Chapter 1:

Chapter 1: An Incredible New World (1 of 2)

ColorBound Book 1: A New World of Adventure!

Masahiro woke up from an empty dream. He stretched and yawned.Bookmark here

“What time is it?” he sleepily asked.Bookmark here

“It’s about 13:07,” a voice said.Bookmark here

“Huh, I can’t believe I was asleep for that long,” Hiro said as he slowly began to open his eyes. He then noticed something strange.Bookmark here

“Uh, is this a dream or did I just wake up while standing?” Hiro said. “Maybe I was sleepwalking? I’ve never sleepwalked before, so…”Bookmark here

He looked around and didn’t recognize any of his surroundings. The people were a motley bunch and some even looked… like… animals?Bookmark here

He saw that some people had body parts, or even extra body parts, made out of things like rocks, fire, metal, and water. Strange animals also walked around him, some were large enough to pull carriages, while others were small enough to be pets. Along with the carriages there were cars, and buildings that looked like the ones he was familiar with, too.Bookmark here

“Wait, was I just transported to another world!?” he yelled.Bookmark here

Hiro rubbed his eyes as he stared with wonder in unbelief at the new world around him.Bookmark here

He looked up at the sky and then down again at his surroundings. He noticed the colors seemed more vivid than he had remembered from earth.Bookmark here

“There’s no way,” he said before pinching himself to confirm it wasn’t a dream. Sure enough he felt pain, meaning it wasn’t a dream. He really was in a new world.Bookmark here

“This is amazing!” he yelled as he started to walk around admiring the new world he found himself in. He then noticed people were staring at him. “I guess people think you’re weird if you yell out random things on the street in this world too…Bookmark here

“I was probably brought to this new world for a reason,” he thought aloud as he walked along the sidewalk. “But how did this happen? Maybe I died in my sleep or something, or maybe I didn’t die at all… I definitely don’t remember dying.”Bookmark here

He thought hard and the last thing he could remember was going to sleep in his room before seeing that bright light. He guessed there must be some connection between the light and his new situation.Bookmark here

He continued to walk around while taking in his new surroundings when he stopped in front of a mirror. He looked himself over.Bookmark here

He had on a black jacket punctuated with a soft green, which he wore unzipped over a black t-shirt and a pair of light grey sweatpants.Bookmark here

His appearance was pretty tidy right now, although that wouldn’t last long. He was wearing the same clothes he went to sleep in.Bookmark here

“Good thing I wasn’t wearing pajamas last night…” he said before noticing something odd.Bookmark here

“Huh!?” He exclaimed as he ran a hand through his spiky white hair. He then pulled out a piece and examined it. “Hang on, I thought my hair was black!”Bookmark here

Instead of freaking out over a new hairdo, he decided to check his pockets for anything useful. First, he found his wallet and checked through it.Bookmark here

“Looks like I’ve got five dollars in coins and a single twenty dollar bill.” he said to himself while checking its inventory. “But it probably isn’t worth anything in this world so I’m basically broke.”Bookmark here

As he put his wallet away he noticed something weird on his hand, or rather, not on his hand. He held out his hands to look at them.Bookmark here

His left hand was normal, but his right hand was missing a pinky, only it didn’t look like it was cut off, more like it was never there to begin with. Consequently, the other fingers on his deformed right hand were each a little bigger than their counterparts on his normal left one. He looked at his right hand dumbfounded.Bookmark here

“Alright, don’t panic,” he said to himself, “You just have four fingers on your right hand now. I could get used to this. It’s not that big a deal. It was probably just the price of reincarnation into a new world or something… that and the white hair,” he concluded.Bookmark here

He looked back at the mirror and into his own emerald green eyes. He took a deep breath and posed, pointing both hands toward the mirror.Bookmark here

“I think I’ll call myself something cool like, the Nine-Fingered Menace!”Bookmark here

“You know kid, you’re not supposed to pose every time you see a mirror,” the owner of the shop said.Bookmark here

“Well if I don’t, who will?” Hiro retorted.Bookmark here

“Well you have me there,” the shopkeeper replied, “I can’t think of anyone who would do such a strange thing. Well, aside from a trovam…”Bookmark here

“Well I’m not like anyone else you’ll ever meet! I am the Nine-Fingered Menace who is destined to save this world from the forces of evil!” Hiro said as he held out his hands.Bookmark here

“If you use the word menace it kinda gives off the wrong idea.”Bookmark here

“Well I think it sounds cool, so I’m sticking with it.”Bookmark here

The shopkeeper chuckled, “I kinda like you kid. Despite the fact that you haven’t bought anything.”Bookmark here

“Sorry about that, I just don’t have a lot of spending money right now,” Hiro said, which was technically true, because he really didn’t have any money right now. “I’ll buy something when I have the money for it,” Hiro replied as he started to walk off.Bookmark here

“Looking forward to it,” the shopkeeper called out. “Take care of yourself, kid!”Bookmark here

“You too!” Hiro said before turning away and continuing to walk. Hiro thought about the words the man had said, Take care of myself…Bookmark here

He stopped walking.Bookmark here

How? He started moving again as he thought through the question. I still have no idea what I’m doing or how I got here! I’m only 15 and I was brought to a new world all by myself without any explanation! Maybe I should try and get into a good high school while I figure out things about this new world? Ugh, I’m gonna need a job aren’t I!?Bookmark here

As Hiro continued walking and thinking about his troubling situation, he put his hands in his jacket pockets. He felt a strange object and pulled it out.Bookmark here

It was a green crystal heart with gold lining around the edges, and for some reason he couldn’t place, it seemed important to him. He tried to think why but came up empty and then decided it probably had something to do with his new predicament.Bookmark here

He stuffed it into his pocket before hearing something in a nearby alleyway, it sounded like someone was in trouble. He decided to investigate, and sure enough he found something. A gang of what he assumed was a bully and two goons were gathered around one kid wearing glasses, a turtleneck, and a beanie.Bookmark here

Seriously? Hiro thought, They probably chose this kid just because he looks like a walking stereotype for nerds.Bookmark here

“Come on, just help us out with the entrance exams,” the head bully snickered.Bookmark here

Entrance exams? Hiro thought. What’s this about? Maybe I can figure out about a school near here!Bookmark here

“I-I’m not gonna help you cheat the entrance exams,” the nerd said. Hiro realized it was a little rude to just profile him as “nerd,” but he didn’t really care to find out his name.Bookmark here

The nerd went on, “The security is way too advanced, even if I wanted to it’d be impossible to give you guys my answers!”Bookmark here

“I hate it when people lie to me,” the head bully said in a low tone. “They have thousands of applicants every year. How much can they really spare just to make sure no one cheats on the entrance exams? I’m sure you can find a way around that little problem for us, or else…”Bookmark here

“Or else what?” Hiro said before he actually started thinking. He then moved in and tried to make it look like he actually knew what he was doing. “You gotta have more merit than that if you want to get anywhere in life.”Bookmark here

“This doesn’t concern you,” goon one said.Bookmark here

“Yeah! Beat it before we beat you!” goon two said.Bookmark here

“Sorry,” Hiro replied, coming between the head bully and the nerd. “But if you think I’m just going to let you threaten this kid into doing things for you then you’ve got another thing coming!”Bookmark here

“Don’t play hero with us you loser,” the head bully said. “We outnumber you three to-”Bookmark here

“Don’t care!” Hiro interrupted as he delivered an uppercut. The bully was knocked back by this sudden attack and Hiro turned to the nerd. “Hey, you! Get outta here! I’ve got this!”Bookmark here

The nerd wasted no time and ran out of the alleyway. One of the goons would’ve tried to stop him but they were too busy helping their boss.Bookmark here

“You’re gonna regret getting in my way!” the head bully said as he stood up. His arms then turned into a collection of rocks.Bookmark here

Oh, yeah. New world, I probably should’ve guessed they’d have magic or something, Hiro thought as he prepared for what came next.Bookmark here

He dodged the first three punches before socking the head bully in the face with a left hook. He stumbled back and Hiro prepared to dodge the next few blows the head bully would undoubtedly launch at him, but was met with the goon one’s razor sharp claws.Bookmark here

Fighting unintelligent beings with claws proved to be easier than Hiro thought it would be. Almost like some instinct was guiding him.Bookmark here

He dodged the goon’s attack and countered mid-onslaught with a kick to the side of his ribs. But as he put his foot down his feet got cold.Bookmark here

“Huh?” Hiro looked down to see his feet frozen to the ground. He looked to the source and was surprised to find out that goon two had ice breath. He looked back just fast enough to see the head bully about to right hook him. He couldn’t get out of the way so he decided to attempt blocking.Bookmark here

He failed.Bookmark here

The blow broke through Hiro’s meager guard and sent him flying out of the ice and into a nearby wall, which hurt. The second hit landed square on Hiro’s gut, knocking the wind out of him.Bookmark here

Hiro fell on his hands and knees as he attempted to catch his breath.Bookmark here

“Think you’re so tough now!” the head bully said as he kicked Hiro in the face, knocking him over. “You should’ve just minded your own decaying business!”Bookmark here

Something warm was coming out of Hiro’s nose, it was blood. He wiped it off with his hand and then noticed something bizarre.Bookmark here

Why is my blood purple!?Bookmark here

His thoughts were interrupted as the head bully grabbed him by the front of his shirt and lifted him up.Bookmark here

“This is where nosy trash like you belongs!” he said as he threw Hiro at a nearby dumpster.Bookmark here

Thud!Bookmark here

Hiro hit the open lid and fell in. The lid comically fell on his head as he tried to get up. He lifted the lid with one hand only to be met with a rocky fist to the face. He fell back and couldn’t help shutting his eyes as everything went dark.Bookmark here

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Hiro woke up with a bunch of things around him.Bookmark here

“Ugh… Where am I?” he mumbled. “Did I sleep in a dumpster again?”Bookmark here

He started to move around as he began to recognize the general feel of his surroundings. He then noticed something odd.Bookmark here

“Wait… when have I ever slept in a dumpster?”Bookmark here

Hiro thought hard about it, but no memories came to mind. Even so, something felt strangely familiar, and that line had come out of his mouth seemingly on its own.Bookmark here

As he struggled to think why he would’ve said that, he remembered what had just happened.Bookmark here

“So I guess people here have superpowers. Or maybe it’s some kind of magic. Either way I was doing pretty good up until that last one.”Bookmark here

Hiro sighed.Bookmark here

“Can’t believe I was beat by a bunch of bullies,” he said to himself. “Tyler would probably mock me for being weak, and I don’t think Destiny would be too pleased that I lost, either.”Bookmark here

Tyler and Destiny, he thought.Bookmark here

But they were gone, and he’d probably never see them again. Along with everything else he knew and loved. Just a product of being brought to a new world.Bookmark here

He shook his head.Bookmark here

“No! Destiny wouldn’t want me getting depressed about this,” he said. “She’d want me to smile and choose joy! I’m in a whole new world for crying out loud! And there are some pluses to this, like not having to deal with Oliver’s constant bullcrap. But first-things first, I should probably get out of this dumpster.”Bookmark here

He attempted to open the lid, but was met with some unusual resistance. He kicked it multiple times but it refused to budge.Bookmark here

“They must’ve frozen the lid over after knocking me out.”Bookmark here

He continued attempting to kick open the lid, but to no avail. Eventually he started to get tired of this right before he heard something.Bookmark here

“Hey, keep it down will ya?”Bookmark here

“Huh? Why did that sound like it came from inside the dumpster?” Hiro wondered aloud.Bookmark here

“That’s because it did.”Bookmark here

He looked around instinctively before realizing it was too dark to see anything inside the dumpster.Bookmark here

“Wait, there’s somebody in here?” he asked.Bookmark here

“No, there are two somebodies in here,” the voice said, “You and me.” It sounded as though the voice was feminine.Bookmark here

“You’ve just been in here the whole time?” Hiro asked. “Why didn’t you do anything when I was getting beat up!?”Bookmark here

“What? When did you get beat up?”Bookmark here

“That’s how I got stuck in here!”Bookmark here

“Really? That must suck,” she said.Bookmark here

“It did,” he replied. “So what are you doing in here?”Bookmark here

“I was taking a nap,” the voice said.Bookmark here

Hiro then heard rustling and a yawn.Bookmark here

“Why are you sleeping in a dumpster?” Hiro asked. “Don’t you have a home or something?”Bookmark here

“You ask too many questions for a complete stranger.”Bookmark here

“It’s only natural to want to know more about the person I just woke up next to.”Bookmark here

“That goes both ways, stranger.”Bookmark here

“How about this, I’ll answer your questions about me if you answer my questions about you.”Bookmark here

“Agreed,” she said, “but I’m going first.”Bookmark here

“Fine by me, but let’s get out of here first. Help me with the lid, will ya?”Bookmark here

Hiro then moved so that he could push the lid open with his hands and heard the girl doing the same.Bookmark here

“On three,” he said. “One…”Bookmark here

The lid popped open.Bookmark here

“Huh, judging by all the banging you were doing earlier I thought it would be harder than that,” the girl said while climbing out.Bookmark here

Hiro hopped out of the bin shortly after.Bookmark here

“You were supposed to wait for three, you know,” he said as he examined himself. No major injuries, just some bruises, nothing he hadn’t experienced before. He looked back at the dumpster and saw the remnants of broken ice.Bookmark here

He then looked at the girl. Her clothes were kind of shabby as though she preferred comfort over style, and she wore bright red rain boots.Bookmark here

She had fair skin and light brown hair touching her shoulders. Her eyes shone a deep green.Bookmark here

“Hey, you’re kinda cute,” Hiro said.Bookmark here

“That kinda sounds like you were expecting me to be ugly.”Bookmark here

“I wasn’t really expecting anything to be honest. So, what’s your name?”Bookmark here

“I thought we agreed I got to ask questions first.”Bookmark here

“Well we did but we still need to know each other’s names.”Bookmark here

“My name is Cynthia Ilex,” she said. “So what’s your name?”Bookmark here

“I’m Masahiro Misfortune, the Nine-Fingered Menace!” he said. “But please, call me Hiro!”Bookmark here

“Hiro huh?” Cynthia said, “Well, what do ya like to eat?”Bookmark here

“I’m not too picky, I’ll eat most anything.”Bookmark here

“Then let’s go to this place I know,” she said as she motioned for him to follow her. “It’s really good, and it’d be a nice place to chat for a while.”Bookmark here

“I’m not one to turn down free food,” Hiro said. “Plus I did promise that chat. So I guess it’s a date then!”Bookmark here

“You’ve got some nerve making the girl pay on the first date.”Bookmark here

“Well, I’m an avid believer in gender equality,” he said. “Plus, I don’t think any of the currency I have with me is worth anything here so I’m probably broke.”Bookmark here

“Are you from out of town or something?”Bookmark here

“Something like that,” he said. “What about you? At least where I come from, people who sleep in dumpsters usually don’t have the kinda money for a nice dinner.”Bookmark here

“Well, I do have some money but I’m saving it for something important,” she said. “And I don’t see the need to rent an apartment if I’m by myself.”Bookmark here

“That’s certainly a strange way of looking at things.”Bookmark here

“Well, we’re here!”Bookmark here

Hiro looked at the restaurant in front of them. It had big orange letters that spelled out The Orange Chimera.Bookmark here

They walked inside and he noticed it had a quiet, sort of homey vibe to it. They were led to a table as Hiro glanced around. The restaurant was full of motley individuals doing various tasks.Bookmark here

Hiro noticed someone had brought a laptop with them, and there was a family with two kids who looked like they were playing a game against each other on their phones.Bookmark here

“So they at least have modern technology here,” Hiro said. “I do remember seeing some cars too now that I think about it…”Bookmark here

“Whatcha talking about, Hiro?”Bookmark here

“Nothing,” he dismissed.Bookmark here

I should be more careful with what I say, Hiro thought. I probably shouldn’t go around saying that I’m from another world. Who knows what could happen…Bookmark here

As he finished thinking this a waiter came to their table. Looking at her, he figured that she couldn’t have been that much younger than him.Bookmark here

She had blonde hair in two long braids and rosy cheeks. She wore a simple uniform except for the fact that it had a special opening in the back for her large white wings. She had soft red eyes.Bookmark here

“Hello and welcome to The Orange Chimera! I’m Snowelle Caelum and I’ll be your waiter this evening.”Bookmark here

“That was fast…” Hiro said to himself. “Which is one of the first signs of good service.”Bookmark here

“Thank you.”Bookmark here

“Wait, I said that out loud?”Bookmark here

Cynthia raised an eyebrow and Snowelle tilted her head with confusion. Hiro cleared his throat and hid his face behind the menu.Bookmark here

He looked at the items on it before realizing that it was written in characters. He thought back to the restaurant’s sign and realized it was also written in similar characters.Bookmark here

So the language is different, he thought. I’m just glad that I can somehow understand it. It would’ve been cruel to send me here completely unprepared and without the ability to read.Bookmark here

He looked at the menu again and realized that even though he could read it, he didn’t understand it.Bookmark here

Spelunker’s steak? He thought, But it’s made out of skrullbear meat. What’s a skrullbear!? I get that this world probably has its own animals but I don’t know anything about these! It must be some sort of bear, but I’ve never had bear before. I wonder what it tastes like? Wait, what if my body rejects the food from here and I end up puking it out! I mean, I don’t think that will happen, but still! I said I wasn’t picky, so if I did end up puking then I’d look like a big liar! Ugh! I can’t decide under this kind of pressure!Bookmark here

“And what would you like to order?”Bookmark here

The words hit Hiro like a bullet train.Bookmark here

He had missed what or if Cynthia had ordered during his panic and decided that just saying he’d have what she was having was too big a risk anyway. After all, she might be a vegetarian or something.Bookmark here

Think! What would Russell do in a situation like this!Bookmark here

Russell was a man Hiro looked up to, and the closest thing he ever had to a father. Or at least a fun uncle.Bookmark here

He searched for ideas and quickly found an answer to his predicament that wouldn’t give away his secret. Probably. Hopefully.Bookmark here

“This is my first time coming here and I just can’t decide what to get,” he said. “Is there anything you would personally recommend? I promise I’m not too picky.”Bookmark here

“Well it’s all pretty good…” Snowelle said.Bookmark here

“Yeah, but what’s your favorite?” he pressed. “What would you want someone to suggest to you if it was your first time?”Bookmark here

“Well the likelihood of our likes aligning is small,” Snowelle started, the pace of her voice rapidly increasing, “and it’s usually different for every person, and I don’t even know you at all, and I can’t suggest something for you because you might not like it, and then you’ll have a bad experience here all because of me, and then I’d fail my job as a waiter, and you’ll probably hate this establishment and me as well, and it’ll all be because I’m a total failure!”Bookmark here

A silence fell over the table.Bookmark here

“Heh, heh…” Snowelle muttered, “I didn’t just say that out loud, did I?”Bookmark here

“So, are you new at being a waiter?” Hiro asked.Bookmark here

“Yeah, it’s my first day and I just wanted to do a good job…” she whimpered. “I’m sorry. I have problems…”Bookmark here

“There’s nothing to be sorry for. Everybody makes mistakes…”Bookmark here

“I’m a total weirdo, aren’t I…?”Bookmark here

“Weirdos are the best kind of people!”Bookmark here

She looked at him through tear filled eyes. “Really…?”Bookmark here

“Yeah,” Hiro said. Is she crying!? I couldn’t make up my mind about what to eat and I ended up making this girl have a breakdown! Russell wouldn’t have done this at all!Bookmark here

“Thanks…”Bookmark here

“Don’t worry about it!” he said. “How about we just start this conversation over.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, okay!” Snowelle said as she got up, wiped the tears from her eyes, and cleared her throat. “Hello and welcome to The Orange Chimera, I’ll be your waiter for today! What would you like to order!”Bookmark here

“This is my first time coming here so what would you recommend?”Bookmark here

“Seriously…”Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.