Chapter 4 – The Game Begins
Day One - 00:01AM
39 students remaining

Relatively speaking, Boy #2 - Beltz Kudrin was in a pretty good position. Of course he didn't want to be here, but out of all the conditions in which you could be thrown into a Battle Royale, his was very advantageous and he was aware of it.

He had skipped school and bought a small bottle of Sambuca, his preferred liqueur, using a fake ID earlier today. He was going to spend the day at an arcade when he noticed two adults following him. Even if he knew he was often needlessly paranoid he tried shaking them off but soon he found himself surrounded by six so-called government agents. Instead of resisting or running away futilely, he asked them what they wanted.

"You skipped school today and we don't want you to miss out on that obligatory school activity..."

"What the hell are you talking about?" Beltz asked

"Your class has been selected for this week's Battle Royale. If you try to run away, we'll just shoot at you so be nice and follow us."

Short and to the point. Besides, things don't get more convincing than a few gentleman pointing their guns at you. Beltz was satisfied with the man's answer and even started laughing.

"What's so funny?" A female agent asked him rudely.

"Well, I bought some 'BR' collector cards right before you started following me..."

Beltz was handcuffed and transported to the island in an hum-vee. He did not try to resist the agents although he annoyed them tremendously by humming the Battle Royale theme song the whole time. He got there in the afternoon and was escorted to the classroom where David soon joined him. He just sat in his corner however and they did not address each other once. That gave him plenty of time to calm down and think of a plan.

And that was his first advantage. He was ready. He was the third student to be selected (after Boy #1 - Nicolas Graham and Girl #1 Sandra Allen) but he did not panic. He quickly grabbed his school backpack and caught a survival kit a soldier threw at him. Time was precious so he dashed towards the exit. He had taken barely 10 seconds to get out. He thought he'd have at least 30 more seconds before a potentially dangerous opponent would be selected and even more till that person could reach him. After all, he wasn't worried about any girls in the class, so they could be ignored for now.

The exit door of the school had been removed. Before he reached the empty doorframe, Beltz saw Sandra standing outside with her hands caressing the nape of her neck, looking at the ground. She was waiting for her boyfriend Patrick.

Beltz was running as fast as he could. He was only a few meters away from the girl when a worried look appeared on her face. He was about to execute the first and most important part of his plan: to acquire more weapons! Beltz did not know what weapon his survival kit carried but this was the best moment to acquire a second weapon, before his opponents drew theirs.

Where Sandra stood, anyone running out of the school would seem as if they were running at her. She realized this and moved out of the way. But when Beltz was close enough to her, he threw his school bag at her feet.

The move surprised her; she stumbled a bit and could not react in time as he threw himself at her, hitting the middle of her head with his forearm. She dropped her bag to her side and fell on her back. Her nose was bleeding profusely.

He quickly got on top of her. She had moved her arms to protect her face. Beltz did not have any time to lose! He grabbed her neck with one arm while lifting his own body high enough so he could punch her body with his free hand. As soon as the first punch landed, right in her ribs, she lowered her hands slightly, leaving her face undefended.

Beltz, stop! What are you doing?!

Boy #1 - Nicolas Graham was about ten meters away from them. Beltz was much more impressive than him physically, so the skinny guy cowardly kept his distance. Beltz ignored him and punched Sandra twice in the face before her hands moved to protect the area again. She moaned and was obviously stunned.

Beltz picked up the school bag he dropped to the floor and picked her survival kit as well. He looked at Nicolas... He had knelt and was trying to open his bag! Beltz charged toward him while ordering him to move away. Nicolas stared at the man with fear, he knew he meant business. He took a few steps away from his bag but Beltz kept running as if he were going to attack him, forcing him to move even further away.

Beltz seized the opportunity, grabbed Nicolas' bag and changed direction.

"Follow me and I'll kick your ass!" He shouted at him menacingly.

He ran away from the school. The bags were heavy but they were slowing him down mostly because of the way he was holding them. He grabbed their handles and without slowing down, hooked them around his back.

A few seconds passed and he heard a female voice scream. Girl #2 had made her way out of the school he thought. He probably had only 20 more seconds before a strong man chased him. Despite his mediocre speed due to excess baggage, it was going to be enough to completely run out of their sight.

He ran a few more seconds then stopped and looked behind. They could not see him anymore because there was no strong light anywhere but on the school field. He discerned a large figure next to Sandra. Someone had helped her sit on the ground and Nicolas too was paying attention to her.

Beltz had scored big points this round. He had better chances than anyone at having good weapons and Sandra was likely to hold back the next few people to be selected as they'd try to attend her. On the other hand, everyone would know he was dangerous and playing seriously.

The moonlight allowed him to make out his surroundings a little. If he kept running in the same direction, he'd eventually enter woods. Good for stealth, but what's good for him is also good for others. Besides, if he can't see anything, it's useless. Nicolas had seen him running and might expect him to be there. Sandra's friends might come looking for him and he'd turn from the predator into a prey.

He spotted buildings to the left of the woods and ran towards them instead. He ran for about three minutes before finally reaching his destination.

The building he was closest to was a large warehouse. He walked in vicinity of it for a while and noticed a good hiding spot. To the side of the building, a few containers would provide him with cover while letting him see anyone coming towards him. If he spotted them from far enough, he would even be able to safely run behind the warehouse without being noticed.

He sat behind the containers and dropped his bags to the floor.

He opened the first survival kit. As far as he knew, this was the bag he had been given by the soldiers. Inside, he found four bottles of water, a liter each, a few "food packs" which did not look appetizing at all, a plastic bag containing a map and compass with a hook to attach them to his clothes, a flashlight and a weapon...

'This' is a weapon? A box of crayons? What this the kind of weapons Battle Royales were fought with? He recalled hearing something about how weapons were distributed at random to remove natural advantages but this... this was simply ridiculous. He was lucky he had gotten two more kits because otherwise, he would soon be dead.

He threw the box away and looked into his second bag for the weapon. As his hand felt the objects inside, he was puzzled when it landed on a similar object to the first... This...had better be a mistake!!! He pulled out the box and was relieved to see that it was not another box of crayons. It was a box holding a weird device which he couldn't quite make out in the darkness as well as what seemed to be a thin instruction manual. He would have to use his flashlight for this one but this would reveal his position to his classmates, something he could not afford yet.

He put it aside and looked into the third bag. This time he felt a familiar object within. It seemed to be a gun but something was odd about it. He pulled it out to inspect it thoroughly. It did look like a gun but it was made from light, transparent plastic. Instead of an amunition cartridge, a belt with plastic cylinders hung from it's base. Due to its strange appearance, he wasn't completely sure of it's use.

He then filled his schoolbag with all the necessary material, including the bizarre weapons and left the other bags on the ground. He looked toward the school again and could barely discern the building. He was probably a kilometer away from it.

Beltz looked at his map and compass. Using the map's scale, he figured the island covered an area of about ten by six kilometers..He was south of the school and there were still five kilometers of terrain behind him. If he went there, he would find a church, a medical clinic, some woods and a mansion. He decided to stay near the center of the island and settled on the church. It was a kilometer and a half away.

His watch displayed 00:06 AM. He judged that he would have at least 15 minutes before anyone would find the church. He ran towards it. Carrying only one bag, Beltz was now much faster.

The church was surprisingly small. He scouted the area and found two exits to the building. One of them was at the south side, the other at the west. A massive field of bushes was positioned a few meters away from both doors. Someone lying in wait in the bushes would have a clean shot at anyone coming through those doors.

The first floor of the church had only stained glass for windows. Beltz entered the building and grabbed his flashlight. He was in a hurry so he quickly scouted the inside of the building. Its basement had a toilet and a small kitchen.

He locked the west door of the building from the inside and sat in one of the church's benches so he could hide easily if someone came in. He opened the box containing the third weapon and read the instruction manual. A single paragraph explained its use:

"Extended Ear Instructions: Wear headset and turn switch on. This device will amplify sounds accurately from up to 200 meters around. The device is designed to not filter out loud noises that could damage your ear. Provides stereo sound detection. Miniature batteries will last 200 hours."

Now THAT looked useful! Beltz wore the wireless device. It had a small antenna on the headset. He folded the instruction manual, threw it to his side and turned his head forward. A second later, he heard a loud and clear noise coming from his right.

He then inspected the weird "gun". He opened one of the plastic cases on its belt and removed a dart from it. He shaked it and discerned liquid in motion within it. A poisoned dart gun? He inserted the dart back in the amunition belt, further examined the gun and flipped what looked like a safety switch.

He walked to a wall and turned around, aiming the device at the wooden lectern a cleric had preached from in the past, far across the room. Beltz heard the light sound of a spring extending followed by a bump as the projectile penetrated the structure. It landed on the lower part of it, indicating that its range was quite limited but it was silenced enough to be advantageous. Had he shot someone at this range and missed, his victim would have only heard the buzzing sound of the dart as it passed by, unaware of Beltz's position.

His brain was working at full intensity. They all had to kill each other but to him, this was a game of wits and he'd be prepared for any situation. He studied the map for a bit to familiarize himself with the surroundings. His watch now indicated 00:18 AM.

He went outside to further test his "extended ear" headset until he was satisfied.

And then Beltz decided it was time to go hunting.