Chapter 104:

Volume 4, Chapter 16: The Sister (I)

Heroes of the Past

I stretched after completing the video and turned off my laptop. I didn’t expect Ace to be so into her commentary. She really did make me want to watch all of them now. Half of the time I didn’t even care about the battles, more engrossed by Ace’s words. She was on pretty good terms with everyone too. It seemed strange she would just split and go off on her own. There had to be more to it.Bookmark here

“Yuki, I’m home,” Mom called out to me.Bookmark here

I headed to the back and saw Mom with a bouquet of flowers and other assorted items in a
shopping bag. I helped her place the stuff on the table. What was all of this for?Bookmark here

“It’s for meeting Ichizen’s sister tomorrow. They told me she’ll arrive sometime in the evening. I thought it’d be nice for us to get her welcoming gifts,” Mom explained.Bookmark here

“Have you seen what she looks like yet?” I asked, taking items out of the shopping bag and organizing them on the table.Bookmark here

“No, I haven’t. Are you jealous she’ll be more beautiful than you?” Mom smirked.Bookmark here

“What? At least pick a better joke than that, Mom,” I remarked.Bookmark here

“I guess you’re right. Anyways, make sure you don’t have plans tomorrow evening,” Mom reminded me.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I know. There’s a lot of fruit in here. I don’t even think they’ll be able to eat it all,” I observed, taking out at least four bags of fruit.Bookmark here

“Some of that is for us. Yuki, don’t be silly, of course they can’t eat all of it,” Mom said.Bookmark here

“Right. So, are we just getting them fruit and flowers?” I searched around in the shopping bag.Bookmark here

“Did you want to give them money too?” Mom asked.Bookmark here

“No, I was just wondering if that was it. I thought there might be, uh, more practical gifts,” I replied.Bookmark here

“Such as?” Mom asked for details.Bookmark here

“I don’t know. Something like a kitchen appliance. That might be too expensive,” I answered.Bookmark here

“Well, I didn’t get any of that. So unless you’re driving to a store tonight or tomorrow, we’ll just have to stick with this,” Mom responded.Bookmark here

“No, it’s fine. Is Yukie coming with us or is she staying home?” I inquired.Bookmark here

“That’s up to her,” Mom answered.Bookmark here

“Yeah, you’re right. Where is Yukie anyways? I thought she would have been making dinner by now,” I questioned.Bookmark here

“She’s sleeping in the garage. I don’t know what she’s been working on, but when I got out of my car, she had her head down on the table. I put a blanket over her. Yuki, let’s get going already,” Mom urged.Bookmark here

“What?” I asked, confused about what she meant.Bookmark here

“Cooking dinner of course. You’re taking over,” Mom replied, a serious look on her face.Bookmark here

“Wait, wait. Mom, I only know at most three dishes. There’s no way I can cook dinner,” I refused.Bookmark here

“You’ll just have to make those three dishes. I’ll be busy here wrapping up and making things look pretty for tomorrow,” Mom demanded.Bookmark here

“Wait, you’re okay with me cooking, but not Dad?” I asked, hoping to sway her.Bookmark here

“Your food is edible, Yuki. Much more than anything he can make. Don’t try weaseling out of this, I know all your tricks. Anyways, there are leftover dishes from yesterday. See what you can do. I leave it to you, my beautiful daughter,” Mom answered, walking over to the storage
closet.Bookmark here

Yukie was sleeping and I would just be the lowest of scum if I woke her up now. Mom was busy preparing the welcoming gift. And Dad, well, I shuddered at the thought of what he would make without any assistance. I put on an apron and headed into the kitchen. Times like this I wished I paid more attention when Mom cooked.Bookmark here

I opened the fridge and located the leftovers from yesterday. Those weren’t enough though. I could heat the leftovers and serve them. That was one less thing to worry about. I closed the door and stared at the stove. Yeah, still nothing. Okay, Yuki, let’s go over everything you can make. Eggs, basic frying, and nothing else. Great start.Bookmark here

“Let’s just fry some eggs and hope that will do it,” I muttered.Bookmark here

I took out twelve, placing them on the counter. Alright, that should do it. I dug around in the cabinets before finally locating the frying pan. I heated the pan up and then poured oil into it. Nice, nothing disastrous yet. I cracked all of the eggs in, stirring the yolks. I grabbed the spatula and started flipping over the parts that were done. Okay, good job Yuki, you didn’t screw up dinner yet. I placed the finished eggs into a plate and carried it over to the kitchen table.Bookmark here

“Oh, eggs? I guess those are the only things you can really make. It’s okay, we still have stuff left over from yesterday. Soup’s in the fridge too so heat that up,” Mom directed, focused on her work.Bookmark here

Half an hour later, everything was finished. All the dishes were warm and Dad arrived home just as the rice finished cooking. He blinked, seeing me with an apron on.Bookmark here

“Everything okay?” he asked, glancing over at Mom.Bookmark here

“Of course, why wouldn’t it be? She’s not as bad as you, dear,” Mom replied, placing the final touches on the gift basket.Bookmark here

“That kinda hurt. I saw Yukie in the garage sleeping so I was pretty sure you were cooking but to see Yuki….I guess it isn’t a bad thing,” Dad agreed, placing his bag down on the floor.Bookmark here

“Ichizen’s sister is finally arriving tomorrow. You have no plan, right?” Mom informed Dad.Bookmark here

“No, nothing I can think of. It’s still shocking to hear the Michi family has a daughter. Such a strange tradition to have of leaving one child behind. What would happen if there was just one? They probably have special rules on that too,” Dad replied.Bookmark here

“Yes, I find it very hard to believe as well. But once we see her, there’s no denying she does exist. As for whether or not she’s their true blood daughter, I can’t say,” Mom concurred.Bookmark here

Yukie rushed in suddenly, a panicked expression on her face. She saw the dinner table already set and heaved a sigh of relief.Bookmark here

“Ah, I apologize for not cooking dinner. I slept past my planned wake up time. It seems Yuki and Auntie already finished,” Yukie apologized, bowing several times.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry about it, Yukie. It must be a strain cooking dinner every day. That’s why starting tomorrow, Yuki will be learning from you to lessen your workload,” Mom declared, an evil smile on her face.Bookmark here

“Yes, I do recall Auntie saying that. Very well, Yuki, I’m looking forward to seeing your abilities,” Yukie said, excitement on her face.Bookmark here

“One more thing, Yukie. We’re heading over to the Michi household tomorrow for dinner. Will you join us or stay here?” Mom asked.Bookmark here

“I would like to join but I am not well acquainted with the Michi family. I am afraid that I will be a burden if I were to accompany you,” Yukie answered.Bookmark here

“No, don’t worry. I’m sure Yuki will be glad to have someone else around besides us,” Mom assured her.Bookmark here

“If that’s the case, I will join you. It would feel lonely eating by myself,” Yukie decided.Bookmark here

“Perfect. Now everything has been settled, let’s eat dinner. Dear, you’re going to help me with something later,” Mom announced.Bookmark here

After dinner, I sat in my room thinking about tomorrow. Ichizen’s sister, huh? I still had doubts about her connection to the Michi family. It seemed too planned, almost implausible. That didn’t mean it wasn’t possible. After all, I didn’t have extensive knowledge on the Michi family and Ichizen brought it up. I wondered if Tess had anything. I knew Ichizen wasn’t a hero but she should have data on him.Bookmark here

“Zhuyu, sorry to bother you so late. Can you check your archives on information about Ichizen?” I called the zero vector user.Bookmark here

“Huh? You’re asking for stuff on your friend? You should know him better than anything we’ve gathered, right?” Zhuyu asked, surprised by my request.Bookmark here

“I thought I did, but it turns out Ichizen has a sister. I wanted to see if Tess has anything related to that,” I revealed.Bookmark here

“A sister, huh? I’ll see what I can find. I might have to ask Tess,” Zhuyu said.Bookmark here

“Okay, thanks. If you find anything, just call me back,” I thanked him for his assistance.Bookmark here

I read one of the books Yuka lent me while waiting. My phone finally rang half an hour later.Bookmark here

“Tomo, I couldn’t find anything in the records on my end. But, I did call Tess. She discovered a birth certificate and it looks like Michi really does have a sister. At least according to the papers. I’ve sent it to you via email so you can take a look. Man, this really complicates things,” Zhuyu sighed.Bookmark here

“I really appreciate your help. You weren’t doing anything important anyways, right?” I asked.Bookmark here

“That really hurts, Tomo. But yeah, you’re right. I was just playing a video game. If you need anything else, contact Tess directly. She’s building a profile for Ichizen’s sister,” Zhuyu replied and hung up.Bookmark here

I opened my email, looking at the attached scan. I couldn’t tell if the birth certificate was a forgery or not. It looked official and there weren’t any strange markings or discrepancies. I looked up the address on it and the hospital was still operating. I checked her name but it was too blurry to read. I wondered if Tess did that on purpose. Whatever, I would find out tomorrow. Right now, I should sleep and see how everything turned out.Bookmark here

Wednesday Spring Break 2016 Day 3Bookmark here

I woke up to the sounds of birds chirping. I yawned, checking the time. Still early, almost nine. Today was finally the day. I changed clothes and headed downstairs. Yukie sat at the dinner table, tapping her tablet screen.Bookmark here

“Morning, Yukie. How long have you been up?” I greeted, opening the fridge.Bookmark here

“I woke up around seven. I’ve been putting final touches on the bracelet. It should be ready by Friday,” Yukie answered, pointing at my wrist.Bookmark here

“That’s great to hear. What are you going to do with the one I’m wearing now?” I asked.Bookmark here

“I’ll salvage the parts. It would be a waste just to throw it away,” Yukie replied.Bookmark here

“I see. Did Mom tell you when she’s done with work today?” I questioned, pouring cereal into a bowl.Bookmark here

“Auntie said that she would be home early today. She wanted to make sure everything was ready,” Yukie answered.Bookmark here

“Okay. What are your plans for today, Yukie?” I grabbed the milk carton from the fridge.Bookmark here

“I will be in the garage as usual. Call me if anything comes up,” Yukie responded, picking up her tablet and heading out.Bookmark here

What was I going to do? I had time to kill and I wasn’t in the best shape to go anywhere. While the aches weren’t as severe, it still hurt. Maybe I should be a well-rounded individual and start searching for a job. Although, I didn’t know when this mess with the heroes would end. Might as well check, I would have to sooner or later.Bookmark here

After two hours of checking websites and speaking to various friends, I wrote down several places of interest. Enough of that for now. Let’s do something unproductive and not beneficial in advancing myself towards any future goals. That thing would be watching random online videos.Bookmark here

“Yuki, it’s lunchtime!” Yukie called my name.Bookmark here

It was already one. Time really flew by. I headed to the dining table and saw sandwiches. Well, I definitely expected something more fancy. I was spoiled by her so much that a sandwich looked boring and unappealing. But, I was hungry, so I would take what I could get.Bookmark here

“Sorry for the simple lunch. I hope you still enjoy it,” Yukie said, washing her hands.Bookmark here

“I’m just glad to get food. You have no idea how hard it is to cook complicated food. I really hope you can help me get better,” I responded, taking a bite of the sandwich.Bookmark here

This brought back unpleasant memories of the infamous sandwich fight involving Ichizen. While that experience was enhanced and exaggerated, it did have a real life basis. While not exactly a fight, Ichizen staked his pride on a sandwich someone popular in school talked down to him about.Bookmark here

“You have a complicated expression on your face, Yuki,” Yukie noted.Bookmark here

“It’s nothing. Just remembering something,” I answered, clearing my thoughts.Bookmark here

“What are your feelings on meeting Ichizen’s sister? You seem to have reservations,” Yukie asked, slicing her sandwich in half with a knife.Bookmark here

“Honestly, I’m not sure what to expect. You never take interest in things like this, Yukie,” I said.Bookmark here

“I’m always curious, Yuki,” Yukie responded with a smile.Bookmark here

I finished my sandwich and assisted Yukie with the dishes. What to do next though? I prepared to watch another archive video when the doorbell rang.Bookmark here

“Manami?” I questioned, opening hte door.Bookmark here

“Hey Yuki, I’m so glad to see you again!” she greeted me with a big hug.Bookmark here

“Yeah, welcome back. Are you staying over at Ichizen’s house?” I glanced at her in surprise.Bookmark here

“I’m actually staying at my house. I came back to see his sister for myself,” Manami explained.Bookmark here

“You’re a lot more worried than I am,” I remarked.Bookmark here

“Ah, welcome,” Yukie greeted Manami.Bookmark here

“Yukie, nice to see you again,” Manami said.Bookmark here

“Ichizen’s cousin, if I recall. How are you doing today?” Yukie inquired.Bookmark here

“Good. I’ll be tagging along with Yuki today when she goes over to see Ichizen’s sister. Are you coming with us too?” Manami informed her.Bookmark here

“Yes, I am. Please make yourself at home, Manami. Yuki, I shall be in the garage if you need anything,” Yukie replied before departing.Bookmark here

I caught up with Manami for the next few hours. Unfortunately, that meant I couldn’t watch any battle videos. Ace’s commentary really was the best part. Today, she wore a green bird ornament in her hair. Oh, I remembered tagging along with Ichizen when he bought that as a present for her.Bookmark here

“Yuki, your clothes are so fancy,” Manami commented.Bookmark here

“Oh, Felicity hooked me up. Well, more like one of the clients she worked with picked them out,” I answered.Bookmark here

“Sica, right? Your photo was in a magazine about her new fashion line!” Manami exclaimed.Bookmark here

“I didn’t even know until Chihiro came over the other day and gave me a copy,” I confirmed.Bookmark here

“Let me see! You still have it, right?” Manami requested.Bookmark here

“Sure. We might as well do something since it’s not time yet,” I agreed.Bookmark here

I found the magazine Chihiro placed on my bookshelf and discovered a convenient bookmark already in it. This saved me the trouble of having to flip through the pages. They all looked the same to me anyways. I always struggled finding the main feature because even that page appeared too similar to advertisements and other articles.Bookmark here

“Bookmarked by Chihiro for my convenience and yours,” I informed her.Bookmark here

“Oh, it’s really you! I wasn’t sure at first but my intuition was right,” Manami said.Bookmark here

“I didn’t even know she took these. I don’t mind though. How did you even see me in there? It’s not something I picture you reading,” I asked.Bookmark here

“I get bored waiting at the checkout line,” Manami replied.Bookmark here

“Yeah, it can be pretty boring. Hold on, I think I heard the doorbell ring,” I said and headed downstairs.Bookmark here

Zhuyu stood outside carrying a folder with papers bulging from it. He gave a wave with his free hand when I opened the door.Bookmark here

“Hey Tomo, I have interesting stuff for you from Tess. Sorry for not calling. Probably a bad idea to just assume you were home doing nothing,” Zhuyu greeted me, handing over the thick folder.Bookmark here

“Do you not have anything to do?” I inquired, realizing that sounded really derogatory.Bookmark here

“Well, pretty much. I don’t work like Jin, so yeah, I pretty much am a bum. Thank you so much, Tomo. Half of the stuff is related to Michi’s sister and the rest are papers Tess wanted you to have,” Zhuyu answered with a slight smile.Bookmark here

“Yuki, who are you talking to?” Manami came down the stairs, standing next to me.Bookmark here

“Oh, this is Zhuyu Long, a sophomore at my university. He came over to give me some papers,” I introduced the zero vector user.Bookmark here

“Nice to meet you. I’m Machi Manami,” she greeted him.Bookmark here

“Nice to meet you too. Like Tomo said, I’m Zhuyu Long, one of Tess’ infamous friends. Sorry to bother you, Tomo. Just make sure you don’t let anything out of that folder slip out, okay?” Zhuyu reminded me and then left.Bookmark here

Zhuyu entered his car and drove away. Yes, I got your warning, Zhuyu. A bit too obvious in my opinion. Manami and I returned to my room.Bookmark here

“You’re not going to take a look?” Manami asked.Bookmark here

“I’ll get around to it eventually. How are classes?” I asked.Bookmark here

“They’ve been alright. I pulled two all nighters for finals but I survived. It’s okay!” Manami replied.Bookmark here

“Your classes seem tougher than mine. I don’t envy you, Manami,” I said.Bookmark here

“Oh don’t worry, your classes will get tougher. You’ll wish you were taking easier classes again,” Manami warned.Bookmark here

“I know, I know,” I said, well aware.Bookmark here

We hung out in my room until Mom came home. She looked at Manami in surprise, unaware she was back. Yukie came in a few minutes later, carrying a small bag.Bookmark here

“Are we all ready?” Mom asked.Bookmark here

“Yes, I believe so,” Yukie answered.Bookmark here

“Everything is good on our side,” I replied.Bookmark here

Mom brought the fruit basket and a bottle of wine. Perfect gifts for any household. On the way there, I felt some worry and nervousness setting in. It was just Ichizen’s sister. No connections or history with Ichizen. There was still this small part of me harboring suspicions no matter what. Would I discover I was correct or completely crazy for even thinking that?Bookmark here

“We’re here!” Mom announced.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.