Though I was quite hesitant to do so, I did end up sharing my bedroom’s bed with Yamasaki-san shortly after discovering how to locate and navigate through my Deck. I mostly did so due to her instigation that my manhood might not be safe if I slept on the sofa and left her alone. Even if it’s shameful to admit, Yamasaki-san can easily overpower me. To start with, she’s 179cm and I’m 169cm. I’m just a short and skinny and not muscular-at-all type, and she’s built different. If this were the Showa era, there’s no question she’d be some female yankee biker onna banchou who’d ride around on a bike with a big flag on it crushing whole gangs by herself with a lead pipe. However, it’s the Reiwa era now. Our generation has a different kind of energy than those boomers. Gang violence has been replaced by isolated bullying and reputation destroying Insta posts.
Yamasaki-san is all about that gyaru life, and well, a gyaru has gotta do a lot to stay fit and fashionable. Making a trip out to get groceries is my version of a workout. Holding seven to ten drawn cards in a fan shape upright in my hand for the length of a 15-30 minute card game battle is how I build endurance. There’s no point in comparing us, I lose in every category but using my brain.
Though I tried to keep my distance from her, that didn’t matter one bit once she rolled over. My body was captured by her arms eventually, and I became her bitch pillow… um, that is, I became the little spoon in an unwanted nighttime hug. She’s quite touchy-feely in many places when she’s asleep, most of them inappropriate, as I was quick to learn. But, night eventually leads to day, and since there was no way to resist or escape, I eventually surrendered to sleep once more.
As it was Monday morning, my phone alarm went off early, since I hadn’t deactivated it, and Yamasaki’s morning greeting was a colorful barrage of curses until I was able to free a hand to reach for and dismiss the alarm.
After that, if it was possible for me to be more wrapped up in her body, that’s how it went. Her face pressed against my neck, her tits pressed into my back, her thighs draped over my legs, and her hand continued to wander from under my shirt to the inside of my pants. Though I was terrified, she never managed to injure me with those long painted acrylic nails of hers.
“Y-Yamasaki-san? Are you awake?”
She bit my ear, but not too hard.
“W-why are you…”
“Mm… Because I feel like it. You aren’t going to say you aren’t enjoying it, are you?”
“But you hate me… I don’t get it!”
She began to lick all around and inside my ear now. My entire body fought off the strange feeling while my partner was already at maximum growth. Yamasaki-san was just doing whatever she wanted and I remained confused about the whole thing, especially after reading those strange things in the help topics section of my Deck system.
“So? Are you gonna go telling everyone that you got a handy from me when school starts back up on Wednesday?” she said while whispering in my now-damp ear. “Just shut up and enjoy it, Subaru. You got zapped by a laser beam, and now there’s this beautiful gyaru in your bed playing with your junk. What is it you’re so uptight about? You know that any guy in school would kill to be where you’re at right now!”
“I-I know that… but…”
“Then are you mad that you aren’t on top? Let yourself go, if you’ve got the balls to push me down, I won’t push you off. Why don’t you show me how much of a man you are, Subaru? I’ll even give you the privilege of going raw all the way, what do you say?”
“...I don’t want to do it with you.”
With those words, she stopped playing with my body.
“You’re no fun.”
Her hand slid itself out of my pants and she rolled over. I was freed from being toyed around by her, but I didn’t exactly feel good about doing that. Why did I have to be bullied like this in my own home? I’m already doing enough putting her up and putting up with her until school starts back up, aren’t I?
Besides, even if it’s not possible, there is someone else I’d rather do this kind of thing with. She’s in my class, and is a girl similar to me… Onodera-san. We’re both at the bottom of the class caste, and like me, she’s also one of the targets of Yamasaki-san and her gyaru bitch friends.
“Is it because I’m not some fat and ugly submissive otaku bitch?”
“Do strong women scare you, Subaru? I can be gentle, you know. Haven’t you been feeling that all night?”
“Y-you were awake?”
“No, I slept just fine. I was nice and warm all night since I didn’t have to sleep alone.”
“You didn’t give me much of a choice, Yamasaki-san.”
“Yamasaki-san! Yamasaki-san!” she grumbled, “I have a name, Subaru. Since we’re alone, you’re free to call me Shoko. I mean, are you really going to keep acting this distant when we’ve already done this much?”
“We? You just did whatever you wanted whether I was fine with it or not!” I rebutted. “We’re too different to even get along, Yamasaki-san.”
“That’s on you. I’m at least trying to make the best out of this situation! I know we’re different. I might have a pussy, but you are a pussy. When do you think you’d ever get a chance to be with a woman like me? Don’t you want to at least have a story when you graduate and go to college that you can tell your friends? Like, ‘Hey, do you remember when those holes opened up in the sky way back when? I totally fucked the hottest gyaru I ever knew that weekend.’”
“Who would even believe that, Yamasaki-san?”
“Shoko. And who cares if they believe you or not? At the very least, if they ask questions about what it was like, you would be able to answer them honestly.”
“And what, be proud?”
“Yeah. What’s your future looking like, Subaru? You turn twenty-five and get so pent up you end up losing it to some delivery health girl who probably has an STD she’s hiding? I at least take care of myself.”
“Even if you say that, I don’t love you, Yamasaki-san!”
“Yeah, love. I don’t… want to do it with anyone, if there isn’t love.”
She began to laugh uncontrollably. It was the kind of laughter that left me feeling pretty uncomfortable. She got up out of the bed after laughing for a good long while, dug around in her bag for a skirt and bra, then put them on without caring one bit that I was in the room.
“Hey, Subaru. Go make us breakfast, I’m hungry. And no eggs. I’m going to step outside for a few minutes.”
Yamasaki-san vacated the bedroom, and I was left with the task of making us both breakfast. I went ahead and made something a bit traditional, white rice with furikake, miso with sizable chunks of tofu and green onion, and the main course was thin strips of tempura beef and vegetables. There was also a small amount of tsukemono on the side as well to go with the rice, just in case.
What I know of Yamasaki-san’s tastes are generally limited to what’s available in the school canteen, so making her something to eat from scratch, without any eggs, and quickly from memory, was pretty much this. Though, this killed the supply of meat I bought at the supermarket Saturday morning. I could already feel the added costs of feeding one more mouth. Since, as a student, I’m not allowed to work a full-time job, I have to make do with my limited resources.
When breakfast was made, I pushed open the front door and found her just standing there on the second floor balcony, looking outward. The sky was clear and blue, with very few clouds. It was almost a joke that just a couple of days ago, the heavens were littered with strange, alien portals of swirling purple and blue and that, of all things, Yamasaki-san’s prediction of them firing out laser beams actually came to pass, instead of monsters spewing forth, or a zombie apocalypse happening.
Could it be that she had some uncanny sixth sense, or was it just dumb gyaru luck?
“Yamasaki-san, breakfast is ready.”
I returned inside, and she followed after. We both sat down at the table in front of the sofa to eat.
“Since I usually get you bread at school, I don’t actually know what you like to eat…” I explained what each dish was to her, just in case, letting her know I didn’t use eggs anywhere in my cooking. “I used a small amount of soy and vinegar with the tempura, so it might be a bit salty.”
I don’t think that mattered to her one bit. One itadakimasu later, she was cramming mouthfuls of rice and pickles, alternating along with pieces of breaded beef and vegetables. She had a smile on her face the entire time she ate, as if the awkwardness from before wasn’t even there.
I turned the television on, and the news was reporting that the curfew was in effect. There was a reporter on the scene at some location out in Gunma Prefecture, where a number of JSDF troops were positioned around a portal that had landed on one of the mountain passes.
“...The JSDF has sent in a manned drone along with a four man squad, accompanied by a scientist in order to record data from what is on the other side. Previous attempts to send in the drone alone ended in failure when no signal was being output from the alien entryway. The estimated time for this operation is fifteen minutes, and currently, five minutes have already elapsed…”
Oh, they sent something through the portal already? That’s good. Maybe we’ll get a better understanding of what the portals are now.
“Subaru, what do you think is on the other side of those things?”
“I have no idea, but you have a system… and I guess I do too. There’s no way that they aren’t related somehow, but whether or not they are like anything in the manga I’ve read is still questionable.”
“What happens in those manga?” She asked.
“Uh, usually people with systems like yours end up as something called Hunters, and they make a living killing monsters and stuff inside of them, bringing back otherworldly loot and advancing science by hundreds of years with materials we just don’t have here on Earth. All kinds of things would happen, we’d need to learn new sciences, there would be all kinds of new weaponry and energy sources, and of course the systems would make their users astronomically stronger than a regular unawakened person.”
“People who didn’t manage to get a system.”
“What happens if someone without a system goes into a portal?”
“In most cases, hot weaponry doesn’t work at all on those monsters. Then there’s the matter of battle power. Even the most trained soldier would be equal at best to the weakest monster they encounter. In other words, it would be up to the awakened people with systems to go in and do what the armed forces can’t.”
“What about if the monsters come out?”
“Either they are subjected to the laws of Earth, and we have a chance to hold them off, or they don’t… at which point things will get really bad, really fast.”
“Does that mean if people find out we have a system, that we’ll be recruited to go inside those things and fight?”
“There is a good possibility that might happen. Most of the time though, in the manga at least, there’s usually a Hunter administration center that tracks who is awakened and who isn’t, and then various private guilds are established by powerful people or corporations who then vie for the resources which can be found on the other side. Either way, if any of that is the case, society will change a bit to accommodate this new occupation.”
“What if it’s nothing like that?”
“I don’t know what I don’t know, Yamasaki-san. I’m just offering a hypothetical scenario based on manga I’ve read.”
“If the JSDF finds out we’re awakened people with systems and have to go into one of those things to fight monsters, you’ll go with me, right?”
“Why would you think that?”
“You protected me from the laser beam, didn’t you?”
“Assuming the system I have works inside one of those portals, I don’t think I’m the type who can fight on the frontline. If anything, my system would probably have me standing at the rear and supporting other people.”
I took a bite of my food, chewing slowly. Yamasaki-san, who had finished all of her tempura beef, reached over to my plate with her chopsticks and stole a piece.
“Well, the guy at the back is the commander, and the most valuable, right? It’s like the King piece in shogi, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, but I don’t think the King in shogi can do things like empowering his pieces from the start. They have to get promoted on their own.”
“Then you can empower pieces from the start? You figured out what your system does?”
“Not exactly, but it’s got something to do with card games.”
“Something like that. I have seven cards right now, but I have no idea how to use them or anything, though it’s possible that as I do various things, I will get more cards I can use.”
“I don’t really get my system at all. I have a screen that says a whole bunch of stuff that seem like measurements of some kind.”
“That sounds pretty standard.”
“Then you know how it works?”
I shook my head.
“I can’t see your system, so I can’t say for sure. Is there anything that shows something like a 「Level」 or 「Experience」 value?”
“Um… there’s a 「Level」 value, but not an 「Experience」 one.”
“What’s your level?”
“Anything like 「Abilities」 or 「Skills」 that you can see?”
“There is. But there’s just one thing there. It’s 「Body Reinforcement」 and it’s something called a Passive Skill.”
“That’s good. In games I’ve played, that’s something that improves both your overall attacking and defensive power.”
“So it makes me stronger?”
“Yes, and there’s a chance it can go up in level too, though how exactly, I don’t know. If it was an Active Skill, it might be based on how often you use it, but the fact that it’s a Passive Skill might mean it will get stronger naturally as you level up.”
“That means I have to earn experience points, right? I remember that was how in the game… for the pokéyou to get stronger, they had to beat up other pokéyou. But I don’t have an 「Experience」 value!”
“Yamasaki-san, maybe not everything is available from the start? It’s entirely possible we might never go into a portal and fight monsters, so you’ll never need to worry about gaining experience in the first place.”
“But if I did, it would make me stronger right? Like one of those Marvel superheroes?”
“Again, there’s not enough evidence yet to prove that’s how your system will treat your growth, but it’s entirely possible if you did somehow kill a monster inside of the portal, should there even be one, you might gain the 「Experience」 value at that time.”
With Yamasaki-san helping clear my plate of tempura beef and vegetables, a line of text appeared in front of my eyes.
「Tempura Beef Set Added to Tendo Subaru’s Deck」
“Yamasaki-san, are you done eating?”
“Do you see anything leftover?”
“That’s not what I meant. Check your status for a buff.”
“Oh, there is one! It’s got the same five-hour duration as last time. But this time it’s a boost to my Strength.”
“Do you feel stronger right now?”
“Not really. Let me try something.”
She stood up and walked over to the sofa, and with one hand, she lifted it up at an angle, easily.
“Holy shit! I don’t even feel the weight of this sofa at all!”
“For real! It doesn’t even feel like it weighs a kilo. Is this because of your food?”
“I think so. When I cooked the Hamburg steak, you received a buff then too, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, the Vitality one.”
“The Hamburg steak as well as this meal just now, both were added to my Deck. It seems that if I cook certain things, that will happen.”
“So if you feed me things I can get stronger? Does it only work if it’s something you cook?”
“That’s… I don’t know. I don’t have a status menu, so I can’t see if I also have a buff as well.”
“Try it, then. Lift the sofa.”
Needing a frame of reference, it was a good enough idea. Yamasaki-san lowered the sofa, and it was my turn to try. I tried lifting it with one hand, and then with both, and my meager strength was only enough to lift it about half a meter off of the floor at an angle.
“Or maybe you’re just weak as shit?”
She didn’t have to say it like that, but I understood what she was saying, if it was a multiplier instead of an additive, 0 times anything was still 0. Fuck, I really am a weak piece of shit. Maybe I should buy some dumbbells and work out my arms a little?
“Don’t feel bad. Maybe you can figure out what you can cook that will act as brain food.”
“Something to boost my Intelligence?”
“If you’re the King piece and you need to give orders, isn’t it better to be as smart as possible?”
“... Breaking news. The scouting team sent in by the JSDF has returned. Only three of the five men sent in have returned. There are clear signs of there having been a struggle inside. We’re unable to get any closer to get a direct answer, but one of the survivors is the scientist, and he’s carrying the drone under his arm. As soon as we get more information, we will report it…”
“Hey, Subaru… There are monsters inside, aren’t there?”
I didn’t want to answer that question at all.