187 Feeling Useless
The morning sun had finally risen, a few people around the school had struggled to sleep through the night, and Layla was one of them. Throughout the whole night she had been pondering how to inform the others. She had already made up her mind that she needed to warn them, but couldn't figure out how.
She didn't want to imagine what would happen when Truedream found out that Peter had no ability that could be taken. She was aware of his intentions, from what the boys and Pure had told her, Layla had accurately deduced the specifics of Duke's plan.
Every term, Truedream would visit a different military base. However, it turned out that he visited a particular one more often than the others, and that was military base two. This was the reason why Layla had been sent to this place.
Something strange was going on with military base two, they hadn't been able to figure out what yet, because so far every agent they sent had disappeared. Thus, they decided to do things differently this time, so instead of sending a grownup, they decided to send an agent, who was at the age of the draft, in as a student.
The reason for Truedream's visit was to acquire different abilities from students. Every time that Truedream used his ability, it would also increase his ability level along with it. His skill bypassed almost all the information that they had about mutant cells.
After taking someone's ability away, he could then implant the ability into a new person. Their body would automatically get the same ability level as the one that was taken. Nevertheless, they would still need to take the time to get familiar with the ability and learn all the skills.
This was why they were offering Peter a lot of ability books, and it also explained why they were hurrying him to get his ability to level four. There were always certain criteria when it came to choosing which students to use for this. The first and most important criterion was, they should never hail from an original family.
Although Truedream's family was one of the big four, usually other originals were also part of the big four, or under the banner of one. So this criterion was added to avoid a war between the big four.
They needed students who wouldn't stand out, so that people wouldn't really notice, or care if they were to go missing. As such another one of the criterion was, the student had to come from a poor family, ones with no backing or support.
Quinn was still safe because the school believed that at present he had no ability, but both Layla and Peter's abilities were documented, and both of them fulfilled the criteria. It was different for them, there was a possibility that along with Peter, Layla was also a target.
Layla had entered the school using false documents, her family wasn't prominent, but she didn't mind if she was to lose her ability. She had only obtained it for the mission in the first place. The only thing that she didn't want was to end up like Peter, and be the military's lap dog. She needed an outside position, where she could observe everything that was happening without getting involved.
With all things said, she didn't have to warn them about what could happen, but Layla wanted to. The question left was, how should she go about explaining what she had discovered?
The morning combat classes had started and Layla had wanted to team up with Quinn, hoping she would be able to get a hint on what they were planning with Peter.
Unfortunately, before she could even reach Quinn, he had already gone off to Fex. Although the two of them didn't talk much, she could see that Quinn was enjoying himself while practising with Fex. Perhaps, it was because they were both the same race or had something else in common.
She could tell a real friendship was beginning to develop. 'I hope I will have something like that, it all seems so real instead of this fakeness.' Layla thought as she looked at her own disposition.
"What are you daydreaming about?!" Erin shouted. "I can't believe we have to continue practising these stupid leg techniques. This is the beast weapons class, not the martial arts class. And Leo said he wouldn't move on until he was satisfied with the performance of every single one of us," She complained, with a slight look of frustration on her face.
The two girls continued to train together using the leg techniques, but a slip in Layla's concentration caused her to drop her guard. She wasn't able to lift her knee in time, like how she usually would during practice, and instead, Layla took a full blown kick from Erin, to her side.
"Ouch!" Layla said, as she dropped on the floor while gripping her side.
"What's wrong? We have practised that kick so many times, I was sure you would be able to block something like that?" Erin said as she walked over, and offered her hand to her fallen comrade.
Layla lifted her hand to grab Erin's, but the pain on her side hurt even more. Furthermore, she noticed a stinging pain arise every time she breathed. "What the hell? I knew your sword skills were monstrous, but where did you get such strength in your kicks? I think you broke one of my ribs."
"Would you stop complaining?" Erin said as she knelt down, and placed her hand on her friend's side. She then activated her ice ability, ever so slightly, causing the muscles around that area to become numb from the cold, and also taking the pain away.
"Can someone call the guard and take her to the doctor's office?" Leo said.
Erin then lifted Layla up from the ground, allowing her to use her shoulder for support. "Don't worry, I will take her. Besides, she needs to walk a little bit on her own. It will only make her stronger," Erin said.
The two girls then started to leave the room together. As they were walking, Layla couldn't help but feel useless and pathetic. Other than a blood bank for Quinn, what use did Layla really have? She hadn't even been helpful in the fight with the Dalki. If it wasn't for Erin, the two of them would have been dead back then.
And Vorden, although a bit messed up in the head, was very powerful. The only one who was even more worthless than her was Peter, and that wasn't much of an achievement.
"Would you please stop crying? I didn't mean to hit you that hard. You usually block something like that," Erin said, in an attempt to comfort Layla.
Layla didn't even notice, since her thoughts were so muddled that tears were now slowly descending from her eyes. She wiped them away, and simply put on a brave smile.
"Oh, it's not that. I was just thinking about how useless I am to the team whenever we're in a fight," Layla said.
"Well, you're not wrong about that," Erin replied, not realising how harsh she sounded.
Although Erin was right, it still hurt Layla to hear it straight from her mouth.
"But you help in other ways. You were the one who thought about that blood bowl, remember? I can't say much, but honestly, if you weren't there to hold me back sometimes, I would have already shoved a few spikes up the boy's backsides."
Layla laughed. "Erin, this is kind of a strange question to ask but, are we friends?"
"Well, I don't carry everyone I hurt, out of the room."
Although Erin didn't say it, Layla knew her well enough to know what she was like by now.
Back at the training hall, the lesson had just finished for the day. Quinn had managed to work up quite a sweat all the while going up against Fex. Truth to be told, Fex was the only person in the room who he could go against while merely using a fraction of his power, outside of Leo of course.
When practising with Layla and Erin, he would always have to hold back his power slightly, but with Fex, it was different.
Now that the lesson was over for the day, students were free to do what they wanted. That's the moment when Quinn noticed Fex, who was looking around the room oddly, and was kicking the floor about, until he eventually started to speak up.
"Hey, uh… I know this is kind of strange to ask after everything that happened between us, but what are you planning to do after this?" Fex asked.
Lately, whenever Fex would try to approach people, they would turn away as soon as they saw his watch. It was a strange reaction, but he had finally understood the matter when he saw the mistreatment going on around the school.
This caused him to be quite an outcast, yet that wasn't the only problem. He was also incredibly bored. With no one to really talk to, and nothing to explore, he started to look forward to the training sessions with Quinn.
"Me, umm, I was actually planning to go to the VR gaming room?" Quinn replied.
"VR gaming room, what's that?" Fex asked, with a little bit of excitement in his eyes.
"I can show you if you want. You want to come along?"
"Well, I mean, if you really want me to come that bad, sure," Fex replied, his anticipation clearly showing through his faux shy demeanour.
Want another mass release? Then remember to vote with your power stones.
Stone goals are in the author's note below.