Volume 13, Chapter 3: Tess’ Observations

Sunday Spring Quarter 2016 Week 3

I lay in my bed, staring up at the ceiling. All my homework was finished so I had some spare time on my hands. My eyes fell on the binder Tess gave me. In addition to everyone’s contact information, it also contained her notes about them. Hmm, might be a good time to check it out. Although, I had not viewed a mind dive in quite some time. I flipped open my grimoire and checked the bookmarks. Oh that’s right, Kyoi offered me an opportunity to peek inside her memories a couple of days ago. Time to check what she had in store for me.

Memory Dive 16: Birthday Gift

Kyoi exited her car, carrying a wrapped present. She walked up the steps of a house and then rang the doorbell. The porch was familiar. Oh, Zhuyu’s house! This was interesting.

“Feng, what do you want?” Zhuyu opened the door with a tired voice.

“Don’t be so sad, Long. Just a little birthday present for you,” Kyoi responded, shaking the present box.

Zhuyu, a skeptical look appearing on his face, sighed. I know how you feel. She headed inside and then the scene shifted to a bedroom. Lined paper and two open books were on his desk. Kyoi handed her knife over to Zhuyu.

“I’m not even going to ask. Of course, you carry a knife with you all the time,” Zhuyu said, removing the wrapping and then sliced through the tape.

An eyeglass case was inside. What kind of present was that? Knowing Kyoi, it served another purpose other than storage. She was calculated. I worried the gift was a ticking time bomb, meant to toy with Zhuyu. He popped open the case, revealing a sleek pair of glasses. They were half-rimmed, black in color, with rectangular frames. I noticed a golden dragon near the screws. Chinese characters were printed on the right eyeglass temple. I didn’t recognize them, maybe the man’s name?

“These are way too fancy. Why do I need these? I already have glasses,” Zhuyu commented, pointing at a pair on his desk.

“Long, please, you’re smart. You know what they’re for,” Kyoi insisted, crossed her legs and stared at him with a grin.

Zhuyu wore the glasses, glancing at Kyoi, before removing them. Seemed like he was satisfied with them.

“They’ll suppress your powers. I also made sure that the right prescription for your eyes too,” Kyoi revealed the true purpose of the glasses.

“How… I’m gonna guess you grabbed that info from Tess. What’s the suppression percentage?” Zhuyu placed them back into the case with care.

“Around 60%. You haven’t met my projected progress. I’ll make sure you’ll get there though. Still, this is enough for you to beat most enemies. It was your birthday a few days ago, right? Isn’t it generous of me to give you such a nice gift?” Kyoi gave a pleasant smile.

“I appreciate it, Feng. If you don’t mind, I’m going to finish my homework now,” Zhuyu said, returning to the papers on his desk.

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“Ah, I’m so sad, Long. You’ll ignore me for that?” Kyoi approached the man.

“I already had enough after you beat me down two days ago,” Zhuyu replied, pointing at the bandages on his face.

“You improved though through it! Well, I’ll see you tomorrow,” Kyoi whispered into his ear, leaning in close.

Zhuyu’s expression remained flat as he accompanied her downstairs. Kyoi entered her car, no doubt satisfied. They got along pretty well despite her dangerous battle personality. Still, I couldn’t tell if Zhuyu held any romantic feelings for her.

MIND DIVE 16 END

I shut my grimoire, satisfied with the mind dive. I left my bed, flipping through the thick binder.

“Of course it’s so well made. It’s Tess after all,” I muttered, checking the table of contents.

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Let’s see here… who to start with first? I leaned back in my chair and chose Ichaival, Zhuyu, Kyoi, and Shan. After that mind dive, I was curious if Tess wrote anything about Zhuyu and Kyoi’s relationship. As for Shan and Ichaival, I was interested in Tess’ view about their partnership. Time to dive into this!

**

Name: Ichaival Darryl

Date Written: January 1st 201X

Overview: Darryl’s portal powers have reached their current potential. For further growth, he must venture into \textit{Za’ard} and retrieve his ultimate weapon. A meeting with Lyra has been scheduled to discuss this. In addition, Darryl must work on his Kali stick skills in preparation for the retrieval. A training session will be scheduled for him to do so.

Strengths: Darryl’s use of portals has improved since his battle with Bartholomew. He positions them for optimal strikes but still occasionally allows an opening for his opponents to exploit. Overall speed and movement have increased significantly since his junior and senior year of high school. This should translate well when he wields Kali sticks and practices associated movements with them.

Weaknesses: His hand-to-hand remains a concern. However, future training sessions should resolve this issue. His inactivity with Kali sticks has not translated over to his control of knives. However, this does not his knife handling skills are up to standard. They are close, but not at the appropriate level yet.

Other Comments: Fel’s infatuation with Darryl is a concern. As long as her involvement doesn’t hinder his training, then it should not be of concern. For now, I will monitor the situation. I also wish to have Darryl train with Lilith’s team members. His chemistry with Shigetzu needs no improvement. As such, Darryl will benefit by training with someone else. Bartholomew or Lionel’s agility and athletic ability are a good match-up for him. It will also allow Darryl to incorporate their style of movement into his own attacks.

**

Name: Zhuyu Long

Date Written: March 10 201X

Overview: Long experimented with his zero vector powers, working with Jin and Feng to nullify magical attacks. It proved successful but also strains his mind. However, once he recovers his \textit{Dragon’s Mandate} powers, it should lessen the required calculations and further improve it. He still is reluctant to use his sword. I have my own thoughts about why but will not speculate here about them. For now, Long is on track with his powers, but can still make improvements.

Strengths: Long has always demonstrated his tenacity, willing to put in the time. He has done so with his zero vector powers, consulting Jin and Feng as mentioned previously. It finally allowed him to deal with magical attacks, a positive. Long also has worked with Feng on increasing his stamina, allowing him to survive longer in battle and keep up with opponents.

Weaknesses: While his tenacity is commendable, it is also to his detriment. Long tends to place all his focus into one thing, ignoring other aspects that also require improvement. As such, his offense has suffered, especially his handling of a sword. His defensive maneuvers also have degraded. He suffers against powerful and resourceful enemies, who can get past his zero vector powers. He must continue to hone and relearn old moves. I will leave it to Feng to take care of these concerns.

Other Comments: I appreciate Long assisting me with archiving records and accompanying me on trips to chat with the prophets. He shows a keen interest in improving himself even though he lacks the dedication to do so at times. His so called nickname as the “Servant Dragon” may play into this. It is refreshing to see Long ask for help as it was an issue in the past. Although he prefers being in the background, I suspect once he recovers his old powers, he will be at the forefront.

**

Name: Shan Shigetzu

Date Written: February 19 201X

Overview: Shigetzu displays a level of incompetence but is working hard when no one is looking. He is taking kickboxing classes and has sampled other self-defense courses as well. Shigetzu is on track with his powers. However, he should come to the training facility more often to work on his gravity manipulation.

Strengths: Shigetzu shows good progress in his kickboxing classes, further strengthening his previous foundation. The practice will allow him to strike hard when the seal on his powers are lifted. His fundamentals are solid and he still moves around well. His cuts and jukes have improved since his high school days. These will serve Shigetzu well when fighting a more agile opponent.

Weaknesses: Shigetzu shows his rust when working with staffs and similar weapons. He’ll need to practice these to really bring out the potential for his powers. He has always displayed confidence in his skills so his lack of practice does not worry me yet. His scan powers have also weakened. While they are not crucial, it would be advantageous for everyone if he hones them. In addition, it will allow him to target wounded areas and discern potential opponent weaknesses.

Other Comments: Shigetzu has always shown up when needed. He is sharp and observant. His personality leaves a little something to be desired but he’ll support his friends. Pairing him up with Ksi from Lilith’s side should make for a good contrast. It’ll benefit them both as Ksi will learn to loosen up and Shigetzu will be training with someone more on his level.

**

Name: Kyoi Feng

Date Written: January 22nd 201X

Overview: Feng is on top of everything as always. She maintains a strong training schedule and often checks in with me at the training facility. Her dedication can be quite scary at times but it is one of her assets. Out of everyone, she acclimated back to her powers the quickest and continues tweaking them despite not being at full power. Feng will a play a crucial role, along with Yuki, when we finally face Ace.

Strengths: Feng continues to add to her repertoire of submission moves, shadowing and attending various classes. This fits her bruising fighting style and is an alternative way of finishing off enemies without resorting to her powerful magic. Her swordsmanship remains sharp as does her hand-to-hand combat.

Weaknesses: Feng’s enjoyment of battle clouds her judgment and she will make poor decisions as a result. Even if she wins, it is not an efficient victory. Still, her instincts have saved her multiple times. I wish for her to see the flow of battle as clearly as possible while maintaining her enthusiasm.

Other Comments: Feng is at her best when she controls the battle and overpowers her enemies. This is not to say she won’t succeed against a cunning opponent or one that displays greater strength than her. Because she turns the battle in her favor, despite any obstacles, that’s what makes her a formidable foe. Her continued training of Long and Zhang is also a positive.

**

Huh, I didn’t it to be so personal. I guess they were notes though so she ended up jotting down whatever came to mind. Still, this revealed a different side of Tess. Around everyone, she was detached, seeking results. These notes proved she cared about the heroes as individuals too. I was disappointed she didn’t bring up Kyoi and Zhuyu’s relationship though. But it made sense she didn’t as these pertained to their combat and not her overall evaluations of them as people. I was actually surprised she brought up Felicity in the section about Ichaival. I knew she was aware of it but didn’t know how much it really mattered to her.

“Tess, I wonder if you actually like anyone?” I thought to myself, holding my grimoire in the air.

Zhuyu did a lot of things for Tess but he wasn’t interested. At least, I didn’t think he was. Besides, Kyoi and Ruiqi were of more concern to him than the Gatekeeper. Perhaps, there was someone outside of the heroes that interested her. After all, everyone’s personality wasn’t the greatest, although it seemed she thought highly of them. I should bring this up to Felicity next time and get her opinion since she knew Tess the longest. I opened up my grimoire, searching for a particular mind dive. Damn, I couldn’t find any more bookmarks related to any of the heroes meeting Tess for the first time. Now, I was really curious about what everyone’s first reaction for that. I turned to my side, eventually falling asleep.

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