Chapter 16:

Volume 2, Chapter 2-3: A Party Invite

Heroes of the Past

Autumn Quarter 2015 Finals Week WednesdayBookmark here

Damn it, Tess. The test was hard but thanks to Tess’ help, I thought I achieved a decent score. I completed every question except for the last two parts of the last one. Well, it was done now. As I walked toward the bus stop, I saw Tess speaking to Zhuyu and Kisai.Bookmark here

“Tomo, how was your exam?” Zhuyu asked as I approached them.Bookmark here

“Alright. Most of the stuff on there I reviewed,” I responded.Bookmark here

“Did you feel like a 95 though?” Tess asked, her eyes staring straight into mine.Bookmark here

“No not really. I think it was more of a 60 or 70 kind of day,” I replied, shifting my gaze away from Tess.Bookmark here

“I see. That’s quite unfortunate. But Tomo, remember, that for every exam even on quizzes you must aim for that 95 kind of feeling,” Tess stressed, nodding her head with a solemn expression.Bookmark here

“I will keep that in mind, Tess. Did you guys have finals today?” I asked, looking at the three of them.Bookmark here

“I did. Don’t worry too much about it, Tomo. The curve on the final exam will boost your grade up,” Zhuyu assured me.Bookmark here

“Just hope everyone did worse,” Kisai added with a smile.Bookmark here

“I will keep that in mind for next time. Time to study for my other finals, I’ll see you guys later,” I said.Bookmark here

“Ah, good luck with your studying then. Tess, are you going to go help Felicity now?” Kisai questioned, looking over at the math genius.Bookmark here

“Yes, it seems as she feel unprepared,” Tess replied, heading toward the library.Bookmark here

I watched Tess walk off and then looked over at the two men. Kisai, a joking expression, told Zhuyu something and he only gave a faint smile while shaking his head. They appeared to be very good friends. Maybe not as strong as Felicity and Tess but definitely up there.Bookmark here

“Guys, I have a few questions. I hope I’m not bothering you,” I suddenly realized this was an opportune time.Bookmark here

“Sure, go ahead. We got nothing but time,” Kisai agreed.Bookmark here

“Uh, how do I say this? Has Tess always been like this?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Like what?” Zhuyu asked for clarification.Bookmark here

“Such as her ridiculous high scores on tests or the fact her parents made freakin cereal that were shapes,” I listed off the top of my head.Bookmark here

“Did that actually happen?” Kisai exclaimed.Bookmark here

“I can’t say for sure about the cereal but her test scores have always been excellent. Her personality….it’s been like that for awhile,” Zhuyu answered.Bookmark here

“Nah, Tess is just like that,” Kisai agreed, nodding his head at Zhuyu’s statement.Bookmark here

So does she just not smile or am I just not close enough to her yet?” I asked, not recalling seeing a genuine smile.Bookmark here

“Actually, that’s a pretty good question. Long, you ever see her smile before?” Kisai asked, passing the question onto his friend.Bookmark here

“Hmm, not really. Well, I mean you could say that she’s sorta smiling when she’s with Konoe but not really,” Zhuyu replied.Bookmark here

“Konoe?” I asked, looking at the man.Bookmark here

“Ah, sorry, I mean Felicity. Just a slip of the tongue,” Zhuyu corrected himself.Bookmark here

“Zhuyu, you’ve called her that before. What’s the story behind it?” I asked, preventing Zhuyu from avoiding the question.Bookmark here

“When I first met Felicity, she introduced herself as Konoe so I still call her that by accident sometimes,” Zhuyu answered.Bookmark here

“Mistakes happen all the time. Well I almost never make them,” Kisai joked, glancing over at his friend.Bookmark here

Hmm, so Felicity was Konoe, at least when she met Zhuyu. What could that mean? Was she using a false name or something else? I wanted to know more but it appeared I would get nothing out of these two.Bookmark here

“Sorry to take up some of your time. I’ll see you guys later,” I said and then left for the bus stop.Bookmark here

Autumn Quarter 2015 Finals Week FridayBookmark here

Yes, freedom! Freedom! I felt a great weight dissipate after leaving the classroom. At least for three weeks anyways. No more classes and no more studying.Bookmark here

Ah, it felt great. As I walked toward the fountain, I saw Felicity sitting on a bench. Her golden hair glittered in the dim sunlight. She did not notice me as I walked closer.Bookmark here

When I was within three feet of her, I peered over her shoulder. Still staring at her cellphone screen, she did not notice me standing behind her.Bookmark here

“Felicity,” I greeted, tapping her on the shoulder.Bookmark here

“Who is it?” Felicity shouted as she almost dropped her phone.Bookmark here

“Relax, it’s me, Yuki. Calm down,” I said.Bookmark here

Felicity pocketed her phone and calmed down. I took a seat next to her and glanced up at the sky. Still cloudy but a few thin rays of sunlight pierced through.Bookmark here

“Felicity, how were your finals?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Pretty good. Although Tess had high expectations for me again. I wish she
would realize that not everyone studies like her,” Felicity responded.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I know what you mean,” I agreed.Bookmark here

Would now be a good time to ask Felicity about her alternate name, Konoe? I looked at Felicity’s face, gauging her mood. Cheerful with a bright smile like always. I hated and admired her for that.Bookmark here

Okay, time to weigh the pros and cons. Was I that curious or could my question wait? More importantly, I did not know how Felicity would react. Best to gather more information first before asking.Bookmark here

“I’m very excited for this break. It’ll be nice to relax after all the tests,” Felicity remarked.Bookmark here

“Yeah, you’re right about that. I’m really grateful for Tess’ help and you too since you contacted her for me,” I said.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry about it, Yuki. Actually, I have something to ask you. Are you free next Friday?” Felicity asked.Bookmark here

“Yeah. Is something happening that day?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Yeah! I was talking to the others about it but thought it would be a good idea to have a party in celebration of finishing up finals as well as the holidays. It would also be a welcoming party for you too since you joined Tess and the others,” Felicity answered.Bookmark here

“Yeah that sounds fun,” I agreed.Bookmark here

“Good. Actually I have a favor to ask you. I’m sure Jin and the others are still on campus. They might be at the student lounge actually so can you go find them and give them the invite if they’re there?” Felicity requested.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I’ll see if they’re there,” I nodded.Bookmark here

When I arrived at the student lounge, I searched for Jin and the others. The student lounge was quite large, filled with tables and couches. Most students came here during their free time to relax or catch up on studying.Bookmark here

More than half of the students present were commuters. Thus, a section of the building was dedicated to them. From the mandatory school orientation I attended, I knew there were tutors and other services available there. As I walked toward there, I saw Kyoi in front of me. I searched for an alternative route but it was just a straight path ahead of me.Bookmark here

“Tomo, it’s a pleasure to see you again,” Kyoi greeted, a smile on her face.Bookmark here

“It’s been awhile,” I said.Bookmark here

“Are you done with your finals?” the older woman asked.Bookmark here

“Yes, I actually just finished with my last one. How about you?” I asked.Bookmark here

“I am on my way to my last one right now. Well, Tomo, I hope you’re ready once we have our break. It’ll be very fun to see what kind of powers you’ll show me,” Kyoi left me with those last words.Bookmark here

Her words left me with an uneasy feeling. I would worry about that later. I continued my search for Jin and walking further down the hallway, I located Zhuyu and his friends around the corner.Bookmark here

“Zhuyu,” I greeted as I neared the table they sat at.Bookmark here

“Tomo, did you need something?” Zhuyu responded as he saw me.Bookmark here

“Yes, Felicity wanted me to find you guys and tell you something,” I replied.Bookmark here

I took a seat in between Zhuyu and Shan. In total, there were four people at the table including me. Shan sat with his laptop open and a notebook to the side of it. I saw pieces of paper scribbled with molecular diagrams on it. It looked complicated and I averted my sight from it.Bookmark here

Zhuyu, not wearing his glasses today, had his laptop open as well and his earphones plugged in. On the other side of the circular table, I saw a woman I did not know. She wore a black hoodie with a white tank top underneath it. She wore thick red-rimmed glasses which matched with her red hair color. However, I could see traces of black in her hair so I assumed she dyed it.Bookmark here

“Hi, my name is Ko! Nice to meet you!” the woman said with an upbeat voice.Bookmark here

“Tomo Yuki,” I introduced.Bookmark here

Her voice contained so much pep that it actually outmatched Felicity’s. I did not particularly dislike such cheerfulness but the sense of enthusiasm from her freaked me out. Zhuyu and Shan paid no attention, staring at their laptop screens. Was this normal of her or were they just not responding to her introduction on purpose?Bookmark here

“Felicity actually asked me to give you guys an invite to her party,” I arrived at my purpose for finding them.Bookmark here

“Oh, that one. Yeah, I’ll go. How about you, Shigetzu?” Zhuyu said, nodding his head at my statement.Bookmark here

“I’ll probably go. Seems like it’ll be fun,” Shan replied.Bookmark here

“Great. I’ll go back and tell Felicity then. Could you tell Kisai as well?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I’ll tell him later,” Zhuyu agreed.Bookmark here

“What’s this I hear about a party?” Ko suddenly exclaimed.Bookmark here

“Guess Felicity’s throwing one for the holidays,” Zhuyu said.Bookmark here

“Alright, guys, I think that’s the perfect opportunity for you to get really riggity rekt!” Ko declared, staring at Zhuyu.Bookmark here

“Uh, we’ll see,” Zhuyu responded as if this was normal occurrence.Bookmark here

Ko then shifted her gaze at me and I felt a different kind of fear than the one from Kyoi. This girl was weird and she looked like she might actually get “riggity rekt” as she phrased it. Ko gave me a brilliant smile, one full of confidence.Bookmark here

“Alright, I think I’ll go back and see Felicity,” I decided, rising up from my chair.Bookmark here

As I rose up, I happened to glance over at Shan’s screen and saw non-school related work on it. Wait, was he just reading manga? I saw the notebook and papers around his laptop but he wasn’t working on it. He probably had an exam today. Would he be okay? Well, it wasn’t related to me so I would just ignore it.Bookmark here

I then glanced over at Zhuyu’s screen and saw anime playing. If he was done with his exams then it wasn’t too much of a problem. Still for Shan and Zhuyu to partake in those kinds of entertainment, it was unexpected. Zhuyu suddenly looked up from his screen and he stared right at me. He blinked and then placed a strawberry panda into his mouth.Bookmark here

“Did you need anything else, Tomo?” he asked, biting down on it.Bookmark here

“No sorry to bother you guys,” I replied.Bookmark here

“Well, if you need anything else, I’ll be here for around the next two hours,” Zhuyu said as he pulled another strawberry panda out from his box on the table.Bookmark here

“Wait, are you done with your finals already?” I asked out of curiosity.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I’m just waiting for Jin,” he replied.Bookmark here

Shan picked up his pencil from the table and actually started writing on paper. Ko gave me a strange good-bye wave, her hands similar to a humming bird flapping its wings. I hurried away, distancing myself away from the three.Bookmark here

Man, that was weird. Ko was the main cause of it and I arrived back at the fountain once again. Felicity, staring at her phone again, noticed me approach this time.Bookmark here

“How did it go?” she asked, placing her phone back into her pockets.Bookmark here

“Good, I saw Zhuyu and Shan. I also met one of their friends. She was kind of weird but she seems nice,” I reported.Bookmark here

“But not Jin?” Felicity asked, looking up at me.Bookmark here

“No but Zhuyu told me that he would tell him so it should be okay, right? I think he’s taking his final since Zhuyu said he was just waiting for him,” I replied, perplexed by Felicity’s question.Bookmark here

“Oh okay, that’s fine then. Who did you meet? I probably know her,” Felicity inquired.Bookmark here

“Some girl named Ko. She’s got red hair. Has a small nose piercing on the left side,” I answered, describing her.Bookmark here

“Ko? Oh, that’s who you met. She’s certainly interesting. We were in the same classes for junior and senior year. I also knew covered her when she did sports,” Felicity remarked.Bookmark here

Ko did sports? Well from my initial meeting of her, I was a bit surprised. Perhaps she was a different person back in high school than now. I guess I would find out more about her eventually.Bookmark here

“Felicity, I’m gonna head home now. I’ll see you next Friday,” I decided.Bookmark here

“You better get ready! The party’s going to be really good!” Felicity announced.Bookmark here

As I walked toward the bus stop, I reflected on the day. I met a strange girl named Ko and received an invitation to a party as well. And this was the last day of finals which was the highlight. All in all, not a bad day at all. Although as I thought about it more, Ichizen would have really enjoyed this kind of day. I sighed and arrived at the bus stop with rather mixed emotions.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.