Fable 12:Battle Royale
The evening sun rose to the expectations of the hot day that the contestants had blistered through so far and beamed in the sky blindingly bright as ever, Angela rejoiced at the feeling of sunlight beaming onto her skin and stretched her arms wide to yawn as she looked up at the sun , her eyes were not yet readjusted to unfiltered sunlight.
"Was it this bright when we went in?" she questioned groaning as she stretched.
Jin wiped his eyes and yawned with her "No way to tell, we were in there for three days after all."
The contestants had been lead to the roof of the currently sinking prison and fought for balance against the hard stone beneath their own feet. Leo and his assistant walked infront of the group heading straight for the cockpit of the plane while Arum stayed near the center of the single file line guiding the contestants and occasionally lending a hand to any female participants.
"Keep it moving, no shoving, we are all boarding the same plane."
Aranae and Carib were positioned firmly at the back of the line for what purpose no one knew, the only conclusion was that in case of monsters rushing from the tower they would be the first line of defense.
Boarding the plane with it's padded seats was a welcome rest for most of the competitors the soft cushioned seats and air conditioning were as much luxury as most of them had been given for the longest time.
Jin was particularly happy he had not been the type to become easily stressed out but between having a girls death firmly on his hands to losing a companion and being stuck in a semi operational prison with a group of marauding psychopaths and a team of rabid dogs he had seen better days, better nights too. And he shut his eyes to rest for as long as his body would allow.
As the rumbling engine of the mega sized plane roared in warning of the fuel rapidly burning in it's engine Angela took a last look out of her window seeing the submerged prison through the water slowly smoking and crumbling to the sea floor gave her a modest appreciation for her life having just been inside the prison after all, but more abrupt was the fact that someone she knew was more than likely still inside of such a place, she did her best to fight her tears and closed her eyes.
The turbulent ride was no determent to the sleeping contestants who snored through the entire ride out of courtesy for the other fliers no one dared to speak, the entire thing was enough that Arum didn't have the heart to wake the passengers as the plane neared its destination, empathy however was a grace lost on Leo who snidely made the announcement "Happy passengers we are about to land on dagger island."
A unison grumble sounded from the plane, Leo smirked "Haha what a bunch of wimps."
Not killing him is going to prove harder than I first assumed, thought Arum.
Undoubtedly the coziest seven hour plane ride in history had ended with a hard thump against the rocky ground of the island, if all of the contestants were not awake by this point after a bump that hard they surely would be.
Those who were first to exit the plane jumped out with excitement. The island had an unfamiliar and comfortable feel to it in the large expansions of grass surrounding the dirt field the plane had landed in deer grazed and trampled in the foreground, their was an abundance of butterflies and a smell of fresh foliage all through the air. It seemed fairly 'normal'
"Not what I expected."Angela yawned once again, looking out at the expansion around her.
Nesa took a few sniffs of the fresh air looking inquisitively around "Everything smells...peaceful. It's kind of weird considering everything so far."
Jin began to stretch "To be honest we really only have had two physical exams so far, maybe this next test will be something like the proposal challenge."
"Hehe you would like that wouldn't you." Jin jumped in a flustered hurry as he felt a cold breath against the back of his neck he turned to see Aranae smirking at him with a fan covering half of her face.
"Oh you again?" he frowned hands folded "Why are you still around anyways?"
Aranae's grin widened "To watch kids like you crumble, you think things have been tough on you at all so far? You're dead wrong what comes next will be the breaking point."
"Sounds like your just bitter I passed your terrible exam without trying."
"Maybe I am, so what? The fact of the matter is you're going to die out here and your kind big sister figure Aranae is here offering you a way out, a last chance, and you'd be a damned fool not to take it."
"I think i'm tough enough to survive anything you old shit's throw at me." Jin taunted flexing his decidedly lacking muscles.
Aranae walked off calmly "We shall see." she echoed ominously.
Angela walked over to Jin and for once didn't have anything negative to say about him "She's so full of herself don't pay her any attention." the vote of confidence was much appreciated and Jin smiled while nodding.
Arum clapped his hands together "All right then you lazy bums, everyone follow me into the forest." The chattering contestants eagerly did as they were told and followed the man enthusiastically.
The path they followed lead into the absolutely thickest part of the nearby forest, the open field they had traveled from was very much lost to them, no open space to be seen anywhere only the dense fungi of the forest surrounded them by this point, the roots of the smallest plants were large enough to trip over and some did, lightening the mood of the competition was admittedly not Jin's idea but the painful silence of the walk being broken as he stumbled to the ground put a smile on his face.
At the end of the path with it's snakes and thick branches was another open field, at least in comparison the box of a forest they had just been walking through, in truth the field was not very open but spacious in comparison, what made the difference was the large cage fence located on the other side of the field that made the difference. In front of the caged fence was a large curtain and what the eyes of only the most attentive participants could vaguely tell was a human.
Their suspicions were confirmed, Arum lifted his arm to wave at the figure in the distance and was met with a lazy response "Hey! Wheres Joe?" an uneven and worried tone prominent in her voice. Arum lowered his hand the question was far from foreign and he had an appropriate answer at last "Business."
As the contestants walked within hearing distance the woman nodded and frowned "Sounds like Joe."
Leo quickly stammered up to the both of them wiping sweat from his brow with a heavy pant "You really aren't used to much physical activity are you Leo?" she asked offering him a bottle of water. He grasped the bottle of water as if it were the last he'd ever have and gulped it down quickly gasping for breath afterward but his trademark smirk was soon returning to his face "Monitoring world renown dangerous criminals is plenty strenuous."
Arum looked down and sneered "Or it would be if you ever got off your ass to do so."
The woman gave Arum a light punch in the arm "Now now we all have our purposes and places to be." this comment did not stick long and soon enough Arum was looking down on the small man same as he ever had. Leo had taken a deep enough breath to regain his composure and began to speak once more "So Georgia what do we have planned for the lucky contestants today?"
A devious smile of her own so big it displayed her pearly white teeth shone in Leo's face so bright it was a purely contagious gesture to return "Well being where it is we are, I think you should be able to take a quick guess."
"I certainly hope it's what I think it is."
The few contestants gathered around to hear this conversation were less than thrilled and were even more intimidated by the woman's strange choice in clothes; she wore a dark gray sleeveless vest with a white collar and a cream overcoat with red pinstripe pants and a utility belt hanging around her waist, dirt less sandals on her feet her hair was jet black with red highlights and golden eyes.
"I don't think you'll be disappointed Leo." she snickered again.
"With a laugh like that it couldn't be anyone except Georgia." Aranae and Carib joined their fellow consor she was met with a smile as she sauntered toward them by the girl she had just called Georgia "Nice to see you as always Aranae."
"If that's the case I guess im not doing my job right."
Leo chuckled taking a seat "We are getting old greeting each other like this, feels like we're at some sort of reunion."
Arum pulled out his slowly ticking stopwatch to examine it "Yes. And our reunions would be much larger if the consors in charge of administering the exam weren't sociopaths who made the tests as hard as possible for the fun of it."
"How were the lot of us made to be as strong as we are without those sadistic tests being given to us in the first place." shot back Leo with a grin.
Georgia clapped her hands together "Alright then! You fine people have won the lottery. You got me as a proctor and unlike the rest of these saps im gonna let you do what you have all wanted to do this entire time; kill each other." this announcement got mixed reactions as Georgia approached the crowd in front of her some looked excited others afraid.
"Behind me here is eight-thousand and ten acres of pure fungal overgrowth this place is quite literally a jungle, a dangerous jungle and for my portion of this exam I want you all buckle up and do your best to survive in here for five days." Georgia strutted over to the large curtain beside her and knocked on it twice, it quickly opened and behind it was a large wooden desk with twelve men in suit and tie with stacks of papers at their sides.
"But don't worry, im a nice person so i've arranged that you must participate in teams of three during this, so all you loners are gonna have to pack your bags here."
Aranae snickered "Wasting no time making this as unpleasant as possible."
Georgia grinned back at her but continued speaking directly to the crowd "And that is not all, your goal once inside the forest is to take the badge of an opposing team, there are two types of badges." she held out from her pockets two large round badges one white one black "A yin badge and a yang badge, each team will be given one or the other, you need to find a team with the other badge obtain it through whatever means necessary, but know that you'll need to present both to get a pass."
A hand crept upward from the back of the crowd shaking "Is that it?" the voice was trembling and small, Georgia could barely see the face behind the hand but she smiled with her eyes closed and answered reassuringly "That's all im asking from you."
Their was no audible cue nor was there a tensing of shoulders but the air changed that moment and soon the mysterious woman who had presented herself before clapped her hands and the loose group bound together tightly and Sai was quick to look for friends.
"Gondar!" he joyfully screamed spotting the bowmen who greeted him with a wave "We must become partners it is absolutely necessary."
The warm smile attached to the bowman's face faded as he scratched the back of his head searching for a response to give the ninja "How do I put this..."
"He's already got a team." a tall and lanky brown skinned man with a balled head and a round cloth hat approached from behind.
Gondar was obviously not pleased with his partners blunt response but he followed his lead hesitantly regardless "Yeah, we met during the last trial and kind of partnered up back there."
Sai showed obvious concern fearing what would come next "But the teams are split up into groups of three, right?"
Gondar lowered his head once more "Well you see...it isn't just baldy here."
"He's got a full team." Firm but quiet a girl Sai had taken the time to become acquainted with earlier stepped from behind a nearby tree "Sorry Sai, but the three of us are already a team."
An awkward pause came and went and Sai simply bowed his heads "Then we shall be competing against one another, I wanted to avoid such a circumstance but there is nothing that I can do about this." the boys words sounded oddly like a challenge as he turned and walked back into the crowd.
"You think he's gonna be alright?" asked the girl.
Gondar nodded and smiled "We need to worry about ourselves right now, this is a competition not a pow wow."
Jin took his time writing into the dirt with a branch he had discovered in the forest, scribbling x's and o's into the sand he began to look around, hunched to the ground he pointed his pinky at anyone he considered a potential target with Nesa and Angela huddled close.
"That robot thingy is definitely not a target, that's clear already."
His two partners kept silent and nodded as he continued "I don't trust that ninja looking guy either, he looks dumb but he don't move like one."
Angela gently guided the stick and drew another x into the sand near the o's that represented the three of them "That black guy who caught that dart for you in the first round he's not a smart target either, he's too fast, too big and too crafty."
Of those that were known to the group those that remained were the boy with the arrow and his group they dubbed "The hats' and a group of weapon wielding martial artists, they were the weakest link as far as the eye could see and Jin could only pray they held an opposite colored badge.
Nesa sneezed "This feels like an espionage mission or something, really cool."
The group remained silent the flickering light from Jin's zippo was the only thing in the area making any noise with each group beginning to split off to coordinate amongst themselves Angela looked over at the boy and sighed "That's got to be your last cigarette for the next five days."
"Yeah I know, let me enjoy it okay?" Jin sneered back catching the light Angela lowered her head but did not take the time to give a reply.
"Alright maggots! Sign your papers and get your badges you head in to the jungle in twenty minutes." Georgia announced with the clap of her hands.
The lines filled fast and the silence continued the people here were scared very scared and it showed most of them would not come out alive but those that did were the only ones who could be called consor.