[20] Sage

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Thank you so much for all of the nice comments, cosmogyralthoughts_!!


The blade is heavy and comforting in my hand. If I wanted to, I could sever all of their heads, both the originals' and the clones', from their bodies before they even thought about moving.

But I don't like doing that sort of thing - the Voice does. And she is being uncharacteristically silent for once.

I know that her advice would be to kill them all, so I've got no one to rely on but myself. Come on Sage, think...

How can I tell the original teenagers and their copies apart?

We all hold weapons. Besides the Xaviers, I and my clones are the only people holding our swords the correct way. My clones and I are also the only people who have katanas. The Jakes have falchions. The Nicoles are letting their scimitars drag on the ground. The Xaviers are clutching Viking swords. The Deirdres are tapping their rapiers against the ground slowly.

Nicole - or one of her copies - moves first. She bares her teeth and hisses.

It doesn't seem like a Nicole move, since I've only seen her flaunt her teeth when she's angry or otherwise emotionally unstable. There's no reason for her to be baring her teeth now. But then again, stressful situations such as this could be drawing out her vampiristic habits. Regardless, I don't feel safe killing her.

While I am more than willing to stick a sword in Nicole's gut, I don't think that's the purpose of this Trial. I would guess that this calls for a mixture of both intelligence and battle skills.

I look to both sides, at my copies. It is so odd, seeing me...and me...and me.

And then I understand what I can do.

Raising my blade, I gently make a very thin cut on my cheek. "Prepare yourselves!" I sing out joyfully, slightly bloodied blade at the ready.

And then I stab the Sage copy to my right in her chest.

She gasps, chokes as one of her lungs is punctured. I withdraw my blade from between her ribs and she collapses, a pool of blood growing underneath her as the last of her life empties out of her through the wound.

The other copies of Sage immediately fly into action, one heading for each of my friends. Since there aren't quite enough to go around, one takes on Xavier and Nicole both, sensing that they are the smallest in the group and possibly assuming they are weaker. It is proven wrong when what I hope is the original Xavier decapitates it.

Every other teenager flies into battle, myself included. I try to target my copies since I obviously know they are fakes, but they are quickly and easily cut down. Now, I don't know who to kill. None of the originals have adopted my tactic and I doubt the clones are smart enough to.

A sword stops mere inches from my face and I follow the blade up to a thick, tree-trunk-like arm. Jake. He is staring at the cut on my face with realization, breathing heavily.

I smile, tapping the cut on my cheek, and he grins understandingly, raising his sword to do the same to his face. The others must have seen us because soon, the real children sport cuts on their cheeks as the fakes fly at us in cold fury.

Jake's copies are the hardest to defeat. However, it is much easier to slice through their necks then it likely would be with the real Jake, and he dispatches most of them.

Soon, us originals are standing with our backs in a circle, gasping for air. The floor and we are slicked with blood from our clones' corpses. I stare at one of my copies, blond hair dyed red with her and her fallen comrades' blood.

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