Heroes of the Past
What time was it now? I checked my phone and saw it was half past noon. Should I eat lunch? I did have a late breakfast but was feeling hungry already. I turned off my TV. Let’s see what was in the fridge.
“Yuki, you hungry yet?” I saw Yukie cooking in the kitchen.
“Yukie, when did you come in? I didn’t even hear you,” I asked.
“About ten minutes ago. You looked very serious watching your video so I didn’t want to interrupt,” Yukie responded.
Oh shit, did Yukie see? Worst case scenario I could make the excuse it was a movie. Damn, I was foolish to not consider the possibility. Needed to be more careful from now on.
“What are you cooking right now, Yukie?” I asked, checking the stove.
“Soup for dinner. Did you want something for lunch? I planned on cooking the vegetable dumplings I made yesterday,” Yukie offered.
“If it’s not too much trouble, I would love that,” I accepted her offer.
“Okay, it’ll be ready in a few minutes. I’ll call you once it’s completed,” Yukie said and opened the fridge.
I returned to the living room and checked for any new messages. One from Felicity about a small party. I would respond later. After the Christmas one, I was reluctant to experience anything similar. Unless she could guarantee no alcohol would be involved. The likelihoods of that were pretty low though.
I heard the doorbell ring. Strange, I didn’t expect anyone today. Probably a ridiculous salesperson or maybe some kind of solicitor. I saw Chihiro outside. This was a surprise.
“Chihiro, what are you doing here?” I asked, opening the door.
“Hey, Yuki, I was bored. I decided to come by and hang out. You free?” Chihiro answered.
“Yeah, come in,” I nodded.
“Thanks. I didn’t have work today. Sitting around at home wasn’t too fun either,” Chihiro revealed, taking her shoes off.
“Yuki, it’s ready!” Yukie called out from the kitchen.
My cousin saw Chihiro and gave her usual warm smile. She placed the food on the kitchen table first and walked over to us.
“Ah, a guest. I apologize for not making more food,” Yukie said.
“Don’t worry Yukie. I ate lunch already. You guys go ahead and eat. I’ll head upstairs to Yuki’s room and snoop around. Maybe I’ll find something interesting,” Chihiro dismissed, heading up to my room.
I sat at the kitchen table, eating the dumplings. Oh, delicious as always. I was so spoiled by her cooking now. It would be a sad day when she left this household.
“This is great, Yukie,” I complimented her.
“It’s nothing special, Yuki. I’m sure Auntie’s food is far superior to mine,” Yukie said, her modesty apparent.
“I wouldn’t say that. Mom’s cooking is good but yours is better sometimes. It’s probably because I’ve been eating Mom’s food for so many years. Yours is a nice change of pace,” I remarked.
“You flatter me too much, Yuki. Do you want me to bring snacks up to you and your friend later?” Yukie questioned, tasting the soup.
“I can do it myself. Can you put a plate out for me though? I’ll fill it myself when I’m done eating,” I requested.
“Of course,” Yukie responded.
After I finished eating, I filled the plate with various snacks. I thanked my cousin again for the food and headed to my room. Chihiro sat near my table, flipping through a magazine she brought over.
“Hey, Yuki, there’s something I want you to see!” Chihiro pointed at her magazine.
“Is it new clothes? I already have so many, I really don’t want to….,” I began, placing the plate down.
“It’s actually related to you. Jessica Stacatto is featured in this month’s magazine with a bunch of sample pictures depicting her new line and future products. Guess who’s in here?” Chihiro showed me to the page.
I peered at it and saw a picture of myself. I stared at it for a few seconds before it finally clicked. That’s why Jessica took pictures. Was there a picture of Tess in here then? I searched around but didn’t see her.
“Yuki, I couldn’t believe it. She runs such a large company and there are so many other people. Wasn’t that other girl with you too? Uh, Tess, right? See, she picked you over her. That has to be something, right?” Chihiro gushed, her voice excited.
“I don’t really care. I mean, I thought it was just a one-time thing. Felicity wanted to get new clothes for me, I never thought it would turn into something like this,” I voiced my honest opinion.
“I still think it’s pretty impressive. Here, I have a copy. I thought you might want it,” Chihiro said, handing me a copy.
“Thanks. Can you just put it on my bookshelf over there?” I directed.
“No problem,” she responded.
“I heard from Yuka Ichizen has a sister,” Chihiro brought up.
“Oh, news spreads fast, huh? Len knows about it too,” I confirmed.
“Did you tell her? I mean, she’s not exactly, well, one of your close friends. I know that’s pretty
rude of me to say but…,” Chihiro asked.
“No, I get it. Someone else told her about it. At this point, I’m sure people have been talking,” I replied, shaking my head.
“How are you feeling?” Chihiro asked.
“Pretty conflicted. I never knew about it so it’s weird. I’ll be meeting her sometime this week so I’ll keep you updated,” I revealed.
“Yeah, I thought you might be. Well, we’re all here for you, Yuki. Never forget that, even if it sounds kind of stupid coming from me,” Chihiro said.
“Yeah, I know,” I said, thankful for her words.
I spent time with Chihiro for about three hours. It was now almost four and I wondered what to do. My phone rang and I saw Tess’ name.
“Hey, Tess. Are you calling about a day I’m free to head into Kisai’s dimension?” I asked.
“Correct. Jin has work on Wednesday and Friday. Thursday will be the only day that will work. Are you available?” Tess informed me.
“Yeah, Thursday’s fine. About the match between Ichaival and Bartholomew, when’s it happening? I’m looking forward to it,” I inquired.
“Of course, it will be taking place on Friday. I decided it would be in our best interest to have it over spring break. As for Lionel’s request, I will not honor it. His psyche is far too unstable for a fight right now,” Tess answered.
“Is it at the training facility or somewhere else?” I asked for the location.
“It will be held at the training facility,” Tess replied.
“Got it. I’ll call you if anything changes,” I said.
“Very well, Tomo. I’ll see you on the scheduled day,” Tess said and hung up.
I headed downstairs and resumed my viewing of the archived videos. I considered reading the book Yukie lent me since there were only two chapters left. But I decided to save it for next time. Might as well read it on a bus ride since I didn’t have anything else to do.
Archive Battle 3: Shui v Xi
“Hey, back with another edition of “Ace Talks”. We have featured guests Shui Lau and Xi. As you all know, Xi is from the other heroes. My partner today is the false archer, Ichaival Darryl. Darryl, before we start, tell us a little about yourself,” Ace started her commentary as if were the intro of a radio or television talk show.
“I thought we were just going to talk about the battle,” Ichaival said, uncertainty arising in his voice.
“Whenever I begin the show, I always like to learn something new about my co-host. Come on, haven’t you ever listened to my show before?” Ace chastised him.
“What do you want to know?” Ichaival asked.
“I’ve heard a rumor lately you and Jen started dating. Is that true? I can’t reveal my sources because of confidentiality reasons,” Ace asked a hard hitting question.
“What? Who told you that? It’s probably that bastard Shigetzu, wasn’t it? If not him then freakin’ Jin, right?” Ichaival exclaimed.
“Like I said, I can’t just reveal my sources. Anyways, what’s your answer? Yes or no?” Ace pressed Ichaival.
“It’s not true. Whoever told you that is wrong. Look, let’s get back to the match!” Ichaival tried diverting the topic away from him.
“Such sad news. I thought it might make Felicity mad enough to come and take Jen on herself. Too bad. Oh, what’s this? I’m hearing we’re getting another person to join us today on the show,” Ace revealed.
“I’m glad to be on today, Ace,” a familiar voice said.
“Here she is, Ruiqi Kaze. Welcome, welcome. I’ve been told you’re joining us today as a foil to Darryl and me,” Ace announced.
“Yes, I am from the other heroes, so I can provide information on Xi,” Ruiqi confirmed.
“Very well. Darryl, what do you expect?” Ace asked.
“Why aren’t you asking Ruiqi? She’s better than I am,” Ichaival questioned.
“Just answer the question, Darryl. No need to be shy. We’re all friends here. It’s always
nice to hear someone else’s opinion. Why else would I have a co-host if I’m just going to blab myself?” Ace commanded, her voice stern now.
“Okay, okay, I understand. I think Lau will win because he attacks a lot harder than Xi. Xi might defend but I don’t think she can hold out long enough,” Ichaival offered his thoughts.
“I disagree. While Lau certainly possesses more attack power, you have to remember Xi’s Absolute Defense. If you break through one layer, she’ll have another one up. This match will be less about offense and how well both can change their defenses into a good offense. Lau will rely more on his defensive skills like his ice walls more than his hard hitting water attacks,” Ruiqi countered.
“An interesting view from both sides. As for me, I lean more towards Kaze’s view. While Xi lacks strong attacks, she more than makes up for it when defending. Lau will waste his time attacking because Xi will take all of it. Once he’s tired, that’s when Xi becomes dangerous. The match is about to begin. Anything else?” Ace asked.
“Not really,” Ichaival replied.
“I expect something new from Xi today. She’s been working on it so let’s see how it plays out,” Ruiqi revealed.
Shui and Xi met at the battlefield center. Oh, this was the girl who blocked my attack. From what I heard, she was a pure defensive fighter. It was actually refreshing to see. All the heroes on our side were mostly offensive. Kyoi, Shan, and Kisai were all massive powerhouses, capable of strong attacks. The same applied to Ichaival and Zhang as well. Jen and maybe Kuan were the only ones who really didn’t rely on strength and were mostly support. Shui, well, he was a blend of both. I looked forward to seeing a match which wasn’t all flashy attacks.
Shui raised his hand in the air and raindrops pelted the entire area. Xi glanced around, a concerned look on her face. I saw this trick before. A faint glow emanated from Xi and any raindrops in her vicinity bounced off, none touching her. Shui didn’t care though as he placed his right hand on the ground. Ice covered the entire floor and Xi lost her footing. Shui glided on the ice with ease, moving straight for her. Xi, still on the ground, summoned a shield in her hand.
“It’s become an ice skating rink now! Darryl, you have any fond winter memories?” Ace
“Uh, not really. I’m more used to the sun than snow,” Ichaival responded.
“That’s no fun. You must have at least one. There was a snowstorm few years back. What about that?” Ace continued her line of questioning.
“I think I played around with my brothers and sisters outside. Built snowmen and had a big snowball fight. Went sliding down the big hill near our house too,” Ichaival answered.
“There you go,” Ace said.
Xi blocked Shui’s ice pellets with her shield. They shattered in the air but she lost her footing on the swings. Shui capitalized as multiple geysers shot up from the ground. Xi could not defend in time and was blasted by them. She was sent flying into the air and plummeted down from a dangerous height. However, I saw a faint glow around her during the descent. I expected a loud crash but instead there was just a slight crack in the ice when she landed.
“Good move by Lau to elevate Xi, but she minimizes any damage by using her defensive barrier. Ace, will Lau go on the offense again or wait to see her next move?” Ruiqi commented.
“Lau will try for another attack but we’ll see how Xi responds to it,” Ace replied.
Shui went for a standard attack, shooting water at Xi. The woman blocked it with her shield but had a difficult time maneuvering on the ice. The water elemental user slid in for a close ranged attack, attempting to splash water onto Xi. When Shui was a few feet away from her, she charged with her shield held in front of her. Shui realized her intent and a large ice wall appeared in front of him.
“That’s not going to work. Xi’s shield will break through,” Ruiqi predicted.
Xi smashed into the ice wall and it cracked. Shui looked at her in surprise but recovered. He
constructed another one but Xi destroyed it midway through its formation. She swung her shield up, smashing Shui in the chin. Shui fell to the ground, looking dazed. Xi then swung her shield downward, striking Shui in the knees. The man clutched his leg in pain and Xi delivered one more blow. She hurled her entire shield at Shui which landed right into his stomach. Shui groaned and Tess appeared from out of nowhere.
“The match is over. Shui Lau is unable to continue. Xi’s the winner,” Tess declared.
The ice faded and the entire battle ground returned to normal. Xi looked cautiously at Shui before gingerly extending her hand out .Shui gave a smile and accepted her assistance.
“That was pretty quick. I wanted a longer fight. Oh well. Kaze, thoughts on Xi’s win?” Ace asked the second-in-command.
“I expected more defense from both sides but Xi is finally getting comfortable using her shield as an offensive tool. I think that was the key,” Ruiqi replied.
“Darryl, what stood out to you?” Ace then asked the false archer.
“Same thing Ruiqi said. I didn’t expect Xi to use her shield so much as a weapon. If Lau had dodged, he could have won,” Ichaival responded.
“That’s true. Xi’s main potential lies within her defensive abilities and she definitely showed it today. Her attacks are coming along too. That might be dangerous in the future because people will underestimate her, expecting the shield to be pure defense. Kaze, I know Xi’s shield also has a power-up feature. Can you elaborate?” Ace gave her thoughts.
“Whenever Xi defends with her shield, its offensive powr grows. When she starts off the match, the shield is purely defensive. It can’t put a dent in anything. As she keeps defending, it’ll increase in strength and if she hits anyone with it, it’ll hurt,” Kaze explained.
“That sounds like my Kali sticks,” Ichaival remarked.
“The drawback is Xi only has a certain amount of time to execute any offensive
moves. Think of it like a meter. When the meter gets full, it’ll start decreasing again unless she defends. She’s still learning,” Kaze went into more details.
“That’s what allowed her to hit Lau so hard. Very educational. Before we end this segment and head to a commercial break, let’s talk about something fun,” Ace brought up.
That didn’t sound good. I watched two videos already and Ace’s definition of fun meant asking something personal. Still, an informative video showcasing Xi.
“Kaze, what are your thoughts on Darryl’s powers? It would be refreshing to hear an outsider’s perspective,” Ace questioned.
Oh, that was unexpected. I thought it might be something related to Jen or Felicity. But there were only so many times she could bring that up. Besides, Ichaival never provided an answer of sustenance anyways. I was interested in hearing Ruiqi’s opinion.
“Ichaival’s powers? Let me think about,” Ruiqi asked for time.
“Go ahead. In the meantime, I’ll talk to Darryl about something else. Let’ s see…. oh, I know!
You’re going up against your partner, Shigetzu, soon. How do you feel and are there any secrets you can tell us about him?” Ace decided.
“I know secrets about Shigetzu, but I won’t tell you. I would love to, but he’ll get back at me. Besides, we’re good friends. I can talk about the match. It’s going to be good. I can give him a match without worrying that I’m not good enough,” Ichaival answered.
“Too bad. Shigetzu’s pretty powerful with his gravity manipulation. How will you get past that?” Ace continued her questions.
“It’s going to be difficult. I’ll have to rely on my instant teleportation and hope I catch him off guard. But it’s Shigetzu so it’ll be hard to trick him. Maybe I’ll try combo attacks with knives too,” Ichaival answered .
“Okay, I think I have a suitable answer now,” Ruiqi rejoined the conversation.
“Perfect. Let’s hear what you have to say,” Ace said.
“Ichaival’s powers are very powerful under certain conditions. It’s hard for him to go up against opponents like Jin or Feng because of their magic. They can counter it even if they don’t know where he’ll appear. His portals are very useful for catching enemies off guard since they can be a distraction. I haven’t seen him much with his Kali sticks so I can’t say anything about that,” Ruiqi offered her perspective on the matter.
“Thank you for your input, Kaze. I’m afraid that’s all the time we have today. I would like to thank Darryl and Kaze for joining me today. In the next hour, I’ll have the person Darryl refers to as the ‘King of Bullshit’, Kisai Jin on,” Ace ended her commentary there.