Volume 5, Chapter 6-1: Buying Those Pesky Textbooks

Winter Break 2016 Week 3 Saturday

I woke up and felt terrible. Did entering dimensions cause this much pain or was this from using my powers? Probably the latter.

In the bathroom, I stared at the mirror, noticing my eyes droop down. I wiped my face and checked the mirror again. Okay, better. I headed downstairs, expecting Yukie at the dining room table, but saw no one. No note in sight either.

“What to eat, what to eat?” I muttered, searching the fridge for suitable food.

I took out noodles, microwaving them, and checked my phone. A message from Felicity. She asked how I felt and I responded with an “okay”. My phone vibrated right away. Felicity wanted to go get textbooks today.

“I hope I don’t collapse,” I murmured after agreeing to accompany her.

I informed Yukie about my plans and she responded with her usual pleasant smile. I performed stretches while waiting for Felicity, in hopes of relieving my pain. Still tight, but better than before. After awhile, there was a beep outside. Time to head out.

Felicity wore a festive ribbon in her hair today. I thought she only wore such accessories for special occasions. She stared at me for a long time before departing. This was getting uncomfortable.

“Something wrong, Felicity?” I asked, avoiding eye contact with her.

“You’re really tired. Was it training with Tess?” she finally said.

“Something like that. My body still hurts,” I nodded.

“I can ask Tess to lay off the intense training. It won’t be good if you’re like that during school. Leave it to me! I’ll get everything settled,” Felicity assured me with her dazzling smile.

“Thanks for the concern. What classes are you taking this quarter?” I asked, curious about Felicity’s upcoming schedule.

“Taking a finance class. There’s also, let me think, that’s right! I’m also finally taking a science class. I’ll be seeing you in chemistry!” Felicity responded.

“What’s your major, Felicity? I’ve never asked though we’ve known each other for awhile,” I realized.

“I want to do something in my parent’s company. I’ve looked into business, but I have interest in the sciences too. Well, I still have time to think about it. What about you, Yuki?” Felicity answered, entering the freeway.

“No idea,” I admitted.

“No problem. You’re still a freshman, but you should start considering options. Sorry if this brings back any bad memories, but what was Ichizen planning to do?” Felicity brought up, switching lanes.

I actually didn’t know. Ichizen never really talked to me about school stuff, unless he wanted help. But, knowing him, he probably desired an easy major.

“He always kind of barely scraped by. Probably wanted to do something with writing since that was the only thing he was decent at,” I replied.

“Do you know how much your textbooks will cost this quarter yet?” Felicity asked, exiting the freeway.

“Should check right now,” I said, pulling out my phone.

I scrolled down to my classes page. Five books to buy. Clicking on the university book page, I inputted the books listed, inspecting the estimated price.

“Around 250,” I reported.

“Not too bad,” Felicity commented.

After finding street parking, we headed toward the university bookstore. Holding my right hand up to block the sunlight, I noticed a familiar face walking toward us.

“Shan?” I called out to the tall man.

“Hey, what are you guys doing out here on a weekend?” he greeted.

“It’s been awhile since we’ve last met. Are you here for textbooks too?” Felicity questioned.

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“Nah, I have some lab work to take care of. I’m on my lunch break right now. I should probably check when I get back home,” Shan revealed.

“Lab work?” I asked, surprised by his response.

“Yeah, I work at one of the university labs. They needed someone to maintain the equipment since the main researcher was out of town,” Shan replied.

Judging Shan purely on his behavior at school, I didn’t think he was that motivated. Then again, he was in a pretty tough major, so he had to have some skill. Guess I learned something new about the heroes everyday.

“Do you need to go now?” Felicity asked.

“I still have time left before heading back. Tomo, I heard from Tess and Long about your fight,” Shan replied.

“Good or bad things?” I questioned.

“Everyone’s first fight can’t be glorious. You got experience though, so I’m counting on you to carry Darryl,” Shan responded, giving a small smirk.

“Wait a minute, why do I have to carry when you can do it?” I realized.

“Nah, I’m sure Darryl will appreciate it more if you do it. He doesn’t need my help, but you will be perfect for it,” Shan elaborated.

“I don’t really get it,” I gave up, having no clever retort.

Shan left after a few more minutes of conversation. Felicity and I continued our walk to the bookstore. Inside, I pulled up my list of textbooks again, searching for them. Despite it being Saturday, there was a sizable amount of people inside. Felicity returned to my side after ten minutes, carrying two books in her hand.

“Did you manage to find the chemistry lab book yet?” she asked, glancing at the top bookshelf.

“Yeah, they’re over there. I’m searching for the chem textbook right now,” I pointed at a nearby shelf.

Felicity and I bought the books we needed, depositing them in the trunk of her car. Felicity checked the parking meter, suggesting we grab lunch since there was still time left.

“Sure. I feel hungry right now,” I agreed.

“What do you feel like eating? There’s a bunch of options. Excuse me, looks like I’m getting a call from someone,” Felicity said, stepping away.

I pulled out my phone, noticing a text message notification. From Tess? Damn, I hoped she didn’t want to train right now. No, it was a warning about Ace being near me. Why now of all times? I requested backup, immediately on alert.

“Okay, I understand. I’ll be sure to check into it when I get home,” Felicity said in the distance.

Tess responded no one was free in my immediate area. Shan was definitely nearby, but busy. I was not looking forward to engaging in combat with Ace.

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“Sorry about that, Yuki. Did you figure out where you want to go?” Felicity inquired.

“I don’t know the area too well, so you should decide. I’m fine with anything you think is good,” I replied, more concerned about Ace.

Someone walked up to me. Ace stared at me with her intense eyes, but said nothing. Alright, we weren’t in a dimension, so she couldn’t inflict any serious damage. Unless she could create artificial one like Tess, then I was screwed.

“Well, you’ve powered up, Tomo Yuki. Your fight yesterday was subpar. I hope you’ll reach your full potential, so when I fight you, I won’t have to worry about holding back,” Ace said.

I found myself unable to speak. The killing aura she emitted prevented me from taking any action. Felicity, not noticing the threat Ace posed, smiled at our exchange. I would feel a lot better if one of the heroes came by any time now.

“Ace, you never change. Are you done harassing Tomo?” a woman asked.

I expected Tess, but saw Ruiqi. She stood with a cool smile, looking at Ace. This was better than nothing. A former hero definitely made me feel better about the situation.

“Kaze, I have no issues with you. I came here to check up on Tomo Yuki, nothing more,” Ace said, walking away.

I let out a sigh of relief, thanking Ruiqi for her help. She didn’t say much, but it helped disrupt the intimidating atmosphere Ace created.

“Ruiqi, do you go here?” I asked.

“Oh, I guess I’ve never told you. Yes, I go here. I was planning to buy textbooks and saw Tess’ text. Don’t let Ace scare you. I don’t know exactly what’s happened, but she won’t hurt you yet. She only fights when necessary. Say hi to Long for me,” Ruiqi said, giving a wave before walking off.

After explaining the situation to Felicity, she treated me to grilled sandwiches. I felt calmer after the food. Ace had expectations for me, seemed like too much work. But, I didn’t have a choice if I wanted to survive. Damn you, Ichizen, for leaving all of this to me.

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