I watched as Emma strained, staring hard at the Immorta Caste swirling in the sky, trying to mentally shut it down.
She, Ulrich, and I were on the rooftop of the dorm building.
Finally, frustrated and angry after fifteen minutes, she turned and stomped down to a corner and sat there.
I stared down at my tablet, swiping through details of my research about Emma Gray, the Fifth-Rank of the six Black Cards. She earned her position two years ago when she revealed herself a bundle of talent and hard work that improved when she joined the Bronze Law and enrolled in the Holden Falls Academy. Her parents didn't need too much researching to find out about: her mom was a famous actress, her dad a well-known businessman.
So she's in a high-class family, like me. Makes sense. Holden Falls Academy is an expensive private school for rich kids. Compared to that, Falkland Academy, my school, that is, is a place with a mix of rich or normal kids.
After recovering a little from her frustration, Emma turned and ran over to us. "I have questions to ask you guys," she said.
"Okay," I said curiously.
"How did you find me?"
I frowned, and sensed a feeling of unease through Ulrich. I glanced at Emma. Since she's an Esper, I expected her to have picked up on Ulrich's emotion.
Her expression didn't twitch, nor did her emotion of curiosity and tension.
"I told you, didn't I?" I said. "You were getting surrounded by the Shadows. After I beat them up, I dragged you over so you don't get captured by them."
Emma frowned. "You didn't beat the Shadows; it was a guy with a hoodie."
I felt Ulrich turn amused, as I reached for the hood of my jacket - before remembering that I threw it into the laundry basket right after coming back earlier.
"It was the Shadowalker!" Emma said sharply, glaring fiercely. "Did you see him? He was the one who defeated the Shadows!"
I sighed. "The Shadowalker Esper. He was myth, wasn't he? Isn't he supposed to be just a myth? The previous, mysterious, First-Rank of the Black Cards who reached his position at the age of twelve and did his acts in the dark until everyone forgot about him? He's only a story that anyone dumb would believe."
"He's not a story! He's a prodigy!" Emma stared at me with an incredulous frown. "People with no ambitions are the sort who won't believe he ever existed!"
I slowly smiled. "Do you believe . . . that Kaden Alander exists?"
She frowned. "Oh, so that's your full name? Let's see . . . a low-rank Esper with hardly control over his powers, only good points are mathematics and science. You would have been in a better position if you worked on all other school subjects instead of those two. So a lowly person with no-good Esper abilities saved me? That's hard to believe. Those Shadows that I was fighting were too strong for normal Espers like you to handle, I'll give you that."
"How did you know of my school life?"
"I've memorized the names of the hundreds of students of the three campuses in Amfer, so that's nothing to me," said Emma. "I keep track of criminals on your grounds, so I have to know all your identities."
There are three academies that enroll students from first-grade till university in Amfer. So in other words, we students in school do not even have to look for another elementary, middle-, high-school, or university, because we're enrolling in one that has all four in one.
To have memorized the seven hundred students of Falkland Academy, plus who knows how many other hundreds of students combined in the Holden Falls Academy that she attends and the last academy called Evictis Academy, which is a special school with a program for extremely elite Espers, she must have an excellent memory. Not to mention, the three schools all have overseas students, too, and my own memory would never keep up.
I sighed, and changed the subject. “Can you read minds? I've been watching you for a while, and you don't seem to be able to do so.”
Emma raised he eyebrows, then frowned. “I lost the ability to read minds when I surpassed my limits as an Esper and became Fifth-Rank of the Black Cards. So I can't.” Then she whirled to me. “You better not be reading my mind.”
“Nah, I can only read emotions,” I said. “I've never been good at reading minds, anyway.”
“What's so funny?” Emma scowled at him.
“Kaden is funny,” said Ulrich.
Emma turned away and looked at the Immorta Caste. “So . . . how exactly do I stop that?”
I frowned. Just as I picked on a huge emotion.
And I mean incredibly huge, so big, I almost fell over in surprise.
Someone's furious rage as that person thundered up the stairs before bursting out onto the roof.
“Kaden, don't you dare leave your place without leaving a note on the door, need I remind you a hundred times?!” demanded Seven Ivory. She was carrying a package in one arm, glaring.
“Oh, Seven,” I said. Then looked away. “Rats.”
Seven, though, was not looking at me, but at Emma, who stared at her, startled.
“Kaden, what's the girl doing here?” she asked, turning a smile towards me. Fake, scary. The witch.
“Did you just call me a witch?” she asked.
Oh, right, she's an Esper who still retained a perfect ability to read minds. I forgot to put up my mental wall against that.
And – I'm doomed.
She stormed up to me like a man and grabbed the collar of my shirt.
“How dare you come up onto the roof so easily, I mean, do you know what's happening up in the sky? An Immorta Caste! An Immorta Caste, you idiot!” Seriously, now, you're too loud! “And I just arrived and finally managed to get to your place via the stairs to bring you lunch – oh, little girl, are you hungry?” Normal girls would get jealous and attack the other girl first! “Wait a second, I'll disembowel you if you're the one who brought her here without telling me! I'm worried if I didn't bring enough food!” It's the food you're worried about?
“Stop complaining in my head!” she snapped.
“You're easily reading my mind!” I snapped back.
Ulrich was laughing at our argument.
“Sorry,” said Seven, smiling at Emma as she unwrapped the packages she brought. Fast recovery. Or mood swings.
Emma suddenly grabbed her arm. “Captain Ivory?” she gasped.
“Yes?” Seven asked cheerfully.
Of course, another thing about Seven was that she was a Bronze Law team captain. So if Emma Gray, a member of the Bronze Law, knows her, then I'm not surprised.
“Would you like something to eat? I made some fried rice for lunch, but I think it'll be enough, in the end,” said Seven.
“Who are these two guys?” Emma asked. “You know them?”
Seven paused. “Didn't they tell you who they are? As for whether I know them, yes, I do. Ulrich is Kaden's neighbor. Kaden is actually my boyfriend.”