Chapter 4:

Mitsuru's Insight

Paradise on Earth

The session went better, but about as well I expected. Hayami did aggro mobs and I did have to save her consistently, but we did successfully complete a few quests and I managed to grow a few levels in the process. We stopped at about 11:00pm, outside of breaks to make dinner (instant ramen for me and her because neither of our parents were home to cook), time taken to use the bathroom, and for me to take a quick bath, we played for about five and a half hours or so. Occasionally, Hayami and I after our sessions will continue talking to each other late into the night, this so happens to be one of those nights. Hayami left briefly to go bathe this time while I played a more casual game that you’ve probably heard of once or twice, one of the ones where you gather resources and craft objects. I’m currently on my personal quest to build my dream castle with automatic doors and create statue of my waifu. As I’m going down into a cave to get more stone for my castle, I hear an oh so familiar voice in my headset.

“I’m home,” Hayami says out of breath. A state of being I haven’t heard her in before now thinking about it.

But of course, still sounding in control like she always is.

I reply, “Are you ok? Did you speedrun your bath or something?”

“I’m fine thanks for asking, and no I didn’t. I had to sprint back to my room because I thought my parents were home. I don’t think they are, but I’ll wait just in case.”

“Why are you waiting? I don’t remember you mentioning a bad relationship with your parents or anything.”

“That’s because I only have a towel on silly,” Hayami teases in her standard coy tone that sounds as if every sentence ends in a wink like the one earlier today.


“Well it turns out all of my clothes are dirty, I guess my mom forgot to wash them before heading to work this morning so I decided to wash a set of clothes myself and dry them using a space heater. While I waited for my clothes to dry, I decided to eat some sweets while naked in the kitchen,” Hayami responded as if she was prompted the easiest short answer question on a final exam.

“It sounds like you just wanted an excuse to be naked you pervert!”

“Well does a girl who eats her own sweets naked, in her own kitchen, in her own house, after taking her own bath, bother you in some way?” she asks with smugness so thick you could only slice it with a water cutter.

“You could have just waited for your clothes to be done,” I say trying to cut through the smug jungle she’s created.

“Why would I be less efficient? I’ve only had ramen for dinner after all thanks to a certain someone.”

“It’s your fault our quests take so long!”

“I can handle myself fine. I can’t recall, but who’s the one that keeps saving me?” she asks with what I imagine to be the biggest grin on her face the whole night.

I have nothing to say so I don’t.

She continues, “besides, eating in your kitchen naked after taking a bath is very therapeutic, liberating too.”

“How so?”

“As a woman.”

“A woman in the home, how feminist.”

“Also as a human being.”

“Okay now you’re just trying to sound deep.”

“I’m not, it’s the truth. Human beings were not created with clothes originally. Because of evolution, we had body hair and lost it, making clothes necessary among other things. So in a way being naked in your own home outside of your bathroom is connecting us with not only our ancestors but an inner part of ourselves. In fact, I can imagine helping us connect with our younger self since we’re exposed in such a way kids are only familiar with.”

“Sounds interesting but you haven’t sold me yet. At least in terms of actually doing stuff like that.”

“I would be interested in watching you try at the very least,” Hayami says flirtatiously in a way that felt preplanned but I knew it could not have been.

Uh, excuse me.

What’d she say?

Come again?

“I’m sorry, WHAT!?”

“Being vulnerable like that I mean; I feel like it’s hard for a lot of people to be like that in front of others. There’s a lot we hide away, and you Lil’ Jun aren’t an exception I don’t think—whoops!”

“What happened?”

“I’m still studying while we talk and I guess the towel decided to collapse on me, it’s fine.”

“Put some clothes on you exhibitionist!”

“It’s fine I swear hahaha!”

Glad she’s having such a fun time ruining a poor boy’s innocence!

In line with what she thinks is natural, Hayami returns to her point without any real segue.

“Anyway, it is true. I think one could learn a lot by being open to themselves or others like that.”

“Yeah, like how to get arrested the fastest way possible.”

“Oh please,” Hayami says playfully but more so as if I’m naïve. “People in real life rarely do or get arrested for things worse than that.”

“It might be a surprise to you Hayami but our difference in age by a year doesn’t mean that much in terms of intelligence,” I respond unamused.

“You understand what I mean though, right?”

“I… think so?”

“You’ll get there eventually, Slime Destroyer.”

Hayami then laughs for a bit while I say, “Whatever.”

After she calms down, she asks, “So, what are you doing?”

“Gathering the resources so I can make a castle for the altar of my blue-haired maid waifu.”

“I love Emily.”

“Stop it.”

A great example to show how Hayami earns enough respect to be taken seriously, while she takes no one seriously at all.



That’s all I could muster in my delirious state. My head is pounding beyond anything I’ve previously experienced. What is moving in my brain feels more like hot soup than any blood, every pump exacerbates the pain I already feel. It’s tender, like someone threw a brick at my head and now there’s bruising on the inside, except the bruise is continuously being pressed down on. I feel ill, and my room keeps moving around like I’m a bobblehead and someone decided to tap me pretty hard.

I went to bed fairly late last night thanks to Hayami and I didn’t eat anything else besides the ramen. But even then, I don’t think that would cause whatever I’m feeling right now.

I was somehow magically able to sit up, and despite the pain still being there I did feel slightly better in terms of my nausea so I could kind of understand what was going on, but at the same time things were still hard to see because I didn’t have my glasses on. It was weird though because things weren’t pitch black, instead, there’s something emanating from the window that’s bringing light into my room—I can tell that much.

I am barely able to slump out of my bed and walk over to my desk to grab my glasses in between rhythmic surges of head pain that felt like a drumbeat. I put them on and could finally see the line where the luminescent soft blue light ended on the floor. It was a rectangle with the edge reaching roughly the middle of my bed if it touched, but it was window sized so it couldn’t.

I look to see where the light originated from, but I come to immediately regret that. Not because anything bad immediately happened to me or the window turned out to be a portal to another dimension.

No, I regretted what I saw because I was terrified.

There was nothing outside.

It looked as though my house was being sucked into a vortex, continuously moving through space like a sci-fi film. You could see the darkness shift as though it got uncomfortable staying in the same place for too long. I only say darkness because it’s not space, there are no stars, you could even hardly say it was night. In a sense, it seemed as if the darkness was going around my house, trying to get to wherever its destination was without touching me or my place of residence.

The only thing that the darkness seemed to produce was the blue rectangular light, something that normally happens if light from the moon reaches my room.

The window is still there so nothing can come in.

Would anything come in?

Would anything be able to move faster than the void?

Just then, I see two pinkish red dots float down from above the windowsill, still outside.

The dots float down in unison, stare at me for a bit, turn around, and fly away through the void along with the body those dots were attached to that I couldn’t make out.

After being speechless for so long, normally I would’ve screamed, as anyone probably would. But instead, I felt incredibly tired, I don’t know what came over me but my whole body told me that my pulsating headache would stop if I set my head on my pillow. In response, I dragged my barely functioning feet across the three steps I needed to flop onto my bed. It felt as if the gravity in my room had increased by 2.5x its normal rate. Or like if sandbags were tied to my feet and they were somehow pulled towards the center of the earth.

Either way, I take my glasses off and rest them on my bed, turn my body to place my head onto my pillow, pull myself under the covers, and then…


I wake up.

Specifically, to the classical music that acts as the alarm for my phone.

The sky’s a perfect blue.

Its morning.

What a weird and terrifying nightmare.

Don’t really have time to think about it though.

Since I should be getting ready for school after all.


As I was eating the two pieces of toast that would amount to my entire breakfast since my parents are gone in the mornings, I receive a message on LIME from Nori of all people. I remember last night when I was playing with Hayami, Nori had asked me if it would be okay to be in our group chat, and me not really paying attention or caring I gave her the 'okay' to enter.

She didn’t really say much, mostly just introductions about how she’s glad to meet everyone, and how she is from the United States but lived the first few years of her life in Japan, her otaku hobbies, basic stuff like that. Hayami and I were playing together so we acknowledged Nori at the same time, while everyone else slowly texted their greetings as they realized one by one that this girl had entered our chat. Except for Sachio, who was getting the basic information out of Nori by asking her a few questions and how she’s “Excited for everyone to meet an amazing otaku comrade (ノ´ヮ`)ノ*: ・゚”

She’s only saying that because Nori gave a Roundadoubt trial defense of BL the day prior but okay.

Nori, after she was done, said she “hoped for everyone to have a good night,” and that was the end of that.

This morning’s message was less formal and a bit more cryptic. It read:

“Hey, I know this is going to sound weird, but I really want to see you after school today.”

“Meet me at the American-style cafe at 4pm.”

This is weirdly presumptuous.

Is it an American thing?

I never talk to foreigners, outside of an English speaker asking me for directions in downtown Tokyo one time. So I honestly don’t know.

Nori is technically a returnee but still.

“I already have plans so I don’t know if I can.”

“I would recommend apologizing to them if that is the case.”

“This is important.”


I mean I almost never hear “please” even from Sachio.

I’m super skeptical of this girl but they did tell me yesterday that they thought I was also important. So maybe this really is important.

So, flattery aside—I shove the second piece of toast in my mouth (with the jam of course), grab my bag, and run out the door into the cool and clear summer morning.

I’m sure Yasashiku will love to hear about this regardless of what decision I make.


About halfway on the walk to school that I take every morning, I see Yasashiku standing with her arms crossed on the other side of the intersection like I normally do. Though the main reason I recognized her initially was the trademark hair color and the fact that she wore her sleeves tucked in at her elbows. Yasashiku changes her hairstyle all the time. Currently, she is still rocking the pigtail look, but who knows if she'll change her hair to something western inspired again next week? Depending on her hair, if her skin were white enough, she could probably pass as a foreigner.

I crossed the street to catch up with her expecting beratement, but instead turned out to be a “congratulations,” accompanied by some clapping from Yasashiku.

“For what?” I asked insulted.

“Because you made it on time, the exact minute actually. And without running to me with some toast in your mouth like a stupid anime character.”

Little did she know I was only able to successfully swallow the rest of the toast only a mere minute ago.

“Hey if that’s any indication that I'm the MC and have magic then that would be pretty cool.”

“If that implies a desire for Kaiyo to pay for an hour with you because you’re a magical girl in a dress then be my guest,” Daitan says behind me as she crosses the side of the street I just came from.

“Kaiyo told you about the skirt!?”

“Good morning class prez.”

“'Morning Daitan.”

She just walked by and ignored me.

I don’t even want to bother with her, so I don’t initially. Instead, I walk in between Yasashiku and Daitan as we continue on the path towards school. Yasashiku and I have been regularly walking to school together since the beginning of the year. Which, to my surprise, hasn’t caused any rumors, probably due to Yasashiku’s reputation. Daitan joins us sometimes when she feels like it. Though she’s usually on her phone instead of being involved with the conversation Yasashiku and I are having at the time.

Yasashiku gets a text and decides to answer it before I can posit anything, so instead, I ask Daitan who is of course also on her phone, “So, what are you looking at Daitan?”

“A 22 cal, ask me anything more and I’ll buy one to shoot you with it.”

“Alright, thanks Daitan. Yasashiku, what are you up to?”

“Answering back Yamanashi, she’s having issues with her boyfriend so I’m trying to give her advice,” Yasashiku responds very matter of fact.

“I didn’t know you and Yamanashi were friends.”

“We’re not, but she needed someone she trusted to not tell anyone and who didn’t know either of them super well. As class president, I can be that person.”

“Oh, I didn’t know being helpful was a regular thing for you, when did this start happening?”

“Since I got reelected you neanderthal.”

“What! In case you weren’t aware, I was born the same year as you.”

“Apparently not since your brain is so slow. The only logical explanation is that you’re an unfrozen neanderthal pretending to be a human.”

Quickly interjecting, Daitan adds “Being that he’s an “otaku” who didn’t know who Kazuaki Kanno was until three weeks ago, I can see that.”

“Rubbing salt on the wound I see.”

“I study culinary, not medicine.”

“Cooking in class is not studying culinary!”

“And having Yasashiku kick you in the face is not the same as you touching a girl.”

This loli sometimes!

If she knows about the skirt, then she should know about the hug!

I can wash off Yasashiku’s acid and be grazed by Daitan’s bullets, but I can’t do both at the same time.

Out of exasperation, I sigh and try to change the subject out of the desire to not get teamed up on even more.

While she’s responding to whom I assume to be Yamanashi, I let out “Hey Yasashiku.”

“What?” she responds distracted.

“As much as I hate to say it, I’m going to have to cancel our plans today.”

Her thumb, which had been dancing up and down her phone like a wasp, stopped in midair as if it was frozen in time.

“Come again?” she asks in a serious tone similar to yesterday while slowly moving her head to look at me. This time she is much more terrifying though since it’s aimed towards me.

“Uh, Nori needed to see me today… I didn’t want to go initially, but I thought the way she asked seemed important enough to see her today…”

She looked at me with such an insane level of intensity as to almost knock me on the ground out of sheer intimidation. I’m surprised she didn’t start berating me from the moment I canceled our plans.

I would’ve honestly preferred that.

Because whatever she is doing now is petrifying.

“...I see”

Only now am I realizing that I’m running out of breath because apparently, I haven’t been breathing since my last sentence. I’m preparing for what I’m going to do when I wake up because I fully expect Yasashiku to kick me in the head so hard as to knock me in front of a car and send me to another world. Angry is not a good way to describe the way she looks, offended is a better word.

Chilling in terms of the effect it has on me.

As I’m bracing for the impact of whatever verbal or physical torment she is about to put me through, Yasashiku’s icy stare…


“Okay,” she tells me in a very calm manner as if the last minute hadn’t happened.


“That’s fine, I just wished you had told me earlier.”

“Oh, well, sorry. I opened up the text last night and passed out before I could say anything. By the time I was up I thought to just tell you in person.”

“Makes sense, it is President Hayami after all.”


“Just be on top of things and more open to me in the future, okay?” Yasashiku says as she goes back to texting.

“Of course.”

And breathe.


Thought I was going to have to learn a bunch of stupid—uncreative magic systems and defeat a demon lord or something.

Speaking of open, that made me think of something.

“Hey, I have a question for you too.”

“Ask away.” Yasashiku states.

“At least you didn’t ask us if you could ask a question, go ahead,” Daitan says unamused.

“Do you guys think I hide stuff?”

Yasashiku seems to ponder my question while still finishing up her text messages.

“Like perverted stuff?” Daitan asks me as she looks up from her phone for the first time this conversation.

“No, I mean like, other things I guess.”

“If you mean emotionally then I don’t think so.” Yasashiku answers while putting her phone away. If there are any good traits about you, I think it would be that you’re upfront about what you are to embarrassing degrees.”

“I think so too. I feel like I’m such an open book at this point that there’s a line to put me on hold at the library.”

“I disagree,” Daitan asserts. “Everyone is hiding something to some extent, it just depends on how much. Everyone is afraid of showing others parts of themselves. Some, those who are truly terrified, come to the realization that they can’t show most of themselves, if any at all.”

“Actually, let me change my answer,” Yasashiku remarks as she leans her head back to look at Daitan. “I think Daitan is true to some degree, but I don’t know if it’s out of fear. I think some people are just not in the right mindset to share who they are or what they deal with. Maybe something is going on with themselves and they don’t trust anyone to be able to handle it, the serious things I mean. Or the people they are around are not mentally ready to, and they don’t want to burden them. I think that’s why Yamanashi is talking to me about her personal problems, because she thinks I’m mature enough to handle them. And I should, I’m the class president and it’s my responsibility to take care of our classmates. But whether you have your own problems, or you discover someone else’s issues either because they told you or they got too serious that you were forced to be burdened with them, it doesn’t matter because…you know.” Yasashiku states as her eyes drift forward away from me.

“You know what?” I ask as Yasashiku looks me dead in the eye for the second time today.

“You’re gonna carry that weight.”


That was cool.

Even Daitan seemed impressed because she leaned over to look at Yasashiku.

“Impressive…” was all I could muster to say.

Yasashiku takes her phone out to continue texting while looking crimson in the face, “Thanks, but I don’t need compliments from someone who still reads shonen magazines.”

“The target age is thirteen to eighteen!” I yell back.

“Whatever Slime Destroyer,” Yasashiku remarks as if she’s not really paying attention to me anymore.

I look over at Daitan to see if she has anything else to add but she’s back on her phone.

What a supportive group of friends I have.