Chapter 1:

Under The Starry Sky

Treacherous Love

The last day of summer always held a bittersweet tinge for me. It was an intersection of seasons, where the carefree spirit of vacation meets the rhythmic routine of the academic year at Minato Private Academy. This year, it wasn't just an intersection; it was a crossroads, a marker of my sixteenth birthday.

There was something poetic about celebrating another year of life as summer fades into fall. In the brief time that Yuki–my best friend, and I had together at the beginning of the vacation, we had created a mosaic of sun-soaked memories, filled with laughter and shared secrets. Yet, those memories were fleeting. Yuki's departure for Europe, necessitated by her father's influential role in the Ministry, abruptly disrupted our vibrant summer. The shadow of her absence loomed over me, transforming the usually lively season into a solitary sojourn. Caught in the grip of longing, I found solace in the sun-soaked memories of our shared moments, each thought a precious keepsake of the days we had spent together.

On this final summer night, under the star-studded sky, I yearned for the companionship that I missed. Gazing at Tokyo's skyline from the taxi window, my thoughts were on the birthday celebration Yuki had planned and her promise to make up for lost time.

My phone jolted me from my thoughts, its screen glowing with Yuki's name. I answered, "Hey, Yuki."

"Ao, are you already there? I'm still on my way."

"I'm almost there," I replied, my eyes moving from the glowing skyline to the bridge we were crossing.

That's when I saw her. A lone figure standing dangerously close to the edge of the bridge. My heart clenched with a sudden fear, eclipsing the excitement of my birthday celebration. All my thoughts of Yuki, the anticipation of the birthday party, the looming school year - everything faded into the background as I stared at the stranger teetering on the edge of despair.

I held my breath, disbelief turning my blood cold. my heart hammered, and my hands began to shake as I realized what she intended to do. I squeezed my phone tighter, my knuckles whitening.

"Stop the car!" I yelled abruptly, the urgency of the situation distorting my voice. I barely heard my own voice over the pounding of my heart. As the car screeched to a halt, I fumbled with the door handle, my fingers numb and clumsy with fear.

"Ao? What happened?" Yuki's voice echoed with growing concern.

I bolted out of the car, My heartbeat echoed in my ears like a war drum. "Hey! That's dangerous!" I cried out to the silhouette on the bridge. The wind seemed to carry my words away, swallowed by the sheer drop beneath the bridge.

"Please move away from there," I pleaded, my voice wavering. The figure didn't respond. And as I looked at her - because yes, it was a girl - I felt an inexplicable connection, a sudden understanding of her intentions.

A knot twisted in my stomach, pulling tighter with each passing second. "Please… don't do that!" I cried out again. But it was like my words fell on deaf ears. She ignored me.

Just as I was about to scream again, everything came to a standstill. With a swift motion, she jumped. The chilling sound of my own voice echoed in my ears. "DON’T!"

With a splash that seemed to shatter the quiet evening, she disappeared.

Time froze as I waited for her to resurface. Each second stretched into an hour, and with each passing moment, A chilling dread washed over me. My mind churned with a thousand questions - what should I do? What if she—

A flurry of thoughts raced through my mind as I teetered on the edge of the bridge, the same abyss she had just disappeared into. It was a terrifying gamble, one that could very well cost me my own life. But then an image flashed in my mind—the girl's face, etched with despair, and I knew I couldn't just stand by.

I whispered a promise into the silent night, 'I'm coming.', a promise to the girl whose name I didn't even know. And then, as I stepped off the solid edge of the bridge, I felt my stomach lurch, plummeting before my body followed. The wind whistled in my ears, whipping past me in a howling crescendo, as if in protest of my audacious decision. Below me, the abyss of dark water waited, its inscrutable depths cloaked in shadows. It was the embodiment of the unknown, a void filled with uncertainty, and I was plunging into it headfirst.

Every instinct screamed at me to go back, to find safety, but it was too late. The world I knew - the city lights, the familiar silhouette of the bridge, the structured existence I was accustomed to - was replaced by the yawning maw of the sea, its icy arms poised to embrace me.

My heart pounded a furious rhythm in my chest, echoing the rush of adrenaline and fear that pulsed through my veins. Yet, amidst the terror, a defiant spark kindled in my heart. I was not just jumping into the unknown; I was daring to challenge it, drawn by the desperate need to reach the girl sinking into its depths. With each passing moment, the cold reality of the risks I was taking crystallized. Still, propelled by a force stronger than fear, I plunged further, surrendering to the pull of the unknown.

As the cold water enveloped me, I was met with an overwhelming silence. The sounds of the city were replaced by the muffled echoes of my own heartbeat. The world above, with its city lights and star-studded sky, faded away as I was swallowed by the depths of the ocean.