This is posted along with the edited first chapter. I also want to thank everyone who reviewed! You guys rule!^^
'Why is it taking so long?'
The anxiousness was almost killing John from the inside, he felt like he was going to explode: his entire life, everything that could happen from that day onwards could be decided by his performance on the final stage of the selection.
Since it was a survival test, it obviously meant working as a team to survive. Marquis Middleford would explain the details the day after tomorrow (he hoped that the Marchioness wouldn't speak, she already scared and scarred him to death). It was pretty much a mystery: no one knew what was going to happen and what kind of task they'd be given. The supervisors could have simply told them the specifics of the finals, but those bastards must have decided 'why don't we just let those kids shit themselves waiting for the last day?'. He could almost imagine them having a drink and laughing on their faces.
'I wish I could have a drink right now.'
The day before he had just met one of his teammates, which sincerely scared the heck out of him by drinking 16 glasses of wine. 16. Glasses. Of. Wine. And he didn't even balance when he got up! Lucky...
It was the middle of the night, but John couldn't sleep anymore, so he got up and decided to go for a walk. After getting himself ready and combing his hair properly he went out, even though he was sure it was around 5 in the morning. He just couldn't sleep anymore.
'No matter what happens, at least I will know the territory around me. Getting lost will seem like a very likely possibility so I'd better be ready.'
By getting lost, John meant 'getting lost in that nearby forest, most likely the place where the last eliminatory will take place'.
Yes, he knew something bad would occur, and it would be on that forest. And somehow, something told him that bad things would happen, because bad things always happen when you have life dreams that can be so easily crushed. John remembered Grey again, and how he didn't seem one least bit nervous. He looked so joyful and carefree, not even a hint of uncertainty for the fact that he'd go to an unknown place to fulfil an unknown job, with an unknown outcome. It was hard not to feel some sort of envy towards him, but he was a good kid and from what he knew, quite skilled with his thin sword.
As he opened the door of the building, he was immediately welcomed by a string of ice-cold air and almost regretted opening it. Heck, he regretted even getting up! But he just had to check the nearby forest and he was very sure that the overseeing officers would take all advantages from it. 300 meters ahead of him and past the magnificent gardens the forest rose majestically, all of its dark glory released an aura of elusiveness.
He decided he was going to close the door after all and return to bed, but something from behind him held it in place.
"Oh, come on, John! Let's check it out, two are better than one!" The trademark sparkling smile of Charles Grey announced his presence against the darkness, shining almost as much as his hair.
"Shouldn't you be sleeping? You realize it's still 5 in the morning, right?"
Grey looked surprised at the slightly older boy.
"You're awake too."
John nodded, "I was thinking of checking the forest and exploring it a little."
Grey's face suddenly turned serious, "I'll go with you. I wanted to go before, but I didn't want to go alone and Phipps didn't want to go with me." He walked past John and faced the cold night ahead taking a deep breath of fresh air while staring at the forest, "It looks a bit daunting, doesn't it?"
"Daunting?" John looked at the forest. Indeed, it sent chills up his spine ever since he saw it for the first time as a potential death place. "It looks like every tree branch will try to strangle us, you think it's just a bit daunting?" John let out an amused chuckle.
As Grey walked ahead of him, John noticed he wasn't wearing the mandatory military uniform; instead he was wearing a simple black coat with his sleeping clothes underneath. If he gets caught with that around here, he's in trouble. As he remembered one of the rules of the organization, everyone had to wear the uniform outside their dormitories. But then again, there was also a rule that didn't allow them to leave the dormitories after midnight, so being caught just wasn't on John's plans. However, he still wore the military uniform in case he was caught: instead of being caught breaking two rules, he only broke one.
As they walked towards the forest, they heard a noise coming from it. Grey, who had taken the lead, stepped back, letting John on the lead.
"Did you bring your whip? I'm unarmed."
"Of course I did. I wouldn't go explore without any weapon, would I? Why didn't you bring anything, are you crazy?"
Grey didn't answer. Instead, he pouted. "I wasn't even expecting to get near it, but I saw you and thought you would bring protection. And I was right. Take the lead."
In the moment John stepped on the forest's first set of trees, a rush of white passed through him, running. A big white wolf stopped and studied them for a moment and resumed its frantic run again. John noticed he had several long cuts, the blood flowing easily as if the cuts were precisely made for that purpose. They didn't look like normal wounds a wolf would get in a fight.
Which probably meant they weren't alone.
Looking at Grey, the older boy noticed his baffled expression. He was probably thinking the same.
"What kind of monster would have done that?"
John agreed. Indeed, what kind of person would do something like that without a reason? He was going to answer, but Grey kept talking.
"Maybe a werewolf did it. In two days it's full moon, and that will be the night that we will spend here during the mission..."
John was bewildered.
"Werewolves? And what grants you that we will be spending the night here, the thing starts during the morning, we could always go home sooner."
"Don't tell me you're the kind of person who doesn't even acknowledge the existence of beings other that humans. And I'd like it if we could finish our business here in some few hours, but I doubt it will be the case."
"My father told me that they were planning on something long that had to do with endurance, so I take it that he means this will be long, right?"
John had thought about that possibility before, but wished it wouldn't be the case. Unfortunately, since Grey's father said so it must be true. How unfair, that some people had help and others didn't.
As if reading his thoughts, Grey answered him with a 'I'm not cheating' look and told to keep going.
They walked for a minute until John heard Grey behind him talking quietly, almost to himself.
"I think we shouldn't exclude the logical possibility of ghosts appearing, even if Dad said it was impossible..."
Grey gave a slight jump and looked at John weirdly, "Huh? Huh? Ha, nothing, I was saying that there's always a possibility of being ambushed in the middle of the night. It would be logical if other teams would try to eliminate us."
"Hm." They didn't have much else to say, so they kept walking in silence.
Wanting to get distracted from the dead silence and cracking leaves under his feet, he decided to ask Grey a little more.
"Does your father know a lot about this tournament?"
"One of Her Majesty's butlers is my grandfather, and my father is involved in the food supply, so they know. I asked them if I could cheat, but they didn't let me, how unfair!"
"Ha, I think it's fair enough," John smiled, amused.
Their talk was kept short as steps became noticeably closer. Taking his whip out and putting himself in front of Grey, the pair waited.
"So this is where you were, Grey."
Out of the shadows, a large figure faced them, covered in blood. Grey's eyes widened in shock.
AN: Not much action, but it's just getting started, right? But still review, please? :3