Lydis stared at Hal.
"First part?" She wanted answers to the questions forming in her head.
"Uh-uh. Can't say much more than that." Lydis wanted to ask Hal another question but he shut the door before she could speak.
"So much for that…" Lydis looked at the ID holder. She slipped her ID in and the case closed around it, tightening and fitting perfectly to the card.
"Master Lydis, we have wasted enough time here. I suggest we make haste towards the ceremonial area." Ui's muffled voice came up from her bag.
Lydis turned and left the dorms. Using the back of the pamphlet she found that the ceremony area wasn't in a specific building. It was located in a dense part of the forest training area. After a few seconds of blinding sunlight her eyes adjusted to the outside. Valfafer seemed to get a little excited at going outside, he stood on his own and looked around as well. Without pausing she sprinted for the training areas on the opposite side of the academy grounds. Moving off the main road Lydis used the slight animal trails to weave through the trees, moving faster than on the main road.
About fifteen minutes later and she saw the ceremony area. Ui beeped. Lydis slowed and lifted her bag closer.
"Ui, what'd you need?"
"Master Lydis, please use the main road. Formalities are essential for first impressions." Nodding her head Lydis made her way to the main path. Shifting from the animal trail to a human-made path. In a low growl Valfafer nudged at Lydis's leg.
"Master, you have some stuff in your hair and on your skirt." Lydis patted her head and pulled off a few leaves and small twigs. On her skirt were a few twigs and seed spores. Pulling them off Lydis checked her body again. Finding nothing she continued on the path. She could hear sounds from a clearing in the trees.
Taking steady steps Lydis walked into the clearing, the voices hushed slightly but continued talking. In the middle of the clearing stood a large note board. Flyers pinned on were lifted slightly by the morning breeze. Just from her first impression Lydis already didn't like it. The children were split into many small groups, a clear difference between those who have money and those that didn't. Even the children whose families are just getting by were dressed nicer than the slum children.
On the far-right side a large group of rich looking girls stood together. Their faces painted heavily with make-up, long dresses touched the floor and heels stuck out under them. A bit lower towards the middle were a group of commoner girls. They giggled and whispered to each other. Most just playing with the grass.
On the far left there were many small groups of four or five boys huddled together. The rich ones were usually surrounded by other rich kids or common class lackeys.
In the middle of this spread out circle were obviously children from the slums. Dressed in rags and smelling like a pigsty they made up a large number of the children present. Dirt all over them, disheveled hair, their fearful eyes darting everywhere. As Lydis walked further into the clearing they stifled, the curb wave spread to the others huddle with them.
Lydis went on walking in a straight line. She didn't care if they smelled, if they were dirty, even if they had all the money in the world, she would ignore them. The rich looked on with both interest and disgust. Lydis noted that they all stood upwind from the slum children.
Nearing the note board Lydis saw one of the slum children lift their head. They tilted it upwards and breathed in loudly, like they were sniffing the air for food. Suddenly they turned to Lydis and began to shift towards her.
With her back to the slum kids Lydis was busy reading the flyers posted on the note board to notice that the slum child had stood up and was beginning to come closer to her. The rich girls on the side giggled while the boys waited for what would happen next.
The child began to sprint towards Lydis and threw themselves at Lydis. Since she heard their loud footsteps Lydis dodged the flying body easily by sidestepping it. The child fell face first into the dirt. Springing back up the child began laughing.
"Ha ha, you're really tense huh?" By the voice Lydis could tell that it was a boy under the messy hair.
"What do you need?" The boy came closer and stood right in front of Lydis. She stood about three inches taller than him so he had to look up a little. Leaning in close the boy whispered.
"Blood doesn't wash away easily. Even if you fool all these other kids 'we' know." When he said 'we' the boy made a gesture towards the slum kids. "It's a smell so familiar that we knew it the moment the winds brought it to us." Lydis was a bit shocked but it was quickly covered up by curiosity. She placed one hand on the boy's shoulder.
"What do you mean?" Her smile was so sinister it sent chills through the boy. Even Lydis could feel the moment the boy's nerves shook. Although he was a bit hesitant the boy continued.
"You killed before coming here didn't you?" Lydis gave the boy an innocent look but the dark glee in her eyes twisted her image.
"Boy, what's your name?"
"I never received a name so when I was old enough I decided to be called Crill."
"Crill, Crill what? No last name?"
"Are you an idiot? Why would I need a last name. Just Crill is fine." Crill folded his arms in front of him. Lydis pulled Crill's shoulder closer so that his ear was close to her mouth.
"Yes, I did kill on my way here. On the trails I encountered a cute little rabbit. I was feeling a bit hungry but it's gone now." Lydis's nightmarish smile gave Crill chills. He had really provoked someone scary. He felt like crying!
"W-what's your name." He had tried to sound cool while asking that but instead it came out in a weak voice.
"Lydis. It'd be best for both of us if you remembered." She patted his shoulder and walked past Crill. The hand that was on his shoulder waved back at him. After Lydis was far away enough Crill fell to the floor, his knees giving way. Worried, all of the other slum children ran to him.
"Crill are you oaky?"
"Crill did you die?"
"Who was she?"
All their questions swamped him making his head hurt. He waved them off and had a cunning smile on.
"If there was one life lesson I've learned in the slums, it's that to survive you have to either be strong or follow the strong." Crill watched Lydis's receding back, his eye unwavering and determined.
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