Chapter 930.
Crank Up 4

“Thanks for looking out for me.
People liked it.
Thanks to you, I was able to keep some face.”

-I’m glad they liked it.
I was worried that they wouldn’t since it was prepared in a hurry.

“Despite that, the packaging and the brand were quite high-class, though.
I didn’t know that well, but one of the fans told me that the hand cream cost 30 thousand won, and the sun cream 50 thousand.
I was surprised after hearing the price.”

-A friend of mine is doing his first fan meetup, so I can’t gift cheap things, can I? They say the feelings behind the gift are important, but the gift itself is important too.
Above all, though, I had some money laying around.

“Sure you did.
Since you were spending, why not prepare luxury bags or something?”

-There’s a limit to my wealth.

“Anyway, thanks.
I’ll repay you with anything whenever I can.”

Sooil laughed in a small voice over the phone.

-Then just show up at my fan meetup in the future.
I’ll let things equal out with just that.

“When are you doing it?”

-Soon, I think.
As for the place, I think I’m going to rent the SC central hall.
There’s dancing practice and singing practice scheduled starting next month, so it’ll be after that which will coincide with my debut anniversary.

“That’s a huge place you’re renting.
How many people can it hold?”

-I’m not entirely sure, but there are at least 800 seats.

“800, huh? That’s on a completely different scale to mine.
If you’re renting that place, the fans must be paying for tickets then.”

-Yeah.

Someone seemed to have called Sooil, as Sooil said ‘hold on’ away from the phone.

-I think I should hang up.
The shoot is starting.

“Alright, do your best.”

-Okay.
Anyway, congratulations on your first fan meetup.
Hope you do well in the future too.
Oh, yeah, by the way, I’m moving into that apartment next week too.
Be sure to visit.

“So you’re coming too, huh.”

-You love it, don’t you?

“I love it to death.
I’m going to push everyone to your side, so you take care of them.
Bar Han Maru is closed the day after you move in.”

He chuckled mockingly at Sooil, who shouted no at him.
Maru looked toward the back seat.
There were about ten boxes of gifts left after handing them out to the fans.

“You prepared a lot without me knowing.
Thanks.
I got to be known as quite sensible thanks to you.”

Sora shrugged as she drove.

“The main character’s job is done as long as he shows up.
Also, since it was me who planned this whole thing, I should be the one to have prepared it as well.
I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I finished things off awkwardly.
You worked hard too.
People would’ve thought that you were cocky if you acted all lofty, but you brought yourself down a moderate amount and hung out with them.
Maybe it’s because of that, but there’s a review already.”

Sora used her phone with one hand before handing it over to him.
It was a blog that had a smiling baby as the background.
He had a look at the fan meetup review that came up 10 minutes ago.
There were photos from the beginning of the meetup to the end along with some text.
This person seemed to have managed a blog for a long time, as the layout of text and photographs was good, and reading it was easy.

“It’s a blog with 40,000 visitors a day.
She’s someone who usually posts things regarding childcare, but she sometimes uploads articles about her favorite actors.
She’s skilled enough to post on magazines, and she wrote such a good post for you without any pay, so you lucked out.”

“Maybe I should thank her in the comments.”

“I don’t recommend that.
Fans and actors should have a certain sense of distance between them.
Meeting offline like this is fine since it has meaning and only happens once in a blue moon, but there are people who don’t think well of personal expressions of thanks from actors.
Well, there are celebrities who interact with other netizens on the internet, but they’re only fine because of the image they have built up over a long time.”

“Somehow, you’re more knowledgeable than me.”

“I studied a little because of the team presentation.
I’m also in the industry to a certain extent.
Once you become a little more famous, you’ll probably get someone who’ll manage your social networks for you.
The businesses that work with the advertising department of our company usually do a lot of marketing through famous celebrities, and most of the time, they have separate people who manage the accounts.
The company is looking out for the reputation of its entertainer.
Apparently, some posts even have to go through approval before being posted.”

“A successful celebrity is practically a small corporation themself.”

“That’s it.
The money that person earns might not be that much, but there might be hundreds of millions of won revolving around that person, so it’s not surprising that their public image is regulated.”

The car stopped in front of a pedestrian crossing.
When the pedestrian lights were flashing green, a couple ran over from afar.
Sora watched the couple as they walked past the front of the car and went off to the other side.

“Work is going so smoothly, but why is there no progress in my romantic business?”

“If I could discern that and resolve it for you, I would’ve quit being an actor.
I would’ve become a billionaire just by writing books related to love.”

“That’s true.
It’d be much easier if mister Koo Ando quit his old-fashioned ways.
There’s no law stating that a man should be the one earning money, is there? If the woman earns more, then the woman can just be the breadwinner.”

“It’s a peculiar problem that’s not entirely related to pride, so don’t be too harsh on him.”

“I know that, and that’s why I’m enduring.
He told me he gave up on going back to college and that he would find a job, but whatever it is, I just wish he can finally get some leisure.
Only then will I find an opening to exploit.”

Sora pressed the gas pedal as she grumbled.
The car jerked up and down as though to represent her feelings.
Looking at her like this, it seemed she was still a kid.

“Do you not have a date when Daemyung-oppa will finish his next scenario?”

“Well, I’m sure he has a lot on his mind.
He saw potential through the work this time, but it didn’t lead to profit.”

“No matter how much I think about it, I think he should stop wanting to dip his hands into production and should just focus on writing.
He has the talent for it, so he should make the most of it.”

“Considering Daemyung’s personality, he’ll probably focus everything on one thing.
He might look wishy-washy at a glance, but he has a stubborn personality.
The problem is that the stubbornness is focused on the production side.”

“He’ll probably change his mind if he gets acknowledged as a writer by writing something good, right?”

“It’s highly probable.
As long as he is human, he can’t be free from the problems of living expenses.
Personally, I’m like you and want him to focus on writing.”

“You should ask him indirectly later.
For some reason, I sound like I’m nagging him if I ask.”

“Alright.”

The car stopped at the entrance to the apartment complex.

“If I can do as I wish, I would love to have you treat me, but I have a prior engagement with my parents.”

“That’s such a pity.
I would’ve prepared you a feast.”

Sora frowned and scoffed, sarcastically agreeing with him.

“What should I do with the leftover gifts? Do you want them?”

“If I take them, they’ll probably rot in a corner of my room.
How about you use them? Or you can give them to your business partners as gifts.”

“I’ll be thankful if I can take them.
I’ll leave now; have a good rest.
Thanks for today.”

“You too, have a safe drive home.”

After checking that Sora’s car had left the apartment complex, Maru went to his apartment.
He patted the dogs that rushed to him the moment he opened the door before taking a shower.
While he got washed up, he recalled the faces of the people he met during the fan meetup.
He couldn’t remember them all, but some of those that gave him a deeper impression would probably remain in his mind until the day he retires as an actor.

He gave the dogs some food before turning on his laptop.
He tried going to the Han Maru fan café that he had forgotten about for a while.
He had added it to his favorites, but it had still been such a long time since he had last visited.
The managerial members seemed to have undergone a change as the front banner changed.
The sharp-feeling calligraphy on top of the photo was very eye-catching.
Before, it was just a captured image from a video.

He saw a clearly managed banner and the post section under the front page that felt like it was designed by a professional.
The OST for ‘Doctors’ flowed out of his laptop speakers as well.
Maru hummed along with the song and clicked the latest post that came up on the ‘schedules’ section.
It was about the fan meetup.

Maru could tell who the poster was in an instant.
It was because there was a photo he took with that person.
Her story was also rather peculiar and remained inside his head.
She was the lady who worked at a middle-sized company with a terrible salary.

Unlike how she stuttered when she spoke, the writing was very smoothly written.
Perhaps this was why earning the hearts of the fans was important.
Leaving aside all the other reasons, it was very clear in an economic sense as well.
They proactively promoted the actor they were fans of without taking payment.
He hoped that he would continue to feel grateful whenever he saw posts like this.
If he accepted the goodwill of the fans as a given, then he would probably be at the end of his career.
Fans were more passionate than anyone else, but conversely, they could become colder than anyone else as well.
The moment they realize that the actor they liked had changed, their passion towards the actor they respected would cool down in an instant.
He hoped that he would always stay grateful for the small interest and cheers.

After reading the post, Maru added a comment.
Blogs were extremely personal spaces, so like Sora said, he had to be careful when writing something, even if it was something small like an appreciation message.
However, it should be fine to leave behind a message on his own fan café.
He commented that it was fun to talk to her today and that he wanted to meet people he wasn’t able to meet today if there’s a next time.

Some people seemed to have set up notifications as other comments soon followed up.
There were various comments ranging from those asking if he was really Han Maru, as well as those that said that he looks much better in real life.

Judging that he should leave behind a greeting message, he looked for the actor-specific section that the managing members had set up.
A single post – the greeting he left behind before – was the only thing there.
Maintaining a sense of distance was one thing, but he thought that he should express his goodwill towards the fans that had been with him since he was nameless.

He uploaded the photo he got sent via the messenger app and wrote a short review.
Before he clicked the post button, he was reminded of a good idea.
He leaned his phone against the sofa and took a video.
He put his dogs in his arms next to him and took a bow, saying that he had fun.

He attached the video at the end of the post and uploaded the post.
He didn’t know how many of them would watch it, but he wanted the fans that came today to see it at least.

He was scrolling down just a little to see what other posts there were when a number caught his eye.
It was the number of café members.
Was there an error? Maru narrowed his eyes and had a look again.
No matter how hard he looked, there were 3,500 members.

The number of members had multiplied by dozens while he had lost interest.
It might be tiny compared to fan cafés of idol bands with hundreds of thousands of members, but Maru was shocked.
3,500 might look like a simple number, but if that number of people stood before his eyes, he would be overwhelmed.

There were twenty comments on the post he had just written.
Maru crossed his arms and looked at the laptop from some distance.

“So, I’m kinda major among the minor group?”

He laughed to himself after uttering some weird logic.

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