Volume 3, Chapter 4-1: An Icy Battle

Winter Break 2016 Week 2 Wednesday

“We can then calculate the potential energy,” Tess lectured, pointing at the drawing on her whiteboard.

I nodded, yawning. At least Tess arrived at a respectable time today. Writing down a few more notes, I glanced at my alarm clock. Move faster, time. It was brutal to be lectured during break. When the clock finally hit 2:00, Tess stopped. She erased everything on the whiteboard, packing up her things. Finally free!

“Tomo, I’ll give you a short quiz on all the material tomorrow,” Tess announced.

Knowing Tess, her definition of a quiz was a full blown test. Why do you test me so?

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Tess,” I said.

“Remember to study,” Tess reminded.

I debated whether or not to actually study. Was this the kind of dilemma Shan and Zhuyu faced? If I faltered now, that put me at their level. For the next three hours, I highlighted and searched up practice problems. Damn, this was really tough to maintain, but I couldn’t give up now.

When it was 7:00, I finally stopped. I gained a decent understanding of the material. Enough to hit average hopefully. Relieved, I sat down in front of my computer and saw my phone vibrate.

“Tess? Did you need something?” I asked.

“I just wanted to see check in. How’s the progress?” Tess inquired.

“Good. It’s rare for you to check up on me,” I commented.

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“I’m just curious. You will gain that 95. Good night,” Tess replied.

Way to make me feel secure, Tess. Sighing, I rested my head on the desk. Your expectations are too high. Might as well keep studying.

Winter Break 2016 Week 2 Thursday

“Good job, Tomo, you got a 75,” Tess revealed.

“Tess, are you sure? I mean, it’s a 75,” I remarked.

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“Although I usually expect a 95, this is adequate enough for you to succeed. That’s all I can ask for at the moment,” Tess explained.

“How many more days of lecturing?” I asked, stretching.

“Only one more day. I believe in you, Tomo. Are you free to head to the training facility right now?” Tess questioned.

“Yeah, who’s my opponent?” I asked, heading toward my closet.

“Shui,” Tess replied.

“Shui, huh? I hope you didn’t rig it like my match with En. He had two different powers,” I said.

“The match with Zhang was a good simulation when facing an opponent you lack information on. Enemies may have hidden talents or powers. I can’t stress how much that possibility exists when entering a different dimension,” Tess admonished, giving me a scary stare.

“I got it, Tess. I’ll keep that in mind,” I stuttered.

“Let’s depart then,” Tess decided.

I noticed a van and red SUV outside of the training facility. Pulling out my card, I tapped it on the card reader and saw a green light blink. Pushing down on the door handle, I opened the door. Someone unexpected sat at the front desk, normally unoccupied.

“Tomo, welcome. How are you today?” Ruiqi greeted me.

“Fine, why are you here?” I asked, looking around.

“Tess requested my assistance with your evaluation today,” she explained.

“Kaze, thanks for coming,” Tess said.

“No problem. I’m interested in seeing how Tomo develops. Her power intrigues me,” Ruiqi remarked, giving me a friendly smile.

I expected to see Zhuyu but he was not present. Instead, I saw Kyoi. She trained in the corner, striking targets with a wooden sword. Noticing us, she gave a wave and continued her training.

“Is Kyoi here often?” I asked, watching the woman practice.

“When she’s free,” Tess replied.

“I wish I still had my powers. I would love to fight her again. She was a formidable opponent,” Ruiqi revealed, a wistful look on her face.

“What rank were you?” I asked, looking at the older woman.

“Third, the spot Jin occupies now,” she answered.

“You must have been pretty strong,” I remarked.

“Sort of? Those were different times. Tess, are we ready?” she said.

Shui walked over, greeting us. This conversation flowed much better than the one with En. Shui was adept at speaking with people, similar to Kisai.

“Proceed to the center. Don’t be too hard on Tomo,” Tess advised.

Ruiqi stood next to Tess, glancing at her tablet. Tess then handed her tablet over. Ruiqi scribbled at a frantic pace, pointing at the screen with a motion similar to a coach. Tess nodded, a thoughtful look on her face. Please let it not be something painful. They wouldn’t do that to me, right?

“Tomo, this artificial dimension will be a little different,” Tess admonished.

What exactly did she mean? There wasn’t enough time to dwell on it. Puddles of water filled the area. I glanced around, seeing stumps and withered trees. Water, huh? If I recalled, Shui manipulated water. I copied En’s power the other day so this battle should be a cinch.

“Alright, Shui, show me your best!” I yelled, feeling confident.

I charged toward him with my sword. Channeling electricity through the blade, I went in for a fatal blow. However, something solid blocked my blade. A large wall of ice appeared, shielding him. He manipulated the phases of water. Pulling back, I formulated another attack plan.

I bypassed his ice wall using a portal. Shui jumped back as I neared him. Good, things were proceeding as planned. As I predicted, he formed another ice wall. Placing portals above him, I directed multiple blades through them. The man noticed, splashing water on them.

With a wave of his hands, my blades crashed down to the ground. He froze my blades, stopping them. I then stepped into a puddle of water. Ice encased my legs and more traveled up my entire body. Shui generated a large wave of water in the air. Icicles formed in the air, traveling straight for me. I failed to escape and the icicles struck me.

Wait, I was dumb. Placing portals underneath my feet, I focused. Yes, this would work. The ice vanished and I was free to move again. Avoiding the barrage of icicles, I reached Shui, slashing him across the right shoulder. Alright,  I was feeling it now.

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