“Yukie, did Mom ask you to bring this?” I asked, taking the tray.
“Yes. She was busy making something so she could not leave the kitchen unattended. I apologize if the food on the tray is not aligned to perfection. I tripped on one of the steps,” Yukie replied, pointing at the food.
“Thank you for taking the trouble of bringing it up. Mom didn’t tell you anything that could be misinterpreted, right?” I thanked my cousin.
“What do you mean by that?” Yukie asked, tilting her head to the side.
“It’s fine. If you don’t know what I mean, then Mom didn’t bring it up,” I dismissed.
Zhuyu glanced at the food on the tray, but didn’t touch any of it. He ate nothing from the time Mom brought it up either. Was he too shy or just disliked the food?
“Ah, you have friends over. I’ll excuse myself then,” Yukie noticed Zhuyu and Tess.
“Wait, Yukie. If you aren’t busy, maybe you can hang out with us for awhile,” I offered.
“Are you sure? If you are discussing any private matters, it may not be prudent for me to be present,” Yukie asked.
“No, no, nothing like that is happening. I was just finishing my math homework and Zhuyu helped me out,” I shook my head at her assumptions.
“Uh, Tono, was it? I’m Zhuyu Long. Due to rather unforeseen circumstances, I came here at the request of Tess. Sorry if we’re bothering you,” Zhuyu introduced himself.
“Ah, I see. Yuki has a rather interesting circle of friends,” Yukie remarked, taking a seat next to me.
“What do you mean?” I asked, already regretting my question.
“To be able to summon them at anytime is an incredible demonstration of your friendship,” Yukie explained.
I think you have the wrong idea. Although, she did make a valid point. Tess convinced Zhuyu to come even when he had homework. Same thing happened last time too when Zhuyu and Shan came over to give a rundown on the heroes. What kind of power did she wield over them? Yukie stared at Zhuyu and the zero vector user looked uncomfortable. I didn’t know what was running through her mind. Maybe she just trying to analyze him?
“Zhuyu, what is your relationship with Yuki?” Yukie finally asked.
Tess’ normal expressionless face for a brief moment turned into one of amusement. That surprised me more than my cousin’s question.
“Acquaintances, I guess. I don’t know Tomo too well, so we’re not exactly friends. Why are you curious about it, Tono?” Zhuyu asked.
“I was curious as this is the second time I’ve seen you. Your answer tells me you are not a potential candidate for Yuki’s lover,” Yukie elaborated.
“Well, I’m glad that matter is cleared then,” Zhuyu nodded.
“Do you believe there will be potential for your feelings to change, Zhuyu?” Yukie asked a follow up question.
“Maybe? I don’t know. This is getting weird. Tess, perhaps you can enlighten us with an amazing comment,” Zhuyu pleaded, glancing over at the Gatekeeper.
“Ah, Long is correct in his assessment of the situation. Tomo holds a grudge against most of us at this point. But, over time such hate may turn into something else. Are you satisfied, Long?” Tess added her opinion.
“Sure, why not? Anyways, Tomo, how are you feeling about the quarter so far?” Zhuyu shifted the topic of conversation.
“Going better than last quarter. Nothing too exciting has happened. I’m keeping up,” I replied, relieved he changed the topic.
“Be sure to keep up in math class. It builds on everything you’ve learned so far. I suggest reviewing triangles if you haven’t already. Trust me, it’ll be helpful when you have to do inverse trig subs,” Zhuyu advised, checking his phone.
“You are quite knowledgeable in the topic, Zhuyu,” Yukie observed.
“I should be, considering I’m a math major. I’ve taken the class before as well, so I might as well tell Tomo what kind of things she should expect,” Zhuyu revealed, scrolling through something on his phone.
“You show great promise as Auntie would say,” Yukie commented, her eyes displaying a brightness.
I almost choked on a cracker after Yukie’s sentence. Damn it, Mom, what kind of bad things are you teaching Yukie?
“I don’t know what that’s suppose to mean. I’m just gonna accept that as a compliment. But, really, I’m not that smart. I work two to three times as hard just to keep up with Jin or Shigetzu. Hell, I probably would have to stay up all night for a year just to match Tess’ level of knowledge,” Zhuyu remarked.
“Really?” I asked, surprised by his statement.
“Yeah, I’m not that great. Tess, how’s it going?” Zhuyu confirmed.
“Close. About ten more minutes,” Tess updated.
We discussed more idle topics and then the barrier was complete. Zhuyu looked very happy once Tess informed us. I couldn’t blame him, but it made me wonder if he hated being around other people. Specifically me.
“I’m heading home to finish my homework. Tomo and Tono, I thank you for putting up with me. Tess, I’ll see you later,” Zhuyu declared, standing up.
“No, the pleasure was mine. I apologize for any misconceptions from before,” Yukie bowed.
Zhuyu nodded, leaving with rapid speed. Tess left too, telling me to contact her if anything suspicious occurred again. Yukie excused herself as well, leaving me to do my chemistry reading. Today was hectic. Damn it, I really hoped this hero thing would be resolved soon. I didn’t want anything to happen to Yuka. Guess I should be more proactive about doing training.