|Author: Resn||Original Source: Kakuyomu|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library|
―Ping, ping, ping!
The sound of incoming messages interrupted the silence.
After a while, the constant ringing became bothersome, making it difficult to drift off to sleep despite the seemingly insignificant nature of each individual ping.
“What the… How annoying… Yawn…”
…It dawned on him that he must have fallen asleep after the Guild Rank Selection Match the previous night, feeling thoroughly exhausted.
Emerging from under the futon, he let out a wide yawn, stretching his tired limbs.
‘Good morning, Mr. Mitsuki Kou.’
The stereotypical greeting from the machine voice jolted him from 80% consciousness in his dreams to about 50%.
Still feeling groggy, he looked around in a daze and gradually realized that he was in the comfort of his own familiar room.
“…Oh, yeah, it’s my room… I came back to…”
As he finally began to reflect on his current situation, he let out a deep, emotional sigh.
Kou had passed the entrance exam for his current high school with a recommendation, but due to certain circumstances, he was unable to return to the real world for three months during the spring season of this year.
Time flew by, and before he knew it, a month had already passed since Kou returned to reality and started diligently working on his rehabilitation and other activities.
Yet, despite his efforts, Kou still found himself in a so-called “full-dive stupor,” where he felt… uneasy about the fact that if he were to fall asleep in the game, he would wake up back in real life.
‘Mr. Kou. You received 12 messages while you were sleeping.’
“Yawn… what message?”
Rubbing his drowsy eyes, he shifted his gaze to the view in front of him.
Upon closer inspection, he noticed an Augmented Reality (AR) inbox display that seemed to have launched automatically, floating in front of his eyes.
As he opened the inbox, he saw messages from “Frey” and “Freya,” the twin siblings Hijiri and Subaru, who fought alongside him last night and were also childhood friends in real life.
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‘Hey, are you asleep?’
‘Wake up, you idiot, you’re going to be late!’
‘We’re taking the train ahead of you!’
After reading those seemingly urgent messages, he tilted his head and then… he immediately stiffened.
“Wha, What time is it…!?”
Kou hurriedly checked his watch and saw that he had already exceeded his usual departure time.
Even if he got ready now, there was barely enough time to catch the last train to school.
“Oh no, I overslept!”
He hurriedly opened the closet, grabbed his still brand-new uniform, and rushed down the stairs, putting it on as he went.
It had only been a week since he finished his rehabilitation and attended school for the first time instead of taking online classes.
Having missed the entrance ceremony and being several months late on his first day of school, he was in a rush to get there, hoping he wouldn’t be late because he overslept.
“Housekeeper, turn ‘off’ all electricity and gas in the room!”
According to the voice command, the house management system screen displayed a message indicating that the power supply to the gas main valve and non-essential appliances had been shut off via the network.
Furthermore, with a sidelong glance on the management system screen, Kou confirmed that the alarm function had been activated in response to any abnormalities.
Finally, he slipped his feet into a new pair of loafers that still felt stiff and unfamiliar, and checked himself in the entrance mirror to ensure his clothes weren’t disheveled from his hasty change.
Reflected in the mirror was a pretty girl with white hair and red eyes, just like in the game. She still wore the winter uniform blazer with its cute design, despite the early summer heat. Long-sleeved blouse sleeves peeked out from underneath, presumably to avoid the sun. To others, she might have looked disheveled, but Kou had a good reason for her appearance.
“Display the timetable, please!”
As she touched the ring-shaped quantum communication device, the neural linkage, worn around her neck, she muttered under her breath. Following the command, the current time, timetable of the station she always used, and the departure time of the next train appeared in front of her eyes.
“Okay, just in time,” she thought to herself.
Feeling relieved, she opened the front door and headed out.
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“…But, well. The world is already in such a technologically advanced age.”
After all, people lived in a time when they could dive fully into a virtual space from anywhere with a single command word, without even having to start up a computer.
…Less than twenty years had passed since the “Serial Vanishing of Worldgate Online Players,” a major incident that had resulted in the disappearance of many people.
Meanwhile, VR technology, which had been cutting-edge at the time, had rapidly advanced, and the devices had become so popular that they were integrated with the smartphones of the previous era. Now known as the neural linkage, the choker-shaped multifunctional communication device that Kou was wearing.
Personal terminals wirelessly connected to the brain at the quantum level, capable of inputting and outputting sensory information, had become widespread. As a result, almost the entire population of Japan now possessed a device that allowed them to benefit from both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality anytime and anywhere, rendering personal computers obsolete.
Due to the era she lived in, her current existence felt rather incongruous, and she couldn’t help but chuckle to herself. A glimpse of what appeared to be small fangs, a bit too sharp to belong to canine teeth, was visible from her small mouth. As soon as she stepped outside, the early summer sun burned her eyes and skin. Squinting against the painfully bright sunlight, she opened the black parasol she was carrying and walked on with a resigned sigh.
“I wonder if… vampires are even a thing in this day and age.”
―His name was Mitsuki Kou.
He was a… former boy who had turned into a vampire girl just before starting high school in the spring.