Chapter 3:

Chapter 3

I Accidentally Killed The Protagonist

I will never forget that day.

The day that the flat pink plant material fell in the wind and I was to attend my first day at the adulthood training academy. There was much excitement to be had. I would lead the charge of the ball-tossing battalion and secure myself an ideal seat in the instruction room. I, Jintaro Giri-

(Okay, stop, stop.)

"What?" Ezu asked, his consciousness slipping back into reality.

(You're clearly not ready to take over on the narration yet. It'll have to stay third person until you've learned the vocabulary, let alone the style. For now, leave the storytelling to me. You can focus on making sure the school life that 'Shintaro' has can go off without a hitch. And please do call it a school. What even is an 'adulthood training academy' anyway?)

"We have them on our planet. They put us through training regimes to prepare us for maturation into adulthood. Based on what you said before, this 'school' place is just like that."

(I suppose you're right... well, at least you'll have some experience of this kind of setting.)

The familiar sound of the Westminster chime alerted us that time was our enemy.

(Quick, we've wasted enough time already. Homeroom is starting. Shintaro's class is 2-B. This should go without saying, but do not draw any attention to yourself.)

"I will blend in like a piece of pink plant material in spring," Ezu said while clutching his fists toward his chest. Was he pumping himself up? Where did he learn that from?

(I was almost proud of you for using a simile for a second...)

Today was the first day of Operation Don't Let Anyone Find Out You Let The Protagonist Die And Replaced Him With An Alien. Mission One: Homeroom. I was able to clear away the debris from the crash site and carefully scoop Shintaro's ashes into an urn. Yes, I did have to steal an urn, but I did leave the money on the counter. In the few moments we had left before slowed time expired, I had Ezu park his ship around the back of the school and hastily cover it in tarpaulin. 

As a Story Spirit, I am invisible to humans, so I could watch over Ezu without anyone becoming suspicious. I'd never had to use it before with any other protagonists, since I specialised in subconscious suggestion tactics, but this time I was having to communicate with him directly via telepathy. 

Wait, he hasn't even moved anywhere yet.

"Where's the entrance?"

...Mission One: Get Inside. The door is right there.

"You mean that movable barrier in the opening of the wall?"

(...Please don't tell me you don't have doors on your planet.)

"Oh, we use teleporters to move around. For things in walking distance, there is just an open entryway."

(At this point I must be on some sort of alien hidden camera show, or I'm having a bad dream... Anyway, I'm not even going to pursue this line of questioning any further. Note to self: assume everything is new to Ezu.)

"Just go inside."


Ezu, in an almost inspiring display of empty-headed confidence, walked directly into the door.

"Ouch. I thought it was supposed to open?" he cried out, as if it were somehow the door's fault.

(We do have automatic doors but not here. Actually, forget I said that, we need to start simple. Assume all doors need to be pushed or pulled to open.)

A chuckle rose from nearby. I wasn't suspecting his first interaction would happen so quickly, but I suppose that's on me for expecting an alien to not stand out.

"Trying to become the class clown right out of the gate this year, huh Shintaro? I'll admit, that was a pretty good one."

Approaching from behind Ezu was someone who I assumed to be his classmate. Hurriedly, I consulted my materials to gather any info. Hm... tall, with a slim athletic build. Ah, this was Kotaro Megishima. His unkempt, bleached hair, neck laden with jewellery, and unbuttoned shirt definitely reflected the attitude that I had on file.

He approached and pushed open the door. I had my teeth clenched, but it was nothing compared to what Ezu was experiencing as his feet appeared glued to the very ground they stood on.

"You know, you might have me beat there. But when it comes to the actual competition, I'll see you on the court. I don't wanna say that position on the starting lineup is mine, but... you better bring your best or else you might never get a chance."

The once polite pose that Kotaro's body had taken on when opening the door now subtly resembled a predator spreading its limbs wide to threaten its prey. He loomed over Ezu, in a way that was both challenging and brotherly.

Ezu turned to look at me, desperate.

(He's talking about volleyball. Shintaro wants to join the starting lineup. Um, in other words, you and Kotaro here both want to join the... ball-tossing battalion.)

("Ah... I see. I know what to do.")

Ezu turned back to face Kotaro, steeling himself.

"I'll smash yer face in."

Where are you learning these phrases from!?

Even Kotaro retreated somewhat in reaction to this, his face dropping. That was, until he started to laugh, and his shoulders loosened.

"Now this is a sight to behold. You've changed a lot since your first year, lil Shintaro. Let's hope your actions match your words."

Giving Shintaro a playful tap on the shoulder, Kotaro continued inside, chuckling to himself. I quickly instructed Ezu to grab the door before it closed again.

(That was a close call... thank goodness none of Shintaro's friends are that perceptive. Or maybe they're all just as crazy as you.)

"Did I do something wrong? That person is a rival for Jintaro, right?"

(On Earth we don't tend to go around threatening violence like that... you were lucky that Kotaro is that kind of guy.)

"It was common at the adulthood training academy."

(That speaks volumes of what kind of planet you come from...)

With the first unexpected hurdle overcome, now it was time to face Shintaro's first big challenge: making an impression in homeroom.

"Nare, one question."

(Yes, Ezu?)

"...What's a homeroom?"