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ToKyotchi Chapter 15

Vicious Mist

Che wasn’t sure what to expect for the remainder of the day, however disastrous it was at the beginning. Thankfully, the rest of his classes zoomed by in a blur and weren’t as action-packed as he’d feared they would be.

In fact, he’d been certain Professor Stufford, the history teacher, wasn’t even going to show up at first. Several minutes passed after the bell rang, and pretty soon the classroom was filled with confused chatter. Che, comfortably seated in the very back row of the classroom, glanced around and realized Nikki and Tyson were missing. They must have had a different class this period. He slumped down in his seat before being startled by a familiar giggle.

“Feeling lonesome already without your sidekick?” Che looked over to see Kim a few seats away, her hair still tied up in a neat bun. The fluorescent lighting gave her sunglasses a glare, making her look more severe than she actually was. Like always, her hand was covering her mouth as she stifled yet another giggle.

“What do you care?” Che rolled his eyes. “I thought you and Water Chick weren’t associating with us.”

“Bella seems to feel that way,” Kim nodded.

“And you?” Che turned to face her, folding his arms in front of him. Kim noticed his change in body language and smirked.

“Now, don’t get carried away,” she smiled. “I think you’re utterly useless, if not entertaining, so I’ll continue observing you at least.”

Che sighed and returned to his original seating position. Did they have nothing better to do than torment him all day?”

“Should we leave if he doesn’t show up?” he heard Kim ask. “It’s already been several minutes since class began.”

“No, it’s probably best we stick it out.”

He waited for Kim to answer him, but she never did. Maybe that wasn’t the response she was looking for, but Che wasn’t about to attract anymore negative attention today. Besides, it certainly wasn’t out of the ordinary for a professor to be late to their own class, though Professor Avis’ cold monologue during first period gave the impression tardiness was always unacceptable no matter who it was. Che leaned back in his chair, allowing a breath he’d been holding in to escape his mouth. He only had a few more periods to go before he could call it a day. It needed to end already.

Yet, as the minutes continued to pass, Che was confident students would start to leave. He was just about to start packing his belongings when he heard a commotion towards the front of the classroom. At first, he wasn’t sure what he was looking at. Then, it was as if someone materialized out of the floor, as if he’d been there the entire time. Che covered his mouth to keep from audibly gasping as he gazed at the peculiar-looking person who looked like one of the fantastical creatures from Greek mythology he’d once read about. The man’s skin was the color of clay, as if freshly dug up and used to sculpt a human form. He wore the standard Legaros academy instructor uniform, though his was stretched much too tight over his bulbous belly. Moss took the place of what would have been the hair on his head (as he had no visible hair anywhere on his body), while his long, flowing beard was a large bush with roses blooming from it. His eyes were large and watery, like a fish out of water, and he stared at the class with a wide, toothy grin.

“Yes, yes, my apologies. I am Professor Stufford,” he spoke in a nasally voice, his accent hard to place, as he took a seat at his desk. “I’m sure you all are wondering why I’m late.”

The class collectively shrugged their shoulders and mumbled to each other before turning their attention back to the professor. Che frowned, wondering the same thing.

“I’ll be honest with you all,” Professor Stufford continued. “I’ve been going through some personal issues as of late, and it’s been tough to keep my head up. But I’m here now, and I’ll do my best to make sure you all learn something from me this semester.”

The class murmured in response, while Che found himself rolling his eyes. Great! He was one of those professors who spent more time mulling over his personal drama than teaching. Maybe he could use that to his advantage in the end. He wasn’t all that interested in learning about the history of Eden or whatever region Tyson mentioned Legaros Academy was in anyway. Getting into the restricted area was the only subject that mattered.

Professor Stufford eventually got on with the lesson after lamenting about how his pet cat had run away a few days ago. Che, in an effort to maintain his sanity and not fall asleep, spent most of the hour doodling in his notebook. There were times when Professor Stufford mentioned something that caught Che’s attention, such as a battle in the Tomore region that involved the royal family. He noticed several of his classmates perk up, their interest suddenly piqued, but he’d been too late in catching all of the details.

Once class ended, Che glanced at his schedule, noting that Astronomy was next. “Observatory” was listed as the room number next to the course name, and Che remembered seeing it on the tour the previous day. Professor Lelele would be the instructor, and Che wondered if the class would be as unmoving as History. He looked around for Kim, but she had already gone. Che sighed with relief. He really wasn’t interested in listening to her giggle and take jabs at him anymore this week.

After exiting the academy’s lobby, he soon found himself in front of the tower, its tall, cylindrical design capping off into a dome. A giant telescope peeked out from the top, most likely where the classroom itself was.

“I see you’re still in one piece,” Che startled as Nikki approached him, wearing an expression that was half grin, half sneer. “Any more dreams today?”

Che sighed and relaxed his shoulders, unsure of who he’d been expecting. “No, doesn’t seem like that creep has anything else to say to me.”

“I guess that’s something,” Nikki responded, though she didn’t sound entirely convinced.

“Ayo! Is that the wannabe teach?”

Che and Nikki turned to see Reagan and Vista approaching them. Nikki instinctively took on a battle stance, but Che stretched his arm in front of her.

“Y’all got this period too?” Reagan smiled, and Che shielded his eyes from the glare of the soldier’s silver teeth. How was he even allowed to have silver teeth in the military? He was certain Reagan was not born with them. “I see you still following ole boy around. You ain’t tired of chasin’ lame, mama?”

Nikki swatted Che’s arm out of the way as she stepped forward, her eyes becoming menacing slits. “Why are you here?”

Reagan shrugged. “We gotta go to this ole bum ass class so we can take our final exams.”

It was Che’s turn to step forward menacingly. “That’s not what she means. Where is Yokan?”

Reagan and Vista exchanged confused glances.

“Yokan? What chu talkin’ ‘bout?” Reagan asked.

“Don’t pretend like you don’t remember!” Che exclaimed. “He showed up after we beat you in that fight yesterday!”

“Ayo! First of all, you got lucky!” Reagan shot a finger in Che’s direction. “I didn’t know you were a Brawl type like me! Your ole lady right there fights better than you!”

“Ole lady?” Nikki growled as she lunged forward. Che quickly yanked her back.

“No, listen! He’s trying to get us worked up!” Che hissed before turning back to Reagan. “Just tell us where he is!”

Reagan and Vista looked at each other again and burst out laughing. “What chu talkin’ about, bruh? We ain’t know nobody named Yokan! Stop playing!”

“I grow tired,” Vista slipped into a battle stance. “We have time to end this.”

Reagan nodded. “You right about that.”

“Are we really gonna have to fight them again?” Che groaned, already feeling the fatigue from the day before.

“Seems like it,” Nikki muttered.

“Throw your worries over the deep end!” Reagan took on dramatic martial arts pose.

“Into new dimensions you can’t comprehend!” Vista closed her eyes, clasping her hands in front of her as if in deep meditation.

“Are they seriously doing this again?” Che muttered as the two soldiers continued their elaborate spoken word dance. “We’ve heard their little speech already!”

“They love to hear themselves talk,” Nikki scoffed. “None of it even makes any sense anyway.”

“Ayo!” Reagan stopped mid-pose. “Don’t interrupt this, fam! It’s the best part! Let the sheep and followers sleep in!”

“Hustle as if you have three bands!”

“Looks like we’re gonna have to wait till they’re finished” Che muttered.

Nikki rolled her eyes and sighed. “Just be ready for once. No surprise punches to the face this time.”

“We hold it down for Legaros!” Reagan took on one last exaggerated martial arts stance. “Reagan!”

“Give up now and leave behind your sorrows!” Vista repeated her usual stiff salute. “Vista!”

“Ooo, what’s this? An impromptu performance?”

Che and Nikki turned to see Lorenzo standing a few feet away, his arms crossed over his chest. Reagan and Vista exchanged glances before turning to face him, their expressions full of annoyance.

“Hey, get ghost, weirdo!” Reagan snapped. “We tryin’ to do our thing here!”

“Well, that’s not very nice,” Lorenzo pouted. “I mean, you’re not the only one who wants to fight Rowan.”

“Huh?” Che and Nikki both said in unison.

“We just talked about it at lunch,” Lorenzo waved his finger as he approached Che. “I’m sorry, whoever you two are, but Rowan belongs to me. You’ll just have to wait your tu-“

Lorenzo was cut off as Reagan’s fist collided with his jaw, sending him tumbling to the ground. Reagan cracked his knuckles as he glared down at the fallen student.

“I said,” Reagan spoke through silver, gritted teeth, “get ghost, pretty boy.”

“Lorenzo!” Nikki called out, but Lorenzo was already starting to get back to his feet. That was when Che noticed it, the status screen displaying Lorenzo’s fighting information.

“Lorenzo. Fae Type. Level 6. Knows moves Vicious Mist and Star Wall. Weak to Venom and Steel. Strong against Shade and Brawl.”

“How about I blow you a kiss instead,” Lorenzo brought his hand to his lips and made a smooching noise. Reagan winced in disgust as Lorenzo uncovered his lips. “Vicious Mist!”

Lorenzo sharply exhaled, expelling what looked like a thick, pink cloud of smoke that quickly surrounded Reagan and Vista. They both immediately started coughing violently, their eyes watering.

“What the hell is this?!” Reagan exclaimed, trying to wave the smoke away from his face.

“Pretty,” Vista monotoned. “Yet toxic. Losing…consciousness…”

“Kinda smells nice too,” Che blurted out. Nikki elbowed him in the side. “What? It smells like perfume, doesn’t it?”

“Can you please stay focused for, like, five minutes?” she hissed.

“Sorry,” Che muttered, his eyes back on Reagan and Vista.

They were both still coughing and trying to wave the smoke away, but it seemed to only get thicker the more they moved. Finally, they both collapsed to the ground, unconscious.

“What did you do to them?” Che asked, his eyes wide.

“They’ll be fine,” Lorenzo said, smirking. “This time, my Vicious Mist technique only put them to sleep.”

“This time?” Nikki repeated, her eyebrows furrowed.

Lorenzo winked. “We’re going to be late for class.”

He turned and continued towards the observatory without another word. Che and Nikki exchanged glances before following after him, more confused than ever.