Note: This Prologue is quite different from the style I’ll be writing for all successive chapters, including Prologueⅱ. Because that’s the case, if you don’t particularly care to read Prologueⅰ, simply move along.
For those of you that do wish to read, however… Enjoy.
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“Ah. This world just isn’t for me.”
These were words I had often said to no one in particular throughout my childhood, and then into adulthood.
There weren’t any hidden meaning in those words; they were just as they were. The world wasn’t for me. I couldn’t follow the rules that the world had set for me, and the world couldn’t let me go on without following the rules. Thus, it could be said that the world I was born in, Earth, wasn’t the right place for someone like me.
Well, even though I said that Earth wasn’t right for me, it didn’t make me subject to a harsh childhood or anything.
My parents split up when I was young, but that was quite common at the time. If I was asked whether such a thing really affected me, I’d probably answer “Yes and No”.
I’d answer this way because I believed in the saying: “we are the sum of our experiences”. So, the “me” from before the event is no longer really “me”, which is why it’s a “No”. But if you considered the “me” from then to still be a part of the more recent “me”, then it would be a “Yes” simply because it happened. Because it was an experience. If that makes any sense.
Moving on from that, I had no siblings, and my Mother — a fierce woman with short brown, usually tidy hair, and striking green eyes — became my guardian. I moved around a lot with her for her work, so I never had “friends” for extended periods of time.
I didn’t mind.
I didn’t blame my Mother. If anything, I blamed the world which demanded my Mother and I to move around so much for us to survive every month. But, to be completely honest, not having “friends” didn’t matter much to me.
This was because I was “Smart”. I wasn’t a genius or anything, but I was smart enough to pass through school easily so long as I attended classes (which, so we’re clear, I did religiously out of a desire to avoid enticing my Mother’s wrath).
I never needed to strain my mind to understand anything so long as it was taught properly, so I was often within the top 5 of my class, if not the top itself. But I was self-conscious about this fact. I didn’t deserve such a position.
I wasn’t naive enough to ignore the grumbling of my peers who worked tirelessly in and out of class, only to achieve barely passing marks. I also wasn’t vain enough to believe “I’m simply better than them”.
I started disliking the world once I started thinking things like “I deserve less”. Why should I be gifted with good grades using only natural talent? I once tried asking this to a “friend” of mine, but they could only give me a bitter smile in response. They didn’t say anything, but I could tell what they were thinking. “If you think that it’s unfair, then give me your grades instead!”, “Is he bragging?”, “Why are you questioning something that’s rewarding you so easily?”
I didn’t talk about the subject again.
It was simply the way of the world. There are those who can spend their entire lives to achieve something and fail… And there are those who can attempt the same thing halfheartedly and succeed with no effort. That’s just “talent”. That’s the conclusion I came to, at least.
I wonder how many people can understand how I felt? How bitter towards the world I became as I watched those around me struggle and fail, while I could simply live watching them from the sidelines and doing nothing in particular, yet achieve better results?
I wonder if anyone in my surroundings realized how alienated from them I felt.
Well, I know that the answer is “No” even if I say I wondered about the subject.
In stories, characters like me would gain some sort of twisted pride. They would become narcissistic to the point where it became unclear whether it was jealousy which alienated the character, or whether it was simply because of their toxic attitude. Looking down on those around them with a sneer and questioning why they can’t follow along… I couldn’t bring myself to do such a thing.
And so, I bore the burden of knowing how unfair the world was throughout my life. To distract myself from the ugly reality that is “the difference in talent”, I learned how to read the emotions of others, and became capable of anticipating their likes and dislikes. By doing this, I could at least curb off the guilt by assisting them during the phase in life where emotional turbulence is the most predominant.
While doing so I played the part of the “Silent intellectual”. I couldn’t bear looking down on others, but those around me would insist that I at own up for my “achievements” in some manner if I were to be talkative. And so, my solution was to simply stop talking unless it was absolutely necessary.
That was my atonement. Or perhaps, it would be better to look at it as my method of avoiding guilt.
But, of course, I still needed to make it seem as though I was happy for achieving that which others had worked hard for. Furthermore, I would need to suffer the guilt I felt through doing so alone. If I had spoken about my guilt, it would be seen as pity, which would make others bitter.
I didn’t have to continuously receive such guilt for long, though.
It stopped once I became 18 years old. Male. Single.
That last bit of information isn’t really needed, but I feel I should mention that I was single by choice. That’s not to say I received confessions every day, because I didn’t; rather it was because even if I did receive an admirer of some sort (be they Male or Female), I would simply turn them down.
My sexual orientation had been Asexual for as long as I could remember, after all.
But besides that, there was also the fact that relationships, to me, had no meaning. By “relationships” I didn’t just mean “love”, either.
Lots of people, my Mother included, depended on relationships. I came to the understanding that it was simply how others shared their burdens, how they exchanged information, and how they exercised their emotions. But I didn’t need to do any of that. I would bear my own burdens, gather my own information, and show emotions only enough to keep others from worrying about me. It would take needless effort to explain why I wouldn’t smile at something “funny”, or weep at something “sad” after all.
To that point, I didn’t need “friends”, either. However, by whatever natural rule of the Earth, ones with “talent” become surrounded by people regardless of whether they seeked any out, so I gained “friends” regardless. I place emphasis on “friends” because their intentions were not always “friendly”.
Either because my ability to read emotions had been so well honed, or simply because they were bad at hiding their true goals, I knew that most of the people around me simply wanted to leech off of me. Their targets: marks, finances, and sometimes even “good looks”. As such, the meaning of “friends”, to me, was little.
If someone wanted to use me, the least they could have done was be frank about it, after all.
But no one was so blunt. I wish I could say that someone declared themselves my Rival in the middle of a well-populated area like in a Manga, or that I found someone capable of looking past my ability, and developed some deep platonic relationship with them, but… Such things didn’t happen. And so, my ties to my peers was close to nil.
This was shown in my communication with my “friends” after High School. To sum it up quickly: it was non-existent.
The only thing that bound me to them were the 6-7 hours a day (excluding weekends) that we were in the same building, and once that connection was lost I felt no need to contact any of them afterwards. They too seemed to feel the same way, as I didn’t receive any contact from them, either.
And so, without any outer forces acting upon me in the World I had grown to distaste, what happened after High School was what I had expected. Absolutely nothing.
I didn’t get a job. I didn’t study. I didn’t plan for the future. I simply existed.
I had only gone to school because it was enforced by the law, and by my Mother, neither of which could be rebelled against. The only thing different from my situation before finishing school and afterwards is that I wasn’t forced to do anything. And so, I didn’t have the will to do anything. Thus, I stayed at home, living stagnant.
Earth wasn’t for a person like me, after all.
It crossed my mind every day: my situation. I was leeching off of my Mother, which caused me to feel a different kind of guilt than the one I had grown accustomed to throughout my schooling. I started looking for ways to alleviate that feeling (like petty gifts, or looking after the house), but I could only hold off that deep, anguishing curse of a feeling for short periods of time. And so, eventually… I simply bore that guilt.
It didn’t motivate me to change. Nothing at that point could get me to change. The reason? Other than to relieve myself of that guilt, I felt that there was no need to change anything.
I wouldn’t say I was content with my life, but I had no reason to do anything in this world. I had nothing I really desired, so in the end if I changed and, say, got a Job, I would just work endlessly to pay for food and rent.
To mindlessly save up money with no purpose… That wasn’t “living” to me, it was simply “surviving”.
“So what’s the point?” That was the thought I had as I sat in the darkness of my room the very day my schooling ended. Throughout history, Humans have striven to feed the emotion called “Greed”. To live to achieve something. To strive towards a goal. To obtain something. To learn something. To love something. Aren’t these all the same in that you can place “I want” before them all?
And yet, I didn’t want anything. I lacked the basic desire for “more”. On that note, I also lacked any desire for “less”, so I couldn’t justify my lack of desire as some form of saintly aspiration. Mh. It wasn’t like that at all.
This world simply wasn’t for me.
Such thoughts eventually overthrew my feeling of guilt. In its place was a silent form of defiance. It was selfish in the eyes of the world, but instead of “surviving” I simply existed in my own room. Wishing to neither live nor die, I simply was.
To fend of boredom, I read any book unrelated to the world I lived in; the world where its inhabitants lived for the sake of desires I was devoid of. I also played games, but I found them increasingly shallow and predictable as time went on, and so books became my salvation.
I had read throughout my childhood as well, but the amount of literature I absorbed couldn’t compare to the literal mountains of books that became amassed in my room after High School. I gained a lot of knowledge, but a good 95% of it would be called “useless” to anyone in my surroundings.
Such opinions didn’t matter to me, however.
I didn’t read to be “useful”, it was simply to fend off boredom… And so I continued reading. Days passed. Those days turned to weeks, and then Months. Finally, a Year passed since I had done anything related to the world outside.
My Mother had continually reminded me that I should be looking for work, and I continually avoided her advice. On one warm Summer day, that exchange reached the breaking point, and I was forced out of the house with nothing but a week’s worth of clothes, ~$500, and a couple of meals’ worth of food.
I was told that I was welcome to come back if I found work, or even did something as simple as submitted an application. The guilt I felt at that time was the biggest burden I had placed upon me since birth. I knew how difficult it must have been for my mother to cast out her own child. I knew how to read her emotions well, after all.
But I still adamantly refused to “survive”.
In the world where I could excel even without effort. In the world which doesn’t reward the worthy, but instead valued the “blessed”. Such a world was made for people like me. But I couldn’t live with such a world. It wasn’t for me.
I didn’t ask to be blessed. I didn’t ask for the world to place me above others. I didn’t want to live in such a world. I didn’t ask to live this way, after all. It was forced upon me.
And so, I chose to deny life, and chose death.
I had found a silent place in a forest nearby, hidden from my surroundings. After making sure I was invisible to the surroundings, and simply sat within the foliage. Nothing more.
Starvation and Thirst, these arose quickly, but I denied them. Ignoring my body’s survival instincts, I continued to wish for death in silence. Even if there was nothing afterwards, even if I was banished to Hell, Purgatory, or the Abyss. Even if my memories, experiences which made me “me” vanished completely, it would be better than living in such a world without meaning.
Those people who envied me… Those who didn’t understand me… I hoped that they would never find me. If they did, they would likely assume that I was simply “lazy”, and become even more bitter towards those with “talent”, after all.
In such a case, my guilt would be inherited by another, and the cycle would continue infinitely. Mh. Such a cycle… It shouldn’t exist.
It was with such thoughts that I left Earth, and arrived here.
I gaze over what could only be called an ocean so dark that it would absorb any light that touched it, and simply stand motionless.
An endless sea of darkness. Serene yet unnerving. Majestic yet eerie beyond comparison.
This was the only fitting name for such an expanse of nothingness.
Looking around, I am on what appears to be the deck of a boat. A large one. There are a large number of sails, staircases leading up towards the helm, and a door to what must be the Captain’s Quarters… All of it was Black with golden carvings. They are intricate, precious… “Divine”.
The exact type of ship is unknown to me, but someone with knowledge of sea-transportation would have said that it highly resembled a Galleon from the 1500’s.
Around the deck is what would best be described as “lights”. Varying in size, color, and brightness, the deck must look like a swarm of fireflies to anyone looking at it from the side. Moving closer to the lights, however, their actual identity becomes obvious.
They’re all humanoid — not exactly “humans”, but close enough that you could consider them of similar origins. And, to specify further, these lights aren’t really humanoids, either. They lack definite forms, after all.
Looking down at my hand, which was now a pale grey blur with no identifiable hands or fingers, I make a simple conclusion. I, too, am nothing more than a “light”. And, although I have no solid evidence, my instincts are telling me that this form is naught more than my “soul”. In other words, I had passed on.
With an odd sense of happiness for my successful “rebellion”, and an odd sense of disappointment towards the continued life of “me”, my first memories off of Earth started with the sound of the Void’s endless waters.