They sat in silence, stunned by Iten's words. After a few minutes, Kanai said with a trembling voice:
"Are you sure we should trust this book? You said it's silly, so they probably made things up!"
"Do you have a rational explanation to your theory?" Orisa's tone was grim. "Why would they fake entire book? What's the point of creating these numbers?"
"Usually," Iten said thoughtfully, "you need a lie to cover a bigger lie. Do you think there is something bigger than the end of the world in six months?"
Kanai just shook his head dejectedly, and they all became silent again.
"What are we going to do?" Orisa finally asked.
"What can we do?" Kanai instantly added. "I mean, the Waves were there for hundreds of years, and the Military did nothing..."
"They tried to retake the Merdun once, but got raped..."
Minute went after a minute, and they sat there, quietly pondering their fate. Kanai stood and kicked the railing in frustration.
"What the hell!? What was the point of me, of us dying and being reborn here then!?" He bit his fist to hold down a scream.
"Calm down. We'll think of something." Orisa tried to steady her voice.
Her brain was unable to process the truth, and it rejected the facts.
"Calm down!? Are you out of your mind?" Kanai returned to the bench and looked at Orisa intently. "So, tell me, oh wise hero, how do you plan to save the world?"
"I said calm down. Your hysteria isn't helpful." Orisa's reply was filled with anger.
"Guys, we should not fight, because it is unproductive." Iten finally decided to speak up.
"I'm leaving." Kanai stood up and turned to leave.
"Kanai, wait," Orisa called him and, when he looked back, added, "we will beat this world."
He took a long look at her before finally nodding and leaving the gazebo. When they were left alone, Iten said in a heavy voice:
"Do you think he'll be okay?"
"I'm sure of that. He looks like a mess, but I fell he is stronger than this."
"What is your basis for this conclusion?" Iten was mildly surprised
"Well, we've spent some time together in training and styding, and every time he is interested in something or feels safe, he is just brilliant."
Iten nodded thoughtfully and became quiet, while Orisa gathered her stuff.
"Oh, I forgot to ask the last time we talked," she said before leaving, "you said that you were a surgeon, but what type exactly?"
"Well, today I used my professional knowledge. Who knows when we might need yours?" She shrugged and moved into the night.
Hundreds of questions plagued her mind.
'What is the government thinking? Is there a plan in the works?'
'Should I contact Rita or it is too dangerous to write about it?'
'What Youko knows about this? What's her role?'
And many other questions, so she had a hard time sleeping that night.
Morning met Orisa with a nightmare of its own. When she woke up in her bed, she saw a huge blood spot on the blanket. Quickly pulling it away she found that her nightdress' lower part was all bloodied, too, with a bigger mark on a bed sheet.
She was horrified by the picture and felt sick.
When Orisa looked up, she saw Mira standing at her bed. She shook her head with a disgusted face and muttered:
"Are you fucking dumb or what? Stupid bitch," and left the room.
Seeing Orisa's expression, Toatre sat at the edge of her bed and patted her on the shoulder.
"Worry not, for everything is alright. My first time was a shocking event, too."
Orisa screamed internally: 'The first time!? What first time!? I had no first time, are you kidding!?'
A moment later Toatre returned and offered her a pack of pads. For a moment Orisa's mind went blank. 'Ah... This first time...'
And then it flipped. 'No... No-no-no-no-no-no! God, please, no! I never asked for this!'
But the reality was often disappointing. 'I should have guessed myself. It was kind of obvious.'
"Thanks..." She muttered, before falling back on the bed.
'Holy shit, now the end of the world doesn't look like such a bad thing.'
She was still high in the skies of frustration when someone knocked on the door. Luckily, Toatre was still there, and she brought Orisa her letter.
"Thank you so much, honey, if not for you..."
"It is okay, Orisa, for we are all new here, and we need to help each other. This is common sense, I think."
"I don't deserve you, sweetie..."
Since she now had to take a shower and hand her belongings to the laundry, Orisa had no time to read the letter, so she put it into her backpack together with the pads. 'It's a miracle that I actually know how to use them... Shitfuckwhatthehell...'
But now was not the time to panic, so again, like with her first days in this world, she just sucked up and moved on, putting these depressing thoughts in the darkest corner of her mind.
During the morning workout, all her thoughts revolved around Iten's words. If this all was true, and from her line of work she made a habit of believing in numbers, statistics, and analytics, then things would go downhill from this point onward.
'With each passing month, with every day the Waves would be coming more frequently, until... Until exactly what?' The ending point of this story, aside from an obvious death, was still unclear to her. It made Orisa curious about the true nature of the Waves, their so-called game mechanic.
'Why do they exist? How the Beasts are born?'
Such a complex event was not possible as a natural occurrence. She recalled a history lesson about the Cataclysm. 'I think we need to dig more about this event.' Recently, she began to think of their party of Kanai, Iten and herself as 'we.'
It was hard to say if she wanted to find the solution to this disaster because of her survival instincts, or it was Orisa curiosity that pushed her forward.
'I can't let the truck-kun down. He took his time to isekai me, so I must repay his kindness with everything I have.'
The train of thoughts led her back to Kanbara Mirai, and grief filled her heart. She missed Mirai, her smile, their usual banter, everything.
'I wonder what Mirai would say if she saw me like this, in this world and in this body. Probably would have quoted some yare-yare line from JoJo.'
During the lunch, Orisa shared her thoughts on the Wave matter, but Iten disapproved:
"I know how it sounds, but for now, both of you should focus on your training and combat tests. We won't be able to proceed if you stay as you are now."
It was a humiliating but fair point that reminded Orisa about Rita's letter. She excused herself and took the envelope out.
While she read that her pain was a symptom of women's period, she wished that Rita's letter would have come a bit earlier, so that she could avoid today's disaster. Finally, it was a paragraph about her combat problem:
"While this is my first time hearing about it in his world, I actually heard about your problem back in my world. Its name was The Pacifism Syndrome. It described a person that was unable to harm any living being. The treatment of this case was never developed because it was harmless, but it was possible to bypass this deadlock during stressful moments or extreme situations."
Orisa was thoroughly puzzled. She let Iten and Kanai read this part while she pondered the situation.
On the one hand, she had absolutely no problem with kicking Kanai's butt in the gym or abusing people with words.
On the other hand, the only time Satoru seriously harmed a person happened when he was in a middle school and underwent a severe case of bullying that almost drove him mad. When his mind broke, and he was literally blinded by rage, he broke his classmate's arm.
In this world, it was the same. The wolf episode happened mostly by Rita's hand, and when she electrocuted both nobles and the Toad, she was either enraged or terrified. So it seemed plausible if just a bit too bizarre.
When she emerged out of her deep thoughts, Kanai was waiting for her with a small play of two roles:
"Now is a good time to get angry, Doctor Banner." He tried to make a different voice. "That's my secret, Cap, I'm always angry."
On their way to the dungeon, Orisa noticed how nervously Mira was gripping her bow. 'I know it's bad to think this way, but I hope this will calm you down, girl.'
When they arrived at the first floor of the Dungeon, the Captain led the incompetent trio away and told them:
"We are going to do it differently today. I'm leaving you a pack of passive skeletons, and when I'm back, they all should be dead. You have thirty minutes." And he left together with Lieutenant Reezpauzo, who summoned the enemies.
Orisa came to the first Skeleton in hopes that her broken mind wouldn't count it as a living being.
As expected, the result was the same. She also tried to use her lightning attack, but mere inches away from her palms, the Mana flow dissolved again. It only made her dizzy for nothing.
As she sat on the floor, resting and watching Kanai and Crion, she thought deeply about the problem.
'I need to be either angry or terrified. As Kanai wisely pointed out, the path of rage looked more convenient and usable.'
After resting a few more minutes, she stood up and went to the Skeleton again. 'I need to get angry. Really-really angry.' She tried various things that made her go mad, like nobles, superiors from the office, and stupid gamers from the official forum of her game. Every time she tried to do the Mana Burst, but to no avail.
Then Orisa tried to recall everything at once, and her blood boiled.
She failed again, but it felt like she was much closer to the truth now. However, all these memories made her dizzy again. 'Even if this method works, I won't be able to use it. Too much preparation time and I can't think straight.'
She backed off from the Skeleton and thought about the situation, observing Kanai and Crion. They both made some progress.
Crion was a common magic caster, and he simply had trouble controlling his Mana. He was using a frost spell called Icy Knives, one of the beginner's lineups of the ice specialization.
He was a tall and thin boy with a grey slicked back hair. His arrogant nature surfaced from time to time, but, unlike Mira, he at least tried to keep it down. He approached Kanai:
"I don't get it, Kanai. Why the hell are you trying to use complex spells for advanced casters? Do you think you are so smart and cool and can skip a few steps?" He looked a bit irritated, to say the least. "So let me open your eyes, you are not cool and not smart."
Kanai was less successful than Crion, but he killed a few Skeletons, too. After Crion's assault, he shuffled a bit, unsure what to say.
"Well, you see... It's not like I want to, okay? Because of my stats, I was advised to train precisely this spell, so that's what I'm going to do."
By their combined effort, only three Skeletons were still standing. Orisa listened to their bickering when her internal critic made his move:
'Do you remember the HPMOR book? The talk about killing curse and how to use it freely? Try thinking in the same manner.'
It felt like a worthy idea, so Orisa recalled the lines from the book. 'The point of the killing curse mystery was that you needed not the hate to freely cast it, but indifference instead.'
It felt odd, but she tried to do the Mana Burst this way. It failed, as was expected.
'I think that there is more to it, that I'm missing something...'
Orisa felt like she was really close, she almost got the idea, but she was interrupted by arrogant laughter coming from the stairs.
"Oh, dear brother of mine, just look at them!" This sweet voice she could have guessed anytime. Orisa's beloved pink sugar princess in person.
"It amazes me how incompetent some people may be. It's only our third day, but we already cleared the six' floor test." Her brother's voice was as arrogant as usual.
"Oh, my dear brother, but they are not people. They are pathetic creatures, a fiendfood at best."
Orisa saw a trio of nobles standing at the stairs. Among them was Tiana, who silently observed the situation with a cold, emotionless face. Orisa smiled and waved at her:
"Hey, Tiana, how are you doing?"
"Bassa, Ramulie, we are leaving." She turned around and went away.
Orisa went back to her thoughts when a few seconds later she heard yell:
She sharply turned around and saw the three remaining Skeletons glow with red, before raising their weapons and charging to the boys.
In a blink of an eye, the first Skeleton closed the distance and sent Crion flying with the Shield Bash.
Kanai threw his spell and, after a few seconds, the Skeleton became dust. Kanai even turned to the second Skeleton and threw another Decay, but the Skeleton still got him. His sword rammed into Kanai's stomach, and its tip came out of his back. Without any delay, the Skeleton kicked Kanai and made him roll on the floor a few meters, leaving a thick trail of blood. Kanai went limp, and a pool of blood began to spread around his body.
'No... No-no-no, this cannot be... This is not real...' Orisa was terrified by the image of Kanai's body amidst a lake of blood. 'Please, no... Not him, not now... It can't be true...'
The second Skeleton went to finish his prey, while the third suddenly turned around to Orisa and threw his axe.
Her thought process stopped completely, and the body moved on its own:
"Palm Push Strike!"
The world went blank.
She opened her eyes and saw her now second home - the Infirmary. Unexpectedly, by her side sat the Captain. He looked at her curiously but was otherwise silent.
"How is Kanai?" She asked the most pressing question with a dry voice. Captain Pain gave her a cup of water before answering.
"He is fine, more or less. Sleeping in the next bed. But there may be a scar."
Orisa let out a long sigh, relieved.
"What happened there?" was her next question, but the Captain mistook its meaning.
"You used all your Mana in a single strike and passed out from exhaustion. I must say, girl, it was spectacular. I even asked the crew to leave it like that, so you will be able to see it tomorrow." His wide grin made her shiver.
"What day is it today?"
"What day? Girl, it's only five hours since the incident, and barely eight in the evening now." He chuckled and smiled.
"By the way, what would you do with these fuckers?"
"Nothing," he shrugged, "we already questioned them. Their testimony is that they tried to help you but accidentally missed and buffed the Skels, got scared because of that and ran away."
"Bullshit! How is this possible!?" Orisa was baffled.
"They are nobles, what would you expect? Unless there are many trustworthy and notable witnesses or clear evidence, the noble's testimony overrides everything."
Orisa began to get out of the bed with a bloodthirsty expression on her face. The Captain grabbed her wrist and gripped it tightly.
"Girl, don't be stupid. Killing a noble or even hurting him badly is treason, you'll be executed before the morning roll."
"Oh, don't worry," her smile turned into a scary grimace, "I won't harm any noble... badly."
Thanks to Youko, Orisa already knew the schedule of her target. She slammed the gym's door with a kick and made her appearance, startling Tiana.
"Have you gone completely senile, fiendfood?"
Without a single word, Orisa rushed to Tiana and grabbed her by the collar of her robe with the left hand.
"What do you think you are doing!?" Tiana was outraged. "How dar-"
Orisa soundly slapped her cheek with the right hand and screamed:
"Do you have any idea what your fucking cronies have done!?"
"What... are you talking... wait, that is beside the-"
Another slap on the cheek shut her up while Orisa retold the events.
"And what of that? It's your problem for being so wea-"
Her cheek was already purple from the slaps, and tears began to well in her eyes. ‘One wrong move or word and I’m dead.’
"Stop it! How dare you-"
Orisa slapped her again. 'Damn, even my hand began to hurt. Gotta wrap things up, too risky.'
"A true leader is responsible for his subordinates!" Orisa yelled again, and her words struck Tiana harder than any slap. Orisa kept pushing:
"You owed me once, and now you owe me twice for this shit."
"I owe you nothing, you-" Tiana started to retort, but Orisa simply raised her hand in the air, which made Tiana flinch.
"You know that I'm right. You know that it is the right thing to do. You know that, so stop it already." Orisa's face was inches away from Tiana, and she even heard Tiana's racing heartbeat.
After a few seconds, Tiana went limp, resigning herself.
"What do you want..?" She muttered weakly, looking away from Orisa.
"Teach me how to get stronger."