Chapter 25

Yoonjung looked like she was at a loss, almost speechless. Maru couldn’t even see a sliver of her usual self at that moment.

‘An incident?’

It’s been 3 weeks since he’s started. He hasn’t seen a single senior or a second year who’s quit the club during this club. If they quit because of an incident, they would’ve come by every once in a while to say hello. But not a single one of them came.

Either the incident had to do with someone dying, or something else entirely.

“Incident?” Miso said, making Yoonjung flinch. She continued, “You really call that an incident? Really?”

Yoonjung’s face crumpled into an unsightly frown.

“That’s...”

“I’ll take over from here,” Joonghyuk stood up. Yoonjung hesitantly took her seat.

“Why the hell is she the president?” Miso asked.

“We voted on it.”

“That’s fine then, I guess.”

Joonghyuk turned to look at the first years. Maru could make out a few emotions out of the boy’s eyes. Regret, sadness, but most notably…

‘Anger?’

He could feel anger. Anger towards who?

“Something happened last year, right before summer break. The graduating class of that year and the second years… had a fight.”

Joonghyuk said the word ‘fight’ with great difficulty.

“It would’ve been nice if it was a normal fight, but it was far worse than that. Every prop that we made for the nationals that year was completely ruined by the end. We didn’t go to the nationals last year because we had a choice. We couldn’t. We ran out of actors and props.”

He smiled for a second. Miso motioned him to continue.

“Phew… The entire thing began over a pretty simple thing. The advisor told us to choose the main character by ourselves, and a third year quibbled a bit with a second year over it. The third year ended up becoming a stage manager, and the second year became the actor. Now, everything till now was what I saw. The stuff from here on is what I heard. The little squabble about the main character worsened over time. The third year tried to lecture the second years over not being able to get the role he wanted. The relationships between the second and the third years started worsening around then. We couldn’t do anything as first years, of course. They always told us to stay out of it.”

Joonghyuk took a deep breath for himself.

“And then a fight broke out at the auditorium. Us first years were waiting in the club room, but we went to check up on the noises from upstairs. And then...”

He walked up onto the stage and started moving a few things to the left, revealing a white corner. A corner that had clearly been painted over recently. Joonghyuk walked back over to the club members.

“At the time, that was where we placed all of our costumes and props. The first thing we saw when we walked up were all of our props going up in flames. The second and third years managed to put out the fire, but by then it was too late. Thankfully, it didn’t do too much damage to the building though.”

Joonghyuk’s expression turned somber as he looked at the wall.

“The event ended with us cleaning up the auditorium over summer break. The teachers knew it was from an incident, so they didn’t say much. Though a few teachers started becoming prejudiced against us after that.”

The teachers calling it just an ‘incident’ probably implied something else. The fire was probably caused by the students.

“We don’t know how the fire happened. None of the seniors are willing to talk about it. The teachers weren’t questioning any further, thankfully. Otherwise we would’ve gotten a far worse punishment. After that point, the third years refused to participate in the club. The second years were only focused on making more props. In the end, the first years were the only ones doing the acting, and we only got two participation awards as a result. Most of the students left the club after that.”

He turned to look at the other second years in the room, who were all making bitter faces with him. Joonghyuk walked back to his seat.

“You guys hear that?” Miso asked, “You guys hear how stupid their seniors were?”

The second years stiffened up.

“You.”

“Yes!”

Daemyung shouted.

“Do you think we can perform a play with just actors?”

“No!”

She turned to Taejoon this time.

“Do you think props are all there is for plays?”

“No.”

Soyeon next.

“What about a good script?”

“Probably not.”

Yurim.

“What about a pretty instructor such as myself?”

“I don’t think so...”

And now, Iseul.

“Costumes?”

“Definitely not.”

Miso nodded.

“You guys know the answer already. Tell me, head. What’s the most important thing for a successful play?”

Maru didn’t hesitate.

“All of the above.”

“Correct!”

Miso stood up.

“A play is a combination of different skills. You need amazing actors to show the play, a great script to guide the actors, lighting to make the actors stand out. You need music to heighten the mood, props to make the play seem realistic, the director, and the audience. They’re all important. Very much so. You guys are in a club at that, so every member does every one of these things. Each club member is important and you guys decide to get in a fight?”

Miso snorted angrily.

“I would’ve thrown a whole boatload of swears at them. They dare screw over the name of Blue Sky over for petty stuff? They think they can just screw over years of memories we’ve made for the club just because of a stupid role?”

She kicked over her chair like a soccer ball, her anger still apparent. To think her temper was this bad… And to think she liked the club this much to be this angry about it… They came as a bit of a surprise to Maru.

“I thought about refusing when teacher Taesik asked me to become your instructor. I didn’t think I was good enough for the club. But no, it was way worse than I thought. This place became a shithole. You know why this kind of stuff happens? Because no one ever bothers to try. Oh my god.”

A girl stood up from the second years. Oh dear. Yoonjung again.

“We all worked hard!”

“Hey, hey.”

“Come on, Yoonjung.”

Danmi and Minsung tried to calm her down, but Yoonjung completely ignored them.

“Things just became like this because of an incident. We all truly worked hard to...”

“To what? End up with this mess?”

Miso grinned.

“You like the club too, huh? After just half a year?”

“No! It’s not just that! We fought a bit, and there was an incident, but we very much cared for acting and plays.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes!”

“So you were crazy for acting?”

“Of course!”

“So why are you still here?”

“...What?”

“How are you still here? Everything you made, worked hard for, invested time into got destroyed in one ‘incident’. By your seniors at that. And yet you’re still here?”

Yoonjung stepped back.

“Being crazy for acting means you see nothing but acting in your life. You’re crazy for the craft. If you were actually mad for acting at that moment!”

She paused after raising her voice. She clicked her tongue and calmed down a little.

“You should’ve stepped in when your seniors started going crazy. That’s what you should’ve done. That’s how you would have protected the club.”

Miso sighed again, saying ‘why am I getting so angry over kids?’ under her breath.

“Sit.”

“...Yes.”

“All of you, if you were just a little braver back then… Nevermind. Let’s just move on.”

Clap. Miso tried to refresh the mood of the room a little bit.

“I’m saying it again. We will win the nationals. Understood?”

“...Yes.”

“Look at you kids. So quiet? You want to do the duck goes quack quack thing again?”

“No ma’am!”

“Good! Now stand up! More practice!”

That day, Maru barely managed to walk home with trembling legs. His mom asked if something happened, but he was too tired to even respond. He went to sleep after a quick shower.

And by the time he woke up,

“Ugh.”

It was 7am on a Monday.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter