“Hey, how was your hunting? I hope you did listen to me and train hard as I told you to.”
Kazumi’s cracked into a wild smile.
“Of course we did! Those hounds stood no chance, just two hits were enough to kill them.”
Kazumi was gushing, however, Leo couldn’t afford to. He stood still saying nothing while Amaterasu fidgeted with her hands and avoided eye contact with Shesmu.
“Haha, that’s great then. It’s good that you guys are having fun. That’s what video games are for in the first place, isn’t that right?”
Shesmu then looked at Leo trying to establish eye contact before the latter immediately broke it.
Shesmu didn’t sigh or try to look away. He stood frozen in his place as if a spell was cast and time was stopped.
“Leo, you know, I’m getting a bit worried about Ryan. It’s been a while and he still hasn’t woken up.”
For a moment, Leo’s eyes drifted to the face hanging from Shesmu shoulder. DepressedRyan was still asleep, a smile stuck to his face. Leo clutched at his heart. All this time, he has only been selfishly thinking about himself, while his friend’s fate was still unknown.
“Yeah, I think I’ll log out and go to his house. I need to check on him.”
Leo’s words didn’t come as a surprise to Shesmu. In fact, he welcomed them. Shesmu walked closer towards Leo and tapped his shoulder.
“Leo, once Ryan wakes up, I’ll tell the both of you everything. Is that okay with you?”
Leo nodded at Shesmu’s words before looking at DepressedRyan’s face. Even while sleeping, he seemed to be at peace.
“Ryan really likes you,” Leo muttered in an inaudible voice.
“What did you say?”
Leo smiled at Shesmu before he turned into colorful particles and disappearing.
“You heard everything, right?”
Amaterasu looked at Shesmu with a resolute expression, no longer being awkward and trying to avoid eye contact.
“Yes-yes, I did.”
“So, what are you going to do? You might lose a friend, you know?”
Shesmu stayed silent, only looking up at the blood red sky covered by the white mist.
“And, what can be done about that?”
Shesmu’s answer flared up Amaterasu.
“Are you really going to let things go this way?!!”
Shesmu looked at Amaterasu in the eyes.
“You know, Amaterasu, friends, it’s a two-way thing. No matter how much you cherish someone and you care for him, the choice rests with that person at the end.”
Amaterasu didn’t know what to say. The energy that fired her up just a second ago vanished and her shoulders dropped down.
“It must be hard for you.”
Shesmu looked at Amaterasu’s sad face before smiling at her.
“You really worry too much, Amaterasu.”
Shesmu then looked at Kazumi who didn’t say a single word since the start of this conversation, before focusing back on Amaterasu.
“Well, what is meant to happen will happen, no use worrying about it.”
Amaterasu’s scream shocked Shesmu. Murmurs sounded everywhere and when Shesmu looked around, he found that they were everyone’s focus.
“Amaterasu, what happened?” he asked.
“No, don’t say that ever again.”
Amaterasu’s eyes were teary, but her expression was resolute.
“Never say something as weak as that, ever. Nothing is meant to happen, we are the one who gives meaning to things, and we are the ones who protect those meaningful things.”
Shesmu’s jaw hanged low for a second before he remembered to close his mouth. Amaterasu’s words were knives that cut deep into his heart, revealing his unsightly weakness. Shesmu didn’t know what to say. He wanted to rebuke, but he knew deep in his heart that Amaterasu was right.
“Think deeply about that, and don’t let this weakness of yours make you lose a friend that you cherish so much.”
Amaterasu then looked at Kazumi trying to say something when her words got stuck in her mouth. Kazumi’s cold look made her scared, and for a second, she couldn’t recognize him anymore.
“Hey, Kazumi, is something the matter?”
Kazumi stayed silent for a second before responding.
“Nothing, I am just thinking about something. If you guys could please leave me alone for a second.”
“Huh? Thinking about something? That’s unusual. Well, it’s alright, I understand.”
Amaterasu then looked at Shesmu who was still in a state of shock. She walked closer to him and pulled down at his leather armor.
“Shes, if you want, let’s go take a walk. I used to do this all the time with my father when I need to think about something or talk to someone.”
Shesmu looked at Amaterasu, traces of shock still in his face before he responded.
“Okay, let’s do that.”
“Great! Kazumi, we’ll be going for a walk. We’ll leave you alone for now.”
“Sure, have fun!”
Kazumi responded in a cheerful voice, his eyes had their usual vigor and energy. It was as if the cold and scary Kazumi of a couple of seconds ago was nothing but a ghost.
Amaterasu then took the lead while Shesmu followed her, looking down. The two kept walking for a few seconds before Shesmu looked back. Kazumi who was just cheerful a moment ago became serious, and his vigor-filled eyes died down.
“Yo, what are you still waiting for?”
Shesmu jolted at Amaterasu’s reminder before responding.
“Nothing, let’s go.”
The duo then stepped into the mist, this time, Shesmu’s steps were more confident, and his head was held high.