The months passes by quickly… and the 50th floor is finally cleared. Reaching the halfway point of Aincrad boosted everyone’s morale and more people joined the frontlines. And we also lost guild members as they all went to the frontlines, wanting to clear the game as soon as possible.
The guild has shrunk to 1/3 of its size, the guild headquarters has also moved to the 50th floor. Kotomi and I moved out of the guild’s dorm and bought a house of our own, I assume Kotomi wants me to stay away from Ara after that day.
We didn’t even give our address to the guild. But we still participate in guild activities and quests…
It’s a Sunday, so me and Kotomi decided to go to town and shop.
Yuji: “It’s so crowded today… That’s weird.”
Kotomi: “More people are moving towards the 50th floor and also I think there is a carnival going on.”
Kotomi: “I think to celebrate the clearing the halfway point of Aincrad…”
Yuji: “I see, let’s go then.”
Kotomi smiled, hooked arms with me and pulled me over.
The carnival is organized by quite a bunch of musical players of the game. We spent the night there, dancing around and drinking.
After the night passed, the carnival ended. Kotomi and I were about to leave, but we stopped after we heard a cry. We turned around and there is a little girl crying in the open.
Kotomi: “Eh a girl? In this game? Is she an NPC?”
Yuji: “No, she’s a player.”
Kotomi: “How did she…”
Yuji: “Who knows…”
Kotomi: “Let’s go help her.”
We moved towards the girl. Kotomi squats down to talk to her.
Kotomi: “Hey… Are you lost?”
Girl: “Yeah… I’m looking for Mommy…”
Kotomi: “Mommy? Your parents play this game too?”
Girl shakes her head.
Yuji: “Probably a couple adopted her in-game…”
Kotomi: “There’s such a thing?”
Yuji: “There are a lot of kids at the 1st floor, and someone took them in and started an Aincrad orphanage I guess…”
Kotomi: “I see…”
And the girl turned around and starts running towards the voice. “Mommy!”
Yuji: “Ah, looks like she found her parents. Let’s go home.”
Kotomi stares at the girl reuniting with her parents and stood up: “Yeah, let’s go.” and we started to walk away.
We both turned around.
Man: “I want to thank you for taking care of Hikari while we were searching for her…”
Yuji: “It’s okay, we are just doing what we were supposed to do… Just look after your daughter better next time round, not everyone is that nice around here…”
The man then bowed: “I’m sorry, I will repent…”
Kotomi: “Please don’t take his words to heart, his words are a little bit more direct… I have a question to ask you.”
Man: “What is it? I will answer it.”
Kotomi: “Is she your real daughter?”
Man: “No… We adopted her in-game.”
Kotomi: “From the 1st floor?”
Kotomi: “I see…”
Man: “If you want to adopt one, you can just go there, they have many helpless kids…”
Kotomi: “We will think about it… Thanks for the tip.”
Man: “What do you guys need? A meal? Weapons? Money? My family here runs a weapon store, you can just come, I can give you weapons for free!”
Yuji: “We are fine… We really don’t need anything.”
Kotomi: “Yeah, but tell us where is your store, maybe we can go there sometime to visit, maybe buy weapons from you.”
He then points the direction.
Yuji: “We will come visit sometime… Sorry we have to go now.” and I started to walk away.
Kotomi then waved to the girl and followed me.
When we reached home…
Yuji: “I’m assuming that you want to adopt a kid?
Kotomi: “I am thinking about it, but I doubt you want to…”
Yuji: “We can adopt one if you want…”
Kotomi: “I thought you said you don’t want kids in real life… because of your inferiority complex…”
Yuji: “I guess this game changed my perspective…”
Kotomi: “We going to the 1st floor tomorrow?”
Yuji: “You are that urgent about it?”
Kotomi: “Of course, better to take the chance now before you change your mind.”
Yuji: “Okay then, we will go tomorrow.”
Kotomi didn’t sleep that night, and she keeps talking and talking about her vision of the ideal family life she wished for.
We then set off to do some quests before going to the teleporter.
She still didn’t stop talking even during the quests. She’s so excited about it.
After completing a quest, things starts to go down south…
Yuji: “Wait, I hear something.”
Kotomi stops talking.
Yuji: “Let’s move, quickly.” and I pulled her away.
Because I was rushing and I didn’t realized that a trap was ahead and both of us stepped on it.
Kotomi: “Wait, what did we stepped?”
And the next moment, both of us got paralyzed.
Yuji: “It’s a trap… Why didn’t I detect it?”
“Because your stats are not good enough.” and a trio of orange players appear.
Kotomi: “O…orange players?”
The three of them then pull up their sleeves.
Yuji: “Laughing Coffin?!”
“We will now slowly torture you till you eventually die and take, your, loot.”
The guys then starts caressing Kotomi and starts stabbing her, lowering her HP.
Yuji: “Hands off her!”
“Or else what? You can’t move.”
I start to fight against the paralysis.
“Stop trying, you are just wasting your time… Keep struggling and I will make sure she dies in front of your eyes.”
I continued to fight against it.
“Let’s kill her and take her stuff, before he breaks free from his paralysis.”
Yuji: “No! Don’t you dare!”
I fought harder and eventually broke free from the paralysis. I quickly equipped my sword. The 2 other guys restrained me and stopped me from getting close towards Kotomi to save her.
The guy who was with Kotomi then lethally stabbed her.
I entered into a fit of rage and instantly killed the two guys who were stopping me and throw my sword at the head of the last guy, killing them all. Then I ran towards Kotomi, I hastily pulled out a potion but it was too late.
Yuji: “No… Don’t go…”
Kotomi: “I’m sorry… Do not go back the way you were because of me… Be free… Forget about me and find someone you love…”
Yuji: “No! All I want is you… We even planned our future together!”
Kotomi: “Looks like the plans have changed… I will see you in the other side… Don’t you dare commit suicide… I will not forgive you… Just live life to the fullest without me…
I love you…”
and she vanished in my arms… in front of my very eyes… I will never forget that moment.
Asura and Ara then came, they were supposed to rescue us.
Asura: “Are you two okay? We saw both of you got paralyzed in the health statuses…”
I bowed on the floor, crying my eyes out…