"Welcome back, trainees! It's only been five days since I've last seen you, but it already feels like forever," Minho said, greeting the trainees as they entered the room. He was accompanied by Gun this time, which immediately instilled fear in the trainees.

Today, there was an interim mission before the airing of the third episode. Apparently, this mission was supposedly going to help the starlights get to know about the trainees more.

"You've all gotten more handsome since the last time I saw you," Gun smiled. It seemed like being in the spotlight had given the trainees a different glow.

One trainee still looked the same, though.

That damn cat mask. It still gives Gun the creeps.

"Welcome, welcome," Minho continued to greet. "Are you all settled?"

"Yes, mentor."

"I'm sure most of you have learned about today's agenda," Gun said. "But you do not know the details yet. However, if you've watched the previous seasons, I'm sure you'll be familiar with this interim mission."

"Self-PR," Jisung whispered. "I don't like this already."

Song Jisung, the young guy with social anxiety, shook in his boots when he realized they'll be doing live streams today.

"What are you going to do?" C-Jay asked June. "Do you want to have a joint live stream and have a rap battle?"

"No! No! I want to do a dance battle with big brother," Jangmoon said.

June listened to them with deaf ears.

These two are really confident despite their lack of skill.

"What are you going to do?" Akira asked Jisung.

"I–I don't know," Jisung said. "I'm not good at speaking, so I just want to dance."

The other trainees were already discussing what they were going to do among themselves.

"Not so fast, trainees," Minho said. "You guys seem excited."

Self-PR live streams.

Every season of Rising Stars, the trainees were given chances to promote themselves in between the episodes of the show.

The self-PR live streams were one of the most popular segments of the show. Azure partners up with YouWatch and creates a hundred live streams where people can get to know the trainees more. Each trainee was given only 15 minutes for the live stream, so the trainees busted out everything they had for those few minutes.

June even saw one of the trainees eating with his feet last year. He looked so crazy that he ended up getting eliminated on the first elimination.

The trainee with the highest views by the end of the 15 minutes takes home a tangible benefit.

It's not stars or anything like that. It's related to what they did in the live stream. For example, a trainee who dances will get new expensive speakers. Most of the time, Azure gave out a new phone too.

Somehow, the same scenario that happens every year. Famous trainees will showcase their talents, and they'd garner the highest views, while low-ranked trainees try all desperate antics but still end up at the bottom.

June wanted to win this one. Sure, there weren't any star benefits. But if it's like the other seasons, then June might be able to replace his old phone.

"Settle down," Gun said in a stern voice, causing the room to go quiet. "This would not be like the past seasons," he added. "Back then, trainees were given the freedom to showcase their talents without any limits. However, that gave the starlights very similar content. In order to show the starlights a variety of talents, trainees shall incorporate a chosen item in their respective live streams."

"What does that even mean?" Eli whispered.

"There are hidden items in this room and in the hallway, and you can pick out, at most, two items to use in your live stream. This does not have to be the sole topic of your live stream, but you must incorporate them in order to become eligible for the price."

No wonder there were so many weird items in the hallway a while ago. June even saw a set of balloons just right outside. What was Azure expecting them to do? Produce a clown show?

June looked around the room and saw a speaker on top of the tall post. Well, looks like he's not going to be able to reach that.

"I'm going to get that speaker and have a rap battle by myself," C-Jay said, determined.

"Keep dreaming, brother," Jangmoon said. "You're too short."

"On your marks," Gun said, and the trainees prepared to run. "Get set…Go!"

Almost everybody ran up to the speaker. However, having golden hands, Zeth was able to get it.

"Sweet," he smiled, already planning to do a dance cover challenge compilation for his live stream.

Ren quickly took the toy microphone next to the other real microphones. "Let's have fun with this one." A busking-type live stream was best suited for a vocalist like him.

Leo pouted when Ren got the microphone. He settled for a sketchpad instead. He was also quite talented in drawing, so he could showcase that to the starlights too.

Jangmoon and C-Jay had a brawl in the middle of the room, wanting to take the flower crown.

"This'll be pretty on me!" C-Jay said.

"The only reason why this will look good on you is because your face resembles dirt. Other than that, this suits me better," Jangmoon retaliated.

Other trainees started looking for their second items, quite dissatisfied with the first items they got.

June leaned against the wall and observed the room. However, he suddenly felt something behind his back. He stopped leaning for a second and found a bunny hat behind him. It was one of those hats that would go up once you press the "paws."

"The hell?" he whispered. This was one of those popular hats that idols would use to act cute in front of their fans.

Aegyo, was it?

June could not act cute for his life.

However, it seemed like the other trainees liked the bunny hat since he suddenly became the target of many.

"Are you sure you want that, June?"

"June, my man!"

"Hey, June. You like cats, right? You're not a bunny guy, aren't you?"


"June! June!"


June's eyes widened in surprise. It's like he's being chased by those seagulls from Finding Nemo!