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Happiness, disappointment, relief, the reactions that unraveled whitin the room were all clashing inside of Arun at the same time. While he was happy that he made it inside a high-school with a forging department, he also felt like he could have done better. Alas, that didn't matter now. Every path will lead to the same result.
The same emotions were whirling in Eileen as well. As she didn't know wherever or not to congratulate Arun she just ended up patting him on the back.
Bohdi on the other hand, well Bohdi was ecstatic.
" Arun, we are going to be in the same high! Yeepie-kay! "
" You applied for pill-refining so we won't be in the same class. "
" Doesn't matter, same high is still same high! "
" Yeah, yeah... " Eileen murmured.
The separation exam ended and the results are in. Arun could finally stretch his back a bit.
" But this sure was an eventful exam wasn't it? "
" If by eventful, you mean nearly disastrously, yes, quite " Eileen retorted.
" I'm so jelous of you, Arun, you got such a good sleep mid-day trough, even I was twisting in my bed a bit. "
" Heh... "
" Don't joke about that, I nearly had a heart attack when he wouldn't wake up in time "
Arun smiled bitterly. I must have worried them sick. Not to mention my grandmother... his grandmother... a sudden feeling of dread overtook Arun. He was so preoccupied with the exam so he...
" Oh, with all that going around I didn't ask, did you tell my grandmother of all this? "
" I told her that you are sleeping at our place until the exam is finished, I knew that you'd wake up intact, it's not like you would miss the exam for anything in the world. "
Arun sighed relieved... at least he didn't worry his grandmother.
" Thank you "
" No problem." Eileen nudged him " Just get home already. "
" Our father will pick us up today. Maybe we can give you a lift. " Bohdi offered.
" Thanks, but I live far away from you guys and i wouldn't want to borrow you since there's a bus going that direction anyway. Besides, I have to go pick up my puppet. "
" You still haven't given it a name? " Eileen asked.
" Nope, didn't have time to... "
" How about Paradox than, since at a normal glance its creation seems impossible? "
" Paradox... I like it, I think it'll like it to. " The name was fitting, she must have already given it a bit of thought.
" You bet. Of, we got to go now, our father just called. Bye now, give us a sign of life from time to time, yea? "
" See you at school, have a nice and relaxing summer break! "
" I will, I will, see you later!" and with a final wave Arun turned back towards the Department. There were still a few details to iron out.
" And your name is? " the bored guard asked.
" Arun "
" Alright, we indeed have a few items for you in storage. "
" A few? " Arun was quite puzzled, as he only knew about Paradox.
" First of all, there is this vicious thing. " The warden took out Paradox, which was clearly not happy being caged. " He did quite the number on this here cage "
" I'm sorry for the trouble " as the cage finally opened Paradox quickly made his way on to Arun's shoulders.
" Quite a loyal little thing, ain't you? You've made a good puppet, no wonder you got accepted in one of those fancy high-schools. "
" How do you know that? " it wasn't exactly hidden but he wouldn't have expected a random guard to know about him.
" A master with came by to drop these. He said you were a new student of his class or whatnot and he wanted to give you this in advance. "
" Oh? "
A shining ring appeared in the palm of the warden. Arun's eyes glimmered while he inspected the unexpected treasure. He knew, this was not just a pretty ring, this was a storage ring.
" Off, how rich must they be, giving of such precious jewelry to their students. Is that one of the trademarks of your high-school? "
" Yea something along those lines "
Rings such as these were indeed distributed to the students but this usually happened after the first session began. Also, to his knowledge, Bohdi didn't receive one either.
* Oh, well, perhaps this is just one of the schools quirks, I've heard that Blue Flame had many of those. *
" Thanks for delivering these to me. I shall take my leave now. " Arun bowed slightly. It was finally time to go back to his granny. He did feel a bit home-sick after all.
So, he traversed the corridors and yard of the facility with renewed vigor, going almost as fast as when he ran for dear life to the last round. Of course this was not entirely the same but his speed made one question if he was running or walking.
He had to take the shortcut to the station. He just had to go trough some darkened alleys, but it was in the middle of the city, nothing would harm him here. Ooh Arun... you haven't learned from your mistake. Regret flashed trough his hearth as his smile died off. He was surrounded. In a darkened alley. Again. But this time...