Truth by told, I was a little nervous about going to the school today. Fate-chan was calm like always, but I felt a sick feeling in the back of my throat. She has done things like this a few times already but this was my first time to ever go undercover. If I messed this up, then the entire mission would be in jeopardy. To make up for my nervousness, I had gone over the reports that Hayate-chan was given and could almost literally quote them word for word. I knew my 'past', Fate-chan's 'past' and a lot about the Otome as well. Of course, all of this meant little because most of the facts given to me were common knowledge on this planet. Going by public reference books only meant that I would stand out less than someone ignorant of that information. What we needed the most was severely under researched so we would have to play almost everything by ear once we were on the inside. My partner told me it was time to go and I nodded lightly. Hayate-chan put a hand on my shoulder and smiled at me, making my nervousness ease up a little. Both of the males nodded at us and I felt just a little more confident knowing they were standing behind me. Finally I stood up and walked with Fate outside of the apartment door and started making our way down to the bottom floor.
Dream Wing II
"Two ranks: Coral and Pearl. Fifty students per rank, and the top twenty-five graduate. This can take anywhere from two to four years depending on the skill of the individual. The graduates are official Otome and guard nobles or rulers. A select few have the chance to become Meister Otome, whose lives are bound to the master they serve..."
"Calm down," Fate whispered to her friend softly as they walked through the town towards the school. "If you ramble like that then it will draw attention to us."
"Sorry," Nanoha took a breath to steady herself and looked up at the sky above them. "I'm just a little uneasy." The scenery passed slowly as they walked together down the sidewalks. The buildings, ranged from only a few stories up to massive heights that towered them greatly. Several holographic images were displayed around certain areas displaying names of stores, or were simply decoration to attract customers. Trees littered the area, offering shade every few feet, and making the atmosphere rather pleasant. "Isn't it strange?" Fate turned to look at her questioningly. "As advanced as this place is, the architecture seems a little primitive. Why would they use brick and stone instead of metal and concrete? The technology seems better than Earth's, but the execution seems slower?"
Fate chuckled to herself, and answered in her normal soft tone. "The designs don't reflect how advanced a place is, Nanoha. This area is surrounded by desert, but the inside here is cooler than the outside, and has plenty of water. Large buildings of metal and glass wouldn't keep the sun's harsh rays out and would reflect on the panes, making it hotter for everything around. The stones will absorb the heat while the trees and awnings give shade to make it appear as if it isn't as hot as it should be. Also, the current trend of this country seems to like these designs." Looking over at her friend, she gave another example. "You could compare it to you transferring planets and using an intelligent device, but still liking the design of log cabins for houses."
Nanoha felt embarrassed at hearing that and rubbed the back of her neck lightly. "I suppose that's true. I really have a long way to go before I'm up to the standards of people brought up on Mid-Childa, huh?"
The blond shook her head. "No, you are doing fine. It isn't your job to research things like that. You are a combat instructor, not an enforcer." Reaching out, she took Nanoha's hand to give it an encouraging squeeze. "Just like I have no way of taking in everything I see the way you do. I may be experienced on traveling planets and blending in, but I am slow when it comes to learning new things. There would be no way I could do this without you. I'm counting on you, Nanoha."
"Mm!" With the small pep-talk, the blue eyed girl nodded to herself. "We can do this. I have faith now!" The two stopped at the large stairway leading up to a massive building at the top of the hill. "That should be the central hub for information, as well as the headmaster's office. The school is..." Her eyes scanned the area, pleased at seeing lots of trees and grass everywhere despite the city being at the base of the massive hill. "Right there," She pointed at a building that was visible through the leaves from their position. "There should be several buildings; I guess we will see them as we go up."
"Right," Fate began walking up the stairs, followed closely by Nanoha. "Remember, we are in their system but they don't know it yet. We have to act surprised when they say we're not enrolled and get them to check everything to see that we are. Stay calm, but at the same time, act natural. If you are a little nervous when it happens, it will be better than acting as we were expecting their reaction."
"Right," Nanoha mimicked her word and moved to the side to leave the steps half way up and begin walking down a stone paved walkway. "This campus is really beautiful," she observed with interest. Neatly trimmed hedges lined their path, and trees filled in the gaps with well kept thick grass under them. Her head turned to look back over the city, and took a small impressed intake of air came to appreciate it. The town stretched on for ages under them, buildings lining the horizon. "I feel so small..."
Fate chuckled again, and paused their walk to allow Nanoha to take in the view from their height. She knew that not being able to fly for several days now had made Nanoha a little upset deep down, and even if it was something like this, she wanted her friend to have her moment to enjoy the view she so longed for. After several moments, Nanoha finally turned back and smiled at her, nodding to show that she was ready again. Together they walked to the first building and felt air conditioning cool them off immediately. "I don't suppose we should have headed to the headmaster's office first?"
"Better to have a teacher escort us, I think." The other girl looked around. "On Earth that was the way it always worked: new students looked around until a teacher or another student found them and brought them to where they are supposed to go. If we are from another country, we shouldn't know exactly where to go right off the bat, right?"
Red eyes beamed at her. "And you said you weren't good at this kind of stuff..." their conversation stopped when a woman in a black dress entered the lobby area where they were standing from a side door. "Ah, Excuse me!" Fate's words made her stop and look at them questioningly. "Um, we're the two students who were scheduled to make it here a little late..."
"How could this have happened!?" The assistant headmaster slammed her hands onto a desk, scattering papers.
"Now, now," The headmistress clasped her hands in front of herself casually.
"This isn't the time for 'now, now'!" The first woman complained loudly. "How in the world could two students from an unknown region get enrolled without us knowing!?"
The woman in the black dress that had originally met the two girls sighed softly to herself. "Miku, there must have been an error in the system."
Miku, the woman sitting behind the desk, smiled simply. "An error that was made on our part. We accepted their tuition money, enrolled them, and even ordered uniforms for them." Her hands flipped through the folder that had just been printed out for her. "It says here that they paid last semester before the end of the school year because the king they are going to serve is in dire need for protection. Poor fellow, starting a new rule from the ruins of his invaded land... I can see how he would be so desperate to get Otome."
"Headmistress!" The other woman looked at her in shock. "We already have fifty students in the coral class! If we allow them to enroll-"
"But we did allow it, Rin." Miku moved one of her twin green pigtails from her shoulder and reached to sip her cup of coffee. "The banks confirmed that the money was deposited into our account on the date that matches our records. Also, their uniforms were delivered this morning as well. I was wondering why we had them made when Miss Maria brought the two girls here."
Rin rubbed her nose to try and soothe the headache forming. "You're always too calm about things..."
"And you're always too strict," Miku countered with a happy smile. "This was our fault, you can't expect me to tell those two inspiring girls to go back home after we accepted them and went through all the paperwork? Miss Maria, what do you say?"
The older woman cleared her throat to try and buy herself a few moments to think. "Well..." After looking at Miku's smile she admitted defeat. "I suppose it was just mis-communication... They were indeed scheduled to arrive two weeks late to allow time for their traveling. I guess the paperwork got misunderstood and we brought in two girls that should have been turned down."
"So," Miku stood up and brushed her uniform to dispatch any wrinkles that might have formed while sitting. "Let's bring those two in and officially welcome them properly, shall we?"
"Yes ma'am." Maria bowed lightly and made her way across the room to open the door. "You girls may come in now."
"You two are very lucky," An woman in her early twenties made conversation with the two new students as she hooked a device around their arms, each in turn. "I heard there was a lot of misunderstanding about your enrollment?"
"Yes ma'am," Nanoha replied while watching her left warm being encased by the strange bracelet. The woman had light brown hair and purple eyes and was wearing what appeared to be this planet's version of a lab coat. Although she seemed friendly enough, Nanoha's eyes were looking at her arm nervously. "Um, what exactly is going on right now...uhm...?"
"Yohko," She replied casually while pushing buttons on a machine next to the beds the two were laying on. "Yohko Helene. I am putting the nanomachines into your body via I.V."
"I.V.?" Nanoha asked shyly, watching two clear plastic tubes being placed on top of the device. The tubes ran upwards to a clear plastic bag filled with an orangish material. "...I hate needles."
Fate groaned, having had her own I.V. started prior to Nanoha's. "I feel hot..."
"Oh?" Yohko tampered with Nanoha a few more moments, finally starting the flow and checking to make sure everything was right. Once the girl started squirming the older one turned back to Fate and observed her. "Your average girl warms up during the process, it's natural. Right now the nanomachines are being infused into your bloodstream so you may feel sleepy once your body starts getting used to it. Don't worry, you are almost done." Her eyes checked the bag and nodded to herself. "Just a few more minutes."
"I don't feel good..." Fate spoke again, voice weak. "I feel... sick."
"Sick?" Yohko moved to inspect Fate closer. "Oh my, you're sweating quite a lot. Do you think you will throw up?"
The blond closed her eyes and took a long intake of air. "I... I think I might."
"Fate-chan?" Nanoha sat up nervously. "Are you okay?"
"Lay down," Yohko informed her, pushing the girl onto her back gently. "I'll take care of your friend."
"Fate-chan..." Nanoha looked over at her friend and cursed the fact that she couldn't take her hand or anything. "Hang in there, okay?" The girl across from her brought one of her legs up, only to push it back out. Her hands gripped the sheets of the bed and mouth opened to pant for air. Sweat rolled down her cheek but was wiped away by Yoko's freshly dampened rag.
"Stay still," The woman advised gently. "If you think you'll get sick I have a wastebasket right here. Take deep breaths, don't move too much... that's good."
Nanoha felt even sadder when her view of Fate was cut off by the woman. "She will be okay, right?"
"Every now and then there are girls who have this problem..." She turned back to Fate. "You're a virgin aren't you?"
"Of... of course," Fate managed out softly, swallowing. "Why?"
Nanoha opened her mouth to reply but Yohko was faster. "The nanomachines are vulnerable to the prostate specific antigen, and it will make the body build an immunity to them. Which means that if you engage in sexual intercourse with a male then you will lose your powers as an Otome."
Fate blushed lightly, trying to just keep from throwing up, and allowed Nanoha to answer for her. "She's a virgin, I am too." She declared firmly.
Yohko looked over her shoulder at Nanoha. "Do you feel alright?"
"Eh? Yes, I feel fine." She tried to get Fate into her line of sight again and Yohko moved to the side to allow it. "Fate-chan..." Her friend smiled weakly before closing her eyes and falling quiet. "Fate-chan!?"
"She just passed out," The doctor examined her briefly before taking off the device on her arm. "Some girls sleep for two or three days after getting the injection, that's why we do this over a three week break between school years." turning back to Nanoha, she picked up a small golden earring with a coral gem inside of it. "Are your ears pierced?"
"No ma'am?" Nanoha swallowed. "I don't like needles."
"This won't hurt at all." Loading the earring into a gun type device, Yohko encouraged Nanoha to lean her head to the side and placed her earlobe in the notch near the tip of the imitation gun. "Just a little prick." Pulling the trigger, she pierced Nanoha's ear and locked the earring into place at the same time. "There you go, Nanoha." Silence greeted her. "Nanoha?" Moving back, she blinked down at the girl who had her eyes closed. "...She fainted from something like this?" Yohko brought her hand to her forehead. "Really. What was their king thinking, sending these two?"
"Hey, hey, did you hear?" Natsuki looked up from her lunch, ears trying to tune out the loud mouthed group sitting beside her at the tables. "Two more students came today!"
"Ehhhhhh?" The collected chorus of cries came out at once. "No way, that's so unfair!"
"I wonder what kind of trick they used to get in?"
"Did they bribe the headmistress?"
"They had to do something!"
The blue haired girl growled slightly, halting her angry glare when a person sat down next to her. "Natsuki," The accent gave away the owner even before the sweet scent invaded her nose. "If you furrow your brow so much you will get wrinkles." Shizuru's long brown hair was tossed over her shoulders before her hands moved to start cutting her food to eat. "It's not like you to listen to gossip."
"Ah." Going back to her meal, she took a bite from her hamburger. Once she swallowed and drank from her beverage she revealed, what had upset her. "I ran into those girls yesterday while I was in town. If they were accepted into the school and given permission to be a little late then I suspect that there is something about them that isn't quite normal." Looking over at Shizuru, she set her face again. "They didn't seem like anything special. I would say that they are normal looking girls-eh?" Her eyes went to follow Shizuru's hand on the way to her cheek.
"You have some mayonnaise on your face," The older teen told her lightly as she wiped it off.
Natsuki felt her cheeks color as her friend slowly licked the white cream from her fingers. "Are you even listening to me?"
"I'll always listen to what Natsuki says." Shizuru replied smoothly, her smile coming onto her face again. "You think that there is more to them than meets the eye?"
"...I get that feeling."
Going back to her food, Shizuru slowly brought a bite to her mouth. "If you're interested, I saw quite the sight on my way to lunch...?" Her eyes looked sideways at Natsuki's curious face and chuckled lightly to herself.
"Mai!" Natsuki ran to her roommate as she was leaving one of the dorm rooms. "The two new girls, are they in this room?"
"Mmn," The redhead nodded lightly. "They seem really tired. Nanoha is still out of it from her nanomachine injection and her friend, Fate I think her name was, is sleeping."
"I wanted to see them," Natsuki looked at the door with a disappointed expression. "I was going to ask them some questions..."
"There will be time for that later," Mai put her hand on her friend's back and started leading her away. "I told Nanoha that I would come pick her up for class tomorrow, you can come with me."
Natsuki looked over her shoulder at the door, noting that it was right next to her dorm. "Ah. I guess so."
Inside the room Nanoha yawned sleepily while tucking her friend in one of the beds. "I'll have to thank Mai-chan again later for carrying you for me," her words were spoken softly. One of her hands moved to brush the blond hair from Fate's face and gently trail over her friend's cheek. "Fate-chan... Please be okay." Nanoha's hand shifted lightly to brush away strands of gold and reveal the earring that matched hers.
After staring for a few moments the girl stood up reluctantly and began unloading the bags they had carried with them. 'Yohko-sensei said that it was common for girls to sleep for a while after being injected... but still, I can't help but worry.' Her eyes glanced back over at Fate's quiet form a moment before going back to the dresser. 'What if her body... rejects the nanomachines? She wasn't born the way I was...but...' Shaking her head, she went back to unloading. 'Don't think like that. Fate-chan will be fine, I just know it.'
Once their things were unloaded, Nanoha took a moment to sit on her bed and really take in the room that would be their temporary home for a while. It was a large room, made smaller by two people sharing it. The door opened up into a rectangular shaped floor plan, having a nice walk in for a few feet before a bed on either side took up most of the room. At the headboard of each sat a small desk just big enough for one person to study at. A closet accented one side, scarcely big enough to allow them to cram their outfits in. The walls were currently void of any posters or pictures, desks clean and barren. "It's kind of bland in here..." Nanoha spoke softly, the silence starting to get to her. "Raising Heart?"
"Scan Fate-chan please."
"Lack of M2D prohibits remote scan. Please ask Bardiche."
Nanoha chuckled without humor. "Bardiche?" The mechanical male voice answered her in question. "How is Fate-chan?"
The girl face palmed. "I mean, will she be okay?"
"Heart rate has slowed and I detect alien matter in her bloodstream. At the current stage, I see nothing life threatening."
Falling back onto the free bed, the brown haired girl looked up at the ceiling. "Thank you, Bardiche..." Letting out a small sigh, she closed her eyes to rest.
When Nanoha awoke again, the sun outside her window was setting, casting a dark orange through the open blinds between the two desks. As she sat up, her eyes went back to Fate and frowned when the girl hadn't moved any since she last checked on her. The sheets rustled under her body while she turned to stand and pad over to the blond. She touched their foreheads together softly, checking the warmth of body heat coming from her skin. With a soft sigh Nanoha stood again and placed a hand over her stomach. She knew she wouldn't be able to think on an empty stomach, so she set out in search of the cafeteria on campus to see if she could scrounge up some food.
The hallway outside of her room looked elegant; cream walls with gold trim to enhance the wood designs. What was left of the day's light illuminated the floor, broken by her shadow moving along with her body. Room after room was passed until she came to an exit and out into the fresh air outside. The wind held a clean scent to it, accented with a faint touch of what could only be described as 'summer'. Blue eyes scanned the area until she noticed a building not to far away from her. Through the windows she could see several students hustling about and talking to each other casually. Deciding that would be a good place to start, she walked down the steps and onto the flat stone walkway.
Again she noticed the greenery around herself, despite the elegant designs of the buildings and fancy walkways. There always seemed to be something to make her feel at ease, and the overview of the town below helped ease her desire to fly and explore. Her destination came closer, and the door opened easily to her command. Sounds of dishes clattering and people talking came at once, paired with a scent that made her stomach growl at her for skipping both breakfast and lunch. Her ears lead her closer to the sound and soon she found herself in a very large room filled with tables and students. At first, she could only stand there, observing everything, but soon moved forward to what seemed to be a line.
Nanoha felt the eyes on her and shivered lightly. Loud talking soon turned to whispers as she passed by several groups sectioned off by empty seats. 'Maybe I should have changed into my uniform...' The thought came too late for her and sharp ears caught many wisps of comments on her attire. "Excuse me," she greeted the last person in the line. "I joined school late... Would this be where we eat dinner?" A small nervous laugh came at the end of her question when two more students turned to look at her. No answer came at first, making the girl shyly bring a hand to scratch the back of her neck.
"You should help new students when they are lost," a sweet accented voice made all of the girls turn to see a Pearl class girl with long brown hair and red eyes.
"Shizuru onee-sama!" The previously quiet girls spoke at the same time, making Nanoha take a step back in surprise.
The Pearl put a hand on Nanoha's shoulder and gave her a knowing smile. "You are one of the two students who had to come in late, are you not?"
"Y-yes..." Nanoha looked into the eyes observing her and felt a small connection due to their color. "My name is Nanoha. A pleasure to meet you...Shizuru...-san?" She added the last part when the group around them gave her odd looks.
"Likewise," she gave a small bow. "To answer your question: yes. The students here take turns cooking so make sure you know when your schedule is in, okay?"
"Okay." The girl's stomach growled again, leaving her quite embarrassed when the others around her giggled.
"You poor thing, you must be famished after having your nanomachine injection today." Shizuru's eyes turned to the few girls in front of her. "Would you mind if this one cut in front of you?" Her smile made the girls step back immediately.
Nanoha blushed more when her wrist was taken and her body being pulled to the front of the line. "Ah, no, I can wait, really..." Before she could protest anymore she found a tray in her hands that was quickly loaded up with several things she could vaguely make out when comparing them to things she knew. 'Seems like this planet has the same food tastes as Earth...' Shizuru lead her to a table near the windows and sat down in front of her, observing more than eating. "Thank you for that," Nanoha mused as she tried not to stuff her face with the food she found surprisingly tasty.
"It was no trouble." The girl's eyes stared into the person in front of her, taking in every action. "Where are you from again?"
The mage's chewing slowed down briefly before she swallowed. "Zipang."
"Oh, Mai is from Zipang."
"I was born there," Nanoha continued, swaying the conversation as Fate taught her. "I was raised in Aikadi, it's a little away from Florince."
"I have never heard of that place."
"It's small but pretty." She moved to eat more, plucking things with the fork and placing it into her mouth. "This is really good."
Shizuru grinned, closing her eyes a moment before starting to eat as well. "Why did you decide to become an Otome, if I may ask?"
Judging the question, the pony tailed girl answered as best she could. "My country is small and recovering from almost being destroyed. I want to become powerful so I can protect it and the serenity of the surrounding area."
"That's lovely," The Pearl smiled again at her. "If you ever need help, please don't hesitate to ask me."
"Really?" Nanoha perked up instantly.
"Ah," The knowing smile came again. "Someone as cute as you is always welcome to ask."
"Ah-hem!" Both girls turned to see Natsuki standing behind the oldest of the group. "I see you managed to get in after all," She addressed Nanoha with a cross between amusement and disbelief. "How did you manage that?"
"Now now," Shizuru looked up at the girl and locked their eyes. "Don't be jealous, we were only talking."
Natsuki sat down next to her friend and started eating. "Who's jealous? Seriously."
"That pouting face..." Shizuru whispered, leaning closer. "Is really cute, Na-tsu-ki."
Nanoha blushed darkly, looking down at her food to give them some privacy. Having attacked the meal quickly to satisfy her hunger, not much was left. Her fork went to slowly pick at the rest of the food so it wouldn't go to waste while her mind wandered. All around herself she could feel eyes boring into her body, whispers floating around as to why she was with Shizuru, who appeared to be pretty famous. The situation reminded her of when Fate originally transferred to her school back on Earth, how everyone paid extra attention to the blond to decide if she was worth talking to or to bombard with questions. Now in that situation herself, with attention already drawn on her, she felt even more alone. "Ne," She asked before she thought twice about it. "It is common... to sleep a lot after getting nanomachines right?"
Natsuki looked over at the girl and thought the question over before swallowing her mouthful. "Sometimes, yes. It varies on different girls... Didn't they tell you this in the pre-examinations?"
"Um," she cursed her slip up. "It was done really fast so I didn't have time to get most of the questions and facts stated to me..." She glanced nervously at the pair before going back to look at Natsuki expectingly for the rest of the answer but Shizuru continued instead.
"Some sleep for a few days while others don't sleep at all. You seem to be just fine so I'm expecting to see something interesting tomorrow."
The girl with blue hair explained it to her fellow Coral. "We split into groups and train one-on-one during our physical education class. You are going to dive head first into everything."
Nanoha nervously looked back down at her food. "Nya...haha..."
Natsuki sighed out. "I'll ask to be your partner." This earned her a look, at which she looked away from. "Being the new girl on campus must be pretty hard, after all."
Shizuru covered a small laugh. "She acts tough, but deep down Natsuki a caring person."
Relieved, Nanoha smiled her appreciation. "Thank you, Natsuki-chan."
"...What's your name?"
"Nanoha Takamachi," She stated proudly to her new friend. "Just Nanoha is fine."
"Well then, Nanoha," Natsuki met eyes again with her. "I'll come with Mai in the morning to pick you up. We will be at your door a little before seven."
M2D: A term brought over from my 6th Division storyline. It stands for "Mobile Monitor Display", and refers to the floating screens they can summon at will. I normally make this unavailable on non-administrated planets unless they have a hard case computer there to allow for its access.
Also, things are still playing out. Please don't assume everything is perfectly-fine and complain how things "would never work out that easily." If something is easy now it just means that no problem has arisen at that current moment. Don't worry over things I haven't written yet, things will be touched on as they come up. Thank you for your consideration and I hope I can play everything out to the majority's satisfaction.
P.S- Thank you for proofing again, Angel.