Novel From Beyond


Simplified icon depicting Kamen Rider Ex-Aid's mask

Three years have passed since Kuroto’s disappearance.

I am still treating patients as a doctor at Seito University Hospital while juggling work for two departments, pediatrics and CR.

The Seito University Hospital is said to be one of the best university hospitals in Japan with a large number of excellent doctors.

The clinical department is subdivided in: Respiratory Medicine. Cardiovascular Medicine. Gastroenterology. Nephrology, Endocrinology and Metabolism. Neurology. Hematology. Rheumatology and Collagen Disease. General and Digestive Surgery. Respiratory Surgery. Cardiovascular Surgery (where Hiiro-san works). Neurosurgery. Pediatric surgery. Orthopedic surgery. Plastic surgery. Rehabilitation Medicine. Pediatrics. Obstetrics. Gynecology. Ophthalmology. Dermatology. Urology. Otorhinolaryngology. Psychiatry and Neurology. Diagnostic Radiology. Radiotherapy (where Taiga-san used to work). Anesthesiology. Emergency Medicine. Dentistry and Oral Surgery. General Medicine. Pathology. Laboratory Medicine.

There are other medical facility departments such as the endoscopy center, surgery center, and regenerative medicine center. Clinical support departments such as nursing and pharmacy departments. Clinical research and education departments. There are so many departments that even I can’t fully grasp all of them, and they are supported by a large number of medical professionals.

One of the characteristics of the hospital is that it is affiliated with Seito University, so it has three functions: education, clinical, and research. Of course, the hospital’s main function is to treat patients, but at the same time, it also provides education for future doctors and conducts research on treatments for unknown diseases.

I chose to study at the medical school of Seito University because I wanted to study as a doctor and deal with patients in a state-of-the-art medical field with well-equipped facilities and environment. My wish came true, and I continue to treat children as a pediatrician.

Pediatrics is different from other departments in that we deal with young patients, so the way we deal with them is a bit unique. It is necessary to pay attention to things other than normal medical care so that the hospital is not seen as a scary place. In my case, I often interact with pediatric patients through games. Fighting illness is often painful, so I want my children to smile as much as possible.

I have never been so glad that I was good at games as I am at this moment.

Why did I want to become a pediatrician in the first place?

Dr. Kyotaro had a big influence on me. When I was eight years old, he saved me from a traffic accident that left me wandering between life and death. I wanted to become a doctor like Dr. Kyotaro.

“It’s not just about treating the body. To smile from the heart is the proof of health.”

This way of thinking that I learned from Dr. Kyotaro is what still drives me today.

And one more thing. I have to add that there is a very important department in Seito University Hospital. It’s called the Cyber Brain Rescue Center, or CR for short. CR is an acronym for Cyber Brain Room.

CR has been fighting to protect human life from an unknown virus for a long time now.

A computer virus that has evolved to infect the human body – the bugster virus. When infected, the patient suffers from the bugster virus infection, commonly known as “game disease”, which causes high fever and various other symptoms.

The bugster virus multiplies when the patient is stressed. This is because increased stress lowers the patient’s immune system, and the patient loses the ability to suppress the bugster virus.

Mental care of patients is essential in CR practice as well as in general practice. Eradicating the bugster virus from the world is a daunting task, but nowadays, game disease is curable and no longer a life-threatening disease for patients.

This is all thanks to the game disease vaccine developed jointly by CR and Genm Corporation. I really can’t thank Kiriya-san enough for his great contribution to the development of the vaccine. With the development of the game disease vaccine, there are fewer opportunities for us doctors to transform into Kamen Riders.

Kamen Rider was originally a medical system designed to treat game disease patients by removing the bugster virus – in other words, to operate on game disease. Now, however, we can kill the bugster virus incubating in a patient’s body by administering a vaccine to the patient. It is now possible to treat game disease through non-operative means.

Of course, this is limited to existing bugster viruses for which CR has the data.

The future of medicine will change as technology advances. It has been so in the past and it still is the same. And it will continue to be so.

There is one challenge for CR in the future. It is to conduct research and establish a cure to restore the lives of patients who have been wiped out by game disease.

I still remember the day I asked Dr. Kyotaro to hold a press conference when I was still an intern as if it were yesterday.

Can data be called life? This is the question that confronts modern medicine.

Even after that press conference, there has been strong criticism from some experts. “Isn’t the idea of regaining the lives that have been extinguished just a theoretical fantasy?” and “Won’t idealism without guarantee only cause unnecessary suffering to the bereaved families?”

It is natural that there are people who are tempted to think that way. It’s always the same. It is human nature to want to deny or rebel against something that has no precedent. It is scary for anyone to have their preconceived notions overturned at first.

But I want to believe. Or rather, I believe in it.

In the history of medicine, there have been cases where diseases that were thought to be incurable have been cured. Even if a disease cannot be cured now, there is a possibility that it will be cured in the near future through the development of medicine.

For that reason, I will continue to fight.

No, it’s not just me. There are also reassuring allies who believe in the future of medicine. Even Hiiro-san, who is working with me at CR. Even Kiriya-san. Even Poppy.

Don’t forget them. Don’t give up. Keep believing.

I may have spoken a little too passionately, but that’s the kind of unwavering belief that we CR doctors have.

The research to bring back the lives of disappeared people was mainly conducted at the Center for Regenerative Medicine. The leader of the research team is Dr. Yaotome Saiko, a famous doctor of genetic medicine and the most beautiful female doctor in the hospital.

I was seriously surprised when I found out that Saiko-sensei was the only daughter of that Zaizen Michihiko, and even though I’ve been through a lot with Saiko-sensei, we now have a good relationship. At first, Saiko-sensei had a one-sided prejudice against bugsters that threaten human lives, but she is now cooperating with Poppy and Parad. Those of us who wear white coats have the same desire to save the lives of those who have disappeared. There’s no reason for us to fight.

Oh. Speaking of which.

According to Kiriya-san’s information network, I heard that more than half of the men who work at our hospital have hit on Saiko-sensei at least once, but I wonder if that’s true. The other day, Kiriya-san said to me, “Emu. I hope you didn’t hit on Saiko-sensei too. Lying won’t work on me, you know?” He asked me if I was lying, but… I’m not.

Of course, I think Saiko-sensei is very beautiful, and I think any man would be lucky to be in a relationship with someone like her, but I think I prefer cute girls rather than beautiful girls. Like Poppy.

Oh, no, there’s no deep meaning to it, okay?

I work as a pediatrician and as part of CR, so I don’t have the time or inclination for a relationship. But Poppy and I share the same hobby of playing games, and we both want to protect people’s lives. It’s normal since she’s around me all the time, but if I were to date someone, I’d want a girl like that.

Above all, I like Poppy’s voice. Of course, I like her singing voice. I like her casual laughter, and I like her “Pipupepopanic~!” when she’s surprised, or her screams that are sometimes so noisy that it makes me want to cover my ears. All in all, it’s her voice.

I’ve never said this to anyone, and I don’t plan to.

…Yeah. Well. I may have gotten a little off topic, but the research team led by Saiko-sensei is currently conducting research on the internal data of the God Maximum Mighty X Gashat that Kuroto-san left behind.

It’s still hard to believe, but Kiriya-san’s body, who was once a bugster, has been restored to the state of a flesh and blood human being. There is no doubt that the God Maximum Mighty X developed by Kuroto-san had something to do with this. I don’t know if it’s correct to call it a second life… but Kiriya-san has regained his flesh and blood body and is restarting his life anyway.

This means there may be a way to find a cure to restore those who have disappeared.

So I believe in medicine.

I believe in the future.

After finishing my pediatric duties for the day, I headed to the CR.

I had left it to Kiriya-san to coordinate with the regenerative medicine center, so I wanted to hear about the progress.

As I started to walk up the spiral staircase that connected to the medical office, Poppy’s high-pitched voice pierced my eardrums.

“Eeeeeh!? Saiko-sensei asked you out on a date!?”

A date!? Who!?

When I hurried up the stairs, I found Poppy, Hiiro-san, and Kiriya-san in the office.

Poppy wore her usual yellow costume with a colorful dotted skirt. Hiiro-san wore a pale blue shirt, a striped tie, dark blue slacks, and a white coat. Kiriya-san wore a flashy aloha shirt, jeans, and a lab coat.

Everyone was drinking coffee in their usual fashion.

“Pediatrician. Are you done for the day?”

Hiiro-san had come to call me pediatrician. It’s a long-standing habit of his to refer to people by their profession or title. I’m not an intern anymore, so it’s not surprising. But somehow, I still can’t get used to it… It’s a little creepy.

“More importantly, Saiko-sensei just asked you out on a date…?” I asked everyone.


The one who raised his hand with pride was Kiriya-san.

“What, Kiriya-san?”

“Why do you look so surprised, Emu? Why do you think I refused to be reinstated to the medical examiner’s office?”

“Eh… isn’t it because there are things in CR that only you can do, Kiriya-san?”

“Idiot, it’s because Saiko-sensei is nearby.”

“Wait, really!? So Kiriya and Saiko-sensei are like that!? I’m in a pipupepopanic~!”

After all, lying is what Kiriya-san does best.

It’s not that he really wants to get Saiko-sensei, it’s just that he’s communicating in a way that says, “It’s a man’s etiquette to make a beautiful woman fall in love with him”. If that’s what he wants, I’ll just go along with it.

“That’s good, right?”

“Yeah. Well, if I keep seeing medical idiots and video game idiots day in and day out, my happiness will run away.”

“Who’s a medical idiot!”

“Game idiot, you mean me!?”

Hiiro-san and Poppy reacted immediately.

“The fact that you reacted shows that you are aware of it.”

I thought I heard a thud. Kiriya-san’s sharp reply seemed to have pierced the hearts of Hiiro-san and Poppy. It’s best to just let it go at times like this. You can’t beat Kiriya-san with words.

“Well. If we’re talking about stupidity, that doctor is just as bad. I never thought he would actually go to America,” Kiriya-san said, taking a sip of his sweet coffee.

“Don’t lump me in with the practitioner,” Hiiro-san said, getting pissed.

Hiiro-san had come to call Taiga-san “practitioner” instead of “unlicensed doctor”. This was because he was running a clinic specializing in game diseases, having been approved by the Ministry of Health to work as a game disease specialist. Even so, I was surprised to hear about Taiga-san.

He was now temporarily taking a break from the Hanaya Game Disease Clinic to see Nico-chan, who was staying in the US. I found out from the internet news that Nico-chan had won a lot of game tournaments in the US, raking in the prize money. Considering her skill, it was a natural result, and I felt sorry for her opponents.

So. Apparently, Nico-chan had caught a cold from her irregular lifestyle of playing video games every day. I know exactly what happened because I had the same experience in high school. When you’re playing games, you’re so pumped up with adrenaline that you don’t care, but then you realize you’ve been up all night and barely eaten. It naturally wears down your body.

So. Taiga-san was summoned to the US by Nico-chan with a single phone call. According to Taiga-san, it was just a home visit, but it’s really far to go to the US just to treat a cold. I can’t help but think he’s crazy.

Of course, even the common cold is a dangerous disease, and you should see a doctor, but I’m sure there are many excellent doctors in the US, and there is no reason why it should be Taiga-san. Well, I guess that means that there was Nico-chan who wanted Taiga-san to take care of her, and Taiga-san who wanted to take care of Nico-chan.

I’m glad to see that they still seem to be getting along as well as ever.

Kiriya-san started to talk about love, referring to the topic of Nico-chan and Taiga-san.

“Well. I’m not going to lose to Mr. White Hair, though. I’m the only one in the race for love at the moment, aren’t I?”

“I’m not trying to compete with you, but you’re mistaken if you think I’m only operating every day.”

With that said, Hiiro-san took out a small box from his bag. Looking closely, it was a ring case.

Poppy ran up to Hiiro-san with a curious look in her eyes.

“Is that a ring!? Why, why!?”

“I got it for Saki.”

For Saki-san? Eh, that’s…

“When regenerative medicine technology for game disease advances and we can revive the disappeared… I will propose to Saki.”

“Popo, pepopapi, propose!?”

Poppy’s cheeks flushed in surprise at the shocking remark. I also froze for a few seconds with my mouth open in surprise. But surprisingly, only Kiriya-san didn’t seem surprised. I wondered if he had noticed. That’s why he dared to bring up this love talk…

“Genius surgeon. How can you say such a straightforward thing with a straight face?”

“I don’t understand what you mean. It’s only natural to get a ring for the person you want to be with for the rest of your life. All this time, I’ve been dominated by guilty feelings toward Saki. I felt guilty for being the cause of Saki’s stress. I regretted that I hadn’t looked her in the eye properly. I was so prideful that I took it for granted that she would be there. But it’s different now. My mind is already made up. It’s no longer something I feel about guilty and want to hide from others.”

If I say it is unexpected, it is unexpected, but if I say it is typical of Hiiro-san, it is also typical of Hiiro-san. From the moment I met him, I knew he was a person who would put his thoughts straight into words.

In the beginning, I was confused by this and we sometimes fought. Hiiro-san has always been unshakable. Except for Saki-san… There was only one time when Hiiro-san said and did things that were contrary to his true feelings. That was when Dan Masamune appeared before our eyes as Kamen Rider Cronus.

It was really painful for me when I had to fight Hiiro-san. Even now, I honestly don’t know if my choice at that time was right or not. But at that time, I knew. I learned the true meaning of what Hiiro-san had always said, “Don’t get involved in patients’s personal affairs”.

Sometimes doctors have to make ruthless decisions.

For example, when a large number of critically injured patients are brought in after a major accident or disaster. Of course, every doctor wants to save all the patients, but if manpower and facilities are limited, they will inevitably have to treat the patients they can save first. As a result, even if another critically ill patient arrives too late to be treated…

When I confronted Hiiro-san, I prioritized the patient I could save in front of me. I never intended to give up on Saki-san, but as it turned out, I still interfered with Hiiro-san’s desire to save Saki-san. I think the reason why Hiiro-san and I are able to stay the same now is because deep down we both agreed that the other person’s decision was not wrong.

After overcoming such adversity, Hiiro-san was able to reunite with Saki-san. I heard that the time was limited, but Hiiro-san was able to convey his own feelings. He was able to bring back Saki-san’s smile. Whether it’s medical treatment or the thing with Saki-san, Hiiro-san is straightforward and single-minded in everything he does.

I looked over and saw Poppy with a gentle smile on her face.

“If it’s Hiiro… I’m sure Saki-san will be very pleased.”

Yes, I think so as well. She’ll be absolutely pleased. I couldn’t help but smile, too.

“I’ll make sure there’s a seat for you at the wedding.”

“A wedding! Hiiro, wait, wait! When you say ‘wedding’, you mean that, right? There’s a letter of thanks to your mother and father for everything they’ve done for you, right? No way! If I see a serious two-shot of Hiiro and the director, I’ll definitely cry!”

“That’s true. I think I’d be upset too.”

“Really? I wonder if I can cry. I don’t think I can cry.”

“Kiriya-san. You’re heartless.”

“I mean, we barely know anything about the genius doctor’s family.”

That’s certainly true.

I’ve seen Hiiro-san and the director at the hospital for a long time, but I’m just a doctor, and I can’t imagine what kind of father-son relationship they’ve had.

“Hiiro’s family…” Poppy muttered.

The three of us stared at Hiiro-san, who, sensing our aura of wanting to know, began to speak.

“Nothing. It’s just an ordinary family. The Kagami family has been a family of doctors since my great-grandfather’s time. My father, mother and I. I don’t have any siblings. My father used to be called a surgeon with the hands of God, and he has successfully performed many cancer removal surgeries and organ transplant surgeries. However, he never showed any such pretense at home, and tried to bring cheerful laughter into the family by telling jokes all the time. However, my mother was the only one who laughed, and I never did.”

“I see. I don’t know if that’s a family you’d find anywhere.”

Kiriya-san’s eyebrows furrowed slightly.

“I’d cry if I could never make my son laugh.”

Poppy rushed Hiiro-san with a curious look in her eyes.

“What about your mother? Tell us about your mother!”

“My mother is known as a miracle veterinarian and has saved the lives of many animals that were thought to be untreatable, including not only physical treatment, but also psychological care for the animals. She says it’s because she can talk to animals, but I don’t know if that’s true or not.”

Not to be outdone by Hiiro-san and the director, the mother is also very impressive…

“My uncle on my father’s side is on the board of a major hospital in the US. My uncle on my mother’s side is a professor at a famous medical university in Germany. My uncle’s son is now a military doctor in a war zone.”

“Oh, that’s enough, that’s enough. It’s too much. It’s a family of cheats,” interrupted Kiriya-san.

“Hiiro-san’s family doesn’t sound real.”

“But the genius surgeon is not lying. He has a personality that doesn’t lie.”

“With a family like that, it’s only natural that someone like Hiiro would be born. Well, then, what about Kiriya’s family!?”

Kiriya’s family. I’m certainly curious.

That Christmas day when Kiriya-san got a game over and disappeared, we were unable to notify his relatives and friends. At that time, it was partly because the fact that the bugster virus was a dangerous entity that could wipe out the human body had not yet been made public, but more than anything, I didn’t want to think that Kiriya-san was dead. If the doctor were to inform the relatives, it would mean that he had accepted everything as fact.

“You’re asking about my family? I’m telling you, it’s equally as talented as the genius surgeon’s.” Kiriya-san said in a flippant tone.

Huh. What kind of family is it that is not defeated by Hiiro-san’s family?

“We’re a police family. My father is a counselor of the Metropolitan Police Department. My mother is in the FBI. My older brother is in the CIA and my younger sister is in NASA.”

“You’re lying,” I interrupted him flatly. Probably with a pretty cold stare on top of it.

“Ah, can’t you play along?”

“I can’t let you get away with this. It’s NASA, after all. It’s not the police.”

“Oh, no! Kiriya! I almost believed you for a second! Tell me the truth!”

“The truth is… my parents are both globe-trotting adventurers.”

“To your jokes, I say no thank you.”

“So be it, chief.”

“So be it. You’re throwing me around too much.”

“Okay, okay. I’ll confess, they’re Hawaiian hermits who harvest rock salt from the asses of cows.”

“I don’t even know where to begin.”

After such a brief charade, Kiriya-san relaxed his mouth and smiled. It wasn’t a “haha” or a “chuckle”. It was more like a “grin”.

“If I had been born into a family like that, my life would have been completely different.”


…I wonder if my life would have been different if I had a different family.

To put it in game terms, every person is given a family setting at birth. You start the game of life as a person with the status of inheriting the blood of your family. If your status changes, naturally your thoughts and abilities will also change.

If he had been born the son of a Hawaiian hermit who harvested rock salt from the asses of cows, Kiriya-san would not have become a medical examiner. He probably would have been too greedy to study properly.

“Then? What about Emu!?”

Poppy suddenly peered at me with wide eyes.

“Eh? What about me?”

“Your family.”

“Oh. It’s… normal.”

“What’s normal? That’s not an answer.”

Hiiro-san looked at me as if he was probing the patient’s affected area. His eyes were like x-rays and I felt as if he could see through everything in my chest.

…You’ve got me there.

…My family’s story is not as interesting as Hiiro-san’s and Kiriya-san’s.

“My father and mother were both ordinary office workers,” I replied.

“Why do you use the past tense?” Hiiro-san asked sharply.

The x-rays of their gazes focused on me.

“No. There’s no deep meaning behind it…”

…Why don’t you stop talking about me?

…Please, can we change the subject?

Just as I was about to say these words, my heart’s desire must have reached God, because an intruder appeared to interrupt the conversation. The director came in through the door of the medical office.

“Hojo-kun. I knew you were here. I visited the pediatrics department and was told that you had already finished your duties for the day.”

Then the director handed me a package.

“An unidentified drone crash-landed on the roof of our hospital this morning. And it was carrying this package addressed to you.”

“To me? Who could have…?”

“The sender is unknown.”

I felt an uneasy atmosphere in the office. The sender was unknown. If this were a criminal drama, it would be a dangerous gift that might contain a bomb.

I checked the parcel with my own eyes, but there was still no indication of the sender. While everyone was watching, I tore open the package and checked the contents. What was inside was… a gashat that I had never seen before.

It came with a single type of transparent board, and the exterior casing was designed in white with black lines. The gashat label showed a black-and-white panda-like Mighty with a brush, and the game name “MIGHTY NOVEL X”.

“Mighty Novel X…?”

“Why a gashat… pediatrician? Do you have any idea who sent it?”

“No. But…”

There are only a few people who can make a gashat. We immediately figured out that this must be Kuroto-san’s work. There was no way anyone else could have made this.

With Kuroto-san’s talent, he should be able to develop a drone autopilot program and even set a timer to deliver it in three years.

But why now, three years later?

If it was something that Kuroto-san had planted before he disappeared, what was he thinking when he sent this gashat to me?

I can’t even begin to think about it. Anyway, I have no choice but to try to activate this gashat.

As I made this decision in my mind, I felt a rush of blood throughout my body, and a large amount of the bugster virus erupted from my body. It mixed together in the air and formed a human form.

Parad, who had been inside me, separated from my body of his own volition.

“Emu. It’s dangerous. Stop.”


“You’re going to activate that gashat, aren’t you? I’m you. You’re me. I know what you’re thinking.”

Parad and I are one in body and soul. Our minds are connected with each other. Parad sensed my thoughts and tried to hold me back.

“Parad is right! If this is Kuroto’s work, it could be some kind of trap!”

It seemed that Hiiro-san had the same feelings as Parad and Poppy.

“Even if he disappears, it won’t end just like that. That is the man called Dan Kuroto.”

“Yes, Hiiro is right! We don’t need to be pushed around by that man any longer!” The director also agreed.

Even if that’s true…

As if reading my mind, Kiriya-san said quickly, “It can’t hurt to check.”

“Yes. This gashat may be… Kuroto-san’s suicide note to me.”

“A suicide note…?” Parad muttered as if to confirm my thoughts.

“Kuroto-san created God Maximum Mighty X with a talent that no one else can imitate. He restored Kiriya-san’s body to a state of flesh and blood. That person who had never reformed no matter how many sins he committed, he achieved a miracle that medicine could not accomplish. I want to know the true meaning of that… Kuroto-san’s true heart.”

It’s not just me. I’m sure everyone else feels the same way.

“Don’t worry. No matter what kind of game Mighty Novel X is, I’ll clear it.”

No one tried to contradict my words.

Everyone seemed to believe me.

I made up my mind and put my finger on the activation switch of the gashat.

I meditated and took a single deep breath. Something buzzing in the back of my chest eased a little, and I felt my heart beat slightly. I pressed the activation switch. The transparent circuit board emitted white light, and a voice flowed from the built-in loudspeaker at the bottom of the gashat.

“Mighty Novel X!”

Data released from the space generator built into the gashat, and a special space was created around me. A holographic monitor appeared behind me, showing the game start screen with the same design as the Mighty Novel X label.

That’s when it happened.

A large amount of the bugster virus that was probably planted in the gashat erupted and infected my body as I activated it. My joints creaked and my breathing became labored, as if I had a high fever. I couldn’t stand and fell to my knees on the floor.

Immediately, I understood what was happening. I had contracted game disease from Mighty Novel X.

“Hey, don’t tell me!”

Kiriya-san came running up to me before anyone else and supported my back and helped me up.

Hiiro-san inserted the ear cables of the game scope he was wearing around his neck into both ears, pointed the scanning light at me, and pressed the scan button. The purpose of the scanning was to determine the type of bugster virus that had infected my body.

The words “NO DATA” appeared on the scan monitor projected into space from the game scope.

“It’s a new strain of bugster virus,” Hiiro-san muttered without changing his complexion.

If it’s an existing game disease, there should be a diagnosis, and a game disease vaccine can be administered to cure it immediately. But that’s not the case with the new bugster virus. In addition, we, the doctors, had an unexpected situation.

Parad, who was in the corner of the office, had also developed game disease and had started suffering from the same symptoms as me.

Parad moaned inaudibly and eventually slipped into a coma.

What’s going on? I thought I was the only one infected with the bugster virus.

Why is Parad being affected too…?

In my daze, I thought I heard Poppy’s voice, worried about the fallen Parad and frantically calling out, “Are you okay?”. In the next moment, I felt something like an electric shock hitting my body again.

Just like when Parad was separated, a large amount of the bugster virus erupted from my body. As it was, it mixed in the air and materialized into a single bugster form. It was a standard human-type bugster that I had fought many times before, but it had a special coloration with purple lines on a black base. I had never seen a bugster virus of this color.

Before I could even think about it, I took out my Gamer Driver and put it on my waist. Kiriya-san tried to stop me with a worried look in his eyes.

“Hey, take it easy, Emu!”

“There’s no vaccine for the new bugster virus. It must be removed surgically!”

“Then I’ll do the operation. Pediatrician, stay back.”

“No, I’ll do it. Everyone tried to stop me, but I didn’t listen. It’s my own fault. Don’t worry. I won’t lose to anyone at games.”

I took out the Mighty Action X gashat from my lab coat pocket and pressed the activation switch. The transparent circuit board emitted a pink light, and a voice played.

“Mighty Action X!”

As data was released from the space generator and a special space was created around me, the stylish title logo “MIGHTY ACTION X” appeared on the hologram monitor behind me.

When I started the game, the other “me” woke up. Whenever I play a game, I always get fired up. It’s not that I have a double personality. You know how some people change when they’re driving a car? Well, it’s the same thing. When I’m playing a game, my personality becomes a bit belligerent.


I loaded Mighty Action X into the first slot of the gamer driver!

A select screen with images of each Kamen Rider began to rotate around me. When the select screen for Ex-Aid came up in front of me, I thrust my right hand forward and selected it. I transformed into a pink-haired warrior that resembled the design of Mighty, the main character of Mighty Action X— Kamen Rider Ex-Aid Action Gamer Level 1.

Game start!

…Is what I would like to say, but I can’t play games in a small medical office. This is when the stage select function of the Kamen Rider system comes in handy. It’s a function that changes the location of the battle into a virtual area in order to reduce damage to the surrounding area. I pressed the stage select button on the Finisher slot holder that was attached to my left hip.

A selection screen of several virtual areas built into the gashat appeared in the space in front of me.

Meadow. Beach. Forest. Deep in the mountains. Wasteland. Urban area.

I chose the forest. I had contracted game disease and was in the mood for some negative ions.

The black bugster virus and I were transferred to the virtual realm of the forest.

The forest is lush and green. Fresh air surrounded us. Negative ions.

In the midst of it all, I was confronted by the black bugster virus. My opponent was grunting something in an inarticulate voice and was in a fighting stance.

Let’s see what the enemy is capable of first, shall we? Why don’t you entertain me a little?

I pulled the lever on my gamer driver.

“Level up! Mighty Jump! Mighty Kick! Mighty Mighty Action X!”

I leveled up to a life-sized pink warrior. Ex-Aid Action Gamer Level 2.

Although its attack power is slightly inferior to that of Level 1, it is a form with greatly increased mobility. It can run at speeds of over a hundred kilometers per hour, and has the ability to leap over ten-story buildings with ease.

“Emu! You can’t be too careful!” I heard Poppy shout.

Before I knew it, she seemed to have followed me into the virtual realm. She was watching the battle from behind a tree a short distance away.

Who do you think I am? I’ll show you the power of the Genius Gamer M!

“I’ll clear it with no continues!”

I took out Ex-Aid’s special weapon, the Gashacon Breaker, and slammed it into the black Bugster Virus in hammer mode.

The high-pressure shockwave disintegrated the bugster virus in an instant!

…Or it should have…

To my surprise, the “MISS” effect occurred.

The powerful impact that was supposed to be applied to the opponent bounced back to my right hand, which was holding the Gashacon Breaker. Why? I’m sure I hit him with it.

I gave it one more shot with all my might. The hammer did indeed hit the bugster virus in the head. But again, there was the “MISS” effect.

The black bugster virus was not intimidated at all. On the contrary, it countered with a series of punches. I was so focused on the attack that I forgot to defend myself, and I was blown backwards by the strong impact.

The rider gauge, which indicates the remaining health of the Rider, dropped by half at once, and I was forced to cancel my transformation. I returned to my original form, clad in white.

Normally, when the game is interrupted, I would return to my regular personality, but now is not the time. The game isn’t over yet.

I’ve experienced something similar to this before. A bugster that can’t be conquered by a simple contest of strength. That’s right, the bugster Lovelica from the romance game Tokimeki Crisis.

At that time, due to the nature of the romance game genre, no matter how high level and powerful our attacks were, we could not damage Lovelica by force.

In other words, this black bugster virus is also…

“I see. Mighty Novel X isn’t a game of simple brute force fighting.”


Suddenly, the black bugster virus let out an eerie laugh. Why would the bugster virus, which should not normally be able to speak…?

“As expected of the Genius Gamer M, you are beginning to realize the secrets of my game.”

That tone of his voice. The way he spoke in a unique way that belittles others. It sounds familiar.

“That voice is… Genm…?”

“Eeeeh, how can it be Kuroto!?”

Genm is supposed to have disappeared. Something is still wrong.

The black bugster virus bowed to me like a gentleman magician.

“My name is Kuroto***”

Kuroto… beep? It’s like he said his name, but it’s… strange.

Up to the “Kuroto” part, I heard Genm’s voice, but only the “beep” part sounds like a strange electronic sound. It’s like a sound effect that plays to hide morally banned words.

… A banned word? No way!

“…Kuroto has a beep after his name.”

“A beep? What does that mean, M?”

“You’re so good at papipupepo, yet you don’t know what that is? It’s a banned term. It’s not Shin Dan Kuroto or Dan Kuroto Shin, it’s just a moronic name that I can’t stand to hear.”

“Eeeeeh!? What kind of name is that!?”

“I don’t know, I don’t care what it’s called. Anyway, about that Kurotopi… ah, let’s call it that for the time being?”


“There are two things we know about Kurotopi right now. First, that it’s a Mighty Novel X bugster created by Genm. And maybe… Genm’s entire thinking routine is programmed into it.”

“So you think we’re dealing with Kuroto himself!?”

“Yeah… Is that right, Kurotopi?”

“I’ll leave that to your imagination.”

“What do you want?”

Kurotopi took a deep breath and muttered in a tone similar to a prophet delivering a divine message.

“…the truth is the novel.”

We waited with bated breath for the next words.

He’s always been that way. Whenever he tries to pretend to be something he’s not, he usually reveals something that we don’t know about.


Hmm? What’s wrong? That Kurotopi guy is keeping his mouth shut…

“…What is it? If you’re going to say it, say it quickly!”

“Novel. That is, the truth is in the story.”

“…story… novel… oh, that novel.”

Kurotopi is the bugster of Mighty Novel X. “Novel” is English. When translated into Japanese, it means novel.

Anyway, what does it mean the truth is in the story?

“Hey, Kurotopi. What kind of game are you playing?”

“…To you, the player. First of all, I’d like to welcome you to Mighty Novel X. If you’re familiar with the game, you probably won’t read the manual, but for the sake of convenience, I’ll start with the game’s tutorial. If I were to categorize Mighty Novel X as a game genre, it would be classified as a visual novel game – a kind of adventure game. In other words, it’s a type of game that lets you experience the story as if you were reading a novel.”

Kurotopi’s unusually long speech began. It was an explanation of the rules of the Mighty Novel X game. There were a few irritating phrases interspersed in the speech, but I simply ignored them.

“If you don’t make it to the end of the game, you will be exiled from the story. Your crystal will drift through the game world, never to return to the real world. Are you willing to take that risk and play this game?”

At that moment, a holographic monitor appeared in front of me, showing me two choices like a quiz game.

《YES… go to the next page.》

《NO… close Mighty Novel X as it is.》

“…The answer is ‘yes’.”

“…So you chose ‘yes’.”

It’s obvious. As long as there’s a game, I’ll play it. That’s what the Genius Gamer M is all about.

After that, Kurotopi continued to ramble on, but I skipped it. I don’t read the manual, because that’s my playing style. I just skip the tutorials.

“Now, no more tutorials. Let’s open the first page of the story! Will your fate be game clear? Or will it be game over? Watch out! This is the ending of your fate! Bwahahahahaha!”

“Let’s do it. No matter what the game is, I’ll clear it with my genius gamer skills… I will change the fate of Parad and me!”

If I can conquer this game and defeat Kurotopi, it should cure Parad and me of our game disease. I will treat our bodies with my own hands.

“Then, let’s begin. The forbidden game. Mighty Novel X.”

With those last words, Kurotopi turned into data and disappeared from the virtual realm of the forest.

A gust of wind blew, and the trees swayed and rustled.

I thought it sounded like the laughter of the grim reaper, hinting at an ominous fate.

It was probably just a feeling. I’m sure it was just my imagination.