Chapter 47:

Volume 2, Chapter 16-2: Umbrella Virus

Heroes of the Past

“What do you want to play next?” Kristoph asked.Bookmark here

“I don’t care. It’s up to you,” Shan replied.Bookmark here

“Yeah, you pick,” Zhuyu answered.Bookmark here

“Come on guys, don’t do this to me. Just pick a game already!” Kristoph protested, looking through the selection of games on the floor.Bookmark here

“Pick the one you like,” Shui said, refilling his cup.Bookmark here

“Let’s play this then. Are you okay with that?” Kristoph decided, holding up a game.Bookmark here

On the cover, a muscular man carried a gun. He stood back to back with a woman holding a submachine gun. The roman numeral for five was at the top, etched with a dark golden border and blood dripping from it.Bookmark here

“What’s it about?” I asked, inspecting the box.Bookmark here

“Virus outbreak and zombies. Good stuff,” Kristoph replied.Bookmark here

“Lau, be Kristoph’s partner again,” Zhuyu suggested.Bookmark here

“No, no. I’m fine now. I already played enough,” Shui refused, shaking his head.Bookmark here

“Come on, Lau. Do it. I promise I won’t be salty this time, I swear,” Kristoph urged, picking up the second controller off the floor.Bookmark here

“You should do it. Those lanterns though,” Shan encouraged, smiling.Bookmark here

“Good times, those lanterns. Don’t you want to do that again, Lau?” Zhuyu said, laughing as well.Bookmark here

Must be some kind of inside joke. Felicity texted on her phone while all the boys talked. Tess disappeared at some point, vanishing from the living room. There were only so many places she could be. Most likely the bathroom.Bookmark here

“No, Kristoph will be better off with you as partner,” Lau said, shaking his head.Bookmark here

“Alright, alright. Let’s do this,” Zhuyu finally agreed, picking up the second controller.Bookmark here

Kristoph and Zhuyu organized their stock of weapons. Zhuyu grabbed his glasses from a nearby wooden shelf, placing them on. I watched the screen and saw a weird split screen with a lot of black on the border.Bookmark here

“Watch out for the bat!” Shan pointed out.Bookmark here

“Get it! Did you get it?” Kristoph asked, tilting the camera upward.Bookmark here

“Almost. Crap, I’m running low on machine gun ammo,” Zhuyu replied, missing a few shots.Bookmark here

“There’s some over here. Get it. Uh, my inventory is pretty full. Trade me for a grenade,” Kristoph said.Bookmark here

Zhuyu moved his character over to Kristoph’s location. He picked up the machine gun ammo and then opened the menu, transferring items over. They continued on for a few minutes, nothing much happening except gathering items. All of a sudden, a cutscene played. A man with a large white mask jumped off a platform with a reeving chainsaw.Bookmark here

“Damn it. He’s here and coming after me! Get away, get away,” Kristoph shouted, frantically pushing down on his analog stick.Bookmark here

“Wait, I’m gonna try sniping him. Crap, he’s after me now,” Zhuyu said, changing his weapon.Bookmark here

“It’s shotgun time. I’ll try blasting him while you keep him distracted,” Kristoph declared, switching over to a shotgun.Bookmark here

“He’s behind you! Run!” Shan said, pointing at Zhuyu’s screen.Bookmark here

For a good five minutes, there was a lot of shouting and excitement. Kristoph ran around in a circle, shooting the chainsaw man whenever he had the chance. Zhuyu moved his character up to higher ground, attempting head shots. He landed two but did nothing compared to Kristoph’s shotgun shells.Bookmark here

“This makes no sense. My shotgun works better than headshots. Man, this sucks,” Kristoph noticed.Bookmark here

“You got him! Yes!” Zhuyu said, letting out a sigh of relief.Bookmark here

I reached out for my cup. Tess handed it to me. Wait, when did she get here again? I poured myself a drink, watching the two advance further and finally finish the chapter.Bookmark here

“I want to re-do that chapter we messed up last time,” Kristoph said, the loading screen appearing.Bookmark here

“You sure? I mean, the only thing we missed was the gun,” Zhuyu asked.Bookmark here

“Yeah, you can just buy the Magnum again. You even said that it wasn’t that good,” Shan remarked.Bookmark here

“Fine. Let’s just keep going,” Kristoph relented.Bookmark here

“Tess or Tomo, you want to play? I have to eat dinner soon. Lau doesn’t want to do it so if you feel up for it, take the controller,” Zhuyu asked.Bookmark here

Tess shook her head, declining the offer. Guess it was up to me. Zhuyu played five more minutes before handing the controller over. I felt bad we were intruding on his dinner time like this. No one else seemed to mind though.Bookmark here

“How does this work?” I asked, looking down at the controller.Bookmark here

“There’s different controls. Maybe you should try them out and see which one works the best for you,” Kristoph revealed, opening up the menu.Bookmark here

There were four different control schemes. One involved rotating the camera with the analog sticks, while another focused on shooting with the buttons instead of the triggers, and so on. After testing them all out, I found one suitable for my play style.Bookmark here

“Follow me. I’ll point out things you’ll need to do,” Kristoph said, moving his character forward.Bookmark here

For the next ten minutes, Kristoph pointed out enemies, allowing me to discover my timing. I missed a lot at first but soon grew accustomed to it. I still wasn’t great at head shots yet. However, Kristoph assured me those were pretty difficult, so I felt a little better.Bookmark here

“Hmm, this is kind of fun but a little frustrating too,” I commented as the boss slaughtered us for the second time in a row.Bookmark here

“Yeah, he’s really fast. We have to find a way to stop him somehow,” Kristoph agreed, placing his controller down on the floor.Bookmark here

“Maybe Lau should switch in and you’ll figure something out,” Shan suggested, laughing after his sentence.Bookmark here

“Hell no! What do you think I am? I trust in her,” Kristoph vouched for me.Bookmark here

“Alright, if that’s what you want,” Shan said, grabbing chips off the plate.Bookmark here

I glanced back and saw Felicity still texting. Was it some business related matter? I glanced back to the TV screen and Kristoph pointed at a ladder. He transferred his grenades over, telling me to hurl them on his command. This strategy worked out and we finally beat the boss.Bookmark here

“Finally! That took way too long. We got a bad grade though, I want to re-do it,” Kristoph said, placing the controller down on the ground.Bookmark here

“Man, you got a B. That isn’t even that bad,” Shan said, shaking his head.Bookmark here

“I know, right? That’s good,” Shui agreed.Bookmark here

“You don’t what you’re talking about. It just doesn’t feel right that we got a B. Whatever, I guess we’ll just go to the next chapter,” Kristoph finally said.Bookmark here

As we started the next chapter, Zhuyu returned. He glanced at the screen and I held the controller toward him.Bookmark here

“You keep playing, Tomo. I’ll just watch. I’ve been through two chapters with Kristoph already. I think I’ll take a break,” Zhuyu shook his head, sitting next to Shui.Bookmark here

“If that’s what you want,” I responded.Bookmark here

We completed the first part of the chapter and Kristoph decided that was enough for today. Zhuyu was on his laptop. Both Shui and Shan were playing that 10×10 puzzle game on their phones. Ichaival texted on his phone. What time was it? I pulled out my phone and saw it was already 10. Oh, I should probably call my parents.Bookmark here

“Do you have a charger?” I asked, noticing my battery was low.Bookmark here

“I got you covered,” Shan said, pulling a cord out of his backpack.Bookmark here

I took the cord and searched for an outlet. Zhuyu pointed behind his old couch and Shan plugged it in for me. I called my parents but there was no response. Weird, they should be home right now.Bookmark here

“Something wrong, Tomo?” Zhuyu asked, noticing the concerned look on my face.Bookmark here

“Uh, I’m not sure. I called my parents but they didn’t pick up. They usually have their phones with them,” I replied.Bookmark here

“Have you tried your home phone?” Zhuyu asked.Bookmark here

“I’ll call it now. I hope nothing’s wrong,” I replied.Bookmark here

I waited but no one picked up. It went to the voicemail. This was very weird. I knew for sure my parents were home. Okay, calm down, Yuki. Nothing to worry about yet. Just try again after a few minutes.Bookmark here

“And they’re still not picking up,” I said, placing my phone down on the floor.Bookmark here

“Just wait and see if they call you back. You shouldn’t worry too much,” Zhuyu suggested, adjusting his glasses.Bookmark here

That was easy for you to say. Damn you, Zhuyu. Actually, that was a bit harsh. I should be more considerate; my personal feelings were getting in the way right now.Bookmark here

“Do you want me to drive you back?” Felicity said, standing up.Bookmark here

After Felicity’s suggestion, my phone vibrated on the floor. Oh, looks like I was worried for nothing.Bookmark here

“Mom, where are you?” I asked, relieved.Bookmark here

“Sorry about that, Yuki. Your dad left his phone at home and my phone was on silent. I didn’t notice your calls until we were at the airport,” Mom replied.Bookmark here

“Can you repeat what you just said?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Oh, your dad’s….,” she began.Bookmark here

“After that,” I interrupted.Bookmark here

“Ah, we’re at the airport right now. I didn’t check my phone until we got here,” Mom said.Bookmark here

Okay, I definitely was not hearing things. I heard the word “airport”. What were they doing there and should I be even more worried than before?Bookmark here

“Yuki, Yuki! Are you still there?” Mom yelled.Bookmark here

“Yes, I’m still here. So what are you doing at the airport exactly?” I asked, a sinking feeling forming in my chest.Bookmark here

“Sorry, can you wait a minute? Your dad is asking me something right now,” Mom cut our conversation short.Bookmark here

I waited, straining my ears for anything that could alleviate my worries. I heard the typical airport announcement. No need to worry about them lying.Bookmark here

“Good…. place…. yeah…. let’s visit,” Mom’s voice started cutting off.Bookmark here

“Will…. Yuki…. okay?” Dad’s voice came through.Bookmark here

My parents were abandoning me. They were going somewhere and leaving me alone. Why, could it be their goal was testing my independence and seeing how I acted during their absence? Man, this was really getting to me. I needed a quick break.Bookmark here

“Mom, are you still there?” I asked, suppressing my nervousness.Bookmark here

“Yuki, sorry about that. I’ll call you back later. I’m losing signal,” Mom replied and hung up.Bookmark here

I felt crushed inside. My phone slipped out of my hand. Zhuyu dashed toward me, catching the phone before it fell to the ground.Bookmark here

“Tomo, you okay?” he asked, handing my phone back to me.Bookmark here

“I got some really bad news,” I said, staring at the carpeted floor.Bookmark here

“Yeah, what was it?” Zhuyu asked.Bookmark here

“Wait, you actually want to hear it?” I retorted, caught off guard by Zhuyu’s concern.Bookmark here

“If you want to tell us. I mean, you don’t have to,” Zhuyu replied.Bookmark here

Hmm, although his response sounded insincere, that might not be a bad idea. In fact, Tess may even be impressed I was opening up to everyone else.Bookmark here

“Well, my parents are at the airport right now. And I heard some rather unsettling details,” I revealed.Bookmark here

Zhuyu blinked and I couldn’t tell if he actually cared. Shan looked up from his phone at my words. Shui, Ichaival, and Kristoph stared at the television, too engrossed in the game to pay attention to my statement. Felicity gave me an encouraging look, no doubt meant to ease my worries. Tess stared at me with her usual cool expression. This was not really helping.Bookmark here

“What do you mean by unsettling details?” Shan asked, taking a break from playing his game.Bookmark here

“My parents are embarking on a trip,” I replied.Bookmark here

“Did they specifically say they were doing that?” Shan questioned.Bookmark here

“Well, they didn’t exactly say that. But, I could guess from what I overheard,” I replied.Bookmark here

“There you go,” Shan concluded.Bookmark here

“That only ever happens in anime or the movies. Most parents don’t leave without saying anything,” Zhuyu commented.Bookmark here

“True, there’s some truth behind that,” Shan nodded.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry, Yuki! If your parents do go somewhere, you can stay with me until they come back! It’ll be like having two sisters!” Felicity offered.Bookmark here

Zhuyu whispered something to Shan that made him laugh. I was grateful for Felicity’s offer but I hoped it wouldn’t come to something like that. I probably jumped to the wrong conclusion.Bookmark here

“Tomo, whatever happens, you still have to study. That might occupy your mind enough that you won’t be worried,” Tess finally contributed.Bookmark here

Yeah, Tess, that definitely made me feel better. I sighed and considered my options. No, what was I doing? Before doing any of that, I should wait for Mom and see what she had to say.Bookmark here

“Rest assured, Tomo, your parents are not the type of people who go somewhere without telling you. Everything will be okay,” Tess followed up with a more comforting statement.Bookmark here

“Yuki, sorry about that. I needed to confirm something,” Mom explained, calling back.Bookmark here

“What were you checking on?” I asked, bracing myself.Bookmark here

“Yuki, I forgot to tell you, but one of your cousins is coming over. She’ll be staying with us for awhile,” Mom revealed.Bookmark here

“Wait, what?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Her parents are being relocated for their jobs so she’ll stay with us,” Mom answered.Bookmark here

“That’s pretty sudden. I don’t know exactly what to say. Is she already here?” I inquired.Bookmark here

“Yes, we just found her. She’ll be at our house soon. When are you coming home?” Mom answered.Bookmark here

“I actually wanted to tell you that I would be home late. Do you want me to come home earlier and help out?” I asked, glancing over at Felicity.Bookmark here

“No, stay as long as you want,” Mom answered.Bookmark here

After a few more words, I hung up and checked the time. I finally saw the small wooden framed clock hanging above the TV. It read 12. Wait, when had it become so late already?Bookmark here

“Tomo, that clock’s fast an hour. It’s only eleven,” Zhuyu said.Bookmark here

“I was wondering why it had become so late all of a sudden,” I said.Bookmark here

“So, Yuki, what’s the big news?” Felicity asked.Bookmark here

“My parents aren’t going on a trip. Turns out that my cousin will be staying at my house for awhile,” I revealed.Bookmark here

“Oh, sounds fun! Introduce us to her when she’s ready!” Felicity suggested, giving a persuasive, dazzling smile.Bookmark here

Zhuyu and Shan exchanged looks at Felicity’s statement. It was understandable. Felicity was overbearing at times and she just showed it. Tess did not seem to care, only nodding at my statement.Bookmark here

“You heading home then?” Zhuyu asked.Bookmark here

“No, I think I’ll stay awhile,” I decided.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.