, , “What do you mean you’re going to quit being an idol…?” Yeon-hoon responded first while looking as if he was going to cry. , “Did you lose your mind, Bong Tae-Yoon?” The next one to speak was Do-Seung. He looked as if he was going to hit me though, but of course, he didn’t. , “Did something happen?” Woon didn’t ask me the meaning of my words but the reason why I said them. It was so like him to respond this way. , Next, Dong-Jun asked playfully while turning away. “Is Tae-Yoon going through his rebellious stage already?” It appeared Dong-Jun thought I was joking. , “I thought about it seriously on my way here during the car ride, and I don’t think I can do this. I’m sorry.” I showed how serious I was and knew how difficult it would be for my members to accept my decision. After all, it was so sudden, and I showed no previous signs of wanting to quit before. Yet, no matter how much I thought about it, I thought this was the right way. My members looked at me, baffled. , “What’s the reason? There must be a reason why you suddenly want to quit,” Do-Seung asked. It appeared like he was trying to repress the anger erupting inside him with all his might. But if they wanted a reason, I had many available. Yet, I knew naming all the realistic reasons why I wanted to drop out of the group would sound as if I wanted to provoke a fight with them. , was my first thought. The biggest problem was that the WD entertainment agency we were under didn’t have the means to manage and prep their idols. It was only through the company boss’s pure greed that we were preparing our debut. In my past life, the WD company debuted another idol group after our group’s incident, and the group completely flopped, performing only a couple of shows before disbanding. 𝘪𝑎., Another reason was my limited talents. My dancing and singing skills were all just mediocre—no, perhaps, so below that I could ruin this entire group just with my poor skills. And lastly, I knew I could make more money writing web novels. Even if I debuted through this company, I would hardly make any money; and in comparison, I knew all the future trends of web novels. , I thought. Though the endings of my stories were terrible, I always had a core audience. Thus, a better goal was to work hard on my novels and strive to earn as much money as I could. , After my members finished their idol activities and returned to normal society again, I could help them adjust. There was a high chance that this group would fail even after they debuted. It wasn’t because their individual talents were lacking but because of how terrible this management company was. I was sure that even a person who could become a 1st-tier, globally famous entertainer would stay as a nobody if they came to WD. , I didn’t want to bet on something with such low odds. Thus, I made my long-term plans with the premise that this group would fail, and I needed to help these guys who would disband without a dime to their name. Besides Dong-Jun, the others had no basis or support to start again. , Yet, since I couldn’t explain all this, I simply said, “You know I have no talent.” , “…Haaa.” Even Do-Seung, who looked like he was about to punch me, chewed his lips and didn’t say anything. Leader Yeon-Hoon, kind Woon, and even the carefree Dong-Jun averted their eyes. My current position in the group was a ‘lead vocalist.’ But that was only in name, and I was only placed in that position to complete the formation of the group and because the tone of my voice was evaluated as passable. , “If I’m still at this level after training for three years, I suppose this is my limit,” I said. I was able to join a debuting group somehow, but that was because this company had no other talent. Unlike my members who had transferred from big companies to WD for personal reasons, I started in this company from the very beginning. I knew I didn’t have the skills to debut. My original destiny was to be a trainee forever while moving from a mid-sized company to another mid-sized company. , “The quality of our choreography keeps falling because of me and I think I’m also ruining the mood of the song. I think it will be more helpful for this team if I leave.” , In the first place, I never had big dreams of becoming an idol; I simply wanted to be part of a group. After living off my relatives and never feeling like I had a home, I wanted to have something like a family. Simply put, my trainee days were just me playing house. I needed to end this foolishness and stop wasting my time just to fill this wanting in my heart; this was better for not only the group but for me as well. , “I really enjoyed living with you all. That’s why I think it’s even more right for me to put an end to things here. I know I will only hinder you guys during your group activities.” My members couldn’t say a word up to this point, and I continued, “I will tell the head manager tomorrow.” , Then, I was about to lay down again when Do-Seung grabbed me by my collar and forcefully pulled me up. “You think you can just announce that you are leaving and go just like that?” His eyes looked furious. I thought he would really hit me, but perhaps, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get hit once or twice. , “Do-Seung!” Woon stopped Do-Seung. “Are you seriously planning to hit him!” , “But listen to this guy! He’s quitting because he doesn’t have talent? Why did he endure for so long until now after all that trouble!” , “Do-Seung!” , “Ah! Why is everyone only yelling at me!” As even Dong-Jun tried to intervene, Do-Seung had to let go of his grip. The atmosphere inside our dorm became dreary then though it was what I expected to happen. , Feelings of guilt gradually began to seep upwards. But this was what they needed to hear, and I thought my members would lose any sense of attachment towards me if I brought down the group’s mood like this. , It was preferable for them to think that there was just some nuisance right before they debuted so that when they finally started their activities, they could forget about me and focus on their work. And while they worked as idols, I could work hard on my writing and prepare a way for them to start anew after they finished failing as idols and came back to normal society. , This was the plan I thought of on the car ride. The fact that I came back to the past meant that some kind of divine existence wanted me to do something. Perhaps, they wanted me to repay my members who regretfully died in my past life, and my role was to be like an airbag shielding them from the brunt of their casualties. , “I’m seriously sorry.” , “Ha, seriously. What? You are sorry?” Do-Seung became agitated once more hearing that I was sorry. He grabbed my collars again, and I clenched my eyes this time. , “Everyone stop!” Yeon-Hoon, who had been quiet until now, yelled. I had never heard him raise his voice until then. Though he was the oldest and the leader, he wasn’t the type to command authority. Instead, he was shy and cowardly, most unbefitting of the leader position. Yet, such a person was yelling. His voice trembled so much that it felt like a piece of fabric was getting split. , “Do-Seung, let Tae-Yoon go. It’s not right to hit people no matter how angry you are!” , “…I didn’t even hit him yet!” Do-Seung said regretfully. This was true. He didn’t hit me even once yet, but all the other members were acting as if he had already done just that. , “Don’t you see how red his chest became? That’s the same as hitting him!” Yeon-Hoon pointed at my reddened upper chest from Do-Seung’s grabbing. It did slightly sting in that area. , “W-Woon and Dong-Jun need to also stop! You guys keep only attacking Do-Seung, so he naturally feels attacked!” He also scolded the others. Hearing this, Woon and Dong-Jun backed away to a corner. , “And Tae-Yoon…” Yeon-Hoon’s eyes landed on me last. “Let’s talk alone.” , “Ah, yes.” , “Come down with me.” , “Okay.” , Yeon-Hoon got up from his spot and took a puffer jacket, and I did the same. , “We are going to go outside for a bit, so you guys sleep before us. It might take a while.” , “All right.” , “Got it.” , “Be careful.” , It seemed like they all expected the conversation to go on for a long time, and I went outside the dorm following Yeon-Hoon. , *** , Yeon-Hoon and I took a seat at a convenience store in front of our form. Though it was cold during winter, Yeon-Hoon picked an outdoor table in front of the store to sit on. , “Do you want something warm to drink?” , “No. More than that, can’t we talk inside the store?” , “No.” , “Why?” , “I purposefully took you outside so you can cool your head.” , “Do you think my head will cool because I am in a cold place?” , “Of course!” , Keeping one’s cool didn’t literally mean lowering one’s temperature, but I thought it didn’t matter. My head had been feeling calm since the beginning and there was nothing the cool air could do to change my mind. Instead, there was something else that was bothering me. , “Your toes are red,” I noted. , “It’s fine.” , “Doesn’t look like it.” Because of how hurriedly he came out, Yeon-Hoon was wearing slippers without socks in the dead of winter. , “Give me a moment.” , “Hm?” , I went inside the convenience store and fortunately, there was a wallet inside my jacket. I bought one pair of socks and went outside. , “Wear this.” , “No, it’s fine. Besides, convenience store socks are expensive. Refund them.” , “It’s fine. How expensive can socks be?” I replied–though the socks were very expensive considering the condition of my wallet. However, since I was confident that I could soon make money, I didn’t feel like it was such a waste. Then, when I tried to forcefully put the socks on him, Yeon-Hoon stopped me and took the socks from my hands. He rustled with the socks and wore them. , “It’s much better, right?” I asked. , “…Yeah.” Then, Yeon-Hoon and I sat while facing each other. Yeon-Hoon stared quietly at me like he had something he wanted to say. Then, as I expected, he said, “Don’t leave the group, Tae-Yoon.” , “You know I don’t have any talents too,” I planned to continue the same stance as before. , “Tae-Yoon. Let me speak honestly. It’s true that your skills are lacking.” Then, after staring at the table, he cautiously continued, “But there’s no one among us who is disgruntled by the fact that you are in the debut group.” , “What? Why?” Everyone must know that my skills were a mess. , “Do you really ask because you don’t know? Really?” Yeon-Hoon stared at my face frustratedly. “It’s not like one becomes an idol on skills alone.” , “Ah.” If he was talking about that…there was no one in the group who had an ugly face. It was surprising that a mid-sized company was able to gather such talents like this one, but the members of the Siren were truly the best that WD had to offer. No, these people were too great for this company. , “So, why don’t you think about that one more time? There’s only a couple of months left before our debut…” Yeon-Hoon said and continued to try to convince me to change my mind. However, everything he said passed from one ear to the next, and I was thinking about a title that I could use for my next web novel. , Retract your intention to drop out. , Upon success, you will progress to the next mission. , Upon failure, the possibility of Leader Woo Yeon-Hoon’s death increases. , It was the voice I heard when I first regressed—the voice void of all humane characteristics. , I scowled. How could that happen with just me expressing my intention to drop out of the group? My mind became blank because I couldn’t wrap my head around the situation. , “…So please, Tae-Yoon. Go back up and apologize to the others…” , I ignored what Yeon-Hoon said and quickly scanned my surroundings. I wanted to check the source of Yeon-Hoon’s increased probability of death. , Something fell from above. , It was no small pot either and was as big as a kindergartener’s head. And a dangerous item like that was falling over Yeon-Hoon’s head. , “Damn it!” , “Huh?” Yeon-Hoon also felt something was off and looked up. , “Ahhhh!” The flower pot was already right in front of him. , , Something changed to my side and time began to slow as if I was in slow motion. I could hear every sound clearly—from the cars whizzing past on the highways across from here, the checkout machine operating from inside the store, and various noises coming out of the one-bedroom apartments around me. I knew it instinctively then. , This was the ability the mechanical voice told me I gained when I first regressed. , With this ability, I thought of the best method to save Yeon-Hoon in this situation.,

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