Chapter 70:

Volume 3, Chapter 15: An Expensive Treat

Heroes of the Past

Winter Quarter 2016 Week 2 FridayBookmark here

“Yuki!” Yuka nudged me, as I stared out the bus window.Bookmark here

“Sorry, what were you saying again?” I apologized, looking over her.Bookmark here

“Shinji wants to make up for how he came over so suddenly. I suggested he treat us out for lunch sometime,” Yuka answered.Bookmark here

That sounded terrible for me. Who knew what kind of stunt Champ would pull again? If Yuka was with me, I doubt he would try anything like last time. Still, I rather have at least one of the heroes with me in case anything occurred. I couldn’t count on Tess appearing again, although she probably would, knowing how meticulous she was.Bookmark here

“He doesn’t have to do that,” I commented, hoping Yuka would reconsider.Bookmark here

“It’ll be fine. Actually, he had a weird request. He wanted to invite Felicity too. I didn’t know he knew her,” Yuka brought up.Bookmark here

Felicity? What an odd choice. Why did he want to invite her? She wasn’t involved with anything interdimensional, unless she was, and I didn’t know. That didn’t sit too well with me.Bookmark here

“Did she agree to go?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Yes and she’s bringing Ichaival. This is turning out to be quite a large gathering. I think it’ll be fun,” Yuka replied, a smile on her face.Bookmark here

I don’t know. You might think that, without knowing Champ’s true motives. But, if Ichaival attended, I could somewhat rest easy. He wasn’t Tess, but at least I knew he could hold his own. If it were simply just a kind gesture on Champ’s part, I wouldn’t worry. But, it probably wasn’t, so what was he planning?Bookmark here

“Okay, I’m down. When is it happening?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Tomorrow. You’re free, right?” Yuka revealed the date.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I just have homework to do,” I nodded.Bookmark here

It was finally my stop and I got off, waving to Yuka. Over the past week, I trained with Tess in the facility during my free time. My skill level didn’t match up to the other heroes, but I gained confidence. That still wasn’t enough to confront Champ one-on-one. I hope nothing bad would happen tomorrow, but knowing my luck, something would go wrong.Bookmark here

textbf{Winter Quarter 2016 Week 2 Saturday}
end{center}Bookmark here

I parked on the street, checking my phone for the restaurant address. Why did it have to be in the Central District? Stores and boutiques with fancy displays and shiny windows were the norm here. Was Champ loaded or something? I finally found the place and peering through the windows, saw no one recognizable. Inside, all the tables were covered with pristine white sheets and set-up with nice looking plates and utensils. The chairs looked comfortable and expensive. This was a high scale restaurant. What had I gotten myself into?Bookmark here

“Yuki! Over here!” someone called out to me.Bookmark here

Felicity was in the back with Ichaival seated next to her. Yuka hadn’t arrived yet. She wore a beige cashmere sweater and scarf with the Sica brand. If I ever doubted Felicity was in the upper class, her clothes gave it away. Darryl wore a puffy vest and a pair of headphones resting on the back of his neck.Bookmark here

“Yuki! I’m glad you managed to find this place. When Yuka told me about all of this, I was a bit surprised since it’s very pricey. But, if her boyfriend will be covering the bill, then there’s nothing to worry about,” Felicity greeted.Bookmark here

“Yuka isn’t here yet? I thought she would be the first one here. She’s very punctual,” I remarked, inspecting the cutlery.Bookmark here

“She’ll be running a little late since they’re stuck in traffic right now,” Felicity answered, pulling out her phone.Bookmark here

I pulled mine out as well, seeing a message from Yuka. She sent this to Felicity before me. I felt a bit insulted.Bookmark here

“Tomo, how’s the training been going?” Ichaival asked.Bookmark here

“Fine. Does….,” I motioned my eyes toward Felicity.Bookmark here

“Huh? Oh, right. I think so,” Ichaival answered.Bookmark here

“Yuki, how’s your health? Tess has been telling me about your hard work, but you should always be concerned about yourself first,” Felicity questioned.Bookmark here

“I feel pretty good. A lot better than last time. I’m not too familiar with the Central District, so I have no idea what this restaurant serves,” I inquired.Bookmark here

“Oh, this place is great! They serve all kinds of roasted meats seasoned with different spices. They are really known for their beef dishes, but if you’re not in the mood for meat, they serve really good vegetarian options too,” Felicity explained.Bookmark here

I flipped through the menu, checking the prices. Even the cheapest dish was around fifty dollars. What kind of ridiculous care or service went into these dishes? The highest price was in the triple digits, around 200 or 300 dollars. Well, I would never come here to eat alone. Seemed like Champ was as loaded as Felicity. Or he just saved up enough money to treat us.Bookmark here

“How many times have you eaten here before?” I asked Felicity.Bookmark here

“Two. I went here for a meeting before and for a celebration,” Felicity responded.Bookmark here

Ichaival glanced at his phone, typing very fast on it. Did he receive a message from Shan? Probably an insulting one too.Bookmark here

Ten minutes later, Yuka and Champ arrived. Champ looked no different than last time, greeting everyone with graciousness. Did Tess inform Ichaival about Champ? I should have asked him earlier. Champ smiled at me, but I knew such things were just for show.Bookmark here

“Sorry for the delay, everyone. There was an accident when we took the freeway, so it took awhile for us to get here,” Yuka apologized.Bookmark here

“No worries, as long as you’re safe. Champ, I’m a bit surprised you know this place,” Felicity remarked.Bookmark here

“I’ve been here several times for birthdays, so I know the food here is excellent. Please, order what you like, I will take care of the bill,” Champ announced.Bookmark here

Should I order the most expensive dish to spite him? He did make such an offer, for him to rescind would be poor manners. While I pondered if such actions were justified, Felicity spoke out.Bookmark here

“We can’t just leave the bill to you. Things are pretty expensive, so I’ll cover half,” Felicity offered.Bookmark here

“No, I couldn’t possibly expect you to do that. You are my guests today after all. I will cover all the costs no matter what you order,” Champ declined.Bookmark here

“I still feel bad if you did all of that. In exchange, I’ll cover the tip. Is that okay with you?” Felicity suggested.Bookmark here

“That sounds reasonable. I’ll agree to that,” Champ nodded.Bookmark here

Darryl and Felicity turned the menu pages, while Champ excused himself for a moment. I looked around the restaurant, finding it empty. I expected more people especially on a weekend. Champ spoke with the waiter about something and the employee nodded, heading into the back.Bookmark here

“What are you getting?” Yuka asked, placing the menu down.Bookmark here

“I’m not sure. Everything on here is out of my normal price range. I’m considering a steak,” I replied.Bookmark here

“Oh, that’s a good choice. Their beef is top quality here,” Felicity endorsed my potential decision.Bookmark here

Champ finally returned. The waiter walked up to our table, tablet in hand. Might as well go steak since it was their specialty.Bookmark here

“Are you all ready to order?” the waiter asked with a smile.Bookmark here

“I think we are. Who wants to go first?” Champ replied.Bookmark here

“I’ll have the spiral ham and mechado,” Felicity went first.Bookmark here

“Steak and eggs. Wait, sorry, I meant the Filet mignon,” Darryl said.Bookmark here

“I’ll have the steak and oysters,” Yuka ordered.Bookmark here

“Beef Wellington,” I decided.Bookmark here

“I will have the pepper steak as I am feeling something spicy. Today’s a good for that isn’t it, Tomo?” Champ said, glancing over at me.Bookmark here

“Sure, I guess,” I responded, not humoring him.Bookmark here

The waiter asked us all follow up questions about the meat rareness before departing. While we waited, Champ left the table again, heading towards the restroom. I walked over to the window. Rain drops struck the ground. It was sunny during my drive over. The weather was fickle like that here.Bookmark here

Where were the other employees? There was only one waiter. Not only that, the person taking our orders pulled double duty, standing behind the entrance podium. He offered me a smile when I looked over.Bookmark here

“Hey, isn’t it weird we’re the only ones here?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Didn’t Champ tell you? He reserved the restaurant for two hours,” Felicity informed me.Bookmark here

“That’s a really long time,” I said.Bookmark here

“The food takes awhile to cook, so it’s not that surprising. Are you bored?” Felicity answered.Bookmark here

“Not really, just curious about why it’s so empty in here,” I shook my head.Bookmark here

Forty five minutes later, our food finally arrived. On appearance alone, the food appeared well made. Champ was gone the entire time we waited for food. He returned right when the waiter carried all of the food out. There was no way he spent the entire time in the bathroom, unless he was very sick. Very suspicious.Bookmark here

“Is the food to your liking?” Champ asked, taking an entire bite of peppers and steak without even flinching.Bookmark here

“It’s quite good. That’s to be expected at such a high class restaurant,” I replied, cutting a piece of meat off.Bookmark here

We took our time eating. The food was really good. I savored each bite, believing Yukie could pull off such caliber of food if given the opportunity. Champ only took two sips of water during his entire meal, which made me question his taste buds.Bookmark here

“Tomo, I’m glad that you decided to come today. I am sorry for coming in unannounced last time. This should serve as sufficient apology,” Champ announced.Bookmark here

“I think this was more than enough,” I accepted his apology.Bookmark here

“That’s good. I do hope you forgive what happens next,” Champ declared.Bookmark here

He stood up and a loud whirring sound filled the space. I couldn’t pinpoint the origin, as it seemingly came from all directions. Ichaival reached for his phone, but Champ rushed over. Yuka’s boyfriend delivered a swift kick, launching Ichaival’s phone toward the front of the room. Felicity and Yuka rested their heads down on the table. What the….? Oh crap, would I start feeling the effects too? No, this was all done just to isolate Ichaival and me.Bookmark here

“Tomo, I do apologize for such underhanded methods, but this time you will be much more cooperative. I even left you with an ally, so please be thankful,” Champ said.Bookmark here

“This again, Champ? I’m not joining,” I stressed.Bookmark here

“This time will be different,” Champ declared.Bookmark here

“What the hell, man? I wasn’t done eating yet,” Ichaival shouted, a blade already in hand.Bookmark here

“Tsk, tsk, Ichaival. That’s unsightly,” Champ chided.Bookmark here

I materialized my sword, awaiting his next move. Something brushed against my face, blood dripping out. Stacia was here. Ichaival opened up a portal near Champ, but was suddenly dragged into the ground by a pair of hands.Bookmark here

“What the….?” Ichaival muttered, as someone materialized behind him.Bookmark here

A young woman with long hair pointed a katana blade at Ichaival’s back. Her hair ends were dyed in a black and blue ombre style. She wore a dark green cardigan and black jeans. Things weren’t looking good. We were surrounded. I clutched my sword, but did nothing. This woman was dangerous. I didn’t think I could even keep up with her.Bookmark here

A portal opened up behind the woman, but she showed no signs of panic. She tapped her thumb against the blade of her sword and blood dripped out. It glowed with an odd shine and then her sword disappeared. A wispy mist exited her body, something similar to a spirit, wielding a scythe. Her weapon was held against Ichaival’s neck and the man’s portal faded right away. I heard a noise behind me, thrusting my sword in that general direction.Bookmark here

“Very close. You’ve been honing your craft. Very commendable. Such dedication is what we are looking for,” Champ commented, standing next to me.Bookmark here

“What is this? You’re forcing me to join, aren’t you? You said you’ll play by the rules,” I demanded, my sword slicing at him.Bookmark here

“It’s futile. I know Ichaival has a limit on his portals. He won’t use them all up, failing to attack me. Tomo, just one simple word. Yes,” Champ dodged my attack again.Bookmark here

Damn it. Ichaival glanced at me and then the floor. A small portal formed near his feet. Four of them versus the two of us. Ichaival teleported away, as the scythe descended downward. He appeared near Champ, but I heard the snapping of fingers. Multiple gusts of wind knocked him off balance. Stacia made her appearance, standing over the portal user. Ruiqi’s sister snapped her fingers once more and a large gash appeared on Ichaival’s arm.Bookmark here

“That was a warning. The next time you move, your entire arm is coming off. Call Zhuyu Long over here. I haven’t settled the score with him yet,” Stacia shouted, stomping on Ichaival’s injured arm.Bookmark here

Ichaival grimaced in pain, but said nothing. The weird ghostly spirit faded and the woman held her katana again. I couldn’t make a move at all. She was on my left, Stacia to my immediate front, and Champ could be anywhere. Just great.Bookmark here

“Stacia, please refrain from such violence. Knocking him down was enough. There’s no need to inflict any further pain,” Champ warned.Bookmark here

“You shut up. You’re not the leader and you’ll never be one. I do what I want. Hey, you, where’s Zhuyu right now?” Stacia asked, stepping on Ichaival’s arm again.Bookmark here

“I don’t know. He’s probably at home doing his homework. Your freaking friend knocked my phone away, so I can’t even contact him, even if I wanted to,” Ichaival coughed as Stacia removed her right foot from his arm.Bookmark here

“You’re pathetic and useless. Fine, I’ll let you go for now,” Stacia decided, stepping away.Bookmark here

“You’re left with no choice but to submit. I’ll drag you away,” Champ declared, standing in front of me.Bookmark here

Whoever assisted him relied on the floor to travel. Raising my hands as if to surrender, I froze the entire floor with ice. Stacia slipped on the ice, falling. The long haired woman remained in the same place, switching her katana for a spear. Champ glanced down at the floor with a smile, but said nothing.Bookmark here

The woman hurled her spear at me and I created a wall of ice. The spear smashed through my defensive wall immediately, striking me in the leg. I collapsed to the floor but transported away, realizing the area was too small. Still, it bought me time.Bookmark here

“So insistent on not joining, huh? That’s fine. I can respect your tenacity. Unfortunately, your ice did not help,” Champ said.Bookmark here

Someone appeared from the ceiling, leaping down at me. A beam of light flashed in my face and I blinked. What the…. a flashlight? The person flipped their flashlight around, smacking me in the face with its barrel. That hurt a lot. Mother-… I did not expect such pain. After striking me, the assailant vanished and Champ appeared within a few seconds.Bookmark here

“It’s time to drag you away now. No need to talk anymore. I should have done this in the first place. After the first time, I should have simply captured you,” Champ announced, extending his hand out toward me.Bookmark here

This was bad. Ichaival was down. Tess, now would be a great time to show up. Champ paused and then pulled out his phone. He glanced at the screen, motioning with his hand. Did the break I needed finally arrive?Bookmark here

“Tomo, let’s get you signed up for the right side,” Champ hoisted me off from the ground.Bookmark here

I created a portal, sucking him into it. Tess would find out about my situation eventually. Until she arrived, I would pull off anything I could think of. In my current state, I couldn’t do anything combat related. Damn, the spear did a lot of damage.Bookmark here

“If he’s gone, I guess I can break him now, right?” Stacia muttered, looking down at Ichaival.Bookmark here

“No, we’ve done enough. Besides, Lilith didn’t approve this. If we go any further, there will be repercussions I rather not face,” the long haired woman spoke for the first time.Bookmark here

“You’re such a rule follower. Fine, I won’t break his arm, but I can still do this!” Stacia yelled, snapping her fingers.Bookmark here

Ichaival’s portal opened right after she finished snapping. However, the damage was done. Both of Ichaival’s arms were now damaged. Could his portals remove wounds? No, it transported objects as is.Bookmark here

“Son of a-…,” Ichaival grunted, sweat flowing down from his forehead.Bookmark here

Was that enough yet? Of course not. Champ stumbled back into the room, a frustrated look now on his face. Where had I sent him?Bookmark here

“Well, Tomo, you really made it difficult. Guess when you become our ally, it’ll be great to have,” Champ made his way over to me again.Bookmark here

Was this guy delusional? I didn’t know the exact cost of using a portal, but transporting a person must require a large amount of energy. If the usage was capped, then it only meant I might only have one or two more chances.Bookmark here

“Tomo, don’t do it. I’m sure those bastards will come rushing in any moment now,” Ichaival said with difficulty.Bookmark here

“I expected some back up, but even I did not account for them being so late. That’s in my favor. Even if they do come right now, you’re outnumbered. What difference does it make if two or three more come?” Champ boasted.Bookmark here

What else did I have in my repertoire? Ichaival’s portals, Shui’s ice, Zhang’s electricity and flames, and a sword. I could shock Champ, but I doubt that actually keep him down long enough. Maybe flames? It would deter him from reaching me, but I worried about the woman with usage of multiple weapons. If Ichaival was still up I had a chance, but as things were, my overall chances were grim. The katana woman held her sword at my neck and Champ lifted me off from the ground. I couldn’t risk a portal, not after seeing what she could do.Bookmark here

“Tomo, don’t worry, we’ll take good care of you. Once this artificial dimension is down, we’ll tend to any wounds you might have. Yuka and Felicity will be fine after waking up. Everything will work out,” Champ informed me, carrying me toward the exit.Bookmark here

“Put me down, you weirdo,” I protested.Bookmark here

“Please appreciate it, Tomo. I’m carrying you with as much care and delicacy as I can. Just remain calm and everything will be okay,” Champ warned.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.