BTOG 121 – The Last Memory

Tl note: changing erosion to corruption, for obvious reason.

<<Result: Removing the [Wrath] corruption>>

<<Result: Terminating the activation of [Furious Rage]>>

<<Result: Bad Status [Kishin Corruption] has been granted.>>

System Message: The death of the dead skill user has activated the counselling system.

“eh…?”

I had lost all of my HP at the hands of Kohaku and had been sent to a mysterious white room without respawning.

Two chairs were placed facing each other in a pure white room, and there was a door in front of them. There’s nothing else here. I was seated in one of the chairs.

My avatar remained the same as when I was under the effect of the dead skill, black cracks covered my entire body.

“Excuse me.”

“Iris?”

“Yes, that’s right, traveler Sukuna. It hasn’t been too long since the last time we met.”

The one who opened the door and came in was Iris, the navigator.

She was the NPC in charge of exchanging items in the safe room for all players during this event; her feature is similar to the nun-like character who was usually in charge of tutorials.

She sat down in a chair facing me and took out a large menu card.

“This is a counseling room. Originally this was a space for comforting otherworld travelers who had exceeded a certain emotional level when they were wandering in my world.”

“Originally?”

“Yes. Your dead skill [Furious Wrath] was created with an assumption that a traveler will be the one who active it, it will be triggered when the emotional value of the traveler reaches an abnormal level, and most travelers would have their souls returned to their original world.”

“most… So there are conditions under which they are not returned?”

“Yes. I’m not going to go into details, but simply put, if a traveler has the ability to accept an emotional value to the point that their spirit does not collapse even after activating [Furious Rage], they will not be forced to return to their original world. In your case, five minutes is your utmost limit.”

I’m sorry to Iris for explaining this so carefully, but my mind is not working at all right now.

Even with that all information she gave me, I could only give a vague response.

“I feel like I can’t use my brain right now… anyway, why did Iris come to meet me?”

“Counseling, or perhaps it’s more accurate to call it confirmation. If you are not able to calm down your emotion and regain your normal state of mind, we will have to restrict your visit for a while. Traveler Sukuna, your condition is acknowledged as normal, but due to the effects of your dead skill, we will limit your visit for two days.”

I see. So you’re here to check if I’m mentally unstable? Is it possible that my condition is written on that big menu card?

It’s hard to tell because Iris doesn’t use many game-like terms, but it looks like I won’t be able to log in for two days.

Oh well, I also feel tired. I think it’s a good idea to let things cool down for a couple of days.

“…okay, that’s fine.”

“I hope you’ll come back to visit again. Traveler Sukuna, thank you for protecting my world.”

Her expression did not change, but her feeling of gratitude is unquestionably conveyed.

It was a brief encounter that lasted only about five minutes.

My world, huh?

That’s right. to think of it, the name “Iris” is the name of the currency, which is also the name of the Creator God of this world.

After being practically forced to log out, I lay limp on the VR machine.

I’m tired. I’m so tired that I feel like I can sleep anytime.

“But first…”

There’s something I need to check.

There’s no one on the machine next to me. This means that Rin-chan has already logged out.

I suppressed my impatience.

That was in the game. I know that.

But still. But still. I couldn’t erase the sight of Rin’s death from my mind.

I left the room and walked down the hallway, then opened the door to the living room.

“Rin-chan!”

The door opened, and I found Rin-chan sitting there as usual, sitting on the sofa, while playing with her tablet.

My eyes were burning.

For the first time since the day my parents died, I felt my tear glands loosen.

“Oh….”

Something warm run down my cheek. I could feel the tears welling up.

I knew she wasn’t dead.

Still, I couldn’t stop the tears.

“Welcome back, Nana.”

“un, yeah…!”

Still standing in front of the door, I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing, and Rin smiled gently at me. She stood up from the sofa and pulled me into her embrace.

It’s warm. The warmth that I longed for is definitely here.

“You remembered.”

*hicks* “…nn.”

“Are you okay?

“..unn.”

I could not mutter even a single word.  The only thing that dominated my whole body was the feeling of joy.

It’s always the same. No matter what time of day it is, Rin-chan is always watching over me.

She always supports me in places I can see and in places I can’t.

She’s really warm. The tenderness of her hug is filling my heart.

“Okay, let’s have dinner then. Aren’t you hungry?”

“Uuu……”

When he said that, I realized that I was indeed hungry.

I think it’s because I’ve been spent my time inside the game for so long.

To think of it, I’ve been logging in for quite some time. Even before the event started, I realized that my stomach growled, and Rin-chan spontaneously giggled.

“…a bit more.”

Even so, there were things I wanted to prioritize more than food.

“Let me stay like this a bit longer.”

“…I understand, princess. Let’s relax a bit.”

I’m selfish.

But Rin-chan will forgive me.

Still, with her gentle smile, Rin-chan patted my back.

“Rin-chan, I remembered everything from that day, before that day, and from there until today.”

As we sat next to each other on the sofa, I began to talk about it.

“Is it hard for you?”

“No, or at least not anymore. But still, I want you to know what happened that day.”

“Yes, please do. I’ve been waiting for you.”

Rin smiled while brushing my cheek.

My parents died in an accident. That is an undeniable fact.

But the reason why I lost everything that day and closed my memory was not just because my parents died.

“It was a snowy day, wasn’t it? It was very cold that day, and my mother and father looked like they were freezing.”

I could hardly feel cold or hot, so I judged by how cold they looked. And I wore gloves and a scarf, so I know it was a cold day.

“As you know, Mom and Dad had the same birthday, right? So, every year, I spent that day away from Rin-chan and spent time with them. I guess you could call it a family get-together. I loved my father and mother, so I was very happy when they held my hand.”

Reminiscing about it, I can feel the warmth and joy of that day in my hands again.

It was my last outing with my mom and dad. It was a very happy day; despite how cold the weather was on that day, all I could feel is their warmth, and it made me inexplicably happy.

But then, tragedy strikes.

“I was so happy that I didn’t notice it. Two trucks were slipping and tilling into us. i… I… was trying to help but…..”

I gulped and swallowed. My breath is jammed. The scene of that day flashed back to me, and my body trembled uncontrollably.

“Nana, calm down. Don’t rush. Just talk slowly.”

“Thanks… Rin-chan…”

I felt the same frenzy as that day, but Rin-chan is here, she gently caresses my back, and my palpitations slowly subsided.

“…the next thing I knew, I was too late. Still, you know, Rin-chan. If only I could and push them both out from danger! …and father and mother could be saved… but…”

I can’t continue.

I knew what had happened, but it was too painful to put into words.

I’m sure that when she saw me, she realized everything.

She looked sad and continue the story in my place.

“But… your parents saved you, Nana.”

“yes… they did.”

They did.

They had pushed me out instead.

They knew that neither of them would survive that, and they decided to use their life to save mine.

I tried, I tried to reach out with my helpless hand, and I saw the moment of their deaths up close.

The main reason I suffered to the point of breaking down wasn’t that I couldn’t save them.

It was because I alone was surviving, because of their sacrifice.

“I think they both died instantly when they were caught between two trucks. Now that I think about it, maybe it wasn’t painful for them…”

Or I least I hoped that much was true.

I want to think so. If not, there’s not much relief left for my heart.

“Then, after that, I almost killed the two drivers. But they also died instantly, just like my parents.”

“Yes, that is true. The cause of the accident was a stroke of pure bad luck, four people deceased, all of them died instantly, it was a tragic accident.”

The cause of the accident was a complete coincidence.

After that incident, I’m sure Rin-chan was thoroughly investigating whether it was intentional or not.

She probably uses the influence of Takajo’s family to come up with a definite result, now she assured me, that was really a coincidence. It was just bad luck.

“I was so angry that I almost go mad, and so sad that I felt like I was going to break… And I also lost the place to direct those emotion.”

Alone in the snow.

“I was broken.”

My heart is broken, my memory is closed, my emotions are forgotten.

I barely kept myself together.

“I barely picked up my disjointed self and created something that looked like me. I put on a mask and tried to live like a normal person. That’s what I am. That was me.”

And yet, for more than six years since that day, I’ve lived.

After leaving Rin-chan, I managed to stand on my own.

The reason why I left my best friend’s side is that I’m scared.

The possibility of seeing the same thing happens to her terrified me.

I knew I should’ve just protected her with all my might.

Still, Rin was the only person left in my world at that time.

I was subconsciously convinced that I couldn’t bear that kind of loss.

“But now I understand. I was never broken. I’ve been who I am since I was born. Well, I’ve always been who I thought I was, so I guess it’s a little late for that.”

“You’re right. It wasn’t that strange for people to go a bit personality change from time to time. As far as I know, Nana never used to get angry in the first place, and also, the current Nana is much more able to express her opinions than she used to be. I think she has grown up.”

“ahaha, I guess so.”

I’ve been with Rin-chan for a long time, and I’ve used to be a coward.

I’ve been told that I look like a doll because I don’t talk much and have no expression.

Even so, I was happy back then.

Always together with Rin-chan, I also had Touka-chan, my father and mother, and Rin’s siblings cared for me. They have always been there for me.

Those were blissful days.

The days I could never return to.

My parents’ deaths cannot be reversed, and my personality has changed quite a lot. The only thing that has remained the same is my relationship with Rin-chan, but other than that, everything has changed.

But that’s okay.

I finally remembered the memory I should have remembered the most.

“Rin-chan, I finally remembered. They were both smiling at the end… they smiled…”

Even right before their death.

A moment before they got crushed by two trucks.

They smiled.

Until the very end, they loved me.

“Dad, Mom, I’m okay now.”

I’m sure they wanted me to be happy.

They wanted me to be happy; that’s why I would no longer confine the “I” that had saved me earlier, The “I” that left her warmth linger inside.

So, I won’t hesitate or forget anymore.

Rin-chan is next to me, and I am here.

And I’m is here because she always supports me from the shadow.

“Thank you, Rin-chan.”

Right now, I’m sure my face is painted with the biggest smile I’ve ever had.

====.

A note:

This is the end of chapter 3.

Next time, the beginning of chapter 4, but only after some other things.

Tl note:

Who called this ninja cutting onion here?

Right, still 3 more chapters before we can close this arc.

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