Chapter 1:

Curiosity .......... Cat (Part1: save us!)

Zero Access

   A dream. A nightmare. An illusion. Whatever it was, it was real.

At least, that's what Nao thought as she fell. She was falling, falling deeper and deeper, farther, and farther.

But why did she keep falling? Was she supposed to stop?

She hit bottom.

Her body stopped moving, but her mind kept spinning.

Was she dead? Did she die?

Then she remembered.

The crow. The crow that helped her before.

"Hey, crow! Where are you?"

Nao shouted, but her voice sounded weak, like a small child's.


A voice answered her.

"Where are you, little lady? Caw!"

Nao looked around. She saw the crow perched on the edge of the pit.

"There you are!"

Nao reached towards the crow.

"Stop! Stop right there!"

Nao froze. She heard footsteps approaching her.

"Ah! Someone else is here!"

Nao looked up. Her eyes met those of a man. He wore black clothes and a black hat. His face was hidden behind a large pair of sunglasses.

"Who are you?" asked Nao.

"I'm your new friend, little lady. My name is Kuro."


"Yes, that's right. We've got quite an adventure ahead of us, don't we?"

He pulled off his sunglasses. His eyes were bright red.

"Oh, my," said Nao, looking him up and down. "You look just like the crow."

"Really? That's funny because I always thought that crows looked like people. I see you are familiar with my crow companion."

"Yeah, he saved me once. Before you arrived."

Nao looked in the crow's direction, but it was gone.

"But where is it now?" she asked.

"I'm afraid that crow isn't coming for you anymore, little lady."


"The crow has already broken the rules not once but twice, so now he can never return to this world again."


"That's right. I am afraid your time with the crow has come to an end. We shall never interfere with your decisions or choices, but the consequences must be yours to bear. If you'll excuse me, I'll be going now."

"Wait!" cried Nao.

"Little lady, I can't tell you to follow me. That would be against the rules. It's your choice whether you want to continue alone or with me, but I won't force you to do anything. So, choose wisely."

"Who are you? And why are you talking like that?"

"My name is Kuro. I'm a spirit guide. If you chose to walk with me, then I'll lead you to whatever fate you desire. I am the voice of destiny. The voice of your subconsciousness."

"Destiny? Subconsciousness?”

"Those are words that mean different things to different people, little lady. But, the important thing is that I am the one who decides your path. You are free to take your steps, but I will always be there to help you along the way. In your journey, you will find many paths. Some may seem right, some wrong. Only you can decide which ones to take. No matter how many roads you travel, no matter how many choices you make, I'll always be by your side, guiding you through the darkness and the light."

He made a gesture with his hand and began walking away.

"So, what will it be? Do you want to continue alone? Or do you want to come with me?"

Nao hesitated. She looked at Kuro and back in the crow's direction. Deep in her mind, there was still a tiny spark of hope that the crow would appear again. She was simply afraid to let go.


Nao's thoughts were cut short.

Kuro disappeared.



Nao stood in silence. It was as if she had been struck by lightning and lost all her senses. By that time, she had fully realised that she was dreaming.

Nao looked around. She saw nothing but darkness. She could only hear her heart beating in her chest.

Slowly, she started walking.

She walked until she found a place where the floor had crumbled away. There was a hole in the earth, almost perfectly circular. She looked into the hole, trying to see what lay beyond.


No reply came.

"Anyone there?"

Still no answer.

"Is someone there?"

Nao tried again.


Something brushed against her foot.

Nao jumped back. She looked down. A small figure appeared at the bottom of the hole. Its face was hidden beneath a tattered cloth. It was holding something.

"Are you okay?" asked Nao.

"It hurts," said the small creature. "Please help me. I'm stuck."

Nao looked around. The ground was covered in white powder.

"What happened to you?"

"I fell... down..."


"I was playing hide and seek when I tumbled down. Then I couldn't move."

Nao knelt beside the creature. She looked closely at its trembling body. It was a young girl. Her legs were bare, and her arms wrapped tightly around her torso. She was holding a cat in her hands.

"Do you have a name?" asked Nao.

"Curiosity...," replied the little girl.

Nao stood silently for a moment. She then picked up the cat gently and reached deep into the hole, pushing aside the dust and dirt. Slowly, she started pulling the little girl up.

When they finally managed to get out of the hole, Nao carefully placed the girl on the ground. She looked at the cat curiously and then asked again.

"Do you have a name?"


"Your name," said Nao.


"Yes, your name."

"Curiosity," repeated the girl.

"Is that your name?"

"Name... is... Curiosity... neither friend... nor... foe. Name... is curiosity..."


"Curiosity... name... does not exist in the world... of the living."

"What are you doing here?"

"Waiting for you... here... to save us..."

"From what?" Nao gasped.

"I need you to free this cat from his doom... "

It was only at that moment that Kuro showed up again. He had appeared out of nowhere.

He walked silently in the cat's direction and whispered something.

The cat opened its eyes. Its body was trembling violently.

During that time, Nao continued looking at the girl.

"You're a spirit guide too, aren't you?"

"Yes... I am."

"I don't understand. How did you get there? Where are we?"

"We are you... we're in your dream... we're the trials you must overcome..."

"But I don't know anything about any of this!"

Nao was confused.

Meanwhile, Kuro, who was talking to the cat, seemed to be getting impatient. He was shaking his head vigorously.

"Stop it... stop it! Enough already..."

Finally, Kuro turned to face Nao. He quickly grabbed her by the collar and pulled her close. His lips were moving rapidly.

"Stop tormenting me!"

He shook her violently.

"N-no... I didn't mean..."

"Make your mind up! Pick a path, or else we can never leave this place!"

A side effect of confusion was that subconsciousness could take over and decide for you. The very thin layer that separated reason and chaos will vanish. You'll lose control. Once's subconsciousness can't handle the pressure, it will make decisions for you. And those decisions are always bad ones. In Nao's case, her subconsciousness had chosen the path of violence.

Nao was confused.

"Let go of me, Kuro..."

"Make your mind up!"

Kuro shook Nao even harder.

Her whole body ached. She felt dizzy and weak. Her ears started ringing.

"Will you save us, little lady? Or shall we stay here for eternity?" The little girl, Curiosity, was standing in front of them now.

Nao's senses slowly returned to normal.


"You will save us?"

"I will save you," said Nao. "What should I do?"

"Just follow my lead."

Curiosity pointed towards the cat.

"I will catch it."

She then held the cat up in the air.

"Now I am gonna kill it!"

As Kuro disappeared once again, Nao look at Curiosity with wide-open eyes.

"Huh? Kill it?"