Light rapidly faded away as the darkness began to swallow him. Hajime Nagumos face

twisted in terror as he stared at the vanishing light above him. He desperately shot out

his hand, grasping at the light he knew he could never truly grab hold of. He felt his

nether regions tense up as he fell freely through the darkness.

The chasm hed fallen into was so deep that it seemed almost as if he was falling down

to the pits of hell. And the light he was staring at was the portal to the world of the

living. Hed fallen down a massive tear in the earth while hed been exploring a

dungeon. The hole was so deep that he kept falling long after the tiny pinprick of light

had shrunk to nothing. His entire life flashed before his eyes, with nothing but the

sound of wind rushing past accompanying his plunge to the hellish depths below.

Let us turn back the clock a bit and recount how a young Japanese boy found himself

in a world that was far too cruel and heartless for the word ”fantasy ” to be an accurate

descriptor. After all, the harsh and unfair events hed experienced, and was still

experiencing, were a bit too bereft of the wonderful hopes and dreams one imagined

when they heard that word.

Monday. Quite possibly the most depressing day of the week. Most people were,

without a doubt, sighing heavily as they lamented the beginning of the week and the

end of their glorious weekend. Hajime Nagumo was no exception. However, in his case,

his depression was multiplied by the fact that school was not just a pain, but a

veritable hell.

As always, Hajime barely managed to arrive just before the bell for first period rang.

He somehow managed to steady his sleep-deprived body and opened the door to his

classroom. He found himself on the receiving end of a multitude of scornful glares and

annoyed tongue clicks from a majority of the male students as soon as he set foot in

the classroom. None of the female students seemed all too pleased to see him either.

It would have been fine were they simply ignoring him, but they too gave him stares

of contempt.

Hajime did his best to ignore his classmates and went to his seat. But as always, there

were a few students who couldn resist the opportunity to needle him.

”Sup, you gross otaku! Stay up all night playing video games again? I bet you were

playing porn games the whole time! ”

”Wow what a creep. What kind of disgusting pervert stays up all night playing porn

games? ”

The boys all laughed, as if they found that statement somehow hilarious. The student

whod first called out to Hajime was Daisuke Hiyama, the ringleader of Hajimes

tormentors. Daisuke never seemed to tire of teasing Hajime, as he went up to him on

a daily basis. The ones who were laughing wickedly next to him were Yoshiki Saitou,

Reichi Kondou, and Shinji Nakano. It was those four whod always made Hajimes life


As Hiyama had stated earlier, Hajime was indeed an otaku. But he wasn particularly

ugly or obnoxious, so the moniker gross otaku hardly did him justice. His hair was

cropped short and kept tidy. Plus, it wasn as if he had a communication problem of

any sort either. Sure, he wasn the most talkative guy around, but he had no problem

responding to people who talked to him. He was a quiet person overall, but not to the

point where it could be considered gloomy. He just happened to have an interest in a

very specific set of media—namely manga, novels, video games, and movies.

While it was true that public opinion of otakus hadn been very positive as of late, at

most being an otaku usually earned you a few looks, not that kind of targeted bullying.

So why did all the male students hate Hajime so?

The answer was simple.

”Good morning, Nagumo-kun! You barely made it on time today too. I think you should

at least make an effort to come earlier. ” One of the girls smiled softly as she walked up

to Hajime. She was one of the few people in the whole school who treated him kindly,

and also the reason everyone hated him.

Kaori Shirasaki, one of the most popular girls in school, and beautiful enough to be

considered a goddess by many. She had sleek, black hair that went all the way down

to her waist, and large alluring eyes filled with kindness. Her small nose sat perfectly

upon her face, and her pink lips were the epitome of perfection.

She always seemed to have a smile on her face, and her knack for looking after others

combined with her strong sense of responsibility made her one of the most respected

students at Hajimes school. Moreover, she was tolerant and understanding to a fault,

to the point where no one had ever even seen her look unhappy before.

And, for whatever reason, Kaori had taken an interest in Hajime. Most people assumed

Hajime was a terrible student because he always slept in class due to his frequent allnighters (in truth, he had pretty average grades). And, since Kaori was always looking

after other students, they believed that was the reason she talked to him.

Had her overtures convinced Hajime to become a better student, or had he naturally

been a better looking guy, the other kids might not have minded Kaoris interest in

him as much. As it was, though, he was sadly as average looking as one could get, and

his favorite motto was ”hobbies over real life, ” so obviously his attitude toward school

had shown no signs of improvement either. As it was, the other average looking male

students of his class couldn stand the fact that Hajime was so close to Kaori. ”Why

him and not us!? ” they thought. Meanwhile, the other girls simply thought he was

being rude to Kaori. They were unhappy that he wasn even attempting to reform his


”A-Ah, good morning, Shirasaki-san. ” Hajimes face stiffened up as he felt the

bloodthirsty glares of his fellow classmates, and he awkwardly returned Kaoris


In contrast, Kaori smiled happily as she looked at him. Why do you always look at me

like that!? Hajime despaired as he felt the gazes of his classmates burn into him.

Hajime was honestly bewildered. He didn understand why the most beautiful girl in

school cared about a guy like him. To him, it seemed like there had to have been

something more than just her natural disposition to help others.

Of course, he wasn so conceited as to believe she might possibly have any romantic

interest in him. Hajime was well aware of the fact that hed given up a great deal of

things to live a life fully devoted to his hobbies. He knew his appearance, grades, and

athletic ability were all utterly average. There were a whole host of guys better than

him who were far more suited to be her partner, even just among her acquaintances.

Which was why he found her behavior so puzzling.

Honestly, I just wish youd realize you
e the reason everyone hates me right now! Hajime

screamed inside his head. However, he didn give voice to his thoughts. He knew that

some of his classmates would no doubt drag him out behind the gym once classes were

over if he ever dared to do so… The moment Hajime finished his conversation with

Kaori, three new people walked up to them. Theyd been watching the two of them

like vultures, waiting for him to finish talking. Among this new group was of course

one of the ”better guys ” whod been mentioned previously.

”Good morning, Nagumo-kun. Must be rough staying up that late every day. ”

”Looking after him again, Kaori? You
e really too nice for your own good. ”

”Seriously. Talking to a failure like hims a total waste of time. ”

The only person whod greeted Hajime out of the three was Shizuku Yaegashi, Kaoris

best friend. Shizukus black hair was tied back in her trademark ponytail. Her almondshaped eyes give her a rather sharp look, but deep within her gaze dwelled a kindness

that made her seem cool rather than cold.

Standing 172 centimeters tall, she was a good deal taller than most of the other girls

in his class. That, combined with her well-built body, made her seem like a dignified

samurai. And samurai made for a rather apt analogy as her family actually ran a dojo

that taught the Yaegashi style, and Shizuku herself was a peerless swordswoman

whod never lost a single kendo tournament. In fact, shed been featured in magazines

before and had a rather rabid fanbase. The press even took to calling her the modern

samurai beauty. Many of the younger female students had started calling her oneesama in an almost worshiping manner.

The guy whod greeted Kaori with that rather cliched line about her kindness was

Kouki Amanogawa. He was perfect in almost every way. Great at sports, handsome,

and had outstanding grades to boot. Even his name sounded heroic. Written with the

characters for ”light ” and ”radiance, ” it gave off a rather dazzling impression.

He had flowing brown hair, soft features, stood 180 centimeters tall, and despite his

slender frame still had noticeable muscles. He was kind to everyone he met, and had

a strong sense of justice (or so he thought anyway.)

Like Shizuku, hed attended the Yaegashi dojo since he was in elementary school and

was skilled enough to have competed in national tournaments. He and Shizuku were

childhood friends. Dozens of girls had fallen for him, but because he was always

hanging around Shizuku and Kaori, very few had ever worked up the courage to

confess. However, he still received at least two confessions a month from girls that

didn go to Hajimes school. A real Casanova through and through.

The last guy, whod lazily added on his

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