16 Fishing for trouble

I didn't have much time left before the practical classes. So we had to make this quick. 

"Just give me the numbers." I was most definitely interested in the amount. 

Yeah, I was probably only interested in the numbers and nothing else. I had skills and if I could use them to earn some cash to buy me chocolate, everything was cool! Too cool!

To the passerby kids we might have looked like two dudes dealing drugs in the corner of the classroom, but who cared? 

"First-prize is 100 gold and sec-" Robert went on about the prizes and how much I'd get.

Basically, even if I'd won the very last spot- the tenth spot, I'd have enough money to last ten whole days in luxury. As for the first prize, a full year: it was like one of those dreams of mine to swim in a pool of chocolate was just a step away. But that one step was basically winning the tournament and ranking first in the entire world: didn't seem all that easy for just a step, did it?

  All this, just from one competition? Who needed to study hard when they could be earning so much money just from being active? Well, even so, I still couldn't give up on my studies. What if I didn't make it and also failed the tests? So, I couldn't give up on either, no sir!

Besides, I was painfully aware of my own shortcomings, and not to mention I couldn't wield a lightsaber even if I wanted to, at least not while also using my powers. So I had to come up with something. I did have a plan though.

"But personally I don't think it's possible to rank that high. With your skills, you might get into the top ten but even with months of training that might be troublesome." Robert did seem skeptical about it. Wasn't he the guy who told me I had a shot? Why was he backpedaling now!

"Yeah, no worries." I now had a good grasp of the thing. I didn't know the rules and I didn't know anything about the competition. Besides, actually not blowing up the arena was a good thing to think about too. But I knew the most important thing. The prizes: so yeah, definitely all the info I needed. "I'll head to the club later. See ya there." I let him go from the corner. I still got stares from the guys around me.

One particular whisper about me swinging this way and that way, made me question their sanity but I let it slide.

"Right on!" Robert fist-bumped with me. I didn't see why'd he'd think of doing something so stupid but didn't see any problem with that. After all, he'd just provided me with great info. 

***

Practical classes- the classes of practicality and also the classes of wasting all your time was what we had next. Didn't we already demonstrate our powers? So why again? Couldn't they have just given us jobs already? I guess not.

"Now, I want all of you to form groups of three and get three tasks done. There are thirty of you, so that should make ten teams. Good luck, you'll need it." We had an instructor change. This guy didn't really strike me as anything other than ordinary. His black suit did make him stand out a little but that was basically it.

The three tasks he talked about were basically just locating, killin- I mean securing, and finally returning with an actual Mutor. Though these things went almost extinct, nowadays the government had domesticated versions of them in the training grounds for exercise purposes.

And since new ones occasionally popped up in the wild, everything was good. 

But then there was the question. Why the hell did we have to team up? Were the teachers really incapable of understanding that this was the second day of school and we didn't know anybody? 

It was more like I didn't know anybody.

"Hey, do you wann-" I couldn't even reach the guys.

Everybody I eyeballed was already in teams.

"Hey, Rober-"

"See ya later." Robert was in a team as well.

In the end, I didn't get to pick anyone and ended up with the leftover two. Apparently, two other souls were left behind. It seemed that I wasn't the only one nobody wanted to team up with. I didn't like the other two sorry faces either, though.

One of them was obvious- Marg. The other, not so much. It was Clyde: Clyde Angelmen. Where was he all this time, anyway? I hadn't seen Clyde in class nor anywhere else. And here he was looking all pretty in his black leather jacket.

***

The training room: a big spacious room with different artificial climate zones. By law, every school had to have at least one training room. Our school was no exception. In fact, this room was probably one of the biggest in the world with a radius of two kilometers. Of course, the biggest in the world had at least ten times bigger training room than this, but that was a different story.

"Let's find a Mutor and get out of here." Marg didn't want to be here. I couldn't blame her. I didn't either. 

But this was a good opportunity to learn how explorers did their work. Explorers also had to work in teams and sometimes they had to fight the Mutors. So this really was a good opportunity. I still didn't like this though.

"But damn, this forest is big." I looked around in amazement. The forest in front of me was big, no doubt: the trees were twice as tall as me and packed close. I didn't see any bugs in the out and there weren't any large animals apart from maybe cows and pigs. It was the first zone out of the other six.

"Yes and getting a Mutor within this space would be rare." Clyde's eyes were closed. I guess he was focusing on locating Mutors. Maybe having him wasn't such a bad thing. "There are three pretty girls over there in that direction. Looks like they are in a tough fight. What say we head over there, save the damsels in distress and accompany them to their rooms for the night?" It was almost as though the guy just wrote a poem in under a minute. And did he seriously think he was fooling anybody with that smirk of his?

I sighed. I might have expected too much of the man. "Anyway, got any Mutors for us?"

Clyde could very well listen to everything within the school boundary. So it was possible things would work out. As long as he wasn't being a total creep.

"Something is interfering with the waves. My range is limited." He focused again. "There are a few here but most of them are taken. If we head to the south, things might be better." His powers still seemed pretty useful though.

"Alright then, south it is." I looked at Marg and she nodded.

"Wait, we're not heading over to the girls?" Clyde looked at me with pleading eyes. "I mean-"

'Yeah, we know what you mean.'

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"Think about it, what if they think you're just after their bodies and instantly reject you? Plus there's a chance they might spread rumors about you too? So isn't it best we leave them alone for now? If we win this, they will come to us!" Of course, most of what I said was nothing but my imagination and a way to deceive our Angelmen friend. 

"Fair enough." He glared ahead. "You're right, brother! Let's win this and the hearts of all girls!" 

I almost felt bad when I saw that innocent determination in his eyes. Just how badly did he want to get laid?

But that did make me wonder. We had a pretty girl with us too, namely Marg. So how come Clyde never even looked twice at Marg?

I went close to his ears and whispered. "Say, what about Marg?" Of course, I wasn't implying anything bad. It was just a question. I also made sure Marg herself didn't hear anything.

He walked ahead. "Not my type." That was the first time I saw him be so blunt and emotionless at the same time. "Not a flat earther."

"Is something wrong with him?" Marg whispered.

I really, really wished she didn't hear that. 

"I have no idea." Yup, I had no idea.

***

After walking for roughly ten minutes or so, we arrived at the border of the forest and the start of the dessert. A frozen dessert of snow that is.

There was snow everywhere and it was freezing.

"You sure there's something here?" I had to yell. The wind was blowing hard.

"Yeah, the strongest one's up ahead!" Clyde yelled back.

'Wait, the strongest one?'

Oh boy. "You're not serious are you?" I yelled again.

"Sorry, but this is the best this place has to offer. I know it's a small fish and isn't even worth our time, but let's not hate it too much." Apparently, our Angelmen friend was thicker than he looked.

"This doesn't look good." Marg was shivering and her arms were wrapped around her chest. 

"Ah-huh-" It sure didn't.

But apparently, it was too late to complain. We kept walking and without a doubt, reached a large entrance: the entrance to a cave.

"It's in there!" Clyde shouted. 

The wind had picked up a few moments ago and now it was more than just freezing. Clyde had used some of the energy around us to produce heat but that wasn't enough when we didn't even have any proper gear. So even a Mutor filled cave didn't really seem all that bad. At least there'd be less cold.

Our steps reverberated as we marched deep within. 

"This doesn't seem that bad," Marg said.

The cave was moderate-sized and the ceiling was high enough. So this didn't seem all that bad. And the temperature was quite warm too. Which meant the Mutors inside were living a life of luxury too.

But it was strange, the temperature was too comfortable. 

"It's up ahead." Clyde was in the lead. I figured he'd be able to cope with anything so he was best to lead. Besides, I didn't have any plans to become Mutor food anyway.

The three of us prepared ourselves. We didn't have any weapons as it was forbidden. This test was to show that we had enough guts and powers to overcome challenges and to also establish our physical capabilities. I didn't like the team mechanic but it wasn't so bad.

And with that thought, we reached a small pond the size of an elephant and came to an abrupt stop. My heart felt like it wanted to pop out.

"Am I the only one seeing a frigging seal?" I shivered. I might have thought a lot of things and who knew all of them were just plain stupid?

The seal was bigger than the whole and it was swimming rather nicely underneath the water and often poking its head up to eat us.

"If you mean a seal ten times taller than you that has very large fangs and is looking to eat us then yes, you're not alone," Marg, to my regret, confirmed it. I wished she hadn't. And why the hell was she being so damn accurate about it?

"Yeah, it's a shame. If we let her run free for maybe another week or two she might have been a bit stronger." Clyde closed his eyes, sighed, and walked closer. 

"You-" My breath stopped. I wanted to set Clyde straight but I was a tad late. Apparently, he wasn't here anymore.

Clyde Angelmen was no more. He was eaten alive and whole and now within the seal's stomach as the seal made its sweet declaration of war with a loud roar, coming up by breaking the whole floor.

I almost fell in the cold freezing water!

"Oh shit!" Marg's scream brought me back to reality.

Shit indeed.

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