"Run."

That one word makes him bolt across the damp forest floor. I laugh to myself, feeling my fangs extend and touch my bottom lip. Adjusting my hold on the hilt of my dagger, I take off after him, enjoying the feeling of letting go and just running.

I swerve around a tree and stop right in front of Ethan. He's shaking like a leaf, going pale with shock.

"How do you do that?" he asks, obviously exasperated.

I grin, baring my pointed canines. "That's for me to know and for you to figure out. That is, figure out after I beat you. Now. Where's the paper?" I demand.

He shakes his head. "I'm not telling you."

"Well. Then how about you go get it for me? I'll give you a minutes head start, then come after you to claim my prize."

"Fine," he agrees waveringly.

He turns and bolts off, fast, but only because he's an elf. I count to sixty quickly, knowing Ethan won't bother counting. He'll probably go get help from Will. That's what he always does, the little coward. He knows this simulation counts as half of our grade in Strategy & Quest. Here at Oakleaf, every class has something to do with us 'made-up' creatures surviving in our world. But I guess it's just as much the humans' world as it is ours. We do have to share it with them, but we have our own towns, blocked off and invisible. The thing is, we have a different government system apparently. I don't remember much of it, because I tend to doze off in History. I think they're just making that stuff up, about vampires ruling above everyone else. See, I'm one of the only vamps in this school. If we were so high-and-mighty, wouldn't there be more of us?

In my opinion, the werewolves rule. They're the popular ones, the pretty ones, the perfect ones. They rule the school, so I'm pretty sure they rule the real world too. I have one friend that's a mutt; his name is Will. Will's pretty cool. He isn't cocky and doesn't act aloof whatsoever. He's like my older brother, Ash. He's always able to cheer me up. He's annoying sometimes because he's always teasing me and messing with me. Again, he's just like Ash.

But I haven't seen Ash in years. I always wonder how he is, and how my little sister Lizzy is too.

Anyhow, Ethan is still in my line of vision, so I decide to give him another minute. I stare down at my fingernails; they're painted black with spots of red on them. I don't think the red is nail polish, though. It's probably blood, considering it's my main source of nutrition.

Again, I reach sixty seconds quickly. I won't give Ethan any more time. I take off at a run, nothing close to the fastest I can run. Suddenly, a smell hits me like a slap in the face. I gag; this is the worst smell in the world for vampires. It's a mixture of mud, sweat, and wet dog. Which could only mean one thing: Ethan has a werewolf out here helping him.

I curse and duck behind a tree. Ten seconds later, a werewolf lopes by, sniffing the air. It's huge, at least five times the size of a regular wolf. Its golden-brown fur shimmers in the shafts of sunlight drifting through the treetops. Vaguely, I'm reminded of Will's hair, and then I know. Of course it's Will. Ethan is his best friend at Oakleaf. I curse again. Since Will is practically my brother (besides the fact that I'm a vamp and he's a mutt), he knows all my strategies. He also has my scent engrained in his memory.

And at that exact moment, Will's head turns and he looks straight at me. He seems to grin as he makes his way towards me. I raise my dagger, the silver blade flashing in warning.

Silver is the werewolves' one killer. If you get them with anything else, they'll heal in the minute and kill you. But if you get them with silver, they'll have to heal at a normal rate. There's another way to kill them, though: bloodletting. That takes too long, in my opinion, so I prefer the silver method.

As my dagger glints, Will falters and I use the hesitation to my advantage. I bolt in the direction Ethan went, knowing I have to get to him before he's able to get to the checkpoint. I hear Will crashing through the undergrowth behind me, panting. I don't have to breathe, and my heart doesn't have to beat. We can choose to do these things. It's a predatory thing with vampires. It's so we can hunt silently, according to the Species Director here at Oakleaf. I do it out of habit, I guess, but right now I'm simply running. Just running.

I can see Ethan in front of me, glimmering paper in hand. That paper counts as so much of our grade that if I don't get it, I'll fail this class. I don't care about learning, but if I fail I won't be able to move on to the next stage, which means I'll be stuck with all the newbies. I can't have that happen to me. That will ruin my reputation beyond repair. I'll be forever remembered as Sage Marie Lyonsfairth, the vamp that was held back because she couldn't catch an elf. I'd prefer to be remembered as Sage Marie Lyonsfairth, the vamp that was the best fighter that ever went through Oakleaf.

I snarl as I overcome Ethan. He trips over a root that wasn't there ten seconds before. I shove the phenomena to the back of my mind to figure out later. Right now I need to focus on getting the paper.

I stand over him, brandishing my dagger and baring my fangs.

"Ethan, if you don't give me that paper right now, I swear I'll drain you of every drop of blood in your skinny little elf body, right after I cut you to ribbons," I growl. "So. What's your choice?"

"I pickā€¦" he trails off, eyes widening as he grins at something behind me. "I pick Will!"

And at that moment, Will the Wolf tackles me and my dagger flies out of my hand. I curse. It'll take me forever to get this smell out of my hair.