Author’s Note: It may be annoying, but the daily chaos in life sure can drive me into trying to do something good. Here’s something that I wrote while trying to warm up for writing more stories in the coming days. The Overlord Bear is back with a new short story, yo! 🙂
I had already graduated from college. I had secured a high-position job and a mansion thanks to training by my rich parents and the work that I have done, not our family name. My family and I have been helping people, especially the poor ones living without a proper home in the streets. We aren’t quite popular in the field of businesspeople who lazily swim in their pools of money, but we’re content with helping people smile, grow well, and experience genuine happiness.
Thing is, all the chaos in the world feels like they’re never-ending. My parents have to deal with corrupt relatives, my siblings have been led astray by the darkness in the business world, and those are just the tip of the bigger than Jupiter-sized iceberg of problems in the world right now.
I really want eternal happiness. Not just for me, but for everyone. Everyone wants such a thing. Seems impossible, but what if there is such a thing? What if it is possible?
So one day, out of boredom and, perhaps–no, definitely–desperation, I decided to start looking for eternal happiness more seriously by digging up a hole in my backyard until I found some buried treasure or until I got tired. Eternal happiness sounded really supernatural, so I thought of looking for supernatural things. Hm, maybe all those movies and novels and pieces of fiction have been rubbing off on me. But hey, what if supernatural things are real?
Of course, I don’t want to do demonic stuff. Evil isn’t good, obviously. I wouldn’t be very surprised if there were people who thought that evil is good. Just look at the people retaliating with violence against violence!
So I decided to take a shovel from my house, go to a patch of grass in my flower-filled backyard, and dug, and dug, and dug, until my shovel hit something with a “clink!” and I saw something kinda shiny, leading me to throw the shovel away from me and drop down to the ground, panting hard.
I found a lamp. You know, the one like the one that Aladdin found. Magic lamp. With a genie, probably. What a lucky day…if I ignored how deep I dug. I can see how I deep I went as I laid on the ground, looking up to the even farther sky. Eh, that can be managed.
I wonder who buried the lamp here, though…? Meh, that’s another story for another day. I was looking for supernatural stuff, so I should try to make contact with it now!
Taking some seconds for air and enduring the aching of my limbs as I stood up, I tugged and pulled the soil-covered and golden-looking lamp out. Seeing the faint sheen of the metal behind the dirt increased my excitement. I reached my hand out to rub it, but I paused.
What if this lamp has no genie? What if this lamp has an evil genie? If the former happens, this is probably going to be a comedy. If the latter happens, this is probably going to be a horror. My memories that involved supernatural stuff were filled up with scary fictional stuff, but being actually near something seemingly supernatural still felt like a new experience. But I’ve gone so far today, and I don’t want to waste any more time. If things go bad…I think I can manage…
I rubbed the lamp–Wait, don’t just use your bare hand! Use your sweaty shirt!
I took my sweaty shirt off and rubbed the lamp with it. As the dirt got rubbed off, I felt it warm up and saw it shine and emit steam and smok. I dropped it before it could start scalding my hand, which I used to shield my shutting eyes from the blast of light that eventually came with the hissing steam.
And then I heard a deep yawn. Whether it was the yawn of evil or not, I didn’t have a solid idea, but I felt nervous. The possibility is still there…
“I have been awakened…” said a kinda mid-high voice. “…who has awakened me?”
“Me! I awakened you!” I shouted, taking my hand off my opening eyes.
From the floating steam and smoke around the lamp, there was a slender and topless tan man. His bottom was a white mass of smoke that formed like some sort of tail stuck to the gently shining lamp. He looked young, like a teenager or a young adult. On his face was a thin layer of stubble, brown eyes, and he had long black hair pulled back and tied up in a high ponytail. He also wore a small smile on his face as we met eyes.
“I knew the plan would work,” he said, probably to himself. Then he looked up at the orange sky above us. And then he looked back at me, still smiling, but now wider and for a moment. Something very worrying must be why he quickly started frowning so deep and speaking with a lower voice. He’s probably worrying about whether if I’m a good wisher or not. I very much understand that feeling.
“So…” he continued, “I am a genie, like in the legends. You have heard of Aladdin’s tale, yes?”
“A lot of variations, I have heard, and I do know about the tale having a genie,” I replied, gulping as I kept eye contact with him to show trustworthiness. “Three wishes, right?”
“Correct, but make sure that they are within my power.”
That got me sinking my shoulders, hanging my head, and sighing a bullet of spit out to the floor of soil.
“As you look very disappointed, may I ask what wish you sought to have fulfilled by me?”
“Eternal happiness,” I immediately answered, looking up with a frown at the genie.
The genie then wore a smile that looked like it was filled with pity. “Ah, I do understand that feeling. You thought that you could find true eternal happiness by simply getting in contact with the supernatural, correct?”
My eyes widened. “Huh, so we’re kindred spirits, then?”
“Yes. I had myself turned into a genie and sealed into a lamp–though I have forgotten how because of the very straining transformation process. I thought that I would be able to defeat all the evil in the world that way…until I realized the extent of my power after you had awakened me.”
And then the genie sighed and hung his head.
Indeed, we are kindred spirits.
I let my body fall to the ground again. I’m tired, and I don’t think I need to do a lot of physical movement for now.
“So what now?” I asked after some seconds of silence. “What do you want to do?”
“What do I want to do? Get to eternal happiness, similar to what you want.” The genie sighed again, and I saw him float to my side, a trail of smoke and steam following him. “But it seems that we cannot get to it quickly.”
“The best things in life are the toughest to get until we actually get there, huh?” I said as I tried to keep up a smile.
“Indeed. Oh, and what is your name?”
“Noz. Short for ‘Nozomi.’ If you have to call me ‘Master’ or something like that, no need to. Just call me ‘Noz.'”
“Noz, then. My name…I forgot. I am sorry, Noz.”
I looked at him scrunching his face up in annoyance and confusion. “Transformation and sealing messed your memories up, huh? Want me to name you or something?”
“Hmm…what name do you have in mind, Noz?”
I looked deeper into the orange sky-high above us as I started diving into the depths of my mind…
Actually, I didn’t go really deep.
“‘Shirou’?” the genie asked.
“Wishes and impossible-looking dreams and idiot heroes got me thinking of some fictional character from some story that I’ve been reading,” I said with a smile at him. “You should read that visual novel sometime. Without the sex scenes.” I quickly whispered the last part with a twitching eye as I looked back at the sky. “Oh, and is that name okay with you?”
He took some seconds. I wasn’t sure about how long he took while I stared at the sky and let my aching limbs recover.
“I do not know much about this ‘Shirou’ character, but it does not sound like a bad name. And you do not seem rude enough to insult me through the naming process. Shirou, then.”
I looked at him again, and both of us were smiling now.
“Now, the next problem we should deal with is…you going out of this hole,” Shirou continued, gazing up at the sunset-dyed sky above the opening of the deep hole we were in.
Instincts honed by worthwhile leadership and personality development lessons sent me into forming a plan in my mind quickly. Not just a plan for getting out of this whole, but for plans in the long run. Shirou here, like any other human, should have a good life, and an essential part of a good life of a human is having a friend.
“Before we try to go out of this hole, Shirou, I have some questions,” I asked after some moments of forming a plan.
“What are those questions, Noz?” he said with a raised eyebrow.
“Are ‘making yourself have a human body’ and ‘unlimited wishes’ within the reach of your powers?”
“The first is within my reach, while the second is not.”
“How about ‘relinquishing your connection with the lamp or genie powers’?”
“That is possible. Why have me relinquish my powers, though?”
I looked at him with a melancholic expression. “With the world we live in these days, powers like yours would probably make things worse most of the time. Most humans easily get drunk in power. We need to keep ourselves in control. I do not know if you would agree, but…” I paused, almost saying ‘wish.’ I’m not exactly sure about how Shirou’s powers are triggered, and I did not want an accidental wish.
Shirou nodded. “I see. I do not know much of how the world has changed ever since I had myself transformed and sealed, but the problem you speak of is something that I have encountered in my days before becoming a genie. Indeed, we must work harder.”
I smiled. “Yeah. And we can be better. So, I got my three wishes now. Fulfill them in order, please.”
“Go on and wish, Noz,” Shirou encouraged with a gentle tone. “Your wish is my command.”
I stayed silent for a few seconds, and then I took a deep breath.
“Take me back to my house’s living room, turn your body into a human body, and relinquish your genie powers.”
I felt my abdomen being pulled along with the rest of my body. Dizziness struck me, colors flashing, and a zooming rumble rushing through my ears. And after some seconds, I found the sight of my large living room becoming clearer.
A loud hissing rang beside me as I found myself feeling soil on my back while sitting on the couch. I felt steam and smoke scatter around the room as I looked around and saw a naked Shirou sitting with legs crossed beside me.
“Welp, looks like the wishes were successfully granted,” I told my new friend.
With closed eyes and a small smile, he nodded. “Indeed.” And then he opened his eyes and looked at me. “Now, I would like to ask for clothes, Noz.”
“Of course,” I complied as I walked up to the second floor, where my room is. I tilted my head back, enduring some pain while looking like I was doing a certain animation studio’s head tilt with a wide smile. “And you shall be staying here…for as long as you like, Shirou, my new friend.”
“Thank you very much, my new friend.”
I saw a glimpse of Shirou smiling wider before I put my neck back in a world of less pain.
As I went up the stairs, I raised my free right hand and shouted.
“Get ready, Shirou! Chaos awaits no matter what path we take in life! But we can find happiness! Never forget those things!”