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ToKyotchi Chapter 47

You Can’t Trust Him

The evening light seemed to be inches away from fading, the accompanying chill encroaching upon the area. A slight gust sailed across what was left of the grassy fields, sending an eerie calmness around everything it touched.

Che managed to barrel through all of it into the lobby of the boys’ dorm room. He scrambled to the elevator, frantically tapping the button for his floor so the doors would close. Thankfully, no one else got on, meaning he could at least enjoy the ride in silence.

He leaned back against the wall, his chest heaving as he gasped for air. His heart felt like it was going to beat out of his chest, and beads of sweat trickled down his face. He concentrated on taking deep breaths, in and out, until the elevator finally stopped at his floor.

He quickly rushed down the hallway, unlocking the door to his dorm room before stopping as he stood in the entryway. It wasn’t truly his dorm room, was it? It was meant to be Rowan’s. Everything inside had been carefully set up with the missing teen in mind, from the clothes to the class schedule.

Che struggled to keep himself upright. What was he going to do now? Was facing Yokan truly his only option? He’d never have time to consider anything else. With each passing second, Yokan’s looming threat seemed to get closer and closer.

“I was hoping you’d already be gone by the time I got here.”

Che looked up and saw Tyson sitting on his bed. How hadn’t he noticed him when he opened the door? Tyson glared at him, his expression a mix of anger and disappointment. Nearly every muscle on his body was either flexed or completely tense. He looked like he’d tackle Che at any moment if he made a wrong move.

Che cautiously stepped across the threshold, unsure if Tyson would lunge after him again, before quickly making his way to his drawer. He wondered what was even worth taking with him.

“I didn’t tell them yet, by the way,” Tyson broke Che’s concentration. “Was actually getting ready to head down and ask one of the guards to take me to the headmaster.”

Che stopped and turned around to face him, not sure how to react to Tyson’s statement.

“What happened to the real Rowan?” Tyson squeeze his mattress so hard his knuckles turned white, his gaze boring into Che. “Why didn’t he ever show up for classes?”

Che shook his head, though he was careful not to break eye contact. “I wish I knew for certain, Tyson, but I’m sure Yokan had something to do with it.”

Tyson let out a loud groan before lying down on his back.

“I don’t believe you,” he sighed. “I can’t believe I ever did.”

Che didn’t know what to say, so he just looked away and finished packing his things.

“I should have known when you said you were from Dallas, and I’d never heard of it,” Tyson continued, his voice barely audible. “One look at a world map, and I would have figured it out immediately that you were lying. That place doesn’t even exist!”

Che leaned forward against the drawer, his back to Tyson. Was it even worth trying to explain his predicament to the teen? Nikki clearly thought Che had been brainwashed by some mad scientist. He was certain Tyson’s reaction wouldn’t be much better.

“So, where are you going?” Tyson sat up, though he was slightly more relaxed than before. “I mean, you don’t have to tell me, I guess. I just thought it might be nice if you made sure to not get Nikki involved this time.”

Che finally stopped and looked at him. “I’m going to the restricted area. That’s what Nikki and I were trying to get into last night, though she had her own reasons. She’s not going with me. I won’t allow it.”

Tyson scoffed and shook his head. “You think you can beat that guy? You saw how strong he was the last time we faced him. My Sleep Beam barely left a scratch on him. You don’t really think you can make a difference, do you?”

Che simply looked away. He knew Tyson was right, but he had to try. “Yokan is…he’s not mentally stable. Hasn’t been since I first met him. I don’t know why he’s doing all of this, but I know I have to be the one to stop him.”

“How are you even going to get inside?” Tyson folded his arms, his expression now tinged with skepticism.

Che shrugged his shoulders. “You heard what I told Nikki earlier. There’s one person I know who can get inside for sure. It’s Lorenzo. He’s going to help me.”

At the sound of Lorenzo’s name, Tyson’s jumped up out of bed, his face so red Che could imagine steam coming out of his ears. “So what? You and that freak are working together now?”

Che held up his hands, trying to calm himself before he got frustrated. “Tyson, don’t call him that.”

“Look, man…” Tyson relaxed his posture and ran a hand through his hair. “You can’t trust that guy. Whatever he told you he’d help you with, don’t go along with it.”

Che knew Tyson was probably right. In the end, Lorenzo could double-cross him the second they got inside the restricted area. “I don’t have a choice. I’m going to put a stop to all this before anyone else gets hurt.”

“Look…Chetachi or whatever Nikki called you,” Tyson sat back down on his bed, rubbing his temples with his hands. “You don’t know Lorenzo like I do. He’s not a good person. Back home, our whole neighborhood knows to watch out for him.”

“Oh really?” Che spun around, his tone much sharper than he intended. “And why is that? Because he’s flamboyant and doesn’t act like a typical teenage boy who’s obsessed with sports and superheroes like you are?”

Tyson scoffed, his eyes widening in shock at Che’s outburst. “That’s not what I…”

“That’s what it sounds like,” Che cut him off. “That’s what it ALWAYS sounds like.”

Tyson sighed but didn’t say anything else. Che grabbed a few items of clothing, stuffed them into his backpack, and turned to face the teen once more.

“Look, Tyson,” Che said, his voice softer. “Lorenzo can be a lot. He tries to give off this mysterious vibe, and he loves acting like he knows more than everybody else. But he’s still just a kid, and he doesn’t know what he’s gotten himself into.”

“I don’t hate him because he’s…you know,” Tyson mumbled, looking away. “I mean I don’t get it, and I don’t see why people like him at all. We all thought my brother Tim was kinda weird too, but we still loved him.”

Che paused for a moment, staring at the ground before meeting Tyson’s gaze again. “Yeah, well, I don’t think Lorenzo feels like he has a family who loves him. You saw how his parents were talking to him when everyone’s family showed up. It’s no wonder he tries to act nonchalant about everything. I couldn’t imagine constantly feeling like everyone hated me.”

Tyson’s eyes fell to the floor, and his shoulders slumped. Che felt a surge of sadness shoot through him like an arrow. Lorenzo was probably treated like that by most people in his community, like nothing more than a menace who didn’t belong.

“And after he fought to try to protect us,” Che continued. “And you and your family didn’t even want to thank him at first!”

Tyson glanced up again, his mouth open in surprise. Che shook his head with a sigh.

“Dude, I…” Tyson trailed off, unable to find the words. “You’re right. That was wrong. We were wrong for that, but that doesn’t change the fact that that Yokan guy was there because of YOU.”

Che nodded slowly. “I know, and Lorenzo doesn’t realize the danger he’s in right now.”

Tyson rolled his eyes and folded his arms. “Oh, I bet he knows exactly how much danger’s involved. Especially for you.”

“What do you mean by that?” Che adjusted his backpack and started toward the door, not all that concerned about Tyson’s answer.

Tyson took in a deep breath before answering. “You’re obviously going to go along with him no matter what I tell you, but you should ask him about one thing. Ask him about what happened to Serena.”

Che froze. He recalled Lorenzo telling him about a girl he and Tyson had a falling out over, though he never said her name. “What happened to her?”

Tyson shook his head. “Ask him. He should be the one to tell you.”

Che rubbed his chin, feeling strangely uncomfortable. The mysteries just seemed to keep piling up everywhere he went. He didn’t have time to think about it, though; he had to leave before Lorenzo got tired of waiting outside and left without him.

He was just about to step outside when he paused, turning back to Tyson before speaking.

“Tyson, listen…” Che said. “I’m sorry. I’ve been deceiving everyone since I got here, but I never meant to hurt you or anyone else. I should have just found Yokan and faced him right away, but I didn’t think I was strong enough. I’ve been a coward.”

Tyson opened his mouth to respond before closing it again. He seemed to be at a loss for words, and he just nodded before looking away.

Che continued. “And also? I meant what I said the other day. Try to take the finals, even if you don’t feel ready. It’s okay to fail sometimes, as long as you learn something from it. I had to learn that the hard way.”

Tyson nodded again, and he smiled faintly. “Yeah…I’ll think about it.”

Che smiled in return before turning to leave. As he walked away, he allowed himself to feel a small sense of peace, as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

Tyson might hate him forever just like he did Lorenzo, but at least Che had managed to leave one good sentiment behind. That was enough for now.

He had one last mission to complete, and he hoped what happened next would make a difference. The students of Legaros Academy deserved that much.

“You’re a good kid, Tyson,” Che said as he finally crossed the threshold. “You all are.”