Chapter 5:

New Beginnings

Gifted Education Project (GEP)

There are three conditions students must fulfil in order to be accepted into the GEP. One; they must be measured to be in the top 1 percentile nationwide for at least two of the eight Affinities. Two; they must receive a recommendation, either from the selection test or a recruiter. And three; they must be of high school age at the time of enrolment. Oh and, of course, the student must be an orphan with no living guardian: legal, biological, effective… however you want to interpret ‘guardian’, really.



I think Shelly was the one who told me hangovers felt like your brain being stir-fried in dogshit. I always figured that was just her way of waxing poetic, since that statement doesn’t even make sense… I mean, why would you make up an imaginary scenario when you’re part of the gender that experiences period cramps? She probably got that quote from some YA book and parroted it around because she thought it sounded provocative, just like an artsy college girl would.

That’s what I mistakenly believed until today, because holy shit, my head hurt so bad I was convinced I was going to die. It was like giving birth as a man, except instead of my asshole it’s my head, and instead of a baby it’s actually my brain being squeezed out of a tiny hole in my skull, and instead of my brain it’s actually a morbillion pounds of jizz. And no, I’m not exaggerating to demonstrate a point or to slam dunk “JIZZ” again, it really was that bad. The headache was debilitating. It was painful enough I was convinced I was going to die as much as I needed to die.

I was quite certain I was experiencing a hangover.

There were only three problems with that statement. One; I wasn’t old enough to drink. Two; I had no recollection of drinking, and three… wait, this method of listing things seems vaguely familiar.


Who exactly is Shelly again?

“Wake up.”

Saying a voice boomed wouldn’t even come close to describing how that sounded.

“No, stop…”

“Wake up.”


“I’m giving you till the count of three to wake up, doggy.”

The screeching sounded vaguely like English, but it also sounded so much like a woman’s voice I couldn’t be bothered to listen. Instead, I flipped my body face-down into the mattress and covered my ears.

Oh, wow…

Somehow, that single movement made my pain so much better. It was like a knot in my brain untied, and all of its stored tension disappeared.

Speaking of mattresses, did I mention I was on a super soft bed? All of my extremities were submerged by this fluffy, buoyant material — if not for that, maybe I would’ve told the mystery voice to keep it down a little instead of staying silent, and maybe my headache wouldn’t have cured itself either. I was also amazed by my self control, considering this person was just screaming at me with no regard for etiquette.

“Keep it down… God, do you ever shut up?”

Heh. A true paragon of virtue I was.

But in an instant… I was reminded that this world was evil. There was no respite, not even for good men.

“Darren Chong, you sexist piece of shit.”

No karma; only pain.

No mattress; only floor.



“You forced my hand.”

“S-s-spine! My spine is broken!”

“Keep crying, you little bitch boy.”

Right after that, light began to flood my… no, it would be more accurate to say that light was brutally and non-consensually bussy-tapping me. Even though I was shutting my eyelids as tightly as possible, the sheer intensity of it easily overpowered my struggling like a dog red’s rocket escaping its foreskin stratosphere.

“Wh-why are you doing this? Please, I have nothing!”

“It’s called ‘opening the curtains,’ Darren.”

“You’re killing me! I’m going to fucking die!”

“Really now?”


“Really? How about now?”


“AHH! Leave my shins alone, you— GAHHHH!”

“I’m warning you, doggy. The next one’s not going to miss.”

“Miss? That was a MISS?”

“Wake up. Now.”

What in the fuck was this demon?!

Sensing imminent castration, my survival instincts kicked in. My eyes were forced open by my body against the better judgment of my brain. So groggy. So much pain. Unsurprisingly, a flashbang ensued, followed by a rainbow of colours, followed by nausea, and then after a few seconds, the image of a black-haired beauty with black stockings looking down at me with a black face. (That’s Singaporean slang for ‘grouchy’, I’m not a racist.)

“Wow. Lace,” I said.

The beauty cocked her head at me.

“Nice legs too. How much can you press?”

The beauty put her foot on my nose.

“Smells goo—”


“What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with you? You’re acting all offended for no reason.”


“Listen, I gave you a compliment. Two in fact. Would’ve been three if you didn’t cut me off.”

“W-will you please just get changed?”

She released me from her footy prison and threw a bundle of clothes at me. What a shame, really.

“God, I’m feeling chills…”

I ignored the drama queen and looked at the clothes strewn by my feet. There was a red tie, navy blue blazer, black pants and a button-up shirt. It was obviously a set of school uniform, but the problem was I couldn’t recall seeing that particular colour combination in my district before. If I had to be totally honest, it didn’t even look Singaporean.

Is this supposed to be cosplay?

“Is this supposed to be cosplay?”

“Shut up. Don’t talk to me. You sexist, fetishising cuck.”

Nevermind. I should’ve known better than attempting to communicate with an SJW.

In any case.

I wasn’t sure how much overlap there was in the SJW-Weaboo venn diagram, so I thought I’d get a better answer if I checked my surroundings for context. So, I sat up.

I turned.

I looked.

I saw.

I got more confused.

I was apparently in a five-star hotel room with a Queen-sized bed, couch, marble floor, connected toilet, separate kitchen, walk-in wardrobe… hell, there was even a curved TV. I’d never seen such a waste of money in person — I thought these sorts of things were completely fictional, frankly speaking. Like bubblegum and weed. If you considered the fact that an impossibly hot girl was also in this cursed room plus my short-term memory loss, then that could only mean one thing:

“Oi, hit me.”


“I said hit—”

My head whipped and my neck cracked and my body crashed into the bed frame so hard it grinded against the floor.


The girl started rotating her ankle in front of my face. “Do you need another?”

“N-no thanks… I’m good…”

Okay, so not a dream.


But you know, that meant the situation couldn’t be deduced using immediate context. In that case, thinking was pointless, and relaxation was key. It would be infinitely more practical to just go along with the flow. Deductions without evidence lead to assumptions, and assumptions are… well, they’re stressful. Stress should be avoided whenever possible. In situations like these it’s better to focus on the good things in life: for example, the fact that your tour guide is absolutely smoking, or that you have eidetic memory and you can replay the panty-shot of your tour guide whenever you want from now on, or that you have a working right hand. And a cock. LOL. Haha.

“Ahaha… Ahahaha! AHAHAHA!”



“You’re a menace to society, Darren Chong.”

I smiled.

Oh man, this was so much fun. I couldn’t wait to tell Aunt about this once I got home.


No, that sounded a bit wrong.


I’m an orphan.

I have no living relatives.

The girl plopped something into my lap. “There’s your phone. Hopefully you get a seizure and die after you look at it.”

The horniness was definitely affecting my ability to think at this point, because I was beginning to hallucinate about people that didn’t exist.



I picked up the phone.

[User detected.]

[Neural scan complete. Vitals GREEN, stress OK.]

[Identity confirmed. Welcome back, TXXXX353J.]

“Huh, that wasn’t Face ID.”



Not even a courtesy groan.

Menopause aside, my phone unlocked to reveal a multitude of apps I’d never seen before. They all had quite dramatic names, and it was very fun to read them. Student Search. My Profile. Radar. Shop. Stealth Mode. Hidden Camera. I had to stop there because the names were getting progressively more and more voyeuristic. The background was also changed to a crest with the letters “NHS”, with the following motto emblazoned below it:

The school of future leaders.

“That’s the logo of National High School,” the girl explained. “NHS. You might not remember, but you’re one of 240 students there on a full-ride scholarship from the Singapore government.”


“They don’t teach you about scholarships in your shitty district school?”

“No… nothing like that.” I put my hand on my forehead. “I just can’t seem to remember a school like that ever existing. And that really bothers me.”

The girl blinked. I guess my brief moment of vulnerability shocked her.

“S-sorry. I immediately assumed you were going to make a dumb joke.”

“It’s fine.”

“But um, it’s normal not to remember everything.”

Maybe for you.

“A-anyway, let’s go ahead and open up your profile.”

She reached over and pressed something for me.

Darren Chong Yong Yi

[Class: TBD]

[Sex: M]

[Address: Tower 2, #04-10]

[Date of Birth: 27 May 2041]

[Height: 171cm]

[Weight: 61kg]

[Blood Type: O+]

[Ranking: ? out of 240]

[Points: 1000.00]

Affinity Distribution Chart:


“Well?” the girl asked.


What did she mean by ‘well’?

“I’m not sure I understand your question.”

“I meant, uh, are you convinced?”


Am I convinced?

Am I convinced?

That was an incredibly stupid question to ask.

There was nothing to try and convince me about; it was very evidently the reality of the situation. You don’t ever need to convince someone about reality. What she should have asked instead was if I was willing to accept it — that’s the real line that separates delusional and grounded.

More importantly, I didn’t know anything. And since I didn’t know anything, what this girl said might as well be the word of God.

“What’s your name?”


“You’ve never told me your name.”

“Oh.” The girl swept back her raven hair. “It’s J— Erica Park.”

“Erica Park?”

“...Yes, just Erica Park.”

Okay Erica Park, I’ll let you play God for now.