The Mildpowered Virgins of Novylion High
I used to be a twenty-something-year-old NEET who played video games all day and didn’t go out of his room except to go to the nearby convenience store to buy instant ramen and more video games. I was ugly, asocial, didn’t have any friends, only ever talked to teenagers in FPS voice chats who called me horrible names, etc.
Irresistible beauty crossing the street while looking at her phone, irresponsible truck driver (also looking at his phone), irrational me acting like a hero for the first time in my life… you know the drill. Before I knew it, I’d been reincarnated in a fantasy world.
But this fantasy world is a real bummer. It’s not like an RPG. There are no skill trees, no HUD, no inner voice that answers my questions. No elves or dwarves or fairies or slimes. Just normal human beings and some weird animals that are variations of animals that already exist on Earth (hippos have horns here, for example). It’s not like a video game at all. It’s just like my plain old boring life in the real world. Everyone does get a base ability called a guṇa and there is an option to expand on that base ability, which is called a siddhī. But that’s useless too because getting a siddhī is a punishable offence (the penalty being death) and even if you do act like a bad boy and decide to get it anyways (the Law be damned), you’re guaranteed a painful, harrowing death. And the base abilities are so stupid most of the time that the entire world feels like a big practical joke being played on its population.
When I first opened my eyes as a newborn baby in this fantasy world, I saw… almost nothing. To add insult to injury, I was born as blind as a bat, by which I mean not completely blind but it’d be really useful if I had echolocation powers (I don’t, by the way). The power I did get was the power to tell whether someone is lying to me once a week. The side effect is that I have to relieve my bowels every time I use it. Great.
My name in this new world is Jitsu Satanetra. I was born a bastard so I don’t know who my father is. My mother says she’ll tell me when I’m a little older. I told her don’t bother. I don’t care. My mother’s name is Ritsu Satanetra and my maternal grandmother’s name was Mitsu Satanetra. ‘Was’, because my grandmother died a few weeks after my birth. I didn’t know how she died exactly. But what happened after her death was really bizarre: my mother simply did not acknowledge her demise and did not reveal it to anyone. Instead, my mother started living a double life as both herself and my grandmother. Amazing. So on top of all of this, my mother is a less gross version of Norman Bates (she didn’t keep the corpse around). At least she hasn’t murdered a blonde woman in a shower (yet (that I know of)). I don’t think she killed my grandmother (she’s very kind and sweet, despite her craziness) but it is a possibility. My grandmother was a very hysterical woman and was very mean to my mother. I couldn’t tell why she hated her so much because I didn’t understand the Language then. But the mood was perpetually sour around the Satanetra house when she was around.
And even if she did kill her, I think it might have been justified. I know what you’re going to say, but hear me out for just a second, alright? When I was a few weeks old, my grandmother snuck into the nursery where I was sleeping in my crib at night. She picked me up and stared into my eyes and started saying ‘Bardus… Bardus… Bardus…’ over and over again. I would later find out that this was my maternal grandfather’s (her husband’s) name. At first, she was crying and smiling and I thought, oh, she’s just happy. Maybe ‘Bardus’ is some kind of a blessing or a compliment in this world. But then her tears intensified and her expression was filled with rage. She was crushing my ribs between her hands and she’d let go of my neck and was letting it hang. I thought for a second that she’d snap back to reality if I started crying too. But that didn’t seem to affect her. She really seemed intent on killing me. So I screamed, ‘You’re gonna kill me, you old hag. Let go.’ In my own language that I used to speak in my previous life, of course. She immediately dropped me. What kind of a sick person drops a baby? Thankfully, I’d read somewhere that newborns have amazing grip strength and I had the wherewithal to grab on to the edge of the crib. But hearing a newborn baby speak a sentence in an unknown language must have scared the living daylights out of her because she ran out of the room yelling something I couldn’t understand. The next morning, she was found dead in her room. Later, when I learnt the Language, I found out that she was calling me a devil or a demon or something. Apparently, an ancient language that very few people know how to speak is used to communicate with evil spirits here.
In the beginning, my mother kept up her sad alter ego charade even in front of me. She’d change her voice and have an imaginary conversation with her dead mother, thinking I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference anyways since I was blind and a little child. Like, woman, first of all, I can hear you shifting in your seat to change the direction that your voice is coming from after every sentence; second, your two voices never overlap; third, the conversations are artificial as hell and fourth, I’m partially blind. I can still see blobby shapes and colours. I know there’s only one person in the room.
This went on for an embarrassingly long period of time. I was seven when I finally had to intervene and request her to drop the act. Surprisingly, she was surprised that I was able to figure it out. She told me that my grandmother had committed suicide and that she’d tell me the details once I was a little older. But I should keep it a secret anyways. Yeah, I know. I don’t want you to go to jail, mother. And I’m afraid the blame lies partially with me as well. Although, in my defence, I was only saving myself.
By that time, I’d finally become fluent in the language spoken in this world. There’s only one language in the entire world here (with a few dialects, but they’re all mutually intelligible) so there’s no name for it. They just call it the Language. I’ve heard that there used to be many languages hundreds of years ago but now there’s only one. Strange. It’s the opposite of the Tower of Babel here. My mother was concerned initially that I was taking too long to learn the Language. Kids can usually form full sentences by the time they’re three and I was still stuck on goo-goo-ga-ga when I was three. And I wasn’t keen on speaking my own language after seeing the effect it had had on my grandmother. My mother thought that I was autistic or that my blindness was holding me back. It was holding me back because I had to learn their version of Braille too, on top of everything else. When I finally learnt how to speak properly, I was able to explain to her that I was not autistic. I told her that I was a reincarnation from another world called Earth and that I had the brain of an adult, not a baby. Hence, I couldn’t pick up a language by merely being exposed to it.
My explanation fell on deaf ears. She understood every word of what I said but thought that it was just a fantastical story that a child came up with. When I started showing signs of being more mature than any other kid the same age as me, she took me to multiple doctors and researchers and priests. She was afraid that a ghost had possessed me. In this world, the concepts of reincarnation and other worlds don’t exist. I was genuinely surprised when I came to know about this. The names of people and places and many words in the Language are very similar to those of Asian cultures on Earth so I’d expected beliefs about the afterlife to share some similarities too. But they don’t. Not at all.
There are two schools of thought. In the Northern Islands (or Axhelm (where I live)), the local belief is that this world is all there is and that after death you simply die. There are numerous natural spirits and deities, most of them temperamental and vengeful, and many minor ghosts, demons and monsters. But they all live in the same world as humans. They’re just invisible to regular people. The main goal of any person should be to achieve a peaceful and painless death.
In the Southern Continent, there’s a monotheistic religion very similar to Abrahamic religions on Earth. There’s a God and heaven and hell. This religion was brought over to the Northern Islands by Archemperor Axgott about four hundred years ago. But even in that religion, there is no rebirth or even a resurrection myth.
Not one of those doctors, researchers and priests my mother took me to had ever heard about reincarnation or other worlds even in fictional stories. The concepts seem absurd to them and they dismissed them outright. That’s why no one believes Hagesh Malumaru, my classmate who says he can talk to aliens, either. No one has even imagined aliens in this world. It’s almost like a spell that prevents you from taking these claims seriously has been placed on everyone. Even though I know it’s true, I cannot prove it. Or maybe I am possessed by a ghost and it’s planted fake memories of a previous life in my head. Who can tell?
Finally, a high-ranking priest from some organisation called the Talbot Corps probed around my consciousness and declared that I was ghost-free. My mother was relieved.
I never liked studying history and geography when I was on Earth so I wasn’t too keen on having to learn them all over again for a new world. Geography was a chore but not as bad as I was expecting. The planet is about the same size as Earth. There’s a moon and a Sun and stars and black holes and all those sorts of things. But most of the planet is covered in a giant ocean. There is one continent in the South (culture and names reminiscent of Europe and Africa) and a group of large islands in the North (Axhelm; culture and names reminiscent of Asia; ruled by Southerners). These two landmasses are very far apart from each other. Global warming is not much of an issue.
When it came to history, I was filled with dread when I imagined the hell I would have to go through. But thankfully, Axhelm is a tyrannical monarchy. The history books start with the arrival of Archemperor Axgott four hundred years ago and they’re only filled with praise for the ruling dynasty. You know how awesome it is to only have to learn four hundred years of history instead of four thousand? It’s easy mode for me. Information about the outside world is restricted so no world history either. Woo-hoo. The Northern Islands and the Southern Continent also have two separate internet equivalents that aren’t physically connected so no information can get in through that medium either.
Technology, in general, is about twenty to thirty years behind from the time of my previous life. Mobile phones and computers are chonky and chat rooms are still all the rage. One major difference is that there’s no commercial air travel, increasing Axhelm’s isolation. They haven’t figured out fossil fuels for anything other than cars. Fuel cells are really popular, though. Video games exist but are in their infancy but I can’t enjoy them fully anyways because of my blindness. Nuclear weapons also don’t exist, thankfully. Not that I could change anything. I was a college dropout.
After I learnt how to talk, my mother and everyone around me thought that I was a genius. I wasn’t and I’m not. It was just that I was competing with eight-year-old children. Of course I’d annihilate them. I warned my mother that there’d be diminishing returns as I got older and that I was a NEET in my previous life so she should temper her expectations but I don’t think she has. I’m fourteen now and everyone expects me to become the Head Boy in two years’ time. I’m already approaching the end of my mathematical and scientific knowledge. It’s not like I knew anything useful. I can describe all the gizmos I had access to on Earth but it’s not like I know how they worked. It’d be no better than writing science fiction. And someone will probably just invent them in this world in the next ten or twenty years. Why was I even reborn with memories of my past life? Is this just a glitch?
What I do appreciate more now is the presence of actual friends in my life. I was sick of having to talk to little children all day. Now that they’re approaching puberty, they can actually hold long conversations and a few mature topics can be discussed. I haven’t told anyone at school about my reincarnation. If they don’t believe me (which is likely), they’ll think I’m a weirdo like Hagesh. If they do believe me, they’ll probably be creeped out that a mentally middle-aged man has been studying with them for many years (I’m adding the years I’ve been alive in this world to my previous life’s age when I say that I’m middle-aged).
Overall, this life has been pretty terrible so far. I miss my Earth family. Even though they were disappointed in me, I loved them dearly. I miss being able to watch movies and play video games. Just generally, I miss being able to see properly.
But every cloud has a silver lining. Or two, in my case. The first one is that the Satanetra family is absolutely loaded. We own an entire hill at a popular holiday destination. Imagine how rich you have to be to be able to own a geographical feature. That’s why I’m not worried about disappointing everyone I know in this life. Even if I end up living as a NEET again, I won’t ever have to worry about my finances. Even if I ever find myself friendless, I could buy new ones. The possibilities are endless.
The second one is that I’m told that I’m quite handsome. I can’t confirm it because I can’t see the features of my own face but it’s something to keep in mind. Of course, I don’t benefit from this right now. I’m not a paedophile. I’m not attracted to little girls. A few girls have approached me but I’ve dutifully turned them all down, citing personal reasons. I think I can start making some moves when they turn sixteen or seventeen. It’ll be alright then, right? I don’t know. I was a virgin in my previous life. Maybe I’ll wait till eighteen to be on the safer side of things.
But virginity attracts virginity. All my friends are headed towards a path that I know all too well. They’re all very nerdy (although, unlike me, they have the smarts to back it up) and they don’t talk to girls. I befriended them because, for a very long time, they were the only people in the class who talked intelligently. However, recently, they’ve turned into super-virgins. It started last year when this kid called Umito Dishahara joined our group.
Umito was a delinquent. He got into fights all the time, damaged school property and lit up firecrackers in the toilets. Then he fell in love with this really innocent girl called Kishika, who asked him to clean up his act. So he set about improving his image and he started hanging out with us nerds. He started scoring well in exams and he stopped being a troublemaker. The teachers started warming up to him too. We were all happy for him. And the other guys thought that having a friend who has a girlfriend will open up opportunities for them to talk to other girls too.
But that didn’t happen. Kishika was one of the nicest girls in the class but she thought that the members of the nerd group were kind of creepy. And who could blame her? All the other girls thought so too. And it’s not exactly a falsehood. Around the same time, Hagesh’s ramblings about aliens had been intensifying and Tan Talaragi, the quiet singing boy, had become the victim of a few nasty rumours.
This was just before the summer holidays, and most of the bad stuff played out during them, so I’m not aware of the details as I had gone to Ronabara with my mother as usual. But when I came back, I saw that Kishika had transferred out of our school and Umito was depressed. Kishika’s father is a big shot Navy commander or admiral or one of those big titles. And they’re of noble blood. She’d been living in Shōripur with her maternal grandparents but the family had somehow found out that their daughter was dating some regular delinquent schmuck. This was such a disgrace that she was called back to live with her parents to god-knows-where because, you know, military people keep moving around all over the country. Somehow, according to Umito, it was the nerd group’s fault that her parents had found out.
Hagesh and Umito, who were really hitting it off before, now hated each other. Tan was even quieter, Ashukami was the same as always and Puna was stuck in the middle of all this without having done anything. Umito told us that he would take revenge on us and that he didn’t consider any of us his real friends because we’d taken Kishika away from him. How? What did I do? But the dude was clearly hurting then so I didn’t say anything. I think I’ll have to introduce the saying ‘Bros before Hoes’ in this world.
And then I realised something. These people are all really messed up. Usually, when you hate someone, you just stay away from that person, right? But these guys are actively clinging on to each other and dragging each other down perpetually. Any time any of them even looks at a girl sideways, the others get to scheming. They spread rumours, say weird stuff to the girl that creeps her out, loudly crack really inappropriate jokes that creep everyone else out too, etc. Everyone in the class has stopped being friends with them. They’re stuck in this spiral now. And the only way they might be able to get out is by finding new friends.
I want to make all of them realise the long-lasting harm they’re inflicting upon each other. I know from experience what lies ahead in a life like that, irrespective of academic and professional success. I could just distance myself from them and leave them be but I want to impact the lives around me positively in this life.
A small ray of hope sprang up in the form of Puna Maiwal. As I said before, he just got caught in the crossfire. He’s totally innocent. I sit right behind him in class and for a few days in a row, I noticed him turning back and looking towards the middle column of seats. I could only tell the general direction he was facing by the contrast between the colour of his face and the back of his head but, thankfully for my dumb brain, only one girl sits in that direction: Pushpako Inura. He must have been doing it masterfully too because nobody except me noticed that he was doing it. Why do people always forget that I’m only partially blind?
I wanted to confirm my doubts so I used my guṇa and asked him a question. ‘Hey, Puna, do you like someone in this class?’
He said, ‘No, man. Not at all.’
He was lying. Never in both my lives clenched my butt muscles so hard to hold my poop in as I did that day. I was sore for an entire day. Recess was only five minutes away but for those five minutes I felt like I was going to give birth to a xenomorph from my butt.
Pushpako Inura is a weird girl. I talked to her once, or should I say she talked to me? I was just minding my business one day when she came up to me and started saying stuff like how it’s an honour to be in the same class as a Satanetra and how it’s remarkable that I’m re-establishing their legacy and a bunch of jargon that went over my head. I was like, cool. Thanks. But she wouldn’t stop speaking. I’d interacted with girls who were fans of my looks but she was the first one who was a fan of my surname. I had to make up some awkward excuse to get away. But even if she’s completely crazy, I want Puna to take a shot at her. If he gets rejected, it’ll be a learning experience. If he gets accepted then this whole chain of suffering can come to an end.
I kept quiet for a week after using my guṇa on Puna so that it could reactivate. I didn’t say anything to him either. I didn’t want to faze him in any way. In the meanwhile, I did some digging to see how I could assist him. The only male friend Pushpako had – as far as I could tell – was Rushil. Now, everyone knows that Rushil is a simp for Pushpako. He’s always sticking close to her and he somehow convinced Mimi-sensei to let him sit next to her. It was obvious that he would never succeed in convincing Pushpako to date him but he was also keeping other guys from getting close to her. That only left friends of the female variety, of which there were many. But I couldn’t go to anyone in the same class because every single one of them was in touch with Rushil, or should I say he was in touch with them. Pushpako was also in the volleyball team and there I saw an opportunity. I knew a few juniors from the literature club whom I could trust to keep mum about this thing and they told me that there was this girl in VIII-B called Aina Pare who knew everything about everyone. But she also had a reputation for being a gossip queen. Well, I’d have to take my chances. Better than Rushil knowing about it. And a rumour originating from a girl usually works positively.
I stood near the changing rooms on Wednesday. I saw the tall shape of Puna approaching. No one’s as tall as Puna so I can always tell it’s him right away. Beside him was walking a fairly tall shape. I waited for him to notice me, and he did. He came to me alone and the other shape went towards the girls’ changing room.
‘Hey, Jitsu, why are you standing here?’
‘Whom were you walking with right now?’
‘No one. Just a guy from the basketball team I happen to know.’
‘Is he perhaps a trans man who’s not allowed to use the boys’ changing room? Our laws are so regressive, you know.’
‘Don’t worry, man. I’m not gonna do anything. I have an idea who it is and if it is who I think it is, congratulations, boy!’
‘In fact, I’m gonna do you a solid. I don’t have time to tell you the details but can you point out a girl called Aina Pare to me?’
‘Why do you want to meet her?’
‘Actually, just point me towards any junior. I’ll carry on from there.’
‘What’s going on with you?’
‘Listen, I know you got the hots for Pushpako. I’m willing to support you all the way. But I gotta distract the rumour mill and find out what Pushpako’s like and what she thinks about you.’
‘That’s… very generous of you.’
‘So, if anyone brings up the topic of me meeting with Ms Aina today, lean into it and act like I’m totally going for the Senpai Effect. If no one brings it up, bring up the topic yourself. Just get moving quickly and lock her down before Rushil wises up to what you’re doing.’
‘You’ll go that far for me?’
‘I don’t care, man. I don’t want a young girlfriend anyways so I don’t care. I’m into MILFs.’
‘I didn’t know that.’
‘What do you like about Pushpako?’
‘She’s got a great body, man. I wish you could see it. She’s just about the right height for me too.’
‘A cultured answer, if I ever heard one.’
‘Knew you’d understand. Now ask those guys over there about Aina. Can you see them?’
‘Yeah. Those three short blobs over there.’
‘OK. I’ll be off.’
‘Godspeed. And thank you.’
When I talked to Aina Pare, she told me that Pushpako didn’t like Puna. She was lying. When I met her again during recess, she clarified that she simply did not know. My power is so useless. What’s the point if ‘No’ is also classified as a lie when‘I don’t know’ is the real answer. But, on the other hand, Pushpako had never talked to a guy as often as she had talked to Puna (with the exception of Rushil, who I don’t think classifies as a human anyways). I asked Aina how she, who was renowned as class VIII’s gossip queen, did not know much about the situation. She told me that she just forgot to observe them every time she saw them together. Like her brain had an inbuilt censor. I suspected that a guṇa was at play. So Pushpako was using whatever her power was to get some privacy in public. My boy actually has a chance then. I don’t need to involve myself in any further shenanigans. I thanked Aina and went back to class. I felt a bit of uneasiness in the gang but I didn’t care.
I really wanted to tell Puna about the good news but I didn’t get a chance in school and he was out somewhere in the evening when I called his house.
The next day (Thursday), Hagesh was ready to confront me.
‘Jitsu, I respect you a lot, bro. So I’ll give you a chance to back off.’
‘You’re trying to date a junior, hoping the Senpai Effect will work in your favour. Hoping we wouldn’t find out.’
‘Oh, that. Yeah. I was about to tell you.’
‘You should be scared of what I’m going to do. I’ll tell everyone that both of you were making out behind the water cooler. And when she hears of it, she’ll think that you’ve been bragging about her to your friends. And she’ll tell all her friends what a creep you are.’
‘Go ahead, man. I don’t care. I want all of you to get out of this mindset. And I don’t think Aina will mind either. She’s a little kinky. I think she’ll actually enjoy the scandal.’
Hagesh was dumbstruck. God, I wish Umito were there. At least he’d be able to think of a comeback.
‘And there’s more stuff going on that you know nothing about. You’ll find out soon but it’ll be too late by then.’
I had put Hagesh into deep thought. All his aliens must have been chattering away inside his head.
The class was almost full when Mimi-sensei entered and started arranging her desk. The class still looked like a fish market, to use that all too common comparison.
Puna had settled down in his chair by then too. I was thinking about giving him advice about his next course of action. But, to my shock, Hagesh pre-empted me.
‘Hey, Puna, go ask Pushpako if you can sit next to her. The only teacher who’ll probably mind is Zankuru-sensei, and he doesn’t have a class today.’ I was completely blindsided. How did Hagesh know? Just from my little hint?
‘Whoa. Jitsu, you told Hagesh and convinced him to support me? You’re a really reliable guy, you know. I’ll go ask now before attendance starts.’ He got up out of his seat.
‘I don’t think that’s a good idea,’ said Tan Talaragi, who I realised must have been listening to the entire conversation but whom I’d forgotten about since he’d been so quiet. Ashukami would have been too, but he was absent. It looked like Hagesh’s head was shaking (the big pink blob next to me was vibrating) but he wasn’t saying anything.
‘I think I should try it,’ Puna said.
‘No, just don’t do it. Trust me,’ Tan Talaragi said again.
‘Go for it, Puna!’ I shouted (but not too loud).
‘Alright!’ He went towards Pushpako’s seat. Hagesh finally gasped for air and started panting.
‘The aliens hacked my speech again! And then they blocked it. What’s going on, Jitsu? What do you know?’ Hagesh’s voice sounded frantic.
‘What do you know?’ I asked him.
‘Oh God. The aliens are actually real, aren’t they?’ said Tan.
‘Wait. I think it’s more important right now to know what you know, Tan.’
Before Tan could speak, we heard a loud crash…