I watched the boy in front of me step on to the stage, greeting the three youkai who were acting as judges for this little event.
One of them had a bluish gelatinous body that resembled the slime youkais native to mountain caves in the region. The form that she had taken was of a curvaceous woman with long, flowing blue 'hair' that hid her right half of her face from view, her full lips just barely peeking out from underneath.
Another judge had an extremely lithe body shape that settled into the theatre seats easily. The sharp ears sitting on top of her short, messy brown hair alongside her feline eyes and two tails peeking out from behind her chair clued me into her race as a nekomata youkai.
The last girl was the most surprising sight of all. Her long, green, serpentine tail was coiled underneath her seat with some kind of red coloured fuzz riding the spine of the tail. The two antler horns on her head of long, glossy, black hair revealed her species as a Ryu youkai.
This would be my first time seeing a Ryu youkai up close, in fact. They normally don't mingle amongst humans and some were even treated as deities for their weather controlling Techniques. It is said that they are Dragons themselves, but how anyone was supposed to classify dragons is up for debate, something I have no interest in at the moment.
From what I managed to gather during the short time here, the three of them plus the fox youkai from before were actually part of a currently popular idol group in this town. They had been seeking out a new life for themselves when each of them met in this town, fell in love with it, then decided to stay.
Apparently they had became fans of one of Elaria's works and was trying to create a theatrical version of her book. Since I have never read the book they were trying to emulate, I am actually at a disadvantage here compared to these boys.
But so far, none of them actually stood out.
At least to me, anyway.
I had a quick glance through the script and found it uncannily similar to the plot of a story I've read somewhere before, though exactly where and when eludes me at the moment.
Shrugging it off as a coincidence, I waited for my turn to be called on stage.
The boy ahead of me fumbled with his words, his actions as stiff as a block of wood and the way he articulated his lines sounded like fingernails being dragged across a chalkboard.
I must really give respect to the three judges for sitting through his entire audition without so much as flinching.
"Mmm Thank you, Diu Lian. I'm afraid you're not who we are looking for though, but thank you for trying. Next one please," The slime youkai called out.
I placed the script under my clothes, stepping gingerly up onto the stage.
Judging from the script, I've come to realise that the character that I am auditioning for is a really eccentric boy who seems to be able to take advantage of any situation around him to appear 'cool'.
Another chuunibyou, basically. Not surprised that my younger sister created such a character, to be honest.
Oh well, guess I should just slip into character right about now.
I did a running slide towards the centre of the stage with my back facing the judges, surprising them with my unorthodox entrance. My left hand was stuck in my pocket while my right palm was pressed against my forehead with me facing towards the right.
I flicked my hair with my right hand as I opened my eyes to look at the judges with a sideways glance.
"Good day, ladies."
The three of them sat up a little straighter.
I spun on my heel to face them, whipping out the script in front of me and opening it like a book. I made sure to hunch my back a little, supporting my hand that was holding up the book with my other arm.
"I think you've got the wrong person For I am Mark, who is but a humble student of this academy."
Waiting a second to give the judges time to comprehend my actions, I switched to my new pose of tilting my head back while pushing up a pair of imaginary glasses up my face with my middle finger, looking down towards the three women.
"For such a simple thing I must humbly decline."
Why am I getting so into it?
Well, I believe if you're already going to do something, then just do it seriously. You never know what kind of opportunity you might have missed just because you decide to do something half-heartedly.
Besides, this kind of acting is much more simpler than the roles I had to take on back on those two Planes.
When how well you act determines whether you live or die, one tends to put on a very convincing act, even when you have to play that role for months on end without breaking character.
A group of cultists going around killing men indiscriminately? Crossdress and seek shelter in a female-only Sect, tricking both the cultists and the Sect at the same time until they move on.
Some random Sect Elder trying to take advantage of you? Act arrogant and pretend to be an influential Sect's young master to dissuade him from messing with you, then keep up this act for the following two months while desperately searching for a way to escape from him. The fact that I doomed that particular Sect's young master I was emulating after my escape was beside the point.
The Matriarch of the Royal Spiritual Family Sect holding you captive because of your intelligence? Fake an accident and start acting like your mental capacity got affected to the point of retardation, then escape when she starts losing interest in you.
Unfortunately, the last example didn't go so well as she got even more interested in me, even going so far as to do experiments on me to find out how and why I changed.
It did, however, make her drop the guard around me which allowed me to run off one night when the guards were especially sloppy.
Well, all of that is in the past (future?) now, it gave me the experience and skills I need to start my new life here so it's not all for naught anyway.
Like how I'm using it for this little audition right now.
I'm like the eight year old with forty years of experience, ain't no way I'm not getting hired.
I went through a few more lines and was just about to move to my fifth pose when the Ryu youkai slithered out of her seat and clapped her hands twice.
"I think that is enough, isn't that right girls?"
"Uh-huh, uh-huh!" The nekomata nodded enthusiastically. "I knew we'd find someone that fits the bill absolutely! Boy, you're perfect!"
The cat girl gave me a thumbs up.
The slime youkai gestured for me to come closer, "What is your name, dear?"
I crossed my arms and shifted my weight to one leg, tilting my head slightly upwards and sideways, "You May call me Mark."
"Absolutely perfect! Nyaahahaha! Boy, you're a genius!" The neko girl laughed, her tails swishing in the air.
The Ryu youkai wrote down something on a piece of paper, "Rehearsals start here tomorrow morning at dawn. Don't be late."
"Yes, I really do look forward to your performance, Mark," The slime girl stated simply, a smile gracing her lips.
I made an exaggerated bow, "I thank the ladies for giving my humble self a chance. I shall take my leave, for now."
"Nyaahahahaha! This boy's simply perfect!"
Hey, maybe I could even form my own idol group?