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Chapter 25: One month later
We were bedridden and unconscious for more than three months as victims of terrorism, and spent the initial period confined in the hospital for rehabilitation, while the university we were attending had deemed us to be on leave, and the government provided us with support.
Nachi and I had been transported to the same hospital, and later on, we shared a hospital room. Hence, we were quickly reunited.
The terrorists and Ruki, who had been deemed as one of the terrorists, are still at large. I’ve seen a report in the news that the terrorists’ demands to the government were vague and abstract, and that they seemed to be more of a terrorist group who wanted to lock users up in the game and took delight in people’s backlash to their wrongdoings.
Thus, a month after logging out, Nachi and I were discharged from the hospital. The VR system itself had already taken root in our lives, and other games were innocent as well, therefore, the streets were still full of VRMMORPGs, but “The Night of Grand Guignol” where the terrorist attack happened, had suspended its service.
Gradually, my life was returning to normal.
I walked out of the house where I lived alone, and took the monorail to the next station. My parents were worried, and asked me if I wanted to come back home, but I decided against it, as I was planning to return to university next semester.
“Did you wait for long?”
I walked into a cafe in front of the station, and saw Nachi drinking iced tea. Nachi shook his head.
“I was early– or rather, I was here right from the start. As usual.”
I felt like, “Ah, my daily life is back.” This was a cafe run by Nachi’s family.
As I took a seat in front of him, Nachi pulled out his mobile device and smiled happily.
“I hope Mao and Heath come soon.”
Yes, that’s right. Today, Nachi and I are meeting up with Mao and Heath. Heath was hospitalized too, and as soon as we logged out, we tried to contact each other… I’ve been in contact with Heath daily through the app, but today is the first time we are meeting in real life.
I found out from the incident where we couldn’t log out that our avatar’s faces and our actual faces were the same, and we’ve talked about what’s going on in each other’s lives little by little in our daily interactions but… this is the first time I will get to know the Heath in real life.
“Ah… What if he gets disappointed?”
“About Neji? Why? You’re totally the same as in the game, so it’ll be fine. What if, on the other hand, Heath’s personality is entirely different?”
“I’m confident that I can love him.”
“Thanks for the meal.”
“Then Nachi, what are you going to do if Mao’s personality is different?”
“I’m not gonna do anything though? Because Mao is Mao.”
While conversing about such things, I ordered a cup of hot cocoa from the menu’s touch panel. It had been summer when logging out became impossible, but now, it’s the middle of winter.
“But… in-game, I think we probably became lovers… we were… but can I really just say that we’re also lovers in reality?”
I whispered uneasily, and Nachi folded his arms.
“Don’t worry about it. As for me and Mao, we weren’t lovers, even in the game.”
“Mao confessed to me a couple of times, but should I say that I just dismissed them…”
Nachi smiled awkwardly, but I could see that he was at ease.
“I told him to confess to me one more time when we meet in real life. I’m not a person who does in-game dating, so I thought real life would be better.”
“There’s a part of me that wants to secure him in real life because he’s cool though.”
My best friend was shrewd. His cheeks were flushed, but he is a bit sly.
“Although Mao isn’t straightforward and doesn’t know what to say, he is sometimes tsundere too… but yeah. Ah, I like him.”
“I wish I could afford to say that too.”
“Oh no, Neji who isn’t a bundle of nerves can’t possibly be Neji.”
Nachi chuckled. I had mixed feelings.
The meeting was set at 15:00. It’s only 13:00 now. I got here too early. It was also because I wanted to see him that badly. That’s when I heard a notification sound from my mobile device. I looked at the screen and saw that it came from Heath.
“I arrived too early.”
When I saw that brief statement, I was shocked. I immediately changed my mind, glad that I had come early. At about the same time, Nachi seemed to get contacted too.
“I just got off at the station, so I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
“Pi-pi-pick up! Should I go pick him up?”1
“It’s not really necessary. This is the only cafe in front of the station so there’s no way he can get lost.”
Nachi was calm. I can’t believe it. I think he really has nerves of steel.
I nervously glanced out the window.
Nachi burst into laughter at the sight of me.
“He said they’ll be here soon.”
“Y-yeah… what should I talk about with him?”
“Just act as usual, in times like these.”
ーーA few more minutes until the door swings open.
It’ll also be the moment the door to a new relationship between us opens.
I closed my eyes calmly, waiting for that moment with a pounding heart.
Kagura: Finally, it’s finished. This is my first finished translation.
Lu: I feel so proud that me and Kagu-chan have stayed together in this project for so long together <3! I love you Kagu-pai~
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