The Breavux boy stormed towards Lydis.

"What's a crest? Why does she have one and not me?" His face was steaming. He had gotten the dragon's charm! The dragon's! A snake didn't seem as terrifying as a dragon, much less this girl in front of him. The girl on screen raised one finger.

"Hush. I was just getting there." The boy huffed angrily and stomped away. Still unsatisfied. Lydis had to turn away to hide her laughter. The Breavux boy was treated like a child. With his back turned to Lydis her wouldn't be able to see her mocking smile as he walked away.

"Now then. This trial is only for the best of the best! We used this to filter out the elites from the riff raff, not saying that there might not be late bloomers but, you guys are what's currently the elites." Seradina opened her mouth to ask a question but the girl on screen didn't stop. "To determine this we had to sample your slyphir." Hearing this some children looked at the hands they used to spin the wheel while others didn't do anything. The girl on screen nodded.

"Yes, the handle was meant to suck out the faint slyphir on you and find the most suitable animal for you. Fate brought you here so one of them must've fit it. The reason why was because we want to nurture the future leaders early on. You are the backbone of this class. For three consecutive years, the twelve earthly animals have remained incomplete but finally, they're unified once again." She clapped her hands. "These pamphlets describe the details of the training. Good job so far, I wish you the best of luck." The screen died.

Next to Lydis a small pamphlet popped up from the floor. It flew upwards but then gravity took it down. She snatched it in mid air and made her way to a lone cube. On the inside were a few details regarding the twelve earthly animals.

They were a system devised by Central to cultivate a super soldier for each of the twelve divisions on the border. In each division was one squad made up of the super soldiers. They were the elite force used on dangerous missions and defending against monster. It was a long-term program that happened in every school, starting in the first class. From there those twelve would grow and train under specialists and former super soldier of the same animal. At anytime one of the twelve can be dueled by an outsider and if they lost, their place would be given to the victor.

Lydis flipped to the back.

At the school ceremony at zero eight hundred they would be announced along with the other group. No fighting between these two groups are allowed as they are the both the backbone of the military. Unity is essential for a strong army. Lydis lowered the pamphlet a little. What other group? She flipped through again but saw nothing else about another group. Sighing, Lydis stuffed the pamphlet into her pocket.

Delara took this chance to hop over to Lydis.

"Lydis! You're so amazing! What is a crest? What's a charm? Did you find anything?" Lydis tried to push Delara away but Delara avoided Lydis's futile attempts.


"What do you want now?" Lydis was in no mood to cater to this, child.

"I don't know. Maybe we could share our thoughts together? Theories? Oh! Maybe you're 'special'." The way Delara said 'special' ticked Lydis off. She'd had enough of interacting with noisy and clingy kids for one day. She didn't want to put up the act anymore. Lydis Grabbed Delara's shoulder and turned her around.

"This is my only warning. F**k off." Lydis pushed Delara forward slightly. Delara didn't hesitate to turn around with her cheery face as she reached towards Lydis. In her mind Lydis was just a bit unusual and just needed some time to warm up to. What she didn't expect was that Lydis was brutal and very, very serious. Delara was half turned around when Lydis's fist collided with her cheek. Her head was forcibly snapped to the other side. Delara was pushed back by Lydis's punch. She fell to the floor, her head landing hard on the metal floor.

The others came over to observe this new form of distraction. Lydis turned around and continued to walk towards a cube. Delara laid sprawled on the floor. She had blacked out for a moment before shifting slightly.

"Delara! Are you oaky?" Seradina rushed over, her cotton candy hair puffing out in all directions. She shook Delara and flipped her over. "Ah!" Seradina backed away in surprise. Delara's face was already swelling. A dark purple bruise was forming in the shape of Lydis's fist. Her nose was crooked, blood streaming from it. From her mouth drool mixed with blood spilled over her mouth into the floor. Seradina saw something white gleaming in the small pool she had flipped Delara from. Looking closer it was a tooth!

Delara opened her mouth in a groan. Her head felt like a car had run it over twice. She reached up to touch her face and flinched when the tips of her fingers brushed against it. She sucked in a sharp breath of air and tried hard not to cry. Seradina was panicking. There was so much blood, Delara was hurt! Blood, and teeth!

Seradina covered her eyes with one hand and extended the other to Delara.

"D-do you need some help?" Her hand shook a little as she tried not to smell sickening blood. Delara turned her head slowly to look at Seradina. Her left cheek was beginning to swell. Delara took Seradina's hand and pulled hard. Seradina pulled at the same time and Delara shot upwards. Seradina lent Delara her shoulder to lean on.

"…th…. nk… uo…" Delara barely mumbled the words. Seradina smiled shyly.

"Your welcome." They limped away towards a cube for Delara to rest on.

Lydis watched all this with indifference. Served Delara right for trying to be so friendly with her. It was those kind of people that Nova had warned her about. The ones who talked too much, always asking questions, and clingy. He had said that once they stick to you, they'll never let go.

In the middle of the large room a bigger screen appeared. This time, instead of the happy go lucky girl it was a worn-out man with a long sagging face. Deep wrinkles lined his face, wisps of grey hair lingered on his balding head. His dull eyes were like black beads against his tanned leather face.

"Listen up kids." He sounded tired. After each word he sucked in a deep breath of air. The man on screen reminded Lydis of a much older version of Hal. "We'll be sending down your specific uniforms. Get changed on either side of the room in the cubicles that appear." *sigh* "Don't forget you'll be representing the elites of the first class…" The man's eyes drooped closed for a second before something shook him awake. "…eh, ah. Right…" *yawn* " …good luck." The screen blipped out. On either side of the room large cubicles popped out from the walls. A smaller opening in the wall extended a small ledge with new clothes on them. Six on each side, the boys split from the girls.

At each cubicle there was a corresponding symbol with whichever animal they got. Lydis walked into the cubicle for snake and the walls closed behind her. A small *sshhh* sounded as other kids went into their respective cubicles. Surrounded by walls that covered the opening completely. Won't have to worry about people peeking, Lydis thought. She quickly undressed and pulled off her slightly dirty uniform, piling it in a corner in the small space.

The new uniform was black and purple. A slick black shirt slid easily over her head. Although it was slightly baggy, that just made it easier to breath in. Under the shirt was a purple piece of cloth for tying a bow or a necktie. Lydis picked up the satin string and tied it in a quick necktie under the collar of her black shirt. There were two options she could choose from for the bottom. A black pleated skirt shorter than the one from before or a pair of black shorts that reached a bit further than her hands resting at her sides. Included with the pants was a belt. She chose the shorts and slipped them on easily. The waistband compressed slightly to fit her size. Lydis strung the belt through the loops and let it rest loosely on her waist.

She had two options for the jacket. One that was an overcoat that reached her ankles or one that reached to her knees. Two purple stripes started at the left shoulder and curved to the waist then the edge of the coat for both. On the back there was a diamond purple patter with the middle empty. Besides the length, they were identical. Both were black on the outside but a dark purple on the inside. Feeling a bit too exposed Lydis chose the one that reached her ankles. The moment she put the overcoat on it began to squeeze and release, stopping at just the right pressure.

Her shoes were the problem again. This time there were three options. Short ankle shoes that resembled the ones she left on her bed, knee high boots with some strings of purple that had lots of buckles on the sides or a pair of awkward looking purple heels. She grimaced at the height of the heels. About six inches tall, she shuddered at how people could walk in them.

Lydis chose the knee high boots and stuck her feet in. The boots expanded and then tightened to her legs. She slid her hand over the boots and her legs, she could barely feel the slight bump where her legs and boots met. Just as she finished with her overcoat a smaller door opened and a beret popped out. Black fabric and two purple stripes around the base. Lydis placed it on her head and soon the walls fell back into the floor, her previous clothes disappearing into a hole.

She reached into her pockets and found something in the left one. Hard and metallic, Lydis pulled out an intricately crafted medallion. When she brought it out the medallion heated up and burned itself onto her hand.

"!!"

Lydis tried to fling the medallion away but it was already stuck to her skin. Grinding her teeth, Lydis fell against the wall behind her, clutching her burning hand. The sick smell of cooking flesh reached her nose. Was this how she lost? Killed by a burning medallion planted by the academy itself? Lydis squeezed her left arm tightly, trying to distract herself from the burning pain. Like her hand had been dipped in lava then ice water and then lava again. The waves of burning and piercing pain continued. Small bubbles of blood boiled at the edges. Rising and popping quickly, small drips of blood splattered on her and the walls.

Lydis saw that the medallion was already halfway into her hand. It would melt right through!? Lydis tried to find anything to use to pry the medallion out. She raised her right arm and the fingers transformed into flat blades. She stabbed under the medallion and began to slice away at the melted skin connecting her hand to the medallion. Red and bright white, her flesh pulsed with the medallion. She couldn't move her other hand anymore. The blades retuned to being fingers. Lydis could feel herself going numb, her hand still shook from the pain though.

"Hey!" Lydis snapped her head up. In front of her was the monkey's charm bearer, Ayla. "Are you oaky?" Ayla had finished changing clothes and was dressed in a purple skirt, black overcoat that reached the hem of her skirt that was lined with purple, a black shirt and a purple bow under her collar. Though it was similar to Lydis's, the options given to Ayla must've been different.

The moment Ayla had called out to Lydis she felt the pain in her hand disappear. Lydis looked at her hand and found that her skin wasn't melted, the medallion was ice cold and that the shape of the medallion had changed. From it's intricate jumble of metal vines to a figure close to resembling a snake's head. Small ruby eyes were half closed on either side of the head. Lydis noted that it's eyes could be half opened.

Slightly shaken, Lydis tried to remove the medallion from her hand but, it didn't move. She turned her hand upside down and shook violently. The medallion stayed put.

"Hey you?" Ayla pointed to herself. "Yes, come over here. Do you see this?" Lydis held her hand up for Ayla to see.

"Uhh… What do you mean?" Ayla looked at Lydis's empty hand. She started to suspect that Lydis was a bit crazy, considering what she had done to the yellow haired girl earlier and her weird actions just now. Ayla took a step back. "There's nothing on your hand… Oh I see someone waving to me!" Ayla did a one-eighty turn and ran off. Lydis stared at Ayla and considered her response.

"What are you?" Lydis turned her hand over and the medallion was gone! Lydis looked on the clear white floor but didn't see a small black snake medallion anywhere. She searched her pockets but found nothing! Had she imagined it all up? An illusion? No, even if it was, illusions were pulled from the subconsciousness. Lydis had never been injured by burning her flesh extensively. She searched again. From the floor to the walls of other cubicles. Just as Lydis reached forward to check under her boots she saw something on her wrist.

Starting thin, it expanded and coiled around itself a couple of times . She turned her arm around to follow the body and saw the snake head on the top of her wrist. Inked in black, the snake almost looked like it would come alive. Lydis looked at it's red eyes and although it was slight, the eyes moved a little. Multiple theories appeared in her head. Did the medallion fuse with her hand? Was there ever a medallion to begin with? Did the snake appear because of the animal she got? Just as she was pondering this the walls to the rest of the cubicles opened. One by one, the walls to the girl's and boy's cubicles disappeared back into the floor. On the far side of the room, in the opposite direction from where Lydis came from, a door opened.

Clearly visible against the white of the room, the dark passage way drew everyone's attention. Above them through invisible speakers the same man's tired voice played through.

"Uh… Check, check. Are we good?... Okay…" *ahem* "Students, use the passage way to get to the auditorium for the final part. That's all." The speakers went silent. Slowly, kids went towards the passage. In ones or twos they entered the passage.

Lydis was one of the last to leave the room. She was still trying to figure out the tattoo on her wrist. Suddenly the long passage began to escalate sharply. From a slow slope to stairs, they were definitely being brought above ground.