“So I see you have a new batch of whelps, Angus.” The leader of the intruders said. “This must be one of the first few days of their training. Explains why they go down so easily. Imagine the reputation I’ll build for myself if I manage to wipe out and entire class of Hikari students. I’ll be able to raise my prices.”
Angus tried to keep himself between the two groups. “I see you know who I am, but who are you. Perhaps you do need to work on your reputation. I’m not at all familiar with you.”
The man frowned. “I would’ve thought I was at least big enough to warrant notice from someone like you. I am Silva, and I am the leader of this band of mercenaries. You may not know of me, but I assure you I am well known in northern Africa as a man not to cross.”
“You’re a long way from home. Did you really travel all that way just to slap a few newbies around? That doesn’t seem like a good idea. I’m sure you’re aware that more daemon knights are coming, ones with much more experience than this little posse here. You may take a whole class out, but it won’t help your reputation any.”
“Oh really? Why is that”
“You’ll never make it off the campus alive.”
Silva laughed. “Do you really believe that? We got in just fine, I’m sure we can get back out too. This place isn’t nearly as secure as you think it is. There are ways in and out that you people know nothing of. We will kill you and your whelps and be gone without a trace. We may even come back later to knock off a few more. I could be known as the man who destroyed an entire year of students, rather than a single class.”
“Your confidence is misplaced. These five may be green as fresh grass, but they wouldn’t even be in this school if they were powerless.” Angus turned to his squad. “Are you ready to show these guys what it means to be students of the legendary Hikari academy?”
“Yes sir!” They shouted as one. Even Angel was back up on his feet, ready to fight. He fell back to provide fire support to the others. The rest spread out to cover each other’s flanks. Angus advanced on Silva himself. Apart from Angel, they all found themselves facing two opponents.
Lethen was faced with one man carrying a baseball bat and another with a vicious looking sickle. He wanted to look around and see how the others were doing, but taking his eyes off these two would be a very bad idea. He was still trying to just hang onto his shovel when the first one attacked.
The bat wielding guy came at him first, swinging out wide to cover the biggest area. The attack was obviously meant to throw him out of position if it didn’t connect. He would have to break the line to dodge it, and if any of their flanks were opened up to attack, their very slim chance would disappear entirely. He had no choice.
Lethen stepped into the swing, knowing that getting hit with the end of the bat would be the end of his part in the fight. The blow hurt, but it was nothing he couldn’t shrug off until later. He slammed his shoulder into the man’s gut, knocking him back several paces. He tried to swing his weapon as the man fell back, but he caught nothing but air. The daemon was still resisting him. He would have to rely on his pre-Hikari fighting experience, but as a half grizzard outcast, he’d had plenty of experience with that.
He was about to pursue his partially stunned foe when the sickle flashed past his face. It didn’t connect, but it stopped him in his tracks and a few of his longer hairs were shortened a little. He stepped to the side and faced the new adversary. The curved blade was arcing toward his ribs. He raised the shovel and caught the blow on it’s handle.
A scream erupted through Lethen’s mind, almost knocking him to the floor. He was growing used to the background anger that was constantly being fed into him through contact with his daemon, but this was like a blast of white-hot rage burning him alive. His arm jerked forward, pulled by the sudden fury of the daemon. It would not be denied blood now.
Lethen watched as the shovel swung itself around, easily swatting his foe’s weapon and catching the man in the side of the head, dropping him. It took all of Lethen’s strength to keep it from beating the guy further. It stopped struggling entirely, apparently exhausted by the effort of swinging itself around with over a hundred pounds of Lethen holding on for the ride. He could still feel the unfiltered rage coming from the shovel in his hand.
The man with the bat was recovering and was being much more careful. This time he circled slowly, waving the bat in front of him to ward Lethen off. He tried a few halfhearted swings to see what Lethen would do and getting nowhere. He had seen what happened when his friend hit the shovel, and he didn’t want that to happen to him.
It was obvious to Lethen that the man was scared. He took the opportunity to sneak a quick peek around the battleground and see how the others were doing.
Angus looked to have the advantage over his opponents, but they weren’t giving much ground. Marnie was holding her own, but didn’t seem to be making any progress. Renala was in a similar situation, though her halberd’s protective instinct made her stalemate look effortless. Given enough time she’d probably win that one. Prolier was almost dancing around his foes, trading minor hits and dodging almost constantly.
Lethen felt something flash past his neck and his attention snapped back to his own battle. He expected to see his enemy right on top of him, but he was reeling back in pain, clutching his left eye. Lethen looked over his shoulder and saw Angel give him a quick nod. Lethen was impressed. Angel might not do much damage, but he was accurate. The man was still clutching his eye when Lethen brought the shovel down on his head, taking him out of the fight. The daemon still wasn’t resisting him.
He found himself in a lull between Prolier and Angus. Prolier seemed like he needed the help more, but Lethen didn’t think he’d be able to keep up with that fight. Prolier may be an ass, but he was a quick one. He wanted to get over and help Marnie, but he’d have to either go around Angus’s fight or through it. With the amount of ground they were covering, going around wasn’t really an option. He decided to see if he could at least help even the odds. He knew he had no chance against Silva, but he might be able to keep the other guy busy so Angus could focus on the boss.
Getting close to them was difficult. Even at the fringes of their fight you were in range of their swings. The other guy wasn’t able to do much either, but getting to him could be dangerous. He’d already seen Silva had spotted him. There would be no element of surprise here. He took a couple steps toward them when Silva’s hand shot out, snatching him up by his collar. Angus stopped mid-swing.
“So this is the half-breed.” Silva said. “I’d heard about you. Can’t believe they actually let one of your kind into Hikari. Even I couldn’t get into this school. I’m shocked you already managed to take two of my-” His shoulders swung to the side. When he turned back, he was glaring over Lethen’s shoulder. Lethen tried to turn and see what he was looking at. “Nice try kid, but it’ll take a lot more skill than that to hit me with a pea shooter.”
Lethen knew he must be talking to Angel. That would’ve been the second time Angel saved his skin but this guy wouldn’t be taken down easily. Lethen swung his shovel at Silva who slapped it aside with his bare hand. Lethen was about to try again when his body was jerked to the left. A sharp sting hit his back. He flinched, ruining his swing.
“I told you to stop that.” Silva said. He’d used Lethen’s body as a shield against Angel’s second shot. “Or maybe you enjoy hurting this one. He really doesn’t fit in here. This is for the elite of the elite, not some punk who’s only half human.” Silva eyed Lethen’s weapon and laughed. “And this is what they gave you? This isn’t even a weapon. They really want you dead, don’t they?”
“Doesn’t matter what they want.” Lethen said. “They didn’t want me in here in the first place yet here I am. You said you tried to get in here? Well it looks like you gave up too easily. I will be a daemon knight whether they want me or not.”
“You think you’re better than me because you got in?” Silva roared before sliding his grin back in place. “You really have no idea how this works do you? This is where you realize I can break you like a cookie, and tell me why I should let you live. Right now you’re just giving me more reasons to kill you.”
“You plan to kill us anyway. You’ve said so already. There’s no point trying to reason with you. You think you can make a name for yourself, but whatever fame you gain will be shortlived. Do you really think Hikari would stand for this? They may not mind my death, but the rest of them,” Lethen looked over at Marnie, “they will be avenged. You may be able to defeat a team of rookies before they even start their first day, but I doubt you’d last long against someone like Master Carter. They won’t send rookies for someone like you.”
“You got spunk kid, I’ll give you that. It’s almost a shame I have to kill you. Maybe I’ll leave you alive so you can live with the knowledge that you couldn’t protect your squad. That you alone survived, teamless and teacherless. I wonder how long you’ll last being even more of an outcast. I’ll make you watch me do it, and I’ll start with her.” Silva pointed at Marnie. “She’s the one you care the most about. You’re never gonna be able to forget what you’re about to see.”
The fighting had ceased. All eyes were on the events unfolding in the center of the room. Silva carried Lethen over to where Marnie’s battle had been going on moments before. She backed away, but Silva reached her before she could escape. His hand shot out and caught her across her jaw, sending her spiraling to the floor. He was grinning when he turned back to look at Lethen. At least he was until he saw the young man’s eyes.
Lethen’s eyes were pure white with no sign of a pupil. To Silva, they also appeared to be glowing.