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Literature / Cerberus High

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Cerberus High: Golden Encore

"...I’m a goner…"
Kazuki Akai, our hopeless protagonist

Cerberus High is a series of novels written by Paige O'Neal-Beedles, revolving around the titular boarding school for canid breeds, people with canine features.

The books, in order of publication:

  • Cerberus High (June 2020)

  • Cerberus High II (March 2021)

  • Cerberus High Hearts Forever Engraved (October 2021)

  • Cerberus High: Golden Encore (April 2022)

The main series also has one spin-off novel:


This book series contains examples of:

     General Tropes 

Adaption Name Change:
  • Ember Hertz ——> Ember Burnz
  • Lumaia Isolde ——> Twila Isolde
  • Shun Demdagos ——> Shun
  • Colombe Dreamcatcher ——> Colombe Hopesfall
  • Akashic Records:
  • All There in the Manual: The Cerberus High wiki includes all of the characters' likes and dislikes as well as other trivial facts.
  • City with No Name: The author seems to avoid disclosing the location of where exactly the story takes place. The only clear thing is what world our characters live in.
  • Colorful Theme Naming:
    • Kazuki Akai's last name is Japanese for red.
    • Rouge's name is French for red.
    • Blanc's name is French for white.
  • Costume Evolution:
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: Archdemons are the disciples of Hades.
  • Elemental Embodiment: The Elemental Embodiments are a group of seven that embody the elements of the multiverse. They are forever immortalized in their prime in the Ultimate Forever-Still Space as empty shells until the multiverse is in peril which isn't destined to happen until long after their original bodies have died. Then, these empty shells will be given life and fight as soldiers of the multiverse. These embodiments are:
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Canid breeds are viewed as inferior compared to their human counterparts.
    • Imps are the Underworld counterpart of canid breeds with how they are treated in their respective world.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Underworld resembles Victorian England/France.
  • Ghost Town: Where the final battle in the Underworld Arc took place.
    • In the Alternate Universe spinoff, Cerberus High: Another Story, this town is revealed to be the one inhabited by Eden Blumenthal. It is abandoned in any other universe besides the one where the spinoff is set in, making those who live in it anomalies who aren't supposed to exist.
  • Great Offscreen War: The archdemons' battle against the Viscera Purgers following the death of Casimir. It's not even shown in a flashback.
  • Hellhound: Ember, Cerberus Kazuki, and of course, the original Cerberus.
  • Humans Are Average: Humans in the Overworld possess no kind of supernatural ability.
  • Horned Humanoid: The demons of the Underworld.
  • The Imp: Imps are a race of lower demons that make up the minority of the Underworld. They are characterized by their unusual skin color, pointed ears, and tail.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Demons in this series are just like humans except they have horns. See Humans Are Average.
  • Little Bit Beastly: The story's canid breeds are a distinct species of humanoids that have physical canine characteristics.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Werewolf-canids don't need the full moon to transform. They can also undergo a semi-transformation where only part of their body becomes were-like.
  • Place of Power
  • Purgatory and Limbo:
    • The Sea of Darkness is where those who have their existence erased and early versions of Forever-Still Spaces reside.
  • Rule of Three: This series is dedicated to this rule. So much so that all the episode/chapter titles are three-worded.
  • Sacred Flames:
  • World of Ham: The author has a penchant for writing extremely hammy dialogue.

     Cerberus High 
The series's first entry follows Kazuki Akai, a fifteen-year-old human orphan, who is transferred to Cerberus High because of an incident five years ago. Kazuki is about to give up and accept his sorry fate until he meets Sherbet Summers, a quirky tanuki that befriends him and becomes his bodyguard, guaranteeing his safety. Kazuki soon becomes hellbent on weeding out all evil that plagues the infamous school  all while trying not to lose his humanity as more and more secrets about the infamous school are revealed.
  • Cheer Them Up with Laughter: When Kazuki was feeling a little down after his fight with Axel, Sherbet proceeded to joke about how popular he's gotten and how she should start protecting him from fangirls now. This succeeds in making him laugh.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower:
    • Kazuki's Cerberus form was achieved by absorbing the departing souls of Sherbet and Axel.
    • Neo ascending and becoming a god.
  • Academy of Adventure
  • Adults Are Useless: As shown with all the Parental Abandonment and zero adult authority at the school.
  • Artificial Human: Kazuki was created by Hades to appear human on the outside but was provided with the blood of the demonic entity, giving him abilities, unlike any human or canid breed that has ever existed.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Apparently how the school’s hierarchy works. Who knows.
  • Axes at School: Given the lack of adult authority.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Vincent brought Rey back after finding him dead and alone as a child.
    • All the Overworld characters who had fallen in the Underworld come back to life after Kazuki defeats Neo.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: Kazuki's cat Cherish was beaten to death by his three foster brothers.
  • Birthday Buddies: Kazuki and Oralee were both born a few minutes apart on the 14th night of September 15 years ago.
  • Blade Lock: Occurs during Neo and Kazuki's fight. The friction of the two blades causing sparks of light and darkness to fly into the air.
  • Boarding School of Horrors: Cerberus High is notorious for being a place you don’t wanna go to.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: When Kazuki has a mental breakdown in Chapter 7 after finding out the Awful Truth, Sherbet and Axel visit him to find out what's wrong only for the human to snap at them. Hurt by his words, Sherbet runs off with Axel chasing after her before they are both ensnared by Elliot's Pandora's Box. Kazuki defeats the cryptid and the three make up just a day later.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The story takes on a much darker tone in the Underworld Arc as more of Rouge’s hidden past begins to unfold before our heroes’ eyes.
  • Collective Groan: In Chapter 17, When Axel informs everyone about Rouge's disappearance.
  • Color-Coded Characters:
    • Kazuki: Orange
    • Sherbet: Pink
    • Axel: Indigo
    • Xiomara: Purple
    • Blanc: White
    • Ember: Beige
  • Dark World/The Underworld: Rouge's homeworld.
  • Death by a Thousand Cuts: Axel suggests this as a way for Kazuki to improve his pain resistance. Except, you know, without the death part.
  • Death of a Child: Two examples.
    • Kazuki's three foster brothers being consumed by Kazuki's Zipping Burst.
    • Rey dying from sepsis from having all of his fingers on his left hand cruelly amputated.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu??: Kazuki managed to defeat Neo in his immortal god form with the assistance of his friends’ souls.
  • Distant Finale: The epilogue takes place one year later on Kazuki’s 16th birthday.
  • Extranormal Institute: Cerberus High is a boarding school for canid breeds.
  • Family Portrait of Characterization: Kazuki notes the opposing auras between Rouge’s parents Casimir and Blair when he finds a family portrait in the patriarch's journal.
  • Group Hug: In Chapter 28 after our main characters return to their homeworld from the Underworld.
  • I Am What I Am: Throughout the story, Kazuki has trouble coming to grips that he isn't as human as he previously thought. In his final battle against Neo D. Fowler in the Underworld, Kazuki Akai discards his vow in preserving his humanity by temporarily absorbing the departing souls of his fallen friends to become the Cerberus Beast. It is then that Kazuki finally accepts who and what he is: not quite human but not quite a canid breed either.
  • Inn Between the Worlds: Kazuki’s Forever-Still is used as a rest point for the Overworld characters as they traverse the Underworld.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: Subverted. During the final battle of the first novel, Sherbet and Axel follow Kazuki to the decisive showdown against Neo, but when the battle seems hopeless, they give up their souls for Kazuki to transform into Cerberus!Kazuki and fight Neo alone.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Illustrated with a lot of backstories. Namely Rey’s with the imp having all his fingers severed on his left hand as a toddler by a bunch of older kids.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The story took a much darker tone with Neo’s introduction in the Underworld Arc
  • Light/Darkness Juxtaposition:
  • Mark of the Beast:
    • A marking you get on the left side of your neck when you first set foot in the school as a sign of officially becoming a Cerberus student. This mark fades away as quickly as you receive it; it only returns whenever one steps outside the school.
    • In his Cerberus transformation, Kazuki's Mark of the Beast becomes enlarged and appears on his chest.
  • Mental World: The space within Kazuki’s heart and mind where he communicates face to face with Rouge.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Rouge.
  • The '90s: This book is mainly set in 1995, while the epilogue takes place in ‘96.
  • The Nose Knows:
    • Canid breeds have a strong sense of smell. This proves how Sherbet was able to instantly tell that Kazuki was human.
    • Rey has a very keen sense of smell and becomes disgusted when he finds out how much Kazuki smells exactly like Rouge.
    • It was implied in Another Story that Eden had inherited his ability to sniff out all of Hades's archdemons and their descendants from his father Vincent.
  • Number of the Beast: These satanic numbers appear on the school's Mark of the Beast brand.
  • Official Couple:
    • Kazuki and Axel
    • Sherbet and Ember
  • Parental Abandonment: Most students attending Cerberus were cast off like trash by their parents to ultimately die in the notorious school.
  • Pilot: The unfinished Prototype Comic that was made in 2018 focusing on the A Mere Human Arc
  • Red Light District: There is one in the Underworld that is brought up twice in the book.
    • Rouge is lured to the middle of the Red Light District by Neo who disguises his presence with Kazuki’s.
    • Neo takes Rey to a Love Hotel in the Red Light District where he kills him.
  • Reincarnate in Another World: Rouge was meant to reincarnate in the Overworld away from the cruelness of the Underworld. Kazuki was created to be that otherworldly body her soul would be put in.
  • Rescued from the Underworld: The initial goal for our characters is to rescue Kazuki from the Underworld. However, this changes when Rouge is kidnapped and a new threat arises.
  • The Reveal: In Chapter 11 it is revealed that there is no school headmaster to begin with.
  • Rule of Seven: There have been only seven archdemons throughout the Underworld's history.
  • School of No Studying
  • Soul Jar: Kazuki was created to only be just a body for Rouge's soul when she reincarnated. However, the reincarnation was botched and Kazuki was given a will of his own while Rouge's soul slumbered within his heart.
    • During the final battle in the Underworld Arc, Kazuki absorbs the departing souls of Sherbet and Axel to transform into Cerberus Kazuki. As Kazuki is fighting Ascended Neo, his friends' souls are inside the stones of his head.
  • Stranger in a Strange School:
    • Kazuki Akai is the Token Human attending a school meant for delinquent canid breeds.
    • Blanc was the only canid breed when he attended his all-human private school.
  • Trapped in Another World: Kazuki gets thrown into the Underworld after a ritual to exorcise Rouge from his body goes horribly wrong.
  • Wham Episode:

     Cerberus High: Another Story 
Cerberus High: Another Story is a Spin-Off novel by Paige O'Neal-Beedles, revolving around the events of an alternate Underworld separate from the one explored in the original Cerberus High novel where Casimir Bellerose's unorthodox ways lead to his archdemonship being stripped and his marriage being destroyed. But this is not his story. Instead, it's the story of his young daughter Rouge and her new life as Sapphire Lilidew.
  • Alternate Self: Coupled with being in an Alternate Universe, this installment takes place fifteen years in the past. This causes many characters to appear not only much younger but also different in the sense of alternate universes.
  • Alternate Universe
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • Requiem cuts off Eden's left arm containing Cerberus during their first fight.
    • In Eden and Requiem's second and final battle, Eden loses the rest of his limbs after breaking free from the stone zombies which held onto him.
  • And I Must Scream/Transflormation: In Requiem's utopia, Neia, Lita, and Akuji become fused with the Tree of Life. Eden is horrified to learn that purger children are still conscious in the state they were in.
  • Big Bad: Requiem. He's the alternate universe counterpart of Rey who became the second-generation head of the Viscera Purgers instead of Neo/Neia.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Eden dies after saving his world and it is revealed that he reincarnated Requiem, blessing the imp with a better life.
  • Cosmic Retcon: With the combined power of Adam's White Onyx Blade and Kazuki's Hades: Raging Blood Burst, Eden erases Requiem's existence and undo all the damage he caused in the Underworld.
  • Childhood Friends: Eden and Colombe's relationship is stated to have been this.
  • Dead Guy on Display: After Nadia is murdered by Requiem, Akuji, and Neia, her body is hanged from the iron fence of someone's home with bullet holes riddling her. Sapphire is the first to come across her and is naturally horrified believing this to be a sign directed specifically at her.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Sapphire was treated like the book's protagonist until her death, which causes Eden to take up her protagonist role.
  • The Hero Dies: Not only does Rouge die but Eden does as well at the end of the book.
  • The '80s: Although not explicitly stated, since Cerberus High II takes place around 2015, this book is set in 1980.
  • Light/Darkness Juxtaposition: Same as the first book but with this installment explaining that Oralee can't exist without Kazuki, due to light not being able to exist without darkness.
  • Ominous Adversarial Amusement: When Requiem tells Eden that it's impossible to kill him Eden laughs after remembering that he has just the ability to defeat someone immortal.
  • Riches to Rags: Blair and Rouge abandon their rich life with Casimir for their own safety and live out modest lives with new identities.
  • Restart the World: After Vincent passed him the torch, Requiem made it his goal to purify the world and make a sanctuary where his people could live happily. He succeeds in this.
  • Ret-Gone: Everyone in Eden's town gets wiped out by Requiem's universe reset. This is due to it being an anomaly that is not supposed to exist in any other universe.
  • Secret Identity: Not wanting to be roped into Casimir's mess, Rouge and her mother leave Casimir and go under new identities. Rouge becomes a blond by the name of Sapphire Lilidew.
  • Significant Anagram: The last name of Rouge's alias Lilidew is an anagram of " will die" making it " Sapphire Will Die" unscrambled.
  • Taken for Granite:
    • In Requiem's new world, all the demons have been turned into rocks.
    • When the zombies restraining Eden become petrified on Requiem's command, Eden's remaining limbs also turn to stone. Eden breaks free at the cost of becoming a quadruple amputee.
  • Telepathy: Elysium Rouge and Eden use this to communicate with each other after the latter becomes deaf and mute.
  • You Remind Me of X: When Eden is devastated when finding out the sheer gravity of Requiem’s universe reset, Elysium Rouge is reminded of Kazuki who fell into the same despair.
  • Like a Son to Me: Why Elysium Rouge is unable to kiss Eden on the lips.

     Cerberus High II 
Twenty years after the first book sees a new generation of Cerberus High students as the main characters. The most noteworthy being Kasumi Akai-Amsel, the adopted daughter of Kazuki and Axel, a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed black fox-canid who becomes excited at the prospect of leading life similar to both of her fathers at her age. This sentiment of hers becomes a horrible reality with the return of an old foe and a premonition of the world ending in where all the creatures of the shadows crawl out of the woodwork.
  • Abstract Apotheosis: Miu is the physical embodiment of the love between the two Overworld gods Shun and Inugami.
  • Attack Reflector: Anyone who tries to break down the Pandora's Box encasing the school would have their attack reflected back on them. Laelaps learns this the hard way when he tries to cut the barrier down with his katana; luckily, Nagisa is there to patch him up.
  • Awful Truth: The fact that everything about Nagisa's character was fabricated since day one, including his love for Kasumi and that his death was used as a means for Red Star's resurrection.
  • Babies Ever After: In the epilogue which takes place five months after the ending shows Xiomara finally giving birth to a baby girl named Twila.
  • Bad Moon Rising: The night of the crimson moon heralds the end of the world.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • No one believed Xiomara's doom's day premonition until the night of the red moon finally came.
    • Those who believe in the existence of cryptids are seen as tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorists.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: The Pandora's Box encasing the school makes calling and receiving phone calls impossible.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The white feather Kasumi relies on to bless her with good dreams at night. Miu is revealed to have given her this years ago which she now uses to protect Kasumi and her friends from being victims of the darkness.
  • Chunky Updraft: The reverberation of Red Star colliding with Seraph Miu's sword with her super star form caused the school below them to levitate and break away.
  • Distant Finale: The epilogue takes place 4 months after the ending.
  • Distant Sequel: Set twenty years after the conclusion of the first book.
  • Dream Weaver: Kasumi is blessed with good dreams every night she puts Miu's feather under her pillow.
  • The Fashionista: Ascelin and Laika are shown to have a passion for fashion.
  • Fashion Model: Xiomara and Blanc had become the biggest supermodels in the entire Overworld since their graduation.
  • Feeling the Baby Kick: Played for drama.
  • The Ghost: Conrad and Oralee are mentioned but never make an appearance in this part.
  • Happily Married:
    • Kazuki and Axel.
    • Xiomara and Blanc.
    • Ember and Sherbet.
  • Harassing Phone Call: Elliot disrupts the peace of Kazuki's and Axel's quiet Tuesday morning with a phone call that reveals he's still and is currently planning the end of the world.
  • The Internet: Due to the story being set in 2015, there are some references to the internet here and there.
  • Light/Darkness Juxtaposition:
  • Named Weapon: Sword of Supernatural Calamity.
  • Never Split the Party: When students start being sent to the Sea of Darkness en masse and the main characters are trapped within the school, Ember advises that they stick together at all costs. This means sleeping together as well.
  • The New '10s: The story is set in late 2014 while the Distant Finale takes place in early 2015
  • Numbered Sequels: This book only has a roman numeral and lacks a subtitle.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Since Miu embodies the strongest element, her wielding the Sword of Supernatural Calamity is bound to have more devastating effects on the world than if it was someone else.
  • Power of Love: What empowers Miu as she embodies the short-lived love between Shun and Inugami.
  • Pregnant Badass: Downplayed with Xiomara, she doesn't fight but is shown riding a motorcycle to the school in the third act.
  • Putting the "Pal" in Principal: Ember and Sherbet are far from being authoritarians as headmaster and deputy headmistress of Cerberus High.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Kasumi confronts Miu wielding the Sword of Supernatural Calamity on the school's rooftop after telepathically hearing her cries for the second time in the night.
  • Saving the World: The main goal for our characters.
  • Show Within a Show: Resolute Blood is an anime that Laelaps and Teumessia are both fans of. No one knows what kind of anime it is.
  • Spin-Offspring: Kazuki's daughter is the main character of this book with Blanc and Xiomara's son Ascelin being a close ally of hers.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Corrupted Miu.
  • We Are Everywhere:
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Grade A for Kasumi, Corrupted Miu, and armored Red Star.


     Cerberus High 1. 5 

  • Abandoned Warehouse: The Fractured Youths's headquarters.
  • Attempted Rape:
  • Brown Note: Blake Rutherford has the capability to whistle in a frequency similar to that of a dog whistle. Canid breeds who are affected by this aren’t able to avoid the auditory assault by covering their ears as the whistle plays inside their heads, giving them the sensation of their brain melting and seeping out. Blake exploits his foes' weakened mental state to predict their future movements and [[take their powers]].
  • Desperately Needs Orders: Most of Xiomara’s assassins were relieved at the league’s dismantlement after her defeat against Kazuki. However, others were furious and wanted someone to give them orders to incite more chaos.
  • Fight Clubbing:
  • The Grim Reaper:
  • Interquel: 1.5 is placed in 1999, four years after the events of the CHI while being 16 years before CHII.
  • Mistaken Ethnicity: Blue Phoenix is a hellhound who suffers from albinism, giving her the appearance of a frosthound-canid. Because of this, she is treated more favorably than other hellhounds.
  • Murder, Inc.: The Fractured Youths is a hitman syndicate composed of Xiomara’s former assassins.
  • The Internet: Because it was the 1990s, a lot of shady activity on the surface web flew under the radar. The Fractured Youths took advantage of this by sending out inquiries to random emails and even posting on Resolute Blood forums in search of potential clients.
  • Invisibility Cloak:
  • Professional Killer: This book’s adversarial squad is a small offshoot of hitmen.
  • Purple Armband of Leadership:
  • Technicolor Fire: Because of Blue Phoenix’s albinism her flames and blue Instead of red.
  • Serial Killer:
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!:
  • Tracking Spell:
  • Unrealistic Black Hole: