Life is a miracle generated by a network of thousands of Sparks created within every living being each passing day.
To live is to feel.
Importance of Spark preservation falls into an importance of Life preservation.
Just like the ripples on a seafloor, one Spark activates the other, that one does the same yet again, until they break majestically on the shores of sand and stone.
Our goal is to focus on that single ripple that is so meager in an ocean of ripples, but it wields significance into giving birth to all the future ripples that will follow it’s example.
“Now, let’s do our best at the start of new school year!”
Ren finished her presentation with puffed chest.
The entire club was present for this small introduction. Boy dressed in a turquoise suit moved his gel-filled hair from one side to another while he was typing on a computer.
“I finished our online scythe!” Omi said while crackling fingers.
Across the boy, blonde girl with tiny top hat on one side of the head and spiraled drill made out of hair on the other dodged Shiki’s eyes with commendable precision.
He pretended not to notice it by doing the same and kept looking at the mountain-like Alp that stood like a guardian statue beside Ren.
“Now Kap, I will explain the entire procedure so you don’t get overwhelmed when a student knocks on our door.”
Shiki gulped the nonexistent saliva that made his throat even more sore.
Ren signaled Alp to clear the blackboard which he did in a matter of milliseconds.
“First. Active Shard carriers start interacting with an inactive shard carrier. In this specific case that is you Kappa, the Stabilizer and your partner Ume, the Fighter.”
Shiki did his best not to look away from the blackboard as the rising temperature across the table felt like a heat wave in the middle of winter.
“Inactive Shard is a person that seeks your help, of course. You combine your Shards with this device we call the Prism.”
Ren pulled a tiny round chip-like object out of her pocket.
“Second, after you two have established the connection, you need to bond together with a Shard type three. That will be a person, preferably the best friend of our Inactive Shard. This device will help you easily activate all of your Shards.”
Ren wanted to continue talking but she caught a glimpse of Alp that looked like he wanted to say something.
“I love that part! Everyone gets anxious and you get to be their strength!”
Alp flexed with his gargantuan hands which pleased Ren.
Shiki had already started to jolt down everything in his notes which caught Ume’s attention. From time to time she would look at him without changing her expression that seemed to have softened since yesterday.
“Prism will open up a portal that you will seemingly traverse after you close your eyes.”
Shiki flinched after hearing the world portal and Omi decided to intervene.
“You already passed through one after entering the academy cause I planted a Prism in your poketh.”
Shiki stared at Omi like he stole the final drop of water in a desert from him.
“Why are you looking at me like dath?” Omi defended himself by saying, “Pres made me do at.”
Energy levels surrounding Alp started to grow, so Omi dropped his look onto the computer screen yet again.
Even Ren detected his passion and started talking again before the accident occurs.
“Once you’re in a [World Within] you two are on your own. Every world has it’s own set of rules, in some we have forms of communication, in others we don’t. There are too many variables.”
Shiki’s mouth dropped on their own.
Sweat covering his face and palms became significantly colder.
What on earth have I put myself into? spreaded across Shiki’s mind.
“Your goal in there is, as I said, to collect [Loose Mana] and to stabilize the world. Ume already traversed through such worlds as a Fighter with Omi so she will be of great assistance to you.”
Shiki turned around at Ume and at that moment their eyes met.
This time she didn’t dodge the look. She just exhaled a tiny amount of breath and threw a comment.
“No fret hottie, I bet u’ll make a way better job than “last word case” over there ever did,” Ume pointed at Omi.
Omi jumped out of chair visible frustrated at her.
“I told you we’re not compatibell!”
Alp gave Omi a quick piercing stare so he just sat down quickly without adding anything else.
“That is a fact,” Ren finished the discussion and continued.
“Hopefully, you two will be more than compatibell, I mean compatible, with each other!” said Ren as the wind blew the curtains behind her back.
“That wind again.”
Thought lingered within the minds of everyone present, except of course in Alp’s who is convinced that wind only blows for Ren. He looked at her with glitter in his eyes.
“That is all. Any questions?” Ren asked
Shiki touched his chin as if he was searching for a beard that is yet to grow on his face.
“Will we be attacked there?” Shiki asked.
“Maybe, maybe not,” Ren answered.
“If I get hurt in there, will I be hurt in real life?” he asked.
“Maybe, maybe noth,” Omi answered.
“So I can die in there?!?” he asked.
“Just maybe,” Ume answered.
“Anything other than maybe?” he asked again.
“Maybe!” Alp laughed.
Shiki became quiet after hearing all the answers. He waited couple of seconds and gave his final thought.
“Can I le…” his sentence was abruptly interrupted by a knock on the door.
Ren smiled from ear to ear and said loud and clear: “Come in!”
Short boy has entered the club room.
“Ummm… this is the psychology club, right?” he asked.
“You’re right! Kap and Ume will take care of you in a room next door,” said Ren.
Alp opened a door beside him that Shiki failed to see due to his mountaineous size.
“Don’t fret, we’re right behind ya,” said Ume to a quiet boy.
Her smile dropped when she looked at Shiki which only furthered his anxiety.
“Oh, and one last thing,” Ren said when both the boy and Ume had already left.
“Don’t think too much about anything you see in that world,” Ren smiled gently.
“I’ll try,” Shiki added, and walked out of the room.
The room next door was a smaller one with couple of bookshelves, a round table and two chairs on each side.
“Umm… it’s my first time here, and I couldn’t bring anyone…” boy shrugged his shoulders while averting gaze from Kin.
“No probs’ chief,” said Ume.
She jumped to the right side, towards one of the book shelves and grabbed a medium-sized flowerpot.
Shiki noticed how pretty Ume smelled when she passed by him but his moment of bliss was crushed immediately when she put a flowerpot next to the boy.
“Say hi to Muhi, he’s our friendly neighbourhood hungry hungry plant,” said Ume proudly.
Inside the flowerpot there was planted a big healthy venus flytrap.
Shiki and the boy both gasped in shock and it seemed like their spirits are about to be freed from their mortal cages.
“But...but… president said we need a pet at least,” said Shiki.
Ume angrily scolded him, “Hey! He’s ma' buddy!”
Shiki couldn’t really throw the ball back to her side of the field so he decided to reassure the boy instead.
“It’s okay, just a normal procedure,” said Shiki in a nervous tone.
“Oh, it’s fine… I like plants,” said the boy in even raspier tone.
“Ya two are already gettin’ along real well,” said Ume while playing with her drill.
Boy looked at Ume’s unusual attire. Her outfit consisted of long dark purple dress decorated with few cloth bows here and there, topped with a tiny black tophat.
“Why are you dressed so ridiculously?” a tiny sound came from boy’s dry mouth.
“Wanna die bruh?” Ume burned the boy with radiation so he just backed down.
Shiki couldn’t believe the boy would actually say it out loud. Shiki kept for himself all the opinions about bizarre tastes of his club members.
Ume fixed her tophat and started talking.
“Aaanyways, tell us what’s on u'r mind”
Shiki realized what was boy about to say so he jumped in as fast as possible to prevent another clash.
“Why, why do you seek this club, I mean our help?”
Boy sighed and spoke up.
“I heard you are really good at helping people with all kind of problems so I decided why not, I have nothing to lose.”
Ume seemed tilted for one reason or another so Shiki completely ignored her and decided to carry the interview himself.
“Go ahead, you can trust us.”
“Ok. I had couple of friends, in my first year, but since classes mixed around, we won’t see each other so often.”
Round chip-like object in Ume’s hand began emitting pale blue-ish glow. She put it in the middle of a table.
“Ignore this, keep talkin’, ya doin’ fine.”
Shiki looked at Ume and read a clear sentence from her lips.
“Go for it.”
Boy became visibly restless.
“I know it’s just the first day, but I was worried about it entire summer break, and my fear came true, and how am I going to make new friends?”
The pale glow on the Prism rose into the air. Boy’s lips continued to move, but not a single sounding word came from his mouth.
Shiki was perplexed.
He wanted to get up and leave the room.
He wanted to get up and leave town again.
He wanted to get up and run away.
“Hold my hand,” whispered Ume as she stretched her tiny smooth hand towards Shiki.
Her nails were painted grey which reminded him of a particular cloudy day.
Smell of rain preoccupied his attention.
A familiar muffled hum in a distance calmed his nerves.
It was okay.
Moment felt stretched like liquid glass.
“Kap,” said the voice
“Kap!” said the voice again, but this time it felt recognizable.
Shiki opened his eyes.
He was sitting on a bench at the train station. It looked like a small village train station since they were surrounded by a plain field where grass and various bushes grew.
Ume was sitting next to him, still holding his hand.
“Hey? Ya alive?”
“I think so… where are we? Am I dreaming?” he asked.
“Ya wish to dream of me? How nice of ya!” Ume joked.
“Nah, we’re in boy’s [World Within], let’s get busy.”
She let go of his hand inconspicuously. Shiki felt slight headache but recovered after a minute. His back hurt as if he was carrying a heavy bag.
“My back hurts.”
“Ya have a turtle shell, Kappa! It suits ya!”
Shiki touched his back and panicked.
He scratched it with his fingernails and pushed it from his body in hope it will go off but it didn’t.
“Are ya done? We don’t have all day ya know,” Ume stood up and walked around the station.
“Ok.” Shiki calmed down and remembered not to think too much about the things within these worlds.
On a first look, it seemed like an ordinary station. The afternoon sun shined bright on a single railway track that stretched far from one side of the horizon to the other.
Numerous crickets sang from the sunburned bushes which neatly complimented the summer feel of this World.
The air around them soon grew stagnant since nothing at all was happening.
“What exactly are we looking for?” Shiki asked after walking aimlessly for several minutes.
“You’ll know when you see it.”
Ume walked couple of meters in front of Shiki while constantly looking up, down, left and right without changing the order.
Shiki followed her diligently in a silence for the rest of the way, examining the turtle shell with fingertips.
They must have walked a kilometer already when all of a sudden Ume stopped.
“It stopped loopin’ with this bench over there,” Ume announced enthusiastically.
“Loop?” Shiki scratched the nonexistent itch on his nose.
“UP-crack in a ceiling
DOWN-red gum melted on a floor
LEFT-the only green bush among the burned ones
RIGHT- the bench
The loop breaks with this bench, cause in it’s place should be crack on a ceiling, but behold, there’s no crack!”
Ume turned around and looked directly in Shiki’s eyes
"It’s your average [Looped Entrance].”
Shiki looked at Kin with utmost admiration.
“Amazing! You’re smart!” even his nervous self couldn’t suppress the emotions.
“Please, ya can count on ma' brains,” Ume smiled preciously from ear to ear, showing her tiny teeth to Shiki.
“Now what?” asked Siki.
“Now we lay back on a bench and chill,” Ume hopped on a bench happily as her legs danced up and down excitedly.
Shiki followed her instructions and sat on the other side of the bench.
His nerves were breaking.
He was staring at his hands and played the hand-held console that his mind vomited just to cope with the fact that there is a girl beside him, with no one else in sight.
Ume slowly but surely without saying a word started to move closer to Shiki. As she moved closer, he moved further away until he reached the end of the bench.
Fat drops of sweat covering his frantic forehead started bathing him with unreasonable amounts of happiness and worry.
Ume opened her mouth like a bloodthirsty shark and grabbed the ends of her elegant dress.
Single line pierced through the atmosphere like a lightning on a clear day which made the winds rise from every side. Shiki’s mind didn’t have time to fully process her command since the strong winds blew all of his thoughts.
Suddenly an extremely fast train stormed on the tracks, passing in front of them.
“This is our train! Now jump!” Ume yelled at him.
Ume seemed sane and certain in her call, so for once in his lifetime Shiki decided not to analyze anything but to just do as he’s told.
He grabbed her hand, which she took by surprise and jumped towards the storming train.
Before they made contact with it, an invisible barrier held them in the air.
They stood still floating.
Shiki looked at the train that stormed like a violent beast a moment ago, now immovable.
He felt a light heat on his right hand, that held Ume.
Greek letter Kappa tattooed itself from nothing, radiating a pale bluish light.
When he looked up at Ume, a futuristic- looking weapon with a size almost bigger than her tiny posture materialized out of tin air on her back.
Their eyes met.
Her dangerous smile that burned with confidence gave Shiki courage he hasn’t felt perhaps ever.
Like a baloon of concentrated air it bounced them back onto the bench.
Force that bounced them was so strong they shattered the bench into pieces with their bodies.
Shiki rolled down on his turtle shell which prevented all harm done to him and Ume jumped on her new weapon with ease and landed safely while still standing.
Their eyes met yet again but without further ado she grabbed the giant launcher as it was made of wool and pointed to the horizon.
“Let’s Rock’n’Roll, hottie.”