Battle of Athena

Battle of Athena

True friendship means you don't have to pretend.


Action / Adventure


Cello (Australia)

If youth consisted of a simple lie that meant I had to pretend to please everyone around me, then youth itself is all a big farce. Each questionable individual is a puppet being pulled by a string called expectation. I on the other hand, refuse to go along with the teenage flow. If I am a being of more intel, then so be it. This means I pick up on everybody’s mistakes, unnatural optimism and their intense struggle in order to keep a conversation with their friends going. They are all pathetic.
I made my way through a hallway filled with unnecessary tension in the early morning, when a girl suddenly ran past and bumped into my shoulder.
“Ah sorry! Oh! Daro could you please take these textbooks to the library for me? The librarian is hunting me down but I have to meet up with my friends!”
I glared at her. If her friends got in the way of her basic responsibilities, then it would surely be detrimental to hang out with them in the first place. She must have gotten the message, because she shuffled awkwardly backward and ran off. I walked off to my math class, and quietly sat down.
The teacher that walked in was not the usual teacher. She was tall, in her twenties, and looked as if she was on top of the world. In other words, she’d be someone I’d resent.
“I’m teaching here for a short while in order to find students suitable for a new program that has been developed for students interested in broadening their social horizons. I look forward to working with you all.”
Hearing the word ‘social’, I grimaced and focused on the task at hand. As usual, it was perfect. There were no distractions and my answers were all accurate. I handed it up and the teacher told me to help others who required assistance. I simply replied with, “They must figure it out for themselves no? We have been taught this information, and lack of revision is entirely their fault. I am in no position to guide them on a path they must travel alone.”
The teacher stared at me with wide eyes. She smirked and pointed at me and told me I was the one. I was then told that I was selected to be a part of this ‘program’ with five other people. It was during school the next day, and I figured skipping classes would be alright even if it meant associating with others. Nonetheless, I still hated the idea, and wondered why I had to do it.

The next day, I showed up and she was already waiting at the gate. She asked if I was ready, but I really had no idea to expect. It seemed as if it was going to be a mother’s meeting over a picnic or the like. I shuddered and regretted my decision for a moment, but pressed on.
I met the other five on the bus, and sensed an unusual aura around all of them. They all had dark faces and kept to themselves. I did the same, but it was extremely unsettling. We were then all driven to what was a secluded but extremely large building. It was very classy on the outside. The walls were made of red brick, the door framed with white stone. It looked like a fancy school for wealthy families, but there were no windows. I began to question why I was here. It was extremely suspicious, but the school had allowed this to happen, so I had to push the doubts away. The seven of us walked into the building, with the teacher trailing behind.
“Welcome to the game of Athena children, let me explain the rules,” she walked up to the front, “Before you, is a maze. Your goal is to reach the middle, where the winner will receive a prize. Each of you will be in pairs, attempting to tag each other. Teams that have been tagged are out.”
So it was basically a game of chase within a maze. There was nothing difficult about it. The teacher decided our partners through a lottery, and we were set to go. I ended up with someone called Shin, and already I felt that he would drag me down.
“Don’t go being tagged now, I’m counting on you.” He said.
I scoffed and said the same back to him. Each team was assigned a different spot in the maze, and the teacher then left to supposedly sit in a spectating room. A few minutes later, the speaker then sounded out. It was the simple, ‘ready, set, go!’
Shin and I dashed left and right with no strategy about where to go or what to do. It was completely silent, for we had no reason to talk; but I still felt that the silence was deafening when we were running through a maze. “So what brought you here?” I asked.
“No reason. Friendships are totally not my thing. I can’t learn and care for others when I don’t know myself, I guess.”
Oddly enough, he was in a similar position to me. “Friendship is tough huh, especially when they begin to drag you down.” I said. He looked at me for a moment, then stared ahead smiling a little. We picked up the pace. I was then sure that there were footsteps heading in our direction. I told Shin to find somewhere to hide so the other team could pass.
Without warning, he didn’t attempt to hide. He ran even faster towards the footsteps. I thought he was crazy. I heard shrieks and then angry yelling. I walked over to see what was going on.
It turns out Shin had hidden in one of the crossroads, and when they walked past, he had tagged them. He was quite smart in his own way. I wasn’t sure when, but after continuous chatter as we ran, I began to open my heart to him. We were similar, but totally different. He didn’t know who he was, but I knew myself all too well; and we both had a hard time with making friends. Maybe somewhere deep inside I was waiting for this moment. I didn’t let it slip though. “Are you in my school? I’ve never seen you around.” I said.
“If your school is the one nearby, then no. My school is further down from yours.”
I sighed a little, but it’d be alright. It was for the better. Maybe chatting online when this person wouldn’t affect my studies, and I could still concentrate at school.
We made it to the middle. The maze was tedious but it wasn’t hard. We weren’t the first ones there though. We collapsed and breathed heavily as we had run a long distance, and we both laughed at each other.
“See you around then, Daro?” He smiled.
“Yeah, lets meet again sometime.” I said.

Competition: Friendly feedback, Round 1



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