Kenzo's breathing was frantic; when he was told that he and the others would be tested he was expecting some crazy things, but nothing could have prepared for this.
The Lion gave out another spine-chilling growl as it stalked closer to the boy. Out of instinct, Kenzo pulled out his daggers, and if on que, the Lion lunged.
Kenzo managed to duck out of the way just in time, and in one, swift movement, he jammed one of his daggers into the lion's shoulder blade.
As the animal roared in pain, Kenzo took the small opportunity to catch his breath, and try to regain his composure, but the shouts from his friends on both sides of him was making both difficult.
"You guys better survive this." he thought to himself, trying his best to remain stoic, but starting to feel dread.
Adam immediately pulled his chain weapon when his eyes locked on the bull, that was currently scraping one it's hooves into the stone floor.
"Uh-oh," he mumbled; he knew what that meant; the bull was about to charge; as if to prove him right, the bull pushed forward, and came towards him at unbelievable speed.
Adam side-stepped out of the way, and threw his chain around the Bull's horns. With one, strong tug, Adam managed to get the animal to the ground, but he knew it wouldn't be for long, before the giant creature arose once more.
Faris fumbled for his arrows, due to his hands trembling with fear from the sight of Grizzly's sharp teeth.
"Stupid arrow, c'mon." he protested; when he was finally managed to nock the arrow, and pull back the string, the Bear decided to lunge at him.
When the bear's massive paws were stretched out, ready to take his life, Faris released the string, and a whoosh sound could be heard before a loud thud of the animal's body hitting the ground sounded throughout the forest.
However, the Grizzly was still breathing, and due to it's strength, it stumbled back on all fours, and re-targeted Faris, who was already nocking another arrow.
Sora used the bo-staff to fling himself over the Snow leopard. and he skillfully landed on his feet when he hit the ground.
"Why did it have to be giant cats?" he whined to himself with a sigh.
Upon hearing, the Leopard's high-pitched hiss, Sora shot around and readied himself for the next attack, however the cat was already on top of him, and this time he wasn't able to jump out of the way.
Kenzo's lungs were burning, and scratches he now sported stung badly.
Both of his daggers were bloody, and the Lion was covered in stab wounds, but the enormous animal didn't show any signs of slowing.
"Why won't you die?!" Kenzo exclaimed filled with frustration, though he knew the Lion didn't understand a word he was saying.
The boy clutched his daggers tightly, but something caught his eye, and he looked up spotting the Winter's mask.
"Giving up already?" she taunted, at least it sounded like taunting.
"No, I'm just getting started." Kenzo retorted, angrily.
He turned his gaze back to the Lion, who was bearing it's teeth at him, and a thought hit his mind. "Guys, I just had an idea, but it's a risky one!" he called to the others.
Faris, Adam, and Sora -all scratched up, and exhausted, but still fighting- risked looking up away from their animal.
"Any idea is better than fighting blindly right now!" Adam responded, doing another side-step attack, however the blade on the end of the chain missed it's mark, and plunged into the wall.
"I know I don't trust my first thought all that much, but I...I think we need to trade weapons."
The arena went silent.
"Forget what I said about not wanting to fight blindly." Adam muttered, though he spoke it loud enough for every one to hear it.
"I know it sounds like a stupid plan, but hear me out." Kenzo pleaded.
The remaining three boys sighed, and Faris called back, "Alright, explain the plan
Kenzo barely managed to dodge one of the Lion's paw swipe attacks, before shouting, "What animals do each of you have?"
"And I have a Lion," Kenzo responded. He did a quick calculation, and a smirk rose on his face.
"Alright, guys, Adam give Sora your chain weapon, it might help him throw the Cat off balance." Adam looked at the wall, and threw him weapon over the wall, and with luck it managed to land in Sora's section.
"Sora, give your bo-staff to Adam, it could help knock it over and stun the bull." Sora did the same thing with his staff.
"Faris, you and I are trading. Your arrows could help me keep the Lion down long enough for me to kill it, and my daggers could help you stab the bear's weak spots." Faris listened to his leader, and the two traded.
"Everyone have their weapon?" Kenzo asked.
"Yeah!" The rest of the boys responded.
Taking a deep breath, Kenzo exclaimed, "Attack!" In the four sections, each boy attacked their creature with their new weapons.
Kenzo nocked the arrow, and aimed for the Lion's head, and for a moment the world went still; his intuition hadn't been the greatest lately, and that was one of things that he needed to be right to be a leader, and for this plan to succeed. "Please be right...."
He let go of the string, and the world continued to back into motion.
The arrow caught the Lion right between the eyes, and the beast fell to the ground, a puddle of blood forming around it's mane.
Kenzo didn't even know he was holding his breath, until he let it out with relief. He walked over to it, took another arrow from the quiver, and stabbed it right through the neck, making sure it was truly dead.
He listened; the area was silent. There were no beast noises, no shouts from teammates, nothing.
The ground shook beneath Kenzo, causing him to drop the bow, and spill the quiver of arrows. The walls slid down, back into the stone floor, and in different parts of the circular arena, Faris, Adam, and Sora stood breathing hard beside their dead beast.
"G...guys!" Kenzo stuttered, joyfully.
The four boys met at the center, and gave the weapons back to their original owner.
"I can't believe that plan worked." Kenzo exclaimed, a slight chuckle laced in his voice.
Adam slapped the leader's back, and replied, "You need to trust your gut more, because, despite what we said, that was honestly a smart plan, and it saved our necks."
"Does this mean that we trained with the wrong weapons?" Sora asked, looking at his bo-staff with a disapproving look.
"I think it just means that we have to be willing to use skills that are unusual to us." Kenzo responded, sheathing his daggers.
A clapping sound caught the four boys' attention, and they turned around seeing the Winter's Mask coming towards them clapping her hands.
"Well done, students. You have passed trial one, which tested both your individual and team smarts and wits. Trial two will test your individual and team bravery." she explained.
The four tensed; if this trial wasn't testing their bravery, then what would?
"Let us begin."
Suddenly, the floor dropped from underneath the four boys, and they fell into the blackness, with shouts of surprise.