What? Where am I? What's going on?
Those were the first thoughts I had when I opened my eyes, only to see utter darkness, a complete absence of light. I tried to move, but found, to my horror, that I couldn't. I thought I could feel my body, but it wasn't responding to my wishes.
Suddenly I was blinded by light. I tried to close my eyes, but nothing happened. As my sight adjusted, I saw a strange room. I tried moving my head but nothing happened again. Suddenly I was able to move my eyes around. I was in a small studio apartment. I was apparently in the corner with the bed, as that was the only thing I couldn't see. I saw a good sized kotatsu table below me with a laptop and phone on top. Across from me I saw a flat screen tv sitting on a smaller table. Next to it was a large bookshelf full of books. It looked similar to the types of apartments typical of single folks in Japan. When I looked down, I noticed a pink rectangle floating in midair.
No way, are those my thoughts?!
I watched as words scrolled across the pink rectangle.
Hello, Jon Price, words scrolled across the screen. I realize that this is quite a shock to your system, and for that I am truly sorry.
Who are you?! When I thought those words, I saw my name above the text box. I then recognized the style of the text box and the font. They were the same as that game I'd watched a run-through of recently, Doki Doki Literature Club.
Please try and relax, the text read again. The name above only said ? which irritated the hell out of me, but panicking never solved anything.
I imagined myself taking deep breaths and my panic began to slowly subside. Who are you? I asked, hoping the calm would reach across. Although, if they could read my thoughts, it wouldn't matter.
I'm sorry that I can't explain everything right now, the anonymous speaker replied. Suffice to say, we're not here to cause any harm. In fact, we're here to prevent it. Listen very carefully: I'm sure you're aware already, but this is the world of Doki Doki Literature Club, right before the events of the game take place. We're aware you refused to play the game after spoiling it, but that's one reason why you were chosen. However, this is entirely voluntary. We're asking you to infiltrate the Literature Club as their new club advisor. If you accept, I will give you more information. However, if you decline, you will simply wake up in your own bed, thinking this was nothing more than a fevered dream.
Two option bars appeared, Yes and No. I wondered how the hell I was supposed to answer when I noticed a cursor appear out of nowhere. It seemed to keep directly in the center of my vision. Instinctively I moved it to No, but something stopped me. Even if this was a dream, I didn't want to pass up this opportunity to help someone. Not…again. I sighed, and knew I'd probably regret this decision as I moved the cursor to Yes and focused on it intensely. The icon lit up and the two options disappeared.
Thank you for choosing to help us.
The figure then continued. Apparently, an American History teacher had been requested by the principal as a way to bring the two cultures together. I was to start the very next morning. The figure told me that, unlike DDLC, this city had a name, Midokita. They also explained that there would be a full school instead of just four people on a screen. They told me that my phone would have the school's address pre-programmed into Google Maps, so I shouldn't have a hard time getting there, considering it was only a few blocks away. Then they dropped a bombshell.
We're going to give you admin privileges similar to those that Monika had.
I'm sorry, but what?! I was sure that I would have fallen out of my chair were I at my desk.
I can't explain much now. When you wake up the world will feel incredibly real to you. Treat it as such. You'll also have many of your own personal belongings with you as well as limited access to our world's internet and full access to theirs. I'm running short on time, though. We'll talk again. If you need to get this information again, there's a suitcase with all the pertinent data next to your bed. Well, I wish the best of luck to you, and may you save them all.
I watched as the room vanished with a simple wipe, and I knew no more.
When I next woke, I could hear the soft drone of my fan as it blew cold air over my body. I stretched, expecting to feel the headboard of my bed with my hands. Instead, I felt a cold wall. I removed my sleeping mask, only to be met by darkness. I felt around in the dark, and my hands eventually found my phone. I turned it on, and saw the time was 1:15 AM. However, that wasn't what caught my eye. The date was different, October 17, 2016, a Monday. I turned on the light and looked around the room. I rubbed my eyes and looked around, taking in my surroundings with a delayed sense of disbelief.
I found myself sitting in a vaguely familiar looking room. While I was wondering where the hell I was, the memories of the previous night came flooding back. "Not a dream, huh?" I murmured to myself.
I stood, taking a look around. The room was identical to what I saw in my dream, but something was different. It looked…more realistic than anything I'd seen in the game. Looking down at my hands, they looked like my own hands, even down to a scar I got when I was around ten. I quickly looked around the small apartment for a mirror. To my surprise, I looked a bit younger than I had before, a bit thinner, with the long hair I'd once had. When I went back to check out the rest of the apartment, I began to notice some of my personal belongings in the main room, such as my laptop, television, and my books all on a large bookshelf. The bed was a full sized bed like my old one.
I looked down next to my bed. Sure enough, there was a suitcase there. I put it on the table and opened it. There were many different files and folders within. I realized then that I was a complete mess.
I was completely awake despite the time. I took a shower, found my electric razor and shaved my beard entirely. It wouldn't do to make a bad first impression at my new job, after all. I fixed my hair as well.
When I looked at the time, it was only half past two, so I decided I'd do some studying up on this world. I opened the folder and looked over the information. I was surprised by the level of detail within the report. Not only did they have lesson plans for me all prepared, but they had some bios on the members of the Literature Club along with photos of them.
Name: Monika Nakamura
Occupation: 3rd year student, President of the Midokita High Literature Club
Birthdate: September 22, 1998
Height: 160 cm
Hair color: Coral Brown
Eye Color: Emerald Green
Suspected I.Q Range: 145 or higher
Skills: Master programmer, effective leader
Name: Sayori Suzuki
Occupation: 3rd year student, Vice-President of the Midokita High Literature Club
Birthdate: October 12, 1998
Height: 157 cm
Hair color: Coral Pink
Eye Color: Sky Blue
Suspected I.Q Range: 110-115
Skills: Able to diffuse tense situations.
Name: Yuri Tanaka
Occupation: 3rd year student, Member of the Midokita High Literature Club
Birthdate: October 2, 1998
Height: 165 cm
Hair color: Dark Purple
Eye Color: Light Purple
Suspected I.Q Range: 130-135
Skills: High intellect, calm demeanor
Name: Natsuki Kobayashi
Occupation: 3rd year student, Member of the Midokita High Literature Club
Birthdate: September 30, 1998
Height: 149 cm
Hair color: Pastel Pink
Eye Color: Pink
Suspected I.Q Range: 115-120
Skills: Exceptional cooking ability.
I looked through the files for any information on the main protagonist, but for some reason, there was none. Confused, I frowned. Why wouldn't they give me any information on-?
"Because there isn't much known about him, is there?" I said to myself. I sighed. These people who sent me here probably didn't have much to go on.
I decided to set up my laptop and tried to figure out more about this world. From what I learned, this city I was in was located in the northern part of Honshu, Japan's main island. When I looked at my desktop, I saw a new icon. It resembled Google Chrome save for the color scheme, gray, faded blue and faded red. I opened it up and found myself on a blank tab. Curious, I decided to type Doki Doki Literature Club into the search bar. No mention of the game came up, so I assumed that this was this world's own internet. However, when I checked the normal Chrome icon, I found multiple references to DDLC. I tried to send an e-mail, but for some reason I kept getting an error message.
"So, just like that isekai smartphone anime, huh?" I muttered to myself. I could watch videos, read articles and such, but I couldn't interfere.
I put everything away and began to look over my apartment. I found a washer in a small closet. It looked simple to use. There was detergent above it on a shelf. I found my clothes in both a closet and a small dresser that fit underneath my bed. After I got the lay of my apartment, I looked for a book to read from my collection for a few hours. I grabbed a fantasy book I'd been reading before I came here and began to read. When I next looked up from the book, the window was brighter and the clock on the wall said 6:32. I looked down and realized that I was already a fourth of the way through the book.
At that moment, the television turned on again, revealing a mysterious figure sitting in a darkened room. "Greetings, Mr. Price," a distorted voice said. "Once again, allow me to apologize for your current predicament."
"Hey, if it gives me a chance to save them," I said, "I'll gladly try." I was surprised at how calm I was being. I guessed it was because it didn't quite feel real yet.
"So glad to hear you say that. How are you feeling? Normal, I hope?"
I sat at the short kotatsu and leaned against my hands much like Monika did in the game, more for effect than anything else. "I'm surprisingly calm, considering. Maybe because I've had fantasies about similar events."
My actions seemed to startle the figure on the other side, but not by much. "That's good to hear. You're actually the first person we've ever done this to."
"First? You didn't test this out before you sent me in?!" I felt fear and anger rising inside me, but I took a deep breath and suppressed it. "Any other surprises you'd like to tell me?"
"Not at the moment."
"Fine, then I have another question. Am I in some full dive scenario or did you…put me entirely in the game itself?"
"Ah, well," the figure suddenly seemed nervous. "You're inside the game completely."
"Okay, so why am I younger?"
"That…is a good question," she said. "Honestly, we were surprised when we saw it too. I don't know why."
"Never mind, it isn't important. Lastly, let me address the elephant in the room. Who are you?"
"I'm sorry," the voice said, and even through the distortion it sounded as if the voice was truly apologetic, "we can't reveal our identity just yet. However, I promise that when this is all over, for better or worse, I will personally reveal who we all are. You deserve that much. I was asked to check on you and see if you were doing alright. Good luck today."
"Wait a minute!" I shouted. I grabbed the folder with the information on the members of the Literature Club in it. "You gave me this, but where's the information on the protagonist?"
"Aah, yes well…his data is protected by an insanely hard to crack firewall. All we could know about him is his behavior in the game, and I decided not to include it as you know as much as anyone who's actually played. You can try your luck at it with your new admin privileges, but seeing as you're still new to it, don't expect much."
"Geez, way to make me feel special," I grumbled.
"I'm not going to sugarcoat this for you. This task is going to be extremely difficult. Already, the code is being rewritten. The moment you step outside, the world of the game will become like reality."
I took a look outside and realized that the scenery still looked like a VN background scene. "Alright, fair enough again. But before you go, I have to ask…why me? I know you told me that it's because I never played this game, but that can't be the only reason."
The figure's reply seemed amused. "I'll tell you when this is over, I promise. If you ever need to get into contact with us, all you need to do is press the red button."
"Red button? Wha-" I glanced around and saw a large red button in front of the TV. "Okay, I'll be sure to do that. Also, one more question. My sister…is she…?"
"Don't worry, Mr. Price. We found her and two of our best people are staying with her. She's also being looked after by the best doctors we have. And before you ask, no, she isn't our hostage. We've explained the situation to her, but we can't risk you seeing her right now. Please understand." The voice sounded apologetic again.
"As long as she's treated well," I said, instantly becoming suspicious. "If you can, tell her I'll be back soon, okay?"
"I can do that, thankfully. My time is almost up here. Good luck…Jon." The screen went black. I leaned against the bed, once more overwhelmed. I felt the overwhelming urge to just go to sleep and hope this was all just a dream, but despite my tiredness, I also began to get nervous and excited. Today was the first day of my new job. And I wouldn't let it end like it did in the game. I would not.
The moment I opened the door to leave, I saw the backdrop seem to sputter and flicker. It fell away, revealing a realistic version of the backdrop. I even felt a slight breeze on my face and smelled the scent of dew on nearby grass. The day was starting out clear, the dark blues and purples being chased away by the warm yellows of the rising morning sun. As I walked to school, following the directions on this world's version of Google Maps, I realized that I hadn't really practiced my first lesson. I decided that, just for today, I would try and just fall back on the tactic that my college professors had normally taken on their first day: introductions and a brief explanation of the class.
When I began to get closer to the school, I noticed other students in the same uniform as the one the girls wore in the game, only this time with a more demure and subdued color scheme. I walked into the school and introduced myself to the teaching staff as best I could. It was convenient that they all seemed to be speaking English, or else this would have been more difficult.
I got my schedule and headed to my classes. Thankfully, the students in each of the places I taught were very accommodating and friendly. However, it was the last class of the day that really caught me off guard.
There, sitting in the corner near the window, was a figure who reminded me of what a normal anime male protagonist looked like: long black hair, slight bangs, brown eyes and a bored expression on his face.
"Good afternoon, everyone," I greeted everyone with a smile, having now practiced my introduction what felt like dozens of times. "It's nice to meet you. My name is Jon Price and, starting today, I'm going to be your American History teacher." I put my suitcase down on the podium. "So I know that normally you'd probably launch directly into the first lesson, but I want to shake things up just a bit. I'm gonna start by telling you all a bit about myself, and then I'd like to go around the room and ask you to tell me your name and something about yourself. It doesn't have to be anything too personal, maybe like your favorite food or a book you read recently, but since I'm gonna be here for a while, I'd like to get to know you all a bit."
I cleared my throat. "So, like I said, my name is Jon Price. You can call me either Price-Sensei or Jon-Sensei, I respond to either one. I'm from the United States, as I'm sure some of you have guessed. I'm twenty-eight years old and I have one younger sister named Rebecca. In my spare time I like doing things like reading, writing stories, playing games, watching TV, going for walks and that sort of thing. I'm an English major straight out of college too." I chuckled sheepishly. "Sorry for all that information at once. If you want, you can ask some questions."
I fielded a few questions before I asked everyone to state their name and something interesting about themselves.
When it got to the teenager male in the back, he stood. "I'm Chiba Motoyasu. I'm eighteen and I like manga and anime, I suppose."
"So do I," I said with a smile. "Nice to meet you, Chiba-san." Initials MC. I bet this boy is the protagonist of the game. We'll see.
"Thank you, Price-Sensei."
It was weird, hearing the word 'Sensei' attached to my last name, but I was quickly getting used to it. "Alright, so you're all going to have to forgive me. I'm not very good with names, so if I forget or get yours wrong, please don't take it personally." That got a few laughs, and I continued. I'd successfully managed to eat away at nearly half the time, so I launched into my now nearly perfect speech about what we would be looking over during the year.
"American history is not as long as Japanese history," I said at one point, "but it's full of many twists and turns. And I won't hold back on many of the bad parts, either."
Soon the bell rang. As mine was the last class of the day for this classroom, I stuck around to answer some of the questions. Finally, everyone else was gone. I headed out of the room and to the teacher's room where I asked the nearest teacher if there were any openings for a club advisor. I was directed to another teacher and she answered with a few clubs, one being the Literature Club.
"Literature, eh? I do a bit of reading and writing here and there. Mind if I become the advisor for that one?"
The teacher, an older woman named Chitose Ito, looked a bit startled. "You just joined our staff, and you want to become a club advisor already?"
I smiled a bit sheepishly. "I know it's a bit strange, but back home I didn't do much of anything. I want to use this opportunity to change and find a place to contribute aside from the classroom."
Ito-Sensei smiled widely. "I can appreciate that, but before I approve you would you spend a bit of time with them? A week or two sounds like a good amount of time."
A couple weeks? Of course it won't be that easy. It took all my effort not to let my expression change. "Sure, that sounds good. Where is their clubroom?"
After I got the directions, I headed there. When I reached the door, I heard voices behind it.
"-is Tanaka Yuri, the smartest member of the club!" I heard a cheery voice say.
"D-don't say things like that," a timid but more mature sounding voice said.
Damn, they're following their scripts, I thought. I lifted my hand and knocked quickly before anyone could say anything else.
"Who could that be?" a younger sounding voice wondered aloud. "Better not be another boy!" I bet that's Natsuki.
"Come in!" I heard the first voice say cheerfully.
I slid the door open and smiled. "Hey there. Sorry for barging in, but this is the Literature Club, right?"
Whoa, OC goes into the world of DDLC? Such a unique take, right?! It's been a while since I posted on this site. Enjoy while I beat this trend like a dead horse!