Chapter 0:

The Face of a Man.


Fuck. The streets were as dead as the poorly mauled hand weighing my faith down to the underworld. Damn yabets.

The size and shape of a baby hare with the jaw of a gator.

I thought maybe, just maybe, if in this world I sought the life of livestock instead of that of my fellow man, the Gods wouldn't find an excuse to threaten mine.

But here I am. Disarmed unprofessionally by an edible rodent. As my conscience faded and my energy began to match that of the deserted streets of Wallhound, I could only bitterly reflect on my ignorance.


"And you're sure it's mine?!!!'

"As sure as you should be whenever driving."

"I'm not sure what I should say."

"Boy If I wanted to hear you talk, I'd buy you a position at a radio station. You should only think of whispering your gratitude to me before my ear deafens on my white bed."

My father's tongue was as sharp as ever, but I paid attention loyally to the key's rackling in his hands imposing me to grab them. This man: the same one I caught looking up ways to conserve water when bathing, took it out of his pocket to get me a GTR for my seventeenth birthday. What a guy.

Cars were always kind of my thing. Even if I didn't really know shit about them. Kraily and Barlo could get into the very specifics, but that stuff always flew over my head. Only because I made it a fly-zone of course. The only things I wasn't very well versed in was what I had no taste for knowing. For cars, the less I knew, the more adventurous they appeared to me.

Dad really outdid himself this time. Surprised me more than my exam results when I found out I placed fourth in my class. I guess a good mind deserves a treat every now and then. It just so happens that mine came in the form of bragging rights over my carsick buddies and a panty-pass for every gold digger in my school-no district. Of course, I'll share my glory with my two loyal soldiers-after I've given them a mouthful of it.

"You plan to stay there forever? Didn't think this would've been such a huge blow to the head."

"Oh shit! School!"

Dad's not so gentle blow to the back of my head brought back my priorities. I need to find my way out the Aragi house.


As I stared in the mirror fixing my tie, I began to ritually examine my physique.

"Sigh. Seventeen but still not a scrap of facial hair."

"That's right. My little Jei-Jei's still as smooth and sexy as ever!"

There came Mom's onslaught. She went for my ass this time, squeezing it passionately. She then pushed the imaginary hair away from my ear, whispering in it seductively.

"Your old enough for me to bed you now milady. What'd you say we ditch the bearded bastard downstairs and go start a Kingdom together?"

"S-stop that! Y-You know I-I'm not ready for that kind of engagement. I-I haven't even flowered yet."

"No worries Mi Lady. I would say the fruit tastes best before it departs from the tree."


With a gentle maiden's slap to the perverted courter's face, I ended my mother's early morning tradition of trampling my masculinity just before going to work in which I decided just to go along with.

"Ha! You broke character first, so you lose!"

"New rules again!?"

"I have to keep the game interesting or else you'll lose interest. You are becoming a man with varying interests after all!"

"Sure, doesn't look or feel that way."

"Oh honey. What do you believe becoming a man constitutes?"

"Looking and feeling in charge of things. God doesn't even find me responsible enough to give me extra hair to take care of."

"Don't you already have enough things you should be responsible for Mr. Sportscar driving Ladykilling Student Council treasurer?"

"The car's the only plus. I was born a wallet straight from my bank account of a mom and those girls are only capitalizing on Kawaii Kraily and Bravo Barlo's communicator. I can only challenge what I can handle. If I try to go beyond that the universe just denies me."

"A man who knows his place in the universe is the happiest of them all."

"Hmph! You're forgetting I'm not a man."

"Exactly. Which means your place in the universe hasn't been decided yet. Your still but an abstract yet to fully shape himself. Of course, there would be opposing forces. They can even help you shape yourself if you understand what these forces are opposing. For now, just worry about becoming better at shaping yourself and trust me it'll work out. My Jei-Jei will come out as fine as curves governing his ass just watch!"

"Would you stop groping me!"

Mom tended to get really philosophical when counseling me. Sometimes I felt as if she intended to redirect my frustrations at trying to understand what she was saying forgetting my initial frustrations along the way! I swear her way of thinking can be just as hard to deal with as the numbers she works with at the central bank.

She murmured on a bit more while helping me with my attire before kissing me on the cheek and leaving for work herself. She didn't mention a thing about a birthday gift but knowing her she probably doesn't plan on getting me one.

Dad was more of the newspaper, savings and occasional gift guy even though he has a sharp tongue on him while Mom was a liberated thinker who either had deep conversations to offer or some deep bullshit, she wanted me to dive into with her. I loved them both with what they each uniquely had to offer.


"Jeiya Aragi."


Everyone who turned around to acknowledge my Prescence took their time examining the keys I hooked onto my bag. They all wanted to approach me about it but without Kraily or Barlo around to break the ice. Sure, the girls used me to get to them whenever they weren't around but that was the subject matter, they primarily approached me with. So, it was even difficult for them to come to me about this.

It's my fault really. The medium build, slightly below average height, baby faced, shaved head student council treasurer should have the "easy convo" vibes oozing off him. It was his inherited sharp tongue that was the problem. I don't really understand why I shut people at this school who aren't Kraily and Barlo or talking about them down so easily.

Mrs.Malt must've caused me to develop these reflexes. Who's she you ask? I don't feel like talking to you about her now. Maybe not ever.


The day progressed even slower than usual without Kraily and Barlo around. Empty classes. Empty lunch. What was I thinking? Even the deepest of gold diggers couldn't dig under the layered walls I put up around myself. Even if a dream car with an empty shotgun was parked on the other side.

No student council meeting was held either since the president and vice-president-again Kraily and Barlo didn't come to school. Like seriously! Don't those two fucktards know that my school days revolved around them?

"You mustn't depend on others so much."

"Spuuuuhhhh!! H-huh?!"

The soft voice frighted me so much I almost drowned on my green tea or as Braily called it my "Thinking Juice."

Camirita Safire was the name of the owner of the soft voice that made an attempt at my life.

Her presence was so dim with her straight, snow-white hair that ran freely to her hips, her half-dead, grey eyes and her fully dead pale skin that she made me think it was a lunar eclipe when she hovered over me, blocking the midday sun.

"Wha-Where'd that come from?"

"You wear your weakness on your face. A quality timidly seen in men of vigour."


"Yet still sister still chose you. She must really believe in the power of an abstract or must really want to cause ripples reconnecting these four scattered dots. She must want us to have fun again. I need to do what I can."

Her way of talking made mother's seem like a kindergarten teacher's when explaining to her pupils.

Before my brain had even fully begun to attempt digest what she had been saying, the ice-queen look-alike swooped in like an elegant eagle to steal a kiss from my then quivering lips.

Even though she only pressed the surface of her lips against mine, it felt divine. Almost as if my lips had brushed against the surface of the bathwaters used to tone a Goddess's skin.

The very instant afterwards; like in the blink of an eye, the scenery before metamorphosized. From the isolated school rooftops to the grandeur of the solar system identical to the diagrams I saw in class with me and Safire being in the space of the sun in its noticeable absence.

We weren't as huge as the planets surrounding us in different positions on their specific orbits, but we levitated in the same positions we were before with me sitting and Safire standing but bending slightly to kiss me. It felt like a realistic hologram. Like I never left the roof, but I knew this wasn't the case. The atmosphere told me that.

The otherworldly sensation evaporated as Safire gently distanced her lips ending the best 10 seconds of my life.

She then rose to her original position metamorphosizing herself in a pose oddly resembling the statue of liberty with her right hand over her stomach and her left aiming for the stars I was sitting beside with four of her fingers pointed to the sky and her thumb bent across them. She followed this by elegantly saying while staring blessings into my eyes:

"Become celestial."

A bright blinding light then began to emerge from my heart accompanied by a pain burning my chest in the progress as if the sun sat in the center. This light quickly engulfed the entire space temporarily stealing my sight in the process.

The moment I regained my sight, I found myself sitting on something very cold and wet. It was on the tiled platform surrounding a water fountain with an angel statue in the center of it. I saw only sky as I looked straight forward.

Then I realized. The surface felt cold and wet because the water from the fountain splashed the tiles. And also, because I was seated butt naked.