Chapter 1 – Look Before You Leap; Or, Teleportation Is A Garbage Power
April 7th, 2025
My name is Kazuto Kirigaya, and I'm the world's most powerful psychic. Now, you might be thinking this is a good thing. It's not. Trust me, it's really, really not.
A lot of people in the world think they want to have the kinds of powers I do. I bet a lot of you have fantasized about it. Getting to read minds. Turning invisible. X-ray vision. Telekinesis. Transforming into something else. Weather control, pyrokinesis, healing with a touch. Everyone thinks they want them.
But have they ever stopped to think about what it would be like to have them? I sincerely doubt it, because if they had to deal with what I have to put up with, then psychic powers would be somewhere between genital herpes and twenty punches to the face on the ranked list of things people want. Sure, they can be convenient from time to time, but the downsides are just awful.
Oh? You don't believe me? Alright then, I'll prove it.
Invisibility. What would you even use it for? Peeping on people while they're naked? Perverts. When you think about it, what do you imagine? You imagine you're just going to disappear instantly, right? It's not like that. First, I have to concentrate incredibly hard for a minute, and if I get distracted by anything - a fly buzzing around me, someone saying something louder than usual, anything at all - I have to start over because my concentration was broken. Then, after a minute, I finally turn invisible, just like that... for ten minutes. After ten minutes, I turn back to normal, no matter where or what I'm doing. Hope you can turn invisible, sneak into the girl's locker room, get an eyeful, and get out in ten minutes. And if I'm touched by anyone at all? The invisibility is broken immediately and guess what, another minute to turn invisible again.
Sounds so incredibly useful, right?
How about X-ray vision, then? Sure, that one sucks too. What, you thought I was gonna say something teenage-boy-like and go, 'Yay boobies!'? Of course not. If I stare at something for five seconds, I can start seeing through it. And yes, that means if I stare at someone for five seconds, I can see through their clothes. Have you ever stared intently at someone? I'd look like a creeper even without X-ray vision. 'But you get to see underwear', I hear the unwashed mouth-breathing horde complaining. I will admit that yes, I do. For about half a second, before I see through their underwear, skin, and muscle. Turns out, I can't see through bones. It's disconcerting, and I do my best to never use this ability if I can help it.
Not convinced how much my psychic abilities suck? Alright, that's fine. Let's talk telekinesis. I have two modes: barely strong enough to move a block of steel, and strong enough to rip a building out of the ground, spin it around my head, and then launch it into the atmosphere like I was swatting a fly. If I really tried, I could probably lift all of Tokyo, at the same time. Flying is totally out of the question, and if I tried to pick someone up with my powers then either they're headed for the moon or I can barely make them wobble back and forth. So yeah, I have telekinesis, but it's functionally pointless unless I concentrate really, really hard.
What else? Transforming? It takes way too long to be of any use. Whatever I transform into, I have to stay that way for at least two hours before I can transform again, so I can't use it to suddenly ace gym class and then act like nothing happened. Weather control? Do you know how exhausting it is to move wind? I doubt it, since you think weather control is a power you'd like to have.
The astute reader might have noticed that I've been ignoring one ability in particular I've already mentioned I have. And there's a good reason for that. Yeah, a really good reason. Telepathy is awful. I hate that I have this ability. If I had to deal with ten times as many downsides for everything else I have, I would if that meant I could get rid of my telepathy. Why is it so bad? Well. It's a pretty obvious reason. I can't control it. No matter what I do, I can't stop hearing everyone's thoughts. Here, have a sample:
'I hate my boss.'
'Time to go to school! Braid, check! School uniform, check! Homework, check! ...Oh no, Rika's already outside?!'
'I'm going to be late!'
'Be careful, don't break anything. Be careful, don't break anything. Be careful...'
'Asuna's taking a long time...'
'My sealed right eye aches! Is an agent of the Dark Kingdom spying on me?!'
'Mm... Morning, Pina...'
See? Every thought of every person in my range is crammed straight into my brain. I've been forced to put up with the abject stupidity of the human race for as long as I've been able to remember. It was even worse before I figured out a way to somewhat control it; back when I was a kid, I didn't even know that and my range was the entire country of Japan.
And this isn't even the worst part of this ability.
'Ahh, Kazuto isn't out of his room yet! I couldn't run into him this morning getting out of the bath in my towel! But that's okay, I still get to walk to school with him! Nothing makes me happier than walking to school with my big brother. I love you, I love you, I love you!'
That? That's my little sister. Technically my cousin. If she's sticking to her regular routine right now, she's probably hugging a stuffed animal to her chest and rolling around on the bed. Suguha is the one person I can never block out at all, no matter how far away I've gotten from her. She once went to a kendo tournament on the other side of the country, and even though she was way out of my range I could still hear her every thought. Which were mostly variations of 'I wish Kazuto were here to see me win!' and the like.
You see, my sister is a brocon. All day, every day, almost all she thinks about is me, me, me. Oh, she hides it really well - I don't think anyone would suspect a thing. She acts perfectly normal in front of everyone, and if I didn't know better I think even I would be fooled by her appearance. But as soon as she's alone in her room, or in her thoughts? It's Kazuto, Kazuto, Kazuto, and it drives me crazy!
Now, you might wonder why she thinks these things, but pretends to be a normal sister in person? That's because she doesn't know. I do my best to keep my psychic powers hidden, because I don't want to be a test subject. Could you imagine the headlines if I revealed myself? And that's not even taking into consideration what would happen to my life. There's no way I wouldn't become some research lab's test subject, poked and prodded like some lab rat for the rest of my life. No thanks. I like my life exactly the way it is. Peaceful, quiet, and uneventful, aside from Sugu's occasional attempt to catch me with my pants literally down.
Or, at least, the way it was. Just by the fact that you're reading this, that means my peaceful life as an NPC is over. In that case, I'm going to enjoy the last few moments of my non-MC status as long as possible -
"Kazuto! We're gonna be late for school if we don't get breakfast!"
And there they go. I'll miss you, peace.
Sugu knocked on my door again. "Kazuto? Are you up? We don't have all day!" 'I hope he's asleep, so I can go jump on his bed and wake him up! Sleeping Kazuto is the cutest!'
Ugh, I'm up, I'm up. I'm already dressed, so stop banging on my door already, Sugu.
"I wouldn't have to if you'd just be downstairs already." When I opened my bedroom door, my little sister was standing outside, hands on her hips. "I don't want to be late for our first day, so let's go eat."
She was dressed in the middle-school uniform. It was the girls' version of the one I'd spent three years in; my own school uniform was the high school's version. Anyone looking at my sister would be hard-pressed to state that she was in middle school, however. If they only saw her face, which normally wore a cute childish expression with her bangs held out of her face by steel clips on either side, they might guess her age of 15 correctly, but if they saw her whole body... She'd grown a lot, recently, and mostly in one area. Aside from her chest, she had strong and muscles that were super defined when she moved around thanks to her intense focus on kendo for... ten years, now.
'Ahh, Kazuto looks so handsome in his school uniform! I could spend all day just staring at him.'
Once again your thoughts are markedly different from what your mouth is saying. Besides, I've been ready for at least fifteen minutes, I just didn't want to walk out of my room and risk you giving me an eyeful on 'accident'.
When we sat down for breakfast, our mother smiled. "Are you ready for your first day of high school, Kazuto?" Mom asked.
Naturally, this story starts at the beginning of my high school career. Because when else would it start? The middle of the year? Regardless, I'm looking forward to my first day of high school about as much as I look forward to every first day of school.
Mom laughed. "Don't look so down or you won't be popular with the girls. You're cute, Kazuto, so get ready to start breaking some hearts."
"Mom, really?" Sugu complained. 'Never! I'll never let some girl sink her hooks into my Kazuto, he's mine!'
Seriously. Don't jinx me already, Mom. There's still a chance I'm the decoy protagonist and I'll only feature in the first chapter or something.
After the two of us were finished with our breakfast, Mom waved us away when we moved to pick up our own dishes. "You two get going," she said. "I'll take care of the dishes."
"Thanks, Mom!" Sugu gave Mom a hug.
Mom looked like a much older version of my - a much more mature version of my sister, though her hair was brown instead of Sugu's black and tied back into a messy bun rather than clipped like my sister's. I corrected myself because somehow, she'd given me a firm stare as soon as I thought it. Maybe she's psychic too? Or more likely, she just had feminine intuition or something.
Anyway, it's rare for her to be home this early. Mom works as an editor for a computer magazine, which means that most of the time she's home after we go to bed and before we wake up in the morning. She's very busy, and I don't blame her for that. If anything, I'm glad most of the time it's just me and Sugu in the house. It makes it easier for me to hide my powers.
Sugu and I walked down the street, on our way to school. Honestly, I'd prefer to be homeschooled, if only so that I didn't have to worry about accidentally outing myself; but when I'd brought it up to Mom at the beginning of middle school, she'd shaken her head and told me I had to go to school like everyone else. Her thoughts had made it clear that I wasn't getting out of it either, so... here I was, walking to school with my little sister like we did almost every day.
'Walking to school with Kazuto~, walking to school with Kazuto~, this is so much fun! I missed this over break!'
Sometimes I wish I didn't have to walk my sister to school, but here we are. There's no good reason for me to refuse, since our two schools are right next to each other. It's an elevator school system, so at least I didn't have to deal with entrance exams. Of course, that meant I had to go a little out of my way to drop her off early.
Along the way, Sugu gasped and hurried over to a nearby tree. She crouched down. "Hi there, kitty," she said, holding her hand out.
"Mya!" The little tabby cat meowed and rubbed against the offered hand. 'Yes, pet me! Give me the praise and honor I deserve!'
Oh, did you think I could only hear human thoughts? Nooooo, of course not. That would be too simple for my powers. The other reason we tended to leave school early was that every now and then we'd run into this tabby cat on the way, and naturally Sugu would go pet her for a little bit.
"You're really cute," Sugu told the cat, "but I can't take you home. I have to go to school now or I'm going to be late."
"Mya!" 'Very well, your devotion today was acceptable. I shall be back in some time for more.'
Arrogant thing. But, I can't deny the cat is cute.
It didn't take much longer for the two of us to reach the middle school. "See you later, Kazuto," Sugu said at the entrance. "You'd better hurry, or you'll be late!"
I waved back half-heartedly ('Hooray, Kazuto waved back!') and then walked off. I glanced at my phone to check the time, and grimaced. Sure, our schools were close together, but I still had to walk - and with what my phone was showing, there was no way I was going to make it in time.
If only there was a way for me to, oh, I don't know, teleport or something. Oh wait. I'm psychic. Of course there is.
I ducked into an alley and concentrated. My teleportation power was almost something that bordered on useful - as long as nobody was able to see me before or after I teleported, I could disappear and appear anywhere I had space. Of course, naturally that meant I was limited to places where there weren't any people, so... great in a city filled with people walking around, right? At least by definition it meant I couldn't teleport to a place where there were other people, so I found an appropriate alleyway near the school and teleported -
- into the alleyway I'd chosen. I turned around to head for the road, and stopped.
Oh. Joy. I just had to jinx myself, didn't I?
My ability to teleport was dependent on not being seen where I left or where I appeared. As it turns out, not being seen was not the same as being alone. Hence, the group of three high-school age punks clustered around a girl wearing the female version of my uniform. Their backs were to me and they were blocking her view of me, so technically the condition of 'Not being seen' was fulfilled. Unfortunately, they were between me and the exit, so there was no way I was getting out of this without passing by them.
Unless I could teleport? I looked -
"Hey, who's that guy there? Where'd he come from?"
One of the punks had noticed me and turned, meaning I wasn't going to be able to teleport out of this one. I looked at them and raised my hands. I don't want any trouble, so just let me pass.
"Get outta here." The thug that was looking at me snorted. "Freakin' ninja, appearing out of nowhere."
His buddy next to him punched his shoulder. "Screw you, ninjas are cool."
Since they weren't going to bother me, I kindly took their invitation and headed for the alley -
'Please, someone help...'
...No. No no no. I refuse categorically, I am NOT getting dragged into something this cliché and banal -
'I don't want them to hurt me...'
...This sucks. I haven't even been a main character for an hour yet, and I'm already getting involved in something I'd really rather avoid.
I stopped walking. Ninja-liking Punk glanced over his shoulder at me, and then turned around fully. "Huuuh? You got something to say?"
Let's see... I can do this, I just need to hold back my full strength about ninety percent. I swept my arm out to the side, just barely brushing against the punk's arm. Instantly the boy went flying down the alley, sliding face-first down the length of it. Silence reigned for a few seconds before the other two made the executive decision to get out of there, grabbing their downed friend and running away.
I watched them flee before turning back to the girl that I'd rescued. I didn't sigh in irritation, but only because I already knew what I was getting myself into thanks to being able to hear the thoughts of Asuna Yuuki, the girl I'd just rescued by being a big damn hero.
Oh, I knew exactly what I'd just gotten myself into. Rich, pretty, good grades, and an approachable personality. With all the qualities of a perfect person, it was no wonder the entire student body adored Asuna Yuuki, to the point that three quarters of the boys and half the girls had her on their mind constantly. According to the student-run newspaper, she was the most popular person in both the high school and middle school.
Naturally, I wanted nothing to do with her.
'He... saved me!'
Of course, it seems the universe had other plans for me. "Um... Thank you very much," Asuna said with a flustered bow. She straightened up and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. Then she smiled, and a lesser man would be flustered. "You rescued me from those boys. My name is -"
I already know your name, and I don't care.
I was already walking down the alley, heading for school, when she finally noticed that I'd turned my back on her mid-sentence and walked away. 'Is he walking away?!' "H-Hey, wait-"
I rounded the corner before she could do more than reach out for me. Fortunately, nobody noticed me walking out of the alleyway, or the fact that the most beautiful girl in the high school exited a few seconds after me. That would have been a great way to start my high school career.
'I'll just have to thank him later! He's a first year, so it won't be that hard to find him at lunchtime!'
The school I went to was incredibly, blissfully generic. It wasn't some battle classroom where guys had to crossdress to avoid getting attacked by weapon-wielding girls, or some strange gambling den where the stakes were high and the number of insane gambles and insane gamblers was higher, or a place where we were taught to be assassins by a super-fast octopus human weapon. No, it was a simple setup; a three-story building with a pleasing casual brick structure that was not hiding some sort of evil secret in the basement (trust me, I checked).
Each floor had three main classrooms – A, B, and C – and a few other specialized rooms, like science labs and music rooms and stuff like that. The gym and the running track were in a separate building not visible from the street, tucked away behind the main building; they were a lot more modern than the traditional brick, with plastic and metal making up the outside.
The first thing I had to do, of course, was stand in a row with everyone else in the school and listen to the principal greet us for the start of a new school year. It was, thankfully, very uneventful. Everything I was used to from middle school, back before some hack started writing this story and I was dragged into my role as an MC kicking and screaming.
My first day of classes, after the intro ceremony was over, was normal and dare I say it, a little boring. It was a good thing that I could make it through the classes without having to pay any real attention to Ms. Ryoko, since most of my focus kept getting dragged off of my silver-haired teacher ('It's natural,' she insisted when one of the girls asked why she could have dyed hair) and towards a class about... one floor up and two rooms over from my own class of 1-C.
Naturally, Asuna's thoughts kept drifting my way, and I just couldn't ignore it. You know how when you're in a crowded room, you can still hear your name being called even over the chatter? The human mind is just designed to prioritize something that could be referring to us. I think it's some sort of survival trait. Now, imagine how frustrating that would be if you could hear someone thinking about you.
'That freshman... He rescued me from those boys this morning, I have to thank him as soon as possible.'
I'd really prefer if you didn't, actually.
Having the Asuna Yuuki come to speak with me out of the blue, especially on the first day of classes, was just asking for my peaceful life to be ruined. I was going to do my absolute best to avoid getting noticed by anyone at all. The longer I could hold off my MC status, the better - I even deliberately swapped seats with someone so that there was no empty seat next to me, and I wasn't sitting next to any of the windows. I was surrounded on all sides by people that couldn't threaten my status; the girl to my right had brownish-grey hair (a weird color but normal compared to Ms. Ryoko) in a simple cut, the boy to my left was plain as could be, and the two students in front of me and behind me were more focused on their studies than the quiet boy sitting in-between them.
'I'll go find his classroom at lunch. Oh! Though I don't know if he'd like it if I suddenly said something in front of everyone...'
Yes! She can think things through -
'In that case, since I don't want to bother him, I'll just ask to speak with him privately.'
Ugh! Be aware of your surroundings, damn it!
Asuna Yuuki was clearly aware of her beauty. She'd be a fool not to. And she also knew what kind of effect her beauty would have on the rest of the students around here - so why would she think talking to me privately would work well?! If that happened, then rumors would spread around the school instantly. Everyone everywhere, including the seniors and probably even the middle school students, would know that I spoke with the school's princess privately.
For my peace of mind, I need to take drastic action.
The rest of class went by fairly smoothly, though I kept having the occasional ('I wonder if he'd like some sort of reward? I can't pay him, but maybe I could make him lunch once!') ...interruption. That's even worse, Miss Yuuki!
In any event, the classes were mostly introductory lessons, explaining what we'd be learning or the teacher introducing themselves. It was almost a relief when the bell rang and the teacher looked up before saying that we were dismissed for lunch. Immediately, the students around me started packing up their books into their bags and splitting off into little groups. I could see the students grouping off already; the friends that have been together since childhood with little inside jokes that nobody else gets, the small gang of people that met for the first time and hit it off, the 'pretty girls' already gossiping about cute boys...
I really couldn't care less about any of that. I was getting bombarded by enough of their thoughts to know exactly what all of the inside jokes meant (and they weren't really that funny), the new friends were still quietly judging the people they were light-heartedly eating lunch with (half the groups wouldn't last the full week), and all of the pretty girls were lying about having boyfriends. So, in other words, typical school lunches.
'Let's see, he wasn't in class 1-A or 1-B, so it has to be here...'
By the pricking of my telepathy, something exhausting this way comes to talk to me. It was a good thing that I'd kept tabs on Asuna's mental monologue, or she might have caught me off-guard. For someone so popular that everyone whispers when she passes, she can really move when she tries. Of course, since I knew exactly where she was at all times (since I was 'tuned in' to her thoughts, so to speak) I knew her whole plan to find me, which meant that I could time everything perfectly.
'1-C, this is it.' There was a light tapping at the door to my classroom before it slid open. Instantly, the conversations across the room died as Asuna stepped into the classroom. Her long, silky hair streamed through the air, and the faintest scent of her perfume drifted into the classroom; the pretty girls instantly got jealous, and the boys instantly started fantasizing. The mental comments from my classmates were pretty much exclusively about Asuna and how beautiful she was, from her legs and hips to her face, comparable to a super-model. 'Huh? This is the only class left, but... I don't see him anywhere...'
You might be wondering, where did I go? The hallways were crowded, but there was no way I could have gone anywhere down the hall without running into Asuna on the way, since my class was sequestered down at the end of the hall. However, here she was, standing in my classroom, unable to see me.
Well, that would be because I timed everything perfectly and finished concentrating for a minute just as she opened the door and took everyone's attention off of me. I turned invisible without anyone noticing.
"Um, c-can I help you?" one of the girls standing near the door asked Asuna.
"Hmm? Oh, I'm sorry." Asuna smiled at the girl. ('She's so beautiful!' 'I'd die for hair that nice.' 'Oh no! If I don't leave now, I'll be late for the audition!' 'Look at those legs!') "I was looking for someone I met this morning, but I don't see him. I'll try to find him later. Sorry to bother you, everyone."
"I-It wasn't a problem at all," the girl blurted out, just before Asuna waved to the class and turned on her heel before walking out again. The door slid shut behind her, but the phantom presence of her perfume lingered in the air, reminding me of exactly how close a call I'd just had.
'Maybe I missed him and he already went to lunch...'
I smiled to myself as I let myself appear again. Everyone was too busy gossiping with everyone else about the visit from Asuna, so nobody noticed me suddenly appear in my desk without crossing the intervening space. That particular bullet had been dodged, and I could continue my life without having to worry about everyone knowing who I was. I just needed to go home and let this blow over, and it would be fine.
I gritted my teeth as I stepped outside the school, the warning signs already showing up. Asuna was standing patiently by the gate, smiling as everyone passed by her; the students were all whispering about it, their thoughts racing in different directions but somehow ending up at the same place of 'I wonder who she's waiting for.' Asuna had a good mental image of my face at the forefront of her mind, which meant that I couldn't possibly walk out the front gate. Invisibility was useless (no surprise there) because there were so many students walking out that I'd be forced to bump into someone, and I couldn't wait for her to leave for several reasons. Chief among them being that Asuna was incredibly determined to just stay there all day if she had to, with the second most pressing reason being that I always picked Sugu up from school and we walked home together.
I didn't want to risk seeing what would happen if my brocon of a sister didn't get some time alone with me.
Well, that just meant that I had to teleport again. It was always a pain, trying to figure out where and when I could teleport. Fortunately, though, there was another alley right next to the middle school, so I didn't have to look very hard. I ducked back inside and found a stall in the nearest bathroom before I concentrated -
- and appeared in the alley. I wish there was a better way for me to teleport, but no, smelly alleyways for me. Great. When I walked up the sidewalk to Sugu's school, she was already waiting for me. 'Kazuto's here! I missed seeing him so much!' "You're late, Kazuto."
Sorry, I had to take a detour on my way to pick you up.
The two of us walked back home like usual. Sugu rambled about her classmates and her first day of school, telling me all about the girls and guys. It was almost impressive, the way she spoke totally neutrally about the boys that kept peeking at her as though it was something normal. I might have to ensure that a few accidents mess up the more blatant perverts' homework...
Hey, I may not want to use my psychic powers often, but Sugu was still my sister no matter how weird she acted around me. I wasn't going to let anyone stare at her with those eyes. And besides, it was just homework. Though if they kept staring, I'd have to -
"Kazuto? Who is that?"
I looked up at Sugu's question, and then stared at the entrance to our house. It was the same as always, with the two decorative bamboo pots on either side of the gate entrance. The traditional Japanese house was the same, too. The only difference was, naturally, the beautiful girl standing in front of the entrance, her school bag in her hands. The breeze kicked up abruptly, sending flower petals floating past her and tousling her hair artfully before swirling towards me and my sister. Asuna tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and turned, before smiling.
"Hello again!" she said. "I was looking for you at lunch, but I think I must have missed you."
How had she found me?!
Sugu, eyes wide, looked between me and Asuna. "Kazuto, do you know her?" 'Does he know this gril? Is she his girlfriend? No way! I won't accept him having such a beautiful girlfriend!'
I ignored the question and the thoughts. I couldn't know for certain, but I could guess. She'd probably just charmed one of the teachers into telling her where I lived after looking at the class roster to find out my name. It wouldn't even have been hard.
Asuna smiled at Sugu. "Oh, he and I ran into each other on the way to school this morning. Kirigaya saved me from a group of boys that were harassing me, so I really wanted to talk to him to properly say thank you."
"Kazuto saved you? That doesn't sound like my brother..." 'I knew he was amazing! I bet he saved the day, like a white knight riding in on a horse!'
I'm going to take away your ice cream for that, Sugu. The next time you buy ice cream, it'll melt for no reason at all, and you'll have no idea why.
Asuna giggled. "Well, either way, he did. You should have more faith in your big brother." Sugu folded her arms, and I noticed that Asuna's eyes widened a little bit at the motion, though the girl was too polite (read: a model girl of high-class society) to say anything. Her thoughts betrayed her, though: 'What does she eat?!' Well, that was everyone's reaction to my little sister, so it's fine. "U-Um, Kirigaya, I owe you - Eh?!"
Naturally, as soon as I realized she'd just followed me home to keep talking about how much she owed me, and how she really wanted to do something to pay me back, I'd just walked by her and up the path to our front door.
"S-Sorry! Thank you for stopping by, Miss, um..."
"Yuuki," Asuna said as Sugu hesitated. "My name is Asuna Yuuki."
Sugu bowed. "It's nice to meet you. I'm Suguha Kirigaya. Thanks for visiting, and sorry about my brother again!"
Oh, you say that, but I can hear what you're thinking.
'Eheheh! Kazuto would rather spend time with me than her! I knew it! My big brother is the best!'
Well, joke's on you, since I'm going up to my room and locking the door behind me.
As the two of us headed inside our house, Asuna stood outside numbly. 'What... just happened?' It took her a few seconds to realize that the two of us had just left her outside. '...I'll just find a way to get him to talk to me. I'm going to repay him for saving me earlier!'
Ugh... I can't believe I haven't even been a main character for a day and I'm already tangled up in something troublesome...
'Troublesome' was definitely the right way to describe Asuna Yuuki and her quest to find a way to pay what she felt she owed for her rescue. Day in and day out, I wasn't ever able to be alone. Sugu and I would be walking to school, and out of nowhere we'd just 'coincidentally' run into Asuna, who'd chosen to start taking a different route to school with her brown-haired friend. I was able to avoid that most of the time by keeping track of her thoughts and carefully steering Sugu down different streets, since she never questioned me while we were walking together. Sometimes, her brocon nature came in handy.
And it wasn't like I was safe at school, either. Even though Asuna's classes were on the second floor, every time she had a break she'd be heading down to my classroom to see if she could say hello. I was smart enough to leave before she could find me, and I was always able to dodge her well enough that she never quite managed to catch me. It always left her a little frustrated, and I'd almost feel bad about that if I didn't know exactly how frustrated I'd feel once she finally caught me and the rumors started flying.
It wasn't just during breaks, either. During gym class, I'd be running out on the track and suddenly, 'Ah, that's Kazuto! I can see him from up here... I wonder if he can see me?' Sure enough, when I'd look up at the school, I could make out long, chestnut-colored hair next to the window. Oh, of course. Asuna has the protagonist's seat. Did my life turn into an eroge when I wasn't looking?! 'He's looking up at me!' There was motion by the window, something that I'm assuming meant she was waving.
Of course I didn't wave back. That would be stupid.
'Oh... maybe he didn't see me?'
I sighed to myself.
It wasn't just that, either. Somehow, she would find a way to appear wherever I went; when I went to the library in order to check out some textbooks, Asuna was right there studying faithfully, like a good student. I would hide as soon as I saw her, but it was still frustrating because I could hear her thoughts clearly. 'He checked out those textbooks yesterday, and they're one-day only, so he has to be turning them in today. I'm not leaving until I see him!' Ugh.
When I would go to the cafeteria to buy myself lunch, Asuna would be standing by the tables, a prepared lunch in hand as she scanned the floor for me. 'I'm sure he'll enjoy a home-made lunch from me! Now, where is he?'
Even when I tried to go to the bathroom... 'I saw him go in, so he'll have to come out sooner or later!'
Utterly ridiculous. I was able to avoid her through careful preparation, though I had to use a few of my psychic powers. The books floated through the air to pile neatly on the librarian's desk when she wasn't looking, joining the stack already in the 'return' pile; the monumental effort exhausted me for the rest of the day to the point that Sugu actually asked me if I'd taken up running or kendo again, but I was able to avoid seeing Asuna. Instead of buying my lunch that day, I just teleported home and made myself pasta with pepperoncini like my cooking app recommended; it wasn't something I could reliably do every day, but if I didn't have to receive a hand-made lunch from the Asuna Yuuki in front of every horny teenager in the school then I counted that a win in my book.
As for the bathroom situation, well... It was a good thing Asuna had been on the way to the bathroom herself, or I might have been stuck in there a little bit longer.
There was just no peace at all! At least Asuna hadn't been following me and Sugu home again, which was a relief. I didn't want to have to answer weird questions from my sister about why Asuna was so interested in me. In fact, if I never had that conversation at all then it'd still be way too soon.
You might be thinking, why am I going through so many lengths to avoid Asuna? There were times when I could have talked to her privately, or without any observers. Or, worst case scenario, I could have used my psychic abilities to make everyone forget that I talked to her, no matter how time-consuming and difficult it would be to go through every single person's memory and get rid of the meeting. The thing is, I don't want to get involved with any of this. As soon as I give in once, it'll be easier for the next problem to pop up. And then if I deal with that, the third issue will have an even easier time. In the end, I would have the least amount of trouble if I just avoided Asuna entirely.
I was on the way to school a week after the first time I rescued Asuna when I realized that she hadn't been anywhere close to my route. I hadn't even needed to take a detour or anything. That was strange enough on its own - and then I realized exactly why she'd left me alone this morning as I approached an alley.
'That's the guy, so guess we should get in position.'
As I walked past the alley entrance, I saw the reason for the weird thoughts I'd picked up. Asuna was standing against a wall, a trio of boys wearing our school uniform surrounding her. They were arranged so that she was very obviously the person they were 'harassing', and in plain sight of anyone (read: me) walking by. "Hey, give us some cash," the brown-haired boy on the left said. I didn't recognize his face, so he was probably in a different class.
"Oh no," Asuna gasped. "Please, someone help me..." 'He has to help me! He did last time! So when he saves me again, I can stop him before he - IS HE WALKING AWAY?!'
Of course I was. I had no reason to bother with this little play. She was an excellent actress, I'll admit. If I hadn't known since yesterday that she was trying to organize this whole event right in front of me, I might have actually believed it. Instead, I just kept walking. After all, I didn't want to be late for school.
'Ugh... That didn't work at all...'
'...She's still paying us, right?'
Heh. I'd almost feel sorry for the poor girl, since her plan had backfired so badly, but at the same time, that's what she gets for -
'N-Never mind forget the money, I'm out of here!'
'What do I do, what do I do? Should I scream? But if I scream, they'll...'
I frowned and stopped, looking back. I almost immediately had to step to the side as the three boys that had been 'bothering' Asuna ran away, white-faced.
'Please, save me!'
...This really sucks.
I rounded the corner to see Asuna clutching her bag to her chest, trying vainly to protect herself against the three thugs that had attacked her a week ago. One of them had a huge bandage covering the side of his face; he was probably the one that I'd knocked out last time to chase them off.
"Not so tough now without your boyfriend to save you, huh?" the leader sneered. He grabbed Asuna's hand and forced it up, pushing her up against the wall. Asuna winced and bit back a whimper, though since I could hear her thoughts I could hear the internal complaint from the pain. "So come on, rich girl, my friend here had to go to the hospital because of you. You should at least pay his medical bills, right?"
"Yeah, how much was it?" His friend nudged the injured guy. "It was like, 100k yen, right?"
"No way, man, it was like 200k!"
The leader cackled. "See? You can pay that, right?"
Asuna winced as his hand tightened on her wrist. "Please... you're hurting me..."
"Well, maybe you should have thought about that before your boyfriend hurt my buddy here."
Asuna's eyes narrowed. "He is not my boyfriend." She glares up at the boy unflinchingly. 'If I can protect Kazuto even a little, then I'll pay him whatever he wants. It's my fault he's gotten into this mess.'
"So what's it gonna be?" the leader sneered. "If you don't have the cash you can always -"
My fist collided against the side of the injured guy's head. I held back as much as I could, but I was still way, way stronger than any normal human. He went flying with a neat cartoonish spin, before landing and sliding down the length of the alleyway again, this time on his right cheek. There we go, now he can get some bandages on that side of his face too.
Asuna's eyes widened. "Kazuto?!" 'Why is he here?! He already walked away!'
"The boyfriend returns," Tough Guy Two said, before punching his fist into his palm like he was going to do anything more than hurt his hand. "Let's go, tough BUGWEHH!"
I wonder what a Bugwehh is. It probably has something to do with the fact that I'd punched him in the face, sending him flying and breaking his nose in the process.
The third and final thug, the one who was holding Asuna's wrist, let her go and backed off. 'What the fuck? No way in hell I can take him!' "Whoa, whoa, hey, let's take it easy here -"
I looked at Asuna, who was cradling her wrist against her chest. He'd left red marks on her skin. Asuna had gotten hurt because she'd tried to protect me... I glared at him. He whimpered and tried to run, and it wasn't hard to flex my telekinesis just enough to knock him to the ground. He scrambled backwards on his hands and knees until he bumped into the alleyway. 'Get away, get away!'
I smirked as I walked over to him and knelt down and -
...What? I didn't hurt him. God, I hate that I had to hurt the other two in the first place! Don't take things so seriously. All I did was make sure he couldn't get a song out of his head. It'd just keep popping up over and over again at random times every day, long enough for the entire song to play through exactly seven times before going away again. I'd turn it off after a few days, once I'm sure he's learned his lesson. I wonder if he even knew enough English to understand Mambo No. 5?
The punk scrambled to his feet and grabbed his buddies, getting them to their feet. The three of them ran off, and I grinned as someone singing about Monica, Erica, Rita, Tina, Sandra, Mary, and Jessica faded away in the distance. There we go, they shouldn't be bothering Asuna again, especially since I'd taken the liberty of using my powers to implant a deep fear whenever they thought about approaching Asuna again or tried to talk about me at all. I have to make sure I'm anonymous, after all.
"Kazuto..." I turned just before Asuna hugged me.
What. What? What is happening why is she hugging me, did I just break the princess of our school or something. Help?
"Thank you," she mumbled into my chest. "I was so scared, and then you were there! Somehow... Somehow I knew you would save me."
She shook her head. "I don't think so. I could feel it, that you'd be there when I needed you."
...Don't get used to it. Asuna looked up at me and giggled. What's so funny?
Asuna stepped back and wiped at her eyes. "You're a nice person, aren't you?"
Why would she think I wasn't? Just because I was dodging her at every turn, and deliberately avoiding her, and rudely walked past her without saying anything when she showed up at my house, and... Oh. I can kinda understand why she might have gotten the wrong impression.
Well, whatever. The day was saved, the girl was okay, I was... oh, crap, I'd done something MC-like, hadn't I?
"This is the second time you've saved me, isn't it? I know! To repay you, why don't we eat lunch together? I made some extra sandwiches, so I'd love for you to eat them."
This sucks... I tried to turn and walk away, but before I could get more than a step Asuna snagged my wrist with her hand. She was surprisingly quick, and I didn't have enough time between her thought of 'I have to stop him!' and her hand closing around my arm to pull away.
She smiled at me, and I could see some sort of dark ominous aura behind the girl. Was she psychic? "Kazuto," she said sweetly. "I would really appreciate eating with you at lunch. I hope I'll see you, yes?"
...This girl was terrifying.
Fine, fine, I'll show up.
Asuna let go and smiled, cocking her head to the side in a way that was way too cute for its own good. "That's great!" 'Rika will be sad to stop getting a free sandwich every day, but I really think Kazuto will like it! At least, I hope he will...' Wait... Has she been making extra sandwiches every day? Jeez, once this girl's made up her mind it's impossible to change it, huh?
Well, all I have to do is eat her sandwich, thank her for the meal, and then not worry about it again. She'll forget about all this sooner or later, I'm pretty sure.
I stared at the sandwich in my hand with undisguised amazement. This... This is...
Asuna giggled. "Do you like it?" Instead of giving her an actual answer, I gobbled the rest of the sandwich down. It was too delicious to stop eating! Ah, the crisp lettuce and fresh tomato were married perfectly with just the correct amount of sauce to the meat filling! Truly, this was the best sandwich I'd ever eaten, surpassing even Sugu's cooking. ...Somewhere, I'm pretty sure my little sister just felt an indescribable rage.
'...Why do I feel like I need to fight with a thieving hussy?'
Yeah, she's not happy.
"I'll make more sandwiches for tomorrow," Asuna said thoughtfully, staring at my empty hands and the crumbs on the cloth wrapper in front of me. "You ate that one really fast..."
Asuna smiled. "Of course! You saved me twice, Kazuto, I can't pay that back with just one sandwich, you know? But... You don't have to eat with me, if you don't want to..."
I stared at her, then down at my hands. If I refused, I'd never get to eat that delicious sandwich ever again...
Fine, we'll eat together. So long as you bring a sandwich.
"I'd love for you to eat my cooking," Asuna said as she tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and smiled prettily. "I'll see you tomorrow, Kazuto!"
She gathered the rest of her lunchbox - empty, since she'd finished her food first - and stood up from the desk she'd borrowed from one of my classmates. She gave me a cheerful wave and then swept out the door, her long hair flowing behind her.
Almost immediately, the whispers and thoughts started flying. "Was that Asuna Yuuki?" 'Was she eating lunch with that boy? Is he her boyfriend?' 'Now that I look again, he's cute, in a girly way...' "I can't believe Asuna Yuuki came to our classroom, dude!" 'I wonder when I'll get the audition results...' "She's super pretty..."
Goodbye, my peaceful NPC life... I will miss you.
What am I doing…
So! This story began as I was talking with SaintInfernalNeos about how One Punch Man was getting a season 2. Which, naturally, drifted in subject to Mob Psycho 100… and that's how the basic idea was born, of a psychic Kirito unable to properly control his abilities. Of course, Kirito just being super passive and emotionless the whole time would make for a really boring protagonist?
Then I remembered Saiki Kusou. And from there it all just fell into place – including the title, which just popped into my head like "Holy crap I never come up with titles this quickly, now I HAVE to write it."
Basically, this is going to be a light-hearted comedy story about Kazuto having an awful time with psychic powers. Try not to take things too seriously; the 4th wall is more like the 4th suggestion. Consider it a crack fic if you want, though hopefully the insanity seems like it's somewhat constrained.
Basic rule of thumb: 'italics inside single quotes' is Kazuto hearing thoughts. Other italics are for emphasis!
And, pre-emptively, "Is Kazuto actually talking, or just thinking his responses, or broadcasting his thoughts when talking to other people?" The answer to that question: Yes, at least one of those is probably true.
Let's have some fun, shall we?