In a forest filled with seemingly only greens and nothing else, one girl dressed in tatters was sprinting a trail-less path.
“I’m so dead. I’m definitely going to dieeeeee.”
Ignoring the injuries she was getting from the branches and weeds that were hitting her, she ran for her life while taking a glance at the scene behind her that sent shivers down her spine; An unknown being with the outlook of a hybrid between boar, pig, and scorpion was chasing her relentlessly.
The girl faced forward with a pained expression and ran faster.
“I won’t forgive them! I will have my revenge!!”
Morikawa Ruri. She had a foreigner of a mother who worked as a model, and father as a diplomat.
While inheriting the platinum blond and lapis lazuli colored eyes trait from her mother, she still had the facial characteristic of a typical beautiful Japanese. One would say that Ruri won in the genetic lottery.
However, it was as if she spent most of her luck in one swoop, the days that proceeded in her life was not a happy and full filled one.
Her unhappiness was without a doubt the fault of her neighbor, Shinomiya Asahi.
Back then, Ruri and Asahi of the same age were both cute. However, people gave Asahi more attentions and affections.
It wasn’t that Ruri was bad mannered or anything, but Asahi was just simply getting more attention instead of her.
The same goes for the kindergarten teachers, friends, and even their parents.
Anytime there was a fight between them concerning toys, others would automatically assume Ruri was the one at fault.
‘It’s because Ruri’s foreigner oriented beauty is more intimidating that Asahi’s pure Japanese cuteness, Asahi is much more approachable by others’ was the excuse her mother gave to her at that time. Although she took it in as the ‘truth’, after constantly having experienced the same thing over and over, one could not blame her if she started to become twisted in her thinking.
And just like that, 19 years have passed. That brings us to the day of the faithful encounter.
Ruri opened the door softly while checking the surrounding.
“Alright. She’s not here.” -Ruri
After confirming that Asahi was nowhere to be seen, Ruri left the house at a vigorous pace.
Because they were neighbors, they ended up attending the same public middle school.
The moment she started regretted not attending a private school was after middle school entrance ceremony.
“If you really hate it, you could just attend a private school.”
I was taken aback by my mother’s word.
And just like that, I enrolled into a high-class Lady’s private secondary school. I even choose the one where after considering Asahi’s family financial status, there would be no way that they could afford the school fee willy nilly.
Holding that thought, I enrolled into an insanely expensive school. Unfortunately, a certain Asahi that shouldn’t be there… was there.
When I ask for the reason, I was given a ‘Because I wanted to be in the same school as Ruri’ response from her.
“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it”
That was her words when I told her to think from her family financial standpoint.
With the sole income of her father working a blue collar job, how she’d managed to pay for the school fee was something I would like to know. That said, with her appearance, my secondary school life was destroyed.
After that, I studied ferociously in order to enter a prestigious college. As expected, Asahi failed the entrance exam, which she then promptly made an ORZ posture.
In order to get away from Asahi even for a little bit, I moved to a mansion near my college. However, Asahi too moved to the same mansion as mine.
“Since I was able to get accepted into a junior college near your college, I’ve decided to stay at the same mansion as you are. It’s a shame that your neighboring room was not empty tho.”
Just like that, the only place of peace for me was college. I even dragged myself over to college when there were no classes just for the sake of not having to see Asahi. However, she always appears at the exact moment I leave my house. The flow after that was Asahi’s own delusional version of being friendly, where she walked to school with me together forcefully.
In order to prevent that, I left my house much later than usual. Somehow, I was still caught by her.
And this is the current situation…
“Ruri-chan~ Wait for me~” -Asahi
(I’m certain she has amazing hearing and sense of smell of a wild animal)
I increased my walking speed while ignoring the witchcraft-like magic chant that was coming from behind. The moment Asahi caught up, she puffed her cheek while looking at me.
“Didn’t we promised to go to school together?” -Asahi
(Not once have I ever accepted that proposal. You were the one who decided that one-sidedly!)
I had those dark thoughts within me while solely concentrating on walking.
This was the tactic I’ve developed over the years to counteract with Asahi’s stubbornness.
(She doesn’t exist. She’s just air.)
All the while, disregarding Ruri’s ignoring attempt, Asahi started talking by herself.
This airhead of a person who was unable to read the situation is talking to herself happily. It wouldn’t be weird to even call her a natural treasure by the level of her denseness.
Ruri took the stance of not talking to Asahi at all unless the situation calls for it.
Nearing Asahi’s junior college, a group of 3 men and 1 girl approached them.
The 4 of them who greeted Asahi with a smile was classmates from their secondary school days. The moment they laid eyes on Ruri, they instantly made a frowning expression.
“Oi, Why are you here too?”
“We understand that you’re kind, Asahi. But you shouldn’t waste your time with someone like her.”
“Guys, Ruri is my best friend. Please don’t say such cruel words.” -Asahi
(Nope. Who in the world are you calling your best friend? That is just something you’ve decided arbitrarily)
Trying to not get mixed into the situation, Asahi tried to leave the scene. However, instead to walking towards the others who were gathering around like bugs, Asahi stayed close to Ruri.
People always gathered around Asahi.
It was to the level where people literally worships her. Heck, It wouldn’t even be a stretch to call this a cult.
To those cultists, Ruri’s existence was just a sore eye. Her being treated as a ‘close friend’ by Asahi only exacerbated the situation.
The abnormality of the devotion given by these people to Asahi was so obvious when seen from the outside. Any outsiders would give pity to Ruri as it was obvious that she was just mixed up in the situation.
However, the moment anybody tried to meddle into the situation to ‘save’ Ruri, they would undoubtedly side with Asahi. Thus the endless repeat of the unfortunate situation for Ruri.
To Ruri, all these happenings were just a hindrance and nothing more. Every time she tries to distance herself from Asahi, the dense Asahi just couldn’t take a hint.
Every year, she would donate a huge sum of money to the shrine while making her wish, or purchase some weird vase that has magic powers. Those obviously had no effect whatsoever.
(Darn it. Maybe I should try using some dark magic from a certain country… )
Ignoring the commotion around me, I went deep in thought. Suddenly, a light started shining under my feet.
“Huh?! What’s happening?!” -Asahi
Blinded by the bright light, Asahi’s panicked voice could be heard. The feeling of weightlessness akin to the one you would feel from the drop of the roller coaster could be felt which prompted us to make a sitting pose.
When we opened our eyes, the scene we expected was no more. Instead, we found ourself sitting in a middle of a stone-made temple.
“Oh!*Exclaiming* It was a success!”
“The shrine maiden has arrived!”
In front of the dumbfounded Ruri stood a group of elderly people who was dressed like a priest, cheering.
Ruri’s thought process was all jumbled up.
When she scanned her immediate surrounding, the figure of Asahi and the 4 other classmates was present.
It seems that they were as clueless as Ruri about the event that was currently unfolding in front of them as evident by their current jaw dropping expression.
A prince-like figure that was wearing a western style clothing initiated a conversation.
“Welcome to our world, our long awaited shrine prin…cess…?”
The man that was making a delighted expression upon laying his eyes on Asahi that was nearest to him at that time slowly had his expression turned into a confused one after seeing the rest of the gang.
“What is the meaning of this, priest?! There are 3 girls here!”
Another figure that was wearing a ritual clothing stepped in front upon the words of the prince.
“It seems that other people besides the shrine maiden were accidentally summoned as well.”
“Which is the real shrine maiden?”
“The shrine maiden is said to have the power to attract anybody.”
The prince-like man started looking through each girl present. At the end, he turned his gaze towards Asahi and let out a smile.
“If that is so, this girl is without a doubt the most attractive one.”
(Such a rude guy. I’m not being narcissistic or anything, but I’ve inherited my mother’s blood! I am quite the beauty if I must say so myself)
Ruri was furious.
The man kneeled down before Asahi and gave her a Knight hand-kiss, causing Asahi to blush red.
Asahi sent an intense gaze to the handsome man kneeling before her.
Ruri’s body flickered upon witnessing the scene.
If Asahi were to fell in love with a man, wouldn’t she leave me alone?!
With that meaningless thought, Ruri managed to become calm.
(We were standing by the street until just then, but suddenly teleported to totally different location.Something like this is just impossible. Could it be that we were kidnapped after losing consciousness? That said, what’s with this whole ‘Shrine Maiden’ business? This isn’t just another weird event conjured by Asahi’s devotees, right?)
Asahi’s devotees could very well have done this. I seriously thought so.
“Erm, where is this exactly? If Asahi’s the only person you need, I’ll be taking my leave here.” -Ruri
When I questioned one of the nearest priests, he inquired on the action that should be taken by him from another man.
“What of the others?”
“Hmm, we should first bring them to meet with his majesty. The question of how to deal with them comes after that.”
Er, no? I just wanna go home. Before I even got the chance to express my thought, the priests led us to some unknown location.
Upon reaching our destination, we were prompted to kneel in front of a gorgeously dressed King figure that was sitting on a magnificently decorated chair in a high position.
Between us, only Asahi was allowed to stand.
“It is an honor to finally able to meet the prophesized shrine maiden that is said to bring glory to our country.” -King
Not really understanding the situation, Asahi have her response while fidgeting around.
“Erm, Thank you… very much… But, where exactly is this place? Until just a while ago I was in the middle of the street…” -Asahi
“This is the Nadarsia Kingdom. You were summoned here.” -King
Ruri and the rest of the others that was kneeling couldn’t hide their surprise.
(Is he seriously sprouting about some fantasy nonsense?)
To summarize the King’s word, according to the kingdom’s ancient past prophecy, a shrine maiden summoned from another world shall bring the country glory and prosperity.
At first, they didn’t believe such story. But after being showed magic, they had no choice but to believe that as the truth.
Being kidnapped just because of some prophecy, Ruri’s anger began to rise.
“The Shrine Maiden was prophesized to be one of fair colored. Your blonde hair and green colored eyes, there’s no mistake, you’re definitely the one.”
Upon hearing the words of the high priest, Ruri took a gulp while making a pained expression.
Luckily, because she was kneeling, her face was not visible. Although nobody noticed her, she was obviously shaken.
Unlike the silver hair of her mother, Ruri’s hair was more to the blonde color of your typical platinum blond hair color. However, as that color was quite rarely seen in Japan, she would stand out too much.
Just by being with Asahi made her stand out quite a lot. So, under the recommendation of her mother, Ruri started wearing a wig since primary school.
Although she really wanted to dye her hair, her mother vetoed that, saying that she was not allowed to damage her beautiful hair. So she went with the hair wig route.
Right now she is wearing a brown colored hair wig, coupled with a spectacle to hide her face. In addition, she put on a makeup that would make her look plainer than she really is thanks to the makeup technique she learned from her mother. In another word, she looks just like any other extra character you would see lurking in the background.
Opposite to Ruri, Asahi started to copy the looks of Ruri shortly after entering Junior College. She bleached her hair and wore green contact lens. Goes without saying, she did makeups too.
Judging from the criteria listed by the priest of the Shrine Maiden, the possibility of it being Ruri was almost certainly 100%. But she refrains from speaking out.
Quite the contrary, she wanted to keep the truth hidden.
Asahi was happily speaking with the prince she first met, showing no sign of speaking the truth too.
(Alright, let me egg her on. She doesn’t seem satisfied enough.)
This is dense little Asahi we’re talking here after all. She’ll forget about me in a jiffy. Asahi herself doesn’t seem troubled too, so I’ve made my decision and started conversing with the King.
“Say, the only person needed present as the Shrine Maiden is only her, right? If I’m not needed, could you send me back to my original world?” -Ruri
Hoping that he wouldn’t say something stupid like ‘that’s not possible’, I waited for the King’s reply.
“I’m sorry to inform you that the summoning is a one-way trip. A return summoning spell has not been developed. It might be possible in the future, but as of right now, It is just plainly not doable.” -King
That is just great…
The reality of this being a fantasy world started downing onto the rest of the gang. The color started to drain from their faces.
“That can’t be… Does that mean that I won’t be able to meet my father and mother anymore?…” -Asahi
Seeing Asahi pouring her eyes out, the king and the priest started panicking.
“Please don’t cry. I swear that you will be given king’s treatment during your stay here. That’s right, I shall arrange for you to stay with your friends! That way you won’t be lonely.”
And so, the decision for them to stay at the castle were made without their input.
(Well, I suppose this is fine too. Even if I started shouting kidnap, nothing will come to it. Plus, everything will be provided, so what the heck ¯\_(⊙︿⊙)_/¯ )