Prologue

Prologue

       This happened in the middle of autumn during my third year of middle school. With the end of middle school life drew near, it felt as though my life was suddenly getting busy.

“Hey, Ren. What are you going to do with high school?”

       Such a character string was displayed inside the chat window on the monitor. The speaker was a macho beastman character, under the name of Akira.

       He’s my friend who could even be called my best friend. We often hung out together inside this MMORPG Eternal Fantasy (a.k.a EF) and other online games.

“Hmm… well, I most likely will go to a high school around here.”

       …I answered as such.

       My avatar — Ren (because my real name is Ren Takashiro, thus I use Ren name), was sitting on the top of rocky mountain where I could get a bird’s-eye view of the grand scenery.

       Akira, on contrary with his avatar appearance, loved a beautiful scenery. Often brought me to his favorite places, it has become our daily routine to leisurely exchange a silly chat with only the two of us.

       Unlike Akira who was a scenic enthusiast, in the middle of conversation, I was busily synthesizing items to raise my side job’s skill level.

“Aww, that’s boring…!”

“Hmm? Well, right now I’m trying to raise my synthesis level to 8 to make a Crimson Hammer. It hurts my wallet if the synthesis failed.”

“I’m not talking about that! It’s about high school.”

       Akira was also a third year student like me.

“What’s with the high school?”

“Don’t you think an ordinary high school is boring?”

“You think so? I don’t have any problem with going to an ordinary high school, though.”

“Look, you know what they say; ‘Don’t be a mass production machine’. You’d better to enjoy your life to the fullest!”

“Oh, that sounds like a line from some kind of advertisement….”

…. a fishy one, though.

“So, how is related to my high school selection?”

“Oh, yeah. I’m thinking of enrolling to Heisei Academy. So, umm…. how about you enroll to that school too?”

“Heisei Academy? Oh, that online game high school?”

“Yeah, that’s right.”

       I’ve heard that name often.

       It’s a school where they incorporate the educational system into online game. Furthermore, it’s not just ordinary MMO. They’re using state-of-the-art VR (Virtual Reality) technology, in other words, it’s VRMMO.

       I also heard they held class inside the virtual space. It’s a school with a concept where you study and play inside the virtual game. It’s truly a dreamland for a gamer like me.

“But, isn’t it quite expensive?”

“It’s not our job to think about such thing. Moreover, the school also gives credit to your gaming achievements, that will help in raising your grade in school. It’s really interesting school, so let’s go together!”

“I’m pretty interested but…….”

VRMMO is not something available for home use.

I couldn’t help myself but feel attracted to it as a gamer.

To be honest, I feel excited by simply thinking what it’s like to be in such a school.

“We’re heavy gamers, aren’t we?”

“Yeah.”

“In other words, we are game junkie…. or otaku….”

“From the public eyes…. Yes, we are….”

“Those people is looking down on us…. we’re not popular….”

“Maybe so, but that’s never bothering me. Are you bothered by it, perhaps?”

       This is the influence from my parents. “Stick to the things you like!” — they often said that to me. So even though I keep playing game, my parents never get angry and simply watch me with warm eyes. Well, my father works at a game company after all.

“I didn’t care about it, normally. But look, we can meet similar people if we enroll to that school, right? Our kindred spirit.”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“That’s a place for game lovers, it’s our gaming skill will make us popular at the school. Yeah, even someone like you could be popular! Isn’t that amazing? This is a big turning point of the world.”

“Oi, why did put yourself on the shelf but limit it to me? “

Could it be he’s actually a handsome guy?

       Though we have known each other for a long time, I’ve never met him offline or saw his real face.

“Eh? Then, are you popular at school?”

“No, but that’s not the point.”

On that matter, there’s no room for denials.

       If everything stays as is, it seems I will die as a virgin. But, is that such a bad thing? There would be plenty of similar people nowadays. If it’s the price I should pay to be able to live the life I like, it’s not that bad, right?

However, it doesn’t mean I’m not interested in a real girl.

“Okay, it’s decided then! Let’s enroll to Heisei Academy together!”

“Oi wait! It seems the story just made a drastic development without my knowledge.”

“Aww, what’s the harm!? I’d like to hang out and play games together with you a little more! Hey~ Hey~ Come on, hey!”

      In spite of the macho uncle character shows on the monitor, the person behind it appears to be in quite a high spirit, just like a child. Now I’m worried if he’s planning something.

Oh well, he is a nice guy and it will definitely fun playing games together with him.

       It doesn’t sound bad to go to the same high school as him. Besides, I was thinking to go to a nearby high school without any goal in mind.

“……….. Okay, I will talk to my parents!”

“Oh, as expected of my friend! I believe in you!”

       With this, the course of my high school has been decided. I took the entrance test at Heisei Academy, and passed. Akira was also passed without problem.

       I was looking forward to being able to play VRMMO in spring. However, Akira who promised me to play the game together, never appeared even until the high school began.