Chapter 88:

Volume 4, Chapter 6-1: Winter Quarter Midterm II

Heroes of the Past

Tuesday Winter Quarter 2016 Week 8Bookmark here

“I forgot Tess is busy this entire week. What does that mean for us?” Felicity panicked, grabbing me.Bookmark here

“Calm down. I’m more worried about my math midterm,” I stated, staring at my phone.Bookmark here

“Yuki, you don’t understand. Tess always helped me when it comes to tests like this. Without her, I’m failing for sure!” Felicity lamented, her eyes tearing up.Bookmark here

Was this a ploy in gaining my sympathy? Sighing, I continued walking toward the student lounge. With Tess busy, it meant one less resource. However, Yukie was available, and if necessary, Zhuyu too. He should really be my first option. But, I trusted Yukie more than him.Bookmark here

“That’s right!” Felicity shouted, her face filled with happiness.Bookmark here

Students nearby glanced at her with confusion at her outburst. Felicity beamed, humming a little tune, no sign of her sadness from before.Bookmark here

“Yuki, we ask an upperclassman,” Felicity revealed.Bookmark here

“Who?” I blinked.Bookmark here

“Duh, you know him too, silly girl,” Felicity replied.Bookmark here

“The only person I know…. you don’t mean Shan, right?” I paused at the student lounge entrance.Bookmark here

“Of course! Shigetzu knows chemistry super well,” Felicity said with confidence.Bookmark here

Was she that desperate? Shan would force us through hurdles before actually helping out.Bookmark here

“Felicity, you sure?” I questioned.Bookmark here

“I’m sure,” Felicity nodded.Bookmark here

I remained silent. If Felicity thought so, I might as well grant her that fantasy. I spotted Shan, along with Kristoph, at the usual table. Kristoph pointed at his screen and Shan nodded. Zhuyu and Jacque were not present. I swore they rotated everyday, though in reality, it was just their classes.Bookmark here

“Shigetzu, I have a favor,” Felicity asked him.Bookmark here

“What is it, Felicity?” he responded, looking away from Kristoph’s screen.Bookmark here

“Our chemistry midterm is on Thursday. Could you help us study?” Felicity requested.Bookmark here

“I’m busy later today, but if you have any questions now, I can try to help,” Shan agreed, no mischievousness or sarcasm in his voice.Bookmark here

You’re just going to help Felicity just like that? Something was going on here. He knew Felicity longer, so perhaps that was it. Let’s see if Shan showed true sincerity.Bookmark here

“Hey, I need help too! I’m in that class,” Kristoph spoke up.Bookmark here

“Do you even know what to ask me?” Shan said with a laugh, looking at the man.Bookmark here

“No,” Kristoph responded, sighing.Bookmark here

“Exactly,” Shan remarked.Bookmark here

Felicity took out her textbook, opening it up to a bookmarked page. She showed Shan the question and handed him a piece of notebook paper. I watched in silence, seeing if Shan would really give her an answer.Bookmark here

“Oh, this one. Just go to the back and find the value. Then use this equation, but convert the units first, or you’ll get a fat ass number that’s wrong,” Shan explained, writing out the steps.Bookmark here

I was actually impressed. Wait, why didn’t he help me like this? Damn you, Shan, I still remember you closing the door on me. Don’t think I’ve forgiven you for that.Bookmark here

“Something wrong, Tomo?” Shan asked, seeing my reaction.Bookmark here

“No, nothing. Just keep on helping Felicity,” I shook my head.Bookmark here

“You have to help me too. I can’t afford to fail this midterm! It’s for my grade, man!” Kristoph spoke once more, pulling out his notebook.Bookmark here

“Come on, do you really believe that?” Shan looked at Kristoph, no sympathy or compassion in his eyes.Bookmark here

“Yeah, no, not really. If you’re helping her, might as well do it for me,” Kristoph begged.Bookmark here

“I never took the class, remember? All I can do is help with the problems I know. Anything else, get the solution manual,” Shan advised.Bookmark here

“Man, you don’t have to take the class,” Kristoph refuted.Bookmark here

“Uh, you kinda do, especially for midterms. Felicity, you have anything else?” Shan disagreed with his friend’s statement.Bookmark here

“Yep! A whole bunch of them. I just want to make sure that I’m doing these right,” Felicity nodded, flipping to another page.Bookmark here

“You could ask Jin. He knows chemistry pretty well too,” Shan hinted.Bookmark here

“He does, but you know how he is,” Felicity said, showing him her work.Bookmark here

“Right. So Darryl was telling me the other day….,” Shan said, chatting with her.Bookmark here

Felicity finally left after an hour. My English class was canceled today. I would normally head home but there was a chemistry review. It seemed Kristoph would head to it too. I glanced up at the clock. Still two hours to kill. Kristoph left for his class, asking Shan to look after his stuff.Bookmark here

“Shan, what gives?” I asked, staring at the gravity manipulator.Bookmark here

“What do you…. sup, Jacque,” Shan replied, greeting the pessimistic man.Bookmark here

“Yo. Tomo, you’re still here?” Jacque asked, taking a seat.Bookmark here

“Yeah. The chemistry review is today,” I answered.Bookmark here

“Oh, good luck,” Jacque said.Bookmark here

“Thanks. If you have any midterms, good luck on them too,” I reciprocated.Bookmark here

“Yeah, just a bunch of reading. You know, the cool stuff,” Jacque sighed, taking out two books.Bookmark here

“You were saying, Tomo?” Shan glanced at me.Bookmark here

“I saw what you did there with Felicity. Why don’t you help me like that?” I questioned, waiting for his response.Bookmark here

“I’m pretty sure you know what you’re doing. You know how Felicity is, right? If I don’t help, she’ll start talking. I rather not listen to her talk about random things. She can go on for awhile,” Shan explained his reasoning.Bookmark here

“I know what you mean,” I nodded, still skeptical.Bookmark here

“I probably should help out Darryl’s potential girlfriend. Not that I have a responsibility,” Shan remarked.Bookmark here

“This is getting pretty confusing. Who does Ichaival actually like? Jen or Felicity?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Both? Eh, not like he’s said anything official. We’ll see how it goes. He says he’s just friends with both of them,” Shan said, unclear about the situation as well.Bookmark here

Jacque stared at his books, not even opening them. He stood up and walked away. I turned back and saw him conversing with other people near us. Jacque remained popular as always. Whenever he said he would do something, he always walked off, and started talking to someone. I guess it wasn’t a bad thing, meant Jacque was easy to get along with.Bookmark here

“Shan, are you good at math?” I asked.Bookmark here

“I would say above average. Long’s the person to ask for that,” Shan answered, already transferring the responsibility over to someone else.Bookmark here

“I figured you would say that. Is he here today?” I sighed.Bookmark here

“I think he’s finished with class. You try calling him yet?” Shan suggested.Bookmark here

“I can wait until tomorrow,” I replied.Bookmark here

Jacque returned and finally opened his book. He stared at the same page for two minutes and then pulled out his laptop. Shan smiled at his actions. I witnessed this pattern way too many times now.Bookmark here

“Reading some manga there, I see,” Shan said, peeking at Jacque’s screen.Bookmark here

“Nah. I just happen to have this page open. I actually need to go online and post something for the reading. It sucks too, because the professor grades each comment you make really hard,” Jacque denied, typing on his keyboard.Bookmark here

“That does suck. Is it a big part of your grade?” Shan asked.Bookmark here

“About twenty percent, so it means I gotta try. Bro, you know I’m not going to get full points already,” Jacque predicted, shaking his head.Bookmark here

I headed off to my chemistry review once it was time. Kristoph tagged along, asking me about how I felt. I responded with stock answers, too focused on remembering how to apply certain formulas. When it was all over, I felt pretty good about my chances of obtaining an above average score.Bookmark here

Thursday Winter Quarter 2016 Week 8Bookmark here

“Kristoph….,” I called out after our chemistry midterm.Bookmark here

“Nope, not even gonna talk about it. It’s done, it’s over,” Kristoph shook his head, leaving with a disappointed and sad expression.Bookmark here

“Yuki, how did you do?” Felicity asked, walking next to me.Bookmark here

“I probably missed one of the lab questions, but I got most of it,” I replied, feeling confident.Bookmark here

“I did better than the first one. I’m glad I asked Shigetzu for help. It really made me feel prepared,” Felicity revealed.Bookmark here

“That’s great. Now I have my math midterm to worry about,” I said.Bookmark here

“You’ll be fine, Yuki. Did you ask Long or Jin yet?” Felicity asked, heading toward the library.Bookmark here

“No, I was just going to ask my cousin,” I answered.Bookmark here

“You really should ask them. They’re really good at math,” Felicity insisted.Bookmark here

Felicity really was pushing the issue. Did she get something out of it? Or was she simply vouching for how skilled her friends were?Bookmark here

“I asked Yukie yesterday and she’ll help me out,” I said, opening the library door for Felicity.Bookmark here

“That’s too bad. It would have been nice to have a study session,” Felicity revealed her true intentions.Bookmark here

“You’re not even taking math. It would just be us sitting around a table, all working on different things. Zhuyu and Kisai are in upper level classes, right?” I searched for a free table.Bookmark here

“That’s true, but it’s nice to have them, just for their expertise. I’ll ask Jin next time and see if he can help us study for the chem final,” Felicity decided.Bookmark here

We looked around for two minutes, but all the tables on the first floor were already full. We headed upstairs and Felicity stopped at one of the study rooms. She peered inside, waving at someone.Bookmark here

“Fel and Tomo. Are you searching for a place to study?” Tess greeted us, opening the door.Bookmark here

“I knew it was you, Tess. We were planning to just sit down and go over some notes. Yuki has a math midterm so she wanted to study for that,” Felicity explained.Bookmark here

“You can come in and join me. The room is still booked for another two hours,” Tess offered, heading back inside.Bookmark here

“Perfect. You get to have Tess’ knowledge and an isolated spot,” Felicity remarked, walking inside.Bookmark here

“Hey, Felicity, are you sure?” I questioned.Bookmark here

“It’s fine. We won’t distract her at all. I just want to go over notes,” Felicity assured me.Bookmark here

“I guess. Might as well,” I agreed.Bookmark here

There were four massive books on the table, each with a large number of bookmarks. Tess stared at the board, drawing molecular diagrams, labeled with numbers, accompanied by mathematical equations. Just more evidence of Tess’ amazing skills.Bookmark here

“You’ve been working hard. Have you taken a break yet?” Felicity asked.Bookmark here

“Yes, a fifteen minute break after my study group left. I’m resuming my work now,” Tess replied, uncapping a marker.Bookmark here

“Don’t overwork yourself, Tess. If you want, we should all grab dinner later, after you’re done,” Felicity suggested, taking out her notebook.Bookmark here

“I have an exam in a few hours. Thank you for the offer though, Fel,” Tess said, crossing out one of her pictures.Bookmark here

“Too bad. We’re doing something over spring break for sure!” Felicity declared.Bookmark here

“Tomo, how was your training the other day?” Tess changed the topic.Bookmark here

“Different. I encountered a scary monster and had to escape from an even scarier one,” I summed up.Bookmark here

“I shall have to ask Jin about this encounter,” Tess said, still looking at the board.Bookmark here

“I’m still not sure how he beat it,” I shuddered, recalling the beast.Bookmark here

“Jin is pretty good at everything. I’m not surprised,” Felicity added, looking up from her notes.Bookmark here

“Kisai wants to try the fortress next. I’m assuming you still won’t be free,” I informed her about the plan.Bookmark here

“Yes, I will be busy until finals are over. However, I have the utmost trust in Jin that he’ll manage to lead everyone. Despite his carefree attitude at times, he is more than capable,” Tess supported him.Bookmark here

“It’ll be hard without you, Tess,” I commented.Bookmark here

“If you locate Kisai’s seal, please take caution. I do not expect it will be broken easily,” Tess warned.Bookmark here

Felicity and I spent the rest of our time in the library. When I got home, I heard nothing from the kitchen. Weird, Yukie usually was cooking by now. Maybe she finished early today and was up in her room. I threw my backpack down and then knocked on her door.Bookmark here

“Yukie, you there?” I asked.Bookmark here

Hearing no response, I went downstairs. The dinner table was clean. I didn’t smell any food either. I checked the garage next, but no one there. I headed back inside, finally noticing a note on the kitchen counter.Bookmark here

“Okay, what does it say here? ‘Yuki, I took your cousin with me to my workplace, so she could shadow me. When your mom comes home, tell her to not wait. We should be back by nine or ten. It’s kind of sudden, I know. -Dad’,” I read aloud.Bookmark here

“Thanks, Dad, that’s just great,” I muttered.Bookmark here

My cousin wasn’t available now. I was left with asking Kisai or Zhuyu. Let’s try Kisai first.Bookmark here

“Please leave a message for….,” I heard.Bookmark here

Time for Zhuyu. I couldn’t pinpoint the reason, but I didn’t want to ask him, despite his past experience with the same professor and class. He should have been the first one I turn to. Whatever, didn’t have much of a choice now.Bookmark here

“Tomo, how nice of you to call,” an unexpected voice picked up.Bookmark here

“Kyoi, where’s Zhuyu?” I asked.Bookmark here

“My, you recognized my voice. Long, catch,” Kyoi responded with a laugh.Bookmark here

“Sorry about that, Tomo. Something happen?” Zhuyu asked.Bookmark here

“You said that last time too,” I said.Bookmark here

“Huh? Oh, I guess I did. So, what do you need?” he asked.Bookmark here

“Are you busy?” I inquired.Bookmark here

“Just doing homework,” he responded.Bookmark here

“Can you help me study for my math midterm? I just wanted to go over a few things,” I requested.Bookmark here

“Let’s see…. I should be done by seven or eight. I’ll be on G-Chat so just call me then,” Zhuyu provided a time.Bookmark here

“Yeah, that works. By the way, is Kyoi helping you with homework?” I asked, curious.Bookmark here

“Sort of, it’s something related to my powers. Since Tess is busy, I asked Feng,” he replied.Bookmark here

“Good luck with that. I’ll talk to you later,” I hung up and sat back in my chair.Bookmark here

I turned on my computer, checking old exam archives. I worked through half of them, but was uncertain on steps provided in the key. Mom should be coming home soon, so that meant dinner was around seven or eight. Might as well do more practice exams. When Mom yelled my name, I turned my screen off, and stared at my work for one of the problems. Ugh, it was ugly, and the answer key contained seven less steps. On the bright side, this was from an older test, so maybe this wouldn’t show up.Bookmark here

“Yuki, how did your test go?” Mom asked.Bookmark here

“Pretty well. I’m studying for my math one right now,” I replied.Bookmark here

“It’s bad timing your dad took Yukie. I’m sure you can ask one of your friends for help,” Mom noted.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I already did,” I answered.Bookmark here

When I walked back upstairs after finishing dinner, my phone rang. Kisai was calling me back.Bookmark here

“I saw you called. Something wrong?” Kisai asked.Bookmark here

“I was just calling to see if you could help me study for my math midterm. But, Zhuyu already said he’d help,” I answered.Bookmark here

“I’m actually at work right now, so I wouldn’t be able to help. Good luck, Tomo. Tell Long I said he was a little bitch. See ya, Tomo,” Kisai ended the call with an insult.Bookmark here

I logged into G-Chat, seeing Zhuyu online already. Should I call or wait for him? Damn, I needed help now. I had to do initiate the call, no other choice.Bookmark here

“You ready, Tomo?” Zhuyu asked.Bookmark here

“Yes, I appreciate your help. Both Tess and my cousin are busy,” I answered, pulling up the exam archives page.Bookmark here

“Which practice ones have you worked on?” he asked.Bookmark here

“I haven’t done any early ones, like 2005 or earlier,” I answered, checking the page again.Bookmark here

“Okay, you don’t have to worry about those. They’ve changed the exams since then, unless you really need the practice, but don’t try the long story problems. Those are actually pretty hard. I got stuck and asked Feng for help,” he advised.Bookmark here

“Alright, what’s the earliest exam that will be useful?” I browsed through the list.Bookmark here

“2007, but the format won’t be what you see on your exam. It has six questions, and three are story problems. The answer key is on there, so take a look if you get stuck. I can try to help you with that one,” Zhuyu suggested.Bookmark here

“I’m more worried about the one from 2010, uh, spring quarter,” I checked the date.Bookmark here

“Give me a minute,” Zhuyu requested.Bookmark here

I continued my work from before, while waiting. Damn it, why did they make calculus so hard? Zhuyu muttered something, but didn’t address me directly.Bookmark here

“Tomo, I think I understand most of it. What are you working on right now?” he finally said five minutes later.Bookmark here

“I’m doing the last problem right now. I don’t know how they got their integral expression,” I replied, tapping my finger against the screen.Bookmark here

“Hmm, the last one, huh? Let’s see…. this integral came from the inverse trig sub you apply. There are two ways to do it. The first one would be to draw the triangle and see which sub you make. Or refer to the book. I don’t really like that way since drawing the triangle makes it easier for me to visualize,” he explained.Bookmark here

“The professor talked about it in class, but I still don’t really get it,” I recalled, reaching for my notebook, flipping to that page.Bookmark here

“Hold on. I’ll draw it out and maybe it’ll make sense. It’s going to be rough though,” he said.Bookmark here

“Okay, I’ll just work on something else,” I responded, clicking on a different exam.Bookmark here

My application window flashed and in the messages, there were three photos. Oh, that’s what he meant by the triangles. What the fuck? This was different from the professor’s method. Upon closer inspection, it was actually the same. Zhuyu added extra notes and circled the important parts. On the third one, he provided an example problem, listing all the steps. They were pretty meticulous, going through the process, and the substitutions involved. I scrolled down the picture and saw the answer.Bookmark here

“Oh, that makes sense,” I finally understood.Bookmark here

“Yeah, the tests are vague on how they want their answer. I would leave it in the trig form, if you don’t have time. You’ll find as you go on in math, these kind of things get more and more vague,” Zhuyu laughed, the sounds of him writing still audible.Bookmark here

“I don’t know why you love math so much. Seems like a hassle,” I commented, following his procedures.Bookmark here

“It’s fun, don’t you think?” Zhuyu provided his reasoning.Bookmark here

“It’s a damn hassle. But I guess if you like it, that’s a good thing. At least you know what you want to do,” I disagreed with his claim.Bookmark here

“It just seems that way. I’m lost just like everyone else, Tomo,” Zhuyu countered, his voice containing no discernible emotion.Bookmark here

“Yeah, that really makes me feel better,” I stressed the last part of my sentence.Bookmark here

“Always glad to help, Tomo. You probably hate me right now, but that’s okay,” he remarked, chuckling at his own statement.Bookmark here

Zhuyu seemed less reserved than usual. Was it actually not a pain to talk to him? Shan gave responses that pissed me off, or didn’t tell me anything of substance. Same with Tess, but she was different. I just liked Tess better than Shan. Speaking with Ichaival felt the most natural. Something about him made it easy.Bookmark here

“Huh? Uh, I didn’t think about that. Can you write it down on the board for me?” Zhuyu spoke to someone in the background.Bookmark here

“Sure, Tess warned you about it,” Kyoi responded.Bookmark here

“It will help out. Besides, might as well try,” Zhuyu replied.Bookmark here

“Right. Hey there, Tomo. Having a rough time with studying?” Kyoi asked, her voice now clear.Bookmark here

“You wish, don’t you? No, but with Zhuyu’s help, it’s going good,” I answered.Bookmark here

“Isn’t that great? Seriously, Long, you need to stop helping people, or they’ll get the wrong idea,” Kyoi joked.Bookmark here

“Yeah, yeah. Tomo, just say something when you need help,” Zhuyu dismissed her statement.Bookmark here

With Zhuyu’s help, most of my concerns were resolved. Was I really ready? I closed my notebook and shut down my computer. I could stay up longer, but wanted to sleep earlier. I never did too well with last minute studying. Besides, if I pulled an all-nighter, it might make things worst.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.