Painting Pictures

Malrick has an overactive imagination. His mind involuntarily turns ordinary walks into treks through a mystical forest and boring classrooms into ancient chambers and caverns. He spends his time hiding from others. But then Malrick meets a girl named Rule who teaches him that what he sees isn't delusions, but a gift that he can learn to harness. But Rule isn't all she claims to be, and with his parents convinced Malrick is nuts, Malrick will need to unravel the truth of wether he has a wild imagination, a rare mental disorder or a magic gift. And doing so just might mean he will need to stop hiding and trust a girl he barely knows.

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12. Rule

Chapter 12

 

 

-Rule-

Woodpaige looms stark and imposing in front of her, breathtaking and leaving Malrick, who stands beside her, awestruck. The building is crafted from large bricks made from greyish gold stone, set in grey mortar. The roof is dome shaped with towers in every corner. 

“Where do you want to go first?” Rule asks. 

“Dunno,” Malrick mumbles, unable to tear his eyes from the ancient, beautiful building. 

“How about the dorms? So you don’t have to lug that suitcase around with you.” She suggests, not waiting for a response as she walks up to the massive oak doors, carved in complicated whirling and swirling patters, and yanks them open. “There’s two sets of dorms here, one in the towers and another out past the courtyard and garden. You’ll be staying in the east tower.” 

“How’re the dorms divided up?”

“Don’t know, don’t care. I’ve never needed to stay there, so I never really payed much attention to the details.” 

Acting as a tour guide, she shows Malrick around the school. She points out the different classrooms, the bathrooms and the gym as they make their way to the east tower. 

“Woodpaige is a school that goes from grade one to grade twelve. There’s different floors for each grade. Upstairs on the very top floor is grades one through four. On this floor, grades five through nine and in the basement grades ten, eleven and twelve.” Rule explains as she goes. “There’s three classes in each grade, Novice, Average and Excelled. You’ll probably be in Novice as it’s your first year, then moved up once you receive your first Test.” 

“Do Visionaries and Illusionists share classes?” He asks, gazing around at the classrooms they’re passing. 

“They share the first three periods which are either English, math and science or French, history and health depending on what day it is. The last two are for training and gym.” 

Malrick groans. “We have to do gym ever single day?” 

“Not like gym you’re used to,” Rule laughs, but offers no further explanation. “And here we are, East Tower.” 

“What room am I in? Do I have a roommate?”

“More than likely you do.” She hands him a small white envelop with his name scrawled across the back. “This has all your room information in it, along with your key.” 

She pauses to wait for him as he opens up the envelop, pulling out the piece of paper and reading it. The key is an actual key made from bronze, with ornate patterns carved into the head. “I’m in room fourteen. And rooming with someone name Deer Brownson.” He declares, and Rule leads him up into the tower. She searches for room fourteen, which is almost at the top. The towers are wide, with a spiralling staircase in the centre and rooms branching out in every direction. Rule knows there’s thirty in total, so fourteen should be somewhere in the middle. 

It takes only a couple of minutes to find Malrick’s room, and when they do Rule knocks on the door. A moment later someone around her age answers. 

“You must be Deer.” She greets with a smile. He’s tall and lanky, with chocolate brown hair that falls to just below his hair and light brown eyes wit its freckles of green around the edge. His features are boyish, and if it wasn’t for his hight he could pass for someone much younger. 

“Yeah I am.” He huffs, discreetly eyeing Rule. 

“The name’s Rule Arrowheart. Nice to meet you.” She extends her hand as if to shake, and Deer grasps it tentatively. 

“Who’s your friend?” He asks gruffly, flicking his gaze to Malrick. 

“Oh, this is—”

“Malrick Nanear.” He interjects. “I’m your new roommate.”

“Well, come in then!” Deer exclaims exasperatedly, steeping away from the doorway and motioning Rule and Malrick inside. “So what’s your deal. Cousins? Dating?” 

“Us? Friends.” Rule declares. 

“Cool, cool.” Deer mutters, going farther into the dorm. There’s a common area with a leather couch and two adjoining rooms, barely big enough for the twin bed, night table and lamp they hold. One room is messy with clothes piled everywhere, while the other is neat yet barren. “That one’s your room.” 

Rule helps Malrick dump his suitcase in the room, before leaving him with Deer so the two guys can get to know each other. 

She wanders through the halls, having been pardoned from class for the day. She can’t go far, as she promised to give Malrick a tour of the place after lunch in a couple hours time. 

Unsure what else to do, she heads to the gymnasium. It’s one of the biggest areas in the school, second only to the massive cafeteria. Only those in grade seven or higher are allowed to use the gym, the younger grades go outside in the courtyards. 

Once inside, the reasons behind the split is clear. Rows of weapons line the walls, some blunt and designed only for practice while others are sharp and polished, designed to kill. Those first starting the weapons and martial arts training will use the blunt ones, while those in Excelled classes of grade eight and up use their sharpened counterparts. 

Weapons aren’t the only part of gym, there’s also exercise equipment and weights. There’s a running track outdoors bordering the courtyard, but it’s only used in the fall and spring when there’s no snow on the ground. In the winter running is replaced with snowshoeing. 

The gym is empty, and Rule strolls inside. She’d be in trouble if anyone found her here unsupervised, but can’t think of any other way to kill time. 

Crossing the gym, she grabs a sharpened sword from the wall and swings it around in her hand. She goes over all the maneuvers she’s learnt until her arms ache, before finally replacing the sword on the wall and slinking away and hoping no one catches her. 

Much to her dismay, a teacher walks by as soon as she’s easing the door shut. 

“What’re you doing?” His stern voice demands. 

 
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