Chapter 1:



“You shall have the honor of starting the game.”

The black player broke the silence with his deep and resolute voice resonating with an air of gravitas, while a chilling breeze rustled through the cold land from behind his back.

“Naturally~,” the white player responded cheerfully, “but how many lives are you betting this time?”

As always, the two enigmatic men engaged in a dramatic game of chess.

The chessboard served as a stark divider of two opposite worlds. Behind the black player sprawled a forsaken, desolate wasteland of despair, littered with the rotten corpses of wildlife. In contrast, the white player reveled in an idyllic landscape, surrounded by colorful blossoms, a warm flowing spring, and animal creatures basking in pleasant sunlight.

“Just one.”

The white player giggled at the response from his opponent and moved his first white chess piece across the board to commence the battle.

For eternity, these two beings have been in a constant war with each other, trying to prove that their way was the right one in the eyes of the other.

However, none of them were ready to give up and abandon the principles that defined their very cores.

“I see. You’re using the same strategy as always, hehe.”

It was only after many battles that they realized they don’t have to fight against each other. Each of them has their special place. And without one or another, the world cannot function properly.

“You should focus on the game, dear,” The black player captured a white pawn. Once the pawn was out of the game, a tiger on the sunny side gruesomely rotted to death.

“You’re so cruel…” The white player said with a worried face, only to counterattack and capture the black bishop. A corpse of a deer behind the black player’s back started breathing and slowly limped away in pain to the unknown.

“Aren’t you the cruel one? Making someone cling to their life, no matter how miserable,” Black player’s bishop captured a white rook.

Following the move, the crystal-clear waters of the previously pristine river on the sunny side morphed into a noxious purple hue, seemingly tainted. Consequently, the fish within appeared to float, their bellies exposed as they swam no more.

“Aww, are you trying to make me laugh?” The white player chuckled. “There’s nothing cruel about continuing living. As long as you’re alive, you have new possibilities every day. Garde!” He targeted the black player’s Queen.

“You’ve been always considered a hero of everybody’s story. So that makes me the villain. Even if the person chooses me directly, I will never be forgiven by their family and friends.”

“It’s not that black and white.”

“Right now, it is.”

“Oh come on~, you can’t be this cute~,” The white player concealed his eyes with both hands, then cautiously peered through the narrow gap between his fingers. “Oops, I’m afraid you haven’t covered for your Queen properly, hihi,” The white player captured the opposing Queen, but the black player smirked menacingly. Behind him, a dried up flower suddenly bloomed into beautiful petals.

The black player then stood up and slowly walked towards the white player, who flinched at the sight of his approach. He leaned close towards him and seductively put his thumb on the bottom lip of his opponent, then brought his mouth to his ear and gently whispered: “Checkmate.”

“W-what?! When, how?!” Panic consumed the white player as he slowly realized that the black Queen was just a mere trap.

The scenery behind white player completely crumbled into decay. The animal creatures got devoured by a plague, the flowers withered and the strong cold wind was scattering the dried up petals throughout the horizon, the sun broke in the sky and its blood splattered through the whole land.

“You have been winning this fight for a long time. But it’s time for me to finally claim that life.”

“Man~…” the white player lamented, “I’m not complaining or anything but it truly seems like it’s not fair. When you bet a life, you just have to win once and it’s over, the life is forever lost. But when I win, it’s not enough to preserve it. I have to win over and over and over…”

“That’s the way of this world,” The black player started to walk away while the chess pieces and chessboard dissipated into thin air.

They say that when a human soul is born, it has to fight a difficult battle from the very first day. Some battles start even before the moment of birth.

“Go… my forbidden love…” The white player watched the black player disappear in the distance.

And when the human soul loses the will to fight, they are consumed by the God of Death.

“…He is waiting for you… He is waiting on that roof.”

Mario Nakano 64