Chapter 4: The Runners of the Maze

Upon closer look, one of the figures running towards them was Minho along with another boy Irene has yet to meet. She turned to Nick, confused.

"I thought you said no one was allowed beyond these walls?" she asked,

"No one except our Runners," Nick answered naturally.

"Runners?" The two boys were coming closer to them now.

"Their job is to search beyond these walls for a way out," Nick explained. The two "Runners" had come out of the gates now. Both of them had their hands on their knees, heads bent to catch their breaths.

"What are beyond these walls?" Irene asked again, seizing the opportunity to continue her questioning from before.

"A maze." The answer was simple, rational, yet it shocked Irene. She didn't know what she was expecting, but certainly not that. Nick had turned away from her and given his attention to the two currently on the grass. "Why are you guys early today?"

"We ran into a shuckin' Griever. Sleeping." Was the reply from Minho, his tone indicating that it was all the explanation that was needed; and to Nick, it was.

"Griever?" Irene questioned.

"The noise that kept you up last night" Minho answered again. That response earned a raised eyebrow from their two companions.

"That's a creature?" Irene exclaimed in disbelieve, completely dismissing the curious glances towards her and Minho. "I thought it was some kind of machinery behind the walls"

"I wish" the only stranger in the group muttered.

"What a way to end your last day of training huh?" Minho commented while the stranger just shook his head.

"Go do your day's work guys." Nick shooed them towards the other side of the Glade. With a nod, the two runners headed away from Nick and her, leaving them alone again.

"That was Minho and Adam by the way," Nick added, as an afterthought. Irene nodded in acknowledgement and opened her mouth to ask more about the maze when Nick interrupted her.

"You should grab something to eat from the Kitchen since we skipped lunch due to the Tour," Nick told her "Tomorrow, you'll start choosing for your own job here by rotating to every position available, one a day, until you've tried them all and is satisfied with one."

"Even as a Runner?" Irene asked, fearing the answer.

"As much as that would please Newt, I'm afraid that position is by nomination only." Nick answered, causing Irene to sigh in relief. She wasn't sure she was ready for the horror and excitement of the creatures called the Grievers and the Maze.

"Why would it please Newt?" Irene asked, just to keep the conversation going and refraining from awkward silences.

"Newt is the Keeper of the Runners. Unfortunately, they are shorthanded right now, which is why Adam had to get trained."

"Newt's the Keeper? I thought it'd be Minho, what with him training Adam and all." She replied, truly curious with the workings of the Glade now.

"Ask him if you're interested," with that, Nick stalked off towards the Homestead; not even telling Irene just which "him" he was referring to.

Irene was left to her own devices until the walls began to close; signaling dinnertime. As the walls began to shut, Irene saw a blond head charge out of the maze the last second and, like the others, headed towards the small hut near the Deadheads. Though curious, she thought the better of it and headed towards the kitchens instead. She was one of the first to arrive since she didn't have work to finish. Once there, Frypan, approached her.

"Hi. I don't believe we've been properly introduced yesterday. My name is Siggy, but everyone just calls be Frypan. I'm Keeper of the Cooks." The slightly chubby, dark skinned teen said cheerily, holding out his hand.

"Hi. I'm Irene." There wasn't really a need to introduce herself since everyone here obviously knows who she was already, but manners were manners (even though she doesn't remember who drilled them into her in the first place).

"Nick wants me to tell you that you are starting with me tomorrow." Frypan explained. Irene tried really hard not to roll her eyes on the outside, but she couldn't help doing it mentally anyways. Of course they'd put a girl in the kitchen first, she thought.

"You were suppose to start with the Builders, but Gally said they didn't need help from the 'Greenie'" Frypan, who seemed to have followed her train of thought, jumped quickly to explain.

"Okay. When should I be here tomorrow?" Irene asked, accepting the excuse, figuring she's going to have to eventually try everything anyways.

"Just when the sun begins to rise. Runners get up earlier than the rest and the Cooks have to get up even earlier to serve them." Frypan said. Irene nodded her head in understanding, and thanked Frypan when he served her the food.

Irene took her food to an oddly shaped table, quietly observing the others. She saw Minho and Adam come out from the hut to head towards the kitchen, get some food, and sat down with a bunch of other boys. She realized that despite everyone being friends with one another, they tended to stay within their own cliques. Just as she was finishing up her food, she saw Newt approach her with his own plate.

"Mind if I sit down here?" Newt asked, gesturing to the empty spot across from her.

"No problem." Irene consented.

"How's your first day as a Glader Greenie?" Newt asked. Irene carefully hid the scowl from the slang and answered.

"It's a lot to take in." Irene answered honestly.

"Found out anything interesting?"

"Besides the fact that we are trapped inside a maze with terrifying creatures roaming it and there are guys running around in it everyday and the person in front of me seemed to be the valiant leader of all of them?" Newt blushed at the last compliment. As he couldn't think of anyway to reply, an awkward silence followed as the boy ate. Finally, Irene spoke again.

"If you're the Keeper of the Runners, then why didn't you train Adam?"

"Due to the lack of Runners, I had to take on two sections today." Newt answered. Irene didn't understand what he meant by that, but figured she'd stay on topic. That was a discussion for another time; when she's ever going to be interested in taking on the actual position.

"So you entrusted the training of such a dangerous job to Minho?"

"Minho and I are on the same level," Newt defended, "In fact, he's probably more suitable as a trainer. I'm stuck with the fancy title because the shank is too hot headed to deal with the politics of the Glade"

Irene smiled despite the unfamiliar slang and nodded in understanding. Maybe there was more to everyone than the first impression.

"Shank?"

"It's a Glader slang." Newt said.

"Everyone here uses it so naturally," Irene frowned. That was also another reason why she might have felt left out. The most basic interaction is communication afterall.

"Hey, I'm offering lessons." Newt said, amused.

"I'll take you up on that when you're not busy running around inside a giant wall all day."

That earned a smile and the two fell into conversation easily after that. Irene knows this is a good start. Newt is probably her first real friend in the Glade. Or was it her second?


Unfortunately, it looks like I'll only have time to update on the weekends, but I promise to at least update that much .

This was another long chapter of necessary explanation. But the next chapter will be the last foundation chapter and the start of the adventure! Please look forward to it!

Thanks everyone for the support! Please review and let me know what you think. Suggestions are always welcome ^_^

-Yuumii