Entrance Exam P. 2

Approximately six feet away from where the men were, Cadet Shevchenko watched them listlessly. Their striking physiques stood out as their half-donned wetsuits hung around their waists. She was startled when Cadet Savoi playfully wrapped an arm around her neck.
“Not a bad view, eh?” she whispered.
Shevchenko’s whole body stiffened, mortified that it was obvious she had been ogling.
“Nothing wrong with admiring beauty when you see it. Tall, svelte, and handsome hunks like them will definitely help make the days of training go by fast,” Savoi teased.
Shevchenko tried to ease away, but Savoi’s grip was stronger than she expected.
“Check out the pretty boy with the frosted white tips. I heard a founding General rescued him from the Gokudō gang,” Savoi revealed with a hint of mischief.
Shevchenko turned to her in horror.
“Seriously? How could this prestigious academy even consider enrolling a common street thug? The Gokudō are nothing but thieving murderers,” she said.
Savoi chuckled and tightened her grip around Shevchenko’s neck.
“Oh, come now. They all can’t be that bad. Mostly, it makes sense for him to be here. Who else would be better equipped to fight off the dueling houses than someone well versed in ruthless violence?” she answered.
Shevchenko relaxed her body as she pondered Savoi’s truthful statement.
Savoi released her arm from Shevchenko’s neck and framed her hands to place Yoshida in her view.
“That large Komodo dragon tattoo is inked from his neck, chest, and waist. It looks as if it travels further down. I’d sure like a peek,” she said.
Shevchenko cut her eyes at Savoi, but was also curious about the tattoo. She smirked in agreement along with Savoi.
Faruk was no less than two feet away from the girls, crouched over a black backpack. He had unintentionally eavesdropped on them and overheard Yoshida and Roudan’s conversation. It was apparent to him that neither party was particularly focused on the task at hand, which was to prepare for the exercise. He shook his head in disbelief that they both were so crass during such a time.
Roudan took notice that he and Yoshida were being watched by the girls. He grinned and nudged Yoshida’s arm. They both returned mischievous smirks towards the girls. Shevchenko withdrew her smile, but Savoi became embolden and grabbed her by the hand to drag her over to them. This gave Roudan and Yoshida the green light to approach the girls as well. The four cadets faced off, with Faruk crouched in the middle.
“Hello ladies,” Roudan said. His eyes shifted on Shevchenko.
“Hello guys,” Savoi chimed eagerly, then quick-jabbed Shevchenko in the rib.
Shevchenko jumped in surprise. “Ouch! What did you do—”
Savoi jabbed her again and winked.
Shevchenko nodded shyly and said, “Hello.”
Yoshida gruffly cleared his throat, as he felt slighted from not being acknowledged.
“Hello girls. You made the right to decision to come this way,’ he said.
Savoi squinted her eyes curiously and asked, “What makes you say that?”
Yoshida’s arrogance oozed over his smirk.
“Well, we can protect you from harm,” he answered in a smug tone.
Shevchenko sighed heavily and rolled eyes. Her disapproving scowl caused Roudan to smack Yoshida’s arm.
“My battle buddy and I can surely handle whatever arises. Perhaps you should be thanking us for coming to rescue you!” Savoi snapped.
Yoshida licked his lips, as he was surprised by her objection.
He peered at her at her name badge printed on the right breast of her wetsuit.
“Your confidence is reassuring, Sav-oy,” he replied.
Shevchenko and Savoi glanced at each and snickered.
“My name is pronounced Sav-wah. You must be unfamiliar with national cultural studies.” She pulled the top portion of his wetsuit to his chest and read his name badge. “Cadet Yoshida, surely you know it will take far more than brawn to excel in this academy,” Savoi taunted.
Dumbfounded, Yoshida and Roudan glared at each other. Moments later,  computerized vocals spoke over the intercom.
“Please be prepared; war simulation will begin in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.”
Without further warning, an earsplitting sonic boom blasted the dome. Laser flares fired from every direction, which caused all the cadets to scurry about with covered ears. The dome shook relentlessly for several minutes. Then, a huge shock wave descended through the water and brought in a tidal wave. Everything inside the dome was submerged underwater.  

The Waring Robins, Ch. 10

Entrance Exam (p.1)

Well before sunrise, the new recruits stood in formation inside a domed gymnasium. Far above their heads, a skylight glass ceiling revealed the starry night. Each cadet was determined to remain motionless as their bloodshot eyes surveyed the dimly lit space. Approximately 32 large backpacks were scattered about the sand-covered concrete deck, which lead to a pool. The pool flowed out to an opening in the bay’s dome area of the ocean.
The air was balmy and damp, with only a light breeze to soothe them. After a few moments of dead silence, Benavides commanded their attention by speaking through an intercom.
“Good morning, cadets. It is my honor to welcome you to the Calvary Academy’s entrance exam. You will be expected to complete a series of obstacles, puzzles, and time-sensitive exercises all under the guise of a combat simulation.”
The cadets murmured in astonishment. 
“I am required to inform you of the caveat about injuries. No life-threatening injuries should occur, as you were all thoroughly examined by our physician to meet the physical standards for enrollment.” Benavides continued to speak through the louder murmurs. “I bid you the best of luck in this endeavor.”
Without warning, the announcements concluded. The cadets were left standing dazed and confused. The only thing that made sense was the reason they were commanded to don swim wear. All the males wore black speedos, while females had one-piece bathing suits. Ensign Tibideaux led the other instructors into the dome. The instructors came to deliver full body wetsuits to the cadets.
The cadets eagerly dressed themselves to prepare for the exam. Some of them huddled together to discuss the latest happenings. Cadet Shevchenko quickly clothed herself, as she watched a group of female recruits chatter amongst themselves.
“Check out the island girl,” a scrawny girl with chestnut-colored hair snickered.
“I imagine she barely passed the body fat index standard with those child-bearing hips,” a freckled-faced girl chimed in.
Shevchenko knew they were poking fun of the same girl who was her bunk mate the evening before. The appearance and background of the female cadet from Intagua Island was a hot topic since they all had arrived at the academy. Everything from her long multi-colored braids to the rumor that she had been hand-picked to enroll by one of Calvary Academy’s founding Generals had been debated heatedly. 
On the other side of the gym, the males huddled together. Roudan and Yoshida stood with their arms folded, as their wetsuits leisurely hung around their waists.
“Get a load of the talent in here,” Yoshida said with a smirk.
Roudan scanned the room until his eyes locked in on the flock of females directly in front of them. He nudged Yoshida to stare in that direction, but they were interrupted by aimless cadet Faruk, blocking their field of view.
“Hey buddy; unless you were doused in that bio-shield chemical to make yourself invisible, scram!” Yoshida belted.
Faruk timidly shuffled his feet through the sand to move out of the way.
Yoshida and Roudan continued to gawk at the girls.
“What’s the verdict?” Roudan asked smugly.
Yoshida gripped his chin and squinted his eyes, as if to concentrate on a hard math equation.
“One thing is for certain, only two stand out among the rest,” he answered.
“I know what you mean,” Roudan chuckled.
Their eyes glared lustfully at both Shevchenko and Savoi.
“The only real competition is between the two of them,” Yoshida nodded.
Roudan dropped his arms and stared crossly at Yoshida.
“Now I don’t know what you mean,” he replied.
Yoshida dropped his arms, but did not take his eyes off the girls.
“In this instance, we have the island girl VS, the blonde ice princess,” he said in a serious tone, like a commentator.
Roudan sighed and returned his gaze to the girls.
“I suppose it all depends on a matter of taste,” he answered.
Yoshida smirked again, licked his lips, and said, “My palate craves the exotic goddess, rather than the streamlined aristocratic temptress.” He placed his arms out to frame the women within the view scope of his hands. “I could hardly resist voluptuously delicate curves with a pleasantly ample backside.”
“Not to mention the generous reveal of side-boob,” Roudan interjected.
The pair cackled in agreement before regaining composure as an instructor passed by.

The Waring Robins, Ch. 10
 
 

Induction

From the air shuttle, the cadets were assembled in the courtyard on the north side of the conservatory. The lush blue skyline blended with a large waterfall that cascaded down into the ocean. Every cadet swooned over the serenity of the moment, which abruptly was interrupted by several manic voices belting from loud speakers surrounding the area. A sense of panic and hysteria soon infiltrated the scene. The cadets scrambled to about to adhere to the incoherent commands barked from each direction. 
“Get in formation, you lousy pups!” an instructor bellowed.
Suddenly, General Benavides appeared and descended out of the building to walk into the melee. The cadets lined themselves in four flanks and waited for instructions. All was quiet on the set as Benavides stood at the podium in the middle of the mall and cleared his throat. He looked both regal and majestic in his heavily decorated uniform, with his red hair flailing in the cool breeze.
“Welcome to Calvary. Here we produce the finest, most efficient, and highly capable military officers to serve the kingdom of Soleste. Your education will stem from a variety of curriculum; academia, combat simulations, land navigation, and your specific military occupational specialty. Our zero-tolerance policies demand excellence in each category as a requirement for graduation. Another important aspect of your training is obedience to Calvary Academy’s guidelines. You must follow the rules and ensure your fellow cadets tow the line as well,” his voice boomed over the microphone.
The cadets whispered and murmured to each other as Benavides continued his speech.
“The first rule of Calvary Academy it prohibited to physically assault a fellow cadet, be it on campus or in the field. Sexual assault is especially forbidden. Both violations are war crimes, which can result in an immediate explosion. Each matter will be reviewed by the Tribunal Council. If any misconduct is proven, sentences can vary from being exiled out of your homeland to immediate execution. The exception, of course, is if you can prove provocation by a traitor.”
Murmurs and whispers reached a crescendo as the cadets mentally processed the stiff regulations of Calvary Academy.
Benavides gruffly cleared his throat to regain control of the audience. Once they were silent, he proceeded.
“No matter what cause brought you here today, consider us all comrades-in-arms. We are each other’s keepers. This war between the dueling houses was inevitable. The end result is clear; we must eradicate the Greater and Lesser houses to bring peace to our kingdom.”
An eruption of cheers and applause replaced dead silence. All fifteen instructors came out of the conservatory and immediately ushered the cadets inside.

The Waring Robins, Ch. 9
 
 

Blemished

Old Toyoko was furthest away from the initial impact of the dueling houses. The state remained preserved from the effects of war with a biochemical shield that kept them hidden from plain sight. Eventually, technology could not keep up, and the veil was removed after a series of bombs blasted through the exterior. Showers of ashes consistently fell from the sky and could not be resolved. The once bustling cities and country sides became vast wastelands. A dramatic turn occurred when the scientist who created the shield discovered the shield was infused with radioactive particles, which caused a pandemic of advanced aging.
Hatsuharu Yoshida was born into the prominent Kuge aristocratic class. As grandnephew to the Shogun, there was an expectation for him to assume the position when his father took deathly ill. Early on, he became disillusioned with the stifling hypocrisy of high society. Their eccentric trends segregated them from the rest of the war-torn society, but only made them to appear as an established cult. Though rumors had been repeatedly denied, the elitists were clearly in favor of the Greater House and donated substantial monetary tributes to avoid the infantry lottery. The entire state was exempted from sanction as well.
 At 10 years old, Hatsuharu rebelled against his family and joined the Gokudō gang. His father pleaded with a longtime business associate, General Guitterez, to intervene. Eight years later, his father’s hopes that the intervention would lead the wayward youth back into the family fold were dashed. The silver lining was that General Guitterez became a mentor, but convinced the boy that he would find more fulfillment with his strength and talents as a military officer. Instead of leaving the crime syndicate to return home, Hatsuharu enrolled at Calvary Academy.
 
 The Waring Robins, Ch. 8

Set Apart, Set Aside

The next state set on the brink of economic ruin was Dosea. Destroyed infrastructures. Through shared seaports with Intagua Island, the entire region to succumbed to impoverished ruin in a matter of months. Over the war, aristocratic families segregated from the rest of society. They lived on seventy acres of land, which was enclosed inside a giant bubble cloud encased with a chemical repellent of toxins. Rumors spread that funding for this encampment was largely donated from the Great House counsel.   

Viscount Leopold Shevchenko was an elite member of the high-aristocrat society, who spent his childhood immerses in lavishly eccentric cultures. His wife, Titania, was also brought up in that environment. Together, they established soiree season (formerly known as debutante balls), in which matrimonial pairs were matched to ensure wealth would remain within the establishment. The Tribunal Counsel sanctioned the elitists for not contributing men and women to serve in the armed forces to end the war.

Lilya was the middle daughter in the Shevchenko household. She vehemently opposed marriage to maintain social and economic status. Her parents did not give her a second thought, as she was never deemed alluring like her older and younger sisters. Her prospects for a suitable marriage could not be guaranteed, thus her father secretly enrolled her at Calvary Academy to cut their losses. She was cut by her father’s rash actions, but her mother insisted it was a better alternative than being shunned by any eligible bachelors.   

The Waring Robins, Ch. 7