Chapter 1:

Welcome to the New-student. Haruka. Konspiracy.

This is how I end


Every desk at the School Newspaper rattled in place as the door slammed open. Club members, in equal amounts shock over the noise and exasperation at a cry heard all too often, scrambled to repel the intruder.

“Not again!” the Photographer, losing her grip on a camera mid cleaning, dove into his path.

“How many times do we have to tell you? We’re not going to publish your crackpot nonsense! You’re not even a member of the Journalism Club, so please…”

Her final words forced aside along with her body, “...just leeeave~”

“It’s no use, you can’t reason with him. He still doesn’t even get it that we don’t have a printing press. We’ve only ever used the photocopier in the Teacher’s Lounge, and yet…” the Sports Reporter waved his hands in futility, not even bothering to move from his chair.

Undeterred by the protestations of mainstream journalistic hacks, the raving interloper stormed the Editor’s desk.

“You’ll put me in print again, or you’ll have hell to pay! Literally!”

Almost a dozen eyes rolled simultaneously.

Having righted herself, the Photographer barked from where she had been splayed, “Prez, I told you not to. I said he’d keep coming back. It was like, one time, and it was a joke!”

Sighs and snickers erupted from the older students who had been present the year before when they dared print a piece by this madman. They’d all assumed he was a satirist, trying to make a go of parody news, with an article about the school system utilising mind control techniques developed by the military industrial complex.

It seemed like harmless fun at first - that particular edition did numbers - but week after week he came back.

More and more convoluted and deranged treatises on doping cafeteria food with chemicals to make students susceptible to suggestion, the uniformity of uniforms as a physical manifestation of the uniform mind some shadowy organisation is trying to instil in the youth, and even gossip rag rubbish about cryptids in the downtown area.


The Editor didn’t even look up from the pile of drafts in front of him.

A blanket silence covered every desk. Club members held their breaths as one.

“…get the hell out of my Newsroom.”

The tension in the air thickened like ice in the veins of all those present.

Did he really think that would work? Wait til I show him!

“I said…” the Editor only slightly raised his head, as Kaito whipped off his backpack, tore open the secret compartment, and shoved a manuscript right in his face “…geffouff~”


A collective gasp escaped the lips of the entire School Newspaper.

The Editor’s face reddened with fury as he readjusted his glasses, eyes drawn to the cover involuntarily.

“‘Welcome to the…’ Can you stop plagiarising at least?!.”

Like scandals off a greasy politician’s back, the criticism left Kaito unscathed.

“It’s the ‘New-student. Haruka. Konspiracy.’, actually… no copyright infringement there at all.”

Triumph mixed with Impatience getting the better of him - the need for his genius to be recognised, rising - a touch of pleading entered Kaito’s voice.

“Just read it?”

A sigh of resignation gave him hope…


Yet half a paragraph was all it took for the Editor to pull the plug on the story of the century, “We’ve already done a piece on her,” and with that, he tossed the draft back across the table.

With so few words, Kaito’s spirit was crushed. The fire went out of his fury.

“We interviewed her via email after the transfer was confirmed. Everyone already knows about her.”

Kaito’s heart soared again, tentatively, “So you don’t know?!.”

They haven’t seen her yet…

A smirk, then a grin.

His howling laughter - like that of a loon - filled the room.

The Journalism Club became a chorus of whispers at Kaito’s display.

Rubbing the bridge of his nose in mounting irritation, the Editor finally took the bait, “What are you talki-”



After being laughed out of the School Newspaper for the ten-, no, twelfth time that month alone, Kaito was as enraged as if it were the first.

How can they not see?

He paced the halls back to class, the looming end of lunch bell quickening his pace.

Why don’t they understand?

Deep in thought, he barely swerved in time to slip past a hall monitor.

“No runni-”

He would have gestured rudely had he been paying attention, but Kaito was already rounding the next corner, never breaking step from his forced march. His mind recalled every moment of registration that morning.

Every detail in horrifying clarity.

She looks like some eldritch abomination, and the way she talks… I can’t be wron-


“Watch where you’re goi-”

He nearly shrieked as his eyes focused through the thick lenses of his glasses, the tip of a horn scraping against them.

“Y-you?! Stay back! How did you find me?”

Barbed tail ablur in hellish fury; fangs unsheathed as if to…

She means to kill me!

Kaito’s mind ran wild, over alert at the danger before him. He received hate mail in his locker and mean comments online semi-regularly, but only rarely did it escalate to violence. This felt like one of those moments, pure animalistic fear.

I know too much and she intends to silence the truth before it’s shared!

The crooked lips of his adversary quivered for a moment before bursting into a mocking sneer.


A clawed hand darted to her chin, only slightly covering the gaping maw of jagged teeth within. Her sardonic guffaw swiftly warping into words of warning.

“Soo… it is you that dares assail me! Er… Kaidan?! My nemesis! I, who have witnessed the death and rebirth…”

Nemesis? She has already singled me out as the greatest risk to her insidious plans. I must get away... I have to get out of here!

Her monologue continued like white noise as Kaito’s brain anxiously scraped the walls of his skull to find an opening for escape.

“…never encountered a worthy foe, but yet…”

A cold sweat formed on his back, threatening to tumble down his spine.

“…now is the season of our discontent, the cruellest month, hence you dare to…“

His brain finally slotting into gear.

If she’s a demon, then…

“What’s that, an Exorcist come to cast you back into hell?!.”

As her attention snapped in the direction of his outstretched hand, Kaito took off at a sprint. His dash almost knocking the girl to the floor a second time. Her cry at his heels - a haunting banshee scream - heralding his demise.


The sound of her chase, never gaining nor receding, only stoked the terror and assurance of his spiralling thoughts.

A death card! A curse! A mark on my very soul! I must find her weakness, uncover her plans, prove to the world her evil and vile truth… for justice, for reason, for the sake of my own skin! Ah, the bathroom, she can’t follow me in there!



The lunch bell chimed and declared an end to freedom, a return to the brainwashing of lessons, and…

“The bell tolls for me…”

Kaito slumped back to class with a sigh, after hiding in the bathroom for the remainder of break. He had half expected his pursuer to still be waiting for him, but her baying at the door had ceased some minutes prior.

“OK! Sit down everyone! We’ll do an afternoon roll call then it’s straight onto biology. We have dissections today, so no dawdling.” the Teacher dictated as the class brayed in their usual inane fashion.

Dissections… DISSECTIONS?!.

Looking up just in time, Kaito caught the glint of a razor sharp canine and the fiery glare of Haruka, as her silhouette flickered back to the front of class. The beat of her tiny bat-like wings and swish of her thin forked tail betrayed the delight she obviously felt at the Teacher’s announcement.


“Yeah~” a middlingly popular Gyaru replied.

She’s going to kill me.


“Yo!” and with a giggle from his groupies, the Tryhard went back to chatting.

Everything in the biology lab could be used as a weapon.


“Harbinger of the end times… Present!” another look, shot furtively over her shoulder. Hair wisping back and forth like spider silk plucked by an ominous breeze.

How do I get out of this?


A mild snore from the corner of the room.

“Ishi!” the Teacher’s raised voice eliciting a mildly startled grunt from that awkward Gamer kid, followed by a sheepish “”

I need an excuse, and fast!

“Junko? No, she’s off sick today…”

Think, damnit, think!


Launching to his feet. Eyes and fists held tight in grim determination. Desperate to shut out the expected reaction.

“I- I have to go to the bathroom!”

A ripple of laughter from the boys and groans of disgust from the girls.

Embarrassment is temporary, my safety is paramou-

“No you don’t, vile spinner of lies!”

His eyes returned mechanically to the same spot they had been intractable from since first period. Haruka’s piercing black gaze swallowed his own in turn. Slightly tinged with scarlet, like the sorrowful event horizons of dying stars.

“You went during lunch…” a spiteful smile distorting her features, unmasking the true devil within.

There is no escape.

Kaito, his lie called out and soul having already left his body, collapsed back into his seat, as if lowered in a coffin to the earth. Bitter emotions bubbling under the surface of his skin, he blushed with self-consciousness.

Public humiliation, huh? What other tricks does she have in store for me? What horrors must I face in my quest fo-

“Class dismissed!”

At the Teacher’s order, the room emptied with machine-like efficiency, the scrape of chairs and taunting comments at Kaito’s outburst, the only energy loss in the equation.


“What a loser!”

“Was it the chemicals in the water?”

The herd filed out, filling the air with coughs and bleating. The usual insipid prattle about after school clubs, or wasting time with friends, drowning out all else.

“Please stop…”

Kaito’s ears pricked up.

He checked his lips to ensure they were still glued shut. His teeth aching under the strain of being clenched so long. It wasn’t him who’d spoken.

Who said tha-

The tip of a tail trailing limply through the doorway.

Is she invading my mind?!.

Rising like a phoenix from the ashes, Kaito stood, almost flipping his desk and chair over in the process.

“The quest for truth never stops!”

A declaration to no one. His determination bolstered. Grim fixation empowering his steps. As he crept from the room, the doorway creaked ominously, rust impinging the smooth motion on its rails. Kaito paid it no mind, his thoughts laser focused on his life’s now sole purpose.

“Haruka, I will expose you, even if it’s the last thing I ever do!”