Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

Four weeks into Phase 2.

Weapons class. Where we learn to use something other than our fists to fight. We didn't have the class before Phase 2, but with tensions with some of the other teams heating up, it would be a welcome skill set.

Our team, number 4, is on decent terms with most of the others, but there's one team, number 10, which hates us. They'd already gotten themselves a reputation as vicious opponents.

It might have something to do with 1304, 1222 and 1224 all being a part of it. They all have new names, but I don't know what they are.

Already, over a dozen students have been to the infirmary for rather major wounds, gotten from one team or another. And five others have died, one of which was from our group. None of us knew her very well, but her death still made us angry.

Group Ten hadn't directly said they'd done it, but both of our groups knew. After the first day, we hadn't had very much sparring with anyone outside our team, so that we wouldn't try to injure each other too badly. Those few matches that were between opposing teams were carefully monitored by the instructors.

We are about halfway through weapons class when the instructor tells us to put away our swords, which we'd been practicing with.

Now we are going to learn to throw knives, the instructor tells us. He demonstrates a few times, and then we all go to our own throwing range. I select a set of four throwing knives. I raise the first one, like the instructor showed us. Off to my left, I see 1304 throwing his. He glances over at me and sends me a quick grin.

I don't return it. As I raise the dagger again, I imagine it hitting the target, right in the center. I aim, cock my arm, and throw it as hard as I can. I flies across the space toward the target, and buries itself about two feet below it, in the wall.

1304 stifles a laugh. He whispers in my ear, "If you want, I'll go and get someone from the infirmary to throw for you. They'd probably do a better job."

I glance over at his target and see that one of his knives is on the edge of the bulls-eye, and that two others are in the ring right outside it. I turn away, and raise my next one, aim again, and throw. It hits the outer edge of the target.

The next one doesn't do much better.

As I raise my last knife, I visualize it hitting the center, over and over again. I raise my arm, am about to throw, then lower it again. I smile. I know what I'll really visualize. 1304's face, right at the bulls-eye.

I take a deep breath, then aim and throw in a smooth motion. The knife whirls, end of over end, and impacts the target. Right in the center of the bulls-eye.

So. The secret to this is motivation. I think. And, of course, practice.

***

Since Phase 2 began, the rules for lights out have changed. Lights out is still at 9:00 PM, but the difference is that now, at promptly 9:00, the door locks, and doesn't open until 12:00, midnight.

So, for three hours, if you're locked out of your room, you're on your own. That's where most of the injuries and deaths have happened.

During this Phase, I've become the unofficial team leader. I talked with most of the rest of the team, and we agreed on a plan. Tonight, I'm going to do something crazy. I'm going to intentionally stay out of my room after 9:00.

The reason? I've arranged a meeting with Team 3, who call themselves the Eagles. They've had a team member killed by Team 10, like us, but have also had a couple sent to the infirmary as well. I want to set up an alliance with them. Together, we could take down Group 10, or the Wolves, as they insist everyone call them.

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