June squinted his eyes at the two people in front of him.

Alex and Hyunwoo.

Alex chuckled out loud when June didn't respond.

"Yah, you're really Choi Joon-ho, aren't you? I almost didn't recognize you when you first revealed your face, but it's definitely you," Alex taunted, his grip on June's wrist tightening. "Your eyes are still the same."

June nonchalantly looked into his eyes before retreating his wrist.

"I don't know what you're talking about," June said.

Currently, he doesn't know what these two have to do with Choi Joon-ho, and frankly, he wants to keep it that way.

June could feel that they had a connection, but he could also tell that it wasn't good.

These two appeared like predators in front of June.

Alex and Hyunwoo glanced at each other.

"Still acting dumb until now, huh?" Hyunwoo smirked. "You acted innocent with us during our training period, but in reality, you were the company's lackey. Such a good boy you are. However, they still let you go in the end," he said, teasingly ruffling June's hair.

However, June was having none of it.

He clicked his tongue and swatted Hyunwoo's hand away.

Hyunwoo raised his eyebrows in surprise, looking a bit annoyed. "I see. You've grown some guts, haven't you?"

Alex frowned as he observed June's face. It was strange.

The Joon-ho he met back then was meek, silent, and always followed orders. Despite not being the most talented trainee, the company kept him around because he was good at running errands. He was the most hardworking out of them all too.

Choi Joon-ho never fought back—that was a fact.

Yes, June's eyes were the same as they were in the past—anatomically, that is. But right now, there was a certain glint, a fire, in June's eyes that set him apart from the Joon-ho they knew.

Alex chuckled in disbelief. "You can put up an act and show a brave facade," he said. "But it doesn't take away the fact that you were the one who ruined our chances to debut back then. And now, you're here? Trying to make it into another idol group? Don't you have any conscience for what you've done?"

"What did I do?" June asked out of genuine curiosity. People around him always seemed to speak in riddles, and he wanted to know what it was that Choi Joon-ho had really done.

Hyunwoo's jaw clenched, while Alex glared at him with profound hatred. However, June remained calm throughout their ordeal, which confused the other two even more.

How could he act like such a different person within the span of less than a year?

It was impossible!

"Come on," June taunted. "Tell me what I did, then maybe I'll make it up to you. What do you guys want? Want some chocolate as compensation for what I did, huh?" he said in a teasing tone.

Hyunwoo clenched his fists and appeared like he wanted to hit June. However, Alex held onto Hyunwoo's hand and shook his head.

June smirked. "Come on, man. Hit me."

Hyunwoo really wanted to hit June, but Alex's expression told him otherwise. Physical violence was a disqualifying offense in Rising Stars, and they'd come too far to ruin their chances of debuting.

Instead, Alex stepped forward to whisper in June's ears, "We'll show you what you did instead," he smirked. He stepped back and winked at June, a murderous glint in his eyes.

With that, the two of them walked away, leaving June confused.

June clicked his tongue and shook his head. Those two kids looked like a joke while they threatened him.

They were merely teenagers when they trained with Choi Joon-ho.

June didn't know much about Joon-ho's past, but based on what Fu had told him, Joon-ho had been training at Phoenix for six years and left less than a year ago because a trainee replaced him for the debut position.

Fu never mentioned a past with Alex and Hyunwoo, so June didn't make much of a big deal out of it.

With that, he decided to head home. He already miss his small apartment.

He quickly put on his hood and mask since he didn't want to risk the chance of getting recognized and flocked.

June left the building and walked to the bus station. He sat on one of the benches and waited patiently. Then, a young girl with her brother sat down next to him. She had lopsided pigtails on, and it appeared like they went out to eat some ice cream.

However, only the little girl was eating ice cream.

The guy, who looked like he was Minx's age, sat her down, looking at her fondly while wiping her messy mouth.

"Look, brother!" the little girl cutely said, pointing behind June. "It's the show I like!"

June subtly turned his head to the side and was surprised to see a Rising Stars poster behind him. Kang Minho was the face of the show, and behind him were the one hundred trainees. They appeared like background characters, their faces not being seen since they were a bit blurred.

"Right," the young guy chuckled. "The next episode is already near. Let's watch it together?"

"Hmm!" the little girl nodded. "I want to see Jisungie."

June smirked. Good choice, little girl.

"How about June? Don't you like him?" the guy asked, and June listened intently.

"No!" the little girl exclaimed, causing June to frown. "I don't like him. I like his pink mask. He should cover his face again."

June scowled. Alright, this little girl is the same as Minjun.

They both speak the same way too.

The guy chuckled. "June's good, though. He's probably my favorite."

June smiled in satisfaction.

This young man will succeed someday.

However, his smile quickly fell when the little girl started crying.

"No!" she wailed. "Why is he your favorite? He shouldn't be your favorite. He's not cute at all!"

June was appalled. What did she mean? June was cute at times!

His friends told him so!

However, his heart softened after hearing the little girl's explanation.

"I should be your favorite," she sniffed. "If June's your favorite, then how about me?"

The young man chuckled as he ruffled his sister's hair. "Of course," he said. "You're my favorite in the entire world. Not even June can compare to you."

"Promise?" the little girl cutely said.


June let out a quiet sigh. This exchange just made him miss his little sister.

"Yay!" the little girl exclaimed. "Then, if I'm your favorite. Can you buy me a doll, brother? The cute one in front of our neighbor's house."

The young man scratched the back of his neck. "Umm, I'll make you one. I'll make it even cuter than the one they're selling."

"Ahh," the girl whined. "But I want that one, brother. You told me you'll buy me one last month."

"Then, next month," the young man said. "I promise. Your big brother will just try to make more money to buy you a doll."

June frowned. It seemed like they were in the same situation as him and Mei Ling too.

The little girl continued to insist, and it broke June's heart how she looked so dejected by his rejection. The young man, too, couldn't hide his disappointment.

June felt like he had to do something. So, with a sigh, he started rummaging through his pocket.