- Lucy: She just felt bad for me. And I dont take pity invites.
Ivy: Why should she feel bad for you?
Lucy: She shouldn't! None of them take me seriously. She patted me on the head! Like I was some sort of dog! Like Im beneath them. Why would I want to have dinner with people like that?
Ivy: I dont -
Lucy: And neither do I! Glad we can agree on that!
We open on a summer Saturday morning with Lucy Marlowe, our protagonist, sleeping in. They're awakened by Ivy pouncing on them from their windowsill, hollering at them to wake up. Though they're reluctant to get out of bed, once Ivy reminds them that they have "Saturday things" to do, they leap out of bed and rush to get dressed. As they hurry out the door, Ivy reminds them they've got a shopping list, but Lucy brushes her off — this is way more important.
The scene cuts to the other competitors currently in the running — Sylas Dubois, January Singh, Tetsu, Ana, Philomena Vasillia, Broom Girl, and Cedric — sitting around a fountain as Lady Ophelia Banksly, today's proctor, explains the parameters of the test:
- Ophelia: Todays test is one of speed and tracking skill. You will be judged on efficiency. Ill be releasing 7 birds for 7 of you to catch. One of you will be eliminated.
As Ophelia goes over the rules, Ana and Philomena discuss Lucy's tardiness. Ana's unbothered, expressing a hope that they "finally gave up", but Philomena's concerned. Their conversation is interrupted as Lucy, breathless and covered in leaves, plops down next to Philomena. Satisfied that all eight participants have arrived, Ophelia blows her whistle, sets the birds free, and starts the test. The competitors all take off... except Lucy, who remains nervously at the fountain for a few seconds. Ophelia rolls her eyes at them, and they scamper off.
We cut to Philomena, running along a rooftop with her familiar, Tully, at her heels. She spots Ophelia's seagull and tosses Tully after it, but just as he's about to catch it, Ana uses Merrylegs, her familiar, like a grappling hook to catch it. She lightheartedly teases Philly about it, and as Philomena bends over to keep Tully from falling off the roof, we see Sylas on another rooftop using his familiar, Fineas and Fenn, to ensnare Ophelia's raven. He puts it in a magical bubble and hollers to Philomena that he'll trade her the bird for a kiss. Annoyed, she shuts him down, and he teleports off... only to reappear behind her and ask if she got the joke. Even more irritated, Philomena kicks him off the roof and hurries away.
As Philomena grouses about having to track down and catch birds, the scene shifts to Ophelia's bluebird in a tree. Lucy and Ivy are simultaneously attempting to stalk it, and when they pounce at the same time they crash into each other, startling the bird. The two of them tumble to the ground, Ivy uses a magic spell to break Lucy's fall, and they both look up as Tetsu uses their magic to capture the bluebird. They comment that they weren't expecting the test to be this easy, to Lucy's dismay, and wish Lucy luck on the test, noting that a blue explosion in the distance likely means that January has caught a bird and/or destroyed someone's property.
Lucy hurries away, trying not to panic as they see Broom Girl speed past on her... well, broom with a bubbled bird on her lap. Their spirits lighten as they notice Ophelia's pigeon on a nearby rooftop... at the same time as Philomena. The two tussle over who gets to capture the bird as Cedric calmly sets up a ladder to offer the pigeon a handful of grain. It's about to hop into his hand when Ivy bites its neck, killing it instantly. She hops proudly onto Lucy's head and together they hurry to show off their catch to Ophelia. Ophelia's disgusted by the pigeon being dead, but she accepts it without much protest.
Practically on cue, Philomena turns up, shamefully cradling Ophelia's pheasant in her arms. She tearfully explains, expecting to be disqualified, that she didn't catch it; only found it after a dog killed it. Ophelia gently laughs and explains that since she already passed Lucy with a dead bird, there's no harm in passing Philomena. The other competitors console Philomena, but she doesn't fully cheer up until she gets the opportunity to reach out to Cedric, the only competitor who was unable to catch a bird. She gives him the pheasant and offers to throw a potluck with him, which the other competitors rapidly agree to. Broom Girl, who had offered Lucy a hug (which they declined) when everyone was hugging Philomena, asks if Lucy wants to come to the party, and they decline again.
Lucy and Ivy walk nearly all the way home in silence, and it's only as they start climbing the last set of stairs that Ivy asks why Lucy didn't want to go to the party. Lucy bitterly unloads feelings of being unwanted, patronized, and pitied, and is in too poor of a mood to listen to Ivy's attempts to reason with them. They're still in a bad mood when they finally arrive home and are greeted with their mentor, Master Rothart's, disapproval. He chastises them for not getting anything from their shopping list and shuts down their attempts to explain how their day went, ordering them to start working on dinner. Lucy resigns themselves to the task, and the chapter closes on Ivy looking sourly at Rothart.
In summary: The third round of the representative competition and our introduction to Lucy and the world. Seven out of eight contestants catch birds, alive and dead, and Lucy returns home to their irritable old master.
- Character Overlap: Lady Ophelia, the test proctor, is the protagonist of Riverside Extras.
- Though she doesn't appear in person until chapter seven, Cedric's chef master, Siobhan Teterya, hails from the same comic.
- Chekhov's Gun: The shopping list that Lucy blows off on page four was left by Rothart, and he berates them at the end of the chapter about not going shopping.
- Coordinated Clothes: The contestants' outfits all have black-on-gold trim with a unique pattern.
- Condescending Compassion: How Lucy interprets Broom Girl's attempts to reach out to them.
- Don't Explain the Joke: "Fine, your loss."
- Innocently Insensitive:
- Tetsu commenting that they were expecting the challenge to be much more difficult... right in front of Lucy, who had just failed somewhat embarrassingly.
- Ophelia attempting to console Philomena comes across as somewhat patronizing.Ophelia: Aw its sweet that youre so worried about something like that. But I already passed Marlowe with a dead bird, so
- When Philly gets entangled in a group hug, Broom Girl asks if Lucy wants a hug too. Flustered, they decline, and she awkwardly pats their head. Later, they're still hurt.Lucy: She patted me on the head! Like I was some sort of dog!
- Tournament Arc: The chapter centers on the third round of the representative competition.