him felt thrilling.

Everyone on the set welcomed him.
As long as he acted politely, the others created good rumors about him and raised everyone’s opinions of the actor known as Kang Giwoo.
How convenient tools could they be? Using money to promote himself was very inefficient and expensive, but with people, it became possible to promote himself free of charge.
Seeing people being toyed around with just a few words from him made him realize that his grandfather’s words were entirely correct.

As he was listening to Jichan’s words with a smile, something that vexed him entered his eyes.
That boy, who was walking with a script in hand, was the only person Giwoo avoided.
If his grandfather found out what happened between the two of them, he too would have had to kowtow towards that spoon.
The people that his grandfather hated second most were incompetent people, while the people that his grandfather hated the very most were incompetent family members.

When it came to Han Maru, things didn’t go the way he expected them to.
Maru had noticed the ‘play’ like he was someone who could read many moves ahead and even threatened him.
For the first time ever, Giwoo lowered his gaze in front of someone.
It was a shameful history and a great humiliation.
And also, there was fear.
Fear became the fertilizer for hatred.
Giwoo felt burning hatred whenever he saw Maru, but he couldn’t project it.
He wasn’t someone foolish who would get swayed by emotions after all.

Until some time ago, there wasn’t a big problem.
Maru was someone who only raised his edge when he touched him, so he could just ignore him.

“Kang Giwoo, let’s go through lines together.”

Maru approached him with a bright smile.
Giwoo stood up while trying to hide his rotting feelings.
If he was mocking him, it would be better.
It would be understandable at least.
He smiled and looked at Maru’s face.
The smile on this guy’s face was relaxed to the point that he couldn’t think of this guy as the same person as the cold man from before.
He looked really pure without any evil intentions.

Giwoo felt confused.
At first, he felt like Maru was toying with him.
After some time passed, he realized that he wasn’t toying with him and that he truly wanted to become close to him.
Giwoo couldn’t believe it.
The eyes Han Maru showed him that day were similar to his grandfather’s.
He flinched back due to the presence that was similar to a god for him, but the current Han Maru looked like all the other idiots he could toy with.

Was it a trap? Or did he want something else?

“Sounds good.
Let’s practice.”

Giwoo went along with him for now.
He had to stay docile before he found out what was on the other guy’s mind.

[1] TL;DR: The grandfather and Giwoo are both sitting down on the floor as well.

Long version: Considering the personality of this grandfather and the period of time he was raised up, it is likely that this dining table isn’t the ‘western’ type of dining tables, where there are seats.
It is likely a sitting table(think of a table as low as a kotatsu) where people sit on sitting cushions (or on the floor), not chairs.
And don’t quote me on this, but apparently, it was ‘etiquette’ to kneel while sitting when facing an elder of the house (this doesn’t necessarily mean eating).
This means that Giwoo might also be kneeling down as well.
Apparently, sitting crossed legged looks ‘arrogant’ and kneeling shows ‘respect’.

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