As Vorelando crawled through one of the dozens of narrow tubes he had been crawling through since the beginning of this test, he couldn’t help but wonder where Kobe was right now.
The two of them had been among the initial group to enter the jungle gym, those hwo had no hesitation. The two of them agreed that they should split up, work alone, as they suspected, if they tried working together, others might gang up on them to take them down.
Kobe had gone left while Vorelando went straight ahead. Just as the starting area was about to disappear from his sight, Vorelando saw some of the other freshmen start to stand up out of their seats.
He had imagined this would happen. Death is a scary prospect but they all knew that it was a risk they would have to take in vore. Some of them had been paralyzed by the overwhelming odds stacked against them by this test but, by the time it began, he expected most of them to be in here along with him.
It had been a number of hours since then and Vorelando hadn’t seen a single other soul. This place was a labyrinth. No matter how deep into it you went, there were more depths to be explored. No matter how many floors you climbed up or down, there was always another one above or below.
Vorelando had heard distant screams from far behind him a while back. He presumed that there had been a bit of a massacre when the starting alarm had gone off, with everyone who put off deciding until the last minute being close to each other when the carnage began.
Since those initial screams had died down though, he had heard nothing loud enough to drawn of the saws all around him. He’d avoided any of the serious death traps so far but they clearly weren’t designed to try and actively kill you. Their purpose was to catch you out while you were fighting other people.
It’s easy to avoid a slow swinging ceiling axe but if you forget it’s there while you’re voring for your life, it might just slice you in half.
Vorelando understood the logic behind it, not only would they remove those who didn’t have sufficient talent to make it, they’d remove those who couldn’t back up their arrogance at the same time. The Clark-lites, people who didn’t have the brain for vore, who couldn’t analyze their surroundings and adapt on the fly.
As he exited the pipe he was crawling through, he found himself in a long, windowless corridor with the entrance to a slide at the other end. His alarm bells immediately went off. Every other corridor had at least one window and multiple exits.
He made a split second choice and ran towards the slide entrance on the other side. His quick thinking had been important as had he left it a moment later, he would have been crushed between the ceiling and floor, which had snapped together.
Each section of the hall proceeded to do the same one after the other, Vorelando only avoiding liquidation at the last second by diving head first into the chute.
After sliding downwards for a minute, Vorelando came out the other side, landing on the ground below, his fall cushioned by his thick cheeks.
As he stood up he took in the situation around him, He was standing on a circular bit of ground, about 5 feet in diameter. Surrounding it was a massive ball pit and on I’s circumference, four exits marked North, East, South and West. The distance between the island he was on and the edge of the ball pit was vast, far to big for him to jump across
Before rushing off towards any one of the exits, Vorelando inspected the mass of balls. He noticed that they were moving slightly, as if they were drifting across something.
Vorelando turned around to see a group of 3 standing in the south entrance. Even though they had called him out, they were hesitating.
“You gonna come and get me or what?”
“Shut up you nobody!” The seeming leader of the three shouted at Vorelando.
“Come on boys lets get hi- AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.”
The leader had jumped into the ball pit and started screaming the second he was in knee deep. The scream was short, having stopped before his head had even sunk under the balls. His two lackies ran back in the direction they came from out of fear.
Vorelando had to thank that guy for making the mistake he did, the distinctive sizzling sound he’d made when he jumped in had clued Vorelando in to what was going on.
“These balls are on acid.”
As Kobe bit off his third head of the day, he wondered where Vorelando had decided to lay low. Kobe was sure he would have no issues making it through this test, no one smart enough to be dangerous would dare attacking him. All he had to do was find a comfy spot and sit down.
For Kobe’s part, he wanted in on the action. He knew this was going to turn into a war of attrition, that’s why he wanted to eat early and often. It could be days before this test was over, everyone trapped inside all that time. You couldn’t trust any of the water fountains or ration packs here to not try and digest you back, they were beyond last resort.
Kobe had figured that if he devoured some of the weaklings, he could outlast the stronger contestants in the energy battle. His advantage here was his ruthlessness, he wasn’t going to let it go to waste.
He had rushed far ahead of the chasing pack, eventually settling in a room that seemed to be the cross section of multiple paths. He had caught 3 flies already but he was a smart spider, he didn’t want to stay in one place too long and risk a group of slimy frogs finishing him, so he began to move again.
Moving further into the jungle gym, he came across a concerning sight, bone fragments. He reasoned that they may have been placed there to throw him off but there was the possibility that someone had managed to get ahead of him. He’d have to tread very carefully. As he walked the corridors gradually became narrower and narrower.
Kobe did not want to turn back, it would mean running headfirst into the enemy. The course designers knew this, that the advantage was in taking the lead, that’s why they made the place progressively more psychologically and physically suffocating.
As Kobe turned the corner, he found himself in a corridor he swore he’d passed through before. Suddenly the red padding of the walls started morphing into something else. After a moment Kobe could see his own face in the wall to his left. And the one to his right. And the one straight in front of him.
Kobe’s heart rate started escalating. The place he was in had morphed into a house of mirrors in an instant. This was bad, he had no way of telling where he was anymore, what was ahead or behind, if someone was nearby or not. He’d lost all the advantage he’d had. No he’d never had it, he was being punished for his reckless strategy, by trying to control the situation fully he had lost it. How had he been so careless?
Just as he was about to calm his racing mind, the reflection to his right spoke without his bodies consent.
“Welcome, Kobe Steakhouse…”
He only had time to glance to his right before the him to his left grabbed him by the throat.
“To the infinite hall of mirrors!”