2-Prologue April 7th

When was the last time you stopped celebrating your birthday?

That thought came to my mind when I saw today's date on the display of a cell phone that had fallen at my feet.
Today, April 7th, is the thirty-sixth birthday of me, Yashiro Ohba, and it will be the anniversary of my death.

'You!It's all your fault!

There's a man screaming as if he's out of his mind. ...... is now an animal.
It was a lousy life, but the way it ended was lousy too. ...... It seems that God really hates me. I'm not sure what to say.

............ Ah, my stomach hurts.
The head of the organization that used to run this country, even if it has fallen, doesn't have a knife, does he?I'm not sure if you have a gun or not,......, but it hurts, and it's hard to die,.............
The last thing you want to hear in your life is some a**h*le laughing at you.

Yeah, ......, but I guess that suits me just fine. ............

There's no sign of any running lanterns, so I have no choice but to look back at the past myself. Worst of all, it looks like there's still time. But I'm also convinced that I'll never make it.
The blood flowing from my belly forms a large pool of blood, staining the floor of the abandoned building red.
The blood on your cheeks and in your hair is uncomfortable as hell.
...... It's cold. I've been wondering if it would get warmer soon.
For twenty years now, my heart has been cold,......, and it never warmed up.

Both of my parents died in an accident when I was five years old. My uncle and his wife, who were the epitome of good people, took me in.

My uncle ran a small factory in a small town, and although he was not very wealthy, he had many regular customers because of the quality of his products, his flexible order system, and above all, his personality. He had no time for poverty and was always making something from early in the morning every day.
He was very good with his hands and had a wealth of knowledge, and I thought that there was nothing that he could not make.
Before I knew it, I was completely in love with him.
My uncle was kind to me as a child and generously shared his skills and knowledge with me. He smiled innocently with a wrinkled face and said, 'I'm glad you solved the heir problem.
I was happy to hear him say that. ...... But I was somewhat embarrassed and ...... called my uncle 'master'. ...... I couldn't call him "father".

My aunt is a soft and gentle person and I have never seen her angry face. Even when I did something wrong, she would just tell me off gently.
She was an excellent cook, and even the cheapest fish or trashy vegetables that I didn't even know the name of were a treat in her hands.
The apple pie she made at home for my birthday was the most delicious. She said, 'I'm sorry I couldn't buy you a cake from the store,' and I couldn't help saying, 'There's no better cake in the world! ............ Then my aunt started crying, and ............ I couldn't help but cry, too. .............
In the end, I was too shy to call my aunt "landlady". I could not call her "mother".

In those days ...... I had no money, but I had a family.

The warmth I had once lost was given to me again.
I thanked God.

When I entered junior high school, a professional soccer league started.
Even though I had no interest in soccer, the boom was so strong that I was caught up in it.
Promise rings," bangles made by weaving colorful threads, were all the rage. The price ranged from 300 to 500 yen. The thin, short, flat strings were selling like hotcakes. All the students in my class wore them on their arms.
There was a rumor going around that if you wore it on your arm and it broke, your wish would come true.
That's why it's called a promise ring.
I never said I wanted one, but the proprietress gave it to me.
She taught me how to knit it and worked hard on it. ...... What are you doing, you're exhausted from housework and factory work. I'm not sure if you'll be able to find the right one for you.Think about it. ............ Thank you. I'm glad.
I wore the promise ring on my left wrist from that day on.

Time went on and on, and six months before I graduated from junior high school, I asked my master to hire me at the factory. I told him that I wanted to help out at the factory instead of going to high school.
However, both the master and the proprietress insisted that I should go to college.
So I saved and saved and saved. ...... I remember that the master wore the same clothes every day.
I absorbed most of his skills, and honestly, I was confident that I could be an immediate asset. And yet, my employment was denied.
Even the tuition is not free, you know.
But my offer was not accepted.
I belatedly started studying for the exam ............ and yes, that was a mistake.
I couldn't let the money for the exam go to waste, so I threw myself into my studies. I stopped helping out at the factory and stayed in my room studying from morning till night.

That's why I didn't notice.

I didn't realize that the master and landlady had fallen for a scam.

In order to pay for my higher education, the master used the factory as collateral and got involved in stock trading.
He was taken in by a shady company that claimed to be absolutely safe. ...... without telling me.

The overseas company, which was said to be sure to rise rapidly in the future, quickly dropped its stock price and went bankrupt. I found out later that it was a planned bankruptcy. They dishonored a huge amount of money, took large sums of money from ignorant people to make up for it, and then destroyed the company when they had avoided a fatal wound.
The owner of the company disappeared with the large sum of money in his hands. ...... All that was left were the ignorant people who had lost their debts and hope for the future.

As I was about to enter high school, I spent my days without knowing anything.
I'm not sure what to do, but I'm going to do it. ...... Even though it was already too late.
The factory I had pledged as collateral was seized, and even my modest house and land were taken away. ...... That's when I was admitted.
You should have told me ...... that you didn't want to go to high school after all, and that you wanted me to work for you ...... so that we could work together ...... since we don't have any money. ......

The master and proprietress, who had tried to be good parents to the end, saw me off at the door on my way to the entrance ceremony and said.

'You don't need to worry about anything. We'll always be with you.
We'll take care of the money, too. Have a good day.

After the ceremony and a brief homeroom, I headed home.
And I found my parents hanging from the ceiling.

I couldn't make sense of it. ......

I didn't understand what the heck was going on ...... in front of me.

You will find a lot of things that you can do to make your life easier.
...... Are you stupid?
You can't take something like that with you to the ...... afterlife.

You can find letters in your parents' room, and that's when I first learned about all of this.
That I had fallen for a scam.
My savings, my house, my factory, everything had been taken.
The facts I didn't know were written in the familiar letters of my master.
And he said, "I'm sorry. ......
From that point on, the proprietress's gentle words described what had happened after she took me in.
When she was about to give up because she was told she couldn't have children, she decided to take me in.
Then, the words of the master and the proprietress were alternately written, as if they were talking to each other, as they always do, and there were many rambling things written.
They said that the heart is necessary for making things, that the cherry blossoms along the riverbank are beautiful again this year, that the ayu is delicious this time of year, and other unimportant ...... but usual words. The second half was just a continuation of boasting about his son. I'm sure you'll agree with me.
"I loved you," he said. "A priceless treasure. "No matter what anyone says, you are our pride and joy." ......
The last one was about my future.
The last one was about my future. "Don't worry about tuition," he said. ...... "We're both insured," he said. ...... "We've been insured for ten years, so I'm sure we'll get it. ............

I want you to be happy," he said. ............

You idiot. ......

What do you mean, "I'll always be with you." ......

The only thing you had going for you was your earnestness and honesty.
You said it was better to be deceived than to be deceived. ......

You lied to me at the last minute!

I couldn't take it anymore and threw my arms up and hit the table.
That's when the ...... promise ring I'd been wearing snapped.
The Promise Ring fell from his arm and rolled on the table.
If you think cutting it will make your wish come true, give it back now.
Give me back everything I hold dear!
Give me back the ...... everyday life that was broken while I was studying, that went away without me noticing, that ended without me. ...... Let me start all over again. ...... This time, I won't make mistakes. ............

'Let me make my mistakes ............ and start over ......'

In the silent house, there was no one to answer my voice.

That's when I realized.

"It's the fools who are fooled.

'Don't worry.
Don't worry.
I'm a fool for being fooled by such words. ......

I quit high school that day.
Did you really think I was going to take you seriously?Huh, you fooled me, idiot.
The truth is, I didn't even want to go to high school.

I'm gonna get a job.
I got dreams.
You wanna hear about it?Hey, "mom" and "dad" ......

I'm gonna be a con artist.
And I'm gonna put the people who did this shit in hell.

From that point on, my memory is not so clear.

Before I knew it, I was thirty-five years old.
And I was destroying a large organization.

I had scammed back that fraudulent organization that had taken my parents' factory, my life, my ...... everything.

They were only sensitive about taking and being taken from, they didn't care about taking.
They loved their minions who pandered to them, flattered them, and offered them all sorts of things.
So I played them.
I slipped into their pockets and inadvertently dropped everything on ...... them.
Put their money in a collection box for underprivileged countries.
Information into the oceans of the Internet.
And I knocked their credibility to the bottom of the earth.

I don't get a dime.
That must've caught them off guard.
I don't want the money you've made. As long as you don't have it, I'm happy.

That year, two major pieces of news swept across Japan.

A major fraud ring was exposed and dismantled.
And the head of that organization escaped during a convoy and disappeared.

The head of the scam organization escaped with the help of a collaborator who was still lurking. He came to the fourth floor of an abandoned building.
This place I use as a hideout.

His hair disheveled, his beard dirty, his clothes and face in tatters, he had lost all semblance of the man who used to run the organization, and with bloodshot eyes he spewed his bitterness at me.
It was so funny that I just laughed.
I laughed and laughed and laughed ...... and got stabbed.
With a small, small, small, stupid blade.
My stomach was gouged out with a cheap knife that would take forever to cut even a pumpkin.

'You!It's all your fault!

I thought it was a pig squealing.
An ugly voice.
The display of the fallen phone showed 'April 7th'.

Happy worst birthday, ...... me.

And so my consciousness was finally interrupted.

It was my sense of smell that felt strange.
I smelled earth.
And my abdomen. No ...... pain.
And my back is warm. ......The sun?

'............ hmm'.

My head hurts weirdly.
It's like when you've been forcing yourself to cram formulas in all night.

'Hmm, what's ............ wrong with you?

When I lifted myself up, I found myself in a plain.


An empty, wide plain.
There was nothing but ankle-length weeds spreading all over, a wide, wide plain.

.................. Shizuoka?

No, because it was only a night's drive from Tokyo and seemed to have a lot of flat land.
But there's nothing there. ............ Gunma?
Oh, sorry, Gunma Prefecture. It's not as if there's nothing here. ......

I don't get it.
Where is this ......?

I'll just look at my phone ............ and reach into my pocket and notice.

............Why am I wearing a blazer?
I'm not sure if you've seen this before, but I'm sure you've seen it before.
And ......

'...... ah'

There was a promise ring around my left wrist.

What the hell?
What's going on?
A dream?
I pinched my cheek. But, perhaps he didn't want it to hurt, so he went easy on it, and I couldn't tell if it hurt or not.

'...... cosplay?I'm sorry.It's not like it's a cheap porno, but a high school cosplay ......'

I'm going to stroke my chin. There's no ...... beard. It's smooth.
I'll have to check my pants. .................. Oh, here, well, that's true. I grew it before the beard. This is not the time for that!

This is no time for that!
What the hell is this?
What's going on?And where am I?

I scratched my head. And then, a five hundred yen coin rolled down from somewhere.


I jumped in panic.
I almost dropped it. ......
I seem to have a strong attachment to small change.
Well, I suppose it was my parents' bad habits that got me into trouble. ......
My parents, who were thrifty, valued coins very much.
The master was sure to pick up any coins on the ground, and the landlady said she could walk up to seventy minutes to buy a radish for ten yen less.
I seem to have inherited those qualities, and I used to wait for a half-price rice ball at the supermarket while doing a billion-dollar business negotiation. I can't buy anything at regular price, what a waste!

So it was outrageous for me to drop my own coins. And five hundred yen?
With 500 yen, you can take the train and eat. I can even start my own business now.


The phrase that popped into my head was familiar to me, and I ran my fingers along the collar of my blazer. There was a piece of double-sided tape stuck to it.

'This is .......'

Then I finally remembered.
On the morning of the entrance ceremony of my high school, I put a 500 yen coin in the collar of my blazer with double-sided tape. It was for emergencies.
With 500 yen, I could take the train and have a meal. You can handle anything.

............ means that ......

'Am I sixteen again?

April 7th is the day of my high school entrance ceremony,...... my birthday and the anniversary of my parents' death,......

Did you go back to that day?

Then a thought occurred to me.
A wish on a broken promise ring.

"Let me redo my mistake ............ .......

Was that wish heeded ......?
It's taking a long time to process this, God. Did you have to wait your turn?
If so, then you're saying.

'You need to redo the wrong 20 years of your life as a con artist.

That's why you gave me the chance, is that it?

I hold the promise ring on my left wrist.
Can we start over ...... again ............
Is that what you're saying to me, that I should live an honest life as a real human being this time, after I chose a rotten path in anger?

'I thought ...... there was no God. At the worst of times, the worst of times, he never gave me a check. ............'

But now, here I am, and what can only be called a miracle has happened.
I was supposed to be dead, but I'm alive, and I'm twenty years younger.

God is telling me to redo the twenty years I threw away. ......
Then I'll say to such a God...

'Heck!That's not good!Pfft!Kah, pfft!

Who wants to start over?
You thought I'd change my mind?I'm so sorry!
My heart's been stained for 20 years. It's not going to be cleansed by a little miracle like this!
It's too late for that, most of the time!
If you're going to start over, you should have done so before your parents died, common sense dictates!Read the situation, a**h*le!

Did you think a miracle like this would make people change their minds?Did you believe that?
You've been tricked!Pfft!

'God, I'll give you the words of a great man. You're a fool if you're fooled.

Extend your index and middle fingers together and flick them quickly from your forehead to the sky.
When it's done, I start walking.

I don't know what it is, but I've just saved my life.
And I've been rejuvenated.
Then let's enjoy life once again, this time!

Using my dexterity, my brains, and my lies as weapons.

Having taken my revenge, the negative emotions that had been swirling around in me were cleared away, and I felt like I could live a positive life.
Yes, this step is the first step to a new life!
Stepping firmly on the ground, I'm headed for my glorious future!Just keep moving forward!

And as I begin to walk, I realize.

'............, where am I?

As far as I can see, there's nothing but a plain.
I don't know where I'm supposed to walk to, or even if I can get anywhere on foot. ......
I don't have any water or food.
Oh, ......, could it be that we are in desperate straits?

'Um, ......'.

I looked up at the heavens again, the heavens that I had so coolly provoked earlier.
I was unconsciously rubbing my hands together.

'Can't something miraculous ...... happen once again, God~?

But there was no reply.
It was a fine afternoon when I realized that there was no God in this world.