358 Becoming a Numbered
In an unknown metallic large room, sitting at a table where four people. On the back of the seats, each one was numbered, going from two to four. An empty chair with the number one was at the table as well. This was a meeting between the founders of Pure—the top-ranked in the whole base.
Number 2, a black muscle male with sunglasses covering his eyes, was the meeting organizer today and was there to inform everyone of some important news.
"The tip-off to the Trudream family was a success. It seems they are gathering their men and are planning an attack soon." Number 2 said.
"Ha, I can't believe he really fell for it, what a rash idiot. Why would he even think about going up against the Blades." Number 3, another male replied.
"Well, it's to be expected." Number 5, an old, middle-aged female, said. "Truedream is new when it comes to not only his powers but also the Big Four. As he has close relations with the military, the others probably didn't want to reveal too much information to him. The way I see it is, there are two outcomes to this event. Either the Truedream family will no longer exist, or the Truedream family lose the war, with a chunk of the Blades power taken away."
"So, you think there is no chance of Truedream winning this war either then." Number 2 said with a sigh. "We shall be keeping a close eye on this fight. Suppose Truedream manages to cause significant damage to the Blades. It might be our chance to move in. If the Truedream's are eliminated, then the whole landscape of the current system might change."
"Isn't that the point, though." Number four replied. She was a female with ponytails, one side of her hair was pink while the other was green, and in her hand a lollipop that she had taken out while speaking. "I mean, the blades are doing our job for us."
"Maybe." Number 2 replied. "But I think it's too soon, we never planned to Kill Truedream but use him. He could be our answer to taking everyone's powers away, but with him dead, or the power into the Blade's hand, it might not be for the best of the human race."
Clash! – Wack! – Whoosh!
The sound of swords and weapons rattling against each other was heard throughout the hall. Observing all of them was Agent 15, James. He always had his large rusty sword on his back, where the guard was as wide as his shoulders. Whenever one would look at the weapon, they could only imagine what beast he needed to defeat to obtain such a grand thing.
Although his eyes should have been looking at all the sparring sessions going on, he was focused on a particular individual who hadn't been at the base for too long, Erin.
Erin carried her long sword with a blue base and hilt, while her opponent, a short-haired male with glasses, used two small dual blades that were slightly curved. The two of them were sweating and had been going at it for a while now. For the last few days, they had sparred with each other without a winner being chosen.
Usually, one would spar with their practice partner, and after he dropped their weapon or admitted defeat, they would move onto a new partner. But with these two, there still had been no winner. The session would always end, but James couldn't let the lesson continue with many other things yet to be learned.
The amazing thing was Erin's learning speed with the sword. He had shown her a few simple techniques, and it seemed she had been concentrating well in classes. Picking up things at an amazing speed, every sparring session so far, she would implement the things she had been taught, defeating her opponents one by one.
At first, she had a few losses and wins, but before meeting this student. She had been on a complete winning streak as if something clicked in her head. Right, now she was against Bart, the second-best pupil, and it hadn't been long.
Erin looked carefully and waited for her opponent to strike first.
'When I first got here, it was a little hard. I didn't realize how much I relied on my ability. If I couldn't make up for it with my swordsmanship, then my ability would be able to cover me. But after learning from James, I can feel I'm getting better and stronger.'
But the opponent in front of her was strong. The usual things that had been taught to her, he knew too. She couldn't overpower him with strength, and their stamina was at the same level, so she couldn't rely on tiring him out either.
'Should I try something new? I might lose if it doesn't work out, but it's the only chance I got.' Using both hands, she gripped her long sword tightly and moved in.
'What is she up too?' James thought as he watched the fight continue and noticed movements different from before.
Rather than rushing straight forward, she started to jump immediately; as one foot would hit the floor, bouncing from side to side. It almost looked like a type of dance.
The student carefully observed her with his eyes, waiting for her to strike. It didn't matter how she ran towards him; it would all be the same to him.
Then, when Erin was in range, her foot touched the ground; she kicked off using all her strength and spun her body holding the sword. It caused an unusual striking pattern from below, but the student could block it with both of his blades. However, the rotation of the spin and power from jumping off her leg made the attack stronger than usual, and the only thing he could do was deflect the attack barely.
His whole body swung to the side from the weight of the attack. As Erin spun upward in the air, like a bird flying, it seemed like she would remain upward forever. She lifted the sword above and swung it down elegantly, stopping just before the students head.
"What was that? I didn't teach her that!" James said. "It looked like a...type of dance."
Taking her Blade away from the student, she clicked her tongue and turned away in disappointment.
"Still not good enough, it still doesn't feel right!"
What Erin had just attempted to do, was one of the swordsmanship moves that Fex had shown her while she was being used as a puppet. Every day, she continued to practice those motions, hoping to get the same feeling, but it never did happen. It was hard for her to try to replicate such smooth actions, having only experienced it once.
"Excellent!" James said as he started clapping. "You two come over here." He said, shouting across the room.
Both, Bart with the glasses and Erin, walked over to James off to the side while the rest of the students continued to practice.
"I just witnessed what you both did and have been watching you both fight for the last few days. Bart, don't be upset... you have remained my best student for the longest time, but there is still room for you to improve, and I think you learnt that today.
"While, Erin, I never knew you had learned swordsmanship before coming here, you always seemed to use the skills I taught so far. Do you have a teacher?" James asked.
Erin started to think back about what to say; at one point, she did have a teacher from her family, but that was a long time ago, and she didn't think he was referring to those skills.
"It's a family secret, and I hope to keep it with me if that's okay." Erin lied, hoping he wouldn't question her further after her reply.
"Never mind, I was just curious," said James. "The reason why I have called you here is that I want to nominate you too for the Agents' exam."
"You mean, there's been an opening in the top 100?" Bart said excitedly.
"Yes, not just one but two. They have asked all the teachers to select their best two students, which is why I have called both of you here today." James explained, "This is a good opportunity for you both. If you are selected as a numbered agent, you will be able to leave the base. We will assign you a mission on one of the planets or even at one of the military bases. Prove your worth, and maybe one day, you will be in the same position as I am at."
Erin had learned quite a bit while staying at the base about the ranking system. The agents in the top hundred rarely dropped out of rank. They often switched positions between each other, but this was the first time they were looking for someone from the hundreds to become a numbered.
"Does this mean two of the agents from the numbered were killed?" Erin asked.
Looking at Erin's face and her determined look. James thought she deserved to know the truth. She had earned it after how hard she had been working.
"I'm not really meant to tell you this, but it's not really a secret either, but since it revolves around you, I think you should know. The truth is we don't really know what's happened to him, but one of them was agent 100, Layla. The person who recommended you to us. She's no longer responding to our calls."
Hearing this news was devastating to Erin, and she was starting to fear the worst.
'What happened to you, Layla?'
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