Volume 4, Chapter 1: Starting Point

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Winter Break 2016 Week 2 Sunday

“Good morning, Tess. Let me guess, we’re training today?” I predicted.

“Yes, we’ll finally embark into a different dimension. You’re ready now. I also want you to witness a tag team battle today. It should be enlightening,” Tess answered.

“Alright. I’ll be waiting for you then,” I said.

I headed upstairs to change clothes. Today was the perfect day to wear Felicity’s gift. Around eleven, my phone vibrated. When I entered Tess’ car, she stared at her phone with a serious look.

“I apologize, Tomo. I’m receiving reports about Ace. We are not at the point where we can fight her yet. Today will be the first step in reaching that goal,” Tess said, checking her rearview mirror.

“So which dimension are we exactly going into?” I asked.

“I’ll leave it as a surprise,” Tess replied, flicking the signal on for a right turn.

“Will Lilith and the others be there too?” I questioned.

“Possibly but don’t worry too much about it. With Kaze’s assistance, the situation should be under control. If hostilities do occur, then so be it,” Tess answered with a serious tone.

“Tess, how can you be so calm?” I asked, looking out the window.

“If Lilith and her group retaliate, then we respond back. I would prefer that we do not have to fight though,” Tess replied.

Tess’ sentiments made sense. Fighting required energy and Tess rather use it at a more appropriate time. Wait a minute, we were heading to Felicity’s secondary house. I assumed our destination was the training facility.

“We’re here, Tomo. Take a seat inside and relax for awhile. We won’t actually start until twelve thirty,” Tess revealed, parking in front of the house.

“Why are we here so early then?” I asked, checking the time on my phone.

“I need to prepare a few things. Don’t worry, just talk with everyone. I’m sure they can answer any questions you might have,” Tess recommended.

This was a good chance to get to know everyone. If we were going to dive into dimensions, I would feel safer knowing they had my back. Who to start with first?

Zhuyu and En sat on a couch, playing something on their portable gaming systems. Kisai watched basketball on the TV, glancing down at his phone every few seconds. Shan tapped his phone screen, no doubt playing a game. Ichaival wore a pair of black headphones, staring out the window.

Everyone appeared preoccupied with something and I didn’t exactly want to interrupt. Surveying the room one more time, I settled on Kisai. There was a commercial break so this was an opportune time.

“Kisai, hey,” I greeted.

“Hey, Tomo. How have you been?” Kisai responded.

“Alright. I had a few questions for you. Sorry to bother you when you’re watching something,” I said.

“Nah, don’t worry. I’ll watch the highlights later. I can give you the answer for anything you might want to know,” Kisai assured me, turning down the volume.

“Tess didn’t really tell me anything about where we’re going. What kind of place is it?” I asked, sitting down on a nearby recliner.

“A lot like our world. Pretty modern and their technology is ahead of ours. You’ll have an easy time getting used to it,” Kisai answered.

“What about the people living there?” I continued.

“About the same as ours. No weird stuff, it’ll make more sense when you’re there,” Kisai answered.

“Got it, thanks. I’ll ask around and see what everyone else thinks,” I decided.

“You sure? Don’t worry about bothering me. I can watch the game and talk at the same time,” Kisai asked.

“I’ll be back if I have any other questions,” I replied.

A good start. Kisai’s answers provided a basic foundation for what this dimension was all about. Alright, let’s talk with Shan and Ichaival next.

“Tomo, how are you doing today?” Ichaival greeted.

“Pretty good. I had a few questions for you guys about where we’re going,” I replied.

“Oh yeah, we can answer them. Right, Shigetzu?” Ichaival nodded.

“Sure, what do you want to know?” Shan replied, glancing up from his phone.

Shan’s phone displayed a 10×10 box of different colored jewels with sprites moving around at the top. Of course he would be playing a game right now.

“What do you guys usually at this place?” I asked for details.

“Tess gets pretty good information about what’s going on in other places there. I usually just fall asleep when she’s doing that,” Shan revealed.

“Yeah, a lot of waiting. Uh, you’ll know what I mean when we get there,” Ichaival answered.

“How often do you run into Lilith and the others there?” I asked.

“I’ve never seen them there,” Shan replied, tapping his screen faster.

“I thought Lilith would pursue you like crazy after what I saw last time,” I remarked.

“She has a code to uphold. No reason for her to cause any unwanted trouble,” Shan explained.

“Thanks for the info, guys. I’ll see what Zhuyu has to say,” I said, settling on my next target.

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“Were we helpful?” Ichaival asked.

“Yeah,” I answered, unclear why he wanted to know.

Zhuyu glanced up when he saw me approaching. He gave me a critical look. Was there something on my face? His expression reverted back to a serious look immediately.

“Zhuyu, you have some time right now?” I asked.

“Yeah. Did you need something?” he replied.

“Just a few questions about where we were going,” I answered.

“Go ahead,” he said.

“How big is the place?” I inquired.

“That’s kind of hard to say. There’s a lot of different areas we don’t go to. In terms of size, I guess, maybe California? Like I said, it’s hard to tell when we’re limited,” Zhuyu replied.

“What do you mean by limited?” I found his choice of words interesting.

“There are places we can’t access. How do I phrase this? Tomo, how familiar are you with RPG’s?” Zhuyu asked.

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“Enough to understand whatever weird analogy you’ll use,” I answered.

“In RPG’s, there are invisible walls. Restrictions on where you can go because of story or you reached the edge of the game world since it can be only so big. It’s sort of like that. If you prefer a more real life example, I can give you one,” Zhuyu explained.

“I understand what you mean. Let me guess, you don’t know why this happens,” I hypothesized.

“No, there’s a pretty simple reason,” Zhuyu said, debunking my theory.

I expected a vague answer, pretty surprising for it not to be. Could it have something to do with the prophecies mentioned in the introductory slides Zhuyu and Shan showed me?

“Okay, I thought about it. What’s the answer?” I requested.

“It’s enforcement for the heroes. Keeps us in check so we aren’t wandering off somewhere random. Now there are some exceptions and exploitations. I’ll tell you about that another time. Tess probably isn’t too keen for me to spoil that yet,” Zhuyu elaborated.

“Interesting,” I nodded, intrigued by Zhuyu’s explanation.

The front door suddenly opened. Shui walked in, wearing a brown vest with a broad orange stripe above the chest area. He greeted everyone and took a seat next to Kisai.

“Everyone is almost here. Long, where’s Feng?” Tess said, looking over at him.

“I don’t know. She does whatever she wants. I’m sure you’re used to that by now,” he replied, shaking his head.

“It’s not essential she’s present. Let’s proceed without her. I’m sure she’ll find her way there eventually,” Tess decided.

I followed everyone upstairs. Tess opened the rightmost door, revealing nothing but cardboard boxes inside.

“Is the entrance in here?” I asked, looking around and inspecting the boxes.

“Yes. Just move the boxes away from that wall over there and you’ll find it,” Tess answered.

Zhuyu took down the boxes stacked on top of each other, shoving them away from the wall. I expected a door or at least maybe a hole. But, it was just a plain white wall. Were they just messing with me now?

“Go ahead, Tess,” Zhuyu said, stepping away from the cleared spot.

Tess placed her hand on the wall and a silhouette of a door appeared. A faint light outlined the shape of it. I tested it out, finding my hand go through the wall.

“Tomo, go ahead. We’ll be behind you,” Tess ordered.

I didn’t want to go first. It’s not like anything dangerous could happen, right? Stepping through the outline, I developed a slight headache. I found myself in a room with a bunch of boxes. Wait, was this just the same room?

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