THE CORRIDOR OF MEMORIES
[Coming Out Of The Convenience Store, There Was A Wondrous World]
Natsuki Subaru was born into the lax educational environment of the Heisei-era Japan.
If we were to tell the whole story of the entire 17 years of his life, it would probably take all 17 years to do it.
So, if we omit those parts and just briefly explain his current position, it would be along the lines of “A Third-Year Highschool Hikikomori”.
Or, in a little more detail, it would be “A Hopeless Shit Who Goes Against To His Parents’ Expectations And Shuts Himself In His Own Shell At A Time When Exams Are Coming Up”.
He had no particular reasons for withdrawing himself.
One ordinary weekday, the thought just occurred to him, “it’d be a pain to get up today”, and from there, his absenteeism was under way.
Slipping further and further like this, the amount of time he stayed away from school grew longer, and, before he knew it, he had become a shut-in who made his parents cry.
Day after day, he spent in indulgent slothfulness, cutting off all communication, languoring on in this state, until――
While he was busy muttering to himself and trying hard to organize some understanding of the current situation, two white hands grabbed onto his cheeks. Looking up, there was a beautiful silver-haired girl in front of his eyes.
――Honestly, a very beautiful girl.
With long silver hair that gleamed like moonlight and violet eyes like embedded gemstones.
Her long lashes were trembling as she watched him with a worried gaze that took her beauty beyond the natural order of the world, such that it gave him the illusion that he was seeing some divine art-piece magnificent enough to make all the artists of the world give up their pens.
And then, there was the question, why would such a beautiful girl be squeezing his face in a close enough range that they could feel each other’s breaths?
Her smell is super nice.[???: Subaru?]
His name being called once again by that voice like the ring of a silver chime, Subaru spasmed out a smile in reply.
Not just his face, but even his voice was shaking, and it wasn’t entirely clear whether that could be called a smile. And, for reasons Subaru could not understand, this girl seemed to be especially close to him. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be talking and staring at him in such a super-close distance like this.
Trying to calm himself down by joking around a bit, he instead got hit by that totally unexpected comment. Watching Subaru recoil from that remark, the girl stuck out her tongue a little with [You’re always like this].
So cute. What’s going on with this girl? Why does she seem so terribly close to him?
And just, what did she mean by “always like this”, and acting so worried――
Subaru jumped himself up with great force and started blowing up in front of the beautiful girl and the one she was talking to―― cute and fairy-like, a little girl in an extravagant dress, sporting a pair of no less elegant swirling drill-curls…. but his voice quickly trailed off.
Inherently blunt, he had started blurting this out without thinking, before he realized that on the other end were two girls he had just met. Shutting himself up, he seriously recognized that he shouldn’t have snapped.
――But the situation was too strange.
If what Subaru imagined was correct, these two girls must be important KEY-PERSONs, like the villagers of the first village or something like that.
So, Subaru should straighten himself up and focus on first impressions.
Coughing once, intending to start over, Subaru turned to face the two in front of him.
Taking the two shocked-looking girls and the giant black lizard curled up behind his back into his gaze, Subaru took a step back, and,
Jabbing a finger toward the ceiling, he held his waist with the other hand and struck out a POSE.
Sadly, there was no shiny reflective ball or Disco music, but Subaru sparkled his teeth as he said this and tried to make the most of it.
Listening to him proclaiming this at the top of his voice, for a moment, the other two could only stare at him stupidly.
Getting no reaction at all, Subaru only continued maintaining his pose. As if whoever moves first would lose, he decided he was in it to win it.
And so, after about ten seconds had passed in silence, the two girls looked at each other, and then,
And just like that, yanked out of his high-spirited self-introduction, his thoughts spilled out into that groan.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
――It was only a little later when the seriousness of the situation became apparent.
He was rather proud of that self-introduction, but seeing the way it was received, Subaru couldn’t help but bend his neck. But, after that, hearing it again from the two girls, it was clear why they were so surprised.
Subaru and the girls’ memories were different―― while Subaru was supposed to be meeting them for the first time, they already knew who Subaru was.
Of course, there were no such memories on Subaru’s side. So then――
Seeing Subaru with his knees neatly folded and stuttering out his reply, the beautiful girl widened her eyes. The sight of her pupils violently trembling sent an sense of intense guilt into Subaru’s heart.
But she was not the only one who was shocked by Subaru’s reply.
Muttering this in a whisper, was the pale-faced little girl.
Even more confused than the pretty girl, the younger girl was not spared from the shock.
Sitting on the side of the ivy-bed, the little girl sitting beside him was softly tugging on his sleeve. Seeing her delicate fingers lightly trembling, Subaru felt a pain inside his heart.
Facing the two girls, shocked and lost in front of him, Subaru tried to think of something to say, but unfortunately, nothing came to him. Honestly, there was so much cold water dumped on him at once that it would’ve been enough to drown in.
――Initially, what Subaru thought had happened was him “Just getting summoned to a Parallel World”.
While getting summoned to a Parallel World, even with the “Just” attached to it, was already far beyond what would be considered common sense, it turned out to be even further away than he had imagined―― Although, one could say, he almost had the right answer.
As far as Subaru was concerned, this was not the familiar world he had lived in for seventeen years.
It was clearly evident just by looking the outlandish clothing, and the inhuman beauty of these two girls. If that still wasn’t enough, the giant black lizard the size of a horse should also be submitted to the court as evidence.
He had heard of Komodo Dragons that were supposed to be pretty big, but that would be nothing compared to the stature of this black lizard. And with the organic bed and chairs made out of ivy added to that, we have a pretty clear case on our hands.
――In other words, this was a World outside all common sense. An alternate, Parallel World.
Belonging in the so-called Fantasy-genre, a world wholly unknown to Subaru.