Volume 6, Chapter 5-2: Math Help Again

Someone rang the doorbell twenty minutes later. Mom already opened the door, revealing an annoyed Zhuyu.

“Oh, it’s you again. Have you finally taken an interest in my daughter?” Mom asked.

“No, I’m here because of Tess,” Zhuyu responded, pointing at the Gatekeeper.

“Too bad. Yuki, how can you let your friend beat you? I’m ashamed my daughter has failed even at such a simple task,” Mom remarked, shaking her head.

“Mom, just be quiet. Tess, why is Zhuyu here?” I asked.

“Protection,” Tess replied.

“Really? I thought you said we don’t have to worry about Champ,” I pointed out.

“Not Champ. The others associated with him are a concern. With Zhuyu here, they’ll at least reconsider before attacking,” Tess revised her original answer.

“I’ll take your word for it,” I said.

“Zhuyu, follow me up to Tomo’s room. We must hold a conference,” Tess ordered.

“Why not just talk in the living room? I mean….,” Zhuyu suggested, but Mom cut him off before he finished.

“There’s no need to be shy. Go!” Mom urged.

Zhuyu sighed, following Tess upstairs. We all sat around the table in my room. Zhuyu took a pen out of his pocket and a folded piece of paper. This was awkward.

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“Tomo, what exactly did Champ offer you?” Tess inquired.

“A power up, but I wasn’t going to agree. I don’t even know him. Though he did make some good points,” I recalled the terms he listed.

“Hmm, not a bad offer. So, would you go over to them based on what you’ve seen of us so far?” Tess prodded further.

“Maybe? I mean, it’s not like I know you guys that well either. I would probably trust what you say more than Champ and the others at this point,” I admitted.

“Good choice,” Zhuyu commented.

I glanced at his piece of paper, seeing a crude diagram with i’s, j’s, and k’s organized in square brackets. They looked like matrices, but he wrote weird letters surrounding them and various arrows.

“Tess, how viable do you think it is?” Zhuyu asked, tapping his piece of paper.

“In theory, possible, but there exist issues. The computations for are beyond what you can handle,” Tess answered, glancing over at his piece of paper.

“The issue is defining the space. Polar coordinates might be more useful than the usual Cartesian one. Especially if we’re dealing with imaginary numbers,” Zhuyu mused, leaning back against the wall.

“Yes, there will have to be modifications. Ah, sorry about the tangent, Tomo. It’s good to know you trust us even if it is a minuscule amount,” Tess agreed with his assessment.

“Zhuyu, I want to ask about the tension between you and the other heroes,” I decided.

“Well, it’s just we’re douchebags, simple as that. We’ve done some rather shady things like making deals with criminals, stuff like that. Or not helping people,” Zhuyu revealed.

“Of course. I can see that,” I nodded.

“They take their roles much more seriously than we do. There’s bound to be issues when it appears we’re not doing what we’re suppose to,” Zhuyu continued, writing down more weird letters on the paper.

“It’s starting to make sense. I already know why they hate you so much just by seeing you and Shan at school,” I put the pieces together.

“Hey, we pull through when it counts. That’s all that matters. Besides, I think that you’ll find us much more tolerable once you really know us,” Zhuyu protested, capping his nice pen.

“I guess. You know, this is actually good that you’re here. I’ve been meaning to ask you about something, Zhuyu,” I realized.

Zhuyu blinked and sighed. Don’t give me that response. I don’t pester you with random questions all the time.

“Alright, fine. What do you want to know?” Zhuyu asked, glancing at his watch.

Most people these days didn’t even wear one anymore, relying on their phones. Actually, Kisai wore one too. He wore an analog watch with a large face, small scratches around the face. It wasn’t expensive, but used for its function of telling the time rather than a fashion statement.

“What rank were you before?” I questioned, curious about his strength level.

“Oh, that’s what you wanted to know. I was ranked ninth, above where Tess is now,” he replied, giving a slight smile.

“Really? I thought you might be higher,” I commented.

“Nah, I’m not as strong as Shigetzu or Jin. I’m just barely above average. I would probably be with Darryl down there in the lower tiers if Feng didn’t train me,” he admitted.

“Right. I still think you’re hiding something from me though. Especially with anything involving Feng,” I remarked.

“Maybe I am. Tess, how long do I have to be here? I still have homework to do,” Zhuyu inquired, tapping his pen on the table.

“Two hours at most. I’m still working on the barrier around Tomo’s house. Once I finish, you can go,” Tess replied.

Zhuyu nodded, pulling out his phone. If he stayed for that long, I might as well interrogate him. I would attempt a mind dive, but I wasn’t within an artificial dimension.

“Zhuyu, what were your previous powers?” I continued my questioning.

“Oh, just something called the “Dragon’s Mandate”. That’s pretty much it,” he answered.

“That doesn’t tell me anything at all. You do know that, right?” I pressed him for more details.

“Fine, I’ll give you the basic rundown. Accelerated healing, strong defense, and the power of the skies. You know, thunderstorms and rain, stuff like that,” Zhuyu explained.

“Sounds pretty overpowered. Why would you ever give something like that up?” I asked, wondering why he chose his current vector powers.

“Felt like a change. I wanted to test out some natural world based powers and I’m a math major so it seemed appropriate. Of course, this was after the supposed final battle. I haven’t had my current powers for that long,” Zhuyu explained.

“You’re kind of an idiot if you don’t mind me saying,” I commented.

“I guess? At the time, it seemed like a good idea. Things were dying down and there weren’t a lot of threats,” he revealed.

Zhuyu glanced at my computer desk which reminded me of my incomplete math homework. Oh, I should take this chance to ask him questions.

“Oh, I see. U-sub, huh? This isn’t a hard problem, but you probably don’t know the trig identities. That’s the only thing that makes this one difficult,” Zhuyu said, writing down the problem again on a new piece of paper.

“Which one do I use?” I asked, not sure what he meant.

“Let me see. Do you have the textbook?” he asked, glancing over at my bookshelf.

“Of course,” I nodded, grabbing the book for him.

I expected him to flip to the back, but instead he only turned a few pages in the front. He stared at the page for awhile and then looked over at Tess. Wait, did he actually not know? This was unexpected.

“Tess, the half angle formulas are correct in here, right?” Zhuyu asked, pointing to an equation.

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“Yes. That is the correct form for cosine squared,” Tess replied.

“Okay, thank you. Yeah, so you just want to convert the $\cos^2(u)$ into this form where you have $\frac{1+2\cos(u)}{2}$. From there, I think you can take care of the rest,” Zhuyu explained, writing down the initial steps.

That did make sense. Zhuyu flipped through the book as I solved the problem. He stopped in the middle, tracing the page with his finger. Was he working out a problem? Ignoring him, I finally found the solution, inputting it into box online. At last, no red X’s! I really hated those red X’s. They mocked me every time I failed.

“Tomo, bookmark this page. It’ll help when you do integration by parts later on. You definitely want to remember this when you do solids of revolution,” Zhuyu advised, showing me the page.

“Okay. I think you had the same professor when you took Calc II, right?” I asked, searching for a bookmark.

“Tomo, here,” Tess handed me a package of sticky notes.

Alright, no time to question why she carried such items with her. Perhaps she was studying. I peeled them off, pasting it onto the top. Zhuyu checked my work.

“Looks good. Whenever you run into this kind of integral, try seeing if you can isolate a sine or cosine. Sometimes, it won’t work, but it’s usually the best choice. Oh, there are actually some functions you can’t integrate, but they won’t put that down there,” Zhuyu noted.

“So about the professor?” I mentioned again.

“Are you talking about Professor Kob?” Zhuyu responded.

“Yeah. My classmates say he’s terrible,” I nodded.

“I thought he was pretty good. Great lecturer in my opinion. I mean, my highest grade in any math course was in his class. I learned a lot from him,” Zhuyu revealed.

“Of course you do well with a hard professor. I’m not like you. Any tips?” I remarked.

“Just take notes. That’s pretty much it. He usually puts a problem similar to one of the examples. I can send you my old midterms if you want,” Zhuyu offered.

“I’m pretty sure that it won’t be as easy as you say. But I will definitely accept those old midterms,” I said, working out the next problem.

“I’ll do it once I get home,” Zhuyu promised, looking at his watch again.

“How did you get here anyways?” I realized.

“I drove. Taking the bus would have taken too long,” Zhuyu answered.

“Oh, I thought someone might have given you a ride,” I said.

There was knock on the door and Mom walked in with a tray of food. She glanced at Zhuyu, who kept a flat expression on his face. Both Tess and Zhuyu now looked rather expressionless.

“Tomo, as I….,” Zhuyu began his sentence.

“Yuki,” Mom interjected.

“What is it, Mom?” I asked after her interruption.

“I wasn’t calling you. I was just correcting your friend,” Mom explained.

Zhuyu blinked at her statement, directing an inquisitive stare in my direction. Well, I didn’t know how to react either. Perhaps the best course of action was to just ignore her.

“Uh, To-,” Zhuyu said the first syllable of my name, before Mom interrupted again.

“Yuki,” Mom cut in.

“Yu….ki, you should be careful on that one. It has boundaries so be sure to evaluate it,” Zhuyu finally gave in.

“Here are some snacks for you. Please enjoy,” Mom announced, giving me a knowing expression.

Tess showed no reaction during our interaction, continuing whatever she was doing. Zhuyu sighed after Mom left and then checked my computer screen.

“Anyways, Tomo, you have to be careful about evaluating the boundaries. There are problems where you have to split it up,” Zhuyu warned.

Things were back to normal then. I nodded at his advice, sketching a quick picture of the function before proceeding. I made good progress on my homework while Tess continued constructing her barrier. Zhuyu occasionally glanced over at my work. He gave some pointers when I became stuck, but let me do my work until I asked for help.

An hour later, Tess informed us there was still thirty minutes left. I completed my math homework and felt pretty accomplished. Except I still had chemistry reading, but that could be done later.

“Do you still have a lot of homework left?” I asked, recalling Zhuyu’s unpleased look.

“Yeah, I actually wanted to make some notes, but I guess it’s fine. I still have some time, less time, but still doable,” Zhuyu answered.

I felt a bit bad Zhuyu had to spend his time here, but not really. If what Felicity said before was true, he probably watched anime and wasn’t even doing actual work. However, I appreciated his help. Someone knock on my door again, please let it not be Mom. Yukie outside with a tray of food.

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