Longest chapter yet xD over ten pages written. me and Trina only got through half of the next chapter in writing, after that it'll take longer for me to upload that one and chapters beyond that. sorry bout that xD

Chapter 3: Focus

Lucy knew this was it. She had backtalked to an Engineer and now Miss Scurt was going to let her have it. She closed her eyes tightly as the foul-tempered woman towered over her, screaming her lungs out. Then Lucy was miraculosy saved by a surprising someone.

"Oi, Miss Scurt!"

Everyone turned, it was Stinch shouldering his crook and resting his other hand on Claude's head. Stinch was grinning wickedly as he explained that he had caught Claude trying to excape school grounds. Lucy and Claude exchanged looks as Scurt ordered Stinch to take the boy to Miss Weaver's office. They left and Miss Scurt turned back on the girl Lucy swallowed.

Tristan followed Stinch and Claude Miss Weaver's office. He hid outside the waiting room until Stinch left and there didn't seem to be anyone but his friend in the room before he decided to sneak in.

"Claude." He whispered, walking up to his friend who was sitting in the corner of the room. Claude turned his head around and his eyes widen when he saw his friend. "Tristan! You idiot! If anyone catches you, you'll be in trouble too!" he said angerly, causing Tristan to flinch before he put a hand over Claude's mouth.

"Keep yelling like that, and I will be caught!" Tristan glared through his bangs, and when Claude nodded his head, Tristan removed his hand. "I just came to make sure you were okay, Stinch pulled you down pretty rough." He said, grabbing ahold of Claude's head and looking closely to make sure his friend hadn't hurt himself to badly. "You face-planted."

"Ugh- get off me! I'm fine!" Claude hissed, pushing his friend away. He opemed his mouth but was cut off by the sound of the principal's office door opening. "Hide!" Claude pushed his friend behind a plant before the maid reached the bottom of the stairs. She smiled sweetly at Claude, "! The principal would like to see you now. Follow me upstairs to the observatory, if you please!"

Claude swallowed nervously, but followed the mechanical maid up the spiral staircase. Tristan, as soon as the coast was clear, bolted from behind the plant, following the maids steps to the observatory. As they got closer, Claude started yelling. Tristan jumped at this and had to stop himself from running to his friends aid. 'Don't you idiot, they'll see you' More yelling, then a door slamed and the stairwell went quiet.

Tristan sprinted up the last few steps until he came up to the closed door of the observatory. Now what? He didn't have any inventions on him to help him evesdrop; putting his ear to the door certainly wasn't going to help either. So, thinking quickly, he knelt down to listen near the crack between the door and the floor. He couldn't hear much of the conversation, just snipits like 'poison', 'sister' and 'windmill'

This didn't excatly reassure him, Was Claude going to be sent to detention?

He couldn't worrt abour that now, footsteps were headed his way. Quickly, Tristan scrambled up from the floor and pressed himself against the wall just as Miss Notch threw the door open. She ushered Claude out, "Bye Bye Mr. Mcginty!" she called. "Stay out of trouble now!" She closed the door and Claude huffed before starting down the stairs. Tristan stepped away from the wall and followed after him.

"Claude!" He whispered. Claude jumped and spun around to see Tristan standing barely two feet away. He breathed a sigh of relief, good thing it wasn't that maid again!

"What are you still doing here?" Tristan step onto the level where his friend stood, pushing his bangs out of his eyes for what seemed like the first time in ages. "Evesdropping." He replied, "But I couldn't really hear, what happened?"

"She gave me cake."

Tristan stared. "What?"

"Hey, I'm just as confused as you are." Claude replied, rubbing his shoulder. "Wow, that maid's got some griip."

"Are you hurt?" Tristan removed his friend's arm and pulled back his shirt so he could see his shoulder. "Well, it doesn't seem like it's brusing..." Claude pulled away from his friend and kept heading down the stairs. "Should we get some medicine from Miss Ricketts?"

"And end up with an arm of a reptile? No thanks." They arrived at the bottom of the stairs and headed out of the waiting room. "But I will take a nap before dinner, my shoulder's killing me."

**'

"Two kids sent to the windmill every Friday, can you believe it?" Claude was pacing up and down his room, Tristan sat on his bed watching him. "Miss Weaver's crazy! At this rate, there won't be any students left for her to teach!" He fumed then stoppped pacing for a moment, Tristan saw a small shiver run through his body. "And that...thing in outside the dining hall, what was up with that?" Tristan, watched Claude start pacing again, and shook his head.

"I have no idea, but it only rienforces the feelings I've had for this place since..."

"Since your sister left...?"

"Yeah..." Tristan stared off into space and Claude continued to pace.

"We have to get out of here." Claude finally stopped pacing and rubbed his shoulder. Tristan looked up and sighed, "You don't think I know that?" He replied. "But Stinch has the robot and it would be supisous if we started to work on another project like that. Miss Weaver will have our heads."

"Tomorrow night then," Claude started, knelling down next to his trunk. He opened it, pulling out some maps and looked through them. He handed one to Tristan. "Look, that map shows all of the passages heading out of sub-section J. We can find a way out there."

Tristan observed the map, going over it quickly before sighing. "Why do I let you drag me into these crazy plans?" Claude gave a rare smile as he took the map back from Tristan.

"Are you sure this is the right way Claude?" Tristan coughed into his arm as him and his friend crawled through the dusty shafts. It had been atleast an hour since they started this mission, and Tristan was sure they were lost, shouldn't they have changed direction by now anyways?

"I'm pretty sure, let me check the map again-" A large crash was heard then the next thing the boys knew,they were on the ground. Dest fell around them and they both started coughing. "Drat! Where are we?" Claude asked as he stood up. Tristan was about to stand up after his coughing fit when he noticed Claude standing on someone. Someone with orange hair and a red ribbon...crap. "Um, Claude?" he tried to get the other's attention, but Claude continued to talk. "We must've have accidently slipped through the pipes above corridor B by mistake.." He looked over the map as Tristan tried to get his attention again when he stood up. "Claude." "Luckly I didn't break any bones!"

"Well, I'm happy to have broken your fall for you!" Lucy jumped up, knocking Claude off of her and running him into Tristan, who caught him. "You again! What's the big idea?" Tristan had to hold Claude back from charging at the girl.

"I see you're out practicing your escape plan again huh? Getting better?" Lucy snapped back after she was done dusing her stuffed animal off. Claude forced his arm out of Tristan's grip, "What about you, what are you doing out of bed? Can't find your bottle? Have you tried sucking your thumb instead?" Lucy's face turned red in anger and Tristan tried to get their attention. "Guys you need to stop-"

"Why you- I can see why your friends stopped hanging around you! I'm surprised Tristan hasn't left yet!" Lucy cut him off and that finally made Tristan snap. "Would you both be quiet and listen?" Claude and Lucy jumped, looking over at Tristan with wide eyes. "In cand you two idiots havn't ntoiced, we're out after curfew! Stinch or Miss Notch is patroling right now!" That's when they heard a small buzzing noise coming from the end of the hall.

"That noise.."Lucy started nervously. "Sounds like Miss Notch's steam drones!" Claude panicked. "Told you..." Tristan groaned. "They're coming from the enterance...We're trapped!"

"Looks like we have to run." The three of them turned around and started to bolt. Tristan followed closely behind the two younger kids, listening to their small arguement before Lucy mentioned the Atrium. "We know where that is, come on!" They started to lead her quickly to the green room, the drones noise getting closer and closer.

"The door we came in through is the only exit..." Tristan informed Lucy as they walked through the room. "I hope you have a plan!" Claude hissed as they followed Lucy. She lead them to the clock near the middle of the room. "This must be the clock.." Tristan heard her mumble to herself, as she watched the clock for a moment. "Oh no! We're going to have to wait a few minutes!"

"What?" Claude asked, "But the drones are..!"

"Summer's letter.."She cut him off, pulling out a later from her sweater. "It says I meed to wait til the clock chime's eleven." Both Claude and Tristan looked at Lucy with shocked expressions.

Claude was the first to speak up,"Summer? You're meeting her?" and it was clear he was mad. Heck, even Tristan looked ticked. "If we'd known she was here, there's no way we would have followed you!" Tristan had to agree with that as Claude continued. "You're pretty navie huh? Kids like Summer don't have real friends." Tristan nodded, crossing his arms across his chest. "They veiw everyone as a protential threat, and Summer's really good at elimating threats...Trust me." Tristan spoke bitterly and looked away.

Claude glared at Lucy. "I'm the top clockwork robotics student, and Tristan has be going back and forth with the top graverobbing spot against Summer since the begining of the year! She's been trying to take us down for ages! It's another reason we're trying to get out of this school!" Tristan and Claude turned to leave. "We're finding another way out of here. That way I don't have to listen to Summer maling you to death with some mechanical trap she's set in that clock!" The two boys were about to leave when they noticed the maid walking up the stairs.

"Come out Children!" The main said a little to sweetly. "The steam drones are detecting four human life forms ahead, so I just know you're in here!"

"This is going from bad to worse!" Lucy mumbled. Then the three heard a click from behind them. They turned around to face the clock. "That soulds like.."Lucy started, but Claude finished, "It opened?" Tristan ran over and pulled open the clock and held it open for the other two. "Get in! hurry!" He whispered.

Claude and Lucy ran over, Clauding forcing his way in first then pulled Lucy in with him. He held his hand out for Tristan as he heard the drones get closer. "Hurry!" Tristan was about to grab the hand when he heard the footsteps of the maid, not just the drones. 'There isn't enough time' he thought, bitting his lip before slapping Claude's hand away.

"Wha-" Tristan pushed Claude back into Lucy and grabbed the front of the clock, starting to push it shut. "Tristan!" Lucy held back Claude from jumping back out of the clock. "Tristan! What are you doing?"

"Good luck." He smiled and forced the passage shut.

"Oh my, ." the maid walked closer to Tristan, and he slowly turned around to see her and the drones right behind her. He glared daggers, but she just smiled sweetly at him. "It's passed curfew Mr. Mesquite," The drones flew from behind her and next to Tristan, the wires that flew down from the drones and wrapped around his arms. He grunted and stared up at the maid, blowing the bangs from his eyes. "I'm going to have to take you to Miss Weaver now." the drones lifted him until only the tips of his toes were touching the ground.

Tristan was so focused on distracting the maid, he didn't notice that he had made his hand bled while closing his friends behind the clock.