Volume 7, Chapter 5: Ace’s Intentions

Mind Dive: What The Cat Knows

“Well, well, if it isn’t Ms. Tomo. No doubt Tess sent you,” Ace greeted.

This felt more like the research lab experience, instead of viewing a memory. I was in a small room with a large clock in the back. Both hands rested on the number 12.

“Tomo, I’m real. Well, more like something installed in this idiot’s head, in case he ever fell into enemy hands,” Ace continued.

“What the hell is this? One of your powers?” I asked, glancing around the room in confusion.

“Yes, isn’t it lovely? Don’t be shy, Tomo. I won’t hurt you, not yet,” Ace offered.

“Everyone knows you will eventually. What are you planning?” I questioned.

“I can’t exactly go around telling you everything, right? Tomo, I won’t stop them from retrieving their ultimate weapons. I look forward to it actually. It’s no fun without everyone at their full powers. You won’t find anything inside this cat’s head, even if you search. Don’t, because it’ll hurt you,” Ace advised.

“Is that all?” I glanced at the woman.

Ace smiled, not saying anything. The clock hands remained stationary. I never actually ended a mind dive on my own since it usually finished by itself. I glanced down at my right hand, grimoire appearing and it flipped open to a page in the middle.

“One more thing, Tomo. Pass a message onto my friends, will you? Tell them to stop worrying about me. There are more important things. In fact, not even the Traveler is of concern. Pretty cryptic, huh? It’ll give them something to think about,” Ace spoke once more.

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“Ace, why Ichizen?” I inquired.

“You’ll have to figure that out on your own. Maybe when we fight, I’ll tell you. Only if you win though!” Ace laughed.

The clock hands finally moved, spinning in a rapid motion. I closed my grimoire and the scenery faded.

Mind Dive END


Kisai lay on the ground, his breathing heavy. Kuan and Ichaival checked on his condition. Tess released her chains on the cat, whose eyes were now closed. What the hell happened while I was gone?

“It was Ace. She blocked off access,” I answered, passing on her message as well.

“What are you plotting, Ace?” Tess whispered.

“What’s wrong with Kisai?” I asked, pointing at the mage.

“She short-circuited the connection and knocked him out,” Tess replied.

“Should we head back?” I asked, feeling fatigue set in.

“We’ll try again next time,” Tess decided.

“What about him?” I pointed at the disabled cat.

“We’ll leave him. Ace will come back for him,” Tess replied.

“Foolish…,” the cat’s eyes flew open.

Tess punted the cat in its head, knocking him out cold. The Gatekeeper dragged him across the ground over to a tree. She tossed a chain over the tree branches, dangling Ace’s minion from the tree.

“Let us leave now,” Tess commanded.

Kuan and Ichaival lifted Kisai up, hauling him to Tess’ portal. Once back in the training facility, Tess headed toward the locker room.

“Ichaival, you okay? He hit you pretty hard,” I questioned.

“I’m fine. Thanks for the concern,” Ichaival replied.

“I’m surprised Jin was taken out so fast, but it is Ace,” Kuan remarked, staring at the mage.

Ichaival and Kuan placed Kisai down on a bench. Tess returned, carrying a medical case.

“Tomo, any injuries?” she asked, opening up the case.

“Not really, I didn’t do much,” I shook my head.

“Darryl, here’s an ice patch,” Tess offered, tossing him an ice compress.

“Thanks. Ugh, that cat’s power is ridiculous,” Ichaival remarked.

“I thought you said it wasn’t bad,” I commented, staring at Ichaival.

“Yeah, but now it’s starting to hurt. S**t, I need to start working on something else when I go to the gym,” Ichaival said.

Tess inspected Kisai, checking his pulse and administering other tests. She packed up her medical case after confirming he was in no danger. Kisai muttered something and his eyes flew open.

“The f**k?” the man said, looking around at us.

“Damn, you’re weak,” Kuan said, walking over to him.

“My head hurts a lot. Like something pressing against it,” Kisai said.

“Jin, please refrain from any strenuous activities for the remainder of the day. This includes, of course, homework,” Tess advised.

“Not like he would have done it anyways,” Ichaival remarked.

“Hey, that’s not true. I would have done at least half,” Kisai countered.

“Regardless, you should not. Go home and sleep,” Tess said.

“Fine. Kuan, want to drive me home?” Kisai asked, looking over at his friend.

“No,” Kuan refused.

“Aight, it’s up to you, Darryl. Drive me and then walk home from my house,” Kisai suggested.

“Hell no, that’s dumb. Plus, I don’t want to ruin your nice car,” Ichaival shook his head.

“I was just kidding. I’ll see you guys later,” Kisai said, smiling as he exited.

“You ready to go too, Darryl?” Kuan asked.

“Yeah, I want to go home and change. Hit the gym later too,” Ichaival replied, pressing the compress against his nose.

They left, leaving me alone with Tess. Just like always, huh? I couldn’t recall a time after a venture into another dimension that it wasn’t just me and the Gatekeeper. I pulled out my phone, glancing at the display. It was around two, not too bad.

“Tomo, be ready. Ace has declared her intentions. What she hopes to accomplish is still a mystery. I’ll see you next time,” Tess said, departing.

Time to go home. Not much else to accomplish around here.

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