Panicking slightly, Rune half-walked, half-galloped down the halls of the Songmakers Force campus. Where was Morgance? Why had she run off without him? Didn't she realize how much he depended on her?
Pausing to catch his breath, Rune leaned heavily against the wall. He had only seven more minutes before he had to return to the cafeteria.
"Someone looks like they just ran a marathon," a voice sounded from Rune's left.
Turning to see Trace, Rune smiled and bobbed his head in greeting. "Sorry," he panted. "I was looking for Morgance. I've been running up and down all the hallways and stairs, looking for her. I guess I'm not as 'in shape' as I used to be."
Trace hesitated. "I wouldn't run all over, if I were you."
Curious as to why Trace would offer such strange advice, Rune raised his eyebrows. "Yeah? Why's that?"
"There are lots of things you ought to believe without questioning," Trace replied, his voice low. "This is one of those." He stopped and listened, as though expecting an eavesdropper to reveal himself.
"I appreciate your concern, sir, but I think I'll be on my way now," Rune said, beginning to make his way back through the campus. "I intend to find Morgance before lunch. I've only got a few minutes left, so if you'll excuse me..."
"I'm serious, Rune. I wouldn't go wandering all around. There are places not meant for students to know about."
"Aren't there guards?"
Trace opened his mouth to say something, then snapped it shut. He only nodded. "Yes," he said slowly, calculatedly, "but I doubt they could hold back someone like you."
Not sure if he should be honored or just plain creeped out, Rune shrugged. "Yeah, thanks," he said.
"I mean it, Rune. I don't want to see you have to bear the consequences of something you didn't know about."
Why is he acting so strangely? "Like I said, sir - I appreciate your concern, but I really have to get going if I want to find Morgance before the meal."
"Fine, then. I'll tell you right now that you oughtn't venture near the medicinal clinic, nor ground zero. They're both hazardous to your well-being."
Now I've got to visit those places.
Trace smiled softly. "Don't make me tell Vinnia that her pupils aren't heeding the words of the wise," he cautioned, and though his tone and appearance were good-natured, Rune suspected something darker in Trace's half-threat.
"I'll try not to blow anything up or get into any other sort of trouble," Rune said, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible.
Trace turned and disappeared down the hallway.
Medicinal clinic...Ground zero...I wonder where those are...