ToKyotchi Chapter 18
Chetachi Vs. Lorenzo
Che shouldn't have been as stunned as he felt. It would have been so easy to collapse to the ground with laughter at this point. Was it really going to be this simple? He'd all but made up his mind it would take weeks before he gained Lorenzo's trust. After all, he'd only met the boy yesterday.
Still, given Lorenzo's mercurial nature, it shouldn't have been all that surprising. It seemed he not only knew about the restricted area's location but wanted to see it for himself as well. The teen's stance remained rigid as he gazed at Che expectantly. The afternoon sky was beginning to turn a dusky pink and purple, signaling the approaching sunset. Che chuckled to himself, realizing the day was almost over, though it still seemed to be full of surprises.
"Well?" Lorenzo shrugged. "You didn't keep badgering Professor Avis yesterday for no reason. You obviously want to go."
Che's face became serious once more. "Why do you even want to help me?"
Lorenzo gave a heavy sigh. "Because, in the end, you're also helping me."
He met Che's gaze with a determined one of his own. Che instinctively found himself shifting his weight backward, surprised at his own uncertainty.
"You have your reasons for needing to get into the Marbot Research Facility, and so do I," Lorenzo continued. "Let's help each other get there."
"Maybe you're right," Che answered, gathering his thoughts, "but I have another question. Do you know a man named Yokan?"
Lorenzo shook his head. "I don't have the slightest clue who that is."
Che closed his eyes and sighed. He'd expected as much, but it was still disappointing.
"So?" Lorenzo prompted. "You ready to get started?"
Che blinked in confusion. "Get started with what?"
Lorenzo rolled his eyes. "You take a while to catch on, don't you? At our current levels, we won't stand a chance against anyone in that facility. We're going to have to train and get stronger. That's why I chose you."
Lorenzo glanced over at Coach Naul, who seemed preoccupied with two other students, before continuing. "No one else can know that we're training each other and why."
Che nodded slowly as Lorenzo made his way to the other side of the ring, though he could barely maintain his surprise. He'd misjudged Lorenzo and his motives and was now starting to wonder how he had ended up in this situation. What was he truly after in the Marbot Research Facility?
And was it possible that Lorenzo was in the same predicament as he was?
"That also means," Lorenzo shifted into a battle stance, "that I can't go easy on you."
Che took a deep breath before reluctantly mirroring Lorenzo's stance. The kid had a point, just like Nikki. Yokan was at level 30, even though he seemed to have arrived in Eden at the same time as Che. There was no telling how strong any of the soldiers in the restricted area were. Though he would do his best to avoid a battle, Che wasn't a fool. He wouldn't find the answers he needed without a fight, and Yokan certainly wouldn't allow him to escape unscathed.
"Fine," Che said, readying himself for a fight.
"Good," Lorenzo said with a grin. "Now let's remember back to this morning's lesson. You answered Professor Avis' question correctly about Types, but do you know about Marks?"
Che shook his head.
"Let's review then," Lorenzo said with a grin. "You know that everyone can learn fighting techniques depending on their Type, but we also have unique Marks."
The status menu appeared in front of Lorenzo again, showing the information Che had seen before, yet something new caught his eye. Last time, the menu had shown Lorenzo to be a Fae Type, yet now there was a secondary Type next to it, Shade. He continued scanning the rest of the menu screen but couldn't see anything about Marks.
Then, as if the status menu could read his thoughts, the current display dissolved before being replaced by a new one. This one showed a star plot graph with six attributes: HP, Attack, Defense, Mystical Attack, Mystical Defense, and Speed. The longest tips of the graph pointed toward Mystical Attack, Mystical Defense, and Speed. There was also writing underneath the chart that said "Mark" followed by "Cursed."
"My Mark is known as Cursed," Lorenzo explained. "When I use a technique that has the same Typing as myself three times I gain a secondary Typing of Shade."
Che concentrated, willing the status menu to show him his own stats. Within seconds, the window dissolved yet again and reappeared with new information. This time, the star plot graph's tips were pointing toward Defense, Mystical Defense, and Speed. He also had a Mark known as Silver Aura, though he didn't know what it meant.
"You haven't launched an attack yet. That's foolish."
Lorenzo's voice snapped Che out of his trance as the teen brought his hand up to his lips. He knew what was coming next, and he scrambled to come up with a way to counter the technique. Lorenzo brought his hand down from his face and exhaled, expelling purple smoke from his mouth.
Wait, purple? Wasn't it pink last time?
"Vicious Mist!" Lorenzo called out as the cloud of smoke engulfed Che. Within seconds, he was enveloped in a chill, and the purple smoke seemed to be affecting his movements, making them sluggish.
Lorenzo shook his head, exasperated. "I should have expected this. You don't know about Status Effects either, but we haven't learned about that yet. Besides, it wouldn't have done much to help you anyway."
Che felt his throat tighten and soon noticed he was struggling to breathe. Within seconds, his head was throbbing with pain, and he felt like he'd pass out at any moment.
"What did you do?" Che croaked. "I'm supposed to fall asleep when you use that technique!"
Lorenzo calmly started walking towards Che, a grim expression on his face. "The Status Effect my Vicious Mist move inflicts depends on my secondary Typing. If I don't have one, it only puts people to sleep. However, when my secondary Typing is Shade, it poisons them."
The smoke began to thicken as Che struggled to stay standing. His vision started to blur, and he felt a wave of nausea wash over him.
"Lorenzo..." he barely managed as the world around him began spinning.
"I want you to remember today's defeat," Lorenzo's voice was cold as he kneeled in front of Che. "If you can't find a way to defeat me, you won't stand a chance. Neither of us will."
Lorenzo's face blurred in and out of sight as Che fought to stay conscious. He could feel his life slipping away, could hear the sound of panicked footsteps rushing in their direction accompanied by a booming voice.
"What in blazes are you two doing?"
"You'd better not die," Lorenzo whispered as Che began convulsing. The last thing he remembered before passing out was yet another status menu appearing before him. Even though he could barely see it, the message was very clear.
Lorenzo had just reached level 7.