Maya of The Golden Moon, Chapter One

Chapter 1: The Messenger from Shadowin

“When you're lost by yourself on a dark path at night, Mr. Moon is smiling down on you. It's always watching over you, Maya. So don't be uneasy, and no matter how tough it gets, never give up. If you wish with a strong heart toward the moon, the light of hope will surely drive away the darkness.”

--Yes, Mom said that.

Standing there in the middle of the darkness, Maya remembered those words. But looking up, she couldn't see the sky at all. The pitch black darkness weighed so heavily, she couldn't see anything. There's no moon here....she thought, suddenly uneasy again.

What kind of place is this? Why am I the only person here? Why? Doubts swirled in Maya's head.

“Anyway, let's get out of here quickly,” Maya said to herself, summoning her courage and walking confidently. But she had only advanced a bit, when a silhouette appeared in front of her. It was difficult to make out the exact shape in the darkness, but it seemed like that of a tall man.

“W-Who's there?” Maya asked nervously, and the silhouette said, “Wait, Maya.”

“Who are you? Why did you tell me to wait?”

Then the silhouette laughed, in a voice that seemed to echo from the bottom of the earth.

“Fufufu.”

Within the coal-black silhouette, a reddish mouth appeared to open wide. Seeing two sets of white fangs in that mouth, Maya involuntarily flinched.

“Why did you say to wait?” Maya opened her mouth, raising her voice reproachfully.

“So that...I can eat you!”

“What did you say?!” Maya's eyes widened, and she asked again, “S-So you can eat me?”

“Fufufu, if I can eat you, your heart and body will become part of me!” Upon saying that, the silhouette suddenly grew even larger.

“Eh? What?!” A bottomless fear gripped Maya's heart. Maya wanted to run, but it was like her body was caught in a vise and couldn't move. Somehow it seemed as though her arms and legs had turned to stone, unable to even twitch.

Meanwhile the black silhouette kept getting bigger and bigger. Now instead of looking like a person's shadow, it looked more like a bizarre monster. It opened its mouth wide, the sharp fangs drawing closer to Maya.

“H-Help me...,” Maya cried in a trembling voice. But her voice was swallowed up by the monster's footsteps.

There was a rustling noise.

In the next moment, with everything covered in darkness, an eerie chuckle echoed through the night.

“Fuhahahahaha...”

Hearing that, Maya opened her eyes wide. Suddenly, in front of her was a big black cat sitting on a futon in her room, looking at her. And as Maya stared at it, the cat opened its mouth wide and let out a “Nyaa.”

“Kyaa!” Maya instinctively screamed, and jumped up from her bed.

“What's this cat?!” Whereupon the black cat spun around, and vanished into thin air.

At that time, a wind blew through her room from nowhere, causing Maya's hair to flutter.

“It's your fault!”

Definitely, her bad dream had been because of that cat sitting on the futon.

But where had that cat come in from? Maya suddenly found it odd. The door and window were shut, and she couldn't see any way the cat could have gotten in.

“Weird.” As Maya was still looking around her room, she suddenly heard a small boy's voice from the doorway.

“Sis! Wake up already! How long are you going to sleep?”

Having the boy's loud voice pierce her ears, Maya also raised her voice.

“Shut up! I'm already awake! Besides, knock before you come into someone's room!”

“OK, OK.” The boy pointed at the window. “But Aiko's down there waiting.”

“Oh shoot!”

Maya hastily leapt out of her bed, and leaned out the window over the veranda.

Below her, in front of the porch, a smiling girl was looking up.

“Sorry! Looks like I overslept! My bad for being late, go on ahead, Aiko.”

“Yeah. Then I'll go on ahead. Don't be late, Maya.”

The girl waved, then turned and started running down the tree-lined path.

“I'm sorry, Aiko. Even though we promised to go to school together yesterday...,” Maya whispered, looking at her back and waving pigtails.

Suddenly from behind her came a high pitched voice.

“Sis! Hurry up or you'll be late!”

“I know! I know already, so get out!” Chasing him out the door, Maya quickly started changing.

Then from the hallway, she heard his voice again. “Whoa! A cat! There's a big black cat in the house!”

Maya was a fourth grader at Twilight Elementary. Her full name was Maya Mizuki. Along with her father Tetsuya and little brother Masato, she had started living on this hill during the autumn moon festival.

Recently Maya had met her close friend, Aiko Mizuno. The two of them were best friends, but Maya always forgot her promises, inconveniencing Aiko.

“Morning, Dad!” Maya said cheerfully, as she came down the stairs.

“Good morning, Maya!” The bespectacled Tetsuya replied, while reading a newspaper.

He was a professor of physics, and worked at the nearby Deva University. It seemed like he was doing research there every day, but Maya didn't understand any of it because it was too complicated.

“Today is the Masato Special Omelet and honey toast, with potato salad....” Her little brother read off the morning's menu. A frustrating thing about Masato was how he always bragged that his cooking was better than Maya's. On top of that, he never called her “Big Sis”, just “Sis.”

“Hey, what's with the Masato Special Omelet?” Maya raised her eyebrows.

“Hehe, I put in custard and fresh cream, it's my special twist.” Masato held out the plate with the omelet. An almost sickly sweet smell came out.

“What the heck, didn't you just stuff it with things you like?!”

“Truthfully, I planned on using strawberries too, but unfortunately we were out, so I had to substitute jam instead.” Masato made a resigned face.

“Doing that kind of thing, is it going to be good?” said Maya, as she looked at the omelet.

“Heh, the taste is guaranteed. Believe in my skill.”

“Hmph, how does that work? My point is that you used too many sweet things.”

“You two, hurry up and leave or you'll be late for school!” Tetsuya pointed at the clock.

“Heh, I'll be fine. I'm not slow like Sis.”

“Well, impressive confidence, even though you're just a second grader,” Maya said as she munched on her toast.

“Then, I'm heading out!” Masato grabbed his schoolbag and rushed out by himself.

“Oh no! That kid, he didn't finish his food.” Maya hastily stood up from the dining table, catching Tetsuya's attention.

“Maya! Did you forget?”

“Ah!” Maya gasped, noticing the photo on the dining room wall. In that photo, a woman was smiling at Maya, the same as always. “Good morning. I'm going now, Mom!” After saying that, Maya flew out of the house.

“Good grief. Always rushing,” Tetsuya murmured, peering at his daughter over his newspaper. “As long as she doesn't fall along the way. Really...who is it she takes after, Serena?”

Once Maya was outside, she couldn't see her brother anywhere. It was frustrating, but she couldn't catch up to him, exactly like he'd said.

“Anyway, I have to hurry to school.”

____Then, as she was running, she felt a presence behind her.

“Oh?” Turning around to look behind her, she discovered the black cat from before.

“What's up with this cat?” Maya started to get a bad feeling. “Black cats in the morning, isn't that bad luck?”

For a moment, she turned around once again, but the cat had disappeared.

“What, it was just my imagination. Get a hold of yourself, Maya!” Feeling relieved, Maya started running again.

But in the next moment, she involuntarily let out an astonished sound, and her whole body froze. Somehow, that same cat was now sitting in the middle of the road, looking at her inquiringly.

“W-What's this cat? Following me around since the morning, gross. And sneaking into my room, what are you after? Hey you, that kind of thing, people call it stalking, got it?”

As Maya complained, she tiptoed around the black cat, then broke into a vigorous run.

“I don't have time to deal with this cat! I have to hurry to school, or I'll be late!”

Without looking back, she kept running at full speed toward the school. As Maya ran down the tree-lined path, and turned a corner, the school was in front of her.

“Ah, I can see the school! I still have time if I'm this close.”

While Maya was looking at the school's clock and feeling relieved, suddenly the black cat jumped out at her feet.

“Kyaa!”

The shock caused her to lose her balance, and Maya stumbled and fell.

“Ow ow ow!”

While she rubbed her knee so she could get up, the black cat was in front of her, grinning.

You again! But...it's my first time seeing a cat smiling.

“Are you OK?” came from behind Maya. When she turned, she saw her classmate Kenji looking at her. Kenji Hoshino was the student government representative of Maya's class. He was good at studying, good at soccer, cool, and every girl in the class had a crush on him.

“Y-Yeah,” Maya's face turned bright red.

“Are you hurt? You fell really hard,” Kenji said, smiling, extending his hand.

“I'm fine, I'm fine,” Maya waved him off, smiling bitterly, as she stood up by herself.

“Can you walk?”

“Yeah, I'm OK. Well, it looks like I'm going to be late.” Maya started walking faster, as though to escape.

“Ah...that's true.” Kenji frowned slightly. “Then I'd be late too, I'll be going now,” he said, as he started to run.

As she saw him running with his backpack bouncing on his back, Maya felt she had messed up. “U-Um...,” she said quickly, but her voice didn't reach far enough.

It was a perfect chance, but I didn't have any self-confidence!

“Geez, you don't have any self-confidence.”

“Eh?” Maya said in surprise, looking back and forth, but not seeing anyone.

At that moment____

“This is really the Savior? Well, Professor Dogma said it, so I don't think it's wrong, but....” While talking to itself, the black cat's face popped out from Maya's shadow.

“W-What?! You again!” Maya's eyebrows knit in astonishment, as she gasped in a voice of realization. “Wow! A c-cat talking!”

As she looked at the grinning cat, it pulled a round card out of its bosom. How a cat had a bosom, or could pull anything out of it, Maya had no idea, but in any case, the black cat threw the card at her feet.

The round card spun around, and landed under Maya. Suddenly a huge circular figure appeared, spreading over the ground.

And in the next instant, the figure started shining, and Maya's body was sucked into it.

“Kyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa....”

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