"Oh..." Ashton was quite disappointed after seeing the state of the System.
Then again, it"s not like it was an impossible mission, in fact isn't this a free-giveaway? What's there to be disappointed about?
"Ash, sweetie. Are you up?"
He was startled by the voice of the nun from earlier. Ashton nearly answered out loud but he managed to stopped himself from doing so.
'Oops, nearly f-ed up there. I can't do that, it's out of character. Note to self, conceal, don't feel. Don't let it go.'
Ashton didn't answer. Instead, he did his best to mimic the way how the old ash behaved and luckily it was natural for him.
He noticed that the door opened and an old nun suddenly came into his view.
"Oh, good! Exactly 10 minutes." She said softly, "Ash, it's the Awakening Day. Have you got everything prepared?"
Ash looked at the foot of his mattress and saw an old bag filled to the brim with things. He then looked back at the nun and nodded softly.
"Very good." The nun smiled and reached out to pat his head. "Ah, I'm going to miss you little one. Polite and obedient kids like you are rare. If you'd just speak out more then you would've already been adopted. Alas..."
The nun had a regretful expression on her fact. It's as though she's truly feeling pity for him but...
'Yeah, I don't know if this is me or the remnants of old ash's instincts, but I don't trust this woman at all. She's shady as hell.'
Ashton truly couldn't bring himself to trust this nun. He can't explain why exactly, just something about her unnerves him. It's all confusing still so he decided to just throw it at the back of his head.
It won't be long before he's out of this place anyway. By then, he wouldn't have to worry about this.
"Alright, since you pretty much ready, all there is left is for you to take a good bath. Do you need help with that?"
Ashton couldn't stop the shiver running down his spine at the mere thought of this woman bathing him so he hurriedly shook his head in refusal.
"My..." this Nun had the audacity to chuckle. "Look at you, being so shy. I could still remember the days when you used to come to me to help you bathe yourself, now you're already a big boy and so independent."
Ashton couldn't look at her in the eye, he truly can't. It didn't help that he's getting real-time flashbacks of those happening. Sadly, he couldn't really protest since he didn't want them to suspect anything.
'It's fine, just endure it. I'll be out of here soon. Real soon. I won't have to see their faces ever again. Just. Endure.'
"Okay then, I'll leave you to it." The Nun stood up and walked towards the door. "Come down after you finish your bath, make sure you scrub your body real good so that you'll smell good, you hear me? I'll sniff you later and if you stink that I'm going to make you return there and bathe you myself, understood?"
Ashton nodded furiously.
"Come down once you're done, we'll eat, brush our teeth and wait for the transit. Alright, move along."
After saying this, the nun left and closed the door behind him. Ashton scrambled to his feet and locked the door, heaving a sigh of relief once she's gone.
'Damn! She's so shady! I hate it! I hate so much! Ugh!'
Ashton's brows were furrowed in annoyance. He truly didn't like that nun from the very depths of his heart. Something about her was creeping him out and he didn't like it one bit.
It took some time and a couple of deep breaths for him to calm down. He looked at the door and see that it's locked properly. He then went towards the showers to be over with this.
As he absentmindedly bathed scrubbed his body, his mind wandered about all the possible things that will happen after this.
The most important thing is the Awakening Ceremony for obvious reasons. One, this will determine what he's going to do in the future.
See, this is a world of fantasy. In old ash's memories, there are people who were called Knights and Mages, and apparently everybody strived to become either one.
Perhaps it is because he lives in the slums that his education was mediocre at best. Even for someone who was just thrown in this world so abruptly without any warnings, he could tell from a glance that what he knew about this world - no, even just in this city alone is very insufficient.
Due to this, Ashton could only fill up the gaps of his knowledge using his old world's standards.
The terms Knights and Mages struck a certain familiarity with him. In his head, he already have some images of what they look like based on the stereotypes. At the same time, he's also aware that he shouldn't base everything he knew with just this.
'So, swords and magic huh?' He thought to himself, 'So what, is this like an RPG based world then? Will I have a 'Class' and stuff? Wait, what would I be? A knight or a Mage? Is there a way to figure that out?'
'Ugh, this is so dull! I don't have enough material for reference!'
'I guess I'll learn about it there, huh? Oh well, whatever.'
'Ah, that's right! I also have to worry about my living expenses after this. This is my last day in the orphanage after all.'
For teenagers, Awakening Day signifies a start of a new life. Especially for an orphan like him.
The Awakening Ceremony will determine whether he's going to be a Knight or a Mage, this is what the old ash knows. After becoming either of those two, one would be considered as a citizen of their city...a semi-adult, if you will.
The orphanage can't support them forever. It's already burdensome for them to raise children with meager support from the government and just by waiting for donations.
This is why when a child reaches 13 years old and had their Awakening Ceremony completed, they will be...well, there's no other way to say this, they will be kicked out of the orphanage to fend for themselves.
Now, since Ash is someone from Earth, this sounds cruel to him. Especially considering the fact that he comes from the slums.
The idea that they're going to the thrown out into the fire just like that makes him uncomfortable. Alas, he can't do anything about. Its the rules. He has to accept them.
Still, it isn't all bad news...the government isn't that cruel.
The orphans will be given a chance...a lifeline per se.
Once they are deemed as an Orphan, they'll receive support from the government depending on their 'results' or 'potential'. The brighter their future is, the better the investment will be.
At minimum, they should receive a decent apartment, supplies and allowance that can last them for an entire year. Again, this is at minimum. The rates can change especially if one signed a contract from a sponsor.
Of course, nothing's free. Even the minimum support from the government wouldn't last forever. If the officials determined that the child doesn't have the ability to be independent enough to support themselves, they could only say sorry and cut off the support. Turning those kids homeless and miserable.
This meant that once Ashton received his stipend from the government, he had to tighten up his belt and if possible find a part-time job in order to support himself.
Again, his comfort will be decided by his aptitude which will be revealed once the Awakening Ceremony is done.
'Darn! So much to worry about, it hasn't even been a day since I got here, what the hell?'
Ashton sighed and could already feel the headache coming. He could only hope that his system would be of help in this.
As his thoughts flew, Ashton finished bathing. He dried himself and changed into a new set of clothes. He sniffed himself and shrugged. Well, he doesn't smell bad so that old lady shouldn't have any complaints later.
After changing, he grabbed his bag and went downstairs to find a generous feast on the table. Well, 'generous' in the slums' standards.
The others nun saw him coming down and smiled at him. They guided him to the table and told him to eat and then brush his teeth afterwards. They also inspected him to see if he looked presentable at least.
Seeing have they have no complaints or whatsoever, meant that he passed at least.
As Ashton peacefully ate his fill of bread and porridge, he noticed that the other kids were starting to come down as well. As things got hectic for everyone, his presence gradually weakened even more to the point he felt that he turned invisible.
Of course, Ash didn't mind that. He even preferred it that way.
Once he's done with his meal, he silently stood up, brought the dishes with him on the sink and washed them. He then brushed his teeth and went outside to wait for the others.
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