Many years have passed since the world was filled with light and the tools of civilization illuminated the darkness.
People would toil day and night, and some would toil precisely because it was night, but regardless, the night would come, and for most, it would be a time for sleep.
That was the case for this common house, home to a family of three, who slept on a bed in a manner akin to the ‘川’ character.
A mundane but happy scene of a little girl sandwiched between her parents.
But a small shadow was shaking the mother, it was the little girl, who’d woken up.
“W-Wake up, mother,” the daughter said.
“Mnn, fuaa… What’s the matter?” the mother said.
Though still sleepy-eyed, the mother turned to her daughter and asked that question amidst her yawn.
The girl made a troubled face as she asked, “Mother, don’t you want to go to the toilet?”
After a moment, the mother realized what she was saying, and she broke into laughter.
Her drowsiness gone, she said. “I suppose I do. Do you want to go together?”
She took her daughter’s hand and went to the toilet, then she perfunctorily entered the toilet and went back out quickly, upon which her daughter hurriedly entered the toilet.
“Remember, Mom, you’re an adult, so you can’t leave a child alone!”
The child said precociously from the other side of the door, to which the mother agreed, and then laughed.
“If she’s scared of the dark, she could just say so,” the mother muttered..
“I’m not scared! I just thought you might be scared!”
The mom didn’t mean for her that remark, but she still heard it.
Her daughter was audibly displeased, but that only made the mother’s smile bigger.
“Fu fu, unfortunately, your mother isn’t afraid of the dark,” the mother told her daughter after leaving the toilet.
And then as expected, her daughter made a bitter face and started muttering to herself with her mouth in the ‘へ’ shape.
“But you’re an adult already, Mother, and you’re also much better at spells than I am…”
That’s why it was only natural for her not to be afraid, her daughter told her with a pout. The mother wryly smiled and lifted her up. “Look,” she said as she pointed at the room.
Then the lights vanished and they were enclosed in darkness.
It was the same familiar house, but it looked so different.
The scenery normally illuminated by day was now covered in a darkness that made it impossible to see ahead.
Something, someone, seemed to be within that darkness, and the girl inadvertently clung to her mother.
“The reason you’re afraid is because you think there’s something in the depths of the darkness. But something that you can’t see doesn’t exist, so if you can’t see anything, there’s nothing there.”
“Yes, but it’s normal to be afraid of the darkness, so it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, but I do wish that you can grow to love the ‘night’.”
“Why?” The daughter tilted her head, and the mother chose her words carefully to help her understand.
“I mean, when the sun is out, it’s too bright, and you can’t sleep, and also, if you fear the night, you won’t know when it’ll be tomorrow… And…”
Suddenly, the mother showed the daughter the night sky through the window, and the brilliance of the twinkling stars dotted up above drew her voice.
There could be no such sight if they were in the city, but that was not the case here.
“…Those beautiful stars are actually there too in the day, but the sun is shining so bright that you can’t see them.”
“So we can see them because the sun is sleeping?”
“Yes. Your mother’s job is like that too. Something important that can only be done when no one is looking, involving things that can’t be seen unless it’s dark…”
As the mother said that, she seemed somewhat apologetic.
She felt that she was being too assertive, and she also felt bad for pushing an inevitable fate onto her daughter, but…
“I got it, so night is a really gentle person!”
Whether she knew of her mother’s feelings or not, the daughter’s eyes twinkled as though she’d made some great discovery and declared confidently.
“The night puts the sun and everyone else to sleep, he allows mom to do her work, and even shows us the stars. Surely, he must be a good person!”
in the face of those unexpected words, the mother’s eyes turned into dots, and she surrendered to her daughter in her mind.
As it turns out, her daughter was actually much better at explaining than her.
“Then, can you become friends with that gentle night?” The mother asked.
───One day this child will learn that that is not all there is to the night.
The blood in her veins would surely compel her to be with the darkness, but even then, she wanted to praise her for seeing through one aspect of the silent night.
To her daughter, who would befriend the night and have to walk alongside him, she prayed that she would somehow find happiness. As her daughter innocently smiled at her, she caressed her head while praising her with a smile.
“Such a good child… You are my pride, Tomoe.”
───What a strange sight.
The floating city of Kutoria. Approximately half of it was occupied by the fields.
At the halfway point was the school, and approximately 10 kilometers from it was the coast.
But the coast did not have white sandy beaches that one could enjoy, instead it had rocky beaches that looked as though rocks had been crammed into it.
Waves would crash and wet the shore, scraping the rocky beaches so little that people couldn’t notice.
Considering that this place was made with the best of otherworld technology, one might find it strange how ordinary the rocky shore was, but that was not what was truly strange here.
In a corner of the rocky beach was a brand new
If it had drifted ashore, it had no traces of getting wet by sea water nor did it have any visible signs of damage.
It was also positioned a good distance away from the edge of the beach where the waves crashed.
That was plenty strange by itself, but what was really strange was what happened after.
No one touched it, and yet the cover on it opened by itself.
There was nothing inside.
No, to be more precise, the only thing inside was ‘white’.
Layers of white paper had been plastered all over inside, making it look as though it had been painted white.
The color ‘white’ normally gave the impression of purity and cleanliness, but for some reason, this white seemed different.
There was an indescribable weight to it that struck fear into anyone who saw it.
A white that instilled anxiety.
That was the strange eeriness that the ‘white colors’ within the box possessed.
Suddenly, those ‘white’ flew out all at once like smoke.
Perhaps it was because they’d flown so quickly or perhaps that’s how they were from the start, but the white color scattered into fine pieces in the air and fell around the box.
Somehow, they’d all turned into the same shape.
The upper part was cut round, the sides protruded, and the lower part had a cut right in the middle.
It was the shape of a
And they scattered in a place where no could see, falling and fluttering.
───But the strange sight did not end there.
The dolls numbered no less than 20.
One by one, they stood up.
The thin pieces of paper seemed like they possessed their own flesh and mind.
No. Had anyone been here, they would have witnessed just that happen.
The paper dolls gently floated in the air and pulled various things around it.
Soil, stones, leaves, trees, sea water… They gathered them into a swirl.
And in the next moment, ‘humans’ as many as there were dolls appeared.
Moreover every one of them wore braided hats, a prest’s garb, and a khakkhara. Yes, they looked just like monks.
They had breath in them, but there was a lack of life that painted them ghastly.
Fortunately or unfortunately, there was no one to witness this.
“…What is the situation?”
“It will be ready in 10 minutes.”
When one of them spoke in a hoarse voice, the people around answered.
At the end of their eyes was the yet open empty wooden box.
This time for sure, it should be empty already, but there was a slight twist on their lips.
“Is Takahisa not done yet?”
“He’s yet to contact us, but a sign should be given soon.”
“He may be my grandson, but I must say, he really is careless with time,” an old man, who seemed to be the leader of this group, shook his head and sighed.
“There’s no choice but to wait,” he said, and everyone else nodded.
But then the countenance of a certain person, who had been watching over the box, suddenly changed.
Immediately, one of the ‘monks’ stood in front of the wooden box and swung his khakkhara.
As the sound of metal resounded, a small hole appeared around him along with an arrow that normal people couldn’t see.
After deflecting the invisible arrow and realizing from where it had been shot from, the man brought his right index finger and middle finger together, and with them standing up, he moved his arm down.
In the next moment, a blade that couldn’t be seen by normal people descended, and as the person tumbled out, the big rock behind exploded. Evidently, neither party here was normal.
That person suddenly realized that the sunlight had been obstructed, so she looked up.
Four monks were rushing toward the person with with their sharpened khakkharas.
An invisible wall was erected almost immediately and invasions were ‘prohibited’.
But the khakkharas and the wall released a flash of light akin to lightning, and as the two powers fought, they seemed to reject each other.
The one that erected the wall, a woman, took out a charm from her bosom.
The character for explosion was written on it, and as soon as she plastered it onto the invisible wall, an explosion erupted, and the monks attacking were all blown away.
But despite being blown away along with the dust and the shockwaves, the monks somehow managed to slip away.
“Geh, I knew it wouldn’t work!” The woman said with frustration.
The explosion just now was akin to a self-destruction attack with the protector she was wearing.
But the monks were able to jump away immediately. Their clothes were a bit dirtier now, but clearly, they managed to avoid a direct hit.
“An impressive display of Invisibility, but you’re still too green. Your fighting spirit stuck out too much,” one of the monks said.
“That armor is the one used by the students here, but…” Another monk said.
The woman, no, the girl was wearing a simple exoskeleton that wasn’t the slightest bit dirty.
But the group of monks were more suspicious of the girl’s appearance than her exoskeleton.
Even through the head gear, it was evident that she was not Japanese. That much was clear from her face and her blue eyes.
Yes, the girl was none other than Tomoe Safina of the normal class of 2 – B.