"00B? What's up with that, mang?"
0123456789ABCDEF == hexadecimal math, dumbass.
I don't have time for you, get lost.
I've recently watched various videos on YouTube, covering a broad range of subjects, which has triggered memories of my true life. Nothing too special or ceremonious, and the majority of them are from when I was still being homeschooled (explanation after I share my memories), but it does bring to mind the realization that I went through experimental phases myself...
I honestly remember the first time I ever tried on makeup. It was a disaster, however, with my then very pale complexion (as pale as my mother's at the same age-but hers never deepened), the blue lip paint actually looked good on me once Phyllis corrected all of my mishap. For the record, one could say I was the equivalent of five when this had occurred, and my mother was a very busy woman at the time, drilling soldiers in her own armed faction so that they could one day, function under the guise of another leader because she was looking to step away from the battlefield, hopefully forever, hanging her glaive, armor and polearm up for good. At any rate, I went through the 'rainbow phase' and by the end of that, I knew that I wasn't like the other girls.
I want to take a bit to explain how education works at home before going on.
First off, education is not a systemized thing; most parents are going to take the homeschooling route, because a lot of the lessons/experiences can only be taught by the parent, which includes their own education. If the parents/guardians do choose to implement early academic learning, it often requires an in-house tutor, unless they wish to send their children to a suitable academy for the young (which in Asuria there is not one since the closure of Esan'noyuzan Academy due to the entirety of the region being deemed uninhabitable after the last freak storm that ravaged the already softened ground making all structures built on the land unstable). Since such usually invokes a rather high cost, it isn't suitable for most parents (education is free in Asuria, but there are costs involved in sending children to other nations as well as the possibility that the academy does require payment). Most parents go the homeschooling route, with tutoring intermittently, until their children are able to take the 'Secondary Exam' (the exam all people are required to take in order to move forward in their education as well as life in general).
My next memory is actually a painful one. It involves the aforementioned 'Secondary Exam' (I put that in quotes because the translation to English actually removes most of the meaning but the exam itself is very trying and exhausting...)
I was always one of those 'intelligently curious' types, meaning that I wanted to know more, and more, and more, often times taking under flights of fancy when I should of been making sure I knew the basics and could handle them aptly. This alone made the exam that I was to undergo very soon quite taxing. I never worried about it myself, until I was given a tour of the examination arena (the entire exam is done in one large area but is sectioned off into several different sub sectors). I could hear metal clanging, people screaming, in battle cry and in agonizing pain, I heard bubbling, sizzling, more screams of agony, among other frightful things, including what sounded like a monster eating people (actually this wasn't true at all-just an auditory illusion that was also a part of the exam), and a couple fighting over whatever, in which that ended with one of the two biting it.
That wasn't the worst part. No, it was the nightmares that ensued, knowing that I'd be faced with that exam. What I didn't know, was the tour was one part of the exam, and though I clearly had hidden the fact that it was all very damn scary, I couldn't hide the fact that it had ended my distractions, and allowed me to focus on passing it. I passed that part just for that.
When the time came for me to take the exam, I had just started developing (you know what I mean), so there was even more potential for me to give into the fear, turn tail and run. However, my intelligently curious mind came at this exam strongly, and the fear, while there initially, started to fade, and by the time that part of the exam had concluded, I was face to face with the same monster from the auditory illusion, and I still remember what I said...
"You think you're so powerful, so strong, so much higher than I, but you're wrong. I know how to hurt you, so try anything. I dare you."
I was poised in a fighting stance I had observed my mother take so many times, and that was it. It all vanished, faded to white, and I awoke in my own bed. That's how the exam concludes for all that take it, pass or fail. Believe it or not, I failed the exam, not because I didn't face my fears, but because I faced them in a manner that invoked the idea that I was behaving like a twat. Yep, I showed my immaturity, by allowing myself to be exposed to unnecessary risk. However, I knew that if I took the exam again, that unless they completely wiped my memory of the first exam and presented different challenges, that I'd fail to meet their standards time and time again. This realization forced me to consult my mother, and my auntie. It was painful, because I knew that I was better than their standards, yet I couldn't pass their standards. So, after receiving their advice on taking the higher road, which involved petitioning the exam committee on revoking their failing marks, I decided to seek the advice of another, just to see if I could perchance a balance of opinions. I went to Liusya, who then was just a really close friend, but someone I admired a great deal, despite the fact that she to me was like one of those emo chicks that has the habit of cutting herself with large razor blades (excuse the stereotype nonsense) as a comparison, but you know what they say about how opposites attract...Liusya was a very dark, very mysterious woman, and still is, though her look would be more comparative to Dark Victorian than Emo. I went to her, and asked her about this. She told me that she passed her own exam after shaming the committee for using fear as a double standard mongering board.
I weighed my options, and decided on taking the advice I was given, and made it into my own. I authored a short narrative on how I felt the exam was favored towards fear as a double standard, and included how I felt about each member of the committee, as well as any individual who showed their truest merits, only to be discredited. I gave it to the press to mass author, and within a short time, I received a response. My failed mark remained intact, and I had been barred from retaking the exam. I chose to not allow this.
I took the pain I had been unfairly burdened with, and one of the swords from the armory, and in my righteous fury, I slashed the entirety of the exam arena. My fury and inner power went through the blade, causing some of the parts to ignite. After my fury was exhausted, I knelt and rested on the blade, burdened by fatigue. One could say that the amount of damage I did would be more than a hundred mortal men could do, in a fraction of the time. For me, one so young, to perform this feat at all was amazing, to have it not kill me (well, to evaporate my life energy anyway), was beyond incredible. My brother, whom had also failed the exam because of his ineptitude at understanding primal fear (he's even more analytical and skeptical than I), came to my aid, and carried me home.
I never passed the exam, however, said exam was to be rebuilt with more than just grounding fear in mind. I and my brother are still barred from the exam, however...
There is a silver lining to this. While said exam is required to enter some of the higher qualified academies, the nearest one to my hometown had no such requirements, and my exam results were very pleasing, as well as my capabilities in destroying the exam arena. I didn't have to take any pre-qualifiers, I was admitted right away.
I guess the most painful part is the hate I was shown, because it was unearned. Like the hate I've been burdened with while imprisoned on this planet...ironic, isn't it? Only I don't have the power to destroy the hatred I was shown now, at least, not in the same way.
The next memory actually ties into the previous, because it occurred not too long after I started at the Academy.
One of my favorite things to do is sample food from various cultures and walks of life. I was intrigued immediately about this thing called 'barbecuing', and asked the one organizing a group around this type of thing, a boy about my level of academic growth and two others. "It'll be messy, gritty and down to earth; make sure to dress the part." I signed up, knowing that I was already into that kind of thing (given extracting ingredients for alchemy often requires getting very dirty if not covered in filth, sweat and blood and I love it).
One of the features of the group's itinerary was the nearby beach; we'd often go there for our barbecues and such, and we'd bring our own stuff for the feasting fun times.
I was one of two girls that would bring along the med kits we made ourselves, just in case; this would become useful as we got into rounding up certain types of jellyfish to be barbecued.
Yes, one of our frequent ventures would be the barbecued jellyfish, smoked cockatrice tail and red wine, a cultural meal from the Andoboraji region, about a comparative three days' journey from Asuria by sea, about a whole lunar phase if one walks there by using the sandbar trails when the tides are low.
We were the Beach Barbecue Squad, and though it was myself, seven other girls, five boys and four non-binary people, mainly from the Academy and otherwise living very far apart, they were like a second family to me. Even Liusya was a part for a while, though her skin wasn't too fond of spending a lot of time in the sun (can't blame her for that), so she would end up joining a group whose activities were mostly indoors or under the moonlight. The Moonlighters. I too was a part of their numbers, so I was around Liusya a lot, and that is how we became very close.
I miss them, the Beach Barbecuers and the Moonlighters.
But I also miss the times when I actually got to leave Asuria and go to another land, often to try their cuisine and/or activities.
There's this video online that has a catgirl catching and swallowing a live goldfish. I watched it and it reminded me of the next memory.
I once traveled to a land whose delicacies were quite eccentric. Yutai is an island chain nation, and it is very hot for most of the lunar season. Anyway, I was still in my rainbow phase, and blue/purple was my favorite ensemble at this point, as were purple foods and drinks, like the live perch I'd get at one of the inns I stayed at during my trip to Yutai (I was part of an exploration group at the time). They had all sorts of live fish and other such delicacies, but the goldfish were far too expensive at 40 Raijin a piece (I had been afforded 100 Raijin total which was to last me the whole trip with no exceptions), so I went with the local perch, which was 2 Raijin. You get three of the perch, but I gave the other two to the boy I was sitting with, because I swallowed one, and was put off by it. I bought a bread loafette later and some apple cider. A good memory, but of bad flavor. I'm sure the goldfish would of been better, well, maybe...
There is one other memory, but my first experience at Paulina's, a dress-up parlour that serves anyone, is NC-17 at best, so I'll just leave it at that.
One issue with memories from my true life coming back, is the cost of memories of this fake life I've been forced to live. I don't remember a lot of things, and most recently, that included someone that recognized me, that I don't remember at all. Like, not even a 'familiarity' thing. Limited memory capacity? The throes of mortality...damnation.