It was a pure white room. Walls in each direction were painted white without any seams, the altar enshrined in the centre was also pure white like hardened snow, and the lighting of the room was, again, also white.
“Give the offering.”
A voice resounds in the room from an unknown place. Double doors were opened and from beyond the dark passage, a queue of people came in. Similar to the white room, those people were also completely white.
Their whole body was covered by a spotlessly clean white robe; a white mask covered their faces, and not a single part of skin could be seen.
They held white boxes in their hands; a total of six boxes were brought into the room. Unknown whether these boxes were the ‘offering’, they nimbly set the boxes in the prescribed positions, and left the room.
A sound of locking could be heard with the closing of the double doors which resounded in the empty white room.
“The preparations are complete.”
The man ‘looking’ at the series of events from a separate room muttered in satisfaction.
He also, similar to the people who had set the boxes, was wearing a white robe, but his face was not covered with a mask and revealed a wrinkled face giving a sense of his age.
With the declaration of the old man, the man waiting in the back of the room conveyed the thoughts of acknowledgement.
“『التنين الاسود تقديم إستدعاء الروح باب ربط العالم المختلفة』– ending chant, opening the gate—“
With the voice of the person in the back, the old man closed his eyes, and attentively listened.
Knowing that currently, directly viewing the room with the white altar which was producing a light, had the danger of causing permanent loss of eyesight, the only thing reflected in his vision was darkness, i.e. the back of his own eyelids.
Soon the noisy room also turned silent.
“It was a success.”
When the old man muttered so, voice of joy and relief rose everywhere.
“Start with the measures.”
Again, the people in white started moving in a row in the passage connected with the white altar room.
Out of nowhere, the voice of the old man resounded directly in their ears with information which they put in their mind without missing a single word.
“Male, Age 17, Student—“
The personal data of the mysterious person came in from the old man. But, whether they understood the meaning or not, there was no sign of any bewilderment in them.
The moment he was about to say the name of the person whose info was being given, suddenly laughter resounded instead.
The old man was laughing, whether this was an unexpected situation, the men in white did not stop moving but there was certainly a slight unrest in them. Still, the men finally came to the white altar room and with an accustomed manner started unlocking the door.
“Apologies gentlemen, but it was simply too absurd of a name you see.”
As the old man said so, the inside of the room came into view. Similar to as it was previously, spotlessly white room. But the boxes they had carried had now disappeared, and as if in exchange for it, a single man was lying naked on the white altar.
A black haired man, his appearance matched with information given by the old man. And then, the old man once more said the name of the man.
“His name is, Kurono Maou.”
As a soft light fell upon my eyelids, a faint consciousness returned inside my head.
Remembering that I was in a deep sleep, I realised that I was wrapped up in a warm futon. As I thought of getting up, the devilish warmness of the bed made my determination to get out of it waver.
A..A little while longer…..5 more minutes…….
With an angry voice, my body was mercilessly exposed to the cruel coldness. Due to the overly abrupt stimulus, I jumped up to my feet.
“uooo! Is it an enemy attack!?”
“What the hell are you fighting?”
With a cold voice, what came into my vision was the face I am most used to seeing. As soon as I recognized it, the drowsiness inside my head instantly disappeared.
Farewell dream world, Good Morning Reality.
In a slightly messed up room, snatching the futon away from me stood a single woman.
Glossy long black hair, unblemished white skin, well featured outline and a tall nose, straight vibrant lips and stiff and angled eyebrows gave off a feeling of anger.
Whether this sharp and severe expression should feel terrifying or beautiful would depend on personal choice, but the fact that it was a more than well ordered look would definitely be affirmed. In addition to the good looks, her height was also almost 180 cm.
Long, slender legs and a constricted waist line, on top of which the apron worn was further boosting her chest giving off an overwhelming presence. This level of style surpassing that of Models or Gravure Idols, unless you are a severe lolicon, homo, or incompetent, was definitely eye catching. But no matter how pretty looking she was, it could never touch the heartstrings of my true eros, because,
“Good Morning, Mom.”
She was my true blood-related mother.
“Good Morning, hurry and get up, everyone is already on the table.”
Saying that, mom left the room, leaving the door ajar.
“At least close the door…….it’s cold.”
Looking at the clock on the table, it was 6:50. As a high school student who had no morning practice, it could be said that this was still early to get out of bed.
Anyway, can’t really go to sleep again now that I am up once.
“Guess I should get ready then?”
And thus today once again my, Kurono Maou’s, unchanging peaceful life began.
Changing into the Gakuran(uniform) that is the proof of a high school student, I left my room situated on the second floor.
After I was done with washing my face, brushing teeth, and readying my appearance in the washroom on the first floor, I went to the living room for breakfast.
Just like mom said, two small figures could be seen on the table.
As I called out, the two turned around after realizing my presence.
One is my father. Even now retaining youthful appearance of a 30yr old, he surpassed mom who could be categorized as beautiful and surprised friends and acquaintances.
Youthfulness that could even be called as that of a 20yr old together with his short height of 160cm, he looked more like a young boy rather than a middle aged man.
What is up with the body of this Father? Makes you think whether his body not know ageing or maybe his time has stopped.
Probably by the time I graduate from high school I would look older when compared to him.
By the way rather than taking to this androgynous short father, I am more similar to my mother. Inheriting her tall height and sharp eyes, at 183cm and with a villainous look, I have demon-like form.
It’s good that I’m tall, but the fact that I don’t have a bishounen-like face of my father is a bit regretful.
Thanks to this villainous face, my surroundings are scared of me even though I have not done anything.
“Good Morning, Maou.”
The other person sitting on the table is my elder sister, Mana.
Completely opposite to me, my sister resembles my father, i.e. cute, small, sweet, ephemeral, giving a feeling of wanting to protect-type Bishoujo. Even the she is already in college, she has a suiting black twintailed hairstyle.
“Did you make a Bento again today?”
That appearance of replying with lightly blushing cheeks is definitely worth seeing, even if she is your sister. But the one who is the receiver of this good will hidden in her small chest is not me, but her recently gotten boyfriend.
The only thing able to bring about such an easy to understand face on my usually indifferent and poker faced sister is something related to her boyfriend only. Well that’s how happy she must be. But then anything regarding lovers is unrelated to me. Alright, one day even I’ll get a girlfriend, probably, most likely, I think…It’ll be good if I can. A touch of anxiety crosses my heart as I finish the rice and Miso soup and get up from my seat.
On being asked by my sister, I replied as I put on my coat.
“It’s raining, so I’ll take the bus today.”
“Oh, the bus stop is far away after all.”
Going to the same school till last year, my sister also knew that it took some time to get to the bus stop from home. If going by bicycle, it would be fine even if I left a little late, but I have no choice but to give up when it’s raining this vigorously.
“Here Bento, don’t forget it.”
Taking the Bento from mom, I put it in the bag in a way so that it does not overturn and went towards the entrance.
Sent off by the 3 people of my family, I stepped outside in the still chilly weather.
I’ll get down on the bus stop in front of the school, but first I have to cross a traffic light to reach the school building. As large raindrops fell on the umbrella, I waited for the signal to turn green with the many other students similar to me who were commuting to school by the bus.
Many others who came on foot also stopped at the red light, as it became more and more crowded. In that crowd, I noticed a single schoolgirl. Maybe due to her small and delicate figure, her dark blue umbrella looked unnaturally big in her hands.
Although the crowd was big enough to drown the small her in it, her characteristic flaxen long hair noticeably stood out, giving her a definite presence.
By her side was probably her classmate. As I fretted over whether it would be okay to interrupt their happy talk just to greet her,
Our eyes met unexpectedly.
Her long eyelashes and lovely round eyes were devilish enough to intentionally arouse the desire to protect inside of men.
Sharp outline and pure white skin, a straight nose and small yet juicy lips; It was impossible to find any flaw in the beauty of her face. Silky flaxen long hair, narrow feminine bodyline dressed in sailor uniform gave a neat and tidy feeling.
The ideal bishoujo that everyone imagines, she was without a doubt a perfect personification of it.
Now that our eyes met I couldn’t feign ignorance anymore, not because she was a perfect beauty, but because she was simply an acquaintance.
“Good Morning, Shirasaki-san.”
I hardened my resolved and decided to greet , Shirasaki Yuriko, my colleague in the same Literature club.
“ah,oh, Good Morning Kurono-kun….”
The literature club had few members, so obviously I was acquainted with her and had also talked with her quite a few times, but in terms of relationship she was less of a friend and more of an acquaintance.
Thus I had nothing more to talk to her in this place, I have showed plenty formality so now you can go back to talking to your friends who are looking at me with a weird a gaze, but,
Is there something? Shirasaki-san is standing in front of me without moving. But without saying anything, a silent air of tension flows between us. As a result, with a difference in height of more than 30cm, naturally it felt like I was looking down(in a domineering sense) on Shirasaki-san. Maybe to others it might look as if questioning Shirasaki-san.
“Let’s go, Yuriko!”
Shirasaki-san looked like she was trying to say something but her friend pulled her hand and crossed the signal, which had turned green at sometime, and disappeared in the crowd of the passing students.
“…What? Is there something at the club today?”
Shirasaki-san would not talk to me for something private, so it must be something club-related. Maybe the club will be closed today or something?
“Well, I’ll know when I go.”
But, her friend sure was looking at me with a gaze heavily filled with animosity; I think my glass heart cracked a little. Well, before that Shirasaki-san herself doesn’t really meet eyes with me, and I had already suspected it when all she could do was awkward greetings but,
“Seriously, maybe I really am hated…..”
Classes were boring, but I think they are not completely boring. I can keep up with what is being taught, and it’s not like nothing is entering my head, maybe I could find some sort of joy in learning. But when you are tired, the teacher’s voice automatically becomes hypnotism sound waves.
“Hey Kurono, lend me your notes.”
But, this time it wasn’t me but my friend who was in charge of nodding off.
“Sure but, sleeping for consecutively 4 periods is also problematic.”
With an amazed tone I handed over the notebook containing the Kanji written on the board, copied accurately and exactly.
“Thanks! But yesterday I ended up doing an all-nighter, so it can’t be helped or rather it was inevitable.”
Laughing without any shame, this guy is one of my very few friends, Saika Yota. With the end of 4th period it was now lunchbreak so I joined my desk with Saika’s.
“So, did you finish it last night?”
“Nah, there is one particular route that is quite difficult. I thought it would be fine as long as I raise affection points with her, but it seems I also have to raise some affection points with another heroine and make this one jealous once—“
Hearing a part of Saika’s conversation, what the hell he is saying can only be understood by those who know what he is talking about. Basically, a 18+ romance simulation game’s completion guide.
“— un, well this and that took up my time, then taking a break I watched the late-night anime in real time using up another hour.”
Saika has a medium build and doesn’t even wear glasses so he doesn’t look like an otaku in any way, but the insides are as you can see.
Otaku level can’t be said to be severe but definitely cannot be called light either. Similarly, though not of Saika level but I myself will also come in the otaku category. The genre I actively write in the Literature club is also neither pure literature nor mystery but the so called light novel.
“Couldn’t you just record the late-night anime?”
“Nah, it’s no good unless you see it in real time! It’s more exciting!”
Is that so? I replied vaguely as I brought out my Bento.
“Oh, by the way, I forgot to ask you in the morning but you came to school today with Shirasaki-san didn’t you?”
“No, it wasn’t something like—“
“Its fine Kurono, you don’t really have to play the dense character here.”
What do you mean by play? I’m not some small-minded guy who works hard to maintain some kind of character everyday!
“I saw the scene of you two looking into each others’ eyes in front of the signal. Man, I’m jealous! If this was an eroge it was at a level where you’ll get an event CG! I want to experience event scenes in real life too!”
“Calm down, we go to same club and that’s it. It’s not a relation where an eroge scenario can become reality.”
“Is that so?”
What’s with that doubtful from the bottom of my heart gaze you are giving me? I’ll start seeing black coils behind you in reality due to your over reaction!
“All protagonists are like that! ‘I’m a normal student, not popular, I have no relation to that girl’— No matter how you look at it, heroine affection points are at 100% dammit?”
“Like I said, calm down! Don’t mix reality with fantasy. I’ll say this just in case but, something like I was childhood friends with Shirasaki-san or made an important promise or we are not dating yet she comes to wake me up at home every day or eating lunch together on the rooftop even though our classes are different, such events are absolutely non-existent.”
“Be quiet! Getting a 2-shot scene while going to school with a bishoujo of Shirasaki-san level is more than a splendid situation already! Even then you think it’s nothing? Are you really a guy? A normal guy doesn’t even have a single contact with any girl!”
Now that I think, he might be right. Even if nervous or hated, just being able to greet a unanimously accepted bishoujo in the morning might be a blessing already. If I had not joined the literature club, the amount of contact with females I had would also be zero. I can barely remember the names of the girls in my class, and I don’t remember properly greeting any of them even once.
“Wait a sec, it’s not like you don’t at all with girls at all. You’re in the soccer club after all, don’t you talk with that cute manager?
“Idiot! She is already in a relationship with the captain! And this is her 3rd boyfriend after entering high school! Nooo I don’t want to hear real life romances of girls!!”
“Selfish aren’t you? Isn’t it fine as long as she is cute?”
“Like hell! Women who NTR and get NTRed are not heroines at all! Something brutish as that should only exist in eroges and soap operas!”
“I get it, I get it so first of all calm down and sit down, alright?”
With a ‘can’t help it’ expression Saika sat down with a flump. If he continued to heat up like that, he would have become the centre of attraction of the classmates in a bad way.
“nn, wait if girls with boyfriends are NG then Shirasaki-san is no exception right?”
“Huh, is that so?”
I rested my chin on my hands and looked outside the window with a faraway look as I talked to Saika.
“Well, Shirasaki-san is the good girl type that talks to even people like me without making an unpleasant face after all.”
Well she doesn’t directly match eyes either but its better than being bluntly avoided.
“Well you do have a scary face, and a giant on top of it.”
“That’s right, but I’m kind of sensitive about it so don’t say anything more.”
“Well, there is no way that there is not a single boy in her surroundings right?”
It’s only obvious; a convenient development like she is kind only to me is not going to happen, wait, if she really is a completely good girl then she wouldn’t be kind only to one specific person anyway.
“Certainly, I have seen a lot of good-looking guys talking to Shirasaki-san.”
“That’s right, I’m just someone who is among the many people who can just greet her, and the no. of people she gets along with can’t be counted with just two hands.”
“aah, I guess reality is like this after all! Bishoujos are human too after all, if there is a good guy near her, it’s only obvious what will happen.”
“That’s how it is, if it’s Shirasaki-san then naturally she must have one or two boy—“
The one who interrupted me was not Saika, how should I say if he suddenly started talking in such a cute voice I won’t be able to stay friends with him. That’s not it, this voice, could it be?!
“I don’t have a boyfriend.”
Why? With such timing would you appear here? Didn’t I just say that we aren’t in a relation where we ate lunch together? This is the first time that she came to my class to me specifically.
Rather, why am I feeling guilty right now? My heart is thumping like crazy, ah, I can actually feel cold sweat flowing on my face.
Wait, calm down, it’s not like I said anything to diss her!
“No,well….sorry, I said something on my own.”
I ended up apologizing. Well, talking about other people relationships is not exactly good, and the fact that it was heard by the person herself, there is nothing you can do but apologize.
“ah, I’m not really angry or anything, sorry.”
“ah, um, is that so? It’s fine then…….”
No no this atmosphere isn’t fine! Saika has already become a stone statue and has taken a ‘doesn’t concern me’ posture.
It seems that she isn’t really angry, but I can feel that she isn’t really pleasant either. But since the person herself said so, I can only drop the topic here.
“umm, well, did you need something?”
“Yes, that, I failed to say it in the morning.”
For the time being let’s forget about that and focus on the contents of this conversation. So she really had some message to tell me in the morning.
“Today, there is an important meeting in the club so you must come.”
“Meeting? Is that so..got it I’ll make sure.”
I didn’t hear anything about this yesterday……well there must be something urgent considering that she went through all the trouble to come to me. At the end of the day, there is no change in plans to go to the club.
“un, well then….I’ll be waiting.”
Like this after finishing our business-like talk, Shirasaki-san left the classroom with a quick pace.
“Man, bishoujos sure have an unusually high impact, don’t they?
This cold-hearted friend of mine who was quiet until now came back to life.
“Saika, couldn’t you have helped me by following up or something?”
“No way, impossible! In the first place I’m not an acquaintance either, but good thing you found a solution right?”
Could you call that calming down? I only saw my affection points going down quickly.
“So it seems Shirasaki-san doesn’t have a boyfriend. Good for you Kurono! You still have a chance!”
“ahh, again the same topic.”
“High school life means romance events right?”
“Weren’t you against it in real life?”
“Alright! Now even I’m motivated! Oi Kurono, next time introduce me to Shirasaki-san!
“Do you want to cheer for me or do you want to go out yourself, which is it?!”
All I can say is that, at an acquaintance my communication skills aren’t high enough to introduce my friend. Basically, with my status it is impossible to introduce Saika to Shirasaki-san.
“Rather than that, let’s eat.”
“Yeah, or lunchbreak is too short, can’t they increase it to atleast 2 hours—“
I reach towards my bento left alone during my high tension conversation with Shirasaki-san. On removing the lid, waiting for me should be mom’s special no-effort taking simple cooking but,
“What the hell….”
White rice on top of which a big heart made with pink flakes came into my view.
“Eh, what, Kurono what is that bento!? Such love filled bento I have only seen in games!?”
“Ah, that’s it—“
This love filled bento is definitely not something mom would have made for me.
“Mom mistakenly switched my bento………”
This is without a doubt what Sis made for her boyfriend. About now Sis’ boyfriend must be eating mom’s cold bento.
“Uooh amazing! It’s a heart, ahaha! Incredible!!”
I ignored my hyper friend and with mixed feelings decided to eat Sis’ handmade bento. But dear sister, this is a bit, isn’t your love a bit too heavy?
It was now after school after attending two more periods. After completing my sweeping duty I directly went to the literature club’s classroom. Opening the door I stepped into the familiar classroom.
Unintentionally, I let out a stupid voice because there was only one person in the whole classroom. Certainly the club has very few members and many are also ghost members but the fact that there was no one else except one despite getting prior info, and I was even late due to sweeping duty, is a bit strange.
I was imagining the usual president idly chatting with others while waiting but it was not so. Also the fact that the only member to have already come would be Shirasaki-san was also unexpected.
“Shirasaki-san you’re alone?”
Ok conversation over!
I had no other words to speak towards that cute unchanging face of hers. Troubled whether I should talk more or not I randomly took a seat. I was thinking of too many things, but none could leave my mouth. Similarly nothing came from her side either.
Shirasaki-san held a paperback with cute cover, imitating it, I also took out my self-written light novel from my bag to kill time.
On the A4 size papers stuck together was the title [Legend of Hero Abel], a title so straight no RPG would ever use it. This is something I wrote for the first time in middle-school. The contents were as per title- the hero Abel goes to defeat the Demon King. No twists or originality, and the sloppy writing on top of it screamed amateur work. Still it was something with a proper conclusion, a completed work. Maybe I should reread it, or maybe write a sequel…….
Absolute silence. Except for the sound of athletic clubs’ yells coming from the ground and the sound of our turning of pages, the clubroom was mostly silent. Due to the awkward atmosphere, not a single sentence of the light novel was entering my mind. What, why isn’t anybody coming? Wasn’t there supposed to be a meeting? Anyone’s fine but please come already! Due to the incident during lunchbreak, the atmosphere felt really awkward between the two of us alone and I won’t be able to keep this up. Ah, in the first place I have never been alone with Shirasaki-san before this. It was always during a conversation with somebody else that I talked to her.
No but, continuing this silence is kind of painful. Though a bit reckless maybe I should try and talk about something random? That’s right, we are fellow members and even if our genres are a bit different there must be something common to talk about.
Also sooner or later president and others would noisily come into the club anyway, so as long as I could talk for that little time it was fine. Alright I’m gonna do this—
Ugh our voices overlapped!
Awkward, even though we both were silent till now, to think we would raise our voices together..
“You can go first—“
“ah, it’s fine, Kurono-kun can talk first.”
Is what she said but it’s not like I have anything important to talk about.
“No, well, I was thinking that everyone sure is slow.”
Incredibly harmless and boring topic, even I can’t help but think that I’m boring.
“ah, yes, that’s right, me too….”
But, Shirasaki-san also was about to say something similar—
“…….no, that’s not, that’s not it.”
“Actually, that was not what I wanted to say.”
For some reason I could see some change in her from her previous quiet attitude.
Is there something else she wanted to say to me?
“Well, you see—-“
As if resolved something Shirasaki-san vigorously stood up. As she stood up, the Shirasaki-san who never even met my eyes was now clearly looking at me straight in the eye. In those lovely eyes now dwelt resolve and a colour that expressed strength.
To this sudden change I was somewhat surprised but on the outside I kept calm.
“It, It was a lie… “
“Huh, what is?”
“That there was a meeting, that, it was a lie.”
What she was saying, I could not understand even a single bit of it. My head was full of question marks.
“ah, is that so?”
It’s not like it was something to get angry at, in the first place I had no idea what was the motive, so I had no choice but to continue the conversation.
“Yes, and um, you see…..”
The silence continued longer than I thought, the conversation also stopped. But, I felt that right now I shouldn’t call her out and just silently wait for her.
“That, I, I…..”
And finally she spoke.
“Kurono-kun, I —–!!”
Right, Shirasaki-san had definitely said it.
But, I couldn’t hear, neither Shirasaki-san’s voice nor the sounds coming from outside, I couldn’t hear anything. Why? Why can’t I hear? Did my eardrum get torn suddenly or something?
A soundless world, suddenly an intense pain attacked my head.
I have had a lot of headaches when I have had a cold and all, but never this intense, no, in the first place the nature of headache itself is completely different. This, this isn’t a normal headache, this is something more life threatening, something lethal——
My vision was upturned; a shocking pain ran through my body.
After a few seconds, I realized I had fallen off my chair. Rather than reducing, the pain kept on increasing with every second due to which I lay on the floor unable to get up.
The only thing I could do was struggle inside my own mind.
I may have been raising a painful voice but I myself was unable to hear it.
With pitiful tears in the eyes, the view of never before seen Shirasaki-san frantically trying to cling to my body came.
Rather than thinking about the pain, or asking for an ambulance, the fact that I was causing her make such a grief filled expression made me bothered.
The view filled with her tear-stained face was suddenly littered by something like black sand.
This is bad, it seems even my vision is becoming strange.
The black thing soon enveloped my view like a sandstorm, and her crying face disappeared from my view. Can’t hear anything. Can’t see anything. Before I realized, even the feeling of lying on the floor had disappeared. I couldn’t even make sure whether I was breathing or not. The only thing certain is the pain overrunning my head.
Am I going to die—
In the absolute darkness where all my 5 senses had been shut, I soon lost my self-awareness as well.
I don’t want to die—
That was the last thought.