The battle ended about as you'd expect. The three of us were perfectly safe inside Hekiria's barrier, and the remaining two were the powerhouses from earlier. They might have been able to break the barrier, but they wore themselves out fighting each other, and by the time they realized they couldn't beat each other, their attacks were severely weakened. They took out the stragglers that were still around, and the match was over.
There was a little announcement, then we were guided to a waiting room. There were five people in the room already, who I assumed were the victors from group A. The green haired kid immediately kicked his feet up and glared at everyone in the room. Blue hair sat down beside this blonde girl and tried to strike up a conversation. Meanwhile, the three of us just picked some seats out of the way and continued our conversation.
This kind of laid back attitude can be fun as well, I suppose.
"...and it's pretty fun, y'know?"
Hekiria scoffed. "Only you could think of something like that as fun."
Deondre grinned sheepishly as he rubbed the back of his head. "Yeah, maybe, hehe..."
The two of them really hit it off. Not even an hour has passed and they sound like they've been friends for ages. As I smiled at their interaction, Deondre suddenly pipes up.
"Hey, so kind of dreams do you guys have? Like, aspirations, stuff like that!"
Well that was sudden. My main goal is finding a way home, but I can't tell them that, so we'll go with...
"I have a friend I want to meet up with, I suppose. They're in a dangerous area, so I need to get stronger first."
Deondre nods his head in satisfaction. "A friend huh.... that's kind of heartwarming! What about you Hekiria?"
Hekiria had her eyes closed and arms crossed since Deondre asked the question. Tilting her head, she replied, "I'm not really sure. I've never actually thought about it y'know? I've just kind of... kept on keeping on."
"Huh. Well I hope you can find your dream here! As for me..."
Deondre raised his hand to the ceiling as he proudly proclaimed, "...I want to be a hero!"
As soon as he finished, the blonde girl, who had her eyes closed attempting to ignore the blue haired kid, suddenly snapped up and glared at Deondre. Then she spoke, her words practically dripping with malice.
The whole room went silent as she continued.
"You think just anyone can become a hero? You think you can be a hero? A hero is someone chosen by god to save the world. It's not something you can become just because you want to."
She had begun approaching as she spoke, and slammed her hand on our table as she kept going.
"From the day they're born, heroes have a responsibility you can't even begin to comprehend. They go through hardships and suffering worse than you can imagine."
She came right up to Deondre's face as she finished.
"So don't ever speak such foolishness again."
The girl then marched back to her seat, sat down, and closed her eyes again, as if the whole thing never happened. Deondre was sitting there with a strangely unreadable expression on his face. Hekiria, on the other hand, looked indignant, like she wanted nothing more than to go over there and strangle the girl. But she stayed seated and silent, like everyone else in the room. Because the blonde girl had been exuding a kind of pressure while she was talking. A pressure that made it clear she wasn't someone we could handle.
At least, not yet.
Eventually another group came in and filled the void of silence that had been lingering. I thought to appraise the blonde girl for a second, but....
'Not everybody's gonna be ignorant to yer appraisals, sweetheart.'
Might want to be careful about appraising people who seem powerful.
It's a bit of an issue, since those are the kind of people I'd really like to have information about. But I really couldn't do much if someone strong decided to attack me. Sure, I beat that one guy, but he was only strong compared to people who never fought at all. In a lot of stories people tend to get full of themselves once they get a little power, completely forgetting that they've barely even begun climbing the ladder. I very nearly fell into that myself after beating him.
Luckily that raid set me straight. That Sunless guy is something else....
That aside, with the new groups breaking the silence we eventually got back into talking. When group E finally arrived, we were given five more minutes (for group E to catch their breath) then we were lead back to the examination hall. When we got there, the principal was on the stage, as well as the teachers from before. As we sat there waiting, more and more people filled the hall, until it had as many applicants as before. Once we had all gathered, the principal stepped forward and addressed us.
"First of all, I would like to thank you all for participating. It brings me great joy to see so many eager young souls applying to our academy. But before we begin announcing those who passed, I would like to take care of the disqualifications."
His words caused the applicants to start whispering in confusion. True enough, there was nothing about disqualification in the rules we were given. By my understanding this was more of a whitelist than a blacklist.
"Now, I understand that you all are confused. However, we had stated from the start that there was more to it than simply being the last one standing. Some of you may have noticed that participants died in front of you. Some of you may have even experienced it yourself. And yet you are all still standing here, in good health. This is because the barrier we put over the arena ensures that death is no permanence within its bounds. However..."
The principal narrowed his eyes into a glare as he continued.
"This information was not given to any of you. Those who would resort to killing for a simple exam have no place in these halls. And I am aware that some of you may have simply realized the barrier was there. However, anyone who was smart enough to figure that out should have also realized we kept that information from you for a reason. Therefore, any participant who killed another during the exam is to leave this campus immediately."