Early Morning Walk
Sean thought he must have been the only one awake at this time, as it was nearly 4 am, but the sound of Mary leaving her bed and opening the door to their room proved his assumption wrong.
"You shouldn't be going out by yourself at this time, you know." he said in a low voice, so that she would be the only one to hear.
"I guess not" Mary said. "Won't you accompany me then?
Sean got out of his bed, which was on a top bunk, and landed on the floor without making a sound.
He quickly put on some shoes, and hurried out the door with Mary.
They both walked quietly through the hall, not saying a word to one another, finally leaving the dorm through the main doors.
Mary spoke up at that moment: "No matter what you think of it, this school is weird."
She continued: "What kind of high school just leaves students leave from their dorm at 4 in the morning?"
"On top of that, what kind of school has boys and girls sleeping in the same room? I just don't get it…"
Sean responded, somewhat unexpectedly: "What if they wanted to give us the illusion of trust, as a way of observing what we do?"
"Instead of enforcing rules on us, they wanted to see what our own judgements would lead to."
"That makes sense, I guess." Mary replied. "If you're right, I guess this exam isn't so much only about the points as we were made to believe it was."
During their conversation, Sean couldn't help but think that Mary herself was less of a klutz that she acted out to be.
The whole time, she was silently observing, thinking… that's the impression he got anyways.
His thoughts were placed on hold though, as there was a group of other students huddled against a wall that was also awake at that time.
They came up them, and asked the two a question.
"You two need points, right? We've heard your team had a bit of an 'accident'" the ring leader of the group said, as the others behind him started laughing.
"Come on", Sean said to Mary, hoping to just ignore them and leave as soon as possible.
"We'll sell you some, points that is, for a price of course!" the guy said, while his group laughed once again.
While Sean in Mary walked away, ignoring them, and it seemed like enough distance had formed between the two groups, Sean spoke up:
"You have to ignore people like that — they just wanted to intimidate us. It's better to just leave them be."
"But how did they know what happened to David?" Mary asked back.
"I'm sure whoever did that to him had quite a big mouth to match his puny brain, and blabbered his 'achievement' off to all his 'friends'." Sean replied.
"I don't know what they know, but I won't play their game…" Sean said, as he heard a scream from right behind him.
Mary was pulled behind a corner by the same group from before, and Sean ran after them as fast as he could.
By the time he turned the corner though, three of them were already on the ground, backed curled in pain, while unexpectedly, Mary was the one now in control of the situation.
While two more were cowering against a wall, Mary had one lifted by his shirt in one hand, and Sean was frankly dumbfounded.
Regaining his composure, Sean ran over and yelled back at them: "Who put you up to this!?"
"We're so sorry, we won't do it again!" the ring leader said, as he could hardly breath while being held up in this way.
"We don't care if you'll do it again, we just want to know who told you to do this! I doubt a bunch of tiny cowards like you could have been able to think of a plan like this by yourselves…" Mary interrupted.
"You're right, it wasn't our idea…" the poor boy said.
"It was all his plan… he wanted to make you suffer since he wasn't able to get anything out of one of you."
"That's all we know though… to force us to work with him, he took two of our group and held them hostage, saying he'd do the same to them…"
"Who is he?" Sean asked.
"I believe his name was John, but I only heard the others refer to him as Boss…"
"Please let us go though… we'll give you all our points if you do…"
"As if we'll steep to those levels…" Mary said angrily as she threw him to the ground.
"Let's go", she said to Sean.
As they turned around though, one of them raced over with a large stick he had found on the ground, aiming for Sean's head.
Sean was quicker to respond than his opponent was to react though, and lead a fist straight into his gut.
"And don't follow us…" Sean said to the boy as he was shaking on two knees.
As they walked away, Mary told Sean, in a much lighter tone than before: "You have a pretty good punch!"
"You're one to talk," he said. "You took down four before I could even get to you…"
"They were just weak!" Mary said laughing.
"Anyway, let's get some rest before the sun rises so we can visit David." Sean said with a smile.
"Yeah", Mary replied with an equally happy smile.
The hospital was on the other side of campus, so Will had arranged a van to pick them up with.
They all had woken up somewhat late, ironically even after Sean and Mary woke up again, so they decided it wasn't worth going to the kitchen this morning.
They all got ready rather quickly though, and headed for that van parked outside the dorm.
None of them knew just how large the campus was, but for Will to need to drive them, it must have been pretty large.
After all, for it to have a hospital was also quite amazing.
As Will drove away, they saw several groups already engaging in a variety of challenges.
Then the large fields started becoming empty as they got farther away.
Then there were several large buildings, whose purpose was unknown.
It must have been 15 minutes before Ken asked if they were even still on campus.
"We are indeed still on campus" Will said, "but that may be a little deceiving."
"This property is several times larger than a university, which seems odd considering we only accept a handful of students every year."
"The students will most often stay in the area you were in before, while the rest of these facilities are used for research by teams from around the world."
"Incidentally, students get to use them as well! Hahaha" Will said laughing, as he pulled to a stop at a particular building.
Everyone got out of the van, and followed Will into the building.
After what seemed like a maze of walking around, they reached a room with a window, where David was laying in a hospital bed.
He was all bandaged up, but the nurse that was there said he was fine and just sleeping.
The group sat around the bed in silence.
After several minutes of silence, Sean spoke up: "We all have a pretty good idea of who did this to David, but we need to have a game plan for Sunday."
Jane spoke up as well: "I agree, but how will we challenge them?"
"Each of us must be particularly good at something, no?" Ken said.
"I know at least two of us know how to fight." Sean said, while lending an eye towards Mary.
Will was watching them all thinking of ways to win against this other team.
To win, all they would need to do would be to lower one of their scores to zero, then win against them again, but that was easier said than done.
After all, the minute their score was reduced to 0, they could transfer points with another to get back into the game.
They would either need to keep them all constantly occupied in challenges, or separate them one my one.
Will could only look forward to this battle with excitement though.
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