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Inside a mountain that looked completely normal in the outside was the military base known as TROY. In whose internal offices a closed meeting was taking place.
"Sir, I think we should use the XT1. The 'black' unit is not yet ready for the next battle" the lieutenant Kaname raised her voice. She was a woman of few words. However, when she spoke she made sure they would listen "and soldiers have sacrificed enough while we wait for these children grow"
The two men dressed in quite minimalistic black military clothes frowned. The oldest turned to the woman sitting across from him.
"Dr. Brown, I would like to know your opinion"
She pressed a point in the table and graphs instantly appeared on the surface. Among them were pictures of children holding fire with their bare hands but still smiling; another seemed that he'd just throw a handful of earth; also a girl with a sphere of water levitating over his hand, among others.
"According to the results of the medical examination, the level of development of NE in them has grown too slow. I have concluded that it is because they need certain stimuli"
-Stimulus? - asked the man again
"They must be subjected to danger, Sir. Take them out of their comfort zones as they only know that they have the natural element and how to use it during training. In my opinion, if they were able to survive the genetic manipulation and training, a little adrenaline will not hurt."
"It sounds perfect to me" said the younger man with his fingers interlaced beneath his chin "bring them here for the next attack"
The next day, the city was just as peaceful as usual, like what happened the day before would have been an illusion. Renaissance buildings stood on the hills and streets covered with mud that showed small traces of ice most of the year contrasted with modern cars that passed over them; and also they gadgets people carried.
Nia's school was no exception, the big walls supported by thick columns surrounded two buildings that made up the institution; the only difference between them was the vine that covered the one in the bottom where the students of first and second degree studied. The immaculate front building was occupied by those about to graduate.
"I'm sorry about your father" Sherry's voice took Nia out of her trance; since arriving she was staring from her desk to the barred window.
"Thank you" she said taking off her cheek palette bank.
The natural redhead girl gave her a condescending smile, Nia returned the gesture. There was no double-edged, or hurt in the words of Sherry; they usually meant exactly what she said, despite her 15 years she still hadn't developed the malice of young people at that age. Maybe that was the reason why Nia had never had a fight with her since they met in kindergarten.
Both girls turned to hear the loud pounding of military-style boots coming from the hallway.
"Hello" The pale girl who intently watched the fight on the beach; disinterested rested her gaze on her friends before taking a seat by Nia.
"Good morning" both they responded.
Nia had always thought that nobody would look so well with so much eyeliner as Lena; but years ago she spent days with bloodshot red and watery eyes until she got used to it.
"You know why we have not gone to shelters lately?"
Lena referred to the usual evacuation procedure followed when an alarm sounded during a Dard attack. Little did she know that the alarm is activated when the Dard passed through the barrier placed 600 kilometers from the shore.
"Because attacks closer to the coast are more often" Sherry said, biting a bread "and when the alarm sounds the Dard is almost on the city"
"How strange, previously they were not" Nia spoke but did not seem to tell one of her friends in particular.
Sherry rubbed her arms and sank her head between his shoulders, as if she was cold.
"They are scary"
"They just want the energy of the city" Lena snapped "TROY's geyser"
"Don't you fear them, Nia?"
They waited for a response but not having one, they turned to look at her, Nia was staring out of the window again. Sherry waved a hand on the side of her friend and she flickered a few times, out of her bubble.
"Sorry. I am just afraid to fight, you know ..."
A boy with almost white blond hair dropped his backpack on the floor loudly interrupting what Nia would say.
"Something wrong, Yukio?" Nia asked true to her motherly nature.
"No, I just have a feeling that soon we will have to fight" he said puffing and shrugging.
Those words sent a shiver down the spine of the three girls but tension was diminished when another young, brown haired boy slammed the door frowning.
"Hello" Lena greeted with sarcasm, he just looked at her from the corner of the eye.
"I think someone does not know the concept of joy" the red-haired girl, Sherry, laughed to no one specifically. But it clearly was a dig at Dante who was already sitting on his place and pulling out his phone.
"I think someone does not know the concept of "critical situation" - Dante replied the same way.
Yukio laughed a little bit less while Sherry mocked Dante who snorted and hit his desk.
"Yesterday was just a mere class A. What if the next time they are bigger?" he sounded worried.
- Dante, Dante, Dante - Yukio, whose seat was behind the brown-haired boy, patted him on the back "Why do you like to scare people?"