Chapter 1:

Where life starts and ends.

Tiger Princess Odyssey

There are thoughts that will wriggle into your brain late into the night.

My bubbling thoughts weren't flashes of mistakes I'd made with friends, they weren't an argument I had with my family and they definitely weren't centred on some crush who ignored my existence.

I would say I didn't care for those things but maybe they didn't care for me.

Rather than regrets or memories, it was a game.

A game title to be precise.

Tiger Princess Odyssey.

The Japanese title is Shin Torahime no Densetsu.

A much better title for the franchise would have been the direct translation to English.

Legend of the New Tiger Princess.

Unfortunately, the translators wanted something eye-catching for a western localisation and after they did a lot of 'focus testing' the series is forever known as Tiger Princess Odyssey.

There's so many games with the name Odyssey in there somewhere that it basically holds no meaning at this point.

After tossing back and forth in bed I came to a conclusion.


The Japanese for tiger princess by itself would work better. It would give it some identity. Some gravitas.

Probably. Let's work with it a bit more.

Torahime: Odyssey.

Actually... that didn't work. No. I could do better.

Torahime: Tiger Princess Odyssey.


That was just adding Torahime to the front. Actually, wasn't that a bit redundant.

It was an issue that had been plaguing my mind for weeks now.

I turned over again in the stiff hospital bed, idly itching at the tubes going into my wrist.

I had lost sleep over this. The title of an Action RPG game that came out decades ago. It sounded ridiculous but the title was everything.

Ask anybody if they played or even heard of Shin Torahime No Densetsu and the answer you get is a resounding no.

A masterpiece of game design.

Truly breath-taking pixel art.

A heart touching story.

All gone to waste because of a title that didn't catch on and lead to sales making the franchise eventually fade into obscurity. It was absolutely criminal that it wasn't recognised for the masterpiece that it was.

I remember, in a small grimy game store that was run down and going out of business, I only had enough money to buy a sandwich. Most classic retro games were out of my budget, I blamed inflation, that's when I saw the watercolour artwork and striking lettering. It was cheap. So I bought it. I can confidently say that it was the best decision I made in my life.

The worst decision, for reference, was going to a library with three floors.

After playing the game in my room through the weekend without sleep I had later gone on the web to talk with other fans and got completely ignored in almost every gaming community. After doing some research I found out the game only had a small cult following.

The title had been overshadowed by a new console generation being released at the same time, leaving the game and its graphics in the dust. With Shin, meaning new, in its title it sounded like a sequel which just added more confusion to the mix.

The developers had sensed the changing console generation and moved fast. Hoping to get into the western market before the new consoles were released it got an immediate localisation and that's how it somehow made it into western markets.

Really, it wasn't the fault of the game. If it had released just two... maybe five years earlier it would have taken the world by storm. Definitely.

A flash of inspiration hit me then and there like a strike from the heavens above.

I lurched up.

"Torahime: Odyssey Of The Tiger Princess."

I couldn't help talking out loud as I struggled to sit up, giddy with excitement.

The short burst of energy quickly fizzled away and I fell back back down into my sweaty pillow. I didn't care though. I had solved the problem that had cost me so many nights of sleep.

"That's it. That title would have made it popular. Its got gravity to it. Gravitas.. Torahime: Legend Of The Tiger Princess. That also sounds good. Legend or Odyssey. This is difficult..."

"Will you shut up."

I heard a groan of pain. There was a petite girl on a life support machine to my right staring at me with a fierce glare.

We had been put in the same large ward now for a week since the hospital was dealing with a large amount of earthquake victims.

I was one of them.

"Ah. I'm sorry about that. I'll be quiet."

It had completely escaped my mind that I wasn't alone here. Since the nurses had all gone to sleep I had drifted off into my own world.

"That was a bit rude, I guess." As the girl spoke, I noticed she had quite the charming voice. She had a sweet choice with a bit of an upper class tint to it.

She hadn't said a word for the past week. I felt a bit bad. I woke up such a nice girl.

"Don't worry about it, it was my fault for waking you up, you don't have to apologise."

"Huh? Why would I apologise? I'm saying you're the one who's rude, idiot."

Now wait a second. How does that make sense? She tells me to shut up and I'm the rude one all of a sudden.

"Hold on. I thought... it doesn't matter."

"What do you mean it doesn't matter. Are you fleeing from responsibility now?"

Her voice had a sharp and high energetic melody to it despite the fact most of her body was bandaged.

"Who's running away here?"

"You clearly."

"Excuse me miss. How does that make sense? I cannot leave this bed I'll have you know. I have tried many times."

"Very funny. Running away from your actions. Not your bed."

"What actions did I do? I merely spoke my mind, is that a crime?"

I was suddenly on trial for a murder I did not commit.

"You woke up a distressed woman from her beauty sleep in the middle of the night. That's a criminal offence. Apologise."

"Lady. I already did. Plus I'm pretty sure that isn't illegal so you can't just make things into crimes."

"Sounds like the excuse of a criminal to me."

Hey I'm innocent.

"Hey I'm innocent."

Ah. I said that out loud.

"Hardly. You just admitted your crimes before when you said sorry."

"Hah. So you acknowledge I did in fact apologise."

"Well. That apology was for making noise in the night. You didn't apologise for being idiotic in front of a lady."

This girl was harsh.

"Lady? Where?"

I smiled as I stared at the ceiling. My vision was starting to fade. Probably getting tired from the argument.

"Aren't you bold. But I guess a bold idiot is of higher value than a timid one so I guess I'll have to re-evaluate your standing in my mental list of local suspicious men."

What kind of mental list is that?

"Hey, hey. How did I end up on that list? Today is the first time we've spoken. Wait, did I go higher or lower. Actually don't tell me. I'd rather not know."

"I'd say you're higher than a purse snatcher that targets old women but lower than a serial killer."

I turned my head to see her face. She had sparkling amber eyes and a sharp small nose. The rest of her face was hidden away.

"Oi. Isn't that a criminal list? That scale is just a bit too lopsided as well. I feel like there's a lot of steps between purse snatching and serial murder."

"Of course there is. I'm sure you're well acquainted with those steps as that is your station in life but as a traditionally educated woman I lack knowledge of those sorts of misdeeds against humanity."

I didn't understand. I was being placed alongside murderers now. This was unacceptable.

"Woah there, since when do I have a designated station? I don't even like trains. And how have you put me down above a purse snatcher. I would never rob an elderly woman."

"So you would rob a regular woman. I see."

She just ignored my train joke. It was good, you know.

"No... wait. This is defamation. I'd like to speak to my lawyer."

"It's too late now. Your crimes have been recorded. I'll be moving the case forward."

"What exactly is the case? I demand to know my charges."


"You're making it sound really bad, you know. I've done no such thing."

My eyes closed and I could feel the pain coursing through my damaged organs slowly fading away.

This is nice. I hadn't spoken to anyone except a doctor for a month since the earthquake.

"Well, you did violently wake me in the night didn't you."

My legs were completely numb and the sensations of pain had disappeared. I wanted to ask her how long do you think it will take for a doctor to arrive but I didn't want to ruin the mood just yet.

"If I wasn't stuck in this bed right now your words could land me in jail. You know that right?"

She giggled with a cough of pain at the end.

My bad.

"What were you doing when it happened?"

I was trying to find a book about kitsune folklore for a fan sequel I wanted to develop. That sounded so lame.

"I was at the library."

"Gasp. You can read?"

"Who can't read? And if you don't have the strength to commit to gasping you can't just say the word gasp. How does that make sense."

"I can gasp however I like and for your information baboons and chimpanzees cannot read."

I'm just going to ignore that.

"Where were you that day then? Buying expensive purses in the city?"

"I was at home... We lived in an apartment complex."

Her voice got quiet.

So she was with her family...

"Now that I think about it, did you insinuate I was a baboon?"

I heard a light giggle.

"Look how long it took you to catch on."

"Well. Baboons can't get charged for crimes so doesn't that mean you have nothing on me?"

"That's a rather shallow victory. To admit to being a baboon. I'm starting to feel bad now."

I was feeling extremely tired and barely had the energy to say another word.


"Of course. I'll have to contact animal control instead and I don't have their number."

She started cackling and I almost let out a small chuckle.

"What a cruel lady. To think I thought you would let me go free."

Breathing was getting difficult.

"Well we would have to register your name first on a list. What is your name anyway?"

I couldn't speak. No energy. I tried but the force of my lungs was gone.

"You have the right to remain silent but everything you've said will be used against you. Hmph."

The life support machine started making beeping sounds louder and louder as my heart began to spasm.

"Hey, wake up. Don't fall asleep. Oi. I won't forgive you for ignoring me."

An alarm started going off on the machine as my body became numb.

Darkness had never felt so deep.

I felt bad about not replying to her.

Talking with her was pretty fun.

"Hey. Wake up!"

Ah. Her voice felt like the breeze on a hot day.

Sorry miss regal lady.

We both didn't get any organ transfers in time but it looks like I'll be the first to go.

"Horrible. Useless. Terrible guy."

The last words I heard were the curses of a cute girl.

How is that fair?

It would have been nice if I could have just played Tiger Princess Odyssey one more time.

I didn't decide what the best title would have been.

A butterfly of blue light flickered in the corner of my eyes as the light slowly faded from my consciousness.

"D-Don't leave me alone..."

The last sound I heard was a soft sob.

Please give that girl a happy life God.

I was too weak to keep her company.

The fire of my life flickered and silently dispersed.

I blacked out.

[Bridge establishing...]

[Transfer in process...]

[Star Crossing Protocol easing... adding secondary protocol... initiating multi-threading... multi transfer instantiated...]

[Bridge Established.]