A blue butterfly appeared in my mind. I knew it didn't speak, but I still heard the words in my mind…
Time never waits.
It delivers all equally to the same end.
You, who wish to safeguard the future,
You will be given one year;
Go forth, never falter,
With your heart as your guide...
I opened my eyes, waking from the weird dream. I heard the announcers voice; "The next station is Iwatodai. Please take all your belongings with you, we apologize for the delay."
Sighing, I stood up and grabbed my bag, and walked to the door of the train, as it began to slow down.
Might as well introduce myself. My Name's Minato Arisoto. I'm seventeen and from West Yorkshire. Yeah, I know, Minato is a weird name for a Yorkshireman, and Arisoto isn't even an English name, but that's because my dad was Japanese. Me, my sister and mom lived with him until I was seven.
The entire family died in March back in 2000, and I was brought up by my aunt and uncle back in England.
As the train ground to a halt, I remembered once again just how screwed up I was. Nothing ever scared me, I even watched The Exorcist when I was ten and didn't even flinch. My face rarely showed any emotion unconsciously other than tiredness; even when I was wide awake. As I stepped off the train, I saw the clock and was thankful I had jetlag. If my body didn't think it was four in the afternoon I would probably be knackered right now-
That was when the lights died and everyone turned to coffins. As usual, the walls started bleeding and my MP3 player was silent. I checked the clock again and compared it to my watch. It was midnight here, but this normally happened around four-ish back home, depending on daylight savings or whatever.
Here in Japan, it happens same time globally, only it's the middle of the night here.
This would certainly make things more convenient.
Before, in the same hour that school ended, everyone turned to coffins, the sun turned black, and I was the only one in the world for one hour.
I had enough time to get home and lock myself in a room before coffin time began, which gave me an hour to do what I wanted to do, so long as I got back to my room in time. For ages I read books or exercised, but then I found another kid who didn't turn into a coffin. It was his first time, which was weird, but David and I soon became close friends.
Still, that didn't change the fact that it always made life difficult whenever people saw us when Coffin Time began or ended, since to them it'd be like we teleported, but if it takes place during midnight it Japan, then I can sleep during the time-stop instead of study or vandalise stuff. Yay.
I'm fairly intelligent, and I've been called charming by girls and fearless by guys, but I reckon I'm just polite, and as for the fearless part, well, that's not the case.
I know fear. I know it damn well.
I came to understand fear one afternoon in an alley as I fumbled for a brick with a broken leg.
Part of the reason I came here.
I started walking to the dorms that would be my new home for the next couple of years. I've completed my GCSE's, but my uncle wanted me to spend some time in the country my mother fell in love with, and in.
So, here's me. Complete nutjob, walking through coffins and blood in the middle of the night, barely able to speak Japanese, in Japan, to go to school for the next two years, even though I've already got my national qualifications.
Why am I here if I can't speak the language? Oh, I ain't thick. I can understand Japanese fine, and read it great, it was my first language after all. It's just that I was brought up in Yorkshire; it's not an easy accent to lose.
So, in exchange of having my daily timestop not cockblock any attempt of a good social life, I lack the foremost ability I'd use to gain one - speech.
I stopped walking then. When I thought about it, I never really spoke much when I was home either. It wasn't that I didn't have much to say, I just didn't like interrupting. Come to think of it, I actually did more listening. Maybe that's why people liked talking to me, not because I was sensitive, but because I knew what to say.
I had difficulty understanding how other people didn't get this before now, but now that I thought about it, I actually put others before myself on a regular basis. Was that really so rare? I shook my head and carried on following the map that had been sent me.
I eventually got to the place. I climbed the steps and tried the door. I guess they were expecting me, because it was unlocked. I stepped through the door and realised that the lights were on. This was weird, normally anything electric died around this time. I put my bag down on the floor and, remembering my manners, took my shoes off.
"You're late." An impossible voice said, filling me with pants-wetting terror. "I've been waiting a long time for you."
I turned to see a young boy behind the counter beside me, probably aged ten, elbows leaning on the wood. He looked very familiar, but I just couldn't place it. So, there were other people who knew about Coffin Time here in Japan too? Warn me next time, why don't you…
The boy clicked his fingers. "Now if you want to proceed", he continued, suddenly between me and the door out of here, as he gestured back to the counter "Please sign your name there." I looked where he gestured, noticing a thin red book.
"It's a contract." He said, as the book opened up on its own. "Don't worry, all it says it that you'll take full responsibility for your actions." By this point, I was actually sweating, as the boy continued; "You know, The Usual Stuff…"
Deciding to ignore the how tripping this whole thing was, I looked at the contract.
'I, Minato Arisoto, give my word that I will take full responsibility for the consequences of my decisions.'
It seemed suspiciously simple. Ah, what the hell, I signed it. Worst that could happen could only give some answers.
Once I was done, I passed it to the boy, who held it to his chest like a long lost teddy bear.
"No one can escape time," The boy explained in a perfectly normal and non-threatening manner. "It delivers us all to the same end…" He held the contract to his face and continued, "You can't plug your ears and cover your eyes." He elaborated, turning the book sideways as it vanished like Bugs Bunny down a rabbit hole.
Most people would make an appeal to sanity. I'd pretty much welcomed my madness with open arms long ago.
Shadows started growing around the room and the lights started dimming. The boy lifted up a hand as he began to disappear into the darkness.
"And so it begins…" he whispered, and then he was gone.
Now it was back to normal crazy time, and I heard another voice. "Darewo gasokoni dearuka?"
I turned and saw a girl there speaking Japanese. I was worried why I didn't understand her but then I realised I was talking to that boy in English, so I wasn't expecting Japanese. She was looking at me with intense determination, but I could tell she was scared by the way her hand was shaking. My eyes followed her hand and holy crap she has a gun strapped to her thigh.
And what a thigh!
No, no, focus on the gun.
Better idea, focus on the girl, calm her down before she decides to use it.
The brunette was breathing heavily, and I knew it wasn't because she was tired.
She thinks she's ready to fill some sucka fulla lead, but she's never fought before.
She doesn't know how to use that gun, she's terrified, which worries me.
If she was calm, then the problem was half gone. As it is, one wrong word or movement and she'll start shooting wildly and one of us will get hit by the ricochet.
Think, Minato me lad. What to do...
I raised my hands into the air slowly. "Gomen?" I asked.
She suddenly grabbed her gun and I did a barrel roll.
I rolled back onto my backside, rubbing the head that I'd just whacked against the wooden counter. Solid wood that, oak? Nice...
Wait, that was a different person talking there. Not just from the voice or direction, it was a whole different kind of persona behind that voice.
The second voice wasn't afraid of me or of combat. Rather, she knew it well.
I wasn't expecting there to be a third person, but I knew she was telling the first girl to wait. We all froze there for a moment, and then the lights came on and my music started playing. The first girl, a pretty cute brunette in a pink jumper, breathed a sigh of relief and smiled at the second girl, who was obviously the one in charge.
She was beautiful. That wasn't a compliment, it was an honest fact. Her long, red hair was straitened down her face, and curled down her back. She wore a ruffled blouse and a long skirt, and something about her, well, everything about her screamed elegance. I figured that now it was time to get my brain in gear and stand up as she approached me.
"I didn't think you'd arrive so late." she commented as I brushed myself down. I couldn't tell if she was speaking English or Japanese, but she continued, "My name is Mitsuru Kirijo. I'm one of the students living in this dorm."
"Minato Arisoto." I replied, rubbing my head with my left hand and offering my right. "It's good to see you."
The brunette turned to Mitsuru. "Who's he?" she asked.
I felt pretty awesome being able to hear what they were saying as Mitsuru explained I was a transfer student who was moving into their dorm, even though she left me hanging without a handshake.
I could understand Japanese just as well as I could English, so long as I was expecting it.
I caught that she said that I'd eventually be moved to a room in the boys' dorm.
That concerned the gun girl. "Is it okay for him to be here?" she asked. It sounded like she thought I might do something.
Irony, you are a Japanese brunette with a gun on your thigh.
Seriously though, something was off. Was it the fact that they had guns? Probably. Was it the fact that both of these fine young ladies were walking around in Coffin Time, but are trying to hide its existence from me, as if my awareness to it had been one of those one-time awakenings I've seen a couple of times? Possibly.
Was it the fact that Brunette with the gun calmed the hell down once Coffin Time ended, yet was ready to blow my bloody brains out before then?
Nah, couldn't be.
The redhead, Mitsuru, smiled at the Brunette's concern. "I guess we'll see…" She then turned to me and, gesturing to her friend, said "This is Yukari Takeba. She'll be a junior this spring, just like you."
I could have mentioned that I had little idea of how the Japanese school system worked, other than the fact I had to turn up on Saturday (Sucks, right?), but I decided not to. Yukari bowed her head slightly and said, almost reluctantly, "…Hey."
I could have asked her if this was really the girls' dorm or, more importantly, why she had a gun, but I figured that I'd find out soon enough, so I settled for a good old fashioned "Nice to meet you."
She seemed almost taken back by this, "Uh, y-yeah…" she bowed again. "Nice to meet you too." she replied, this time with a smile on her face.
"It's getting late, so you should get some rest." Mitsuru had a way of getting our attention easily. "Your room is on the second floor, at the end of the hallway; your things should already be there."
She then turned to Yukari, who seemed to take the hint. "Oh, I'll show you the way." the brunette told me, leading the way towards the staircase at the back of the dorm. "Follow me."
As she led me to my room, I considered my chances with the two girls. Yukari seemed just slightly out of my league, and I got the feeling that Mitsuru wasn't interested in any guy who couldn't keep up to her intellectually. Before I knew it, we were there. "This is it," Yukari told me. "Pretty easy to remember huh? Since it's right at the end of the hall." Yukari laughed slightly at her little joke, but it seemed almost fake. "Oh yeah, make sure you don't lose your key, or you'll never hear the end of it." Yep, there it was again. While I didn't have her down as one of those… Objects from my old school, I could still recognise fake smiles and attitudes of someone who didn't like themselves, but refused to admit it. "So, any questions?"
Not wanting to bring up what I'd been thinking about, I decided to go for a less intrusive question, "What's with the contract?"
"Huh?" Yukari was clearly surprised, "What contract?"
I almost slapped myself on the head. It was a freaky contract that disappeared in the hands of that freaky kid, like one of David Blaine's cards. The kid himself pulled a Houdini, which should have been a clear sign that it was just another figment of my insanity.
Yukari seemed to be a bit worried about me now. "Hey… Can I ask you something? On your way here from the station, was everything okay?"
Not wanting to sound any more of a psycho that I already was, I was about to tell her it was fine, but then I remembered that she'd almost shot me during Coffin Time, so I decided to try to work on her. "What do you mean?" I asked, taking my hands out of my pockets.
"You know what I- Never mind…" The girl smiled. "It seems like you're alright."
She seemed genuinely happy for me, as if I'd avoided some grim fate.
Like I wouldn't have to get caught up fighting whatever she was ready to kill that appears to only exist in Coffin Time.
Maybe around here, people turn into zombies during Coffin Time or something? It's a possibility, and it would explain the guns.
Hey, I'm insane, I'm allowed to prepare for the zombie invasion.
"Well, I'd better get going…" Yukari announced awkwardly, in the way people do when the person they're talking to is lost in thought and they really want to leave but it would be rude to just walk away before the conversation ends.
"Later then." I replied, opening my new door.
She stopped outside my next-door-neighbours room and turned around to face me, a slightly worried look on her face. "Um… I'm sure you have other questions, but let's save them for later, okay?" She asked, flashing me a quick smile "Good night."
She walked away and up the stairs. I didn't even bother to tell her that I wasn't even remotely tired yet, so I spent the next few hours unpacking my things, and tried to get some sleep. Bear in mind, four in the morning in Japan is Eight PM back home.
I slapped myself on the head. "Selim Bradley." I muttered, rolling back under my covers. No wonder that kid creeped me out,
I didn't sleep.
So, better explain myself.
I wrote Fairly English Story back when I had no idea what I was doing. I was inexperienced, hasty, proud and, quite frankly, not as good as this story deserved me to be.
So, here is Rebuild of Fairly English Story.
It's simple. I'll be going over the early chapters in order and redoing them, correcting mistakes, installing new content, new jokes, extending fight scenes, more original scenes, more foreshadowing, and a generally better experience. All a new reader has to do is read this story up to however far it goes, then go to the next chapter in the main story.
The reason that I posted this as a separate story is so people can still read the original and watch how I develop as an author. However, if you want the best experience, you want to read the rebuilt chapters and then continue. I won't get very far with the rebuild, as my mission draws closer and closer, but if I can improve the story in any small way, then I will jump at the chance to do this.
Now, this was my initial intention. And I wish I could have done that. But, instead, I didn't.
I couldn't. It's not in my nature. I can't just give the same-old. I cranked up the epic. Again.
If you're reading this for the first time, go read the original story first. Or ignore me and get a very different story than originally.
Fairly English Story was mostly lighthearted, a barrel of fun and epic in many shapes and forms. This is darker, more accurate, and shows a different light on previous events. This will have spoilers for the other version of the story, and vice-versa.
Welcome to the story of Minato Arisoto.
NO SPOILERS IN THE REVIEWS. MORE REVIEWS GIVES MORE REBUILD. YOU KNOW WHAT I LIKE AND YOU KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE.
And no. I will not be doing a female protagonist's story. That would be weird.