School for Assassins - Ch. 9 (march 25, 2015)

[b]I’ve been contemplating posting this for nearly a week now. At one point, I had a different user name, but I haven’t been here in quite a few years. I debated for a while about making this story ab/dl, but I’m also writing three other stories and I have a 16 month old baby, so I only get to write at nap time and after she goes to sleep for the night.

I’m really hoping to get some constructive criticism on my story so that I can make it the best story possible. I have seven chapters written, but I want to pace myself a bit, so I’m only posting the first two chapters and the summary today. [/b]

Summary:

I’ve has been a part of the School of Assassins for almost as long as I can remember. The school leader, Mr. Cason, adopts orphans with sketchy pasts. I was pulled out of my foster home when I was eight for stabbing my foster father when he tried to rape me. I was adopted by Mr. Cason’s associates and brought to Sumner Heights, a professed school for troubled kids.

Only those on the inside know the school for what it really is. It’s a school that trains us to become assassins. And now that I’ve graduated from my regular studies, and spent a year of intensive training, I’m getting put on a team. Teams are put together for a year to learn how to work as a team. We’re supposed to learn to put our strengths and weaknesses together to virtually eliminate our weaknesses.

For the most part, we’ve trained one-on-on. That’s suited me well, because when I get nervous, I turn into a total klutz. Now that we’re getting put on teams, we’ll be training together constantly, and even living together. We’ll need to learn to trust each other with our lives. Only then, will we be able to pass the final test to become field agents.

How am I going to be able to pass the test of trust when I don’t even trust myself?

Re: School for Assassins

I’ve been reworking the story a little. I have two documents of this same story going for when I have time to add an LG element to it, and I changed some stuff in my original document. I’m going through and doing a quick update here as well… but since I changed things a week ago, I’m not sure what sections I altered. So… I’m just reposting my whole story to make sure I got all the changes.

Chapter 1 – The Beginning
Ely:

I glanced around the dining hall before quickly making my way towards the food. I made a face. I wasn’t a fan of oatmeal, but I guess if I could put strawberries in it or something it would be alright. I shoved a strand of short, blond hair behind my ear as I made my way to my assigned table. I sat down and started to eat while trying not to wrinkle my nose.

Today, we were going to find out who would be on our team. Our… permanent team. There would be no going back. We wouldn’t be allowed to work with the other students. From here on out, we’d be trust building with our team. We wouldn’t be allowed out on the field unless we could pass the test that our leaders put in front of us. The test to prove that we really got along with one another and we each had complete trust in everyone else on our team.

Teams were usually kept in small groups of six or less students and the leaders tried to make the teams fair by making sure everyone had a different specialization. My stomach felt jittery and my palms grew sweaty just thinking about meeting these new people. I hadn’t eaten much of my breakfast when I finally got up to take care of my bowl.

I didn’t have much to do but wait, since my room was already packed. I checked the locations of my various weapons before stepping back into the hallway. I made my way to the assembly hall while spinning my closed knife nervously. My breaths were coming out shakily and I ran my fingers through my shoulder length blond curls.

I stepped into the large room and ran into someone else as they were stepping out of the room. “Watch it, Klutz.” She murmured as my knife clattered to the ground.

“S-sorry.” I managed to stammer.

She smirked at me and shook her head, “I hope I’m not unlucky enough to end up with you on my team, or we’d never graduate, because I’d never trust you. And I really don’t believe that you have a specialty, because you seem to be a klutz at everything!” She huffed and spun on her heel.

I sighed and continued up to the bleachers. I couldn’t really argue, because my clumsiness was well known throughout the school. Whenever I got nervous, I turned into an extreme klutz. I tripped, I dropped things, and I walked into things, all while trying not to look like an idiot. I understood why no one would want me on their team.

I moved up the bleachers and sat in the top corner and put my knife away. I pulled out my phone to play angry birds while I was waiting.

Less than an hour later, the assembly hall was packed. I put my phone away as the assembly starts. Mr. Cason stood on the stage with a microphone in his hand. His dark hair was neatly combed back, and he looked younger than he really was.

“As you all know, today you’ll all get separated into teams. We’ll have some all-male teams, some all-female teams, and some mixed teams, but no matter what, your team will be sharing a suit of rooms, sort of like a mini apartment. You will learn to play nicely with your teammates.” He stopped to glance at a group of kids known as the troublemakers before he continued, “You’ll learn everything about your teammates. You’ll learn what makes them tick, what they like and don’t like, etc… You’ll learn how to live with them, and you’ll learn to enjoy their company. If you don’t, you won’t pass. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t pass… Well… Don’t let that happen.” He looked around the room at everyone before he added, “There is no time limit on this part. You will be tested periodically to make sure you’re making improvements, but you won’t have a final test until your mentor has deemed you ready for it. If you aren’t making improvements, it’s a three strike rule. I find we’re fairly lenient here, so please talk to someone if you’re having problems. Now, with that being said, we’ll turn the floor to Mrs. Smithinson, who will give us our teams.”

A tall woman with blond hair in a tight bun stepped up to the podium. “Please listen to your name, and come to the front when you’re called. Mr. Cason will be handing out your room assignments, along with anything else you’ll need to know. Let’s get started.” Her voice was low and husky as she continued.

“Alyssa Hayes, Jessica Norton, and Hailey Benton, please step down. Hayes, you’ll be the team captain, and the liaison between your team and the leaders.” I watched as three pretty girls stepped off the bleachers. They each left a group of friends behind, and I admit to feeling a bit of jealousy at the amount of friends surrounding each girl, but I decided to ignore them and just listen for my name.

I watched a few different groups walk to the stage. A group of five guys went up, followed by two guys and two girls. Another group of all girls went up and then a group of three girls and one guy. I sighed softly as I listened to the next group get called. “Shawn Eirhart, Jordan Stein, Dominic Weston, and…” There was a brief pause before she continued, “Elyzabeth Wilson.” I’m pretty sure that I just died. Actually, I wouldn’t be opposed to death right now. Or at the very least, a giant hole opening up underneath me.

I stood up on shaky legs and walked slowly down the bleachers. Why did I choose to sit at the top, again? Oh yeah. I figured I’d be inconspicuous that way. I had nearly made it all the way down the bleachers without a mishap, when someone stuck their foot out. I let out a small yelp as I crashed to the floor. My face flushed in humiliation as four of my knives fell to the floor with a clatter.

I heard each knife hit the floor, I knew I had quite a few more, not only hidden on my body but also packed with my belongings, but I refused to worry that someone else might kill me with my own blade someday.

I thrust my fingers under the front of the bleachers, searching for the damn blade. I was about to give up when I noticed a pair of boots next to my arm. “Missing this?” He asked in a deep southern voice.

Re: School for Assassins

[b]Sorry for the delay. Between my birthday and my toddler ended up in the ER, I haven’t been home long enough to post anything. Here’s the next chapter.

Edit: I apologize if not all the paragraphs are indented. Occasionally my word program thinks it’s being smart and auto tabs for me. If I don’t catch it and manually auto tab before copying and pasting here, it won’t indent them here.[/b]

Chapter 2 – Meeting the Team
Ely:

I felt my face flush even more and I quickly grabbed the knife from his fingers, “Th-thank you.”

He gave a soft chuckle and said, “I’m assumin’ you’re Elyzabeth?” He walked with me towards the stage and I nodded, still attempting to keep my hold on my knives and slide them into their sheaths at the same time.

He moved us towards two tall guys and Mr. Cason, but I refused to actually look up at them, because I knew the second I did, my clumsiness would be back. Mr. Cason handed me some documents and a scroll of paper, “Shawn will be your team captain. Everyone’s bags have already been taken to their suites. You’re free to head towards your quarters to get settled. Lunch and dinner will be served to your rooms tonight.”

I gulped and followed the guys out of the room. As soon as we got out of the room, the boy we were following turned and said, “I’m Shawn, by the way.” He had short, dark hair with bleached tips. His dark eyes were intense and his full lips were unsmiling. He had a little bit of dark facial hair, but it was so short that it looked like he had just skipped shaving for the day. He was wearing loose fitting, dark jeans and had a white tank top on under a black, short sleeved, button up shirt with all the buttons undone.

He glanced at the rest of us, and the boy with the black cowboy hat said, “I’m Dominic. Or Nic. I’ll answer to either.” He had dark hair, and his grey t-shirt did nothing to hide the muscle definition in his stomach. The pair of black boots on his feet told me that he must have been the one to rescue my knife earlier.

The last boy spoke up and said, “I’m Jordan.” His dark hair was a bit longer and spiked. He had quite a bit of facial hair as well. His dark jeans hung low on his hips, and although he was a bit thinner than Dominic, his tight t-shirt made it clear that he was just as muscular.

All three of them looked at me expectantly and I felt my face flush as I looked at the ground. “Ely.” I mumbled.

A few seconds went by before Shawn said, “Let’s go. We can talk more once we get to our rooms.” It was probably a smart idea, considering we were supposed to stay clear of the other teams from this point forward.

We followed him to the elevator and up to the fourth floor and to room 408. A swipe of a key card by Shawn and the door opened. He held it open for everyone to step inside and my eyes were huge. There was a small kitchen to the left and at the far end of the kitchen was a table and four chairs. The living room was large and… circular? That was new. There was a large couch, a couple of chairs, and a video game system hooked up to a large flat screen TV.

There was a large window at the front of the room, which showed off the large pond on the property. Shawn snapped his fingers once and said, “Everyone take a seat and let’s get to know each other a little better.” I immediately dropped into one of the large chairs to keep as much distance between me and them as possible. I was glad that they hadn’t noticed when I tripped getting out of the elevator, and I was afraid that sitting too close would make me too nervous to talk. Who was I kidding, I was too nervous to talk to them anyways. I dropped my papers onto the coffee table.

I kicked my sandals off and curled my feet up underneath me as I sat further back on the chair and closed my eyes. “Relax, Ely.” My eyes flew open at the deep voice that appeared next to me. I glanced over to see all three of them watching me, but it had been Dominic’s voice that I had heard.

Dominic sat back against the back of the couch and scratched his forehead, which bumped his hat off his head. Shawn yawned and stretched slightly before sitting up straight, “Shall we start with the simple questions?” He gave a soft chuckle and I flushed when I realized they were all still watching me.

“Let’s start with the basics.” Jordan agreed. He stretched out in the other chair and paused for effect before asking, “Color? I’ll start. Orange.”

Dominic grinned, “Bright or dark? And I like dark green.”

Jordan shook his head, “Dark orange. Bright orange is too hard to look at. Shawn?”

“Blue. Dark blue. Or Bright blue. Never baby blue.” He replied with a straight face. The others laughed at that.

Jordan looked at me expectantly and asked, “Ely? What’s your favorite color?”

I glanced down at my fingers, not really sure how to answer that. “Um… rainbow?”

Dominic blinked, “I wasn’t expectin’ that. Like… the real rainbow? Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple? Or…?” He trailed off like he wasn’t sure what else he was going to add and I nodded.

“I like them all. Although my favorite color combos are bright pink and black or pink and silver.” I replied softly.

I glanced up and Jordan seemed impressed. He grinned for a moment, “Ely had the best answer, so she gets to ask the next question.”

I looked at them with wide eyes and shook my head. Dominic seemed to think for a moment before moving towards me. Before I could react, he leaned down to whisper something in my ear. I glanced up at him curiously and then at the others. Jordan glared at him, “No fair.” He muttered. Dominic just laughed softly.

I bit my lip for a second before I said, “Ages?” It wasn’t precisely what Dominic had said, but he had given me the idea. I glanced at him first after I added, “I’m sixteen.”

Dominic laughed, “There, see. She didn’t take my suggestion. And I’m sixteen as well.”

Shawn’s lips quirked up at our banter, “I’m seventeen.” He said as he glanced over at Jordan.

Jordan seemed to be off in his own world before Shawn smacked his knee, “Age, Jordan?”

Jordan wrinkled his nose, but replied, “Seventeen. Dominic’s turn for a question?”

Dominic suddenly asked, “Are there any rules for this game? Or are we allowed to ask about specialties?”

Shawn shrugged, “You can ask. We’re still going to have to watch each other during testing this week to get a feel for how good we are at everything.”

I felt the blood drain from my face, “You’re kidding, right?” I asked, my voiced squeaked embarrassingly.

Shawn looked surprised for a moment, but shook his head. “No. It’s a requirement.” I slunk down in my seat as Shawn looked at Dominic, “You go first.”

Dominic grinned, “I excel in anything motorized. Drivin’ and workin’ on cars comes easily to me.” I wrinkled my nose slightly and I was glad that we had someone on our team to specialize in that. He laughed at my expression as he turned to Shawn, “You?” He asked.

Shawn shrugged, “Moving around unseen. I can get in to and out of nearly anywhere without being seen or heard.” He replied softly.

Jordan laughed, “So we’ll probably be working closely, then. I work well with various poisons and sleight of hand.” He replied. Everyone looked at me and I could feel the traitorous blush creeping up my cheeks again.

“Weaponry. Um… Long distance weaponry. I’m not a fan of guns, because if I end up fighting with someone in closed quarters, they could easily take a gun and fire it at me… I usually work with throwing knives. I can use pretty much any thrown weapon though, or any type of bow. And I know how to use guns… I just… don’t.” I replied softly, feeling foolish for my rambling.

Shawn frowned slightly, “Do you have any weapons on you at the moment?” He asked. I bit my lip and nodded, and he continued, “Could I ask that you completely strip all your weapons off? I promise we won’t touch any of them, but I’d like to see what you’re working with. If we’re going to learn to start trusting each other…” He let that statement hand in the air and I finally nodded.

I took four knives from my wrists and dropped them on the coffee table before hesitating for a moment. Shawn gave me a questioning look before I took a knife from each forearm, two that I had managed to slip into my hair, one from each shoulder, four that had been strapped to my ribs, one from each hip, and one from each ankle. “That’s all I have on me right now.” I muttered.

“Freaking hell, Ely. Eighteen knives?” He asked.

I nodded before adding, “Had I been wearing what I normally wear, there would have been more…”

Jordan grinned, “This is going to be a beautiful relationship. We are going to be working closely as well, little Elyzabeth.” He said with a pleased tone.

Re: School for Assassins

I have up to chapter 9 written, but I’m only planning on posting a chapter a day so that I can stay ahead of myself. I usually write 1/2 to a full chapter every day, but I also have 3 other stories that I’m writing, and the chapters for this story are getting longer than my usual chapters. I’m still considering adding at least some LG content to the story, but that’ll take more effort than simply writing a brand new story, so I’ll probably hold off a bit for now.

Chapter 3 – Team Dynamics
Shawn:

This team will be interesting to work with. I’m hoping that I won’t be working with any hotheads, or over thinkers, but looking at them all I’m wondering if Ely will be an over thinker. Oh well, I’d rather an over thinker than someone who rushes into things.

Their specialties will all come in handy, and suddenly I asked, “Does anyone own a car?” I knew most students here didn’t have one, but it was worth a try.

I glanced at Jordan, and he shook his head. “I have a license, but no car.” He replied.

I nodded, “Same here.” I looked over at Dominic questioningly.

He grinned, “Yeah. I have two vehicles. I have a truck and a car. I’m saving up for a motorcycle next.” He replied. I was surprised that he had two vehicles, but then he added, “I can make nearly anything run, so I got them for cheap and worked on them myself.”

I glanced at Ely. She was tapping her forefingers together nervously as she watched her hands, “Ely?” I asked.

She shook her head, “I don’t even have a license.” She mumbled. I chuckled softly. I hadn’t thought that she had a vehicle, but her specialty had surprised the heck out of me, so I figured I should ask anyways.

I picked one of her knives up off the table and felt her gaze immediately snap to me. She frowned as she watched me look at it and I sent her a reassuring smile, “Relax, Sweetie. I’m just looking at it.” I said without looking at her. I could still feel her eyes on me as I looked it over. “These knives aren’t practical.” I murmured.

I glanced up as her brow furrowed, “But they are practical. They’re switchblades.” She kept her words to a minimum and I had to chuckle softly.

“How are they practical?” I asked her as I glanced up.

She grinned, “They only work for me.” She picked up a knife from the table and ran her thumb along the side and the blade sprung out. I admit that I was impressed.

“Alright, let’s choose bedrooms. We can all go unpack.” I stood up and stretched. I frowned when Ely stayed where she was as the rest of us walked to our rooms. The only movement she made was to grab a couple of her knives and stash them on herself.

Dominic chuckled at my expression, “I think we make her nervous.” He said.

Ely:

I felt my face heat up at his comment, especially when Jordan agreed. I bit my lip and glanced at my knives, and then back at the boys. I wanted to ask them a question, but I was afraid they’d think it was a stupid question, so I stayed quiet.

Jordan gave me a curious look, but it was Shawn you said, “If you want to say something, just say it.” His voice was a little gruff, but when I looked at him, his dark eyes were nothing but kind.

I finally worked up the nerve to ask, “Was I the only one carrying weapons?”

Shawn sighed softly and shook his head, “She has a point. If we made her disarm herself, it’s only fair to do the same.”

Jordan chuckled, “Fine, I’m not a walking arsenal like she was, but I have these.” He dropped a couple of sais on the table.

Dominic dropped three guns on the table. One he had pulled from a holster from behind his shoulder, one from a holster around his ribs, and the third from the waistband of his pants. “I’m not exactly the best fighter, so I prefer to stay out of the battle.” He admitted as he scratched his nose.

Shawn tossed down a couple of knives similar to mine, and I looked at them curiously. “I only have two because I don’t throw them.” I watched him for a moment to make sure he wouldn’t object as I picked one up.

I attempted to balance it on my finger as I inspected it, “It’s a good thing you don’t throw it… It would make a horrible throwing knife.” I said, almost to myself.

Shawn gave me a look before he announced, “Alright, now that we’re all unarmed, time to choose rooms and unpack. After lunch, we’ll set up some house rules.” Everyone nodded in agreement, and Jordan practically lifted me out of the chair.

“Come on, Pipsqueak. You can have the room next to mine.” He pulled me towards a hallway off one side of the living room while Shawn and Dominic went down the other. I bit my lip and my legs felt a little shaky, which I knew from past experiences that it was a bad thing.

I was proven correct when I tripped over my own feet and we both ended up sprawled out in the hallway. To make matters worse, I ended up straddling his hips, and he was staring up at me in complete surprise. He chuckled softly, “I guess this was what Bridget meant when she gave me her condolences.” I felt my cheeks heat badly as I attempted to scramble off of him and apologize at the same time.

A huff of air left him suddenly, and he grunted. “El, please quit moving.” The pained grunt that escaped from him next had me pausing in my mid-panicked flight.

Footsteps from the living room sounded seconds before Dominic let out a shout of laughter and I suspected that the cough Shawn gave was to mask his laughter as well. “What happened here?” Shawn asked.

He moved over to us and gently grasped my hips before lifting me easily off of Jordan. I was too mortified to speak, and Jordan let out a few more wheezes before he said, “I don’t really know… She tripped, we ended up like that… and then she kicked me where it counts and I’m pretty sure I saw stars for a moment…”

My face felt like an inferno, and I leaned against the wall, only to sink down into a squat when my legs decided to give out. I was shaking so badly I was afraid they’d think I was having a seizure.

Shawn moved over to me and sat down, “Are you okay?” He asked softly.

“I-I’m… um… I’m s-sorry.” I managed to stutter out somehow.

He chuckled, “There’s nothing to be sorry for, Ely. For… Well, safe keepings, could I get your knives back. I promise to give them back before the test tomorrow.” His voice was nothing but kind and soothing, and I was wondering why they were being so nice to me.

I stared at his outstretched hand for a moment before I shook my sleeve out. Three knives fell into his palm and he raised a brow at me, “Are there any more?” He asked softly.

I sighed and dropped another two in his hand. “Thank you. I appreciate the trust you’re showing me.” He glanced at the floor where Jordan was still moaning. “Jordan, get up before I really kick you in the nuts.” His voice was unsympathetic as he stood up and offered me a hand. I took it as I felt myself blush again over the casual way he was talking about… that area.

Jordan mumbled something that I didn’t hear and moved off to the bedroom on the far side of the hallway. “You get the other room, Ely.” He threw over his shoulder as he disappeared through his doorway.

Shawn helped me up, “Are you going to be okay?” He asked. I nodded and glanced at the floor, already feeling like the weakest link on our team. He gave my head a soft pat and said, “Don’t worry about it, Babe. We’ll figure out team dynamics as we go along.” I gave a short nod and muttered a thank you as I stepped into my new room.

Re: School for Assassins

Chapter 4-The House Rules of an Assassin
Ely:

Once I had looked around my new room, I quickly grabbed my bags and brought them into my room to unpack them. It didn’t take long before everything was stashed where I wanted it, and I had a new supply of weapons strapped to my body.

A while later there was a soft knock on my door. I quickly opened my door, and I wish I could say that it happened smoothly, but it didn’t. The bottom of the door slid into my foot and I ended up slamming the door into my forehead before it swung shut again. “Sh!t! Are you okay, Ely.”

My face felt like it was on fire, and I mumbled through the door, “Just go away so I can die in peace.”

His deep laugh sounded on the other side of the door and I heard one of the other guys ask, “What’s so funny?”

I opened the door a crack, only to see Jordan pointing at the door, “Ely is freaking hilarious!”

I opened the door wider to glare at him, and he chuckled again, “Now, now. Don’t be like that. I wasn’t making fun, but I’ve never met anyone as clumsy as you.”

I opened my mouth to start to say something, but Shawn walked down the hallway and popped him on the back of the head, “You were supposed to let her know lunch was here, not make fun of her series of unfortunate events.”

I sighed, because as much as I hated to admit it, Jordan was right. “There’s no harm in telling the truth.” I muttered.

Shawn paused for a moment before he said, “Ely, I thought we agreed to no weapons until the test tomorrow. Hand them over.”

Jordan:

Dominic and I sat at the kitchen table while Shawn led Ely to the counter. “Drop everything you have on the counter, please. Actually, wait right there.” I dropped a hand to the top of her head before he disappeared towards his room. I shared a quizzical look with Dominic, but we stayed quiet.

Shawn stepped back into the room with a large box, which he sat on the counter, “Okay. All your weapons in here.” She nodded, and we were once again treated to the sight of her disarming herself.

I moved closer as she dropped four more throwing knives into the box, followed by… “A bola?” I asked. She nodded and continued to disarm herself. Three chakram, fifteen darts “What the heck do you need that many darts for?!” I asked.

She blushed, “Thrown weapons don’t come back unless you retrieve them…” and she added seven shuriken to the pile.

“Good God! You were prepared to take on anything!” Dominic nearly shouted in my ear as he leaned over my shoulder.

I jumped and spun around, “Jesus, don’t do that!”

He chuckled and moved back to his chair. I followed him, but Shawn stopped Ely from sitting down, “I know that’s not everything.” I turned to see him holding his hand out to her.

She sighed and handed him a long, thin rope, and two arrows from inside her shirt. Shawn spared a glance at her, “Please tell me you aren’t into garrotes… I can handle you being into any weapon but that.”

She looked confused for a moment, and then shook her head. She bit her lip nervously, and her blue-grey eyes stood out in the dim lighting of the kitchen. “No… The… um, the whole reason I’m i-into thrown weapons is so that I don’t have to g-get close to the enemy.” She murmured before hurrying to a chair to sit down. At least, I’m assuming that was her plan. Instead, she landed on her butt on the floor.

Dominic rushed around the table to help her up, since Shawn had taken the box of weapons out to the coffee table, and I shook my head. “Damn, girl. You must have a natural talent for this, because I didn’t realize someone could be this clumsy without really trying… Ouch!” I quickly ducked my head as Dominic hit me.

“Ignore him, Ely. That’s what I’ve been doin’ since we got up here.” He told her conspiratorially.

“Hey!” I sputtered, feigning being hurt with my hand clutched to my chest. Ely let out a small giggle and I grinned, “That’s better.” I mostly murmured to myself.

Shawn came back into the room and set our lunch on the table. Dominic blinked in surprise, “We could have gotten it. You didn’t have to serve us.”

I chuckled at the strong southern accent in his voice as I grabbed my lunch, “I don’t care how it got here, I’m starving.” I replied.

Ely:

After eating a healthy lunch, Shawn moved us towards the living room. “Sit.” He commanded. I made a face, but sat down in the chair from earlier.

“Rule time?” Jordan asked hopefully.

Dominic frowned, “Why do you seem so excited about rules?” He asked curiously.

Jordan giggled gleefully, “Rules were meant to be broken!” He exclaimed.

Shawn cleared his throat, and both boys stopped their banter to look at him. “There will be no intentional rule breaking or there will be consequences.” He stated seriously.

Jordan gulped, “What consequences?” He asked, looking worried.

Dominic chuckled, “Dude, you should see your face right now! It’s like… you already know you’ll be required to pay up.”

Jordan nodded in agreement and Shawn shot him a look, “Anyone caught breaking the rules… And we will ALL suffer the consequences. We will all meet on the training field where we will all train. The amount of time spent training will be determined by how severely you screwed up. This is to ensure that we all work together to stay out of trouble, understand?”

All three of us nod our heads, and all I could think at that moment was that I was going to die. Maybe it wouldn’t be today, or even tomorrow, but at some point, someone was going to slip up and I was going to die. Shawn’s lip quirked up and he said, “Good. I’m assuming we all know the school rules. No killing off the other teams, no killing off each other. No leaving the grounds without permission or a damn good reason. Now for the house rules.”

He grabbed a piece of paper and a pen from coffee table as he scribbled something on the paper. “There will be no weapons until after the testing. I’m sure that everyone has learned the need to stash random weapons throughout their living quarters. If you haven’t, it’s something we will be doing, especially once testing begins. If you stash weapons somewhere, you’ll let the rest of the team know what and where.”

Dominic cut in, “What about team first?” He asked. Shawn gave him a blank look and I almost giggled. Dominic clarified, “The team comes first, no matter what. A few weeks ago, I heard about a team that attempted to sabotage each other.”

Jordan suddenly piped up, “Oh yeah! Three of the girls thought that they didn’t need a team because they all thought they were good at everything. They completely missed the entire point of the last year of training, which is to learn to use our talents as a team…” He trailed off and blushed slightly at having been caught during a rant. Shawn just scribbled something on his sheet of paper without saying anything.

Shawn glanced at everyone before he said, “There will be no bringing others into our apartment, unless it’s an instructor. I’d rather not have to worry about listening to anyone else on the team having an… amorous relationship, and I don’t trust easily. It’ll take enough time before I’m able to trust the three of you, but I refuse to give my trust to anyone’s fuckbuddy.” My eyes widened and I sunk further into my chair. He wouldn’t have to worry about that from me. As one of the most awkward kids in the school, most of the guys I was acquainted with wouldn’t give me the time of day.

“Does anyone have anything to add?” Shawn asked.

Dominic seemed to think for a moment before nodding, “Yeah. I’d kinda like to set up a system of code, so that if we have to leave messages for each other, no one else can understand them…”

Shawn nodded in agreement, “That sounds like a good idea. Maybe this evening we’ll get together and come up with something.”

Dominic bit his lip before he added, “I don’t know how everyone will feel about this one, but I’d like for use to keep track of each other at all times. Or at least have a general idea on where everyone is.” He explained.

Jordan chuckled, “That’s a good idea. I can see Ely being trouble once she gets out into the big world outside of this room.”

I stuck my tongue out at him childishly and he crossed his eyes at me. I found it difficult to stay annoyed with him when he looked like that, and I couldn’t help the giggle that escaped. He grinned at me triumphantly and Shawn shook his head, “Children, do I have to separate you two?”

Dominic looked puzzled as to what was going on, since he hadn’t been looking at us, but Jordan managed to put a repentant look on his face, “I’m sorry, Sir. It won’t happen again.” I snorted at his formality and he shot me another grin.

Shawn simply shook his head and mumbled, “I give up. So, are we good then? No one has anything else to add?”

When everyone else shook their head, he said, “Good.” And tossed his paper on the coffee table.

1.TEAM FIRST
2.No killing teammates or other teams.
3.No leaving school grounds without a good reason or permission
4.Inform the rest of the team where you stash weapons
5.No one else enters our apartment
6.Always let the rest of the team know where you’re going if you leave the apartment alone.

“Now that we’re done with rules, we’ll have free time until dinner, although we need to stick to the apartment for now, and after dinner, we’ll come up with some sort of basic code.” Shawn said. With that said, Jordan made a beeline for the kitchen. Dominic leaned back on the couch and put his earphones in. Shawn stood up and moved all my knives from earlier into the box that had my second round of weapons inside, and then he placed the weapons from everyone else inside the box as well. “I’ll leave this here. You’re all allowed one weapon for tonight, if it’ll help you sleep better.”

Re: School for Assassins

[b]I don’t have a set length for my chapters, because sometimes I’m lucky to get more than 3 or 4 pages written for a chapter, and sometimes it just flows so naturally that I end up with 8.5 pages. lol. Eventually I’ll turn this into an ab/lg story, but right now I’m just focusing on finishing my stories as they’re originally meant to be.

Edit: I’ve reworded the testing schedule a bit, so hopefully it reads a bit better now. :)[/b]

Chapter 5a – Dinner and a Movie

Ely:
I grabbed my papers from the coffee table and headed to my room for a bit. I left my door open. I figured the odds were really low that I’d have a repeat of earlier if my door was already open. I flopped onto my bed on my stomach and opened the envelope with paper in it. It was all just legal mumbo jumbo, so I set it off to the side to take care of later and I unrolled the scroll.

It seemed to be a schedule of our test week:

Monday:
Close combat/hand-to-hand combat – You will pick your own weapon, as long as it’s a close ranged weapon. No swords or thrown weapons, but you may chose a knife/dagger, sais or nothing.
Locate and neutralize traps – You will be required to demonstrate how well you can find and disarm a trap.

Tuesday:
Ranged Combat – This includes guns, bows, and thrown weapons.
Poisons – This will include a written test, in which your knowledge of poisons will be tested, and then you’ll get to make a poison.

Wednesday:
Free running – Shows your ability to move swiftly, even when you aren’t moving on a flat surface. This will include moving around while high off the ground.
Combat driving – You will be exempt from this test if you don’t have a license or special permission. Flying is for the older students who can pilot.

Thursday:
Mechanics/tech – Your knowledge of electronics and cars will be tested.
Tailing – You will demonstrate your ability to stay out of sight and move silently while trailing someone.
Lock picking – self-explanatory.

Friday:
Sleight of hand – Self-explanatory.
Observation – You will be required to watch someone without them realizing it while they hide multiple items, which you will then be required to locate. If you use concealed weapons, you’ll be required to demonstrate your ability to keep them hidden.

You will have the entire weekend to relax and wind down from test week. If you have any questions or concerns, please have your team captain bring it to my attention.
-Timothy Cason

Some of these looked like fun, but the rest? They looked like they were going to be hell. I spent the rest of the day in my room while listening to music. I wanted to stay out of the way, which also ensured that I kept my clumsiness, and therefore my embarrassment, to a bare minimum. My plan was going perfectly until Shawn appeared in my doorway. “Dinner’s here, Ely.” He appeared so suddenly, and his deep voice scared me so badly that I flew off the other side of my bed.

This presented an interesting problem, because my bed was about a foot from the wall. Apparently, that makes it the perfect place to fall butt first, and get stuck with your head and feet in the air. Yeah, my butt got stuck between my wall and my bed. Welcome to my life. Shawn quickly strode into my room, “I’m entering your room.” He announced. Did he want an award? I’m completely stuck and can’t get out without some sort of assistance, so I’m not exactly objecting to him coming into my room.

He quickly grabbed me under my arms and lifted me out of the hole. I felt my whole face heat up, but I said, “Thank you. That would have been awkward to get out of without help.”

Now that I was unstuck, I could see that his lips had quirked up in amusement. I was impressed and grateful that he didn’t actually laugh at me though. Instead, he stepped into the hall and called out, “Jordan? Nic? Could I borrow one of you?”

Dominic appeared in my doorway a minute later, “What’s up?” He asked.

“We need to rearrange Ely’s room. She seems to have an… affliction of sorts.” And then Shawn turned to me and asked, “Are you okay, by the way?” I blinked a few times and nodded. I couldn’t believe he was planning on rearranging my bedroom on the off chance that something like this would happen again.

They both set out to rearrange my room, and a few minutes later, Jordan appeared in my doorway. “What’s going on, guys?” He asked before hastily tacking on, “And girl, of course.”

I blushed faintly and said, “They’re rearranging my room.”

He looked at me blankly for a moment before he said, “Dinner’s getting cold and you’re worried about feng shui?”

Shawn shook his head, “Her room was set up dangerously.” He turned around in my room, inspecting it for any more ‘dangers’. “But I think we’re done now… unless, of course, we can put a railing of some sort on her bed so that she can’t fall off anywhere.” He added.

Jordan sighed, “I don’t want to know how it was dangerously set up, but thank God you’re done. I’m starving, and I swear my stomach is starting to eat my insides.”

Dominic looked puzzled as he readjusted his hat on his head, “Weren’t you in the kitchen like…” He paused to glance at his watch before continuing, “Fifteen minutes ago, making yourself a sandwich? How the heck can you still be hungry?”

“I’m a growing boy, Domi. I need my food!” He cried out dramatically, making me giggle.

Dominic and Shawn both shook their heads, and Shawn moved me towards the kitchen with an arm around my shoulders. “I don’t think it’s such a good idea to walk so closely to me… Last time someone did, I ended up tripping and kicking Jordan in the…” My voice dropped off to a whisper as I murmured, “You know where.”

Shawn let out a shout of surprised laughter, and I got the feeling that he didn’t laugh much. His dark blue eyes lit up in a way that made me want to make him laugh again. I wasn’t sure if I should feel offended that he was laughing at me, or if I should feel proud that I had made him laugh. When Shawn’s laughter died down, he said, “Don’t worry, El. I think I can handle it if you take me down.”

To my surprise, we wound up in the kitchen with no further mishaps.

During dinner, the boys mostly chatted amongst themselves, for which I was grateful. I finished cutting up my steak and looked at the steak knife with interest. I balanced the knife on my finger and was surprised to find that it was evenly balanced. I twisted my wrist a couple of times, simply testing it. It was a habit whenever I came across a new knife. I rarely ever actually took the knives I tested, I was just curious about their balance and wanted to see how easily they’d fly through the air.

I was off in my own little world as I took a sip of my milk. A hand suddenly shot out and grabbed the knife from me, which made me jump really high. My black shirt and dark skinny jeans were suddenly clinging to my skin as I spilled my drink down the front of my shirt and pants.

I glared at Shawn, who was now holding my knife. My eyes flew up to Dominic and Jordan as Jordan snorted and Dominic looked really surprised. I heard Shawn sigh and my gaze flew back to him. “Ely, am I going to have to ban sharp objects from the table as well?” He paused to watch me for a moment as I stood up, still dripping milk. “Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Just out of curiosity, how did you make it to sixteen years old without killing yourself, especially when you claim to specialize in sharp objects?”

Re: School for Assassins

i like it but demo week reads like a d20 character sheet they should sound more technical

Find and Disarm traps could be Location and neutralization of booby traps
Acrobatics/Climbing/using rope Freerunning/Free Climbing/nonconventional movement
Driving/Flying most rl orgs call this combat driving or crisis driving
Move silently/hide as described in the story it’s called tailing

i really do enjoy it that was just jarring to read

Re: School for Assassins

Thank you! I’ll go back and rewrite that part.
And, because I’m still writing it and working out the kinks, I’ve changed it to ‘testing week’, so I need to go through and change things. lol

Re: School for Assassins

Thank you orderedchaostheory. You have no idea how much I appreciated that you pointed that out to me. I (hopefully) fixed it a bit, and I realized I had a test still listed that I decided not to include. I didn’t realize I had written so far ahead of where my posts were at! I’m trying to pace my updates, but apparently I’ve been pacing those better than my actual writing.

Chapter 5b

Ely:

My cheeks heated up and I bit my lip, but before I could reply, Dominic stood up. “Shawn, watch what you say. Her awkwardness isn’t her fault. I’m curious about how she manages to stay alive as well, but there are nicer ways to word the question.”

I kept my eyes focused on the ground as I finally mumbled, “I’m not always clumsy… It only happens when I’m nervous.” I tapped my pointer fingers together as I scuffed my foot on the floor.

Shawn cleared his throat before he asked, “So… if we cured you of your nervousness, you wouldn’t continue to have these mishaps?”

I shrugged, “Not as frequently. Spilling my drink wasn’t my fault. You startled me and I jumped, so my milk jumped out of my cup as well. With gravity being what it is, once the liquid no longer had a place to contain it, it went…” I gestured to my chest, stomach and lap.

Jordan chuckled, “So… you’re saying that we make you nervous?” He asked. I felt like there might be a joke in there somewhere, but I simply nodded. For once, he seemed completely serious as he said, “We can make that our mission, right? We can work on ways to keep her from getting nervous?”

Jordan seemed excited about the prospect of a ‘mission’ and Dominic chuckled. “I think it’ll help the most if she just hangs out with us constantly. I guess that means you’re stuck with us for a while, Babe.” He said.

My blue eyes widened slightly, and I twisted a strand of my blond curls around my finger. “Uh…” I wasn’t sure how to respond, but that just made Jordan laugh.

Shawn laid a hand on my shoulder to get my attention, “Go change, El. Once we’re done with dinner, we’ll go watch a movie.”

Dominic shifted his wait before falling back in his chair, “I thought we were going to come up with a code.” He pouted slightly.

I glanced up at Shawn as his lip quirked up in a half smile, “We’ll sleep on it. If anyone comes up with any ideas, write them down. We’ll discuss them tomorrow. I doubt we’re going to be leaving the apartment much over the next week anyways, so it’s not like we’re pressed for time.”

Jordan stretched a little and fiddled with something from his pocket, “When we’re not taking tests, I plan on being here to rest and relax a bit so that I’m AWESOME for the tests.”

I giggled softly as I slipped out of the room and went to change. It was fairly late, so I just changed into a grey t-shirt that came down to the middle of my thighs and a pair of soft, black shorts. The shorts were so short that it didn’t look like I was wearing them, but they were comfy and I liked them.

I went back to the kitchen and stopped in surprise. “I could have cleaned up my mess.” I said softly.

Shawn shrugged, “It’s fine, El. Sit down and finish your dinner.”

My cheeks reddened a bit and I sat down, “Thank you.” I murmured.

Jordan hopped up, “Since we’re going to watch a movie, can I pick it out?” He asked hopefully.

I giggled softly at his antics and Dominic stood up as well, “Let’s do our dishes first, dumbass.”

Jordan blinked, “Doesn’t that go against our rules? You know, the whole ‘team first’ thing? I feel like that wasn’t putting me first there.”

I glanced up at Shawn, and my eyes were huge. I really hoped it wasn’t against the rules, because that meant my death would probably come sooner than I had anticipated. Shawn glanced over at me and winked, “No. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t against the rules. We aren’t little kids, so I really don’t think a ‘no name calling’ rule is necessary, do you? If you really think it’s necessary, I’ll put it up and we’ll all meet in the training yard before the birds are up tomorrow for a one hour training session.”

I rapidly shook my head and turned my pleading eyes to Jordan. It wasn’t that I thought their training would be too difficult for me, but my pride would force me to keep up with the three of them, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do that. Jordan sighed, “Fine. No rules about name calling.” He muttered as he took his dishes to the sink.

A few minutes later, Jordan and Dominic disappeared into the living room. Shawn was clearing the table of the rest of the dishes, and once I was done eating, I helped him. We washed the dishes and put them away in silence, and I was proud of myself for not breaking any of the dishes. Of course, maybe that was why he didn’t say anything to me while we worked.

He slung his arm around my shoulders and led me to the living room. I started to sit in the chair I had claimed earlier, but Shawn’s arm stayed wrapped around my shoulders. “Nope. We’re working on getting you to overcome your nervousness, so you’ll sit right here.” He led me to a spot on the couch between him and Dominic.

Jordan suddenly shot of the couch, “If she gets pajamas, so do I!” He said as he ran out of the room.

Shawn called after him, “I’m really hoping you don’t sleep naked, because I really don’t want to see your pajamas if that’s the case.”

Jordan came out of his room a few minutes later wearing a pair of basketball shorts without a shirt on, “Of course not. There are ladies present!” He said, pointing to me for emphasis.

I let out a breath, “Thank God. I really don’t think it would have helped my… awkwardness if you had come out wearing nothing.” I muttered as I pulled my legs up and wrapped my arms around my knees. Jordan laughed softly at me and dropped down into the chair.

“Anyone else need pajamas?” Shawn asked. I glanced up at him and realized he was teasing. I giggled into my knees until something dropped on the coffee table in front of me. I glanced at it, and then quickly glanced at Dominic to see that he had removed his shirt as well. The muscles in his stomach were well defined and I had to tell myself to quit staring before I could look away.

Dominic chuckled softly at my reaction, and Shawn said, “Let’s start the movie.”

Re: School for Assassins

As I said, I’ve written a lot further than my posts here… I’m in the middle of writing chapter 20, I believe.

Chapter 6 – Things that go Bump in the Night
Ely:

I kept my arms around my knees as Dominic pressed play on the remote. Since the boys all had their attention on the movie, I looked at them carefully.

Jordan was easily the slimmest of the three guys, but his lack of bulk just seemed to make his muscles stand out more. He scratched is chin, and I was wondering if he was growing the hair out there, or if he just hadn’t bothered to shave for a while. His dark red shorts hung low on his hips, which showed off the muscular v leading into his shorts.

I turned my attention to Dominic next. His jeans fit him well. They were slightly loose, but not alarmingly so. He had a belt on with a western looking belt buckle. I really wanted to inspect the buckle closer to see what was on it, but I was sure he wouldn’t be too thrilled if I leaned closer to that area. His muscles stood out on his stomach, and the way he slouched on the couch made them stand out a little more. His full lips were curved in a small smile as he concentrated on the movie, and his brown eyes sparkled with amusement. His black cowboy hat was tilted forward on his head.

I glanced over at the movie and jumped as a dinosaur suddenly popped up out of nowhere. I shuddered and quickly looked away again. For what feels like the thousandth time since we met, I felt like I was going to be the weak link in our team, especially when I knew a movie like Jurassic Park was going to give me nightmares.

I glanced over at Shawn, and he had his feet on the coffee table with his ankles crossed. He was slouched down in his seat, and he had his tanned arms crossed over his chest. All three of them seemed to be pretty into the movie, and I didn’t want to ruin their fun by telling them I hated this movie.

I propped my chin on my knees and watched the movie through my fingers. Every time something jumped out, I would jump and bite my lip hard to keep my squeaks to a minimum. In the end, it was two hours and seven minutes of my life I’d never get back, unfortunately.

Once the movie was over, Shawn glanced at his watch before he said, “Let’s get ready for bed. We need to get up early for testing tomorrow, and I’d like everyone to get a decent amount of sleep so that no one’s tired tomorrow.”

Jordan jolted up at the sound of Shawn’s voice, “What?” He asked. It was pretty obvious that he’d been sleeping.

Shawn’s lip quirked up slightly in a way that I was starting to realize must mean he was amused, and he said, “It’s time for bed.”

Jordan pouted, “But I’m not tired!”

Dominic patted my shoulder gently as he stepped around me, “I’m going to bed. We have to get up insanely early tomorrow and I hate mornings.” He stopped to wink at me playfully before he said to me, “Night, Kitten.” He glanced at the others and said, “Night, y’all.” As he headed down the hallway to his room.

Shawn glanced at Jordan, “I really don’t care what you do, just don’t keep the rest of us awake.” He gently pushed me towards my room as he put one of my knives in my hand and headed towards his own room.

“Night, Shawn. Night, Jordan.” I called out softly. Shawn lifted a hand with his back still facing me, and Jordan blew me a playful kiss. I giggled and slipped into the bathroom to brush my teeth before I dropped my knife under my pillow and climbed into bed.

It was 10:30 pm and I felt like there was something in the room with me. Logically, I knew there wasn’t, but apparently my imagination wasn’t listening to my logic today. I burrowed deeper into my blankets and attempted to shut my eyes. Nope. That was worse.

The alarm clock by my bed was reading 3:00 am. I still hadn’t fallen asleep, and I desperately wanted to now. I only had one hour left to sleep, if I was going to sleep at all. I heard a creek from within the house, and I once again told my imagination that it wasn’t a dinosaur coming to kill me. I finally got out of bed and grabbed my knife when I heard a cupboard door open.

I moved silently down the hall and to the kitchen and nervously flicked my finger over the trigger of my knife, causing the blade to spring up. I took a step into the kitchen and blinked. “Dominic? What are you doing up?” I asked in a whisper.

He looked a little surprised. “Did I wake you? Sorry. I can only sleep a few hours at a time, but I was getting restless in my room so I decided to fix myself something to eat.” He held up a box of Lucky Charms and I smirked.

He pursed his lips as he stared at me for a few moments. The light over the oven was on, so the kitchen was very dimly lit. He frowned, “I didn’t wake you up, did I?” He asked.

I nervously flipped my blade open and closed as I shook my head. I didn’t want to explain why I was still awake though, so I didn’t say anything else. “Let’s go sit on the couch, Kitten. An hour of sleep is better than nothing, so you can keep me company while I channel surf quietly.” He gave me a small smile as he finished pouring milk into his cereal. He grabbed a spoon and a bottle of water, and then pulled me towards the couch.

Dominic handed me his bowl of cereal, and when he turned his back, I quickly stole one of his marshmellows. He had grabbed a small pillow and blanket and sat down. “Lie down, Kit.” He said softly as he placed the pillow against his hip. I swallowed hard and he grinned, “I don’t bite. Lie down.”

I finally sighed and gave in. I curled up and he placed the blanket over me. I was out before he did anything else.
—***—
Someone gently nudged my shoulder, “Wakey, wakey! I have bacon!” I nearly jumped off the couch at Jordan’s loud announcement in my ear. I flew off the couch and landed painfully on my backside as I glared at him. “The shower’s all yours, by the way. And I even left you some hot water. It’s okay. You can tell me how amazing I am after you’ve showered and while we’re eating breakfast.”

I continued to glare at him as I quickly stood up and headed for the bathroom. As I left the room, I heard Dominic’s low chuckle and he said, “You’re lucky I took her knife away, or you’d probably be sporting a third eye right now.”

I didn’t hear anything beyond that as I quickly grabbed my clothes and went into the bathroom.
—***—
I put on a pair of loose, black pants and a form fitting black t-shirt. I didn’t bother with socks and my tennis shoes were black and pink. I brushed my hair and quickly put it up in a messy bun before I made my way to the kitchen where the others were just sitting down at the table.

“What would you like to drink, Ely?” Shawn asked. I looked over at him, and then had to blink a few times.

His sweatpants were black, but his t-shirt was bright blue. It was one of those colors that after you looked at it, you felt like you had just tried to look at the sun. I rubbed my eyes, “I’m sorry. I don’t remember what the question was… That shirt is… Wow.”

Jordan laughed, “That’s exactly what I told him this morning! Exactly!” He was wearing khaki shorts and a black fitted t-shirt.

Dominic snorted, “I’m pretty sure what you said was a lot more colorful.” He was wearing black pants and a black tank top, along with his black cowboy boots and black hat.

Jordan shrugged. “Okay, I essentially said the same thing then.” He muttered.

Shawn shook his head and asked, “Would you like a drink, Ely?”

I instantly nodded. “Coffee, please. Of the caffeinated variety.”

Jordan grinned, “Something tells me that this will be an entertaining day, once Ely has had enough caffeine.”

Re: School for Assassins

Because I’m feeling generous, here’s the next chapter. Please keep in mind, this is the rough draft. I will go through and edit everything, but It’s kind of pointless for me to edit it before I’m done with it.

Chapter 7 – Let the Games Begin

Ely:

I followed the guys down to the lobby and across the parking lot to the training facility. The brick building was huge and housed multiple training rooms. Our first test was taking place on the first floor. We walked past a few rooms with various exercise machines and punching bags. At the very end of the long, brightly lit hallway was the testing and demonstration room. All of the other rooms had glass doors and windows to the outside, but this room didn’t.

Shawn knocked on the door once. Dominic stood between me and the door and Jordan was leaning against the wall off to the side. I rocked back on my heels, starting to feel the effects of the caffeine I had consumed. A few seconds later, a short man opened the door. His dark hair was cut really short and his dark eyes watched us for a moment. “As you all know, I’m Mr. Hamilton. I will be standing in as a referee, and I expect all of you to be on your best behavior. I really don’t want to have to kick you out of my studio again, Mr. Eirhart.” Shawn gave a swift nod and we all filed into the room silently.

Mr. Hamilton stood by a one-way mirror and gestured for us to all sit on the multicolored couch. I sat in the middle with Shawn on one side of me and Dominic on the other. Jordan sat on the arm of the couch next to Shawn. There was a small end table next to the couch, but other than that, the small room was bare. I bounced my leg, trying not to distract the others, but I also didn’t think sitting down was a good idea for me right now.

“Here’s how this is going to work. You’ll be fighting against each other. You know your skills better than anyone else, so you’ll know how everyone else’s skill matches up against your own.” Mr. Hamilton explained. He paused for a moment to look at each of us before continuing, “You’ll fight two at a time, while your remaining teammates watch from in here. This will give you a chance to study strengths and weaknesses as well as giving you each a breather between every one or two fights. Also, we’ve grouped hand-to-hand fighting with close range weapons. The weapons are ones that we will provide. The weapons we provide won’t be able to actually pierce your skin. They are high tech weapons, and instead of physically harming you, it will leave red paint on you. The weapons can and will still cause bruising if you get hit hard enough, but the paint will let us know if you would have been hit fatally.” I just stared at Mr. Hamilton, wanting to get this whole thing over with as quickly as possible. He gave a small smirk, “First up… Shawn and Jordan.”

I heard Jordan cuss as he stood up and followed Shawn into the arena. I could hear them on the overhead speaker that allowed us to hear them, but they couldn’t hear us. Mr. Hamilton asked, “Weapons, boys?”

Shawn easily answered, “None.” And I waited for Jordan to mention a sai, but he didn’t.

“None.” Jordan replied softly.

I glanced at Dominic with huge eyes and he chuckled, “Jordan and I have a lot more muscle mass and strength behind us than you do. I’m sure neither one of us has to worry about being overpowered as much as you would.” I made a face at that, but went back to watching through the glass as I stood up and moved closer to the glass.

Jordan and Shawn circled each other, watching one another carefully. Both boys were shirtless now and they had both their arms up, ready to block incoming attacks.

It wasn’t long before Jordan made the first move. His leg shot out to kick at Shawn, but Shawn easily blocked it. Even from here, I could tell they were trying to get a feel for their opponent’s fighting style. Shawn continued to wait patiently, but Jordan suddenly tackled him.

Dominic scooted forward on the couch to rest his elbows on his knees, which drew my attention to him. He flashed me a smile and asked, “Give me commentary. Point out anything you notice as a strength or weakness to their fighting.” I bit my lip and looked at him curiously, but his eyes were on the fighting. “I’ll do the same, of course. I just think it might help us both.” I studied him for a second before I finally nodded in agreement.

“Okay. So far, Jordan doesn’t have much patience. Shawn, however, seemed to be waiting patiently for Jordan to make the first move.” I said softly as I turned back to the window.

Dominic chuckled softly, “Both things that I had noticed as well. When fighting against Jordan, I’d watch him closely and wait similar to what Shawn did. For Shawn, you’re going to have to catch him by surprise to get a one up on him.” I blinked in surprise and shot him a look.

“You’re giving me pointers on how to improve my odds against them?” I asked as I turned back to the window once again. Both of the boys were now covered lightly in sweat, but neither really appeared to be breathing hard. Shawn’s foot suddenly shot up towards Jordan’s head, but right before Jordan could block it, Shawn dropped down and swept his foot into Jordan’s legs. Jordan landed on the ground with a loud thud and I winced.

Dominic dropped his hat on my head and I looked up at him quickly. “I’ll go next against Shawn so that you can watch me fight. We’re going to need to work as a team, El. That’s why I’m helping you. I expect you and Jordan to do the same thing that we just did. Every night after testing, if Shawn is okay with it, we’ll sit down and discuss what everyone needs to work on. The only way we’ll work well as a team is if we help each other improve on our skills.”

I thought that over and realized that Jordan was coming back into the waiting room. Dominic stood up and shrugged out of his shirt. “Careful with my hat, Ely. It’s special to me.”

I felt my eyes widen, “Maybe it’s best not to give it to me then.” I murmured as I bounced lightly on my toes.

He chuckled softly, “Ely, if I were worried about you having it, I wouldn’t have put it on your head.” He gave me a quick wink and left the room. Jordan waited for him to move out of the doorway and then he walked into the room with me and dropped down onto the couch.

“Learn anything useful?” He asked with a grin.

I shot him a smirk and nodded. “Dominic said we’re supposed to point out the good and the bad about their fighting so that we can help each other improve.”

Jordan stretched and reached his arm across the back of the couch. He shifted so that his left ankle was resting on his right knee and said, “That’s not a bad idea.”

I looked at him curiously, “Really?” I asked. He nodded once, and then put his finger to his lips and pointed out the window. I narrowed my eyes at him slightly, but then turned to watch Dominic and Shawn fight.

“None.” Dominic’s deep voice rang out. He gave Mr. Hamilton a nod and then turned to face Shawn.

The two circled each other with their arms raised to block. Shawn gave a nod so small that I almost missed it, and then he launched into a flurry of movement. “He’s fast.” I murmured.

Jordan chuckled softly, “He doesn’t telegraph his moments first, either. He’s accurate about where he’s aiming, but his eyes never left mine. He doesn’t hesitate… and his hits kinda didn’t feel good.” He murmured softly.

I filed all that information away for later. I knew I wouldn’t be fighting him next, since Mr. Hamilton had said we’d only be fighting two fights in a row. Dominic blocked nearly every punch, chop, and kick, but it was obvious he wasn’t as quick as Shawn was.

“Shawn’s attacks don’t look like they’re having much of an effect on Dominic. He’s not even flinching or trying to move out of the way…” I trailed off.

Jordan sat forward and rested his elbows on his knees as he said, “I think he’s watching for an opening.” Just as he finished saying that, Dominic spun in a kick that connected powerfully with Shawn’s midsection and caused him to double over. Shawn let out a hard cough, but before Dominic could hit again, he dropped to the ground and his foot shot up to connect solidly with Dominic’s groin.

Jordan suddenly moved, and I glanced over to see him wincing in sympathy. I bit my lip and went back to watching out the window as Jordan hissed out a slow breath. “Cup or not, that had to have hurt like hell.” I felt my cheeks catch on fire and I moved my fingers up to scratch my cheek and hopefully hide my blush.

Apparently it didn’t work, because Jordan laughed softly. “You’re so innocent, Little El.” That only caused my blush to deepen. I bit my lip and didn’t reply, trying to just forget the entire conversation. I glanced back at the two fighters, just as Dominic brought his knee up and kicked out with his foot, aiming strait for Shawn’s stomach again. Shawn wasn’t quick enough to block it, and the blow pushed him backwards. Dominic leapt on him with an arm over Shawn’s neck.

I frowned as I watched, but then I realized that Dominic had only tightened the muscles in his arm to keep Shawn from pushing it up. He wasn’t actually applying pressure to Shawn’s neck. Mr. Hamilton stepped forward, “Match over. Dominic, you’re staying in here. Shawn, go rest.” They both nodded and Shawn said something softly that we couldn’t hear before he stepped into the waiting room with me and Jordan.

“El, you’re up.” Shawn said softly and dropped onto the couch. I gently handed Dominic’s hat to Shawn as I moved out of the room.

As I was stepping through the door, I heard Jordan softly say, “This will be an interesting match. She’s at least a foot shorter than he is, and probably a good one hundred pounds lighter.” The door shut before I could hear the response and I moved closer to Dominic.

“Weapon?” Mr. Hamilton asked. I looked at Dominic curiously for a moment, an without moving my eyes from him I shook my head.

“None.” I replied softly.

Dominic gave me a look of surprise before a small smile appeared. “Ready, Kitten?” He asked softly. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, focusing on everything I had ever learned about fighting. I nodded.

“Begin.” Mr. Hamilton said before moving to the edge of the room.

I stood, ready to defend myself, but I already knew I was going to have to move a lot faster than him if I stood a chance at all, and I was now glad that I had consumed that coffee, as gross as it had been.

I glanced up at him, keeping my expression blank. His dark brown eyes were watching me closely, and then he flinched slightly, “Ready?” He mouthed, looking a little apologetic. I wasn’t sure what he was trying to apologize about, but I also wasn’t going to let that distract me. I gave a small nod.

Another moment of watching each other, and I started off slowly. I wanted him to get comfortable in this fight, and to think I was better at defense than offense. Taking them by surprise was the only way I was going to win this battle, because most of my training had been about ‘hit and get’, not actually taking someone down so that they stay down.

I watched his eyes closely, and knew the moment he’d strike. He glanced down at my stomach, and then back up to my face. His foot shot out powerfully towards my stomach, but I took a few steps back. I knew he was expecting me to move into his attacks because then he’d find it more difficult to attack me.

His face registered surprise, and before he could recover, I slid between his legs, did a kip up and my foot shot up between his legs to kick him in the groin. He grimaced and faltered, and I took advantage of his distraction to strike again. This time, I jumped onto his back, and used my body weight to throw him off balance by quickly shifting my weight so that I swung from his back to his front, and he dropped down to his back. I immediately stood up and stomped on his neck, although I made sure that I stopped my foot from actually crushing his windpipe.

Mr. Hamilton slowly stepped forward, and when Dominic didn’t move, he called the match. “Dominic, please go get yourself some water and cool down a little. Elyzabeth, you are against Jordan now.” I nodded my head once and stayed put as I attempted to slow my breathing down.

Dominic:

I staggered to my feet and grinned. I had definitely underestimated Ely, and it was a mistake I wouldn’t do again. “Good fight, Kitten. I enjoyed it, even if it was short.” I chuckled softly when she blushed.

She was breathing a little heavily, but she said, “Thank you. I only won because I was fast enough to avoid your attacks, and you underestimated me.”

My eyebrows went up, and she bit her lip, looking embarrassed. “I watched you intentionally telegraph your movements. Had you not done that, I wouldn’t have been able to avoid your first attack.” She said softly.

I chuckled, “I’ll go send Jojo in.” I said.

She blinked, “Jojo?” She asked.

I nodded, “Sounds like something that would irritate him, don’t you think?” He asked curiously.

Her eyes widened as she shrugged, “Probably do more than irritate him…” She trailed off. I just smiled as I left the room.

I went back into the waiting room to see Jordan and Shawn watching me in surprise. “Jordan. You’re up.” I said. I spied my hat on the back of the couch. I left my shirt off since I was going to be fighting again, but I put my hat on my head and dropped down next to Shawn. “Well?” I asked as Jordan moved out of the room.

Shawn sent me a small smile, “She’s fairly decent. I’m sure we each have something that we’ll need help working on to get better, but she’s a lot faster than I thought possible. Her size is going to be a disadvantage for her, especially against the three of us… But she has a good foundation…” He trailed off as the fight between Ely and Jordan got started.

We both sat forward to watch. Ely was watching him closely, and when he didn’t make any movement towards her, her foot shot up towards his head. It looked like a fairly impractical move, but before I could say anything about it to Shawn, Jordan caught Ely’s foot. I waited for her to topple backwards, but instead, she used the leverage of her foot being in his hand to hop up and catch him in the chest with her free foot.

She pulled another unexpected move when she yanked her foot out of his hold by back flipping instead of just falling back down. Jordan landed on his back and she leapt onto him, putting pressure against his neck. Before Mr. Hamilton could call it though, Jordan had her flipped, and straddled her rib cage. He brought his elbow down quickly on her throat, but she blocked it. She attempted to kick him in the back, but he readjusted himself so that he was still straddling her, but now he was over her stomach, and his ankles were crossed over her upper thighs.

“Damn, I wasn’t expecting that from someone as accident prone as her…” Shawn trailed off. I nodded as Mr. Hamilton called the match.

“Jordan, you stay. Ely, send in Dominic.” Mr. Hamilton said quietly. Ely nodded and came out of the room, breathing a bit heavily.

I got up and dropped my hat on her head as I walked past her. “Good job, Kitten.” He murmured.

She ducked her head in embarrassment, and said, “Good luck.” I nodded at her and moved to stand across from Jordan.

Ely:

Shawn gave me a small smile that I was beginning to realize was his ‘smile of approval’. I felt my face heat up slightly, and he said, “You did really well. I’m surprised you did that well against them both.”

I sat down on the couch next to Shawn and felt the energy drain out of me. I knew the caffeine from my coffee wouldn’t sustain me for the entire day, but I wished the energy buzz would have lasted a little longer.

I bit my lip and glanced at the ground. He clicked his tongue softly and brought my chin up to look at him, “Please say what’s on your mind.”

I finally glanced up at him, “Why are you surprised?” I asked softly I had to tilt my head back really far to look at his face, because Dominic’s hat was really big on my head and covered my eyes really well.

He gently rubbed my back as he thought his words over. “I guess I’m surprised because you seem very timid and shy, and your… um… affliction doesn’t help… but I was impressed that you didn’t let your normal feelings control the way you fought. We will have to work with you on your fighting though, just as the rest of us will have to work on ours. Your problem is, because you work out a lot, even though muscle weighs more than fat, I would guess you way… maybe a hundred pounds…” He trailed off. I gave a small shrug, because I didn’t weigh myself very often. He continued, “I’m betting that the other two could bench press that much weight easily, and I know I can… So we can easily move you around… plus you’re short enough that you’d have to hang off of us in order to choke us…”

I nodded as I murmured, “I know. It’s why my fighting instructors mostly stuck with the hit and get method. I hit them somewhere that’ll slow them down considerably and then I run.”

Shawn nodded, “I’d like to see if we can get it to the point where you could incapacitate anyone who tries to come after you. Hand-to-hand combat is my forte, and I plan on working us hard to become one of the top teams.” I nodded in understanding just as both Jordan and Dominic stepped into the room.

I stood up quickly, and then swayed a little, starting to feel a bit tired now. “Who won?” I asked, slightly embarrassed that we hadn’t watched.

Jordan pointed at Dominic, as Dominic said, “I did. It was a really close fight though. He almost won.” Jordan made a face and shook his head at me, making me giggle. He grinned and pulled the shirt on that he had carried from the fighting room.

Mr. Hamilton stepped forward, “I’m assuming still no weapons?” He asked.

Shawn watched me for a moment, and then said, “Give her a knife. I want to see how well she’ll do with it in close quarters.” I gave him a wide-eyed look and he smiled at me.

Mr. Hamilton handed me the knife and said, “Treat it like you would a normal knife. You can throw it out of the match if you’re done with it, but you may not throw it at your opponent or you’ll be the loser of this match by default.” I nodded at his instructions as I gripped the knife. “You may begin.” He said as he moved to the corner of the room.

I spun the knife in my hand easily, and then readjusted my grip on it so that it was easier to fight with, and then we started. Shawn’s foot flew at my knee, and I easily dodged it and kicked him once in the ribs before I punched him. It wasn’t long before Shawn had disarmed me, and I suddenly found myself pinned to the floor and struggling to breathe.

Mr. Hamilton stepped closer. “Match. A summary of the various matches will be sent your email this evening, Mr. Eirhart.” He said.

Shawn nodded, “Thank you, Sir.” Mr. Hamilton gave a smile in response and Shawn grabbed his shirt before we walked out of the room. Dominic and Jordan stood up as we stepped into the waiting room and Shawn said, “Now, we get a three hour break before the next test, and we’re going to head to the cafeteria to get lunch.” The other two nodded and I followed them out of the building, wiping sweat off of my forehead.

“I’m impressed with everyone’s fighting skills. I think there won’t be a whole lot of learning new techniques as there will be perfecting the skills we currently have.” Shawn said softly before he added, “However, I’ve come up with a new rule. We won’t talk about our skills outside of our apartment or a secure location. I don’t want to have to worry about others using the knowledge against us.”

Jordan gave a lazy salute, “Yes, Sir.” He said with a grin. He glanced back and me and winked, which caused my affliction to return with a vengeance. I tripped over my own feet and fell into the back of Shawn’s legs, which didn’t move at all.

Re: School for Assassins

Chapter 8 – May the Best Team Win

Ely:

Shawn turned to look at me, “Are you okay, El?” He asked, looking puzzled.

My blue-grey eyes got huge and I felt a blush travel up my cheeks as I stammered, “I’m really s-sorry. I d-didn’t mean-”

Shawn stopped me, “I didn’t ask for an apology, El. I asked if you were okay.” His voice was calm and serious. I bit my lip and nodded.

Dominic murmured something to Jordan, and then turned and squatted down. “Get on, Kitten. I’ll keep you out of trouble until we get to the cafeteria.”

“I d-don’t think-” I started to reply before Dominic cut me off.

“That’s right. Don’t think, just hop on.” He took his hat off with one hand while he waited. I glanced at the other two, who were watching me expectantly. I finally sighed and got on his back.

I wasn’t sure why, but it surprised me when he stood up easily and placed one arm under me to keep me from sliding down. Jordan chuckled, “I want a piggy back ride. Getting my as-” He glanced at me and quickly continued, “butt handed to me is hard work.”

Shawn gave Jordan a look, “Fu-dge, no. I’m not carrying you. If you can’t make it to the cafeteria on your own, we’ll leave you behind.”

“Harsh.” Jordan mumbled.

I giggled and Jordan shot me a grin. I thought for a moment before I asked, “Am I the reason you rarely cuss?”

They all three responded at the same time. “Yes.”

I frowned, “Why?” I asked curiously.

I let out a sudden yelp when Dominic bounced me slightly to get me higher up on his back. “Because you’re a lady, and cussing in front of a lady is disrespectful.”

I looked at Jordan and Shawn with wide eyes. Jordan laughed softly. “It’s true.” He replied.

“I’m pretty sure I’m not really a lady.” I muttered.

“What was that?” Shawn asked, his dark eyes looking at me intently as Dominic chuckled softly.

I shook my head, “Nothin-” I started to say.

Dominic cut me off again, “She claims that she isn’t a lady.”

I stuck my tongue out at him childishly and Jordan laughed really hard at that. Dominic shook his head, “Kitten, don’t stick that out unless you plan on using it.”

I blinked in surprise, “How-”

“I’ve got eyes in the back of my head.” He replied with a snort.

I glanced up in time to see Shawn shaking his head, “I’m starting to feel more like a babysitter than team lead.” He muttered as he opened the door to the large cafeteria.

The room had a large counter with a variety of food sitting out to the right. It looked like a regular school cafeteria, except we didn’t have to pay for it and the food was a lot better and healthier. The people behind the food counter were all teachers who weren’t busy. These teachers were the ones who weren’t supervising the tests yet. The cafeteria would be set up all week with fresh food, since all the tests would be various lengths and students would be coming in and out of here when they could.

There were a multitude of round tables throughout the room, and the table tops were bright red. There was a decent amount of space between each table, just to keep the peace between students. There were three cafeterias on campus. This one was for the teens. Anyone between five and twelve had to use the smaller lunch room. The adults got their own room as well, unless they were on monitor duty.

Dominic set me down and dropped his hat back on his head. Jordan dropped an arm around my shoulders, and I stumbled in surprise. He shook his head. “Ely, Ely, Ely. I promise that we aren’t that scary. At least, not for you. We’re on your team, Babe. There’s no need to be nervous.”

If anything, his comment only made me more nervous, and I shook a little. I yawned as I followed the boys to get some food. There were a couple other teams in the room, and a couple people eating by themselves, but no one else was getting food at the moment. I looked over all my options and asked for a chicken salad. I got a bottle of water and started to follow the guys to an empty table at the corner of the room.

I only got a few steps before Shawn suddenly turned around and took my food from me. He studied me for a moment, looked at the fork and bottle of water still in my hands, and then nodded. “Please don’t stab anyone on the way to the table, Princess.” He said softly as he started heading back for the table.

Before Shawn and I could sit down, Jordan gave my arm a gentle pull into the chair next to him, which put me between Shawn and Jordan. Shawn put my salad in front of me, and I took a drink of my water before I set it down. Jordan distracted me for a moment when he accidentally knocked my water off the table. “Sorry about that.” He mumbled as he bent down to pick it up.

I narrowed my eyes at him, thinking that something felt off about what he was doing. I just couldn’t tell what it was. He gave my water a quick shake, and then handed it to me. “What did you do to it?” I asked suspiciously.

He gave me an innocent look, “Do?” He asked.

“Am I going to die if I drink this?” I asked as I remembered that he said he specialized in poisons.

“No. I can assure you that you will not die. You want complete honesty?” He asked softly. Shawn and Dominic had both paused mid bite to watch us. I gave a small nod and Jordan smiled, “I’d rather not go into details here.” He glanced around the room quickly. “The answer I gave yesterday about my specialty is mostly true, but my true specialty is on a much broader scale. What I put in your water will do nothing more than help replace electrolytes you lost during our fights, and it’ll give you a bit of an energy boost. I promise that’s all it’ll do.”

I watched him closely for signs he might be lying, but he wasn’t giving any off, so I finally took a sip. My water had a slight acidic taste, like lemon water might, but it didn’t taste bad. Jordan shook his head and took my water from me. He took a large sip and handed it back. “Had it been poison, I guarantee I wouldn’t have just done that.” He said.

I felt a little awkward now, but I took another sip and turned back to my salad. Shawn suddenly asked, “Did you treat our beverages to your concoction as well?”

Jordan nodded warily. “Yeah. I haven’t given anyone much of a reason to trust me yet, but I wanted to do something to help the team out.” He said softly.

Shawn ran a hand through his hair and said, “When we get back to our apartment, you had better explain.”

Jordan nodded, “I will.” He replied. I wasn’t sure what to say, so I settled for giving Jordan a smile. His eyes lit up a little and he went back to eating. Shawn and Dominic went back to talking as we finished our lunches.

Shawn and Jordan tossed all the garbage in the trash bins and I followed Dominic as he put our trays away. “I could have helped. I feel weird because you all seem like you’re waiting on me.” I said to his retreating back.

“Kitten, sheath your claws. I promise it’s only for self-preservation that we’re doing things for you.” Dominic replied. I just sighed, because I didn’t really have an argument for that.

As I was following the three of them towards the doors of the cafeteria, I let out a surprised and pained yelp as I was suddenly covered in a really warm liquid. I quickly closed my eyes to keep the liquid from dripping in them, and my heart was pounding really hard. “Ely? You okay?” I jumped when Dominic’s voice appeared right next to me.

The liquid was oily and thick, and I took inventory of myself to see if anything was truly harmed. The liquid had already started to cool on my skin, so it was no longer borderline scalding. I heard him moving quietly beside me as I attempted to spit the liquid out of my mouth.

“What the fuck did you do?” That sounded like Shawn, but I was afraid to open my eyes to find out. Something soft suddenly touched my face and I jumped slightly. The fabric disappeared and then came back and I realized someone was helping me wipe my face clean so that I could see again.

“Thank you.” I whispered. A moment later, I was able to open my eyes again, and I blinked a few times to clear the last of the remaining liquid from them.

Dominic’s dark brown eyes were on my face, checking me over to make sure I was alright. I glanced around and my eyes widened in surprise until they narrowed on the one responsible for this mess. “Thomas.” He smirked at me and I lunged for him. I didn’t really have a plan, except to brutally maim him. I wasn’t so far gone that I didn’t remember the no kill rule, but I couldn’t make any promises about following that rule.

The top five students in each skill had their names posted outside of the training room. Most people didn’t pay much attention to the names, and the only reason I knew I was the top student in ranged weapons right now was because Thomas had made it a point to torment me regularly. He couldn’t handle the fact that he was number two, and he continually attempted to take me out so that he could claim my spot.

He had never tried to kill me yet, just hurt me enough. His last attempt had been months ago, so I had completely forgotten about him. Now, I was ready to kill him.

Before I could make contact with the fiend, I was caught around the waist. “Ely, let’s go. He isn’t worth our time.” Shawn’s voice was stern, and I had the urge to follow his directions, even though I really didn’t want to. I gave a small pout, but stopped struggling.

“That’s right. Your little guard dogs won’t always be around to protect you.” Thomas said loudly. The boys on my team shared a look over my head and I clinched my fists to keep from lunging after him again.

Shawn let go of me as he whispered, “There aren’t any rules about making an opposing team member hurt. Just remember the no killing rule.” I looked up at him in surprise and he smirked at me and nodded.

Jordan and Dominic leaned against a table, and Jordan asked, “Are we just going to sit and watch?”

Shawn chuckled, “No, we’re going to make sure she doesn’t need help, and that none of his idiots try to join.” Dominic moved slightly closer to where Thomas was standing, and now that I had permission and I knew I wasn’t going to get in trouble, I walked over to him and gave him a smile.

“You’re a jackass.” I told him, just before I brought my knee straight up and into his balls. I moved so quickly that he didn’t even have a chance to defend himself. I moved slighty to throw him off, and when he jumped, I sent a chop to his throat, hitting his windpipe. He slumped to the floor and struggled to breathe. I kicked him really hard in the ribs and then backed away from him.

Before I could do any more damage, I felt a pair of arms circle my waist and I was suddenly thrown over someone’s shoulder. I pounded on their bare back and I hear Dominic say, “That’s enough, Kitten. You’ve done enough damage for now.”

I sighed, “You can put me down now. I’ll be good.” I muttered.

Dominic chuckled and I felt the vibrations in my stomach as Shawn said, “You come near any of my team again, and I won’t be held responsible for their actions. You’re lucky you and your team are still alive right now.” His tone was equal parts cold and harsh.

From where I was slung over Dominic’s shoulder, I heard footsteps approaching and Jordan’s shoes appeared in my line of vision. “Let’s go, before someone else decides to do or say something stupid and we all get expelled.”

“You can put me down, Dominic.” I half sang, half grunted when we finally got to the front door of our building.

Dominic swatted my thigh, just under my butt, “Hush. I can keep track of you better this way. I’ll put you down when we get up to our living quarters.” I let out a small sigh, since that’s about all the air my lungs could hold.

“We’re taking the stairs?” I asked. My voice was shaky, and although I had started to trust these boys a bit more, trusting Dominic not to accidentally drop me on my head on the concrete stairs was not within the realm of possibilities right now.

“Yup.” Dominic replied. I attempted to use his back as leverage to push myself upright, but that only earned me another swat.

We got to the top of the stairs and Jordan said, “Dude, put her down. I’m pretty sure she won’t kill herself between here and our door.”

I gave Jordan an upside down thumbs up. “Yes! He has a good plan!” I coughed out.

Dominic finally set me down on my feet, and I fell backwards into Shawn as the blood rushed back into my head. Shawn caught me easily. “You alright?” He asked softly. I gave a small nod and he gave me a small smile. “Damn, you were a beautiful angel back there.” He said softly as he opened the door for everyone.

I felt myself blushing as I stepped into the room.

Re: School for Assassins

Let me know if y’all read something that doesn’t make sense. It’s been quite a while since I wrote this chapter, so I hope it continues to flow.

Chapter 9 – Being Number One

Ely:

The guys waited while I showered, and I heard the shower in the other bathroom turn on, so I assumed Dominic was in need of a shower as well. It took a while to get all the oil washed off, because it was repelling the water instead of washing off with it, but eventually I got it all off and even out of my hair.

Shawn was sitting on the edge of the couch with his elbows braced on his knees as he watched the news on T.V. He glanced up when he saw me, and I looked around for the others. “Go ahead and sit down. Jordan stepped into the kitchen to grab a bottle of water and Dominic just went back into his room for a second.” Just as he finished saying that, both Jordan and Dominic stepped back into the room. Dominic was wearing his signature hat. His boots had been replaced with tennis shoes and he was wearing khaki shorts and a black, short sleeve, button up shirt. All the buttons were left undone, showing off the black tank he had on underneath.

Dominic dropped into the chair and Jordan sat down in the corner of the couch. Shawn glanced at both of them before saying, “Jordan, you go first. What exactly is your specialty?”

I moved so that I was sitting on the coffee table, making it easier to see him. “I actually specialize in… alchemy, I guess is the best word for it. Chemistry in general has always been easy for me, so I picked up on everything poison related really easily. Once my instructor realized I had mastered that talent, he moved me on to other types of alchemy. So, poisons is a very narrow aspect of my specialty.”

I blinked a few times and put my foot up on the couch. “So… we’re gonna be like, bffs, right?” I asked hopefully.

He looked at me suspiciously and asked, “Why?” As he drew out the last syllable.

I bit my lip sheepishly, “I barely passed.” I admitted.

He chuckled a little, “So… what you’re saying is that we’ll be studying tonight and during our break tomorrow so that you aren’t hopeless for the final test tomorrow?” He asked.

I looked at him hopefully, “Would you mind?” I asked.

He shook his head, “As long as we’re supplied with plenty of food, I won’t mind helping.” He said.

Shawn cleared his throat, “Now, Ely…” I turned my gaze towards him and waited. He stared at me intently and his eyes darkened a little. He seemed… angry, maybe? “Who was the jackass in the cafeteria, and what does he have against you?”

I blushed slightly and looked at the ground. “Apparently I’ve been number one in ranged weaponry all year. He’s been number two.” I shrugged, since I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I either had to work hard to get to number one, or I had to work hard to stay at number one, but either way, I still had to work hard.

When no one said anything, I finally glanced up at them. Jordan and Dominic were both staring at me with interest, but it was Shawn who finally said, “So, you’re number one in your specialty?” I nodded hesitantly. He’d find out at the end of the week anyways, and I was afraid of what he’d do if he found out I had lied to him.

“And I’m assuming you’re number one or, at least, close to number one in your specialty, Jordan?” He continued.

Jordan nodded, “Number one.” He replied.

Shawn looked at Dominic, “What about you?” He asked.

Dominic shrugged, “Same.” He admits. His cheeks turned a light shade of red, and I thought it was cute that he was blushing.

I watched Shawn expectantly, waiting for him to say something. He leaned back and looked thoughtful. “I’d heard that teams are randomly drawn, but now I’m wondering if we just got lucky, or if there’s another method they use to split us into teams. I’m number one at what I do best as well.” He said softly.

I frowned, trying to remember the bulletin boards next to each door with the top five on them. “I thought no one really paid much attention to those boards.” I said as I looked at the floor.

“I only know because I got beat up regularly until I stopped taking their sh- uh… crap. Once they realized I was going to leave them nearly dead, they quickly stopped.” Dominic muttered.

Jordan smiled, “I only know because my instructor regularly brought it up.” He shrugged like it wasn’t really a big deal to him.

Shawn sighed, “I’m not really sure how I found out. Once I did find out, I continually attempted to slip down into sixth place so that my name would no longer be on the board… but that obviously never happened. Anyways, we need to head out. Our next test starts soon, and we have to meet Mrs. Hellen at The Woods entrance.” He stood up and stretched, which flexed all his muscles in an appealing way. I quickly looked away in embarrassment as we headed out the door.
—***—
Mrs. Hellen met us at the gate leading into the back training grounds, AKA ‘The Woods’. Her waist length bright red hair fell in a braid down her back and her green eyes lit up when she saw us. “Wonderful. We’re ready to start now. Some tests will be about showing off your skills to the rest of your team. This one is about working together, because I can’t claim that all the traps are harmless. Your objective is to find and either disarm or avoid the traps. All four of you need to make it to the back of the cave and bring back the item in the back of the cave.” She waited for a moment, and then added, “There are a random number of traps out there, but I didn’t hold anything back when I put them up so please be careful.” She started to head to the small office just outside The Woods. I knew that there were video cameras and speakers strung up throughout The Woods so that the teachers could watch from the office. Before she got to the door, she said, “There are less than ten traps. Since this isn’t a training exercise, I think it’s only fair to give you that information. Good luck.”

I tilted my head slightly and watched her disappear into the small room. I took a deep breath and hoped I wouldn’t be a complete disaster as I followed the boys through the gate. “What’s the plan, boss?” Jordan asked as he looked at Shawn.

Shawn ran his fingers though his dark hair. I could tell by the way his eyes were twitching back and forth that he was thinking really hard, and after a moment of silence, he asked, “Is anyone really awful at trap finding?”

I shook my head and looked at the other two. Jordan snorted, “I’m not terrible at anything!” I choked as I tried to hold back a cough and a snort at the same time. Jordan pounced on my back, “Fine, fine. I’m not terrible at trap finding. I find and disarm more than I set off.”

I tilted my head to the side and looked in the direction of the cave. I used the black hair tie from around my wrist to put my hair in a pony, although my hair was a bit too short to go up without a fight. “What if we spread out a little, so if anyone sets off a trap and has to dive out of the way, the trap doesn’t hit someone else…?”

Shawn nodded thoughtfully, “We’ll move carefully, watch where you put your feet.” He said. We all spread out a little and started to head for the cave.

We moved in silence until Dominic muttered a curse. I stopped and looked over at him. His upper arm was bleeding near his shoulder, and in his right hand was an arrow. I winced in sympathy, and then asked, “Was it just an arrow? Or was the arrow dipped in something?”

He took his hat off with his right hand and rubbed his forearm across his forehead before dropping his hat back on his head. He finally replied, “Just the arrow, I think. It’s burning pretty badly, but I’ve had worse and it didn’t go very deep.” He cursed softly again.

I step closer to him, “Take off your shirt.” I said softly. His dark eyes stared at me for a second before he eased his injured arm out of the shirt and then his good arm. He held it out to me and I silently took it from him. I tied it tightly above his injury and he hissed out a breath.

Shawn’s voice appeared right behind me, “Are you going to be okay, Dominic?” He asked. Dominic nodded once and Shawn said, “Come work with me. I’d rather not have to drag you along because you set off another trap and lose too much blood to stay conscious.”

Dominic chuckled, “You got it, Boss.” He moved closer to Shawn.

I glanced at Jordan to see that he was squatting down and looking at something at his feet. I asked, “What did you find?” He quickly stood up and showed me a bunch of tiny items in his hand.

“Trap. I couldn’t figure out what it was supposed to do, but I didn’t set it off either.”

He said. He shoved the items in his pocket and I jumped when Shawn suddenly said, “Well done, Jordan.”

We continued walking a bit, and we were near the cave when I saw something glinting near Jordan. “Stop!” I could instantly hear all three of them stop moving.

I scanned the ground between me and where I saw it. I didn’t see anything, so I moved closer and Shawn and Jordan both asked, “What did you find?”

I went down on my knees and looked at the rope done in intricate knots. “Trap.” I muttered as I followed the rope with my eyes to see what it would set off. I made a face when I looked up and realized there was something overhead. “What’s that?” I asked, not really sure I wanted to know the answer.

Jordan shuffled a step closer to me, and muttered a curse, “Unless you’re one hundred percent sure that you can disarm the trap without setting it off, I would just go around it.”

I nodded in understanding and gave the trap one last look. I looked at Shawn to see what he wanted me to do, and he asked, “How confident are you in your ability to disarm it?”

I bit my lip, “I don’t want to say I could definitely do it… but I’m pretty sure I can.” I muttered.

“Then we’ll leave it, as long as we can go around it…?” Shawn replied.

I looked at the trap, following the rope again, “We can move around it as long as we don’t touch anything,” I got up and moved to where the end of the rope was attached and drew a line in the dirt with my shoe, “From here and over.” I gestured towards the trap.

Shawn nodded, “We’ll steer clear of it.” He led us around the trap and into the cave. The first part of the cave was fairly light, since the cave opening was large, but the further back we got, the darker it got.

“Anyone have a flashlight?” Jordan asked. I heard something jingling together, and then a small light appeared.

“Unless anyone has something better, this will have to work for now.” Shawn said.

Dominic let out a huff of air, “I have a flashlight on my keychain as well, but I keep my keys in my left pocket, and I don’t want to move my arm too much.”

Jordan let out a startled chuckle, “Well, I am not going to be reaching into your pockets to help you out, especially not your front pockets.”

Shawn chuckled and shook his head, “My light will do, because I’m pretty sure no one is willing to venture into your pockets.”

I glanced at Dominic to see that his cheeks had flushed lightly, and I bit my lip to hold back a giggle.

We got back to the business of looking around the cave, and it looked like it should be the back of the cave. All the walls were smooth and the ceiling was really high, but there was nothing inside. We had only found three traps, and I suspected there should have been more. Plus, we were supposed to find something at the back of the cave, and since there was nothing here, I could only assume this wasn’t the back.

We walked around the large interior, our feet echoing lightly as we moved around. I finally saw what I was looking for and it was really high up. It was a small, red button. It was high enough up that none of us could reach it, but I suspected that I could reach it if someone could lift me up. “Could someone give me a boost?” I asked. All three of them whipped their heads around to look at me.

“Give you a boost?” Dominic asked. I pointed up and they all three looked at what I was pointing at.

“Yeah, I’ll lift you up.” Shawn replied as he walked over to me.

Jordan moved closer as well, “I’ll catch her when she falls.” I glared at him and he smiled at me innocently.

Shawn turned his back to the wall and leaned against it, and then bent down a little. “Step in my hands and I’ll lift you higher. Use the wall to help yourself stay balanced.”

I nodded and stepped forward, adjusting my foot so that it was in his hands comfortably. He adjusted his grip on my foot and lifted. I let out a small squeak and Jordan chuckled. “You aren’t scared of heights, are you?” He asked.

I let out a growl that had him laughing again, and I was finally up high enough to push the button. “Ready?” I asked.

“Push it, Kitten.” Dominic said. His voice still sounded a little strained, but not as badly as before. I pushed the button and the cave rumbled a little before a small opening appeared in the wall of the cave.

Shawn gently put me back on the ground, “I’ll go in first. Don’t stand too close to me so that I can come back through the door if I need to.”

We followed him through the door and looked around the next room. It was quite a bit bigger than the last one, and this one had a rope bridge that looked questionable and led to a small island against the back wall. There didn’t seem to be any other way to get to the island, and Jordan groaned, “We’re all gonna die.” He muttered.

I heard a thump and Jordan let out a small yelp, “What was that for!?” He exclaimed.

“That’s for being an idiot and not having confidence in our abilities.” Dominic replied tensely.

We made our way to the rope bridge, spotting and avoiding two more traps on the way there. We had just made it to the bridge when something dropped from the ceiling and sliced through both ends of the right rope that was attached to the bridge. This made the rope bridge into a rope strung from one side of the chasm to the other, and the bridge part dangled under it, not attached to anything.

Dominic shook his head, “No way in hell I’m crossing that.”

I looked at all three of them, and then back at the rope. “I’ll go. I’m the smallest and lightest, so it’ll be less risky.”

All three of them started talking at once. “No, I don’t approve of this plan.” Shawn practically growled.

“Hell no, Kitten. You are not crossing that death trap.” Dominic’s voice was sharp.

Jordan shook his head, “No.” He muttered.

Dominic moved closer to the bridge and groaned, “It might be the only way we can get across… We aren’t going to be light enough to move across the rope without the possibility of it breaking…” He trailed off.

Shawn shook his head in denial, but I frowned, “I’ll be fine.” I said. I hid my hands behind my back to hide their shaking, and I shifted my weight a little.

“El, you be careful. The test isn’t worth you falling, so don’t take any unnecessary risks.” Shawn said softly. His dark eyes watched me sternly. I gave him a small nod and bit my lip.

“Don’t look down…” I muttered to myself as I applied a little weight to the rope. When it didn’t budge, I put all of my body weight on it and bit my lip. “Is it just me, or did the distance between here and there just widen?” I asked.

Shawn started to say something, but Jordan spoke over him, “Don’t worry, Babe! You got this!” and then, almost as an afterthought, he added, “I think the gap did widen though.”

I mentally called him a ton of different names as I started to make my way across the rope. I moved slowly, constantly testing my weight as I felt the sweat dripping down my back. My shirt started to cling to me, making me sweat even more. I was standing on the actual bridge part, but I kept a sturdy grip on the rope, just in case the bridge decided to detach itself.

It took a while, but I eventually made it to the other side. I moved carefully to the center of the small platform and gently picked up the object sitting on the ground. It was a baseball sized, smooth, grey orb, and it was a little heavy. I looked down at myself, and then slipped it into my bra, thankful that it was a sports bra.

I made my way back across the rope, with all three of the guys giving me encouragement. I was surprised to hear Jordan giving me serious encouragement, but I tried to block them out as I concentrated on staying on the rope. As soon as I was close enough, I felt a pair of arms encircle my waist and pull me off the rope. I blinked in surprise, and inhaled Shawn’s spicy scent. “Are you okay, Ely?” He asked.

I nodded and blushed slightly when I took the ball out of my bra and handed it to him, “Here.”

He took it front me and smiled, “Good job, El. Let’s head out.” He said.

Jordan put his arm around my shoulder as we started moving, and I stumbled nervously. I ended up stepping directly onto one of the traps and a bunch of black objects about the size of my fists started to fall out of the ceiling