Chapter 45: Sea Demon
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
“Has she lost her mind? She chose an incredibly challenging song, and she wants to do it acapella?!”
Exclamations were heard all around, all expressing their shock and surprise as if they had seen a ghost. Yet, Xia Ling was calm and collected as she played with the melody of the song, moving it slowly in crescendo and then letting it dissipate once it hit the climax… She was singing her heart out, with no distractions, no anxieties, creating something that was one of a kind, untouched and perfect.
The second line followed: “A silver-haired sea demon, singing alone.”
There was silence as the audience watched her entranced.
She spread out her arms and the tips of her toes drew a graceful arc on the ground as she began to dance along to her singing. She kept on singing smoothly, line after line, completely in control of the ever-changing melody ringing out beautifully in this dark space.
This was a song with a story.
On the endless night ocean, a group of pirates met a silver-haired sea demon.
They were bewitched by its beauty, surrounding it with 13 pirate ships and attempting to capture it. However, it charmed them with its singing, causing them to be lost in a world of hallucinations. They were sitting ducks and, eventually, killed off by the sea demon one by one.
This was a game of predator and prey.
The most exciting part was the final battle between the sea demon and the pirate king.
The chivalrous pirate king fought against the sea demon’s voice with all of his determination. At that moment when he regained his consciousness momentarily, he found a bloodbath all around him. The silver-haired sea demon holding a dagger encrusted with precious stones was plunging it into the neck of another pirate nearby. Under the light of the shining stars, her beauty was astonishing, with a trail of blood by her lips and the bodies of the murdered pirates behind her.
The pirate king pulled out his long sword and struggled as he attacked the sea demon.
It was dragging its long, scaly tail on the deck and did not have time to escape. Seeing the pirate king walking closer and closer, its voice became more intense and dreamy, more seductive and charming.
It was a battle of life and death.
Xia Ling’s voice became more and more passionate, with softness and temptation mixed in. The range of the melody line was big with waves after waves of emotion as if trying to make the audience’s heart jump out of their chests. She remembered that year that she had sung this song, she had practiced the climax until she became hoarse. Pei Ziheng had asked why she was trying so hard, feeling bad for her. Yet, when he heard her sing the same part in the practice room, he was speechless for a while.
“Xiao Ling,” he said after a long bout of silence. “in the world of music, you are unrivaled.”
She closed her eyes and placed herself within the waves of emotions. She could even feel the bloodiness of the imagery in her very breath.
The sword of the pirate king drew nearer and nearer.
The sea demon had nowhere else to go. If she could not beat her opponent using her voice, what awaited her would be death. It was a battle for her life, a battle for her freedom, and she did not shy away from it. This was a battle that had no turning back…
“Even if her voice grows hoarse and her blood runs dry.”
“Even if the sea dries up and the stars grow dim.”
“The silver-haired sea demon did not belong to anyone, as she was lost in her delusion and eventually died.”
She opened her eyes as she finished the final note of the song.
There was silence from the audience for a long time. After a while, someone started clapping, and what began as a few sporadic claps became rapturous applause. The applause became louder and louder as if it were about to blow through the roof.
“Great job, Ye Xingling!”
“That was amazing! Indeed the standard of a Diva!”
“How was that possible?! There was actually someone that could sing ‘Sea Demon’ to such a level other than Xia Ling. Let me go bang my head against a wall!”
The soft lights in the small auditorium came on gradually. She scanned the audience and saw the trainees that had been intending to see her make a joke of herself were now completely enthralled, shouting something at her with their hands cupped in front of their mouths like a loudhailer. There were others that were so excited that they tried to run on stage to ask for her autograph but were stopped by the coach in charge of maintaining order in the auditorium.
Such a bunch of innocent kids.
They had been in such disdain before, but after seeing the massive gap in standard between themselves and her, their attitudes changed 180 degrees and they became fanatical.
However, she was used to the most fanatical scenes.
Xia Ling turned her gaze to the judging panel.
Wei Shaoyin gave her a thumbs up with a smile.
The other judges exchanged their views in low voices. Not long later, they nodded to each other and stayed silent.
Tan Ying held the microphone to give the concluding remarks. “You have a great voice, Ye Xingling.”
This result was within her expectations and she politely gave him a bow to express her thanks, patiently awaiting what he had to say next.
“Your voice control, dance and stage presence were all great. Every detail can be said to be perfect.” Tan Ying gave a smile and asked, “Can you tell me how long have you been practicing this song?”
She calmly replied, “I really like this song. I’ve started practicing since the day I first heard it.” She liked every song that she had sung before. She always took her music extremely seriously. Hence, she was able to respond to this question immediately when Tan Ying asked, her conscience clear.
Tan Ying agreed. “It definitely does not seem to be a day’s work.”
Changing the topic entirely, he asked, “Your performance in the examinations held in the training camp has never been this good. Can you tell me why is that?”
She lowered her eyes as she said, “It’s not like I was pushed to the corner before.”
If not for Tan Ying, according to Xia Ling’s plan she would take approximately another year to gradually, slowly reaching her standard from her previous life. That would have been completely understandable. However, he wanted to sell her to Imperial Entertainment now, thus she had no choice but to show them what she could do, running the risk of being regarded as a freak.
Luckily, she had thought of a reasonable response to this question in the past two days.
“In the training camp, I was more concerned about my foundational skills, trying to make sure that I got my basics right.” She said, “So in every examination, the Ye Xingling that you saw was one with strong foundations and standard dance moves.”
Tan Ying and the other judges nodded, indicating for her to continue.
“However, this time is different. This judgment day will affect my destiny and I can’t just depend on my foundational abilities to pass the test. I need to let you see the entirety of my talent, my charm and all that I can do… The extent of my potential has been displayed under the pressure of the situation. Luckily, I managed to achieve what I set out to do.”
“In other words, you wouldn’t be able to replicate what you did today under normal circumstances.” Tan Ying astutely pointed out.
Xia Ling thought for a while before giving a measured response, “Although my performance in the training camp cannot be compared to what I did today, the performance today has allowed me to find that optimal point and I will be able to maintain this.”
She thought for a bit and added, “I welcome you to give me another test in the future if you do not believe me, Mr. Tan.”
Tan Ying laughed. “You don’t have to be so careful. I believe you. In fact, many artistes will never be able to do what you did today in their lifetime. Although this is the only time I’ve seen you perform to this standard, it is still worth the risk.”
Tan Ying secretly felt a little regretful. She had passed the test with her own abilities and, thus, would not have to go to Li Lei for help. It looked like Big Boss Li would have to think of another plan to win over this beautiful but thorny flower. However, he was happier than anything. How often did one manage to find a trainee with Diva potential? He could already foresee Skyart Entertainment’s reputation going up one notch when Ye Xingling made her debut.
He announced: “Ye Xingling, you can stay at Skyart Entertainment and you don’t have to go to Imperial Entertainment.”
Xia Ling gave a long sigh of relief as the heavy burden in her heart lifted.
Yet, out of nowhere, a sinister voice rang out from somewhere in the audience. “You consider this Diva potential? Mr. Tan, Skyart Entertainment seems to be rather careless with their judgment.”