Act 1 - Strange Serenity Edit
When I had thought of death, I had thought that it would be a never ending darkness that consumed my soul and left not even the tiniest fragment of my very existence. I was wrong with my perception of death.
I had floated in an abyss of darkness for what had felt like centuries, time having become a foreign concept to me as there was no day or night, no lights to indicate that I was anywhere other than my own prison that I had forced upon myself with my foolish actions. I resented myself for killing Akane, and then getting myself killed while Kurumi was watching.
Kurumi was always the shy and innocent one. I adored her to the point that I would have done anything for her if it meant she was happy, and I found myself where I was now. My resent faded, being replaced with temporary apathy and boredom. I had accepted my death.
My mind immediately went into overdrive as a small, almost invisible sign appeared in front of a place that would be my eyes, the very organ that can subject a being to torture and fear, as knowing what is in front of you can be more frightening than not knowing what is in front of you. This was one of those very moments.
|-WELCOME TO THE GAME OF THE GODS-|
This message had appeared in front of me in large white letters, not small and nearly invisible like the message, and the pain that had consumed my whole being had vanished, having been replaced with a liquidated serenity that I could feel run in my veins. I was surprisingly calm about this strange message, but a part of me was hoping that this was a second chance at life where I had the power to try and redeem myself for my past actions.
|-THE INTRODUCTION WILL NOW BEGIN-|
A sigh escaped my imaginary lips as a video began to play, a video that was awfully similar to a video game trailer that shows off the main points of the game and how fun the game should be if played properly. The video ended, and another message had appeared, albeit a little stranger than the rest.
|-THERE ARE SEVERAL WAYS TO PLAY THE GAME OF THE GODS-|
I had attempted to frown but felt nothing that could represent facial muscles, and that forced a sigh out of my imaginary lips once more, representing how bored and confused I was at this current moment.
|-THE UNIQUE PLAYSTYLE THAT HAS BEEN CREATED FOR YOUR PERSONAL NEEDS IS REALISTIC-|
I pondered on what the message had meant, and I had created many different scenarios in my mind of what it could mean. The scenario that I personally thought had the most chances to be true was that my life was about to become a video game. I wanted to frown at that thought as I wasn't very fond of video games.
|-REALISTIC DOES NOT HAVE MANY FEATURES THAT ARE FOUND IN NORMAL VIDEO GAMES-|
The message before this one had stated that this particular playstyle was created for my personal needs, and with the name that was given to it, the messages had no need to explain to me what was going on.
|-YOU WILL STILL HAVE YOUR CHARACTER AND LEVEL MENUS-|
I had wanted to start the game already as everything has been explained, but something had come to my attention. Does everybody get a chance like this when they die? Probably not, so I had the thought that I should make the most of this chance and live a peaceful and happy life, for Kurumi and Akane.
|-THE GAME OF THE GODS WILL NOW BEGIN-|
The following moments after the messages had disappeared were very surreal. I felt a tugging, almost forceful pulling, force that forced my new bodily feelings to turn into a painful numbness. This lasted for whatever deity may know how long, and my eyes had opened.
Everything seemed…brighter than I remembered, and less coloured, almost as if I was seeing the world in white, grey and black. Sounds hit my ears like a freight train, my body forcing itself on all fours as the sound of a screaming child echoed in my head, as well as the sudden vertigo I felt from standing.
And through sheer determination, I stood on my feet, my eyes widening in surprise as I discovered several reality shattering facts.
I stood in the middle of a hospital room, a woman holding what I assumed to be a newborn baby in her arms. The strangest thing was that no one took notice of me. I waved my hands in front of people's faces, tried touching people, attempted to pick up a pen and I shouted. I had no way to touch people as I fazed right through them, the same goes with objects, and it appears that no one can hear what I say.
"What should we call him?"
I dropped to my knees once more, my eyes dull, my hopes of living a better life having been crushed into tiny fragments that were beyond repair. I sat still, my mind free of any thoughts, night and day blurring together as time felt faster, almost as if someone was watching a sped up movie.
|-INSERT THE NAME OF YOUR CHARACTER-|
Time slowed to a halt. A screen appeared in front of me. I sighed.
I had no idea what I should name my character. Using my name from my old world would be stupid, so my conflicted mind created and reviewed several names that sounded nice and names that I personally liked. Kanzaki won for reasons that I do not consciously know.
Is 'Kanzaki' correct?
A smaller menu appeared in front of the menu that I had used to type my new name in, and it looked nicer than the large white letters on a black background, "Kanzaki is correct," I muttered in a raspy tone that sounded exactly like my old voice. Not to deep, but smooth and flowing and laced with kindness that was most likely hard to find these days…I knew I was being arrogant, but Kurumi and Akane had once described my voice to sound exactly like that.
Do you want to combine souls with Issei Hyoudou? There is a wide range of beings you can choose from!
I was confused, having no clear idea on what the message had meant, my mind working to figure out what that message could entail. No clear explanation on what the message could mean appeared, so I was left with the choice of deciding whether or not I should combine my soul with this Issei. I nodded my head in confirmation.
You will now be attached to Issei Hyoudou!
The sign seemed awfully jovial about the matter, and my instincts kicked in as I knew that I had made a mistake that I may regret for the rest of my possibly never ending life. Pain and darkness consumed me once more.
I had found myself in darkness once more. My body felt numb. No conscious thoughts came to me, meaning that I would most likely not remember this moment in time. The darkness was like space, the dark empty void that any human would immediately be killed by when directly exposed to.
A stream of fire was shot in a random direction. There was rumbling, something equivalent to the mightiest earthquake, something dangerous approaching my still body. A wall of fire was headed towards me.
The pain of being burnt alive filled my body with its unforgiving ways.
My eyes wandered around the dark room, the moon peering through the cracks in the curtains as the child on the bed slept without a care in the world. I sighed, attempting to sit down on a rocking chair, only to faze through it as I had forgot that I was essentially a ghost.
I sighed once more, my eyebrow twitching in annoyance as the child awoke with a scream. It was a newborn baby, so it was expected to happen, but it is annoying as I had experienced this many times before.
I walked over to the child who I presumed to be Issei Hyoudou, my mouth twitching as I wanted to say a few words, "Issei…look, kid, I know that you may not be able to hear or see me, but calm down. Everything will be okay, so there is no need to cry about the small things," Issei went quite, his eyes appearing to have stared into mine for the briefest of moments before sleep claimed him once more.
A special skill has been created through a special act!
I rose an eyebrow at this sudden message, peering down over the top of it to make sure that Issei was in a deep sleep.
Through the act of communicating with Issei, the skill to communicate with your living host, 'Mental Connection', has been made!
My mouth twitched as I struggled to hold back a grin. The skill does not seem all too special, but it would destroy the boredom that I'd conjure from not being able to do anything, so I am grateful for the creation of the skill.
I closed my eyes, losing track of time once more, the voice of a young woman breaking me from my trance, "You worried me, Ise-kun," It was morning, the curtains open, sun blinding me momentarily, "Babies usually cry during the night, so you worried me when you didn't!"
I let a small smile appear on my ghostly face.
This scene reminds me of my old self.
One year had passed, and I had learnt many things during that period of time.
The first thing I discovered was that I could float, walk on air, or whatever I wanted to call it, as all of those are possible with my ability. I mainly used it to float on my back with my arms behind my head, not caring about anything that dare to try to interrupt me, not that that ever happened.
The second thing I discovered was that I couldn't travel more than ten meters away from Issei. It baffled me at first, but this new life of mine is a videogame where my soul was fused with another soul. In context, it made a lot of sense.
The third thing I discovered was that I could kind of possess Issei. I don't have any control over his body, even though a skill was created that enabled me to do it, but I don't use it because I want to sit back, relax and enjoy things in the perspective of a baby.
There was some really good news as well. Issei now has a little sister, probably the by-product of me distracting Issei while his parents were having sexual relations during the night. Issei's little sister's name is Asuka Hyoudou, a name that I think is cute, and she is three months old at this current moment while Issei is one year old.
Those are the only interesting things that happened, apart from me gaining an impressive level of laziness, sarcasm and what I thought was an interesting type of humour, as well as my black and white vision slowly turning into a kaleidoscope of colours that almost seem foreing to me, "When will the epic and challenging fights appear?" I usually talked to myself while lazing around, something that bored me to no end as I have never really seen the outside world when I desperately want to, and when adding my new life to that equation, one that is apparently a videogame, I get even more bored with a sudden annoyance at how I was lied to by some stupid letters.
I had followed Issei outside on one hot summer day, the sun blazing down on his skin, sweat running from his body as he struggled to make friends as a four year old, the social pinnacle of everyone's life, "Hey, wanna be friends?" Issei would ask, only for groups of children to shake their heads and walk away.
It was a very strange occurrence, an event that shouldn't be happening, but I had become lost in my thoughts as Issei walked over to an orange-haired purple-eyed boy who was being picked on by a group of older kids, "Hey, leave him alone, you bullies!"
I was snapped from my thoughts, something that did not occur very often as nothing interesting happens, watching Issei help the boy to his feet as he was kicked to the floor seemingly moments prior, "Why should we? You don't know what he's done for us to be like this!" Issei was pushed to the floor, a sigh escaping my lips.
I haven't attempted to communicate with Issei in any shape or form as I did not know for sure if I was visible to him, but I wanted to tell him to get to his feet and fight for what he thought was right. I knew that if I did that right now, he would become startled and easily beaten by the bullies because he would not be paying attention.
Issei got to his feet, "I'm Issei Hyoudou, and I'm the person that's gonna stop you from being mean to him!" It was a random, albeit heroic, thing to say, and I grinned in anticipation at what would happen next.
Issei was easily beaten to the ground.
It only took thirty seconds for Issei to become a spluttering mess on the floor, but he attempted to stand up, regardless of the injuries that were bringing him pain, "Are you alright?" The orange-haired boy helped Issei to his feet as he was struggling immensely, and once Issei gained his centre of gravity on the floor, he released a beaming grin that forced me to chuckle to myself.
"Wanna be friends?"
These small snippets of my memory are but fragments of a larger puzzle. I believed that they will build up to something, an event that could destroy the many realms in existence because of one fatal error. A change in the timeline of this current universe that I have found myself in could end the world.
I do not know if Asuka was meant to be born, but she was. That single event could destroy everything that the future holds dear, and I would be the one to blame for it. However, time only moves forward, so any change to this universe could prove to be for the better.
Time can only tell.
It was midnight.
I was floating above Issei, looking down at him out of pure boredom. I can't sleep, I can only meditate, but meditating only entertains one for so long. I had achieved the highest level of meditation in the past five years, constantly slipping into a silent mindset until I was able to do it in an instant.
A skill was created for it as well, and it was called "Instant Calm". It's a weird name for a skill such as that, but it's a skill, one that may prove to be useful sometime in the future, just like any other skill I may unlock later on in life.
I sighed, shifting my gaze across the room at Asuka's sleeping body, her quiet breathing reaching my ears, my eyes closing peacefully.
The Hyoudou's parents are geniuses. They created the idea that if Issei and Asuka share a room, they wouldn't go running to their parents in the middle of the night because they were afraid of some imaginary monster that would eat them.
It worked well, much to my surprise.
A yell and a loud thud broke me from my peace, my eyes open, Issei pointing at me in fear, "Wh-what are you!?" He was quite loud with his yells, something that I wanted to fix as they annoyed me to no end, and this sudden sighting of me seemed to be out of place, almost like it was set to happen at the moment it did.
"Me? Why, I'm just the thing that follows you around everywhere. You know, like a demon." I chuckled as he ran for the door, ignoring his little sister completely as she rubbed at her eyes because of her disturbed slumber, her hair dishevelled with a few yawns here and there.
"Onii-chan…what was that all about?" She had muttered before sleep claimed her once more. I turned onto my side and looked out the window, the curtains fluttering slightly from the wind, the unusually large moon lighting up my vision.
I closed my eyes, slipping into a meditative state once more.
It was a few months later when Issei was playing at Irina Shidou's house, the orange-haired boy from that fateful day at the park. They were having fun arguing about Dragon Ball Z and which characters were stronger, Asuka pitching in every now and then as she had followed along with the intent to have fun as well.
This was the day where a golden opportunity arose for Issei.
Irina's father was a swordsman for some organization, and he was outside training, mainly his form and footwork, but also the way that he used his wooden blade to strike a wooden post. By now, Issei was used to my presence, and we figured out that he could talk to me through his mind, but he did talk aloud sometimes, mainly when we were alone.
"Hey, Issei, you see Irina's dad over there? Ask him if he could train you." Issei frowned slightly as Irina continued ranting about how Frieza was better than Goku and how Goku cheated because of his Super Saiyan power. I chuckled to myself as Issei struggled to grab Irina's attention, and when he did, Irina was annoyed at the sudden interruption.
"Irina-kun, what's your dad doing?" Irina looked over at his father and then at Issei, alternating between the two before he spoke some words that grabbed my interest almost immediately.
"He's trying to kill that wooden thing!" I rose an eyebrow in surprise because of the ferocity at which Irina had shouted that phrase, and the hearty laugh that came from Irina's father. As far as encounters go with Irina's father, he appears to be the cold and quite type to strangers, mainly Issei but not Asuka for some weird reason. I tend to not think about these things too much.
"Issei, my boy, are you perhaps interested in the way of the sword?" Irina's father walked up over to Issei's little group with his wooden sword lowered at his side, a vicious grin on his face as he looked down at Issei.
I made Issei nod because this opportunity is too good to be true, "I am, ojii-san!" Issei was hit over the head with the wooden sword because of the way he addressed Irina's father.
"I can train you, if you wish, but it will need your parent's permission. When am I able to meet them? Also, NEVER CALL ME OJII-CHAN AGAIN!" Issei grinned cheekily as I smiled in anticipation. This will be good, I can tell.
"I think the day after tomorrow, on the Friday!"
"It's nice to meet you, Akari-san, Akihiro-san," Irina's father and mother greeted Issei's parents with a smile. Irina's father was pretty tall with short brown hair and pale skin, not to mention his sharp green eyes that seemed to pick up every small detail. Irina's mother was a little on the short side with what seemed to be shoulder length raven hair and light purple eyes.
"It's a pleasure to meet you too, Touji-san, Hikari-san," Akari and Akihiro returned the greeting, welcoming Touji and Hikari into the house while Issei lead Irina to his room, most likely to play video games or mess around. Asuka followed the behind the two, like always, sadly enough.
Instead of following Issei, I somehow followed the adults into the living room where they talked, mainly small talk and whatnot until Touji, Irina's father, got down to the matter at hand.
"Akari-san, Akihiro-san, I'm a sword master, and the other day, when Issei was playing with Irina in our yard, I was training, and Issei became…interested, you could say. With your consent, I wish to train him in the way of the sword!" Touji was relaxing on one of the couches, quite confident of himself, sipping on a saucer of sake.
Akari and Akihiro looked each other in the eyes before turning back to Touji, "Well, if Ise-kun agrees, you're free to train him as much as you want!" Akihiro was the one that had shouted that, standing with his fist to the air in a highly dramatic pose, tears streaming from his eyes, not making any sense at all to the other three adults.
"Now, I think dinner might be ready, Aki-kun, so go check on it please. Would you two like to stay and join us?"
Issei was to train every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with each session lasting two hours, and Issei soon learned that accepting Touji to be his sensei was a bad idea as he did not hold back one bit. Issei was always bruised, and I couldn't help but laugh to myself after every training session, especially when Asuka tried to act as a doctor and sometimes a nurse…in a lewd way. She's a bit of a weird child, I came to realise.
On the other hand, Touji had a strange way of teaching Issei the way of the sword. He didn't teach him anything. No stances, no footwork or grip…nothing, not even the most basic of ways to strike, which was highly confusing.
But, I soon came to realise Touji's goal.
Touji didn't want Issei to learn anything directly because Touji didn't know any proper stances or footwork. Touji created his own style and he wants Issei to do the same, not relying on things that people may know to become completely unreadable, as well as having several tricks to catch the enemy by surprise. But several skills were created through this strange way of training. They were skills for dodging, parrying and a basic level of mastery over the sword. All of them were at the 'novice' level, the very beginning of everything.
And then it happened, nearly a whole year later.
"Ise-kun, I…I'm sorry, but I have to leave this town," It was dusk, the sun creating the most beautiful orange I have ever seen in the cloudy sky, the sudden announcement fitting the setting all too well, in a very suspicious manner. Issei and Irina were sitting on a set of swings at the local park, no one around with silence enveloping the area.
"What, why!?" Naturally, Issei became surprised and sad, but he knew that there was nothing he could do. It was Touji's decision, after all, and that meant that Issei was never going to see Irina again, "Where…where are you going to live? Maybe I could visit!" Issei was hopeful, but he was immediately shot down.
"I'm moving to Europe…Issei-kun, I'll never see you again, and for that, I'm sorry!" Irina ran off, and Issei sat on the swing, his eyes shadowed by his long brown hair. I knew that friendships end all the time, but the pace at which Irina announced her departure was shocking, almost as if she was leaving the next day.
"You know, if you really want her to stay, you should run after her," I knew it was pointless, but this would tell me a few things about Issei. It would tell me if he really loved his friends and family, and it would tell me if he had the will to fight for those that he loves, even if there isn't any fighting in this scenario.
Issei ran after Irina, even though he was most likely long gone.
His eyes still shadowed, his teeth grit, he moved his legs until he ran out of breath, having finally caught up to Irina in the dark street. Irina was standing under the only light post in the street, leaning on it while gasping for air.
"Irina!" Issei shouted and began walking towards her, his breathing almost back to normal because of his training and the experience he had gathered from it, as well as a skill called, "Calm Breathing" coming into effect.
Irina turned around and widened his eyes in surprise as he saw Issei standing on the edge of the light, tears gathering in his eyes, "I-Ise-kun! Why did you follow me!?" Issei took a deep breath and a step back, wiping at his eyes for a second before his eyes were filled with the determination that was needed to keep someone close to you safe.
"I want you to stay with me, here in this city," Irina slightly turned her head to the side, likely out of guilt at what he was about to say, the words that may change Issei's life.
"I can't stay here, Ise-kun, and I'm sorry for that…but, I love you, and I always will," Irina took two steps forward and put both of his hands on Issei's face, his beautiful, purple eyes meeting Issei's dark brown.
They kissed, and it was at that moment that I realised that Irina wasn't a guy, but was a girl.
Issei began to close himself off after that night, becoming an introvert while showing signs of becoming a shut-in, using anime, manga and video games to reinforce that idea.
Asuka intervened, always barging into Issei's room at the most inappropriate moments as if she was watching him through his window. Asuka was Issei's lifeline in the social sense, I suppose, as she was always there for him, comforting him when he cried and calming him down when he was ready to kill someone.
But Asuka had no friends. All the children her age rejected her attempts of creating friendship, something I didn't understand. She might have been too intelligent for them, as she reads a lot of books, meaning she had a mind that was more advanced than theirs.
This continued until Issei was in his first year of middle school.
"Hello, class. Welcome to Kuoh Academy Middle School!" This event was certainly strange as all branches of Kuoh Academy are female only, something that everyone in the town knew. The fact that it was one of the few schools in this town didn't help either, but when Issei received an invitation to the school from the headmaster, I couldn't help but scratch my head in confusion.
Issei isn't a girl, and he has no outstanding academic results or any physical prowess that deserves this invitation, apart from the sword training and basic exercises he does every morning, but I told him to accept it anyway. If Issei's the only guy at the school, who cares. This is the perfect opportunity for him to make friends, and maybe get a girlfriend while moving Irina from his mind.
"As you can see, we have a male student in our class. You may all be confused, girls, but the headmaster was the one who invited him to the school. Treat him like you would when talking to each other!" Everything seemed pretty normal, but there was one thing that disturbed me. A lot of perverted things could possibly happen, and Issei having the reputation of a pervert could completely ruin his middle school life, so I did everything in my power to prevent perverted situations.
That included possessing Issei for the first time.
It was a strange feeling. Having your spirit sucked into the body of a boy who is only in middle school feels strange…well, not exactly strange. During the possession, I felt an intense vibration that was followed by the feeling of being very numb in every body part possible. That sensation only lasted for about five seconds, though, and once I possessed Issei, I did everything in my power to stop everything perverted.
However, I wasn't used to his body, so when I took my first step, I became severely unbalanced and fell down a flight of stairs, my hands covering my head as I tumbled to the bottom, landing on a couple of girls who were standing in the way.
I lay flat on the back of one of the girls, the other one next to me, my arms still covering my head with my legs outstretched. I felt blood running from a cut on my head, but I ignored it in favour of getting to my feet.
"Hey, are you okay?" I outstretched my right arm and hand and held it out to the girl I initially landed on, her soft hand grabbing mine. I pulled her to her feet and helped the other girl up shortly after.
I bowed to the both of them, apologised and set off down a random hallway as the intercom crackled to life, a voice interrupting my confused mind, "Hyoudou Issei-san, Hyoudou Issei-san. Please report to the headmaster's office. I repeat, Hyoudou Issei-san, Hyoudou Issei-san, please report to the headmaster's office," I clicked my tongue in annoyance and turned around, heading towards the stairs that I had just fallen down.
It was only our first day, as well.