But he was yet to pull himself back together after the unexpected events that immediately followed his return.
What had been turned upside down was not his intellect, but his emotions and feelings.
The slightest brooding would cause dark thoughts to fill his mind. But he was well aware of that. So – to some extent – he decided to first put his disordered heart aside, and prioritize getting used to the environment. Whether it was locking himself in a room, being depressed, or despairing… it wasn’t the time for such things.
So when he stopped being able to think of any other way other than to run, he knew that the situation had turned for the worse.
And that was precisely why he ended up being pushed into this seemingly troublesome situation.
Although this was once again for the sake of running away from the various problems that plagued him – another form of escapism so to speak. But from his perspective, if he had to choose between his own problems and the world’s – which was related to his current delicate standing – then his problems are of a bigger concern.Because of his ties with another world, his return home was special.
Although he did “nothing”, the world that had just began to calm, was once again shaken by his existence.
Considering that the very reason he returned was to avoid that very situation… It’s an ironic story.
“And because of that, I had no choice but to come here. But you know what? My luck’s actually pretty good. It’s convenient for me too. I mean, just how am I supposed to tell them that it’s ‘hard for me to be at home’ anyway?”
But despite that, the most important thing for him was still his family.
The consequences of his ties to another world which affected his family still weighs heavily upon his heart today.
With his head, muddled, and his chest, aching, it was difficult for him to spend time with his family.
Which is why he keeps telling himself that it’s convenient as he continues to look up this building, that he will be attending from this day on.
The whole campus was so big that it couldn’t be completely seen from the entrance. It also had a unique design that set it apart from traditional schools.
But that was only natural. After all, this academy had been constructed mostly with Garesto Technology. The mechanical-like structures that it consisted of were proof of that as an otherworldly aura could be clearly felt from them.
That was especially true for him, who came from Falandia, as Falandia’s buildings were all mostly built out of stone.
But despite that eerie atmosphere, he couldn’t help but laugh out loud when he heard the school’s alias.
This school was formally known as the UN-Garesto Union Special High School.
As the word, UN, implied, this was a school that was made alongside the United Nations.
But despite that, the alias actually blatantly excluded one side, showing only one side in the alias: ‘Garesto Academy’.
True, it’s an appropriate name, length considered. But it’s so completely one-sided, that from an outsider’s perspective, it looks as if one side had completely absorbed the other.
As a result, it wouldn’t be too far out the left field for people to think of this school as the sole property of Garesto.
“Haa… And even the inside is a mystery……”
The boy kept his gaze up that seemingly troublesome academy without moving.
He’d been told to wait here until his guide came, but in the end, he couldn’t help but find himself bored.
So to kill some time, he skimmed through the pamphlet he’d received. But when his eyes caught the part about the slogans, he needed to desperately keep himself from bursting into laughter.
“Study the most cutting-edge technology.”
“You are the ones who will lead the future!”
“Let’s work with the otherworld together.”
“That power will open the future.”
“We raise young people who will lead the world.”
Of course, these sort of promotional phrases only emphasized the positive parts of the school. But even then, they were just too suspicious for him, so of course, he once again, had no interest.
“If it’s like this, I might as well trust a guy selling a pot of luck, right?”
As reading the pamphlet would only tire him, he turned his gaze toward the opposite direction of the school building.
Before him was the path he’d passed just moments ago; it was a sight that showed where he was.
Without thinking about it, he found himself wanting to look toward the horizon. But as there was something nearby, his eyes were naturally drawn to it.
City roads by which trees were planted. An odd mix of a city in which the future and the present entangled, leaving one pondering, which side would grow.
The structures that were there before he left, the structures that were built by otherworld technology, and the structures that were built with both old and new tech.
Those three things were mixed together, forming this bizarre city.
Be it the ship he rode to get here, or even just the harbor, he would not be able to see either, as the many buildings blocked the view, and the great distance left everything out of sight.
After all, this was a city that boasted of having the size of about half the entire Shikoku Region.
“An artificial floating city. It’s pretty well known actually.”
Above the Pacific Ocean, just some ways off the waters under Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, is a city created by the technology received from the otherworld.
A city with a size almost equaling the Shikoku Region of the Japanese Islands.
Yet despite its colossal magnitude, its effects on the environment and the ocean current was nil.
The many issues that would’ve arisen with Earth’s technology were all struck down, leaving behind only a seemingly natural floating city. So of course, being shocked was a given.
A person who didn’t know anything could easily mistake this island as something that has existed for several hundred years.
And this was built despite the fact that Garesto didn’t even have any seas of its own, proving just how great the uses of their research, understanding, and abilities were in Earth.
“You really think you can be friends for years with just this? Don’t be stupid. There’s no way that’ll happen after seeing the difference in technology…”
As the boy looked up the giant building at the center of the floating city,
he sympathized with the people opposing the relations with the otherworld.
The scenery from the other side could be seen through the giant frame standing over the ground.
Whenever this apparatus is activated, the dimension boundary will open inside the frame; and passing through will lead one to Garesto.
They built these things so leisurely across the world. No one could contest them after seeing that technological gap.
“…Is this really Earth? Didn’t I tell you not to ask me? I think the same too.”
There’s no doubt. He knew full well where this was. But… he wanted to doubt it.
The guards around the gate were equipped with winged armors known as powered suits. They flew about in the air, around two companies all in all, while aircrafts could be seen lined up in front of the gate, waiting for their turn.
Regardless how much one might argue that this is Earth, seeing this scene, you’d still end up thinking, “It’s a different world.”
This was definitely not the scene he wanted to see after finally coming back home.
It would probably have been better for him mentally if he found himself in another world instead.
“It’s always the same thing. Why? Why am I always so…”
His head started to ache again because of how bad his timing was.
The causes of that headache should’ve already been dealt with.
There should’ve been no reason for him to come here to this place he only saw as trouble – to this town with that ominous name.
“Why did I end up going to a place called
That means sacrifice in Falandia! I shiver every time I hear it!
Yeah, that’s right. No, it’s not a funny coincidence!”
One of the places Garesto and Earth could enter was the neutral floating city, ‘Kutoria’.
It was not a city affiliated with either Earth nor Garesto.
It was being treated as a place where the worlds could exchange and study each other’s culture.
It was also one of the few places with a school that extensively taught about Garesto.
Tourists could easily come and go here, but people living here needed to be checked before leaving.
Also, under the pretext that students need to focus on their studies, it’s generally not easy to get permission to leave.
As for the meaning of the city’s name being ‘Sacrifice’, that’s just the boy reading too much into it.
“A glorious city of sacrifices, huh? Or putting it bluntly, a birdcage.
Well, still going here despite thinking that, I guess that’s about what you’d expect from me.”
No matter what slogan they threw at him, to him this island was no more than a lonely island in the middle of nowhere.
But how many people understand that?
That this floating city which was situated away from society as a unique, autonomous body, could do anything it wishes.
Whether it be to train the children gathered here into soldiers.
Whether it be to use the children here as live subjects for an unscrupulous experiment.
Whether it be to indoctrinate the children, then send them to lead the world, while secretly acting as spies.
With the abilities and knowledge they claim to teach a secret. With the children gathered under the pretext of education. And on top of that, with their security guaranteed… It was only natural to find it suspicious.
It didn’t matter whether it was Garesto or the Earth leading this place, for him – it was the same thing.
“…I know I’m just being paranoid.”
At the sound of a hopeful opinion, he realized it himself, and he nodded.
In truth, there wasn’t anyone who would bother thinking up of something as troublesome as a conspiracy.
But even then, it still held true that in a “certain” place was a “certain” something being gathered.
For someone such as this boy who had a connection to that place, doubting was a given.
“Even though I’ve finally become a high school student.
Although it’s not like I became one for fun though. And it was more because I didn’t really have any choice.”
That longing for high school life he once had in his middle school days was nowhere to be seen.
That in itself showed just how painful the past two years were for him.
Enough that at the slightest rustling, he would actually assume a conspiracy.
But then, perhaps it’s not too strange, since after all, he did get entangled in a lot of schemes back in Falandia.
So unless he sees things with his own two eyes, his worrying will never cease.
“…Thanks… But then again, it doesn’t really matter.”
But even with that paranoia of his, his real intentions did not stop there.
The incidents and schemes he found himself in on his search to find a way back home was not a mere ten or twenty, causing him to have a greater perspective of things.
So of course, he understood that the two worlds would naturally try to probe and haggle each other, and cause sparks here and there.
As for the boy, he didn’t really care what they did so long as he didn’t get caught up in it.
That was his stance. As for how long he could keep that up, however, is another story.
“Hey, stop it.
I’ve had enough getting caught up with troublesome stuff.
My current goal is to have a peaceful and quiet life until graduation.”
That’s not the sort of goal someone who’d just become a high school student would set for himself, but in this place where neither beasts nor bandits would attack him; in this place where the need to spend the night out in the wild was nil, where the food was plenty, where one was free of schemes, troubles, conspiracies, or any such life-threatening excitements.
And more than anything, in this place, where the foolish heroes, the inept princess, the uninhibited boor of a demon king, the crusaders, and his nemesis – the Evil God Sect, were not around.
That simple dream was enough to bring him joy.
–––––It’s about time I lived a carefree life!
And I’m going to get that peace in this school!––––
If there weren’t any people around, he would’ve raised up his hands and yelled.
But that would’ve been more him running away from reality than him declaring his resolve.
Which is also why in the end he had no choice but to acknowledge the reality before him.
“I know, it’s impossible… Right, right… I know.”
As he heaved out a sigh, he dryly laughed and drooped his shoulders.
His eyes continued to carelessly gaze at the school, but his consciousness focused over his surroundings.
As his consciousness spread like a ball around him, he was able to find the five people hiding in the surroundings.
‘Amateur’, the boy spat in his mind upon seeing how they were hiding and unreservedly watching him.
In the shadow of a building. At the back of the roadside trees. Within the thick growth of plants. By the giant tree near the school. And one who was walking around while peeking at the boy.
They were using the latest of Garesto’s optical camouflage technology.
With a thin layer of stealth energy around their bodies, they could avoid detection from all radars.
Normally, it would be difficult for them to be spotted while hiding. But that’s only true… normally.
Even though he knew that, he still lightly spat that out.
The technology to completely erase their presence and hide their body was certainly first rate.
But them thinking that they couldn’t be found made them below second rate.
It’s a bad idea to completely hide your presence in a natural place overflowing with people and living things.
After all, a spot in this area full of life that doesn’t have any presence at all would instead reveal their position.
Especially, when that spot was about the size of a person.
As for blending one’s self with the surroundings instead of hiding one’s presence, that requires another
“Poorly executed as usual…”
As he muttered that to himself, he sighed to keep his surveillants from noticing.
Although his ability to sense the presence of others had been sharpened in Falandia, making him much more perceptive of the oddity in the surroundings, he still thought the people watching him were doing poorly.
Because the technology to hide their presence was perfect, their poor use of it stood out.
Not to mention, that he could actually feel their gazes on him.
It was as if they were saying out loud through their gazes that he’s being watched.
He once again naturally let out a sigh.
His protection was one of the reasons he went to school, so of course there’d be people watching over him.
However, the gaze they looked at him with was not that of a guard toward their client. Instead, it was the gaze of a person monitoring another.
If they were to continue following him all the time, then his dream of a peaceful life will remain but a dream.
“I chose wrong again…”
Not that I actually had any other choice though! He said in his mind.
If no one were watching, he would’ve liked to click his tongue.
Although to be more precise, there actually was another choice, only he couldn’t make that choice.
Annoyed, the boy felt a sense of tomfoolery rise up within him, and after timing it, he turned his head at the right moment.
Near him was a girl, spreading her two hands wide open in surprise.
With her pink hair and her two emerald eyes, she looked completely different from your average girl.
The hues that colored her hair were not the sort you’d expect to be natural.
That in and of itself proved that she was not an earthling.
“…My first time seeing one, I think. It’s too bad I failed to say ‘Who~oo is~s it’, huh?”
Is there anyone who’d actually do something dumb like that?
As he was thinking that, he then started speaking in Japanese.
But the girl didn’t seem to respond.
That was the usual look people in Falandia gave him, so he didn’t find it odd.
At that moment, he was still unaware of the oddities in the world.
“Y-You scared me! Seriously!
What’d you suddenly turn around for!?”
The bokkuko girl jumped up and down with a stiffened smile over her face as she expressed her shock. [simple_tooltip content='(Bokkuko refers to a girl who uses僕 or Boku as her 1st person pronoun of choice. In Japanese, there are several 1st person pronouns. And some of them are limited to certain genders, while there’re some that can be used by either. 僕 or Boku is generally used by young boys. Male or female, however, it’s not used in formal settings.)’](?)[/simple_tooltip]Her voice was shrill and cheerful, keeping whoever she was talking to from feeling uncomfortable.
The sound that left her lips didn’t follow the movement of her mouth, but the language that the boy definitely heard was Japanese.
“I see, sorry.”
The boy ignored that as he replied in a cold, monotonous voice.
He did a guts pose at the back of his mind, but he didn’t show that on his face.
Even if this girl was the same as the others who were hiding their presence, from an outsider’s perspective, she’s no more than a small girl wearing the female students’ uniform that emphasized the white color of the school academy.
At 150cm, she was a little smaller than the boy, who stood at 160cm.
Having his guard up for such a small girl would undoubtedly be strange.
So he took on the appearance of a “boy who knew nothing.”
“Are you the transfer student, Nakamura Shinichi-kun?”
“Yes, are you the guide who will be touring me today?”
No matter how much he looked down on her, he still spoke politely.
He was bad at honorific language [simple_tooltip content='(Also known as 敬語 or Keigo. Essentially, it’s just a politer way of talking. However, it’s not as simple as just tacking on better honorifics or avoiding crass language. The rules are much more stringent and complex than just that. Conjugations change, new words and patterns are used… etc.)’](?)[/simple_tooltip], but he still needed to use it.
As for the rest, the earphone translating device the girl had with her would take care of it.
“You’re too stiff, Shinshin! Are you nervous?”
The girl wasn’t all too pleased by his attitude.
When she called him in a manner he hadn’t ever been called before, his expression stiffened.
She looked up at him with those “seemingly” naïve and worried eyes of hers while he was at a loss on how to respond.
But he didn’t really need to as the girl went off in her own world.
It was a bit – no – this was definitely, way outside his expectations.
Then in that case, this Myuhi Ruona-chan will rub your shoulders!”
“W-What would you do that for!?”
But as soon as she said it, she’d already reached for his shoulders. On the contrary, however, her hands were caught instead.
The girl apparently wanted to rub his shoulders to ease his tension.
But putting how she arrived to that conclusion aside, what he was really curious about was her name.
“Umm… Myu, Myu, Myuhi Ruona, was it?”
“That’s right, Murashin-kun.”
The girl enthusiastically affirmed as if she was reenacting Sherlock’s, ‘That’s right, Watson-kun’.
He was going mad at her incessant tacking of nicknames and her unexpectedly strong arms, but no matter what, what he really found difficult was pronouncing her name, causing him to frown.
“What should I call you?”
“Hmm? Myu-chan, Hi-chan, Myuhi-sama, you can call me anything you want! And you don’t have to use honorific language! We’re comrades after all! Since we’re going to the same school and all.”
The girl sweetly smiled, while Shinichi wryly smiled due to the high tension.
However, taking advantage of her telling him to call her however he pleased, he decided to pay her back. And he gave her a nick name.
“Eh… You put together the last two characters?” [simple_tooltip content='(Myuhi Ruona, the last two characters are ヒ(Hi (Katakana)) and ナ (Na (Katakana)), so together that’s Hina.)’](?)[/simple_tooltip]
Not having expected that name, she withdrew the strength in her arms, as she put them down.
At the same time, she looked up the boy with her head lightly turned to the side, as if saying ‘Why?’
But although she was acting cute, Shinichi just felt sick.
Even if he had only said her name out loud once to confirm it, he still couldn’t help but feel disgusted as the names Myuhi and Ruona are both actually similar to some dirty words in Falandia’s language.
He’d gotten quite familiar with the language in these past two years, so saying those two names out loud was a considerable ordeal for him.
Which is why he decided to just use the last characters of her name.
Coincidently, it ended up having a positive meaning over there such as ‘Bright’ or ‘Warm’.
“If you don’t like it, I can think of something else.”
“…No need. Hina, huh. Ehehe…”
The girl muttered the name she’d been given several times as she lightly shook her head and laughed.
Although her happiness irritated Shinichi for a moment, but he quickly concealed that, and spoke in his usual stoic face and monotonous voice.
“Well, I’ll leave the tour to you then.”
Right now, he didn’t have the leisure to meddle with other people’s problems.
If she’s happy, then so what? He reasoned to himself.
“Uhe? Ah, right! Of course! But, umm…”
But then Myuhi made an odd face as she suspiciously looked at the top of his head.
When she realized he had forgotten about it, she was left speechless.
Although he’d only been talking to “her”, until she arrived.
It also couldn’t be denied that from the side, it really only seemed that he was mumbling to himself.
The fact that he didn’t realize this showed just how off he’s thinking was, causing his head to hurt again in another meaning.
As expected, even he ended up realizing that he wasn’t in the right frame of mind.
Dejected, he drooped his shoulders. The girl, Myuhi, however, was oblivious to his feelings, and she only asked him.
“That thing on top of your head… What is that?”
“The same thing that’s on top of yours?”
Myuhi, stunned as expected, fervently waved her hands, though she kept smiling.
Still, however, her reaction wasn’t anything unexpected, as putting that thing as the “same” as the one over his head was definitely impossible.
“These’re definitely fox ears over my head, but that thing over yours is a fox!”
The fox’s ears stood up as if it were blinking.
The fox scratched the boy’s black hair with its small, but sharp claws.
When it was so bluntly pointed out, the fox’s irritation was roused atop the boy’s head.
It seemed to be mad over the name it was called, so the boy protested, saying.
“Don’t get mad. I told you before, right?
Over here, you look exactly like a fox.”
The fox still wasn’t happy, but as it was being patted, it eventually settled down.
Not long after, it moved down to the boy’s shoulder and lovingly rubbed its cheeks against his.
The fox had beautiful golden fur, a pair of long and narrow eyes, as well as a pair of ears strikingly similar to the ears over the girl’s head.
From the outside, this fox definitely looked no different from any other small fox.
Or at least, that would be so if it weren’t for the three tails behind it.
“Lassie, could that possibly be an Amaryllis Fox?”
Myuhi asked with a doubtful face, but Shinichi nodded.
The name Amaryllis belonged to a flower, but of course, this and that are two completely different things.
There is another organism with the name, and it is something that could only be found in Garesto.
As for the ‘fox’, that was just added by Garesto to ensure that they don’t get mixed up in Earth.
Which is why in this world “she” is known under the scientific name: Amaryllis Fox.
“…Don’t call me that?
Look, I get what you’re saying, but just bear with it for a bit, alright?”
But in actuality, this wasn’t the Amaryllis Fox but the Tenkorius from Falandia.
The partner he’s been with the longest amongst everyone he knows back there.
He originally didn’t plan to take it along with him, but because of something unexpected that occurred, he had no choice but to bring it in the end.
But because of that it also ended up saving his life.
“That’s amazing, Lassie.
Amaryllis don’t usually get attached to normal people.”
“Ahh… By the way, why Lassie?”
The Tenkorius was also the same, he added internally, but this time Shinichi was at a complete loss on how he ended up being given this nickname.
After thinking up on it a bit though, he finally figured it out. Nakamura Shinichi. Nakamu “Rashi” nichi [simple_tooltip content='(ラ= Ra; シ=Shi)’](?)[/simple_tooltip] . There’s a Rashi at the center of Nakmura and Shinichi.
But after realizing that, he suddenly felt like a failure for not living up to that super famous name.
“I’m nothing like the dog from Lassie Come Hom–”
But then, he suddenly realized it.
Lassie Come Home was a story about a dog who was separated from his master, and had to overcome many trials to return back home.
And speaking of which, he himself was swept away into another world, and after many trials, managed to come back home.
It was certainly a perfect fit.
“What’s with that? I’m seriously a human Lassie. H-Haha…
I couldn’t get a happy ending though. H-Haha…”
With a parched voiced, he muttered quietly to himself as he slovenly laughed.
Naturally, even this seemingly unprecedented girl would end up surprised. As her eyes opened wide, she cautiously asked.
“Sorry… Please not that. Just don’t.”
His generally callous mind was greatly shaken as he thought to himself, I’m worse than a dog.
Seeing that desperate expression on his face as he asked her to stop, even she forgot her smile and nodded.
“Alright, Icchi. Follow me, I’ll show you around.”
The girl walked ahead to lead the way, turning around from time to time with a smile on her face.
She would wave her skirt along with her tail as she happily laughed.
That movement of hers that perfectly prevented prying eyes from seeing any further down was already a first-class technique in and of itself.
“Hurry! Hurry! If we don’t go faster, the day will end before we’re done!”
But that superfluous cheerfulness of hers only rustled his gloomy heart.
Having such a highly trained perception wasn’t all good.
As for why, that’s because he could tell that that smile and cheerfulness of hers was just a mask.
Which is exactly why it was only for one moment.
When he gave her the name ‘Hina’, for that one moment, she was truly happy. And that caused his head to hurt.
For her to be so gladdened by a name she received from someone she’d just met,
just what kind of life had she been living until now?
“I have a really bad feeling something troublesome is gonna happen.”
While facing toward her, he quietly complained in Falandia’s language.
Although it wouldn’t be a problem as long as she didn’t hear him, it was a lot easier to just talk in a different language.
“ ‘It’s just the same as usual though, no?’
What’re you being so happy for? Sheesh.”
Right. Now that he knows, he couldn’t just leave her be.
Acting like he didn’t see anything now would make a lie out of everything he’d done so far.
And more than anything, he didn’t have the freedom to make that choice.
He decided he would search all paths. If so, then adding one more to that list shouldn’t be a problem.
“What are you doing? I’m going to leave you behind~~!”
“Ahh, I’m going.”
–––Then, shall we go?
To the rumored Garesto Academy. In order to know that so-called success they speak of.
And if at the end, it proved to be harmful to him, to his family, or to the world, then he would destroy it.
Though the boy was full of worries. Though he regretted and grumbled.
It was for that reason that he came to this city… To this academy.
“As much as possible, don’t crush it, alright?”
The school was a good cover for him.
He would hide and protect himself from three years.
But aside from that, this school was worthless.
As he thought that to himself, he followed Myuhi into the school building.
Oddly enough, it’s the same date as that day when he found himself lost in another world.
A truly, fitting day for the beginning of a new life––––
––––but more than anything, a fitting date for the curtain call on a series of troublesome days.
The reason why rumors surrounding Shinichi appeared in the future.
Normally, a student would go -> Alright!! I got into a super elite school!! I’m gonna do my best!!
But compared to that.
Shinichi went -> Eh, what’s with this smelly school… How suspicious…
Because of that he couldn’t get along with the others. (lol)
We’ll be following this timeline for a while, and I’ll be explaining several things about the academy and Garesto.