The auditorium was quiet . No one dared saying anything . So far, five people in total have given their 5 minute speeches so far . Yurim went after Daemyung . She looked pretty strange without a phone in her hand .
She was similar to Daemyung once she was on the chair . There were definitely words coming out of her mouth, but no way to interpret them . She couldn’t even enunciate her words properly . Yurim was talking about Cinderella, but pretty much no one was able to tell . The first thing the girl did after getting off the chair was to run off and grab her cell phone .
Soyeon was next . She looked confident at first, but froze up pretty much immediately after getting up on stage . Korean students didn’t have much experience with presentations . So actually being put on stage was incredibly pressuring for them . In the end, she wasn’t able to do it well either . She was a little better than the other two at explaining the three little pigs, thankfully .
Dojin came next . He was a person who craved attention in his day-to-day life to begin with, so it didn’t seem too bad for him . At least, not until Miso decided to throw him a curveball . Something completely different compared to what the other three .
“Look at the direction I’m pointing as you speak . ”
Miso pointed straight at Iseul . Dojin’s topic was…
“Pretend you’ve been a couple for a hundred days . Explain what you have planned for her in celebration . ”
Dojin’s stress caused him to bite his nails as he spoke . He did manage to explain everything properly, though . In a way that actually made sense . Dojin immediately asked for water upon returning to his seat .
The next one out was Taejoon . He didn’t get a curveball or a story or anything . He was just given a self introduction . Though… he had to watch who Miso was pointing with her pen . He struggled a little bit having to keep his eyes on the audience for such a long time . He ended up connecting most of his sentences with ‘so . . . ’ by the end .
“A little better, at least,” Miso gave her first review . A little better .
The faces of the kids who went before Taejoon turned bright .
“You and you next . ”
Geunseok got called out with Iseul . They didn’t go up on a chair . They did have to stand facing each other, though . Neither of them seemed nervous . Geunseok looked like a rock as always, and Iseul smiled like a cute rabbit .
“Five minutes . Your task is to try to convert the other person to your religion . Doesn’t matter how you do it . Begin . ”
Miso finally sat on the chair to watch . So far, she was looking at the audience while the person was talking . Her eyes met with Maru’s several times, even . This time was different, though . She was looking at the two students quite seriously .
“Hello . Do you happen to have some time on your hands?” Geunseok started .
Maru was pretty shocked . The boy’s stony face instantly turned into a smiley, big brother-like face . Incredibly friendly . Iseul opened her mouth in response as well .
“Of course I do . Would you like to sit there to talk with me about it?”
Iseul reached out to grab Geunseok’s hand . The boy froze up a little bit . This was out of his expectations . Maru was enjoying this exchange . This wouldn’t have happened if even one of them weren’t here . If Geunseok was replaced by Daemyung, for example? Or Iseul with Yurim? It would’ve been just one person talking for five minutes .
Geunseok looked down at his hand for a second before putting his other hand over Iseul’s . He lowered his head and started in a prayer .
“Oh Heavenly Father . . . ”
“Uhh . . . ”
Iseul looked taken aback . Her conversation partner just straight up closed his eyes . She tried to do something, but whenever she did he just pulled her back towards him . In the end, Iseul could only watch dumbly as Geunseok prayed . The only words she managed to get in was ‘amen’ at the end of the prayer .
“Good job . Both of you have a good voice . Plus, you’re pretty witty as well . ”
An actual compliment for the first time . Geunseok returned to his seat with a bow . Maru noticed that Geunseok’s ears had turned a little red . The boy was definitely feeling nervous as well .
‘I suppose being able to control that’s what makes him an actor . ’
Hold on . Maru looked around him for a second . He was the only one who hadn’t gone now . The second years were excluded from the test to begin with . Maru got ready to stood up for his turn .
“Stand up, everyone . ”
Miso spoke as if she was done with the test . The rest of the first years looked at Miso once, and Maru in confusion .
The first years shook their head . Maru stood still . He didn’t mind not having to take the test .
“Step forward, head . ”
Miso pointed at the chair . Maru stepped forward to it, noticing that the chair had become dirty from all the shoes that stepped on it . So the woman just sat down on the thing like it was nothing? Maru shrugged at the woman’s boldness before taking off his shoes and climbing on the chair himself .
“Second years, stay there and listen . ”
The second years nodded .
“First years… give some push up . ”
The auditorium got a little loud for a bit, but the first years all got in their push up positions in the end . The boys seemed used to it, but the girls… Maru noticed some of their arms were trembling already .
* * *
“What’s your name?”
“Han Maru, ma’am . ”
“Maru? Good name . Now, Maru will be giving all of you a speech . Five minutes . Though, being in that push up position for five minutes would be bad, right?”
“Right . ”
“What do you think you should do then, Maru?”
“I should find a way to finish this quickly . ”
“Right? Then… give me a five-minute speech while thinking about what the other kids did wrong . Talk about… your first impressions of me . Yeah, that’s good . ”
Miso glanced over at the first years . Some of them seemed promising, others seemed completely hopeless . The tall guy at the end even looked like he practiced speeches before coming here . But none of that mattered to Miso at the moment . There was only one thing she wanted to see .
‘This guy seemed pretty tactful . ’
Tact wasn’t a part of a person’s five senses . Tact came from observation . Careful observation that would lead to accurate guesses about a person’s thoughts . Maru seemed pretty good at that .
Would he understand what Miso wanted this time, though?
Miso glanced at Maru . His face was unchanging . Calm . He was calm when he was called out, he was calm when he stepped forward . Even now, nothing has changed . Well, maybe a tiny bit nervous, but that would only end up helping him focus . This was good . Amazingly so, actually .
Being unafraid of people’s gazes was essential for an actor . In that sense, Maru passed with flying colors .
“Begin . ”
As soon as Miso gave him the go ahead,
“First of all, you were very skinny!!”
A shout sprang out of Maru’s mouth . It didn’t have any depth to it, since he wasn’t using his diaphragm, but it was loud enough to reverberate throughout the auditorium . Maru took a deep breath in to continue, but .
“Stop,” Miso interrupted him, “at least you remembered . First years, stand up and wait . ”
The kids’ faces were all reddened . Miso took a look over them again . Some of them were fixing their clothes, others were fixing their hair, etc . Out of them, only two of them were facing her straight without even fixing their clothes .
‘Dojin and Geunseok, was it? They aren’t stupid, at least . Geunseok, especially… he’ll be fun to teach . ’
“May I come down?” Maru asked behind her .
“Come down, Maru . ”
“Yes . ”
Maru went back to his spot with his slippers on . Miso sat back down on the chair before continuing .
“I told you in the beginning, didn’t I? Speak as if you want to make yourself heard . You couldn’t even remember that?”
The only one who didn’t avert her gaze was Maru . He had no reason to look away, though, so she let it pass .
“I’ll be giving you a few words of warning, since we’ll be together for a year now . First, you do what I tell you to do . You don’t know what you’re doing otherwise . Second, think . Don’t move just because I told you to move, actually think about it . Understood?”
“Good answer . Your voice will only get louder the more you use it . Try to practice enunciating words better for now . ”
“Good . We’ll stop here for today . Why don’t we actually introduce ourselves now that we’re at it?”
Miso unzipped her jacket, making some of the kids look away in surprise . How adorable .
“Ah, third . I’m only really this serious while I’m at work . Everything else is super lax . I’m done with work now, so feel free to relax . I’ll be super strict once practice starts, though . Understood?”
Miso finished with a smile .
* * *
“See you all soon . We might even see each other tomorrow . Be sure to get my calls when I make them, alright?”
Miso left the auditorium with a grin . Right after she left their line of sight, the students all fell back with a sigh .
“Oh my god . ”
“That was scary . ”
“I felt a little scared talking to her afterwards, even . ”
Everyone had something to comment about the situation . Miso had left quite an impression on all of them . Maru asked a question to Danmi .
“Was the last instructor like this?”
“No, not at all . The last one was very kind . ”
“Is that so . Do you like this one better than the last, then?”
“Mm . . . ”
Yoonjung was the one to respond first .
“I like her a lot . Scary though . ”
Yoonjung’s eyes were sparkling, which looked a little creepy to Maru . She almost looked like an incredibly playful kid . One of those kids that was really into pain and suffering .
“I think she’s pretty cool, too . ” Joonghyuk added .
That confirms it, Miso was not bad at all . Joonghyuk’s words had actual weight .
“Ah, what would we be doing next time, though?”
“Who knows . I’ve never seen someone this invested . The instructor from last time only practiced with us one hour a week . ”
Joonghyuk turned to look at the clock . It was 7 o’clock . They had been together with the instructor for 6 whole hours already .
“It’s already this late?”
“Man, I had no idea . ”
The students seemed pretty surprised by the clock . Maru thought of the instructor again . She definitely had charisma . Quite a lot of it, too . Otherwise she wouldn’t have the ability to keep the kids attentive for six whole hours . She was completely correct about her being super casual outside of work .
‘She’s a nice adult,’ was Maru’s impression of her .