Chapter 1:

Oneshot – The Rightful Place

Level Zero


The mixture of the bright, warm, cold, dim, and neon lights was only an ordinary scene every single night on the downtown of the city of Nacht. No skyscrapers are ever seen upon a look-up on the sky of inconsistent system of weather, yet tonight, there was not even a haze.Bookmark here

An ordinary scene… an ordinary night…Bookmark here

Under the moonlight, the city persists to function until late with a myriad of jobs and businesses keeping the life left from daylight to sundown. May they be normal jobs or ones that has never met with the illumination of the sun, the lives of every single individual continue on.Bookmark here

An abundance of heavy footsteps meets the ears, the sirens of the police peaks at the high frequencies, the very seldom gunshots echoed from quite afar.Bookmark here

But asunder to the halting shrieks of the police, another pursuit was transpiring.Bookmark here

"Where did she go?! It's too dark in here…! Give us some light!"Bookmark here

"Agh…! Let's separate for now! She couldn't have gotten far!"Bookmark here

"Was she able to learn the Stealth Ability?!"Bookmark here

"Is she really so desperate to escape that she had to become a Clandestine?!"Bookmark here

"We really do not have any choice… If needed we have to take her back by force…Bookmark here

But still, we have to realize that that woman may only be a potential subject and not the one.Bookmark here

Anyway, let's move."Bookmark here

Clandestine.Bookmark here

They are humans, and only humans. A legend of them tells that these individuals are capable of beyond normal mobility especially on the darkest shadows of the night. But in reality, they are people who took tutelage on a maestro to master the ways of stealth.Bookmark here

Upon completing and stepping away from his teaches, Clandestines are free to do what they wish for. Be a criminal, a prowler, an unknown identity, the maestro holds no responsibility. It was not his objective to teach his students morals, but only the lessons they need.Bookmark here

Thus, among those who chose to freely do so, one—just like anyone—chose the path of never ending escape and hide-and-seek.Bookmark here

"Hahh… I finally lost them…"Bookmark here

On her huffs, the certain Clandestine hopped down from a very short protrusion of a building and emerged from the shadows, blending in to the crowd.Bookmark here

The life of one that hides day and night was ultimately a struggle. It was not only a matter of being able to see the surroundings omnidirectionally, but also being able to leave no trace of one's existence.Bookmark here

On her silent footsteps, she arrived in an apartment building and nonchalantly took the stairs until she was in front of an apartment room on the third floor of the six-story apartment.Bookmark here

(!)Bookmark here

Her hearing immediately caught even on the slightest movements of the doorknob on the room right of her. Steadily, a woman on a tracksuit that is in her mid-twenties came out of the room and gave the Clandestine a sweet smile.Bookmark here

"Good evening, Ms. Vanta. I suppose you came home from a work meeting?"Bookmark here

"Yes, Ms. Jade. How was your teaching today?"Bookmark here

"It's always so-so. As always, they are noisy and they still keep talking about the disappearance of the princess.Bookmark here

Speaking of… it has already been a seven months since she went missing… the whole country is really worried…"Bookmark here

"Y-Yes… I was really heartbroken when they told us that she suddenly disappeared."Bookmark here

"Well, I hope that she is safe somewhere. This place is too dangerous for her."Bookmark here

"I agree… well then, I shall go."Bookmark here

"Oh, have a nice rest."Bookmark here

An input on a passcode lock and a scan on a fingerprint sensor later, seven clacks sounded from within the door and such she twisted the doorknob of her apartment room. On wobbly and exhausted steps, she landed on her bed facedown and let out yet another enormous sigh.Bookmark here

"…"Bookmark here

My name is Althea Vanta.Bookmark here

I am a 22 year-old remote employee that solely works at the comfort of my home for a certain technological company that is based here on the city of Nacht, within this country called Inchiostro.Bookmark here

Surprisingly, we are the only nation in this world that is still maintaining the system of monarchy, even on the period of technological revolution.Bookmark here

But that being said, the country is in the midst of crisis.Bookmark here

"We are once again living and ending another day without a trace of the only princess, Aiumina Azure and the country continues to remain in distress.Bookmark here

As we have always done, we would like to ask for your help on searching for the princess on any other ways."Bookmark here

The news has always been like this for the most of the seven months on the television ever since then. Again, this nation is still under the system of monarchy, heavily at that. The only remaining royal blood is the family under the name of "Azure," and is keeping the peace of this country until the incident that had happened.Bookmark here

But even so, it does not stop me from continuing from my work on the development and advertising side of my company. Amidst of the things going sideways in this place, the love for the things I do has never waned down. Even though I am in utter avoidance of chase, I am very glad that I am able to achieve the very small dream I have always wished for.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

There is no point beating around the bush. I am the reason why Princess Aiumina Azure has not yet emerged until today… because Althea Vanta is the same person as her.Bookmark here

I am a coward. I have always wanted to run away from my responsibilities. At such a young age, I have gotten exposed to the system of governing the entire nation. But I was suffocated. I never wanted a life where the only thing that I will do has already been dictated.Bookmark here

Then I had a servant that taught me a lot of things about the world… as I was one that has always been caged inside the compound of the royal family in the royal capital. She was never an unruly one, she does not tolerate the times when I laze around, but in spite of that, she has always told me stories about the world outside. She helped me search for the things I love and the things I want to dream of. Because of her, I found my great interest on creating something in my own way. Indeed people have their own intelligence and skills, and it just so happened that I found my passion for a proficiency called programming.Bookmark here

I wanted to be a normal girl. I wanted to become a child that has friends I can play with. I wanted to go to a school just like any other children. I wanted to learn together with them, I wanted to understand what the feeling of love is with friends. I wanted to fall in love just like any other person.Bookmark here

But then I was born as a princess—with blue blood and an aquatic hair that only the nobles inherit.Bookmark here

It was not that I didn't love my family, if anything, it is the opposite. What I disliked was the life I have, and the lack of freedom to decide for my own which I should have had.Bookmark here

My only hope was my servant, which I later then considered as an older sister of mine. But I was awoken to a cruel chance of events. She had contracted to an incurable illness and I was not even able to hear the last words on her deathbed.Bookmark here

It was at that moment where I have completely and finally gotten sick of this life I had. I loved her as a family, and I couldn't imagine how I could live without her in that cage. And so, being the coward that I am, I ran away.Bookmark here

I sought for guidance from the maestro of stealth within the Clandestines and found myself residing in the lively city of Nacht. I then strove to continue the path of my dreams regardless of not having academic records. I made them face that an uneducated like me can prove something in the society. I changed my name and the color of my hair to black, got a job, rented a small apartment, and finally achieved the life I wanted.Bookmark here

Things were going fine until the men of the king, my father, began to mobilize in search for the missing princess. On their own ways, they managed to narrow down potential individuals that could be her. But one thing that they did not know about this city is that most of the citizens here are nimble people that would not submit to pursuits that does not have apparent bases.Bookmark here

For the most part, I was able to move forward in this life full of risks peacefully aside from the close calls where I was almost identified. To be honest, there were times where I was once again visited by the thought that I am getting sick of this life of being chased. Truly, I have come to be very exhausted, but I swore to never return to that confinement.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

But soon, I found a call center agency that aims to hear out the sentiments of those that have suffered in this admittedly miserable world. Amidst the risk of being outside, I presented myself to that agency for a tour and to verify its credibility, and they did not disappoint.Bookmark here

At one certain time, I inputted their hotline from my dial pad and the call was immediately answered after a few rings.Bookmark here

"Hello, this is 'Other' Agency graciously hearing out to your voices; how may I help you?"Bookmark here

"I just want your advice…"Bookmark here

"Then I would like to hear it."Bookmark here

"It's just… I love my job and the things I do… but I just don't want the life I have right now. As time goes on, my life is becoming less and less peaceful. I want to know of the means… I want to know if there is any way for me to start over a new life peacefully and happily without being put to danger. Is such a thing… possible for someone like me…?"Bookmark here

"I personally understand your sentiments, ma'am. There are indeed many people that wanted to start a new life although they seem to be doing well. Perhaps it goes by the same principle of having money but not happiness. I am not presuming that it is your circumstance, but was it any near from that?"Bookmark here

"I suppose so…"Bookmark here

"Thank you for your honest response.Bookmark here

We believe that there is a possibility to start a brand new life, especially if this is what you truly meant from your heart and mind. Our actions require for a person to be sincere to the decision that they had made and that they also are accepting of being able to move on."Bookmark here

"I… I would like to hear more of that. If possible… I really want to start over sooner than later. Please… I really need your help."Bookmark here

"We humbly apologize that a very immediate response is not possible, but we can act in such a way that would not take very long. If you would give us enough time, we can do something to help you."Bookmark here

"I will be willing to wait…"Bookmark here

"I see. Once we have sorted out the things on our side, we would get back to you immediately. But can we please have a copy of your information ranging from your name, age, and occupation?Bookmark here

We will assure you that your information will never leave our premises, according to Law No. 965 regarding the right of the citizen's privacy.Bookmark here

Once again, we would get back to you once our side has been settled."Bookmark here

"Thank you… Thank you…"Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

With all the things that has been said and done, reality is never kind to those that did the wrong thing, in the end.Bookmark here

I was a coward, I fled from my responsibilities, I chose the life where the whole country is going to lose trust on me, all because I am a selfish child. If only did my life as a leader of this country did not feel like my existence has been decided from the moment I was born to the time I die, I would not have ran away. Or perhaps… maybe I will still have.Bookmark here

I have become very aware that even my "older sister" would definitely dislike my actions, yet I still acted upon them.Bookmark here

It felt like I have been punished… as the cruel reality does not forgive.Bookmark here

The hopes and great delight were seen on the many faces that ultimately surrounded mine standstill on the middle of the still young day. The cheering of the crowd was loud and clear, in unison, without even a failure within their rhythm.Bookmark here

But somewhere deep inside that the people will never get to see, it felt like I was being persecuted. My breathing drastically shortened, my head became so light, my ears began to hurt, and my eyes began to tear up from the face that has been unmasked in front of this very nation.Bookmark here

I was starting to lose my mind.Bookmark here

"I…Bookmark here

If this is how everything is going to end… THEN I MIGHT AS WELL JUST DIE…!!!!"Bookmark here

I was too weak to even hear the echoes of the screech that made the crowd dead mute in an instant. On my blurring sight, I saw only disheveled expressions and on my dying ears, I heard absolutely nothing.Bookmark here

Amid the fading consciousness, I was not able to realize the things that were about to happen. Something was loud, and something was visible, but I was not able to feel anything as my eyes closed.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

"Oh, oh, finally awake, Ms. Vanta."Bookmark here

I woke up inside of some kind of a vehicle. It was indeed a car, but its layout is very much different from the ones I have known. Even from the inside, I could immediately tell that it is very wide. The windscreen was almost flat and almost upright, and with the wideness of the vehicle it felt like I could see anything in front of us, and I was taken aback by how high we are from the ground even with the guarantee that we are not hovering from the ground.Bookmark here

"Wow, really. I did not expect this place to be so familiar from the system, technology, infrastructures, and to the lands. But still, this place is waaaayyy more environmentally maintained than I imagined."Bookmark here

"W-Who are you…"Bookmark here

"Before that… may I please verify that you are indeed Ms. Althea Vanta, age 22, and an information systems associate and a member of the advertising department to boot under Softhave? Well, not like I actually know that company."Bookmark here

"Y-Yes… they are correct…"Bookmark here

"Then that's settled. My name is Hitoyoshi Vecker, a driver employed by Other Agency. I was oriented with your circumstances, and it was decided that I will be your agent for the moment until all the processes have been finished. We believe that we have found the solution to your problem."Bookmark here

"…"Bookmark here

On a better look at this person behind the wheel, it felt deep within that something was off or unusual with him. His appearance is something I have not seen anywhere. He still appears to be a human, but I have never seen a race with an appearance the same as him.Bookmark here

"Take a turn left on Codis Rd."Bookmark here

"Haaahh, thankfully there is also GPS here…"Bookmark here

My attention was caught for an entirely different reason when I looked at his phone. To my great surprise, the screen of his smartphone was literally bordering the edges of its footprint. I for one have never seen a device like that. Even I know that the most expensive phones in this day and age have a screen that only houses the center with less than inch of a bezel on the top and bottom. If I may speak of complex words, I have never seen a phone screen that is not in a 16:9 aspect ratio.Bookmark here

But for me to even care more about it was too much of a stretch.Bookmark here

"Please settle down for a bit, Ms. Vanta. We're arriving very soon to our destination."Bookmark here

"…"Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

The vehicle stopped inside a well-lit warehouse with not a lot of people in it. I hopped down from probably more than a foot of elevation as I stepped down, and immediately saw the exact size of the vehicle I was inside. It was hard to describe, but the shape of the vehicle was very rectangular and flat on its surfaces. There were three wheels on each side that were almost as tall as my knees, and there is a large metallic container.Bookmark here

"W-What is this vehicle, Mr. Vecker…"Bookmark here

"That's what you'd call a box truck," he proudly uttered with his hands on his hips.Bookmark here

"S-So… what exactly is going on…?"Bookmark here

"In my world, there is a trope where getting hit by a truck, presumably dying, will lead a person to be transported to another world."Bookmark here

"Ehhh…"Bookmark here

"But in this case, you have clearly told your sentiments to the call center, and here we are now. I just said that trope, but what would happen isn't something like that. Basically, the solution that we arrived at is sending you to a different world."Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

There is only one world… and even I have never heard of such fiction…"Bookmark here

"Well, I have read and watched so many of that trope. But what it is most commonly known is "isekai" from another language in my world. It roughly means another world.Bookmark here

I'm sure that you're sick and tired of this place so I would like to ask you once and for all. Even if you don't believe me, you will definitely be transported to another world where you are going to be able to start a new life that you really wished for and-"Bookmark here

He was interrupted by the sound of the news from the television.Bookmark here

"In this unfortunate day, Princess Aiumina Azure has been identified to be residing in downtown Nacht and was able to be found by the royal guards, but in an unexpected turn of events, an unknown vehicle has taken the princess and is still not able to be tracked as we speak."Bookmark here

"So you are a princess that has escaped. Well, anyway, I'm not from this world so I don't care. Continuing… if that is the case, then no one will be able to track you down and be a princess in that world. You will live your life as a normal person there and choose how you want to live.Bookmark here

If you truly want to leave this place… we would like to know right here and right now."Bookmark here

Mr. Vecker led me to a table with a lone paper work on it.Bookmark here

"Apparently there is a power that you generally call an 'Ability' that is being brought out by a 'force' inside your body. This is basically a contract in which you agree to be transported to a different world. In this printed circle, apparently you have to press your thumb and channel a bit of your force and it will disappear.Bookmark here

Also, sorry to say, but my people on our world does not have any kind of ability including myself.Bookmark here

So, have you made up your mind, Ms. Vanta?"Bookmark here

I am incredibly tired to even make a speech inside my head, and all this exhaustion has led me to this place that doesn't even feel real. My escape has finally led to me apparently leaving this world to another one.Bookmark here

I am not a good person, I chose my selfishness over the wellness of this place. I left relentlessly without trying to reconsider of returning back to my old life.Bookmark here

At this point… the last thing I would want to do is regret this haphazard decision.Bookmark here

I strongly pressed my thumb on the paper like there was no tomorrow and felt that a little bit of my force left my body. In an instant, the paper lit up and disintegrated to nothingness.Bookmark here

I was then startled by loud whirring sound from my behind, and found that the "truck's" engine has started and the headlights turned on.Bookmark here

"For people like you who have wanted refuge from the sufferings, we made the process simple for you. Please hop inside of the van at the back while I am driving. If you need anything, you can call me from there."Bookmark here

"U-Understood…"Bookmark here

"Well then… the duration of our travel will be six hours. At some point, you will fall asleep as it is intended to be, but it looks like you are already very tired so have that opportunity to rest."Bookmark here

What I assume were the agents of Other opened the van for me and revealed a living space that is even better-looking than my apartment. Who would even expect that such an industrial-looking cargo on the outside will actually look like this on the inside?Bookmark here

I have just judged a book by its cover…Bookmark here

Then from the inner side of the room, a heard a knock and slid the opaque window open and saw the cabin where Mr. Vecker has already mounted in.Bookmark here

"Are we ready to leave, Ms. Vanta."Bookmark here

"Y-Yes…"Bookmark here

"Do you want to say goodbye to this world while you still can?"Bookmark here

"…Bookmark here

When I am by myself," I smiled politely and slid the window shut.Bookmark here

I felt that the vehicle started to move but then I was able to get used to the micro movements. After settling down, I first checked if there is something I can wear for a change of clothes, which there is.Bookmark here

The curiosity also got the better of me and so I checked the bed and pressed down my hand on it which immediately sank due to its softness that retracts back as if nothing happened. But I tried not to act spoiled and went to the bathroom to take a warm, quiet, and comfortable bath that I have not experienced in a while. Day and night, I have always worried of my surroundings. I always checked if I am being tracked, I have always avoided cameras, and even people I think that are suspicious. But unconsciously, I let go of those concerns after sinking on the hot bath.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

I have expected that the clothes provided here were minutely baggy for me, after all. But even so, it felt like forever when I felt so cozy. Even the room is air conditioned and is adequately furnished. The fridge also had beverages and ready-made food that only requires heating up.Bookmark here

But even before I act hysterically on the spectacle I am in, I slowly and silently approached the neatly prepared bed and disturbed its tranquility as I leaped straight down and sank on it.Bookmark here

"Waaaahhh… This feels like I am on a cloud…"Bookmark here

Five minutes after and before I even doze off, I decided to fill my rumbling stomach with the food in the fridge that I then placed on a microwave. What do you know, I was expecting a cheaply made meal, but what I got was a very delicious and nutritionally balanced meal.Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Then I stumbled upon a bookshelf containing books that exudes of leisure and entertainment. But there was one book that totally piqued my interest.Bookmark here

"…!"Bookmark here

I thought that books only contained words, but this book is different. Along with the words that convey a story, there were also precisely drawn images that describe the story.Bookmark here

"M-M-Mr. Vecker, what kind of book is this?!"Bookmark here

"Oh… that's what you would call a manga. If you're confused, you are supposed to read the boxes from right to left. And it seems you can read English?"Bookmark here

"E-Engleeks…? What is that… this is Evian language."Bookmark here

"Hmm, whatever. But I like reading that kind of books. I hope you enjoy them too."Bookmark here

Surprisingly, it was as though what Mr. Vecker said was starting to align itself. I realized that the book that I was holding was not the first volume, and so to respect the literature, I took my time to find the first volume. I may have hated being a princess, but I did not dislike my time reading a lot books in that time.Bookmark here

I decided to only read the very first chapter of this book called a "manga," but the words of Mr. Vecker immediately resembled the narrative of the book.Bookmark here

The protagonist was a teenage student that seems to be having a regular life, but in unfortunate chances, he was hit by a truck and immediately died. But he found himself waking up in an unknown field of lush grass, still remembering the tragedy he experienced. He realized that he developed some kind of a power that is akin to my Force and Ability. It appeared that he was transported in some kind of a fantasy world that disrupts all conventions of his old world. Be that as it may, he accepted the fact the he has no way to return to his original world and accepted his new life.Bookmark here

In many ways… it was definitely identical to what they said and what I imagined upon being told of that thought.Bookmark here

It was finally sinking in. I chose this path where I will not be able to see my family or even my original world anymore. Because of my selfishness, I am now apparently being transported to another world to start a new life that is different to my old one. If there is even a time for me to grieve and regret, I also ought to think about how I will accept this very tall thought.Bookmark here

Slowly… very slowly, the credibility of the events in the earlier moments is now converging to reality. I knew that I was extremely tired, but something was forcefully making me close my eyes and lose my consciousness to a slumber.Bookmark here

"…At some point, you will fall asleep as it is intended to be, but it looks like you are already very tired so have that opportunity to rest."Bookmark here

If I can recall… there were still five more hours remaining.Bookmark here

▪ ▪ ▪Bookmark here

By the time I came to, I heard a continuous knocking from the outside of the van.Bookmark here

"Uhhh…"Bookmark here

"Finally awake, Ms. Vanta? We have arrived, although you overslept for half an hour," Mr. Vecker's voice resonated from outside.Bookmark here

"I-I'm sorry… Please let me freshen up first…"Bookmark here

"Take your time, then~Bookmark here

By the way, we're here in our exact destination so this is where I will drop and see you off."Bookmark here

"Understood…"Bookmark here

My eyes were still very dry and so was my throat. My limbs have not yet shifted from its listlessness as they still want to go back to that soft bed. But nevertheless, I went to a sink to wash my face…Bookmark here

And I even thought that I saw a ghost in front of the mirror.Bookmark here

I was so startled that I fell on my backside upon seeing a woman with the same face as mine but with the combination of blue hair and dark gray eyes.Bookmark here

I do not remember removing the black dye from my hair as I was sure that all I did for the remainder of the travel was sleep. But here it was, my appearance returned back to normal, and so I opened the door of the cargo van and saw a morning scene.Bookmark here

I stepped outside to a place where the sun has only rose for three hours. The road was adequately wide compared to the ones in Nacht; and it was also very quiet. There were no towering buildings, only residential houses and buildings only going up to five floors. I figured, the building in front of me looked similar in a sense to where I was living at. The concept of apartment buildings also exist here, and very similarly at that.Bookmark here

"Uh, well… with all the commotion that happened, you really don't have any belongings with you so you can take the clothes you saw inside the van.Bookmark here

Aside from that, may I know the name of your old world and your former location?"Bookmark here

"It's Hogenhaft… and I live in Nacht City. Our country is called Inchiostro."Bookmark here

"I see…Bookmark here

Then Ms. Vanta… I welcome you to my world where reside in.Bookmark here

Welcome to this world called 'Earth.'"Bookmark here

"Earth… you mean like the Evian word?"Bookmark here

"Yeah, I guess, if that's how you want to roll.Bookmark here

This country is called Orio, and this is considered as an Eastern country. Currently, we are in a province called Hitoretsu which is the very North of the country. A few kilometers from here, and you will see the beach which is literally the very end of Orio's shore.Bookmark here

We are currently speaking English, and please refrain from calling it Evian from now on. But rest assured, our mother tongue is very easy to understand. In a few months, you will be able to master it. Anyway, there is actually a person waiting for you in your new living space.Bookmark here

And speaking of your house, this may look like an apartment building but the rooms are actually for sale. We took the liberty and purchased the room for you so you wouldn't worry about rent. I'll help you bring out the clothes so please let me accompany you. Your place is in Room 405."Bookmark here

"Please lead the way."Bookmark here

I feel extremely conflicted. From the outside, this world looks almost like Hogenhaft. The way the houses are designed—their architecture and the engineering are very much same. It feels strange that it appears like this is still my world, but I don't recall any place like this. And the ambiance, the surroundings, and the mood is different. Even the temperature and the humidity puts me slightly off.Bookmark here

But putting that aside, we reached the fourth floor of the building and the door with "405" on it. Mr. Vecker rang the doorbell and a man immediately opened the door.Bookmark here

"Mr. Vecker! Congratulations on a safe trip!"Bookmark here

"Yeah, thanks for the great work too. Anyway, this here is our client, Althea Vanta."Bookmark here

"Ah, then I'm Kyo Uchizawa. I know you came from a tiring trip so please come in immediately. It is quite hot outside."Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Once again, I am stunned. The entire room was exactly how I would describe interiors in my former world. But granted, this place is entirely bigger than the apartment room I was living at. This is a house already. It is completely furnished in the living room, complete with appliances in the kitchen, and there are separate rooms. Truly, this is basically a house on its own.Bookmark here

Only a literal minute of being sat on one of the couches in the living room and Mr. Uchizawa immediately served a hot drink from a fancy-looking cup. But soon enough, I realized that he has a very dark brown hair and dark, lime-like eyes.Bookmark here

"Alright, that's all of your things. My work's done now that you two have met. Kyo will tell you the things you don't know so don't hesitate to ask away.Bookmark here

Well then, cheers."Bookmark here

"Good work today, Mr. Vecker."Bookmark here

"I'll leave the rest to you!"Bookmark here

Bookmark here

"Is it fine to just let him leave like that…?"Bookmark here

"It is. He does his own things at his pace after all. But he's probably tired too."Bookmark here

"I guess…"Bookmark here

"Well… is there tea in your world?"Bookmark here

"That's the first time I'm hearing that."Bookmark here

"I hope that you would try it. I'm quite confident with how I make them."Bookmark here

Upon raising the cup to my face, a very fragrant and soothing smell immediately wafted on my nose. Then I took upon his offer and took a sip.Bookmark here

It was beyond great, and my astonishment showed on my face.Bookmark here

"I'm glad that you liked it."Bookmark here

Right after that, he explained some things to me regarding this world and the transition I had to go through without going away from his polite tone. He revealed that he is the housekeeper that is now tending to the recently purchased room and spruced up the place. But then as he hesitated to mention something, he suddenly felt down or somewhat anxious.Bookmark here

"I-I'm sorry about announcing this so suddenly and it seems that Mr. Vecker didn't tell you…Bookmark here

But as part of taking care of this house, I am also living here…"Bookmark here

My eyes widened in great surprise, needless to say. I don't know about this world’s concept of etiquette and morals, but it seems that my answer was already showing on his face. I questioned it strongly in my mind; to be honest, I can't imagine myself living with a man that is probably the same age as me under a roof. But upon further reflection, I do not have all the rights to complain while I still have some. I am not familiar in this world, Other granted my wish and even accommodated me. And there is also this man who set up the whole place on his own to look very homely.Bookmark here

And thus I started.Bookmark here

"I… I am honestly concerned about this… but I'm not really in a position to answer vigorously. All of you made the trouble to consider my selfish request, so if anything… I am the one who really should be thankful that I am here with a place to settle in…"Bookmark here

"I understand…Bookmark here

Then I would like you to wait while I make you something to eat."Bookmark here

"N-N-N-No! You don't have to! I can cook my own meals so you really don't have to mind me."Bookmark here

"Umm…" he looked genuinely confused, "but isn't it the housekeeper's duty to do this…?"Bookmark here

Somehow, he sounded like an idiot there.Bookmark here

"But even so, I would feel really bad if you are the only one doing the work."Bookmark here

"I understand that, b-but…"Bookmark here

"You may have been told but I was a sheltered princess until I escaped several months ago. Because I had no choice to live by myself, I finally learned the essentials without the help of a servant or a maid. So in reality, I actually find doing chores fun."Bookmark here

After listening, his shoulders suddenly drooped down and he took a deep breath.Bookmark here

"Are you going to be fine without an apron?"Bookmark here

"And now he just gave up and accepted it?!"Bookmark here

Bookmark here

There was suddenly a boiling feeling in my chest and my face warmed up so much after hearing the words "it's great" in complete exclamation and delight.Bookmark here

All those months of hiding, it felt like I was a lost animal in an unknown place. I was all alone, eating the food I make without anyone in front or beside me on a table. I would be lying if I said that I did not want my father and mother to taste my own cooking, but now it felt so much more different… as I have resolved to never return there.Bookmark here

But in the midst of that, this man showed me the expression that I would want my parents to have. Without almost realizing it, it felt like I suddenly saw them.Bookmark here

"Ms. Vanta? You suddenly stopped eating."Bookmark here

"Ah! S-Sorry…!"Bookmark here

Afterwards, Mr. Uchizawa prompted to discuss some more important matters.Bookmark here

"Firstly it is about your name. Do you wish to continue using your current name here?"Bookmark here

"…To be honest… I really like this name but I think I should use it less in this country."Bookmark here

"But frankly, it's a very fitting name in this country, and it's beautiful."Bookmark here

It made me happy so suddenly that the name I thought up for myself was praised.Bookmark here

"That being said, it is my name that sounds quite foreign here. That may be contradicted by the fact that 60% of the population has a name that came entirely from a neighboring country, but it is not of this country's origin."Bookmark here

"Still, I would want to have a new name here. And while we're at it, can we please drop the formal speech and call each other on our names? If we are going to be residing here and all, it would feel weird for me."Bookmark here

"Is that so… I'll keep that in mind."Bookmark here

"Thank you.Bookmark here

But even if you said all that… I don't really know what name could work. Can you think of something for me?"Bookmark here

"That will be difficult…"Bookmark here

For a moment, he sat silently with a serious look on his face, and then suddenly looked at me briefly.Bookmark here

"Blue…Bookmark here

Sora… Sora Ao… Ao… Aoba…? Ao… Aobana…?Bookmark here

Sora… Aobana…?"Bookmark here

I was confused, the name did not make sense at all… but somehow I did not hate it.Bookmark here

"Then I guess that will be my name from now on…Bookmark here

Kyo?"Bookmark here

"Mhm, yes. It is nice to meet you, Sora.Bookmark here

…"Bookmark here

It was going well and all but suddenly his troubled expression returned.Bookmark here

"Actually… should I call you Althea instead of Sora? You said you liked it so I suppose it wouldn't hurt to at least remember it."Bookmark here

"Really…?! Thank you, thank you!! I'm so proud and I really loved that name so please do so…!"Bookmark here

Before even knowing it, I found myself acting very strung up and embarrassed myself.Bookmark here

"I'm sorry…"Bookmark here

"Not at all. You seem to be nervous for the most part so it's nice that you are getting used here.Bookmark here

Also, since we're on the topic, the agency actually got your bank account from your world converted to the banks here, but I very much apologize on behalf of the agency for not telling something so important. They indeed had access to your account but now it doesn't exist in your former world," then he pulled out his phone, "Currently, it is in the process of being processed for transfer. All that is needed is your information and how you will personalize… your…"Bookmark here

All of a sudden, he stopped and put his phone right on his face.Bookmark here

"I'm sorry again for looking at your account, but what was your job before coming here…?"Bookmark here

"That? I don't know if it is known here, but I work as some kind of a programmer."Bookmark here

"You mean… coding, algorithms, and such…?"Bookmark here

"Yes."Bookmark here

"Can you actually earn six million Laxes in just a few months…?"Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

It seems that sorting out a bank account was harder here than in my home world, or it is probably because I apparently had "a lot" of money that needs to be processed on their system all in one go. I however know that my wage is above average… but I didn't know that it would be such a large cost here.Bookmark here

After a withdrawal of a sum, Kyo suggested to accompany me on getting some essential things as I literally came to this world emptyhanded. So we went to a mall to get me some clothes and the like.Bookmark here

And apparently, Kyo has a friend that works on a clothing store and recognized him.Bookmark here

"It's been a month!" the man exclaimed on a language I do not understand.Bookmark here

"Yeah, it is."Bookmark here

"Are you still doing part time work-Bookmark here

Found yourself a girlfriend, I guess?"Bookmark here

"Ah, no, no. She's an old friend that came from London."Bookmark here

"London, huuuhhh. Can she speak our language?"Bookmark here

"She can only speak English, but she plans to learn the language."Bookmark here

"I see, then if she's buying clothes, want me to recommend something for her?"Bookmark here

"Sure. Your suggestions are always on point anyways."Bookmark here

"Glad to hear that!"Bookmark here

Clothes acquired. And to no surprise, they are once again similar to the ones in my old world. Truly, these two worlds are very same, yet still very different.Bookmark here

"Say… in this world, are there people with hair in various colors?" I asked promptly as my curiosity only kicked in after getting home.Bookmark here

"Yes, it's common to have hair that has a striking color, but they still come from genes. What's very rare to find people that have white or gray hair upon birth.Bookmark here

If you still have questions, I will gladly answer them."Bookmark here

It felt like I was troubling him a lot at this point, but I still have more questions than answers, and one there was one thing that I missed to ask.Bookmark here

"Actually, what is the calendar system here?"Bookmark here

"Umm… I don't really know the specific… but a year here encompasses 12 months from January to December."Bookmark here

"So it's also the same… May I know what the date is today?"Bookmark here

"It is March 29 today. Ah, we are in year 2019."Bookmark here

"2019?! We were like in year 1026 in my old world…!"Bookmark here

"O-Oh…? That even sounds more surprising since you already have a modern technology in a thousand years…"Bookmark here

He once again stared at the calendar and suddenly flinched.Bookmark here

"I haven't shown your room to you, haven't I?!"Bookmark here

"A-Ah, that's right."Bookmark here

It may have been because there is a calendar hanged on the wall in between two doors that made him realize that, and therefore I assumed that those two rooms are our rooms.Bookmark here

My former apartment was basically one room only where the kitchen and bedroom are in one place. It was really a small place, but it was reasonable if I am one that actually did not know anyone outside of the royal capital. Even though this room—although only the bedroom—is a little smaller than that place, it still somehow reminds me of it.Bookmark here

There is only one window and the bed itself is right next to it and a closet beside, while there is an empty desk and a swivel chair for me to use.Bookmark here

"Kyo? How much does it actually cost to buy a computer here?"Bookmark here

"I don't really know an exact price, but the computer itself, not yet including the peripherals, will cost around 30 to 50 thousand Laxes considering your work."Bookmark here

"Understood."Bookmark here

"Also, we still don't know if your current phone will be supported here so I would suggest you to also buy a new one. If you want, I will accompany you again to familiarize yourself in the town."Bookmark here

"Is it okay if we go out again?"Bookmark here

"No, no, I should be asking you that, Ms.- I mean, Althea. It will be summer in the next month but it is already quite hot today. Are you going to be okay?"Bookmark here

"Well, the mall you went with me is quite close to here, so if we're going back there, I wouldn't mind. I don't easily give in to the heat."Bookmark here

"If that is the case… then we should be off."Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

A late lunch, a new phone that blew my mind, a new SIM card, and computer parts that I personally chose to build later, we finally concluded the shopping. I don't really know the currency conversion, but in my mind, it sounded like the computer I got which is considerably more powerful on paper than the one I left is actually extremely cheap. But if I was to say that, then I would definitely have embarrassed myself.Bookmark here

"I guess it's a Friday today, huh… So today's the last day for school."Bookmark here

What caught Kyo's attention was young people that seems to look like students seeing that they are wearing what I think is a school uniform."Bookmark here

"Are they… high school students?"Bookmark here

"They are from a nearby school that is around the town."Bookmark here

"High school, huh…"Bookmark here

Now that I saw and realized it, it seems that in this world, my appearance is rather young for my age. It looks like I am only a year or two older than them assuming that they are 16 to 18. In the end, I am still technically older than four years…Bookmark here

But if possible…Bookmark here

Bookmark here

"Do you want to explore the beach, Althea?"Bookmark here

"R-Really?! We can?!"Bookmark here

"Yes, yes. The afternoon isn't as young anymore but the breeze on the beach isn't as warm."Bookmark here

"Uwaaahhhh…!! This is actually going to be my first time on a beach and the sea! I hated only seeing them in books so this feels like a dream come true!"Bookmark here

"It seems you had it rough."Bookmark here

It was truly my first time seeing the sea. Standing barefoot with rolled up jeans, I stared on a horizon that I have never seen before. Right now, it suddenly feels like the world is vast unlike seeing the world inside a cage. It felt so amazing that beyond the vanishing point I could not see any land and only the peaceful waves of the ocean. I was already overjoyed to be able to see one of the places I wished I could have come to, but there was also the fact that right now, I am standing at the very end of this country.Bookmark here

As I walked forwards to the water, it immediately felt like I am really just a speck on this big world.Bookmark here

"This world is amazing…"Bookmark here

"KYAAAHHH…!!"Bookmark here

A shout instinctively made me turn my head around once the sound entered my ears, and what came about was the falling of scaffoldings from a building. However, there were two girls that has the same school uniform as the one we saw before.Bookmark here

So much has happened on a great deal of hours that I almost forgot what I have become from the final months in my old world.Bookmark here

I immediately reacted to it and ran at full speed but I was taken aback to see Kyo on equal pace while he might not realize.Bookmark here

Thankfully, we were able to get the girls away from the danger. For some moments, they lost the strength on their body after being put to so much stress, but then they left with immense gratitude to Kyo.Bookmark here

But while they were expressing their thanks, he stared at me confusedly while I only stood literally beside him, still catching my breath.Bookmark here

The one last thing I would what in a new world is for me to stand out. Hence, I activated my Stealth Ability.Bookmark here

I have already accepted that my Force may soon disappear permanently in a new environment, but it seems that it is still being replenished naturally, just like back in Hogenhaft.Bookmark here

Be that as it may, I still decided to keep my Abilities to myself, even though I have indirectly revealed myself to have immense mobility to Kyo.Bookmark here

~ ~ ~Bookmark here

Once again, we were back home.Bookmark here

Kyo immediately contacted the technical store to have my parts delivered at our doorstep, as even the two of us would not be able to bring them all at once. Thus, we had them delivered from one box which immediately came seeing as we are very close to the mall.Bookmark here

Full of excitement, I immediately got them unboxed, wore an insulated footwear, held a metal doorknob for some moments, and asked Kyo for a screwdriver.Bookmark here

"Ahahaha…" out of the blue, he chuckled.Bookmark here

"Hmm?"Bookmark here

"I'm sorry, I just thought that you're amazing to know these kind of things even when you haven't been here for a day. It seems that you are knowledgeable about tools."Bookmark here

"I only put up with the princess thing for so long, but in reality, I don't really act very feminine. I like moving around rather than just sitting on a desk idly with work I really don't like to do.Bookmark here

How about you?"Bookmark here

"It depends. On cold days, I just want to laze around and have something warm, but naturally, I have been a very agile person."Bookmark here

Once more, our conversation abruptly ended with only the sound of the hardware snapping into places. But instead of having another awkward time, it prompted me to start a new topic.Bookmark here

"Are you… Are you actually working for Other, Kyo?"Bookmark here

"That… It's not that I am officially employed, but I do work with them, just like right now. My duty is to accompany you while you still are not familiar with this world. I basically act as an intermediary between you and the agency with processes that needs to be done."Bookmark here

"Then if possible…"Bookmark here

"…?"Bookmark here

"If it is possible…Bookmark here

I want to go to a high school… as I have never experienced it even once."Bookmark here

I had to repeat to myself again that I have ultimately left my origin world. I arrived in this new world in search of a new life where I am not a princess or a person of authority, but only as an ordinary person.Bookmark here

There were so many things that I did not experience. The royal lineage is only a minority of the population. I wanted to experience what normal child had, but it is too late for that. At least, however, the thought of me coming to school even for a single year seems feasible on my mind.Bookmark here

I have relinquished the name Auimina Azure. I still clung desperately to the name Althea Vanta. But now my name is Sora Aobana.Bookmark here

Dear world… please replace these regrets of mine with happiness and memories.


Chapter Message:Bookmark here

That concludes the oneshot of Level Zero!Bookmark here

First of all, I would like to apologize for the great delay. This was supposed to be published last week, but, yeah, typhoon.Bookmark here

This is the first time I am writing an isekai and fantasy story; and well, I might have failed a few notches, seeing that the feeling of slice of life is still very much apparent. But hey, isekai has trucks!Bookmark here

As some might have noticed, the country named Orio is present, which was the setting in my just recently ended story "Normal in Parenthesis." But this story is not canon to that. If anything, this actually has a hint of minor spoilers because some ideas here came from NoFutsuu's sequel!Bookmark here

And speaking of that, Normal in Parenthesis's follow-up will still be released, and in Wednesday to make up for the delays.Bookmark here

As for this oneshot, I am still very unsure if I will make this a continuing story but my brain is telling me its potential!Bookmark here

Thank you very much for reading Level Zero!Bookmark here

Level Zero


AkaGin
badge-small-bronze
Author:
Bookmarked
You can resume reading from this paragraph.