Act 11: Slowly 5
There’s a game which I think everyone would’ve played at least once when they were young – a battle arena of insects.
Like, sometimes you just get curious when catching insects outside right? ‘Who would win if these were to fight?’
I could still vividly remember placing ants, grasshoppers and crickets into an insect container, watching their fight with interest.
Thinking back, it was a pretty cruel game but I don’t know why it had been so interesting.
“Dasom, was it? Is she good at singing?”
“Dasom? She’s good.”
“Really? How good? What about in comparison with Song Mirae? I remember hearing Song Mirae’s name during middle school… Since her name was even spread to the Violin Department, doesn’t it mean she’s quite good?”
“Indeed, Song Mirae is also around the top level in the Opera Department.”
“Really? This is getting interesting~ Who do you think will win?”
While the three protagonist candidates were going through a short practice session after receiving their music sheets, we had such conversations amongst ourselves. There was nothing else to do, and besides there were also lots of sunbaes that were curious about the new members including Chloe and I.
Since Chloe was also a rare half-Korean, while also being the top piano student, she was in the centre of a blooming conversation with three other female club members.
“Wahh… Chloe’s hair is absolutely insane, don’t you think so, unni?”
“You’re right. It’s sparkling.”
“A true blonde is different as expected…”
Like that, female members were talking to themselves, while male members were with other males but… there were actually only three males in the society: Lim Suhjoon-sunbae, the opera department sunbae and myself.
With the school itself being like that, societies having more female ratio was to be expected as well.
Having such thoughts in mind, I scratched my hair while replying.
“Hmm… It’s difficult to clearly compare and judge who’s better and who’s going to win in terms of singing skills… Since it’s quite subjective.”
“That’s true. But you can at least make a guess right?”
…I was trying to avoid the question but he was too persistent.
I turned my back towards Lim Suhjoon-sunbae, who was facing me with interest.
Well, starting conversations like this was probably his attempt of trying to get closer to me. Since it was a bit difficult to just ignore, I slowly racked my brain.
“But isn’t that sunbae over there doing it as well? I don’t think comparing just the two will be meaningful.”
“Ah, her? I know her so that’s fine, so just compare between the two freshmen.”
Placing a hand on my chin, I observed the front, at the girls zealously carrying out their preparations.
Glancing between Han Dasom murmuring and memorising the lyrics and Song Mirae closing her eyes, I opened my mouth.
“According to my standards… to be honest, Han Dasom is better in terms of singing.”
Squinting my eyes in thought, I organised my thoughts for a bit before nodding my head.
First off, the voice – the timbre they were born with, were different.
Han Dasom had a soft voice that made listeners feel relaxed, while Song Mirae’s voice was a little unique and low. It was husky, so to speak and although it wasn’t due to the vocal cords trembling unstably, her timbre was just darker and lower in comparison.
Different from Han Dasom’s voice which everyone would like, Song Mirae’s voice would depend on the listeners’ likes and dislikes.
Since there was a difference like that from birth, it seemed natural for Han Dasom to be at a comparatively advantageous position in an side-by-side evaluation.
Next up were the foundations.
At the start of the year, Han Dasom’s basic foundations were almost non-existent but recently, it was almost perfect. Compared to Song Mirae who sometimes made mistakes, she might even be better.
The final conclusion, plus a little bit of personal preference, would end up with Han Dasom’s victory.
‘Well, there’s actually an objective factor that proves Han Dasom is better…’
Soon after some thought, I turned towards Lim Suhjoon-sunbae and continued my words.
“Han Dasom actually made it past the preliminaries of Future Central Concour.”
“What? As a freshman student?”
After watching Lim Suhjoon-sunbae’s astonishment, I turned my head slightly and looked at Song Mirae.
…Since Song Mirae failed the preliminaries, it could be said that the objective opinion also leaned towards Han Dasom being more skilled.
Laying all the facts down made me realise that Han Dasom had become a bigshot.
I was engulfed in a myriad of deep emotions when the female members started turning their heads over towards us after most likely hearing Lim Suhjoon-sunbae’s voice.
“What interesting things are you talking about?”
Lim Suhjoon-sunbae ran up to Yun Soojin-sunbae, who was tilting her head, and rambled.
“You know what? I was digging up for some info because I was curious who would win but apparently, Han Dasom made it through the prelims of Future Central Concour.”
Admiration could be heard amongst the female members.
Their eyes turning to Han Dasom seemed to be in a completely different light from before and even Chloe who already knew about it faced her with a strange light in her gaze.
‘Future Central Concour is quite high up there after all.’
I watched their reactions for a bit when Lim Suhjoon-sunbae suddenly placed his arm on my shoulder. Then, he gave a nod with a wide smile hanging on his lips.
“Thanks. After you joined, awesome juniors started coming in one after another. When no-one joined in the first semester, I thought we would be the last ones marking the end of our club… if you weren’t here, we definitely would’ve been over.”
…Since Song Mirae would have come, it wouldn’t have ended though.
It felt somewhat embarrassing.
Song Mirae would have raised the society back up anyways and it felt like I was just placing a spoon on top of a readied meal. I only joined because I judged it could be good for building up experience though…
I twisted my body a little from the embarrassment as Lim Suhjoon-sunbae continued his words in a serious tone.
“Although I can’t sing, I’ll support you as much as possible. I might look like this, but I did help out in a big play back in first-grade so there shouldn’t be any trouble preparing for you and Dasom’s stage.”
Hearing up to that point, one of the other female members couldn’t hold herself back as she walked up and shoved Lim Suhjoon-sunbae’s arm.
“Hey! Why do you pressure him like that. Besides, there’s still Hyeji okay?”
That other sunbae nominating herself for the protagonist position is called Hyeji, huh.
I haven’t remembered all their names yet. Feeling apologetic inwardly, I looked at her face when chatters were heard from the side.
“Aye, but if it’s the final selection of Future Central Concour, that’s the end of the story. Hyeji also didn’t make it in.”
While watching them chatting and laughing, I scratched my hair. The entire atmosphere seemed to be leaning towards Han Dasom winning but… for me who knew a little bit about the future, I wasn’t too sure.
Currently Han Dasom looked more advantageous, but from what I remembered, Song Mirae had greatly succeeded in the musical field. Despite the controversies on her personality, she still had quite the fame.
On the other hand, Han Dasom advanced in the pop song-side which was on a slightly different field compared to musicals.
Wouldn’t there have been a reason based on talents that decided the difference in their careers?
With such thoughts in mind, I was sitting in the midst of noisy sunbaes when teacher Kwak Jungsoo gave a clap as the preparations finally ended.
“Good. Let’s start shall we? Sing in order from left to right.”
Song Mirae with a slightly tense expression walked up and our eyes met for a split second.
Her eyes which always contained conceit were oddly calm.
After observing that, I gave a slight nod.
It didn’t take long for their songs to end.
Because they only sang one verse each, approximately 5 minutes were more than enough, and since it was a unique song I was hearing for the first time, that seemed to have made the time pass faster than usual.
Throwing a glance at us, teacher Kwak Jungsoo opened his lips.
“How was it. None of you knew the song, yes?”
The teacher grinned.
“Well, of course. This is an unpublished song made by my friend and that guy and myself are probably the only ones knowing this song. That would make it a fair competition right?”
…No wonder. The names of the characters appearing in the lyrics were way too Korean for some reason.
The fact that it was a cliche story about love didn’t matter but the female protagonist’s name being Chunja is a bit too much right?
While I was having such thoughts with a strange feeling, teacher Kwak Jungsoo returned his gaze back to the front. Glancing at the three candidates standing in nervousness, he abruptly opened his mouth.
“Just so you know, I won’t be the one choosing the protagonist.”
Right when everyone made dumb expressions thinking what this was about, the teacher continued.
“This is a stage you guys will be making, so you guys should be choosing the protagonist as well. What meaning is there if I decide on the protagonist? And that’s why I held the audition in front of you all.”
I was wondering why he made them sing in front of other members but that was why huh. Quietly, I was being convinced as he gazed across the room.
“Of course, I will give you advice, on who to pick, and who would be a good protagonist.”
“Then, before choosing the protagonist, let’s have an initial debate.”
It made me feel like I became a judge or something.
Burying those strange feelings inside, I stared at the three when my eyes met Han Dasom’s.
The moment she found me, she formed a bashful smile. Finding that cute, I broke out into a grin when teacher Kwak Jungsoo opened his mouth.
“Let’s go one by one and pick who you think will be better as a protagonist. With a reason as well.”
Asking us for a reason was probably for us to think and learn about musicals throughout the vote as well. While I was muddled in deep thoughts, the order seemed to have begun from the other side.
“I think candidate Han Dasom will suit the position of protagonist.”
As expected, there was an overwhelming number of votes favouring Han Dasom, perhaps due to the words I had said. Actually, without even considering my words, the votes might have still been focused on Han Dasom.
That was how good her song was compared to Song Mirae and Hyeji-sunbae.
Even though it hasn’t even been that long since we sang together during the Subscription Concert thing, she seemed to have gotten even better.
Enough to make me think that this was what a true genius was.
On the other hand, Song Mirae finished her song without any mistakes while Hyeji-sunbae… made an off-note due to nervousness.
At a glance, the result seemed obvious.
As the sunbaes continued voting for Han Dasom only, I looked around and read the mood.
It was strange.
The situation with Song Mirae and Hyeji-sunbae lowering their heads in silence was strange, and teacher Kwak Jungsoo letting everything be was odd as well.
He wasn’t the type of person that would allow a wound like that to be made on their prides.
It was strange that he made us go through an open vote like this. Plus, judging from how the teacher’s attitude in explaining everything was rather sudden, it might not have been a planned vote in the first place.
‘There’s the thing that happens in the future as well.’
While I was deep in contemplation, it was finally the turn of Yun Soojin-sunbae, who was sitting next to me. After throwing a glance at me and a smile, she shot out of her seat and opened her mouth.
“I think candidate Song Mirae suits it more.”
Seeing curiosity replacing the annoyance that had been in Song Mirae’s eyes, I squinted my eyes.
‘Yun Soojin-sunbae huh…’
Thinking back, it wasn’t Song Mirae that won the prize in the musical contest happening in the future – it was won by the RC Society.
Besides, although I still didn’t know much about the stage called a musical, there was one thing I knew. One person performing well by oneself on a stage that should be led by a number of people cannot end up receiving an award.
In other words, there had to be another sunbae with good skills apart from Song Mirae.
‘That sunbae would then be…’
When I raised my head back up, Yun Soojin-sunbae’s explanation had already ended and it was my turn.
“Next up is you huh. Stand up.”
Hearing those words come out of teacher Kwak Jungsoo’s mouth and seeing the strange light in his eyes, I slowly stood from my seat.
* Chunja is a really old name that is almost never used in modern days.