Webnovel

2 Ch. 2: Guide To An Unwanted Harem Game

Kokoro sat down on the couch and glared at the small cat. The cat smiled back up at her joyfully. She huffed.

{Evil little thing...}

"So I'm definitely stuck in Intertwining Destinies, that stupid harem game?"

"I'm surprise you're not freaking out more!"

"Oh, give it a couple hours. The anxiety attack will catch up eventually."

The cat jumped up on the coffee table.

"Allow me to introduce myself properly! I'm Soot! I'm your guide in Intertwining Destinies to help you find your own true love!" The cat's tail swished around excitedly.

Kokoro raised an eyebrow. "Didn't you already say that?"

"I wanted to make sure you got it since you still seem shell shocked."

Kokoro rubbed the bridge of her nose. She could feel an on coming migraine. She opened one eye and gave the black cat a long look.

"Okay...", she sighed. "I... really have no choice, do I?"

Soot shook his head. "I don't even know how you got here!"

Kokoro sighed.

{Wait...}

She stared at Soot a little closer. Her eyes lit up as it clicked where she had seen his face before.

"Hey! You're that cat from the loading screen", Kokoro shouted, pointing an accusing finger at him.

"Geez", Soot huffed. "No need to yell."

Kokoro glared. "I don't remember you being a guide in the game!"

"I wasn't."

"Huh?"

Soot stetched a paw out and a small holographic screen appeared. "I had no self awareness until today. I was given a directive."

Kokoro leaned over to look at the screen.

[Directive: Help Kokoro find her soulmate and guide her through Intertwining Destinies!~ <3]

Kokoro grimaced. "Nice..."

Soot tapped his screen as bunch of indecipherable numbers. "Tap the cuff on your left ear."

Kokoro frowned as she reached up and touched her ear. Sure enough, there was one there.

{That wasn't there before...}

She glared at the cat from the corner of her eye. "Did you do that?"

"Yes? Why?" He taps his screen. "Would you like the menu to be something else?"

"No, I'm not complaining about having the earing I always- menu?"

"Yeah! The menu!"

"Oh!"

{He said tap, right?}

She tapped and a holographic pick screen popped up. "I know how to do this! But... can I customize the screen? This isn't cutting it for me..."

The screen wasn't only pink, but gold and was covered in hearts and daisies. It was so not her style.

"Yeah, just click the pallete icon in the top left corner", Soot answered.

She did. A couple themes poped up. She clicked 'Elegant', which was a dark grey background with white markings bordering around it and daffodils in the corners in.a row on the bottom.

{Okay... I can handle this.}

She looked at the menu.

[Profiles]

[Quests]

[Inventory]

[Stats]

[Settings]

"Profiles...", Kokoro asked out loud.

"Profiles show your relationships with important people in game", Soot answer. "You can unlock their profiles by completing quests and side missions. Here I'll show you. Can you get my a bowl of milk?"

[Quest ~ Nice Cold Milk: Soot is thirsty! Mind getting him some milk? Reward: Soot Profile Unlock]

Kokoro blinked at the small pop up in front of her. Weird...

"Okay..." She got up and went looking through the kitchen. She found a container with a white liquid in it that tasted like milk. And if it somehow wasn't? Close enough. She eventually found the bowls and poor some of the half-way-certain milk into it. Kokoro came back around the corner back into the living room.

"There ya go, I guess...", Kokoro mumbled, placing it in front of Soot.

"Thank you!" Soot jumped up and started drinking the milk.

[Quest: Nice Cold Milk - Completed!~ Soot Profile Unlocked!~]

Soot wiped his mouth with his paw. "Okay, now click Profiles."

Kokoro did just that.

[°Profiles ❦]

[°Quests]

[Inventory]

[°Stats]

[Settings]

She frowned at the small little dots that had appeared. "Are those... notification marker thingies?"

{Wow... I sound so smart right now...}

Soot didn't seem to mind or care. "Yup! But we'll get into that later. You've played before, right?"

"Yeah, but the set up seems a bit different." Kokoro shrugged. "Not by much though."

The screen finished loading and the Profiles page poped up. There was some sort of card that had an adorable picture of Soot on it.

[Soot - Guide]

[Open?]

[Yes]

[No]

Kokoro noded. "Love the picture."

"Thank you! I worked really hard on it!"

[Yes ❦]

[Soot]

[Guide In Intertwining Destinies]

[Age: N/A]

[Gender: Male]

[Bio-Tech: None]

{Bio-Tech?}

'Hey, Soot", Kokoro asked, turning to him. "What's a bio-tech?"

"Oh! A bio-tech is a piece of technology, a chip, that goes into the back of your neck and gives you cool abilites!"

"So basically sci-fi superpowers?"

"Pretty much."

She looked back at the screen.

[Likes: milk]

[Dislikes: N/A]

"You're very boring, you know that", Kokoro snorted.

"That's because you have yet to learn about me", Soot pouted.

"So, the more I learn about people around me, the more that will be add to their profiles?" Kokoro nodded, not taking her eyes off the screen. "Makes sense."

[Yellow Rose: ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿]

[White Rose: ✿ ✿ ✿]

[Red Rose:]

[Black Rose:]

[Wilted Rose:]

"Ah, what's this daunting couple of meters?" Kokoro felt her suspicions to heighten. Especially at the black rose and the wilted rose.

"Your romantic and platonic meters", Soot answered cheerfully.

"Platonic?"

Soot nodded. "We're looking for the love of your life but who says you can't find a friend as well."

"At least you're giving me that...", Kokoro grumbled. "What does each mean and what do they do?"

"Yellow is for platonic love, friendship and family, white is for innocence and purity, red is a classic; passion and romance." Soot giggled.

"Yeah, I knew that", Kokoro replied, frowning. Kokoro liked flowers and while she could never dream of having having a garden of them, she liked to look up things about them, their special meanings included.

She tapped her screen on the last two. "I'm asking about the less than promising ones."

Soot pulled his ears back. "Oh... yeah. Black represents twisted love, and wilted roses mean hate and heartbreak."

"Ah... so black roses are basically yanderes."

"Basically."

"Well!" Kokoro turned to Soot. "This is all fine and dandy but-"

"Let's go on a walk", Soot interrupted and headed to the door.

"I can't", Kokoro snapped. "Concussion, remember? Or did your mysterious boss not tell you about that part."

What can Kokoro say? Being interrupted really pisses her off.

"Oh come on", Soot argued. "You know, you don't actually have a concussion? It's just backstory info!" Soot sat patiently by the door.

Kokoro huffed and went to open the door.

"Uh... you might want ti get dress first..."

She looked down to see she was still in her nightgown. She rolled her eyes and marched up stairs.

Today was just looking to be a bundle of fun, huh?

°-SFAD-°

Kokoro had thrown whatever she had lying around the floor on. She wasn't even sure she was wearing it right, but no one gave her any weird or dirty looks so she assumes she's in the clear.

Her messenger bag she found was slung over her shoulder.

This was apparently where inventory came in.

"So I can fit an ungodly amount of stuff in here, as long as the size of the object can easily be placed in the bag?"

"Yup", Soot answered. "You have the inventory space of forty items!"

Kokoro clicked her tongue. "Nice. Also, do you I look like a crazy person when talking to you like this?"

"Yeah, you do!"

"Oh... That's nice too, I guess..."

Kokoro looked around. The place looked like a scene ripped straight out of a sci-fi novel. There was cool, black metal that made up the buildings and ground, bright, glowy lines and shapes that were used as decoration around town, and they were currently walking across a giant bridge over a chasm that seemed to be an endless hole with lights that gave her the impression that it was an entire cylinder wall of buildings and shops.

All in all, nice scenery.

Shame they never displayed any of this in the game...

"So, what are we doing again", Kokoro asked Soot.

"Exploring", he chirped.

He hopped into something that basically looked like a futuristic elevator. She followed. After a brief moment, the doors closed.

"Go to the screen and tap on public spaces", Soot said, smiling... if cats could do that. "It's the icon with the chat bubbles."

Kokoro gazed at the black, smooth screen that was about the size of one of those ipads. She tapped the screen and it turned on with a ding. She scrolled through the icons, looking at them all.

{That's a lot... I wonder what they mean.}

"You know it's in the first row, right", Soot said, daring to sass her.

"Shut up I know", Kokoro shouted, scrolling back up. "And don't sass me! I don't appreciate being sassed! Only I can do the sassing around here!"

She went to click it when the doors opened up and some guy hurried inside. He had a stack of boxes and was trying to balance them. That's when he noticed her.

"Oh! I'm so sorry! I didn't see you there", he quickly apologized, looking flustered.

Kokoro felt as panick buzzed around inside her skull.

{Akinari!}

Akinari was one of the love interests in the game. And well... he was a deeply disturbed guy. Don't fooled by his innocent act! He has a huge obsession with fighting and tried to start a fight with MC in the game! Something about bloodlust and the adrenaline of near death or something like that.

And he's scary...

Even someone like Kokoro could admit that...

"No... it's fine", Kokoro replied stiffly.

"Could you press the icon for me? I'm heading to the shoping district."

Kokoro gave Soot a panicked look from the corner of her eye.

"The shopping bag icon", he whispered.

Kokoro started to scroll, feeling the the eyes of Akinari burning into the back of her head. She found it and clicked it. A white ring lit up around it.

A tense moment of silence was held.

"Thank you! My hands were kind of full at the moment." He chuckled.

"No problem...", Kokoro replied, giving a small nod.

They waited quietly together as the elevator started up. It relaeased a quite humming noise and lowered down below, the area they were in disappearing above.

Kokoro stared directly ahead but her eyes couldn't help but to drift over and look at Akinari. He had autumn leaf orange hair and honey eyes. He was nearly twice Kokoro's size, which wasn't too crazy because Kokoro had always been on the smaller side, but still. He had on some sort of black hoodie with grey sleeves.

His eyes looked over towards her. Kokoro quickly averted her eyes.

{Ah, shit-}

"Aren't you one of the palace servants", Akinari asked, smiling.

{Oh so Zenko and her were servants and not just equivalents... wonderful...}

"Maybe", she answered stiffly. "What is it to you?"

He smiled. "Ah. I thought I saw your face somewhere before. Not easy to forget someone with eyes like yours."

Kokoro frowned. "What about them?"

Akinari looked down upon her. "Your eyes. They're like a twisting storm in the sky, unpredictable yet mesmerising. Will it release a gentle rain with beautiful streaks of lightning, or will it's winds roar and tear apart the sky."

Kokoro stared at him.

"Are you... reciting sonnets or something about my... eye color?!"

Akinari chuckled deeply. "I guess I am. I apologize for the suddenness of it." He tilted his head. "But you do have very lovely eyes."

Kokoro looked away. "Uh... thanks. I guess."

She could still feel his burning gaze on her.

"I had something else planned but let's go to the shopping district as well", Soot whispered to her. "I think you should look at some items to buy!"

Kokoro shot Soot a glare.

She didn't want to go to the same place as the psychotic maniac! Was he crazy?!

"Would you like to accompany me", Akinari asked, no clue about the heated glare she was giving the cat. "I'd like to get to know you better!"

[Quest ~ Window Shopping: Go shopping with Akinari! Get to know him better! Reward: Akinari Profile Unlock!]

{But I don't want to go shopping with the crazy man...}

"...fine", Kokoro agreed, possibly signing away her life at this point.

Akinari smiled. "Wonderful!"

The elevator doors opened up. Akinari stepped out and Kokoro followed with Soot trailing behind.

Kokoro fell behind, reluctantly, and followed Akinari to where ever he was headed. To be fair, the guy didn't challenge her to a fight or go on some spill about blood lust or whatever. He seemed pretty okay so far.

"So, I didn't get a name", he prodded.

Kokoro resisted rolling her eyes, only to avoid possible death. "It's Kokoro..."

"Nice to meet you, I'm Akinari", Akinari cheered. "Can I call you Ro?"

"Do that and you die..."

"Okay, Ro!"

Kokoro growled lowly.

Akinari laughed. He stepped up to a shop with a metal sign out front that read 'BAKERY' in all caps.

"Come on, Ro", Akinari beckoned. "I need to deliver these supplies. Maybe I can treat you to something here, if you'll let me?"

Her head says no, her heart says no, but her stomach says yes.

Kokoro is a sucker for free food.

She followed him in and was hit in the face with the delicious smell of baked goods. She didn't eat lunch, now that she thought about it...

Akinari sat the boxes down on the counter. He rung the small bell.

"Got your delivery!"

"I'm coming! I'm coming!"

An old woman with her hair pulled back in a messy bun marched around to the counter from the back. Her face was set in a deep scowl.

"I really need to destory that bell", she grumbled. "It's gonna drive me crazy."

Akinari laughed. The woman picked up the boxes with ease, which was a bit surprising because she looked like one frail lady. Akinari leaned againist the counter, propping his elbows on it.

"Mind if I buy my friend and I two slices of pound cake", he asked.

The woman stared him back dead in the eyes. "Aki, you don't have any friends."

Kokoro snorted. She couldn't help it. She was starting to like this woman.

The woman turned to her in a snap, startling her. She gave her a long look, making Kokoro deeply uncomfortable.

"Did he kiddnap you", the woman asked. "Because I don't believe he'd would ever have any friends, much less a beautiful young lady like yourself."

Kokoro blushed and turned her head away. No one had ever called her beautiful before. She really wasn't. Very dull looking, that is if you ignored the ugly birthmark on her face.

"Aw, don't be like that", Akinari pouted before it returned to a smile. "Can I please?"

"Money first", the woman grunted. Akinari handed over a small card. The woman held it under a light that was apart of a cash register before there was a small dinging noise. She handed it back over and return to the back.

"Currency here", Soot said quietly. "You have a card too in your bag."

The woman handed over the slices.

"Thank you", Akinari sang and turned to Kokoro. "Here you go. It's really good."

Kokoro hesitantly took a slice. She tore off a slice and put it in her mouth. It was pretty good. Like honey and warmth of a summer sun and the invitation of a fireplace on a winter's night.

Okay. Enough poetry over some cake.

"Thanks...", she mumbled.

"I'm just glad you allowed me to buy a treat for keeping me company", Akinari said.

{What can I saw? When some offers me free shit, I'm the opposite of modest and humble.}

They walked out of the bakery, Akinari leading her to a merchant shop to look at some trinkets, while she stayed in the back, eating her pound cake.

"See? He's not so bad", Soot chirped, looking smugged.

"Says you", Kokoro hissed quietly.

Soot gave her a look.

Kokoro huffed. "Okay! Fine! He isn't completely terrible! But I know more than I ever wanted to know about this game and it's only a matter of time before he snaps!"

Soot rolled his eyes. "Oh yeah? When would that happen?"

A stranger tore pass Kokoro ripping her messanger bag off her arm.

"Hey", she shouted. "Jackass!"

{Well, there goes my magic bag. Get something cool and lose it immediately. Story of my-}

Crack!

Kokoro and Soot stared, wide eye up ahead as Akinari had punched the guy square in the nose as he came up beside him. He was currently standing on the crooks back, pressing his heavy looking boots down on top of him.

"Ack-"

Akinari grinned at the man's pain, that classic crazed look finally revealing itself. "You know, it's rude to steal from a lady?"

"Oh god! Have mercy- AH!"

Akinari pressed his foot down, adding more pressure to the man's spine.

"Why should I? Especially for a fucking thief like you?"

Kokoro watched silently from a distance. She turned to Soot.

"I fucking told you."

°-SFAD-°

Kokoro sighed as she got to her door. She turned to a smiling, innocent looking Akinari.

"Thank you for walking me home and getting my bag back, but was breaking that guy's hand necessary? You already had him pinned down and the police was already on the way."

Akinari shrugged. "If he is going to use his hands to steal things from others, he doesn't deserve functioning hands."

"...right."

Akinari nodded. "Goodnight, Ro. Perhaps we can do this again?"

Kokoro nodded. It wasn't a too terrible day. And apparently she was on the guys good side because he hasn't tried to fight her yet.

"Yeah, sounds cool." She paused. "But maybe could we avoid it ending in violence?"

Akinari laughed. "Of course! Goodbye!" He started down the stairs that lead to her apartment.

"Bye...", she called out after him. She lowered her head.

"Are you sure you don't want to see the place I wanted to show you", Soot asked, looking sad.

"Maybe tomorrow", Kokoro sighed. "I think I had enough fun for one day-"

[Quest: Window Shopping - Completed!~ Akinari Profile Unlocked!~]

"Jesus!" Kokoro grabbed her chest, completely caught off guard by the pop up. "I completely forgot about that-"

"Kokoro", Zenko shouted, the door flying opened.

Kokoro jumped away from the door. "Is everyone trying to give me a damn heart attack today?!"

Zenko lowered his head. "I'm sorry... I didn't mean to..."

Kokoro relaxed. "It's fine, Zenko. It isn't your fault."

Zenko perked up.

And Emiko came around the door, looking very displeased. "Where have you been?"

"Uh...", Kokoro looked away. "Here and there?"

Emiko sighed. "You were suppose to take the day off because we don't know if you fully recovered yet. You scared us!"

Kokoro internally cringed. She blames this on the cat. After this and the incident in town square, she wasn't going to be listening to anymore of his great ideas.

"I'm really sorry, I just hated being cooped up in the house all day", Kokoro lied. Saying the cat told her to do it wouldn't go over well-

Emiko looked down. "Where did that cat come from?" She bent down and started to pet it.

-mostly because they didn't even realize she had a cat now-

"Oh, uh... this is Soot", Kokoro introduced. "It's a cat that showed up outside the apartment."

"He's cute", Zenko said, smiling. He too bent down to pet it.

"It's evil", Kokoro huffed. "But it won't leave me alone."

"Must really like you", Zenko concluded.

Emiko went back in the house. "Come in. I made dinner. And please..." She looked back over at Kokoro with a worried expression. "Please text one of us before going off on another adventure."

Kokoro felt guilty. Emiko was too nice to worry like that. "I promise."

She stepped inside to have dinner with her... family.

Yeah.

Her family.

"Uh... Kokoro", Zenko asked.

"Yeah?"

"I didn't know that Akinari and you were friends. He's very scary..."

"Fuck."

°-SFAD-°

Kokoro stared up at the ceiling of her room. Dinner was great. It was obviously a poor man's dinner, but who was she to complain. Sure her 'family' before was better off financially, but Kokoro would happily trade that in for this family she got.

Emiko was such a overworking mother but so sweet. And she was pretty sure Zenko was the definition of too good for this world. Sure he was a bit stupid, but it kind of added to the dog like nature of him.

Not the brightest, but the sweetest and most loyal you would meet.

Kokoro lifted her head up as she heard a door open. Emiko was peeking through, her long, dark brown hair falling down her shoulder. Kokoro had taken in her features awhile go at dinner since the shock wore off. Emiko was a beautiful woman, eyes tired from years of too much work yet she was aging quite nicely. Her age showed, but pleasantly, adding notes to her face.

"Kokoro", Emiko asked quietly.

"Hmm?" She gave Emiko her full attention.

"I'm going to work tonight", Emiko whispered. She seemed tired. "The king needs me and the other maids. The royal families of the five kingdoms are meeting tomorrow. We veen preparing but we need to double check everthing before they arrive."

{Thank you, mother dear, for conveniently telling me all of this!}

"I won't be back home until tomorrow night", she sighed, her grey eyes dulling a bit. "Keep an eye on your brother. I know he's the same age as you but he can be really naive and a trouble magnet."

"I will", Kokoro promised. Honestly, she's been wanting to hang out with her new brother who has been officially confirmed as her twin or adopted since she accepted her hell.

Emiko smiled. "Thank you. I'll pay you back somehow-"

"Nah", Kokoro said, cutting her off. "I rather if you didn't. I'll just mooch of of Akinari's money. He likes throwing it at me anyway."

It was true. Akinari had insisted on buying Kokoro new shirts and a corset that she has shown interest in. He also bought her leather gloves which were pretty cool.

She eventually dragged him away physically before he bought her anything more. Kokoro had a limit of hiw much she could be a bitch without feeling guilty. After that, her vacationing mortality decides to return home and deck her in the face.

She doesn't like being decked in the face by her sense of morality.

So she had to stop him before it escalated anymore.

Emiko laughed gently. "What am I going to do with you. Goodnight."

"Goodnight..."

The door slowly closed once more.

Kokoro looked over at Soot who was passed the fuck out next to her.

She sighed.

Kokoro had many weird things that gave her anxiety. One was sleeping in a new place. She already had bad insomnia, but when she slept somewhere new, it was like... to the max level.

She could not fucking sleep.

Dammit.

She tapped her earring cuff.

[°Profiles ❦]

[°Quests]

[Inventory]

[°Stats]

[Settings]

She quickly went looking for Akinari's profile.

[Akinarini Konno]

[Delivery Service, Demon Spawn]

{Ah. A well suited title.}

[Age: 20]

[Gender: Male]

[Bio-Tech: Detection - He can sense distrubances in his enviroment although not specifically if not physical. He can detect physical, emotional, and mental changes.]

{The real question is, can he detect himself?}

Hobbies: N/A

Likes: fighting, adrenaline rushes, your company-

{Bullshit. Everyone with a common sense or a working brain hates my company.}

-sweets, baking

{Well, then.}

Dislikes: Thieves, assholes, the police-

Kokoro cringed as she remember trying to keep Akinari from fighting the cops when the essentially told him to fuck off after breaking the jackass' hand.

She sighed and moved onto the meter of love bullshit.

[Yellow Rose: ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿]

[White Rose:]

[Red Rose: ✿ ✿]

[Black Rose: ✿ ✿ ✿]

[Wilted Rose:]

She squinted at the yandere meter.

{Excuse me, what the fuck?}

Should she panic? Sure the max was ten, but there was already three. She had seven yellow roses. Maybe the friendship meter took away from that? Wait... can yanderes also exists in friendships? Can she possibly have a platonic yandere on her ass?

But there was also the two in the romance meter.

She hated these darn meters.

Anxiety indusing.

Kokoro closed out. Hopefully sleep would come soon because scrolling on that devil sent thing was not making it come faster. In fact, it did the opposite.

She finally got some sleep an hour an a half later...