Volume 2, Prelude: Recovery

Saturday Night Autumn Quarter 2015 Week 8

Tess adjusted the multiple screens on her desk as the video call went through. On her left screen, an article ready for publication in an academic journal was pulled up. In the middle screen, participants of the video call were listed. And on the right screen, various pictures of different graphs were lined up side by side.

“We’re here to talk about Tomo, right?” Zhuyu’s voice came through Tess’ surround sound.

“Yes, that is correct. I would like to hear your opinion about what you think of her mental state at the moment,” Tess nodded, grabbing a thick book from a nearby shelf.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if she decides not to have anything to do with us. It’s tough, especially after what she saw. Have you checked up on her?” Shan remarked, the sound of a dog barking audible in his background.

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“Yeah. We definitely shouldn’t force anything. She needs to take as much time as she needs,” Ichaival agreed with his friend’s assessment.

“I have spoken with her parents and she seems to be coping relatively well. She has taken a temporary leave of absence from the university. I believe she has ample time to grieve. Shigetzu, are you volunteering to check up on Yuki given your concern?” Tess questioned.

“Not really, we don’t really know her that well. Last thing she needs right now is some stranger barging in. What about Felicity? She trusts her more than any of us right now,” Shan declined.

“Maybe we can do something to cheer her up when she’s ready?” Shui suggested.

“Something to be considered, yes. The more important question for everyone is, are you ready to commit once more?” Tess posed a serious question.

There was silence after Tess finished speaking. While she waited for everyone’s response, the woman thumbed through the textbook, searching for where she last left off.

“You’ll probably force us even if we disagree, right? I’m always ready to hunt more prey again, count me in,” Kyoi spoke for the first time.

“A request from you, Tess, how can we refuse? But being serious, we better finish what we started. Can’t be dying because we didn’t do anything,” Shan said in response.

“Shigetzu’s right. If the Traveler is really out there again, we better clean up this mess fast before anything gets out of hand. Although, it’ll be a pain to start using powers regularly again,” Zhuyu agreed.

“You scared, Long?” Kyoi questioned.

“Yeah, a little bit. It’s been awhile since we’ve done anything. Enemies aren’t going to get weaker, that’s just wishful thinking,” Zhuyu admitted.

“Gotta agree with Long on this one. Not saying we can’t do it, but it’ll be harder than when we first started,” Ichaival said.

“Really? We have more free time than when we were in high school. Well, depending on what you do, of course, Darryl,” Shan insulted his friend.

“The heck, Shigetzu?” Ichaival responded.

“Back to the main point, I personally will be willing to come back. What about you, Tess?” Zhuyu asked.

The Gatekeeper placed her book down, a thoughtful expression on her face. Her role as the leader and the responsibility as the overseer of different dimensions forced the woman to do something. Yet, there existed the slim chance she would abandon them.

“As the Gatekeeper, I have a duty to fulfill. Don’t misconstrue that as the only factor. I always seek data and getting an opportunity to view everyone in action again, that’s hard to pass up,” Tess answered, the faintest of smiles on her face.

“Well said, Tess. That’s why you’re the leader,” Kyoi chuckled.

“Oh crap, I’m late to the call. What have you been talking about?” Kisai joined the conversation.

“That’s about everything we’ve covered so far,” Tess updated the man.

“Hmm, I’m down for it. Good workout too,” Kisai said.

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“Everyone is in agreement then to come back. Of course, those not on the call will have to give their consent as well. But I believe the majority will echo what I’ve heard here today,” Tess decided.

“What happens if Tomo declines?” Zhuyu asked.

“Then it’ll be as before. Having Tomo Yuki as an ally would be beneficial but not necessary. Although, I am curious about her powers,” Tess replied.

“Fair enough,” Zhuyu said, not pursuing the matter.

“It’s hard to say with her. Having your friend die in front of you isn’t exactly the best recruitment tactic. But, she might want revenge and that’s pretty powerful,” Shan inferred.

“True,” Ichaival agreed.

“Whatever she decides, she’ll have to live with it. That’s not necessarily an easy thing to do if she makes the wrong choice. I’m not advocating a choice for her of course. She has to be comfortable with the decision. Have you spoken to anyone besides her parents?” Kyoi inquired.

“Yes, I’ve spoken to Fel who has seen her a few times. Fel said Tomo seems to be taking everything in stride. Either she really is coping or she’s gone off the deep end. I’ll step in to intervene if necessary. But for now, I’ll keep on monitoring,” Tess revealed.

She went over logistics afterwards with those present on the call. The Gatekeeper also revealed once Tomo Yuki was ready, a meeting would be held with all the heroes.

“Hey, wanna play Monster Slayer after this?” Shan asked Zhuyu.

“Sure, I’ll see if En can join too,” Zhuyu agreed.

“Monster Slayer sucks,” Kisai said in a flat voice.

Shan disconnected from the call after Kisai’s statement, not bothering to respond. Soon after, everyone departed as well. Tess exited out of the video call and then opened up a program with lines of code. She moved her finger down the book from before and started typing.

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