Rick glanced over his shoulder. Another couple was strolling past, enamored of each other. He tried not to stand out quite so badly, assuming a casual demeanor, waiting for the couple to pass.
And then he squeezed through the hedge branches, parting them and covering his face so they wouldn’t scratch him.
On the other side, he waited for the guards to come running from their posts at the gates of Terruth Academy, in case the perimeter was enchanted by k’yor, but no one approached.
So he was free. He marked the spot he’d emerged with his boot and let out a deep breath, advancing out into the city.
It wasn’t as if he had mere recreation in mind, he actually had worthy intentions. He was leaving the Academy grounds to find a quiet place to study, though he didn’t think that excuse would be especially convincing should he happen to get caught.
But it was true. Wherever he went on Academy grounds, the Library, the Commongrounds, the Dining Hall, or especially his dormroom, his roommates discovered him and harassed him. Not only was he falling behind in his studies, but the circumstances had progressed from merely agitating to dire, for he was on the verge of fighting now, his pride wounded far too many times to just allow a few pokes and prods to slip past. And he knew if they reported the fight, he’d somehow come out on the wrong end of it. He could just imagine them making up ridiculous claims such as having stalked them and scared them with his knife set… he didn’t even want to think any more on it. The words “so you’re the latest roomy” kept echoing through his mind.
So Rick avoided them altogether, or as best he could, to avoid what might result in his possible expulsion. And if that met occasionally getting demerits for sneaking on and off grounds, he was willing to take those chances.
Tonight, he decided to take his business to the closest pub to the Academy he knew – The Red Coach. On a Secondday, it was quiet. Sitting down at a marked wooden table in the corner, he ordered a mead, some bread and cheese, and cracked open his Middle Eras History book.