Webnovel

1 Ch. 1: Why Am I Not Dead?

Kokoro had a terrible life. Zero out of ten, would not do again. Was her life the worse there was?

Well... no.

Her parents didn't beat her. She didn't suffer from any terrible tragedies. Her depression wasn't severe. Thousands of people had it far worse than her.

But, hey! She felt she had a right to complain! Her dad was a drunken piece of shit, her mother was verbally abusive and emotionally manipulative monster, both her parents constantly cheated on each other and were too cowardly to just divorce, and her older brother had been nothing but a dick as long as she could remember. She didn't have single good memory with him, thus not a single good thing as well.

Kokoro was bullied in school. Boo hoo, right? Poor Kokoro, having to hear people say slightly mean things to her. How sad. But what can she say, she was a freak. A background character that stuck a little too much out in the background. She was 'quirky' in the most terrible sense of the word. She liked weird things and was always drawn to the unusual. This often lead her straight down a path of mockery. She would count how many times she had been backstabbed by those she thought were her friends on her fingers, but unfortunately she didn't have enough.

She started to keep to herself after middle school when she noticed the pattern. She tried to make herself as unapproachable as possible, but that only backfired making her some hilarious spectacle, a feral animal in a cage. Her grades dropped, her social life declined, and her home life was shit to begin with.

She couldn't remember what had been the final straw. She believed it was either when a 'friend' asked her what was wrong and when she told him he essentially said 'get over it', or it was when her mother complained about her doctor bring up Kokoro's depression saying "what do you have to be depressed about?" like Kokoro's mental health was somehow a burden.

Whatever it was, Kokoro had announced to the house that she was running away.

Not one person even acknowledged her.

Not that she cared. She just wanted them to be aware why she wasn't gonna be there when they woke up.

That night she packed a duffle bag and a backpack and left. Before she did, she stole her brother's 'precious' harem game. Call it petty revenge but it made her cackle at the thought of him failing around and whining about how he was gonna kill her only to realize his sister dear was far from home and he'll never seem that stupid game again.

Kokoro left confidently.

Now?

She regretted leaving. Not that she's admit that...

She was currently sitting in a rundown cafe that didn't try to chase her out the moment the saw her ragged apperance. Kokoro had been roaming around for five months, nearly half a year, and she was surprised she wasn't dead already.

Kokoro nibbled on the dry, crumbling croissant she ordered with the money she pickpocketed off of someone a couple hours ago. She stared down at the game system that was currently playing that dumb harem game. As much as she hated herself for it, she got desperate for some kind of entertainment. Mocking the terribly made game turned out to be perfect for that.

Currently, an eighteen year old girl that looked like a fourteen year old was begging Kokoro, or more correctly the MC, to protect her. The girl was a princess, a spoiled one at that, and Kokoro had half a mind to slap some sense into the girl and teach her how to protect herself. This girl was constantly relying on the MC to protect her and Kokoro couldn't help but to see an on coming codependent relationship.

But of course the only choices were over possessive, sickenly creepy, complete douche bag, and choice that would basically lead to another sex scene. Honestly there were too many. Was this a hentai game instead if a harem one? Or maybe it was a combination of the two.

Probably...

Sounds like something right up her brother's alley. The pervert.

Kokoro choose the douche bag choice as it was the only one that was closest to something she'd actually would do. And even then, it was far off the mark. Kokoro watched the scene unfold as the MC's relationship with the princess declined even more.

Good. Despite how spoiled the princess was, she deserved better anyway.

Kokoro saved the game and packed up. She headed out the door of the cafe, ready to continue on to the next town. She heard that the resturants there were more opened to hiring from scrappy young adults. Maybe she can finally get a stable job.

She wondered out into the pouring rain. It was heavy and the downpour didn't seem to be stopping anytime soon. She walked away from the cafe to cross the road. She couldn't see all that well in the fog.

That's when she heard the blaring horn. She jerked around to see the bright headlights coming straight for her.

Ever heard of flight or fight? Well there are actually three responses to fear. Fight, flight, and freeze.

So when she saw those headlights, she reacted just like a deer and froze against the will of her more rational side.

She watched in horror as she could do nothing until she felt a blunt force hit her. Undescribable pain ran through her body. And then?

Nothing.

She wasn't in pain anymore so... guess that was a plus? But now there was nothing. It was just darkness, she couldn't feel anything, she couldn't see or hear or smell. Couldn't even taste. Is this what being dead was like? Because this was just boring. To think everyone was scared of no longer existing after death. Probably scared of a lifetime of boredom.

Then she saw something.

A light?

It looked like a light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. It came closer and closer-

[Welcome To Intertwining Destinies!]

{Excuse me?! Isn't that the name of that stupid harem game?}

[Downloading Character Content: Kokoro]

{Wait...}

[Download Complete!]

{I didn't sign up for this...}

[Loading World... Please Wait...]

{Is this my afterlife? Is it too late to request a different one?}

A bright flash and Kokoro shot up. She panted, breathing heavily. She looked herself over.

{Well no fatal wounds that a speeding truck could cause...}

What a weird dream. She looked up and-

{Whoa...}

Her room was... not her room. It looked... nice? She didn't know how else to put it. The walls weren't pealing and one wall was a pastal blue and the other were a light grey. Clothes weren't decorating her floor, and everything was put neatly away.

Obviously this was a stranger's room.

Kokoro would never be so neat...

She got up out of bed to find she was in a plain blue nightgown.

Okay... She wasn't wearing that before...

New idea. The guy in the truck that hit her is a creep and kiddnapped her and was planning to do horrible things to her.

She looked over to find a mirror. She walked over and looked into it. Her dark brown hair was pulled back into a messy braid, her cold grey eyes gazing back at her. There was that birth mark that took up a little less than.half her face. It was a slightly dark mark that cover the area around her right eye. The mark, despite being just a tad off color, stood out from her pale skin.

She heard a thud from below her room. Kokoro jumped.

{Okay... so not alone in the house.}

Kokoro walked over to her bedroom door. As she slowly cracked in open, she saw a flight of stairs. Kokoro looked over grabbed a comb with a sharp metal handle.

What?

She needed a weapon to defend herself and the comb looked deadly enough.

She stepped out of the hall. She heard a quiet muffled voice echoing through the small house. At least, it felt small. She tried to go as quietly as possible down the steps. She peeked out from behind the corner.

"Aw, dammit... I'm such a klutz..."

Kokoro stepped out into the hall, going right to find herself in a very humble kitchen.

Can kitchens be humble? You know what? They probably can because this one sure was.

This one had oak furnishing and nice cabinets with granite countertops. But yet it didn't look over the top or expensive like some kitchebs she's seen. It looked like there was enough for what was needed and that was all that was needed.

Then she saw the woman in the floor.

Kokoro raised an eyebrow as she saw a woman that looked a little too much like her to be comfortable. Not exactly the same but they shared the same hair and eyes.

Oh hey. Those same eyes are looking up at her.

"Good morning, Kokoro", the woman cheerfully greeted.

Kokoro stared for a moment before it occured to her that she should probably answer. "Uh... good morning..." Kokoro frowned, finding the words leaving her mouth before she could properly check to see if they were stupid or not. "What are you doing on the floor?"

The woman's face flushed

"Oh... heh... I, uh, was making pancakes and then I dropped the batter in the floor...", she answered, mumbling the last part.

Kokoro nodded slowly. "Do you... need any help with that?"

The woman nodded, looking embarrassed. "Um... if you don't mind?"

Kokoro looked around for somethimg to help clean it up with. She saw the paper towel roll on the counter. She put down the cimb and picked up the roll of towels, trying to help clean up as much as possible. She looked up to see the mop in the corner of the kitchen.

"I'll mop up. You go... clean yourself up." Kokoro looked up at the woman.

"Heh... Of course!" The woman, covered in batter and flour, got up to leave. She then stopped and turned to Kokoro. "Can you wake up your brother? He's always sleeping in." She giggled.

Kokoro nodded slowly. "Um, yeah. Sure."

The woman then left.

Okay, so she either:

A) Was kiddnapped.

B) Was transported to some alternative universe where she didn't have a shit family.

Or...

C) Was dead and this was the universes way of apologizing for putting her through hell.

Which means she needed to either:

A) Escape and get the fuck out of dodge.

B) See if there was an alternate version of herself running around and see if she could 'borrow' her life for a bit.

Or...

C) Not forgive the universe because fuck that guy, right?

Kokoro finished mopping and went to look for her... brother. Okay, so either this is another friendly stranger or is her actual brother, which she hoped not. She'd take a friendly stranger over him any day.

She opened a door, starting her search for this 'brother' of hers.

{Nope. Bathroom. That's the laundry room. Walk in closet. Her room. This was an art studio. How big was this fucking house?! Where the hell was-}

She opened a door to find a very warm and inviting bedroom with a lump under the piled up covers of the bed. Kokoro stepped in.the room, immediately feeling like she was somehow intruding. It was clear the Kokoro's cynical personality did not fit in with the room of childish joy.

She gently shook the lump.

"Hey. Wake up."

The covers pulled away to reveal a blonde headed, green-eyed, not her brother in a baggy t-shirt. The boy yawned.

"Kokoro?"

He looked at her with a sleepy look.

Oh god...

This was Zenko.

The ditzy blonde headed love interest on Intertwining Destinies.

Excuse her for moment, she's gonna go throw herself off a cliff. Be right back.

"Hello? Kokoro?"

Kokoro snapped back into reality to see green eyes peering into her soul.

"Whoa! Hey! Back up there, pal!" Kokoro gently pushed him back out of her face. Zenko giggled.

"Is there something you need", Zenko asked, tilting his head like a puppy.

{Yes. One fatal shot to the chest, please? Let's finished the job that the truck failed to do and get me out of this hell.}

"Uh? Breakfast?" Kokoro felt unsure on how to proceed. To be fair, she just realized that she must've done something terrible and forgot about it and was sentenced to the forgotten circle of hell as punishment.

Zenko grinned. "Is it pancakes?

Kokoro nodded.

Zemko jumped out of bed and ran out of his room. Kokoro slowly left after him. She went down stairs, still trying to process everything.

Zenko was very clearly Zenko from the game. The freckles, the messy blonde hair, the doe eyed, goofy look on his face. If it was a coincidence then this was some coincidence! And even then, why would Kokoro wake up in a house with a Zenko look alike being her brother?

So the only answer was that she had qualified for both heaven and hell and they sent her to some sort of limbo that was a mix of both until it could be sorted out.

Come on. Living in a house with a cheerful woman that was possibly her mother and a cute brother? Heaven.

Living in the world of Intertwining Destinies which was basically her brother's weird perverted fantasies? Hell. Definitely hell.

Kokoro came back around into the kitchen. Zenko was at the table stuffing his face full of pancakes and the possible mother was washing dishes.

"These are really good, Mom" Zenko chirped, the woman's face lighting up at the compliment.

{Okay, so she is my mother...}

"They're that good, huh", Kokoro asked hesitantly as she sat down at the table. Zenko nodded, grinning ear to ear.

God, this was all too surreal.

"Here ya go", the woman said, sitting down a plate of pancakes in front of her. The pancakes were a golden brown color and fluffy. Kokoro had never had homemade pancakes before. She only had the frozen crap at school.

"Uh, thank you." She paused for a moment. "Mom..." The word rolled off her tongue awkwardly. To be fair, it was weird to call a woman you just met today, Mom.

The woman smiled. Kokoro really needed to figure out this woman's name. Calling her mom was one thing, thinking if her as such was completely different.

Many would've freaked out the moment this all happened to them, not that Kokoro would've blamed them. It was a freaky situation. But Kokoro was not the average person, and she was just tired. If she ended up dead because of a lack of caring towards her current predicament, oh well. She was probably gonna end up dead one way or another.

"So how's your head?"

"Hm?" She looked up at the woman. "What about my head?"

The woman frowned. "You got a pretty bad concussion yesterday. Don't you remember?"

Oh? Is that so? At least I'll have an excuse for saying anything stupid.

"Yup! Everything's alright in the coconut", Kokoro replied, giving her head a mock knock.

Zenk snickered and the woman shook her head. exasperated.

"Well, I'm glad", the woman said. "If think anything isn't alright, let me know, and I'll take you to the doctor. I got to go to work."

Zenko jumped up. "Oh yeah! We do too!"

The woman shook her head. "No, Zenko. You have work today, but not Kokoro. Remember? Kokoro has the day off because of her accident."

Zenko deflated. "Oh yeah..."

Now, Kokoro had a soft soft for cute things. Especially when those cute things looked like a kicked puppy.

"Hey! I'm free to go with tomorrow so it's no big deal", Kokoro blurted out.

If she remembered correctly, Zenko was the equivalent of a palace servant. So she must have that job too if she was suppose to go to work with him. Kokoro knew for a fact that Zenko never had a sibling of any sort in the game, so this universe must of just jabbed her in whatever place they could. Like a toddler trying to slammed a square peg in a round hole.

It was quite obvious she didn't fit, but the universe was gonna make her fit weather it was meant to be or not.

Zenko perked up.

"Great! Bye, Ro!" Zenko ran out the door after a hurrying and flustered mother.

After a moment, Kokoro jumped up.

{Alright. Time to snoop around. For research purposes.}

Kokoro ran up stairs to find the woman's room. She should probably figure out who she was. A name could help her figure out a little more about this family.

She opened a bedroom door that was neither Zenko's or her own. Unless it was a guest bedroom, she must be on the right track.

She stepped inside. She looked on the nightstand to see something that looked like a I.D. card.

{Bingo!}

She picked it up. A picture of the woman was printed on the front. In bold black letters was her name.

"Emiko... Tetsuki...." Kokoro frowned. "So she somehow shares the same name as me? Well... Zenko's last name was never mentioned in the game..." Kokoro looked over and saw a computer. A weird looking one, but still."

"Oh yeah! Intertwining Destines had a weird sci-fi, fantasy, medieval-modern disaster shit going on!" She had never been so thankful of poor theme choice in a game before. She walked over and sat at the computer.

"Please work like a regular computer because I don't have time to relearn a skill today..."

Kokoro started looking around for a browser so she could look up Emiko's name. It, luckily, was fairly easy. She searched up Emiko's full name looking around for what popped up-

{Oh...

So that's why there isn't a dad...

Just gonna... exit off and forget I saw the gruesome sight.}

Kokoro sighed, boredom starting to catch up with her. She died and found herself in a harem game. She didn't expect for things to be so... boring. She got up and headed back down stairs, not before erasing any trace that she was snopping around. She jumped onto the couch.

Does this place have any tv?

She saw a thin, almost see through screen mounted on the wall. She looked around the living room until she found something vaguely remote shape. She pushed a green button.

The screen immediately flickered to life with what appeared to be a news channel.

{Sweet! Now I can do the same exact thing I would've done before I died! How not depressing!}

She passed out, deciding that if life in a harem game was gonna be boring, might as well educate herself on her new enviroment.

She was completely absorbed into the tv until she heard I knock on the door. She froze, eyes widening.

"Oh no...", Kokoro whispered. "What do I do...?"

She heard another knock. She got up and started walking towards the front door.

{Okay, Kokoro. Just open the door, tell them your mother isn't here, and slam the door on their face! Easy peasy!}

Kokoro opened the door. She didn't see anyone around.

"Down here!"

A black cat with a white spot over his eye stood before her.

"Hi! My name is Soot, and I-"

Kokoro slammed the door shut.

She took a moment to get her thoughts together. She opened the door again.

"I would appreciate it if you didn't-"

She slammed the door shut again.

{Yup. Just gonna...}

She opened the door one last time. She gave the cat a weirded out expression. "Hello talking cat? Can I help you?"

{This was fine...}

"My name is Soot", the tiny cat said cheerfully. "I'm your guide to help you on your journey through Intertwining Destinies and help you find your perfect soulmate!"

"..."

"..."

"You do realize that everything you just said is a personalized hell for me, right?"

"I figured that much!"

Kokoro stared at satan's little messenger.

"Can I come in? I've been walking a long time and I can't feel my feet."

Kokoro stepped to the side. "I mean, I guess?"

The tiny cat jumped into the house and hopped up on the couch.

"Come on! We have much to discuss!"

Kokoro walked over in defeat, accepting her fate.

Why didn't the universe just leave her dead?

Why?

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