Thursday, October 24, 2111
Things were quiet at school today. I kept my mouth shut and avoided talking about what happened last night. Ravyn seemed fine with my sudden vow of silence. Then again, she was focused on preparing for tonight’s event: the Logic Maze. I’m not going to lie. I’ve been looking forward to watching this event more than anything.
Reader is going head to head with Download, the psychic apprentice who has won first place for the last two years. He’s already declared a rivalry against her so the competition is going to be very intense. They’re actually a lot alike. Both of them went to Helios, graduated at the top of their respective classes, and are very talented psychic metahumans. The only differences are that Download is two years older and he isn’t a telepath.
“What are his powers again?” Lupine asked me as we sat impatiently in the stands.
“Psychometry. He can absorb knowledge by touching an object or person,” I explained, only half paying attention to Lupine. I stared down at the field, which had been converted into a very elaborate maze overnight. There were five minutes until the event started and the participants were still out of sight in the holding area.
“Really? That’s giving him an unfair advantage,” Lupine kept talking. “When he finds a challenge problem, he can just touch it and get the answer.”
“So? Reader can just read the minds of other participants and get answers from them,” I rebutted. Lupine raised an eyebrow. Clearly he hadn’t thought of that. “That’s the whole point of this event, dog-boy. Physic metahumans by nature are more intellectual and good at problem solving. The Logic Maze is designed to see who can utilize their natural skills best.” Lupine shrugged, seeing my point.
Referees moving onto the field and rousing applause from the crowd meant it was about to start. We watched intently as smaller platforms raised the 30 psychic participants onto the edge of the stadium. A hush fell over the crowd as the apprentices took their places around the maze. Each would enter from a different point and fight to be the first at the center chamber. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. At every turn, there are locked doors, traps, and secret passageways. The apprentices have to be clever and resourceful to get through the maze. And if two of them by chance run into each other, they have to duel and the loser is disqualified.
“There’s Reader!” Lupine exclaimed, poking me in arm with his sharp claws and pointing vigorously at the field. She stood in front of her entrance, looking as calm and collected as ever. Download was standing at the entrance closest to hers. His smug grin and filled the holoscreen as cameras went in for a close-up. You’d never guess he felt threatened by the petite girl standing a few feet away.
“Reader, kick Download’s butt!” I shouted down to her.
“Yeah, wipe that smirk off his face!” Lupine joined in my cheering. Reader heard us, and turned to face the stands. I expected her to roll her eyes at our bad sportsmanship, or at least shake her head in disapproval. Instead, she returned our enthusiasm with a big smile. She wasn’t worried about the competition. Even though she’ll never boast about it, she knows she’s very good at what she does.
The starting bell rang, and the competitors took off into the maze. Lupine and I kept our eyes on Reader as she turned each corner, jumped over trapdoors, and solved puzzles at lightspeed. Trick locks? Not a problem. Reader started disassembling locks when she was nine. Booby-trapped tiles? Piece of cake! She found the safe way across faster than any other participant. Nothing slowed her pace.
Other participants started dropping out as they became trapped or forced to duel. Within ten minutes, only 15 participants remained. Reader and Download were in the lead. Download was vicious. He appeared to be seeking out duels with the other competitors. He won every time. I’d hate to meet him in a dark alley, but I wasn’t worried about Reader. She’s the best telepath the SAA has seen in years. She could take Download on any day.
It became clear she’d have to today as the competition came down to the wire. Reader and Download were the only two even remotely close to the center of the maze. My heart was pounding in my chest as I watched my friend get closer and closer to winning.
“Nebby, do you see it?” Lupine eagerly pointed down at the maze.
“I see it,” I said, confirming Lupine’s suspicion. Given the timing and paths they had chosen, Reader and Download would reach the center at the same time. They would have to duel in order to decide the winner.
“Her wrist is still injured from her last assignment. Do you think she’ll be alright?” Lupine asked me, concerned.
“Reader can handle herself,” I told him without hesitation. “She’ll beat him. So don’t you dare doubt her, dog-boy,” I scolded him.
He pouted for a second then started snickering. “Try saying that ten times fast.”
“Oh grow up!” I smacked him in the arm before we returned to cheering on Reader.
Less than two minutes later, Reader and Download entered the center chamber at exactly the same time. They stared each other down, waiting for the other to make the first move.
“This is amazing, folks!” Greg Sumner’s voice echoed through the stadium. “Never in the history of the Apprentice Games have two competitors reached the center of the Logic Maze at the same time!”
“It’s more than amazing, Greg. It’s unbelievable! We all get to play witness to the first ever Logic Maze tie-breaker,” Serena Saks added gleefully. “These two incredible apprentices will duel and the winner will be awarded first place. The other will be awarded second place. Either way, Download and Reader are going to be honored with medals in this event.”
The whole stadium was on the edge of their seats, awaiting the climactic end to the event. Lupine and I watched, whispering to each other who we thought would make the first move.
Download and Reader circled the outer edges of the chamber, never looking away. The cameras followed their every movement, capturing every minute facial expression. I can only imagine what was going through their heads at that moment. A multitude of plans, probabilities, and strategies must have been rushing through their sculls, trying to figure out the best way to beat the other apprentice.
Download must have finished thinking first, because he made the first move. He ran across the chamber, poised to strike Reader. The room must have “told” him about Reader’s injury and he was willing to exploit it!
Reader gave him one last look. From the holoscreen you could see her pupils dilate to the edges of her eyes, making them black. Download didn’t stand a chance. He collapsed to the ground, out cold, mere inches from Reader. She won, hands down.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. Ravyn Bell, aka Reader, is the sweetest, smartest, and most patient person I know. She’s also the scariest. I’m certainly not scared of her, but honestly, she’s the only person on the planet that can rearrange your brain with a thought. Download had to learn the hard way tonight that she is not someone to underestimate.
Friday, October 25, 2111
Unbelievable. That’s the only word that can even begin to describe what happened tonight. As everyone knows, tonight was the fifth night, meaning the Obstacle Course and my second event. Jack made sure to point that out to me, among other things, during school today.
“You have another chance to beat him tonight!” he whispered eagerly to me in the halls.
“What are you babbling about now?” I didn’t want to deal with his teasing today. I just wanted to get home as fast as possible so I could look at a recording of last year’s Obstacle Course.
“Flux! Remember? He beat you to a pulp during Hand-to-Hand Combat?” Oh yeah. Him.
“What about Flux?”
“You have another chance to beat him! Weren’t you listening to a word I said?”
“Not really,” I admitted indifferently before running to catch my bus home.
Like usual, Lupine’s comment got to me and it was all I could think about as I changed into my suit. Beating Flux was certainly plausible. It’s become a lot easier to manage my powers in the last few months and I can even do some complex things. The fear and lack of control I had at Helios is a thing of the past.
But let’s cut to the chase. Tonight, the field was filled with water traps, rock walls, and other hidden mechanisms, all meant to prevent us, the competitors, from reaching the other end of the stadium. 45 participants stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the starting line tonight, myself among them. Flux was standing four people down from me. I kept stealing glances at him. His skill as a martial artist is common knowledge, but I didn’t know how strong his metahuman abilities were. Like Challenger said, he’s been nominated for hero certification and he’s very successful in the field. I also know he placed in the top five in last year’s Obstacle Course. How could I possibly compete against that kind of track record? On the other hand, he didn’t really know what I’m capable of. I had a chance to catch him off-guard.
“Participants, on your marks!” the referee announced loudly. I looked away from Flux and stared down the field. The finish line seemed farther away than before. I felt like I was going to puke.
“Get set!” My heart pounded in my chest.
“GO!” I bolted into the air, flying as fast as I could. The backlash from my takeoff managed to knock down some of the other participants, including Flux. He wasn’t slowed down for long. It took maybe a millisecond for him to regain his balance and get back in the race. Fortunately, he can’t fly so I could stay ahead of him as long as the actual event didn't slow me down.
The first obstacle was a large water trap. Since I was in the air, it didn't slow me down one bit. Unfortunately, it didn’t slow down many of the non-fliers either. Flux changed the state of the water from liquid to solid and made an ice bridge. Another apprentice, a stocky boy with auburn hair, had a gift for moving rocks and manipulated a large one to carry him across the water and into the air. He quickly gained some speed on me.
“This event has barely started, yet Nebula has a clear lead, followed closely by Rockslide and Flux!” Greg Sumner said excitedly on the holoscreen. “This is going to be a close one folks. If the traps don’t get them, the other competitors will.”
I had almost forgotten the second biggest component of this event: the competitors were allowed to try and slow each other down. Quickly looking over my shoulder, I noticed that Flux had done just that. He didn’t just make an ice bridge. He trapped the competitors who had to swim across the water trap in ice.
It was a good thing I looked back when I did, otherwise I wouldn’t have noticed Rockslide aiming a large rock at my head. I spiraled out of the way, just as he launched the rock at me. It crashed to the ground and I dared to look back again. Rockslide had a very determined look in his eyes. He knew I was his greatest competition since I was the only other one in this event that could stay aboveground, and he was willing to do whatever it took to get me out of his way. I realized that Flux was no longer my biggest concern. Besides, he was still trying to get through a climbing wall by turning it from solid to liquid. Rockslide and I had already flown over it. I didn’t even need to think about the rest of the competitors. Most of them were either frozen in the water trap or had fallen through a series of trapdoors that came before the climbing wall.
Taking a deep breath, I turned around to completely face Rockslide. I focused hard on the rock he was riding. It plummeted to the ground after I made it ten times heavier. Rockslide crashed, giving me the chance to flip forward and fly as fast as I could. He quickly got a new rock, one that didn’t have one of my gravitational fields around it, and rode it into the air. By that time, I had already put some considerable distance between us. That didn’t stop him from firing various small rocks at me in an effort to slow me down. I was stupid enough to look back again and one hit me square in the nose, making it bleed.
It was somewhere between the third and the fifth rock hitting me in the back when we hit the second half of the field, which was filled with ammunitions. Immediately I was fired at by several laser guns, much like the ones in the simulation room at the Bureau. I ducked and dived to evade the lasers, and even threw in a few corkscrews. I knew those machines like the back of my hand, making it relatively easy to avoid their traps. The lasers have better accuracy on a fixed target, so they couldn’t hit me if I kept moving erratically. The electrified nets are launched into the air, but can’t move on their own. A few of my gravitational field kept them away. I was even able to dodge most of the rubber bullets that shot randomly through the air.
Rockslide wasn’t as familiar with the tech as I was. I’m guessing he spent most of his training outside, where there were rocks for him to practice with, as opposed to in the simulation room, like most other apprentices. At first, I thought that would work to my advantage. I was very wrong. Rockslide went to the ground and started running through the field. At first I thought he was crazy. Then I heard the rumbling. The ground started to shake and I saw rocks and sand push through the center of the field. They billowed up and parted the field down the middle, creating a trench that was tech-free for Rockslide to run through. Unbelievable. I was still dodging rubber bullets in the air and there was nothing standing between him and the finish line!
Then something else unexpected happened. Rockslide’s feet sank into the dirt, which had suddenly turned liquid. Flux, whom we had forgotten about, had caught up to us! He couldn’t get me in the air, so all of his attention was on Rockslide. Rockslide retaliated with a pillar of stone punching Flux in the gut. Between the tech slowing me down, and the boys slowing each other down, it was a toss-up of who would actually win.
“I’m not going to fight half-heartedly again,” I mumbled to myself, remembering how I gave up the last time I went up against Flux. I set my eyes of the finish line. The three of us were neck in neck. One last rubber bullet hit me in the shoulder as I pushed myself just a little harder and crossed that blue line at the end of the field. I landed and saw Flux and Rockslide there too. We were all a mess. I was covered in bruises, sweat, and blood, which was still running from my nose. The boys were covered from head to toe in mud from their fight in the trench. The event was over, but there was still one big question we needed the answer to.
“Wait, who won?” I asked aloud. We all looked at each other, not sure what to say. The playback on the holoscreen showed us all crossing the finish line at the same time. We didn't know who won.
“Well folks, it looks like the referees are going to have to take a few minutes to analyze the recordings and determine our winner,” Serena Saks announced with a nervous chuckle. Everyone was stunned at how close the race was.
An eternity seemed to pass as we waited for the results. Finally, the playback came back on the holoscreen, but much slower. Right as we crossed the line, the recording paused and zoomed in. It showed Rockslide’s fingertips crossing the line first, followed closely by my own and the Flux’s.
“Oh my god!” I exclaimed in an embarrassingly squeaky voice. “I got second place!”
“Congratulations,” Flux offered his hand for me to shake. Rockslide did too. I graciously accepted.
“Thanks. You too,” I commented with a grin. They grinned back.
As the night’s event ended, the other apprentices were freed from the field’s traps and we all left to get cleaned up. Lupine and Reader caught up with me at the teleporters. Lupine, for once, could barely speak.
“That was . . . you were so . . .” Lupine stopped sputtering to think of the word he wanted to use. “That was totally nebulous!”
I rolled my eyes. “Could you please not use my name as an adjective?”
“You did really well,” Reader commended me, giggling a little at Lupine’s choice of words.
“Thanks,” I said, grinning from ear to ear. “Have either of you seen Challenger?” I asked, changing the subject. I would have guessed he’d want to see me after my victory.
“Last I saw he was being mobbed by the press. They all want an exclusive since it was his apprentice that won second place tonight,” Lupine answered sympathetically. He and Reader knew I wanted to share my victory with my mentor too.
“Just count yourself lucky that apprentices can’t be interviewed until the Games are over, otherwise you'd be mobbed as well,” Reader pointed out. I shrugged and smiled, silently admitting that she was right.
As soon as I got home, I took a long shower and patched up my nose. Thank goodness my parents were at a viewing party, so the house was nice a quiet. Once I was finished drying my hair, I heard my personal tablet beeping, alerting me of a message. I turned on the screen to find a recorded message from Challenger.
“Nebula,” his message started, “I know I didn't get to see you tonight after the event, but I wanted to tell you how proud I am of you. I hope you’re proud of yourself as well, since you overcame amazing odds tonight and accomplished something great. You are becoming an amazing hero and I can’t wait to see how much you’ll improve this year. I’ll see you tomorrow before the last event.” The message ended and I couldn’t help but let one more silly grin cross my face.
Saturday, October 26, 2111
I passed the day basking in the glow of my win last night. My parents doted on me so much today it felt like my birthday all over again. It didn’t even bother me that I would have to be in another event tonight. In fact, I was almost looking forward to it. That changed about five minutes ago.
The other Helios grads and I promised to team up in the Battle Royal. We were all huddled together in the holding area tying flags to our belts. Well, five of us were. The object of the Battle Royal is simple. You try to steal other apprentices’ flags while protecting your own. If an apprentice loses their flag or becomes unconscious, then he or she is disqualified and has to leave the field. The game ends when there is only one person left with a flag. And since the only real rule is “no killing” the event has become notorious for being the most brutal, and most viewed, part of the Apprentice Games. Given how difficult this event is, it’s no surprise that the winner is often viewed as the strongest competitor of the year. All week, my friends and I have been talking about how to use our team-up to take out the other competitors so at least one of us could make it into the top three.
“Where is Transmute?” Eagle Eye scanned the room. There was still twenty minutes before the event started, so some latecomers were still trickling in, but Transmute was nowhere in sight. “Screech, didn’t you come in with him?”
“Yeah, but he left to use the bathroom before I checked in,” she answered.
“He’s cutting it pretty close. If he’s not checked in five minutes before the start, he’ll be disqualified,” Lupine stated.
“I’ll go look for him,” I volunteered.
“Okay, but don’t be gone too long. We don’t want to get separated before the countdown,” Reader warned me. I nodded and walked briskly out the door.
First I went to the three closest bathrooms. He wasn’t near any of those, so I kept looking up and down the hallways, moving farther away from the holding area with each step. Ten minutes passed and I had reached one of the lower entrances to the stadium. There was still no sign of Transmute.
“Maybe he’s at the holding area now,” I mumbled to myself, about to turn around and go back. Then I heard hushed voices from around the corner. I recognized one of them.
“I don’t think I can do what you’re asking of me,” I heard Transmute say quietly to someone else. Who was he talking to? I moved as close to the edge of the corner as I could without being seen so I could hear better.
“Mr. Mendel, you have very unique, very useful talents,” a chilling male voice answered him. “Besides, I know your secret.”
My curiosity began to get the better of me. I had to see who he was talking to! But, given the private nature of this conversation, being seen could mean a lot of trouble for me. So, I pulled my tablet out of my belt and used the screen like a mirror to peek around the corner. Though it was only for a few seconds, I could clearly see who the second person was. Transmute was talking to the hooded figure I kept seeing in the stands! I fought the urge to gasp in shock. What were they doing together?!
“It’s about time you started thinking about who your real friends are, Mr. Mendel. I’ll be waiting for you when you realize the truth,” the hooded man told him in a disturbingly calm tone. With that, he turned and left, leaving Transmute on his own. Quickly, I flew back to the other end of the hall, put my tablet away, and started calling Transmute’s name. He looked around the corner, clueless that I had actually been there for a while.
“Where have you been? Check-in for the Battle Royal is about to close! We have to go!” I urged him to come with me. We made it back to the holding room with only a minute to spare.
“What took you so long? Did you get sucked down a toilet or something?” Screech asked him angrily.
“Sorry,” Transmute apologized softly as he tied his flag to his belt. I kept my mouth shut about what I saw. I’m trying really hard not to jump to conclusions, but what secret is Transmute hiding? What did the hooded man ask him to do? Okay, I have to refocus. A lot is riding on the outcome of the Battle Royal. I need to believe that Transmute will have my back tonight.
Saturday, October 26, 2111 (later in the day)
We all held our breaths as the final countdown began. As soon as the bell went off, the stadium would become a battlefield. For the first time all week, the field was empty. Meaning, there was nowhere to hide and all attacks would be out in the open. All 116 apprentices stood sporadically from one end to the other. Anyone who had created alliances stood close to each other for protection. Although after what I heard earlier, I didn’t feel very safe with Transmute nearby.
“Remember the plan,” Eagle Eye whispered to us as we waited for the final minute to pass. She and Reader had been strategizing all week. “Transmute, Lupine, and I will take the offensive. I don’t care if you take their flags or knock them out, just take out who you can.
“Screech and I will play defense and protect the three of you from attacks,” Reader added.
“That leaves me as your eyes in the skies,” I stated, very content with the role they gave me.
“Stay in the air. Protect us from long-range attacks and take out the other fliers,” Eagle Eye reminded me.
“Don’t worry, I can handle it,” I reassured her as the ten-second countdown began on the holoscreen. Fighting from the sky is what I do best.
The bell resonated through Titan Stadium signaling the start of the last event. I shot up into the air and immediately pushed away the five opponents that tried to rush my team. Clearly they didn't think it would be stupid to attack a team where four of the members had won medals in the previous nights’ events. While my gravitational field kept them pinned, Lupine used the opportunity to grab their flags.
Our plan was working. Transmute and Lupine ran to and fro, competing to see who could get more flags. Eagle Eye took out more competitors with her stun guns than both of them combined. Apprentices were dropping fast because of her. Reader used her mind-reading skills to make attackers fall asleep in their tracks. No one wanted to even go near Screech. Her scream at close range is known to make people go deaf. I stayed in the air and protected my team from long-range attacks. I’m one of two apprentices this year with flight capabilities, but that didn't mean I couldn’t expect close-range attacks from the sky. Rockslide was the first to attempt such a tactic.
He started circling me on one of his rocks. “This isn’t personal,” he said loudly over the cheering spectators, “I have a lot of respect for you, but you’re the competition.”
“Same to you!” I responded before made him heavier and forced him to crash through his rock and plummet to the ground. Relatively unharmed, of course. He was still, barely, conscious when he landed. Transmute was quick to grab his.
After deflecting a few more attempts similar to Rockslide’s, pulling Lupine from a sandpit Flux had created, and watching Download try to sneak up on Reader with her back turned (she realized he was there and beat him again), I realized that the field looked strangely bigger. It took me a minute to realize that it was because the number of apprentices on the field had vastly decreased since the beginning of the event. There were less than 30 of us left and we had been battling it out for more than half an hour. With so few of us left, I was afraid that the hardest fights were yet to come, especially if I had to fight one of my friends. I wasn’t sure if I could do it when the time came.
As soon as that thought crossed my mind, I let my guard down and a telekinetic named Kinematic pulled me sharply to the ground. I couldn’t pull myself out of the fall and wound up landing on Screech, knocking her out. Lupine rushed to my side to help me up while Reader tried to telepathically confuse Kinematic so she couldn’t focus of taking our flags. We realized too late that Kinematic was a decoy. In a split second, one of the speedsters, Mercury, tore through our ranks and stole all of our flags in one go.
“We lost,” Eagle Eye said depressingly as a platform took the five of us off the field and to the holding area.
“I thought we would actually stand a chance in making it to the final ten,” Reader sighed and shook her head. I couldn’t believe how upset they all were. Even Lupine’s dog ears were drooping sadly on either side of his face. It was depressing and I couldn’t understand why. The Battle Royal is the one event where you can only succeed if you’ve had a lot of experience fighting against other metahumans. First year competitors almost never win because of this.
“We were the last first-years out there.” I had to point it out. “Usually the older competitors take out the youngest ones at the beginning, but we survived and made it farther into the competition than any of the others in our year.” Alright, not my best attempt at comforting my friends, but somehow it worked. Lupine was the first to smile and slowly the others did too. Except for Screech. She was still out cold.
“Nebula’s right. We did well tonight,” Transmute agreed with me.
“Yeah! We should celebrate that we were the last first-years to lose!” Lupine exclaimed, returning to his usual optimistic self.
With a renewed sense of victory, we all watched the rest of the event on the holoscreen. I couldn’t help but steal glances at Transmute every few seconds. I’m so confused. He’s someone I went to school with for four years. He fought by my side tonight in the toughest event of the Apprentice Games. For goodness sake, we’re both sidekicks in the biggest, most secure superhero organization in the planet! I should be able to trust him. But, after what I saw and heard earlier tonight, I don’t know if I can anymore.
Sunday, October 27, 2111
I’m hiding out in the holding area until some of the mayhem upstairs clears. Since the Apprentice Games are officially over, the press is ready to mob the winning apprentices for interviews. And since I got my silver medal for the Obstacle Course earlier tonight, they will definitely be waiting for me.
Fortunately the Awards Ceremony went off without a hitch. All of the apprentices stood on platforms that hovered above the stands, much like the first night, except for those of us who placed in the events. We stood on the field where we waited for our mentors to present us our medals.
“I must say, Serena,” Greg announced as the medals were being brought out, “this has been an exciting week for all of us at the Apprentice Games. And while not all of the apprentices received medals, they certainly all deserve them.”
“I couldn’t agree more, Greg,” Serena nodded in agreement. “These powerful individuals are the future of our nation. They all deserve recognition for their courage and determination.” The whole crowd applauded in response. As soon as the noise subsided, Shifter began the process of presenting the medals.
“Strength Challenge. First place: Giantess. Second place: Transmute. Third place: Sandstone,” Shifter stated as the first three apprentices took their places on pedestals. They bowed their heads so their mentors placed the medals ceremoniously around their necks. As they stepped down to make way for the next set of winners, I couldn’t help but notice that Transmute was the only one who didn’t look happy about getting a medal.
“Speed Challenge. First place: Mercury. Second place: Maximum. Third place: Lupine.” Shifter rushed through this set of names a little faster so he could present Lupine’s medal personally. Everyone laughed a little as he took the medal right out of Gamma Girl’s hands.
“Hand-to-Hand Combat. First place: Flux. Second place: Turbine. Third place: Transmute.” Transmute was on the pedestal accepting his second medal of the night, a rare honor, and he still wouldn’t crack a smile. In fact, he just looked straight ahead, focused on something in the stands. Curious, I followed his line of sight. My stomach sank a bit as I realized he was looking at the hooded man I had been seeing all week. A hint of a smirk could be seen from under his hood. It gave me an eerie feeling that he was studying us, the apprentices, like one would study a tool before purchase.
I looked back at Transmute. Even though he’s associated with the hooded man somehow, if they were on good terms, he wouldn’t look as uncomfortable as he does now. I think I misjudged him. Transmute, the hooded man. After all, he did say he couldn't do what was asked of him. Secrets or no secrets, Transmute stood up to that man last night. I shouldn’t have been so paranoid.
“Logic Maze. First place: Reader. Second place: Download. Third place: Encode.” I pushed the hooded man from my mind and returned my attention to the Awards Ceremony. My best friend received her first medal and I wanted to focus on that, not on some creepy guy that was sharing secrets with a former classmate.
“Obstacle Course.” My turn! My legs were shaking excitedly as I took my place on the pedestal. “First place: Rockslide. Second place: Nebula. Third place: Flux.” Challenger mouthed, “I’m very proud of you,” to me as he placed my silver medal around my neck. I couldn’t help but get a little misty as he did so. I was proud of myself.
“Battle Royal. First place: Doppelganger. Second place: Mercury. Third place: Kinematic.” The last set of winners stood on the pedestals and accepted their medals. Once we were all standing on even ground again, the sky lit up with huge red and blue fireworks, marking the end of the Apprentice Games.
After the fireworks display, all of the apprentices were ushered into the holding area so we could say our goodbyes and so the press could take their places at the stadium entrance to try and get statements from the winners. Reader, Lupine, and I stood off in a corner together and compared our medals.
“I can’t believe we all got medals in our first year,” I stated, still in awe that it had happened.
“I know what you mean. What are the odds?” Lupine shrugged.
“If you really want to know, I could figure it out,” Reader joked.
“No thanks, Miss Logic Maze,” Lupine laughed. “But seriously, this was fun. I can’t wait for next year.” I’ll never admit this out loud, but I agree with him on this. Most of our lives will be filled with conflict and crime-fighting. Doing something that can be considered fun is nothing if not great.
Okay, most of the other apprentices have left. I guess it’s my turn to brave the crazy photographers and reporters. Wish me luck. Why on earth am I saying that to my tablet?