Chapter 15 - Talent Show
A third drum joined the two currently-beating ones. Although no arrows had fallen as of yet, Li Yiming shook his body and slowly bent down, wrapping his arms around his knees as he did so before staying completely still with only his chest moving every time he breathed.
Bong! Bong! Bong!
The drumbeat continued. Li Yiming leaped forward toward the center of the newly-formed dancing arena. It was no longer holographic arrows, but rather red light orbs which fell like raindrops toward the ground.
Fang Shui’er looked at the waterfall of red light. There seemed to be
The tentative pace given by the three drums at the start had finally consolidated into a rhythmic beat. Li Yiming knew what the piece was as soon as he heard it; it was a nostalgic song that he had danced to many times before. As he raised his right hand and traced a giant circle with it, he used the moment to swiftly spin around.
With every step, Li Yiming caught a red orb with the tip of his toes. Whether it be waving, thrusting or twisting, his deft arm motions matched his feet movements perfectly.
The crowd was at awe at such a captivating performance, making them momentarily forget about their precarious circumstances. Even Fang Shui’er, who was well aware of the situation she was in, could not help but become enthralled by Li Yiming’s dance. She gradually lowered her guard, and shortly after, all that occupied her mind was Li Yiming’s silhouette and his fluttering white hair.
Li Yiming also forgot about the purpose of his own performance. He was no longer fighting for the lives of the innocent guests of the Pandaria. Rather, he became the high school student who had just climbed onto the stage that would decide his career for the first time. He enjoyed every single moment of his performance and only focused on the red orbs that continued to rain down from the sky.
Li Yiming chained one movement after another with perfect fluidity, calling upon every single piece of knowledge he had acquired in his career as a professional dancer, and entering an entranced state in which he could not stop.
As the red mark on the silver pillar reached a new height, the genre of the music changed once again. Each round consisted of traditional dances and music from different corners of the country.
It would be unfathomable, even for another sage, to be able to reproduce what Li Yiming was currently accomplishing.
As the music finally came to a halt, Li Yiming stood quietly with beads of sweat rolling down his cheeks and his long, silvery hair billowing in the wind. Li Yiming suddenly became immensely satisfied and became incredibly grateful that the domain allowed him such an opportunity.
A thunderous uproar of clapping and cheering was heard. Not only did it came from the mysterious man who sat on the sofa below the stage, but even from the crowd, who just minutes ago was running from inevitable petrification.
Li Yiming closed his eyes and regretted his performance's having to come to an end.
Yu Runkai was the first to awaken from the frenzy of the crowd. The moment he threw a glance at the silver pillar, he immediately stopped clapping, looking rather agitated.
‘It’s not over yet.’ Bai Ze’s voice snapped Li Yiming out of his trance, and he looked at the silver pillar, more joyful than apprehensive.
‘Ninety percent…’ The music resumed just as Li Yiming raised his head.
He smiled in anticipation. ‘Let’s see how much you can push me this time…’
The music returned to the electronic style in which it began. Li Yiming found the first new notes quite familiar, and he frowned after a few seconds; it was too familiar. Li Yiming’s confusion was short-lived as the stage immediately underwent a drastic transformation. A small, round pedestal emerged out of the floor at where he stood, and five bright red lines appeared on the ground, on which a string of golden orbs shone on and off.
‘This…’ Li Yiming opened his eyes once more. A microphone had now appeared in front of him.
‘I… have to sing?’ Li Yiming picked up the golden microphone rather nervously and looked at the man who sat below.
The mysterious Mr. Kong look-alike was obviously still absorbed in Li Yiming’s performance. He cheered loudly as Li Yiming made ready to sing, waving a light stick that he was somehow able to procure.
A massive shadow fell from the air before Li Yiming could give it any more thoughts. Instead of a glowing orb, it was a line of well-traced characters which were undoubtedly the lyrics.
Li Yiming knew that he was heading into a disaster, but he had no time to think about it. He took a deep breath and started singing as passionately as he could.
“I’ll love you until death… Until the end… and only then I can tell you clearly…”
Li Yiming’s dissonant singing pierced the clouds and the ears of those who were listening. It was a horrible scream which chilled the once enthusiastic crowd like a bucket of icy water. The mysterious man, who had been watching in anticipation, shivered and held his mouth wide open.
Just as the crowd had previously wondered how it was humanly possible for Li Yiming to put up such a dance, most of them were now frozen in place at just how horrible Li Yiming’s singing was. His performance had none of the desirable quality of an even passable singer, not the pitch, the tone, nor the emotions. It was as if he was trying to create a new song, if such a monstrosity could be deemed one.
“Until death… Crying until my tears turn into a smile… Even at the end of the world, my heart shall…”
Even though Li Yiming himself was well aware of his own deficiency, he realized that he could not walk off the pedestal. He finally understood why the young model seemed to be completely paralyzed by fear earlier. Li Yiming could do nothing but continue howling, which sent most of the crowd back on step.
‘What is he up to?’ Fang Shui’er was also confused at the vivid contrast between the two different Li Yimings on stage.
‘Shit!’ Fang Shui’er suddenly noticed that the red bar had sunk back to fifty percent.
After barely two lines, Li Yiming had destroyed half of the progress he had made so far, somehow managing to miss all seventy-five notes.
Before Fang Shui’er was able to run to the stage to Li Yiming’s rescue, a person ran out of the crowd and grabbed the microphone.
To Fang Shui’er’s surprise, it was the young model Li Yiming had helped at the pool a few days ago. It was a fortunate and convenient situation for Fang Shui’er to have someone else take the spotlight so she could remain low-key and conceal her identity. After all, it was not possible for anyone to be worse than Li Yiming at singing.