The physical exam begins but Tara's sisters have something to say.
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Episode 43. 80kg (8)
Of course, everyone here was an aristocrat who had a certain amount of poise, but the demeanor he exuded with his restrained movements was no easy feat,and I studied the man intently.
"We cannot arbitrarily change what His Majesty has authorized, that would be a violation of an Imperial Decree, so I will make sure that Lady Tara Elias suffers no disadvantages because of this little wager."
‘Huh, is he helping me? There's at least one young nobleman with a conscience.'
The man glanced at Sam Maddox, then back at the older interviewer, and smiled calmly.
But there was an undeniable determination in his smile, and his demeanor was overly polite.
"Well, of course, Sir. It will be as His Majesty decreed, Sir Hans Button."
‘Button...? Yes, Button! That's him! The person who's going to make a name for himself in this interview.’
I jerked my head around and found myself staring at him. I tried to memorize his appearance, even though it was only his profile.
[... There was one man who stood out in this tricky interview, a man who would later have a great influence on the future of the Empire, Sir Hans, second son of House Button].
Yes, it went something like that.
Shortly before the examination, the patriarch, Baron Button, died, and his bastard son, Lord Button, inherited the manor.
I must remember that face and stay as far away from him as possible!
The character Author Kim had the most fun writing in this book. I could remember her talking about him.
[He's a sociopath! He's more cunning and cruel than anyone else. He he he. I have so much fun writing these characters. Ah! I can't wait to get to the second half.]
‘No. Writer Kim, Why did you create such a character. Haaaa...’
While the training hall was bustling with interviewees moving to their respective positions to participate in the practical test, Sir Button smiled at me.
What a sweet smile.
'Why is he helping me? Why is he smiling at me like that?'
Trying my best to ignore the goosebumps that crept over me, I forced myself to bow slightly in greeting and slowly moved to my seat.
'Okay. I'll think about that Button guy later. The important thing right now is the interview. Come on, Concentrate! Focus, Tara!'
They didn't have my size in the training uniforms issued to the interviewees.
Are you kidding me?
This was an Imperial Civil Service exam, shouldn't they have had at least a triple XL on the list? I knew this was going to happen, so I had prepared in advance.
I took off my dress and finished putting on the training shirt I had brought with me before heading out to the training ground.
Unsurprisingly, everyone followed my every move with a glint in their eyes. Until I came out with my own training clothes.
"How did she know...."
But they quickly hid their surprise.
"Okay, we'll start in five minutes. As you know, this is a combination of the physical tests administered by the Ministry of Security and the Imperial Fire Department."
Author Kim hadn't described the second round of interviews, so I didn't have any prior knowledge about it, but I had read the newspapers and knew the actual content of past administrators’ exams.
That's why I went through the trouble of hiring Bernard.
[...Start with the grip test. That way, you won’t run out of strength later and run into trouble.]
"There are four events in total: 100-meter run, sit-ups, endurance run, and left and right grip strength. Please arrange the order of events in order to conserve your strength as much as possible."
I did as Bernard said, stepping up to the signpost labeled 'Grip Strength' and warmed up. It was a sight the onlookers would probably never see again.
An 80kg female noblewoman in training clothes, standing amongst the men, stretching... It was a strange sight, I'd wager.
It would be embarrassing to be the center of everyone's attention, but I didn’t mind the situation since I already died in my previous life and now possessed a 100+ kg noblewoman from a damned family.
I wondered to myself, ‘Hmmm. Perhaps I’ve become more cold hearted?’
‘One-two-three-four, five-six-seven-eight. Two-two-three-four, five-six-seven-eight.’ I chanted to myself. I popped my hips, turned my head, grabbed my arm, swung it over my head, and squeezed it with my other arm.
I continued the motion. I took a deep breath, when my head snapped to the side.
"What are you going to do? You could just say you're switching departments."
Aria scolded me, sulking, as she approached. I kept swinging my limbs without changing my posture.
"Oh my God, are you worried about me?"
Seeing my flushed face, Aria grimaced.
"What do you mean worried about you? I'm worried about the stain on the Elias Family! You're going to get in trouble when our father finds out about this!"
"Yes. I guess so. Then I also misunderstood when you came forward earlier. It was kind of nice of you to stick up for me."
Aria blushed instantly at my words, and her eyes narrowed.
"Don't do that. Don't pretend it's real!"
I watched her walk away, wondering at what point the "real" and "fake" would come into play. But then.
"When did you start being friendly to Aria after living confined in your room?"
It was Chloe with a cold look on her face.
"Unlike me, Brandon meant a lot to Aria, and every time he was sweet to you, she longed for him, envied you and was jealous of you. And then that day, the day he died, you collapsed. But we stood by his grave and mourned him until the end. Don't you think it's disgusting that you're trying to act sisterly again, paying no heed to the consequences?"
Chloe's face held a contempt I'd never seen before.
I slowly lowered my arms from above my head and turned to face Chloe.
"It seems that you haven't even considered that until now. The reason I didn't stop Jason was to remind you of your own arrogance, Tara. My brother and I earned our father's trust the hard way, and we've maintained it through continued hard work, and now you've suddenly changed, and you're trying to take what's ours so easily, so shamelessly."
And there was another morale booster.
"You're not wrong. I ran away. I ran away because I couldn't accept Brandon's death. But sister, I have no choice but to do this. This is my way of making amends and, in time, you will come to understand that."
The words, "Our family is about to be destroyed," tried to escape from my mouth, but I couldn't utter them.
I wondered why I couldn't say the word "destroyed" to my family when it had been so easy for me to say it to Andrei.
It was because I knew that what I had said to Andrei would have no impact. So, it had been easier for me.
It would be perceived differently by my family. Who would believe my words right now??
If I were to say it to my father now, he would think I was suffering from some strange delusion, and I would lose what little trust I had earned.
That word needed to be used very carefully once I had established a more solid foundation of trust.
"You said it before, 'words have great power', as you are well aware. So don't talk rubbish either. I don't trust you, and whatever you do in the future, I only expect one thing from you... Don't tarnish the Elias Family name!"
After meeting my gaze for a long moment, Chloe turned and walked away to the edge of the training grounds.
Huh? What was that... encouragement?
I didn't have time to ponder Chloe's words, I had to focus on the practical test, which was starting immediately.
This wasn't the reaction Jason had expected.
At the very least, her face should have turned pale and sweaty. But she didn't react.
"What’s with this, really!"
Not only that, the crowd shouldn't have reacted the way it did.
He knew women only had to do a cursory physical test during the practical interviews, so he didn't bother looking for her during the second stage.
He was just heading to the third interview room when he heard that the second interview was almost over.
His goal was to go to the training hall to look at the faces of other interviewees who might be hired by the Ministry of Security.
But the atmosphere in the training hall was unexpectedly high.
In the distance, eight interviewees were running back and forth, and to his surprise, all eyes were on them.
"Wow...... I've never seen a young lady like her before!"
"She might just get that 'Taltine Apology'...!"
"Whew, that's right. I was so surprised when she did her sit-ups earlier, that my jaw dropped."
"They said she was a disgrace to the Elias Family, shows you can't judge a book by its cover."
Upon hearing that name, Kyle looked at the group of chattering interviewers, and Nick, always quick on the uptake, took a step forward and stepped between them.
"Huh, what's all this about?"
At Nick's question, the man, whose gaze was focused on the interviewees still running in the distance, spat out the words as if he was annoyed.
"What have you been doing so far? Didn't you come here to check on Tara Elias? She's really amazing. I don't know about the rest, but I have to acknowledgeher skills. Look at that! It's a sight to behold!"
One of Kyle's eyebrows shot up involuntarily.
Then he casually pushed his way through the courtiers to the front, where he could get a better view of where they were running back and forth.
"...I'm not the only one who sees her running in her training clothes amongst the men, am I? Almost on par as well. My God, who is that young lady, Your Highness?"
Kyle didn't respond to Nick's astonishment while he rubbed his eyes. Instead, he crossed his arms and watched the girl's movements.
"Posture, breathing, pace... not bad."
The only issues were the flushed face and the constant sweating, but other than that, it was hard to see a downside.
"How many sit-ups per minute?"
"What? I just got here as well...!"
At the sight of Kyle's expressionless gaze as he turned around, "Ah...!" Nick slapped himself on the head, scurried over to the area where the sit-ups were being done, asked the interviewer a question, and scurried back.
"Ha... Six, sixty reps. It doesn't make sense, Your Highness, I do 70."
"That's funny. And?"
"......Yes! I'll find out!"
Nick, realizing in hindsight that he had acted like an incompetent idiot, quickly ran over to where the grip strength was being measured and the 100-meter run was in progress, asked, then turned back.
"They took four grip measurements, and they came out at 40 kilograms. That's just under average. She ran the 100-meter dash in 18 seconds. That's great, but I don't know why only Lady Tara is taking the test among the men."
"Yes, Your Highness."
"If you don't know, go find out."
"Ah... Yes, Your Highness."
After chastising himself repeatedly for not being able to do his job, Nick went in search of a test administrator who could give him the correct information.
When he returned a short time later, Kyle couldn't help but chuckle to himself upon hearing Nicks' words.
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