The mentor's room was lively as ever, as twelve additional seats were placed by the production crew.

"I saw your performance the other day, Jay," Mia, a member of BLACKBUNS, said as she sat next to him. "Taking off your shirt and twerking is definitely a courageous choice."

Jay Kim smirked. "I just gave my fans what they wanted. Why don't we film the dance challenge later?"

Mia blushed and gently hit Jay's chest.

"Hyerin!" the THRICE member exclaimed as she went to hug her fellow idol.

"Nana," Hyerin said with a fake smile. Coming from girl groups who debuted in the same year, the two were considered 'rivals.' Another member of THRICE came during the interim evaluations, yet now it was none other than Nana.

The two of them were the 'visuals' or the 'faces of the group,' and they both gave off an innocent feel, so they've been compared to each other ever since.

"It's nice seeing you here," Nana said in an exaggerated tone.

Hyerin chuckled and gave her a hug despite wanting to pull her hair.

"Of course," she smiled. "It's nice to see you too."

The room was filled with nostalgic greetings and chatty conversations. They paid attention during the trainees' performances, but they went straight to gossip right after.

"This team will probably win," Jay said to the 'Shake It' team.

"Shouldn't you be rooting for Bodylicious instead?" Woo-jin chuckled.

"I would want to," Jay shrugged. "But these kids killed it. Their ranks are high too."

The night continued with exciting performances. And now, it was time for the last team of the night.

"I'm worried about them," Mia suddenly said. "I was shaking when Hwan said those comments. Even as a veteran idol, I felt quite fearful."

"Tell me about it," Jay said. "I couldn't even sleep that night."

Just then, the chatty atmosphere turned silent when an enigmatic presence entered the room. The group of artists turned to the door where Hwan's imposing figure stood.

They all stood and bowed their heads in respect.

"Good evening, senior," Jihyun said. "It's great to have you join us tonight."

Hwan merely nodded before sitting on his chair. The artists resulted to whispering after Hwan came, all worried about the outcome of the performance.

However, the mentors who had watched the performance already knew better.

"Look forward to their stage," Jihyun said with a proud smile.


"A coffin? What song needs a coffin, to begin with?"

"Is it going to be a spooky performance again? June already did that, so I hope he doesn't repeat the same concept."

"I heard that they're performing a ballad song."

"Huh? Then what's with the coffin."

After the setting of props, the trainees went up the stage. Then, the stage lighting shifted causing gasps to ripple through the audience.

The trainees watching backstage also exclaimed in surprise.

"What the hell? So handsome!"

"This is unfair! Their cheers are so loud for this team."

There was no doubt that this team had the most fans in the audience. Zeth's fandom alone can already overturn one group. And not to mention that they all looked very handsome under the stage light.

However, it couldn't be denied that the audience's gazes strayed to one person—June.

The people in the studio took sight of June in person for the first time, and Jia already felt like she was going to pass out any second.

Beautiful! June was too damn beautiful.

Bora, who had been on her phone for the entirety of the show, finally lifted her head. Her eyes instantly widened in surprise when she saw June in front of her. She had seen his photos and videos before, but being in his presence was an entirely different experience. He exuded a charisma that was impossible to ignore, and the collective enamored gasps from the audience echoed her own reaction.

Jia, standing beside Bora, seemed to have lost all semblance of composure. Her hands sought out Bora's arm, squeezing it in excitement. "Oh my gosh, look at him! He's even more handsome in person!"

Bora couldn't help but agree. However, she didn't want to admit it out loud. She brushed off Jia's hand and clicked her tongue. "Don't bother me."

"Good afternoon, everyone!" Zeth said in a bubbly voice.

"Vocals A!" Leo exclaimed.

"Dance A," Jisung shyly said.

"We ace every aspect!" Lin Zhi boasted.

"We're Team Aces," they said in unison, and the cheers became even louder.

The anticipation in the room grew as the lights dimmed. Jia held onto the railings and squeezed them tightly. She was so damn excited for this performance. She was even more excited than the time she passed her dream university's entrance test!

Bora, too, couldn't help but feel intrigued.

'I guess let's watch this last stage,' she thought, pocketing her phone.

The boys spread out on stage, each occupying a section. Then, the soft strains of the piano began to echo in the air.

"They're performing this song?"

"Ah, shit. I love this song so much."

"My mom loves this song. It's a classic."

The crowd fell into silence, their attention focused on the stage ahead. As the sad melody of the ballad filled the space, they found themselves entranced, captivated by the raw emotion that emanated from the music alone.

The LED background illuminated, revealing a stunning moving image of a sunlit hill blanketed with pristine white flowers. The scene gave off a sense of serenity, yet there was an underlying melancholy that tugged at their heartstrings. The performers, dressed entirely in white, seemed to blend seamlessly with the ethereal backdrop.

Yuri stood at the forefront of the stage, clutching a single white rose in his hand.

"I looked once again, up at the blue skies,

A memory, long lost, held within my eyes.

Under the sun, I held you close but not too near.

Afraid to let my heart be clear."

His voice quivered with emotions as he began to sing. His mellow voice held a delicate vulnerability that touched the audience's heart.

Hwan raised his eyebrows in surprise.

The other artists who were in the interim evaluations were also shocked.

How could their performance improve this much?

As Yuri's voice filled the room, he reached out to June, who walked toward him.

He passed the white rose onto June's hand as if passing the emotional baton.

Then, June opened his mouth to sing...