Dimensions: the Quarter Piece

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Chapter 3: Lies

“Chess.” Makoto greeted as her tall, light-haired friend joined her at her locker.

“Hey—you know what I was thinking?” Chester wondered. Crossing his arms.

“That maybe you should lay off the energy drinks once in a while? Your hands are shaking again.” Makoto responded, not having looked at him even once.

“No, though you bring up a solid point—”

“One that you will religiously ignore.”

“Obviously. Anyway, I was thinking that I should tutor you.” Chester finished.

Makoto slammed her locker door shut and turned to stare at her friend. “Do what now?”

“I can’t stand to watch you be all pitiful all day because you’re helplessly stupid.” Chester said, meaning it all in good fun.

Makoto blinked. “Aw, thanks, Chess, you flatter me.”

“And don’t let it go to your head. So I figured I could boost your IQ a bit, though I thought it would have happened already simply by being around me, but I guess some people are just thick.”

Makoto punched him in the chest and he laughed and grabbed her hand, tucking it into the crook of his elbow and guiding her down the hall.

“And what exactly qualifies you for this position?” Makoto wondered innocently.

“I am a highly intellectual individual whose parents are extremely successful in their trade and have earned a financial fortune. How do you think I got here?” Chester demanded, acting offended.

Makoto raised an eyebrow. “Your parents are monster truck racers.”

Chester shrugged. “Everything I said still stands. I can help you—come on, Makoto, I hate to see you standing around like a kicked puppy.”

“Fine.” Makoto huffed, stuffing her free hand in her pocket. “But you gotta help me with this riddle.” She reached into her backpack for her notebook, right as someone brushed by her.

She jumped back, bumping into Chester as she went. It was Tadashi, his course colliding with hers.

He tossed her a look as he continued on his way. “Sissy.” He bit harshly.

“Jerk.” Makoto shot back under her breath.

“Who was that?” Chester demanded, tightening his hand around Makoto’s.

“Japanese exchange student. Utter jerk-face. Keeps interfering with my work.”

“Japanese? More like Jap-pansy. Come on, show me this riddle.” Chester said, sending Tadashi one last scowl.

Makoto flipped open her notebook. “You know I’m Japanese, too?”

Chester patted her head. “Different kind of pansy.”

Makoto rolled her eyes and showed him the verse.

“Last voyage lost...” Chester mumbled. “Red cliffs remember the fallen—blue meadows hide the found.” A second later he snapped his fingers. “Aw, come on, Makoto, that’s easy.”

At the girl’s confused look, he turned to her excitedly. That was one of the things she liked about Chester. Despite all of his childish teasing, he never used anything he knew better against her.

“Red cliffs remember the fallen—” He watched her reaction. “Memorial Peak? On the West side?”

Makoto blinked. “I don’t go to the West side very often.”

Chester shook his head. “Well, you should. They’ve got great teriyaki. Anyway, Memorial Peak. It’s a cliff facing the water that has all the names of adventurers and sailors lost at sea. The native ones from here, anyway.”

Excited, Makoto copied down the information. “But is it red?”

Chester paused. “Uh, it was when I went in the evening and the sun was setting.”

She clicked her pen like a pesky journalist. “And blue meadows that hide the found?” It didn’t bother her so much that Chester had deciphered it before she had, but that she had gotten yet another case that had to be solved via riddle.

“I dunno about hiding anything found, but just below the cliff, the people bring blue flowers in memory.” Chester said.

She quirked an eyebrow. “Just blue?”

“Yeah. Sometimes purple. To represent the sea, you know? It really is an amazing place. You oughta go.”

Makoto nodded. “Yeah. I will today. Thank you so much.” She stuffed her notebook back into her bag and gave him an appreciative poke with her pen.

“No problem, Mako—oh, hold on.” He whipped out his ringing cell phone and pressed it to his ear. “Tess?” His posture seemed to straighten automatically.

Makoto watched him curiously as his expression crumpled.

“And you’re sure he fell in?” Chester asked. “You know Jett—he’s always wandering...” He drifted off and a woman’s voice carried through the speakers. Despite the obviously worrying situation, the voice sounded more annoyed than distraught.

Makoto couldn’t hear very well, and she didn’t catch any words clearly, but she had to assume that this woman was Jett’s sister, whoever Jett was. Not many people could be annoyed in someone else’s bad situation than a sibling.

A minute later, Chester pocketed the phone and then froze, as though just remembering Makoto’s presence.

“I gotta go. My friend...lives in an ocean-view house. She’s afraid her brother fell in again.” Chester gave her arm a squeeze and spun around to flee the college.

“Hope you find him.” Makoto called, still utterly confused. It obviously wasn’t the full truth, but she trusted him enough not to push it.

She walked into her second PE class—and while the class description was ‘special weapons and tactical,’ the students had been expressly informed that they were not SWAT team qualified—and sat down next to Tadashi.

She refused to look at him, her anger still boiling from the night before.

Turns out, the instructor decided to put aside the munitions for the day and play a game that had absolutely nothing to do with assembling a rifle or throwing a knife.

“Half of you come to me. Pick a partner to send up here.” Kamawan Sensei called, setting up a box on the desk.

Before Makoto could so much as look at Tadashi, he got up and went to crowd around the desk with the rest of the selected students.

For about five minutes, Kamawan Sensei whispered to them incoherently. And then he sent the students back to their desks with a cup and a single game dice.

“For those of you who have no idea what’s going on – I still can’t tell you.” Kamawan Sensei grinned at them. “What I can tell you is that your partner is going to give you the cup with the dice in it. You are welcome to inspect them and make sure they are standard materials and not magician tricks.”

He gave the class a few seconds to check them over.

“You’re going to shake the dice, look at the number, and keep it to yourself. Your partner is going to go through the numbers: is it one? Is it two? Is it three? Is it four? Is it five? Is it six? And your job is to say ‘no’ to each one. Say ‘no’ to every question. And then at the end, he’s going to tell you which dice your rolled. Please begin.”

Tadashi handed Makoto the cup. She pulled the dice out, counting the sides.

“Roll.” He told her.

Makoto narrowed her eyes, dropping the dice back in the cup, and shook it. She peered inside at the number she got. Five.

Fixing a neutral expression on her face, Makoto looked straight at Tadashi.

His eyes were dark and his smirk was smug as he quietly began. “Is it one?”

“No.”

“Is it two?”

“No.”

“Is it three?”

“No.”

The whole time, he never looked away from her eyes. “Is it four?”

“No.”

“Is it five?”

“No.”

“Is it six?”

“No.” Makoto waited for him to reveal his magically accurate answer, raising an eyebrow with a challenging look.

“It’s five.” Tadashi informed her correctly, and then raised his eyebrows in question.

“Yes.” Makoto confirmed, showing him the fifth side on the dice. “Lucky guess?”

“You’re easy to read.” Tadashi shot back.

Makoto narrowed her eyes. “Do it again.” She shook the cup. Three.

“Is it one?”

“No.”

“Is it two?”

“No.”

“Is it three?”

“No.”

“Is it four?”

“No.”

“Is it five?”

“No.” Makoto rubbed her nose, trying anything to change whatever it was that she did to give it away last time.

“Is it six?”

“No.” She smiled, as though she couldn’t easily lie with a straight face.

Tadashi’s expression didn’t change. “It’s three.”

Makoto resentfully showed him the cup. “Three.” She confirmed.

Kamawan Sensei tapped his fingers on the desk. “For those of you who have no idea how your partners are suddenly psychic, I can assure you that they’re not.”

He looked around the room. “Triss, would you come up here please?”

The woman he called on stood up and crossed the room to stand in front of her. She was one of the students who was still uninformed as to how the trick was done.

“You’re going to look into my eyes and ask the same questions that your partner asked you a minute ago. What you’re looking for is for my eyes to dilate. Your eyes dilate when you’re lying – it’s very easy to know a liar if you know where to look.” Kamawan Sensei shook the cup.

Triss shifted uncomfortably, and then studied his eyes very carefully. “Is it one?”

“No.” Sensei’s expression was an easy smile.

“Is it two?”

“No.”

“Is it three?”

“No.”

“Is it four?”

“No.”

“Is it five?”

“No.”

“Is it six?”

“No.” Kamawan waited patiently while Triss nervously produced her answer.

“The number your rolled,” She started shakily, nervous to be performing in front of the whole class. “Is four.”

“The number I rolled is four.” Kamawan agreed with a gentle smile, softly boosting her confidence. He handed her the cup and patted her on the shoulder. “Well done, Triss. Very observant. Please return to your seat.”

With a pleased blush, Triss returned to her desk.

Makoto quickly scribbled the information down, delighted at the new knowledge.

“The second half of the class may surrender their cups to their partners to try it for themselves.” Sensei said.

Makoto handed her cup to Tadashi, who quickly rolled it and glanced at the number. Finally he covered the top with his hand.

“Ichi?”

“Iie.” His poker face was really good. He didn’t seem to register the change of language.

“Ni?”

“Iie.”

Makoto had to remind herself that she was only looking at his eyes. Her previous training invaded her concentration, calling on her to study his hands and feet and breathing, but she ignored all of it. “San?”

“Iie.”

“Yon?”

“Iie.” When he responded, his pupils expanded just slightly.

“Go?”

“Iie.” His pupils remained expanded.

“Roku?”

“Iie.”

Makoto pursed her lips. “Yon desu.”

Tadashi raised an eyebrow. “You actually got it. Be proud of yourself, Makoto, you’ve exceeded my expectations.” He said dryly, utter poison on his tongue.

Makoto frowned at him. “Well you’re a real cupcake to work with, aren’t you?”

Tadashi smirked. “Try again.” He shook the cup.

Two more times Makoto correctly translated his pupil dilation, proudly correcting his lies.

At last, Sensei concluded the day’s class and sent his students on wonderingly excited about what they’d learned.

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