Volume 13, Chapter 5-1: Walking Around Campus

Tuesday Spring Quarter 2016 Week 5

“Tomo, thanks for the notes! See you in class tomorrow!” a classmate waved goodbye to me.

I finished up chem lab and headed toward the student lounge. To my surprise, there was a sign on the student union building entrance. The entire building was closed for the day because of renovations. Where to go? The libraries were always a good option. I checked the time, still a hour and half before my next class started. I wondered where the usual gang was if this place wasn’t available today.

“Oh damn, that sucks,” Jacque said, peering at the sign.

“Where do you plan on going?” I walked with the artist toward the fountain.

“Probably back to the art building. I can finish my part of the project there. It’s gonna be amazing when I don’t have to worry about it anymore next week,” Jacque decided.

“You have any idea where everyone else might be?” I felt my phone vibrate.

“Shigetzu just might be doing lab stuff right now so probably near the engineering building. No idea about Long or Jin. I’m heading this way. See ya, Tomo!” Jacque pointed to the left.

I sat down on a bench near the fountain, reading the text message from Felicity. Oh, just a reminder about the homework. This wasn’t a bad place to hang around and the weather was pretty nice too.

“Tomo, it’s rare to see you out here,” Tess remarked, suddenly appearing next to me on the bench.

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“How-, never mind. Student lounge is closed today so I’m out here. You finished with classes, Tess?” I shielded my eyes from the sun.

“I have a session scheduled with an adviser related to my masters program in ten minutes,” Tess revealed, reading a message on her phone.

“You find anything out about what happened in the village Lilith and I went to?” I reached into my backpack for a snack.

“It’s still an ongoing investigation. However, there is evidence pointing to a third party. For now, it’s not a concern of ours. We’ll continue focusing on ultimate weapon retrievals. Ah, I must get going. Goodbye for now, Tomo,” Tess replied and departed.

Hmm, I should take advantage of the nice weather and walk around campus. During orientation, all new students received an abbreviated tour of the university, but it was rushed and didn’t allow people to really take it all in. Besides, I had time to kill anyways. I headed back up to the student lounge and walked to the left of it. From what I could recall, the building across the street was where most math and literature professors held their office hours. As I waited to cross, Zhuyu exited from the building and sped walk across the street. That was cutting it pretty close. If the math major was a little slower, it would have been a crime scene.

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“Oh, Tomo. Just left the student lounge?” he greeted me.

I was taken aback by his acknowledgment. I was sure he would ignore me and just keep walking.

“Wait, you don’t know what’s going on?” I couldn’t tell if he was messing with me.

“What do you mean by that?” he shook his head in confusion.

“The student union building is closed today. I was planning to go there earlier,” I revealed.

“Huh, that’s new. Never seen it closed before. Damn, I was going to go there too. Guess I’ll head to the library then. This sucks,” Zhuyu responded.

“Did you just go to office hours for math?” I pointed at the building.

“No, not today. I had a question about my major and went down to the basement to ask a math adviser. Luckily, it wasn’t too packed,” he replied.

“Oh yeah, the math offices are down there, aren’t they? I got lost there my first time in there. The layout is super confusing,” I remarked.

“Yeah, same thing happened to me. You’re just walking around until your next class?” he agreed, moving aside as a group of students walked past us.

“I don’t really have any assignments to catch up on so I decided to wander around. You’re going to head to the library, right?” I watched him drink from his water bottle.

“Probably, that’s where I use to go during freshman year whenever the student lounge was closed. Might actually do some reading instead of watching videos like I was planning,” he answered.

He walked off, heading in the direction of the fountain. I finally crossed the street, walking past several buildings in the northern part of the campus. Up ahead from my current location was the sports complex, where all students received free access to the gym, as well as the stadium where our sports teams played.

 I rested near the sky bridge which connected the northern part of campus with the sports complex. Only fifteen minutes passed so far. I saw Kisai in shorts down below me. He glanced upward, waving at me. How the hell did he see me up here? I had trouble even confirming it was the magic user when I looked down. Instead of taking the sky bridge, he crossed the street, and ascended a steep set of stairs.

“Why didn’t you use the bridge?” I moved my backpack so he could sit down.

“It’s faster my way. See?” Kisai pointed at the large crowd of people suddenly gathered below on the opposite side of the bridge.

“How did you even know that would happen?” I glanced at him as a university police officer directed the crowed.

“It’s just… yeah,” KIsai uttered one of his more infuriating phrases.

“How was the gym?” I pulled out a bag of crackers.

“Not bad. I’ve gone through worse with Tess though. Was planning to chill at the student lounge but it was closed. Guessing you’re doing the same,” he responded.

“Just wandering around until my next class. I already ran into Jacque and Zhuyu. You know where everyone else might be?” I dug through my backpack for more food.

“Shoot, no idea. Pretty sure I heard Shigetzu talk about doing lab work. Tess is just freakin’ everywhere, you know?” Kisai shook his head and checked his phone.

“I also ran into her. She’s meeting with an adviser about her masters stuff. You ever see anyone from Lilith’s team around campus?” I wondered if I was the only one.

“You mean Kaze? Isn’t she the only one who goes here?” Kisai glanced up from his phone.

“Bartholomew goes here too. Actually, is that it?” I went through a mental list of all the members on her side.

“Are you serious? I’ve never seen him before. Oh, gotta go Tomo!” Kisai rushed off.

If I ventured any further, there wouldn’t be enough time to get to my next class. Time to head back down. I arrived back at the fountain and headed to the right. The fancy computer science building was in this area as well as the engineering building too. Both Jacque and Kisai mentioned Shigetzut doing lab work so I assumed it was somewhere around here.

“Yuki!” Yuka called out to me, exiting the engineering building.

“Yuka, it’s been awhile since we caught up! Hold on, did you switch your major to engineering without telling me?” I teased, following her to a bench.

“Of course not! There was a seminar in there about the importance of humanities in technology dominated fields. Really interesting lecture. I’m glad I signed up for it,” Yuka revealed.

“Oh, I see you! Trying to become a big-shot, aren’t you, Yuka? As your friend, I’ll root for you to get there,” I responded.

“Yuki, you’re really energetic today. Did something good happen to you?” Yuka observed, removing her glasses and stared straight into my face.

“Not really, maybe it’s just the nice weather we’re having. I’m not that different from how I usually am, Yuka,” I denied, playfully pushing her face away.

“No, there’s definitely something going on, Yuki. You’re rarely like this,” Yuka remained suspicious.

“There’s really nothing going on, Yuka. Let’s not talk about me anymore. How are you and Champ?” I shifted the topic of conversation away from me.

“You’re not sneaky at all. But, I’ll be nice and talk about myself since you’re so interested. It’s been going pretty well. We’ve went out on a few dates to the bookstore and grabbed lunch afterwards. It’s really fun talking to him about all the books I’ve read. Plus, he’s read them too!” Yuka gushed about her time with the rookie hero.

“That’s great! If he ever does anything, make sure to tell me. He owes me a favor,” I offered.

“What did Shinji want when he talked to you?” Yuka narrowed her eyes at me.

“He wanted me to contact one of my classmates. Has he told you about him before? His name’s Bartholomew. They wanted to schedule something but Champ didn’t have his contact info,” I lied.

“Oh, I’ve seen him a few times before! Despite his looks, Bartholomew is an avid reader too,” Yuka revealed.

We chatted for ten more minutes before Yuka left for her next class. It was always nice catching up with her since we hadn’t seen each other in a couple of weeks. All this hero stuff really kept me busy. I headed away from the engineering building and went towards the southern part of campus. The physics building, biology building, and material sciences building were all in the vicinity.

I took a shortcut, arriving at the material sciences building. The exterior was plain, containing no overt signs indicating its name or purpose. Shan emerged from the basement entrance, a tired expression on his face. He saw me near the main entrance and approached me.

“Considering doing something related to forestry?” he asked, drinking from his water bottle.

“They have forestry here as an option?” I really had no idea.

“I was trying to be funny but you really don’t know, huh? Yeah, this building is home to the forestry department,” the man revealed.

“What were you doing in there then?” I questioned, walking alongside him toward the physics building.

“One of the labs I work for is in there. I got there at six in the morning and just finished up,” Shan replied, glancing at his phone.

“Damn, you’re pretty diligent, Shan. Never really thought of you that way,” I commented.

“I have to make sure my degree actually pays off and I can earn good money. I don’t mind working in labs to make that happen,” Shan explained.

“You’re right, that’s everyone’s goal. Oh, the student lounge is closed today by the way. I assumed you were heading there,” I informed him.

“Really? That’s weird. Guess I’ll just bum around somewhere else then. Is the entire student union building closed?” Shan changed direction and we passed by the biology building.

“Yep. I checked earlier. Jacque was disappointed too when he saw the the sign,” I replied.

“Guess I’ll head to the chem building. I have some stuff to take care of there. Might as well do it now,” Shan decided, heading back up.

“I’m going the other way. My next class is in that direction,” I said, walking the opposite way.

“Cool, see you later, Tomo,” Shan said, texting on his phone.

I approached the main campus boundary, buses zipping by on the busy street. No one wanted classes in the buildings located here since they were far away and it was a hassle waiting for the crosswalk lights too. People who dormed or lived in apartments were probably the only ones who didn’t care. I walked across the skybridge and was halfway across it when the environment suddenly changed. My necklace shook in response. Hold up, I did not appreciate this timing at all! Since when did artificial dimensions develop during one of my school days?

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