Chapter 9:

Blissful Memories and Dreams

Densetsu: A Beautiful Day

The night was still young. Bookmark here

“And that’s how I met the shrine maiden!” exclaimed the oni. Bookmark here

Despite his tragic loss, he maintained a smile. Hatred once ran in his veins, but the shrine maiden restored him to bliss. Bookmark here

“How did you meet Riku, Lucia?” Kotaro asked.Bookmark here

“Oh, you’re in for a story,” she sipped her scarlet wine. Bookmark here

Raising the tempered glass to match the moon as if she seized it, the one-eyed vampire smirked from the reminiscent past. Bookmark here

Kotaro couldn’t wait to hear it. Perhaps it was the influence of alcohol, or his curiosity of this world, he felt more comfortable around them. Bookmark here

“It was six months ago…I was under the teachings of the Moirai before I returned to Densetsu. I would restore the glory of my vampiric heritage.”Bookmark here

Melissa sipped her cup of alcohol. “Except the problem was that she attacked a number of towns.”Bookmark here

“I’m sorry I believe I’m telling the story, aren’t I?”Bookmark here

“And then what happened?” Kotaro blurted, enthusiastically.Bookmark here

“My plan was to draw the shrine maiden’s attention towards me. I was hoping to change her fate.”Bookmark here

“And you failed miserably,” Melissa added. Bookmark here

Lucia clicked her tongue, glaring at the noisy magician.Bookmark here

“Indeed. It turns out I overestimated the powers of fate. Not even the Moirai can touch the Kamiyama Shrine Maiden,”Bookmark here

Kotaro drew closer to the vampire, overzealous of her powers.Bookmark here

“You can read people’s fate? How about reading mine?”Bookmark here

“I think you’ve had enough, Ko—”Bookmark here

“No, I’ll gladly read his fate,” Lucia interrupted Riku.Bookmark here

Everyone’s attention was on Kotaro and Lucia. Silence filled the shrine while the drunk Kotaro waited to hear his future.Bookmark here

His potential attracted the curiosity of others. Lucia sensed it.Bookmark here

A flicker of flames, undeveloped, awed the vampire. Bookmark here

“You’ll be walking on an interesting path…the answers you are looking for will come to you. How you deal with them opens up doors of infinite possibilities…”Bookmark here

The vampire arose from her seat, the full moon shining behind her. Bookmark here

“Victoria, we’ll be leaving now.”Bookmark here

“Yes, mistress,” her maid servant stood up. Bookmark here

“Leaving so soon? The party was just starting!” said Fuuko.Bookmark here

Her only good eye projected towards Kotaro, then she nodded to her maid. A single finger snap. And they disappeared without a trace.Bookmark here

“I should get going then,” the black-and-white magician sat on her broom. Bookmark here

A dense fog emerged around the oni’s surroundings. Before he left, he patted Kotaro’s back. Bookmark here

“It was nice meeting you, outsider! I hope we can drink some more again!”Bookmark here

The shrine was dead with Kotaro and Noel remaining. Bookmark here

“You should probably get going, Kotaro.”Bookmark here

“Goodbye, Riiiiku!” Bookmark here

His movement was poor. The shrine maiden kindly guided him through her shrine to the portal. Bookmark here

As for Noel, she climbed down the stairs and wandered into the dark forest. She needn’t worry about ambushing monsters as she hardly drank any alcohol. Bookmark here

It was late. The shrine maiden could grab another beer, but drinking alone was boring for her. Bookmark here

“What sort of future did Lucia see in him?” Bookmark here

“You want to know?” Bookmark here

“I thought you already left,” commented Riku.Bookmark here

The vampire sat down with the shrine maiden, staring at the moon together.Bookmark here

“How can I tell a drunk boy about his upcoming doom? I wasn’t sure how he would react.”Bookmark here

“Stop lying. What’d you see?”Bookmark here

“But I’m not. That girl…the one that impersonates Noel…she still lives. And she will reunite with him. If not her, then there is someone else…”Bookmark here

Riku grew some interest. “Tell me more…who will kill him?”Bookmark here

“Isn’t it obvious? She’s the one wielding the Azzurum while he wields the Umbrian. I’m surprised you didn’t give him that detail about the Serpentine Void.”Bookmark here

“I wasn’t sure how he’d react if I told him he had the Umbrian. How he has the Umbrian is concerning to me,” replied Riku.Bookmark here

“It only means one thing. This isn’t his first rodeo.”Bookmark here

She put the pieces together. It became clear what’s to come in the future. “Our culprit is still out there, planning their next move. To think they planned it this far. It’s as if they knew the Infinite Loop Incident was going to be solved from the very beginning.”Bookmark here

“We’re dealing with someone different from your usual incidents. The question is, what is the motive for our culprit?”Bookmark here

The shrine maiden stared deeply at the moon. Lost in thoughts. Her concerns lingered through the night. Bookmark here

“If the Umbrian and Azzurum become one again, then you know what you must do,” said Lucia.Bookmark here

“I know…I will kill Kotaro…”Bookmark here

He awoke with a hangover. Last thing he remembered when returning to his world was a scolding from his mother. Bookmark here

His mother left him a note. “You’re grounded” was all that was written. Bookmark here

Was it just a dream? That world. He wasn’t sure.Bookmark here

Kotaro packed up for school, wandering in the cold. He stopped his tracks at the dark alley. Bookmark here

Maybe it was a dream. One that felt like reality. Bookmark here

“I must’ve been on drugs,” and he continued to school. Bookmark here

Same old routine occurred in his daily life. Rocky teased him like usual; however, things felt more different. Bookmark here

“Where’s your girlfriend, Noel?” Bookmark here

“Huh?” Kotaro reacted stupidly.Bookmark here

“Y’know, the cute blondie?”Bookmark here

He zoned out from the conversation, his eyes wandered elsewhere as if he was searching for Noel. He searched his pockets, trying to gather the pieces together. Noel was nowhere to be found. Empty pockets included.Bookmark here

“Hey, are you listening?” Rocky snapped him out of his trance.Bookmark here

“Who’s Noel?”Bookmark here

He bumped Kotaro with his elbow. Grinning, Rocky winked at him. “Oh, don’t play dumb, Koty! Everyone’s been talking about it!”Bookmark here

He raised a brow. “Everyone?” Bookmark here

The school bell rang before Rocky finished his sentence. The unanswered questions forged a lingering feeling in him. Curiosity swirled into his mind. Bookmark here

He took a seat. Mr. Willcox, with a boisterous roar, began calling on attendance. The history teacher seemed to be more in a good mood than usual. Bookmark here

Was yesterday a dream or not? Bookmark here

He needed answers.Bookmark here

“Noel Natsuki!” Bookmark here

That name again! Kotaro zoned out the other noises around his surroundings. He stared intensely at the door. His heart raced at a slow pace.Bookmark here

He needed answers.Bookmark here

Was it a dream or not? Did he spirited away into another world yesterday?Bookmark here

“Looks like the new student is not her—”Bookmark here

“I’m here! Sorry, I’m late!” Bookmark here

He recognized that voice, the blonde hair, and those azure eyes.Bookmark here

She rushed into the classroom, and bent her body forward in a respectable manner. “I’m sorry, Mr. Wilcox! I got lost.”Bookmark here

Yesterday’s discovery was no dream. From encountering the shrine maiden, to fighting that machine, and meeting several Densetsu residents.Bookmark here

“Hm, you’re a minute late, but I won’t count this as being tardy. Go take your seat.”Bookmark here

Of all students, no one expected Mr. Wilcox to tolerate her tardiness. The blonde haired student happily took a seat next to Kotaro. Bookmark here

He kept his eyes on Noel until she noticed.Bookmark here

“What?” She gave him a mean look.Bookmark here

“Nothing…”Bookmark here

It was just her second day, and she was already accepted by this world. As the flow of time coursed through school, he noticed many of his peers began approaching him. Their curiosities and interests were the same. Their end goal was a competition, like survival of the fittest. All for one person. Bookmark here

Her athletic performance drew the jockeys’ interest. The nerds admit expressed their feelings about her kindness. Bookmark here

It was unfortunate Kotaro was the center of their goal, being the only male who had the same class as her. Bookmark here

Kotaro tried his best to clarify their misunderstanding. “We’re not close at all. We just happen to have the same classes together!”Bookmark here

“Stop lying to us!” One of the jockeys pushed him to the nearest locker. He blocked any entrance for Kotaro to escape. Bookmark here

“Do you boys want me to report this to a teacher?” Bookmark here

The small crowd turned their attention to the lonesome girl. All of them dispersed, leaving Kotaro alone.Bookmark here

His heart skipped a beat, remembering the time she came to his rescue. She was alone like before, unafraid to put herself in danger to help the weak. Bookmark here

“Are you alright, Kotaro?” asked Mimi, slowly approaching him.Bookmark here

He pretended to act tough, wiping off a make-believe dust from his shoulder. Bookmark here

“I-I’m fine!” He averted his gaze. Bookmark here

“There’s no need to hide it! There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not going to tell other people about it.”Bookmark here

He sighed, “T-Thank you, Mimi…you saved me…”Bookmark here

She smiled, “You’re welcome! Nobody should deal with that.”Bookmark here

“Can I ask you something?”Bookmark here

“Go for it! I’ll try my best to answer it,”Bookmark here

He stared at her for a few minutes, conjuring whatever question he was planning to ask. The bravery in her presence intrigued him. He wished he could have the same audacity she carried. Bookmark here

“Why aren’t you a—”Bookmark here

“Afraid?”Bookmark here

He nodded. Bookmark here

Mimi smirked a little, “I don’t know. I guess I got tired of being afraid. I can’t stand watching people picking on others. Watching you get surrounded by those boys reminded me of myself.”Bookmark here

“You were bullied before?”Bookmark here

“I was.”Bookmark here

“Who would ever bully you? You’re the coolest person I’ve ever met!”Bookmark here

He admired Mimi. The two strolled through the hallways together. Bookmark here

“There was this grown up I looked up to when I was bullied as a kid. It sucks I never got to ask for her name, but she is the most amazing person!”Bookmark here

“What was she like?” Kotaro asked, intrigued. Bookmark here

“Well…” she averted her gaze. Her peripheral vision caught a wandering Noel, who was slowly approaching them. Bookmark here

“Now that I’m thinking about it. Noel really reminds me of that woman…”Bookmark here

“Noel?” Bookmark here

Mimi nodded. “She was very serious, yet she was very passionate. And caring.”Bookmark here

Kotaro completely absorbed all the information. His heart continued to beat faster. Bookmark here

As Noel was approaching them, Mimi slowly diverged from Kotaro. She kept her compassionate smile. “It was nice talking to you, Kotaro! If you ever need me, don’t be afraid to talk to me. But it’s best if you just stay out of trouble, okay?”Bookmark here

He waved her goodbye. His affection for her made it difficult to say anything.Bookmark here

“Thank god you’re fine. I was looking for you, but there were so many boys that approached me. It was hard to catch up to you.”Bookmark here

Noel drew near his comfort zone. “You look fine so far, but just in case, are you alright?”Bookmark here

“I-I am…”Bookmark here

“Good! Let’s go to our next class then.” The two headed to their next class. “By the way, do you have any idea why there are so many boys coming up to me?”Bookmark here

He shook his head, unsure whether to tell her or not. Though, he feared what would come next. Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.