Chapter 15: ID Tags
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3rd Day of the 1st Month, 916

Morning

It was one day after they announced the end of the Entrance Trial, Alter was currently sitting on the front porch of the Norn Orphanage holding what looked like a relatively thick booklet with the title: "Guide to the Frontline Institute for Soldiers".

He of course, knew what it was. After all, even in the previous timeline, he too had gotten it along with the admission letter to the Institute after he had passed the trial his second time around. It was sort of an introductory book that explained how the systems and life in general were gonna be for the new students within the Institute.

It gave a rough mapping of the whole premise, introduced various facilities available for first year students and above. And most importantly, it gave a thorough explanation on how the entire curriculums would be delivered.

However right now, Alter couldn't help but notice that there were several keypoint differences with the situation of which the booklet was delivered to him.

For one, this should've been delivered together with his admission letter on the 5th Day of the 1st Month, exactly 3 days after the Entrance Trial. And yet he was given the booklet personally by some supervisor who came up to him the minute he arrived above ground after the practical exam.

He had tried to approach him and ask, but the guy seemed disinclined to answer any of his inquiries. Alter had guessed that this should have something to do with him being elligible to enter the special MYTH class since he also happened to see Arthur and Anastasia receiving the same treatment when they had come out, but.

"The booklet is just a compilation of information about the Institute, what's the point in giving it to us early without any..."

*SLIP*

"!"

Alter was deep in thought as he flipped the booklet arbitrarily. But when he reached the middle of the page, something outside of his expectation slipped from the book and fell into his lap.

It was something similar to what he had been given to wear during his first entry into the Institute's premise. A dog tag.

Specifically two pieces of tags connected together with a thin metal chain lace.

"Heh... Of course!" Alter finally realized what was the special priviledge that he'd been given as he lifted the tag by the chain up to his face.

Although the dog tag looked similar with the last one at first glance. The thicker stainless steel material and the barcode imprinted on one side of one of the tags signified that this was not of the same nature or quality to the dog tag he had worn yesterday.

----------------
Alter Norn
No. 91677001
MYTH
----------------

Was what had been imprinted on another side.

To put it simply, dog tags were, to the Frontline Institute, something similar to what a student ID cards were to any other educational institution. With Alter being given the tags even before he received his admission letter, it meant that he could access any of the facilities available for first years at the Institute a couple days earlier than the other students.

But as per the tradition, the first day of the semester would start on the 6th, so actually, the few days of head start to either the training or recreational facilities wasn't really something that would provide much of a difference except for maybe the rights to brag.

"No, the significance of receiving the tags early was not so we can enjoy a few more days of students priviledge earlier..." Alter smiled, receiving this was nothing but good news for him.

'It was to give us the chance to register for our choice of elective courses just like the rest of the 2nd year and above students!'

Classes taught in the Frontline Institute were divided into 2 categories, the compulsory courses and the elective courses. Just like their names, compulsory courses were ones that every students must attend and pass as the basic requirements for graduation, while elective courses were the optional ones that catered to the students various different interests.

But in the Frontline Institute, the number of elective classes one could take varied depending on the overall scores and performance of one's previous semester. Students with excellent performance or achievements could take as much as 3 elective courses while worse students could even not be allowed to take any.

Because of the existence of such system, followed by the timing of the admittance for new students, unfortunately for the first years in their first semester, they were voided from the priviledge of choosing or having any elective courses.

'If I didn't guess wrong, the main reason for giving the tags early should be to allow us to select electives which is open from the 1st up until the 5th Day of the 1st Month.'

He might be wrong, but Alter couldn't think of any other reasons for giving the tags and booklet to the MYTH class students 3 days earlier.

"Since new students haven't registered for the Institute's Network Account, guess that means I need to go there physically to select my courses."

Since this situation was quite out of the norm, there were no information on how many elective courses can Alter or the other MYTH students take for this semester so he was quite curious about it.

"Should I go today?"

"Go where!?" Just as he was about to consider his choices, a shrill voice resounded from beside him.

Alter turned his head and was greeted by the familiar faces he'd seen frequently ever since he arrived in the past.

"Hey Milly, and Leo too!" He greeted the two kids.

"Go where??" Leo repeated Milly's question with a bit of impatience in his voice.

"The Institute." Alter replied honestly.

""Eh??"" The two were shocked, "B, b, but, I thought you said you'd be here for another 4 days!" Milly's eyes started to get watery.

"Alter's a liar!" Leo piled on.

"No I said 3 days right? I'm going to live at the institute starting on the 6th." Alter defended himself with a wry smile.

""Don't change the subject!"" But to no avail.

'Did these two rehearsed this...?' He couldn't help but be impressed at Leo and Milly's synchronized questioning.

"Fufu." Sister Mariabelle came out laughing from the dining room as she saw the three bickering.

She proceeded to sit beside Alter after placing some snacks on the table.

"So, why are you going to the Institute today too? The Entrance Trial's done right?" She asked.

"Yes, but I think they gave me something to do before the entrance ceremony."

"The results are out?" She was sure that Alter had told her before that the results would only be announced the day before the entrance ceremony.

"Well the results were already determined yesterday, it was only the matter of class division left. But at least I should be fine on that front." He smiled and turned towards her.

"So you are accepted right? Congratulations!" Sister Mariabelle smiled as she clapped.

"Thank you." Alter returned the gesture.

"...And you're sure that the Institute isn't dangerous?" Mariabelle was still slightly worried, after all, the place was an educational institution for aspiring soldiers.

"Please don't worry sister, my promise still stands. I'll never join the army even if I manage to graduate successfully."

"Plus they're not all about fighting over there. There're many interesting field of study such as management and logistics, biological research, and many more." He continued.

'Well, I was already accepted into the elite combat specialized class.' Alter subconsciously let out a wry smile as he determined himself to keep this bit of information a secret from sister Mariabelle.

Alter was not wrong though, just like the fact that there was someone like Luke overseeing the combat-related part for the exam to find and seperate early the exceptional recruits this year. Other departments also had assigned someone to do the same thing with different subjects of study.

Although, because of the nature of the non-combat departments, the person-in-charge would have been more focused on the written exam part of the Entrance Trial.

And if an examinee was proven to be talented in both the combat and non-combat related subjects, the decision would be settled through the deliberation of the board members of the Institute. Although considering that the Frontline Institute was more inclined towards everything military related, more often than not, the examinee would be given to the combat department.

In the end it was still an institution for future soldiers. Even the non-combat departments mostly had their field of research filled with subjects that had either direct or at least non-direct applications in the military.

"Well, I should really go if I wanted to make it back in time for tonight's dinner." Alter stretched a bit before standing up and putting on his windbreaker.

*HIKS*

But before he could walk a step forward, a sobbing sound was heard from his side.

"Waaaa!! Alter's a liar!" Milly was crying loudly as if announcing it to everyone close-by.

"You made Milly cry!!" Which prompted Leo to pull Alter's pants and kick repeatedly in tantrum, also with watery eyes. It seemed her crying was somehow contagious to him

"Ergh..." Alter just remembered that the two was still there.

"Um, like I said, I will be back before dinner... So, umm" He tried to defuse the situation but no solutions came to mind.

*WAAAAAAHH*

The crying got louder. And just when he was about to give up on going today, a helping hand reached out to him in the form of sister Mariabelle.

"Why don't you two just go together with him?" She suggested while grinning from ear to ear.

""Ah!""

The noises stopped almost immediately right after, which made Alter suspect that both of them were just acting from the start.

"Great Idea!"

"That's a great idea!"

"..."

*SIGH*

Alter let out a tired sigh and finally acquiesced to the decision.

"Go prepare immediately, I'll wait for 5 minutes and if you're late, you can't come with me!" He ordered.

""Yes sir!"" Both siblings saluted and immediately ran back to the orphanage building to prepare.

***

On the outskirts of the Institute's premise, Alter was walking slowly on the paved road along with the two siblings. When he finally reached the same checkpoint that he'd passed just yesterday, he couldn't help but notice a familiar silhouette loitering around the gate leading inside.

"That's..."

Just as he had noticed her, the silhouette too responded when she saw the incoming Alter.

"Ah!" A voice sounded.

"Jeanne Atkins." Alter formally greeted her.

"You're the scary guy... Hm? How do you know my name?"

"What are you doing here?" Alter quickly changed the subject and asked the question he was curious about.

"Well, um, I don't have anything to do today, and just staying at home was making me more nervous about my results so I choose to come here and see the place."

"But it seems they don't allow entry to people without authorization... Our permit expired yesterday along with the end of the Entrance Trial." She continued to explain dejectedly.

'Well of course they don't.' Alter answered in his mind.

"Wait... Results? You weren't eliminated?"

"No! I ran away after you did!" She explained as she smugly put both her hands on her hip.

'And the twin psychos didn't chase after her?' Truthfully, Alter didn't expect her to make it out of that situation. He must admit that he had a complicated feelings about how it all turned out.

"So, what do you mean by results?" Alter started asking again.

"The Entrance Trial's result! What else?" She asked back dumbfoundedly.

"You..." Alter could only helplessly shook his head with a palm on his face.

"You weren't eliminated till the end right?"

"Yeah...?"

"Then you passed, did you not research anything about the Institute's Entrance Trial when you were preparing? Everyone already know the results, most people are just waiting for their admission notice now." He explained.

"And more importantly, you've said you have 4 points when I asked back then, most examinees would only have scores ranging from 0 to 3. If even they passed, how could you not?"

"WOW really!? So I passed?? This is the best!!" She raised her voice and started jumping up and down frantically.

Alter continued to shake his head.

'So she's not elligible for MYTH, I wonder what the lowest scores within that class are going to be?'

Alter still hadn't known that the sole requirement for the special class was just to be approved of by the judge Luke.

The siblings Leo and Milly were being uncharacteristically quiet at this point in time. The truth was that both of them were actually really timid in front of strangers

Only after Alter finished his conversation with Jeanne that Leo dared to open his mouth and asked.

"Umm, Alter, who is that?"

Leo pulled on Alter's jacket and spoke in a really quiet voice but he still couldn't help but to get noticed by Jeanne.

"Oh! What's this?" Her mood had improved a lot ever since she realized that she had successfully got accepted into the Institute.

"She's a nobody." Alter answered matter-of-factly and proceeded to walk towards the person guarding the checkpoint.

"Hey!!" Jeanne showed her overreaction once more and stomped her foot on the ground.

"ID?" The guard didn't bother himself with needless chitchat and directly asked for Alter's identification.

He followed the procedure quietly and showed the dog tag he had worn on his neck to the guard. Prompting the guard to bring out a sort of scanning device and pushed it closer towards the barcode on the tag.

The screen on the scanner reacted and showed the necessary information to the guard.

"Student Alter Norn, go on in." He stood aside to let Alter pass.

"These two are with me, can you give them a temporary pass?" Alter inquired the guard.

Normal students could bring a maximum number of 2 people into the premise, provided that the guests went through the Institute's securities full-body check procedure.

Just as Alter was about to bring the siblings to the body check site, another pair of footsteps sounded from the road behind him.

*STEP* *STEP*

All the people present casually turned their heads to see the person but once again, another familiar figure prompted Alter to show a response.

"Ah."

 

And one more~! Once again thanks for reading!!

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