Hello, a special thanks to (again) 123PleKill, (again) akin-'to38, Brillerai, RobynIvy, and ciarawr for reviewing. Here is Chapter 3!
As before, any feedback is optional but welcomed. Enjoy!
~ A Formal Contract ~
The sun's early morning light permeates a neatly arranged room. Kai sits up and brushes his bangs from his face. He gets off the bed and walks over somewhat sleepily to the window. Outside, the campus grounds are quiet and the air is cool. He then turns to a lone pendant on his desk. At the sight of the object, he recalls the events of the afternoon the day before. As if by a twist of fate, he had gotten what he had asked for: a tutor who will teach him all of the prerequisite materials to his quantum mechanics course as well as help him understand the materials for the class itself.
"Hey…freshman…" the girl addressed him the afternoon before, quite out of breath from running, "Give…that…back…to…me…Right now!"
Still astonished from the event that had just transpired, Kai could not take his eyes off her. After a few moments he looked up at the tree and then to the item in his hand. Save for the few people near them, everyone else had lost their interest in the two of them and returned to their own activities.
"You mean this?" Kai indicated to the necklace.
"What else?" she snapped impatiently at him. She then issued him a command, "I order you, return it to me right now."
Kai eyed her up and down for a moment and thought, 'Who does this girl think she is to order me…?'
From her appearance then, it was obvious the item must be very important to her if she had ran out naked with nothing but a towel and a pair of shoes clearly not fit for the afternoon's weather to chase a squirrel around campus for it. He then recalled her attitude toward him on the first day and what she had jokingly promised him.
"Maybe if you come up with a good reason, I'll help you but I doubt you can do that."
His lips proceeded to curl into a vindictive smirk as an idea came to his mind. 'Well, luck might just be on my side today.'
As he formulated his thoughts, the girl took a quick glance around them. Most of those who had been watching them nearby had returned to their own activities and only a few passersby seemed to bother looking in her direction. She then looked back to Kai and became puzzled by his smug appearance and lack of compliance to her demand of action. Wanting to return to her suite already, she impatiently made an attempt to grab the necklace from him. To her dismay, he evaded her.
She reacted to his action with a few moments of silence before she imperiously said, "If you wanted a 'please', you won't get one; it's my necklace."
'Rude, awkward, demanding…' Kai mentally commented to that. He then replied to her statement, "Oh really?"
The displeasure on her features visibly increased. Kai then went on, "Can you prove that it's yours?"
For a few moments, the girl stared intensely at him, analytically scanning him. Kai could tell she must have been trying to figure out his intentions based on his actions and whatever knowledge of him and his situation she possessed, for, a short time later, she stated the following, "It's not my necklace you're after."
In some ways, Kai did feel just slightly impressed by her intellect but he knew that it was no time to be admiring her deduction skills. She then demanded from him in a serious tone, "Laconically, what do you want from me?"
It was this moment when Kai silently prayed in his mind that the necklace really is as important to her as he had assumed when he formulated his plan. He gulped before saying,
"It's simple. Tutor me, and ensure that I pass Quantum with a good looking grade."
To that, the girl had reacted with an expression of utmost displeasure.
Kai approaches his desk and picks up the acorn shaped pendant. 'That's right. With this, I can ensure her help in the class. At least for as long as I am enrolled in the course…'
Of course, the girl was quite discontent with his conditions. In retaliation, she issued to him an ultimatum: he must also agree to a set of her conditions in exchange for her tutoring services, or she will simply give up on the necklace and mentally convince herself that the squirrel and her pendant had disappeared to unknown parts. Having no guarantee of finding anyone else even slightly willing to go the distance he needs them to go in tutoring him, he agreed to at least hear her out. Ultimately, the two of them formed and signed a contract with the following conditions:
1) She will help him with quantum mechanics and all prerequisites for the course as long as he is enrolled in the course and for as long as he wants her help.
2) He holds onto her necklace until their contract is fulfilled either by the conclusion of the course, his withdrawal from the course, her leaving the university or him relinquishing her from service.
3) In return, she will receive as many and any kind of favors from him as she wants so long as the favor in question is publicly reasonable, intelligible, and within legal bounds and the bounds of their contract.
4) He will be ensured a passing grade and a high ranking within the class.
5) Their relation shall be kept to only required interactions and no personal information may be inquired of her.
The third condition was simply her little reprisal; somewhat of a payment to her. The last condition, however, while not something Kai would disagree with considering what he had seen of her, was entirely a demand from her. To him, that condition made a statement: This girl wants nothing to do with him beyond what is required of her. Absolutely nothing.
'Well that's fine with me.' Kai didn't really care to have further interactions with such a strange, bossy, and disrespectful girl anyway.
He then looks around his room for a good place to store the pendant. After all, if ever the girl came over for any reason, he wouldn't want the thing to be in plain sight so she could just take it back and call off the whole deal; he'd be back where he started if that were to happen. He goes through a drawer of his and finds a small box containing some spare beyblade parts. Seeing as there is some extra room inside and deciding that this should suffice, he drops the necklace in and puts everything back before shoving the drawer shut.
He then looks at the small digital clock in the room. 'Crap.'
The night before, Kai had agreed to meet with the girl at 9 a.m. sharp at her dorm for his first lesson. However, it would appear he has woken up much later than he had intended and the time now read 11:26 a.m. Deciding he might as well head over anyway, Kai hurriedly dresses himself and exits his room.
In the meantime, the girl with long, light colored hair browses through several open game clients spanning the screens of four laptops arranged in a semicircle around her on the floor in her room. Everything in the room appeared messy; books, papers, clothes, writing utensils, remnants of instant meals and what appears to be a pile of metal ruins lay scattered about the room. A fluffy cat sits perched on a surprisingly neat bed watching the interesting moving images on the four laptops as the girl brutally spams buttons on the laptop directly in front of her and listens to various people speaking to her over the internet.
"Enemy mass summoning at Necropolis; all members of my party, prepare for pvp. Check your buffs and self-buffs; Ruka, we're renewing songs and dances NOW." She commands authoritatively over a microphone on the floor as she synchronizes with a party member to provide everyone a set of powerful, short-lived buffs. She then runs up to the castle walls in-game with her character, named Nasty, and waits while hidden for the enemy army to approach. Once they are in sight and attacking the castle door, she proceeds to cast a powerful area of effect debuff on her enemies. She then speaks again into the microphone, "Lara, cast Stormscream, NOW."
At that moment, the doorbell sounds but is ignored as the girl's casting in-game completes and the third of the enemy army that had attacked their castle door under the impression that no one was guarding the castle soon found themselves dieing and then dead.
"Good job, Lara." She commends her teammate. She then issues another set of orders, "PC, Ruka, on my mark, cast in the passageway behind the door…NOW."
The AOE attack and AOE debuff combo again, kills off yet another third of the enemy army. However, she and her party now have the surviving one third to deal with as their presence had been announced by their assaults. Luckily the event did not allow resurrection for castle attackers and as the survivors entered, the rest of her clan also arrives back at their castle by teleport.
"And our back up has arrived," she comments satisfied with how things turned out. A knock on her door sounds but she ignores it anyway.
"Good work, Nasty," her clan leader applauses her over their clan's Vent channel before issuing to an order to the entire clan, "Everybody attack and finish them off. RUSH, GO GO!"
Suddenly, the door to her bedroom bursts open.
"You're late." The girl comments without looking up from the screen or pausing her actions on her laptop.
"I'm going back to sleep…" the girl's suite mate yawns as she strolls back to her room, leaving Kai and the girl alone.
"Well I'm here now, aren't I?" Kai returns from outside her door.
"Wait." The girl tells him, now pausing her activities in-game.
Kai watches as she hops over some of her belongings on the floor before slamming the door shut in his face. He then hears a loud animal shrieking noise followed by a loud slam before the door reopens and the girl returns to her previous spot amidst her laptops.
Kai enters the room very confused by her actions but shrugs it off. He takes a quick glance around and notices that the room is a big mess with a hunk of metal in one corner to match.
"It's on the desk." The girl indicates to him before returning to her in-game castle siege event. "Enemy summoner logged in at Valley Pass. Pm 'VPcam1' for summon to kill it."
Kai looks at her strangely. Then, noticing how multiple laptops, each with at least two game clients open, were spread out around her, he decides to shrug it off. 'Must be another game related thing of hers…'
He makes his way to the desk, careful not to step onto anything. A small stack of papers lay on the desk. Seeing as nothing else is there, he asks the girl, "What is this?"
"Your lesson." She responds as she checks the clients on the other laptops to spy on her in-game enemies' actions. "Take it, get out, and makes sure the next time you come back, you're familiar and adept with every equation, concept, and theorem I wrote down on there. I suggest doing the example problems I wrote for you at the end of every section."
Kai takes a look at the pieces of papers. Some of what appeared on the first page, he knew from having taken a course in calculus. However, everything that followed was foreign to him and at first glance, made little sense. He turns back to the girl. "Our deal was that you will ensure I pass with a decent grade."
She does not respond to him but continues spamming buttons on the laptop in front of her.
He then holds the papers out to her. "What is all of this? Care to explain?"
"It's self-explanatory." She tells him, carrying on with her pvp activities.
"I asked you to be my teacher." Kai emphasizes his demand.
Concluding her rebuffs on her party, she looks up at him in an austere and assertive manner. "If you don't have any intention to learn the material and understand the class, then relinquish me from service and return the necklace to me. I can't teach you advanced mathematics and physics and succeed at it if you don't want to put any effort into the learning process; they're not subjects where you can just be spoon-fed a list of facts, regurgitate them to the professor and expect to score flying colors on your exams. You need to derive the equations yourself, visualize the concepts, and practice using the concepts and theories you learned to solve the problems available to you until you're adept at it."
Kai stares at her for a moment, quite taken aback by her speech. In many ways, what she had said reminded him of his own commitment to beyblading and what it takes to get good at it. He remembers all of his hard work and training and the struggle he had gone through to get where he had gotten in the sport and compares it to what she had just said. He accepts what she said and decides to give her a bit of respect, 'Maybe this girl isn't so bad after all…'
'But will this be enough for me to learn everything in time?' Kai scans through the sheets of papers again. The sheets contained a good deal of equations with clearly labeled derivations. Every mathematical principle or theorem used to alter or simplify an equation is given. The topics and concepts were also clearly divided into sections and each section had an abundant amount of diagrams or illustrations to help him visualize everything. He flips through it some more.
"Is this only mathematics?" he asks her.
The girl had returned to her game but replies anyway, "It's the first and easier half of the mathematical principles you'll need. Most of it is self-explanatory and common sense to me but I've seen people struggle with it. So, as a favor to your feeble brain, I've derived every last thing so that even a middle-schooler with only basic algebraic and basic trigonometric knowledge can follow and understand it. That better be enough for you."
Kai holds in his irritation to the best of his ability. He had begun to have some respect for the girl but now, he changes his mind, 'Never mind, I take back my previous statement about this girl.'
However, his thoughts are interrupted by a soft scratching sound coming from a corner of the room. He looks over in the direction of the sound but finds nothing there but a closet and a mess around it typical to that of the rest of the room.
"It's just my suite mate." The girl abruptly explains to him.
He turns to her. Something was odd about her response to the sound – or rather her response to the way he reacted to the sound.
"Meeeow!" a soft sound erupts from the corner where the closet is.
As Kai turns to it, the girl meows loudly, "Meow!"
He turns back to her, 'What the hell…?'
"What the fuck was that?" a male accented voice from her laptop asks.
"Sorry, didn't mean to speak on Vent; I hit the bind button by accident." The girl apologizes, a little flushed.
"Meow?" another voice from her laptop, this time female, but also accented, asks, clearly amused.
The girl stays silent and does not answer them. She turns to Kai and barks a command at him, "If you're done asking meaningless questions, get out of my room already and go home!"
Kai is confused but at the same time, somewhat amused by her flustered expression. However, as this is her room, he complies with her demand. He begins to leave and as he does, the closet door opens and let's out a fluffy, white Persian cat. Leaping out, it lands gracefully on its feet and greets Kai with a "Meow".
Now, Kai might be a freshman but even he is aware that the school's residence halls, out of respect for people with allergies, strictly forbids its residents from keeping any pets aside from small fishes or other containable, small aquatic animals. Of course, he, himself does not mind them, and in fact is fond of them. He would even have liked to pet the cat before him but before he can say or do anything, he notices the girl standing behind him and holding onto the back of his clothing.
"You didn't see it." She asserts through gritted teeth with her cheeks puffed up. "You're hallucinating right now. If you believe otherwise, then the deal between us is off."
A little glossary for non-MMO players:
Party (not to be confused with a celebration) is a group formed in a game for any purpose within the game (killing monsters, bosses, other players, events etc).
PVP stands for Player Versus Player and refers to in-game fighting between multiple players. In the case of this fic, the event the girl was participating in is more accurately Mass PVP (large amounts of players playing against one another) between two sides.
AOE stands for Area Of Effect and refers to attacks that hits an area on the map rather than a single target.
Buffs are spells or skills in a game that increases one's character's battle strength (attack power, defense, health point or hit points, movement speed, evasion, critical chance, etc) or gives the character other advantages.
Debuffs are spells or skills in a game that lowers an enemy character or monster's fighting strength (attack power, defense, health point or hit points, movement speed, evasion, critical chance, etc) or advantages.
Songs/Dances are skills belonging to family of classes commonly referred to as Bard classes. While in some games these can be anywhere from attacks to healing skills, in this fic, they are a set of buffs that can be given to an entire party.