November 7th, 2024, the day I got out of the death game, and return to the real world.
The first thing I did once I went to the real world, is find out where Kotomi buried. I spent hours on the net, asking friends who lived close to her, and after 2 weeks of constant searching, I found out where her grave is.
Then I spent weeks working part-time job after part-time job, and finally got the money to go to Japan. Booked the earliest possible flight and took off.
The 6hour flight was the longest 6 hours of my life. Eventually I reached the airport, I asked a guy friend online who I know to bring me there.
“Hey, I guess you are Yumiji?”
Yuji: “Yeah, but you can just call me by my real name, Yuji.”
Takeya: “Then you can call me Takeya. Where do you want to go? The hotel or visit her?”
Yuji: “Hotel first… I want to put down my stuff.”
Takeya: “Okay then.” and we walked to the taxi stand, to wait for a taxi.
Takeya: “Are you sure you don’t want to stay at my place? My parents are overseas, so you are free to stay as long as a month if you want.”
Yuji: “Not going to stay for that long, and I don’t want to impose you…”
Takeya: “It’s fine… You haven’t book it yet right?”
Yuji: “No, I didn’t book.”
Takeya: “Just stay at my place, I’m lonely at home and besides, you can save money to do more things!”
Yuji: “Fine… Thank you so much…”
We took the taxi and went to Takeya’s house.
Yuji: “Your house is huge…”
Takeya: “That’s why it’s better to have you around, at least my place won’t be very quiet…”
We then entered his home.
Takeya: “Follow me, the room is upstairs.”
We moved upstairs. Takeya opened a room door.
Takeya: “This will be your suite.”
I walked in.
Yuji: “This room is so huge!”
Takeya: “Just use it however you like, it’s a guest room.”
Yuji: “A guest room? Your place sure is massive…”
Takeya: “How long do you need to prepare?”
Yuji: “Give me about an hour, let me unpack and change clothes, then we can go.”
Takeya: “Sure, remember to bring your coat, it’s cold outside.”
Yuji: “Thanks for reminding.”
Takeya: “Oh yeah, Christmas is next week and the New Years is the week after, want to stay around till then?”
Yuji: “I don’t know if my money will last…”
Takeya: “I can provide financial assistance.”
Yuji: “I can’t… You already let me stay at your place.”
Takeya: “Just take it as you borrowing money from me, you can transfer the money over once you are back home.”
Yuji: “Okay then… I will have to tell my parents.”
Takeya: “Yay!” and he closes the door.
I turned on the heater in the room and unpack my bags. An hour later, we moved out, took a bus to the graveyard.
Takeya: “What is in that bag? Looks massive.”
Yuji: “Just something…”
After a long bus ride later, we reached our stop.
Takeya: “Want me to wait here while you go talk to her?”
Yuji: “It’s fine, you can join me.”
We walked into the graveyard, and found her grave.
Yuji: “This is it.”
Takeya: “Take your time, I will just wait here.”
Yuji: “I won’t be taking too long.”
I walked to the gravestone, unzips my bag and places my NerveGear right in front of it.
Yuji: “Hi… It’s been a long time. Sorry that I couldn’t attend your funeral and also taking so long just to get here… I wish you could forgive me, for being a useless guy… It’s time for me to go, hopefully I can visit you again…”
I turned around.
Yuji: “I’m done, let’s go.”
Takeya then passes me a handkerchief.
Takeya: “Your tears…”
I touched my face.
Yuji: “Oh…” and I grabbed the handkerchief. “Thank you…”
Takeya: “Anytime… Have you found closure now?”
Yuji: “Yeah… I feel better now…”
Takeya: “Want to go somewhere to celebrate you from surviving SAO?”
Takeya: “Let’s drink! I know a place. We can also settle dinner in the meantime.”
“Erm… You are…?”
“Are you here to visit my sister?”
Yuji: “Erm… yeah… I’m… her boyfriend…”
“Ah, you are the wonderful boyfriend that she likes to show off all the time? My name is Kotoha… Nice to meet you…”
Yuji: “Hi… Nice to meet you too.”
Kotoha: “Were you playing SAO too?”
Yuji: “Yes… Thats why I took so long.”
Kotoha: “It must be hard…”
Kotoha: “I guess you know how my sister died?”
Yuji: “She got murdered… in-game… because I couldn’t protect her…”
Kotoha: “It’s fine, we won’t blame you… It’s nothing you could do back then…”
Yuji: “I’m so sorry… for being unable to protect your sister…”
Kotoha: “I told you, we won’t hold it against you, you tried your best. My parents would be glad if I told them that she had someone to lean on, someone around to protect her…”
Yuji: “I see…”
Kotoha: “Looks like you have to go, I won’t hold you any longer.”
Yuji: “It’s nice to meet you…” and I bowed.
Takeya and I then walked away. We took the bus and rode back to town. We then went to a bar and opened the door.
“I’m sorry we are reserved for the day.”
“This place is reserved for an SAO reunion party…”
Takeya: “Oh I see… Wait… Yuji played SAO!”
“Really? Join us then!”
Yuji: “What about you?”
Takeya: “I can find somewhere else to eat. You know your way back right?”
Takeya: “Then have fun!”
Yuji: “But…” and he left me with the other SAO survivors.
“So what was your username in-game?”
Yuji: “My username was Yumiji… I was part of the Knights of the Blood guild…”
“I was part of the guild too! My name is Almara in-game! My real name is Usagi.”
Yuji: “Ah, nice to meet you… I don’t remember you in-game though…”
Usagi: “The guild is massive after all, so I don’t expect you to remember everyone… Eh? Asami, why are you crying?”
I turned around, a girl is crying.
Asami: “No reason!” and she wipes her tears.
Usagi: “She’s part of the guild too! Her in-game name is…” and Asami covers her mouth.
Asami: “My in-game name is Elimi.”
Yuji: “Oh I see…”