The MWP is an initiative that a few of us are pushing to escape the rails of canon and chart our own course by making the settings and characters entirely ourselves. For those wanting to join the MWP, the rules are simple: Make a 1 holy hero, 2 vassal hero world (as worlds naturally start as), make powerup methods, a magic system, and a heap of characters for that world, then write the story that follows. many of us plan on world fusions down the road, so the journey doesn't need to end with a single story!
A young man was tapping his pencil on a blank page in front of him. This had become his daily routine. As frequent as a devout man visiting shrines.
"It's been an hour. I told myself that I'd make something easier today. I thought making a monster would be easier… I mean, if it was a little ugly, it'd still be good. Monsters can get away with being ugly." He complained to himself.
He turned his aquamarine eyes to the now full trash bin. Filled with his failures for the day.
"The jellyfish angel was too detail heavy, the turtle monster's head was too flat, I went too thick on the shading of the demon, and then the aberration was too abstract. Why do I suck at this so much!?" He thought with self doubt.
He ran his hands through his black hair in frustration. "It shouldn't be this hard."
The young man's name is Botan Nakaya, a 19 year old college student. He has no idea what he wants to major in. Or more accurately, his father wanted him to major in something financially fruitful. He however, has been trying to break out as an artist for years. Botan had been passionate about art and gaming his whole life. His mother supported him in private, but always sided with his father when they argued about his future.
While he thought he was right, when he looked at a blank page and so many scrapped ideas…
"Is dad right? Should I just…?" Botan thought as he grew bitter.
He got a great score on his last test and because of that his father cut him some slack the last few days, but he was choking. He had too many ideas and not enough time to put them all on paper. Worse still, he knew he lacked artistic talent. That'd normally be where hard work and developed skill would help, but he never had the time to really get good at his passions.
And that's what they were, 'passions'. It wasn't that he hated studying or doing great in school. He simply loved the ideas in his head and wanted a way to share them with other people in a meaningful way. Whether that be writing, art, or music. He was an endless font of ideas if only he was allowed to pursue those passions earnestly.
"Ping." His phone made a noise.
He checked his phone and saw that one of his close friends got permission to use the college soccer field after hours. A nice benefit for helping the coach for so long. He was inviting Botan to play some with his other friends that were already agreeing in the group chat.
"It'd be fun, but I'm busy here doing…" He stared at the blank piece of paper again. "...Nothing." Botan accepted the invite. He headed down stairs to see his younger sister helping their mother make dinner. Luckily it looked like a meal that takes longer to make.
"I'm heading out. I'll be back in about 2 hours." Botan said, waving.
"Don't miss dinner. I'm going to need your honest opinion on this." His little sister demanded.
"Yeah, yeah. Don't poison me like last week." Botan prodded before running out the door to outrun her retaliation.
"I will end you!" She yelled, running to the front door.
Botan laughed at her expense until he hit the end of the street. He'd get less of these care-free days soon. In a few short years he was expected to know what he was going to do in life. To have his whole life planned out and begin walking that path. It seemed insane. He couldn't even decide what to draw on paper. What was he supposed to do when the options in his world are far more limiting?
"Honk!" A car horn blared.
Botan caught himself not paying attention, thinking about all his worries instead of watching the road. He was nearly hit by a moving truck, but another car alerted him. The truck made no attempt to slow down.
He leapt out of the way with surprising grace. Botan was great at sports and such. He was tall for his age and could always let his body do its thing while his mind wondered. He was so good that when he was younger, he tried to be more serious about it. That was how he met many of the friends he was meeting up with now. However, he found out he never could be a professional athlete because he'd need to focus and concentrate. Things like counting your breaths and maintaining an internal rhythm were essential.
And as almost getting hit by a truck would tell you, "Focus" is not who Botan is or ever could be.
He made it to the field without further incident. He met up with his friends and worked up quite the sweat. Each of his friends were either met in school or by being friends of friends. Another fear Botan had of the future was that he'd have no friends. He wanted to pursue a creative career, and while that didn't strictly stop him from having friends, he knew he'd not seek people out. It was only due to being placed in that kind of situation that he gained friends.
He could see himself 10 years from now with no new friends and only barely hanging on to 2-3 of his current friends. The whole thought process made him not enjoy the game as much. His team still won. He was always distracted, so he performed the same as he always did.
Roughly an hour and a half later, they were leaving. A few of them went home the same way, so they traveled together. As the walked down the street, they spoke.
"So, Botan. Do any girls this year catch your eye?" A friend asked.
"Eh…?" Botan was clearly embarrassed. "I mean, plenty of them are cute…, but I'll just screw it up again." Botan said with a defeatist attitude.
"Dude, just talk out loud. You keep just thinking, worrying, and planning. That's how you lost out on that hot swimmer last year. And she was pretty patient too." One friend said in concern.
"Botan just needs to grow his hair out more. The girls always liked it, so more of it means more appealing." Another friend added, not really thinking about it.
"If more hair means more attractive, then why does your girlfriend have short hair?" Botan asked.
The young man opened and closed his mouth a few times accompanied by a pointing finger, but any retort he had died on his lips. He hung his head in defeat. "But she's cute with short hair… She's the exception…" He muttered.
The first friend chimed in. "Wow. You can point out when others are wrong, but can't solve your own problems."
It was Botan's turn to hold his finger up while pointing something out. "Pointing out the problem and finding a solution are two different things. If pointing out my issues was good enough, you two would have 'fixed' me a long time ago." Botan told them both.
The three laughed lightly. They were just trying to look out for their friend, but lacked a way to help him. Either way, the concern was appreciated.
As they passed through an intersection, Botan saw another moving truck. It looked like it wasn't going to slow down, but when his friends appeared behind them, the truck seemed to only then slow down to a stop. Botan knows that it sounded crazy, but it really looked like it didn't care about hitting him.
"Whoa. Getting scary on the roads today. We'll use backstreets from here, I guess?" One suggested.
"Then we part ways here. I'll see you in class tomorrow." The other agreed immediately and ran off.
Botan didn't get a word in edgewise. People often made decisions or had discussions with him around without consulting him. It was probably because he overthought everything and they knew him well enough to avoid it.
"See you guys tomorrow then." Botan waved them off a bit late.
He took the backroads home, but something creepy kept happening. He could have sworn he heard a truck or other large vehicle behind him at a few points, but whenever he looked back, there was nothing and the noise stopped for a while.
"Dude. Just stop thinking about dumb stuff. A truck can't even fit back here. Just work on more ideas." He had to tell himself.
Soon enough he made it home. Botan had forgotten that he pissed his sister off before he left. He was made to remember.
"I'm back. How are-" Botan was interrupted by his sister absolutely destroying his shin. She jumped, kicked off the wall and used a mix of a fly kick and a dive kick on his mortal body.
"Ahh!?" The pain reminded him what he did, but also that his little sister was always on some anime protagonist energy.
"I'll never walk again!" Botan shouted.
"Then you can't have escape as an option and will be forced to be nicer!" She barked back.
"Mom, help!" Botan pleaded.
His mother turned away, uncaring. "You did deserve it… and I'm not getting involved anymore." His mother replied.
Their parents basically gave up on calming down Botan's sister ever since she tied a kid up using his own bike frame. She bent the bike frame with her bare hands. Again, protagonist energy. He had no choice but to quietly mourn the loss of his leg… Dinner was good though. She definitely improved.
After dinner, Botan tried to climb the stairs, but to no avail. "I guess I'm sleeping down here tonight."
His sister walked over to him in a huff.
"Please! I beg! Don't finish me!" He cried out jokingly.
She grabbed him by his shirt and picked him over her head and carried him upstairs. He was easily twice her body weight. It made no sense. She kicked open his door and dropped him into his chair.
"There. Now you can stare at the paper some more." She told him.
She attacked his true weakness, he'd fight back "Oi, that's easier for you to say. Creative stuff like this is hard." He defended.
"If it's so hard then why did you used to be way better at it?" She asked accusingly.
"What? I wasn't ever better than now. I've improved a lot." Botan argued.
"You used to draw a lot of pictures of things, now you draw once a week." She countered.
"Because I didn't care back then. It's always easier when you don't care." He continued arguing.
"Then don't care." She offered the solution in a deadpan voice.
Botan was getting loud. "It's not that simple! I can't just-"
"Skill issue." She interrupted and left.
"..." Botan quietly seethed to himself in response. She wasn't wrong, and that made it bother him even more. He used to draw whatever cool idea he had, unfiltered. He didn't care if it looked good, he just wanted other people to see the idea he had in his head. He thought about it for a moment. He pulled several drawings out of his trash bin and did his best to straighten them up.
"…They weren't as bad as I remembered they were this morning. I could just take more time. Redraw this section…" His sister's words stuck with him a bit.
He then had a very productive session. First he redrew each of the failed drawings from before, but that was only the start. He remembered some of the drawings he used to show his little sister when they were little. He drew them from memory, then redrew them in his current style. It felt so right. His own old ideas being brought back to life in his current style was so oddly satisfying. Like he was confirming hopes and beating back doubts.
He was seeing how far he came in stark contrast. He saw that when he was less self-critical he was far more creative. That he had put walls up between what is and isn't good art and trapped himself in such a restrictive box. This was what art was supposed to be. Whatever he wanted it to be. He'd draw more after dinner than he had in two months. He ended it by drawing something his sister liked a lot. A fluffy dog mascot that had ornaments all over from being stuck in his fluffy fur.
He signed that one and addressed it to her, as a way of thanking her. He got up and hobbled down the hallway and slid it in under her door. He was ready for bed. He was so excited to see what else he'd make after finally leaving that funk. He could-
He returned to his room to see that his window was open and the other drawings were flying out the window. He leapt out of the window, falling pretty violently. He ran around the back alleys frantically for several minutes, or as fast as hobbling can go. After nearly 10 minutes, he had collected them all.
He breathed a sigh of relief. "That was close. That almost ruined the best work I'd done in… forever."
He looked around once more and counted up his papers. They were all there. He looked up to his window on the second floor and began his slow hobble his way back around the alley to the front door.
"Mom will want an explanation…" He was once again distracted.
Lights suddenly flashed on, blinding Botan. A moving truck's headlights were facing him directly. The same moving truck! He could hear the tires peel as it sped towards him. He went to leap out of the way, just as he did before…, but he couldn't. The fall from the second story and the previous injury to his leg meant he couldn't jump out of the way. If he wasn't so distracted, he'd have dived low…
"Crash!" The truck struck Botan head on, then did the same to the wall behind him.
He thought he'd be in a crazy amount of pain, but it wasn't that bad. The trauma numbed him decently. The blood loss came with dizziness that was a little welcome as well.
"What? Why did it…? That truck… again…? But the pictures… they turned out so… good…" He thought to himself.
He could hear the light in the house turning on and people running towards him.
"They won't make it… I won't make it. This was it? All that worrying about the future…about my career and talent… and I never even got there… I'd rather have known. Then I could have lived in the moment more…No… No! I have to live! I can live better! I… c-" Botan looked up, past the headlights, towards the driver's seat.
There was no driver.
"And so we call upon you again, o' hero!" An older woman's voice echoed
A start voice was all he could hear. His pain was gone, but the dizziness was even greater. He wasn't outside anymore… And it was day time?
"He who carries nature's branch, lend us aid in our most dire of hours!" The older woman raised her voice louder while moving around rapidly.
Botan tried to stand, but the room just kept spinning. He felt around for something to grab. He felt something in his grasp. He used it like a cane to gain a stance and pull himself from the stone floor.
"This is…?" He finally regained his sight and what he currently held was best described as a large metal flower and its stem as a funky polearm. It was somewhat ornate with an aquamarine gem at its center.
He wasn't in that alley anymore. He wasn't dying anymore. He… wasn't in Japan anymore.
Churri Nakaya, the protagonist stronger than the plot
That night everyone around the neighborhood heard the crashing of the truck that killed Botan. However, there was no direct evidence of any of that happening. There was no truck, no blood, and no body. People saw that Botan's window was open, that he randomly left his sister a drawing under her door, and concluded that he ran off somewhere. They filed a missing person report, but it seemed clear that he left voluntarily and he was an adult. The police were not making it a priority.
Botan's sister, Churri saw things differently. She knew her brother better than anyone else. She remembered the drawing he left behind. It was a remake of something he drew for her when she was six.
If he cared enough to remember something that specific, he'd care enough to not leave like that.
That was her logic. With that in mind, she looked over the back alley and saw the indention from the truck's front bumper left in the crash. She compared it to vehicles she found online and found it to be the same as the water moving trucks she'd been seeing around town. With that, she began her hunt directly.
Once she started looking, she was actually unnerved by how many of them there seemed to be around town. 'Unnerve' was an apt word. Churri had never been scared before. She had freakish strength and lived in a modern country. There was little for someone like her to fear.
That said, she felt fear for the first time when she was doing her investigation. She saw that roughly half the trucks had no drivers. They obeyed traffic laws and such, but no driver. It felt surreal, and a bit creepy. This was happening in plain daylight, but how often does someone make eye contact with a truck driver?
This all came to a head on the third day of her investigation. She followed a driverless truck to an above ground parking garage. She quietly staked for some time as it stayed parked. She considered how to approach it, but planning wasn't her style. She eventually grew tired and angry.
She approached the truck directly. "Oi! I know you are like a ghost truck or whatever. You better give me answers or I'm ending you!" She demanded loudly.
"..." There was a pause. Nothing happened. Churri was feeling dumb for talking to no one and began doubting her own thoughts.
"Grr, don't try pretending, you jackass! You have no driver. Now spill it or I'll rip that engine off your frame!" She yelled.
Suddenly, the headlights went straight to high beams in an attempt to blind Churri. It started up and punched the gas to try to run her over, but unfortunately for the full sized moving truck… Churri was a whole protagonist.
She grabbed the front of the truck with her hands and dug her feet in. The truck slammed into her and continued forward… at first. Her feet tore through solid asphalt and came to a stop.
"So, that's how you killed my bro? Or is he alive somewhere?" She questioned quietly.
The truck attempted to back up, but Churri's fingers had sunk into the bumper of the truck and left no room for escape.
"Nowhere to run. Last chance to talk, before I see If I can kill a ghost." She warned.
The trucks tired turned left and right as the horn and alarm began blaring. It may have lacked a face, but it was obviously scared.
"So be it. Hyaa!" She lifted the truck into the air and threw it off the 5th floor of the parking garage.
"Full Crash: Dead-End Drop!" She screamed before leaping after the truck and latching onto the drive shaft. She placed herself above it and the two fell to the road below.
"Boom!" The truck exploded into fire.
As the flames rolled on, Churri slowly walked out of the fire, dragging the bumper of the truck with one hand. She looked around and saw about two dozen more trucks, no drivers. Somehow the one must have let the others know that it was in trouble.
"Oh, more of you?" She stepped forward and rested the bumper over her shoulder as her new weapon.
The trucks had no faces, but seemed both angry and scared.
"You better gang up on me now, or I'll hunt each on of you fucks down one by one. I don't care if you're ghosts, aliens, robots, whatever. I got your number, literally." She pulled out a small notepad.
"I have all of your plates, I've been recording them for days. No matter where you run, I'll find you… So, I'll give you all one last chance. Give me my big brother back, or else." She threatened.
Their response was to floor it, all of them went for the kill.
"Then die!" She yelled.
She engaged them in a battle for nearly an hour. One that even ended in a highway chase. She caused a lot of noise, but just like with her brother, they left no trace afterwards. The bewildered cops eventually brought her home seeing as there was nothing remaining to prove damages. It was truly baffling to them.
From that day onward, Churri became a local legend, as a modern exorcist. She did battle with all manner of crazy apparitions, thinking she was saving people or fighting those that took her brother.
…The truth was she was also being summoned to be a hero and she was just so tough that she was fighting it off.
Please forgive the slow start of these early chapters. I wanted to give everything the time it deserved and not rush to the "fun". I plan on him slowly understanding the ways of the magic system, the power-up methods, and the politics of the world.
Yes, his weapon is a flower… I know some might find it silly, but I implore you all to give me a chance to show you the might and versatility of the mighty flower. I chose this over my "Holy Bindings" weapon for a reason. And that reason totally isn't because Alemo stole my skill link powerup method.