Upki Girl Chapter 2

The Aura of a Star

༺ The Aura of a Star ༻

 

   I was enjoying a beer with my juniors after work.
   Our conversation was briefly interrupted and my gaze was drawn toward the projector screen.
   An unknown girl group’s MV was playing.

   Smile-.

   Guess. I’m getting older.
   If you were to take a look at the girl groups debuting these days, then regardless of their physical appearance, they were all pretty and cute.
   But one of them especially stood out to me.
   Wow, a lot of light was radiating from her body.
   I stared at the blinding light for a while, dumbfounded, then asked the two men sitting in front of me.

   “Hey, do you know who they are?”

   They then turned toward the screen, tilted their heads then started conversing.

   “Who they are, ah, aren’t they the Liz girls?”
   “I think the Liz girls have five members. There are at least eight people there.”
   “Oh, a few of them are pretty decent.”

   Not a few.
   Among them, only one was going to become a true celebrity.
   I shoved a few sticks of rice puff and began bragging.

   “The one over there will definitely stand out. The one just now, with the red headband.”
   “Let’s try doing a search. Group name… Eye Contact? Let’s see, it’s been a while since they debuted… The one you just pointed out is named Yonna I think?”
   “Hmm, she’s my favorite too. When was she born though? 1998? Wow, scary. She’s almost ten years younger than Hodori.”1Mascot of the 1998 Olympic Games in Seoul.
   “How old is 98? 19? 20? That’s not exactly young for an idol these days.”
   “Well, they start training from elementary school these days.”
   “I hate how they’re making these young girls do sexy dances in short skirts.”
   “Same. It’s like seeing an elementary school student smoking and drinking.”

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   Yonna from the nine-member girl group Eye Contact.
   As they were still chatting, I absentmindedly nodded my head while scrolling through her profile.
   “Hmmm…”
   Not only was she pretty she also had the Aura of a great star.
   They giggled as I gave them my appraisal.

   “What are you on with your aura, hehehehe?”
   “Well, being pretty definitely gives off a certain aura.”

   That’s not what I meant you punks.
   Beauty and aura were completely different concepts.
   I was talking about the blue light that was being emitted from her body like a fluorescent light.
   Among the nine girls in the group, only Yonna possessed such a radiance. There was also a slight tinge of red mixed in her blue aura.

   “She has a knack for acting too. Even if the group fails, she can still make it.”
   “Kekeke, have you been studying face-reading or something lately bro?”
   “Wanna make a bet?”
   “Why do you want me to bet? If they succeed, they succeed, and if they fail, they fail, what does it have to do with us?
   “Let’s just drink.”
   “Yeah, let’s. We have to drink quickly, get drunk quickly, and go back quickly so that my wife doesn’t notice.”
   “Ah, the smell of a married man.”
   “Hehe, you should quickly get married too, bro. I look very happy, don’t you?
   “Yes, being married is very good. I love it so much that I don’t feel like keeping it for myself and want to spread it all around the world.”
   “Kekeke, you’re already talking nonsense. Let’s have a toast.”

   I didn’t know how long it would take until Yonna’s eventual success would finally arrive but it had nothing to do with us.
   Especially these two so-happily married men who were considering going home.

   -Cling!

   I think my ability manifested for the first time when I was 23, during military service.
   Why is it that every time I looked at a handsome or pretty celebrity in person, they gave off a halo?
   One day, I could suddenly see colorful lights above the heads of celebrities on TV.

   The Aura of a Star

   Over time, I even became, to a certain extent, able to predict the quality and future of these celebrities after analyzing the clarity and brightness of their halo. No, not only to a certain extent but almost perfectly.
   I couldn’t tell who among the celebrities would fail but I definitely knew who would make it.
   None of the people who had these halos failed to make it.
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   While there were a few cases of self-destruction due to self-management and privacy issues, every one of them reached the peak that was called ‘being mainstream’.
   The color of the aura represented their specialty or field of expertise.

   Red for acting.
   Blue for singing.
   Yellow for entertaining.

   Sometimes two or three lights could overlap on a single person.
   These so-called, Topstars, had a noticeably different aura.
   They emitted a mysterious and unique aura, unlike everyone else. It means that even people with auras of similar colors could have different-looking auras. It was like the unique aura of an artwork.
   On the contrary, people with cloudy or dull halos often had very short-lived careers and would end up as mere ‘Shooting Star’.

   At this point, one might be wondering.

   ‘Why do work for a regular company when you have such an overpowered ability? If I were you, I’d start my own entertainment agency or work as a casting manager.’

   I too often thought that way.
   But it was something very easy to just spout, but actually very hard to accomplish.
   It meant having to give up on my stable job and having to take a lot of risks. I fundamentally had very mainstream preferences and was generally satisfied with my current life.
   If I wanted to become a producer, I would have done it in my mid-twenties, back when I was still full of dreams and passion.
   But I was born into an ordinary family, finally made it to college after failing my entrance exams three times, and I was already 25 by the time I was discharged from the military.
   I’m now 35 years old and working as a manager at a large construction company.

   One might retort, ‘Even if you’re not willing to quit your job, you might still be able to help others in need with your ability’.
   But that wasn’t easy either.
   Let’s say I meet someone with the Aura of a Star on the streets.
   What am I supposed to do?
   Should I just go up to them and say, “Hey, why don’t you try to become a celebrity? You’re definitely gonna make it big.”
   Or am I supposed to contact celebrities who are on hiatus or about to quit because of their lack of luck and say, ‘You’re definitely destined to become a superstar, so hang in there. I guarantee you’ll make it.’ to cheer them up?
   I would if I had a pseudo-humanitarian personality, but I unfortunately didn’t. I also didn’t have it in me to meddle in other people’s lives and risk scratching a festering wound.
   To paraphrase it, it’s like gifting a Lamborghini to someone without a license and no interest in cars.
   Lamborghinis could at least be resold.
   Wouldn’t I have been much happier to have the ability to spot a good lover or wife? But for some reason, my ability only concerned the entertainment industry which really had nothing to do with me.
   I didn’t know much more than people of my age knew. I was somehow a little more interested than average in celebrities because of my ability but it wasn’t to the point where I was looking up articles about them either.
   My knowledge was limited to who was trending these days and controversies.

   There was also no point in hiding my ability.
   Like what happened earlier, I never hesitated to show my off my ability whenever the topic of celebrities came up. Problem is, I have never been taken seriously.
   To be fair, most people didn’t care much about this kind of thing, especially while drinking. Most of them would just think that it was a possibility and move on.
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   But this time was different. A few days later, I received a call from someone who listened to me.

Hyundong
12:34 PM

How are you holding up in this hot weather?

Me
12:35 PM

Same as usual. Work, home. Work, home. Then get shitfaced during the weekend lmao.

Hyundong
12:34 PM

Ic ic. A place with an air conditioner must feel like heaven. What about your girlfriend?

Me
12:35 PM

I don’t have one dammit 😭😭

Hyundong
12:34 PM

Don’t cry. It’s not like I have one either.

Me
12:35 PM

Lmaaooo

   Kim Hyundong.
   We met during the military and became friends though we didn’t enlist at the same time.
   He was actually from Ulsan but moved to Seoul after being discharged. We lived together for a few months and frequently hung out with one another.
   He majored in composition and was an aspiring singer-songwriter. The reason he came to Seoul was to become a singer. He sang and talked rather well. His aura, however, was unfortunately bleak. He had a barely noticeable blue aura.
   Soon after that he began going to auditions and sending songs he made, and realized at some point that he also needed a job. He was quite the realistic guy, he joined a company that made mobile games and worked on sound effects using his major.
   Even though we’re not hanging out with each other as often as we used to before we both got a job, we still meet once or twice a year. The last time we met was towards the end of last year.
   After starting with his usual daily chit-chat he soon moved on to what seemed to be the main topic of today’s discussion.

Hyundong
12:34 PM

Can you still use your ”skill”?

Me
12:35 PM

What’s with this skill name lmao?

Hyundong
12:34 PM

I made it up. You free next weekend?

Me
12:35 PM

My biggest issue is that I have too much free time on the weekend.

Hyundong
12:34 PM

Then help me.

Me
12:35 PM

I’m telling you in advance, I don’t have a lot of money.

Hyundong
12:34 PM

That’s not it -_-

Me
12:35 PM

Then what?

   Hyundong didn’t answer and sent a link instead.
   It was about some singing auditions.

『Finding DREAM』
You need to showcase your talent to debut!
Korea’s first ALL-IN-ONE audition project.
The best domestic and foreign companies are participating.
– Supported categories: Vocalist / Idol / Singer / Songwriter / Rapper.
– Requirements: At least 11 and at most 30 years old.

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   To sum it up.
   Aside from his regular job, Hyundong was running an office with a few acquaintances he used to play music with.
   I remember him saying something about it before, it was something akin to a music studio where they taught students how to produce music along with creating their own and selling it.
   He was planning a project to promote the scale of their business.
   This project was the “Find DREAM” audition, and he wanted me to join it as a judge and bring my unique perspective to the mix.

   Hmm.
   I always knew he was foolish and rather impulsive but I didn’t think it was this bad.

Me
12:35 PM

Me? A judge? You serious lmaoooo

Hyundong
12:34 PM

Yeah, I trust your abilities. The kids you said were going to make it actually made it, and those you said didn’t have it in them completely vanished. It’s giving me goosebumps.

Me
12:35 PM

But wouldn’t it be weird for an asshole who doesn’t know shit about music to participate as a judge? People will surely complain, it’s also disrespectful to the participants.

Hyundong
12:34 PM

My colleagues were rather dubious at first but they were too curious to pass it up. That aside, you free today? Wanna grab a drink?

   While I wasn’t really interested in this judge or audition thingy, I still wanted to catch up with him so I went to meet Hyundong in Izakaya after getting off work.
   He came with a junior, who seemed to be the spokesperson of their office.

   “Nice to meet you. My name is Yeom Daesoo.”
   “Yes, I’m Kim Yoonho, Hyundong’s friend.”

   He said he was a year younger than me but the impression he was leaving on me was so formidable that I felt like I should be calling him big brother instead.
   His name sounded imposing and he had a baritone voice.
   He looked like he just sobered up after drinking for the whole night until morning, his cheeks were also puffed out like Anpanman.
   His eyes were giving off an unnecessarily deep and serious look. Maybe he’s just sleepy?
   I then sat down and checked the business card he had just given me.



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Footnotes:

  • 1
    Mascot of the 1998 Olympic Games in Seoul.
Private: Upki Girl

Private: Upki Girl

업어 키운 걸그룹
Score 8.3
Status: Ongoing Author: Released: 2021 Native Language: Korean
The Aura of a star, I can see it. Let’s foster a proper Girl Group!

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