In a dimly lit conference room, the glow of the screen cast a soft light on attendees, some peering from their Zoom boxes, others physically present. He stood at the front, thoughts racing. "This is it," he told himself.

The presentation started, and a hush fell over the room. With each slide, his initial nervousness subtly transformed into cautious confidence. "I'm doing well," he thought, feeling a quiet assurance building with each click.

Yet, as he drew toward the conclusion, the room remained eerily silent. No approving nods, no murmurs of approval, just a sea of blank faces. A bead of sweat trailed down his temple. "Why aren't they reacting?" he wondered, feeling the tension rise.

In a moment of panic, he went off-script. Words began to pour out in a disorganized mix of half-truths and overstatements. Slowly, he noticed a change in the audience – their indifferent stares turned into looks of mild interest.

As his fabrications escalated, so did the energy in the room, marked by growing applause and nods. The audience's expressions transformed from curiosity to full engagement, now visibly captivated by his storytelling.

Riding the wave of their response, he felt a rush of exhilaration. The lies flowed more naturally now, each one more extravagant than the last. As the applause reached its peak, a sinister chuckle escaped him, completing his transformation into the storied leader he was destined to become.