I wake up as the sunlight stretches across my room. I blink, slowly pulling my covers over my head. "Ugh," I say, turning over and letting my arm hang over the side of my cot. I only see Kago standing in front of me when I'm just about to fall back to sleep. "AH!" I say, scrambling back, wrapping the covers thrice around me.
It's been a week since the first lesson, the day of the assessment.
"Calm down," says Kago. "It's just me."
"I-I barely know you!" I say angrily. "Why are you here?"
Kago doesn't answer. "You may wanna get dressed, ya know. We're allowed to go down and meet more people in the cafeteria today," she stretches, standing on her tiptoes.
"And you may wanna get out as I dress," I say bitterly. She looks at me with an exasperated expression, but she steps outside the door so I can dress. I pull on some jeans and a short-sleeved blue shirt. At least I know Aito has some fashion sense. I leap around trying to pull my shoes on, and then crash out the door, almost falling at Kago's feet. "S-sorry!" I say. She only glances at me for a moment, then helps me up. "Thanks," I say.
"Yeah," she says.
We walk to the cafeteria, which is actually in the mall area. I go in, and Aito waves, and Chame does too. Kago leads me over, and I sit down. "I haven't eaten anything since yesterday morning! I'm starving," I say, because it's true. Yesterday, Aito and I were pitted against each other, with Kago on my side, and Chame on Aito's, in some friendly sparring. It was a tie, though Aito had the most control over his power.
"Same! I guess training can get you hungry," he says in a shy whisper. "Wanna come over with me?" he asks. "I'm gonna go get some pancakes." I nod, and stand with him. We walk over to the serving tables.
"Did you sleep okay?" Chame asks.
"That's a bit personal," I say, a little rudely. Nerves can really get you, you know.
Chame shrugs. "I'm trying to make friends like George said."
"Yeah, I guess I slept fine. Though Kago was standing in the corner when I woke up. It was a bit eerie." I think back to Kago standing in the doorway like a shadow. I shiver.
"That is a bit creepy. But it'd be creepier if it was me or Aito, I guess." Chame says. I nod.
We grab some food and head back to the table. Everyone eats hastily, then we all start running. Every day, before training, we would run from wherever we were, be it in our rooms or wherever, at 9:00AM so we could get to class on time. I pump my arms and legs. I'm small, but quick. I get to the elevator first thing, and we're about to get on when George calls from behind us.
"You're not going up there today, seedlings."
We glance back. I almost trip.
"Follow me," he says, and we solemnly follow him off to a ground level room that I hadn't noticed before. Big, black, and boring. He shoves us in, then steps into it himself. He then takes some stairs and closes the door behind him, sealing himself inside. Then he taps his microphone. "Welcome to the Arena."
I look at Aito, and Chame, and Kago. They stare back blankly.
"What do we have to do?" asks Aito, standing on his tip toes so he can see George. George points to large door on the other side of the Arena.
"Fight that when it comes through."
"Fight what-?" yells Kago, but the door started to rise up. It made a deep, whirring sound, which was obviously agitating the monster inside. As it stepped into the light, my theory was proven. An Akkirasetsu.
One big, giant one. A collar was strung around it's neck.
"This is our only way to assess you and your skills to work together and then make any necessary changes to your training." George says from his safe, enclosed room in the Arena walls. "You will not die, so don't worry. Just focus on killing the monster."
I turn and scream at him. "YOU MORON! YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THE THINGS CAN DO!" I yell. The memory of bloody heads flying and arms being ripped off and everything was flowing into my brain, despite my efforts to suppress it."THEY CAN KILL US ALL! EVEN IF YOU HAVE IT CHAINED UP-"
George looks at me, an eyebrow raised. He presses a button on a remote, and the monster's collar shocks it and makes it go back into it's cage. "We wouldn't kill you off. You're too valuable." he sighs. "Just fight it. You may get hurt, so be careful." he stares at us. "Do what we've taught you."
It approaches, inch by inch.
No weapons are on me.
I have nothing to fight it with.
I'm scared of death.
I'm scared of pain.
I don't want to have to do it, but...
This is my life now, and what more can I do?
I stand up, and everyone presses to each other, drawing guns, swords, or bows out of their powers. I stand at the ready, my bow set and loaded as always. Chame stands with an icy sword, Aito with a firey crossbow, and Kago with a fully-loaded wood rifle. We wait, and we shoot.
And the monster goes down.
Only to be replaced by another, and another.
I shoot, but the others aren't with me anymore.
I shoot again.
Again, and again, and again.
Til I wake up crying.
I realize that I passed the Arena test. I was knocked out sometime after we shot the monster, but I started dreaming again. I turn over in my cot, pressing the pillow to my eyes. I can't handle this. But they say they'll teach me too.
What a bunch of liars.