Chapter 80 – Hollow
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‘Hollow…’

‘…so hollow.’

Yes, that would be a adequate description of what I felt on a daily basis.

Everything felt hollow, empty to be more concise. Everything seemed to have sullen to the point where I found no enjoyment in doing it.

I spent most of my life doing one thing and one thing only: playing games. Some people may question as to whether it was healthy or a good way to spend your time, however to me it was the only thing that made me feel fulfilled.

Obviously the same feeling didn’t continue the older I grew, I became conscious of everything.

Everything I did.

Everything that has happened.

Everything that had been happening.

Everything that was about to happen.

Everything that will happen.

Everything…

….

The moment I became conscious of it all, I began changing. Whether it was in a good way or not, I am not sure.

I began researching what I wanted to do for my future, what I should do and what would make me happiest.

In life, your objective is to live a life without regrets, and fulfillment.

Knowing myself, the way I was heading my whole life I would end up regretting to my hearts core.

I could ignore it if I wanted, continue my life in feign ignorance of everything around me.

But I—

Could not do that.

Because if I did, I would end up just like everybody else.

Working every day of my life, repeating the same cycle over and over without end. Eventually exhausting my life to it’s last moments along in my death bed.

Taking my personality into count, I heavily doubted that I would ever get a girlfriend, although my looks weren't something really important, but it certainly was a minus.

Though, that was not a problem. I did not mind end up alone forever, as long as I could lead my life they way I wanted it to, I wouldn’t mind.

Some people may think that it is a humble way to live, spend their days in ignorance. Doing the same thing every day, spend their free time doing what they wanted, and then repeat the same thing tomorrow and the day after, until they’d repeat if everyday, until the day they died.

But that…

Was not for me.

‘What is it you want to become?’

That question still faces me even today.

At first, I began thinking about what I liked. I like food, especially to eat it, so why don’t I become a chef?

Good idea… that I failed at miserably.

For one day I went to a restaurant to work, it was an event my school was running so I was obligated to show up.

I was horrible at cooking, the best I could process would be simple dishes.

I took too long to cut the vegetables, and my shyness made it difficult for me to attained customers.

At the end of that day, I decided that it wasn’t for me.

‘So, what now?’

After that I began looking for things ‘less realistic’ or maybe fantasies, I like games. Why don’t I become a game developer?

But how do I become one in the first place?

I began researching, but it led to no avail.

I thought. ‘Maybe I should study programming.’

However, in the country I lived the educational system worked differently. Studying programming was not something I could reach that easily, and if I did I would’ve just spent my time learning nothing of importance.

Or so my teachers told me, my grades were average, not bad nor too good.

But that was not enough.

So, what did I do?

I continued searching for my answer, when one day….

It all broke down into nothing but fragments of my will.

‘I don’t want to do this, I can’t! I won’t accept it!’

The day…

I experience a good dose of what my parents always told me was ‘Reality’.

I worked on a small company for a week, to experiment things there. It was just a test drive, nothing much would happen I thought, and I was right.

But what I experienced there was something I could not take in.

‘If I stay here another day, I’ll die’

‘My mind won’t be able to take it!’

‘I’ll break!’

What was my job you ask?

Packaging, delivering, and producing.

Maybe the little rant I was throwing wasn’t anything to be mad about or that it was stupid to think what I was doing.

What I experienced there was psychological torture.

I spent around six hours of pure torture, from eight am, to three pm, all I did there was move my hands, my brain was at standstill for hours.

I couldn’t bare the idea of not utilizing my brain, I had to think of something or I would break.

Everyone would think it was stupid to think about it like that, after all…

It was work.

Repeating the same action for twelve hours or more or less, with small breaks in between.

‘Stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, STOP IT!’

I feared going to that place ever again.

‘Was everything I’ve done for the last ten years useless? Ten years of school, hard work, average grades, all for this cardboard folding job?!?!’

Yes, this job was something anyone could do, for all I cared they could’ve hired children for the job, but the state wouldn’t allow it, since child labor is illegal, nor would it be a really good idea.

‘All I do is fold cardboard for nine hours, my brain won’t be able to take it!’

I grew a fear, and trauma towards that place. The streets were dead, and the atmosphere in the workspace was the ones of a graveyard.

Everyone had their eyes down on their work, and nobody was speaking.

And some of them… looked dead inside.

‘Is this how people spend their daily life’s?! I can’t!’

Is this what they called ‘Running away from reality?’

Am I supposed to embrace this reality?

There are people who live far better, people who have it far easier and fulfilling.

And I’m supposed to accept that I am bound to this fate?

I won’t accept it, I can’t! I don’t want to! I’d rather die than live my life like that!

But…

….w-

Why is that?

Why did I not want to spend my life humbly like others?

It was because….

 

 

 

I wanted to be special.

I wanted to be the type of person who was capable of doing something others couldn’t, or do something not most people are able to achieve.

I wanted to go down as a person known to many, and not as a dust swept away by the universe.

But what’s was ‘Special’?

Every living being has some traits that is different form others, some are better at calculating than others, some were more social, and some were better at drawing. Those are what we called talents.

So, my dream was something different.

I wanted to feel 'fullfilled'

I wanted to live a life that was more worth than others, I wanted to live a life where I would be able to live it the way I wished to.

A life, where I could say ‘I have nothing to regret’.

But…

The moment I had set foot in that factory, in that company.

My heart trembled dearly.

Every second in there felt wasted, an opportunity that could’ve opened itself taken by the endless cycle of repetition of the same task.

I imagined jobs exactly like this, but the actual thing in itself was terrifying.

It needed no special traits, no special abilities, not something only one person could do.

It was naught but folding cardboard and placing items within.

I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I CAN' DO IT!!!

The tantrum, the turmoil going on in my mind was probably stupid, after all I only spent a week there it’s not like I worked there.

But, is that how people live their daily lives? Same thing over and over? Nothing new, different or maybe even meaningful?

If this goes on I will lose my sanity, I’m going to break down. If I spend one more day repeating the same thing I’ll—

I’ll—

 

 

 

“Hey bro, are you alright?”

“…huh?”

My eyes were drowsy, and my consciousness seemed to be wavering, I felt my head heavily raising from the cushion I was resting on.

“What’s wrong…?”, I asked, releasing a short yawn soon after taking in a short breath.

My brothers face filled with worry, his eyes squinted at my appearance.

“Were you crying?”

“…?!”

I placed my hand on my cheeks, I felt a humid and damp sensation along another tear flowing down.

I noticed that my heart beat was rapidly increasing, and that my breaths began shortening.

I breathed in and out, calmed my breathing and wiped the tears of my face, my heart beat came back to normal, but I could still feel my heart tremble slightly.

“Nah, I wasn’t.”

“Huh? You totally were.”, he insisted.

“It’s probably your imagination, and also if you’re back home that means you’ve been fired again.”

“Hey! Why are you always assuming that?!”

“But I’m not wrong am I?”, I said, making a small grin, finally feeling my heart calming down.

“Kuh!”, my brother felt a blow to his stomach, although I did not even touch him physically.

This was my older brother, he has been on a spree of getting fired on every job he tried. As a retail worker, chef, electrician, delivery man, you name it, he has tried it.

“Seriously, at this point I’m truly wondering who is actually hopeless.”, I muttered to myself in a loud voice so that he could hear it as well, meaning to hurt his feelings even further.

At some point I thought he was trying to get himself fired on purpose for some stupid challenge that was maybe going on the internet.

“Let’s shove that topic aside, tomorrow is your field trip, isn’t it? Do you have your things prepared?”

“Yes, I’m one hundred percent ready.”

“Are you sure? Last time you forgot to bring your own bath utensils, and ended up not bathing for a week.”

‘Don’t remind me of my horrible past!’

“Yes I’m sure, mom was even overprotective on the clothes and everything.”, I told him pointing towards the humongous bag twice the size of a dog next to the wall.

“Are you really going to be able to carry that?”, he asked, doubting that I could carry such a heavy bag, considering my physique.

“Well, if I die I’ll have a good excuse to go back home sooner, since our parents won’t pull the classic ‘child is sick today’, and also we’re going with a bus, they might have space to store it somewhere.”, I told him, asserting his reassurance.

“Alright, I’ll leave it to ya.”

As he was about to leave the room, my mouth moved on its own. As if something had told me, that I should speak right at that moment these exact words.

“What would you do, if I died tomorrow?”

“Heh? Why the hell are you asking me that? Are you okay? You feeling depressed again?”

“First off, I’ve never been depressed, maybe a little down, but not depressed. And second of all, it’s just that I am worried about you.”

“How does the question ‘what would you do if I died tomorrow’ have to do with my well being?”, he asked raising a brow.

“Because if I left you, you would officially become hopeless.”

“No I wouldn’t, I haven't stooped so low that I had to get on my knees and beg my younger brother for help!”, he refused to believe in my statement. “Oh really? Do you even know what you have to do the time I’ll be gone?”

“Uhhh, play ga—“

“No doofus, search for a job.”, I bonked him in the head.

He scrubbed his head in pain. “Okay, I’ll do that… but don’t jinx yourself like that. It might become true, and it’s not like you have the luck of a average isekai protagonist where you’ll reincarnate into another world.”

“Haha! You’re right about that, don’t worry though.”, I reassured him. “How can you be so sure, you could actually die tomorrow.”, he asked back either way.

“Look, the odds of me dying on a bus crash are as high as me dying by being run over by a car, look. Anyone can die at any moment, it’s unlikeable, but the chance is still there, but everyone moves forwards anyway.”

“I get where you’re going…”, my brother nodded in approval to my assessment. “Okay, if that's it I’ll be leaving now, make sure to get to bed early.”

“Who are you, our mom? Or is this your useless attempt at being my ‘older’ brother?”, I sneered at him, while giggling a little.

“I am your older brother!”

He turned around, and left the room.

But before that—

“Hey.”

“Uh, what is it?”

“In the case I am gone, make sure to get a good job. And one that you enjoy at that.”

He turned his head in confusion.

“Okay, I’ll do that.”, he answered.

Leaving the room, he thought back on his younger brothers words, he did not believe he would disappear just like that. It was unlikely just like the person in question had said for himself. But for some reason…

His mind did not stop revolving itself around the same question.

 

 

 

This could’ve been a explanation to what Alice asked, but I answered her differently. Like a small resume of my life, maybe only filled with some goods and bads, and only one segment explained.

“Why do you have to be such a pessimist.”, Willow muttered the question.

“I’m not a pessimist, it’s just that the hard reality I faced back then backed me into a corner where I was forced to look at everything in a negative way, though I am not saying everything in my life was bad.”

“That’s clearly not the story of your life.”, Alice said, her mood seemingly ruined.

“Of course not, I only told you the part that I regretted most about my life or what caused me most worries, and also, the story of my life could be shortened to just four sentences or less."

Yeah, I regret not having been able to finish my life the way I wanted.

The little fuss I made about being lost, and eventually becoming mad was foolish. I should’ve thought about what to do next, and what to do in order to reach what I wanted.

I could've simply searched for a company that does something I enjoyed, or maybe look deeper into it.

But now I am here, and this is the present I live in.

“Are you unhappy with the life you’re leading now?”, Willow asked, his interest rather piqued.

“No, not really.”, I said looking down on the sand, the uncomfortable feeling encroaching on my bottom and hands supporting my body.

“In this world I can’t do half of the things I wanted on earth, hell might as well say that there’s barely anything left.”

“Then, what are you going to do now?”, Willow asked.

“Do you mean as in for my life here?”, I asked for a clarification.

“Of course, after all—“

“You’re immortal.”

“Wha—“

I never actually thought about it, but I’m immortal. Well, I can still ‘die’ or ‘disappear’ in some way, but as long as that doesn’t happen I could live for eternities.

‘And…

Everyone else will probably be gone in the future—

Ghosts and spirits, or farther said Undead in general lived forever, they have no lifespan like Elves or humans, since they don’t have a life in the first place.

I’m most likely to be a special case, I heard most ghosts and spirits only live on regret and await for one day to be released from the mortal realm so that they could move on.

Ghosts and Spirits have different shapes and come to be in different ways, spirits can become ghosts but how does one become a spirit?

That—

I did not know.

The only knowledge regarding spirits, were from the ones I encountered and the fact of me having once been one as well.

Spirits reside within living bodies, or living things in general, the moment they die, the spirits also called their souls get released from their bodies and move on.

“You there, boy?”, Willow quickly snapped me back to reality before I drifted into deep thought.

“I’m fine, I just spaced out a little thinking about something.”, I answered and reorganized my thoughts.

In this world with swords and magic, where monsters, humans, elves and even ghosts, spirits and other mythical beings existed, what would I possibly want to do.

“Well, there’s the king that needs to be taken care of, keeping him as is isn’t an option.”

His ambitions might lead to something bad, but we also couldn’t do anything in our states, other than being utterly weak (compared to him), we also have to take care of the twins who weren’t fully aged yet.

Then what is there to do? I don’t feel like working at an establishment where all I do is repeat the same action on loop.

“For now I want to take things easily.”, I answered to his question. “First, we need to take care of the house problem, and then we’ll se what to do next.”

For now, I’ll have to take care of important problems first, what comes next, comes after everything’s been settled. ‘One step at a time’, I reconciled with my mother’s words she had once whispered to me. She may have not been the smartest, but she certainly wasn’t a complete fool.

Tap, tap

The sound of little footsteps reached my ears, looking forward I faced Lara who seemed to have had her time of indulgence, and is now ready to return.

“Already back? Or is there anything wrong?”, I asked her.

She breathed in and out, seeming out of breath due to her running over here, which in my perspective seemed to look like walking or approximately sprinting.

“I’ve been thinking, if they’re all big sisters, does that mean they’re married to big brother?”, she came out of the blue to ask one of the most outrageous of qestions.

“!!!”, Alice became instantly alerted, her cheeks flushed red.

“I’ve been wondering that too, why did you act like a big sis?”, my suspicion raised as I asked her. “A-a-and why did you go along with it?!”

“Because for their smiles— I’d even defeat a demon lord.”

“Cut the crap!”, Alice shouted in embarrassment, her ears unable to believe what I just said, even though she knew that I was flat out joking.

“So, why did you do it?”, I persisted.

“Are they not married to big brother?”, Lara spoke outrageous words once again, which flattered me as a guy, but troubled me as the virgin that I am.

“It’s just.. I…”, Alice spoke as her words were devoured by her own rumbling.

“”You what?””, the curiosity getting the hang of both me and Lara, Willow just listened like an outsider, while smirking here and there.

“It’s just… that I… never really had a little sister…”, Alice fidgeted around.

“As you know… I’ve lived almost alone my whole life… my parents were too busy, but they sometimes would spend some time with me so I don’t blame them… and when they were gone some servants would accompany me, and other times I would spend some time with other nobles in banquets or events…”

She continued her explanation while her voice became even smaller. “I would spend some time with Athena, but I never actually got time to do so, and she’s the closest person to me… that I sometimes even consider her my sister… and so…”

“I sort of desired to have a little sister, since I’ve never actually had one…”, Alice finished her explanation with a bashful expression.

“So pretty much your parents pitied you, and ordered your butlers and or maids to spend time with you, though probably not willingly, and the reason why you proclaimed yourself as their little sister, was because of your sick delusions that you so desired to make reality.”

“That’s not it! And that can’t be true! The maids were so nice to me, Therese no way they would’ve…”, Alice denied to acclaimed that my accusations were true.

But she suddenly fell silent, her eyes downcast, and her breathing slowing.

“Uh, what’s wrong?”

‘There’s no way… that I—‘

“Oh, it all makes sense now, haha…”, she released a flat laugh, which couldn’t even be classified as a laugh.

“I bet they must’ve earned quite the sum back then, hehehe~…”, the flat laugh turned into a creepy one in a mere span of seconds and her eyes seemed to be dead.

“So, they’re not married to Big Brother?”, Lara asked innocently with her finger below her chin in a manner of showing confusion and curiosity.

“No, they aren’t.”

“No, we aren’t.”

Both me and Alice responded to her question at the same time, it caught me surprised by her quick return.

“… they’re in sync again…”, Willow said to himself, but my ears caught hold of it, but I decided not to respond.

 

 

And so, our day continued. I refused to leave the shadows, and pretty much spent the whole day either playing with some of my skills, and or just resting for fun.

The others returned around sunset, and all of them seemed spent.

And as I expected, some of them didn’t find it as fun as they originally thought it to be.

Laila had some trouble brushing off the sand from her tail, and she even complained about the water being too salty.

I volunteered to brush her tail and ears, but she refused.

‘I really wanted to touch those…’

We left the beach with our each and individual thoughts, my only regret was being unable to brush the animal ears and tail from Laila.

 

Happy new Year and chapter, we have reached 500 READERS! congratulations on me, and all of you for pulling with it. I really hope all of you enjoyed this chapter!

This time there will be a special chapter for all of you! It's like a Q&A, but different:

The next chapter will be a special 500 readers, what you have to do is write down questions for the characters in my novel!

You could ask Shiro how it feels like to be a dead, or his favorite color, or you could ask it all characters!

Just go to the comments and write down ('Character Name'), for specific character, or (All) for all characters, and if you want a specific group, write the characters inside the ().

I hope all of you enjoyed this chap, and I wish all of you a wonderful new year.

(PS: Have I ever mentioned Shiro having a brother?)

(PPS: Have I ever mentioned what type of Demi-Human Laila is?)

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