Chapter 84:

Volume 4, Chapter 2: A Hysterical Opponent

Heroes of the Past

Dad walked into the living room, staring at the bags with a perplexed expression. He opened his mouth but said nothing. Mom waltzed in, grinning.Bookmark here

“You left him speechless. Let’s see what we have here,” Mom said, digging through the bags, inspecting all my new clothes.Bookmark here

Dad continued staring at me in silence. Mom whistled, holding up a dress and matching accessories.Bookmark here

“Who picked these out for you?” Mom asked.Bookmark here

“Felicity wanted to, but one of her acquaintances helped me out,” I replied.Bookmark here

“These are all brand names. How did you afford all of this? Don’t tell me….,” Mom gasped, a shocked expression forming on her face.Bookmark here

“I have no idea what you’re thinking of, but someone at Sica offered me these in return for testing them,” I explained.Bookmark here

“Seems too nice to be true. But, if it’s free, might as well take it,” Mom remarked.Bookmark here

“How are you going to store all of this stuff?” Dad asked.Bookmark here

“Thank you very much for finally saying something. I’m planning to figure it out all tomorrow since I don’t have school,” I answered.Bookmark here

“Yuki, I’m proud of you. You’ve taken the next step in obtaining a boyfriend,” Mom congratulated me.Bookmark here

“As usual, I’ll just ignore you. Can you help me carry all this stuff up?” I requested, lifting up a couple of bags.Bookmark here

“Sure, my dear daughter. You help too, Dear,” Mom nudged Dad.Bookmark here

“Right,” Dad agreed.Bookmark here

After half an hour, I shoved everything into one corner, blocking me access from my bookcase. Hm, I should ask Chihiro and Yuka for help.Bookmark here

“Chihiro, are you free? I have something I want you to help me with,” I called her.Bookmark here

I called Yuka next, but she was busy. Maybe a date with Champ? Still strange to wrap my head around that Champ was Yuka’s boyfriend, but also my adversary too. For now, I would see how things went. Wasn’t that how Tess and the others approached life? It just might work for me.Bookmark here

Monday Winter Quarter 2016 Week 7Bookmark here

I woke up to a sweet scent of flowers. I glanced around, searching for the source. Where was it coming from? I stumbled out of bed, almost falling to the floor.Bookmark here

Yukie flipped green onion cakes on the frying pan downstairs. I yawned, greeting her. She smiled, placing the food on a plate, steam wafting off from it.Bookmark here

“Yuki, you seem distressed. Can I assist you?” Yukie asked, taking off her apron.Bookmark here

“It’s not that big of a deal, but there’s a strong smell of flowers. I thought it might be coming from down here,” I said.Bookmark here

“That is indeed a strange thing to smell. I do not think Auntie or Uncle bought any fresh flowers for display,” Yukie remarked.Bookmark here

“You don’t have to worry about it. I’ll keep looking. Oh, my friend is coming over later. Can you get the door for me if I don’t hear it?” I requested, returning back to my room.Bookmark here

“Yes, of course,” Yukie nodded.Bookmark here

Damn it, this smell of flowers bothered me. Where was it coming from? I yanked open my closet, but found nothing. I thought it might be a new fabric softener, yet my clothes still smelled the same.Bookmark here

“Yuki? You in there?” Mom knocked.Bookmark here

“You can come in,” I replied, closing my closet door.Bookmark here

Mom walked in with a laundry basket, depositing all my dirty clothes inside. She saw my concerned look, placing the basket down.Bookmark here

“What’s bothering you?” Mom asked.Bookmark here

“I keep smelling flowers. I’m not crazy, right?” I asked, looking over at Mom.Bookmark here

“I think you are, my daughter. Nothing like that around here. You sure you’re fully awake, Yuki?” Mom replied, concern on her face.Bookmark here

“Weird,” I muttered, deciding to not pursue the issue any further.Bookmark here

I laid out all ny new clothes onto the bed. I stared at all of them, not even sure where to start. I read through Jessica’s notes, waiting for Chihiro. The doorbell rang and I walked downstairs. Yukie already opened the door and Chihiro waved at me.Bookmark here

“Yuki, your cousin is cute as always,” Chihiro complimented.Bookmark here

“I thank you for your words,” Yukie said, giving a slight bow.Bookmark here

Chihiro’s eyes widened when she entered my room, seeing all my clothes. She knelt down, checking the tags and then placed her hands on my shoulder. My friend then shook me, letting out a deep sigh.Bookmark here

“Where…. some of these clothes aren’t even out yet! Yuki, who do you know?” Chihiro exclaimed, staring at me.Bookmark here

“Jessica Staccato,” I answered.Bookmark here

“Wait, you mean, the Jessica Staccato? Did you meet her? Where and how? Tell me everything!” Chihiro shouted, her voice a mix of excitement and confusion.Bookmark here

I explained the situation to Chihiro. She calmed down after a few minutes and then her face brightened up.Bookmark here

“This is amazing. I checked our store’s catalog a few days ago and the stuff you have was in it. Do you know how rare that is? Even the store employees haven’t touched this stuff yet,” Chihiro revealed, picking up a coat and holding it in the air.Bookmark here

“You willing to help?” I asked, pointing at my closet.Bookmark here

“Of course. Jessica really knows what she’s doing, picking out all these perfect clothes. This and this, I would have never thought to pair these two,” Chihiro observed.Bookmark here

“She did make us stay in the dressing room for two hours. How should we start this?” I asked, opening up my closet.Bookmark here

“Try grouping all your clothes together so it’s easier to get later. Do you have any bins?” Chihiro asked.Bookmark here

“Yeah,” I nodded.Bookmark here

“We’ll put all the accessories and other loose stuff in those. Did Jessica leave behind notes?” Chihiro inquired, inspecting the plastic bins.Bookmark here

“Yeah, she gave me a bunch of papers,” I said, showing her the notes.Bookmark here

“Oh, so detailed. She even included pictures and what to pair things up with. Here, I’ll start with the coats. Oh, I almost forgot. I brought over a few dividers for your bins to keep things tidy,” Chihiro said, pointing at box she brought over.Bookmark here

“Perfect, let’s get started then,” I said.Bookmark here

After four hours of organizing and moving things around, we finally finished. It was time consuming, but at least I had a large variety of clothes to select from. Not to mention, it was all laid out in an accessible way.Bookmark here

“Yuki, I have work soon. Let’s catch up again sometime. Yuka too, if she’s not too busy with her boyfriend, you know!” Chihiro said, waving goodbye.Bookmark here

“Thanks for the help again!” I shouted out from my window.Bookmark here

What to do now? Maybe I could sit back and relax. Yeah, that would be nice. Knowing Tess, she would somehow rope me into doing something and right on cue, my phone rang.Bookmark here

“Tomo, I apologize if I am inconveniencing you. Are you free?” Tess questioned.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I just finished organizing all my clothes. Let me guess, back into Kisai’s dimension again?” I responded.Bookmark here

“Not quite, something’s come up. I think you’ll want to see it,” Tess replied.Bookmark here

“What’s that suppose to mean?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Please come to the facility as fast as you can,” Tess simply answered.Bookmark here

“Fine, I’ll be there in twenty minutes. This better be damn exciting, Tess,” I agreed, hanging up.Bookmark here

During my drive over, I pondered what exactly was going on. Did Kisai somehow break the seal already? Knowing him, he didn’t exactly need anyone’s help. I’m sure it would end up being something useless.Bookmark here

Kisai, Ichaival, and Kuan stood near a pulsating portal. Tess clutched a key in her left hand, staring at her tablet screen.Bookmark here

“What’s going on?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Tess detected an abnormal amount of magic in the area from before,” Kisai explained.Bookmark here

“We’re checking it out?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Exactly,” Kisai responded.Bookmark here

“You know, you don’t exactly need our help. Let’s be honest, probably don’t even need Ichaival and Kuan,” I remarked.Bookmark here

“Nah, not true. It’s easier if I have bait, that’s why Darryl and Kuan are here,” Kisai disagreed.Bookmark here

“You called me over here so I can be bait? What the hell kind of….?” I stood still, not exactly sure what to say next.Bookmark here

“Hang on, Tomo. I didn’t even say your name. You’re here, because Tess wanted you to observe a battle,” Kisai clarified.Bookmark here

“Indeed,” Tess backed him up.Bookmark here

“Fine, let’s go,” I sighed, heading into the portal.Bookmark here

Kisai’s Dimension: Fortress OutskirtsBookmark here

“Do you detect the enemy near by?” Kisai asked, looking around.Bookmark here

“Yes, their presence is within a mile of us. Magic levels are fluctuating at a strange rate. Take caution, Jin,” Tess advised.Bookmark here

“I always do, ” Kisai said with a smile.Bookmark here

We walked along a path and I glanced back at the stone fortress. I noticed a flash near one of the cannons. What kind of operation were they running?Bookmark here

“Oh s**t,” Kisai said, stopping.Bookmark here

I glanced forward, seeing the path end. Kisai teetered on the edge, staring at a large cliff ahead. Was he considering scaling that thing?Bookmark here

“We climbing this thing or what?” Kuan questioned.Bookmark here

“Hell yeah we are,” Kisai replied.Bookmark here

“Are you guys crazy? There’s no way we’re going it up alive,” I refused, shaking my head.Bookmark here

“That was a joke, Tomo. Hm, any alternative paths?” Kisai looked over at Tess.Bookmark here

“You know better than I do,” Tess commented.Bookmark here

“Darryl, think you can use a portal?” Kisai asked, looking over at his friend.Bookmark here

“Yeah, but I can’t use my portals after that,” Ichaival replied.Bookmark here

“That’s fine. We don’t need you for battle. Kuan, back me up?” Kisai inquired.Bookmark here

“Sure. Who do you think I am?” Kuan displayed his confidence.Bookmark here

“A loli lover?” I replied, not sure if that was an appropriate response.Bookmark here

“Damn it, who told you?” Kuan asked, mock surprise on his face.Bookmark here

“Zhuyu?” I answered with uncertainty.Bookmark here

“I was betrayed. Anyways, Tomo seems more than capable too,” Kuan said, pointing at me.Bookmark here

“It would be a good experience for Tomo, but I am unsure of the enemy’s power, especially with such strange fluctuations,” Tess explained.Bookmark here

“Fair enough,” Kuan said.Bookmark here

“What are the coordinates?” Ichaival asked.Bookmark here

“Tess, give him an approximate location,” Kisai requested.Bookmark here

“Darryl, you ready? It’s….,” Tess relayed the location coordinates.Bookmark here

“Got it. Everyone ready?” Ichaival asked.Bookmark here

He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and then a huge swirling portal appeared above us. In an instance, we were teleported, tumbling down onto the ground.Bookmark here

“Look out!” Tess shouted, rolling away.Bookmark here

Bright lights flashed everywhere, blinding us. I closed my eyes, observing someone strike Ichaival. He was flung into a nearby tree, coughing up blood.Bookmark here

“Hey, you good?’ Kisai said, slapping his friend in the face.Bookmark here

“F**k. Whatever that was, it got me good. Just go and beat them already,” Ichaival coughed, clutching his stomach.Bookmark here

“You got this, right?” Kisai joked, turning his attention to our enemy.Bookmark here

A woman holding a blade in her left hand swayed around, licking her lips. Her arms were covered in bloody slashes. Nonsensical symbols were drawn on the ground, surrounding her.Bookmark here

“Take her down. Her magic is too unstable. If we don’t stop her, she might die,” Tess directed.Bookmark here

“Tomo, go…. and back up Jin. He needs your help more than I do,” Ichaival grunted.Bookmark here

“You look like s**t right now. I’m more worried about you than him,” I disagreed.Bookmark here

“That’s great, but…. that hurt,” Ichaival gasped.Bookmark here

I opened up my grimoire, searching for recovery or healing magic. Unfortunately, nothing popped up. Sorry Ichaival, I can’t help you. Maybe in the future. Tess observed the showdown from the tree, her eyes not once looking at Ichaival. Was she just heartless or knew Ichaival would tough it out?Bookmark here

“Kuan, I’m gonna need you to….,” Kisai ordered, jumping away as the ground beneath him crumbled.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I know,” Kuan said, unlatching a dagger from his belt.Bookmark here

“If I can just aim it,” Kisai muttered, leaping into the air.Bookmark here

He rolled away, firing small sparks. They bounced off an invisible barrier, disintegrating in the air.Bookmark here

“That’s not going to stop me though,” Kisai remarked.Bookmark here

The woman charged at Kuan, slashing at him from multiple angles within seconds. He parried all but the last strike, sustaining a small wound to his left shoulder. As she came in for another round of slashes, Kuan pulled her arm backwards with force, disarming her of the blade. He then hurled her onto the ground, grabbing her weapon. Kuan stabbed the blade into her left leg, kicking it in deeper with a swift boot. Our adversary rolled around on the ground in pain.Bookmark here

“Nice distraction,” Kisai shouted, dispelling her scribbles.Bookmark here

The slashes across her arms glowed an eerie red. A crimson aura then surrounded her as she rose from the ground. Yanking out the blade from her leg, she cackled and dashed at Kuan. Kuan switched over to his handgun, firing off three shots. She evaded two of them and deflected the last one with her weapon. Kisai remained near where she stood originally, staring at the ground as a faint yellow aura developed around him.Bookmark here

“Hey Tess, Kuan needs our help. We should….,” I suggested.Bookmark here

“He is more than capable, Tomo. Observe,” Tess expressed her confidence in him.Bookmark here

She attacked with no discernible pattern, her movements wild and unrefined. Kuan went on the defensive, sidestepping and blocking with his dagger. The woman broke through several times, leaving slash marks on his upper chest and face. When she lunged forward, ready to plunge her blade into his stomach, Kuan turned things around. He swung his knee upward, sending her blade into the air. Both leaped up, but he gained possession. Kuan then drove the blade into her stomach and dashed back, letting Kisai finish it off.Bookmark here

The talented man, his yellow aura now bright, placed his left palm on her back. The woman’s self-inflicted wounds closed up and she collapsed to the ground. He pulled out the blade from her stomach, tossing it over to Kuan.Bookmark here

“S**t,” she cursed, glaring at him.Bookmark here

“Her magic levels are stabilizing. Tess, what do you think?” Kisai said, staring at the woman.Bookmark here

“Your assessment is correct,” Tess confirmed.Bookmark here

“Alright, who are you?” Kisai questioned the woman.Bookmark here

“Like hell I’m going to tell you!” the woman snarled.Bookmark here

Kisai snapped his fingers and she turned silent. Her face contorted into anger as Tess walked over, binding her in chains.Bookmark here

“You stopped her from talking?” I questioned, looking over at Kisai.Bookmark here

“Yeah. She was going to use a chant spell,” Kisai responded.Bookmark here

“See, this is what I mean. You don’t even need us for this,” I commented.Bookmark here

“Kuan would disagree. Besides, her magic resistance was pretty low. I normally wouldn’t have been able to do that so easily. The upper tier mages don’t f**k around,” Kisai replied, shrugging.Bookmark here

Tess tightened her chains, until the woman’s face changed color. Kuan helped Ichaival up, lending him his shoulder.Bookmark here

“Who sent you?” Tess interrogated.Bookmark here

“What’s it to you, b***h?” she snapped.Bookmark here

“I can guess based on that paper in your pockets,” Tess said, releasing her from the chains, and snatching the paper from her.Bookmark here

“I know when I’m done. Other people are more than happy to pay this f**ker back,” the woman threatened, glaring at him.Bookmark here

“Should I get my wallet out?” Kisai smiled, not fazed at all.Bookmark here

The woman said nothing, limping away, disappearing from our sights.Bookmark here

“We done here?” I asked.Bookmark here

“She’s was searching for something. Not sure what exactly it was though,” Kisai noted, inspecting the ground.Bookmark here

“Then we’re not done yet,” Tess decided.Bookmark here

“Ichaival’s injured. Shouldn’t we head back?” I realized.Bookmark here

“He’ll be fine. See?” Kisai slapped him on the back.Bookmark here

“Damn, that hurts a lot. I’m fine, just go,” Ichaival coughed.Bookmark here

“You don’t even have your portals anymore. Tess, we can’t bring him along,” I argued.Bookmark here

“Tomo, you look after him. We’ll do the heavy lifting,” Tess assigned.Bookmark here

“Make sure he doesn’t get f**ked up even more,” Kuan supported her decision.Bookmark here

“We leave him to you,” Kisai said, shoving Ichaival over to me.Bookmark here

Ichaival stumbled, but Kuan caught him. This was my own fault for spouting out such heroic lines. Hopefully, we wouldn’t venture too far out.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry, Tomo, I’ll keep carrying him. Right, Darryl?” Kuan nodded with a smile.Bookmark here

“F**k you,” Darryl responded with a sigh.Bookmark here

“Easy,” Kisai answered, a red glow emanating from his right hand.Bookmark here

The symbols from before appeared. Kisai asked for a notebook, tapping a lead pencil against a page. What was he doing?Bookmark here

“What’s Kisai thinking?” I asked Ichaival.Bookmark here

“Probably figuring it out in his head. He never writes s**t down,” Ichaival replied, shaking his head.Bookmark here

“So, if we do that then…. yep, that’s it,” Kisai said, jotting down coordinates.Bookmark here

“How did you….?” I began but changed my mind.Bookmark here

“You just, you know,” Kisai answered, laughing.Bookmark here

“That’s great and all, but Ichaival can’t take us there,” I pointed out.Bookmark here

“That’s where you come in,” Kisai said in response.Bookmark here

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

“You have Darryl’s powers. Pretty sure your grimoire can take us right there, no problems,” Kisai revealed.Bookmark here

“Let Tomo do it. She’s ready,” Ichaival encouraged.Bookmark here

“The grimoire will automate the process. I foresee no issues,” Tess ordered.Bookmark here

“If something bad happens, don’t blame me,” I warned.Bookmark here

I held my grimoire in hand, staring at Kisai’s handwritten coordinates. The grimoire glowed and a swirling portal appeared above us. I closed my eyes, and after opening them, we no longer stood in the same location.Bookmark here

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