"BUWAH HAW HAW! Is this really all the Master can do? I will surely claim victory today, and you will be banished to the Dimension of Perpetually Inadequate Lighting!"

"Oh, maaaan!" You may be wondering what's at stake here. Actually, you probably are, since the guy writing this opted to use a cold open on all you readers. The guy shaking in place over in this paragraph? That would be me, Gomer Masters. The ham factory over there is Kub- Kooby- Kabbie? He's some Japanese-named guy who is only going to be around for the first chapter or two. You know what? This is probably making things worse right now. How about we go back to the beginning.


"It's a healthy baby boy!"

"WAA! WAA…I meant 'Go back to the relevant beginning of my story,' not my birth! Idiot."


Yeesh! Hold the venom, man! Okay, so now that we got the story in the right direction, we can no-"


Gah! Warn a guy before doing that!


What kind of stupid line-break is that? Bah, whatever. My life had always been a little abnormal, but the worst moment of my life was easily the day my dad came to my school to show the other students in my first-grade class what he did at his job. His job as a rodeo clown. With a real bull in the classroom. A real, angry bull. Ever since that day, everyone in my school blamed me and avoided any contact with me. I was often alone, so my only escape was in playing games. Whether it was solitaire, video games, or board games, I obviously played alone. Today, ten years and zero friends later, I found myself shuffling my deck of cards, waiting for the bell.

"Alright, students, I have an announcement." The teacher, Miss Ferkle, said as she lugged in her purse. Okay, 'purse' was generous. The thing was large enough to fit four small children. And yes, Ferkle is a random name that the author here spent twenty minutes to an hour agonizing over.


Shut up! As I was saying, Ferkle had an announcement. I put down my cards and pretended to be interested.

"As you all know, with the exclusion of those readers who have just joined us, many of you submitted a request to be considered for the foreign exchange program to Japan. Unfortunately, none of the students who signed up were selected. Apparently, the school board thinks that it's almost always Japan that exchanges with us and they want a more original plot." There were several groans throughout the classroom.

"Meh." I huffed as my attention returned to my deck. "I bet all those chumps are sad to miss out on Animeland."

"But after a certain topic of discussion, they decided unanimously to go through with the exchange. The lucky student is…Gomer Masters!"

At the sound of my name, I lost focus, accidentally spreading my cards all over the floor around my desk instead of shuffling them. "Huwhat?"


Seriously, is that supposed to sound like an engine or something?


You don't know how to make a decent page-break, do you?


Okay, fine. So the entire school board jump-


As I was saying, they jumped at the chance to send me away, and then I found myself sitting in coach on a far-too-long flight to Tokyo. Where did I fly from? My hometown? Does any of that matter right now? It took the author eight chapters to pick a location for NIC's first city, and that one was actually relevant.

Nothing? Well then, as if my solitude decided to follow me, there were exactly three people on the flight, excluding staff. Some college age guy staring at the paper, the comic section to be exact, and a pretty girl who kept looking at me. Something told me she got more than her fair share of restraining orders, and she was well on her way towards getting another one.

"Attention, passengers, we have run into some foul weather. Please stay in your seats and fasten your seatbelts until the light turns off." The message was brief, but pointless to me, as I hadn't even considered getting up at the time. Creepy Girl saw this as the perfect chance to sprint to the seat next to me and fasten her newly acquired seatbelt.

"Um…" I wasn't sure what to say. On the one hand, she was prettier than almost all of the girls at my school, but on the other hand, she seemed to be completely insane. "Why did you do that?"

"Could it be?" was all she said as she stared creepily at my face. I wanted to break eye contact, but my brain just refused to listen to the command.

"Step off!" I barked at the girl, who I then realized hadn't blinked since staring at me. I hadn't noticed that I wasn't blinking either. Her blue eyes were striking, almost unrealistic in appearance.

"Haa…" She finally closed her eyes and turned her head forward. "It is you…" was all she said before falling asleep. Falling asleep?

"Hey, crazy." I said, poking the side of her head with my finger. "Wake up. What do you think you're do-yaaaaaugh- doing?" some overwhelming tiredness began to push down on my eyelids, lulling me into a deep sleep.


Adorable. You do know more than one letter.

"Wake up!" I found myself shaken awake by the other passenger. "Something happened to the plane while you slept." Upon closer inspection, I noticed a large, imposing scythe in his right hand and my bag slung over his left arm. "I'm not sure how to tell you this."

"Oh, man! I died? Are you the Grim Reaper? You aren't taking my soul, no way!"

"Nah, I'm just messing with ya!" the man laughed as he tossed the scythe away, resulting in a loud crash, followed by some poor sap bewailing his injured leg. "The plane landed just fine, but in all seriousness, something did happen. See, you landed in Tokyo alright, but…" He pointed out the window, directing my attention outside.

It was unbelievable. Instead of the stuffy, high traffic Japan I expected, the streets were nearly empty, with only a fraction of the business I had anticipated. The people I did see were weird beyond belief. Many had incredibly crazy hairstyles, and the few that didn't had odd colors like pink, cyan, or purple; and I'm pretty sure I saw a guy with three different hair colors arranged in the most ridiculous style ever.

"It's just not the Tokyo that you tried to fly to. In flight, we all passed through this intense fog that knocked us out and completely threw us off course. To be honest, some people insist on calling this place the United States, despite the fact that the geography is all wrong."

"Off course?" I retorted. "This is off-reality! Where is the flight crew? And that creepy chick?"

"The crew is fine. They are all in the airport trying to find out what happened. As for the girl…" the man shoved my bag in my hands and pushed me off the plane, into the arms of Creepy Gir- WHOA!

"You do realize that your hair turned teal, right?" I asked as she innocently began crushing my ribcage. Yeah, in real Japan, there's no way this kind of thing would happen.

"That's for the name…" the guy said cryptically as Creepy Girl loosened her grip. Huh?

"I knew I would find you, Game-san." And we begin the confusing honorifics thing. Wait. Game-san?

"What did you call me?" I watched as she pulled a passport out of her bag. My passport. "Whoa! Give me that back!"

"I'm sorry!" she squealed, curling up into a little ball like a frightened turtle, my passport hidden away within her shell of safety, . "I-I-It fell out of your pocket when you put your bag in the overhead bin!" Oh, right. The lazy author forgot to describe any of the character's unlikely-to-change-ever outfits. Let's try to avoid more NIC problems and get that over with now.

Wow, still nothing. Anyway, Creepy Girl was wearing a sky-blue top under an open pink jacket and a long, darker blue skirt, as well as long, white socks and a pair of pink shoes. Not Reaper, who was now scribbling nonsense while eyeing a nearby snack stand, wore a brown shirt, an orange undershirt with significantly longer sleeves, and navy denim jeans, with a brown belt/shoe combo to complete the outfit. Layers seems to be in style here. I was wearing-

"Wha?" Someone changed my clothes while I was sleeping? AAH! Super creepy! I found myself wearing a weird outfit; a dark brown open jacket with identically colored pants, and a sleeveless red shirt underneath. Around my waist was a weird, thin, belt-like sash that trailed a bit behind me, forming a- no. Author, you monster.

"And that's for the clothes comment…" Not Reaper muttered quietly. No, it couldn't be…

"Is that a little tail?" Creepy Girl giggled as she grabbed the sash, instantly losing all fear she had of me. "So cuuute!" You're enjoying this aren't you, Author?

"Well, as fun as airport terminals are, I think we should go." Not Reaper snickered, while Creepy Girl kept pulling on my tailOHWHYISTHEREATAIL?! "I took the liberty of phoning in a place to stay for all of us."

"You didn't need to do that." Creepy Girl pouted. LET. GO. "My grandfather lives here. He can set you up with a place to stay for free!"

"Free? Lead the way!" the jerk said as he quickly canceled his earlier plan. The girl kept a vice grip on my clothes, making all hope of escape merely fantasy.


"Please let go." I wheezed, after several failed attempts of escape left me exhausted. Thankfully, we didn't have to walk again until the train reached Creepy Girl's neighborhood. "I promise I won't run off this time."

"I don't know…" Creepy Girl pouted as she puffed out her cheeks. "You already broke that promise twice."

"But the third time is always different! It's a legitimate literary rule!" I argued. "Please?"

"I'd let him go. He's using science here." Not Reaper chimed in. At his insistence, she let go of my tai-BELT. She let go of my BELT! "Of course, if he gets off the train now, he might run into the local gangs."

"Gangs?" I yelped. Okay, even if it was a cheap trick to keep me from running off, it worked.

"Yeah." Creepy Girl said somberly, acting more serious than I ever thought possible. "For as long as I can remember, Tokyo has been suffering. The alleys are packed with gangs, the yakuza rules the streets at night, people going missing- it's all too horrible to be true, but it is!" The girl started to sob, leaving both of us guys in an awkward situation. It must have been quite a scene, because one guy got up and bolted for the door.

"Say something." the other guy urged in a hushed tone.

"No way. She creeps me out!" I argued back quietly.

"You will comfort that little girl." His voice never exceeded a whisper as he argued.

"I will not. You do it." I also kept whispering.

"Are you crazy? It's your responsibility!"

"Mine? Why mine?"

"Because you're the protagonist!" The quiet debate continued like a blatant Psych gag ripoff until Creepy Girl spoke up again.

"But I never gave up hope. My grandpa told me that a hero would come to save Tokyo. A hero who was a Master of Games. When I saw that name on your passport, I was sure I found the hero, and the look in your eyes proved it."

"Oh, yeah, that reminds me. Give me that back!" I barked, swiping the passport before she had the chance to turtle it away again. Not Reaper just returned to his incessant scribbling. "What you saw in there was my name. Masters, Gomer. Look." I opened the passport to my name, which, to my amazement, read MASTER, GAMER. "What. I paid two-hundred dollars for this?"

"So your name is Gomer?" Not Reaper mused. "Mine's Doug. Just Doug."

"Oh my goodness! I've dragged you all this way without even telling you my name?" Creepy Girl gasped. "I'm sooooo sorry! My Name is Yoshino Yamamoto."

"Now you can stop referring to us as Not Reaper and Creepy Girl in your internal monologue." Doug added sternly. How did he know? Before I could question him, the train screeched to a halt, knocking me flat on my face.

"What was that?" I fumed as I tried to get up, only to have a foot press on my back, forcing me back down. Yoshino was cowering in her seat, while Doug, ever the hero, kept writing in his- Writing… The thug standing on me lifted his foot and kicked me in the side, sending me rolling down to the two.

"So you heard this guy was THE guy? The hero that old geezer wouldn't shut up about?" The leaden footed hooligan sneered. His hair was a violently spiky, green mess.

"Must be. Little Miss Raincloud hadn't looked that happy since before her parents got banished to the Dimension of Perpetually Inadequate Lighting! What else would she be exited about?" The second punk was slender, with white hair that fell over one eye. Both of them were dressed in nice white suits. Slim pulled out a phone and pressed it to his ear. "We found him."

"Excellent!" the obviously disguised voice on the other end of the phone boomed. The idiot's 'ominous phone call' move failed epically, as he had the speaker on. "…You have me on speaker again, don't you?"

"Noooo?" Slim, you are a bad liar. "Should we just kill him now?"

"What did you say? KILL?!" the voice rumbled. "You meant 'banish,' right? We don't use the 'K' word, here! This story is staying in the K+ section!"

"Okay, so what do we do?" Kick-Boy asked. "All gang up on him at once?" Hundreds of similarly suited individuals poured in from the doors and windows. I'm guessing this is the yakuza Yoshino mentioned.

"…Ugh. You lied to me." You're kidding. He believed the guy? "No. Send a scrub."

"What?" the thugs said in unison. What.


"Aye, sir. We'll see to it." Slim said, ending the conversation. "Bring in one of the Basilisks, then we take our leave."

"Yes, sir!" Kick-Boy responded attentively, signaling the other yakuza members to disperse.

"Not the Basilisks…" Yoshino whimpered, once again assuming the turtle position. Wow. She seems so different from when she was playfully pulling on my BELT. These guys must really scare her.

"You wanted a Basilisk?" a voice boomed as a muscled punk stepped onto the motionless train. "I'm your man!" Unlike the yakuza thugs, this guy was wearing a black shirt and an open coat with the sleeves torn off. Gang member, of course.

"Ah, that was a fast response time." Slim laughed. "See that pathetic boy on the ground there? He's the hero. I'm going to let the train get back on track, so take care of him quickly."

"I got ya. This'll be over before the next stop." The Basilisk answered confidently.

"Good. I'll just be off, then." Slim ran to the front of the train, and within moments, the train slowly continued its journey.

"So you are this Master Gamer that is supposed to save Tokyo? BUWAH HAW HAW! I'm Kyubei the Basilisk, and your next stop is the Dimension of Perpetually Inadequate Lighting!"

What do I do? This guy is huge! There's no way I can win against him in a fight. Doug stood to his feet and cleared his throat. Is he going to help me?

"To be continued, ladies and gents! Come back for the next exiting chapter of Master Gamer! Please read and review!"

…What. "You're kidding." What was he doing?

"Afraid not. For a prologue/first chapter, I think I've taken this as far as I can. We'll resolve this next chapter."

"You'd better." Kyubei joined in. What? "We don't want to leave on a cliffhanger before a big void in updates, like Bladeless."

"Wait, you're the author's self-inserted personification, aren't you?" Yoshino added, not removing herself from the turtle defense. Is everyone

"Aw, man!" Doug whined. "So much for the big reveal. Goodbye, readers. See you all soon!"