“The Dawn! The Dawn!”
Thunderous cheers erupted from outside.
It seemed like a VCR was playing before The Dawn’s performance.
Seong Jiwon’s voice could be heard from the interview.
[“The Dawn was actually on the verge of disbanding.
Our record sales weren’t good.
We all thought we had no choice, that we should be grateful for what we achieved.”]
Next was Jeong Dajun.
[“I just trusted my hyungs and followed them! Is this what you call self-sacrifice? Ah, self-made? Well, anyway.
Ichae-hyung composed the song, Seonghyeon-hyung created the choreography, Jiwon-hyung took charge of the vocals, and Hoyun-hyung led us!”]
[Huh? Dajun said he just trusted us and followed? Haha, that kid.
How did I feel? I just did it because it was fun.
I enjoyed life with the members and the fans loved it.]
After Kang Ichae, Kim Seonghyeon’s interview played.
After much consideration and silence, Kim Seonghyeon gave a subtle smile.
[“I feel like I owe a debt of gratitude to those who believed in me, one that I can never repay no matter what I do.”]
The editing was well-done.
A staff member yelled at the top of their lungs.
We nodded and stood in front of the wall that blocked the stage.
When the VCR ended, the wall would split open and reveal the stage.
The cheering grew louder, drowning out the sound of the VCR.
The members standing next to me seemed a little tense, but their faces were flushed with excitement.
The last VCR was of me.
[“Seo Hoyun, tell us how you feel about the last performance.”]
It was Kim Heeyeon’s voice.
My laughter echoed.
My voice resonated in the hall.
[“I have to do well.”]
Kim Seonghyeon looked back at me.
Let’s do well.
It was exactly like when Seong Jiwon had said that to me, and I couldn’t help but smile.
We prepared so much.
The stage opened.
As we walked forward from the dark backstage, dazzling lights poured into our eyes.
An unbelievable sight unfolded before us as we adjusted to the blinding lights.
Countless fans filled the audience seats, waving The Dawn’s slogans.
“Seo Hoyun! Seo Hoyun!”
The cheers erupted.
Fans were ecstatic just seeing my face.
The effect of a 6% viewer rating was tremendous.
Even I started to feel overwhelmed.
At the same time, the intro ended, and the beat of the song composed by Kang Ichae began.
The song was called “Kismet.”
It meant a destiny beyond human control.
To be born as a star, there must be intense friction from the beginning.
We compared The Dawn to a star and applied our struggles up until now as a process to be born.
What does that mean?
Our hardships were inevitable.
In the end, it was our destiny to become stars.
[“No, sir, there is nothing here.”]
The sound of an astronaut communicating over a wireless device, accompanied by static, began the song.
[“Only little clouds of dust.”]
With a pop, the sound cut off, and the camera zoomed in on us.
Lying in five different directions, we looked like stars.
Seong Jiwon then raised his upper body and reached out his hand.
“In this vast universe, I met the miracle that is you.
Enchanted, I reach out my hand.
But I’m too small.”
The background showed a huge nebula expanding behind Seong Jiwon, who had a serene smile.
“But you told me,
That I can be a star.”
At the same time, everyone jumped up!
The song’s tempo picked up.
Unlike the last sentimental performance, this one had a funky rhythm.
Kim Seonghyeon walked forward.
“Lift my head up, open my eyes amidst the dust.”
As he was captured on camera, the fans’ screams grew louder.
“Kim Seonghyeon! Kim Seonghyeon!”
It was the entrance of Kim Seonghyeon, the greatest beneficiary and hero of this song.
It was truly an overwhelming response.
“Everyone warns me,
To be born, I must plunge into the storm.”
The image of Kim Seonghyeon on the large screen looked cool even to me.
All the sweat he had shed was for this stage.
“It’s alright, I’ve already decided, I want to meet you.
It’s okay if I burn.
I know things gonna be alright.”
Kim Seonghyeon waved his hand and bowed his head.
Kang Ichae suddenly appeared beside him, smiling mischievously as he rapped.
“You see, the nebulae gather.
Dive into the storm, withstand the gravity,
These collisions are nothing.
After all, this is the path to you,
Birth of a star.”
Seong Jiwon started the chorus, touching his in-ear monitor.
I added ad-libs as a double.
“A brilliant light bursts,
Don’t miss it.
This is it (Well, I told you),
The moment a star is born.”
The reaction was good.
At the same time, Jeong Dajun ran to the center, and the other four members spread out to the sides.
“I’m rushing to you
I want to proudly tell you
Because of you, I became a star.”
The audience seats under the stage vibrated beautifully.
Fans were cheering and shaking our slogans.
As Jeong Dajun approached and pretended to turn the camera with his hand, the focus shifted to me.
The blue light shone brightly on me.
At a glance, it was too dazzling, but I thought it was like…
The future of these pure, foolish guys.
“Don’t panic, you just have to do one thing.”
This message is for the fans who believed in The Dawn through all the ups and downs.
“Hold on to me and follow,
You showed me the way.”
A very small reward we can give.
I want to show it someday as a bigger reward.
The shaking slogans vibrated like waves.
My heart pumped wildly as if it would explode soon.
“Now, I’ll be the guiding light for you.”
A smile crept up on my face.
Another unforgettable scene was added to my life.
As Seo Hoyun the idol, I’ve been accumulating unfamiliar emotions and experiences.
Fireworks burst beautifully as we returned to the main stage.
“I will dance all night to please you
Until the heart of the star grows cold
I will sing all day only for you (only for you).”
Sweat poured down.
There was no time to wipe sweat or rest.
I brushed my hair back and focused till the end.
“It’s alright, I’ve already decided.”
Everyone was singing together when the camera focused on Seong Jiwon.
As Jiwon walked briskly and playfully drew a star with his hand, cheers erupted naturally.
“It’s okay if I burn till the end.”
The song was sprinting toward the end.
The crackling sound of communication came again.
“Wait, there is something going on.”
We stood tall, looking straight ahead, and stretched our arms out.
Our neatly spread palms faced the swaying fans.
And the final protagonist was Kim Seonghyeon.
Seonghyeon looked straight ahead.
“Because you told me,”
Seonghyeon smiled brilliantly.
“That I can be a star.”
“Good job, everyone!”
“Thank you, good job to you too!”
Honestly, I don’t remember much after that.
People kept talking to us as we finished the stage and headed to the waiting room.
“This is going to be the highest rating! The highest rating for the program!”
“Sunbae! You were so cool.”
“Let’s do a quick interview after the stage! It’ll be uploaded on YouTube!”
It felt as if we were in a bustling market.
Amid all the chaos, it was time for the announcement.
As we headed to the stage, bright lights shone on us.
With a bright smile, Yu Jia announced the rankings one by one.
“4th place: Refined!”
The Refined members walked out smiling as if they had expected it.
Although they weren’t bad, they were buried among the strong stages.
“3rd place: Nightmare!”
Nightmare’s Lee Hanseong screamed in surprise.
Laughter burst out.
He caused a scene, but he was so satisfied with the results that he bowed repeatedly.
Eventually, he shed tears while giving his acceptance speech.
I had a feeling that Nightmare would rise higher in the future.
Yu Jia smiled brightly.
“Now, only 1st and 2nd places are left, right? Maze and The Dawn, who will get the ticket to Shining Star Season 2!”
I made eye contact with Maze’s vocalist.
He gave a slightly bitter smile.
However, his eyes showed approval.
There was the typical long wait for live voting results, for the advertisements and ratings, but everyone on stage knew the outcome.
And then, Yu Jia slowly picked up the microphone.
“With 7,220 points this time….”
It was an overwhelming score.
“Total 13,420 points…!”
Even at this point, the fans’ minds were racing, and they were already screaming.
I smiled brightly.
“The Dawn takes 1st place!”
Fireworks burst, and paper flowers fluttered down.
We expected it, but the members’ faces were still plastered with a few pieces of paper flowers, with a disbelieving, dumb expressions.
But I couldn’t guarantee that my appearance differed from the rest of the members.
You have won 1st place in Shining Star.
All abilities are increased by 50 each.
A hidden attribute is acquired.
Would you like to check the hidden attribute?]
No, I should enjoy this moment now.
The cheers of the fans continued endlessly.
Tears streamed down the faces of the fans waving their slogans wildly under the stage.
I wish they wouldn’t cry.
Yu Jia was caught up in the excitement of the scene and continued enthusiastically.
“The Dawn will have the chance to participate in Shining Star Season 2!”
Someone suddenly bumped into me as I looked around to pass the comment to Kim Seonghyeon.
It was Jeong Dajun.
“Hyung! We’re 1st place!”
At the same time, Kang Ichae jumped on me.
Seong Jiwon and Kim Seonghyeon followed suit.
It felt like being crushed.
“1st place! We really made it to 1st place!”
Even though I didn’t say anything, my hair was tousled, and my body was being pushed and pressed in every direction.
I managed to fend them off and opened my mouth.
“I told you it would happen.”
“Hyung, you really know that I believed in you, right?!”
Kim Seonghyeon, leader, take the microphone quickly.”
I calmed down the ecstatic Kim Seonghyeon, who was hugging me and bouncing all over the place, and handed him the microphone I received from Yu Jia.
“Uh, um… I sincerely thank all the fans who voted for us.
It was truly, truly unexpected…”
I looked at the hard-working Kim Seonghyeon.
The fans were still crying and waving their hands.
I couldn’t help but smile again.
“First of all, I want to thank our company and our members who worked so hard.
Seong Jiwon, Kang Ichae, Jeong Dajun.
And… Seo Hoyun.”
Kim Seonghyeon hesitated and emphasized each word with force.
“Really, I’m really grateful.”
Despite being incoherent, Kim Seonghyeon’s calm demeanor showed his concern for the fans and his determination not to cry.
Just as someone said—
“As a member of The Dawn, I am truly happy to stand here.
…I will continue to work hard.”
He truly seemed like a hero.
“The final rating for Shining Star was 7%!”
“What was the highest rating during the show?”
“It was during The Dawn’s performance! No, it was during the announcement of the first place!”
“It was 7.6% during the first-place announcement!”
Kim Heeyeon never cried.
Kim Heeyeon, although she always had been, wasn’t interested in titles like “star PD” or fame.
She just felt relieved and thrilled about the changed ending.
I know her well, and I’m 100% sure she’s happier about getting rid of Today than the show doing well.
“Seo Hoyun! You genius idol! Congratulations on getting first place!”
“Ah, it’s all thanks to you, PD.”
“Don’t thank me! Thank Seo Hoyun’s face!”
“Aww! PD! You’re so annoying!”
“Wahaha! Did you see that, you guys! It serves you right, it serves you right!”
Kim Heeyeon was a bit drunk and laughed loudly.
I quietly passed her off to a staff member next to her.
I swiftly abandoned Kim Heeyeon and headed towards The Dawn’s table, only to be caught by another troublemaker.
“Guys, it’s my fault! I’m the sinner!”
“Why are you all like this?”
This time it was the manager.
“Who got the manager drunk?”
“They called for another round.”
“Just run away with the van! I’ll never stop you, even if you do it ten times!”
“What do we do about this?”
“Leave him be.
Seong Jiwon drank and muttered.
Hopefully, someone will take care of it.
I replied to the texts from Joo Woosung, Lim Hyeonsu, and Seo Hojin as the staff’s frantic screams reached me.
“Reward! Reward vacation!”
“Today, we’ll treat ourselves to vodka!”
“Kyaaa! Let’s go to the fourth round!”
Seeing people wanting to go to the second, third, and fourth rounds after breaking 7% in ratings made me sick.
“Let’s slip away while Jeong Dajun is still here.”
“What about the manager?”
“Should we leave him? He seems to be having fun.”
“Yeah, he’s worked hard, so he should enjoy himself tonight.”
Kang Ichae playfully hit Jeong Dajun, who was still drinking soda, and gestured to leave.
Jeong Dajun was still underage, so he sipped soda with his eyes half-closed but looked happy nonetheless.
He was always friendly and kind, quickly becoming close with others, and through this competition, he seemed to have become particularly close with Nightmare.
“Dajun! Let’s go!”
“Hyung, you did great too!”
“The Dawn, you all worked so hard!”
We greeted everyone and stepped outside.
The night air was cold and refreshing.
“Should we take a taxi?”
“Let’s do that.”
As we headed towards the main road to hail a taxi without much thought, I caught Kim Seonghyeon’s eye.
He looked hesitant, reminding me of what I thought earlier.
I asked for some time.
“I’ll walk to sober up.
The dorm isn’t that far from here.”
“Uh, me too.”
“Hyung, let’s walk together!”
As I subtly spoke, Jeong Dajun’s eyes lit up.
He was half-asleep and grumbling about wanting to go home, but at times like this, he became clingy.
How do I get rid of him?
I didn’t have to worry for long.
Quick-witted Seong Jiwon and Kang Ichae grabbed the maknae’s nape with gentle smiles.
“Young children should go home and sleep early~.”
“What’s going on, hyungs?”
“Let’s go, I’m tired~.”
They dragged Jeong Dajun into the taxi.
Seong Jiwon poked his head out of the window.
“See you later! Don’t come back too late.”
“Good work today.”
As Seong Jiwon laughed and closed the window, the taxi quickly disappeared.
Kim Seonghyeon and I were left on the empty road.
“Shall we go?”
Walking in silence, I felt a bit regretful.
We had just finished an amazing performance a few hours ago, so there was a certain emptiness, but…
It was freezing.
“How much of an honest conversation do we need to have to endure this?”
“…Damn, should we have just taken a taxi and returned to our dorm?”
As the alcohol wore off and we sobered up a bit, the coldness hit us.
Kim Seonghyeon rubbed his hands together and looked around, spotting a pojangmacha.
Our eyes met.
“Let’s go in.”
“Let’s go in quickly.”
I gestured to Kim Seonghyeon, and we quickly went into the pojangmacha.
There weren’t many people since it was early morning.
Most of them were drunk, and the older owner didn’t seem to recognize us, so it felt like we could comfortably chat.
“Do you want some fish cakes?”
“Then I’ll also have some sundae.”
We quickly agreed and sat down to order.
Soon, the soju came out first, and I poured it into a glass.
I downed the alcohol in one shot and said to Kim Seonghyeon.
“Yeah… You too.”
Kim Seonghyeon fidgeted and cautiously called me.
“What? That’s disgusting.”
“You can say whatever you want… never mind.”
I immediately felt goosebumps on my arm.
Seeing Kim Seonghyeon like this was not something I could get used to.
When Kim Seonghyeon failed to set the mood, he glared at me and sighed deeply.
“That’s what I’m saying.”
Kim Seonghyeon downed his soju.
“I met Jeonggyu yesterday, and we talked for a bit.”
Ah, Kim Seonghyeon’s friend.
He said he was coming back to Korea urgently, so I guess he really did.
“How… how did you get Jeonggyu’s number? He said he cut off all ties with Korea.”
“Ha… You wouldn’t know what I went through…”
I remembered that dark history and drank the soju.
Kim Seonghyeon tilted his head.
“So, did you talk things out?”
“Yes, well, it ended well, thanks to you.
We cleared up the misunderstanding and expressed gratitude to each other.”
Kim Seonghyeon sighed and poked the freshly served tteokbokki with his chopsticks, mumbling.
He’s not drunk enough yet.
“Do you want to drink?”
Then we should get more drunk to talk more comfortably.
I poured more soju for him.
Without saying a word, we continued drinking, and Kim Seonghyeon got more talkative as he got drunker.
“Actually, it was really tough back then.
I kept thinking I had done something wrong… and the activities I had prepared myself for didn’t go well either.”
“Ah, I see.”
“Because of that, I was really… impatient.
That’s also why I was initially so harsh to you.”
“Is that so?”
I thought that being harsh was a natural reaction from Kim Seonghyeon.
Backed into a corner.
I didn’t even realize I was clicking my tongue, and Kim Seonghyeon wiped his eyes.
Before I knew it, the guy who had put me down more than anyone else had let down all his barriers.
“I’m so sorry for back then.”
“And… I’m really grateful that you cared so much.”
I sighed for a moment.
He really deserved to be called a hero.
The person who knows how to bring themselves down is the bravest of all.
Having lost my words, I silently chewed on a fish cake, but as soon as I saw the next scene, I couldn’t help but spit out what I was eating.
“I’m really a jerk.”
Kim Seonghyeon shed tears.
“I’m really, really sorry.
You had to suffer because of me.”
“It’s, it’s okay.”
What the hell? How am I supposed to fix this situation?
I’m not someone who gets flustered when someone cries, but since he was always so stoic, it’s incredibly bizarre.
In front of a faucet with gushing water, I picked up words as best I could and spat them out.
“We’re doing great right now.
“I ruined the atmosphere… and you guys had to get badmouthed because of me…”
There would’ve been plenty of trials for me, even if it wasn’t you.
I’ve been doing well but then, bam, knocked down.
Getting badmouthed and failing, but then things suddenly go smoothly.
“Is that so…?”
“You never know what will happen, so you just do it.
And you’ve done more than enough.
More than anyone else.
So, stop crying… Hey, what are you going to do if you keep crying?”
[Is he just saying anything because he’s feeling embarrassed?]
I quickly grabbed a tissue and turned my head away.
“Boss! Two more bottles of soju, please!”
“Oh my, are you guys okay?”
“Yes, we’re fine!”
And then we both got wasted.
Damn, I tried to calm him down by toasting with him and drinking together, but now I’m drunk too.
“I’m actually quite a good dancer, right??”
“Yeah! You’re not bad! You’ve improved a lot, really.”
“As much as Joo Woosung?”
“Don’t cross the line.”
You’re not really drunk, are you?”
As soon as Joo Woosung was mentioned, Kim Seonghyeon’s face changed quickly.
Just as the atmosphere was getting more comfortable, Kim Seonghyeon suddenly dropped his head and rested it on the table, mumbling that he could keep going.
But by then, the alcohol had filled my throat, and I wasn’t in my right mind either.
“Do you want more fish cake?”
“Hey, eat it, eat it.
You need to eat something hot.
You’re not in your right mind because you’re drunk.”
“You’re not in your right mind either, Seo Hoyun.”
When I laughed lightly, Kim Seonghyeon made a face.
“You’re too similar to that hyung….”
Kim Seonghyeon, who still hadn’t lifted his head from the table, suddenly muttered.
“When I see you… I sometimes think of him.”
He was probably just talking nonsense because he was drunk.
I was holding two fish cake skewers in both hands, alternating between them and considering whether to open another bottle of soju.
Kim Seonghyeon continued talking, whether I was listening or not.
“Back then, after dropping out… I was exhausted, and, on my way home, I stopped by a street food stall.”
“At that moment, I was thinking about what to order when tears suddenly filled my eyes.
My life was so pitiful.”
“But a stranger standing beside me suddenly handed me 5,000 won and bought me fish cake.
He even scooped up some broth for me.”
[Some “memories” are unlocked.]
I suddenly remembered the scene as if the noise had cleared away.
– “Boss, can I have more broth, please?”
I almost dropped the half-eaten fish cake I was holding.
A memory of a cold day passed by.
A high school student in a uniform crying with a blurry face came to mind.
“That hyung stayed with me until I stopped crying.
So, I forced myself to eat the fish cake while crying….”
“He was about to leave after paying, so I grabbed him.
I wanted to at least say thank you.”
I remembered the words the teary-eyed high school student said.
– “Thank you.”
“But he didn’t say anything, just looked at me and said this.”
I got goosebumps.
I looked at Kim Seonghyeon’s face.
The blurry impression gradually matched.
[Some “memories” are unlocked.]
“It wasn’t much, but that phrase saved me then.
I was able to continue.
I made it this far and started to believe in myself more.
I’m happy, but… am I stupid?”
I put down the skewer I was eating on the table.
“I can’t remember the face very well….”
With that, Kim Seonghyeon finally passed out.
Considering that his head was still down and he wasn’t moving, he seemed to be asleep.
[You have gained Kim Seonghyeon’s complete trust.
Infamy points decrease.
You have heard all of Kim Seonghyeon’s past.
Privacy is unlocked.]
I opened a new bottle of soju and poured it all down in one go.
Frowning at the hot and sharp sensation that went down my throat, I looked down at the sleeping Kim Seonghyeon.
There was a status window hovering above him.
[Kim Seonghyeon, The Dawn’s leader and main dancer]
I put my hand on my forehead and thought about it all for a while.
No matter how I thought about it, the conclusion was the same.
“…I think that hyung was me.”
I let out a bitter laugh.
[Note: In the past, Player “Seo Hoyun” helped him, and he has continued his idol life ever since.
Once again, with “Seo Hoyun’s” help, “Kim Seonghyeon” has risen and gained the strength to move forward, overcoming his painful past.
Main scenario 15% completed!
Proceeding to the next main chapter.]
Now I get it…
Why I ended up in this damn game.
 Pojangmacha is a small street food tent in South Korea
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