[Vol 1] Prologue
In the darkness, the only source of light was shrinking at a rapid pace. He involuntarily stretched his hand upwards, yet he wasn’t able to grasp anything. The dreadful feeling of falling into an endless abyss caused his nether region to tighten. Nagumo Hajime’s expression twisted due to fear as he gazed at the light that gradually faded away.
Currently, Hajime is falling into a bottomless abyss. The only source of visible light came from the surface. While exploring the labyrinth, Hajime fell into a huge rift valley, he kept falling, until he fell into a place where the light could not reach. While surrounded by darkness, Hajime could hear the sound of the wind. At the same time, he could also see a revolving lantern rotating. ⌈1⌋
As a Japanese person, if he was to convey his delusion and hope since coming to this world, the inequality he experienced since then, and the inequality he is currently experiencing now, is a little too much to take in.
Monday, that is the beginning of the most melancholy day of the week. Most people would sigh upon thinking about the beginning of a new week, while recalling the paradise that is yesterday.
Nagumo Hajime was not an exception either. However, Hajime’s situation was not as simple, it was because the school was a bad place that caused his mood to sullen. Just as usual, when the bell was about to ring, Hajime dragged his tired body to the classroom door and pushed it open.
At that moment, most of the male students in the classroom clicked their tongues, and glared at him with a scornful look. The female students also didn’t expose any friendly expressions. It was fine even if they acted cold and detached towards him, but some were clearly looking at him with contempt.
Hajime tried to ignore them, and walked towards his own seat. However, there would always be a meddlesome and talkative guy beside him.
“Yo, nasty otaku! Did you stay up all night to play games again? Was it an erotic game?”
“Ew, soo gross~ Playing erotic game for the whole night is really so disgusting~”
What did they find so funny for them to burst into a loud laughter? The one who started ridiculing him was Hiyama Daisuke, he was the one who started harassing Hajime everyday as if it was his homework. The three idiots laughing next to him were Saito Yoshiki, Kondo Reiichi, and Nakano Shinji. Overall, it was these four people who frequently harassed Hajime.
As Hiyama had said, Hajime was an otaku. Even though he was called nasty, it doesn’t mean his actions and appearance were terrible to behold. His short hair was neatly trimmed, there was not a hint of bed hair. He also didn’t have any mental problem, even though he didn’t actively participate in community campaign, his honest appearance does not give rise to the feeling of disgust. He was merely fond of things like figures, mangas, novels, movies, and games.
The criticism otakus received from the average people was indeed very strong, but it was only to the degree of mockery, it won’t give rise to any hostility. In any case, why were the male students in the entire class despised him? That was because of her.
“Good morning, Nagumo-kun! Almost late as usual, you should come earlier next time.”
One female student smiled happily as she walked beside Hajime. In this class, no, in this entire school, those who were on friendly term with Hajime was only a few minority, and they were the root cause that gave rise to the situation a moment ago.
This girl was called Shirasaki Kaori, she was one of the two goddesses in the school. Regardless of male and female, she was extremely popular due to her beauty. Her gorgeous black hair reached up to her waist, her big droopy eyes revealed a hint of gentleness, and her tiny nose aligned perfectly with her pink-colored lips.
She always wear a big smile and share a strong sense of responsibility, she knows how to take care of other people. She was always relied on by her classmates, she didn’t abhor anyone, and treated everyone with equal sincerity. She possessed a maturity unlike that of a high school student.
So, why would someone like Kaori always cared about Hajime?
Due to the influence of pulling an all-night, Hajime frequently dozed off in class. Because of this, he was thought of as an irresponsible student (Even though his grade was average). Kaori who naturally liked to take care of other people always minded about him.
In that case, if only Hajime were to pay attention in class, or if he was a handsome guy, then they would have been able to tolerate Kaori caring about him. But unfortunately, Hajime’s appearance was only average, and with his motto of “hobby comes first”, it was hard to picture him improve for the better.
For a person such as Hajime to be able to get close to Kaori, most of the male students were unable to accept it, and kept wondering why only that guy! It was more simple for the female students, it was because he was wasting Kaori’s efforts. They were only unhappy that he did not try to change his attitude towards the classes.
“Ah, good morning Shirasaki-san.”
Eh— What’s with this murderous aura?! Under the silent gaze of everyone, Hajime could only smile bitterly as he replied Shirasaki.
Following that, Kaori wore a very joyful expression. Why did she reveal that kind of expression?! Even more piercing gazes were directed at Hajime, which caused him to break out in cold sweat. Hajime always felt this was impossible, why would the most beautiful girl in the school care so much about him? Hajime already knew, for Kaori to treat him so well, other than her nature, there must be some other reason.
However, Hajime had never thought that she possesses any romantic feeling for him. Hajime had this kind of mindset; for the purpose of his hobby, he was willing to give up a lot of things. Appearance, achievement, and sports, he was mediocre in all aspect. On the other hand, she was always surrounded by so many good-looking guys, thus, her action was very inconceivable.
In short, he had to pay attention not to nurture the storm of murderous gaze! In his heart, he already knew, the moment he opened his mouth to speak, he will not be able to avoid the forced labor in the gym.
As if everything was just as planned, when their conversation came to an end, three people approached them. The 「good-looking guys」 mentioned just a moment ago were also included among them.
“Nagumo-kun, good morning, isn’t this hard on you everyday?”
“Kaori, looking after him again? Seriously, Kaori is too kind.”
“That unenthusiastic guy, it’s useless no matter what you say to him.”
The only one who greeted him among the three was a girl called Yaegashi Shizuku, she was Kaori’s best friend. The long black hair tied in a ponytail was her trademark. Her slit and delicate eyes were sharp, but gentleness also leaked out from within. Thus, rather than ice-cold, it would be better to say that she was elegant. Her height was around 172 cm, she could be considered tall among the girls. Her body posture and imposing temperament automatically made people associate her with samurai.
In fact, her parents owned the Yaegashi Fencing Dojo. Shizuku herself had been undefeatable in any kendo convention since elementary school. She once accepted a magazine interview as the modern day beautiful swordswoman. She was also frequently followed by diehard fans. The younger schoolgirl would use passionate eyes to gaze at her, and call her “onee-sama”. Shizuku couldn’t help but twitch her lips after hearing their way of addressing her every time, this was a scene that could be seen frequently.
Next, the one who spoke to Kaori with a somewhat self-important line was called Amanogawa Kouki. Living up to his heroic name, he was handsome, had outstanding grades, and a superhuman who was good in all kind of sports. He had a fluffy dark brown hair and gentle eyes, his height was close to 180 cm, and his body was slender yet toned. Kouki was kind to everyone, and had a strong sense of justice (He gets hot-headed easily). He was the student of Yaegashi Fencing Dojo since elementary school, and was a national level athlete like Shizuku, they were childhood friend. There were at least a few dozen of girls who had fallen for him, but since he was always together with Shizuku and Kaori, a lot of girls were unable to bring themselves to confess to him.
Despite all that, he still gets a confession at least more than twice per month. He was only able to become popular thanks to all his hard work.
The last one who spoke with a ridiculing tone was a male student called Sakagami Ryutaro, Kouki’s best friend. Under his trimmed hair was a pair of keen and cheerful eyes, he was about 190 cm tall, and had a bear-like physique. He doesn’t seem to pay much attention to details, even his brain seemed like it was made out of muscles.
Ryutaro was a hardworking, determined, and hot-blooded person, that’s why he dislike someone like Hajime who came to school to sleep and his unmotivated appearance. After shooting a glance at Hajime, he just snorted with his nose, and completely ignored him.
“Good morning, Yaegashi-san, Amanogawa-kun, Sakagami-kun. Haha, meh, this can be considered you reap what you sow, it can’t be helped.”
Hajime laughed bitterly as he returned their greetings. ‘Who gave you the right to speak with Yaegashi-san, huh?!’ After the greetings, he could clearly feel many line of sights pricking at him. Shizuku also possessed a popularity not losing to that of Kaori.
“Since you understand your own conduct, why not try to fix it? Until when are you going to stop taking advantage of Kaori’s kindness. Kaori can’t take care of you forever.”
Kouki gave Hajime a word of advice. From Kouki’s perspective, Kaori’s kind-intention was wasted on a dishonorable student like Hajime.
Hajime really wanted to retort, “I didn’t act like a spoiled child! I’d rather her leave me alone!” But if he did, he might get into trouble with her fan club later. Kouki gets hot-headed easily, it was useless to retort when the person himself firmly believed he was in the right. This was the reason Hajime didn’t say anything.
Moreover, even if people asked him to “change”, Hajime still didn’t hesitate to center his life around his hobby. That was because his father was a game creator, and his mother was a shoujo mangaka, he had plans to go get part-time job at his father’s company or his mother’s workshop.
He already obtained the appropriate skills, it perfectly aligned with his hobby. This is Hajime’s standard of life, so no matter what anyone else says, he didn’t feel the need to change his way of life. If only Kaori did not concern herself with him, he would have lived a peaceful and ordinary student life.
“No way~ Ahaha……”
Therefore, Hajime tried to shrug it off with a laugh. However, just as usual, our goddess dropped a bomb without even being aware of the situation.
“Kouki-kun, What are you saying? I… I was just talking with Nagumo-kun?”
The classroom became very noisy, the male students gnashed their teeth, and stared at Hajime with malicious intent. Hiyama and the other three even discussed where they should take Hajime for a beating during lunch break.
“Sigh… Seriously, Kaori is too kind.”
Clearly, Kouki had misunderstood Kaori’s intention. A perfect superhuman, it was due to this reason that he hadn’t the slightest doubt of his own shortcoming, this is really so troublesome~ Hajime wanted to escape reality and turned his attention to the blue sky outside of the classroom.
“……Sorry about that, but those two don’t have any bad intention……”
Shizuku who had the complete grasp of the situation secretly apologized to Hajime. On the other hand, Hajime just shrugged as if there’s nothing he can do about it, and forced a smile.
Just as they were talking about this, the bell that signaled the first class had resounded, as the teacher entered the classroom.
Perhaps the teacher was already used to the atmosphere in the class, she didn’t say anything and immediately took the morning attendance.
After that, the class started like usual, and as it should be, Hajime also set out on a journey towards the dream world.
Kaori looked at that kind of Hajime with a smile, Shizuku exposed a bitter smile while thinking he was also a big-shot in a sense, the male students clicked their tongues, the female students looked at him with disgust.
Sensing the clamor in the classroom, Hajime’s consciousness gradually returned. Since he often dozed off in class, his body remembered the time to get up. Judging from his feeling, it seemed to be lunch break already.
Hajime raised his face from the desk, and took around ten seconds to take out his daily item — the lunchbox. After surveying his surroundings, since some of the students had darted to the canteen to buy their lunch, the number of people in the classroom decreased a lot. Even so, majority of the students had a lunchbox like Hajime, so there were still two-third of the students remaining in the classroom. Moreover, the fourth period just ended a moment ago, so their social studies teacher, Hatakeyama Aiko (25 Year Old), was still at her desk discussing something with a few students.
————Gobble! Gobble! Gobble! ⌈2⌋
Amazingly, Hajime finished his lunch in merely ten seconds. After replenishing his empty stomach, Hajime decided to lie on his desk and sleep for a while. However, our goddess (to Hajime, she seemed more like a demon) didn’t let him do as such. She giggled and sat beside Hajime.
Hajime inwardly moaned, “How terrible”. He would occasionally feel muddle-headed on Monday, if it was any other day, he would go to some unnoticeable place to take a nap before Kaori had a chance to talk to him. However, two consecutive sleepless night made him feel very sleepy.
“Nagumo-kun, how rare is it to see you in class. Having your lunch? Why not come and eat with us?”
A dangerous aura flooded the classroom once more, Hajime kept complaining in his heart. This is so troublesome, can’t you just leave me alone?
He couldn’t understand her intentions.
Hajime tried to refuse, “Ah~ Thank you for the invitation, Shirasaki-san. But I already finish eating, why don’t you go have your lunch with Amanogawa and the others?”
As he said so, Hajime lightly fluttered the plastic bag that was used to wrap the lunch, it was like a mummy that had its interior drained. If he refused, he would also receive ridicule from other people, they would think, “Who do you think you are to reject Shirasaki’s invitation!” The lunch break would probably become very unbearable. However, this degree of refusal was meaningless to the goddess who immediately pressed on.
“Eh! Only that much for lunch? You need to have a proper meal! I will share some with you!”
(Please spare me! For my sake! Please pay attention to the surrounding atmosphere!)
The pressure from the surrounding and the cold sweat at his back increased over time, just at this time, his savior arrived, it was Kouki and his group.
“Kaori, let’s go eat together, Nagumo doesn’t seem like he had enough sleep. Do you think I will allow a sleepyhead like him to eat Kaori’s delicious homemade food?”
Kouki revealed a bright smile while spitting out some nauseating line, but the handsome guy’s smile and nauseating line didn’t seem to have any effect on Kaori who was naturally airhead.
“Eh? Why do I need to get Kouki’s permission?”
“Pfft…” Hearing Kaori’s words, Shizuku couldn’t help but restrain herself from laughing. Kouki forced a smile, and tried to play it off. As a result, four of the most popular students gathered around Hajime’s seat. This was a fact that cannot be changed, the pressure from the gazes was also very unlikely to weaken.
Hajime heaved a sigh and complained in his heart.
(Enough already, why can’t these four people be summoned to another world? No matter how you look at this group of four, they seemed like someone who would be involved in this kind of event…… The god, the witch, or whoever from an alternate world, please summon them away~~)
In order to escape from reality, Hajime indulged himself in his delusions of another world, he forced a smile like usual and prepared to get away from here, but just when he got up…… he was unable to move.
In front of Hajime, a pure white circle with complex design appeared just under Kouki’s foot. Very soon, all the students around also noticed this abnormal situation. Everyone’s attention was attracted by those brilliant patterns, they gazed at the thing that looked like a magic circle.
At the same time the magic circle was getting brighter, it instantly expanded to the size of an entire classroom. The abnormal situation gradually expanded under his own foot. The students let out a wail after their stiff body gradually relaxed. Aiko-sensei who had been staying in the classroom until now immediately shouted, “Everyone! Leave the classroom!” However, just at the same time, the magic circle’s light flickered as if it was about to explode.
After a few seconds or perhaps a few minutes, when that classroom which was enveloped by the snow white radiance returned to its original state, nobody was left in the classroom anymore. The chairs that fell on the ground, the lunchbox that was left open with half of the food remaining, the messy chopsticks and plastic bottles, all the classroom utensils were there, but not a single soul could be seen. This event — High School Students Spirited Away During the Daytime — caused huge uproar all over the world, but that is a story for another time.
1. Idiom: Seeing your entire life flash in you mind like seeing a revolving lantern rotating.
2.TLN: The sound of eating is so loud……