First Year Second Semester – Black Joker (Part 1)
Note: Please don’t read it in the little pop-up for the reader. For some reason it doesn’t reflect my later edits (which I often make a lot of after publishing), so please click ‘view original’.
Think of it as throwing money at the author and Alphapolis, and getting a book with squiggles and pretty pictures as a pleasant extra.
You might be thinking, ‘Well, do I owe any thanks to Alphapolis the publisher?’, but in fact it is because the publishers are so willing to pick up web novels (Alphapolis in particular) that so many creative stories are being written by people wanting to make it as writers.
By river bank, I mean one of these:
Before I knew it, I was in this world.
In a world like the game that my older sister had made… I became the game’s protagonist.
Because of bullying in middle school I rarely left the house, and for my sake, my much older sister gave me a game that she wrote herself as a present.
“Oneechan, you made this?”
“Not just me, but the one who thought of the story was mostly me.”
“Hearing you say that makes me happy, Ichiha.”
I immediately started the game.
The world in the game was like a dream. A beautiful castle, an academy, and cool and kind boys.
“Even though it would be just fine if this world was real…”
I absorbed myself in that world.
“This protagonist is a nice girl, isn’t she?”
“Yeah, it’s pretty much common sense that the protagonists of these stories are “nice girls”, you know? …After all, if they had ugly personalities, the men wouldn’t approach them to begin with after all.”
“Like the rival girls?”
The protagonist was a normal girl whose only redeeming features were her magic power and her personality. On the other hand, every single one of the rival girls were beauties.
Certainly, these rival girls all have terrible personalities.
I played the game countless, countless times. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the story was already a part of me.
The four romance routes, those friendship routes, and even the hidden character routes; I had cleared all of them.
“Oneechan… I, love this story.”
From then on, without ever parting from it, I carried my favourite game around with me.
I probably should have. I… ended up separated from my older sister.
I was careless. I thought it would be okay, since I was just going to a nearby convenience store to get something for my mother.
Unluckily, I ran into the middle school classmates that bullied me. There were two guys and three girls.
“Oh hoh? Isn’t that Ichiha?”
“You’re right. What’s she doing after not going to school?”
In an instant, I was surrounded by my classmates.
I stayed silent and waited for the storm to pass. If I just stood still, at some point they would get bored and walk off somewhere.
“She’s still as gloomy as ever, huh?”
“How about saying something?”
One of the girls poked me. And that moment, the game machine fell out of my bag.
“What’s this? Hey, it’s a game. Ichiha, you game?”
“St-… Don’t touch it without permission.”
But my words were fruitless, and one of my classmates turned on the game.
“Stop it! LET GO-!”
I reached out my hand to try to get it back, but they easily avoided me.
When the tall boys held the game console up high, I couldn’t reach it because of my height.
After a while, a cheerful song came from the console. It was the music for the game’s opening video.
“Uoh-, what’s this!”
They saw it.
“What? Show me it too.”
All of the bullies peered in at the screen together.
“This is one of those! A Galge!”
One of the boys raised his voice, having fun.
“But look, there’s no girls! It’s all guys, isn’t it!”
Another boy spoke.
“I know this~ It’s one of those games where you romance hot guys. I saw a commercial for one of these on my smart phone game!”
A girl cut into the conversation.
“G-, give it back-…!”
I cut into the crowd, and frantically tried to get the game back.
“Ehhhhh, Ichiha, you play these sorts of games? Seriously?”
“Because she’s unpopular? Does she get all happy when 2-d hot guys tell her “I love you” and stuff?”
“Ahahahahah, as ifff. Bit gross though.”
Teasing me one by one, they tried to exit the convenience store with my game console.
“Stop! Give it back! Give it back!”
However, none of them would stop. They crossed the road, laughing.
“Stop it, stop! Give back Oneechan’s game-!”
The other side of the road was a river.
I had a bad feeling about this.
While laughing all the while, my classmates ran towards the running river.
A boy held the game up, and tossed it to the girl next to him.
The girl who had caught it sneered, and then held out the game console towards me… Or so I thought, when she pulled back her hand, and threw it into the river.
The game danced through the air beyond the reach of my hand.
The water splashed.
Unable to even form words I gazed at the river, and my classmates sneered at me.
“Soorreee~ Ichiha-chan, it accidentally slipppped~”
“Use this as a chance to live healthily~ Hurry up and find a human boyfriend-! HA HA HA!”
However, I couldn’t hear their words.
“The game… The game that Oneechan gave me!”
Even though inside that game was everything that had supported me until now!
I jumped into the river to chase after the game console.
Because it had rained yesterday, the water level was high but… the danger, or just buying it again… I wasn’t in the right mind to think about those things.
“Hey, Frau… You’re seriously taking an afternoon nap at a time like this?”
Because of an unhappy voice from right besides me, I came back to earth.
“Oh my, I’m sorry. I dozed off, didn’t I…?”
Honestly, what an unpleasant day dream that was. To see such a worthless dream.
“Give me a break~”
Now then, shall I start moving before Asagi makes an even bigger fuss?
As of the moment, though the plan is not going perfectly, it is coming along well.
I headed off to my afternoon classes.
All without realising the trap that was waiting for me.