Azur Lane: Episode of Belfast Volume 1 Chapter 4 Part 1
Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
CHAPTER 4: The Evening Star
After the autumnal equinox came to pass, you could feel the coolness in the air from the late evening to early morning.
The anthropometric clouds that were supposed to be in the sky changed to scoria clouds, and the fully-fledged signs of autumn have arrived all across the Home Port.
Now, on a certain day around that exact season.
Currently, the girls living in the dormitory were gathered in the large hall on the first floor of the Royal Navy’s dormitory.
If you were to go to this large hall, you would see a mass of chairs being placed alongside a particularly large and long table, the one that was stretching from one end of the hall to another, and the inside of the hall itself was bursting with chatter and excitement.
A meeting of the entire Royal Navy Dormitory’s inhabitants was about to be held in this very room.
But despite that fact, there was not a single shred of formality hanging in the air at the current moment.
[It seems that everyone is really excited for this event.]
Said Edinburgh to Belfast when she was finally done with preparing the tea and distributing it to everyone present in the room.
On this day as well, or perhaps because it was a day like that, the members of the Maid Corps were serving others as per usual.
[Well, I guess it cannot be helped. After all, this is the meeting regarding the School Festival event that we are having right now.]
Belfast quietly whispered to her sister, making sure that nobody else would be able to hear her.
School Festival –––––– as its name might suggest, it was the annual event organized by the school facilities present in this here Home Port, a sort of grand festival. It was the time when the shipgirls could kick back and relax, and the members of various factions could perform special performances and exhibitions. Needless to say, on that day all military training and commissions were canceled so that everyone could properly enjoy themselves in peace.
When the other maids who came back from preparing and distributing the tea to everyone present, Belfast told each of them a quick :”Thank you for your hard work,”, all the while she was looking around at the laughter of the girls who were waiting impatiently for the upcoming festival.
[Since the purpose of this meeting is to decide who will be participating in the beauty pageant, it’s only natural for all of those people to make a really huge fuss about it all.]
The Beauty Pageant was the big stage event held at the very end of the Azur Lane Festival, and it was without a doubt a thing that was called the main event.
Every year, one representative was selected from each faction and they would all appear on stage in front of everyone. After presenting a performance of their choosing, the winner would be determined by a vote from all the girls present around the stage.
As for the voting, there was no particular criteria to consider, it could be pretty much everything: “She was cute!”, “She was so cool!”, “she was so fun to watch!” and so on and so forth. It was basically a voting for the one who managed to leave the biggest impression on you.
The winner of the entire event would then be personally awarded a certificate and a trophy by the Commander himself.
For any of the girls living in this school, it was like a special, irreplaceable medal.
Each faction was at a loss as to who should be their contestant each year, because their victory or defeat hinged on that simple yet impossible decision.
In fact, there was no special reward for the winner or the faction in itself, but there was a postscript to it all that said that this particular shipgirl from that particular faction won the first place in the beauty pageant, and it was like cementing that fact in stone.’
And since each year each faction needed to submit a new contestant, choosing one was a matter of the utmost importance, something over which eyebrows would be frowned and discussions would be held, sometimes reaching truly heated levels.
Those who were chosen in this way would receive a wide variety of back-up from their own camps regarding the costumes and stage props used in pageants, as was expected.
[–––––– It would seem that everyone gathered here for today. Thank you all for coming.]
When Queen Elizabeth’s voice echoed in the bustling hall, all of the girls who belonged to the Royal Navy’s faction turned towards her in unison.
As for Elizabeth herself, she was standing with her arms crossed at her chest at the furthest point from the door leading to the hallway, at the far end of the hall.
As for Elizabeth’s entourage this time around, she had Warspite, Hood and Prince of Wales all at her side.
[The main purpose of this meeting is, of course as you are almost probably aware of, choosing this year’s representative for the Beauty Pageant. Every year, we think really hard about picking the best possible candidate for this event, but this year is especially important! Since the Royal Navy did not manage to win last year’s contest, we need to put a whole lot more thought into this year’s! Everyone! Let’s show all the other factions that in terms of beauty, the Royal Navy has all the beauty that no other faction could ever possibly compete with!]
After Elizabeth gave that short but passionate speech through the microphone in her hand, it caused the entire hall to erupt in a fiery cheer.
[Alright then, Wales! Please take it from here!]
[Please leave it to me, Your Majesty.]
As Elizabeth took a step back, she passed the microphone to Prince of Wales, who was now in the center of attention.
[That being said, let us start deliberating about who we are going to choose as the representative of the Royal Navy for this year’s contest. There may be various opinions to consider here, but I would like to approach this year’s School Festival with even stronger enthusiasm than ever before.]
A thunderous applause spread throughout the hall in response to that proclamation.
Wales then continued with her explanation, holding the microphone in her hand and looking at the excited crowd.
[For this year, I’m also going to do my very best to find a participant who is going to let us win. I want to pick someone who can be thought to be unbeatable even by people from other factions. A complete and utter victory.]
Wales then glanced at Hood as she spoke those words.
Hood was holding onto a large set of printed photographs that she seemed to have prepared in advance, and slowly picked them up.
The pictures were so big that even Belfast, who was standing at the furthest point from where they were, could clearly recognize what was in them.
The first picture showed the pink-haired little girl with a baby-like face –––––– It was Saratoga, a Lexington Class Aircraft Carrier from the Eagle Union.
[As everyone in here is probably aware of, she was the winner of last year’s pageant and she simply dominated the entire competition, blowing everyone else out of the water. As an idol, the only way to compete against her, who has an extraordinary talent and skill, is to use even more cuteness than what she possesses. That being said, it’s not something that we want to compete with against her. The Royal Navy’s faction needs a contestant who will have her own unique “selling point”, something that excels way better in different areas of expertise.]
Listening to Prince of Wales’ words, Belfast absent-mindedly started to think about the previous years’ pageants.
In fact, Saratoga and her older sister, Lexington Class Aircraft Carrier Lexington, have almost monopolized the past pageants as winners.
Being faced with the famous Idol sisters of the Eagle Union, there was simply no way that other shipgirls could compete against them, and would always end up embarrassing themselves.
Their performances on stage were always simply overwhelming. Their ability to captivate the audience with their singing and dancing was nothing short of spectacular.
All the other factions, who were being left at the mercy of their high quality performances, had repeatedly selected girls who seemed to be able to behave like Idols in the same way, only for them to fail even more spectacularly.
Yes, as a matter of fact, none of the girls selected from any of the factions was able to pull off singing and dancing better than the Eagle Union representatives.
In other words, what Wales was trying to say here was that rather than competing in the same area, she was trying to push out something more attractive in a different area, something that the idol sisters would not be nearly as proficient in.
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Azur Lane: Episode of Belfast
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