Volume 9, Chapter 3-2: A Startling Revelation
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“Worry about finals first. If you need to review anything math related, I can help you out,” Zhuyu offered, tapping his pink lead pencil against the table.

“I appreciate that. It’s two days from now, so I need all the help I can get,” I accepted.

“Hey, you didn’t have a calculator for your final, right?” Shan brought up.

“Oh yeah, I forgot my calculator at home. Professor Nen said it was doable without one, so I somehow pulled through. My highest grade for a math class is still from Professor Nen,” Zhuyu confirmed.

How could Zhuyu have been so calm? I would have gotten nervous doing that exam. He claimed he was normal, but it took skill to pull that off.

“Sucks that your finals on a Sunday. But what can you do? Just don’t pull an all nighter like Kristoph,” Zhuyu warned.

“I’ve never done that for a final before,” I said, sighing.

“You gotta try, it’s the best,” Shan commented.

“You seem like the type to do that, Kisai,” I judged.

“Damn, that’s harsh, Tomo. I try to sleep earlier now. I use to sleep at two or three in the morning, wake up at six or seven,” Kisai divulged.

“How did you even function?” I was in disbelief.

“That was before I started working. I still do it sometimes, gotta finish my homework,” Kisai replied.

“You guys, I don’t even know what to say,” I said.

The day passed by and I arrived home. What to study for first? The most pressing issue right now was my math final. The chemistry final was on Tuesday and my last final on Wednesday. Time to rush through a bunch of practice math finals. Around nine, Yukie came into my room. She brought her tool kit, asking to see the bracelet.

“Does it need maintenance?” I asked, watching her tinker with it.

“Yes, it’s important to make the adjustments,” Yukie answered.

“When do you have the tests for your online classes?” I recalled seeing Yukie study the other day.

“Next week. I’ll head to your university for the exams,” Yukie replied.

“If it’s on the same day as mine, I might as well drive you there,” I offered.

“I would appreciate that. How is your exam preparation progressing?” Yukie asked, holding an electronic chip.

“I’ll have to see what I don’t know first,” I replied.

“I apologize for not being available to help more,” Yukie said, finishing her adjustments.

“Don’t worry about it. I got above average on my midterms. Means I have a little leeway on the final. Still have to study hard,” I informed her.

“Ah, that is excellent news. Your friend, Zhuyu, provided great assistance. I just have to replace a few parts. It should be done soon,” Yukie said.

Friend, huh? I wasn’t sure if that was the correct word. For Felicity that applied. Even Tess might qualify. For Zhuyu and the others, I didn’t know yet. Comrade might be a better word. Even then, that didn’t fit either. It was difficult to describe.

“Yeah, Zhuyu was pretty helpful. He had the same professor before too,” I agreed.

“Which one is your type?” Yukie suddenly shifted the topic of our conversation.

“Huh?” I exclaimed.

“Oh, poor word choice by me. I was referring to which one provides you with the best help,” Yukie clarified.

“Um, I guess Zhuyu? I prefer Tess, but he’s fine. Kisai’s okay too, but the way he does things, I don’t know if I could keep up. The last person I ever ask is Shan. He knows things, but it’ll be a pain to get anything out of him,” I ranked.

“You’ve gotten to know them better. I am impressed, Yuki. The adjustments have been completed. Here you go,” Yukie complimented, returning the bracelet.

“Like I said, they aren’t…. whatever. They are helpful when they want to be. Good luck studying, Yukie,” I said.

“You too, Yuki. If something comes up, please be sure to contact me. I wouldn’t want you to be injured because of my invention,” Yukie reminded.

If Yukie designed and produced this with limited resources, I could only imagine what she could construct given technology from the other dimensions. Seriously, she would be a major asset. Still, I rather not have her become involved.

Saturday Winter Quarter 2016 Day Before Finals

“Given this population problem, then I would apply separation of variables?” I questioned.

“Yeah, move all the dy and dx to their own side. You’ll learn in more advanced classes that separation of variables isn’t the only solution method,” Zhuyu confirmed.

“Anything else?” I asked.

I reviewed material with Zhuyu. He corrected my mistakes, but other that, let me work it out myself. On occasion, he provided tips about problems to look out for and how to solve them.

“Oh, watch out for any cooling problems. Definitely put that on your note sheet if you’re unsure,” Zhuyu reminded.

“I remember them from the homework. How did you even do these without a calculator?” I asked, amazed he completed the test.

“Professor Nen writes problems that don’t need them. There was an approximation problem I couldn’t check, but other than that, not too bad,” Zhuyu replied.

“I’m surprised you like Professor Nen. He makes things too hard,” I noted.

“He cares about what you learn, so he goes over a lot of problems, which seems like a waste of time. Personally, I really liked that, since he wanted to make sure we knew why and not just how,” Zhuyu explained.

“You’re weird, Zhuyu. Who likes the hard teacher? I prefer an easier one. At least I know what’s going on and wouldn’t feel so scared about the final,” I said, not understanding his mentality.

“Guess I am. Anyways, there’s still a few things left to cover,” Zhuyu responded.

“Do you have time to help me? I don’t want to keep you from studying,” I inquired, not wanting to impose on him.

“My finals aren’t until Tuesday. I helped Kristoph and Ko when they took the first part of calculus,” Zhuyu assured me.

“Speaking of which, doesn’t Kristoph need help too?” I asked, jotting down the initial condition.

“He’ll be fine. I helped him earlier this morning. He’s actually messaging me right now,” Zhuyu answered, typing on his keyboard.

“He’s pretty damn sad every time he finishes an exam,” I observed.

“He always has that look. I can only help him so much,” Zhuyu dismissed.

“So moving onto this part….,” I said, checking my computer screen.

I finished speaking with Zhuyu at five. A very productive day. I leaned back on my chair, requiring a short break, after five hours of math. I stared up at the ceiling, closing the blinds. Flicking on the lights, I looked at my bookcase. When was Tess going to return Ichizen’s books? I wanted to finish the series.

“Yuki, you in there?” Mom knocked on my door.

“Yeah. Come in,” I said, sitting back up.

Mom walked in, no sign of her usual mischievous face. She sat down on the top of my bed, staring at me with a piercing expression. This was getting weird and scary at the same time.

“Yuki, I have something important to tell you,” Mom said, her voice very serious.

“Yeah, what is it?” I asked, expecting big news.

“Yuki…. it’s time,” Mom announced.

“For what?” I questioned, not sure if this was a set up for one of her jokes.

“To finally meet someone,” Mom replied.

“Who?” I asked.

“Ichizen’s little sister, of course!” Mom said some shocking words.

When did Ichizen ever have a little sister? In fact, that was impossible. I knew Ichizen since he was a child.

“Mom, how and when did the Michi family ever have a daughter?” I questioned, staring at her.

“The Ichizen family has an interesting tradition. When they have two children, one remains in the traditional rural home, and the other taken to the city,” Mom unveiled.

“Are you serious? It’s really hard to believe,” I asked.

“Yeah, I thought it was crazy at first, but I’ve seen their daughter myself. Ichizen never knew,” Mom confirmed.

“I keep thinking you’re pulling a prank, but even you wouldn’t construct such an elaborate situation,” I said.

“I wish I were. Anyways, she’ll be transferring into one of the local universities here. She’ll move in with the Michi family sometime after your finals,” Mom said.

“Why now though? Seems like a weird time. Kind of suspicious. I know that sounds bad, but…,” I wondered.

“Ichizen’s mother just told me today. Can you imagine the bad jokes I made before finally believing her?” Mom revealed.

“Thanks for telling me. You’re being serious, right?” I asked once more.

“I am. Sorry to put this on you, especially with finals so close. Dinner’s almost ready,” Mom replied, leaving.

I was curious about Ichizen’s little sister now. This better not a major plan the heroes or someone else set up. Sighing, I focused on my math, pushing it out of the way for now.

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