Hajime clicked his tongue and slipped his phone back into his pocket. "Some sort of tracking app you are. I might as well look around the metaverse myself, hah..."
He reached back to scratch his head and said, "Just where the hell are those bastards keeping her? She's managing to interact with the kid, so she can't be too far away..."
Another facility razed to the ground with corpses littering the area.
Hajime glanced at them and then reached into his pocket to pull out a granola bar. Ripping open the foil, he took a bite and then looked around, muttering. "She's not in the real world, and she's not in some mental imaginary space... So that leaves the digital world I guess? Hah..." He ruffled his hair and said, "Stupid gods. Always have to make these quests so annoying."
*Azure winds tearing at your heart, they cut deep into your smile to make frowns.*
A light and feminine voice echoed, paired by piano chords and soft drums sounding out like footsteps. A parody of a famous Anime opening. Specifically, a parody sung by a new indie VTuber called Azura Stellaris.
"Hm?" Hajime paused and then pulled out his phone. "I thought I told those guys to call me later... Moshi moshi?"
"Oh, Aka-chan. One sec." Hajime kicked a few corpses together to make an improvised chair and then sat down. "What's up? Some idiots run in on my turf again?"
"Yes. But this time Sen got hurt."
Hajime blinked and pulled his phone away from his ear. He stuck his finger in to dig out some ear wax and then placed it back on his ear. "Run that by me again. What happened to my cute son?"
"Well, it seems like he became friends with Lappi's niece. And since some idiots want to force Lappi to finish the Daemon-"
"...Ah." Hajime glanced at the crushed circuits and glance in his hand and sighed. "Gotta work on my anger issues." He stood up and cracked his neck. "Well. Can't be helped when it comes to my cute little son, right? You guys understand."
"...Tch." Hajime tossed the junk in his hand aside and said, "If you're going to be cannon fodder, at least learn to have a second stage as undead. Do you know how many men tried biting at my ankles after I killed them? ...Right. You don't. Cause you're dead."
A cold wind blew past. But other than that, it was quiet.
Hajime sighed and stuck his hands in his pocket. "Man. Being a retired widower sucks." He started walking off, space distorting with every step he took.
And then it was quiet, Hajime vanishing into thin air and leaving the ruined facility behind.
[Due to the contract with <Redacted>, your reward has been transferred.]
I had a weird dream.
[Free Gacha Roll x10 has been given to <Redacted>]
In it, some weird voice was telling me some outrageous stuff.
[<Redacted> is rolling on the 'Incarnation System' banner.]
Redacted? My reward being transferred? That was ridiculous. I worked my butt off and almost had a heart-attack trying to earn that gacha summon.
[1: MIRAIZ Smartphone - R]
Not only that, but that voice was telling me that I was getting crappy pulls.
[2: MIRAIZ Smartphone - R]
[5: MIRAIZ Smartphone - R]
Like, dang it. If I was going to get crappy pulls, I at least wanted to see the summoning animations. What kind of crappy imagination did I have if I didn't even dream that part?
[6: MIRAIZ Streaming Kit - SR]
Not only that, but what were with these pulls? Smartphones? A Streaming Kit? What happened to the outrageous and dubious item pool? Why am I suddenly getting sensible items?
[7: MIRAIZ Streaming Kit - SR]
[8: MIRAIZ Streaming Kit (Gold Color) - SSR]
And what was with this ridiculous setup? A change in color makes an item another rarity higher? What was this, Overwatch 2 or something? Was it because the system item was more expensive than the real world version?
[9: Help me, Daddy! - UR]
[<Redacted> has used <Help me, Daddy! - UR>]
Oi oi oi. First you steal my pulls then you use my items without my permission? And why the heck are you using something named that weird anyway?!
[Your father has returned from his business trip.]
[All abnormalities have been resolved. Congratulations, User. You will have a perfectly normal school life from this point onwards.]
...Wait a minute. This dream keeps getting weirder. Almost too weird.
I mean, I've had some weird dreams in the past, but this one's a bit off the rails even for those.
And trust me, I've had a few really weird ones.
Like those involving Ren.
...Let's pack those back away in a box and toss it into the dark void of the subconscious mind.
But anyway... Is this not a dream? Then who's talking to me, and what's-
[10: Incarnation System Voucher - UR x1]
'YES! I got it!'
Hold on! Somebody pinch me- No, somebody keep me asleep. I want this to keep being a dream!
[<Incarnation System Voucher - UR> has been used by <Redacted>]
['Plausibility' is being confirmed.]
['Experience' is being compiled.]
[Associated active skills and items are being integrated... Complete.]
[<Redacted> has been incarnated. Please choose a name.]
STOPPU! This is *not* how things are supposed to play out! Sissy, I swear to god that if you finish this before I'm conscious-
[<Cici> has been confirmed as the name for the newly Incarnate.]
[A great achievement! 10000 achievement points have been credited to your account.]
You freaking trolling-
"Piece of crap system!"
I shouted and immediately sat up. When I did, I immediately realized two things.
First, I was back in my room.
Second, I wasn't alone.
And the other people in the room with me...
Well, there was Celes. She had been sitting right next to my bed and was still there, giving me a relieved smile.
There was also Akane nee-chan who was scrolling through her phone. Judging from the fact that she was still wearing a leather coat, it must not have been long after the incident with Yui-chan.
Ah, and Yui-chan was here too. She was sitting off in a corner, staring at me with a weird expression. A mix between utter embarrassment, guilt, and... desire?
...Nah. I'm just reading it wrong. Totally. Besides, it wasn't like I was good at reading emotions. Yeah. Must be it.
But anyway, there was Yui.
And then there were two other people in the room as well.
The first was unexpected, but familiar.
Dad was leaning against the wall and watching YouTube videos. Extremely sus sounding videos with Japanese women making sounds that shouldn't be heard in public. At least, that's what it sounded like.
The other person, and the last person in the room...
It was a girl.
Not only a girl, it was a pretty girl. A beauty that was on par with Celes in the looks department. The almost unreal beauty that the eye subconsciously drifted to.
She was wearing normal clothes, a plain white button-up blouse and jeans. She also had normal colored hair, a simple black.
But her eyes gave it away.
Light blue irises that didn't have pupils. Instead, a beautiful and iridescent design that looked like an endless kaliedoscope...
When she caught me staring, she waved and said, "Sennie! See? I told you I'm just as pretty as Celes!"
I had a headache.
A giant one.
This *had* to be a dream. There was no flipping way that-
"Ooh! Right! The promise!"
Before I could react, and before anyone else could react, the weird girl blurred towards me.
My instincts screamed at me and I tried to dive out of my bed. But she was faster.
And the next thing I knew, something soft and sweet brushed against my lips.
The girl leaned back, grinning. "There! Promise fulfilled!"
Dead silence filled the room.
Celes slowly stood up, reaching for something at her side.
Yui stood up as well, trembling with fury.
Akane rolled her eyes and leaned back in her chair.
Seeing all of that...
"Yeah. This is definitely a dream."
I closed my eyes and laid back down on my bed.
Because screw that noise.
'I can if you want now!'
HOW ARE YOU STILL DOING THAT?!
WHAT DO YOU MEAN "TEE HEE?!"