Volume 4, Chapter 3-2: The Battlefield

“The bus is here, Tomo. Let’s go,” Tess shook my shoulders.

“How many stops until we get there?” I asked, following the Gatekeeper to the middle section.

“I never counted. From what I can recall, it’s around twelve stops,” Tess replied.

Oh, how rare. Tess usually was very observant. Out of habit, I placed my hands down expecting to pull out my phone. I slapped the edge of my skirt instead. Crap, I forgot. Tess tapped my shoulders when it was time to get off. I saw a tall building with at least thirty floors. Tess led us inside and we waited as she spoke to the receptionist.

“Let’s go up,” Tess reported.

Getting off on the twentieth floor, I saw portraits of people hanging along the hallway. The floor gleamed with a sparkle that only constant maintenance provided. We stopped in front of an automatic sliding glass door. Tess entered, beckoning for us to follow.

“What the hell is this place?” I said, looking around.

It was a spacious area with an observatory located at the top. There were thick walls enclosing a large space with stadium style seating located behind the walls. A man in his mid twenties and a woman in her early twenties walked out of a tunnel located on the east side.

“Tess, it’s a pleasure to see you again,” the man greeted.

“How is everyone doing?” the woman asked.

Tess and the others updated the two people about current events. The man nodded with a concerned look on his face.

“That is indeed a major issue. We haven’t seen anything on our end. But, we’ll help you as much as possible,” the man said.

“Tomo Yuki, nice to meet you. I’m Emily Y and this is my husband, Shane Z. We conduct research on the heroes you’ve heard so much about. Although that wasn’t our first job. We were heroes ourselves,” she introduced.

“I see. Will you be the opponents for the double battle exhibition today?” I asked.

“That is correct. Go easy on us okay?” Shane said with a smile.

The married couple wore white lab coats dropping down below their knees. Shane’s black hair was gelled up, stubbles dotting his face. Emily had chestnut colored hair with a single braid on the right side of her head. It dropped below her shoulders and I saw two tiny cat ornaments on the left side.

“So who will be facing us?” Shane asked, taking off his white lab coat.

“Long and Darryl will be your opponents for today,” Tess replied.

“Ah, an interesting pair. Long is a reliable partner for almost anyone. Okay, Emily, you ready?” Shane remarked, glancing over at his wife.

“Of course,” Emily nodded.

Shane was well built. I expected him to be scrawny but he looked pretty intimidating. Emily looked strong too. Zhuyu and Ichaival stepped up to the center where they greeted the two.

“So who do you think will win?” I asked Kisai.

“I think Long and Darryl are gonna get their asses kicked,” Kisai replied.

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I couldn’t quite tell if he was joking. Zhuyu spoke to Ichaival, moving his hands around. Actually, why did I even ask Kisai? There was a much better option available if I wanted to know their chances of winning. By now, everyone else except for Zhuyu and Ichaival sat in the front seats, observing the fight. I headed toward Shan, most reliable for anything related to the false archer.

“Shan, what do you think about this fight?” I asked, taking a seat near him.

“Might be pretty bad for them. Despite their appearances, Shane and Emily are pretty good. And Long and Darryl aren’t exactly at 100\%,” Shan replied.

“And what are those two’s powers exactly?” I questioned, watching the participants prepare.

“The power of analysis,” Shan grinned at me.

“Really?” I glared at Shan.

“Okay, okay, it’s the power to change the environment. I think you’ll get more out of it if you just watch,” Shan revealed.

“Just out of curiosity, if Zhuyu and Ichaival lose, what does that mean?” I asked.

“Punishment from Tess,” Shan replied.

I knew Ichaival was a lower tier hero but that didn’t mean he couldn’t beat them. After all, he was partnered up with a former high ranking hero. However, Shan’s words bothered me a bit. He mentioned both Zhuyu and Ichaival weren’t at full health. Why did Tess pick them if that was the case? She had more talented options available. I couldn’t tell what she was thinking.

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