Chapter 0:

Prologue 000

Karus; Lost Memories


“The endeth is near, thee shalt unleash thy desire!”


This dream...

This dream again…

Ever since I turned 17, this dream has pestered me every night.


A ringing noise.

I wonder what it is…

I opened my eyes in response. But my head, felt very, very, heavy. I could feel the pain from the front, and the back. 

I should probably visit a doctor. The pain is literally unbearable. 

Well, time to get ready for school I guess.

I quickly got prepared and headed towards the dining room for breakfast. As I entered the dining room, I was greeted by my family.

“E-hem” Dad grunted as we exchanged looks.

“Ah Natsume, quick quick come sit down. Eat while it's hot.” Mom invited me over to breakfast.

“Mornin’ nii-chan”

“Good morning, onii-chan.” 

My two younger sisters greeted me in unison. The eldest of the two sisters is Hina while the youngest is Yuki. They are only a year apart with completely different personalities. Hina is very energetic while Yuki is the polar opposite.

I nodded in reply with a loud yawn.  After all, that strange dream hasn't allowed me sleep in peace for a while. I sat down in my chair, ready to eat. My attention turned towards the TV that sits in the corner of our living room. Flashing on it was breaking news: More Dead. The reporter on the screen began to talk with slight tremor, her fear was very evident.

“Two new people have been found dead near a lake at Ashaka Park. The corpses were reported to have multiple deep cuts around their body. Of course, this isn't anything new. “

“Since last month, this serial killing has brought 48 people to a similar fate. All reported with multiple deep lacerations. Police are desperately investigating to find the culprit and they described the culprit quote as intelligent and organised. Experts have suggested that people should avoid isolated spaces at night and advise students to rush home once school ends.”

Mom was the first to voice her concern.

“Oh my, that does sound very horrible. You kids better be careful, ok? Make sure you come home straight away and always stay in contact. This sounds really dangerous, you know?”

“Aaahhh not like this! This means no more track club! The autumn tournament is coming soon. Aaaahhhh!” Hina expressed her disappointment.

Hina is regarded as the Goddess of Speed Nike of her school. She was even rumoured to be faster than her male seniors in the track club. But this isn't anything of a surprise, as she has won all the tournaments she has participated in so far. You could say she is the pride and joy of our family. Hina is in her last year of middle school, so next year she will be joining me as I reach my final year of high school.

“Jeez nee-chan, you really are a muscle head, aren’t you? Risking your life for the track club…” Yuki sighed with a smile.

Yuki on the other hand is regarded as the Yamato Nadeshiko of her school. Her elegant and honest personality has captured the heart of the whole school, even the teachers label her as the ideal student. And of of course a lot of boys are desperate for her love too. Fortunately, Hina also goes to the same school, so she is always there to be Yuki's knight in shining armour. But this is bound to end once Hina graduates. So, I do worry how Yuki will handle her pursuers next year.

“Muscle Head.” I scoffed in agreement with Yuki. 

“Meanies! Nii-chan and Yuki big meanies!” Hina squealed in embarrassment.

“You kids better arrive home before me.” Dad interrupted to share his concern for us.

“Awh how caring of your dad.”

“Shut it woman!”

“Your dad is such a shy one, reminds me of days back in high school. He was never honest with himself. ”

“Dad is such a tsundere.” Hina and Yuki muttered poking fun of Dad.

“Keep your mouth shut, you little brats!”

The exchanges between ourselves introduced a warm atmosphere, we forgot all the negativity we had received in the morning broadcast. 

After breakfast, we all got ready to leave for our respective destination, school and work.

“Bye Mom, bye Dad!” My sisters yelled as they dashed their way to school.

“Take care you two, Natsume have a great day, ok? “

I nodded in reply as I exchanged glances with my dad.

I walked towards the station alongside many other students who jumped for joy and excitement. Just how do these students get the enthusiasm to iterate the same routine day after day? A routine that is bound to end soon.

Just how…?

They say high school is the biggest part of your life and regrets will only leave holes in your heart if you don’t make the most of it. 

But how do I make the most of it?

And how do I know that I made the most of it?

Is there a success criteria I must follow to accomplish this?

What is it that I must do?

Even my own thoughts hold me as a prisoner, chained down by expectations. I want to cry out for help but I have already realised long ago that there will never be anyone to reach out to. After all, no one can save you but yourself. 

Adolescence really is a strange phase in life.

Even after this phase, life doesn't get any better. Inhumane expectations, goals, and most of all inhumane society. I mean how do you even define inhumane anymore? I am sure there are plenty who want to be freed from this vicious cycle. It’s evident with all the problems that occur every day around the world.

I mean, where is the stop button?

There isn't one.

The only alternative option we have now is...


If life were to be like an RPG, I'm sure the world would be a greater place. Living freely how we want, doing things we love. For me personally the closest thing to this is reading Isekai novels. The recent growth of the Isekai novels has given many people…


Well, a false hope where we find something to relate about. It may be fictional and repetitive, but there is a temporary feel of an escape from this life.


Regardless of what happens in this life, as a student.


As a human being, I will see through to the end…

“Natsume! Hey Natsume! Hey! You spacing out again? It’s dangerous, you know.”

I heard a familiar voice along with a sharp pain on my back. I regained my composure and screamed in reply.

 “Daichi... You seriously need to chill with those slaps. They hurt you know...”

“My bad my bad, but you didn’t hear me. I called your name many times!”

Oh looks like I was lost in thoughts again…

I had already arrived inside the train station and on to the platform without realising. This of course, isn’t any strange phenomenon, in fact it occurs in our daily lives regularly, we don’t even notice it. After all, people drive from one location to another without remembering which lanes they switched nor the gears they changed. It all just happens automatically. It’s fascinating how the human brain works, and we may never truly understand it.


“It’s cool! Time to get on the train tho! I got a lewd pic of Mushi I want to show! Hue hue…”

“Honestly Daichi, you are the biggest degenerate I have ever seen excluding the ones on the internet.”

“But… But... It just came out today!”

“Alright, alright. We can check it out on the train. Just make sure no one is looking at us!”

“Don’t worry, I am an expert!” Daichi saluted in confidence.

“That doesn’t sound very promising…”

“Hey, at least have some belief in your best friend Natsume…”

Daichi, family name Hinata.

My best friend.

We have been friends since middle school. We met by a chance while we playing a gacha oriented mobile game called WHALE GO. At the beginning, neither of us were too interested in games , but it was popular game around that time. And we couldn't help but to let curiosity fall to it. Honestly, it has fulfilled its role as a good time passer. As we played, we also discovered our love for harem and ecchi anime. I really do miss middle school sometimes. Eventually, we decided to study at the same high school. Unlike me, Daichi is part of the archery club. He even managed to compete at the Koshien during his first year, a remarkable achievement genuinely. He is the star of the club and has quite a few fans here and there. But they do not know the degenerate side of him…

“Hey Natsume. Why are you looking at me like that…? Could it be that you are interested in me? I know I am hot but you need to control yourself. The heat of the summer must’ve gotcha.”

“I ain’t you idiot! Now show me the drawing!”

“Oh right, here look at this. The artist drew a sexy drawing of Mushi. Man, I look at those thighs!!!”

Mushiwara, or Mushi for short, is a character from the game WHALE GO. She is a common character that anyone can pretty much own, but the amount of drawings and arts of her has grown her popularity.

“Wow, those look really firm. It’d be nice to rest on them after school.”

“Right! Right! I want to get sandwiched on them.”

Our excitement could not be contained, our conversation grew louder and louder resulting in disgusted faces from the female students onboard.

“Uhm Daichi, maybe we should lower our voices a bit…”

“Good idea, haha…ha…”


The sound of the announcement diverted our attention.

“The next station is Niru Station.”

“This is Niru Station. Exit here for the Central, Diamond and Kurai Line.”

Niru Station is where most students get off, including us too. It is usually busy as it is connected to three main lines, the most notable being the Diamond Line which leads to the main city, Tengoku. So, the trains tend to be crowded and to make matters worse, Niru Station is very huge to navigate through alone. Many visitors have gotten lost easily, especially foreigners. 

Maybe I should practice more on my English. I may meet a beautiful foreign girl one day and if I were to help her...

She would madly fall in love with me.

“Please mind the doors, doors opening.”

We exited the train and walked towards our school. As we walked, Daichi continued the conversation we had in the train. But thinking back, that moment was very embarrassing. The females onboard had the most disgusted face ever.


After a long walk, we reached the school gates and Daichi was greeted by his club members from the archery club. It felt a bit awkward just staying beside Daichi, so I decided to head towards the classroom in advance.

“Good Morning, Natsume-kun!”

“Good job being on time. We need to win that class attendance award!”

A feminine voice greeted.

I looked around.

As I looked around, I saw a familiar figure radiating with energy. While I replied with a fatigued expression.


“Now, now, don’t be so gloomy Natsume-kun. Aren't you excited to learn?”

“Not as much as you. Although I do envy the enthusiasm you put every morning, class rep.”

“UMU! You’re making me blush, hehe. Of course, it is my job to keep the morale up! Or my name isn’t Chiyako Fujikawa. Now praise me more!”

Chiyako Fujikawa.

Class representative.

A piece that holds the whole classroom together. Her greetings and smiles are a great morale booster in gloomy mornings. Without her, our class would not be able to survive a whole day.

“Yeah, yeah, our class rep is the best! Woohoo.”

“Aww. You are making me blush, Natsume-kun.”

We stared at each other and exchanged a warm smile.

But the pleasant moment fell short as fellow classmates called her help. Chiyako loves to help everyone around her surroundings and she does not waste a single breath in doing so. She is like a superhuman straight out of a fictional story.

“Yo, Natsume. Sorry man, the club members really gave me a long talk…”

Daichi finally arrived at the classroom.

“It’s cool, serves you right for being too popular.”

“Jeez Natsume, why do you have to be mean…”

"I am just telling the truth."

“Oh, good morning Chiyako-chan!”

“Morning Daichi-kun! I hope you didn’t bring any lewd magazines like last time. I will have to confiscate them again, so you better not.”

“Uh… Uhm... Definitely not!”

Daichi hesitated a bit.

Without doubt he has definitely brought some to school today. I do wonder what he brought this time though. Previously, he had brought a copy full of bunny girls. Of course, that got confiscated instantly the moment Chiyako found out.

“Hmmm… Keeping an eye on you!”

“You should be more like Natsume-kun you know?

I blushed in return.

“But he is a closet pervert!”

“Hey what! I ain’t no closet pervert!”

“Hehehe, well true Natsume-kun is quite a mysterious one.”

“Really… Not you as well Chiyako-san...”

Chiyako winks in return.

“Well time to get ready, you two. The homeroom teacher will be here soon.”

Eventually, the homeroom teacher entered the classroom. Her entrance signalled the start of gruelling seven hours of suffering.

If God exists, then please help me!

As the lessons passed by, I lost focus and my attention drifted outside the window.

Blue skies.

Verdant hills.

Emerald green trees.

Small houses.

Rice fields.

Birds and squirrels.

I could not help but admire the beautiful scenery. Sceneries like these really help me cope with my adolescence struggles. 

The clock continued to tick away. After a while, the homeroom teacher slammed her book on the desk. It was time for lunch. For most people lunch is a blessing in disguise, but for me...

It is war!

The canteen is the home of warfare that is far greater than the ones known to mankind. Students fight their way just to acquire lunch. It’s a first come first serve basis after all and no one wants to eat a plain cheese sandwich. And the holy grail in this warfare is a cheap 200 Yen Yakisoba bread. Only 50 yakisoba breads are produced daily. It may seem a lot but there isn’t a limit on how much a student can buy. Hence it tends to go out of stock in a matter of minutes.

I glanced at the clock and a minute had passed by already. Without hesitation, I dashed towards the canteen.

At MACH-20 speed of course.

As I arrived at the canteen, the war had already started. Many students fought their way to the food counter where the holy grail rested. It was already too late to join the fight, the best I could do was fight smart and sneak in. I observed all my enemies while taking small silent movements.  And Just like that, I had reached the food counter. But it was still very crowded, I could barely catch a glimpse of the holy grail.

I reached out my arm towards the location of the holy grail and then I felt something soft. I quickly grabbed and pulled it towards me. And I had managed to not only acquire one Yakisoba bread, but two!

At last I have acquired my…

Holy Grail.

King Solomon’s Gold.

Any treasure that exists in this world.

This perhaps may be the biggest achievement in my life.

Well for now at least.

I wonder if Daichi got his…

I could not control my excitement nor hunger so I headed towards the rooftop. It a place where Daichi and I usually meet during lunch time. Surprisingly, students rarely visit the rooftop even though it is one of the best things you could do during high school.

Well that is certainly the case in anime though. Where the main character meets a girl, and they fall in love. Why can’t this happen in real life as well? It has already been a year and not once have I met a cute girl!

Reality really is disappointing…

I reached the rooftop eventually as I opened the door hoping I would find a cute girl nearby.

Or so I thought...

There was no one.

My stomach growled, I could not wait anymore. I opened the packet ready to eat.

“Thank you for the foo-”


A shadow.

A shadow of a feminine figure. 

It came from a high altitude as it covered my whole body from the sunlight. It was without doubt from the highest point of the rooftop which was coincidentally right behind me.

I could not help but turn around in curiosity.

Could it be a cute girl?

As I turned around, I saw exactly what I hoped for.

Silver hair.

Azure eyes.

A mischievous smile.

It was indeed a cute girl.

She had a petite figure and wore dark robes. Almost like a mage straight out of a medieval RPG. A bit strange but maybe she is just a foreigner that likes anime and cosplay.

But what am I complaining about?

She looked beautiful, and I could not help stare.

“Foolish mortal, it took you a while to sense my magnificent presence. But I shall forgive you as you do seem in awe of my beauty. It is compared with the Goddess of Time Chrono after all.”

I was perplexed by her words but she was probably trying to mimic the words from the character that she was cosplaying.

“So, who are you trying to cosplay? Wait, wait, wait. Don’t tell me you have chuunibyou syndrome?”

“Cosplay? Chuunibyou? What are you rambling about, you foolish imprudent insect?”

“Aaaahhhhh so you are a princess archetype!”

“Enough with your flattery! Whether I get compared to a Goddess or Princess. It is expected.”

“Uhmm… I was talking about your persona-”

“Enough talk! Now climb over the roof. I have some important matters to discuss as you are the perfect candidate.”

Wait a minute.

Am I…?

About to be confessed.

My excitement could not be contained.

My heart beat rapidly.

Thirsty for love.

I showed no hesitancy as climbed over to the roof without any second thoughts. As in front me, was a girl who was about ready to confess her love.

“You seem very thrilled. Now, stand before me and close your eyes. I shall perform a sacred ritual.”


A sacred ritual?

Could this be a…?


A kiss to confirm our relationship?

Do people nowadays skip many steps and go straight to kissing?

Then again foreigners do greet people with kisses. So, I guess it is normal for her. I wonder what kind of kiss it will be.

A kiss to the cheek? To the lips? Or…

A French kiss.

Well regardless of what it is, dear Mom and Dad thank you for raising me. Your son will be a man from today onwards.

I quickly closed my eyes anticipating a passionate kiss. As I waited, she spouted words that I could not comprehend. 


"Do you accept?"

She finally spoke the words that I was somewhat hoping to hear. 

This was it. 

This was exactly like the scenes you would see in visual novels. Depending on my choice, it can go either way. But I did not think twice. After all, this was my chance to finally get a cute girlfriend. 


I replied excitedly to her confession. Although I do feel  embarrassed for fumbling my words. But no one can be perfect at times like these.


Suddenly I felt very light. 

I could not feel anything below my feet.

I opened my eyes in confusion. And all I could see was blue skies. The girl who had confessed, smiled from the roof.


Why was I so far away from her?


I was falling.




I screamed my guts out as I finally realised the situation. 

She had pushed me from the roof.

But why?

What did I do wrong?

Why me? 

I don't want to die here. 

Not like this. 

My tears floated in the air,  my scream was of a woman. 


A buzzing sound suddenly emerged from behind. As I looked back, I saw something that should only possible in sci-fi anime and movies. Scientists would have cried if they had seen this. 

A time warp.

It opened wide and swallowed my body. My mind could not comprehend what was inside. 

I give up.

I closed my eyes, surrendering myself to a chain of deranged events. 

This must be all a dream.


Or is this reality…?

Taylor Victoria
Joe Gold