[DEq] – Death Cheaters

Pilot Chapter

“Later, bro!!!”
“Yeah. I’ll see you, man.”
Daniel waves back as he parts ways with his friend. He then looks at the time from his phone; it’s almost 9 PM and the streets of Deus City are especially dark at this time due to having only a few streetlights. There is really not much for him to do at his dorm, so his daily routine is to hang out with his friends until it gets dark then returns to the dorm only to sleep and wake up for the next day.

After parting with his friend, Daniel walks straight into the alley for a shortcut back to his dorm. It substantially shortens the overall distance at the cost of having to deal with nearly complete darkness throughout the path. Fortunately, he is not a believer of ghosts and superstitions, so it’s not really a problem. Moreover, there are things far more threatening than those kinds of stuffs on the street at night.

As he gets about half way into the alley, the young man notices a dark figure standing at the far end. Since it is so dark, Daniel can only vaguely guess that the figure is a man, based on his build. He wears a hoodie with the hood on, covering nearly the entire of his face except the mouth. Daniel keeps on moving, pretending to ignore this stranger. But as he gets closer, the hooded man pulls his hands out from the front pocket of his sweater, revealing two objects. On his right is an item that appears to be a handgun, judging from the brief metallic reflection. His left hand calmly installs a cylindrical object to the tip of the gun – a silencer.

Daniel had been involved with all kinds of groups in his peers, so he knows a couple of tricks to handle confrontations with armed street gangsters. Unfortunately, he has never encountered one with a gun before. If it was a knife or a bat, he might be able to get away with a few scrapes or bruises. But with a gun, there is no way he can outrun it. With that in mind, perhaps the best way to get out of this situation is to just give that man whatever he wants.

“All right. What is it? Money? Phone? Mind you, I got only 20 Roals with me right now, so you might wanna go with the phone,” Daniel speaks out right before that man even states his proposal.
However, the hooded man doesn’t seem to care; he silently keeps moving forward, aiming his gun at the only other person besides him in that alley.
“… H… Hey…? What? …That’s… really all the money I have right now! You can check my wallet if you want!”

There was no reply…

The hooded man continues advancing forward, and before long, Daniel finds himself slowly stepping back in tandem.
“C… Come on? What’s your problem!? Look, I’ll even give you the keys to my dorm! Just take whatever you want!!”
That moment, Daniel can briefly see a flash coming from the man’s gun, followed by a noise that he has heard a few times before in the movies – the noise of a silenced gunshot. Immediately after that, something hits his left shoulder, spreading a sharp excruciating pain.
“Aaaaaaggghh!!!”
Daniel cries, holding his shoulder with his right hand. At the same time, he can feel something wet spewing from that spot. He cannot see it in this darkness, but there is no doubt that it is his blood.
“S… Shit!!!”
Since there is no reasoning with this psychopath, the young man turns around and runs. But at the same time, he can hear two more silenced gunshots from behind. This time, the shots hit him on both of his legs, robbing him of all the strength that supports his body.
“Fuaaagh!!!” he utters as his entire body drops to the ground, “S… Shit… My legs… It hurts…”
As the young man struggles to crawl away, the menacing footstep creeps closer in each second, and soon, catches up with him. The hooded man heaves Daniel up from the ground with incredible strength then slams his body down on the ground supine. The pain from the impact spreads across his body and lingers even though it is already over. He feels so numb he can barely lift his right arm.
“W… Why!? Why are you doing this?! What do you want from me!?!?”
The young man desperately questions the stranger, who responds by pointing the gun at his face.

In that brief moment, a second expands into a moment of eternity – a moment where the only thought on his mind is that his existence is about to end. The knowledge that all humans die without prejudice is certainly not foreign to him. And yet it is ironic that when the time comes, the mind and body suddenly refuse that fact.

Is this what it is like to fear Death?

Before Daniel could come up with an answer, a bright light flashes before his eyes and the silenced gunshot can be heard again. At the same time, he can feel a hard object hitting his forehead. The split second that expanded into eternity makes him fully recognize all the pain spreading from the shot.
So excruciating…
Such torture…
But, for some strange reason, as if someone presses the ‘pause’ button on his senses, the pain suddenly stops after a while. In fact, almost all of his senses are shut down – all except his sight. His body lies down there on the ground, unable to move, but his eyes are still able to witness everything happening in front of him. The murderer kneels down next to his lifeless body and puts his hand over his forehead – a peculiar act for several reasons. For starters, this man seems horribly calm for someone who just committed a murder. And instead of running away or cleaning up evidences that could link to him, this man instead kneels down next to his victim, as if appreciating this masterpiece of a corpse that he just created.
“… Be a good boy and help her out, you hear?”
The hooded man whispers those words in a calm voice then walks away without a care in the world.
“Wha…?!”
Before Daniel could ponder the meaning behind those mysterious words, a sharp pain emerges from his forehead again, as if someone presses the ‘play’ button to resume his sense at the worst possible time. He writhes on the ground, screaming from the unbearable pain.

Eventually, the moment that feels like eternity finally ends.

“Oh god… God! Dammit!! Shit! That hurts!!!”
Daniel curses and swears numerous times as he springs up from the ground, dropping something onto his lap.
“Huh? Wha? What the heck is this???”
Unfortunately, the alley is too dark for him to see what it is. Hence, he carefully walks out of the alley and uses the light from the street lamp to thoroughly examine the trinket. It appears to be some kind of gadget with a small screen, displaying a 10-digit number – starting at 1,892,093,485 – that gradually decreases in each second.
“What’s this?? A countdown timer???” Daniel mutters to himself then examines his body, “Wait? How… am I still alive???”
Strangely enough, there is no blood on him. The unbearable pain he experienced a few seconds ago almost felt like a lie; he is perfectly fine right now.

What just happened?
Wasn’t he supposed to be shot on his head?

Before he could get his answer, the young man sweeps his eyes around his surrounding and quickly realizes that something else is completely off as well.
“W… Where am I???”
Daniel mutters in disbelief upon witnessing a rather unpleasant sight. The alley he took was supposed to lead him directly to the back of his dorm. And yet before him is the scenery of a city left in ruins. The paved concrete street has turned into thick hardened red soil. The walls of the buildings reveal exaggerating amount of wears and rusts. Some of them even appear to have been crumbled down to rubbles, leaving only their metal frames behind. The trees that line up along the avenue have withered, revealing only dead branches on it. The street lamps are still working for some strange reason, although the poles are also covered with wears and rusts.
His first thought was that, after he was shot, he was transported to some unknown abandoned town. But that idea was quickly scrapped when he notices the rusted street sign at the corner.
“Red… Pavilion Street?” he reads the street name out loud.
He knows the name of this street. It runs through the Vibrant Wind District, which lies in the business center of the Deus City.
“Is this… Is this my city??” Daniel whispers in disbelief. How can he buy into that when the city he had been living for the past few years have magically deteriorates into a nightmarish hell for no reason?
“I… I need to get outta here…”
With that decided, the young man runs towards the direction that is supposed to take him to his dorm.

“Uuuuuuuuu….”

But before he can move too far away, a strange voice can be heard coming from inside a crumbled building nearby. Turning towards the source, Daniel’s face turns pale upon noticing… something… crawling out from the dark corner.
Dark hollow eyes…
Long untended hairs…
Dead white wizened skin…
Long skinny limbs that crawl on all four…
An eldritch abomination that simply looking at it can cause one to retch in disgust…
“H… Ho… Holy shiiiiittttt!!!!!!!!”
Terrified, the young man cries and bolts from the spot without waiting to confirm whether it is hostile or not. The demonic abomination releases an ear-breaking scream and leaps into the air, landing right before Daniel. The creature smacks the young man to the ground with its cold palm and pins him down.

“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!”

The monster tears its mouth up wide and releases an ear-breaking scream into his face.
“Aaaaaaaaagh!?!?!” Daniel cries from a strange pain courses through his body. His eyes are locked into the blackness of the creature’s mouth. As it screams, he feels as if his consciousness is gradually being sucked into a dark empty space.
Luckily, that moment, the creature abruptly let go of its gripe on him as its entire body gets hurled away. The young man hastily stands up with wobbly legs, wondering what caused it to let go of him. Upon a closer inspection, he notices the creature pinned on the wall of a building behind it with what appears to be a spear of light poking through its mouth.
“What… the hell???”
Soon, his question is answered when a mysterious figure dashes passed him in a flash. The figure appears to be another young man approximately the same age as him, sporting blond hair and black school uniform. That blond young man drags a weapon that resembles a spear along the ground as he dashes forth. Meanwhile, the creature uses its long arms to pull the spear of light out of its mouth with intense effort before standing up on all four again. It angrily glares at its attacker and releases a high-pitch yell. Ignoring the empty threat, that young man lifts up his spear, launching the creature into the air.
“SHINING STING!!!” he announces loudly as he shoves his spear into the air, shooting another spear of light that instantly disintegrates the creature into thin air.

“W… Wow, that was amazing,” Daniel utters in awe and jogs towards his savior, “Hey, thanks, man. You’re a life saver…”
But in response to his gratitude, the blond young man points his spear at Daniel’s face.
“I’ve never seen your face around this district before. Who are you and what’s your faction?”
“W… Woah, hey, easy there. I just wanna thank you for saving my ass,” Daniel says, waving his hands in the air to show that he meant no harm, “I’m Daniel. What’s your name?”
“…… A rookie? I suppose I’ll cut you some slack…” The blond young man sighs and lowers his spear. “The name’s Lieber…”
“Thanks again, man. Hey… Can I ask you something? Where the hell are we? And what the heck was that thing?”
Daniel takes the liberty to shoot numerous questions. Strangely, Lieber quietly stands there with his eyebrow raised in confusion.
“……… What? … Were those supposed to be trick questions?”
“N… No, seriously!! I have no idea where I am right now!! Well, I think this is supposed to be the Vibrant Wind District, but why is everything broken down to rubbles like this!? And what the heck was that creature???!!”
Lieber glares at Daniel for a while, trying to read his intention. However, the expression on his face tells him that he was not joking.
“…… All right, then, rookie. Tell me your faction and I’ll take you back to your turf. You can ask your superiors when you get there,” Lieber says.
“Um… Faction?” Daniel asks with a puzzled face.
“… You’re joking, right? You don’t know your faction either??” Lieber sighs.
“S… Sorry. I really don’t know what’s going on right now… This might sound delusional, but you have to believe me. I was shot in the head by some random gangster that didn’t even take my stuffs. Somehow, I’m not yet dead, and when I woke up earlier, I’m already in this place.”
“… Daniel, was it??” Lieber asks, “Can you show me your Death Token??”
“Uh? Death Token??”
The blond young man sighs and takes out a trinket from inside his pocket.
“H… Hey, isn that—!?” Seeing the trinket, Daniel also takes out the gadget he found when he woke up. “I found this when I woke up. I think my killer—-.”
“… This is called a Death Token,” Lieber interrupts before Daniel can begin his lengthy explanation, “Press the button on the side, and the screen will switch to your six-digit serial number. Tell me what they are.”
Daniel does exactly as Lieber told him, and sure enough, the screen indeed switches over from a countdown timer to something else. But, instead of a six-digit number, all he gets is…

[ XXX XXX ]

“There’s… no number on my token. All I got is a bunch of X’s…”
Hearing that, Lieber’s eyes slightly widen in disbelief, but quickly narrow until they almost seem hostile.
“…… Hey, rookie… Who did you say your Reaper was?”
“Um… What? Reaper?” Daniel repeats question while scratching his head.
Seeing that reaction, the blond young man takes a deep breath and tightens the grip on his weapon.
“Daniel, was it?”
“Y… Yeah.”
“Can you turn around for a moment?”
“Huh? Why? Is something on my back???”
“Just do it…”
“… Uh… Fine. Like this?”
The young man does exactly as told while still wonder what it was about.
“… Good… Foolish Death Cheater!!!”
“Huh!? Wha!?”

At that time, a series of events happened in a flash. Daniel turned around, panicking from Lieber’s tone of disgust. The blond young man was thrusting his spear forward with a very clear intention of stabbing him. But before the spear could hit its mark, a mysterious figure in black sleeveless coat swoops in between and crashes against Lieber’s spear, causing him to stagger and retract his weapon back to regain his stance. The mysterious stranger brandishes her weapon, striking Lieber’s guard, and drives him a few steps away.

Daniel observes the girl who just saved him in awe. She stands firm and proud with long silky violet hair that extends to the middle of her back. In her hand is a sword with narrow purple crystal blade and a guard of intricate mechanical design.
“Are you okay?” The girl looks over her shoulder and asks him.
“Y… Yeah, I guess?”
Hearing that, she smiles in relief before turning back to the blond young man.
“That was low of you to strike some one in the back,” she hisses him in disgust.
“And you got some nerve to stand between me and my mark, bitch.” Lieber grits his teeth. “That Cheater is mine! Scram before I poke that pretty face of yours!”
“Oh my? You are quite a bold one… Seems like there are Hunters who haven’t heard of me after all.” The girl chuckles and brushes her violet hair off her shoulder.
“Heard of—-. Wait a damn sec… you…!?”
From a frustrated expression, Lieber’s face suddenly turns pale and the cocky tone in his voice sinks into anxiety.
“That purple hair and sword… You are the Violet Death Cheater!!!?”
“Ah. So you’ve heard of me after all. Then I guess we can cut to the chase.” The girl smiles daringly. “I would ask you to leave us now, or else be prepared to lose 20 years of your Time.”
“G… Grrr!!! Are you shitting me!? I don’t bargain with criminals like you!!!” Lieber scowls and shoots a spear of light forward without any hesitation. “SHINING STING!!!!!”
“Move out of the way!!” the girl yells over her shoulder to Daniel, who immediately runs off to the side as far as he can. Once she makes sure that he is out of range, the girl swings her sword, releasing three beams of light.
“DRIVE BEAM!!!”
One of the beams hits Lieber’s spear of light and cancels each other out, while the remaining two continue moving forward at their primary target. Lieber swings his spear to deflect the beams, but during that instant, the purple haired girl zooms towards him and brandishes her blade.
“REFLECT SLASH!!”
She unleashes a series of three fast slashes on him. Much to Daniel’s surprise, her sword cuts through Lieber like hot knife through butter, and yet he is still standing on his feet, although he is obviously gritting his teeth from the pain. The blond young man swings his spear horizontally to force the girl to move away. Instead of ducking down, she hops into the air, far higher than the length of his spear. Lieber pulls his spear back in hopes of shooting a spear of light at her. But at the same time, the girl grabs the handle that makes up the hilt of her sword with her left hand and pulls it back, expanding the guard of her sword into a wide arc that resembles an archery bow.
“STAR BURST!!!!”
Upon releasing the handle, the purple crystal blade of her sword shoots forward like an arrow, bursting into a radiant explosion upon contact with Lieber. The blond young man gets blown several meters away, stopping only when he hits a street lamp pole. Surprisingly, he appears to still be alive with all of his body parts in tact.
“You wench…!” he grits his teeth and stands up again.
“Oh. Still want some more?” the girl asks as she gracefully lands back on the ground, “You might want to check your remaining time.”
Lieber hastily pulls out his Death Token and inspects the screen with widened eyes.
“You’re shitting me!? 23 years with just that single shot!?”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you…,” the girl taunts, “Well? I’m still in a good mood, so I’ll let you run. But if you still wanna go, I’m more than happy to oblige…”
Lieber curses in frustration as he leaps onto the roof of a building behind him and disappears from the scene.

Once he is gone, the girl turns to Daniel and gives him a bright smile.
“So… Are you okay? Still got enough energy to stand?” she asks in a friendly manner.
“Y… Yeah, thanks,” Daniel replies, warily.
“Relax! I’m on your side!!” she assures him and folds her bow back into the sword’s guard before hanging it back on her waist.
Now that he can see her face clearly, the girl appears to be roughly the same age as him. His attention is quickly drawn towards her glittering emerald eyes, which give her an enigmatic charm.
“No sweat. My name’s Refia,” she introduces herself, “You?”
“I’m Daniel. Nice to meet you…,” the young man says, moving closer to her, “So um… sorry for being bold, but, what the hell was that about??!”
“Easy now. I’ll explain everything, but let’s meet up on the ‘other side’. Wouldn’t want other Hunters to interrupt us again now, do we?” Refia suggests.
“Other side???”
“Yeah. Don’t worry. It’ll all make sense soon. Just close your eyes for a while… Once you return to your body. Meet up with me at the Hanging Square near the Empire Tower. I’ll be waiting for you there…”
“Uh… Okay? So, I just close my eyes?”
“Yes. I’ll see you again soon…”
The young man is not sure what she meant, but does as told anyway. After closing his eyes, for some reason, he feels as if his entire body is being pulled away from where he is standing.

By the time he opens up his eyes, he finds himself sitting on the ground inside a dark alley.
“What… the hell???” Daniel gets up and looks around in confusion. It’s dark, but this is definitely the shortcut alley to his dorm where he was shot. For some reason, he has returned to this alley and the purple haired girl he met earlier is no longer nearby.
“… The Hanging Square… I have to go meet her!”
After standing up from the ground, Daniel rushes out of the alley and heads towards the sky train station. The Hanging Square is only one station away from where he is, so the trip is rather short. Once he gets down from the platform, he rushes down the skywalk to the Hanging Square, situated above a huge intersection. Once at the place, he looks around for the purple haired girl.
“Oh, that’s fast… You look exactly like yourself on the other side, just with black hair…”
All of the sudden, a voice speaks up from behind him. Turning around, Daniel notices a girl with long silky hair, wearing a school uniform similar to his. Judging from her face, she is definitely Refia, the girl who saved him from that blond delinquent. However, unlike that Refia, she neither has purple hair nor emerald eyes. Instead, both of them are dark brown.
“Um… Hi…? Are you… Are you really Refia???”
“Of course, I am. I supposed you don’t recognize me because of my hair color?” She giggles and playfully curls her hair with her finger.
“Uh… Yeah…” Daniel scratches his head awkwardly. “So… Refia? Can I ask you some questions now?”
“Well, before you do… Mind if I ask something from you first?” she asks.
“Oh… Uh, sure… Ladies first…”
“You’re so sweet.” She giggles again. “First of all, do you remember when you died?”
“Uh… WHAT?!”
“If I’m not mistaken, you must have died just recently, otherwise you wouldn’t end up in the Haunted Corridor,” Refia replies, crossing her arms.
“Haunted… Corridor?”
“Yes… That alternate world parallel to ours where the Unrests dwell… That world with ruins of what was supposed to be this world…,” she explains, “So?”
“Oh… I… I don’t know if you’re gonna believe me, but I was shot in the head while walking home tonight…”
“… I see. So… Did you see the person who gave you your Death Token?”
“This…?” Daniel takes out his token and looks at it curiously. “It was placed on my forehead when I woke up… I think… I think the guy who killed me gave it to me… I didn’t see his face though. He’s wearing a hood.”
Hearing that, Refia narrows her eyes and contemplates something. “……… Could it be…?”

“Excuse me…?” Daniel speaks up when she remains quiet for too long.
“Oh, sorry… I owe you a long explanation, don’t I?” Refia says, “Okay then, this requires a bit of exposition. First of all, have you heard of the Absolute Law?”
“Absolute… Law?”
“That’s right. [Death is Equality]… a ‘law’ which states that upon Death, that person’s ‘soul’ returns to an ‘equal state’. That is, it is cleansed of memories and emotions before being sent to reborn. And the ones charged with the duty of purification are called ‘Reapers’.”
“Reap… pers…,” Daniel whispers, repeating her words. As he recalls, Lieber did indeed mention something about ‘Reapers’ before as well.
“Yes… They are the insentient keepers of that Absolute Law. They ensure that all existences – no exceptions – comply with that law. As you might have guessed, there are souls that refuse to obey that law. Those with powerful lingering emotions and memories some times ended up being too attached to this world and refused to be cleansed; those are the creatures that attacked you before; the ‘Unrests’. I was about to go in to help you, but Lieber got there before me,” Refia explains seamlessly, “Are you still following so far?”
“Y… Yeah… I think…?”
“Good. So, the Unrests are jealous of the living. They are usually stuck in the Haunted Corridors. But as time passes, their negative emotions grow stronger until they are able to cross over to the world of living. In theory, Reapers are tasked with vanquishing the Unrests. But due to the increasing number of Unrests, they cannot keep up with the numbers. Therefore, they seek help from the deceased humans. When a person dies before his or her designated ‘Time’, a Reaper will approach that person and give them two choices. First is, of course, to be cleansed and reborn unconditionally. And the second choice is to continue living…”
“Uh, of course, anyone would choose to continue living if they die before their time, right?” Daniel asks.
“Don’t you want to listen to the price for that first?” Refia giggles at the young man’s attitude. “The price for that option is to become an Unrest Hunter.”
“Unrest… Hunter? You mean, we have to hunt the Unrests in exchange?!”
“Yes… Technically speaking, both you and I are Unrest Hunters, and so is Lieber. You see the countdown timer ticking on your Death Token?”
Hearing that, Daniel takes a look at his token.
“Yeah… Hey, wait a minute? It was at 18 billion something earlier! Now it’s already down to 17 billion! How did it go down so fast!?”
“That’s because you were attacked by Lieber,” Refia explains, “That timer on the Death Token is your Time; it tells you how long you have left to live. As a Hunter, you are given powers to crossover to the Haunted Corridor and to defeat the Unrests. By doing so, you will be rewarded with a small amount of Time added to your total. On the other hand, being attacked by Unrests or another Unrest Hunter would deplete your Time.”
“But… But I don’t get it? If we are Unrest Hunters just like Lieber, then why did he attack us?”
“Well, to simply put it, we are slightly different from the other Unrest Hunters…… You heard what he called us, right?” Refia says with an anxious expression after pausing for a moment.

Death Cheaters…

It was a name – or perhaps a title? – that Lieber mentioned with disgust and discrimination.
“You see, Unrest Hunters are born only when one of the four Reapers – otherwise known as the ‘Big Four’ – gives them the Death Token. Hence, all Hunters belong to one of the four Reaper factions, indicated by that special serial number on our Death Token… But for both of us…”
Refia pauses and shows him her token. She has already pressed the switch on her token, so Daniel is not able to see her total Time. On her screen, he notices that it shows [ XXX XXX ] exactly like his token.
“You mean… we have no number?”
“That’s right. No serial number means we do not belong to any faction; we were not turned into an Unrest Hunter by any of the Big Four… And because we are not dead when we are supposed to, what does that make us?”
“We… cheated Death?” Daniel mutters breathlessly, “But hey! I’ve never met any Reapers before! And I didn’t even know about all this until I woke up with the token! How’s that fair!?”
“No matter what you say, from the Reapers’ point of view, we’ve violated the Absolute Law. That’s why the Reapers put a bounty on us Death Cheaters for a hefty amount of ‘Time’.”
Refia sighs and looks up to the night sky with a face filled with boredom and sadness, and at the same time, hatred and anguish.
“… We were never given a choice and all of the sudden, our existences are denied. How is all this an equality? Keepers of the Absolute Law? What a bunch of hypocrites…”

“So… What’s gonna happen to us now?” Daniel asks.
“That question goes to you, Daniel. You have two options, yet again.” Refia looks at him with a stern face and puts up two fingers. “First is to surrender yourself to the Reapers and other Unrest Hunters. Obviously, they’ll kill you and send your soul into the reincarnation process. You will no longer have to live in constant fear of being chased by them.”
“… And the second option?”
“You probably already know that.” Refia crosses her arms. “You fight back. Eye for an eye… As long as you don’t get ‘killed’, you can keep on fighting the Unrests to accumulate more Time to live your life until you are satisfied. So what will it be, Daniel?”
When posed with that question, Daniel pauses for a moment to contemplate. Giving in means ending his life.
Just how bad can that be?
After all, does he actually have any unfinished business?
He just lives day by day with nothing to look forward for. His relatives aren’t exactly that close to him. No one will mourn for him when he is gone…
But then that was when it hits him. There is another question he has yet asked her…

“Hey, Refia, can I ask you something?” he speaks up.
“Sure, what is it?”
“… Why did you save me?” he asks, “Based on everything you told me, there is absolutely no gain in saving me for you. It should already be a pain with other Unrest Hunters hunting you down. So why did you risk saving me? Was it just because I’m another Death Cheater like you?”
Refia makes a slightly surprised expression before smiling again, albeit a forced one.
“Well, you are a sharp one… You see, Daniel, the reason I fight is because I want to find the culprit behind all this…”
“Culprit?”
“That’s right. The one who went around creating Death Cheaters like you and me – the Original Death Cheater. I want to find that person, and find out his purpose for doing this. And once we know his reason, maybe… Just maybe… we might be able to bargain with the Reapers and stop this tiresome chase once and for all…”
She pauses to take a breather before continuing.
“And that’s why, I’ve been meaning to meet other Death Cheaters – people who are in the same predicament as me. Frankly speaking, Daniel, I want your help…”
“My help?”
“That’s right… I want you to help me find the Original Death Cheater,” Refia explains.
“… All right, then. I understand. How do I help you?” he asks her back without the slightest hint of hesitation.
“W… Woah, wait. So soon? Are you really sure about this?” she stutters in surprise, “Look, Daniel, I’m not forcing any of this on you, and I’ve told you the consequences of going against the Reapers and the other Hunters. I don’t want you to make a hasty decision you’ll regret later…”
“No. I’ve made up my mind,” Daniel insists, “I have no family to return to. No close friend. No lover. There is no purpose for me to continue living. No one will mourn for me even if I die right now…”
“Daniel…?” Refia whispers his name worriedly.
Upon seeing her sympathy, he makes a sad expression and clenches his fist intensely.
“You saved my life. I’ve also finally found someone who has something similar to me after all this time… Therefore, it would be insensitive of me to just walk away from you without doing something in return… So please… Let me help you…”
Hearing his speech, the girl smiles in delight. “Thanks, Daniel…”
The young man shakes his head, implying that it’s okay, as well as gives her a confident smile.
“So… Shall we go?”
“Yes… Let’s go…”

Unrests – Souls of the deceased that refuse to enter purgatory…
Reapers and Unrest Hunters – the emotionless Keepers of the Absolute Law…
And finally, the Death Cheaters – belonging to neither factions and hunted by all…
Now, the two Death Cheaters set forth to find out the truth and reason behind their existences…

… Death is Equality …
~ DEATH CHEATERS ~