Chapter 23:

Volume 2, Chapter 4-2: Of Course There’s A Bar In Her House

Heroes of the Past

I wandered around, finally arriving at a beautiful bar inside one of the rooms. It was outfitted with expensive bar stools and multiple tables. The people inside caught my eye.Bookmark here

“Zhuyu and Shan?” I called out, walking inside.Bookmark here

“Tomo,” Zhuyu responded.Bookmark here

“This is an unexpected place to see you,” I commented, looking at the two.Bookmark here

Zhuyu wore a grey sweater vest over a white dress shirt and his usual dress pants. But these were a dark blue compared to his regular black ones. Shan wore a black lined dress shirt instead of his habitual rain jacket. Looks like I wouldn’t have to worry about how I dressed then. Felicity was the only one wearing anything holiday related.Bookmark here

“Is it? Felicity asked us to help clean and set up the room. One of my friends will be here later to serve the drinks,” Zhuyu replied, pointing at the white dishcloths on the table.Bookmark here

“She also told us to not let Ko in here,” Shan remarked, cleaning a shot glass.Bookmark here

“Oh, if I remember correctly, isn’t she the one…?” I recalled the red haired girl with the strange personality.Bookmark here

“Pretty much,” Shan said.Bookmark here

“So do you guys need help?” I inquired, checking if anyone else was present.Bookmark here

“I think we’re good. Hey, Darryl, how’s the counter looking?” Zhuyu asked.Bookmark here

Darryl, wearing a black puffy vest, appeared from behind the counter. He had a spray bottle of liquid and a sponge.Bookmark here

“It’s fine now. Oh, hey there, Tomo. How are things going?” he asked.Bookmark here

“Alright. By the way, is all of the alcohol in here Felicity’s?” I questioned, pointing at the large collection on the shelves behind the counter.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I think so. Although, my friend will be bringing some of his own to mix with Felicity’s,” Zhuyu answered.Bookmark here

“I’ll leave you guys to finish up. Actually, have you seen Tess? I haven’t seen her in awhile,” I asked.Bookmark here

“She was just here, telling us what to fix up. Probably still nearby,” Shan replied, changing a light bulb.Bookmark here

I exited the bar room, glancing around the hallway. The storage room was nearby. Was Tess in there? Knocking on the door, I waited for a response.Bookmark here

“Who’s there?” I heard Tess’ voice.Bookmark here

“Tess, it’s me. Everything okay in there?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Tomo, I’m just moving stuff around. I’ll be done soon,” Tess replied.Bookmark here

She knew Felicity’s house the best, no need for me to intrude. Time to check if Felicity required any help.Bookmark here

“Felicity, how are things?” I returned back to the kitchen.Bookmark here

“Almost done. Memoria, can you bring out the rest of these dishes? I’ll post a note here to remind the housekeeper about everything I did,” Felicity ordered.Bookmark here

Felicity tore out a memo, pasting it on the fridge. Piles of cooking equipment lay on the counter. I helped Felicity clean up the kitchen and then we headed out to the large living room.Bookmark here

By now, a sizable amount of people gathered in the living room. Zhuyu spoke with a man wearing neon green glasses. Kisai was also nearby, a smile on his face. Shan stood next to Ichaival with a smirk, as his friend spoke with a girl I didn’t recognize. Shui, wearing a green sweater with a cute dinosaur, spoke with a tall Filipino man holding a guitar in his right hand. Everyone else I either didn’t know or saw in pictures on social media.Bookmark here

“Fel, It’s done,” Tess surprised me with her sudden appearance.Bookmark here

“Oh thank you,” Felicity said with her usual bright smile.Bookmark here

Tess nodded, walking away. Her destination was the dining room. Maybe I should follow her. I didn’t know anyone else besides the heroes and Felicity. I should stick with those people at all times, avoiding any uncomfortable and awkward moments.Bookmark here

“Yuki, you should go around and introduce yourself. You really don’t know anyone yet so it’s a good chance,” Felicity suggested and then gave me a thumbs up.Bookmark here

I didn’t hate introducing myself, but with a party like this, everyone was already familiar with each other. I walked around and started small, short conversations in an effort to get a better feel of the people present. I started with familiar people first. Through them, I met their friends without too much trouble and repeated the pattern. Eventually, I reached Shan and Ichaival.Bookmark here

“Hey, guys, I still don’t really know people around here, so I was hoping you might help me out,” I said.Bookmark here

“Sure. We would be glad to,” Ichaival agreed.Bookmark here

Shan whispered something to Ichaival. He nodded and brought over the girl he conversed with before.Bookmark here

“Tomo, this is one of our teammates,” Ichaival introduced.Bookmark here

“Hello, I’m Jen. Nice to meet you,” the girl said.Bookmark here

She was small, petite in size, maybe around 5’3″. Her black hair was shoulder length, having a face reminiscent of a cute button. The woman wore a pair of medium sized rimmed glasses which accentuated her face. In addition, Jen wore a Christmas themed shirt with a brown reindeer.Bookmark here

”Nice to meet you too. I’m Tomo Yuki,” I introduced myself.Bookmark here

“Is it okay if I call you just Yuki? We’ll be teammates after all,” the woman requested.Bookmark here

“Sure,” I agreed.Bookmark here

I wondered what her powers were. How many possible variations could exist that were truly unique? Let’s not delve into such matters. This is a party, enjoy yourself and stop thinking about useless things.Bookmark here

After a short polite, but shallow conversation with Ichiaval, I moved onto someone else. Alright, Zhuyu and Kisai were next.Bookmark here

“Hey, Tomo! How are you enjoying the party so far?” Kisai checked up on me.Bookmark here

“It’s been fine. By the way, can you introduce some people to me?” I requested.Bookmark here

“Of course, it’s no problem. Hey, Meng, I’d like you to meet someone,” Kisai called someone over.Bookmark here

A man three or four inches taller than Kisai walked over. It was the guy wearing neon green glasses. His hair was gelled up, revealing his forehead. The most striking feature about him was his frame. Tall and skinny like a stick.Bookmark here

“Tomo, right? I’m Tai Meng,” he said.Bookmark here

“Yes,” I nodded.Bookmark here

“Meng will be our bartender for the night. Go visit him at the bar and drink away your sorrows,” Zhuyu said, a slight smile on his face.Bookmark here

Whoa, did Zhuyu just make a joke? I knew he was capable of such things, but still. There was still much to learn about everyone.Bookmark here

I at last obtained a rough idea about the people in attendance. About half Felicity knew from high school. The others were college classmates or friends. And of course, the usual friends of friends. I finally located Felicity again. She turned towards me a smile.Bookmark here

“It seems you’ve managed to talk to mostly everyone here. So, how do you feel about this party now?” Felicity questioned.Bookmark here

“About the same. Although, it’s pretty lively in here. So what’s going on in the dining room? I saw Tess head there earlier,” I answered.Bookmark here

“Oh, there will be game of beer pong in there. Of course, if you’re not comfortable with alcohol, then I will give you a substitution. However, Yuki, you’re more than capable of handling some alcohol, right?” Felicity said, challenging me.Bookmark here

“Sure,” I said, not sure why Felicity was so adamant.Bookmark here

“There are other games to play as well. Board games, card games, video games, and pretty much any sort of entertainment you can think of . Go around and see what you like. You won’t be bored, that’s for sure,” Felicity said, dragged away by the numerous people around her.Bookmark here

Damn you, Felicity. Fine, I would take her advice and check out the various attractions. What should I check first though? My phone vibrated as I considered my options. I checked my screen, seeing Yuka’s name.Bookmark here

“Yuki, where are you? I’ve been looking for you,” Yuka asked.Bookmark here

“Wait, what? You’re at Felicity’s party?” I responded.Bookmark here

“Didn’t I tell you? Actually, I probably forgot. Anyways, I’m in the bar right now,” Yuka replied and then hung up.Bookmark here

Well, this was very good news. Now I could depend on Yuka instead of Tess or Felicity, pretty reassuring to have another familiar face. Heading back to the bar, I found Yuka sitting down on one of the stools in the back. Tai stood behind the counter, but without his glasses, checking a notebook.Bookmark here

“Yuki! Good to see you!” Yuka greeted.Bookmark here

“Yuka, you too. When did you get here?” I asked, taking a seat next to her.Bookmark here

“About twenty minutes ago. I got lost and ended up here, but I like the lighting so I stayed,” Yuka answered.Bookmark here

I noticed Yuka’s left hand on a book. Even at a party, she still brought one. I looked around the bar and saw a few people already inside. Tai looked up from his notebook and started mixing drinks.Bookmark here

“Would you like anything, Tomo?” Tai asked, shaking his mixture.Bookmark here

Before I could answer, Ko burst into the room. Her eyes were focused on one thing only and that was the alcohol. Wasn’t Ko not allowed in here? I wasn’t too sure of the details so might as well watch and see what happens.Bookmark here

“I would love a drink right now! Give it to me!” Ko demanded with a wild look in her eyes.Bookmark here

Tai nodded, placing a shot glass down on the counter. He glanced back at the shelf and selected a bottle. Popping off the cap, he poured it into the cup. Ko picked it up and drained it with two gulps. Pounding the counter with her right hand, she stared straight at Tai. He hesitated, but refilled it. Ko once again chugged it and then without a word exited the room.Bookmark here

”Umm, I mean I don’t want to pry, but was that okay?” I pointed at the empty shot glass.Bookmark here

“She should be fine. Here, try this. It’s fruit flavored and it’s not too strong,” Tai offered, pushing a small shot glass filled with a red liquid towards me.Bookmark here

I picked it up, taking a sip. It was a pleasant cherry flavor with no alcoholic tinge. Finishing the drink, I complimented Tai. He gave a smile and then went back to preparing other drinks.Bookmark here

”Yuki, how did your math final go? I forgot to ask you,” Yuka asked, flipping a page of her open book.Bookmark here

”I think I did alright. I mean it’s a 65, but the average was around a 55, so it’s good, right?” I replied.Bookmark here

”That’s good to hear. Did Tess give you some good advice?” Yuka asked, her eyes scanning the page.Bookmark here

“Uh, I guess? She did give me a lot of material to look at so I’m quite grateful for it. To Zhuyu as well too,” I replied.Bookmark here

“You’ve changed a little bit, Yuki. I think it’s a good thing,” Yuka remarked.Bookmark here

“What do you mean by that?” I asked.Bookmark here

“You’re more mellow, let’s say. At least more calm than before,” Yuka replied.Bookmark here

I thought about Yuka’s words. I guess I could see that, but part of the reason was related to Ichizen. When Ichizen was still around, his actions exasperated me, which in turn made me irritable. However, I did miss those days though. No matter how much he made me angry, Ichizen was still a dear friend.Bookmark here

“Yuka, have you been around the other rooms yet?” I asked, pushing away the sad thoughts.Bookmark here

“Not yet. I think I’ll stay here for awhile and finish up this chapter. I’ll meet up with you later if you’re going to check out the other rooms,” Yuka answered.Bookmark here

“Okay, I’ll give you a text about where I am. Actually, will you be okay? I mean, you were lost,” I realized.Bookmark here

“I’ll be fine. I’m sure I’ll find someone to help me out if I do get lost,” Yuka assured me.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.