"Holy Moly," Na-ri exclaimed as their performance ended.

Abyss gave one final bow before leaving the stage.

"That was nuts," Soo-min said. "I definitely didn't think they'd pull off such a stage."

"They're all pretty good," Wei added. "I recognized some of the zero-star trainees from their signal song performance, and they weren't like this."

"And who's the main vocalist again? Junny? JunJun?" Na-ri asked.

"It's June," Jia quickly clarified. "His name is June. Get it right."

Jia's friends turned to her, surprised by her sudden outburst.

"Right, June," Na-ri chuckled. "He's really good. His vocals stood out from all the rest. But I think I'll vote for Bin. He's really handsome."

Jia looked at them with wide eyes. "What? That guy didn't even stand out!"

"He did," Soo-min said. "He was the best dancer in the team. He's probably the most popular, too, since he's in the top 20."

Jia frowned. She didn't even notice that guy.

Wei chuckled and patted her back. "It's because you were too focused on that June guy, my friend. Seems like someone's developing a bias."

Jia rolled her eyes and turned away from them. So what if she's taken a liking to June? She quickly opened her phone and cast a vote for him. For her, he stood out the most, and it would be a shame if he didn't win in his group just because Bin was more popular.

"Alright, starlights," Minho said. "It's now time to vote for the team you liked better between Kingz and Abyss."

Minx squeezed June's arm.

"What is it?" June asked.

"I'm scared of the results, brother," the youngest said, his hands shaking.

"I suddenly lost confidence after we finished," C-Jay, who was the most confident trainee in the show, surprisingly said.

Jangmoon scratched the back of his head. "I made a mistake too. If it weren't for big brother June, the stage would have been ruined."

Hoom smirked. "I didn't make a mistake."

"I'm sorry," Bin said. "It's my fault for not making the choreography tighter. I guess I lost some confidence after watching the other team perform."

June sighed as he watched his dejected teammates.

"What did you guys feel when you performed?" he asked.

"It was fun," Akira chimed. "It's been a while since I've had such a fun time performing. I think the last time I felt this way was when RAVEN was promoting in music festivals."

Minx nodded, looking a little less nervous. "Yeah, it felt really fun. I was always nervous during monthly trainee evaluations, but this one felt just like a performance."

C--Jay chuckled, patting the youngest's back. "Tell me about it. It didn't feel like we were being evaluated."

"I even forgot this was a competition at one point," Eli added. "I actually enjoyed rapping."

"Well, I would say I'm satisfied with the performance, too," Bin smiled.

"Then there shouldn't be any problem," June said. "You guys had a fun time. That's all that matters. I think the audience feels the same way, too."

Akira chuckled and nudged June's shoulders. "Eyy, you're doing good at this leadership thing."

"That's my big brother June!" Jangmoon exclaimed.

June sighed. "You're older than me!"

"It doesn't matter," Jangmoon smiled. "You feel like a big brother to me."

June clicked his tongue and shook his head.

"Let's head in to see the results," he said. "And remember, no matter what the results say, what's important is you guys had a fun time."

With that, he turned around and started walking to the results room.

Hoon clicked his tongue as he watched June's retreating back. Why the hell is he so cool?

June only said those words.

But of course, he didn't believe them!

The results are always the most important!

At the end of the day, people only look at the results and not how much effort they've made in order to achieve such results.

June learned that the hard way.

No matter how many times he stumbled, broke down, and sacrificed himself for the White Tiger gang, it was futile at the end of it all.

However, since his young teammates appeared so down, he couldn't help but say those words.

In a way, it felt like he was saying it to his younger, naive self.

They entered the results room and saw that Kingz was already there. The team glanced at them with unreadable expressions, creating a palpable tension within the room.

Akira smiled at his teammates, but they were too focused on the screen to notice him. He frowned and sat next to June.

The screen started flashing the results of the Artist Battle.


"Kingz vs. Abyss"

"Kingz team: Top Member"

The Kingz team watched the screen in anticipation. June looked at them one by one and found it hard to predict who was going to take the benefit.

A lot of them were popular, but if he had to choose someone, it'd either be Casper or Jaeyong.


The other trainees clapped for Casper. For some of them, it was already expected. Casper is currently the second placer of the show. However, it still didn't take away the disappointment they felt.

"Abyss team: Top Member."

"I wish this was you, brother," Akira whispered by his side.

June focused on the screen.


Bin stood up and sighed in relief. Minx went behind his back to give him a hug.

"Congrats, brother," the other members of Abyss exclaimed. Only Hoon remained silent.

"Congrats," June said.

Akira sighed. "It should have been you."

June chuckled. "Why are you more disappointed than I am?"

Akira shrugged. "You were the one who brought this team back to life."

"It's alright," he nonchalantly said. "Bin did a good job."

Again, June was saying such kind words, but he was already cursing inside his mind.

After all the shit he went through, he still didn't get first place?

He sighed and tried to get rid of such thoughts in his head.

Bin already had some fans even before joining 'Rising Stars.'

June still has a long way to go.

After the announcements of the top members were shown, it was now time to see who won among the two teams.

The trainees backstage conversed among themselves.

"It's probably Kingz, right?"

"I would think so too."

Zeth, who was currently on standby for their performance, watched the screen intently.

"I think Abyss did a better job, though," he muttered under his breath.

The two team names were shown on screen, and underneath them were varying numbers ranging from 1 to 500. A drumroll-like beat played in the results room, and the trainees felt like their hearts were beating at the same, fast tempo.

"This is nerve-wracking," Akira said.

"Kingz: 289"

"Abyss: 211"