[Searching for host...]
[Host candidate found]
[Assessing host candidate...]
[Assessment Grade: S+]
[Beginning binding process...]
[Binding Process 1%]
Sitting in a room that was a perfect mix of historical and contemporary, a man and a woman stared at each other.
Before they could make further observations about where they were or even each other, a bright and bubbly voice blared out. [Welcome, welcome all! Congratulations on being souls picked by us, Mochizuki Kenta and Zaizen Yui! We’re your systems, Jigoku System 001 Yin and Yang!]
A bit curious about Mochizuki Kenta, the woman identified as Zaizen Yui’s eyes brightened even as she bowed, “Hello, it’s nice to make your acquaintance. My name is Zaizen Yui and I’ll be in your care.” This man in front of her, was he her new coworker or were their future jobs connected to each other in some other fashion and that’s why they had to meet now?
“Mochizuki Kenta,” the man’s baritone voice responded while his gaze remained cool even as he bowed back,” I hope we work well together.”
A young boy’s voice suddenly burst out. [Stop wasting time with these pleasantries already! Zaizen Yui, as my host, your job is-]
[Stop it Yang! Don’t just infodump! There’s a flow to these kinds of things, you know.] Complained the bright female voice from earlier whose owner was none other than Yin.
[Flow?! Just tell them the necessary information so we can head out already!]
[The bare minimum-]
Clearing his throat, Mochizuki Kenta stopped their fight,“Where is this?”
[Silly me, I allowed Yang to disrupt my flow! Allow me to present to you two your system space! This is your personal pocket dimension shared between you two. Enma-sama created this place to be your home and as a place where a Hell Portal is permanently placed so you can bring captured souls in.]
“So, we’re to be roommates?” Yui’s silvery voice spread through the room, smooth like honey. Turns out the icicle is her coworker and roommate then!
[Righteo! You see, you guys are to be partners as it was determined that it would prove to be better if the job was split between two people.]
The widening of Kenta’s eyes went unnoticed by Yui, whose eyes had begun to scan their new home intently. The place looked like a small one room apartment with nothing but a kotatsu, a beautifully gilded mirror hanging on one wall and two sliding doors on either side of the room.
Before Yin could lengthen the time they would talk, Yang cut in. [Zaizen Yui’s job as an employee of Jigoku is to be a bounty hunter for escapees and Mochizuki Kenta’s job is as a bounty hunter for the newly dead.]
“What?!” Both silvery and deep voices intertwined in that one moment. One more a gasped question and the other shouted in incredulity.
The man himself looked at her before pushing his glasses up on his nose bridge and bluntly stating,“ She doesn’t look like the type who’d even be able to truss up a chicken let alone beat one up either.”
Nobody could refute that. Zaizen Yui was a short woman even before she died, nevermind after when her appearance reverted back to her soul’s real looks. Truth be told, she looked like either an immortal fairy or an angel from above with her long white hair, doe-eyed sparkling silver eyes, beautifully delicately contoured face and swooping butterfly lashes. This was all without even taking into account her large spectacles that seemed to magnify how tiny she looked and her chubby red lips which served to stand out with her coloring and highlight exactly how fragile she seemed. She was a woman who, if she even had one purple bruise, would evoke great pity in the hearts of men and women everywhere. That well-behaved look he’d seen countless times in his life from easily bullied employees only further solidified Kenta’s opinion as she didn’t look like she even had it in her to hurt a fly let alone a human being.
“You don’t look like a good psychopomp either. More like, you’re the guy who looks like the devil in a devil’s deal, especially with those sharp red eyes of yours.” Staring at the guy beside her after making that observation, Yui’s face broke out into a lovely smile while her eyes sparkled. Just imagining this guy trying to negotiate someone to enter Jigoku of their own freewill makes her want to laugh. She can already see it. Him, iceberg extraordinaire, and some poor bastard looking at each other and him straightforwardly announcing them being dead, the other freaking out and making a break for it.
And well, no one could really blame her either. Mochizuki Kenta was a man whose soul was beautiful like hers is, but it was the type of beauty you’d expect on a poisonous animal out in nature. With his sharp jaw, sensuous lips, long sooty eyelashes and sharp red eyes, the man looked beautiful but oh so deadly, deadly enough to kill that is. The only thing that detracted a bit from this were his glasses, thinly framed and silver as they were, it weirdly fit him well.
“Red? I’ll have you know that I just tended to work a lot while alive-“ Started Kenta before he noticed his hands looked larger than they used to and alarmingly began to look at the rest of his body.
Yui, seeing this, suddenly had a look of unease on her face before glancing down and being struck speechless by what she could see of herself. “This,” she stood up, a bit unbalanced, before righting herself and running to the mirror she noticed behind Kenta,”what happened?! Why is my hair white?!”
That was the least of the changes on her, but far be it from anyone to point that out.
[Why, that’s your soul, of course! When someone dies they go back to how their soul really looked.]
Unable to let this chance go, Yang snipped in. [It’s not like your body was crafted to look exactly like your soul, you know. The humans would freak if you looked nothing like your relatives after all.]
“That,” she seemed to take a deep breath in before sighing and relaxing her tense features,” makes a whole lot of sense actually.” She stared at herself continuously and regardless of how less tense she was her eyes showed just how unsettled she really was. It was odd, like calling an old friend expecting to see their usual appearance and suddenly finding out they got plastic surgery without your knowledge. Yui made different expressions all the while with a fascinated look on her face even as she noted that both she and Mochizuki Kenta looked ashen in a well, dead way. Regardless of how she looked though, she was still wholly herself and people could still recognize her for that if nothing else. Calmed by the thought and a bit numb from all the fantastical things that’s been happening to her, she checked what else was different excitedly only to realize she seemed to have lost height and nearly wailed out loud.
Unlike Yui, Kenta stood behind her, seeming to loom as he stared at his changed features with a crack in his cool mask. He was gaping and his eyes were widened, fear deep in them. He hid it perfectly after, of course, but as systems, Yin and Yang still caught it.
[You both better get used to it. Your looks are the least of the changes you’ll undergo through your time as an employee of Jigoku. Both of you will begin to get stronger, faster and well, there will be a lot of other enhancements as time goes by. Since-]
“Jigoku and our jobs,” a determined glint had entered Kenta’s eyes as he spoke,”tell us more about them.”
Seeing her chance, Yui quickly piped up. “Before that, please tell us about how we can enlarge this space and whether there’s some hidden kitchen area I know nothing about.” She looked hopefully around the area. If there’s no kitchen, how do we eat? Even if there’s none, where’s the refrigerator? She needed food to calm down five days ago when the oni came dammit!
[Actually as souls you don’t need to eat, sleep or do anything to care for bodily needs.] Seeing Yui’s look at the open air as if someone swindled her, Yin hurried to continue. [That doesn’t mean you can’t do them anymore, but you’d have to collect Hell Scrolls in order to get your rewards like food coupons and Hell Money to enlarge your space and of course, to buy whatever you need for comfort.]
Like a man seeing water after being stuck in the desert for years, Yui’s eyes sparkled, “Hell Scrolls?”
Seeing his host’s interest and a chance for him to get them to go out faster, Yang answered her swiftly. [Since both of you are bounty hunters for Jigoku your target’s information is all detailed in Hell Scrolls. When your target has reached Meidō the Hell Scrolls can then be used to summon your rewards from Jigoku.]
“What is Hell Money?” Before Yui could continue, Kenta cut in with his own question.
[Hell Money is the soulbound currency used in the afterlife. It’s easier to use for employees of Hell too since it automatically changes to the currency of the local region no matter where you are. The exchange rate is always one to one just so you know, so no matter if you get a dollar or peso it would still be the same amount.] Yin happily answered back since her host seemed pretty proactive.
Yui quickly brought their attention back to her with her next words as she imagined finishing a mission and gaining a chance to eat an immortality peach or Meng Po’s soup or maybe even getting the chance to go to a stall in Jigoku and buy some ramen. “How do we know how much we get of this,” she said her next words slowly as if to taste the syllables,”Hell Money?”
[For employees such as you, you go and do your job.] Snapped Yang, voice frustrated at how she kept prolonging the time until she would do her job. Seeing how undeterred by his words she was though, he sullenly continued. [The better the condition and the level of difficulty of your target the more money you gain.]
[You can also exchange money you gain from the world you enter and the dead you bring in regardless of the mission.] Yin continued, as if to stop Yang from urging Yui to go too soon.
“Alright,” Yui spoke while standing up,”lay it on me. Something quick and easy, I needed my nutrients four days ago.”
A quick burst of flame appeared in front of her as a scroll popped into existence, unrolled right before her eyes and floated for her viewing pleasure. On the upper right corner were pictures of the target, showing a worn out looking man with thick lenses and black glasses frames whose posture was non-existent.
Mission Level: F
Target Name: Lan Lian
Died by: Heartattack
Background: Called a quack by his generation for having believed that supernatural beings could come from advanced viruses, he’s been living his whole life like a loser. That was, until he makes a research trip to the South Pole and found a zombie virus. Aware that the polar caps were all melting, he decided to create a vaccine for the virus to finally show his genius. Unfortunately, he was a bit too excited about a breakthrough in his research and died in his lab. He was taken to Jigoku by the three oni, but escaped before they reached Meidō.
Location: Vial of Zombie Virus Vaccine in Lan Lian’s Private Lab in Tianhuayuan Erli Area 3 Building 7, Daxing District, Beijing, China, Zombie Apocalypse World -E200
Do you wish to accept this mission?
[YES] OR [NO]
Clicking [YES], Yui waited to get teleported. Eh? Why isn’t she-
[What are you doing? Walk to the door already!]
Trying to act like nothing happened, she tried to casually walk to the nearest door, nearly tripping in the process before walking slower. Yang shouldn’t blame her for that as it was her first time in this situation. Whenever she read things like this happening in novels the hosts always teleported.
A voice broke the awkward silence, the tone as if talking to an idiot. “Hey, don’t you want to hear more before you head out?”
Pausing and turning to her partner, she smiled carelessly and waved her hand. “Ah, it won’t matter whether I hear it now or later anyways. What’s important right now is food, so I’ll be leaving first.” Nodding his way perfunctorily, she walked to the door and quickly left. Oh, that was so embarrassing! “Yang, why didn’t you warn me earlier that we had to leave through the door?”
[I thought you’d know to walk out the door like an ordinary human being.]
“Hey, you can’t blame me! Everything has been pretty fantastical lately. I was actually beginning to think everything worked that way and following that logic, systems with hosts normally teleported to their next mission. Thinking about it, what else is different from novels?”
[First of all, please start talking through your mind, you may not mind the looks you’re getting but I do.]
Realizing that she might’ve looked like she was talking to open air, Yui’s face blushed as she made eye contact with a kid being hurried away by his Mother. Alright, just look away and keep walking! Yep, nothing to see here folks!
‘So, can you hear everything I think?’
[I’m a system bound to your soul, the answer is obvious.]
‘Alright Mr. Smart Stuff, you’re a system, I died, am somehow visiting other worlds on missions of varying degrees of difficulty and I’ve got a nifty system space, what else is similar to other system novels I’ve read?’
[I don’t know what system novels you’ve read, but unlike the other systems that exist yours is one that’s for making employees for Jigoku. Hence, as time goes by you’ll be becoming more inhuman and you don’t transmigrate to other worlds, you visit them all in person.-]
‘But I don’t look any different,’ she looked down at herself,’am I visiting as a soul then?’
[Yes, the moment you became bound to me you gained enough soul strength to manifest physically.]
‘What other differences are there?’
[You can summon a door back home no matter the time and place. There is also a Hell Catalog, similar to a virtual market, available for you that you can summon as all employees can as well. That’s about all I can explain for now though.]
‘Cool,’ looking up she realized she walked herself to a park and sank onto a bench as she looked at the street signs around,’did the door drop me in the right location?’
It took a moment before Yang responded despondently. [No, it didn’t.]