Flashes of white and red were all she could make out through the video recording. Maybe a hand here or there, a heeled boot sticking out from the fray, but, other than that, nothing. She rewound it and watched again, slowing it down. She had to admit she had gotten better. This fight had lasted seven minutes and thirty-two seconds, a whole six minutes better that her first. The door to her training room slammed open and Malyss entered with one glass water bottle, which she gulped down right in front of Amethyst, not bothering to even offer a sip. Amethyst wiped the sweat off her forehead in a dramatic swipe, tightened the laces on her boots, and moved back to the center of the room, preparing for the fourth fight of the day.

Malyss was a formidable opponent to say the least. She was faster than Amethyst had anticipated, and stronger than her thin arms revealed. And the Arctic wolf mutations weren't hindering her in the least. Her nails, lengthened and sharpened like claws, could break skin with the softest touch, and just the sight of her sharpened canines, long and sharp and too white to be natural, would send shivers down the younger girl's spine. That was where her real skills hid, in fear and foreboding. She left scars both emotional and physical without even trying. Amethyst pulled herself off the floor ten minutes later, clothes glued to her skin with sweat. Blood was dripping down her face from a scratch above her eye, caking the ends of her hair with it. The bell signaling the end of training sounded, prompting Amethyst's sudden exit. She left without the others and headed straight back to the dorm, calling in to the school building, saying she was too sick to go. They let her go, but not before reminding her that points will be taken off for not attending. But she didn't care. She slammed the dorm room behind her loudly, not caring that it might get someone's attention. She slammed her own door too, but no one was around to hear it. She sat down on her bed, grabbing the stiff pillow and clutching it to her body like it was a life raft and she was drowning somewhere cold and deep and so very empty. She buried her face in it, pressing closer until she could see little pink and purple lights behind her eyes. She pulled her face away slowly, took a long gasp of air, and laid down, eventually falling into a light, restless sleep.

She woke up only about 20 minutes later, which made her angry for some reason. But her growling stomach stopped it in its tracks, filling her instead with a desperate hunger. She went to the kitchen, opening the fridge with shaky hands and pulling out something cold chicken from a night or two ago, one of the days they were allowed actual food along with their shakes. She was about to just eat it out of the plastic tub with a fork in all its room-temperature glory when she suddenly decided she really wanted to eat it warm and off a plate, like a real meal. She put the chicken in the microwave and tried to grab a plate, but the little glass thing slipped out of her hands, shattering into pieces on the floor.

It took all her self-control not to scream and throw the pieces across the room. Instead, she slowly bent down to pick them up. But as she picked up the each jagged piece, pricking her fingers more than once, she replayed the sound it made when it hit the floor, until she was no longer sure if she actually heard it or imagined it. So, she did the unthinkable. She stood back up, grabbed a plate, and dropped it. Yes, she actually heard the glass shatter. But just to be sure, she tried it again. And again. And once more. She dropped plate after plate onto the floor, watching as bits of them mingled in the raising dust, sliding across the linoleum. She didn't care that purposely vandalizing her dorm was against the rules. There were so many here, so many rules everywhere she went that no one would notice one slightly bent out of shape, right?

Amethyst sat down in her pile of broken pieces, sighing loudly. A little piece stuck out from the side, buried under a pile of bigger pieces. For no sane reason, she reached out and tugged until the little wiggled free, and the whole pile toppled down on top of her hand. The little piece hadn't been so little and trapped after all. It had been connected to a bigger piece on the top, with a hidden edge that sliced her hand from the heel of her palm to the top of her index finger. Blood started to rush out, down her wrist and onto the floor. She rubbed at it, desperately trying to get it to stop. But it wouldn't, no matter how hard she tried.

So when her dorm-mates came in 30 minutes later, and found her sitting on the floor, blood dripping down the side of her face and pooling in her cupped hands, surrounded by pink-tinged plate remnants, the logical thing to blurt out was, "We need to leave."