Chapter 1:

Journey in the Loop

Train is Lost in a Loop of Track

This is around August when all the high schoolers were on their summer vacation, planning trips, enjoying and spending time together. As heat is building up, winds are blowing slowly and people are spitting out their energy while working.

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At Ikebukuro Station, about a quarter before twelve o'clock in the afternoon, a new train stood in an all flashy combo of green and blue color, some with orange borderlines at upper part and a scenario which was  fantabulous.Bookmark here

It was like describing an image captured in that person's mind who painted it. This train is neither a bullet train nor an ordinary train, but its exterior is designed like an ordinary train and the interior is filled up with new technologies. It has twenty one compartments, the engine compartment and then they built a new kind of compartment which is the robo-catering compartment, which is in the middle of the train, serving food to the passenger's via robot. It is built in a memory of the former chairman of the East Japan Railway Company. It is named after his conviction - the Manabi Express - here manabi means learn - he believes that throughout the journey, we meet people, we talk to them, we try to connect and in the end we learn something from it.

Today this train is going to be full of one hundred thirty five passengers from Ikebukuro and will collect others from their own station. It has twenty stops and it is going to depart in five minutes i.e. ten minutes before twelve in the afternoon. Most of the passengers were already in the train and were sitting in their reserved seats. Some passengers were still coming on the platform and boarding the train.Bookmark here

After a few minutes it was announced that the passengers who are still on the platform, please get on the train, it will start soon. Hearing the whistle of the train, the passengers left on the platform start boarding the train. As the whistle slows, the train moves at a slower speed. The moment it turns away from Ikebukuro Station and picks up speed. Suddenly a blue light appeared in the sky and it flashed all over the train. All the passengers saw it but they didn't care about it and focused on enjoying their Journey.

Everyone was still unaware of what happened. So after a few minutes a little girl in the first class compartment was looking out the window and saw the same sight of a cute bird on the maidenhair tree over and over again. Confused, she asked her mother whether she was sick or not. Her mother got worried and asked her, "No Ana, why are you asking?"Bookmark here

"Nothing mother, I am seeing the same thing over and over again, so I asked." She said,Bookmark here

She checked her forehead with her palm whether she catched cold or not even though it was summer then she asked 

"Where did you see that, sweetie?" She pointed to the window then Ana's mother looked outside and saw what Ana had seen. She trembled and shouted, "The train is running continuously at one place." Hearing this, the passengers sitting in that compartment also saw this and started creating ruckus.
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In the seat opposite the mother and daughter, was a man in a clean ironed suit with a fancy cap on his head and a nice bracelet on his wrist. He stood up and told the passengers not to panic and think about it calmly. Everyone started asking him what they should do, then one of them, a man in a blue waistcoat asked him why don't you tell us something, he replied that first stop this commotion. Then he sat down and snapped his finger, suddenly everyone disappeared in thin air, so did he.

A voice was calling out "Jon, wake up, wake up, dammit! Wake up!"Bookmark here

Barely opening his eyes, Jon came out of his unconsciousness and asked, "Why are you shouting, Germon?"

Putting her hand around Jon's neck and grasping his collar, she said, "Why was it taking you so long to come out of unconsciousness?Bookmark here

"I don't know, Ashya?" He replied. She releases her hand from his collar. Then Jon stood up, asked Germon and Ashya what's going on.

Ashya replied, "Ask the Germon he was the one who woke up first."Bookmark here

Germon replied, "I don't even know much but…" then He took Jon and Ashya to the corner and saw a number written there - twenty one. He said, "Look at this, I don't know that much but I guess we transferred to compartment number twenty one."
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Ashya asked suspiciously, "But how, we were in our compartment , right?"

"Wonderful! Which means we're going to have supernatural powers, right, Germon?" Jon asked excitedly.Bookmark here

Germon says," Huh! what are you talking about?"

He continued, "We get to teleport in this compartment, which means the thing which teleports us here has some sort of ability. And if I'm right, according to my anime tenfold rule, rule number three - here we have to find our ability then we have to find a way to escape from here." Bookmark here

"For now, we don't want this side of you, so get serious." Ashya said angrily.

Ashya Nahira is a petite and vivacious girl, her tranquility and simplicity shows like her beige midi hairs. She is in the first year of her high school. She has been friends with Germon since they were six years old, but she met Jon in her middle school time. She has no problem with Germon, because they have common things like both are cool headed, but because of Jon's weeb side she is very harsh towards him, although because of her mushy things about him. Her father passed away six months ago and she now lives with her mother and two younger sisters.Bookmark here

Although she did not wanted to put all the burden of herself and her sisters on her mother, she became ambitious and took up a part-time job. Because of this, she was not able to hang out with Jon and Germon much. Then one day Jon and Germon heard about this train, being from an affluent family, Germon immediately booked three tickets for this train.

Speaking of Germon, he is from an affluent family in Ikebukuro - the Tarahashi - he was originally from Yokohama, but at the age of five, his father relocated and started his work there. He balances things between Jon and Ashya. By the way, he is a brainy boy. His brown pompadour hair is the allure for the girls.Bookmark here

He has a neutral nature like his dark gray eyes. He believes in staying calm instead of barking and raises his voice when it's needed. He has a good relationship with Ashya and Jon but he considers Jon as his best friend and a rival.

Now only Jon is left, he is a spirited man and an anime freak that bothers Ashya very much. He is from an orphanage, he met Germon and Ashya when he started going to middle school.Bookmark here

He believes in being the way he wants, so he doesn't care about what others think of him. He is just two or three inches taller than Ashya and four inches shorter than Germon, with his low fade black hair. Makes him look pretty much. Sometimes he's a pain in the ass for both Ashya and Germon talking about his anime tenfold rules that he made up on his own.

We can say that he is a spoiled child but he is also a very kind person, always helping people. Apart from not being serious, he has all the qualities that a girl needs in a boy.And he listens to Ashya not out of fear, but out of respect.Bookmark here

A question arose in Ashya's mind and she asked Germon, "What happened to the other passengers and where are they?"

Germon replied, "Sorry! But I don't know about that.But if I guess then they have been put somewhere else and only we are here." He added.Bookmark here

At a distance, a lip hit hard and it started murmuring, which means that out of one thirty-five passengers, we are the only ones left in this train. And we have to save the others, right, Germon.
Germon replied, "I don't want to ans- while continuing to murmur," but what if they're already dead or eaten by some demon or they'll be dead within minutes.  We have to do something because we are the only hope. It's time to get serious. Follow me, look for some clues.

Ashya said, "I had been telling you this for a long time."Bookmark here

"Let's find the door that connects this compartment to the other compartment." he said and went ahead to find the door.Bookmark here

"Huh! He's really going! Germon," said Ashya, then she added, "what to do now?"

Germon replied, "For now, let's go his way, sometimes it works and I think we will get something."Bookmark here

They move on to find some clues about what's going on. As soon as Jon saw the red mark line on the surface he bent down to see it clearly.He shouted out, "Germon, Ashya, come here."

Hearing this, they went to where Jon was and saw what Jon had found.Bookmark here

They looked at it and asked, "What is this, Jon?" Instead of responding, he crossed the red line.

There is a TV in the ceiling which starts as Jon crosses the red line, Germon and Ashya both cross that red line too, Immediately Ashya scolds Jon," what you did". Jon replied," how would I know?''Bookmark here

A sound came out of the TV as there was someone inside, "Looks like you woke up and crossed that line."

"Who are you?" Jon askedBookmark here

"I am Zel and Welcome to the stage of Survival Game." A voice inside the TV said.

"Where the hell are you?" Jon asked, looking here and there.Bookmark here

He said angrily, "You brat, look up."
They looked up and saw a man in a fancy hat inside that TV and Jon said, "Oh! There you are."

Germon says, "Who are you and why are we here?"Bookmark here

"Be patient kid, I'll explain everything about it." he replies.

Ashya interrupted, "What do you mean by survival game?"Bookmark here

He gets angry, "Didn't I ask to be patient."

Jon wanted to say something but seeing the situation, he kept the voice inside his throat.Bookmark here

Jon reaches up to Ashya's ear and whispers, "He's even scarier than you."

Zel looks at Jon angrily, then Jon puts a finger on his lips.Zel apologizes, "Sorry! I don't like this sort of thing." Then he says, "Let's get to the point."Bookmark here

"I've already introduced myself, and I think you all have many questions for me, but before that let me tell you what situation you are in." he said.

"First thing this train is in the Loop and escaping from here is impossible so don't try any stupid things like jumping from the window's. The only way to escape from here is that you have to play a game in each stage. There are 21 stages in total, that is, each stage in each compartment." he explained.Bookmark here

"How this loop will end?" Germon asked.

"For this, you have to pass each checkpoint and take the key from there. When you have passed the last checkpoint, then a wrap will appear and you have to put those keys inside it. And you will go straight to a different dimension. There you have to press a gold button in a loop ball then Loop will end." Zel answered.Bookmark here

Ashya asked "Okay! Tell us how many checkpoints there are?"Bookmark here

Zel replied, "The checkpoints are in multiples of three".

Germon said, "There are Seven Checkpoints, right?"Bookmark here

"Yeah and in each of the checkpoints, not only will you get the key to pass, you'll also find a hostage passenger that you have to release, so he/she can play with you on the next stage. If you fail the first time in the checkpoint, you can sacrifice them and get to the next stage without trying a second time," Zel said.

Jon removed his finger from lips and asked, "If I count then there is one person at each of the checkpoints and counting us, there are ten people on this train. Tell us where are the rest?"Bookmark here

He replied with a laugh, "Well seen but don't worry, they're in a safe place and they're only safe when you're completing these stages."Bookmark here

Trembling Ashya asked, "If we fail, what will happen to them?

"They'll be eaten or erased, something like that. One more thing these stages need to be finished. Now it's time for me to leave. Near this compartment door you'll find your first game." He replied.Bookmark here

"Wait! Wait! I want to ask more, who exactly are you and why are you asking us to play this game, what's your motive?" Germon says.

"Everything will be answered in the end." He answers.Bookmark here

In between, Jon frankly asks, "Mr.Zel, Where did you buy that hat?"

He chuckled and replied, "I'll tell you when you've finished the game. Now go ahead and don't let me down, I have hopes from all of you." After that the TV turns off.Bookmark here

"Okay, then let's go." Jon says. But Ashya was still in despair.Then Germon and Jon both cheered her up, saying, "Don't worry, we'll save them and finish the game, okay?"

She exclaimed ,"Hmm!"Bookmark here

On the other side, Zel was talking to someone, "Work is Done, Your Excellency. I will wait for the next order."


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