This is a rewriting of Harem Bet. Actually, it's more like a re-imagining. Enjoy!
Prologue: A New Life in a New Town
I'm a normal guy. I've accepted the harshness of reality. I know the dead don't come back to life. I know that every show on TV is fiction for the most part. I know that the Santa supposedly putting presents under my Christmas trees didn't exist. I know that the alien interviews during festivals are mere ploys. I'm Hiromu Azakawa, and I just lost my parents in a plane crash.
Dark beginning, right? It can't be helped. I have to explain why I'm on the bus somehow. I have to move to a manageable home, and the solution was a town I used to spend every summer at. Unfortunately, I can't remember a single thing about this place.
Oh, right. I have messy brown hair, tan skin, and scarlet eyes. That good enough for how I look? I'm also sixteen. Better? Alright, I'm wearing a black T shirt and beige pants. I think that's enough.
Anyway, I sat in this white painted bus in the reddish brown leather seat with a black bike and red luggage by my side. It contained four changes of clothes, 100000 yen from the bank, my favorite cookbook, and a thick black leather scrapbook full of photos of me and my parents. This is what I had to live on.
The bus halted, and I looked out the window and saw my summer house in the really far distance sandwiched between a black and a blue one. It was the only thing I recognized of this place. On the outside, it was a simple 400 square meter home (around 1300 square feet) with yellow painted wooden board walls and a brown ceiling. I got out of my seat and moved to the bus entrance with my luggage and bike in hand.
"Thanks," I told the bus driver, reaching into my pocket and dropping my last bits of change into his hand.
He nodded respectively. "You take care now."
I got off, and the bus drove away. I took a deep breath, smelling the wonderful scent of the nearby sakura trees. My bike had a large basket in front and an extra seat behind the first just in case two people wanted to borrow it or something. Or someone needed a ride from me, if that ever happened. Yeah, right.
At least, at the time.
I strapped my luggage to this second seat, and made sure it was both secure to the bike and that it was closed tightly. You never know when you could get into an accident and send everything spilling out.
I was then off, happily pedaling away. Nothing could ruin this peaceful guy biking his stuff down a sidewalk. Not a—
The sound of metal hitting metal snapped me out of my senses, as my bike and I fell on our sides. Strangely, my luggage was still tied tightly onto the second seat.
"Oww…" I mumbled, and looking at what I hit.
Another bike, this one green with a basket on the front. And there was a girl on it, looking hurt as she lay on the ground. I walked over to her, concerned.
"Are you alright, Miss?" I asked her, extending my hand.
She had shoulder length dark jade hair and green eyes, wearing what looked like a school uniform with gold lines on the shirt and a gray skirt. She instantly turned scarlet at the sight of me.
"Th-Th-Th-Thank you!" she stammered, quickly taking my hand and helping herself up. "I-I-I-I'm f-f-f-fine!"
"Whew, that's good," I replied, smiling.
If she could turn redder, she probably did. "I-I-I gotta g-g-go h-h-home!"
She walked her bike past my fallen one at a supernatural speed. I sighed. Did she really just fall in love with my looks? I didn't even think that was possible! I'll forget about it later, anyway. But I felt kinda bad not knowing her name.
I continued to pedal my bike all the way to my house, which was a few more kilometers away. My thoughts trailed back to that girl. She was wearing a school uniform, so that means the school's nearby, too! I guess I might be able to learn her name after all!
I smiled to myself. I need to apologize, anyway…
Like I said, I did pass by the school. It was giant, and white. Windows were evenly spaced throughout the whole thing, and a giant cubic clock was smack dab at the top. That was where I'd be attending tomorrow. I'd made it just in time for the new year.
I continued pedaling down the sidewalk, and I found myself loudly whistling a tune I used to whistle from my time here as a kid. It's been ten years since I was last here. I wonder if anything's changed… Not that I'd really notice.
I then paused my whistling, not remembering the rest. Suddenly, someone else began whistling what I assumed was the rest. I looked to my left, where the source was.
A gray wooden house seemingly drilled into the slanted hill, with a girl sticking her upper body out the open window. She was the one whistling.
I couldn't see her well enough from this distance, but I saw that she was wearing a sunshine yellow dress and had long brown hair. I think she turned to me and smiled, but I wasn't sure so I just kept on pedaling.
"Hiromu…" the girl said, finishing the tune so precious to her. "You're finally back… You're back!"
She suddenly jerked away from the window, excitement all over her as she called out, "Everyone! Hiromu'a back! He's back!"
The girl Hiromu had bumped into earlier finally stopped. She then smiled.
"Hiro-kun… You don't even remember me, do you?" she whispered. "And we met the same way, too…"
The way she saw it, it was a way for her to start over with him. After those terrible things she made him do… If he knew them, he'd hate her.
So to her, his return was a chance to finally start anew. A chance to free herself from those awful things.
I found myself slowing my pedaling as I neared the supermarket. Come to think of it, I don't have anything to eat for the night. Food's super important to a human being!
I parked my bike just outside the market's doors, took out the 100000 yen, and stuffed it into my pocket.
Upon entering, I saw a refrigerated items aisle on my immediate left, and then snacks, wheat, meats, dairy, cleaning, and other aisles to the right. I grabbed a wheeled cart with gray metal made into a basket pattern with red handles.
Like the guy I was, I instantly careened down the meats, automatically putting bacon, ham, and turkey in. I then put in milk and cheese from the dairy aisle, followed by bread, onions, strawberries, beef, tomatoes, cereal, and a bunch of Pocky packs. I then dumped a bunch of cleaning supplies in, too. My summer house must've been filthy by now.
The end cost was 5654 yen, much cheaper than I thought. I still had a lot of yen in the bank, too, so I was probably set for life if this kept up. Rural towns, huh?
I guess the problem with buying all the stuff I bought was the fact I had a long way to go to my house. I had to walk my bike while carrying three super heavy bags in my arm. I sighed. It probably would've been better if I'd just waited until I actually sort of settled in…
"Hey, you need some help, Mister?" a female voice asked me.
I turned around and saw yet another girl. She had long red hair that cascaded down to her lower back and eyes of the same color. She was wearing a green top and blue short shorts.
"Are you sure?" I asked. "I'd hate to bother—"
"Nah, it's fine! I was just takin' a walk is all."
She took two of the bags, one in each arm. "Don't worry about it!"
I still felt guilty even though she wanted to help. We walked side by side in silence for a while.
"So, uh, what's your name?" I asked her curiously.
"My name's Aki. Aki Takushi. Nice to meetcha," she said, grinning.
She took one of the Pocky boxes I'd bought, and opened it. To me, I saw it as payment, so I didn't say anything.
"So what's yours?" she asked, munching on one of the chocolate sticks.
"Oh, it's Hiromu Azakawa," I said. "It's nice to meet you, too, Takushi-san."
"Azakawa-san, huh?" Takushi-san said thoughtfully, and then smiled reminiscently. "Heh heh…"
"Hm? Something up?" I asked.
"…No. It's nothing."
More silence as we walked. Takushi-san suddenly turned to me.
"Wanna hear the legend of this town?" she asked. "You seem like you've never been here before."
"I've been here, but it's been ten years," I explained. "Please, what's the legend?"
"They say that millions of versions of this town exist all at once," she said. "When two people love the same person, the current version of the town splits in two. One where one person gets love, and one where the other one gets love. Of course, people say that the person who doesn't get love in this version of the town's feelings are diluted to friendship when the other person gets the guy or girl. It helps prevent complications, supposedly."
"So if one person gets their dream guy or girl, then the other is happy instead of jealous?" I asked.
"That's basically it."
Wow, that's kind of a stretch. It's not like I believe in it, though. But that's kinda cool. A town where everyone's happy… in different universes.
We made it all the way to my house, where I got the door open with my key. I parked my bike inside, and then took the bags from Takushi-san.
"Thanks again. It wasn't too much trouble, was it?" I asked, laughing uneasily.
"Like I said, it's completely fine! I'm always there to help out a friend!" she told me. "I'll see you around, alright, Azakawa?"
She didn't at any "san"… Oh well. But I do wonder why. I noticed that she entered the blue house next to mine. I guess we're neighbors. That's nice.
Entering my house, I made my way to the kitchen down the right hallway, where the gray oven was to my left, along with a place for stoves and a bunch of oak wood cabinets lining the area above it. On the right was a simple orange wood table. Man, this place really uses wood a lot… I shuddered at the other meaning.
I set my bags on the table, and ran to grab my luggage back on my bike. Once I made a left from the front door, there was my new permanent bedroom. It had a light green carpet across the square shape of a room, with a bed and window to the immediate left of me. I lay my luggage by the bedside.
"I'm home…" I mumbled to no one.
The first day of school. I was wearing the uniform for boys: a white short sleeve button up shirt and gray pants. It was awfully simple…
When I found my homeroom, I took residence in the corner seat by the window (heh heh…). It made for a nice view to me. I could even see my house from here!
The bell rang, and class sort of got started. We came around to introductions, and I finally began scanning the classroom to see my classmates.
I found that I sat behind the girl I had run into with my bike earlier in the week, I sat diagonally down from who I think was the whistler, and next to yet another girl, this one looking a bit tidier than most.
She had long and silk-like golden hair that hung in bangs over green eyes, while wearing the school uniform. I swear she was rich. But if she was, then why was she here?
It was the bike girl's turn. She stood up, and I avoided gazing by staring at my house.
"I'm Suguha Arita. It's nice to meet you all, and I hope we all have a good year!" she said happily, bowing and making me wince.
I saw her sit down out of the corner of my eye, but I didn't register what was supposed to happen next. I then felt my arm get poked. It was the rich girl. She pointed towards everyone in class, and I instantly stood up.
"I-I'm Hiromu Azakawa!" I said a bit loudly. "It's g-great to meet everyone!"
I sat down, and rich girl stood up.
"My name is Haruna Kishimoto," she said in a cold tone. "Nice to meet you."
We were all unnerved by this, except me because I didn't really know what this meant. Anyway, it was whistle girl's turn.
"I'm Akari Ito!" she said cheerily, waving to everyone. "I hope our year's filled with great things!"
More people gave introductions, and I noticed Takushi-san in the center. I began to doze off, and then someone else caught my eye at the very end. Long black hair, fair pale skin, and crystal blue eyes. She stood up, and bowed to everyone.
"Hello, my name is Serene Akame," she said. "It's very nice to meet you all, and I hope we all get along."
I'm pretty sure every guy in class turned red. The class looked the same with a bunch of red polka dots in it. It was an odd sight.
I saw Serene smile at me in particular, making me nervous.
And that's just about everything important right now. Lunch came around, and I held my ham and cheese sandwich blankly alone at my table.
That's where everything started. Alone, with a sandwich, in the corner of a classroom with a window.
Actually, that's where five things started. In five different universes.
So, from here on out, each of the five girls will have their own chapter titles. Here's a key:
My New Start With You: Suguha Arita
The Princess and the Pauper: Haruna Kishimoto
Melodies of Memories: Akari Ito
Overtime: Aki Takushi
The Smile We Shared That Day: Serene Akame
Which should I start with? Let me know!