312 The firs
The students were randomly split into four groups for this event. Each of them was to enter the small makeshift town from the north, south, east, and west entrances. The layout of the town was like a plus sign. There were several buildings and small alleyways, but larger pathways crossed each other in the centre.
Layla was at the north entrance, and by luck, it seemed like there were a few others that she recognized with her as well. The annoying blonde hair girl along with the brother and sister pair.
"Just my luck to be put in the same group with them."
She took in several deep breaths, for some reason, the nerves were getting the better of her. Usually, she was quite good at calming herself down in these types of situations. Her mother would always tell her that one would only get nervous if they actually cared about what they were about to do.
"Does that mean I actually care about then this lame event?" In truth, she already knew the answer.
'I just have to get through the first round. If I can do that, it will prove I could actually do something on my own and I'm not just some burden on everyone." Layla said to herself, 'Just don't get eliminated, just don't get eliminated, you can do it, Layla.' She carried on repeating these words to herself as if it was some chant. The more she said, the less likely it seemed to become a reality.
Although she was going against Pure's wishes, they hadn't even bothered to explain to her what they had planned to do, which had irritated Layla quite a bit. Going against their orders, she would at least have liked to pass the first round to prove to herself she could do it and then she would immediately eliminate herself from the second round with no problem.
One more day inn the event couldn't hamper there plans too much, and wasn't even like they cared if she didn't.
"Alright, and let the event begin!"
The buzzer had sounded signalling the start of the event, and students from all four entrances had entered the small town. Above the arena, a holographic display of the countdown had begun. Some students had split off immediately from the group and went on to look for their hiding spots, while others already had a few targets in their minds.
And Layla had a sneaking suspicion she had become one of those targets. Right on her back, out of the corner of her eye, She could see the blonde girl and brother and sister pair. Although this was a singles' tournament, it looked like they knew each other beforehand and had decided to team up. While looking around, Layla noticed that this was a tactic that had already been implemented by many.
A lot of people were running together in groups rather than singles.
'Did they decide this beforehand or just now?'
It was too risky for Layla, and she knew no one else in the competition; all her friends were on the outside and if she teamed up with people now how would she know if she could trust them.
Hoping her suspicions were not right. Layla decided to stop going along the straight path and bolted in between two buildings down an alleyway. However, just like she had expected, the other three had followed her.
"Why, why did you have to target me? What did I do? Is it cause I look weak?" She said in anger as she gripped her bow. There were now only fifteen seconds left on the timer before participants were allowed to hit each other and eliminate them.
"That's not fair!" Quinn shouted at the screen. Seeing that Layla had three people on her tail. "Why are they grouping up on her?"
"Quinn, you should know better than anyone that this world isn't fair, not the way it is right now anyway. It's not against the rules, so let's hope she doesn't take this loss hard." Vorden replied.
"Loss, you can't count her out just yet," Fex said positively. "She can still turn this around."
Still, both Quinn and Vorden knew the reality, it was three against one, and they were all also higher ability users. The only chance she had was to try to run into another group of people and hope the two of them fought it out. Allowing one group to eliminate the other.
But Layla wasn't even thinking about this tactic. She never thought of trying to use another group to get rid of the one on her trail. She was too focused on trying to figure out how to get rid of them all by herself. If she didn't, she would have felt even more useless.
She finally decided to enter a small building and headed straight for the stairs. At least this way, she could face them down the stairway one by one as it was quite narrow. When she reached the top, she turned around the corner and waited.
The sound of the buzzer had gone off, indicating once again that the students were now allowed to attack.
"Come on, I need to survive the first round, at least, and even if I don't, I'm taking one of you with me." She gently peeked around the corner, but there was no sound, not even footsteps could be heard or shuffling of any kind.
"Have they given up?" She thought.
Just to make sure, she fired an arrow and twisted it around the corner with her ability, hoping to hit anyone on the other end of the staircase.
A little bell sound was heard, indicating that a player had been hit. A broad smile appeared on her face. When attempting to move she looked down at herself and noticed that her red chest piece had turned black. She was the one who had been hit.
"Hello?" A high pitched voice from the right side said, sounding a little distant.
When she looked outside, it seemed like the voice was coming from a glassless window on the other side of the room. She was on the second floor, and if one were to climb up from the side, they would have either made plenty of noise or exposed themselves to the many other students. Yet she had heard nothing.
Popping her head outside of the window, she could see the blonde-haired girl being lifted by her other to colleagues with wings on their back. They were flapping backwards and forth, allowing them to pick up the girl to reach the window.
As much as she wanted to shout out in anger at the girl, she couldn't. Layla had lost fair, and she hadn't even put up much of a fight.
"I'm sorry," Sam said, seeing that one of their friends had been eliminated. Not only that, but she was the very first student to be eliminated as well.
"Come on," Quinn said. "There's no need to watch this anymore, let's head back to the hotel, and we can try to cheer her up."
He had hoped that Layla truly didn't care about the event; however, he felt like even if one didn't care, it would be pretty embarrassing to be the first one to be eliminated. In the past, she had helped him many times before, and without her, Quinn didn't know what his current situation would have been like. He wanted to be there for her right now.
Being eliminated from the event, Layla left the field and was allowed to head back to her hotel rather than the underground slot. She had made sure to sign out and return the equipment given to her and proceeded to write her name down on a digital tablet.
When she grabbed the pen, she was able to see that she was the first one to have written down her name, confirming she had returned the equipment.
Quickly, a digital signature was placed and she walked off heavy footed.
She took the elevator that went directly to the top of the arena, it was a little walk from where she was, since the underground facilty looped around and had sevearal placed along the way.
The elevator from the arena floor allowed one to go straight into the hotel lobby as they expected some students to want to rest straight away or cool down before doing anything else.
The ride up the elevator felt like it was taking forever to reach the top. When she had lost, she didn't know what emotion to feel. She had tried so hard, and the only thing she wanted to do was get past the first round; when finding out she was the first participant to be eliminated, it hit her even harder.
"I am useless." She said as tears started to roll down her cheeks. "Everyone was right, Vorden, Pure, my mother, That girl. They all told me several times that there was no reason for me to be here… Erin, where are you." She cried.
As the elevator made a ding, indicating it had reached the top floor. She made sure to quickly wipe her tears away with her sleeve for fear that there might be someone in the hotel lobby that would have spotted her.
When the elevator doors opened, Layla took a step forward and was surprised to see a single student standing in the hotel lobby, not too far away from the elevator entrance. The purple hair covering her single eye and her face could be seen when she turned around.
"Cia?" Layla called out.
"I've been waiting for you, Agent 100," Cia replied.
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