Disclaimer: I do not own the .Hack franchise or any of its content. This is made for entertainment purposes only.
Within a field in the World RX, a young male Twin Blade with brown hair, wearing light, black armor, is currently fighting the last remnant of Morganna, who has been in hiding all of these years within the World through its evolution and has now taken on a physical form like Aura, but her appearance is that of a silent hooded figure instead of an eye as she is no longer a system to the World thanks to Kite and his friends. As he was avoiding Morganna's attack, he manages to get his two teammates, both of whom appeared to be unconscious, out of the area. Despite being at a decent level of 62, he wasn't able to do much damage to the formerly omnipotent and solidified remnant, easily being overwhelmed. He then sees the bodies of his teammates beginning to disappear, but didn't have time to mourn.
"Geez, what can I do to defeat this AI?" The Twin Blade said while panting as Morganna patiently waits for his next move.
"Tell me! How the heck did you manage to survive!? You should have been destroyed in the first game!" Morganna stays silent to the player's scream.
"You are really starting to piss me off! If you won't talk, I will make you! Eat this!"
The Twin Blade charges at the hooded Morganna. He takes out his Stealth Blades and prepares his next attack within a second of reaching Morganna.
"DARKNESS SLASH!" The Twin Blade manages to hit the AI, creating a strong shockwave upon impact.
When the smoke clears, however, Morganna remains unfazed, much to the shock of the Twin Blade. This time, Morganna makes her move and attacks using a small blade. Morganna's fast movements put the Twin Blade on the defensive, being barely able to hold back until Morganna breaks through his defense within seconds and easily knocks him back at least thirty feet. Barely being able to get up, the defenseless Twin Blade takes a look at the approaching Morganna, cursing himself for his pending defeat.
"Is this really going to be my fate? Will I fail like I did with my family?"
Believing this to be his last moment in the World RX, the Twin Blade started having flashbacks that led up to the event.
"I am sorry Ryuu!" An older woman was seen sobbing as she hugged a young emotionless boy who looked remarkably similar to the Twin Blade.
"Its okay Auntie. I am okay." Ryuu lied to prevent her from crying any further.
They are seen sitting in a mortuary where two coffins are placed in the front with family members making a speech, remembering the people laying there in the coffin. One of the mourners then reveals that the two people were Ryuu's parents, who were among the victims of a fatal accident killing six people. One of the mourners then asked Ryuu if he had any final words to say. At the urging of the woman next to him, Ryuu reluctantly walks to the front.
"For all of my life, my parents have shown love, care, and support. They watched me passed when I took the Kanken when I was in fifth grade, they hugged me when I was crying after losing my first football game and getting hurt in the head after, they even gave me a dog so I wouldn't feel alone whenever they are gone. They are the best parents a kid could ask for and...and..."
Unable to keep his composure any longer, Ryuu finally breaks down and starts sobbing uncontrollably.
"I couldn't ask for anything else other than them and I will miss them very much!"
As Ryuu started crying the aunt rushes to give him a hug after saying his last words and then came back to the seat after calming down.
After the funeral, Ryuu is seen carrying a backpack and a carry on while the Aunt carries his luggage before moving to her home, where his uncle is waiting for him.
A month has passed by since the funeral and Ryuu, while slowly adjusting, is still in a very depressed state, blaming himself for his parents' fate. Not wanting her nephew to remain this way, she recommended him to play some games to get his mind off of what happened, willing to pay for an expensive online game for him. After looking through the list, he stumbled upon a game that interested him known as The World R:2 and has been hooked on it ever since. While feeling like a bit of an outcast at first in the massive multiplayer online game, he soon makes friends with a female Harvest Cleric named Sakai and a male Edge Punisher named Ishii.
"That's not how you talk to a girl Taka!" Sakai refers to Ryuu as the name he has chosen for his character.
"Come on! We've got another adventure ahead of us!"
Those were some of the words Ryuu remembers the most during his adventures as Taka, which lasted until the game's closure. A weak party at first, the three grew stronger and started collecting items and winning several battles in the arena. Remembering the morality lessons taught to him by his parents, Taka also prevented PKs from attacking weak players once he is strong enough to fight back against them. Life in The World R:2 couldn't have gotten any better until The World RX came out. After The World R:2 suddenly came to an end in 2018, Ryuu then meets Sakai and Ishii in the real world and quickly became friends, much to his aunt's delight, who has seen him smile for the first time since he started living with her. Within two years, The World RX was released and the trio then went back with their characters and status remaining intact.
"All right, is everyone ready?" Taka asked.
"Yeah!" Ishii and Sakai both responded enthusiastically.
After two months of playing in the new game, the party then discovered a figure shrouded in dark aura. Thinking it was just a rare monster, the party attacks it. Sakai attempted to freeze it, but the figure easily broke free, much to everyone's surprise. She then raised Ishii's attack status and Ishii then swung his heavy broadsword, but much to his surprise, the figure emerged unscathed. Realizing that they are fighting a strong opponent, Taka advised the others to attack on all sides.
"It shouldn't be able to attack all three of us if we surround the monster! Let's go!"
The three of them charged at the figure, but it was able to get away by jumping. Getting frustrated, Ishii charges towards the figure, but as soon as he comes within range, the figure quickly attacks Ishii with a small blade hidden under the cloak, resulting in the latter's instant defeat.
"Ishii, are you there? Answer me!" Taka knew that something is wrong when Ishii's player did not respond from his computer.
"Sakai, we've got to get out of here! Ishii is not responding!"
Before the two were able to get out, however, the figure stabs Sakai from the back before she can get away, causing her to go unconscious.
"Sakai! Sakai! Can you hear me!?" Realizing that she became another victim in real life, Taka can only stare at disbelief.
"What kind of a game is this?" Taka asked himself.
Seeing that the figure has no intention of letting Taka escape, he decides to hold his ground.
"I don't know what you are, but you are going to pay for hurting my friends!"
Taka then charges at the figure, but his attacked was easily avoided. The figure then kicked Taka on the side, sending him flying backwards. The wind, however, pulls down the figure's hood, revealing what appears to be a large eye for a head, which Taka immediately recognizes.
"Morganna, but how?" Taka then stands up and prepares to face the AI.
"I see that you have taken a physical form now since you are no longer a system to the game, but even so, you can't still be alive, especially after Aura merged with you to become the Ultimate AI. Unless...you are a leftover remnant of the old system!"
Morganna then takes advantage of her physical form and Taka's disbelief and quickly overwhelms him. Unable to fight back, Taka can only defend himself while trying to protect his already defeated friends.
Taka struggles to get up, but is completely defenseless against the approaching Morganna. Remembering his parents and his friends' apparent demise, Taka then wills himself up.
"For what you did to them, I swear I will stop you no matter what!"
Morganna then attempts a finishing blow at Taka. Suddenly, Taka is able to partially read where the blade will hit and aims for Morganna herself, stabbing the remnant in the eye. However, while he was able to avoid an instant defeat, the blade still manages to pierce through his chest, despite being covered in light armor. Morganna then disappears once and for all from the world. The heavily damaged Taka then sees his friends' digital bodies disappear before losing strength to stand. Realizing that he is losing consciousness in real life and that the same fate is happening to his friends, Ryuu shows regrets of not being able to protect them.
"At least I was able to avenge you..." Ryuu said before his consciousness disappears.
"Wake up..." A woman's voice was heard in Taka's ear.
"W-What...?" Taka struggles to open his eyes.
"Wake up..." The woman said again.
When Taka opens his eyes, his sight is covered with a bright light. He could then see a girl wearing a loose flowing dress and a white shawl coming towards him. With Taka's knowledge of the world due to his four years of gameplay, he eventually recognizes the girl.
"Aura, the spirit of the World..." Taka weakly said.
"You have my thanks for bringing back the last peace of my mother to me. For that, your fate shall be rewarded."
Aura told Taka before both of them were engulfed by the light.
Taka then wakes up and the first thing he sees was a girl with white wings on her blue hair above him. The girl then rubs Taka's head and smiles at him.
"I see that you are finally awake. I was beginning to think you wouldn't wake up."
"An angel?" Taka asked still half-asleep.
"Sorry, but I am not an angel." The girl responded.
"Where am I...?"
"I don't know. You were like this when I found you. If you wanted to get some sleep, you should have logged out."
It took Taka some time for him to return to his senses. Upon finding out what is going on, he started to panic.
"Woah!" Taka immediately got up from the girl's lap.
"What?" The girl became surprised.
"Why were you suddenly giving me a lap pillow?" Taka yelled embarrassed.
"Because you looked very comfortable sleeping."
After taking a good look at the girl, Taka immediately starts feeling attracted to her, but tries to hide it. In addition to the pair of white wings on her head, the girl's attire consist of a light-blue dress with an exposed midriff and an extra pair of white wings on her back with a miniskirt and white leggings. Her forehead also shows a red wave symbol. Taka felt that she looked familiar, but can't remember exactly who she is despite his high knowledge of the games. The girl stares at Taka with a confused look, waiting for him to say something.
"Um, how long was I out when you first saw me?"
"About thirty minutes. You looked like you were in pain so I felt it wasn't right to leave you."
"I see. Thank you for taking care of me while I was unconscious." Taka shows his gratitude.
"Oh, I am Taka by the way. I have been playing The World for nearly four years."
"I am Subaru, the former leader of the Crimson Knights. Nice to meet you."
The name finally struck Taka and immediately realizes who she is. "Subaru!? The Subaru!? The Heavy Axeman who lead the Crimson Knights during the first game!? You guys were a very powerful influence back then! There is even a Subaru fan club and are the most active every time a new game is released! You have no idea of the chaos that happens afterwards."
Hearing this, Subaru turned a little red. "I never even heard that there was such a club. Its a little embarrassing thinking about it."
"Hahaha! You don't have to worry about me then since I am not part of that club."
"Hmm? You never were a fan? Now that I have heard of it, I am feeling a little disappointed hearing that from you."
"Sorry about that. I have friends to hang out with than to hang out with some strangers that idolize one person. You cannot always make a decent friend with those kind of people, you know?"
"I guess that is true." Subaru got up and picked up her light-blue axe that was leaning on a tree nearby.
"So how did you get here?"
Taka hesitated a little bit. Seeing that Morganna has disappeared for good, the story of him fighting the last remnant of the hostile AI would not sound realistic, even in the game world.
"Let's just say that we faced a rare monster that managed to get the entire party."
Recalling that event, Taka remembers something and starts to get anxious. "Oh no, my friends! After they were defeated, I wasn't able to contact them! I got to log out!"
Subaru tries to calm Taka down as he vainly tries to log out. "Taka, please calm down. I am pretty sure your friends are fine."
"No! Usually I am able to contact them, even after their characters' died, but now I cannot hear from them! What's worse is that I can't log out to see if they are okay!"
"Taka, it's okay. If that monster is an anomaly in the game, it can only really affect the players if its still alive. Most of it has already been taken care of by our friends and those in The World R:2. You did defeat the monster, right?"
"Yeah, nearly at the cost of my character's life though. The monster was able to impale me at the chest while I managed to get a fatal spot after many tries."
"Then everything will be okay."
"That doesn't explain why I can't contact my friends or log out."
"This is just a guess, but if an anomaly that affects the players is destroyed in real life, the effects do wear off, but not immediately. There are some cases where it took weeks or months. The case shouldn't be that severe since it was already defeated so I think all you need to do is wait until communications come back online. Whatever happened to your friends will also wear off as well."
Taka calms down completely after hearing Subaru's words. "Thanks Subaru, I feel a lot better."
"Now then, how about you come with me and explore this new world?" Subaru asked.
Taka becomes surprised at Subaru's offer. "You want me to come with you?"
"Seeing that you have been worried about your friends, I can tell I can trust you. I think it will be okay. There are people I would like you to meet anyway."
"You will see."
Taka then follows Subaru to a Chaos Gate not too far from the area. As soon as they went in, Taka realizes that they were transported to Mac Anu.
"It feels good to be back at Mac Anu after that battle. So who are the people whom you want me to meet?"
"Hmm, they should be here soon."
"Subaru-sama!" A male voice was heard.
"SUBARU-SAMA!" A group of male voices shouted.
"Wait, don't tell me." Taka turns and sees the Silver Knight along with other former members of the Crimson Knights heading towards Subaru.
"Subaru-sama, are you alright!? You have been gone for a while!" Silver Knight asked in desperation.
"I am fine. All I did was pick up some lonely player who was napping on the fields." Subaru joked.
"Hey!" Taka protested.
Silver Knight then immediately took notice of Taka and closely examines him, much to the latter's discomfort.
"I don't know, Subaru-sama. Do you think you could really trust this guy?"
"He is alright. He appears to be a fan of the Crimson Knights himself."
Silver Knight then becomes apologetic. "He is? My apologies to you player for my rude greeting. Please don't think less of us."
"No, no! Its okay. I understand that you guys are cautious of Subaru-sama, because I am pretty sure that she and you have been targeted by PKers before. My name is Taka by the way."
"I am the Silver Knight, former member of the Crimson Knights. Do you want an autograph from Subaru-sama or one of us?"
Taka politely rejected. "Thank you, but that won't be necessary. Subaru is planning to have me follow her around The World anyway."
"WHAT!?" The Silver Knight and the rest of the Crimson Knights surround the young Twin Blade, pointing their weapons at him, causing him to stand still out of fear.
"You dare to follow Subaru-sama wherever she goes!? Tell me, what do you plan to do to her afterwards!?" The Silver Knight yelled.
"I really am not going to do anything, I swear! Subaru was the one who asked me to follow her!"
"Like I can believe that! Why would she...?"
"All of you, please put your weapons down." Subaru ordered the Crimson Knights.
"But Subaru-sama..." The Silver Knight tried to protest, but was stopped by Subaru.
"I was the one who indeed asked Taka if he wanted to follow me. He had no intention to do so until I asked him so the blame should be put on me. Those extreme ideals of yours was one of the reasons why the Crimson Knights was disbanded in the first place."
"Subaru-sama..." The Silver Knight was the first to reluctantly put his sword down and his followers followed soon after.
"I am sorry about what transpired here Taka. They just tend to be quite overprotective."
"I guess that part hasn't changed much since the first game."
"No. Come on, we better go or else they will probably come after you."
"Right." Taka then continues following Subaru around Mac Anu.
"Even the same towns have changed quite a bit since I stopped playing. The World has evolved greatly over these last ten years hasn't it?"
"I have only been playing for nearly four years as I mentioned before in the fields, but yeah, Mac Anu looks a bit different compared to the one in The World R:2."
"So you never had the chance of playing the first game, huh?"
"No. I've heard a fire destroyed most of The World's game data so they created The World R:2 to replace it. I would have preferred to play the first game if that was still an option for me back then."
"So what made you want to play the game in the first place?"
Hearing Subaru asking a very personal question he didn't want to talk about, Taka froze in his tracks and slowly starts hyperventilating as flashbacks of his parent's death starts occurring in his head.
"Taka?" Subaru becomes concerned over Taka's strange reactions.
Starting to lose his grip on reality, Taka grabs his head in pain, wishing for these painful memories to go away. Subaru, however, grabs his hands.
"Taka!" Hearing Subaru's voice, Taka finally calms down.
"Are you okay?"
"I am now." Taka is still breathing heavily.
"I am sorry for asking such a personal question. I guess the reason must have been horrible for you, huh?"
"Sorry about what you saw. I just couldn't hold it in remembering what happened to me."
"If it makes you feel better, I also did not have a good experience, which also made me play the game years prior."
Taka remains silent, not knowing what to say. Wanting to dispel the awkwardness, Subaru claps Taka's hand.
"Let's try not to dwell on our bad memories and focus on making the best this new world has to offer us, okay?" Subaru smiled.
Taka nodded at Subaru and they started spending quite a bit of time together in the game. Their activities range from exploring the fields and dungeons and fighting monsters to more safe and pleasurable activities such as shopping and riding a boat down the river, almost as if they are on a date. As they continue to spend more time with each other, both of them started smiling brightly and very much enjoying each other's company. Soon, however, the sky becomes dark just as it is in the real world and Taka becomes unsure on whether to continue spending more time with Subaru or calling it a day.
"Hey Subaru..." Before Taka can continue, Subaru interrupts.
"There is one more place I like to visit before we end it. Is that okay?" Subaru asked.
Seeing that this one seems to be important to her, Taka accepts Subaru's request. They went to the Chaos Gate again and went to the fields at night. Luckily, there were no monsters insight, allowing them to enjoy the night in peace. Taka then sees Subaru staring at the starry night sky. He then does the same and started to admire the beauty of it compared to the night sky back in the real world.
"Beautiful..." Subaru said in a soft voice.
"It is. The stars shine more brightly here than the sky outside of my house."
"I agree. Such beautiful nights are not one I want to miss, which is why I come to the fields ever since coming back from the game. I kind of wished that the parts of the game is the world we can live in, where both of us can live in." Subaru grabs Taka's left hand with her right hand, holding it tight as she looks at the night sky.
Seeing Subaru's gleaming eyes and knowing that she truly cares for him, Taka decides to overcome his past and tell Subaru the truth.
"I think I am ready to tell you now."
"Tell me what?"
"Why I started playing the game. When I was a boy, I was very attached to my parents. My parents were proud of me for my academic accomplishments in school and as a son. They do whatever they can to make sure I lived a happy life. They took care of me when I was hurt both physically and mentally. Then not long after I turned 12, my parents were going to have dinner together with other relatives while I was being watched by my aunt. Then a call came, the police told me that my parents were among the victims of a fatal accident. Remembering all the times I had with them, I couldn't come out of my shell despite my aunt's best efforts and remain depressed. I started escaping from reality, only recalling the memories I have with my parents."
Taka then wipes some tears coming out of his eyes.
"My aunt became desperate to get me to move on so she decided that maybe some games will help get my mind off of the tragedy. She persisted until I agreed and that is how I started playing. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I made friends both here and there, my grades started to come back up, my relationship with other members of my family started to improve not long after. It felt like that the missing piece inside of me is starting to fill up. That's why I continued playing, I wanted to feel the same joy with my friends as I've had with my mother and father."
"I see." Hearing that story, Subaru becomes even more sympathetic, but admires him more for his courage to speak of his tragedy.
"If you are not afraid to tell then I shouldn't be as well. Its not as bad as yours, but some parts of your story I can relate to. In real life, I am a paraplegic student due to a car accident that occurred four years prior before I started playing The World. I enjoyed the game, because I can do things I can no longer do in real life such as walk or run. Even though I stopped playing years ago, I still felt the same joy every time I come back. I can tell from your eyes that you have suffered as well, which is why I had you follow me in hopes that we can bring more joy to each other."
"Subaru..." Taka felt touched at Subaru's attempt to understand his tragedy.
"Anyway, its time for me to log out. I hope to see you tomorrow, Taka."
As Taka continues to gaze at the night sky, Subaru turns around and head towards him. To Taka's surprise, he felt a kiss on the cheek from Subaru, causing him to feel embarrassed and hold the area where she kissed.
"See you tomorrow." Subaru disappeared in an instant.
Taka then attempts to log out, but still to no avail.
"It looks like I will be spending the night in the game then, but even that doesn't seem bad."
Remembering Subaru's kiss on the cheek and the feelings of joy and excitement from his time with Subaru, Taka felt a sudden change inside of him.
"Am I falling for Subaru?" Taka asked himself silently before falling asleep on the grass.
When Taka opens his eyes, he found himself in the hospital room and is surprised to see his body (as Ryuu) laying on one of the hospital beds.
"Is that me?"
Taka then saw the real world Sakai and Ishii laying unconscious in the hospital beds in the same room.
"Sakai! Ishii! No no no! This can't be happening! Wake up! Please wake up!"
As Taka vainly tries to wake up his own body as well as his unconscious friends, he then sees a white light engulfing his sight.
"GAH!" Taka immediately gets up from the grass after a nightmare and breathes heavily.
"Was that a nightmare?" Taka then looks up at the night sky.
"Is this all a dream?"
Taka could not fall back to sleep and waited until daylight in Mac Anu. Subaru then came to Taka as promised, but noticed that he is not as energetic as he was yesterday.
"Taka, are you alright? I came as promised."
"Subaru? Yeah, I am fine."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. I just had a nightmare, that's all."
"If its your inability to log out, I am pretty sure that its still only a temporary thing, okay? Just give it a couple more days."
"I will. So what's your plan today?" Taka asked.
"Maybe we could explore the dungeons and fields a little more since I am still new to this world. Is that okay?"
"That's fine. I would like to get the troubles off of my mind, even if its just for a little while."
"Then let's go." Subaru then grabs Taka's hand and they started exploring more of RX.
Convinced that the world in the game felt more like reality than his nightmare, Taka decides to enjoy himself, not wanting Subaru to feel worried about him. However, despite having fun, Taka felt that there is something out of place in this game, including Subaru such as why she decided to come back to playing The World all of a sudden since her player is already retired and why he still isn't able to log out. He nonetheless continues to enjoy his time with the player he fell in love with for the next few days, although hiding his feelings, not knowing whether Subaru feels the same about him or not.
"Ghh! What are you wearing Taka!" Subaru tried holding her laugh after seeing Taka trying on an ugly hat in a store.
"You better be careful if you are going to wear something like this or you are going to attract a lot of other male players." Taka commented on the dress Subaru bought a day later.
They continue to joke around with each other every time they start trying on new clothes or accessories and ended up laughing together in some cases, though Taka still remains a little cautious despite becoming more relaxed.
"Ryuu, please wake up." Taka suddenly heard Sakai's voice in his head.
"Come back to us Ryuu. We still have an adventure waiting for us in the game." Ishii's voice was heard as well.
"What the-? How come I can hear my friends? They are nowhere nearby." Taka becomes more unsure about himself.
"Taka, are you sure you are really okay? If this is not the best time then maybe I should come back later."
"I am fine, really. I just thought I maybe hearing things."
"Please try not to push yourself too hard if you feel something is wrong."
"I won't. Come on, let's go."
After the voices in his head dies down, Taka calms down and resumes spending the day with Subaru. Taka starts feeling more at peace being with her and even considered hoping that the game world would be his reality instead of the real world.
"Ryuu, everyone is waiting. We are all waiting for you to come back." Sakai's voice was then heard again.
Realizing that he had precious friends in the real world, Taka soon comes to terms and realizes that the nightmare was actually the vision in the real world. They have been in the hospital ever since the fight with Morganna and his friends have awoken earlier than him. Knowing how worried his friends and family are, Taka decides that he will have to return to the real world, despite knowing that the time he spend with Subaru will be like as if it never happened once he wakes up.
"Its kind of strange how two strangers met a few days ago and yet we started becoming close to each other almost immediately. It almost feels like this is something only one can dream of and yet its happening right now." Subaru said while walking around Mac Anu with Taka.
Hearing this, Taka stood dead in his tracks with his head down. Subaru stopped hearing Taka's footsteps and turns around.
"Taka? What's wrong now?" Subaru walks back towards Taka.
"Subaru, these last few days have been some of the best times I've had since I've started playing the game. To be with the most beautiful girl I've ever met in my life. It made me felt like I really did exist here. Shopping, laughing, and spending time together. These memories are something I will cherish always."
Subaru becomes concerned as she listens to Taka. "Taka, where are you going with this?"
"I don't think you are real Subaru. I don't think that any of this is real. This world is actually a dream I am in due to a coma and I am actually laying in the hospital bed back in the real world."
"Taka, please don't say that! You actually considered all of this to be fake!? Don't you want to stay here!?" Subaru shouted as if she is gonna cry.
"I do, but I can't let my friends and family worry about me any longer. I had a nightmare one night showing where me and my friends are and I started to hear their voices calling to me, asking me to wake up. They were crying. At the same time, I cannot continue living in a lie. You have to understand Subaru." Taka suddenly had tears coming out of his eyes as well.
"This isn't fair for me too! I keep asking myself why I was given a life so difficult for me to live in! The times we have been together in this world, do you think I want to throw it all away!? No I don't! It hurts so much to know that you are going to be gone from my life!" Taka cried out.
"Taka!" Subaru rushes towards Taka and both of them shared their first and last embrace.
"I have to go now Subaru, but I promise, I will never forget." Taka tearfully said.
As Taka continues to embrace the tearful Subaru, the world around them begins to crumble.
"I love you, Subaru..."
This was the last thing Taka said to Subaru before she herself disappears in his arms. Everything quickly turns black in front of his eyes.
"Ryuu! Ryuu! Wake up, please!" Taka finally returns back to Ryuu in the real world.
When he opens his eyes, he sees himself surrounded by his worried friends and family. His Aunt was the first one who rushes to embrace him with his uncle watching, crying as she continues to hug him tightly.
"It hurts, Auntie."
"Ryuu, do you know how worried I was when I saw you collapsed in your room! You didn't wake up for more than an entire day!" His aunt screamed.
"Ryuu, thank goodness you woke up." Sakai looks like she is in the verge of tears.
"I am glad to see you are okay as well, Azumi." Ryuu referred to Sakai by her real name.
After his aunt finally released Ryuu from her hug, Ishii immediately puts him in a headlock. "You really gave us a scare when you wouldn't wake up."
"Ken, I am sorry for worrying you, for worrying everyone." Ryuu referred to Ishii by his real name.
Among the tears and embraces, everyone began celebrating in the hospital room and smiles and laughter took over once more.
A few days later...
Ryuu mets Ken in a cafe where he talks about his experiences in his dream.
"I see. To be honest, it sounds too good to happen in real life."
"I know, but it felt so real since I was out for 30 hours. It was really hard to part with her after realizing that none of this was real."
"I guess since you were the one who took the most damage from Morganna, you were affected the most when your character was killed, which is why you were out the longest."
"Hey, do you know Subaru herself?" Taka asked Ken.
"Everyone knows Subaru from the first game. I am already sure you heard that there is already a fan club that idolizes her."
"That much I know."
"If you are talking about the player behind her character, an acquaintance of Sakai actually knows her, but you are going to have to give up on her though."
Ryuu sighs out of disappointment. "I figured. Ten years after retiring from The World, no doubt she would be with someone already by now."
"Yeah, her name was Mariko Misono. According to Sakai's acquaintance, she is already with another girl named An Shoji, who played Tsukasa during the time. Both of them are not even involved with the World anymore."
"So her lover is a girl who played a guy in the game. Her relationship is unexpected, but I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. I just hope that both of them are happy together. By the way, is Mariko a paraplegic?"
"She is. She is currently on a wheelchair due to a car accident that happened when she was young. How did you know that?"
"She told me this in my dream about what happened to her and how, but then maybe it was just a response for telling her my tragic past. Then again, it was so accurate its almost real. Was I really dreaming?"
"You probably were. As strange as it sounds, this wasn't the first case where a person is able to figure somebody out within their own dream, but it is a very rare occurrence."
Hearing this only made Ryuu more saddened. "I see. So everything I heard from her was a mere coincidence."
"I am sorry Ryuu. I know that Subaru meant so much to you in your dream, but in the end, dreams disappear when you wake up."
"I know. It was all just a dream." Ryuu then stares at his own reflection on his cup of coffee.
"A fake dream..."
Ken continues to stare at his slightly depressed friend out of concern.
Ryuu then comes home where he is greeted by his aunt and uncle. When he goes up to his room and turns on the computer, he notices that he has an email, when he opens it to see who it is from, Ryuu immediately stepped back after seeing Aura's name on the letter.
"Aura!? What the heck!?" Ryuu shouted.
As Ryuu reads the content of the letter, he notices a card on the bottom labeled "Promise", showing two grunties in wedding attires looking as if they are about to get married.
"Once you find someone, give it to that one person you want to share your feelings to the most." Ryuu read on the contents of the letter near the card.
"So my meeting with Aura wasn't a dream after all and this card is my reward. I am guessing what Aura didn't know was that I found someone already. Too bad that part was a dream."
Feeling that the card is of no use to him at the moment, Ryuu puts the letter aside and logs into RX, reuniting him with his friends and secretly hopes that one day, he will be able to meet Subaru for real as unlikely as it seems."
"I know that you have already found someone, but if I can see you just one more time, then that's good enough for me." Taka said before going further into the dungeons with Sakai and Ishii.