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A Thousand Faces Chapter 31

Updated: Feb 1

Cheong Myeong urgently ordered them to enlarge one screen. 

 

The staff below enlarged the ninth screen with trembling hands. 

 

Click. 

 

The scene of Seoul Station Square is captured on the large screen. 

 

Everyone in the studio was stunned by what they saw. 

 

"What, what is going on right now? Did something happen in the square today?" 

 

Gu Daewon's eyes were wide with confusion as he called out into the empty space.  

 

No one could answer that question. 

 

The people on the screen were not the members of Team 9. 

 

They were ordinary citizens who had to pass through the square with hurried steps. 

 

They were all doing the same thing. 

 

The citizens were crawling on the ground with their heads buried in the dirt, searching for something. 

 

Children, adults, couples, everyone was searching the square from corner to corner with a look of desperation in their eyes. 

 

What did they do to make this happen?' 

 

Even Team 9 was nowhere to be seen. 

 

They were confused. 

 

They couldn't figure out if this was a situation that Team 9 had staged or if something had actually happened. Unclear possibilities swirled through their minds. 

 

How did they start it in the first place? 

 

The performance hadn't even started properly yet, so the team members were hiding somewhere among the massive crowd of citizens. 

 

"It's a lottery! The first prize!" 

 

Someone in the crowd shouted, and their words rang out through the studio speakers. 

 

Lottery? The crowd was getting bigger and bigger. People who were passing by also came over, wondering what was going on. 

 

The crowd was so focused on what was happening right before them that they lost sight of their original destination. 

 

They were whispering to each other. 

 

They were looking for a lost lottery ticket. 

 

One by one, they walked onto Junwoo's stage as if they were being drawn in. 

 

The crowd had grown to well over a hundred people. 

 

A flash mob performance was taking place in the heart of Seoul. 

It was a sight to behold. 

 

"Did you find it?" 

 

-Ugh, it's hot... but do we really have to do this? 

 

-Of course, we do. Our lives could change! 

 

Voices of citizens are being broadcast on the screen. 

 

-Hey. Focus. If we find it, we're leaving right away. It's ours. 

 

The judges watching the scene with their own eyes looked like they were dreaming. 

 

Mysteriously, the lines that the citizens were unwittingly spitting out were lines from the script that the production team had created. 

 

Not only that. 

 

Their expressions and actions were all in sync. 

 

The first scene is of a person who has lost something important and is frantically wandering around the square. 

 

There is a role who pretends to be helping them find it but has other intentions, and a role who is getting annoyed. The scene also includes a variety of different emotions. 

 

The script has four roles for this scene. 

 

Initially, these were the roles assigned to the individual members of Junwoo's team. 

 

Several citizens are simultaneously showing the scene for each role. 

And from somewhere in the crowd, 

 

- I found it! 

 

The next scene followed. This time, the line was spoken by a young team member who had recently been added to Junwoo's team. 

 

Finally, Team 9's performance began. 

 

The citizens' eyes were all focused on them. 

 

The young team member clutched the crumpled piece of paper in her hand and burst into tears. 

 

"I really... thought... I lost it..." 

 

It seems like she was the owner of the lottery ticket. 

 

On the judges' bench, watching the screen, Jo Sungrae finally had a rough idea of what was happening. 

 

"According to the script, the lost item wasn't a lottery ticket, as I recall. I guess they changed the setting a bit. So it's her, huh." 

 

Suddenly, someone rushed towards the young teammate with his eyes wide open. 

 

As the citizens gathered at the scene all sighed with disappointment and frustration, Junwoo was running across the crowd toward the center of the square. 

 

As Junwoo approached the young team member, he couldn't help but breathe heavily. 

 

Junwoo stopped running and stood in front of the team member. 

He swayed as if his legs had given out and clutched the young team member's shoulders tightly. 

 

"You, really, I...!" 

 

"Brother..." 

 

The young team member looked at Junwoo and started to cry. 

 

Junwoo lowered his head, looked at his younger sister's face, and then tried to look away again. He kneeled down on the square floor and took a deep breath, not knowing what to say first. 

 

Junwoo's eyes were starting to fill with tears. 

 

He shouted something at the young team member. 

 

His voice was angry but also choked. 

 

He scolded her, asking how she could lose it and if she didn't know what it meant to them. But even as he did so, a complex mix of emotions, including blame, worry, relief, and regret, was flooding through him. He was crumbling in front of his sister. 

 

The story of siblings who lost their family and were driven to the brink unfolded through that dialogue. 

 

Before long, everyone there stood as if mesmerized, deeply engrossed in the heartbreaking story of the two. 

 

-What do we do now... 

-Oh dear... those poor kids. 

-They didn't do anything wrong. The country is the problem. 

 

The citizens watched the brothers with pitying faces. 

 

They had changed their attitude in an instant, in a way that was unbelievable for those who had been looking for lottery tickets with fire in their eyes just a moment ago, saying that it was an opportunity to change their lives. 

 

It was unbelievable. 

 

Unless they all planned it in advance. 

 

But not one of the people in the square, the film crew, the judges, or the people behind the stage who were watching this scene had any such doubts. 

 

-No, it was my fault. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, brother... 

 

Because they were all completely immersed in Junwoo. Junwoo's acting was that good. 

 

A few of the citizens wiped away tears. 

 

As if they were possessed, they were under the illusion that their actions were to help the brothers. Their eyes, which had been sparkling with greed, had now turned into looks of pity and relief. 

 

In the judges' seats, Gu Daewon, who had a blank expression on his face, muttered to himself as if in a daze. 

 

"...Do you see that now?" 

 

"Yes?" 

 

Cheong Myeong responded. 

 

The square became Junwoo's stage. 

 

With Junwoo kneeling in the center, a huge crowd surrounded him in a circle. 

 

People from all over started to gather around, curious to see what was happening. 

 

"It's like a scene from a movie." 

 

The camera, unable to capture the entire scene, slowly zoomed out to take in the whole view. 

 

It was a sight that no one had ever predicted or imagined. 

 

The citizens' expressions and reactions went beyond the role of spectators and melted into the scene. 

 

Each of them was playing the role of a character, not a spectator, on Junwoo's stage. 

 

*** 

 

After the filming was over, 

 

The participants waited on-site while the judges reviewed each group's video. 

 

No one in the studio spoke the word "recognition" anymore. 

After a short while, 

 

The screen lit up again with a click, and the judging began. 

 

It started with Team 1. 

 

The studio screen showed Team 1, including Kang Hyeok. 

 

The team members, all with striking visuals, appeared side by side on the screen. 

 

Gulp.  

 

One of them swallowed nervously. 

 

The judges reviewed the first group's video again. 

 

"Well done. As expected, you really caught a lot of attention. Especially," 

 

Ding.  

 

The camera focused on Kang Hyeok, one of the members of Team 1. 

 

"Kang Hyeok, I've been saying this since the first round, but your acting skills are extraordinary." 

 

The other judges, Gu Daewon and Jo Sungrae, nodded in agreement. 

 

Kang Hyeok, who had respectfully folded his hands, raised his eyebrows as if to say, "Of course." 

 

The team members had finished their performance without any major mistakes or unexpected events. Confidence was written all over their faces. 

 

Except for Kang Hyeok, the other team members already had celebrity-level recognition. However, it was Kang Hyeok who received the most reactions from the audience. It was an unending praise. 

 

-Thank you. It was a good experience. 

 

Group 1 said goodbye with a satisfied look. However, they didn't know about the situation that had happened in the studio just before. 

 

'This is bad. I can't concentrate properly.' 

 

To keep the show going, the judges tried to keep their composure. 

 

They were impatient. They could only think of group 9. 

 

While judging the other groups, they shook their heads from time to time to clear their minds. 

 

They just wanted to hear the story of the members of group 9, or rather, that child. 

 

When the members of Group 9 finally appeared on the screen, the judges focused their attention on one of them. 

 

Unlike the other members, who were still shaking because they had never been in front of so many people before, 

 

Junwoo, appeared on the screen wearing a calm expression. 

 

Jo Sungrae picked up the microphone. 

 

"...You changed the script setting. To a lottery ticket." 

 

Junwoo asked with a naive expression. 

 

-What do you mean? 

 

"I heard it was originally a letter. You did that on purpose, didn't you? To get a reaction from the citizens." 

 

-No. We didn't change the basic setting. We just made some minor changes to the dialogue. 

 

He then unfolded the paper he was holding. It was the crumpled paper that the young team member had been holding tightly in his hand earlier. 

 

It was indeed a letter, not a lottery ticket. 

 

"You're not saying you intentionally provoked the citizens?" 

 

"The scene we created was about a variety of people searching for a lost letter from their deceased mother. We were just acting." 

 

"What?" Hearing that, Cheong Myeong quickly rewound the video. 

 

The scene where Junwoo started acting drew people's attention, followed by the scenes with Kim Yoojin and Heo Soon-tae. 

 

It was true. 

 

The team members only said "it" or "that paper," but no matter how hard they tried, they never once said the word "lottery." 

 

The judges didn't know either. 

 

"I thought it was too obvious." 

 

They had made it sound that way from the beginning, cleverly. 

Junwoo had only used his acting skills to stimulate and manipulate the desires of everyone in the square. 

 

"Even if that's the case, the citizens aren't all idiots. How is this possible?" 

 

Those who were only in the studio could never understand. Junwoo had manipulated the situation, taking into account all the factors present at the scene. It was truly a magical feat. 

 

Junwoo, who was caught on camera, had a face that said, "What's the problem?" 

 

They had to hide their surprise and focus. This time, they had to really host the show. 

 

The judges' comments began. Praise for the team members followed one after another. 

 

Kim Yoojin, who played a role that aroused people's curiosity and made a significant contribution to the early scenes, Heo Soon-tae, who supported him, and a young team member who performed a tearful scene with Junwoo to end the scene. 

 

"Thank you…!" 

 

Kim Yoojin, who had received praise, bowed deeply with a proud look on her face. 

 

And Junwoo, who had directed all of this. From their lines to their emotional lines, their strengths and weaknesses, their speed, their gestures, and their timing, there was no place that Junwoo's hand had not touched. 

 

The judges, who had changed their expressions, began to ask Junwoo questions one by one, from start to finish. How did you do this? Was it planned from the beginning? What kind of devices were there? Did you think about recruiting citizens in advance? And so on. 

 

Amidst the flurry of questions, Junwoo answered calmly. 

 

"It was possible because all the characters in the script played their roles well." 

 

*** 

 

When the filming was over, Junwoo's team was getting ready to return to the broadcasting station. 

 

Junwoo was making eye contact with someone in the distance. 

 

"That's the old man from before." 

 

The old man in a wheelchair had been quietly watching this place from afar since the filming began. 

 

Junwoo had been feeling it since the last time. The emotions on that face were a little different from ordinary curiosity. 

 

Jung Hyun, who had seen Junwoo's video in the meeting room, had secretly come to the square. 

 

He had been watching everything from the beginning. From when Junwoo checked and reviewed the site before filming. 

 

After just 5 minutes, he knew. What that kid was up to. 

 

'I should go see that kid's acting myself sometime.' 

 

He had a small hope that seeing it for himself would help to quench his thirst. 

 

But when he saw it with his own eyes, he felt a chill run down his spine. 

 

If he hadn't been sick, he would have jumped right into the middle of that square that the kid was creating. 

 

He couldn't take it anymore. 

 

His emotions swirled within him, even stronger than when he first encountered movies as a child. 

 

At that moment, he felt ashamed of his past decision to retire. 

 

What had he been thinking, saying he would leave the film industry when there was a kid like that in the world? 

 

He knew he would go crazy if he went back to the hospital in the countryside. 

 

If the child's existence was a curse to him, he wanted to throw himself into it. 

 

Even if it meant his death would come sooner. 

 

The sound of a door creaking open broke his train of thought. 

 

He knew that he didn't have much time left, which made him even more anxious. 

 

Without even thinking about what he should do or what he could do, he rolled his wheelchair wheels as hard as he could toward the center of the square. 

 

But before he could even get close, 

 

Clang, thud! 

 

He couldn't go any further. 

 

In the crowd that was quickly scattering to the other side after the filming ended, Jung Hyun's wheelchair collided with them and fell over. 

 

Jung Hyun, his face pressed into the hot asphalt, could do nothing but shake his paralyzed limbs. 

 

The wheelchair was damaged and half-disassembled. People who passed by quickly glanced at him with pity, but... 

 

...they left the old man lying on the floor, thinking that someone else would help him. 

 

"Is even this moment not allowed for me?" 

 

Thump.  

 

At that moment, two sneakers appeared in Jung Hyun's field of vision. Someone had stopped in front of his face. 

 

A shadow blocking the sunlight. When Jung Hyun finally rolled his eyes up, 

 

"Are you okay?" 

 

The child he had wanted to approach so badly was reaching out to him. 

 



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