As the final hour approached, students began funneling towards the center of the labyrinth. James was one of the first of the seven to sneak up to the arena and what he saw shocked him. He’d been there a few hours ago and it was now a very different arena. Much of the dirt floor of the arena was now a forest, but not like any forest that existed anywhere. The trees and plants came from all over the world, rainforest mixed with pine trees, mixed with palms, mixed with cacti, and a variety of flowers and weeds and vines. It was really strange looking and certainly not something that James or most students would be able to get through.
And if that wasn’t enough, an ice field was slowly creeping outwards from one of the halls not far from James’ position. Moving down the steps and spreading out. And then while James was watching to see where the ice was heading, Pinnacle came shooting out into the arena and moved up towards the ceiling of the arena and circled around staring at Tara’s tree form walking among her forest.
James rechecked his spheres. Including his own, he now had four white spheres, he had two more gold and a bunch more silver, although the silvers had become pretty scarce over the last hour. And yet, all those points sitting in his bag would mean nothing if he couldn’t get them to the fire. He did have options though. His heat energy could melt the ice and he was pretty sure that it could start some of the plants on fire. And he was still flush with the energy he’d taken from the students he’d beaten and his electricity could be used on Pinnacle. But, making himself a target against all the power that was out there would be a mistake. So he slunk back into the maze and decided to wait for a distraction.
Hope and Michael’s group were a decent distance from the arena. Somehow Ray could hear the trees and the ice and know how many people were close enough to the arena to cause them problems. Their plan for now was to hold back, maybe search for a few more silvers and then at the 30 minute mark to teleport right next to the fire, drop all their spheres and then the most important thing to do would be to try and stop others from scoring.
Jennifer was flying towards the arena at top speed, it was time to get some points. She’d only just been able to get back to the numbers of spheres she’d had before she’d been knocked out. She’d defeated a student, but they’d already lost their white sphere and she only got a handful of silver for her trouble there. She shot out of the hall like a cannonball, but almost faltered by what she actually saw. She recovered and moved up and almost ran into Pinnacle, who fortunately was as surprised to see her as she was to see him.
She turned away from him quickly and then she dove almost straight down towards the fire. Flipping at the last moment and slowing her momentum in a display of skill that even surprised Jennifer. A small blast from Drew missed her by a few feet. She landed on the edge of the fire, which for anyone else would have burnt them, but besides her uniform smoking up a bit, she was fine. She then unleashed a jet of flames at the nearest trees that were already starting to creep towards her. Once they started to burn they recoiled like a living thing, but that just spread the flame. She didn’t have any white spheres, and everything was already three times multiplied, so she just dropped her whole bag into the fire and took flight again.
She passed Pinnacle again on the way up, but he didn’t try to stop her, probably rightly figuring she no longer had any spheres and wouldn’t be worth the effort. With the multiplier, she’d gotten a little over a thousand points, but she had no frame of reference for if that was a sufficient amount. She landed at the top of the steps and put her back towards the wall and looked down on Tara’s forest and Amy’s ice field. The ironic thing was that Jennifer was the best person to take care of both, reopening the field. Yet, she had no reason to do that now that she was out of spheres and doing so would only help people pass her in points.
So then the question was, now what? She could head back into the labyrinth, but silvers had become very scarce and even with her speed, heading into the maze, then finding and defeating a monster, then making it back before all hell breaks loose would be improbable. So, if she wasn’t going to help other students by clearing the field, she could instead help Tara and keep everyone away, maybe stealing some spheres in the process.
The world was upside down for Tony. He was hanging from the ceiling of the arena as a vampire bat; his bag of spheres tucked into a crevice nearby. So far no one had let on that they’d seen him, even Pinnacle with all his enhanced abilities had flown by his hiding spot several time. Tony was almost directly over the fire and his plan was to dive bomb the brazier after the whites came into play. His plan wasn’t without its flaws though. The biggest of which was that he planned to swoop right into the heart of battle, where energy beam, forces of natures and gods among men would be attacking each other and he would basically be a flying rodent in the middle of all that. A very small misstep in timing or flying skill could end up costing him big. That thought alone almost made him paranoid enough to leave his perch right there and deposit his golds and silver. But he’d only get one chance to surprise everyone, therefore he’d likely miss out on the points from his own white sphere. So he waited and watched.
Allison could feel the tension in the arena. It was a powder keg…and she was the match. Everyone was so near their tipping point, and if she could focus enough, it should be possible to get most of them moving. She knew 35 people had started the challenge, yet she only felt 22 people within her range. Some were likely holding back until the last minute and a few were probably in the infirmary. She would have preferred to get everyone at once, but 22 people fighting it out might be enough of a distraction. She was a bit limited without line of sight, so she couldn’t be subtle, yet at the same time, she didn’t really want subtlety, she wanted chaos.
She also had to be careful though. Yes, she could up anger and throw everyone into a blind rage, but then they’d almost certainly not be cautious enough and any deadly force would fall to Allison, not the one attacking. So, it was a bit tricky. She started with those furthest from the arena and she did use a little more anger than she’d be using once they were more closely bunched together. But, she also slowly spread confidence over her entire range and she could feel people begin to stir. The most impatient moved first, others could resist longer if they were more committed to their strategy, but would be forced to act once they see people moving towards the fire to get their points, they can’t sit back and just let it happen, and once they are in motion, they begin to work on instinct and that is easier to manipulate than a rational mind.
She kept up bombarding her entire range with confidence, pushing them towards arrogance and she followed behind someone heading quickly towards the arena. They were already naturally angry and arrogant, so they were very easy to manipulate. She followed the emotions and saw Matt in full spikey bone armor running full-bore down the hall. Then out of a side hall Derrick ran out and slammed into Matt. They both fell to the floor and then squared off against each other. They were both looking for a fight, but Allison needed to decide if she wanted them fighting each other or ‘with’ each other. Alone neither was that impressive and alone neither would last a minute inside the arena. So she decided she wanted them working together and focused on calming them, while upping trust and love for each other. She kept the confidence going and added a little paranoia in order to get them to rush to their goal. Allison didn’t want to insult them, but in her mind they both were angry, stupid and impatient, and that made them just so easy to manipulate that Allison almost felt bad when they took off at a full sprint towards the arena.
She followed along in their wake, continuing to affect everyone in her range. The closer she came to their tipping point, the slower she manipulated. So many people at once were difficult to affect in this manner, if she was trying to calm them, that’d be no problem, you can never be too calm, but anger was dangerous, as she’d seen earlier with Robert. She didn’t want people stupid, only reckless.
James was getting impatient, he kept fearing he’d be too late if he didn’t act. He was also feeling really confident that he could get to the fire if he wanted. He was also a little afraid that Allison was the one making him feel that way, but he dismissed it as irrelevant. While it was a good strategy for her, the whites were coming into play in less than ten minutes and they’d all have to head that way regardless of what they’re feeling; unless that thought too was manipulated…
James couldn’t really fight what he was feeling, but maybe he could still be smart and cautious. He had to move, but he could move slowly, he could keep his shadow cloak up, and he could try to not just rush into the arena without scouting.
Sam was ready. He’d found a hall that ran for almost ¾ of a mile straight to the arena and he was at the very end of that hall leaning against the wall. The very second the whites came into play he was going to use as much energy as necessary to get to the arena within seconds and fight his way through the forest to get everything he now had into the fire. Then once that was done he planned to fight anyone and everyone until his energy ran out, no holding back, no more playing it cautious, just straight-up super fighting. He checked his watch, with ten seconds left he took a sprinters stance with a foot against the wall and waited for it to beep.
It beeped and he took off with so much force and speed that part of the wall came down, but he was long gone before he even noticed that. He increased his mental speed along with his actual speed and came to the arched doorway within seconds. He didn’t have the built in protection that natural speedsters tend to have. Like when he comes out of this hall he won’t stick to the stairs and be able to run down them, instead his momentum will shoot him into an arc down to the floor, so he upped his durability and resistance to the extreme. He upped his perception even more and as he shot out into the air, he took the time to scout out everything.
It was total chaos. The forest was huge, but being encroached upon by an ice field and a raging fire. Pinnacle had an energy blast aimed at Jackson, James had two white tendrils out, one melting some ice the other seemed to be reaching for Pinnacle. A bat was dropping from the ceiling, probably Tony. He could see the beginning of Ross’ teleport coming in next to the fire. There were several creatures tearing into the forest, they looked more D&D, rather than Greek mythos, which meant they were probably Alex’s summoned creatures. And all that was just what he could make out in the faction of a second before he landed in Tara’s forest.
Sam landed on a cactus, but it wasn’t some super cactus, so he just got some thorns in his uniform, but his skin was unharmed. He rolled and tried to slow his momentum while avoiding trees. He tore through vines and plants and smaller trees, but was thrown painfully off course by a massive trunk. But even so, with his strength and speed and perception as high as they were it was only a fraction of second delay and he was slamming his bag of spheres into the fire, before Tara or anyone nearby could even recognize a problem.
He then turned to Ross’ port and was shocked when it was more than just him. Michael, Hope, Ray and Ross appeared within the tree line and didn’t hesitate to attempt to toss in their own bags. Sam however, did hesitate. He didn’t know if he wanted to interfere with his friends, and by the time he decided he really should, it was too late. Expect for Ross who didn’t really have the dexterity required to toss spheres, as he kind of held them in orbit around his body. Sam started to run at the glowing light to try and steal a few of them, but suddenly Ray moved with incredible speed and reflexes, likely enhanced by Hope, and stepped between the two. Sam was moving too fast and hitting a normal durability person like Ray would be deadly force and he had to turn mostly aside, but was able to catch a gold sphere that Ross had thrown. Then he was falling into the forest.
Tony fell from the ceiling, bag clutched in his feet. He dodged a beam of energy from Nancy, avoided Pinnacle, and was somehow able to stay focused when Sam shot out of the forest like a bat out of hell and a group teleported in mere feet from the fire. He pulled up and shot his bag into the fire. But bats are not really that great of flyers compared to birds and he couldn’t get back above the trees and instead landed/crashed into a big one. It didn’t attack him right away, but he couldn’t really get out as a bat.
He focused on his new techniques and returned to his human form. The tree took notice within moments and began to stir, but Tony was already heading to a new form and jumped even before he was fully shifted and hit the ground as a black panther and ran and dodged his way out of the forest. Fortunately, Tara was very busy at the moment.
As he cleared the forest he looked for a new target and found Andy running down the steps. He ran at her and jumped with his claws extended, he was very excited for a fight.
“Wow. They are aggressive this year,” Coach Tillman said from the monitor room. “No plan, just all-out combat. Which normally I would encourage, but it’s not really the right time yet,” he added to nobody specific. “Mcgee down,” he said into his radio.
“Roger,” the dean’s voice said back and a portal could be seen grabbing Matt on screen.
“It’s Allison,” Coach Young said sneaking up on Tillman. He loved watching the man jump.
“What?” he asked to cover being startled.
“She pushing everyone, I’m guessing confidence, a bit of anger, and just a hint of paranoia-based fear. She’s come a long ways since the initial trials.”
“She’s doing all that?” Tillman asked.
“Well, no. She started it, but emotions control themselves and once one person does something unexpected it forces other to respond, which in turn make them easier to push, which causes others to respond, and it snowballs with its own momentum after that.”
“Singley down!” he said into the radio. “Impressive,” he said to Young.
Tony jumped at Andy and tried to swipe her with his claws, but she twisted out of his reach and caught his side with her own claws. Panthers were fast, strong and agile, but they were just no match for a human with super agility. Andy could contort her body and limbs in ways Tony couldn’t begin to match, but he was fired up and he reengaged her. He growled at her and she growled right back, which startled his animal mind for a second.
He charged her again, but didn’t jump, so he could keep traction and maneuver. Andy dodged his first swipe, but he pushed off with his back leg, turned his whole body and caught her leg with his other claw. He missed the meat, but caught the uniform and it was enough to drag her off her feet. He rushed forward as she pushed off the ground with inhuman strength, but Tony was on her now. He got a paw on her back with his claws extended and as she pushed out, she pulled against the claws, ranking several deep long gashes from her lower back down along her butt. Tony wasn’t expecting her to do that to herself though, so she pulled out of his range.
He charged her again, as he was faster. But she did a backflip, several feet into the air and landed behind Tony, then turned the opposite direction and started running. Tony turned and gave chase. Andy kept dodging, like a matador, but she was also bleeding very badly and she couldn’t switch to Mandy to heal with Tony so close. So if he could keep up the pressure, she should drop from blood loss. And then out of nowhere, Jennifer slammed into his side and tackled him to ground.
Jennifer watched Tony rack his claws across Andy’s back and she freaked out a little. She took flight and started moving before she even thought about it. But, she had a few moments as she circled their fight. Andy was very proud and might now appreciate her girlfriend coming to her recuse. But, at the same time, Andy still had her bag of spheres and Jennifer didn’t know if she’d put any in before this and she wasn’t going to risk Andy finishing with zero points and possibly being dropped. She cared for her too much to risk that.
Her mind made up, she shot at Tony like a rocket and slammed into his side; the heat coming off her body was pretty intense. They rolled and then she shot a jet of fire between Tony and Andy. Tony roared at her, his intent clear even without human words. And Andy changed to Mandy, who ran towards the wall and began healing. Tony kept looking back and forth between Jennifer and Mandy. He was too limited against fire and had lost his chance to take out the girls, so he turned and ran away.
Jennifer watched Mandy a little longer and then when she looked like she was out of the woods, Jennifer took flight and looked for a new fight. She could have burned a path for Andy to take to the center, but it is one thing to save her and quite another to hold her hand until she got her points. Andy would hate that type of help.
From the air Jennifer saw Amy’s ice field make its final push through the forest. All the other trees in its wake were buried deep in the ice. And then from out of the hall a massive block of ice shaped like a bobsled came flying down the steps; Amy securely inside, directing its path. Jen put on her afterburners and chased after it.
Pinnacle had avoided James’ attempts to hit him with an electric attack. So James had instead moved to try and get to the fire, by way of Amy’s ice. He saw her ride her ice bubble-thing down the stairs and hoped that that would keep her focus while he ran across her ice field. And he got his second break when Jennifer engaged her in a fight; melting the ice at the end of her path and hopefully distracting her more.
James used some energy to sprint across the ice; even though ‘sprint’ and ‘ice’ don’t really work that well together. Even so, he moved quickly forward and the ice didn’t attack him, but then he had to stop. Jennifer was sitting on the edge of the brazier continuous laying down a wall of flames and Amy was continuously building a wall of ice to try and protect herself, but she kept having to move it back as it melted. James was trapped here and even his best options weren’t great. He could drain one or the other, but then the one left standing would almost certainly attack him.
Or, he could attempt to drain both of them at the same time, which was hard to do, and he had to hope they didn’t join forces and turn on him. He decided to try that, because it was the best option at the moment. He leaned out from behind his ice boulder, but when he tried to take a step he saw his foot was rooted in a block of ice; apparently Amy was sparing a little attention for him. He used heat and melted the ice. He still couldn’t regulate the temperature any better than he could the power of his electricity, so he burned his pant leg off and gave himself a pretty nasty burn, but he just used a bunch of internal energy to heal that damage while continuing to melt the ice around him. It wasn’t easy to keep burning yourself, even if you’re healed a moment later, but he pushed on until he had about a ten foot circle of melted ice around him.
He had to take a second, as his brain was screaming at him that he should be burnt right now and to take it easy, but he had to get these spheres into the fire. He sent out both tendril and found Amy easily, but Jen’s fire was actually scattering his tendril; he didn’t know fire could do that. So he had to send it around the flames she was making and try to catch her from behind, which meant that that one was over thirty feet longer than the one draining Amy and would take that much longer to do a full drain.
From what he could tell, either neither of them noticed the tendrils, or they were too busy to do anything about them. Because, Jennifer never moved or redirected her flame anywhere but against Amy’s ice, and none of the ice that surrounded James so much as twitched.
Once their group had avoided being attacked by Sam and had finished getting Ross’s spheres into the fire, they were kind of at a crossroads. Ross had to shift back in order to get yet another boost from Hope; he was going to be feeling all these enhancements for days, maybe even weeks. Ray and Hope almost certainly couldn’t get back out through the forest without Ross’ teleport or beam attack. And being right next to the place where the heaviest fighting was going to be taking place was a bad idea. So it was up to Michael to give them some time, although without spheres they shouldn’t be big targets.
Michael found Pinnacle flying above and focused on him. He wanted the form that could fight him. He shifted and his new form was as eclectic as it’d even been against Pinnacle. He was taller, wider, much stronger, although at the cost of speed or quickness, he had wings that could actually be used for flying, long, sharp, claws again, his tail was long and thin like a cats, but ended in a poisoned spike like a scorpion, and finally his head was long like a dragon, full of many sharp teeth and capable of breathing fire. So he used that fire right away on the trees right behind him.
The underbrush started up fast and he fanned it with his wings to spread it deeper into the forest. He used it on a few more spots and fanned it until he had a nice self-sustaining forest fire going and looked back at his team again. Ross had yet to re-shift, “What’s going on!?” he said, although with a mouth like his, none of the words sounded like that, but they got it from context.
“He’s done!” Hope yelled over the fire. Michael let out a sigh, but nodded. Then he grabbed hold of Ross and started flying. He took him all the way to wall in one of the few clear sections, as fighting was taking place everywhere. He dropped him off, and the second he set him down a portal opened under Ross and he fell through, too exhausted to continue. Michael flew back towards his teammates, but didn’t see them where he’d left them, but what he did see was Jennifer and Amy in a battle of fire and ice. He flew back that way anyways to try and help.
Allison had gotten the chaos she’d wanted, although in all fairness, it’d likely look like this even without her help. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, there was no path to the fire for someone as weak as her; the trees, the ice, and the students looking for a fight. James had taken the ice route, but it had attacked him. And the forest, while burning in several places was still fighting anyone who tried to enter it. She needed a ride, then she felt him; Bradley. He was hiding in a doorway a few openings down from her position. She could tell by his emotions that he was on the verge of making his move and flying his spheres to fire. Probably waiting to see what happens with Jennifer and Amy. So Allison sent him calm, she wanted him to wait until she got there and then she could up the love and make him carry her. Or at least that was the plan she’d come up with in ten seconds of thought.
She snuck out and hugged the wall, people who weren’t going for the center seemed to be mostly ignored; for now. With her emotion sense she could tell which archways had people hiding just inside them. The first two she had to cross were clear, but she felt someone in the third. She got pretty close, then hit them with fear, and they retreated within twenty seconds or so. Then she rushed by the opening and came to Bradley’s position. Still on the cusp of going, even with Allison’s calming field, she rushed around the corner. “Allison!?” He yelled in surprise, then took a step back and tensed.
“Hi,” she said sweetly. While still not official or anything, they’d been dating since Halloween; although with what had happened that night it’d taken weeks to get to a second date. But even so, with the relationship already in place, it made it ten times easier to manipulate him. “I need a ride.”
He relaxed a lot after the initial surprise and with Allison’s non-threaten body language he was tempted to agree without thought. “But, it will be hard enough for just me to get out there,” he tried to make a logical argument against the emotions that were betraying him.
Allison didn’t even have to say anything. “But what am I going to do?” she asked in a helpless, innocent voice.
“Well…um, maybe I can go alone first and get my own spheres in there and then comeback and help you?” he almost pleaded.
“But, we’re so short on time,” she pouted, “and what if something happens to you? I think it will be better if we go together.” And in a way it would be better to have Allison’s power along for the ride, as Bradley didn’t have anything offensive.
“…Alright,” he finally said. He lifted off, grabbed both of Allison’s hands and headed out into the fray.
Amy went down first, and Jennifer jumped off the edge of the brazier to get her spheres, still not realizing that it was James that had caused her to falter, until she felt lightheaded. She didn’t even consider any other possibility, she just took off straight up and flipped and turned, and then she saw the tendril chasing her. James moved forward over the ice and saw Amy dropped through a portal, but there was no spheres. James was confused, although it would be entirely possible that she’d placed them on her ice and moved them into fire behind Jennifer while she was fighting; she is known for her ability to multi-task with her ice.
He didn’t dwell on it too much though, Amy and Jennifer were now out of the way and he still had to get his sphere into the fire. He once again sprinted across the fire and saw Jennifer was ready to reengage him. He sent both tendril in her general direction, but didn’t really look that way. He just flopped them around, trying to scare and distract her. A jet of flame appeared very near James’ head, but he knew Jennifer couldn’t attack him directly, so he didn’t slow down.
Bradley took Allison in low. Pinnacle was the big issue here. He was acting as the main enforcer against all comers. He only attacked those he believed he could actually stop, he only attacked those that were unmolested by anyone else, like letting Jennifer take care of Amy, and he didn’t attack anyone who had already deposited their spheres. But, Brad and Allison would be right in his crosshairs. Which is why Allison focused all of her energy on him even before they left the hall.
Shifter were mostly a problem for Allison. They didn’t have human brains per se, so they weren’t always affected as quickly or efficiently, or completely, as the more humanoid people were. And even though Pinnacle was physically as human as Drew; part of his shift included seemingly maxing out emotions like courage, determination, and hope. So Allison had to first take down those positive emotion, before attacking him with the negative, which is a feat that would be difficult enough without being carried through a battle by an angel. Yet, at the same time, she didn’t have to beat him, she just had to distract or delay him for 30 seconds.
So she didn’t hold back anything; Pinnacle could take it. She hit him with depression and she hit him as hard as she’d ever hit anyone. And it wasn’t even that effective. Bradley banked hard to the right and dropped, almost causing Allison to lose her grip. She saw Derrick on the arena floor shooting quills at them, but she didn’t spare him too much thought as they were already moving out of his effective range. Then before she could refocus on Pinnacle, he was on them. He tried to be as gentle as possible, but it’s just not that easy to fight in the air like that and suddenly Allison was spinning like she was in the rinse cycle and then she was flying through the air without Bradley.
She flew through the tree tops, hitting branch after branch. Hitting her head and arms and shoulders and legs. Then she was falling again; she hit a vine which she was able to get her hand on for just a second, slowing her fall. Then she slammed into the ground, hard. The air was forced from her lungs and she gasped for breath. She was bruised, almost certainly broken, and she was disoriented. Which is why she thought she was seeing things when she saw the fire only a few feet away. Seeing that fire was likely the only thing that kept the dean from dropping her into a portal. She rolled over, still gasping for a breath. She pushed herself up, took a step and nearly fell over again; her ankle was very clearly broken. She took two short hops on her good foot grabbed her back and tossed it the last couple feet. It hit the fire a second after James’ bag did and a few moments before Jennifer landed next to her. “Are you okay!” She yelled, both out of concern and because the arena was so loud.
Allison couldn’t focus; concussion most likely, “What?” she asked, her words slurred and then she collapsed. Jennifer caught her and set her down more carefully. A portal opened a moment later.
As far as Jennifer could tell, all of her housemates had gotten their spheres into fire. She wasn’t really doing as well on defense as she’d hoped for, so she approached James on the other side of the fire, asking him if he wanted to team up with her. He agreed and said he’d take the ice again and that she should head straight up again. Then almost as soon as James stepped onto the ice, Andy came sprinting towards him. This made things strange for everyone. Andy didn’t like James, so he might attack her out of spite, but then he’d be affecting his own girlfriend in there. But, if he did attack Andy, then Jennifer would be conflicted, as she’d just agreed to work with James, but had no desire to fight Andy here. What would she do here; love, friendship, duty, or the HCP? She prayed they didn’t attack each other.
Then Andy was Candy and she screamed at an angle into the ice. Massive chunks of it ripped free and flew at James, who had to put all his energy into running away and landed in Tara’s forest, which despite looking mostly inactive for the last few minutes, was ready and entangled James the moment he was within reach. Candy continued to run and scream at the same time, making a path for herself and a wall of deadly ice chunks to protect herself. Jennifer was well above the ground now, watching her do it.
She watched Pinnacle fly back over the trees, but he wasn’t fast enough to stop her from getting her spheres in the fire and Jennifer let out a sigh of relief and looked for James, but it seemed whatever Tara had done to him had caused the dean to portal him out. So she approached Candy for an alliance.
Most of the class sat on the gym bleachers waiting for the professors and the last few students to be healed. As a group they were a mess. Although most sitting there had been healed already, there was still blood stained into the uniforms. Even the shifters who normally weren’t in human form for fighting, hadn’t been able to avoid it the whole time, and their uniforms were as dirty and bloody as the rest. Some were missing jackets and pants that had been burnt or torn to shreds. Dirt was a constant on everything and everyone, but few people spared much thought for how they looked, as not a one of them wasn’t physically, mentally and emotional drained.
Even before they had started, they were tried from the early hour, the weeks of extra training and a bunch of finals. That HCP mid-term was worse than any of them imagined. Six hours of constant vigilance, mixed with fighting and running and just using powers for so long was more than most thought they could deal with. In fact a few people on those bleachers had gotten only a handful of points early and basically sat out the final battle. If Allison hadn’t shut off her power to deal with the headache that was building, she would have felt some deep nerves from several people.
Finally the last couple students came in ahead of the dean, Coach Young and Coach Tillman, and joined the rest of the class. “Sorry to keep you waiting,” the dean said. “But, I wanted you all here at the same time. First congratulations on finishing. We won’t be posting all scores, only the top ten, below that doesn’t really contribute to your education. I mentioned at the beginning of the test that the lowest score would not be returning, and…there were three people with a score of zero. As such, we are going to review their performances and at least one will definitely not be returning, but we are reserving the right to drop all three. Sorry.
“But, on to better news. The top performers, the student with the most white spheres was James Reed,” he said and the crowd clapped with about as much excitement as they could muster, which wasn’t too much at the moment. “The one to deposit the most gold spheres was Jackson Locke and he also scored the most points overall,” he got more applause than James. “However, Pinnacle happened to have beaten the most monster, he just happened to lose some gold before he could deposit them, but overall he still got second place, with James coming in third. Next highest was Tara Reese, then Hope Simons. Robert Pinto collected and deposited the most silver spheres, helping him get sixth overall. Michael Gonzales, Ross Wood, Hector Camacho, and Kathryn McAllister fill out the rest of the top ten. All of those scores and how they got them will be posted, that way each of you can compare it to your own performance to attempt to help you improve.
“Winter break begins once I finish this speech and many of you are going to be going home. It has been six weeks since the Halloween attack and we haven’t heard so much as a peep from anyone claiming reasonability and there have been no follow-up attacks, but it would be a huge mistake to assume that this is over. We will still be tracking your watches, but for those of you leaving the state, you may be entering an area that I’ll have more trouble getting a portal to, since I’ll have had to have been there before. Any of the Chicago area and most of the adjoining states are all fine, but further out gets choppy. So I just want you all to be more vigilant while you are home. If you hear nothing from any of the staff over break assume that you are clear to return. The staff and I will all be here the rest of the day and most will be here tomorrow, and one of us will always be here over break, if you’re staying and want to use the facilities or would like to discuss the mid-term. Other than that, Happy Holidays, and I’ll see most of you next year.”