I look in the bathroom mirror and can feel my sanity points dropping.
People have called me many less than pleasant things such as tomboy or possessing no feminine qualities, but never have I been called ugly. Alright, it may be true that I have disheveled short hair like a boy's and my body is on the athletic muscular side since I'm a member of the track and field club. My interests have been aligned with those of boys ever since my grade school days, I'm only reading Manga directed at a young male audience, and I get overly excited during hot-blooded tokusatsu shows and events, even though I'm already in my second year of high school...
Now that I list everything one after another, I feel depressed. But I'm not ugly! In fact, several people already confessed to me during middle and high school, even though they were all, without exception, cute female underclassmen. In other words, I'm sure I'd be considered handsome.
... but the fact that I can only use an adjective exclusively utilized to refer to the male half of the population to describe myself, rather than say "beautiful", somehow hurts more than it should have.
I sigh and the gurgling noise that comes out instead shakes me awake from my self-loathing inner monologue. I look into the mirror again and nearly scream at the thing that looks back. It's something that would be blurred out by mosaic when shown on TV, but even that would be an understatement.
Actually, why is this mirror framed in gold? I don't remember my bathroom having something this gaudy. Did my dad bring a souvenir from one of his business trips again? In fact, this doesn't look like my bathroom at all! Everything here looks really expensive all of a sudden. The floor and wall tiles are of a beautiful black marble with white veins; I think I've seen something similar to this in a TV show about a luxury resort. The bathtub changed into a cast stand-alone tub made of solid bronze, with fittings of gold. How did this happen overnight?
With this, I successfully avert my eyes from the main problem~
Now that I think about it, I can't remember last night too well. I came back from an inter-high marathon - of course I placed first, who do you think I am? - and was completely exhausted, so I had dinner, took a bath and... hm?
I don't remember going to bed, but I did wake up in a bed just now. Well, I guess I was just so tired that I wasn't really conscious at the time. Maybe I slept longer than a day? But why would my bathroom change in that time? It's not like my parents are affluent enough to just do a quick upgrade as a surprise to me. For now, it would be best to find my parents and ask them; I can't make sense of this situation on my own.
But when I walk into my bedroom, it has changed, too. I admit, I did sleepwalk out of my bed into the en suite bathroom and didn't take note of my surroundings at the time, since I'm unexpectedly the type to be weak in the mornings.
Hey, it's a cute trait, alright? I'm sure there are people out there who can appreciate someone who isn't perfect!
Really though, why do I have a canopy bed? And why does my entire room look as gaudy as the bathroom? Actually, it would seem my small room has expanded to more than five times its size, too. The high quality red carpet dampens the sound of my steps as I walk past a dresser made of mahogany and look up. A golden chandelier hangs from the ceiling with dimmed lights, but it doesn't seem like it uses electric lamps.
I move around to the side of the giant canopy bed and look down at it. There are signs that someone has slept here, but somehow I can't picture myself in my current form lying tucked in under the sheets. After all, I'm only vaguely humanoid and as far as my appearance goes, it feels like I should be leaving behind a trail of slime wherever I go...
"Chaos-sama, excuse me." A knock and a girl's voice coming from outside derails my train of thoughts. The heavy-looking wooden door opens and a maid with short ash-gray hair enters without waiting for a response. She sees me and her neutral face changes to a grimace of horror for a split second, before she quickly bows before me. When she straightens her back and looks up again, her expression is strained and she has her eyes fixated on a spot slightly right of where my face is.
Haah... I'm ugly, aren't I?
Wait, did she just call me Chaos-sama? I'm not a chuunibyou who would get happy at being called that, you know?
I'm really not!
At least I'm assuming that Chaos-sama refers to me, since nobody else is in the room. But I don't know why she would call me that in the first place, I have a proper name.
"I-I shall be cleaning your room. T-the queen is having a meal in the dining hall. P-please head there immediately." Stuttering while avoiding eye contact, the maid speaks of the existence of a dining hall. This really isn't my home anymore, is it? And what does she mean by "the queen"?
I stand frozen in place as the maid passes me by and I spot something that shouldn't be there, coming out of a triangular hole at the base of her back: A scaly tail. It's curved downwards and presses against the wide skirt in a gesture I can only identify as one of fear. No wait, this isn't the time to analyze animal behavior.
This maid has a tail!
Let's not think about it too much. This must be cosplay. Yep, let's leave it at that.
I exit my room and walk into a large hallway that matches the gaudy decorations of my room. At this point I'm convinced this isn't my house, and that something happened to me tonight. In either case, I'm supposed to head to the dining hall to meet this "queen", and since I'm quite hungry, it's two birds with one stone.
Now, I need to find this dining hall first. I realize that this must be a giant mansion from how the hallway extends in both directions for a fair bit, but something about the architecture is bothering me: There are windows in the hallway, but there were none in my room. Normally you would construct a building in a way which allows light to fall into the rooms you stay in most of the time, so that you don't have to use lamps all the time.
When I look outside the window in the hallway a sight beautiful and terrifying at the same time greets me. This mansion must be located on a hill, because a sprawling city extends below me, just beyond a thick defensive wall, consisting of a foreign architecture completely unlike any I've seen before. It's of a dark beauty, with sloped roofs and black tiles, dark gray walls and darkened windows. Actually, what's with all these dark colors? It's depressing!
The sky filled with black clouds seems to be looming right over me, as if ready to unload a lightning storm on my head - and that beyond the city's fortified walls is a barren wasteland with black rock formations jutting out of the ground, all seemingly pointing in the same direction
The terrifying part is the fact that none of this looks familiar. Actually, this isn't even Japan anymore, oi!
Is it that? Where you get transported to a different world in your sleep? But then why would my appearance change? Wait, don't tell me I died in my sleep and reincarnated instead? Then how am I fully grown already? I mean I can walk and all, and I'm taller than that maid with the tail, who looked reasonably adult-like. If I was reincarnated, then shouldn't I start out as a baby? I don't have any knowledge or memories about this place at all, but if I'm at the same age as I was in my previous life, I'll be facing a lot of difficulties.
At least I don't seem to have a problem with the language. And speaking of which, it certainly isn't Japanese, but somehow I can understand it as if it's the most natural thing.
Let's go see this queen first. Maybe she can explain my situation somehow.
I find a staircase while walking along the hallway in thought, and wonder whether I should go up or down here. The maid never told me where the dining room was and I have absolutely no knowledge about this place. I pick downstairs with the reasoning that a dining room is usually on ground level, though I have no idea if this doesn't just lead to the cellar. If it does, I'd look pretty dumb.
But luckily for me, I find myself at the edge of another hallway with lots of doors on one side and large windows on the other. Will I appear odd if I start opening doors at random to find the right room? I'm sure it will...
Then again, since it's a dining hall, the door should be appropriately large, right?
And as I think that, I come upon a double-winged door that looks suspiciously like it could lead to where I need to go. I push it open accompanied by the sound of hinges creaking under the heavy weight of the wood, and find a large hall with a long mahogany table in the center. Countless chairs with tall backrests stand in perfect order, reminiscent of those seen in the meeting rooms of evil organization in movies.
At the very end of the table sits a woman in a layered frilly white dress with golden trims, which reveals a lot of cleavage. She has bluish gray skin, long flowing purple hair and a huge pair of horns curved upwards coming from her forehead. The white of her eyes are actually black, while the irises are a bright yellow, giving her a piercing gaze even though the corners of her eyes are sloped down. That's the appearance of a gentle woman, if not for the fact that she doesn't look human.
That's definitely a demon, right?
"Good morning, Chaos-chan. It would seem you have gained a consciousness." Her voice possesses an undeniable allure, paired with the dignity of the rich and powerful. "You have come at the right time to partake in breakfast. We have just gained a large stockpile of food yesterday."
Yes mama, I'm actually quite hungry.
For some reason I know that this is my mother; I can feel it the moment I lay my eyes on her, even though I've never seen her before. But why are our appearances so different? I'm something I don't even want to begin to describe, but she's a real beauty. Do I take after my father or something? That aside, she just said something very strange and very interesting. "Gained a consciousness" suggests that I didn't have one before this morning. So does this mean I was just born? Then I guess I won't have any troubles with lacking knowledge of this world.
I'm having difficulties choosing where to sit, but my mother gestures to the seat right next to her, so I make my way there. Just when I sit down she rings a small bell and several maids enter from the side doors of the hall, pushing in carts carrying silver trays with corresponding covers. Each and every single girl looks inhuman, with some having horns, wings or strange skin colors including blue and green.
A petite and very slender maid with a pair of black bat wings in place of her arms pushes a cart up to me. Her short reddish brown hair is cut in a bob, but where a human's ears would peek out from normally, two huge pointy ears covered in fur stand up almost vertically from her head. Eyes that are completely black, a small pointy nose and a slightly protruding pucker complete her image. That's a bat girl, huh?
Another maid, one with long brown hair, large horizontal pupils and a wide mouth, picks up a big covered tray with webbed hands that feature bulbous fingertips. Her skin has a greenish hue with a glister, as if she's wet, and there are black markings on her face and the back of her hands. I'm not really sure, but I'd say that this is a frog girl.
The tray is placed in front of me and I eagerly await it being opened - then I remember that I have no mouth and I must eat. Before I can turn around and ask my mother how I'm supposed to consume any food, the cover is lifted. What greets me is a small plume of steam and underneath it the face of a man. The eyes are rolled back in their sockets and the skin is the pinkish color of steamed but still rare meat.
It's a severed head.
And as if to add insult to injury, the bat maid lifts the head's skullcap with the single finger she has on her wing to reveal the brain within, before the frog girl places a large spoon next to me.
I have no mouth, and I must scream!
After the shock of seeing a human head and its contents being presented to me on a silver platter, all wonder at seeing the inhuman maids has been blown away. I have to say, all this looks really well-made, almost like they're real. Wings for arms, webbed hands, and now a severed human head with a steamed brain inside. Not like I know what the real thing actually looks like.
It's that, right? A cake shaped like a human head, like one of those novelty birthday cakes that you can order online.
"Please enjoy your meal, maou-sama." When she speaks up, I finally notice the presence of the giant maid standing behind my mother. She looks like a normal human compared to all the other people here, so she didn't even enter my vision before. Easily standing at a head taller than me, she towers above everyone else and has the physique of a man rather than a woman, with broad shoulders and thick arms. The only reason I can identify her as female is because her face looks quite ladylike, albeit clearly unfamiliar to smiles.
Wait, maou-sama? Leaving aside the fact that this is clearly a Japanese expression, which is being mixed with this completely foreign language that I somehow am able to understand, this makes it clear that she's the demon queen.
No no no, there's something wrong about this situation!
The pattern for these reincarnation stories is that I'll be reborn as the fated hero or something, and live a life like the protagonist of a harem Manga. This is just a crazy dream brought on from a mixture of exhaustion due to the marathon yesterday, and having read too many of those trending reincarnation web novels, isn't it? Time to wake up by pinching myself.
If only I had fingers to do so.
I've been putting it off since the beginning, but my appearance is something I preferred not to describe. However, now that it's come to this, I have to; you see, I do have an overall humanoid appearance, with all the extremities you would find on a human. But my arms and legs are composed of countless tentacles, ending in tentacle fingers which don't have nails at their ends to pinch with. Furthermore, the face I've seen in the mirror is one even a mother couldn't love - unless that mother is the demon queen of course, what was I thinking?
Rather than ugly, it's just that it's something I can't even begin to describe, but at the very least I can say that it lacks eyes, a nose and a mouth.
"Chaos-chan, you must be wondering how you can eat without a mouth, right?" The demon queen asks in an understanding tone. Before her is a plate with the same content, but rather than a man's, it's a woman's head. After all, it looks far more elegant in shape - and it still wears large ear-rings.
Actually, those ears seem kind of long and pointy. Is that an elf?
"You could choose an appearance, but I will teach you the basics first. Here, mama will show you how you eat as you are now." And without further ado, the demon queen lifts the elf's head and hugs it to her cleavage. In the next moment, the head begins to disappear into her body.
What? A magic trick?
"Ah, quite delicious." Wait, please give me a step by step breakdown. Else it'll end like one of those situations where people get some important body part stuck in some awkward place because of unclear instructions. "But I do not like this." From her chest the bare skull of the elf pops out and falls into her palm, along with the earrings. She places the leftovers on the tray and a servant immediately collects it, while another brings a new tray.
This one contains a pair of small and delicate hands placed like wings, over which a light brown sauce is spread out.
I bring my eyes down to the head in front of me. Maou-sama, if you have me eat heads, at least give me the one of a beautiful elf, too. Well, I have to admit that this one is quite handsome, if it weren't for the fact that he looks like he was in agony right up to the moment of his death.
Still, no harm in trying out eating a human head, right? After all, this is a dream... right?