Y: The Tides Are In Our Hearts
Having two noble friends came in handy.
It was something Miieie found herself ecstatic about as the four roommates ushered into the school cafeteria.
At first, the green-haired girl had felt the pain of going through the strange, gross food that she had experienced first hand. She was too hungry to walk all the way out of the academy for another foodscapade, so even the pains of eating food meant to make her school life insufferable filled her mind. It didn’t take long for her to remember Iris’s words she had said to her.
It was like a sea siren’s drone. And somehow Endra went from quiet and exhausted to confused as Miieie clung onto her seemingly out of nowhere.
“Nngh! What?” She tried pushing the girl off of her, but Miieie was apparently too strong to relent.
“Can you help a girl out?”
“Wh-what? Oh.” She paused, her look of confusion turned into disappointment. “You want to mooch.”
She sighed, “This whole caste system based on food needs is honestly pointless, anyway.”
“So is that a–”
“Yes. Now release your deathgrip of my blouse.”
Miieie smiled widely as she hopped to her feet, pretending like she hadn’t just embarrassed Endra in the middle of the cafeteria, for everyone to see.
It was a good tactic for someone who had pretty much dragged their feet the entire way from the outside of the classroom. As much as Endra tried to seem like she brushed it off, Miieie could see the twinkle in her eye–the half-step in her movement; she knew full well that she was as bothered by being third place as Miieie was being in the lower tier of the class rankings. She figured any tactic that could get Endra out of her own head was a good one.
Rel laughed at the scene, “If you just wanted some food–”
The tug of Rel’s uniform and an awkward cough from Iris caught her off guard.
“If… If it’s not too much trouble, I would like… to… whatever. I’m hungry.”
Endra’s awkward reaction seemed to turn on its head, as she smiled at Rel being taken back at someone just not asking directly.
“Uh, yeah? Like Endra said it’s dumb. You don’t got to be so weird about it.”
“I’m not being weird.” Iris insisted, “I’m being hungry.”
Rel shook her head, “Not like I was gonna leave you dummies in this wing, anyway.”
Miieie blinked, “Wing?”
The redhead nodded, “Yeah. Wing.”
Endra rolled her eyes, “Let’s get it over with. I’m hungry, too.”
The silver-haired girl moved forward and the two of them led them to two doors occupied by a second year.
“Hey, they can–” The girl protested, before immediately recognizing Miieie. It was the girl from the dueling circle. “Hey! She’s a commoner! And so is she! They aren’t allowed!”
Yikes. Door security.
“Well, I’m invoking my right to not care.” Rel wiped her nose as she got way too close to the girl’s face, her sword still slunk in its sheath behind her. “Unless you wanna fight about it?”
The girl’s eyes turned wide like saucers, “Uh! N-n-no, it's p-perfectly fine. They are your guests, after all. One commoner per noble, that’s the rule! I don’t like it, but it’s the rule!”
Rel smirked as Endra led the two of them through the doors, revealing a whole separate cafeteria in the building. Miieie’s jaw dropped in wonder as the chopped tile turned into perfect marble and the flood of students in the larger, more decorative cafeteria wing went about their business. They all immediately noticed the four of them, but unlike the girl parked at the door none of them said a word to them as they approached the buffet stands and grabbed their trays.
It was a weird energy. Though, she wasn’t completely sure why it was weird. If there was a rule that commoners could get ‘privileges’ of a nobility if they had one vouch for them, why was it such a surprise they were going about their business?
“Oh wow, this food is much better!”
Endra scoffed, “Duh?”
“Give her a break, Endra, she’s never seen real food before.”
Miieie frowned, “I grew up on a farm! I know what real food looks like! I even know what it sounds like!”
Iris sighed as she grabbed a pair of prongs and started plating her tray with food. “Contrary to popular belief, the food you consume used to make sounds.”
“Sounds like someone isn’t very grateful.”
“I mean, she’s right. I’ve never seen a chicken in the wild.” Rel grabbed a tray and considered the thought, “I passed a wharf on the way here, does that count?”
“Fish aren’t chickens, Samrelda.”
“I know that. I’m just sayin’. Whatever, it’s dumb.”
“It’s probably better that we have never seen a butchery in person. Easier to not think about how our favorite foods get made that way.”
Miieie never considered how little of the world Rel and Endra had seen. Generally, she thought she was the odd duck of the four with how little she knew about civilized society and everything that came with living in a city. In a way, it was nice to realize she wasn’t the only person who didn’t know things or have common experiences. How much of a commoner’s life did they not know? They seemed so worldly to her.
Miieie grabbed her own tray as she looked at the food available throughout the whole buffet that had been set up for the students to take as they wanted.
A salad back home meant some cabbage, tomatoes, and leeks. Here they could add all sorts of things. Fried bread into crumbs, boiled eggs, sweet onions, peppers, and all sorts of things. In one stand there were sweet desserts like the ones she and Iris had experienced in the city! And in another savory pies and perfectly cut sandwiches! What diversity!
She bounced happily as the four of them grabbed everything they wanted to have for lunch. It didn’t take long for them to find a table, one Endra elected for them to sit at, away from all of the other tables, so as not to cause a stink. When she sat down, however, Endra wasn’t done taking her revenge on Miieie for causing a scene at her expense several times in one day.
“Don’t you think you’ve gone a little overboard?”
She scratched the back of her head. It was a lot of food.
“Are you even going to finish it all?”
“Ehehehe, well, yeah… I’m pretty hungry.”
Endra sighed, “You’re too much.”
“Well, I–” As she moved to speak again, a loud `clunk` hit the table as a girl immediately plopped down at their table, sitting exactly parallel to Endra. “Uh???”
Ignoring Miieie she cleared her throat and uttered a sentence that seemed to remind Endra that her bad day was not yet over.
“Endra Luunor. We meet again.”