Just barely in his sight, Knox could see the glimmering lake only
a bit further down the path. He noticed, however, the thick
layer of fog floating gloomily over the lake. He looked back at
Keira, who was still being carried by him. "We're almost there.
Judging by the sun, I'm pretty sure we've made it in time."
"Good," she said, impatiently. Though her limbs still hurt, she
jumped off of Knox's back. She stood still for a second before
she started to walk. "I don't need your help, my limbs are fine."
Knox smiled. "As long as you're alright, everything's good."
Keira rolled her eyes. "Yeah yeah, whatever." Keira and Knox
continued to walk, getting closer and closer to the lake. "So…are
you bipolar or something?"
"Who else would I be talking to?"
Knox looked up at the sky. "I don't even know what that means…"
"Well, let me think… I guess what I'm trying to say is why are
you so complex?"
"Complex? You think so?"
"It's kinda obvious. I mean, one second you could care less
about what happened to me, then one hour later you're saving me
from Bain. It's like you can't make up your mind."
Knox looked down and kicked up some leaves. "I'm just doing what
I think my father would want me to do. He raised me to always
put your friends and teammates ahead of others, no matter what.
When it comes down to a situation that puts someone's life in
danger, I always have to do my best to make sure nothing happens
to them, whether I like them or not."
Keira arched her eyebrow. "That's…interesting. So you're saying
you rescued me just because I'm on your team?"
"Well, that's part of the reason. I don't necessarily like or
dislike you, and the same goes with everyone else I've met here."
"So…you feel the same way about Tokar and Blake?"
"Yeah…so far, I think their good people, but I can't consider
them friends just yet. I need to spend more time with them to
really understand their personalities and their goals. The same
goes with you. There must be a reason why you have such a harsh
"Harsh…personality?" Keira looked to the ground and frowned.
She looked to the ground and was on the verge of crying.
"D-don't take it like that! I don't think you're a bad person or
anything, I just…well…"
"No, you're right. I was never like this before, but some things
happened lately. I just…" She looked back to when Bain talked
to her. She could hear him saying, "I think you and I want to
kill the same person." "I don't like to talk about it." She
wiped away her still tears and asked Knox another question. "So,
what do you think about your enemies? In this case, Saga's
"I don't really see them as enemies, just an opposing team. The
person I'm most upset with is the examiner, Mia. She kidnapped
Keira widened her eyes. "You're kidding? Why?"
"She saw my potential to be strong, so she used it as a
motivational force. I need to pass this exam in order to stop
them from doing anything to her. In the end, if Saga's team
attacks us during the next phase…well…" Keira looked into Knox's
eyes nervously and noticed a dark shadow forming under his
eyelids. "I'll rip them to shreds." Keira became stiff after
hearing Knox's terrifying tone. She was frightened by the
seriousness in his voice. This kid, she thought, has so many
sides to him, it's scary. I can't make heads or tails with him.
I can never tell what he's thinking or how he's feeling. He's so
mysterious, and being mysterious is a huge advantage. I can
understand why Saga wants to fight him so badly.
Knox stumbled as he stepped into the smooth sand. He looked
around and counted up the remaining contestants. "36," he
mumbled. "And maybe more to come. This might be pretty tough."
From behind a tree, Bugie slid his way stealthily through the
sand, trying to avoid being seen by Keira. He tip-toed his way
through, each step being silent. He almost made it out of her
sight, until she unpredictably turned her head and stared him
down. Bugie gulped harshly and started to lightly shake. "Oh
"Oh yeah," mumbled Keira. "I forgot about the fat ass. It's a
miracle he made it out alive."
"What?" asked Knox. "Who?"
"Oh, no one!" she answered, trying to hide what she did to Lola
Blake sat down on the sand, soon after spotting Knox. He waved
his hand rapidly. "Yo, Knox! Over here!" Knox waved back and
sat down across from Blake and Tokar. "Damn, dude, we were
scared for a second. We honestly thought you were dead."
Knox smiled. "No, but we did come across Bain."
"R-really?" Blake clapped his hands together. "Please, man,
please tell me you killed him…"
"No, we fought for a bit, but after a while he let us leave."
"You're kidding me… Ah, you should've taken him down while you
"It doesn't really matter. The main goal was to rescue Keira, so
there was no point in killing him if he stopped messing with our
Blake blew up his cheek and looked away. "Oh boy," he started,
sarcastically. "Thank god Keira's back. That definitely makes
the day better…"
Keira bent down, took a deep breathe, and slapped him at full
strength. Blake rolled over on his side, laying his hand up
against his burning cheek. "O-o-ouch!"
"It's good to see you, too." she said.
"Did you at least get anything out of him?" asked Tokar,
Knox nodded. "His power is the ability to change his arm into any
weapon. The setback is that he has to flip a coin, which
determines whether he gets to pick his ability or not."
"Interesting…how many weapons can he conjure?"
"I've only seen an assault rifle."
"Well, at least we have the mechanics down. It's logical to say
that he can only summon normal weapons, nothing supernatural.
It's also safe to assume that he has at least one other ranged
weapon and a few melee ones."
"So, what do you guys get done?" asked Keira.
Tokar sighed. "Long story short, everything went poorly for us.
We both were trapped by Saga and Silver, and we were given the
choice between showing our powers or death. Things just didn't
work out in our favor."
Knox shrugged. "It's not the end of the world. Silver already
showed off his power in phase 2, so now we just need to find out
Saga's power in case they attack us."
"Right," mumbled Tokar. "It's just unfortunate that the most
dangerous psychic is the one that we know the least about…"
Bain came out of the forest, drenched in sweat and blood, with a
smile on his face as he took a deep breathe of the lakeside air.
He spotted Silver and Saga at the edge of the lake and walked
towards them. "I'm home…"
Saga looked at him fiercely. "So, you didn't die. What a shame."
Bain laughed to himself. "Man, so cold!" He tapped Saga on the
head several times. "By the way, I had a little duel with your
Saga's eyes widened. He swept away Bain's hands and said,
"Really? Was he worth the challenge?"
"Personally, I thought he was just average, but he wasn't trying
his hardest. He was just fooling around with me."
Saga examined Bain's body, noting the big gashes and bruises all
over him, specifically his face. "His fooling around seemed to
mess you up pretty badly." Saga smiled deviously and dug his
nails into his palm. "Yes, he's just as strong as I imagined. I
can't wait to slaughter him…"
Silver butted in, "Speaking of which, you look kind of pale. Are
you feeling alright?"
Bain looked back at when Knox punched him with his enhanced
punch. He grew goose bumps at the thought of how he almost
passed out. "I'm fine." Bain got on his hands and knees and
scooped some water into his hands, gulfing it down. "Oh yeah,
about their powers. The woman, Keira, she's like a ticking time
"Time bomb? What do you mean?"
"She can set a certain amount of time on her body, and after she
pays of her time, she enters a rage mode. Her entire body just
goes berserk. To say the least, she's pretty much unstoppable in
"I see…and Knox?"
"His is plain and simple. Along with a defense aura, he has an
offense aura that makes his physical attacks stronger. He can
only have one aura at a time, so on and so forth."
Silver clasped his hands together and smiled. "Awesome, we know
all of their powers now… All that's left to do is eliminate them.
If we can accomplish that, it's guaranteed that we'll pass the
"You think so?"
"Of course. Well, I should mention now that this may be the last
phase where we get a chance to attack them. If my predictions of
the final phase are correct, this is our only shot."
Back in the forest, two strangers walked next to each other. On
the left, a woman in her late teens, with sparkling green eyes
that were the same color as her silky, long hair. She wore a
light green garment that had the words POSTALCROMBIE stained in
dark blue letters. Along with that, she wore a red skirt that
matched her shoes. Next to her, a boy who stood several inches
taller than her. Also in his late teens, yet a few years lounger
than the woman, he had silky orange hair that matched his fierce
eyes. He wore a button down plaid shirt, composed of alternating
red and orange squares, along with a pair of baggy khakis that
covered the top of his black sandals.
The girl clapped twice and looked to the boy. "Oh, how exciting!
I hope we're almost there!"
The boy responded, in a mature tone, "You're such a little girl,
Califlora. You should act your age more often."
"First of all, I told you to call me Flora. That's like if I
called you by your full name all the time, Remington."
Rem shrugged. "I don't mind Rem or Remington, really."
Flora jumped ahead of Rem and pointed hastily. "We can't fool
around anymore! We need to get going before we get eliminated."
"We never signed up for the exam in the first place. Mom and Dad
just wants us to retrieve him. They never gave us a time limit,
so enjoy the scenery. It's not everyday that we're allowed to go
on such easy missions anymore!"
"I just really, really, REALLY want to see him again. I can't
remember how many years it's been since we've seen him."
"Six years, and it doesn't matter. Life's better without him
here. Mom and Dad should just let him do what he wants."
Flora smiled slyly. "You're just jealous 'cuz Mama and Papa like
him better than you."
Rem blushed and started to pick up his pace. "Whatever. You're
right, screw the scenery, let's just get this retarded job over
with. If we're lucky, he'll be dead by the time that we get
Flora frowned. "Don't be so cruel to your baby brother! You
should be more suppo-" Flora suddenly stopped at the sound of
"What's wrong?" asked Rem.
"Didn't you here that? Somebody's around us…"
"It's probably just an animal…"
"No, I can feel it with my body. Definitely a human."
"Holy crap," said a voice from the side. The two looked,
simultaneously, at the voice and spotted a young, messy haired
man walk out from behind a tree. "You two are pretty damn sharp."
"See, Rem, I told you it was a human."
"Good for you. Let's just get going…"
The man butted in. "What's the rush? The phase is almost over
and I think we both need to get to the ending point, no? I mean
if you two know where the lake's at, you could, well, give me
some directions. If not, then…" The man's hand lit up fiery
green color. "I guess you're just useless."
Rem took a deep breath and looked at his purely golden watch. "A
threat?" he asked to himself. "What a pain. Flora, I'm in a bad
mood today. You wanna take him?"
Her eyes lit up in excitement. "Really, you mean it? Oh, you're
such a nice brother! It's about time I get some action."
On the edge of the forest, the MCG blimp noisily started to land.
After a minute or two, the blimp landed safely, and with
everyone's eyes on the door, Mia exited the blimp. She walked
down the middle of the beach until she stood at the edge of the
lake. She looked around, counting up how many examinees were
still here. "Wow," she started, "40 contestants still ali-, I
mean in the exam. You should all be very proud of yourselves.
Out of about 400 contestants, you guys are the only ones that
have made it this far."
The examinees stood quiet, only caring about the details of the
next phase. From the blimp, small groups of soldiers were
carrying out wooden boats, enough to fit each team into one. "The
next phase will be held on an island in the middle of the lake.
I will give you all of the details later, but I will say now that
the you will remain in your current teams for this round, as well
as that you are allowed to attack any other examinees during this
Saga glanced over at Knox and roughly gritted his teeth. Our
fight is so close. I can't wait much longer, Knox.
"That gives us no other options," said Silver. "We have to take
them out this round."
"I have no problem with that," answered Bain. Saga looked up at
him with a blank face. Silver looked as well, thinking to
himself, Are you really sure, Saga? Is Bain actually who you
think he is?
Blake rubbed his hands back and forth rapidly. "Alright, let's
bounce! I'm totally ready for this!"
Tokar grabbed his shoulder. "I sure hope you are. Try not to
screw up this round, alright?"
"Eh, shut up! I'm not gonna let those assholes stop me this
"Like I said earlier, you should just try to stay away from
However, Knox didn't get in a boat. While Blake, Tokar and Keira
got into a boat, Knox walked over to Mia, with his arms crossed,
and glared at her. Looking into his eyes, she could feel the
Knox's seriousness before he even made an action. This kid is
too creepy, she thought.
"She's alright, right?"
Mia waited a second before answering "Who?"
"I don't know. We could've killed her the same night we captured
The pupils of Knox's eyes became darker, frightening Mia. "Don't
fuck around with me. I think you know what I'd do to you if that
was the case…"
From the boat, Blake looked over at the two talking to each
other. "Damn, dude, these 2 are taking to long. I just want to
Tokar took a deep breath and replied, "Be patient. Knox isn't
the kind of kid who would just approach someone with so much
power with such a fierce approach. He must have some background
with Mia. I'm sure that has to relate to his sister."
Blake sighed, picking up a paddle and brushing it back and forth
through the water. "Yeah, I know…but damn, Knox can't be so cocky
like that. Shit, I'm freaking retarded and even I know that the
best way to rescue his sister is to just do what the MCG tells us
to do, whether I like it or not. Being cocky is just going to
get him or his sister killed."
"You're right, but…" Tokar stared off into the fog and smiled.
"Sometimes being cocky and daring is the only way to get
Mia gulped, struggling to not show off her fear. "S-she's fine.
Of course, we've practically made a deal that you must pass the
exam to be reunited with her."
"Fine. How much longer?"
"Two more phases, including this upcoming one. Now, if you get
in the boat we can get this started…"
"Alright," said Knox. He jogged back to the boat and hopped in,
acting like nothing just happened. "You guys ready?" he asked,
"Hell yeah, son!" yelled out Blake. Tokar simply nodded, and
Keira said nothing. The examinees waited anxiously as Mia got
into her own boat and started to sail off into the fog, with the
examinees following her.
"Ewww…" claimed Flora. "This is so gross. I can't believe I got
his blood all over my shirt…"
Rem looked back down at the man, now dead, laying in a thick
puddle of blood. His fingers were disconnected from his body,
and three pieces of bark were jammed into his head. "You went
overboard with him, as usual. You need to do something about
"It's not my fault," she replied, feeling a small bruise on her
arm. "I hate it when guys hit girls, it's so rude!"
"Yeah, but I don't think that rule applies in this case.
Anyways, can we go now?"
"Uh, I guess so…I really hope we find him."
"I guess it'll be interesting to meet him again. Of course, I
call first dibs if he resists."
"What? No fair!"
"Flora, you're 20 years old, stop acting like such a baby." Rem
started walking, with his mind focused on the objective.
"Besides, it would be so much fun murdering that pathetic excuse
of a brother."