Dandelion Crowns and Paper Butterflies

Games With Annoying Asians

"...forty-six, forty-seven, forty-eight, forty-nine, FIFTY! Ready or not, here I come!"

Minho spins around, looking around if he can see Winston or Flore. Of course, he can't; the two teenagers are hiding high in a tree, right above him.

Flore smiles as the Asian starts to walk through the Deadheads, searching them behind trees. She looks at Winston, who is sitting next to her, his knees pulled up to his chin.

"Do you think that he'll ever find us?" she whispers to him.

Winston shakes his head.

"No, I don't think so," he silently replies, grinning at her. He is still looking a little absent-minded, making Flore wonder what he is thinking about.

She thinks about what he had said to her, only minutes ago. "Well... Flore... you're beautiful."

It had surprised her, and she had tried to cover her confusion with a joke, but the sentence is still stuck in her head.

What had Winston meant with it? He wouldn't just say something if he didn't mean it. But why would he think that she is beautiful?

Winston waves his hand in front of her face.

"Hello? Earth to Flore? Did you even hear what I was saying?" he asks, still whispering.

Flore shakes her head, feeling stupid because she didn't hear him.

"No, I'm sorry," she whispers back.

The black-haired Keeper rolls his eyes.

"I said that I think that Minho is in trouble," he says, grinning a frolic grin. "Come on."

He starts to climb through the trees, and, after hesitating for a moment, Flore follows him. They clamber through the leaves and branches until they are at the edge of the Deadheads. When Flore looks down, she sees that Winston was right; Minho has bumped into Alby, and the leader is heatedly talking to him.

Flore bends down to hear what they are saying.

"...so you're saying that nobody wanted to run today?" Alby asks, sounding unbelievingly.

"Yes, that's what I said," Minho replies, sounding calm, as usual. "They have been refusing to run for two days, now, because they don't trust each other because of what happened with Josiah and George. They think that their fellow Runners are suddenly turning evil."

"You know that that's no excuse to let your Runners have a day off, right?" Alby asks him, his voice turning a little dangerous.

Minho shrugs, which seems to make Alby even angrier. "I didn't really feel like fighting in the early morning. Besides, we're with too less to run all the Sections."

"Then you just skip a couple of Sections!" Alby yells, losing his temper. "I don't care what you do! Just don't hang around in the Glade, doing nothing!"

"I wasn't doing nothing," the Asian Runner calmly points out. "I was playing hide-and-seek with Winston and Flore."

The two teenagers in the tree suck in their breath at the same moment. They both think the same thing at the same moment: He's going to blame us for this.

Luckily, that isn't the case. Alby pinches the bridge of his nose between his thumb and index finger.

"Minho, get out of here and make sure the Runners are running in the Maze or I'll let my fist play a game of tag with your face!"

Minho apparently decides that it is better not to argue with that, because he nods and runs away, towards the group of Runners that is sitting on the picnic tables. Judging by their annoyed faces, Minho is telling them that they have to run, anyway.

Alby walks away, probably to annoy someone else.

"Well, there goes our game of hide-and-seek," Winston remarks, pouting as if he pities it.

Flore smiles back.

"Yeah, it's a shame," she says.

Then Winston grins, looking at her.

"Can you make one more of those dandelion crowns?" he asks, surprising her.

"Why?" she asks.

Winston shrugs.

"Because I secretly kinda like them?" he replies, making it sound like he is testing how the answer sounds - and maybe that's even the case.

Her smile grows.

"Of course," she says sweetly. "Weirdo."

She reaches out to drop leaves on his head, and the green leaves fall and stay stuck in his hair. Squeaking, he pushes her, but not really hard.

She giggles and says: "All right, but we'll need to find some dandelions first."

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