Another fragment of memory to be dug up.
In the process of erasing unnecessary memories, there are things that come to mind.
“Take your seat and state your name.”
State your name—.
The brain received the instruction, and the brain quickly transmitted the signal to the throat.
It was a symbol. A sequence of letters.
An important element to distinguish humans.
All of us White Room students were taught names as one of the ways to identify individuals. However, when we were young, we weren’t told our surnames, and all the instructors called us by our first names.
Although I had no way of knowing it at the time, there would be an inconvenience created by teaching us our surnames. It seems that it was a rule based on the fear that it might lead to the children’s identification in the future.
By the time the children were four years old, a new curriculum was beginning to be implemented one after another.
“Now then, let’s commence the test.”
The most important of these was a written test.
All students straightened their posture and faced the test papers.
The test consisted of five writing systems: hiragana, katakana, the alphabet, numbers, and simple kanji.
Since we’d already spent a whole year being thoroughly taught reading and writing when we were three, there was no hesitation in their fingertips’ movements as they held the pen.
The students were penalized if they didn’t achieve a certain level of performance in a limited amount of time.
In addition, the students were also required to have good handwriting.
Even if your handwriting was good, you won’t receive any points if you get the answer wrong, but if you write poorly in a hurry, points will be deducted from your score, so we had to be careful. No one at this facility asked whether or not we can solve the problems we face.
This is only true because the only children left were those that were capable of solving them..
Those who couldn’t were dropped at the age of three.
Our group, called the fourth generation, had a total of 74 students in the early years.
However, as mentioned above, children who were deemed to be unable to do so at the age of three had already dropped out of the White Room.
Therefore, all 61 of us then shared almost all of our time together, excluding bedtime.
The written test was 30 minutes long, but there was enough time to complete it in about half to two-thirds of the time limit if we solved the questions without hesitation.
This was true for all the previous written exams held in the White Room.
Solve the equation and move on to the next. Determine the answer and write it down.
At the same time, you review the previous question to see if you’ve made any mistakes.
(TL Note: alphabet アルファベット: Refers to the Latin alphabet)
When I finished, I raised my right hand straight up.
After signaling that I was done, I turned the paper over.
Getting a perfect score on the written exam was the minimum requirement. At the same time, you were required to be a neat and speedy writer.
This was the 7th written exam since I turned four years old, and I’ve won first place four times in a row. The first time I took the written test, I was ranked 24th, the second time 15th, and the third time 7th. I didn’t have a good start.
It took me a while to figure out how the written exams worked, its logic, and its efficiency.
Once I solved that, I haven’t been overtaken, and I myself have been improving my certainty even more.
The gap between me and the second-place finisher was widening with each written exam, and now the time gap was about five minutes.
Regardless if I got a perfect score or first place, I would never be praised by anyone.
When everyone finished, we moved on to the next part of the curriculum.
“Now we’ll start Judo. Everyone please change and follow the instructor to another room.”
Martial arts. This was another curriculum added when we turned four, as was the written test.
I’ve already been taught judo for four months.
While being trained in the basics, we progressed to the stage where we had to fight in actual combat.
My vision shook and I felt a strong pain in my back.
In the confrontation with the instructor, the children were always made to taste this bitterness.
I was no exception.
The relentless slamming into the floor, making it impossible to breathe, didn’t allow you a break.
If I didn't get up immediately, I would be reprimanded again and again. Next, arms that were many times thicker than mine flew at me.
I was slammed to the floor again, and I tried desperately to catch myself, but I couldn’t absorb the damage.
While I was being knocked down to the ground, similar occurrences were happening all over the place.
All the kids were crying and sobbing while being thrashed around.
“I can't… I can't stand up…!”
As if begging for forgiveness, Mikuru clung weakly to the instructor's leg.
“Still, get up!”
The girl was forced to stand up as the instructor forcibly shook off her hands, but her body seemed to be immobilized.
The fact that’s a girl wasn’t taken into consideration here.
“I told you to stand up!”
The girl was kicked, spun around and around on the floor, and sprayed vomit all over the place.
Of course, the adults weren’t kicking seriously.
Even so, it was obvious to everyone that the force of the kick was unbelievably strong.
“I don't give a damn, even if you’re a kid! You already know that!”
The average mind would have a strong resistance to hurting a child this much.
But the instructors who’ve been called to the White Room aren’t ordinary.
They were the kind of people who had no qualms about sending women and children to the brink of death.
“No one will cry if you disappear! Stand up and face them on your own!”
Mikuru, convulsing and unfocused, put her hands on the floor and tried to get up.
“Yes! That's it! Show some spirit!
“Uh, uuh… Ugh… gh…!”
But the previous kick Mikuru took was critical, and she collapsed and lost consciousness.
“Damn! You gutless bastard! Get her out of here! Get out of my way!”
The instructor, who had been making irritating footsteps, shouted angrily as he forcibly removed Mikuru from the room.
Do you believe such a scene is tragic?
If so, you should change how you think.
This is only the beginning. Excessive reactions like Mikuru's were decreasing day by day, and even the expression of pain was fading away.
Even human instincts were eliminated by the brain as superfluous functions.
It was natural to be thrown. It was natural to have difficulty breathing. It was natural to hurt yourself to the point of sobbing. And even thinking about it was a waste.
The only way out of the situation was to keep trying to reduce the number of times you get thrown within the time limit.
Of course, the most ideal situation was to defeat your opponent.
But the opponent was far superior in strength, size, and skill.
Needless to say, it wasn’t easy to bridge the gap between adults and children.
After being forced to fight intensely and breathlessly, everyone rose to their feet, battered and bruised.
After an intense education from our instructors, we were obliged to take part in hand-to-hand combat with three others at the end of the day.
The children never look tired.
I’ve learned that any prey that seems weak was doomed to be hunted by the strong.
My record was 144 fights, 127 wins and 17 losses. And I was currently on a 64-fight winning streak.
The fights were rotated between male and female opponents, but Shiro stood in front of me, silently waiting for the signal to begin.
Shiro had an overwhelmingly good record of 135 wins and 9 losses.
I’ve played against Shiro twice, winning once and losing once.
I lost my first Randori match, but I had not lost since the first rotation; however, among the other students, Shiro had the best judo skills.
Because he was a formidable opponent, he was able to sharpen his sensitivity even more.
Shiro had always been aggressive and took the initiative in his fights against others, but today, in his third match, he seemed to be taking a wait-and-see attitude, aiming to create counter-attacks.
(TL Note: randori 乱取り: Basically a 1v3 judo match)
This was something I welcomed, as I wanted to gain experience in attacking a strong opponent.
At the instructor's announcement, we fought each other to the bitter end with defeat on our backs.
Win or lose, we moved on to the next lesson as if nothing had happened.
Karate is a martial art that started somewhat later.
Here, the students were subjected to more direct blows from the instructors than in judo.
The variety of martial arts will probably increase again as we reach five or six years old.
That was the common inference among all the children.