The woman who handed Illya the note quickly ran off in a huff, seemingly eager to be finished with whatever her task was. Confused by this, Illya opened up the envelope, reading the contents inside, with Yemaya keeping a close eye from her perch atop her ward's shoulder. Illya felt her face grow pale as she finished reading the note.
"Wait...A THOUSAND TIMES?" she screamed. "This is evil! This is cruel! I mean, I like talking and all, but the same phrase verbatim a thousand times? What is this!"
Yemaya sighed. It's a military, child. A military requires discipline. And to say that you've lacked discipline is...and understatement, to say the least. Commander West is not asking a difficult thing. In fact, you should not have even had this problem in the slightest. Now, I suggest you get going before Commander West berates you more. I'm sure she has ways to figure out if you delayed.
"But...what about you?"
A confident click came from the aviaku's mouth. I believe I have some errands to run. Enjoy your exercise, child.
Before Illya could protest any more, Yemaya had taken flight out of the window of Illya's room. Thinking of Miss West and how scary she could be, Illya quickly changed into a uniform of Dies Irae from her normal nightgown and quickly marched out towards the training hall, hoping Miss West would forgive the slight delay in order to change into something a little more fitting. With Yemaya having left as well, Illya was all by her lonesome and needed to march with purpose towards the training grounds, which were a ways away, to say the least. Several of the lesser members of Dies Irae attempted to speak with Illya, which caused her heart to bend and break at the thought that she could not answer their questions, having merely the ability to march towards her one task.
Just as the letter had stated, a magic circle was written into the ground, being watched by a single bored-looking man. "Greetings, Illya! Nothing to report! Well, actually, I've been told to make sure no one else used the training grounds until you came here. Commander West said she had some specific training in for you, so no one else can enter. Well, you'd best be going. Commander West is not someone to mess with."
The guard saluted, and began to walk away, and a pang rang in Illya's heart because she could not tell the man 'thank you.' She gulped down her sorrow and marched once into the magic circle. Just as she did, she went to check if the circle truly had an enchantment on it. It was a faint stretch and a faint hope at a desire for freedom from what Illya believed to be a cruel and unusual punishment, but it was for naught. She was stuck. She took a deep breath. "I respect the leaders of my faction; Mister von Weiss, Ambassador Sivvy, and Miss West!" She repeated the mantra six more times in succession, before unintentionally stumbling on her words. "Wait! Shoot! It's Ambassador von Weiss!" Once more she took a deep breath. "I respect the leaders of my faction; Ambassador von Weiss, Ambassador Sivvy, and Miss West!" Just as before, she quickly repeated the mantra twenty-eight times before once more stumbling on her words with a sullen realization. "AhhhhHH! It's Commander West, Illya! Commander, Commander, Commander, Commander, Commander, Commander!" She rapidly slapped her cheeks in frustration. "Right! Let's do this! I respect the leaders of my faction; Ambassador von Weiss, Ambassador Sivvy, and Commander West!" Having finally gotten a grasp for the proper words, she repeated the mantra a thousand times. It was easier than she thought. After getting the proper words, it only took an hour at the most. Having felt satisfied with her work, she turned her heel in a readiness to leave her punishment.
Only the seal was not broken. She banged against it, calling for Miss West once more, when she checked the note in her hand. Only then did the words "in full salute" finally click for Illya. She slowly slid to her knees, crying slightly at the futility of her work. She sat there for a few moments before once more mustering up her energy to begin a ridiculous, over-the-top salute in the center of the circle. "I RESPECT THE LEADERS OF MY FACTION; AMBASSADOR VON WEISS! AMBASSADOR SIVVY! AND MISS WEST!" she screamed at the top of her lungs. She was ready to be done. At around three-hundred times, her arm began to tire. At five-hundred, her knees began to become week. Nine-hundred, she had lost all her energy from before.
Nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine times she had said it, and she was barely maintaining her standing. "I....respect the leaders....of...my faction....Ambassador....von Weiss....Ambassador....Sivvy...and...Miss....Miss...West." she croakily groaned, collapsing once more to her knees. This time, for sure, she was done. Another two hours had passed, but Illya was finally done. She crawled to the edge of the circle and it failed to give way. What did I do wrong? she thought before the realization hit her like a truck. "Commander...West...dummy..." She slowly got up to her feet. She had done difficult things in her idol work. She had to dance and sing on stage for hours at a time, but at least there was room for error. Here, absolute perfection was needed.
She groggily got up to her feet, standing as straightly as possible and weakly readied herself for a salute. "I, Illya Pegasus, have got this!" she said, pumping herself up. "I respect the leaders of my faction; Ambassador von Weiss, Ambassador Sivvy, and Commander West! I respect the leaders of my faction; Ambassador von Weiss, Ambassador Sivvy, and Commander West!" Slowly but surely, she began her progress on the time that she would finally complete her task. It was a simple task, but one that the laid-back, entirely unmilitaristic Illya Pegasus found so much trouble in. Around time fifty-three, other members of the guild entered the grounds for training, making sure to ignore the magic circle. At one-hundred-eighteen, her stomach growled. At one-hundred-forty-nine, the sun was beating high in the sky. At two-hundred-four, Yemaya had returned from her "errands" and had seemingly come to watch and enjoy the show. At six-hundred-fifty-eight, the sky began to be painted with an orange hue. Seven-hundred-one, the sun had set. Nine-hundred-four, Yemaya left again. Nine-hundred-fifty-three, Illya's throat began to hurt. Finally, she had reached the end. Nine-hundred-ninety-nine times she had repeated the mantra and held herself in as good a salute as her weak body could handle. "I respect the leaders of my faction; Ambassador von Weiss, Ambassador Sivvy, and Commander West!"
As she finished, the circle suddenly disappeared in a light of...some sort. Illya did not care at this point. She was done, finally. She collapsed to the ground, hungry, thirsty, tired, and in pain. Yemaya came pawing over.
"So what have you learned, Illya?"
"C-Commander W-west isn't some-someone to disrespect, Ye-Yemaya. Don't do it."
Yemaya cooed lightly. "How many times did it take you?"
Illya coughed a few times, unable to remember. "I don't know. Yemaaaaaayyyyaaa, can you carry me to the cafeteria?"
Yemaya craned her head as if to pick Illya up off the ground before beating her wings slightly and hovering in the air. "I was not the one who needed to be punished. I will at least ensure you have a seat and, if you take too long to get there, I'll get you at least a water and some bread."
Before Illya could muster the strength to protest, Yemaya had flown off once more, causing Illya to take the pained walk to the dining hall, where she would make it just in time to give a weak salute as she crossed by "Commander West."