"SHUT UP!" I yelled over my siblings' quarrel. My older brothers and sisters turned to me. "I decided to help her! You have no rights to stop me, Gustow." He glared at me. "Since you knew her, you've become more insolent day by day, Athena. Where do your manners go to?!" He spat.
"She's right Gustow. It's her decision. She's 21 years old for God sake. She's an adult!" Zinovia back me up. "SHES STILL MY BABY SISTER! It's my job to worry about her decision because most of it endangering her own life!" Seriously, he still thinks I'm a little baby? "Oh Gustow, she's still our sister just she's aged and need to think about her own self for a change. She doesn't need us all the time." Natalya bantered.
I will thank her later. She always has my back in everything. "Athena, you should sleep. Have some rest. We'll deal with Gustow. Besides, you have to be strong for the tryout tomorrow." Annushka patted my back. Oh yea, I have that try out for The Game tomorrow. I need my strength for that.
Vanessa Christ, an ex-student of Volin, will be the judge tomorrow. Her group won The Game for 6 years in a row when she's still a student here. I was about to go when Gustow called for me. "Where do you think you're going?" Zinovia stopped him from standing up. "A woman needs their beauty sleep. Not like you, boys. We have some things to discuss."
Zinovia asked me to walk away using her hand signal. "But.." Zinovia pushed him down and force him to sit while my other older sisters sat on his lap to let him stay put. I really should thank them later. When I walked passed an open door room, I can hear Yuri and Zackhey playing the game console.
They never care about who and what I'm doing. All they care about is I'm safe, and that's it. Not like Gustow. He's a pain in butt. I can't even go out on a date without him tagging along. I'm finally inside my room and sighed heavily. If it's not because of him, I'll be still dating the love of my life. Now she even dares to choke me to death.
She used to be so gentle and compassionate. I missed that part of her. Now she's just a cold-hearted woman that has the interest in the new girl who I, too have feelings for. I decided to lay on my bed and close my eyes. Maybe I just sleep it off, I can accept the fact that I should let Evara be happy for once.
"Athena. Wake up."
I heard a voice calling for me. But I want to sleep more.
"Athena! If you're not going to wake up, you will be late!"
"Screw the day," I mumbled and just want to sleep again.
"Today is your try out now GET UP!" I shot my eyes open and looked at the time. I'm fucking late! "WHY DIDN'T YOU WOKE ME UP SOONER!" I blame my sister. "I did it! You said, screw me." Natalya chuckled. "Not that I hate the idea, but that would make us incest." She winked. How can she be flirting right now!
I ran towards the bathroom and just do whatever I can with myself. When I ran out of the toilet, Natalya was holding my blazer up. "Thank you." I thanked her. "For everything." She smiled. "It's okay. Just go now. Breakfast is ready." I smiled back and ran down the grand stairs.
At the bottom of the stairs, I can see Zinovia holding a tray with orange juice and toast. It's like they knew I will be late today. "Your breakfast. Once you did, Annushka is waiting outside in the car. She will drive you to the arena." She informed me. I could only nod, and I nearly choked myself with the toast.
She gave me the glass of orange juice and waved her hands. "Good luck, little sis." She yelled. Like she said, Annushka is waiting. Thank God she chooses the convertible Aventador. "JUST JUMP IN!" She screamed and shifted the car gear. We shot up full speed to the road towards the arena where the try out is held.
I finished my toast inside the car. She's awfully silent today. "What is it?" She asked while her eyes still on the road. "Nothing. It's just you're awfully quiet today. Something wrong?" She shakes her head, no. When we turn to the familiar road, I can totally see the man-made indoor forest that the Volin had created especially for this very purpose.
Still, remember what papa said in the class. There's no point in destroying our nature's resources, that's why he's creating the very first a man-made indoor forest. Of course, with some help from the wealthiest family in the world. Annushka stopped in the very front entrance where I noticed Irina and Evara walking towards the door.
"Hey!" I called out to them. But before I could walk out, Annushka grabbed my hand. "Be careful. Okay?" I nodded. This is weird. She's different this morning. "We'll be watching." I thanked my sister and walked up to Irina and Evara. Irina greeted me but Evara just nodding her head.
"Are you two excited?" I asked. Irina smiled. "Good luck in the game." Evara voice out. Wow. Did she just? I chuckled and nodded. "You know I always give my all. But I can't believe it's compulsory to be in our school uniform. Yes, the short skirt makes it easy to move, but what if we have to do the high kick and stuff?"
Irina laughed. "Well, I just have to witness that." Okay, she's a pervert! Evara and I glared at her. She stopped laughing and clear her throat for no reason. We all walked inside the arena, and we were surprised to see a lot of people will be watching us killing each other. "Why does this type of game even exist in the first place," Irina mumbled, but I heard her clearly.
"ALL PARTICIPANT, PLEASE REPORT YOURSELF TO THE PERSON IN CHARGE. THEN YOU CAN GO THROUGH THE PROCESS OF CHOOSING YOUR WEAPON. YOU CAN PICK AS MANY AS YOU CAN AS LONG YOU CAN CARRY IT IN BATTLE."
It's obviously Faina's voice. Like usual, she won't be participating. If I'm correct, Zoya will not be participating as well. On cue, we all saw her taking our names and wrote it down. "Here's your tag. Wear them. It's a tracker, and it will let the medical team pick your body up." She's cruel as usual.
We report ourselves and walked through the hall towards the weaponry room. "Let's have fun." Evara smiled.
"Choose your weapon according to your skill," Faina announced. Everyone acted cool in front of everyone, but I know, deep inside, they're scared to death. When it was my turn to choose, I settled in for a katana, an axe, a Glock 39 handgun and an AR-15.
I was curious about someone, and I turned to Evara. I noticed she's choosing her usual favourite as always. An MK14, MP7, MK46 and an M4A1. Sometimes I think she's a cyborg for carrying such heavy weapon.
When I'm done packing my ammo, I noticed Irina was packing hers. I saw two katana's wrapping around her waist, 4 daggers strapped around her thigh, and I can't believe she only chooses a DP-12 shotgun but packs a lot of its ammo in her bag. I can't help to think she means business.
Faina walked around and handed us the bulletproof vest like always. But to our surprise, Irina didn't take one. Faina did beg for her to take it but she just politely decline. Varvara talked to her, but she still insisted on for not wearing it. Her reason, it's hard to walk around with it. Is she a daredevil or something?
Zoya gained our attention and begin to brief everyone.
"Rules are, if you're out of ammo, you need to inform us, so we can announce you're not in the Game anymore. Second, if you were hit, but still can move, you can go on. But if you think or we think you can't, we will have to bring you out as well. Third, you can't attack the other participant on the head. That's a fatal blow. If you do, the principal will take action."
Faina cleared her throat.
"We are well aware that it's different than the real Game. But remember, this is a training ground for the real deal. In The Game, you will not be equipped with bulletproof vest at all. But the rule where you can't shoot or hit the participant head that will bring death is legit. Some of you might be new to this so if you have any question for us, ask us using the tag we gave earlier."
"It's a GPS tracker and also a communication device," Zoya added. "For this tryout, you all will be going alone in the forest. But for the real Game, you will be in a group of four." We all heard the siren. Faina opened the door and let everyone in. "Good luck. Oh, and if any of you decided to break the rule, you would be disqualified." Zoya and Faina smiled at us all.
I entered a one-person elevator and brace myself when it started to move downward. Then it suddenly stopped. It was startling when it swiftly moves to the left and then stopped again. I really hate this part of the tryout. When it moved upward and stops, it's only a meek of time when the door will be open, and the Game begins.
I grabbed my AR-15 and get myself ready for the countdown. "10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1..." the door opened, and I make sure no one in sight before walking towards the forest. This is more like a search and destroys kind of mission rather than The Game. I stopped walking forward when I heard sticks breaking. I hid from view and noticed one of my classmate tracking down any kind of movement.
She kneeled down and turned to my way. I need to think of a way to get out of this. She walked towards me, but I have my axe ready. I was about to swing my axe when Irina jumps in front of our classmate to gain her attention. Irina winked at me and ran for her life.
Wait! Did she just...
I continued my journey even further in. I stopped dead on my track when I saw someone hiding behind a tree. I stealthy walked behind her and twisted her head to knock her out. I heard sirens and Faina announcing her name. I confiscated her weapons and continued my mission.
I really want to avoid getting in the path of Varvara or Evara. They pack a lot of heat and getting shot by them is not in my rule book today. I was careful not to be caught, but somehow, someone manages to track me down. When I felt someone hit my back with the gun handle, I fell forward but quickly got back to my two feet.
It's my arch-nemesis. "Hey there, Athena." She greeted. "Saras. What's a surprise." She aimed her gun to me. I was unarmed. I tried to find my weapon, but it's too far for me to grab it. The only weapon I have is the katana, but if she saw me reaching for it, she might just shoot me.
This is such an unfair fight. "Any last words, Athena?" She smirked. "Yes. Safe landing." I said before used the tip of my shoe to kick the soil to her face. She screamed when her eyes were hit. I took the liberty to tackle her down and use my elbow to choked her enough to pass her out.
When she's not moving, I removed my elbow and just leave her there. I grabbed my gun and took a breather before I continued to walk in the forest. From all the announcing and including my kill, there's only five of us left on the battlefield. The person I know that still in the Game is Varvara, Evara and Irina.
But who's the other participant?
I was just reloading my gun when I heard a gunshot from a distance. From the sound of it, it's a shotgun. I quickly hid and waited for anyone who may come to my way. I was just about to go when I heard someone shouted my name. "ATHENA! RUN!" It's Irina. To my surprise, a girl ran towards me with her sword at the ready to stab me.
I manage to avoid the blow in meek of time before running for my life. Shit! Why do I have to run from this bitch! Candice is known as the demon in our school. She's a ruthless and mercilessly human being. Some of us called her a devil with a social mask on.
I looked back and was shocked at how good she's running in the jungle terrain. She's always the girly type of person in the academy. Now she meant business. "HIDE YOURSELF!" Irina shouted before I heard she's reloading her gun while running. How can she so focus on it?!
This is the second time she protects me. "STOP RIGHT THERE YOU MONSTER! YOU'LL PAY FOR STABBING MY SISTER!" I heard Irina shouted before I jumped into the bushes. Her sister? I don't get it. She's alone in this academy. How can her sister be here? When I took a peek at them, I can see Irina is not herself anymore.
"You'll pay! YOU BITCH!" Irina screamed at her face and threw her gun on the ground. She started swinging both of her katana at Candice who having some troubling deflect every blow. Her eyes, it's different than her usual self. She's hurt, but she ignored it. It's like her mind only has one mission, and that's to kill that girl. I can see the school evilest assassin having some trouble avoiding her attacks.
"Stop her." Varvara walked up to me and touched my arm with her bloody hands. "Stop her! Candice is down. She's out cold. If you don't, she'll kill her." I let my weapon down and went to grabbed Irina by the armpit while Varvara waved at the camera above us.
"Is Faina made an announced and a group of medical personnel attend to Varvara and Candice who's laying on the ground.
I released Irina's body when she stopped struggling to be free.
"Varvara?" Irina called out when she finally back to her old self. "I'm okay, Irina." Varvara flinched when the medical personnel cleaning her stab wound. Wait. Sister?! "Be gentle to her," Irina warned them. "Are you okay president?" She nodded. "It's just a little stab. Irina, you should ask them to treat your wounds as well. You took that huge blow for Evara."
Now that she mentions it, she is bleeding profusely. "Treat her first." I can't stand it anymore. I grabbed one of the first aid kits and pushed her down on the ground. "Stay still," I said before tearing her dress shirt and pants. How can she even run in this condition?! Her legs and thigh were either shots or slice.
Her stomach was shots, and I can see two gunshot wound on her shoulder. It's a wonder how she still can walk. "I need sutures." When I looked to the left, it's Vanessa Christ kneeling near Irina's body. "Come on! Or she will die on us." She commanded, and I opened the first aid kit.
"But is it okay for us to even treat her here?" I asked. "Stop. I'm okay. I won't die that easily." She got up to a sitting position and offered her hand to Vanessa. "Well, hello there, Vanessa. It's been so long." She actually provides her bloody hand to the person who is now the head of the Christ crime family?
"It's been so long as well, Irina Audra." That's when my eyes widen. Irina Audra?! She's an Audra?! That's mean she's... Dasha's daughter! It was too late for Irina to save herself when both Evara and I glared at her. "Looks like I've caused a little trouble for the wounded." Irina smiled. "Well, say goodbye to privacy." Vanessa laughed with her and asked the medical personnel to bring her to the infirmary.
"I'll make you feel better myself," Vanessa said before leaving us with Irina. We looked at each other before glaring at Irina again who's avoiding eye contact. "Well?" Evara asked. Irina acted as if she's ignoring us. "Irina." Irina sighed and looked at us. "Yes, ma'am?" Wow, Evara does do that to everyone. "Explain to us what does she meant by Irina Audra."
"There's no point in hiding anymore, sister," Varvara said while patting her shoulder. "Sister? Varvara I thought you said you're an only child." The president smiled. "Irina?" She waved it off and let the medical personnel carried her to the ambulance.
"I am an only child. She's my step sister. My mom's kid with another man. My father is her second husband. I had two older step-sisters and brother, but they both died. Larion Audra, Irina's father, chased her out and disowned her because of her reckless thinking that causes her sister and brother's life."
I never knew Irina's life was tough. She always showed us her smile. I noticed Evara's probably thinking about the same thing. "Why would she decided to stay in a dorm instead of the mansion?" Evara asked. "Because she wants to have a normal school life while she's here. So please guys, just don't tell anyone about her being my sister. Okay?"
I nodded. She deserved it. "We promise." Varvara smiled. "Now, let's get out of here. I'm hungry." But before I could even reply to her, my sisters suddenly appear out of nowhere and hugged me. "You were great Irina. Including you Evara." Zinovia said. "Yes. We were at the edge of our seat!" Natalya released me.
"Where's Irina? We were worried about her. You know she's been protecting you, Evara and Varvara in the Game. She has the most kill and the most wounded. We were all surprised to see her manage to run and save you from being stab." Natalya said. "She's truly one heck of an assassin."
Varvara chuckled. "The Vladimir sisters. Natalya, is your breast getting bigger? What is your secret?" My sister smirked. "If I tell you, yours might grow bigger than mine." She suddenly leaned into me.
"And you need to take a bath. You smell like sweaty crotch." Annushka shakes her head. "How in the world you would know that?" Natalya sheepishly smiled and ignored the question. She turned around and walked towards the elevator.
"HEY! YOU HAVEN'T ANSWER MY QUESTION!" Annushka screamed while chasing her down as we all laughed at them.