AN: As of 2023-01-04 I'm editing old chapters and uploading them as I finish each one. You might get some notifications, depending on the site you read on. Sorry in advance if I get your hopes up for it being a new chapter. It's coming, but not yet.
As far as I could tell, that's where I was, surrounded by nothing. There were no sensations, no thoughts, and I couldn't remember how I got there. I couldn't remember much at all, just vague flashes of a life that I could only assume was mine, but it was patchy. I couldn't recall my name or any family I might have had. There were some fuzzy remnants, but they'd been growing more and more difficult to recall. The passage of time was impossible to track as well, so I couldn't even guess how long I'd been here.
But eventually, I felt something. A vague pressure that slowly increased. It wasn't scary and it didn't hurt. In fact, it felt a little warm and comforting. I waited as the pressure slowly increased until it was nearly all-encompassing, and then it stopped. It hung there, neither increasing nor decreasing for a few moments, and then suddenly I felt a burst of heat.
Sensations flooded into me like a switch had been flipped or a valve opened. I could suddenly see and hear and think again, though I still didn't have a body and all around me was an empty void. Except for right in front of me, where there was a woman in a skimpy pink outfit, pink hair, and a large pair of iridescent wings. She was a fairy, but not just any fairy. I recognized her as Kyu, the Love Fairy.
"Aw hell yeah, I knew I could do it," Kyu exclaimed as she pumped her fist. "You should be able to hear and see and talk and junk now."
"Uhh. Hello?" I said tentatively, unsure of my new capabilities. My voice sounded right to me, so with a bit more confidence, I decided to ask a question. "Where am I right now? How did I get here?"
"Good questions," she replied, nodding her head in what I could only assume she thought was a wise manner. "For the where, that's easy. You're in the space between realities. There's usually not much out here. I mean, there aren't all that many people that can even get here. So when I saw a soul just floating around in here while I was traveling between worlds, I decided to come check it out. As for the how…" She trailed off and then shrugged. "Honestly I was going to ask you that. I don't think I've ever even heard of a soul just wandering around out here."
"I don't remember how I got here," I admitted while I processed everything. First, the multiverse was real. That was easy enough to accept, I was familiar with the idea. Second, I had somehow ended up in the space between realities. That was less easy for me to grasp, but there wasn't really much I could do about it, so I just stored it away for now. Third... "But… I do recognize you. You're Kyu, right?"
Kyu's eyes widened in surprise before she grinned excitedly.
"Oh man, you're from one of those realities where a bunch of other realities are pieces of fiction right?" How the hell did she guess that- "You guys make the best clients ever. No hand-holding needed and you get the biggest harems. Well, if you end up in one of those 'fictional' realities anyways. Otherwise, you guys can be pretty challenging."
Well… alright then. "I'm not sure about all that, but yeah I do recognize you from a dating sim game I played once."
My words brought her attention back to me. "Yeah, that makes sense," she replies with a nod. "And if you know me, you probably know a bunch of others as well." Her look turns thoughtful before she seems to come to a decision. "Alright, I'll tell you what. I'm currently between clients, and I think I can help you out, so how about you and I take a multiversal trip and find some chicks to fuck?"
Of course those were her priorities. But I didn't exactly have a lot of other options, and truth be told that sounded very appealing. "Getting out of this void and a harem?" I repeated, excitement rising. "I'd be an idiot to turn that down. Though if possible, I'd rather not have to play a match-3 game."
Kyu snorted. "Is that what you did in the game? Nah, fuck that. That system is for babies, and it wouldn't even help get you out of here." She holds her hands out, reaching for me. "Nah, I'm gonna set you up with something a bit better. Not as optimized for dropping panties, but a hell of a lot more flexible, and before long you'll have gotten laid more than that chump did with that bejeweled rip-off."
Her hands encompassed me, which caused me to notice that she was so much bigger than me. Disembodied souls must not be very large. "Now, this may feel weird."
"Weird bad or weird good," I asked nervously.
"No idea!" was her far too enthusiastic reply. "Remember, the safe word is 'banana'!"
I tried to protest but before I could an indescribable jolt ran through me. Was this how it felt to have your soul messed with? It wasn't exactly painful, but it was very unnerving. Thankfully, the feeling only persisted for a few short moments before it faded away. I let out a sigh of relief, an act that felt strange when I didn't have a body.
Gamer System initialized
Wait, the Gamer system? I recognized that too. "Kyu, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship."
"Damn straight it is," she replied with a grin. "Now come on, let's get you a body."
Character Creation initialized
The screen that opened up was large. Very large. This was going to take some time.
I didn't consider myself a very vain person. My looks were my looks and that was pretty much all the effort I put into thinking about them. But I decided that since I was presented with the opportunity to shape my looks however I wanted, I might as well put the effort in. Unfortunately, Kyu had her own ideas about what I should look like, and that slowed down the process a lot. But after two hours of back and forth, we finally settled on something we both liked.
Honestly, due to all the compromises, my features were fairly average. My height was only 5'10" and my build was a bit on the slim side. I didn't have a lot of muscle mass to speak of, but Kyu said that was based on my stats anyway, so that would change. At least there wasn't much fat either.
My face was handsome but somewhat androgynous leaning. I initially wanted something more manly, but Kyu insisted that androgynous was cuter and would attract more girls, and this was the compromise.
My hair was pure black. Kyu wanted to change it to pink, but it was locked in above even her ability to change for some reason. It wasn't like my hair was black before I ended up here. At least, I didn't think it was. I couldn't recall what color it had been, but I could remember that it wasn't black.
I wanted to go with silver eyes to contrast with the hair, but Kyu was adamant that silver eyes with black hair would be too boring and monochromatic. After some back and forth we settled on a gold-like color that stood out but didn't look unnatural. In fact, it looked very nice. Gold and black looked good together after all.
"Ugh, character creation always takes too long," Kyu complained as I finalized my desired appearance and closed the window. "Come on, let's hurry up and finish up with the game stuff so we can get this show on the road."
I pondered my choices, wondering how I wanted to play things. On the one hand, magic. But on the other hand, it was the Gamer power. Just about any class was going to shoot me up to ridiculous levels of strength, and I'll be able to max out many classes, granting me magic and more. So what I really needed to consider was what was my best first class to gain strength and survive long enough to get all those classes and power-ups.
The idea of magic was enticing, but I was worried. Mages tended to be a bit too squishy and slow to ramp up until your mana pool and regen got up to snuff and you got the magic needed to protect yourself. Though that could be mitigated depending on the type of mage.
"What type of Mage classes are available?" I asked Kyu since she was the one controlling the System.
"Just Mage," she answered.
I blinked. What? "What?"
"Yep, just Mage. Those three classes are all you've got right now. More advanced subclasses are only unlocked once you max out one of those three. Though once you max out one of them, you unlock subclasses for all of them, so you can max out Warrior and then choose a more specialized Warrior, Rogue, or Mage class."
That was...unfortunate. "So wait, what is the bog standard Mage class like?" I could guess for the other two, but a generic mage could go a lot of different directions.
She shrugs. "A little bit of everything really. It's like an introduction to magic and the types of magic there are. Good for gamers who just wanna play with magic without specializing, but don't reach the same peaks as any of those specializations. The same is true for the other classes as well, though I guess they don't have as many subclasses. There are only so many ways you can specialize a Rogue."
While I liked a jack-of-all-trades route, that was when my life wasn't on the line. So while magic was tempting, I discarded Mage as an option and looked towards the other two options, Warrior and Rogue. Both offered me early survivability; Warrior through defense and health, and Rogue through stealth. Warrior most likely offered a balanced and combat-focused build, while Rogue was a mix between burst damage and utility.
The logical and safe choice was Warrior. You couldn't go wrong with the classic sword and board. But if I was being honest with myself, it just wasn't appealing. It just felt so...boring.
Rogue, on the other hand… While my memories of my previous life were spotty, I remembered a lot about the games I played, the things I watched, and the books I read. And I distinctly remember being the sort of player who makes a new Skyrim character intending to try a new style of gameplay only to inevitably end up a stealth archer again. Stealth was just too busted and too fun.
Even in games without stealth, I always preferred dodging attacks rather than just tanking or blocking them. It took more skill and practice but was a lot more fun and satisfying. And the utility of a Rogue class would offer me more options than just "kill things good", even if it wasn't as much as a mage. Rogue felt like a good balance between indulging in fun and playing it safe.
"We'll do Rogue then," I decided.
"Ooh, we can do some panty raids," Kyu crooned with a lecherous grin. I watched as the Rogue option was highlighted on the menu. "Or better yet, we can steal them directly off of girls. That would be pretty hot."
"I thought you were more about seducing girls than stealing their panties?" I asked as the Class Selection window disappeared
"I'm a girl of many interests," she smugly declared with a hand on her chest.
Before I could reply to that, I'm distracted by the appearance of a window in front of me.
"Axton?" I asked out loud.
"Well, you don't remember your name, right?" Kyu said. "So I came up with one for you!"
I frowned, looking at the name. It fit my new appearance, I guess? I shrugged. It was better than anything I could think of, so I was fine sticking with Axton. "Thanks, Kyu," I said. She smiled and gave me a thumbs-up before another System window appeared.
[Gamer's Mind](Passive) - EX
Protects the Gamer from mental and emotional manipulation, trauma, and status effects.
[Gamer's Body](Passive) - EX
Grants the Gamer with a body of infinite potential and growth
[Observe](Active) - EX
Displays information about the target.
[Dungeon Traversal](Active) - EX
Allows for entrance and exit into a Dungeon, as well as teleportation between safe rooms
[Sneak](Active) - Lvl 1(0%)
Reduces visibility and sound created by movement, allowing for stealthy traversal. 1 SP/second
"Just one Rogue skill-" I started to ask before yet another window appeared.
Your soul has been marked by the time spent between worlds
"Kyu. What the fuck is this?"
"Looks like you're so much of a freak that not even the system knows how you got out here." She giggled like she didn't just call me a freak. "It's probably not a big deal. Just your soul being affected by being out here in a way that the system hasn't seen before. You seem fine so it'll either be nothing or a good thing. Or soul cancer or something. Whichever."
"Soul cancer," I deadpanned.
"Relaaax, it's probably not that. If it was harmful the system would likely be able to tell already."
"That's really reassuring," I replied sarcastically with a sigh. Whatever. If it became an issue I'd figure it out somehow. "Alright. What's left? Picking a world to go to?"
"About that," she said, averting her eyes. "I maaay have been poking around while I was waiting for you to finish up your character creation and totally on accident picked and locked in your first world."
"How the hell do you accidentally pick it and lock it in?" I asked while trying to keep my cool.
"I don't usually use this system," she whined. "And it's been updated since the last time I did, everything's rearranged. I was just trying to see more info about it."
"Please tell me it's not something awful," I pleaded. A window appeared.
I… I could work with this. It wasn't the best-case scenario, but it certainly wasn't the worst. There were some scary motherfuckers there, but there were also plenty of paths available for starting out small and then working my way up before I had to deal with them. The main issue was that I had only ever read the manga and a bunch of fanfic, so my knowledge of the plot was pretty fuzzy. But I knew enough, in general, to get by. And on the bright side, it had a really big cast of sexy and powerful girls.
"Okay, that's not too bad," I said out loud. " A little dangerous, but a lot of cute girls. This should be fine."
"That's the spirit champ!" Kyu cheers. "Bonus, since it's a bit more dangerous than some of the other first-world selections, you have a few more Hunies to spend on customizing the world."
"Normally they're called Credits or something dumb like that but fuck that, I renamed them Hunies. They're a currency you can earn and spend on changing a world before you go to it. Normally you'd only get a few for free, but for choosing a world of mid-tier danger, you get a nice little chunk to play with."
"Alright. What are my options then?"
"Let's see." I watched as she focused on what I could only assume was a System window that was invisible to me. "Oh wow. There are way too fucking many. There's no way I'm gonna let you waste a bunch of time looking through all of these. Screw that. Just tell me what you wanna do and I'll see if it's in here."
What did I want to do? Well, I only had two real goals. Survive, and acquire girls. For the former, I had the Gamer System. For the latter, well… I had a veritable bounty to choose from. So getting rid of any obstacles in the way of that was a priority.
But first things first. "Is there anything that provides me with an identity as a Kuoh student?" I asked. Having a paper trail and a reason to be in Kuoh would help me survive and get closer to the main cast.
"Yup. There's a handful. Everything from a second-year transfer student with a small apartment, to a big shot with a mansion."
"Lemme guess, the mansion one is hella expensive."
"Oh yeah. But it's got some really nice features. A gym, spa, personal theater, sex dungeon, the works."
All of that sounded very nice, but it also sounded like something I could get through other means down the road. All I needed was an identity and a place to live.
"Just the apartment. I'll change that to the mansion if I end up with enough points after the important stuff." I pondered a few plans. "How many options are there for getting rid of Issei or Saji?" I needed to get rid of the only two male characters who presented any level of romantic competition, even if Saji barely made that list.
"Ooh, brutal. That's hot," she said with a smirk. "Let's see. I can make it so they never existed. Or just make them mundane and irrelevant. Both are pretty expensive though. You could only get rid of one of them, though it would leave you with enough to upgrade to the mansion."
Hmm. That's less than ideal. Saji and Issei are the male centers of Sona and Rias's peerages. Getting rid of them would leave those two groups ripe for the taking.
"Ooh wait, here's an option," Kyu interrupted my thoughts. "It's actually pretty cheap to just turn them into girls. I can genderbend both of them and still leave you with just enough points for the apartment."
Huh. Rather than get rid of them, I could turn them into eligible targets for me. The efficiency and the promise of more girls in my harem appealed to me. "I like it, let's do that. Great idea Kyu."
"It's what I do," she said with a smug grin. She made some motions with her hands and a new window appeared in front of me.
World Customization complete
"Well. If that's it then," I say. "Let's get this show on the road."
"Wooooo!" Kyu shouts. There's a burst of sensation, and then I immediately lose consciousness.
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AN: Most of the editing is just improving the flow, making the tense consistent, and other grammar and phrasing fixes. I did get rid of the "make it a hentai world" thing though because too many readers missed the joke and jumped to the darkest conclusions. Also made Axton's past memories vaguer. Those are the only changes though.