Prologue – Crumbling Classroom Stage
Kusunoki Masaki’s mouth filled with the ensuing dust, making it difficult to breathe. He quickly surveyed the room. Debris from the fallen ceiling was scattered across the desks, chairs, and floor, and a shroud of dust hung in the air.
In the center of it all was a strange, dancing shadow.
Card soldiers with long, thin limbs blew trumpets. From the bells of their trumpets flew geese, and from their yellow beaks came letters of the alphabet. Ducks, parrots, crabs, and hatted mice, all larger than cats, laughed and sang in the chaos.
None of the beings could be real. It was as if they had fallen out of a fairytale.
It seemed they had fallen into the room when the classroom ceiling collapsed.
Masaki had been the only person in the room, so luckily nobody was injured. The room was overflowing with fantastic beings. The lined up desks and chairs were stepped and trodden on, being crushed to the point that they were no longer recognisable.
In the midst of the card soldiers, hatted mice, and the other animals – those irrational, absurd and uncanny beings – was an enormous cat. It was about 6 meters long. The top of its tofty-haired round head reached all the way to the top of the joist bay whose bottom had fallen out.
The large cat closed its almond shaped eyes, gave a complacent smile, and lowered its head in what seemed to be a bow.
Between its two triangular ears was the form of a human.
The person stood out in a different sense than the strange beings dancing in the middle of the rubble.
Masaki held his breath.
He forgot about what was going on around him as he was completely fascinated; “she’s beautiful”, he thought.
The girl looked just like a Western doll.
Her eyes were a clear, sapphire blue, and she had hair like a bundle of gold thread. Her skin was white as a plaster figure.
She clung to the tufts of fur around the ears of the big cat as it slowly moved.
Although the girl was shorter than Masaki, he had to look up at her since the cat she was perched on towered over him.
She glanced around at her surroundings – then her eyes met with Masaki’s.
She tilted her head to one side in what seemed to be curiosity.
“…Who are you?”
Her voice rang out, clear as water.
“Er, I’m Kusunoki Masaki… I transferred to this school today.”
“I see. Did I surprise you?”
“I was really surprised. I thought I was going crazy for a moment – wait, who the hell are you?”
“…I feel sorry for you.”
She didn’t answer my question; instead, she spoke words of pity.
Masaki was puzzled, so he asked another question.
“You’re going to die.”
Masaki heard the faint sound of something slicing through the air and turned around.
On the other side of the window––