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.
Surrounded by trees, he noticed the brushes moving. The horrors slowly returned. Kotaro saw their silhouettes.
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.
Seconds later, a small green child appeared. And it leaped forward.
“Stay away!” Kotaro cried.
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!”
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.
Noel arose, and she lent him a hand. He accepted it.
“Shouldn’t we get moving?” Kotaro suggested. “Goblins come in groups, don’t they? And it’s just the two of us!”
“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!”
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!”
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.
She readied her arrows in an archery position. The first arrow was fired, revealing several goblins hiding behind the tree.
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.
“What’s going on? Did we get transported?”
“It’s called a Spatial Dimension Field,” she fired her arrow which impaled one of the children-sized creature. “Attack Skill: Shining Light!”
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.
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.
The unharmed goblins, malicious with audacity, charged toward the two with their small weapons.
“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.
Then, the world returned normal.
“Now, you might have some questions. I’ll try to answer them as best as I can.”
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.
“What are you?”
“I’m a full-fledged esper. What I used was called Skills.”
“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.”
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?”
“Reiki energy, the life force that lives inside all of us. It isn’t exclusive to lifeforms—it resides within inanimate objects too.”
She demonstrated the visible essence of the aforementioned energy. A shapeless and azure orb manifested above her hand before vanishing into thin air.
“You mentioned the Spatial Dimension Field. What’s that about?” Kotaro asked.
“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.”
“Skill Rules?” He raised a brow.
“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.”
“Riku can do that?!”
“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.”
“Do you think I can do that too?” Kotaro replied.
“If you train hard enough, you’ll be able to do the same as me,” she said. “Now come, my master is waiting.”
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.
Noel warned Kotaro to stay alert for any sudden movement. Monsters thrived in the forest. It was convenient and deadly.
“What is it?”
“That portal,” he mentioned, “how did you create it?”
“I had this. My master gave it to me,” she showed him a tiny device.
“It replicates my master’s abilities. After that, it’s practically useless.”
She threw the device away.
“I see, so you tricked me!”
She glanced at him and continued walking. It seemed he would never get the answer. Time acted differently in this world.
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.
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.
Noel’s master is an elf?
“Master Yuuki, he’s here. The one you told me to bring.”
“He has appeared?” a voice called, coming from the house.
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.
“Kotaro, am I glad to see you again! It’s me, Yuuki Nohara!”
Noel’s eyes widened. Kotaro, on the other hand, stared at him curiously.
He nervously smiled, “Um? Do I know you?”
“You mean you don’t remember me?”
He shook his head.
“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.”
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.”
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!”
“But, I have school. And my parents will be worried about me if I don’t return!” Kotaro argued.
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!”
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.
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!”
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.”
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!”
“The right one?”
He shook his head.
“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.”
“If you’re one of the creators, aren’t you supposed to fix—” Noel quickly elbowed his waist, and she shook her head.
“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.”
“Then who does the dirty job?”
“Why, the Kamiyama Shrine Maiden of course! Her main purpose is to protect the balance between human and monster conflict.”
“What about my world? Who keeps it safe?”
“Funny that you ask…nobody…” he replied.
“I don’t understand. Why?”
“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?”
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.
Instantly, a nearby branch fell from the skies. Kotaro jumped in fear. “There’s no need to hide, shrine maiden.”
The brushes shook briskly, and the red-and-white shrine maiden revealed herself. “I thought we discussed not bringing him along!”
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.”
“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.”
The shrine maiden angrily smacked one of the trees. It snapped in half. “I can’t do anything if sickness plagues my people!”
“You’re the Kamiyama Shrine Maiden. People have hope because you’re always there for them,” replied Yuuki.
Riku quietly growled. Her brows furrowed in frustration.
“Kotaro, give me your hands!”
He immediately extended his arms to Riku. No questions asked.
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.
“What did you do to me?” He freed himself from her grip.
“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.”
“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.
The shrine maiden slowly shook her head, but he retaliated with a wink.
Yuuki opened a portal above Kotaro, and a stick fell into his hand. The young man tilted his head in confusion.
Tiny winged creatures chuckled by the puny gift. They were no smaller than a penny, green and haughty.
“Just a moment. Allow me to show what this sword is capable of.”
Kotaro happily gave the stick to him.
“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.”
He hesitantly accepted the sword as it reverted to its puny form.
“Now, let us go to our main destination!” He snapped his finger, creating portals beneath his peers’ feet.
Kotaro shrieked briefly, almost forgetting about Yuuki’s power. He dropped to a field of bladed grass.
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.
“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.”
I see, so that’s why Riku can’t do anything, Kotaro thought.
Though, he was curious. Both Riku and Yuuki were arguing like parents in a disagreement.
“So, why doesn’t she want me here? Does she hate me?” Kotaro asked.
“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?”
He widened his eyes, turning his attention to Yuuki. “Do you know something about it?”
“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.”
“I don’t understand. Why is this day repeating itself?”
“We’re restarting the day to prevent you from dying.”
“I die?” This conversation overwhelmed him. He didn’t want to believe it, but he felt that he should. “How?”
“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.”
“Do you really think I can do this?” Kotaro asked.
“I believe in you,” assured Yuuki.
Expectations pressured him, yet it encouraged him. He walked past the shrine maiden, who stared at him. Completely silent. There was no stopping him.
He proceeded forward to his destination until he approached the violet forcefield. He entered it unharmed.
“Kotaro, you should be careful when you enter the barrier. I can sense several security guards.”
Kotaro turned around. His brows raised as he noticed Noel passed through the barrier unharmed.
“Noel? How did you bypass the barrier?”
She looked at herself, unscathed. Intruders who weren’t from the Outside World would be badly injured, or worse, die.
“Impossible! I’m native to Densetsu. I know I am! I was born here.”
“This doesn’t mean you’re originally from my world?”
“No, it doesn’t! It just means I was able to bypass it unharmed.”
“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!”
They pointed their ranged weapons at the two.
“I’m not an outsider!” yelled Noel, her brows furrowed. She observed their appearance.
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.
“You’re Infernians! What are you two doing in Sylvan grounds?” Noel demanded.
“Classified information. Besides—”
“No, they deserve to know. They’re not going to like what’s happening behind their backs,” the guard interrupted, smirking.
Noel squinted her eyes in suspicion. “What are you talking about?”
“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.”
“How is this improving Sylvia? The people of Sylvia are growing sick everyday by the smoke that you are creating!” Noel argued.
“Do you have any proof? From the looks of it, you look perfectly fine,” the guard countered.
“We’re creating the ultimate weapon. The Project Devices. They will defend your people from monsters,” the other guard added.
“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.
Both the guards glanced at each other before turning their attention back to Noel. “You’re going to fight us on your own?”
Kotaro had remained silent this entire time, unaware of what was happening. This appeared to be a bigger conflict he got himself involved in.
“Noel, are you sure you can handle this? Don’t you want any help?”
“I don’t need your help. You will just be dead weight to me.”
Kotaro froze, unable to protest her decision. She was at a disadvantage which worried him.
“Now, let the battle begin!”