TIWM Chapter 1: Prologue

“Hey there! I’m a Dark God! Not a bad one though, I swear!”


If there’s anything in my vocabulary that can adequately express my state of mind at this point in time, that one word would be it.

Before me I see the form of a young boy lording over me, a boy who doesn’t even look old enough to attend primary school. I see an untold multitude of fiery human souls, all floating throughout an expanse of complete darkness – hold on, souls?!

“Hahahaha… I can see that you’re all a little confused. Well, I can’t blame you, I really can’t. You’re just humans, after all! Oh, right. Not anymore!”

That said, the boy breaks out into another bout of boisterous laughter.

There’s nothing funny about this, come on! We’re all supremely confused here!

“I actually made a few slides to explain, just for you! Your attention, please!”

Following the direction indicated by the boy’s pointing finger, I’m greeted by the sight of a white screen floating mid-void. Wow. He’s definitely well-prepared.

The first slide pops into view, and a slew of black letters stand prominent against a white background.


Oh. That’s right. If I’m remembering everything correctly, we were right in the middle of a school trip – to be more specific, we were just on the bus headed for the airport. I give a little internal hum of understanding, and the slide flickers to show several more in quick succession.




Just four slides total? Are you serious?! There aren’t even any pictures; it’s nothing but words! While I won’t claim to speak for everyone, I have a pretty good hunch that all these souls around me – presumably my classmates – are, at this very moment, of one mind and voice.

– – ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?! – –

“And that’s the end of that! Pretty proud of myself, I have to say. That was pretty easy to understand – huh? What’s that, you want more details? A video, maybe? No, no, no. That just won’t do. That thing’s rated R, strictly for those eighteen and above. The guys at EIRIN* won’t let me live it down if I show it to you. Also, there’s plenty of that mosaic censorship stuff, so… you know how it is, eh?”

Seriously, EIRIN’s here too?! Wait, no, that’s not what I should be focusing on. If he’s saying that there’s still censorship despite the rating, I think we can safely assume that it was a pretty brutal death.

Not a single one of us made it, after all. That kind of brutality shouldn’t even be all that common, at least not with run-of-the-mill traffic accidents.

“What’s that? You don’t remember your dying moments? Oh, yeah, I took the liberty to erase those memories. We don’t want you to relive all that pain and suffering, do we? It’s plain unnecessary. Besides, I don’t think you’d have it in you to even carry out a conversation if you did remember.”

Yeah, true… There’s some sense to that, especially if somebody burned to death or something. But this… person? Did he just say he was a dark god? It feels like he’s been answering our questions even though we’re hardly in a position to let our voices be heard.

“Why they call me a dark god? Well, it certainly is a mystery, isn’t it? All I do is give the recently deceased a new chance, a new career path to follow. Not always, mind. Just when the mood strikes me. I guess some people just don’t think too highly of that sort of thing.”

A career path…?

“That’s right. I take some people who die, like those who die young and transport them to another world. Oh, right. Your teacher and that bus driver were already a little too old. I just sent them back to the samsaric cycle. You won’t find them here.”

Hearing that, I… look? Look around? I survey my surroundings and, after a quick headcount, realize that there are in fact thirty-two souls around me. There should be sixteen boys and sixteen girls in our class. He’s right; it’s just the students here. That also means that Haruka and Tomoya should be here, too. They’re both close friends of mine; we’ve all known each other since we were kids.

Not that I can tell anyone here apart, but still.

“Yep! About a fourth of you just thought, ‘Oh, that trope where a whole class is transported into another world,’ and you’re exactly right! The world you’re going to is a lot like a game, too! You’ll have stats, levels, all of that stuff! Ain’t that great?!”

Way too lax! You’re treating this whole matter way too lightly, Sir Dark God! If that’s something you always do, why is it so surprising that you get that title?! Also, I can’t believe how many of my classmates are into light novels! Granted, so am I, but still!

“Keep in mind; this won’t be a reincarnation. It’s not exactly a summoning either, so you won’t have to contend with any absurd demands and expectations! You won’t be forced into any kind of servitude! Isn’t that wonderful?!”

Huh, that actually happens a lot. There are plenty of stories out there where someone gets summoned, someone calls them a chosen hero and then sends them out to wantonly kill a bunch of people. I never really got why those heroes always seem so awfully content to just listen to one side of the argument and then support that side through full-blown warfare. Then again, there’s always that one variant who just do what they have to to survive.

“What? You’d rather have a world that’s like an otome game? Sorry, no can do! This isn’t an actual game; you’re not gonna find any scripted scenarios out there! Just break a leg, try to rely on your own charms! What you wanna do is just as difficult as it was in your world, but that means it’s still doable! Isn’t that great?!”

Yeah, no, that’s totally impossible. If it’s just as hard there as it was in our world, then there’s no way that can ever work out. Not with the girls in our class, at least – even just expecting them to have the wiles necessary to lead overtly beautiful women and equally gorgeous men around by the nose is a bit of a tall order.

“Hm? A harem? See above! If you’ve got the charms and a little wealth, it’s definitely doable!”

Yep. The same goes for guys. Goes without saying, really.

“Are there any cheats, eh? Nope, none whatsoever! I’m just sending you along on a whim, right?! Oh, but I am giving you all a pretty sweet gift! You’ll all be able to communicate, read, and write! Any more questions? Well then, get ready to be transported into another world!”

The boy waves his hand ever so slightly. Something that looks a lot like a window, the kind you’d see on your computer, pops up right in front of me when he does. ‘150 Points’ is written right at the top, and below that I see a selection of races and skills, each with its own point-based value attached.

“This world won’t be like anything you know. If I just send you over as you are, you might have a hard time fitting in and adapt. Another gift from me to you – you’ll get the chance to spruce yourselves up a little. See that at the top? That’s the number of points you can spend. You all have the same amount. Well, more or less the same. There’s some variation here and there that takes into account what you were like before you died, how you acted, what kinds of ‘specs’ you had. It’s based on things like, say, how athletic you were in life, if you put any effort into your studies, and so on. That’s the great thing about effort, see? It doesn’t stab you in the back!”

Hm. A hundred and fifty points. I have no idea if that’s a lot or if it isn’t… It’s not like I can communicate with the others right now either, so I have absolutely no way of being sure.

My grades have always been fairly decent. I wasn’t completely lacking when it came to the more athletic subjects either, but I don’t even know how a dark god would evaluate any of that.

I can’t say that I care too much about how I am compared to the rest of my class, but it would be nice if this makes me out to be at least above average by this new world’s standards. It’s incredibly likely that it won’t have the same kind of fallbacks or safety measures available in the society we know, after all, and I can’t say I have the experience of living in such a place.

“Good, good. Even those with the lowest stats are a good cut above the average schmoe. Just keep at it and I’m sure you’ll do fine!”

Read the original on https://dao.ist

Keep at it, huh? Well, since we don’t have any sort of cheat to help us out, we probably won’t get to just kick back and relax. I’ll have to keep that in mind when I’m picking my skills.

“You’re saying you want skills that aren’t listed with you? Well, in that case, just tell me about them and I’ll add them in. If they’re not too problematic, at least.

“You wanna steal skills? Hmmm… Well, why not.

“Skill Copying? No problem.

“Double Experience Gain? You know what, I might as well add Quadruple and Tenfold Experience Gain while I’m at it!

“Beautiful Pale Skin? Really, that’s what you want? I guess that’s fine.

“Heroic Qualities? You really wanna be one? You wanna be a Hero?”

Hey, hey, hey. Is it just me, or is everyone just wishing for stuff without taking their situation too seriously? And here I thought I would. The boy, the self-proclaimed dark god or whatever he may be, approves just about every request that passes by him. New skills blink into the window as he does. All the more beneficial skills require a lot of points to unlock, while anything that doesn’t seem to have that much merit is valued at a significantly less amount.

Well, at least he’s trying to keep things balanced…

“Oh, right. Here’s another thing you ought to know; any skills that cost more than your available points won’t be displayed. If there’s any skill you wished for but didn’t see get added, just keep that in mind!”

Well, it does look like every skill he mentioned is listed here… But you never know. There might be plenty of skills that cost more than a hundred and fifty points. Now, what’s something I can really use…? Actually, a ‘help’ button would be great for this, wouldn’t it? The explanation for all these skills is a little too succinct for my taste…

“Right, there’s probably some of you who aren’t used to this sort of thing, huh? Girls who aren’t into games and other people like that. Guess I’ll add a ‘help’ option.”

Huh, it got added. Just needs twenty points to unlock – wait, what? Is he seriously going to charge us for this stuff? Also, isn’t this a little too much? It’s not like we’ll get other chances to use this thing, right?

“Alrighty then, no more requests? Go on and make your choices, then. We’ll try to wrap this all up in about, say, an hour or so. Remember, you don’t get any cheats, so think long and hard about the skills you’re choosing!”

In the aftermath of the boy’s carefree approval of every request that came his way, the number of skills listed in my window has increased to several times their original amount. I look them over and can’t suppress the nagging feeling that a good portion of it is made up of entirely absurd skills… are we sure there aren’t any cheats here? I mean, there’s still at least a couple of skills so good they might as well be cheats, right? Things like Skill Copy cost up to a hundred points. Choosing that alone would set me back by two-thirds of the points I have available. Is it really worth it…?

◇    ◇    ◇

Alright, let’s mull this over.

This ‘Help’ skill’s the one that I’m the most curious about. Here’s what it says:

[This will provide you with advice and more detailed explanations. Once selected, it can no longer be deselected.]

I suppose that’s only fair, considering. It wouldn’t make much sense if you could use it to gather all the information you needed only to immediately cancel its use once you were done.

Should I pick this one? …You know what, this isn’t something I should be breaking my head over.

Twenty points is a pretty steep price, sure, but creating your character without knowing anything about the world you’re going into and without being given any sort of direction? That’d be setting up one minefield of a flawed character, full of unexpected shortcomings that just blow you to bits the second they’re triggered. Twenty points is a small price to pay.

Also, just think about what might happen if someone picks a race or skill that’s the subject of severe discrimination. Nothing fun, I can tell you that much. We’re going to be subjected to a whole new set of societal norms, and in all honesty, I don’t think calling people out on their prejudice is going to be enough to spur others into helping.

I make up my mind, telling myself that the bare necessities and guaranteed peace of mind are what I should focus on, and add a check mark to ‘Help.’

…Huh. The display just changed. All the skills worth more than what I’ve been reduced to aren’t on the screen anymore, for one thing. For another, all the sentences that make up the skill summaries are expanded upon.

[This will provide you with advice and more detailed explanations. Once selected, it can no longer be deselected. (You will continue to receive some advice upon your transportation, along with a small number of explanations.)]

There’s a new sentence between the brackets, and it’s quite informative. Neat, so this skill is still going to be pretty useful once I cross over. Guess it’s way more of a bargain than I initially thought it was, huh?

Alright, let’s take a look at the available races. ‘Human’ is the one race that doesn’t have any point requirements.

[A race with overall average capabilities. (Will not be able to use magic unless equipped with a Magical Characteristics skill.)]

Now, on to the ‘Elven’ race. I have a bit of a soft spot for those. That costs exactly twenty points.

[A race with an innate aptitude for magic. Their average life span is twice that of a human’s. (Can use magic without relying on additional Qualities, but have relatively low stamina.)]

Now here’s a race that might appeal to certain demographic made up of delusional middle school students. The ‘Half-Vampire.’ Costs fifty points.

[A race endowed with resilient bodies and a healing factor. Capable of casting magic. Their nature as half-vampires gifts them with resistance to sunlight. (Their lust for blood is greater than that of a true vampire. Members of this race require a daily dose of human blood exceeding 400 cc. Most are unable to repress their rampant impulses and will drain their victims of blood until they expire. Should their true nature be revealed, retaliation is an almost immediate threat.)]

Yeah, this gets a resounding ‘no’ from me. There’s that minefield I mentioned, and it’s a whole race. Good on me for picking the Help skill, though!

A little more scrutiny reveals a wider selection of special races, and just about every one of them has their demerits outlined in the newly added information. These would look pretty darn useful if I only had the initial lines of info to go on, but now they seem more dangerous than anything else. I’m really getting my twenty points’ worth here.

This does bring up the question of why all this vital information is being hidden in the first place. Is it because a dark god’s behind this whole thing, or is there something else to it…?

Let’s see, what else can I choose here…? The ‘Dwarven’ race would turn me into a short, stout man with a thick growth of beard. The ‘Halfling’ race would shrink me down to under a hundred and twenty centimeters. That’s not something I’d mind all too much in a game, but this is reality. I think I’ll abstain.

I’ll also freely admit to having a thing for catgirl ears and all things similar, but I’m really not sure that means I’d be happy to have them on me. I’m fine with just liking them.

…Okay, let’s settle for ‘Elven.’ Now I just have a hundred and ten points left. I should take a look at all the skills next, even if there have been way too many additions.


{Skill Pilfer (Points Required: 80)}

Read the original on https://dao.ist

Allows you to rob an opponent of a skill without affecting its level. You are not required to specify the skill you wish to steal. All stolen skills will be returned to their owners upon death. (The user’s lifespan is reduced by a total percentage of (%4*Level of Skill Pilfered). The result of this calculation will be added to the victim’s lifespan. The formula treats any skill without a designated level as a Level 5 skill.)


The skill definitely looks like it might be cheat-worthy at first, but it comes with some ridiculously heavy baggage. But come to think of it, you’d be stealing something that somebody put a lot of time into improving. Giving all that time back is actually pretty fair, in a way.


{Skill Copy (Points Required: 100)}

Allows you to copy a skill without affecting the connection between the skill and the original user. However, this can only be accomplished upon being familiar with both the name and level of the skill in question. The desired skill must be specified prior to acquisition. (Any obtained skill is reduced to Level 1 and will remain sealed until the original user of the copied skill in question offers an introduction of its basics. All skills without a designated level cannot be copied.)


This one doesn’t have any glaring demerits to speak of, and the penalties that come with it are actually pretty tame. You even get to start using skills at their first level, as long as you can manage to get the other party’s permission. This doesn’t sound too bad, does it?


{Double Experience Gain (Points Required: 50)}

Your discipline allows you to double all experience points gained from battles and training. (The experience required to achieve a new degree of skill becomes ten times the usual amount.)


{Tenfold Experience Gain (Points Required: 120)}

Your discipline allows you to increase all experience points gained from battles and training tenfold. (The experience required to achieve a new degree of skill becomes ten times the usual amount.)

{Heroic Qualities (Points Required: 80)}

Grants you the quality of potentially becoming a Hero through training and effort alone. (Your chances of getting into trouble are increased, and your life is frequently at risk.)


{Magical Qualities – Invariable Acquisition (Points Required: 80)}

Allows you to acquire any sorceries regardless of racial restrictions. (The learning difficulty for all kinds of magic are increased to several times their original level.)


{Magic – Maximised (Points Required: 80)}

The power of your sorceries becomes extremely vast. (Your physical strength and endurance plummet. Commanding your own magic becomes a daunting task.)


{Charm (Points Required: 50)}

You become extremely attractive to the opposite sex, to the point where they find you mesmerizing. Your outward appearance remains unchanged. (All charmed persons exhibit signs of possessiveness and will try to keep you to themselves. You are unable to choose who is affected by your charm.)


{Highly Attractive Appearance (Points Required: 30)}

Your looks are remolded into perfection. The opposite sex is charmed by your appearance, as is the same sex. (Potentially useful for anyone seeking same-sex relationships. This skill is not recommended for the Elven race, as they are already endowed with great natural beauty. They just become too pretty to handle.)


…Oh boy! This whole section’s nothing but a minefield waiting to blow, isn’t it?! No wonder that kid’s a dark god! I mean, sure, I thought something was a little off about how he explicitly told us that there wouldn’t be any cheats but still didn’t seem to care much when he added all those skills willy-nilly! For crying out loud, what about all the people who didn’t bother picking the help skill and just charged in, expecting themselves to come out unrivaled? Their deaths are pretty much a guarantee now, aren’t they?

Actually, the people whose lives are in undeniable danger are all the ones who picked the Skill Pilfer ability without thinking about what it might entail. All they have to do is steal so many skills that they hit a collective skill level of twenty-five and they’d die on the spot. The other skills don’t pull their punches, that much I can see, but they don’t bring about their users’ immediate demise either. As far as all those experience-boosting skills are concerned, I can’t even see past their downsides. To me, it’s like they’re just there to rob you of your points and nothing else. Who knows, maybe there’s some kind of merit to the whole thing that I just can’t think of.

Now let’s take a look at the other skills, the ones that have been listed from the start…


{Resilience (Points Required: 10)}

Your body becomes much more resilient. (It becomes much more difficult for you to gain injuries. You also gain some resistance to diseases. Remember that this is a whole different realm and that whatever pathogens you might find within it may be completely different from what you’re accustomed to.)


{Magical Qualities – Fire-Type (Points Required: 10) }

You become able to learn fire-based sorceries. (It is not possible for humans to cast these types of sorceries without this skill. While the same cannot be same of certain other species, such as Elves, the acquisition of this skill makes their use of this strain of magic much more powerful.)


{Attractive Appearance (Points Required: 10)}

Read the original on https://dao.ist

Your visage garners favor from those around you. (This skill is not recommended for the Elven race, as they are already endowed with great natural beauty. Impelling humans to approach in this manner may prove problematic.)


{Blade Proficiency (Points Required: 10)}

You are gifted when it comes to wielding swords, more so than most. (This counts as a talent, and must, therefore, be forged through training. Be sure to keep from overestimating yourself.)


Would you look at that, they’re all pretty darn normal! The little bits of advice I keep finding between the parentheses are actually useful and in a pretty normal way this time! I’m obviously not saying that all the advice I got pertaining to the added skills was useless, quite the opposite in fact, but those were really just ways of explaining just how big of a potential minefield was lying in wait. But are all these new skills really on the same level…?


{Beautiful Pale Skin (Points Required: 5)}

Your complexion becomes much lighter than average. You find it difficult to obtain a sunburn. (With the lacking pigmentation of your skin, it doesn’t take much for you to turn red when exposed to the sunlight. Be wary of any potentially cancerous development to your skin.)


{Heavy Drinker (Points Required: 5)}

You don’t lose yourself quite as easily when you turn to drink. (This only affects how quickly you get drunk. You gain no additional protection against the detrimental effects that accompany the consumption of alcohol. There is a chance that you will no longer realize where your own limitations lie. Be wary of any signs of developing alcoholism or similar dependence on liquid spirits.)


{Swindling (Points Required: 10)}

You become more glib-tongued than most and have a decent chance of hoodwinking others through eloquence and flattery. (Men of many words and few actions are generally not considered trustworthy. If you plan on establishing long-term friendly relations, be sure to back up what you say with your actions.)


What about all of this, then? Does this still count as reasonable and grounded? The advice listed is pretty sensible in itself. It really is.

…No, that’s not quite right. It’s just that they look great when you compare them to all those other awful options. I think it’s better if I just forget about all the skills that were added in post. Now, choosing a specific skill other than Help is probably the right way to go about this… It is, right?

I spend the better part of an hour thinking things through. These are all the skills I picked for myself:

{Help (Points Required: 20)}

{Resilience – Lv. 2 (Points Required: 15)}

{Lance Proficiency (Points Required: 10)}

{Spearmanship (Points Required: 10)}

{Evasion – Lv. 1 (Points Required: 5)}

{Hawkeye – Lv. 1 (Points Required: 5)}

{Silent Steps – Lv.1 (Points Required: 5)}

{Spot Enemy – Lv. 1 (Points Required: 10)}

{Magical Qualities – Space-Time Type (Points Required: 15)}

{Space-Time Magic –  Lv. 2 (Points Required: 10)}

{Fire Magic – Lv. 1 (Points Required: 10)}

{Knowledge on Traps – Lv. 1 (Points Required: 5)}

{Read Person – Lv. 2 (Points Required: 10)}

If we factor in the twenty points I already spent on my race; the grand total comes out to one hundred and thirty points. I’ve been keeping to a template that relies on the standard character creation ideas you might see in any given game. I haven’t picked a single one of the skills that, on a completely superficial level, looks like they border on cheating.

It’s a pretty sound decision on my part, I think to myself, and I hope that it turns out to be the right one. Now that I’ve seen all those new skills, proverbial mines just waiting to be triggered that they are, I’d really rather not take any risks. My life depends on it, after all.

I just hope Haruka and Tomoya stick to making good decisions when they’re creating their characters…

◇    ◇    ◇

“Alrighty, are you all done? It’s just about time to start your transportation! When you make it over there and still have a few points to spare, I’ll just assign them however I want, so take extra care!”

What do you mean, however you want?! I don’t want you picking any weird skills that I’ll get stuck with! Then again, I guess it’s way more expected for people to just use up all their points from the get-go, huh?

“That reminds me. Once you get transported, the souls closest to you right now are gonna end up manifesting the closest, location-wise. Maybe it’s better if you stick close to the people you know, huh? That’s to say, if you can even tell them apart from everyone else.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa! You can’t just drop that on us at the last minute! We’re all just fiery bluish soul-orbs right now; there’s no way we can know!

…Well, at least I thought as much until… huh? Are those two souls getting closer to me? I can feel a strange kinship between us. What? Haruka? Tomoya, is that you? Wait. Am I the only one here who can’t tell anyone apart? Is this where I turn out to be way more heartless than I think I am?

The young boy smiles, completely removed from me and my brewing internal turmoil, and waves his hand.

“That’ll be all then, people! Have a nice life!”

The very second I process those words, my vision is engulfed by pure light.


*EIRIN: The Film Classification and Rating Organisation. Responsible for regulating films in Japan.