The Inner Garden
You decide to begin by sneaking out of your room to the left, following the building's hall eventually to the Inner Gardens. It's a tricky business; you slide open your door *ever* so softly, just a crack to reveal the candles set in the walls of the hall, every ten feet or so. You check the hall's ceiling first, for fear of classmates hiding there, practice-spying. You see nothing. Taking a breath, you silently open your door fully, creep quickly into the hall and shut the door behind you. Your door is luckily located around the edge of a corner, and you press against it. As you do, you hear the softest commotion in the hall behind you that overlooks your door--a student has just hidden themselves in the fake wall panels that are set up at the end of most hallways. Had you left thirty seconds later than you did, you would have been seen.
As scary as the panels are, there still aren't enough students to man them all, and not all students would take them anyway; it's much more fun to hang from the ceiling. You figure you've got a one-in-ten chance every time you turn a corner that you'll be seen. At that moment, you wish you had some of those supposed mystical tools; a human body feels so big and clumsy all of the sudden.
You turn three corners, which go to your right and lie at the end of hallways growing slightly shorter each time. You avoid your main traps here: the fake panels at the end of hallways, and possible vantage points hidden behind the beautiful Japanese tapestries Tobuo has hung every fifty feet. You avoid these by ducking under.
The Inner Garden lies before you. A room thirty feet square and perhaps fifty feet high with a skylight revealing the cold Colorado stars, it serves as a greenroom/place of meditation to the dojo. Plants and trees grow all the way up to the ceiling, and a cunningly made natural waterfall is centered at one end.
Although beautiful, now it becomes a ninja's nightmare. The ground is made of raked stones, clattery and noisy. The plants and brush could conceal any number of classmates. Worse, you can sense at least two students inside; one you can see; it's Yeomen, a fellow orange belt. He meditates on a stone in the center of the room. By listening to the wind slip through a hole in the glass ceiling, you hear a strap creak; at least one student is hanging up there.
These things stand between you and the stairs to the basement, which lie just past this room.
You clamber onto the hallway ceiling rafters to get some time to think.
Written by Mr.Peaches on 18 July 2006