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World of Darkness: The Academy - Chapter 5: The Loose Thread

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Friday, August 29, 8:00 p.m.

She wasn't sure why she was running. All she knew was that something was chasing her. No, not something, someone. She jumped over a log and the sword at her hip caught in a branch for a moment, getting hung up in the branches. With a strangled cry, she ripped it loose and ran on, tears coursing down her cheeks.

"This is foolish." The form ahead of her in the woods drew her short, its spoken words chilling her to the bone. Gasping, she turned and dashed to the left, trying to outrun the predator that kept showing up right in front of her. She had to escape! She had important information… didn’t she?

The form was right in front of her; she had no time to dodge. There was a quick, sharp pain in her neck, and then it danced away. She pulled her sword, but the form was gone. Grimacing, she touched her neck, finding only a welt. But the wave of dizziness convinced her that she was in trouble.

Turning, she stumbled away from where she’d last seen her pursuer. She hadn’t realized how close she was to the buildings, but she was glad. Other people would be in them, and there was safety in numbers. Groaning, she kept going, hoping to make it to the building. Her legs gave out halfway there, and she stumbled to her knees. From there, it wasn’t far to fall on her face in the wet grass.

Click to reveal..
For those who have reason to be walking near the conjunction of Mars and Diana, you can find the woman lying there.

Description: Her skin is white, not human-white, but moon-white. Hair as black as a raven’s wing hangs around her face and shoulders. Disturbingly, her eyes are black onyxes, without sclera. Her clothing is simple and black, and seems more a uniform, though from no known country’s military. Obscure insignia glitters with dark beauty at her throat. She and her clothing are dirty, as if she has been out in the woods for awhile without a shower. The black-hilted sword in her hand is made of a white metal.

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Ryan bounded down the steps followed by Sean. The evening was still being held at bay by the sun and the weather was nice and warm. Ryan's loose clothing was uniformly dark, he'd joking told Sean he wanted to be able to fade into the shadows if needed. Like a ninja. The two had been waiting on Ravi. For nearly an hour now they'd been sitting in the Mars foyer and finally they decided to just go to Lancaster and bang on his door. Ryan shook his head, "This is why pretty boys are trouble. They steal the hotness, and they make you wait for them to boot."

"Yeah, thing is, he has a watch, I've seen it. It probably costs more than my Jeep!" Sean agreed with heavy helping of irritation in his voice.

Ryan gave a wry smile his friend as they rounded towards the strip of green between Mars and Diana that would take them toward Lancaster. "Dude, look!" Ryan dashed forward to the prone form that was lying in the shadow of the two buildings, Sean hot on his heels. Ryan reached out to check the woman's pulse, brushing back jet black hair to expose the kind of skin that alabaster doesn't even describe adequately. "Woah, she's like ... no, that's got to be makeup, no way she's that pale." He put his fingers down to her neck hoping to find a pulse. On one side there was a wicked welt, one that didn't look minor.

Click to reveal..

(10:16:31) (Ryan): Medicine 1 (First aid) + Int 2

(10:16:36) ChatBot: (Ryan) rolls 4d10 and gets 1,4,5,8.

(10:16:40) (Ryan): 1 sux

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"Maybe she's... really sick or suffering from blood loss or something. That can make you pale, right?" Sean conjectured uncertainly, crouching down on the other side of the woman. While Ryan checked for a pulse, Sean ran his hands down her back and legs, feeling for a wound or the wetness of bleeding on her odd clothing.

"I haven't found any- Jesus! She has a sword! Drama club, maybe?" Sean said in surprise as he went to check her arms. Gingerly, he pried the woman's fingers off the hilt and set the sword aside in case she started trashing, taking little note of its details, other than it was a sword. "Dude, on three, we turn her on her back, 'kay? Gotta see if she had an accident with that thing."

Ryan, glanced up and nodded. With tender care, uncommon in a pair of roughhousing teenaged boys, Ryan and Sean smoothly turned the woman on her back, looking for any signs of her distress...

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The woman shifted slightly and opened her night-black eyes. As the boys gaped at these unusual eyes, she murmured something neither of them understood.

Ryan found her pulse to be strong but a bit slower than normal. He peered closer at the welt, realizing it was a sting or needlemark. The red dot in the middle was a dead give away.

Sean found scratches on her skin, blinking when he realized that the liquid seeping in the wounds was black. Now that was a neat special effect. Her clothing had small tears in it as well, but she'd managed to escape both serious injury and indecency.

Suddenly, she murmured again, this time making sense: "Help me."

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"Well, this is unexpected." Ravi's deep voice from nearby startled his two friends as the adolescent aristocrat came ambling around the corner from the direction of Lancaster. Dressed in faded grey jeans, a leaf-green shirt open at the throat and a stylish black blazer, Ravi gave every impression of having 'just thrown something together', despite the fact he looked his usual darkly gorgeous self.

"I'm sorry, gentlemen, there was a blonde and I lost track of the... time..." his voice trailed away as he came closer, green eyes narrowing at the sight of the woman. Without further pause he went to one knee beside her, looking intently at her face and obviously haggard state.

"Who's this? Actually, scratch that - She looks like she needs help. Introductions can wait." He looked from Ryan to Sean. "Where shall we take her?"

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"We don't know, and we probably shouldn't move her. Either of you have a cell phone? We should call nine-one-one, or campus security. Both maybe. Either way if she's been poisoned, and it sure looks like it, moving her might just help move the poison through he system." The two other boys looked at Ryan with looks that spanned both disbelief and confusion at his absolute statements. "What? I got bitten by a rattler one time ... anyways one of you call campus security, the other call nine-one-one."

He stood up, "And stay here, I'll be right back, gonna see if the there's a proctor on duty in Mars or Diana." With that he quickly dashed back towards Mars, bounding up the stairs in long confident strides.

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Originally Posted By: Odd Woman
"Help me."

"No worry... uh, miss, we're calling right now," Sean assured her, trying to keep his voice calm, then turned to Ryan. "Don't think it's poison, she has these cuts..." Sean trailed off as Ryan already took off. "Ravi, dial 9-1-1, I got Campus Security in my phone, then we'll try for the infirmary."

Keeping half an eye on his phone as he paged through the numbers, Sean focused more on the woman. "Do you think you can make it to the infirmary, miss? You're bleedin' pretty bad. I can carry you, but I don't wanna make anythin' worse."

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Ravi didn't waste any more time with further questions, pulling out his slim iPhone and going to tap out the required three digits.

A slender yet strong hand grabbed his arm and he looked down into the featureless shining black eyes of the woman. As he blinked, his composure temporarily broken at the eerie sight, the woman gave a small shake of her head and repeated "Help me."

"Ah, Sean? I don't think the lady wants 911. Ad given that, Security might be a bad idea too." Ravi said to the athlete as he leaned close to the wounded woman. "She might be in some sort of trouble... beyond the obvious, I mean." Focusing on her, he looked into those black eyes. "How can we best help you, madam? We're not doctors."

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scrubs-neil-flynn94.jpg

Ryan bounded up the steps into Mars and found the proctors station empty. Damn! He spun in place and was about to launch himself outward and back to the others when he spied the janitor. "Mr. Flynn! Mr. Flynn, there's a woman outside, she's hurt. Sean and Ravi are outside calling for an ambulance can you help?"

"Whoah there son. Slow that down to fifty-five or so, OK? Now, who's hurt and where?" Neil Flynn was a mid forties guy who did janitor work at Dalton, and had for years. None of the students, and few of the staff, were aware that he was independently wealthy and did what he did mostly because he felt it was good honest work and it gave him something to do without having to play at being rich.

,,

Ryan blinked and shook his head, "Outside. We found some woman outside, she's hurt. Come on. She needs help." Ryan headed back to the door and was gratified to hear the wooden mop handle click off the floor an Mr. Flynn's boots squeak over the wet tile as he followed. The pair descended the steps out into the quad and moments were next to the prone woman where Sean was making a call and Ravi was apparently talking to the woman who was now awake.

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Sean had only let his phone ring once before he hung up after hearing Ravi's comment and seeing the desperate look in the woman's eyes. Eyes that made him flinch. They're like a raven's...

"If that's what you want, miss," Sean said, not really sure about this. "But we really need to get you to the infirmary or somethin'-"

Just then, Ryan and Mr. Flynn showed up. Sean looked up, snapping his phone close. "She doesn't want us to call anyone, but she really needs help."

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Ravi and Sean were the only ones who heard her whisper, "Drug."

Her eyes drifted shut just before Ryan arrived with a responsible adult. Mr. Flynn knelt, his eyes narrowed. "Hmm, boys, I don't know if we should call the police, not without contacting someone in the administration. Besides, she's probably just a drunk townie in costume. You boys want to help me get her into Mars' lobby? We should probably look at her in the light."

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Ravi glanced at the janitor for a second and nodded. "Certainly. Sean, you want to take her legs?"

"Nah, I got this. Gimme some room here." Sean shifted around, slipping one muscular arm under the woman's shoulders and the other under her legs before standing, lifting her as though she were a child. "She looks like she's been stung or something, Mr Flynn."

"Well take it easy for now, son. Let's get her into the lobby and we'll see what's what." Flynn told him in a steadying voice as he walked off alongside Sean. Ryan caught Ravi's eye and nodded to where the sword was lying off to the side. The Englishman followed his gaze, then nodded.

"She said 'drug' before you arrived." Ravi told him in an undertone. "And she doesn't seem to want police or ambulances. Of course, 'drug' doesn't help us much, but we know it's not a natural poison at least. All we need to figure out is whether she took the drug herself, or someone drugged her. I'm guessing the latter."

Taking out a handkerchief and wrapping it carefully around the hilt of the weapon, Ravi then picked it up and set off to follow the others back into the Mars' house lobby.

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Everett leaned casually against the wall in the lobby of Mars House. Phone in hand he scrolled leisurely killing time. As the door to the house opened Ev looked up from his distraction to see Sean carrying a dirty, black clad woman and Ravi carrying a sword. They were followed closely by a janitor.

"'Sup guys, Mr. Flynn? Who's she?...is that a sword?!" Everett's puzzlement continued to grow. He shoved his phone in his pocket and followed the trio or foursome if you would further into the lobby.

His first though had been that Sean had picked up some townie chick. No biggie. That was before he noticed the janitor with them and the way the woman's head lolled as if she weren't all there. Then there was Ravi with the sword. There had to be a story here.

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"Dunno. Found her on the ground outside. Cut up pretty bad, drugged too, we think." Bearing the slender woman's weight with ease, the blood soaking through her dark clothes damp on his arms, Sean looked for a place to put her down. He settled on the padded bench along one side of the lobby, setting her down gently, bunching up his overshirt to pillow her head.

"Well, now wha- huh?" Sean looked at his forearms, dabbed with dark smears of blood from the injured woman's seeping clothing. He thought is was blood. Under the fluorescent lights of the lobby, the blood was oddly dark, almost black as oil. "Uh, guys? I think she's worse off than we thought. This look wrong to anyone else?" Sean reached down, softly swiping his finger across one of the woman's trickling cuts, then held his hands up, the dark stain matching the ones on his arms and shirt.

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"Nothing about this is normal. She's bleeding, and drugged or poisoned; we need to get her some help." Ryan was looking outside, wondering where she'd come from dressed and made up as she was, and if her attackers were still out there. "I don't like this. We should totally call the cops or something."

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"Looks like she's been nipping the bottle too much, boys," Mr. Flynn said, leaning against the mop handle. He'd retrieved it when they'd entered the building; he looked more comfortable with it propping him up. "That makeup is freaky, though, isn't it?"

Sean frowned, not sure if it was makeup. "Look boys, you look like you were heading out. I'll call the cops and take care of her," Mr. Flynn said, his voice friendly. "Go on and have your fun."

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He crouched and leaned over the bench where the woman was laying, glancing at the black blood on her wounds before turning his gaze to the stains on Sean's hands. "This welt on her neck. It looks like a sting of some kind."

"And she doesn't smell of alcohol." Ravi stated with some authority, his green eyes narrowing a little; though whether in suspicion or concentration was hard to tell as he glanced at Flynn. "And didn't you say we should contact the administration before calling the police? I think the first step should be calling someone with medical training."

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Well this was certainly a lot to take in. The woman's eyes were black. And what was the deal with her blood? Everett stayed silent as he attempted to process what was happening.

"Drunk or no she's cut up bad. She definitely needs medical help more than she needs to be hassled by administration" the youth spoke when he finally found his voice.

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"I can carry her easy enough, bring her to the infirmary," Sean offered. "We're not just gonna take off after finding a hurt woman outside the dorm, Mr. Flynn. At least, I'm not," the thickly muscled jock stated stubbornly, looking around at the other men present, eyes dark and stormy. "She looks more like someone attacked her. Hurting women, you just don't do that." Sean's large fist clenched, knuckles cracking.

"Mr. Flynn, you got the extension for Nurse Ratchet, or do you need someone to run over there and either warn her about an incoming patient or drag her back here?"

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"Yeah. We're not responsible for doing this, but we found her, and we owe it to her to make sure she gets taken care of." Ryan pulled out his own phone, "OK, I'm calling nine-one-one." Ryan flipped open the phone and started to dial.

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"I guess we're committed then" Everett looked at Sean. "If we can't call her I'll run over and grab the nurse" he jerked his thumb in the direction of the infirmary as he offered his services. "It'll take a bit for the ambulance to get here and we should try to stop her from...bleeding" he looked to the semi-viscous black substance that coursed through her and passed for blood.

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"Actually, hold up," Mr. Flynn said, putting a hand out to stop Ryan. "If she's just a little drunk, then she'll be really embarrassed to have the cops and ambulance coming out. Let's just let the school's nurse look at her, and if she thinks she needs a doctor, we'll call them." He shrugged. "She's not going to die from what she's got. Her pulse seems strong, so I think she's not in danger."

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"Fine, then Mr. Flynn, she can stand being moved just a bit more," Sean said firmly, if with a rising agitation. "None of this goin' back and forth with the nurse. I'm just gonna bring the lady there myself, save 'er a trip."

The brawny jock bent at the knees and gently slid his arms beneath the injured woman once more. "Hang on, Miss, we'll get you checked out and patched up in a jiff," he promised, rising smoothly to his feet with exacting strength and turning for the exit. Her slender weight barely slowed him at all. "Someone want to get the door for me?"

Outside in the darkening night, cool mountain prickled the skin of his face and arms as Sean skirted the edge of the Quad, passing Jupiter, Juno, and Persephone on his way to the Clinic in the Science Annex.

The quad was eerily desolate from the day during the week, barely anyone else in sight. Those staying in, were already inside, and those heading out were already gone. That was probably a blessing.

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Jason was feeling that pleasant background buzz from a good workout as he walked into the Quad. He had cleared away after one of the clubs in the gym this evening and then took advantage of the facilities there to workout and to run through his kata in a larger space than he had available at home. After a quick tidy up after himself he was heading over to the library to return a few old law and science books that he had borrowed a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully he was over whatever bug or food poisoning had hit the school the other week, although he was still disturbed by the book he seemed to have lost. Somehow he felt it was both important and personal.

As he came into the Quad he spotted a familiar shape, that of new student and football hope of the school Sean, although he seemed to be carrying someone. As Sean went under the lights outside Mars towards Jupiter Jason could make out that it was a limp female form that he carried. Swinging his daypack onto his shoulder Jason jogged across the Quad calling to him.

"Hey Sean! What's going on?"

Click to reveal..

Perception check 5d10

(10:50:57) ChatBot: (Jason) rolls 5d10 and gets 7,1,6,8,7.

1 sux

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Shrugging elegantly, Ravi followed Sean as he started to carry the woman over to the infirmary. As he walked, he examined the sword the woman had been carrying. It's heft alone was a fair indicator that this wasn't a prop weapon of any description, and the edges looked sharp.

"Curiouser and curiouser." he muttered to himself as he fell in beside Sean just as the resident caretaker/groundskeeper/whoever approached.

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Ryan's finger stopped at a rest on the send button. He looked at Mr. Flynn for a moment before nodding and putting the phone back into his pocket. "Fine, let's get her over to the infirmary though, if we're going to help, we should help, no stand around with our thumbs up our butts." Ryan walked over to the unconscious woman and then looked to Sean, "You want help carrying her or can you handle it yourself?"

"I got her," Sean replied, picking the woman up and heading out. Ryan followed with the others as they tracked across the quad to the nurses office. Meeting Jason along the way.

"We found this woman on the edge of the quad. She's injured so we're taking her to the nurse to see to her wounds." Ryan doesn't mention the sword or the woman's odd features to Jason, still assuming them to be little more than makeup and props.

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Sean let Ravi and Ryan catch Jason up while he focused on keeping his movement to a smooth glide so the woman in his arms wouldn't be unduly jostled. His feet skimmed lightly over the grass and pavement in the gloom, in the zone as if he was running a punt return.

He gave a Jason a nod but didn't stop. The shadows grew deeper as Sean followed the side of the General Learning Building to where it met the Science Annex. The thickly muscled jock's breathing was even as he waited for one of the others to open the door for him, then briskly strode through the quiet halls to the clinic.

"Nurse! Little help here! Got an injured... woman," Sean called out, pushing the door open with a foot against the kickplate.

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Jason had moved ahead to get the front door for Sean and his cargo. As Sean moved through he spotted the object in the fancy boy's hands, "Hey, where did you get that sword from? Is that what injured the woman?"

He waited and walked with the others behind Sean upto the clinic.

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The nurse came out and took one look at her. "Alright, in my office," she ordered, holding the door for Sean. When he went inside, she pointed to the bed, though Sean was already moving her there. "Now, boys, wait outside, while I give her an examination." She began to shoo them out, her voice firm and her manner unswayable.

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Sean was letting himself be shooed out with the others, when a thought occurred to him and he stopped, a strong hand braced against the door frame. He turned back and faced Nurse... Balinsky, her tag read.

"Uh, Nurse Balinsky, I'm fine with most of us waitin' outside, but I think one of us, me, Ryan, or Ravi, should stay inside. She asked for our help before she fell unconscious and she might freak if she comes to and sees someone she has no chance of recognizin'." Sean looked at the other two boys, a faint grin playing on his lips, but his stormy eyes were serious. "I'm sure any of us will be gentlemen and turn our backs so we don't see anything we shouldn't. Right?"

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"He makes an excellent point." Ravi said smoothly, giving the nurse a winning smile. "The young lady has been through a lot, it seems. It would be wise to have a more familiar face around, perhaps." He nodded to Sean. "And as Sir Cassidy here was one of the first on the scene, I think it only fair that he be present. Besides, if she does 'freak out', Sean is strong enough to help restrain her without doing the poor lass further harm."

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Everett looked to Jason and then pointed at the sword. "It doesn't have any of her blood on it. I don't think it did this to her. Not to mention they found it laying next to her. So unless she Conan the Barbarianed herself..." he trailed off a quizzical look on his face.

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Jason took the sword and examined it in the lights of the Science Annex corridor.

"Well, it's real, not a prop. You can see where it has parried other blades and then had the nicks polished or filed out. Yeah, you're right kid, her wounds would have been larger and more serious if she had been stuck with something like this."

He turns to face Everett, "What was the name again?", and hands the sword back to Ravi.

Click to reveal..

Random roll for the sake of it.

Wits + Crafts = 5dice

(17:55:29) ChatBot: (Jason) rolls 5d10 and gets 2,8,8,5,2.

2 sux

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The nurse's eyebrow quirked. "I'm afraid that doctor-patient confidenitality is in place here, young men," she said, her voice firm. "So unless one of you is a medical professional, you will have to leave." She paused and stared at the sword. "And I'd recommend getting that out of here before I have to tell the administration that you have a weapon on campus." She gave them a wink and said, "Now, out."

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Sean opened his mouth to protest, but though Nurse Balinsky's lips stayed quirked in an amused smile, her eyes hardened and she pointed to the door. "Out."

"Right, right. Well, I guess we're goin', Ryan," Sean conceded, then turned to the nurse again. "But we'll be waitin' just outside, in case of... whatever. Call out if you need us." Sean turned to the door and pulled it open, glancing back and nodding to the hall. He stopped through and leaned against the wall right next to the open door, thick arms folded across his muscular chest, intending to wait until... whenever.

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Ravi loafed against the wall opposite the door, idly spinning the sword around and getting a feel for it's weight. Apparently boring of the thing he set it down, leaning the pommel against the wall beside him. Catching Ryan and Sean's eyes, he grinned wryly.

"Looks as though our plans for the evening are scotched, gentlemen. Though looking on the bright side, I don't know why we'd want to leave the academy grounds: all the fun and games seem to be here."

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"Everett", he answered before exiting with his cohorts. The nurse seemed to have things well in hand. Perhaps they wouldn't have to involve the authorities proper after all.

Ev threw a nod to the others as he approached. "Well, this definitely ranks about a 9.0 out of 10 on my weird-shit-o-meter."

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Given the nurse's concern over the sword Jason reclaimed it from where Ravi had left it, "I'll keep this for now lads. No need to worry the nurse unnecessarily."

He turns to Ryan and Sean, "I gather you guys found her? So tell me about it. Where and when did you find her, who else knows she is here."

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"What is there to tell?" Sean asked, staring at the door behind which the nurse and the woman lay. Sean turned his head slightly to look as Jason, sword in hand.

"Me and Ryan were on our way to Lancaster to find what was holding up Mr. Tardy -" he began, jerking a thumb at Ravi, "- Don't answer that Ravi! - and we just found her, laying on the ground. Mr. Flynn knows she's here, and I guess a few of the other students might have seen her when I brought her here."

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