Chapter 1:

First Impressions

The Super Assassin


As expected, everyone is staring at me.
I don’t find this unusual in this case, because from their perspective I am turning up to school a year and a half late. Having only just walked into the classroom it’s hard not to notice the looks everyone is giving me. I know right, I’m as surprised as everyone else. Had you told me a week ago I would be forced to attend the most prestigious school for the super powered in Australia I would have laughed, really hard. That’s before I would ask that person why exactly they’d want a convicted villain attending their school.
The only person noticeably not in shock is the teacher, who had introduced herself as Ms Lambert at the door before bringing me inside. Everyone else had their faces painted with different shades of curiosity and confusion filling the classroom with an awkward atmosphere. Nobody wants to react first.
Forced to move first, Ms Lambert outwardly sighs before saying, “Well, let’s move on to introductions. Would you like to introduce yourself?” indicating for me to continue.
As everyone’s eyes had turned towards the teacher when she starts to talk, I got some reprieve from their gazes. It turns out to be short lived as the class redirects their attention back to me. Deciding it was best done quickly I introduced myself, “Hey everyone, my name is Caden Azure. It’s nice to meet you all.”
After forcefully smiling, I return my gaze back to my classmates to find weird expressions on their faces, almost like they are thinking ‘Is that all you’re going to say?’, and ‘come on you need to tell us more about yourself.’
It isn’t like I had a speech prepared. Not that I’m particularly uninteresting, more that all those questioning gazes made me nervous. Having spent the last four years of my life in seclusion most people would say that I am not particularly good at talking, even more so about myself. Although I did find myself running into people on occasion, the community service the court had charged me with during my sentencing required me to be housed on a boat near the Great Barrier Reef which left no opportunity to make friends; better than a cell though.
Only at this stage did I notice that I am still standing like a stunned mullet at the front of the classroom, the awkward mood having made its return. Holding my breath before giving an audible sigh, I decide it’s time to close my introduction, “that’s all.”
Several of my new classmate’s mouths drop open. What exactly did they expect me to say? ‘My name is Caden Azure and I’m a convicted criminal who doesn’t know what he’s doing in this school.’ It’s not like I want to draw more attention to myself if I can help it.
Quickly deciding on an unobtrusive seat at the back of the classroom I made my journey past my classmates, trying desperately not to hear what they are whispering to each other.
”His eyes are really blue, like sky blue. I’m kind of jealous.”
“Didn’t he say his last name was Azure, does that mean those blue eyes are genetic?”
“Do you think his steely white hair is dyed?”
Don’t you know I can hear you! I’m walking right past you; don’t you know? Or is it you’re just not worried about me hearing?
Sighing I take my seat at the back of the classroom as Ms Lambert starts form class by reading out the notices. Being new, none of the stuff really makes much sense to me. Zoning her out for my own thoughts about the rest of the day, uneasiness came over me again. Sadly, this is becoming a regular occurrence since I was ordered to attend this school.
Having not attend school for the last four years I didn’t know what to expect from high school; let alone a high school for supers. Even fitting in to a usual school would be a stretch for me. The Academy was like a living hell, although now it seems more like a bad dream. Training was gruelling and dangerous, casualties whilst not common did occur when forcing children into artificial life or death situations. All in the name of creating the strongest supers.
Masked by my own uneasiness at being forced into a new situation, it took time for me to notice my sensing telling me a gaze with ill intent is staring me down. I must be getting rusty.
Directing my gaze to the left my eyes make contact with a boy around my age of sixteen. The teenager has jet black hair with intense dark brown eyes, a stark contrast to my steely white hair and azure blue eyes. Our builds are much the same, showing that we are both well trained, but it’s his mouth that drew the most attention. It was formed into a smile, though happiness isn’t the feeling it portrays. It’s the smile of someone looking at their prey, one I am all too familiar with from spending my time around wild sharks. Knowing it was the rule of the weak to get eaten by the strong, something that had been drilled into me from the Academy as well as from my time in the wild, I smile right back at him.
Today is likely to get interesting, and it’s only form class.
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The first two periods are over, thank goodness. A period of English followed by a period of math was not a good way to start any day of the week. The deadly combination had fried my mind as it tried to desperately play Tetris in my head with all the new information. No surprises there. My last few years of schooling had been taken long distance over the radio for a few hours every second day; I am behind everyone else, and they all knew it too. Not exactly the best first impressions a new student can give.
The rest of the students prior to turning fourteen would have attended normal schools, receiving a normal education. Well, normal for students with super powers. At that age there is no particular need to hide your powers and with the ratio of Supers being quite low they were likely the only super powered kid in their city. In addition to having attended normal schools they would have all attended the Queensland School of Supers for a whole year.
At the age of fifteen all people that have been confirmed with super powers go through a testing phase to attend super powered schools where admittance is based on our placing and the number of spots available. All of them except me. As a convicted villain I was told I would never be allowed to attend a super school. Although only a juvenile, it was thought that I would be a threat if I was to attend a super school and increase my knowledge about how to use my powers. Which certainly begs the question: why exactly am I here now?
Deep thoughts like these could be tackled after my body has consumed some much needed food. My mind deciding on this course of action, directs my feet towards the cafeteria through the sandstone halls of the main building. Most of the other second years are doing the same, clumped together as they make small talk on their way to lunch. Must still be the hot topic of conversation, as I see people throwing my glances as they converse. Suppose I am the new kid.
Exiting through the automatic glass doors gave a great view of the centre of the campus with its lush green grass. A scattering of trees provides shade for those wishing to escape the Queensland summer sun. It’s a big space, at least a few football fields in width and breadth giving a spacious feel. Having never liked enclosed spaces, the sight and smell of fresh, unventilated air is refreshing.
“Hey Caden, do you have a minute?”
Turning around I come face to face with the boy with jet black hair that was looking at me like prey in form room this morning. Although he had continued to glance at me throughout classes this morning, they weren’t nearly as sinister as his first. I hope this doesn’t turnout how I think it will, after all, I have all my classes with this guy.
Deciding to take the polite route hoping to avoid conflict I answer, “Yea sure?”
“Eric, Eric Fleming” the boy replies arrogantly, “although I have been known Hayao.”
How nice of him to give me his name and nickname. Just from one sentence I could tell I’m not going to like this guy. “Nice to meet you Eric, what can I do for you?” I ask in an overly polite tone, only just noticing that a lot of our classmates have stopped to watch the conversation. The confrontation seems to be even gathering interest from the other students in the great court.
“I was wanting to know if you received a ranking on entering the school? We’re all curious to know why you’ve suddenly been added to our cohort,” he says indicating to the others gathered around and getting a few nods in response.
I’m dumbfounded. Ranking, what exactly is a ranking? I ask Eric as much.
My reply is a rather awestruck face, not just from Eric but from everyone gathered around. Clearly I am missing something important here.
“Then how exactly did you get into the most prestigious school in Australia without a ranking?” asked Eric, not trying at all to hide his confusion.
“Dude, I don’t know either. I was just told I have to attend here,” I reply shrugging my shoulders. In fact, it’d probably be more accurate to say ‘forced to attend here’, as told suggests I could probably ignore the order. Not only was I forced to attend this school, they even forced on me a full scholarship. Whatever are they thinking giving a full scholarship to convicted villain? Surely there’s better people out there to receive it.
“Why don’t you test him out yourself Hayao,” says a tall boy beside him with a malicious smile. For a Super, he doesn’t appear to be built like some of the other students, it would be better to call him overweight. At a guess that means I would peg him as a Changeling, someone who has the power to change into a set form. It’s amongst the most common super powers, but it’s rare for those who have it to train their human bodies.
Looking around it seems his opinion is gathering momentum with my classmates. What ever happened to being nice to the new kid on their first day of school? Is it really okay to just start a fight in the middle of lunch without any supervision?
Might be a convicted villain, but I’d like to this I can abide by the restriction I’ve place on myself. Mainly that of using my powers to fight. Any reason to avoid that is a reason I’d be grabbing hold of. Not to mention that part of my conditions for getting community service was restricting the situations I could use my powers in.
Whether or not it’s okay, the students started to form a loose circle moving back from Eric and I. This is just going to gather more students to come over and watch. Looking at the crowd gathering I decide to avoid asking whether this is okay. Even if it isn’t okay there’s no way it’s going to stop anything now. Well they’re not going to get what they expect.
Eric takes a few steps back creating about five metres of distance between us, smiling all the while. “Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you too much. Maybe just a few bruises. We all just want to know what your power is and get a rough estimate of your ranking.”
There you go about the ranking again. Why is ranking so important anyways? Deciding to pursue this later, I adopt a loose fighting stance without any form. To the untrained, this would appear that I have no training, but the opposite is true. Taking a fighting stance is great in a fist fight, and if was to be been a fist fight I would have taken one. This isn’t a fist fight though; this is a fight between Supers. A stance without form is ready for anything not just a fist fight.
Eric has taken a running like stance and is giving me the gaze of a shark again. How arrogant is this boy exactly? He certainly appears confident of his victory. The better question is what exactly am I going to do? If I can’t use my powers to fight, my best course of action would b-.
Not leaving me any time to react Eric moves; although I use move loosely. In an instant he had crossed the five metres separating us and throws a haymaker at my head. Leaning slightly backwards, I allow the punch to miss my head by centimetres. I immediately jump backwards releasing the air pressure I had built up on the outside of my body to give me ten metres distance in a single jump. Had I not felt the air shift around me, he might have managed to land that hit. That was too close.
Mentally apologising to my sensei, I stop myself. Not being at the Academy anymore means I don’t have to apologise. Boy has it been a while since I have been in a fight.
The exchange left Eric standing there with his fist extended out having clearly missed his target. A lot of the students have an awestruck look on their faces, clearly thinking something along the lines of, ‘What he missed?’ This mustn’t happen often.
Eric however has an even bigger smile on his face. Returning his hand to his side, he directs his attention back at me, “This is going to be fun.”
In the next few instants I have to dodge an upper cut to my chin, followed by a body punch. He is fast, really fast. I dodge left getting in behind Eric before he suddenly returns to normal speed. Eric quickly jumps back creating distance giving me a more suspicious look.
“I’m surprised you can dodge my punches. They don’t call me Hayao for nothing you know? It means fast man, and I’m ranked number one in boys in our grade. It’s time to get serious though,” said Eric adopting a running like stance again.
I don’t bother replying; it’d just be a waste. Instead, I spend the time trying to work out what his power is. He isn’t an elemental otherwise I would have felt the air pushing him, but even then that speed would be incredibly rare. I can’t rule out super speed completely, but I didn’t feel him move straight away and people with super speed tend to take a few steps to speed up. Eric definitely didn’t do that. However, all super powers are different: all speedsters ran at different speeds, and some specialised in agility rather than top speed. Couldn’t rule out super speed then. My instincts are saying that is wrong though.
Before he can close the gap a three toned beep sounds out, everyone stops to listen. Keeping one eye on Eric to make sure he didn’t try anything underhanded, I listen to the announcement.
“Could Caden Azure please report to the Dean’s office. Could Caden Azure please report to the Dean’s office. Thank you”, said a distorted feminine voice.
Of course you know what that means. Everyone gathered around turns to look at me. Shrugged in an attempt to convey that I had no idea either, I nod at Eric and turn around to face towards the administration building.
“Hey Caden!” Eric yells out just as I faced away from our fight. “In combat tomorrow I want to pair up with you” he says all the while smiling that smile of his.
In a school that trains Supers to fight, it’s a bad idea to look weak; especially in front of the masses. Answer the only way I could I say, “Sure thing Eric. I look forward to it,” mirroring his smile.
I am lying; I am not looking forward to it.


The Super Assassin


Skutz1
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