Many people quit after snooping around.
Numerous individuals kept coming for interviews, yet none stayed long.
Finding someone who excelled at their job and was diligent was like trying to catch a star in the sky.
Usually, such people were already working as assistants for other authors.
He feared that he would succumb to misanthropy at this rate.
As time became precious, he eventually stopped doing interviews in the later phases. He worked almost alone in Season 2. It was possible because he stored a lot of manuscript backups.
But for Season 3, he couldn’t possibly do it alone. An assistant was absolutely necessary to elevate the quality and meet the deadlines.
He started searching for an assistant once again. Days succumbed to misanthropy continued…
Just when he was about to give up, Kim Eun Sae came for an interview.
She didn’t give a good impression at first. Her drawing skills were great, but… she didn’t seem very meticulous.
Dressed in loose-fitting clothes and wearing oversized glasses, her hair was neatly tied back in a simple, unadorned style—a boring look.
He didn’t want to judge based on looks, but her awkward laughter made it hard not to have biases.
It seemed she would be clumsy…
Despite unease about her haggard appearance, he reluctantly hired her.
Because of his irritable demeanor, negative rumors spread within the industry. As a result, no one else came for interviews.
Surprisingly, Kim Eun Sae turned out to be a perfect assistant.
Within a week of her arrival, Joo Kang Hyun’s life completely changed.
He finished work faster and left work sooner. His body felt lighter as a natural consequence of being able to go to bed early.
To finish earlier than the deadlines… It was astonishing.
Kim Eun Sae was incredibly quick, diligent, and meticulous. She even took care of things that weren’t asked of her and hunted down her own mistakes like a ghost to correct them.
Joo Kang Hyun immediately raised Kim Eun Sae’s salary. At that moment, she was his savior. Even the glasses that he thought were frustrating now looked professional and stylish.
Everything was perfect until she confessed to him.
On a day when rain poured heavily, just before leaving work, Kim Eun Sae confessed that she liked him.
Joo Kang Hyun was speechless with shock.
Like me? But there was no sign of that… Or were there?
Their gazes happened to meet often. Looking back, Kim Eun Sae seemed to have been secretly watching him until their eyes met.
Goosebumps rose on his skin.
Joo Kang Hyun firmly rejected her confession. Losing the perfect assistant would be a shame, but could he accept her confession just because of that?
Kim Eun Sae’s words that she would work until a new assistant was found weighed heavily on Joo Kang Hyun each day. Based on past data, it was unlikely another assistant as capable as Kim Eun Sae could be found.
It would take a long time to find a new assistant. And even if one was found, they would quit before the handover was finished.
While feeling somewhat relieved that Kim Eunsae could work a little longer. Joo Kang Hyun felt goosebumps whenever he caught her gloomy gaze.
In fact, he had developed a thick skin against the affectionate gazes and confessions of others.
Since childhood, he had a distinctive appearance. He was tall with a good physique, and he knew that his face was good-looking.
Naturally, he had received countless confessions. But he rejected them all unconditionally.
He had no time for dating because he had a dream to fulfill.
Manhwa artist. It was his long-time dream.
Although his first work failed miserably and he had to join the military, it still held a happy memory.
After being discharged, he started practicing mixed martial arts through the recommendation of an acquaintance. It was the path he was most confident in to make quick money.
Even as a mixed martial artist, he always received attention from women. He never once welcomed it. For him, there was only one goal: to achieve his dream.
After winning three matches in a row, he retired without hesitation as he felt a sense of crisis after nearly injuring his hand during a match. After all, his true dream was drawing.
After working through several oneshots, he finally debuted with “Murder Soccer”.
Despite fulfilling his ambition, he never skipped exercise for wellness, which allowed him to maintain a sturdy physique and appearance.
However, he was still human.
Exhaustion was inevitable after a full day of working. There were days when he worked with messy hair in his training clothes.
Yet she found that state attractive.
She even looked at him with enchanting eyes.
Being appreciated by someone was nice, but for some reason, Kim Eun Sae seemed like a weirdo to him. Was it perhaps because of her appearance or her constant stealing glances at his face?
Anyway, Kim Eun Sae wasn’t his type.
Joo Kang Hyun had high standards. So high that he had never dated a woman in his entire life.
He didn’t have a specific ideal type, and he didn’t have time for dating as he buried himself in drawing, let alone meeting a woman.
He had no interest in the opposite s*x since a young age.
Long ago, he had deemed himself asexual.
He used to wonder if he was abnormal. While morning erect*on occurred regularly, he had never gotten hard from seeing a woman or p*rn.
At one time, doubting if something was wrong with him, he had tried downloading p*rn and m*sturbating like others but failed. Nothing got going, no matter what.
That’s how Joo Kang Hyun concluded he was asexual and thought it was a perfect fit for his life as a manhwa artist.
He would live his whole life immersed in drawing… It was absurd, but he accepted it as is.
That’s why he felt uncomfortable around Kim Eun Sae.
He hoped she quit her job soon but also wanted her, the perfect assistant, to keep working.
Quit, don’t quit, quit, don’t quit… this went through his mind a dozen times a day.
Why does she have to like me…!
He resented Kim Eun Sae. If she liked him, she should have kept it to herself. Why did she confess and make him feel uncomfortable?
At that moment, their gazes met again.
Those small and gloomy eyes behind the glasses sent shivers down his spine.
Joo Kang Hyun bit his lips, trembling, and said.
“Ms. Kim, are you done with your work? Stop staring and go home if you’re finished.”
Checking at the time, it was 6 p.m. Joo Kang Hyun hurriedly shooed her away, worried she might work overtime.
“Then, see you tomorrow, author Joo.”
Kim Eun Sae nodded and left. Alone in the spacious studio, Joo Kang Hyun finally let out a relieved sigh.
* * *
Eun Sae arrived at the nearby officetel where she lived alone.
Entering after pressing the key code, she stepped into a narrow yet cozy and cute interior.
Eun Sae quickly washed up and sat in front of her computer. The walls around her desk were adorned with cute character posters.
When the PC screen lit up, Eun Sae immediately grabbed the stylus pen. She had been drawing all day, but her real work began now.
Eun Sae had been working on her webtoon for a while now.
She couldn’t work as an assistant forever. No, in her heart, she wanted to work as Joo Kang Hyun’s assistant until she died…
But someday, when a replacement was found, she would have to quit.
One of the former assistants who had previously worked there would constantly pester Joo Kang Hyun to look at their projects whenever they had the chance.
No matter how busy he was, Joo Kang Hyun tended to accommodate such requests.
He didn’t give long-winded advice but rather concise and insightful guidance.
Every time she saw that, Eun Sae bit her lips in envy.
‘I want to show him mine too. I want advice too…!’
But it was impossible.
The webtoon Eun Sae was drawing was R19.
Moreover, the male protagonist was designed with Joo Kang Hyun in mind…
Of course, it wasn’t meant to be.
When designing the character to her liking, she had unintentionally created a male protagonist who resembled Joo Kang Hyun.
Still, apart from the eyes and nose, they differed in hairstyle, occupation, and personality.
Anyway, since it was an R19 webtoon… She could never show it to him.
If she asked him to see it, Joo Kang Hyun, who was already unfavorable toward her, might sue her for s*xual harassment.
Being rejected in her confession was one thing, but she didn’t want to get sued.
Eun Sae happily read through the manuscript of the R19 webtoon she had drawn.
It was set in the Joseon era. The male protagonist, resembling Joo Kang Hyun, was a handsome slave serving a noble family. The female protagonist was a noble lady who returned to her ancestral home after her husband’s untimely death before their wedding night.
Feeling weary and lonely due to the blocked path to marriage, the female protagonist started to hold the slave, whom she had kept close since childhood. Thus, the story began with her seducing the slave.
Through the female protagonist’s scheme, the two got trapped in a storage room one day. As a result, from chapter 1, the scene unfolded with the female protagonist making a move on the male protagonist.
[Miss, if you do this… If you touch there… Haah…]
[…Why are you undressing me when you said you can’t?]
[Ah, this… This is all because of you, Miss… my body is burning up… Miss, Miss…!]
Although the slave knew it wasn’t right to give in, he eagerly undressed the female protagonist.
After making minor adjustments to her sketch, Eun Sae opened another file.
This file wasn’t R19… It was just an ordinary romance webtoon suitable for all ages. In short, a pure love one.
This wasn’t a piece born from her creative urges. She had intentionally made time to draw it so she could get Joo Kang Hyun’s feedback.
Before the previous assistant, who used to frequently show their works-in-progress to author Joo quit, Eun Sae cautiously asked.
「Author Joo, can I show you my work-in-progress for review?」
After the confession attack, Joo Kang Hyun’s response was hesitant, but he still said “Yes.”
Since then, she started drawing somehow… perhaps because her heart wasn’t fully in it, the progress was slow.
Still, she managed to finish one chapter, so now she could get feedback.
Whether it was advice, criticism, or even one more word of conversation – For Eun Sae, that was enough.
Eun Sae half-heartedly flipped through the pure romance webtoon, then switched to the R19 one. Her eyes shone again.
She didn’t particularly like explicit content… No, she did enjoy it.
Though she enjoyed it, she never thought she would draw explicit illustrations. But as she studied human anatomy, she started to enjoy drawing nudes… and through drawing various poses, she gained some self-confidence.
Honestly… When she thought of Joo Kang Hyun as her muse, the only material that came to mind was R19.
In fact, she had pleasured herself secretly while thinking of him many times, even using an adult toy as a substitute for Joo Kang Hyun.
Joo Kang Hyun’s face and physique were really…too good to waste in the studio as a webtoonist.
But Eun Sae wished he would forever remain a webtoonist without getting involved in relationships or marriage.
If he could forever stay busy as he was now… if he could forever remain untainted…
* * *
The next day.
Having worked until late at night, Eun Sae sat down at her desk in a daze. She pushed up her thick glasses and turned on her PC before heading to the kitchen to brew coffee.
At that moment, she saw Joo Kang Hyun walking down the hallway. Beyond that hallway was a restricted area.
While this side was the workspace, the other was Joo Kang Hyun’s home.
His home…Joo Kang Hyun’s personal space.
Before quitting, Eun Sae’s wish was to visit that place once.
“Good morning, author Joo.”
With a curt response, Joo Kang Hyun went to his seat.
“Author Joo, would you like me to brew coffee for you?”
Eun Sae pouted her lips at his curt response.
She wanted to converse a little more… Suddenly, she remembered something.
“Oh, that’s right, author Joo! Could you take a look at that draft I mentioned before?”
When she asked that, Joo Kang Hyun looked at her with a face that said, ‘What draft?’. Then, seeming to remember, he let out a short “Ah.”
Even his clueless face looked cute to Eun Sae.
“How many chapters have you done so far?”
“…It’s been so long since you asked, and you’ve only finished one chapter?”
“I didn’t have enough time, so…”
At those words, Joo Kang Hyun couldn’t say anything. He felt embarrassed. To say such insensitive words to the assistant who had no time because of him.