The “surprise announcement” of the 51st contestant certainly surprised everyone, but Heath began explaining how the first round would work without paying anyone any mind.
The basic flow is the same as the first and second auditions with contestants working together to complete requests as the kingdom uses newspapers to disseminate your achievements to the people. Citizens will use this information as a basis for deciding who they should vote for next. It goes without saying that completing requests will be an easy-to-understand method for appealing to the public.
And whatever appeal you make will come back to you in the form of votes. Being beautiful is the bare minimum standard at this point, so your looks shouldn’t be a huge factor at this point in the competition. At worst would be a contestant needing to think about how to show off their charms while completing requests.
The hero candidates with the lowest number of votes at the end of the task will drop out, and those remaining will tackle round 2. We will keep moving through the rounds like this until we are left with only four people.
Right now is the time for us to show off our abilities. One by one, the hero candidates changed from their dresses to battle attire to show off their special skills. Round one of the competition will be a team battle, so there is the implication that we are selling ourselves to each other as much as the audience right now.
We started with the person in first place, the other Lily Ruhuna. Which obviously means I will be performing last. Ironic that we’ll start with Lily Ruhuna and end with Lily Ruhuna. The only skill I can show off to other people is my dancing, so I can easily predict what the atmosphere will be like when that time rolls around.
The spot where the cheap seats were had been replaced with some straw scarecrows lined up on a stage to act as targets.
Lily Ruhuna re-appeared after being gone for a short minute. She must be trying to simulate actual combat since she is properly wearing a set of iron armor. Her movements were light and fluid enough to make me wonder if that armor was really made of heavy iron. Why would a young lady who could live her life without doing anything bother to participate in the hero audition in the first place?
Well, no matter how much a commoner like me thinks about it, there’s no way I could understand her troubles. So any speculation about her motivations for participating were immediately terminated.
Though there was another reason why I decided to stop with guesswork. Her performance had started.
Nothing had changed since she retook the stage, and she ran up to the scarecrow with a nimble agility as if she were in her plainclothes while brandishing a sword that glittered with her silver hair. She split the first scarecrow in two before quickly doing the second and third scarecrows in the same way a second after.
The stage produced a nice tenor like a drum as three scarecrow bodies landed on the ground in equal rhythm.
All the hero candidates held their breath. Her ability was undeniable. She hasn’t shown enough to be able to say that she is the best swordswoman here, and her movements weren’t flashy enough to say it was like she was dancing. But she showed enough to prove that she was far beyond a normal person.
“I, couldn’t see Lily-san move”
I could hear Melia mutter under her breath from next to me. Lily’s movements weren’t on the level that you couldn’t follow along with your eyes, so I think she is just being hyperbolic to better show her surprise.
“That’s right. Even though she’s the daughter of a minister, she is that good with a sword. She’s an amazing person.”
“So true! She’s so beautiful and admirable…..”
Melia entwined her fingers together as if dropping in prayer and focused her gaze squarely on Lily Ruhuna. Admiration didn’t quite cover the kind of look she had in her eyes. There was a pink beam of light flying from Melia to Lily Ruhuna.
With fifty people performing in turn, Lily Ruhuna’s demonstration was quickly replaced by the next candidate. Second place would be taking the stage. Nerine Candy. Even a country bumpkin like me has heard of the Candy family.
Although a commoner, the Candy family’s ancestor quickly figured out the potential magic held and became a wizard. As a result, they became the strongest mage in the kingdom and shot up the ranks of nobility with their accomplishments.
The history of the Candy family’s breakthrough is written on the first page of any magic primer. It’s meant to be a message to the commoners of the heights they can reach if they properly train.
Of course the situation is different now than it was back then. Not everyone who is capable of using magic is going to succeed at life. Even so, the Candy family seems to have continued to increase their reputation by spreading that kind of sentiment by making apprentice magicians think that way.
Nerine Candy’s demonstration began with her stretching her arm out towards the scarecrow. I couldn’t hear her chant from where I was sitting, but I can see her lips moving.
The next moment, a flash of light suddenly blinded my eyes. By the time I was able to adjust my sight, the scarecrow target had vanished without a trace. I can understand that some kind of explosion must have happened because there was some black charcoal left behind, but I’m stumped if you asked me for anything else. Is this the power of the Candy family heir?
Each candidate took their turn from there. Surprisingly, there were quite a few of us who aren’t mages. About a third?
Most of those contestants had famous surnames of aristocratic families that even I was able to recognize, so they were probably people rejected magic in the name of respecting tradition. They are the ones who deserve the “legacy position” that Heath randomly made up.
On the other hand, mages who looked like commoners accounted for the majority of contestants. Some mages were better than others, but none of them showed off anything as flashy as Nerine Candy.
It was my turn before I knew it. When I changed into my dancer uniform which was more revealing than the dress I had on before, Melia came back into the room with applause after finishing her own demonstration. I don’t know what she did for her performance, but the crowd seemed to really like it.
Melia didn’t frown when she saw what I was wearing. She actually smiled and cheerfully took my hands into hers.
“Good luck to you Lily-san. Please do your best!”
“Uh….yeah. Thank you. Melia-san.”
“Melia is fine. There is no need for any honorifics. We will be getting along from now on…..”
The fiftieth place and fifty-first. We are two people who won’t make it to the next round just by doing assignments normally. She’s saying she wants to get along with me, but that’s just her actually saying she wants me to work together with her.
It’s not like I can do this by myself either though. I nod lightly and answered her appropriately.
“Then just Lily is fine for me too. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Mm! Nice to meet you Lily-chan!”
Melia really does have a lovely smile. She wanted to speak with me a little longer, but when the host, Heath, called my name, I had to tell her my goodbyes and enter the arena.