In the morning, Orisa experienced two things in abundance. The first was a headache from excessive studying. As for the second thing, Orisa felt really awkward doing morning exercises with girls. Onuki and Mira were in their underwear, while Toatre was completely naked.
Her movements were fluid, flowing one into another like currents in the ocean. Seeing her body like this, Orisa couldn't help but stare.
“Warm-up is important for your well-being. Do not avoid it, or else you will know regret.” Said an otherworldly Toatre.
Orisa imitated some of the exercises, while closely observing Toatre. In the meantime, Onuki noticed Orisa's gaze, thought for a moment and then for some reason smiled contently.
"Don't forget to get your hygiene items and everyday wear." Onuki said with a smile. "I'll show you the way later."
Before everything else, the first thing in the morning was the workout, held outdoors.
"Collect your effort and steer it into your training." Even the way Toatre phrased her thoughts was unusual, unnatural, but not in a bad way. "As Captain Pain proclaimed, this is only the beginning. When our studies are complete, the real training shall sprout.”
“What the gal means is that we are doing an easy mode now.” Mira talked for the first time, and her voice contained a hint of discontent. “Like, we'll have to do ten times more soon, or something. The hell?"
‘Yes, she was clearly pissed.’ Orisa became wary of the girl. ‘Looks like the type that will whine about anything and everything, blaming others for her own mistakes. God, hope I’m wrong.’
The girls brought her to the training ground where the male part of the squad was already standing. ‘Woah, eight more people. I wasn’t expecting this much.’ Orisa suddenly remembered one of her many weaknesses. 'I suck hard at names, can't remember them at all.'
"Boys, yesterday we met the last member of the squad." Onuki said, her voice for some reason was emotionless. "Let's treat her well."
"Nice to meet you all, I'm Orisa. Please, take care of me." She bowed down.
"Oh, that we will." A short, yellow-haired kid whistled in an obnoxious manner. "Damn, Mira, where did you find this treasure?"
"Shut your trap, filth." Mira literally spat on the ground. "Nobody asked you."
"Everyone, please calm down." A tall boy with a neat blue haircut asked in a slightly raised voice. "We are all glad to have you with us, Orisa. I’m Iten Yada, you can ask me anything."
‘Is he a squad deputy or something?’ Orisa bowed silently, contemplating new information and hammering down an important name. Somewhere behind the wall there were clapping sounds.
“The Wave again?” She asked in a slightly concerned voice.
“Funeral.” Another guy said quietly. He was clearly depressed. “There was one when I arrived four days ago.” The mood darkened after his comment.
A few minutes later Captain Pain showed up.
“Line up!” He shouted. “Attention!” After a small pause, he said something that Orisa was unable to process. "We got fresh meat from today and onward. You can do whatever you want until it's in the way of her training and study."
‘Like… what the actual fuck?’ She was perplexed, but everyone around her had a poker face.
“And now! Turn to the right! Ten laps! Go!”
When they started running, each in their own temp, Onuki caught up to Orisa and said:
“Don’t worry. Nothing special, that’s just another idiotic rule of his – no rules unless it halts the training and study.” She said with small pauses to steady her breathing.
“Cadet Onuki!” Captain Pain yelled mercilessly. “No talking! One more lap for entire squad!”
“Shit…” She bit her lower lip in frustration.
“Two more laps and watch your damn mouth!”
Push-ups and sit-ups followed the running. Orisa wanted to die half the way and really didn't want anything anymore at the end. The only consolation was that more than half of her squad felt the same way.
That was all for today. 'I can't believe I survived. And they say this is an easy mode..?' Orisa dreaded over her future.
On their way to the shower, led by Onuki, they made a detour, to pick up Orisa's necessities. She got some new and comfy clothes for daily usage, toiletries and towels. Because of this detour, the shower was already full of people by the time they arrived. Accompanied by Onuki, Orisa entered the steamy room.
The shower was bright and enormous. Wet tiled floor was like a soccer field, more than fifty meters wide. More than a hundred lockers occupied one wall entirely. Numerous shower stalls took over three other walls.
Tens of naked guys and girls from different squads were moving inside the room.
‘Wait… what?’ Orisa’s mind rejected this reality. She blinked in confusion, but nothing has changed. 'I've resigned myself to the fate of the peeping Tom, but this... This is just too much.' Someone behind her chuckled. Turning around she saw grinning Onuki.
"I'm sorry for not telling you beforehand, but I so wanted to see your reaction!"
“You are not sorry at all.” Orisa pouted. “Why!? What the hell is going on? I don’t want to look at naked dudes!” Satoru was not a fan of other men’s genitals.
“I also don’t want to, but that’s how it is.” Onuki smiled even brighter after hearing Orisa’s reply. “As to 'why', Miss Satou promised to tell us on today’s history lesson.”
They found a pair of empty lockers and undressed, covering themselves in towels afterward, and moved to find an empty shower stall.
“Want me to help you with your back?” Onuki asked. Orisa looked thoughtfully at the little sponge in her hand and nodded. Shower stalls were big enough to fit two people.
As they were cleaning themselves, Onuki asked jokingly:
“So you don’t like naked dudes?”
“Why would I?” Satoru remembered his only visit to a public bathhouse, with a lot of old people happily swinging their wrinkled sausages left and right. “Eww, gross!”
“I wholeheartedly agree.” Replied laughing Onuki.
After some time, Orisa noticed something strange in the corner of her eyes. Looking down, she found a familiar face sticking out from under the privacy screen. It was the same yellow-haired moron who whistled at her. Orisa was thoroughly puzzled.
‘Are you, like, for real?’ She calmly thought. ‘Haven’t you seen a naked girl before? What were you even expecting here?’
She considered the course of action for a moment before coming up with a typical tsundere action scene. She slowly raised her right leg, revealing an unforgettable view, and then slammed her foot into his nose.
There was a spray of blood followed by a cry of pain. The head abruptly disappeared behind the curtain. There was cheerful laughter of several male voices and one of them even said:
“Taron, you dickhead, you never learn?”
Satisfied by her performance, Orisa turned to Onuki. What she saw was a face filled with disgust and terror. Abruptly covering herself in a towel, Onuki dashed away. ‘What..? Wait…’ Orisa was too confused to react on time. When she came out of the stall, Onuki already left the bathroom.
After finishing with a shower, Orisa returned to the dorm and found Onuki there. She lay on the bed, clasping her knees.
'Looks like some random personal landmine just exploded. I'm not sure I want to know.' Orisa sat down next to her and slowly stroked her back.
"Sorry." She heard a sobbing voice. "Please, leave me be."
"What about breakfast?" Orisa asked but got no reply. She slowly rose from the bed and went to look for a cafeteria, alone. When she finally found it, she came up with an idea she decided to try.
"I'm sorry, can you help me?" She asked the cook.
Onuki lay on the bed, her body still trembling with the horrors of her memories. 'His face... I want to forget it. I want to forget it all, please.' She was shivering heavily.
The door opened quietly, and someone entered. The steps approached her bed, and she heard the sound of something placed on her nightstand. It smelled nice. Next was a warm, gentle touch on her forearm.
“Onuki, I honestly don’t know what's going on with you and how hard it was or how hard it is now for you." The soft and caring voice belonged to Orisa. "But you need to eat something. We have lessons in twenty minutes."
“I’m… sorry… thank…” Onuki began, but it was hard to talk.
“Please, don’t. You are here for me, and I’m here for you, too.” Orisa said, slowly patting her back. “It’s okay now, you are safe.”
Classes began. It was harder to focus on study with other people around, but at the same time, it was much more fun. Orisa gradually got to know the other guys, although she still didn’t remember any names.
They studied the structure of the army, geographical and political map of the country. One of the lessons was an introduction to mana mechanic — the theory of enchanted items. They also had another history lesson.
“So, let me sum things up.” Orisa was fuming when they walked back to dorms in the evening. "Some hundred years ago those retards forced cadets to have sex with each other regularly to find fertile ones?"
“And it was replaced by mixed bathrooms as part of the 'discreet motivation of curiosity' initiative.” Finished Onuki, pale from horror. “Can’t imagine being forced… daily…” She mumbled.
“Oh, like, c’mon. What’s the big deal? It’s all in the past now.” Mira did not share the disturbance of her roommates. "Like, I'd love to ride some hot guy right now!"
“Yeah, and call him ‘Daaahling!’, too.” Orisa burst out laughing.
“Like, what the heck are you blabbing?” Mira was not amused.
“Sorry, that was a strange thing to ask.”
"The art of creation looks captivating," Toatre interjected, "I would love to learn more about Seals and enchantments."
"Oh, yes, I was kind of surprised that they use the same Seals to enchant both items and humans." Orisa agreed. She was already planning a library siege in her free time. ‘Much to learn, many systems to abuse.’
Passing by an open window, Orisa saw Iten talking to one of the twins, whom she saw guarding the gate. Curiosity instantly overtook her.
"I'm sorry, girls, I have something to do. I will catch up to you later."
She waited until they finished their conversation and the twin girl left and then assaulted the surprised Iten with questions.
“Iten, Iten! May I bother you with a few questions?”
"Oh, Orisa? What are you doing here?"
"Well, I saw you talking to that girl, and was really curious." She scratched her head awkwardly. "I've seen her before as she guarded the gates..."
"I see. Well, how may I help you?"
"Actually, I was curious about her and her twin sister. How is that possible for them to be twins? They arrived here together or something?"
“No, that’s not the case. They are both noble. They were born to this world. Actually, you can ask her, she is a really nice person." His face darkened a bit. "Though, sadly, they are an exception. Most of the noble here are obnoxious and hateful, so I advise you to stay away from them."
“By the way, can you tell me more about all this noble business?”
“Hmm, in this case, can we have a seat to have a talk?”
After the found an empty bench and sat down there, Iten adjusted his non-existent glasses and began his lecture.
People who were born in this world and belonged to any ancient lineage were called noble. While noble houses were hit by the curse as well, they struggled to continue their lineage by any means necessary.
Among many traits and benefits that noble houses possessed one was especially prominent - each bloodline had one or more unique talents. Some were able to summon powerful servants while others harnessed powerful spells and abilities themselves.
“I’ve met some noble kids on the train. They were calling me something like monster food or something. What does that mean anyway?” Orisa always had one more question to ask.
“When the Wavespawn kills enough people, it grows and evolves into a more powerful version of itself. Nobles treat us as nothing more than the food for monsters, their source of power and growth.” Iten said in a sickened voice.
“How do you know this much already?” Orisa was positively shocked by Iten’s vast knowledge.
“That’s quite simple. From the library, it contains a lot of useful information about this world and its structure.”
“Oh, I see! I was planning to siege it myself when I’ll have some free time”
“But can you read?” Iten asked in surprise.
“Well, yes, I already learned the basics, but had no time to actually test it.” After she replied, Orisa saw a look of admiration on Iten’s face.
They talked for some time and then said goodbye and each went to their room.
On her way back, Orisa was lost in thought, pondering new knowledge, when she suddenly bumped into somebody.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, it's my fault!" She tried to help the person up.
"Don't touch me!" The blonde girl slapped Orisa's hand, then stood up and hastily went away.
'What's wrong with her?' Orisa shrugged and moved on. A few moments later she heard footsteps approaching her. 'Huh, decided to talk?'
"How dare you touch lady Kavenfenn!?" She heard an angry shout behind her back. When Orisa turned around, all she had time to see was a giant fist, rapidly approaching her face.