Author's Notes(11/20/2010): I truly apologize for the wait again, you folks who read Anarchy. No new computer has come yet, so it's still quite delayed. To apologize, here's a story I whipped up more recently. From the date, I think I wrote it at about the same time I was writing the first part of the Breaking, so it's more nearer to my current method of writing – that is to say, right after I'd decided to write fanfiction again. TWGOK fandom is, in my opinion, small, but the fact that the manga's being circulated around the Net in English for some eighty chapters now certainly speaks for a steady pace. (I remember it had been eighty since I stopped reading manga for a while)
Disclaimer: Yada, yada, don't own the manga series English-translated as "The World God Only Knows", no profit, yada yada
Author's Notes: Here is something I've been meaning to get off my head since I finished marathoning the interesting new series: The World God Only Knows. I'm sure the idea ain't original, but we'll see if we can't make something out of it, eh? Rough sketches go in the "rough" folder, PRIORITY to find dedicated info source (no wikipedia article yet)
For Katsuragi Keima, a day of unexpected happenings was nothing entirely new.
He thought he knew best, as he'd personally been witness to such events cropping up in front of him like the little buggers in a whack-a-mole machine.
Such included a mysterious beautiful transfer student, or a secret underground laboratory under the school, or getting to live in an inn comprised of aliens who masqueraded as humans. The list went on and on, and Keima could attest to have experienced them all.
In games, of course.
...is what he'd like to attest, but to this recently turned second year high school student, certain bizzare happenstances had crossed the boundary of his PFP and into his own reality.
One such instance had been back in elementary, during that awful earthquake, when he'd forgotten the details of his trip entirely. Another had occured in his middle school, and now it was happening to him in the middle of high school.
One for each educational period in his life: that was certainly a curious circumstance. But to Keima, such events should have yielded themselves to forming a tangible pattern spread out before him. Much like in his games, a certain predictable set of important events would build up to a grand conclusion, each end he rabidly pursued.
Yet in those three crucial parts, he was in a right quandary. And that spelled nothing but trouble for this avid ero-gamer.
"THE CAPTURING GOD" - legendary, but shadowy figure in the gaming world's seedy underbelly, known for his divine prowess in completing the conquest of any girl in any dating sim, galge, eroge, any game that involved the capture of an onscreen maiden's heart: all fell within the capabilities of this self-proclaimed diety of the gaming world.
Yes, in exchange for this status, he would forsake the reality of the world around him, but that was a meagre price to pay, especially if it meant that the 2D world would always be under his sovereign rule.
For this young Katsuragi, the real was abhorred above all. It only brought hardships and headaches to his young mind. Better the structured, beautiful worlds he immersed in, than wallowing himself in the whims of the real.
He would not acknowledge the real. The real could not appeal to him. It shouldn't have, save for those three events mentioned. And as also mentioned, one was literally staring him in the face right now.
"Very well, let us compose ourselves first. And save, of course," he muttered the last under his breath as he put away his PFP. Then, he folded his legs under his body and sat properly on the rooftop floor. "First of all, who or what are you?" he inquired of the strangely dressed figure in front of him.
The girl (or woman) who had appeared with a torrent of air in front of him, raised her eyebrows thoughtfully at Keima.
In that split second, Keima had noted her preliminary details (as in games). First of all, she clearly exuded a unique aura, making her appearance an extraordinary event, if her thunderous arrival were not a clue in itself. Then Keima noted her outlandish attire, which also clearly highlighted her quality. Then body specs (noting the abysmal chest size), and ending in a curious thought of that weird skull-shaped object perched on her purple hair. Something for later. And that scythe, of course. What an ominous portent of doom.
"Are you perhaps a shinigami?" Keima couldn't help but mumble thoughtfully before he caught himself and stared resolutely back up at the still silent stranger.
"I wish to confirm for myself, as well." She speaks!, Keima thought. And she speaks perfectly understandable Japanese! That was several scenarios eliminated from the list. "Are you Katsuragi Keima, born June 6th, second year student at Majima High School, but more importantly known as the Capturing God?"
"Yes, that is certainly me." Keima replied with a hint of pride. And you can add to the portfolio: one of the undisputed Dukes of the gaming world, world's first-
The stranger huffed and scrutinized Keima's face closely. "Really now? For a being known as the Capturing God in the human world, you sure don't look impressive according to my estimates. You don't look that different from any average lowborn human in the mortal realm." What's with that look of disdain? You're looking down on ME?
"Hmph. You underestimate the role of the protagonist. Although sometimes his looks may seem ordinary to those looking from outside, in reality he is the lynchpin that holds the routes together! Without the protagonist, there will be no main route! Without the protagonist, there will be no one to uncover the girls' problem-"
"Stop, alright I understand completely. Not that I'm questioning your pride or anything, Capturing God, but one has to check if the product's high quality before buying right? Surely a God like you must understand." Someone who understands? Can someone like that exist? Keima thought in wonder. But wait, she is still an unknown. There do exist the enemy whom you completely understand-
Thus, Keima responded with enthusiasm, "Naturally! If one were to only consider the external factors, such as the software companies who made the game, or the writer involved, or the game art previewed-"
While Keima ranted on, the girl put a hand to the skull ornament on her head and muttered something unintelligible. The skull's eyeholes glowed for a second, and unbeknownst to Keima, a small collar appeared around his neck.
"Contract confirmed." The girl looked down at the still-sitting (and ranting) boy and pursed her lips as if preparing herself for something. Then she bent down and laid out her hand to the boy, shutting off his ravings with an impatient wave. "Well then, shall we get started, Capturing God?"
Keima looked from the proferred hand, to the firm red pupils that gazed unflinchingly down at him, then back to the hand. Hmm...A decision point so soon, and yet I've no background information yet. This is bad, if I were to click either choice without any predictions on the consequences, I might go down an undesirable route.
A worse case scenario – a Bad End! Suddenly, an image of his mutilated body hung over the rooftops flashed into Keima's mind. (Of course, it was just a game CG he'd recalled and superimposed his own face upon)
As Keima struggled with indecision, the girl was also growing tired of her pose. Gritting her teeth in irritation, she thrust with her other hand and caught the back of Keima's shirt with her scythe blade.
Oh my God! The Shinigami is claiming me! Reload! Reload save! "What're you doin-" Suddenly the girl thrust her cross face close to his own. Keima was unnerved by the sudden close proximity of their faces – she could clearly see her face and she smelled...
"-got it? I've no time for dilly-dallying around. So let's go and get started already, sheesh!" Just as Keima was about to protest with a perfectly reasonable question, the girl had gone up, up and away – with Keima in tow.
Huh? Blue skies...blue clear skies and what is this sensation of flying – wait we're flying? Flying! I'm flying, flying sky high! What the hell is this? Keima almost fainted from the sudden shock of his body hurtling through the air like a missile, but he stood firm. I am a God! A God!
The touchdown was merely a blur to Keima as his mind struggled to come to terms with what his body had just experienced. It was like he'd been through the worst workout in gym class in his life, and as a result he wheezed uncontrollably, breathing out puffs of hot air.
"I'll hold back on the lecture later, so I'll just give you the shorter version now." Creaking his head to turn to the girl, Keima watched her take position in the front of the classroom with the blackboard at her back.
"In this realm, the human realm, roam the beings known as Runaway Spirits. They are malevolent creatures – said to be the souls of wicked humans that have escaped the bounds of Hell." Keima's jaw dropped as he watched the telltale pink fabric wrapped around the girl's neck uncurl and cover the blackboard. A pink screen then formed, conjuring up images of classical demons against a backdrop of Hell. Wait a second, Hell?
"Their purposes on this realm are diverse, yet they are united in the means of fulfilling those purposes," the girl continued, her imperious eyes never leaving Keima's. "Runaway spirits hide within the 'crevices' of the human heart." The picture on the screen shifted its images as she spoke. "It is understood that the human hosts chosen are universally female, because of the spirits' desire to be reincarnated through their hosts." It's all easily understandable, and a few questions can be easily raised – wait, why am I going along with the flow?
"Thus it is the obligation of us devils in the Underworld Special Taskforce for Runaway Spirits to discover, restrain, and recover these runaway spirits – and take them back to Hell. There are some other particulars that can be elaborated upon, but I shall cover that later." A disturbingly familiar disappearing sound accompanied the dispersal of the pink screen. Keima again watched as the pink cloth reformed around the girl's neck.
Then the girl stood erect, and held her scythe upright at her side. "My name is Hakua du Rotto Helmium, District Chief of this area. Starting from this day you, Capturing God, shall be my 'buddy'. Following orders from above to test the validity of the controversial method of 'love', you have been chosen by Hell to aid the mentioned research in releasing the spirits through the means of love. Through this-"
"WAIT WAIT WAIT! Stop speaking for a sec!" Keima shouted, waving his hands in protest. "Runaway spirit? Heart? Hell? Buddy, research? You can't expect me to go with the flow of the Real like this! What the hell are you people- blargh!"
Keima was silenced by an eraser thrown at high speed at his mouth. The hapless teen was smashed into some nearby chairs. The girl stood indignantly, and her once still face was now contorted in annoyance. "Shut up! It's rude for a commoner like you to interrupt your betters! Haven't you any manners? Even if you are a God of sorts, I won't accept insubordination from a mere human!"
"What-what the hell are you talking about..." Like a zombie clawing free from the grave, Keima arose from the mess of chairs and pointed an accusing finger at the girl. "First off and most importantly: what's the deal with me being a buddy? It sounds like you're dealing with powerful supernatural beings here, so why should you be needing in your words, a human's help? Can't you 'devils' use your powers for that?"
Whack! Down Keima went again. Damn, forgot about the second eraser! "It sounds like you haven't been listening. As I have mentioned, a runaway spirit hides within the crevices of a female human's heart. Until it has been released into a tangible form outside the body, it cannot be captured by us."
Up poked Keima's head cautiously. "So if it's in the heart, how the hell can you take it out? Stop that!" Keima cried when he saw the girl heft her scythe at him to throw. "If you've reviewed the backlog of your own little lecture, you haven't yet spoken on how to release the spir-" Whack.
"I was just about to get into that before you so rudely interrupted me before!" yelled a red-cheeked Hakua. After another puff of magical smoke, the screen reappeared, smaller this time and it showed the picture of a heart. "The spirit lodges within the crevice, feeding off the negative emotions that flow through it. If that gap is filled, then the spirit will be forced to leave. Such acts include (but are not limited to) helping the victim succeed, curing someone with a sickness, or possibly finding a mate for someone in love." Hakua's voice lowered. "In rare cases, devils might have to eliminate that someone or something in the victim's way."
Silence filled the classroom. Keima was tilting his head thoughtfully at the pensive girl, but just as he was about to ask another question, Hakua had rebounded and said, "Another, more volatile method is through using 'love'. It's a risky move, but it fills the gap incredibly quick. Most devils won't even have their partners attempt such a move because of the possibilty of the gap resurfacing.
"And that is where you come in Capturing God." Hakua glared disdainfully at a still dumbstruck Keima. "Hell has an interest in expediting the process of capturing spirits, and one of them involves exploring the method of love fully. To that end, I have been personally chosen," Hakua blushed a little with pride, "to pioneer this – with your aid of course, as the buddy. As the Capturing God, Hell hopes for impressive data from a being such as you."
"Wh-why have I been chosen again?" Keima was having a bad feeling, so he wiped his glasses quickly before putting them back on tightly.
"Because you're the Capturing God are you not?" Hakua replied irritantly. "Legendary conqueror of a thousand girls, whose fame was enough to elicit a response from Hell itself? Who else but a God like that would Hell turn to for help with the method of 'love'? They wouldn't- I wouldn't be risking my life bonding myself to you if you didn't have special attributes. Now come! A runaway spirit is close, and you shall have your first test run!"
"N-n-n-" Keima shuddered, before shouting full force, shaking the whole classroom with his clarion cry, "NEVER! I WILL NEVER ACCEPT THIS! You expect me to behave and come along, good-as-you-please? I may be just a human, but I have the right to refuse anyone! Yes, even if they devils from hell as you claim to be! So there! I REFUSE! Go find another 'buddy' to play with, you cosplaying freak!" Keima's storm of fury was strong enough to faze the normally unflappable Hakua who stared after the boy in shock as he attempted to leave through the door.
"W-Wait a sec!" Keima heard the girl call out from behind him as he turned his attention to his PFP once more. He turned his head to regard the panting girl behind him as he shooed her off, "Go away, like I said, I'm not interested in your shenanigans. I have four more games to complete by the weekend, so I've no time for-"
"If you're not careful..." Hakua said seriously and stared at his neck. "Your head might fall off."
Click! Keima touched his neck and felt a something new there. "What the- what's this?" He attempted to get the nuisance off and turned suspicious eyes toward the girl.
"Idiot human, you have already signed a contract with Hell. If you do not adhere to it, the collar will activate and Hell will take your head as punishment," Hakua said seriously. She had regained the regal composure she'd had before. "The moment you signed that contract, you lost your so-called freedom to choose."
"What contract are you talking about? I never signed any contract-" His eyes widened, recalling that suspicious email he'd received on his PFP just over an hour ago, right before that girl's thunderous arrival. It had seemed a simple request for help (for his games), and strangely offered a choice. That was the contract? You really are devils!
"I can't- that's cheating!" Keima said indignantly. "The exact terms of that contract weren't made clear!"
"You agreed to help unconditionally. I believe that is what Dokuro Skull wrote, yes?"
"Well, yeah I agreed to help, but not to this extent-"
"Too bad and too late." Hakua waved his complaint off dismissively. "The only way to ensure Hell won't claim your head is if you follow the terms. And this includes helping us – helping me capture the spirits through love. Let's start with the one close by shall we?"
"Capturing the spirits through love..." Keima muttered absentmindedly. A sudden thought made him shout for the nth time today, "You mean I have to make Real girls fall in love with me?"
"Yes, that's right." Hakua said matter-of-factly. "Make the girl fall in love with you, crevice is filled, terms of the contract fulfilled, rinse-and-repeat. That should be easy for the Capturing God, right?" she asked for a ready confirmation.
"Haha...as to that, I believe Hell has been operating under a misconception about me." Hakua raised an eyebrow in confusion. Keima raised his hand and adjusted his glasses seriously. "I- have sworn not to hold hands with any Real girl."
"The world of the Real does not appeal to me! The only world for me is in games! The only girls I conquer are in games!" Keima adjusted his glasses again. "In this world, they call me an Otamegane, derogatory for them, but fitting me quite well. I am the Capturing God of the Virtual Realm, and pathetic Real girls are not included!"
"Wha-wha-" Hakua opened and closed her mouth in succession, her eyes widened in distincitive shock. "But aren't you- the Chief said- and you confirmed-" The girl-devil breathed in, struggling to catch her hyper-ventilating breath. "Don't screw around with me!" This time, the girl's outraged face appeared right in Keima's own, her hands having dropped the scythe and grabbed the front of Keima's shirt.
"Don't screw around with me!"
"So you're not the Capturing God after all?"
"I told you that I am, but not of Real girls!"
"Aaaaahhh!" Hakua let go of Keima's shirt and screamed in frustration. "How in Hell did I get myself contracted with this lowborn commoner! And to find out that he isn't the real deal, I- I-"
"You get it already, so take this collar of now! I have no business with you anymore!" Keima's voice was equal if not greater in volume.
"It's not that simple, you idiot! I told you that Hell's contracts are lifebinding – you can't get out of it even if you had Daniel Webster on your side!
"Idiot! Idiot!" Now Keima was being pounded on the head by Hakua's scythe as she straddled him on the floor. Anyone, please help, there's a maniac- "-and the life of the devil is bound to the buddy with the contract, if your head gets taken, then my head will be rolling too!"
The sounds of the rhythmic slamming of Keima's head into the floor and Hakua's screams were carried off relatively unheard into the silence of the lazy afternoon...
An hour later, after the cooler emotions had taken over, Keima sat dejectively at the desk of an empty classroom. Before him stomped a fuming Hakua, who was seemingly contacting her superiors with that skull of hers.
What kind of messed-up situation is this? Keima thought to himself. This scene chunk's certainly leading to an undesirable scenario – why the hell did this Hell take notice of me of all people? Are they not smart enough to tell which is which in the human world?
And now his life span had been shortened considerably, what with the constant throbbing pains he'd been feeling in his neck ever since, threatening the doom Hakua had described. Keima half-imagined abruptly feeling a moment of light-headedness, followed with the view of his headless body from the floor – as was described several times on many of his games.
Keima re-examined his other options. Moments before, he'd suggested to Hakua on getting it all cleared up with a lawyer from hell ("Are you stupid?"), It was the only option he knew of besides appealing to another magical being specialized in breaking contracts, but the chance of that was low. And quite troublesome to this otaku teenager.
The last, highly undesirable resort left was to go ahead with the falling-in-love part.
NEVER! NOT IN A MILLION YEARS, EVEN IF I'M REINCARNATED!
The Capturing God had his qualities, had his skills, and also had his own principles to follow. And one of them was the complete rejection of the real, and that included associating with real girls.
Damn it, I need to clear my head. Keima's thoughts were a burbling mess in his head, and that wasn't good to someone who stockpiled millions of pages of walkthroughs meticulously saved for easy recollection into his brain.
In order to clear his head, Keima thought begrudgingly, he'd have to do "that". Keima looked back up at the girl. She was now screaming incoherently into her toy skull and swinging her scythe around dangerously.
Let's do it.
Yes, he'd really had to "that". His blood was pounding at him to go. There was no recourse.
"Oi, you crazy devil." Keima called out, already having stood up from his chair.
'What?" Hakua said venomously, red eyes glinting like a snake in the shade.
"I have to go to the bathroom, I'll be right back okay?"
"Whatever, you commoner! I'm gonna be killing you anyway after this contract has been negotiated, so enjoy your last pleasures..."
Keima let the spine-shivering maddened laughter of the girl wash over him as he made his way to the nearest bathroom. As he went, his hands sought the familiar warmth of his PFP, and with one hand, he changed the game on display.
After locking himself in the furthest stall, Keima brought up the PFP to eye level and shivered in anticipation as he unzipped his pants...
It's been a long time, eh Keima?
Shut up! I've just done it two weeks ago!
And two weeks is a long time...a healthy human male would not have lasted two days...
How dare you say that! It is one of the most beautiful things man has discovered to do! Like sleep, it is one of the few pleasures available to humans! You have to enjoy it to the fullest!
Funny you refer to me as a human...let me ask you, are you a devil?
Haha..what makes you say that?
If you are, then I think I've just met one of your brethren just now. So?
I'd be more inclined to answer if you agree to my demands for once..
Once again, every one wants something from me! The Real is indeed an unreliable place...
But not as unreliable a human as you, eh, Keima nii-sama?
Keima let the giggles in his head subside as he tidied up inside the stall and flushed the toilet. He examined his PFP for any dirt before putting it away, and exited out of the stall. He paused to wash his hands thoroughly at the sink and wiped them off surreptiously before opening the door back to the corridor.
He was met by the thunderous visage of Hakua, who was as easily shocked by the sudden opening of the door.
"Wh-what are you doing here?" Keima stuttered as he averted his eyes, patting his pocket to make sure his PFP was safely inside.
"I-I should be asking you that q-question. Were you planning to run away?" Hakua muttered as she too averted her blushing face to the side.
Keima paused to look at the girl-devil, before sighing and tapping his glasses. My head really does feel clear after "that". Clearing his head, he put his hands on a surprised Hakua's shoulders as he steered her back to the classroom.
POW! Keima was blown to the side as Hakua lashed out. "C-c-commoner! You dare touch a genius devil such as myself so casually! You really have no tact, worm!"
Hakua stormed off in red-faced fury back to the classroom. Keima groaned in pain as he slowly stumbled after her.
Back in the classroom, Keima found Hakua again fiddling with that skull-device and working the magic with that pink cloth of hers. He took a seat in a nearby chair and stared gloomily at the blackboard.
A few tense and uneasy moments of silence followed, with neither having the nerve to speak up about anything. Hakua continued to talk to her skull, and Keima continued to brood gloomily at everywhere.
Finally, it was Keima who broke the standoff as he stood and stretched, before walking towards Hakua. He found his way blocked by the scythe's blades.
"Not one step closer, commoner." Hakua said dangerously. "I won't be manhandled by the likes of you again."
"I was merely going to put forth a supposition. What if, theoretically, I were to...conquer this target of yours – whoever this Real girl is. If I did that and got the Spirit for you, will that meet the terms of the contract?"
"Obviously," Hakua huffed. "But I know just as well as you do that that won't happen, so forgive me if I don't jump in joy."
"Oh? So you doubt my chances of success?" Keima's eyes glinted in the afternoon lights.
"Of course! An annoying creature such as you could never hope to snag a girl so easily. It's simple fact." Hakua said with an air of finality.
"We shall see about that." Keima said, his voice carrying with it a supreme, brimming confidence.
"Huh?" Hakua looked back to the boy, who was now pushing his glasses to his face and rubbing his chin seriously.
"Very well then, Devil-san, I shall capture your Spirit for you and fulfill my contract. That is my oath," Keima's clear, cold eyes now stared right into Hakua, exuding a force that almost overwhelmed her senses for some reason. "I will capture whoever girl it is with my skills as God, and with my experience as God. Hell shall have its prize, and you shall succeed beyond your wildest expectations."
Was that a gentle look on his eyes just now? Hakua almost blushed at the thought, so mesmerized was she at Keima's renewed figure. She couldn't even find the will to retort in the face of such. It was like...staring into the eyes of...
"That is my oath...as the Capturing God."