Chapter 5:

The Legend Retold

Densetsu: A Beautiful Day

The blazing sun coated him with warmth. Hordes of trees waved their arms, full of life and energy. He arose from the dirt, finding himself returning to the other world. Bookmark here

Surrounded by trees, he noticed the brushes moving. The horrors slowly returned. Kotaro saw their silhouettes.Bookmark here

The new student had been lying next to him. Her soft hands were warm, and Kotaro felt a sense of comfort around her despite she was only a mere stranger. One of the brushes shook violently. Bookmark here

Seconds later, a small green child appeared. And it leaped forward. Bookmark here

“Stay away!” Kotaro cried. Bookmark here

It was so sudden. He felt a strong jerk from his hand. Noel had awakened, her fist flew straight into the child’s jaw. “You won’t be hurt as long as I am here!”Bookmark here

The young analyzed the creature’s appearance. Green skin and pointy ears, nimble and nearly the size of a child, Kotaro collected all details of the monster. Its appearance looked nearly identical to those figurines he owned back home. Bookmark here

Noel arose, and she lent him a hand. He accepted it. Bookmark here

“Shouldn’t we get moving?” Kotaro suggested. “Goblins come in groups, don’t they? And it’s just the two of us!”Bookmark here

“You’re very knowledgeable of these creatures!” Noel commented. “But it’s not a problem if I take care of every one of them like this!”Bookmark here

A strong breeze of wind passed by. Leaves aborted their homes, and Kotaro saw more silhouettes appearing from the dark forest. “I call upon thy name. Hear my call as I require thy assistance! Arcus Demiror: Yoichi, appear!”Bookmark here

A beam of light struck from above, and Kotaro saw a turquoise bow wielded by Noel. The bow’s string emitted in a green light, and thin arrows filled with light materialized into her hand. Bookmark here

She readied her arrows in an archery position. The first arrow was fired, revealing several goblins hiding behind the tree. Bookmark here

The ground, the skies, and the trees vanished and transformed into a space of unfamiliarity. Hordes of the green children lost their hiding areas when trapped within this unknown world. Bookmark here

“What’s going on? Did we get transported?”Bookmark here

“It’s called a Spatial Dimension Field,” she fired her arrow which impaled one of the children-sized creature. “Attack Skill: Shining Light!” Bookmark here

A third arrow. A goblin struck by this arrow started glowing in an azure hue. Reaching to its brightest color, the arrow and the goblin exploded—the explosion spread among the nearby goblins too.Bookmark here

He watched them scream high-pitched, fleeing the open battlefield. Except the problem was that this odd world had walls, completely symmetrical from each corner with zero lifeforms residing in it other than those who were trapped. Bookmark here

The unharmed goblins, malicious with audacity, charged toward the two with their small weapons. Bookmark here

“Attack Skill: Bullet Style: Bullet Dance!” Within seconds, she fired apace. One by one, her arrows were ready to be fired, and Noel released each projectile with zero delays. Her precision left the two untouched by the charging goblins. Bookmark here

Then, the world returned normal. Bookmark here

“Now, you might have some questions. I’ll try to answer them as best as I can.”Bookmark here

She was right. So many questions bubbled his head. Noel was incredible. Her archery skills were inhuman, capable of releasing arrows after arrows without any drawbacks. And, her arrows easily replenished—they were limitless.Bookmark here

“What are you?”Bookmark here

“I’m a full-fledged esper. What I used was called Skills.”Bookmark here

“Skills?”Bookmark here

“Skills are the magical arts practiced thousands of years ago in Densetsu. One must concentrate their reiki energy with their mind and lead the energy with their heart to which transforms into Skill. Once a person is able to master Skills, they can become espers.”Bookmark here

Every word out of her mouth sounded like quotes straight from a comic book. The way she fought those creatures by herself, she was like a vigilante. “There’s energy involved?”Bookmark here

“Reiki energy, the life force that lives inside all of us. It isn’t exclusive to lifeforms—it resides within inanimate objects too.” Bookmark here

She demonstrated the visible essence of the aforementioned energy. A shapeless and azure orb manifested above her hand before vanishing into thin air. Bookmark here

“You mentioned the Spatial Dimension Field. What’s that about?” Kotaro asked. Bookmark here

“It’s simple. An empty space where one could throw even the most deadliest attack. Essentially, a playground. After all, that’s what every esper must obey within the Skill Rules.”Bookmark here

“Skill Rules?” He raised a brow. Bookmark here

“A set of rules that is created for espers in order to prevent the destruction of the world,” Noel explained. “Espers like the Kamiyama Shrine Maiden have the power capable of destroying both Densetsu and the Outside World, so the Skill Rules exist to suppress that power.”Bookmark here

“Riku can do that?!”Bookmark here

“Her powers are immeasurable. Every one of the Kamiyama Shrine Maidens were revered as saints ascended from the Heaven. Thus, the Skill Rules was created in order to create a balance.”Bookmark here

“Do you think I can do that too?” Kotaro replied. Bookmark here

“If you train hard enough, you’ll be able to do the same as me,” she said. “Now come, my master is waiting.”Bookmark here

He remembered…she only fulfilled a part of her mission. And her next objective was bringing him to this person she referred to as “master”. The two wandered through the dark forest. Bookmark here

Noel warned Kotaro to stay alert for any sudden movement. Monsters thrived in the forest. It was convenient and deadly. Bookmark here

“Hey, Noel?”Bookmark here

“What is it?”Bookmark here

“That portal,” he mentioned, “how did you create it?”Bookmark here

“I had this. My master gave it to me,” she showed him a tiny device.Bookmark here

“It replicates my master’s abilities. After that, it’s practically useless.”Bookmark here

She threw the device away.Bookmark here

“I see, so you tricked me!”Bookmark here

She glanced at him and continued walking. It seemed he would never get the answer. Time acted differently in this world. Bookmark here

If he remembered, the moon remained in his world. Yet, the sun was out here. They walked through the tunnel made by the remains of dead trees. Bookmark here

By the end of it towards the light, Noel stopped her tracks. Her head dropped to the dirt, so did Kotaro. Their eyes spotted a tiny door attached within a particular tree. Noel knelt to its level. Bookmark here

Noel’s master is an elf?Bookmark here

“Master Yuuki, he’s here. The one you told me to bring.”Bookmark here

“He has appeared?” a voice called, coming from the house. Bookmark here

A portal materialized in front of them. From the portal came a young man in a white jacket, standing around the same height as Kotaro. He had long strands of blonde hair, glowing violet eyes, and he carried a pink parasol. Bookmark here

“Kotaro, am I glad to see you again! It’s me, Yuuki Nohara!”Bookmark here

Noel’s eyes widened. Kotaro, on the other hand, stared at him curiously. Bookmark here

He nervously smiled, “Um? Do I know you?”Bookmark here

“You mean you don’t remember me?”Bookmark here

He shook his head. Bookmark here

“Oh, I’m so sad…” Yuuki whimpered. He leaned closer to Kotaro’s ears. “Well, you are going to remember me when you step upon my world.”Bookmark here

He stared at Kotaro with an intense glare, causing Kotaro to raise both his shoulders up to his head. Chuckling, he retreated a few meters from Kotaro. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Yuuki Nohara, one of the Legends who created this world.”Bookmark here

The Legends, he recalled those words spoken from the shrine maiden. “You discovered this world by accident. Like all other outsiders before you, this will be your new home!”Bookmark here

“But, I have school. And my parents will be worried about me if I don’t return!” Kotaro argued. Bookmark here

His quivering only fueled Yuuki’s laughter. The young blonde approached up close which was enough for Kotaro to enter a turtle state. “Oh? You have people who will be worried about you?” and he came even closer to Kotaro’s comfort, causing him to land on his lower back. “Then cry for me!”Bookmark here

Yuuki’s eyes, violet and shiny, reminded him of all the other eyes he’s seen, filled with brute and intimidation. Sometimes, he regretted not standing up for himself. Having these memories coming back to him made him clenched his fists tight.Bookmark here

He picked himself up from the ground, and he confronted his adversary. “I’m not living here whether you like it or not! There are people who will miss me if I’m gone!”Bookmark here

The flames within every breath diminished. Upon realization of his action, Kotaro quickly backed away. “I-I mean, I didn’t mean to sound angry! I was just scared.”Bookmark here

Laughter sparked in the air, and the young blonde pressed upon his stomach. “You’re a funny one, Kotaro! So it looks like I did choose the right one!”Bookmark here

“The right one?”Bookmark here

He shook his head. Bookmark here

“That’s right! I forgot to tell her!” and Yuuki laughed hoarsely. Then he cleared his throat. “There’s a certain plague that’s causing sickness upon this world. Yokai and monsters- alike are attacking on sight. And a factory is the cause of it. However, Densetsu natives like myself cannot enter it due to a powerful barrier. In conclusion, the balance is in the process of falling apart.”Bookmark here

“If you’re one of the creators, aren’t you supposed to fix—” Noel quickly elbowed his waist, and she shook her head. Bookmark here

“It’s a yes and a no. Legends like us have rules we have to follow—although, I often break them because I feel like it. Legends aren’t allowed to participate in human or monster quarrels otherwise it’ll favor one or the other. However, we can turn the tides, but it must be a fair outcome—meaning there are no winners or losers if we’re involved. There is one exception. Because we’re Legends, we keep both worlds in balance. So, let’s say someone has the guts to destroy Densetsu and the Outside World, that’s where the Legends can get involved.”Bookmark here

“Then who does the dirty job?”Bookmark here

“Why, the Kamiyama Shrine Maiden of course! Her main purpose is to protect the balance between human and monster conflict.”Bookmark here

“What about my world? Who keeps it safe?”Bookmark here

“Funny that you ask…nobody…” he replied.Bookmark here

“I don’t understand. Why?”Bookmark here

“It’s simple. Humans in your world move forward and forget about the folklore, myths, and legends. Densetsu exists to keep the traditions alive, thus giving birth to the monsters. If it were to ever be discovered, Densetsu will merely be a world of resource and expansion. Why do you think the wandering portals I create close once an individual enters them?”Bookmark here

His words, all of them became clear. Before he spoke again, he noticed Yuuki’s hand raised. Above, a portal was created, and a tiny orb materialized. It flew straight into the portal. Bookmark here

Instantly, a nearby branch fell from the skies. Kotaro jumped in fear. “There’s no need to hide, shrine maiden.”Bookmark here

The brushes shook briskly, and the red-and-white shrine maiden revealed herself. “I thought we discussed not bringing him along!”Bookmark here

She appeared more aggressive the last time he met her. “You know this would all repeat again, so it’s already pointless. He’s going to lose to her no matter how many times we try to alter it.”Bookmark here

“What makes you think your plan would work? By breaking the Skill Rules? You will become a threat to the entire world despite your intention.”Bookmark here

The shrine maiden angrily smacked one of the trees. It snapped in half. “I can’t do anything if sickness plagues my people!” Bookmark here

“You’re the Kamiyama Shrine Maiden. People have hope because you’re always there for them,” replied Yuuki. Bookmark here

Riku quietly growled. Her brows furrowed in frustration. Bookmark here

“Kotaro, give me your hands!” Bookmark here

He immediately extended his arms to Riku. No questions asked.Bookmark here

Her soft hands warmed his hands, and he felt a sensation running through his arms up to his shoulders, then up to his heart and brain. Kotaro’s heart raced briskly within seconds, feeling the adrenaline coursing through his biceps and his calves. Bookmark here

“What did you do to me?” He freed himself from her grip. Bookmark here

“Did you feel that? That is reiki energy. I gave you a pierce of my powers to you. It’s only temporary, so finish the job before you waste it all!” She strayed her irritated eyes off the young man, now targeting Yuuki. “I hate to admit it, but I can’t do anything if it weren’t for that barrier blocking the entrance. So I’m putting my trust into the outsider once more.”Bookmark here

“Oh, that’s right!” How could I forget? You are going to need a weapon to defend yourself! I know the perfect weapon that’ll do the job,” said Yuuki, stealing a glance at Riku. Bookmark here

The shrine maiden slowly shook her head, but he retaliated with a wink. Bookmark here

Yuuki opened a portal above Kotaro, and a stick fell into his hand. The young man tilted his head in confusion. Bookmark here

Tiny winged creatures chuckled by the puny gift. They were no smaller than a penny, green and haughty. Bookmark here

“Just a moment. Allow me to show what this sword is capable of.”Bookmark here

Kotaro happily gave the stick to him. Bookmark here

“Power Sword!” The stick transformed into a sword. The haughty fairies’ presence disturbed Yuuki greatly, so he slew them with no remorse. “And I believe this is yours.” Bookmark here

He hesitantly accepted the sword as it reverted to its puny form. Bookmark here

“Now, let us go to our main destination!” He snapped his finger, creating portals beneath his peers’ feet. Bookmark here

Kotaro shrieked briefly, almost forgetting about Yuuki’s power. He dropped to a field of bladed grass.Bookmark here

The sky blackened. Animals retreated to the forests, including the large predators. He saw a visible barrier surrounding a building. It looked like a modern factory with blue package containers laying around. Bookmark here

“You see that? That is the Barrier of Makai. Only outsiders like you are able to enter it without harm. There is something that’s creating the smoke, and it’s making everyone sick, so your job is to destroy the source.”Bookmark here

I see, so that’s why Riku can’t do anything, Kotaro thought. Bookmark here

Though, he was curious. Both Riku and Yuuki were arguing like parents in a disagreement. Bookmark here

“So, why doesn’t she want me here? Does she hate me?” Kotaro asked.Bookmark here

“Not at all. It’s more like she cares for your safety,” Yuuki answered. “You can feel it, can’t you? The memories of your past?”Bookmark here

He widened his eyes, turning his attention to Yuuki. “Do you know something about it?”Bookmark here

“I know a lot of things. For starters, you have been here before. But this particular day always repeats itself because of you. Often, the other you have told me about your past—and that your memories are returning.”Bookmark here

“I don’t understand. Why is this day repeating itself?”Bookmark here

“We’re restarting the day to prevent you from dying.”Bookmark here

“I die?” This conversation overwhelmed him. He didn’t want to believe it, but he felt that he should. “How?”Bookmark here

“By a machine known as Project Device Type-0013 Never Ending World or NEW for short. You’re forced to fight her, but when you do, you always die. She seeks the power inside of you, and if she has it, both our worlds are in grave danger.”Bookmark here

“Do you really think I can do this?” Kotaro asked.Bookmark here

“I believe in you,” assured Yuuki.Bookmark here

Expectations pressured him, yet it encouraged him. He walked past the shrine maiden, who stared at him. Completely silent. There was no stopping him. Bookmark here

He proceeded forward to his destination until he approached the violet forcefield. He entered it unharmed. Bookmark here

“Kotaro, you should be careful when you enter the barrier. I can sense several security guards.” Bookmark here

Kotaro turned around. His brows raised as he noticed Noel passed through the barrier unharmed. Bookmark here

“Noel? How did you bypass the barrier?” Bookmark here

She looked at herself, unscathed. Intruders who weren’t from the Outside World would be badly injured, or worse, die. Bookmark here

“Impossible! I’m native to Densetsu. I know I am! I was born here.” Bookmark here

“This doesn’t mean you’re originally from my world?”Bookmark here

“No, it doesn’t! It just means I was able to bypass it unharmed.”Bookmark here

“Hey! What are you two doing here?” Two guards in scarlet helmets were alerted by their argument. “Not even the Kamiyama Shrine Maiden can enter here which means the two of you are outsiders!” Bookmark here

They pointed their ranged weapons at the two. Bookmark here

“I’m not an outsider!” yelled Noel, her brows furrowed. She observed their appearance. Bookmark here

They wore helmets that revealed only their mouths, brown scarves, and large dirty boots; however, it was their fire-symbol emblem that caught her attention. Bookmark here

“You’re Infernians! What are you two doing in Sylvan grounds?” Noel demanded. Bookmark here

“Classified information. Besides—”Bookmark here

“No, they deserve to know. They’re not going to like what’s happening behind their backs,” the guard interrupted, smirking. Bookmark here

Noel squinted her eyes in suspicion. “What are you talking about?”Bookmark here

“Let’s just say, Sylvan Supreme Jones struck a deal with our government. He has agreed to buy Infernian technology in order to improve sylvan land.”Bookmark here

“How is this improving Sylvia? The people of Sylvia are growing sick everyday by the smoke that you are creating!” Noel argued.Bookmark here

“Do you have any proof? From the looks of it, you look perfectly fine,” the guard countered. Bookmark here

“We’re creating the ultimate weapon. The Project Devices. They will defend your people from monsters,” the other guard added. Bookmark here

“Enough! I challenge the both of you in a Skills Battle! You will not continue this project of yours and tarnish my land as you desire!” Noel declared. Bookmark here

Both the guards glanced at each other before turning their attention back to Noel. “You’re going to fight us on your own?” Bookmark here

Kotaro had remained silent this entire time, unaware of what was happening. This appeared to be a bigger conflict he got himself involved in. Bookmark here

“Noel, are you sure you can handle this? Don’t you want any help?”Bookmark here

“I don’t need your help. You will just be dead weight to me.” Bookmark here

Kotaro froze, unable to protest her decision. She was at a disadvantage which worried him. Bookmark here

“Now, let the battle begin!”Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.