"Shadow/Higher being"

Chapter 1

Souji Seta, a young gray-haired man, found himself in a car that was driving towards his new home for the year. Staring outside he saw many things he had never seen before having never been to the countryside. The scenery was pretty relaxing to look at unlike the city where it was a bustle of buildings and smog. He had had the weirdest day so far. It had all started with his transfer from the city to the countryside due to his parents did. He really resented his parents for leaving so much, but as the years passed he could care less about what his parents do. He wasn't sure if his parents noticed, but they had grown distant and Souji would even go as far as to say they were strangers. His life was nothing but a blur of memories from that point forward. He never stayed in the same scenery long enough to really have it burned into his memory, but then again he never stayed in the same place for an entire year either. This time however, he was passed off to his uncle, who he has seen in several family pictures. He had a dream of sorts involving some long nose guy with bulging eyes telling him about the Velvet Room, which was in the inside of a limousine, and talking about destiny, fate and cards. Souji had never been one to believer in fate and destiny, but he had this nagging feeling that there was more to what Igor said.

The car pulled into a gas station and his uncle, Ryotaro Dojima, got out and chatted with the attendant. His cousin, Nanako, a little girl wearing a pink dress, got out of the car to go to the restroom. As Souji got out of the car, he saw his uncle walk away towards the Shopping District, apparently to smoke.

The attendant greeted Souji and asked, "Are you still in high school?" Souji only nodded and the attendant continued to talk about the town or something. While the attendant did that, Souji could only stare at the attendant.

'I… I can't…' Souji thought trying to deduce the situation at hand. 'I can't seem to discern the gender of this individual… gasps!' He wasn't trying to be rude or anything, but he honestly, to save his own life, could not figure out this individual's gender. It seemed to be somewhere in between…

The attendant held its hand out in order to shake it, which Souji accepted. The attendant went to back to its job and Souji suddenly felt dizzy and probably would've collapsed if Nanako hadn't called out to him asking if he was carsick. Whatever the reason, the dizziness passed as soon as they were on the road again.

They arrived to the Dojima residence a short while later. On a previous day, he had sent many of the things he needed on ahead while only carrying the things that he had missed when he was transferring his stuff. It wasn't much, but he would still rather carry them on his person. His room was filled with many of the boxes that Dojima had thoughtfully brought up to his room. He would have to sort things out later. It was dinner by the time Souji finished settling into his new room. They were eating with the news on talking about scandals and such things until it was interrupted by Dojima's phone ringing.

"Yes… yes, alright I'll be there." Turning to Nanako and Souji he said, "I need to go out for work. I'll be late so Nanako help him out won't you?" Dojima finished as he left.

So now it was just Souji and Nanako… alone in the house… with no parental supervision… watching TV which was advertising for a store called Junes. "Every day is great at your Junes!" Nanako repeated the jingle too.

'Man if this wasn't Nanako; I probably would've made some kind of snide remark on that jingle. Even if I meant it jokingly, she might take it the wrong way.' Souji thought.

"So what does your dad do for work?" Souji asked trying to strike up a conversation.

"He investigates stuff like crime scenes. He's a detective." Nanako said before turning back to the TV.

'Poor girl… Sounds like Dojima is out often.' Souji thought. He thought about how similar it was with his own parents.

After eating, he headed up to his messy and unsorted room. He felt tired and fell asleep before he hit the pillow. A dream or something like it came up while he was sleeping. He wasn't sure what was happening since it was really foggy, however he did get into fight in this dream of his, except he couldn't tell what he was fighting. The figure he fought gave off an ominous feeling and spouted a bunch of nonsense and all Souji could do was attempt to vanquish the unseen foe. The fog suddenly became dense to the point where even his attempts of attacking became nonexistent. Somehow someway, he fell unconscious in the strange dream.

The next morning he was awaken by Nanako, which was good seeing as he could've easily been late for his first day of school. She was serving breakfast by the time he got downstairs. Apparently Nanako does pretty much all the housework, but she said she doesn't mind.

'That's it! I'm going to help out with some of this stuff whenever I can. Although… I should do it anyways since I live here now too…'

It was raining when they left the house. Nanako said she would walk with him part ways to school, which Souji was quite grateful for. He didn't exactly know much about the town so he might somehow get lost. Don't ask. She walked with him to the floodplains where, after giving him final directions, she parted ways with him and ran off in the direction to her own school.

As Souji neared the school, a student attempting to ride his bike while holding an umbrella biked passed him and crashed into a pole. He had brown hair, headphones around his neck, and was in pain. Souji saw he was in quite a bit of pain so of course if you see someone in pain you clearly leave them alone. Besides he didn't want to be late on his first day.

Souji's first look of the school finally came to view a short while later. It wasn't the largest school he'd been to, but its atmosphere was inviting. Perhaps he would enjoy his time here. He saw students racing inside to get out of the rain and followed as well. As soon as he entered the school, Souji was approached by some guy with an ugly suit and a mustache… oh fricken hell! That's his teeth! He was then practically dragged up to his classroom without any explanation in the slightest.

"Alright, shut your traps! I'm Kinshiro Morooka, your homeroom teacher from today forward!" Morooka droned on practically berating his students with his comments. Souji just stared around at his classmates for the year while ignoring Morooka's rant. Many of them looked intrigued to see him, while others could care less.

"…as much of a loser here as he was there, so you girls better not get any ideas about hitting on him!" Wait what! "Now hurry up, introduce yourself!"

"You call me a loser?" There was a gasp of surprise in the class. Souji was just annoyed with this guy now. He just wanted to…

"That's it; you're on my shit list, effective immediately!" Morooka growled out. Souji just rolled his eyes.

'He probably won't live much longer with that attitude.' Souji thought to himself.

"Uh… Excuse me! Is it okay if the transfer student sits here?" A girl in a green jacket asked.

Without really caring what Morooka said, Souji just walked over to the indicated area and took a seat. Morooka just grumbled on.

"He's the worse, huh?" the same girl whispered to him.

"Asshole, through and through." Souji whispered back.

"It's rotten luck for you to be stuck in this class. Just hang in there for the year."

A small smile appeared at the comforting words. The day passed relatively quickly and before Souji knew it class was over.

While Souji packed his belongings, the intercom had turned on causing everyone, including Morooka, to quiet down and listen intently.

"Attention all, teachers. Please report immediately to the Faculty Office for a brief staff meeting. All students must return to their classrooms and are not to leave the school until further notice."

"You heard the announcement. Don't go anywhere until you hear otherwise idiots!" Morooka said before leaving the classroom. Damn finally!

The class heard some sirens outside and a few of the students became excited.

"Did something happen? Those sirens sound really close." One student said. "I can't see anything with this damn fog though." All around Souji, students were discussing theories about what may have happened and a bunch of rumors that made little to no sense.

The intercom came on again awhile later. "Attention, all students. There has been an incident inside the school district. Police officers have been dispatched around the school zone. Please stay calm and contact your parents or guardians as soon as possible, and quickly leave the school grounds. Do not disturb the police officers. Head directly home."

A lot of the students became excited and wanted to check it out so several of them left immediately. Souji couldn't deny that he was somewhat intrigued, but he wasn't going to deliberately go look for the incident.

"Hey are you going home by yourself?" The girl in the green jacket asked him as she approached with a black-haired girl. "Why don't you come with us?" She quickly realized that she had not introduced herself yet. "Oh right! I'm Chie Satonaka." Gesturing to her friend next to her, "This is Yukiko Amagi." The mentioned girl greeted him shyly. The three students began to walk together before they stopped again because of someone.

"Um… Miss Satonaka… ?" The student from this morning's incident asked slowly. "This was really awesome; especially the way they moved was amazing." He then said in a panicked voice, "I'm really sorry! It was an accident! Please have mercy until my next paycheck! See ya and thanks!" The student finished meekly, handed over a DVD case, and promptly walked away.

"Stop right there! What did you do to my DVD!" Chie said running after him.

'Ouch… ' Souji thought after seeing what Chie just did to the guy.

"What the! It's completely cracked…" Chie lamented over the loss of her DVD.

"I think mine's cracked too… C-Critical hit to the nads… " The student said painfully.

"Are you alright?" Yukiko asked.

"Yukiko-san, are you worried about me… ?" The guy said hopefully.

Chie intervened. "He's fine, Yukiko. Let's ditch him and go home." Both Chie and Yukiko left the room.

'He looks like he's in a lot of pain. Well if you see someone in pain, of course you leave them be. Everybody knows that.' Souji thought before catching up with Chie and Yukiko.

They hadn't left the school yet before they were stopped again. This time it was some strange guy, who wore a uniform complete with a tie. It didn't seem like he went to Yasogami seeing as nobody recognized him, at least according to the talking that was going on around Souji. The strange student traded a few words with Yukiko before he was denied. He threw a small fit before running off. Strange kids these days. The student with the bike approached them and talked a bit with both Chie and Yukiko. Somehow he had recovered from Chie's assault and was perfectly fine so he biked off a short while later.

They walked for a bit trading life stories around between the three of them. He learned quite a bit from the two of them such as the town's interesting points like the Amagi inn, which Yukiko's family owned and its not-so-great points such as its lack of excitement.

"Do you think she's cute, Souji? Chie asked suddenly breaking Souji from his train of thought.

Souji looked at Yukiko before smiling. "Yeah, she looks cute." 'Not like I'm going to say otherwise.' Souji thought. He learned about Yukiko's family business which was a popular inn and was famous for its hot springs. Looking ahead Souji and the others saw there were a crowd of people as well as police cars.

"…So a high schooler left school early and found the body hanging from an antennae." A spectator said relating the news to someone nearby.

"Wow, who would've imagined that would be hanging there… "

"Wait! A body? A DEAD body?" Chie cried in surprise.

Souji saw his uncle approach them with a stern expression on his face. "Hey, what're you doing here?"

"Hello to you too, uncle." Souji greeted politely if somewhat sarcastically. He didn't really mean it, but it kind of turned out that way. Dojima didn't pick up on it however, which was good. He didn't want his guardian to get the wrong idea about him. "We were just curious."

"…I'd clear out of here if I were you. You might get in the way." Dojima warned. "Damn principal… " Dojima added grumbling. He then noticed the two girls.

"I'm Detective Dojima, his guardian during his stay in Inaba. Uh… I hope you get along with Souji here, but you three should stop wandering around and get home." Dojima said finishing. As soon as he was done a young man in a suit ran pass them and ran to the river nearby. They heard him groan as what could only be the contents of his stomach spilled out on to the ground. He looked like he was in pain as he clutched his stomach. If someone is in pain you clearly leave them be, besides his uncle said to go straight home anyways. The trio proceeded to leave and then went their separate ways.

Souji got home and helped to set up for dinner with Nanako, who was appreciative. She said dad wasn't going to be home today. She seemed quite sad.

The news was basically about the bizarre incident. Turns out the person found dead was Mayumi Yamano, who was a person that was involved in a love affair. The night ended with "Every day is great at your Junes" and Nanako repeating it. Fun stuff.

The next day Souji was walking to school. Nothing new. A routine that he was bound to get into eventually. As he neared the school area he saw the kid from yesterday bike pass him and of course he crashed and somehow got stuck in a trashcan. He was rolling around in it, and struggling to get out.

'Well it doesn't look like he's in pain today. He's just stuck so I should probably help him out.' Souji thought watching the scene with amusement.

"Thanks! You saved me there." The student said with gratitude. He took a good look at Souji. "Ah you're that transfer student, Souji Seta was it? I'm Yosuke Hanamura. Nice to meet ya!"

"Likewise. Your bike doing okay there?" Souji asked.

"My bike? What about me?" Yosuke replied jokingly.

"There might be something wrong with your bike, but then again it could just be you." Souji and Yosuke shared a laugh and continued their way to school.

"Did you hear about that that incident from yesterday? Crazy stuff." Souji and Yosuke discussed the incident until they arrived to the school.

School was just the usual except that Morooka made everything worse. After school Yosuke invited Souji out to eat as a way to thank him for helping him out. Chie tagged along claiming that he owed her for wrecking her DVD, which Yosuke reluctantly accepted.

They all went to Junes, which Yosuke's father was the manager of. Souji learned a few things about Yosuke from Chie. He also met this girl name Saki Konishi, who Yosuke was obviously enamored with and Chie practically confirmed it. Something about the girl's personality seemed odd as if it was restrained, but for the sake of being polite he and the others chatted a bit with her before she left to go back to work.

"Have you guys ever heard of the Midnight Channel?" Chie asked. "You're supposed to look into an off TV during midnight when it rains. They say as you stare at the TV another person will show up on the TV and that person is supposed to be your soul mate…"

"What? I thought you were saying something important there. How can you get so excited over some urban legend like that?" Yosuke commented.

"I'm a bit skeptical about this too to be honest." Souji added.

"Well it's going to rain tonight! Let's all try it out and then you'll see!" Chie exclaimed.

That night, while eating, Dojima actually came home, while Souji was awake anyways, though it was late. Nanako was happy to see her father home that night, but Dojima was exhausted and collapsed on the couch watching the news. It was recapping the bizarre events of the dead body as well as interviewing the person who found the body. "Every day is great at your Junes!" Rinse and repeat.

'Oh right got to try out that Midnight Channel thing.' Souji headed upstairs where he passed the night reading a book. When midnight approached, Souji got up and stared at the TV. He didn't expect anything to appear and turned away almost immediately when suddenly the TV turned on.

'Oh fricken hell! Something actually came on!' Souji's eyes widened. He watched in fascination as an image of a female had appeared on the screen though the image was difficult to make out. The channel had then shut off and his head began to ache all of a sudden. He could hear a voice in his head. "Thou art I" it said, but Souji couldn't concentrate on the rest of it before it passed. He wasn't sure what compelled him, but the next thing he knew his hand went through the TV like it was a pool of water and the rest of him was being sucked in before he managed to pull out. He stumbled back and fell, his head hitting the table... really hard. Apparently Nanako heard and asked if he was alright before heading back to her own room.

"My head is pounding. Erg… this is going to hurt like hell tomorrow." Souji said to no one in particular. "I need to sleep this off."

The Velvet Room, home to mysterious entities, run by none other than the enigma known as Igor. He has seen many strange things while helping those that enter this ever shifting place. Another strange phenomenon is taking place that he has not yet seen before. The room was once again changing its form. It took the form of a giant study with large bookshelves surrounding him, segmented only by the large windows that revealed the foggy outside world.

"What is going on? Margret asked. She was a lady with blonde hair wearing a blue outfit. She was also Igor's assistant.

"My… this is most intriguing. Never before has the Velvet Room changed in such a short amount of time." Igor chuckled.

"I can explain that." A voice called out from the darkness. She wore an outfit similar to Margret, though it was sleeveless, and wore a hat over her silvery blond hair.

"Ah… Elizabeth, it's good to see you again. You're here meaning you have accomplished what you set out to do?"

"As you can see, I was able to retrieve him…at least a part of him." Shifting to show the boy she was carrying. "I could not retrieve his entire being without breaking the seal. Though he is here in appearance, I do not know if his traits are still there. Most likely he will be unable to recall his past. They are not lost however; he may remember things over time. He is the most probable reason for the Velvet Room's shifting appearance."

"Elizabeth… Sister, how were you able to retrieve him with the seal intact?" Margret said hesitantly. She still did not understand why Elizabeth left the Velvet Room for this boy.

"I merely had to replace the removed portion with something else." Elizabeth said carrying the unconscious boy over to the couch nearby and laying him down.

"What did you… replace it with?" Margret asked hesitantly fearing the answer.

"Another life source… mines in fact. It was the only way…" Elizabeth would've continued, but collapsed in a nearby chair.


The eye lids of the blue-haired boy flickered open.

This chapter has been betaed by RionAgrias. A big thanks for taking the time to do so!