Volume 12, Chapter 3-1: Champ’s New Power

Friday Spring Quarter 2016 Week 1

“Why are the averages so high? Doesn’t look good for my grades,” I questioned, staring at Zhuyu’s laptop screen.

“That’s why the professor doesn’t matter as much. The material is easier to grasp, at least in my opinion. Midterm scores are usually in the mid 80’s,” Zhuyu explained.

“That’s way too high,” I remarked.

“The material isn’t too bad though,” Zhuyu assured me, flipping to the front of his math textbook.

Wait, wasn’t that the same textbook for for my class? I knew for sure he was in an upper level math class.

“Isn’t that the same book I’m using for Calc III?” I pointed at the cover.

“Oh yeah, it is. I’m reviewing material from advanced multivariable calculus. That class uses the last two chapters of this book,” Zhuyu revealed.

“Only two chapters for one quarter?” I stared at the man in surprise.

“There’s a lot of material. The last chapter contains proofs and there’s one section that took an entire lecture week. It’s amazing how much we covered in those ten weeks,” Zhuyu answered.

“Yo Long, I got that picture done. Check it out,” Jacque informed him, showing a page in his sketchbook.

“Nice job, Jacque! You don’t need to color it,” Zhuyu complimented.

“Oh good, I suck at coloring. You remember the lantern? My marker skills were s***,” Jacque said.

“Yeah, it’s hard to make it look sharp without making edits. I trust in you Jacque, you’ll get it done, sooner or later,” Zhuyu paused before adding on to the end of his statement.

“Bro, I always do,” Jacque pointed out.

I worked on my chemistry homework and realized I was missing my textbook. Shan was working in the lab. Kisai still had class. I could ask Zhuyu but he was more math orientated. Felicity waltzed in with a large smile as I checked online for resources.

“Hello everyone!” she greeted.

“Hey, Felicity. What happened? You’re really upbeat today,” Jacque noticed, staring at his laptop.

“I brokered a big deal with one of Jessica’s branch companies. It’ll really help out with the clothing distribution here,” Felicity announced.

“I thought you already had a deal with her,” I recalled.

“That was with her main company, but this one concerns the actual transportation business she manages too. Now I don’t have to worry about shipments being late. It’s a good deal for everyone!” Felicity explained.

“Sounds great. Hey, did you bring your chem textbook today?” I asked.

“Here you go!” Felicity handed her copy over to me.

“Thanks,” I said, flipping to the index.

“Where’s everyone today?” Felicity glanced around the table.

“Shan’s helping with research in the lab. Kisai’s in one of his bio classes and Kristoph is too,” Zhuyu listed.

A few minutes later, Tai walked in. He carried a large poster roll up. The man wore a zipped up sports sweater, containing the football team logo on the right side. His hair was slicked up as usual.

“Where’s everyone?” Tai sat next to Zhuyu.

“Class,” Zhuyu answered.

“F***, really? It’s only the first week. Jacque, you see the project our professor assigned?” Tai put on his wireless earphones.

“Yeah, I only skimmed through it. We have to go to an art museum,” Jacque replied.

“Sucks we have to go to this specific one. Jacque, wanna come with me?” Tai inquired.

“Yeah, when’s it due again?” Jacque asked.

“Let me look it up,” Tai answered, checking his phone.

Everyone worked on their homework, a rarity for this group, and I didn’t get distracted by their conversations. I usually ended up listening in despite them discussing a topic which didn’t concern me. Today, there wasn’t much chatter. Maybe it was the absence of Shan. Then again, the artist spent most of his time chatting with other people. It was amazing he stayed on task.

“Jacque, is that your list? Looks shorter than last time,” Zhuyu peeked over at his screen.

“I had to put it together again after losing my original when my computer crashed. Still trying to find everything again. It’s freakin’ hard since I don’t remember which chapters I left off on,” Jacque replied, typing on his keyboard.

“That’s why you make an account and bookmark everything,” Zhuyu pointed out.

“I probably should but that takes effort,” Jacque laughed.

“You should add this one….,” Zhuyu said, pointing at his screen.

Damn, their conversation distracted me. It was always these mundane ones sidetracking me. I searched for my earphones and plugged them into my phone. Classes finally ended and I waited at the bus stop. At least, I finished most of my homework. Listening to music tuned everyone out at the table, which helped a lot. Still, I was interested in some of their topics though.

“Tomo, Tess said she wanted you to train later,” Jen informed me, walking up.

“At the training facility?” I questioned, checking for any unread messages.

Guess I knew what I was doing tonight. I chatted with Jen before she transferred to a different bus. Everyone’s injuries appeared much better than before. A good sign if Tess wanted us to make progress.

“What’s going on?” I questioned, arriving at the training facility.

“You’ll head into Feng’s affiliated dimension so Champ can test his new powers. Jacque will join as well. I will divert Bartholomew and Darryl from their current mission to assist if necessary. n as support. The area is a mountainous terrain with potential landslide threats,” Tess informed me.

“Champ’s still using crutches, right?” I questioned.

“He’s walking with a boot on and doesn’t require them anymore. He will be support. I leave the main offensive responsibilities to you. Jacque will assist of course,” Tess answered.

“I don’t know, Tess. Champ will have a hard time walking around. Are you sure about this?” I glanced over at the man.

“He can take care of himself,” Tess dismissed my concerns.

“If you say so, Tess. Everyone ready?” I questioned.

“I’ve prepared the necessary equipment for you as well,” Tess answered before seeing us off.

Pitfall Peak

“It’s freezing here,” Jacque commented, shivering as he put on his coat.

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“I didn’t expect this,” I agreed, doing the same.

“Does Tess have it in for me? This is the first time I’m using my powers and we end up training in this locale?” Champ sighed, his coat already on.

“Tess said you can handle it,” I said, seeing my breath.

“I understand. She has her reasons or this is just a punishment,” Champ responded.

There wasn’t snow but it was cold enough for it. Champ hobbled along the uneven ground, steadying himself with a nearby wall. Jacque stared at the map Tess provided.

“Hey, weren’t we just here?” he shouted, the blowing wind making it hard for us to communicate.

“Really?” I yelled back.

“Yeah, I looked at the map and I swore we passed by that rock earlier,” Jacque nodded, pointing at the landmark.

“We did just pass by here. Hold on, I see something ahead!” Champ pointed to our right.

The three of us approached a cave. I peered in with caution. Nothing but darkness.

“Should we head in?” Jacque asked, holding a small candle.

“Is that even bright enough?” I saw the flame extinguished.

“I drew a torch but this was what I got,” Jacque said.

“The map says we’re heading in the right direction,” Champ said, peering at the map.

I lit Jacque’s candle and we headed in. The artist’s creation was comparable to a heavy duty flashlight. I checked for potential traps but didn’t see any. We stopped after hearing noises and continued on, arriving at a narrow opening. Light flooded through from it. Champ stared at the map again and motioned for us to move aside.

“What is it?” I whispered.

“This is the place. Some kind of bandit hideout. She wants us to exterminate their camp,” Champ answered.

“Do you think we can fit in?” I questioned.

“Let’s try,” Champ said, sticking his head through.

“No good, huh? And we don’t want to make any loud noises either,” Jacque pondered.

“Hold on, I can use my powers,” Champ realized and took off his glasses.

The opening grew wider and we sneaked in. Below us, some bandits were sleeping while others sharpened their blades. I noticed one of them pounding at metal, near a burning forge in the back.

“How do you want to handle them?” Champ inquired.

“Sneak attack but I can’t see how many there are,” I replied.

“I have an idea, Tomo. What’s the maximum amount of people you can take on?” Champ hung his glasses on his shirt collar.

“Five, maybe six. What’s your plan?” I counted the number of visible enemies.

“Get down there and I’ll make their weapons ineffective. Trust me!” the man said.

“If anything happens to me, I will be sure to kick your ass too,” I threatened him.

“We got your back!” Jacque assured me.

“You better,” I sighed, leaping down with my sword.

The bandits all glared at me, weapons raised. They shone with a glint. I could tell their blades were just manufactured, probably from the guy back there. Four men inched closer to me, brandishing their swords. All of a sudden, their blades turned into rusted pieces of metal and dulled. I capitalized, clearing them all out. Only the presumed blacksmith remained.

“You got some mighty fine magic helping you. I’m already onto you. Swords don’t work, right? I guess this will do,” the blacksmith declared, turning around and fired multiple shots at me.

I nullified the first three with Zhuyu’s powers but the last one struck my shoulder. Crap, that was magical infused projectile. The blacksmith, despite his large size, sped towards me.

“What are you here for? On a mission from the government or something?” the man shouted, firing off more rounds.

I tapped my foot and a portal transported away all the bullets. He paused and then pulled out a second gun. I dove into a portal and returned back to my original location. Jacque hurled a Chinese firecracker at our man. Consecutive loud pops occurred but the item inflicted no actual damage. I predicted it might fail and leaped down again, striking him in the face with a dropkick. I stole his weapon via a portal and struck him in the head with it. I motioned upwards, signaling to the two men that it was safe.

The area suddenly became filled with light and armed men descended into the area. They all aimed their rifles at me. What the hell was this? All of them wore tactical gear, faces hidden underneath goggles and face masks.

“Oh, it’s Tomo Yuki. Tess must have sent you,” a woman said, approaching me.

Former Princess Fei. She wore a fur winter coat, hair tied back in a ponytail. Tess must have known ahead of time if she assigned this place to us.

“Thank you for clearing out this small camp, one less area for me to deal with. I’ll take this man into custody. He’s a wanted blacksmith, known for enhanced, illegal weapons,” Fei said, ordering her troops to seize him.

“Tess sent us here for training,” I informed her.

“I suspected as much. Be careful though. There are much stronger bandits,” Fei warned before leaving.

“We’re done then? It wasn’t so bad,” Jacque commented.

“I guess,” I responded.

An exit portal appeared. monitors. We entered and returned to the training facility. Tess wheeled in a whiteboard and pasted papers onto it.

“How were your powers, Champ?” Tess drew lines connecting the various papers.

“I’m still learning about potential restrictions,” Champ answered, opening up a notepad program on his phone.

“I’ll work with Lilith and locate an Artifact to release your true potential. Good work out there. It may have been a short excursion but it was still good practice,” Tess reminded before dismissing us for the day.

Sunday Spring Quarter 2016 Week 1

“That was way too close,” I panted.

“We made it out somehow. You did a great job out there Yuki!” Jen said.

Tess sent us on a reconnaissance mission. She failed to mention our targets carried large amounts of explosives. After defeating them, they set off their bombs, causing the entire place to collapse. We barely escaped.

Upon our return, I saw Tess sparring with Kyoi. The woman cornered her, but Tess countered, flipping the blade user onto the ground. Tess pointed the edge of her wooden blade at Kyoi’s neck.

“Can’t get anything past you!” Kyoi laughed, standing back up.

“It nearly fooled me. How is the progress?” Tess questioned.

“Not quite there yet. I have a few leads. Long and Zhang are working with Xi to follow them but came up empty,” Kyoi responded, wiping the sweat off her forehead.

“I see. Thank you for practicing with me, Feng,” Tess said.

“No problem, I should be honored you even asked. See you next time,” Kyoi stated, leaving through the back exit.

“You’ve obtained the information. Good job,” Tess congratulated, walking over to us.

“You forgot to tell us about the explosion part, Tess,” I said.

“It wasn’t mentioned in the reports. I’ll have to update my information. You’re free to go. I don’t have anything more for you,” Tess dismissed us.

Jen and I headed to the locker room, changing afterwards. I heard a vibration and glanced at my phone. Jen picked up her phone, pointing at it.

“Yuki, are you free?” Jen inquired.

“I didn’t have anything planned,” I replied.

“Would you want to join me today at a community center for volunteering?” Jen asked.

“Where is it at? I’m okay with helping you out for a few hours,” I agreed.

“It’s near where Darryl lives. He’ll be there too. We’re going to help decorate the place for a birthday party,” Jen revealed.

Ichaival, huh? I hadn’t seen him since the joint meeting between all the heroes. Might be a good idea to catch up and check in. Jen texted me the address and I drove over.

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