ToKyotchi Chapter 60

Out of Time

Yokan’s eyes gave off a soft glow as the floor of the ring reflected the harsh sunlight from Nikki’s Sunstorm technique into his face. He landed just opposite of Che, sighing softly as if the weight of the world had been placed on his shoulders, almost as if he had already exhausted himself.

Nikki and Lorenzo stood on either side of Che, still poised to strike at any moment. Che could feel the sweat trickling down his back as the tension in the air continued to rise.

Even if they took him on three against one, he couldn’t underestimate Yokan. The man was simply too powerful and too volatile. Besides, Legaros Academy’s response to the situation was all but disappointing once Avis’ illusions finally broke down completely.

Every soldier Che had seen before was gone, even those perched in the stands, and it made him consider just how much power it took to conjure all of them in the first place. Why had Avis gone to such lengths to create fake soldiers and a fake Dr. Chapman, and why was she now commanding Che to fight Yokan?

Whose side was anyone truly on at this point?

Even though he wanted to give up on trying to make sense of it all anymore, Che knew he couldn’t. It wasn’t just his mission to stop Yokan; everyone who attended Legaros Academy was in danger so long as this mad man was roaming around freely.

Yokan’s piercing gaze snapped Che out of a daze he hadn’t realized he’d been in. Che braced himself for an attack, but instead, Yokan folded his arms in front of him as a smirk creeped up from the corner of his mouth.

“I don’t understand why you’re afraid,” he spoke calmly, which only further disturbed Che. If Yokan was undisturbed, that most certainly meant he didn’t feel as if he was in danger, despite standing before three opponents.

From his peripheral, Che watched as Nikki slightly turned her head, her eyes scanning his expression for an answer to a question Che was certain he couldn’t acknowledge.  

“Chetachi…” she finally whispered. “What are you going to do?”

Che took a deep breath, trying his best to steady his nerves. He could now feel both Nikki’s and Lorenzo’s eyes on him, waiting for him to make a move, but Che couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off about this whole situation.

He took a step forward before raising his hands and slipping into his own battle stance. Yes, he wasn’t sure how he’d defeat Yokan, but that wasn’t his only reason for finding him in the first place. He wanted answers, and only Yokan could truly provide them.

“Yokan…” he began. “I don’t get what it is you really want, and I’m starting to give up on making sense of it anyway. Just leave everyone else out of your plans! These are just students and faculty! They don’t need to be involved!”

Yokan’s once unnerving demeanor immediately shifted into confusion. “What are you talking about?”

Che felt his blood boil and churn at Yokan’s response. No. He was done with people pretending like they didn’t know what was going on. He knew it was all a trick, another slight of hand meant to keep him off balance and divert him away from the truth. “Stop acting like you don’t know what I’m talking about! Like you haven’t been manipulating them into working for you!”

Yokan opened his mouth to speak before slowly closing it, regarding Che with a surprisingly sad expression. It was as if someone had accused him of something, yet they were speaking complete gibberish he couldn’t understand.

Che clenched his fists, his impatience growing with each second. He was certain Legaros would send real soldiers to their location at any moment, wiping out any chance he had of accomplishing what he’d set out to do. Yokan let out a heavy sigh, shaking his head as if to communicate his disappointment.

“It sounds like you’re the one who’s been manipulated,” he finally spoke, his voice becoming soft, almost as if he was genuinely concerned. “No one has been working for me, Chetachi. I’ve simply been waiting for you. Patiently waiting. For you to reach this point.”

“What?” Che’s eyes widened, dropping his fists to his sides. “You can’t be serious! You sent Reagan and Vista to attack me the first day I arrived here! And they were with you the night of the explosions!”

“Because he and that other one announce themselves every time they make an appearance,” Yokan tilted his head to the side, the smirk creeping onto his face once more. “I was simply watching your match from above after you first arrived. Assessing your strength and capabilities. I knew those two would hold a grudge against you after being defeated, so I allowed them to carry it out so long as it made you stronger.”

“You can’t be…” Che’s voice became ragged indicating how exasperated he was. “The student ID…why did you have Rowan’s student ID, and why did you give it to me?”

“Rowan? Was that his name?” Yokan rubbed his chin, suddenly lost in thought as he gazed up at the sky. “I wasn’t really paying attention. I just grabbed the first ID I saw that resembled you. I was going to kill whoever it belonged to, but I believe he’s already dead. So, it worked out perfectly.”

Lorenzo lurched forward, but Che shielded him with his arm, blocking him from advancing on Yokan.

“You mean to tell me your only plan was to bring me here and let me attend classes so I could get stronger?” Che clutched his hand with his head, roaring in frustration.

Nikki winced at the sound, while Lorenzo closed his eyes and shook his head. So much death and destruction had occurred, and the person at the center of it claimed he had little to do with the machinations at play.

Che looked over at Vista’s unconscious form, now remembering how the she and Reagan never seemed to remember who Yokan was when they attended classes together versus when Che crossed paths with Yokan directly. He’d always assumed they were merely pawns, two mischievous students Yokan had recruited for his sick cause.

Yet, as annoying and tenacious as they were, they were also victims of not only Yokan but Avis, if that was even the professor’s true identity.

Che rubbed his temples trying to preemptively will away the headache he was certain was approaching. The puzzle was only getting more complex.

“Reagan…Vista…” Che’s voice began to tremble. “Then that means…all this time…”

“She was probably controlling them,” Yokan nodded his head, gesturing toward patch of grass where Avis had landed, though Che couldn’t see her from where he was standing. “I don’t really like the whole mind control thing. It feels…wrong.”

“Wrong?” Che hissed through gritted teeth. “You have no business declaring what’s right or wrong!”

It all happened so quickly. Che noticed Reagan’s form appear from behind Yokan, his metal skin already glistening in the intense sunlight. He leaped into the air before launching himself at Yokan’s back, his right leg extended to strike him down.

“Mach Kick!” Reagan began to soar toward Yokan, but Che’s body tensed up as a chill ran down his spine. That fool! His attack not only wouldn’t connect; his Mark would make him take even more damage from the attack’s recoil.

“You can be quiet now…” Yokan swiftly turned to face Reagan, throwing his hand forward and stopping the teen’s technique in midair. Yokan then lifted Reagan up into the air before calling out an attack of his own. “Psycho Beam!”

“No!” Che rushed forward, trying to intervene, but it was too late. A colossal beam of light blasted from Yokan’s hand, engulfing Reagan completely. The teen flailed and screamed as his metal skin began to crack and fall away, tumbling to the ground like shattered glass.

Reagan’s body fell just outside the ring as the light faded, his body now motionless in the grass amongst chunks of broken metal. Che’s vision began to blur as he fell to his knees. He felt a sense of dread wash over him as he realized that Reagan may no longer be with them.

Yokan slowly turned back around, facing Che with a cold expression. “I’ve told you time and time again…This place is our chance. We can be anything we want to be here. On Earth, we were never truly happy. Neither of us was safe nor appreciated. But here…we can determine our own fate…as long as we’re powerful enough.”

Che’s mind reeled as he tried to process everything that was happening. He couldn’t believe how twisted Yokan’s reasoning was, how he could justify causing so much harm and destruction for his own gain.

“I knew you needed time to get stronger,” Yokan continued. “That’s why I waited while you took classes and learned how to fight. I knew it would eventually lead you here.”

“HERE FOR WHAT?” Che shouted, his voice already hoarse from all the yelling he’d done so far. “Just stop! I’m done listening to you talk!”

He lunged forward, barely able to hear Lorenzo and Nikki calling out to him, begging him to wait. But he couldn’t delay any longer. He needed to end this, once and for all.

Yokan didn’t blink, extending his hand once more and knocking Che onto his back with ease. Che slid along the floor of the ring before being caught by Nikki, who regarded him with a worried expression.

After getting back on his feet, Che couldn’t help but feel drained. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t get close to Yokan, and he’d seemingly stand no chance even if he could.

His Silver Aura Mark could defend against Psycho Beam, but Yokan’s preferred method of attacking was Telekinesis. He was nothing short of a powerhouse, able to control objects and people with his mind.

Che looked up at Yokan, who was now floating in midair, and his opponent gazed down at Che with a chilling smile, his eyes glowing with a powerful energy.

That was when Che recalled the other reason he’d been trying to track Yokan down, why he’d been trying so hard to get into the Marbot Research Facility since the moment he’d arrived at Legaros Academy.

“Why did you need me to go to the Marbot Research Facility?” Che’s mind was filled with the images of the dead bodies in the tanks of room M-10, some young adults while others were clearly infants. “Are you working with a man named Eminal?”

Yokan’s face once again contorted in confusion, as if completely caught off guard by Che’s question.

“I don’t know where you’re getting all this from,” Yokan slowly shook his head and sighed. “I never told you to go to the Marbot Research Facility, and I’m not working with anyone named Eminal. I just needed you to reach your full potential.”

Che felt like his mind was about to explode. None of this made sense. Was everything up to this point just a clever series of misdirects, a game made up by someone who was even more sadistic and twisted than Yokan?

“You’re lying!” Che’s frustration and anger were reaching a boiling point. “Why won’t you just tell me the truth? What did he do to make you help him?”

Yokan’s expression hardened, and Che could see the gears turning in his mind as he tried to come up with an answer.

“Chetachi…” he spoke slowly, choosing each word carefully. “The entire time you’ve been here, I’ve only been trying to get rid of Dr. Chapman so that you could become the new headmaster.”

Che felt like his heart had stopped beating. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. This couldn’t be this maniac’s true plan. It wasn’t possible! How could someone be this delusional?

“You monster!” Che shouted. “Why would I ever want to be headmaster? Is that really what you dragged me all the way here for? You’re insane!”

The word “insane” clearly triggered something in Yokan, who descended into pure rage, his eyes glowing bright red as if consumed by fury. “I AM NOT! I AM NOT, CHETACHI! I AM NOT! YOU WILL NOT CALL ME THAT!”

He began flailing his arms around, unintentionally flinging Reagan and Vista’s bodies back and forth across the ring. Che watched in horror as they crashed into the floor over and over again like helpless stuffed dolls. It was like watching a spoiled child who’d had something taken away from him. Che clutched his stomach, needing to do everything he could to will away his growing nausea.

“You are pure evil…” Che closed his eyes and shook his head at the sight, though he made certain Yokan could hear him. “Bringing me here, trying to mold me into some sick fantasy role you’ve created, trying to kill innocent people…you don’t deserve anything from me or anyone else!”

Yokan suddenly came to an abrupt stop, though his body shaking from his tantrum. He turned to face Che, his glowing red eyes now filled with malice.

“So it seems you still don’t understand,” Yokan’s voice was much lower than it was before, almost sounding like someone else’s entirely. “I tried, Chetachi. I tried to give you time to come to your senses, but you’ve given me no choice. I will end this here, and I will then obliterate this school. Without you as headmaster, there’s no reason for it to exist.”

Che’s eyes snapped open at Yokan’s words. Yokan had been so nonchalant up until now, but Che knew he wouldn’t be from this moment on. Whatever lingering questions Che had, he was now out of time. He took in as deep a breath as he could manage, solidifying his resolve and activating his Silver Aura Mark.

“I guess I don’t have a choice but to fight you,” Che’s voice was surging with determination, but Yokan, unmoved, broke out into a hysterical fit of laughter, clutching his sides as if he was in pain.

“And what would be the point of that?” he guffawed. “You can’t possibly win, and you clearly have no purpose here, even though I’ve worked diligently to help you find it! What would you possibly have to even fight for?”

“Water Shot!”

“Leech Flower!”

Yokan barely had time to react as Bella’s water jet collided with him, followed by Kim’s trademark flower stem embedded in his right arm. It immediately bloomed into a petunia and glowed with a brilliant light.

Che turned and watched as Bella and Kim stepped into the ring, flanking him on either side just like Nikki and Lorenzo. Yokan, realizing he’d been caught off guard, hovered backward a few feet to create more distance between them.

“No, you don’t!” Nikki shouted, shooting her fist forward in response. “Fire Orb!”

Though Nikki’s fireball erupted from her fist at almost lightning speed, Yokan effortlessly dodged it, extending his hand as a sadistic smile spread across his face. Che’s blood ran cold as he realized what was coming next. He was just about to push Nikki out of the way when Lorenzo called out his own technique.

“Star Wall!” Lorenzo’s pink wall of energy created a barrier between Yokan and everyone else in the ring. Yokan began punching the air, bombarding the barrier with invisible strikes, but it was no use. As long as Lorenzo’s Star Wall remained up, it would block any Mystical-based attack, which meant all of Yokan’s offensive techniques would be useless.

Yokan growled in frustration, but Che could tell the wheels were still turning in his mind. Still, Che felt a tremendous weight lift from his shoulders. This was how he could win. There was still a chance. He only needed to hold out until the right moment.

“I can’t say you’re wrong about me when it comes to fighting,” Che looked up at Yokan, who paused his barrage just long enough to focus on what Che was saying. “I always wondered what the point of it all was when you weren’t strong enough. When you couldn’t really change anything.”

Yokan rolled his eyes and sneered, clearly uninterested in anything else Che had to say, but Che pointed a fist directly at Yokan’s jaw as the silver flames of his Mark roared around him.

“Unlike everyone else today, I’m going to make myself very clear,” Che continued. “I’m going to stop you, and after that I’m going home. It’s that simple.”