The heavy breathing and splashing of puddles resounded through the empty city street as a boy sprinted along the sidewalk, a look of terror across his face. He was wearing a black hoodie, with the hood pulled over his head, and was wearing a wireless headset, which was set to its noise-cancelling setting. The boy was wearing cargo shorts, but all of his pockets were empty, and in his hand was a short, stout metal pipe with a spattering of wet, red material on it. The boy hastily pulled his left sleeve up, still looking around, then quickly peeked down as he ran. "There's no way," he gasped. 1759 hours. "I'll never make it!" As he turned a corner, he noticed that the street up ahead was busy. "WHAT?" he gasped, fear and shock filling his chest, "HOW?" Before his very eyes, the city had…! The boy continued running, speeding up in his shock. "No, I can't stop! I have to..." he gasped, then he turned the corner, looking behind himself to make sure he wasn't followed, and immediately continued sprinting forwards. He noticed a blonde-looking girl right in front of himself and pulled his pipe back, raising his off-hand up to try to gently get her out of the way, being unable to change his trajectory, having noticed her so late. His expression of fear was still on his face as he passed by her, but he was too focused and out of breath to speak or apologize. He merely thought the words, "I have to run faster or I'll never get back to my home in time!" as he brushed past the girl, then immediately sped up, swinging his arms faster to balance his more aggressive pace. [Note: She hears a few words of his thoughts as he passes by] The boy ran down the street until he reached the cross signal, then turned the corner and continued sprinting once more. There were more pedestrians, but he was now paying more attention to them, having found out the hard way that they were worth avoiding. He continued sprinting along, hoping that he would be fast enough. After a few feet, he checked his watch again..."1759" -The Next Day- The boy woke up in a small room and looked around in surprise, slowly getting up as he did so. After a few seconds, he started to look around, remembering that he had to search for the charger for his headphones. After unearthing a few books, scattered clothes, and empty backpacks, the boy finally found his charger. He plugged it into the wall, but thoroughly searched the room for other people before taking his headset off again. "All clear," he commented, turning his headphones off. Immediately, he was assaulted with the sound of pounding on his door and loud, honking noises from outside. "S-Sorry, just a second!" he shouted, rushing over to plug his headset into the charger. After a few lectures from his landlady and a final, “I’ll give you TEN MINUTES to GET OUT before I CALL THE POLICE!”, the boy left the hallway outside his room and quickly rushed back in, locking the door behind him due to the terror which was the lady. He looked through the room for important things, like snacks, a suitable backpack, good clothes, tools, and anything else he thought he’d need. After partially filling a suitable backpack, he shoved the charger into the pack, put his headset around his neck, wore the backpack, and ran out of the room, bypassing the landlady entirely as he ran out of the building. Once he reached the sidewalk, he pulled a slip of paper out of his pocket. "I can't trust him…..I know I can't," the boy commented, staring intensely at the paper. He soon noticed a man standing still beside the entrance to the apartment standing along the side of the small flight of steps, as if waiting for the boy to get out of the way. Niko quickly apologized to the man before running off towards his destination. ---- By about midday, Niko tucked and rolled out of a moving vehicle as it rolled along the highway, jumping into a ditch as a few objects littered the ground around him. As soon as the noises stopped, Niko stood up and looked around to get his bearings. After double checking with his sheet of paper once more and brushing some dust off of his pants, he started walking along the street, still looking around with an expression of disbelief and terror. It didn’t take long before he saw what he was looking for - a large array of buildings off in the distance, some almost castle-like in appearance. He started to speed up, still unable to believe his eyes. “Is…is this really it? Wh-why?” ----- He felt the weight of his backpack increasing as he walked along the pathway of the isolated village. Niko was starting to accept his new location, still feeling a bit uneasy about how confusing the new place was. After looking over at the sun, he was reminded of time, and looked at his watch to see how late it was. “1402”. He frowned and looked around for any sign of life, his frown revealing more nervousness and caution than annoyance. After a few minutes of wandering around, he noticed a small building with a similar description to that on the paper. “The last instruction,” he thought, his gut telling him to turn back and escape whilst he was able. He ignored the feeling, took a deep breath, then made his way towards the building, stuffing the paper back into his pocket. “I’ll never learn the truth if I don’t,” he thought, cautiously holding one side of his headset, just in case. Once he reached the building, he walked in and looked around. Before he had the chance to make out the insides of the dimly lit room, a tall, Caucasian man with glasses, swept-back brown hair, and a professional smile greeted him, offering Niko welcome. Niko stared at the man for a few seconds in silence, expecting him to start am assault. The man did no such thing, instead he opened a door to a different room and encouraged Niko to join him in his office for a few minutes so that he could “Give you the rundown of Canford, your new home!” ------ Niko looked down at his watch as the headmaster started searching through a cabinet of his desk for something. “1443” Niko was barely able to keep a neutral expression, feeling unnerved at the headmaster’s professionalism. He wasn’t even sure that the man was human, at a few points during their talk. “Well, if you have any other questions, ask me! This here is your alumni packet. It contains everything you need to get to your dorm and get acquainted with the campus! Remember, curfew is at midnight!” Niko barely listened to the man’s last words, eagerly grabbing the folder from his hand and running towards the door. The man chuckled in response, amused at the strange boy, assuming that the boy was just eager to find his room. In reality, Niko immediately released his inner terrified child as he left the building, sprinting as hard as he could immediately after hitting the walkway. After reaching the hedge, having thoroughly exhausted himself during his sprint, he breathed heavily and walked around to find an opening in the hedge which leading to a slightly more people-free area. There were a few guys and girls who were reading or looking at differing devices, however Niko only needed to stand around for a few moments. He opened the folder and looked through it briefly, then pulled the map out of his folder, starting to control his breathing. He analyzed the map, looking for the “Montacute” building, then looked around to get his bearings. After determining that he knew which building was the right one, he immediately dodged out of the way of another person and ran over to the building. ------ “Room 312……Double?” his expression shifted from confusion to suspicion, “Is someone else going to be in this room?” Once again, he paused, trying his best to reason out his situation, but once again falling short. He determined that he would give up trying to think it through, and would accept it for the time being so that he wouldn’t go insane. He tried his best to smile as he entered his room, which was at the far end of the hallway, in the corner of the building which faced the big courtyard. Niko opened the door with his key once again, but was surprised to find that the room was half filled with supplies, and the other half was empty. He double checked his paper, but determined that it said “double,” despite only having one bed. Niko hastily entered the room and closed the door behind himself, locking it immediately after so that no one would disturb him. In less than an hour, he re-assembled the room to suit his needs. The bookshelf and the desk fit perfectly along the corner of the room, providing space for the textbooks and other assorted binders in an easily accessable position next to the desk. He also placed a lamp into the empty space in the corner itself, which hung over the desk to illuminate any work he placed on it. The bed was not bolted to the ground, so he was able to move it to the side of the room opposite to the windows. The bed was long enough that it had to be pushed against the wall in order to fit and still be able to clear the door, but Niko was fine with that. He moved around an armchair and a small nightstand in one of the far corners of the room next to a power outlet, then rested the headset on the nightstand and plugged the charger in. After a few more changes, Niko determined that the room was fully suitable as a student. The room was rather large compared to the apartment in which he previously took residence, but he was fine with that. He almost felt…..safe. But he knew that he couldn’t let his guard down, so he shut the blinds and started going through the textbooks and welcoming sheets. He had no idea what to expect in the new area, so he wanted to read through everything the generous headmaster left for him. -The Next Day- After looking through the papers once again, Niko shoved his first three textbooks into his backpack, as well as his welcoming folder and a few notepads and pencils. He shoved his room key into his pocket, wore his fully-charged headset around his neck, and left his dorm room, venturing onwards to his first class. After entering the building which he assumed was designated for maths, he searched for the correct lecture hall, passing by groups of students and ignoring various people as they attempted to greet him. He had to rush up a set of stairs and over to the other side of the building before he finally reached the room he wanted. With a reluctant push, Niko entered the room, his face dripping with renewed nervous anticipation and fear. After walking into the room, the tall, male professor greeted Niko and commented, “Oh, hello, Niko is it? Welcome to Calculus BC!” The boy looked around the room to find that plenty of students were already there, most of whom were writing on sheets of paper. “Did you move in all right? How did you sleep?” the professor continued, lowering his voice as he walked over to Niko, attempting to be friendly. Niko backed away a step or two as the professor approached, slightly unnerved by his bulky figure, but nonetheless answered, “I-I was fine,” with a look of confusion, as if the teacher’s question was unexpected. The professor instantly noticed the boy’s look and said, “Well, I’m very glad that you’ve joined my class! Feel free to ask me anything, that’s what I’m here for! Until then, find a seat wherever you’d like and pull out some paper. We’re warming up with a set of challenge problems today.” Niko nodded, then wandered over to an isolated seat which was a few seats away from the nearest person. He then took out his calculus textbook, two sheets of paper, and a pencil and began to write on the paper, noting each question in an organized and clear manner. After a minute, he looked up at the people around him, mostly at their faces, then looked back down at his paper and continued to write, this time writing a bit faster and slightly more sloppily. Every now and then, he would pause to look back up at a few other people, then would immediately resume his scribbling. Within five minutes, Niko completed all of the problems and looked around once more. He got the feeling that someone was watching him, but ignored it, suspecting that it was the professor. Class then continued with a few of the students raising their hands to answer the questions from the textbook one-by-one. Niko gave the answer to the last question, “Two hundred fifty six times Pi divided by the cosine of thirty times u.” The professor nodded at the boy after he answered the question, signifying that his answer was correct, then a few other students started asking the teacher to work out the problem on the board. The professor taught a lesson about some maths concept after finishing the warm up, then gave the class a warning about an upcoming test. Once the period was finally over, Niko crumpled up the paper which held his work on it and waited for everyone else to leave. He watched the door, almost angry at it for being small enough to allow the Calculus class to bunch up and be unable to move through it. He didn’t look anyone at the face as he waited, purposefully looking at his crumpled piece of paper as he sat at his desk. The professor left the classroom along with the large group of students, talking to one of them as he went. A few seconds after he felt that the crowd let up, Niko rose from his seat, shoved the crumpled paper into his pocket, threw his backpack over his shoulder, and started making his way to the door.