Chapter 31:

Volume 2, Chapter 7: Conversing With Friends

Heroes of the Past

I walked up to my house, pulling out my keys. Manami opened the door, surprising me.Bookmark here

“Did you come by to visit?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I’ve been bored. Auntie left an hour ago to buy groceries. Yuka said she’ll come by later,” Manami answered.Bookmark here

Manami turned on the television in the living room, watching a comedy. It had been awhile since my friends came over to hang out. Excluding Ichizen, Yuka was the only one who visited frequently. This was a good distraction from the entire hero’s mess. She arrived fifteen minutes later and we all headed upstairs to my room.Bookmark here

“Your room still looks the same,” Manami observed.Bookmark here

“Yuki’s never been one to decorate her room with things,” Yuka remarked.Bookmark here

“Yuka, what’s the number?” Manami questioned.Bookmark here

“What do you mean?” Yuka responded.Bookmark here

“How many books have you read this week?” Manami clarified.Bookmark here

“Six. This is the last book in a series I’ve been following. Would you like to borrow it when I’m done?” Yuka answered, her voice rising in excitement.Bookmark here

“Sure, is it interesting?” Manami inquired, peering at the book cover.Bookmark here

A woman, chains wrapped around her arms, was depicted on the front. Blood dripped off from her restraints, creating a red puddle around the woman’s right foot. I assumed it was fantasy, one of her favorite genres.Bookmark here

“The series is about a woman who becomes a hero, traveling to different universes. She uses chains as her primary weapons,” Yuka explained.Bookmark here

“I could get into something like that. Is there a lot of action?” Manami asked.Bookmark here

“Yeah. I can lend you the first one,” Yuka offered.Bookmark here

“Thanks, Yuka. It’s amazing how you’ve kept this up,” Manami remarked.Bookmark here

“What do you want to do?” I asked them.Bookmark here

“I kind of just want to sit here,” Manami answered, taking a seat on my bed.Bookmark here

“I agree, let’s stay here,” Yuka agreed.Bookmark here

I pulled up my blinds, noticing light rain drops strike the window. Manami glanced at my bookshelf and Yuka joined her.Bookmark here

“What’s so interesting?” I asked.Bookmark here

“There’s a lot of study material here. When did you become such a model student?” Manami pointed at Tess’ notebooks.Bookmark here

“Oh, Tess lent them to me for my math final. I should return them to her,” I said.Bookmark here

“Tess is amazing. I heard the stories from Felicity, but it’s amazing to see the evidence first hand,” Yuka complimented, flipping through a notebook.Bookmark here

She stopped at a page, staring for a minute. Yuka then closed her eyes, a look of amazement appearing on her face. She placed the notebook back onto the shelf, turning towards me.Bookmark here

“Tess is a god. She seems better than any tutor I could pay for,” Yuka concluded.Bookmark here

“Tess knows everything, but her explanations are a bit indifferent. When Zhuyu explained the math, there was excitement in his voice. Regardless, she’s dependable,” I analyzed.Bookmark here

“Speaking of which, how are you getting along with them?” Manami grinned at me.Bookmark here

“I still don’t know everyone too well so I can’t really say,” I replied.Bookmark here

“Did you find out anything about that woman?” Manami brought up.Bookmark here

“They knew her but wouldn’t tell me anything,” I revealed.Bookmark here

“That’s too bad. I was hoping we could find her,” Manami uttered.Bookmark here

“And do what?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Just for a little talk,” Manami answered with an ominous tone.Bookmark here

“You know, Yuki, there are some pretty interesting boys at the party,” Yuka brought up.Bookmark here

“What are you talking about?” I responded, thrown off by her sudden comment.Bookmark here

“Any pictures? Show them to me,” Manami requested.Bookmark here

Yuka nodded, taking out her phone. How did the conversation end up here? Manami scrolled through the photos, nodding. What excuses could I come up with to divert their attention?Bookmark here

“He isn’t too bad. Yuki, what’s his name?” Manami asked, calling me over.Bookmark here

I saw a picture of Kisai speaking to a girl. When did Yuka have time to take pictures? I swore she was in the bar room the majority of the time.Bookmark here

“That’s Kisai Jin,” I answered.Bookmark here

“He talked with a lot of people at the party, making them smile and laugh too. Pretty sociable. It takes a special kind of skill to pull that off,” Yuka explained.Bookmark here

“Why do you have all these pictures?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Felicity asked me to so I walked around, getting an idea of what they were like,” Yuka replied.Bookmark here

“What about these two?” Manami showed me another picture.Bookmark here

“Shan Shigetzu’s the tall one and Ichaival Darryl’s next to him,” I replied.Bookmark here

“Yuka, tell me more. Yuki is a total failure at profiling people,” Manami directed.Bookmark here

“From what I can tell, Ichaival takes a lot of crap from Shan. Shan’s pretty good at talking his way out of things too. Ichaival seems like a nice guy, pretty down to earth,” Yuka said.Bookmark here

Most of Yuka’s analysis were the same conclusions I arrived at. Manami swiped to a picture depicting Zhuyu and Shui. Zhuyu pried a shot glass out of Shui’s hand. Shan was in the background, most likely telling Shui to let go.Bookmark here

“Yuka, what do you have to say?” I let her handle it.Bookmark here

“Hmm, Zhuyu is rather serious, but I think there’s a more to him. He probably is much nicer than he seems. Shui seems like a good friend to hang out with,” Yuka assessed.Bookmark here

Yuka didn’t have much to say about them. Probably because Kisai was more active, making his way to different places. Zhuyu tended to stay in one area for longer periods of time. After going through a few more pictures, Manami appeared satisfied.Bookmark here

“Yuki, which one do you like the most?” Manami asked, returning Yuka’s phone back to her.Bookmark here

“Huh?” I exclaimed.Bookmark here

“Out of everyone, which one appeals to you?” Manami clarified.Bookmark here

“I can’t say. Why am I having this conversation again? I’ve already gone over this,” I replied.Bookmark here

“It’s understandable since you still don’t know them too well. Sorry for putting you on the spot like that,” Manami said.Bookmark here

“No, it’s okay,” I said, glad she understood.Bookmark here

“What about you, Manami?” Yuka asked her back.Bookmark here

“Probably Kisai, seems like a fun guy to go on a date with,” Manami responded.Bookmark here

“That would be the popular choice,” Yuka remarked, nodding her head.Bookmark here

“What about you, Yuka?” I asked.Bookmark here

“I already have a boyfriend, but I agree with Manami. Kisai is a solid choice,” Yuka replied.Bookmark here

“Oh, I see…. wait, what did you say?” I stared at her.Bookmark here

“I wanted to tell you at the party, but it slipped my mind. Now you know and so does Manami,” Yuka responded.Bookmark here

I felt a little betrayed. Yuka usually told me important things like that right away. Maybe it was because I was indifferent to such matters.Bookmark here

“What’s he like? Give us the details,” Manami said, an excited look on her face.Bookmark here

“I have a picture. Here you go, “ Yuka said, pulling her phone out again.Bookmark here

Manami and I peered at the screen. I saw a young man with plain hair. He wore a pair of thick rimmed glasses but something felt off about his eyes. I tilted my head to the left and realized what irked me. There was a small scar underneath his left eye.Bookmark here

“What’s his name?” Manami questioned.Bookmark here

“Champ Shinji. I met him during one of my classes. He was interested in one of my books and we hit it off after that,” Yuka answered.Bookmark here

“What a storybook set up, very appropriate for you,” I remarked.Bookmark here

“Anyways, let’s talk about something else. I’m sure you don’t want hear more,” Yuka said, trying to shift the topic.Bookmark here

“No, no, you can’t get out of this. I’m really interested. You’ve always been a bookworm so I want to hear more,” Manami said, shaking her head.Bookmark here

“If you insist. I only met him this quarter so I can’t tell you too much. I’m still learning about him,” Yuka agreed.Bookmark here

For the next hour, Manami grilled Yuka about her boyfriend. I occasionally joined in too.Bookmark here

“Have you had enough?” Yuka said, looking at Manami.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I’m done now. Maybe I should go find one now too. Yuka, I’ll head over to your house and pick up the book you were talking about,” Manami decided, stretching.Bookmark here

For the next three hours, we talked about various things. It was a nice deviation from the stiff, straightforward talks with Tess. When Manami and Yuka finally left, I sat down in my room and stared at the ceiling. How would my friendships with everyone change as I involved myself deeper with the heroes?Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.