ColorBound Book 1: A New World of Adventure!
“That waiter girl was nice,” Cynthia said as they walked along the road. “She even gave us a discount because you talked her through that breakdown she had.”
“I hope she doesn’t get in trouble because of that,” Hiro said. “Especially since it’s my fault she had the breakdown in the first place…”
“Look at it this way, now there’s someone willing to give you free discounts on food.”
“Doesn’t make me feel like any less of a jerk though…”
“You’ll get over it, Hiro,” Cynthia said.
“Hopefully…” he sighed.
They passed by a park with a sign that read Dragons Hollow City Park.
“So this city is called Dragons Hollow?”
“Yeah,” Cynthia confirmed. “And it’s Dragons Hollow because whoever named it forgot to put in the apostrophe, so now no one knows if it’s supposed to be the hollow of one dragon or multiple.”
“That’s really weird.”
“I know right?!”
“Thanks for hanging out with me today, Cynthia,” Hiro said.
“Sure thing,” she responded. “What are you gonna do tomorrow?”
“Honestly, I don’t know.”
“Well, what’d you come here for in the first place?”
“I didn’t really,” he said. “I just woke up in this town today without any explanation.”
“I was hoping to maybe find a school to go to but…”
“Wait, you don’t know?”
“Know what?” Hiro asked.
“Well one reason so many people are in Dragons Hollow right now is because the FuzzyCoats entrance exams are coming up.”
Hiro remembered hearing something about entrance exams before when he encountered those bullies. “Wait, don’t entrance exams happen near the end of summer?”
“Yeah, and it is the end of summer.”
It was early spring on earth last I remember, he thought. So I wasn’t just sent through space but also time. Or it could just be that this planet’s rotation around its sun is different than earth’s. Wait, how long are years here!?
“Watcha thinking about?” Cynthia asked.
“How many days are in a year?”
“365.24 days, duh.”
The exact same as earth, huh? Figures it’d be something lazy like that, he thought.“What day is it?”
“It’s Wednesday, the 16th of Raytide, why?”
“No reason, tell me about that school.”
“You mean FuzzyCoats?”
Hiro smirked. “That’s a stupid name.”
“Why would you say that? The FuzzyCoats Academy for Aspiring Adventurers is not a laughing matter. It’s one of, if not the best high school in the world.”
“Yeah, I’m gonna try to get in myself,” she said before taking a deep breath. “If you’re looking for a school then you should go to FuzzyCoats with me and then we could take school together!”
Well, it would be nice to stay near someone I know from this world, Hiro thought. “That must’ve been what you’re saving money for, correct?”
“But how would I get in? I’m almost completely broke.”
“You could get a job.”
“I don’t even know where to begin.”
“You could ask that waiter girl to help you.”
“I feel like that would be taking advantage of her though,” he said. “But I do need every advantage I can get in this world.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Huh? Uh, I just mean…” Hiro looked for an answer. “I’ve just hit a spot of bad luck lately…”
“Oh, so your luck stat’s low then.”
“Yeah,” Cynthia said, “You know, stats. Those things people use to measure their abilities.”
Like a video game, Hiro thought. “Oh yeah I know, but just to be clear, what are the stats again?”
“You know I can tell you’re lying right?”
“Yeah, especially if you confirm it.”
“Walked right into that one…”
“So there are nine stat types,” she said. “The basic rundown is like this, there’s: Health, which measures one’s regenerative abilities; Strength, which measures raw power; Constitution, which measures defense; Agility, which measures speed and reflexes; Intelligence, which measures how much someone knows; Wisdom, which measures rationality; Charisma, which measures your aura and its effectiveness on others; Affinity, which measures your magical aptitude; and Luck, which measures your, uh, luck. There’s really not another way to put that.”
“Hmm, well I don’t know my stats.”
“We could get you evaluated.”
“I don’t know, sounds like that would cost money,” he said, “And I’m broke, remember?”
“They should give them out at the school during the entrance exams.”
“FuzzyCoats right?” Hiro said, trying to keep a straight face.
“Yeah, it’s a school for adventurers”
“Adventurers? So does that make you an adventurer?”
“Not yet,” she said, “but soon I will be!”
“I might be able to guess this but what do adventurers do exactly?”
“Huh? How would you not know?”
“I think I might but I’d rather get a second opinion before assuming facts.”
“They basically all do the same thing, the only difference is the class.”
“Oh, like paladins, or warlocks, or…”
“What? No,” she interrupted. “You really don’t know what you’re talking about, do you?”
“It’s that obvious huh?”
“So where are you from again?”
Hiro hesitated for a second. “You can keep a secret right?”
“You can trust me.”
“The truth is, I’m from a planet called earth.”
She paused and looked at him before sighing.
“It’s fine if you don’t wanna tell me, but you could’ve at least said so. And if you’re gonna lie, don’t say you’re from earth. Everyone knows that place was abandoned over a thousand years ago.”
“A thousand years ago?! What do you mean it was abandoned!?”
“I don’t know what you’re trying to do, but it’s not very endearing,” she said with an annoyed tone.
She doesn’t believe I’m from earth, he thought. And what’s worse is she thinks that I’m lying to her. I better just drop the subject and apologize instead of trying to explain this.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “Maybe I’ll be able to tell you later.”
“Sure,” she said. “I just won’t tell you where I’m from until then.”
“That works for me,” he said with relief as they reached a crosswalk.
Hiro looked out and saw a truck speeding towards a little girl who was in the middle of the street and not paying attention.
Oh come on! he thought. Isn’t this how I’m supposed to die before getting sent to another world!
“Hey! Look out!” he yelled as he ran and scooped the girl up in his arms. He barely got out of the way as the truck roared on by. As he reached the other side of the road he breathed out a sigh of relief.
“That was close,” he said as he examined the little girl in his arms.
She looked around seven years old and had light brown hair growing all the way down to her feet. Her eyes were shut tight as her body winced in anticipation of what almost happened.
She opened one of her big green eyes before her body relaxed.
“Thanks mister! I thought that was gonna be the end of the line!” she said.
Did this little girl just say end of the line? Hiro thought as he started to put her down. “Are you okay? Can you stand alright?”
“Yeah! I’m fine!” she said as she started to twirl around.
“Are you sure, because you almost got hit by a truck,” he said. “You should probably be a little scared at least…”
“But that was so cool how the truck was coming, vrrrooommm!” she enunciated as she began to act the scene out. “And I didn’t notice until it was too late, but you did and went like ‘Hey! Look out!’ and swept in and saved me from getting hit which probably would’ve hurt a lot like-”
“Are you okay!?” Cynthia said as she approached from behind.
“When did you cross the street?” Hiro asked. “The light’s still red.”
“I jumped over it,” she dismissed. “But I can’t believe that ambulance almost hit this little girl. Those are supposed to save people’s lives, not endanger them.”
“That was an ambulance? Guess I didn’t notice,” Hiro said. “But why was an ambulance driving so fast without its lights on?”
“Oh, hi miss!” the little girl said. “Did you see just now when he ran in front of that truck to save me like a superhero! You should become a superhero! You’re already my hero! Wait, what’s your name Mr. Hero?”
“The name’s Masahiro Misfortune, the Nine-Fingered Menace! But you can just call me Hiro,” he said. “What’s your name?”
“My name’s Cassi!”
“So where are your parents, Cassi?” Cynthia asked. “Are you lost?”
“Well, I know we were staying in a building somewhere,” she said as she tried to remember. “If I saw it again I think I’d recognize it, but right now I’m at a loss…”
“We’ll walk with you until you can find it,” Hiro said.
“Really? Thanks Mr. Hiro and Ms… I forgot to ask your name Ms,” Cassi said.
“My name is Cynthia,” she replied.
“I’ll remember your name forever, Ms. Cynthia!”
“And I’ll remember your name too, Cassi.”
Hiro smiled at the interaction as they began to walk around the city.
After a while Cassi pointed out a skyscraper and they went towards it. It was a generic looking skyscraper and Hiro noticed a parking garage some buildings down on the other side of the street. And on the top row he saw a parked ambulance.
That’s weird, isn’t this the same direction that the ambulance that almost ran Cassi over went? He thought. Why was it in such a rush to get here?
He looked around and didn’t see anything that really looked of any importance, but then again he was new to this world.
Although, he did notice that the parking garage seemed to be full, and there was a decent amount of foot traffic all going towards one place: The building that Cassi had pointed out.
“Hey Cassi, what’s this building you’re taking us to?” he asked. “Is something going on in there?”
“Yeah, the guy watching me is giving a speech in there today,” she said.
“Don’t you mean your dad?”
“Something like that!”
“Hmm…” Hiro said as he began to think. “What kind of speech is he giving?”
“It’s political! I think the one today is about bad adventurers,” she said. “If you want to see it I’m sure Mr. Prism would let you in!”
“Yeah, that’d be nice,” he said before pulling Cynthia back a bit. He then lowered his voice, “I think Cassi’s in trouble.”
“What makes you think that?” she replied.
“Her dad’s a politician who just so happens to be giving a speech today and she was almost hit by an ambulance, which I’m pretty sure is that one over there,” he said while pointing to it.
“I don’t know, it could just be a coincidence.”
“Don’t you think it’s weird that the driver didn’t get out and apologize, or even slow down at all?” he whispered. “I think whoever was driving tried to run her over on purpose and now they show up here? Coincidence!? I think not!”
“It could’ve just been that the driver was so embarrassed after that happened that they wanted to get out of there as soon as possible to avoid judgement,” she said. “I think you may be jumping to conclusions.”
It was true that the main reason he came up with this theory is because nothing big had happened since his reincarnation. And if all the time he spent watching anime and reading manga told him anything about reincarnation into another world, it was that something big was going to happen soon.
“I don’t know,” he said, “But I won’t let anything bad happen to her.”
“That’s a pretty intense thing to promise,” she said. “Especially for someone you just met.”
“Well, I like to think of myself as a pretty intense guy,” he said. “But I won’t let anything bad happen to you either.”
“That’s…” she started before pausing. “…bold. I guess I have to promise not to let anything bad happen to you, too.”
“So, it’s a deal then?” he said while holding out his hand.
“Deal,” she said while taking his hand.
While their hands shook Hiro felt a strange energy, but his train of thought was interrupted when Cassi announced that they had arrived.
Let’s do this, Hiro thought as they walked in. “Hey Cynthia, you see anything suspicious?”
“Why don’t we find out what to do with Cassi before feeding your hunch.”
“I know, I know… How about you find that out while I investigate.”
She was about to give him an answer but he had already separated and started to look around for anything suspicious.
The inside of the building looked normal… -ish… maybe.
It occurred to him that he didn’t know what was considered normal for the inside of a building in this world, so something that seemed off to him might be commonplace in this world.
He then saw what looked to be a security guard.
“Hey, have you seen anything out of place lately?”
“You know, anything weird or suspicious? I think someone may be planning something so I’m here to help in any way I can.”
“Oh great, another headstrong brat with a nice flair that thinks he’s unbeatable,” the man said.
“Look kid, no matter what special powers you were born with it still doesn’t make up for something called experience. So why don’t you just leave this to the professionals and behave yourself,” the man said.
So I guess it’s superpowers and not magic, He thought as he walked away from the man. And they’re called flairs.
“Well, I’m back,” he said as he rejoined Cassi and Cynthia.
“That was quick,” Cynthia said.
“It doesn’t take that long to gather information, like the fact that I’m not a welcome insert into the security force.”
“Did you tell them we brought Cassi back?” she asked.
“Strangely enough that didn’t occur to me…” As Hiro finished speaking, the security guard he had talked to rushed over, pushing him aside with little effort or attention. “Hey!”
“Ms. Cassi!” the man said, ignoring Hiro. “Where have you been!?”
“Oh hi Mr. Vic,” Cassi said. “I was wandering around outside, but then I got lost, and then Mr. Hiro and Ms. Cynthia helped me and brought me back here, and then Mr. Hiro went and talked to you, and then you came over here, and now here we are!”
“Hey, Mr. Vic was it?” Cynthia said, an odd hostility emanating from her. “You might wanna pay more attention to your surroundings. You just bumped my friend aside, you know.”
“Is that a threat?” Mr. Vic asked.
“No, it’s just… someone that I used to hate had that very same problem,” she said as the hostility suddenly faded, replaced with an insincere smile. “Sorry about that.”
Without taking his eyes off Cynthia and Cassi, Mr. Vic pressed his earpiece and said, “I’ve located Cassi Prism. She’s currently in the lobby, with me and two teenagers she claimed brought her back… Are you sure, Mr. Prism? Alright, I’ll wait for you to arrive.”
Hiro, still upset about being pushed aside, deduced from the one side of the conversation he could hear that whoever was in charge was coming to see that Cassi was safe himself.
“I guess people really care about you, huh Cassi?” he said while rubbing her head. “But it makes sense since you’re so adorable.”
It looked like Cassi was about to respond, but then her train of thought switched tracks that very same moment when she saw a certain person who was looking for her.
“Hi Mr. Prism! I’m back!” she squealed as she ran towards a man wearing a black suit with a face mic on him.
“There you are Cassi, I was starting to worry about you,” he said while picking her up. “Especially since Scout told me you ran off without telling anyone.”
“Heh heh… sorry…”
“You can’t just go off exploring like that Cassi, you could’ve gotten hurt or worse.”
“I almost did!” she said excitedly. “An ambulance almost ran me over!”
“What!? Are you okay? You didn’t get hurt did you?”
“I’m fine,” she said before pointing towards Hiro. “He ran out into the street and saved me right before I got hit!”
“He did, did he?”
“And then he and his friend brought me back here!”
“Well, if what she says is true then I guess I’m in your debt.”
“Oh, uh, don’t worry about it,” Hiro said.
“Allow me to properly introduce myself, my name is Liam Prism, and you’ve already met Cassi,” he said. “If there’s ever anything you two need, just ask me, I always pay back my debts.”
“You know, we heard you were giving a speech today,” Cynthia said. “If it’s not any trouble we’d like to watch.”
“It’s not any trouble at all,” Mr. Prism said before looking over their trashy appearances. “But we’re expecting to be packed full, so you may have to watch from the preparation room backstage.”
“It’s because we look like hobos, isn’t it?” Hiro said.
“I’ve got nothing against hobos,” Mr. Prism said. “Why, a hobo just saved my little girl earlier.”
“That hobo was me!” Hiro said. “But all joking aside, that shouldn’t be a problem. I actually think it’s cool that we’d be getting backstage passes.”
“Great, in fact it’s quite relieving that two young people such as yourselves are interested in this kind of thing. After all, the youth hold the future in their hands.”
This conversation continued as they entered the elevator and went up seven floors. They began to get off before Hiro turned around and noticed Cassi remained in the elevator.
“Are you not gonna come with us?”
“I’m seven, politics bore me! I’m gonna go run around upstairs, boop!” she said while pushing a button as the doors began to close. “Bye!”
Mr. Prism then led Hiro and Cynthia to the backstage preparation room. Inside were some screens which he explained would show the stage where he would be giving his speech in a minute.
After he left to do just that Hiro did a quick sweep of the room but didn’t find anything that looked too suspicious. Just some refreshments and a few briefcases around the room.
“Nothing suspicious here.”
“Are you still on that?” Cynthia asked.
“Of course I’m still on that!” Hiro snapped back. “My gut is telling me that something bad is going to happen here.”
As he finished saying that a door in the back of the room opened and a large yellow and red beach ball was tossed toward the other side of the room. As it hit the wall it began to glow and vibrate violently. Hiro could barely process what was going on until it happened.
First there was a loud bang and an intense ringing in his ears.
The next thing Hiro knew pain flushed through his entire body and he was on the floor with blood pooling around him.
It hurts, it burns! It burns! It hurts so bad…!
He painfully forced himself to breathe and lifted his head as he desperately looked around until he found who he was looking for.
About ten feet in front of him Cynthia lay in her own pool of blood. Purple was now his new least favorite color.
“Cynthia… Cynthia! Can you hear me! Please say something…!” he yelled out through his own blood.
He then saw her begin to slowly move and he started to crawl towards her.
He tried to push himself off the ground but his legs wouldn’t respond and his stomach hurt. He clenched his stomach with his left hand only to feel a cold, wet substance start to cover it.
He pulled his hand back and saw it covered in a purple substance. His purple substance. His blood.
His breathing became heavier as he looked back to see his injury and-
His legs were burnt, uneven stubs of what they used to be. His skin was all but burned off from his stomach down, leaving nothing but exposed flesh, and his upper torso was covered in burns.
He would’ve screamed in pain, but he started to vomit blood instead.
“No, no, this can’t… be happening… I can’t… I… I… I don’t wanna die!” He cried out through bloody tears. “I don’t wanna die! Not yet! Not now! Not like this! Please…”
He started to cough up blood as he desperately pleaded with whatever unknown force that could hear him.
He then dropped his head before hearing… bells?
He looked up once more to see something that looked like a pointed boot of some sort with bells on it.
“Hmm… No one was supposed to be in here,” a voice said, it seemed oddly cheerful for some reason. “I guess I can get off with a couple casualties.”
“Help me…” Hiro pleaded.
The figure looked down at him and began to sniff the air.
“You have better things to worry about than me,” the person said. “And although I do take pity on that poor soul of yours, unfortunately the show’s over for you.”
Hiro then heard something weird, like a muffled voice. He couldn’t understand what it said but then the person standing above him answered it.
“Am I not allowed to have a little fun? Oh come on now, don’t be so hurtful! Hold on a sec…”
The person then pointed something towards Hiro, and he heard a click. In the next instant he felt fire dance all over his body, eating away at him.
He screamed out in pain as the fire continued its unholy dance.
It hurts, it burns. It hurts, it burns. It hurts, it burns. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts! It’s pain! I’m pain! What’s pain? It’s hot! Too hot! It burns! It’s hell! Is this hell? Am I dead? Did I go to hell? Fire. Burns. Burnt. Death. Let me die already, I thought I died already. Why haven’t I died already? Is this death? Why is it so long? Why is it so hurt? Why is it so pain? Why is it so burn? Why am I burn? I burn. I hurt. I don’t die. Why don’t I die…
Did I die?
It burned, and then it froze, and then there was no feeling at all, as everything became nothing and Hiro took one final breath.