I stayed longer in the shower than I should have, but I had been so stiff and sore from combat training. It wasn't my strong suit, but it was a necessary skill for us all to learn. The other first years were taking just as long as I was. None of us had had such intensive training before. Elementary school was supposed to prepare us for this, but it hadn't.

I finally forced myself to get out of the shower before I missed dinner and changed back into my uniform, quickly braiding my hair the second I had gotten it dried. I threw my veil back on and rushed out for dinner. I didn't see any sign of Chloe or Diana and figured they had gotten out of here before me. I made it to dinner with plenty of time and sat down to eat, thanking the servant who brought me my dinner. I didn't seen Chloe or Diana still, but I sat at the table we had claimed at lunch. I set out my homework next to me and worked as I ate my dinner.

Finally Diana arrived to dinner, dragging Chloe by the hand. Diana pushed the other girl towards our table. Chloe sheepishly took a seat and Diana followed once the other girl was in her chair. "What took you guys?" I asked them. "I would have waited had I known you were still there,"

"Chloe decided she needed the world's longest shower," Diana grumbled. "She would have stayed there all night if I hadn't dragged her here,"

"It was hot. I'd never had a hot shower before. I just lost track of time," Chloe protested. "Our school insisted on not giving us nice things. They said it would make us stronger for Otome academy," she whined. Diana rolled her eyes.

"Grow up, Chloe. We're not here for fun and relaxation. We're here to become Otome. It is hard word, especially if you ever want to be Princess Gabrielle's Otome. We have to have the best grades in the school for even a chance. These won't be enough," she held up her hand, showing off the black jewel on her handflower.

Chloe looked down, turning red at the mention of the Princess' name. "I know..." she sighed.

"Why don't we get some of this homework done?" I suggested, trying to ease the tension. Diana was right, but she didn't have to drill the point that deeply to Chloe. The others agreed and we spent the rest of dinner doing homework while we ate.

Towards the end of dinner, I noticed the fourth year girls get up to go evaluate the third year girls. I hadn't caught the nickname for either of their classes. They left after a few minutes. Then the third year girls got up from their places to talk with and evaluate the second year girls, the Opal class. I nudged Chloe and Diana, drawing their attention to the older girls. They looked up from the particularly difficult translation we were working on just as the third year girls left the cafeteria. The Opal class stood then to make their evaluations. Three of them made a beeline for our table. All three had star pins on their dresses. I didn't know what the pins meant, but I assumed they were important.

Chloe, Diana, and I all stood when the girls approached out table. "Sisters," we greeted them dropping into curtsies.

"Greetings, little sisters. Please rise," one of them told us. We rose from our curtsies. "As you may have been told, the older students take a younger girl to mentor. It is difficult to make such a decision on the first day of classes, of course, but given your paths and jewel colors, it made sense for the three of us to be your mentors. We are the Trias of Opal class, the top three students and the leaders of the Opal class,"

I got my wits back together before the other girls. "It would be a honor to be mentored by such esteemed older sisters," I told them. The girls looked us over again and I saw the one who had spoken smile.

"My name is Anna, Opal number one, and the Leader of Opal Trias. I wish to mentor you, little sister...?" she paused, prompting me for my name.

"Abigail," I replied, feeling a bit shy that everyone was staring.

"Abigail," she repeated with a smile. "Do you accept?"

I nodded. "I accept and I thank you for your guidance, Oneesan." Faythe had told us earlier that 'Oneesan' was the proper title for our mentor. She took my hand and lifted it to kiss my black jewel. I felt a shock go through me. The other two girls were claiming Chloe and Diana as their little sisters. Anne dropped my hand.

"You three should get to class," Anne told us, once the other Opal class girls had kissed the jewels of my friends. We curtsied to her again.

"Yes, Oneesan," we all replied. We darted out of the cafeteria with our bags. I think they were as overwhelmed as I felt as we ran to class so we wouldn't be late.

We curtsied at the Otome in charge of the class as the bell rang for class to begin. We had made it just in time, but that still meant we were late. We were still the first ones here. "Apologize, Otome," I spoke again for the three of us.

"Why are you late?" she demanded. "Where is the rest of my class?"

"The Opal class students are making their decisions on who they would like to mentor," I told her. I wasn't making excuses for our lateness. I simply chose to only answer her second question. She nodded.

"Very well. Have a seat while we wait for the rest of the class to arrive." We took our seats and got our dresses back in order from running to get to class.

It took about ten minutes for the rest of the class to arrive. We all had to listen to a long lecture about never being late and our duty to the school and our future Master. With that over, we spent the rest of the two hour class working on shields. It was exhausting work. We worked on quickly creating and dissipating shields on ourselves, on others, on objects, even making spot shields. We were all drained both physically and mentally by the end of the two hours of hell.

We trudged up to our rooms in silence after class, and still had a mountain of homework to do before bed. One of the servants kindly brought me tea while I worked on my homework in my pajamas. At least we didn't have to wear uniforms in our own rooms. I managed to get all of my work done before bed and even had some time to relax.

If today was a realistic example of how things were going to be here. This school was going to be hell.