There is More to my Childhood Friend - Chapter 64: The Warning From Himself
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I’m delirious, but I feel myself slowly regaining my senses. What on earth is this headache? It’s not just my head either, my whole body feels sluggish. Having just woken up, all I can think of is how I just want to fall straight back to sleep.
I feel nauseous. On top of that, my bladder feels like it’s going to explode. I need to piss. Ughhhh.
Head still spinning, I move to slip out of bed, but as I do my body crumbles beneath me.
“Uwha”. Startled, Mist rushes over and helps me find my feet.
“Yuu-kun, you’re looking a bit pale”.
“I don’t feel so good… Maybe I’ve got the flu or something…”. Saying this, I look out the window, but the weather’s bad and the sun is nowhere to be seen.
“What time is it?” I ask”.
Almost sulking, Mist replies, “It’s already evening, sleepy head! You know, I actually went to the trouble of preparing a meal for you, but…”.
“Ahh shoot. Sorry Mist… Can you put it in the fridge for me? I’ll have it later”.
Mist tilts her head to one side. “The… Fridge?”.
Ah, woops. I see what’s going on here. This is a fantasy world after all, the concept of a fridge may as well be alien technology. I’m still half asleep.
“What is a fridge?”, Mist asks me, full of curiosity.
“It’s an appliance that’s common in my world. It stops food from spoiling. It’s quite big, and-”
Just as I’m explaining the wonders of the invention that is the fridge, I’m overcome with a sudden sickness in my stomach. Mist does her best to ease my discomfort by rubbing my back. Alarm bells ringing and I make for the toilet, staggering forward one step at a time.
Luckily for me, toilets are the same here as in my world- it would be most unfortunate should I not be able to figure out how to use one at a time like this…
I lower myself into a sitting position and take care of business. Why on earth do I feel like this?
Perhaps I just had a busy day yesterday and pushed myself too hard. I’ve only heard about hangovers from others, but maybe this is what it feels like.
As I sit on the toilet, pondering the cause of my current state, I suddenly realise I have no recollection of yesterday.
Yesterday? Just thinking about yesterday makes my head hurt. I’m fairly sure there should be some headache tablets that I packed for Arina in my E:ID phone. Guess I’ll take one or two tablets and take it easy for the day.
As I look for the tablets in the E:ID phone, I notice I have a scheduled notification. What’s this?
Tilting my head in puzzlement, I open the scheduled notification that I have no recollection of setting.
‘If I’m reading this message, then I have failed to escape’.
What the…? I re-read the first sentence multiple times, checking that my eyes aren’t deceiving me. Did I write this while half asleep, like some kind of angsty Anne Frank or something?
The message goes on, ‘This is a warning to my future self. This isn’t some kind of silly prank, so make sure you read till the end’. The pressing nature of what I’m reading- of what I’ve written to myself- is not lost on me, despite still feeling a bit woozy. I have… No recollection of writing this… I feel a sickness in my stomach, a sickness altogether different from the one just moment before.
‘First things first. I’m betting that right now you have a killer headache, nausea, fatigue, and amnesia to boot. That isn’t caused by something so innocuous as tiredness or normal illness. My- our- memory, is being forcibly and systematically erased. That’s why right now you have no idea what this note is talking about. But ask yourself this, what did you do yesterday?
It’s true. I can’t even remember what I did yesterday! Ok, calm down and think this through properly. It’s true that my memory is lacking, I can’t deny this simple truth. This is a fantasy world after all, so something this bizarre happening to me shouldn’t be so hard to wrap my head around.
A troubling thought enters the back of my mind. The message itself could be some kind of deceit. But then again, that would only needlessly complicate matters. Occam’s razor. I decide to take this warning from my past self seriously. I continue reading.
‘Pay attention. We’re being confined, and this has been going on for some time now. I don’t know the date exactly, but it must be at least a month since I arrived here in this world’.
A whole month? Hasn’t it only been just a few days since coming here and settling that nasty business back at the Isky residence?
I push on reading. ‘The one who’s holding us captive here in this room is Mist’
“What!?”. Caught off guard, I exclaim my bewilderment out loud.
Mist must have heard me, because I hear her call into the bathroom. “Yuu-kun, are you ok?”. Her voice sounds full of genuine concern.
Maybe she was waiting outside because she was worried about me.
“I’m ok. It’s just a bad stomach is all”, I answer.
I was so quick to suspect her of ill intent, but… Just what on earth was my past self thinking?
‘Please, believe me. If you don’t, you’ll never break the cycle’.
I call out to Mist, who’s waiting for me just outside the bathroom. “I’ll be fine, Mist. Thanks for worrying about me, but do you mind if you give me some privacy? It’s just kind of embarrassing”.
“Oh, sure… I’ll just leave some water for you by the door”.
Having made to chase her off like that, I now feel a little bad. From her voice I can’t deduce any ulterior or suspicious motives. In fact, she’s acting exceedingly normal. I’m starting to find it hard to believe this message that’s been left on my I:ED phone.
For now, though, I continue reading.
‘Mist’s feelings for me have intensified, and it’s no exaggeration to say that she’s gone a little crazy. How on earth it’s got to this point, I don’t know, but it seems she’s trying to steal me away from Princess Rose and Arina’.
Putting aside for a moment the question of whether or not this message was indeed written by myself, it feels a little strange reading the girls’ feelings spelled out so bluntly like this. It’s not like I’m oblivious to their feelings, but I’m usually able to keep the situation from feeling too… Real. Truthfully though, it’s all quite troubling.
But there are more important matters at hand. Like, the question of Arina’s whereabouts.
‘I don’t know where Arina is, but what I do know is that she isn’t here’. Hey hey, c’mon now, I need more information to go on than that!
‘Also, this place isn’t the house in the castle town of Iwan. The interior is identical, but it’s a completely different place. So forget about seeking help from Princess Rose.
‘What you absolutely must NOT do, however, is talk to Mist about Arina or Princess Rose! If you even so much as utter their names, she’ll come out with the yari-naoshi  act again. Just a little while ago she almost caught on to me when I tried to talk about them, but somehow, I managed to evade her suspicion by talking shit about them both. Oh and you should know that Mist’s powers have gone above and beyond what it used to be. She seems to be capable of sleep hypnotism, and she seems to be erasing my memory bit by bit.
Think of it as a performance, do whatever mental gymnastics you must, but your attention and feelings must all go towards Mist, and it has to be convincing! Be her sweetheart. At some point an opportunity will present itself to escape, but until then be patient. If you don’t play it cool, you’ll just be reset again. What’s more, is-’.
At this point I stop reading. For one thing, it’s all gotten a little bit ridiculous, and I suddenly find it hard to accept the idea that Mist would be holding me hostage in this way. This must be some kind of mistake.
Yes, some kind of mistake- or maybe it’s a prank after all. Is it so hard to imagine that Arina’s mum had a hand in this, maybe as a kind of joke? It certainly feels like something she might do, I mean she did develop the Elixir-Replica System after all, so there could be a means of erasing my memories, or at least a way to induce short term amnesia.
At any rate, I can’t quite swallow the idea that Mist could be so wicked.
Yeah, Mist is a good person. She would never do anything like this. I’ll pay this no more mind.
Reasoning away any malicious intent from Mist and my strange situation, I flush the toilet and stand up. As I do Mist’s voice makes me jump.
My heart skips a beat. Her voice came from behind me! Well, I suppose if she shifts into mist form, she can get through the hole in the lock… Wait, that’s not the point here!
The point is, what on earth is she doing here while I’m on the toilet?
“Mist, are you there?”, I ask. Her giggles answer my question in the affirmative.
“I was worried so I came in to check on you”.
“I know you told me to give you some privacy, but we’re so close, right? We should be able to be comfortable even in situations like this, don’t you think?”.
“Sorry”, she adds, laughing.
The way she was speaking was weird. We’re living together, so to say we’re close is not incorrect, but to be in the bathroom with each other? We’re not that close yet…
From the recesses of my mind emerges a sentence I read from the message earlier. ‘Mist’s feelings for me have intensified’.
I feel a curious presence behind me, almost like a kind of pressure, pushing on me. Spooked, I freeze still.
“Ah, I’m sorry. I don’t usually make a habit of doing this kind of thing. But I don’t want there to be any secrets between us, you know?”.
“Oh, I see… Well, could we make an exception for the toilet at least? I’d rather not be seen, if it’s all the same to you”.
“Oh god, you’re right, I’m sorry! I got a bit carried away… I feel bad now”. She laughs apologetically, and then in a dejected voice calls out my name.
She continues, in a gentle but strangely accusatory tone. “What was it you were reading so feverishly just a second ago?”.
It occurs to me that Mist doesn’t understand Japanese, so she must not have understood the message on the I:ED.
‘Please, believe me. If you don’t, you’ll never break the cycle’. ‘She’ll come out with the yari-naoshi act again!’. Alarmed, I think to myself, what would have happened had she understood what it was that I was reading? A cold shiver goes down my spine.
Straight away I conjure up the best lie I can manage. “I was reading an encyclopedia! There’s something about home remedies for headaches written inside”.
“Oooh. That’s handy, an encyclopedia”. I notice she struggles with the pronunciation of encyclopedia. The fridge phenomenon again, huh.
I’m relieved that she seems to be satisfied with my explanation. To be sure, I try to sell it a bit more.
“Yeah, it’s pretty cool, you can find out all kinds of things with an encyclopedia”.
After a brief pause, Mist says, “Could you read something out to me? From your e n c y c l p e d i a”.
“You see, I don’t understand the language of your world. I’d really like for you to read it out to me- whatever’s written, it doesn’t matter what- just read it out so that I understand, okay?”.
It looks like it’s too early to be relieved just yet. Is this what they call a woman’s intuition? She’s on to me.
Breaking out in a cold sweat, I try to regain control of the situation. “I’m sorry, my head hurts, can we do this another time?”.
Whether she believes me or not I have no clue, but it seems I’ve escaped a ‘reset’, for the time being. And I now feel the truth of the warning that I wrote to myself. I feel it in my bones.
Emerging from the toilet, I see Mist in a different light. Just who is this person standing before me?
Cheerfully, Mist says “Look! I tried making a fridge!”.
The object before me has the shape and size of a standard cupboard, with doors that open outward to reveal a cool, frigid interior. While it’s certainly different from a normal fridge, I can’t deny that for all intents and purposes, it is more or less a fridge.
What in hell? Just when did she get the time to make this? And how!?
“That’s… Amazing, Mist. How did you make it?”.
She sticks her tongue out at me, and with a wink says, “Seeecret!”.
So, this is how it is. Me, the hostage. Her, the host who is ever watching over me with her new mysterious powers.
I find myself wishing my past self had given me more to work with. What the hell is my next move?
Translator and Editor Notes:
 ‘Yari-naoshi’ means to do something over again, from the start. In this instance, it’s referring to “resetting” Yuu-kun. Poor guy.
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