Chapter 176

Bangjoo was excited. To think he’d have the chance to act before he even joined the club…

‘Alright. I’ll support the seniors as best as I can!’

He carefully looked at the hallway next to the cafeteria, he could hear students coming from behind him, but didn’t look back. Maru told him that the core of this performance was in not moving. He was planning on abiding by it as best he could.

‘Come already!’

Bangjoo stared at the box of posters intently, that was his movement. Someone needed to take the poster quickly.

- When someone takes the poster, we express our thanks by doing a mini-performance. I’ll leave it to you guys what pose you want to strike. Just don’t talk. Silence attracts more attention for this type of stuff.

Bangjoo was thinking of kowtowing to whoever took a poster, he’s done this more than enough in his life already thanks to his grandmother taking him to temples and all. He liked doing it, in fact.

‘They’re coming!’

He could feel the students coming close, he’ll surprise them as soon as they arrive. Just thinking of them laughing at him was already making him excited, being able to make other people happy was truly a joyous thing. Right then, the first student passed by the box of posters… and passed over it.

‘Eh?’

Bangjoo looked at the back of the student running into the cafeteria, he didn’t even glance at the three of them. The second student passed, then the third, and so on. They all merely gave them a glance before stepping into the cafeteria. In fact, most of them didn’t even bother to read the signs on their necks. There were some female students who laughed at them from afar, but none of them came close. Like that, around two class’s worth of students passed by them. There was a bit of a delay before the next class came.

“As I thought,” Maru muttered.

“Is this alright, senior?”

“Why, are you nervous?”

“No, I’m just disappointed. I was ready to impress everyone, but no one took the paper.”

“Haha, you were practicing, weren’t you?”

Bangjoo turned to look at Maru, the senior was looking ahead calmly. Looking at that expression made him realize that there was no need to be nervous.

“You wouldn’t know because you’re a first year, huh?”

“What?”

“Today’s menu is the one thing that’s kind of edible here in this school. Pork katsu and fish katsu.”

“Is that why everyone’s running?”

Maru nodded.

“To begin with, we’re only interested in getting the attention of the students as they leave.”

“Aha, so that’s why our sign had two sides.”

The sign Maru was wearing had a back side to it as well. There, it read:

- Acting club. Recruiting members! Please take a sheet. First years welcome! Take a piece of complimentary chocolate for dessert.

“If you hand these out on the way into the cafeteria, there's a high chance that the papers would be thrown away in the trash can inside the cafeteria. On the way out, though, the students have to carry it all the way back to their classes. After all, the teachers here despise littering with a passion.”

“Right. I did hear a thing or two about the cleaning.”

Even when he looked around, he couldn’t see even a piece of trash anywhere. That was because if a student was caught littering, they were sentenced to clean for three hours straight.

“That’s amazing, senior!”

“Not at all. It’s just basic marketing. Alright, get back to your pose. They’re coming back.”

Bangjoo turned his head back, his nervousness was long gone now. He should be fine as long as he follows this senior.

‘Just twenty minutes!’

Students would start walking out of the cafeteria in twenty minutes, surely something would change by then.

* * *

Lee Jiyoon was getting squished by her friends on both sides. This happened because… one of her friends tried to carry her on their shoulders but failed. So her friends decided that they might as well carry her together.

“C-can we not?”

“You don’t have a choice in this matter!”

“Yeah!”

Ughh. Jiyoon clenched her eyes tightly as she walked over to her friends, thank goodness she was wearing pants. As soon as she got her legs in between her friends’ arms below, they stood up. Jiyoon screamed as she put a hand on their shoulders.

“Ohh! I knew we could do it, Jiyoon’s so light!”

“Let’s go!!”

She’s only had quiet friends in middle school, she naively thought that it would be the same for high school as well. Unexpectedly, these girls were almost as energetic as the boys in school. The three of them walked around the first floor hallway in that manner, every student in the hallway was staring at them. Jiyoon wanted to try and hide her face, but it wasn’t like she could take her hands off of her friends.

“Alright, to the cafeteria!”

“Let’s go!”

These two clearly didn’t have plans on stopping. Jiyoon asked to switch very quietly. Of course, she just got ignored. On their way to the exit, they ran across a teacher. Jiyoon thought the teacher would tell them to stop because this was dangerous. But…

“Take it slow, girls.”

That was it, to top it off, the teacher was actually smiling. Jiyoon wanted to cry, she just gave up by the time they got outside. Whatever, she didn’t care about what would happen anymore. On their way to the cafeteria, she spotted three boys just standing still on the way. No, they weren’t just standing, they were posing.

“What is that?”

“Don’t know.”

Her friends seemed to be curious as well. Right then, Jiyoon felt trepidation. In fact, those bad feelings worsened as they got closer.

‘T-they’re seniors from the acting club!’

The plump senior’s name was Daemyung, she recalled. She has never seen the smaller person before, but he has to be in the club as well. Then there was the person who was posing as if he was picking something up from the floor.

‘Senior Maru.’

- Ask yourself that question, not others. The answer’s surprisingly easy. Keeping through with it’s what really matters.

She instantly thought of the advice he gave her, she really didn’t want to display herself like this to someone who talked so seriously to her.

“Looks like the acting club.”

“What are they doing?”

“Don’t know.”

None of them seemed interested. Thank goodness. Jiyoon tried to hurry her friends under her, she didn’t want to be seen like this to her seniors.

“L-let’s go.”

“Hey! Our little miss is hungry!”

“Leggo!!”

Her friends ran forward with a shout.

* * *

“I wonder if they’re sports students.”

“N-no idea.”

Daemyung smiled thinking of the girls that just passed by. To think they’d enter the cafeteria while carrying a girl…

“There’s more coming,” Bangjoo said.

Daemyung looked at the door of the first floor, there was a new group of students coming towards them.

‘Second years.’

There were a lot of familiar faces, a few of them wished them ‘good luck’ on their way inside as well. That alone gave Daemyung energy. Just as he readjusted his position, he heard a very familiar voice.

“Eh? What are you guys doing?!”

It was Iseul, she was here with Taejoon and Soyeon. Daemyung wanted to speak very badly, but he had to endure.

“What the, you should’ve told me that you were doing this. I would’ve helped!”

“Yeah!”

Daemyung was thankful for his friends for their support, it looked like they figured out what was happening since he and Maru weren’t saying anything as well.

“Good luck. Call us if you need anything.”

“Work hard.”

“Good luck!”

Daemyung nodded very subtly, the three of them smiled as they walked into the cafeteria. Daemyung was actually planning on calling them for help at first. Maru stopped him, saying that it was important for actual members to be the ones working during recruiting season. Daemyung understood why after a bit of thought. Sure, they’d be able to get more attention if they got their friends’ help. But their friends were no longer club members. If some of the first years got into the club because of their friends, that could end up becoming trouble.

‘We need to solve this ourselves.’

Daemyung tried to adjust his posture one more time. Right then, a shadow drooped over him, it was Geunseok.

“Ridiculous.”

That was all the boy said as he left, the students around him were muttering confusedly.

“Geunseok, aren’t you in the acting club? Like them?”

“They’re promoting the club because no one’s coming.”

“Really? Why aren’t you doing it, then?”

“I told them to do it. Plus, there needs to be someone to explain to the students who come after seeing the promotion. That’s my job as the president.”

“Ah, you’re the president?”

“I didn’t want to do it, but the seniors said there was no one more suitable.”

“I see.”

Geunseok walked away with a smile, Daemyung felt a bit bitter. He did ask the boy to join in as well. All Geunseok said was that such a childish act would accomplish nothing. Daemyung wanted to say something. Again, Maru stopped him.

“Daemyung.”

“Yeah?”

“Still face.”

“......”

Daemyung sighed as he fixed his expression as he admired Maru. The boy was scarier than anyone else when he got mad, but most of the time, he was able to let things pass with a smile.

‘Same with the fire.’

Daemyung was a little suspicious that Yurim might be the culprit, everything from the timing when she moved away and the fact that Soyeon never mentioned the girl was proof enough. Miso wasn’t talking about it either. Maru looked like he knew who the culprit was and he even set up a plan with Miso. It looked like everything was resolved in the end, though Daemyung couldn’t even imagine what happened in the process. So he decided to ask Maru about it the day before school started. Maru avoided the question as much as possible, but he did leave a clue.

- The person in question received their punishment.

Daemyung didn’t ask any further, he was kind of afraid to know.

“Senior Daemyung.”

“Y-yeah?”

“Isn’t the person who just passed by senior Geunseok?”

“That’s right.”

“So why isn’t he doing this with us?”

“N-no idea.”

Daemyung didn’t respond properly, he didn’t know how. He didn’t want to say there was tension between them, but he also didn’t want to say Geunseok was excluded from this activity due to his presidency.

‘Hopefully we can smooth things out with him.’

Geunseok was definitely a necessary element of the club, but how should they deal with him now that his inflated ego set in?

“Oh! They’re coming,” Bangjoo said.

Daemyung gave up on thinking for now.

* * *

“What was that white sauce again?”

“Tartar sauce?”

“Is that it? Whatever it was, it was good.”

Jiyoon stepped out as she nodded, that was definitely the best meal they had from school. As she walked back towards her classroom with a feeling of happiness, she saw the acting club seniors in her vision again.

“Wow, they’re still doing it.”

“Yeah.”

It was a windy day in March, these guys were probably standing here for 30 minutes at least.

‘No one’s looking at them.’

Many of the students just passed by them. Jiyoon felt like she could feel what the seniors were feeling right now, despite being so far away from them. They must be feeling horribly disappointed.

“Ugh, so cold. Let’s go inside.”

Her friends walked forward with their arms crossed, Jiyoon once again got dragged by them. Just as they passed by the seniors, she noticed Maru’s fingers trembling slightly. It must’ve been incredibly tiring for him to keep that pose for thirty minutes straight.

“What’s wrong, Jiyoon?”

Jiyoon stopped. Was it alright to pass by like this?

‘He gave me word of advice back then.’

They were all laughing along with Geunseok at the time, no one cared about a quiet girl like her… except Maru.

“C-can we take a look real quick?” Jiyoon asked as she looked at the club.

This was the first time she suggested anything to her friends, she felt very conscious of them as soon as she spoke. Maybe she should’ve kept her mouth shut?

‘What if they say something?’

Maybe she shouldn’t have tried to overstep her boundaries.

“Sure, let’s go.”

Her friends turned to the club with no hesitation, Jiyoon sighed in relief.

“What’s with the sigh?”

“Eh? Ah… I was just wondering if I said something pointless.”

“Pointless?”

“Well… I thought I was wasting your time… Especially when we’re going to class...”

“Hey.”

“Yeah?”

“You need to relax. And treat us like real friends. Right?”

“Right. Jiyoon, you’re always way too serious.”

Her friends dragged her by her hand, Jiyoon took a step forward with a slight smile.

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