“All right everyone! Time for a pop quiz!”
The class yelled out in unison because they all knew how unfair Mr.Jameson’s pop quizzes were.
“… and remember the person who scores the lowest has to clean the equipment room.”
All of a sudden I feel everyone’s eyes piercing me. I sink into my seat because everyone knows that I’m the one that always score the lowest. I let out a huge sigh for everyone to hear.
“Ben you know if you want to avoid cleaning then maybe you should study harder.” Mr. Jameson now looking directly at me too.
“But I am! It’s these damn lessons that don’t make sense.”
Everyone in the class giggles and all of a sudden a voice from behind yells out.
“Or you’re just an idiot! I mean why’d you even apply to be a knight in the first place!”
The whole class bursts out into laughter. Unfortunately, I can’t sink into my seat any further. If I could then I’m pretty sure I’d be deep underground by now.
Mr. Jameson’s throws the pile of quizzes down onto the front row. “All right enough! You can start as soon as you get your pop quizzes.”
*Ding Ding Ding*
The bell goes off and everyone is rushing out the doors. Meanwhile, I’m heading the opposite direction towards the equipment room. Once at the equipment room, I see all the dummy weapons lying on the ground.
“What the heck… you think the third and fourth years would be responsible enough to put away their weapons…”
I can easily blame them for the mess because practical training didn’t start until you became a third year, but that didn’t stop me from practicing. I pick up a dummy weapon and start swinging away at the dummy target in the corner. I try to recall the proper stances from when I watch the third years practice.
I hit the dummy on the head and it bounces right back up for me to swing away again.
“Hey Ben you look like a mess!”
Jim, my best friend, looks back at me from his desk.
“Shut up… I lost track of time and ended up staying in the equipment room a lot later than I planned.”
The first bell of the day goes off, but Mr.Jameson is nowhere to be found. I look around and I see my classmates begin to worry.
“That’s strange… Mr. Jameson is normally never later for class…” Jim says nervously.
Then all of a sudden all the lights in the room turn red and the alarm begins to blare. The noise is so deafening and it echoes throughout the entire school. I hear students start to panic and their cries barely match the volume of the alarm.
“PLEASE REMAIN CALM AND PROCEED TO YOUR NEAREST EXIT! A BREACH HAS OCCURRED. REPEAT A BREACH HAS OCCURRED”
“Shit a breach?? Do you know where it happened??” I yell at Jim to get his attention.
Jim whips out his virtual phone and a small map of the city appears. It looks like the breach is on the other side of the city. All the top knights are out on a mission, so that must explain why the teachers and older students are missing. They’ve been sent to that side to deal with the breach.
“If the breach is on the other side, then we must be safe for now. We just got to get to the civilian bunkers.” The tension in Jim’s voice begins to ease up.
Although to be safe, I hold onto the dummy sword that I “borrowed” from the equipment room. I stand on top of one of the desk and I wave the sword to get everyone’s attention.
“HEY! The breach is on the other side of the city! We just need to remain calm and follow the arrows towards the bunker!”
Everyone looks towards me, and they must be shocked to see me calm, but everyone nods in agreement and makes their way towards the door. Upon entering the hallway, we’re greeted by arrows pointing us towards the exit. The arrows take us out to the back side of the building and outside we’re greeted by more red lights. The virtual sky that was once projected onto the dome has been turned off and replaced by emergency lights. I hear a large booming noise and can only assume that the fighting has started. The noise startles everyone, but I take the lead to avoid panic.
“Everyone! Quickly! We have to head this way!”
I motion in the direction of the arrows and everyone gathers their composure and we begin moving once again.
Then all of a sudden a dark creature comes barreling down from another alleyway and blocks our path to the bunker. I hear cries and screams from behind me and before I know it I react. My body dashes towards the creature and I swing at it with the dummy sword. It bounces off the creature’s head and glares at me.
“Hey over here! You ugly piece of shit!”
The creature lets out a roar and starts chasing after me.
I yell at Jim, “Get everyone out of here! I’ll hold it off for as long as I can!”
Jim was dumbfounded, but he quickly pulls himself together and begins guiding everyone in my place. Now then… what the hell was I doing??? I only have a dummy sword and I’ve never been in real combat before. I take a deep breath and try to recall all the simulations I’ve watched. The creature chasing me was just a basic foot soldier compared to what the top knights have faced. The creature is small and fast, but it sucks at tight turns. I see a sharp turn ahead and I quickly make a left and the creature runs right past me at full speed. I see a pile of trash cans for me to hide behind and I take the opportunity to hide behind it.
The creature circles back and makes it way to the alley that I’m hiding in. It slowly paces it way down the alleyway trying to locate where I am. I can feel my heart beating at an abnormally fast rate and the grip on my weapon tightens. The creature walks right past me and there it is. The back is exposed and based off the simulation there is a weak spot right below its neck.
I take this opportunity to jump out from behind and then slam the dummy sword right into its weak point. The sword then lets out a crack that reverberates throughout the entire alleyway. My hands are now shaking even more as I now only hold half of a sword. In a competition of strength, it looks like the creature’s tough exterior wins.
The creature turns back to me and it’s now snarling at me. I can see its white fangs grinning as the creature revels in its success of finally cornering its prey. It makes a lunge towards me and I close my eyes believing that this was it for me. I’m not supposed to die like this.. Not yet.
Then a flash of light appears before me and comes crashing down onto the creature. A strong wind comes crashing into my face and then I open my eyes. In front of me was a cape with the Elite Knight’s insignia, a sword straight down the middle with two dragons wrapping around it.
I see the weapon that he’s holding and it glows brightly and carries more weight than my dummy sword. The man’s face is covered by a pitch black helmet that covers everything but his mouth. He looks back at me and gives me a smile.
“You did good kid. Not many would have lasted that long against a creature without one of these weapons.”
My mouth is wide open in shock. An elite knight is standing right in front of me! But I bring myself back to reality and I start to think of everyone else too.
“Do you know if the students made it to the bunker?! Are they okay?!”
“Whoa whoa whoa. Slow down and yes they all made it. Thanks to you.”
I let out a sigh of relief and my arms finally give out on me as I let the dummy weapon roll to the side.
“You know not many would have fought that creature, let alone take advantage of its weak point. I see a lot of potential in you.”
The knight gives me his hand and pulls me up.
“… I see the makings of a great knight in you. Just keep working at it and one day you’ll be at the top.”
Tears start to roll down my face because no one’s ever told me that before. I wipe my face and let loose a smile.
“Thank you… that means a lot to me.”
For the first time, I’ve realized that being a knight doesn’t require you to be a genius. You just need courage and the willingness to help people. Now I can confidently move forward towards my goal of becoming an Elite Knight.