It was May 6,2030 when I was roaming around my town, the place where I spent a lot of time in. I was given many dreams of what I wanted to be, but I could not decide in the end. I recently just turned 19 last May 2nd, I stopped along in my hometown in Yokohama. Looking at what Mother Earth did to it, and because of it, all of my dreams died because I am not anymore able to continue over them which was given noticed by my parents. After doing a quick visit of my hometown, I went back to Tokyo, the capital of Japan.
These days, reality is already becoming a virtual thing, letting people do what they want inside a virtual world. Back then, as the lone survivor of the earthquake in 2019, I was lost and hungry, walked for days until a couple found me, on the ride, I had realized that we were heading to Tokyo and I wasn’t so sure of the place since I visited it only when I was 4 or 5, when we did arrive, I was shocked on how big the city was after the days I visited when I was young, while wandering around with the couple, they had taken me in their home and had me as their son, and I was relieved because I was scared that I would have to find somewhere else to stay. After getting used to living with them, I had been finding a job for myself, one that would catch my interest, after all, my time in the house made me think what kind of job or future do I want, and after looking at some post papers at the information board, I had found one that said, that the government were testing a recent piece of technology that gives a decent amount of money to those who volunteer, so while looking at the details, I had quickly taken an interest when I saw that it was a piece of technology that presented all kinds of jobs to help people of any age find something to do but before they could make it available to the public, it had to be tested and it required people of young ages but only of 10–12 and teenagers. After taking in the poster and applying voluntarily in front of the Tokyo Government, they had given me the paper which had contained all the information I needed before taking the job. July 12 2030, 4 days before the trial, I had gone through a shopping spree to buy everything I needed, which was comfy clothes, pajamas if I wanted, a pillow and some drinks.
July 16 2030, the day which I had been waiting for to help me find my dream, I was really nervous at first, saw the experiment room which was all but technology that I could not comprehend, waiting in line, I had waited for my turn to receive the place where I will be given so that I may test out the equipment that the poster had been saying. After being given my spot, I could not hide my excitement and smiled a lot, after waiting for instructions, we were asked to lay down in our designated area and wear the suit that would help us transfer our mind into a virtual world where our souls/our life was called “Fluctlight”, a computerized light that would be filled with our data pieces of information, our body and everything else about it. After a few ticks, we had been transported into the “Fluctlight” which will serve as our medium into taking our first steps into the virtual world, when I finally landed into the virtual world, I was so shocked because it felt so real, I could sense myself, felt pain, and everything else as a human being, it’s as if I was really teleported into a whole new world! after doing so, I had found the other participants and decided to interact with them to ask for their opinions, after some talking, I had made interaction between two people, a girl named Naomi and a boy named Takizawi who also lost their families just like I did , if you all have been wondering this entire time, my name is Ren.
We three wondered around in the world and we were given time to roam around and test the new surroundings before the actual part of the job, after what seemingly felt like 3 hours in the virtual world, it was only 3 minutes’ in reality. After such time, it was already 6 in the virtual world, we were all asked to gather by the Town hall by the main front. After handing out the assignments, we were given a 3 months virtually to explore out all the possible things, we decided to stay together and check out each job one by one and there were a lot! Jobs such as swordsman, policeman, chef and all sorts of things and just by looking at the eye of Nao, I had a good feeling she wanted to be a swordsman because she kept persuading me and Taki so persistently that it could reach a day (The nickname I had given to him was Taki and Nao, the nickname for Naomi) and after persuading to stay at the Swordsman Academy which existed both in Tokyo and in the virtual world, she had tried different swords and techniques. Around 1 week in the world, we had been informed that in order to maintain our diets in reality, we needed to do the same in the virtual world, so we all had followed what we usually ate before the start of the very program, at home I’d always have vegetables every Tuesday and Thursday, fish every Wednesday, meat and everything else that we liked during the remaining days of the week. So at the same time in the virtual world, I had prepared and followed my usual schedule, the other two seem to have their own food schedule also and we three would always have breakfast, lunch and dinner together at the home that we three chose and argued about, it was fun, we tried so many things and using the elimination method, we were able to narrow down what we wanted to be, Nao as I predicted wanted to be a swordsman, her other two options were a chef and a musician because she loves playing the guitar and piano, Taki wanted to be a Special armed detectives group which were given high pieces of technology to solve cases. As for me? I never did eliminate my list, why you may ask? Well that’s because, I can’t decide. With so many options, it was overwhelming even for me who had high hopes of finding a good job and dream about it while I am still trying to achieve it but the main question is what do I truly desire? Actually, I always wanted something genuine, something that I will enjoy no matter how much time I passed, people say that them being a writer, engineer, architect was they called genuine, but I always found that absurd, people copying from each other to gain the same level when they could be higher than them, that’s why I am an idealist and one of those ideals is find something that shows me and isn’t found from other people. Now with so many options, I just could not pick one even after trying each job for at least a day or two. After some normal days in the virtual world, an emergency meeting had been held in the middle of the 3 month assignment given to us, at first we were wondering what was important for such a meeting to be held with high ranking officials in the meeting but we were scared when we heard that the system running the world is corrupted, in the first weeks of the world, there was light as well as darkness but as soon as it was dusk, there were no signs of anything bad, the NPC’s were also acting as human people but only as what they were commanded to do, but in some recent nights, there had been crimes now and we wondered if this was an update or so but it actually was a virus that now has divided the world into two, a world of light and good, and the evil and dark. The worse thing we heard was, the only way to get out of the virtual world now is to pick a job that is “Genuine” for that person, as long as you are not back into the actual world, it is not the genuine job you wanted, and a week after that, more and more monster like creatures have attacked the light side of the world, Nao and Taki have been able to fend off them with the skills they acquired since they have picked their genuine jobs, and how do we know? A sign appeared that allowed them an access to reality but they had decided to defend and protect me as long as I haven’t decided. Another week had passed and the creatures were getting stronger each passing day. My friends have also gotten stronger, getting new equipment and skills to defeat such things, but still after 2 virtual weeks, I still haven’t decided. Another week has passed and the world covered by light is now at an alarming 30% and when darkness covers the world, our existence will be wiped out with no trace and I will not be able to return to reality. After the third week since the invasion of the virus, I have finally narrowed down my options to 5 jobs: Chef, Husband, Musician, Swordsman, and one which I didn’t expect to be in the list, A Village Chief. At first I put that option as my last and tried each job for a week, but at the worst possible outcome, Nao and Taki had to go as they were tired and they convinced me to pick one and choose already but as a person who wants the best for his own future, I could not just pick anything and call it genuine, but as it comes in an alarming rate, the world was 90% in darkness with the strongest creatures yet and the last person to leave other than me has taken his leave and left me alone in the base where the last two jobs were at.
But in another worse case that could happen, the creatures have found and sniffed me out forcing me with the last two options so I went and hurry and decided to be a village chief since that was once my dream before the disaster, but it didn’t work! I wasn’t given the option to escape and the door of the base has been opened. The creatures come and rush in and with their bodies, they try to destroy my fluctlight, out of my fear, I closed my eyes and reacted with a defense stance but then I heard a sound of a sword dashing through skin and with my very own eyes, Nao had come back to save me and told me to pick the last job which was the swordsman and after so much, it had finally given me the option of going back to reality, and took my shock, I saw Nao struggling until her leg was cut and removed by pixels, she screamed in pain and looked me in the eye and said “Go now Ren, this is your chance while they are eating the leg” and I yelled at her and said “No! I’m not giving up on you!” and I carried her out while the beasts were distracted and I saw nothing but darkness and the light we were standing in was only 3%. We both had our option to leave and left the world that finally gave into the void.
When we did, I woke up from my spot and woke up Nao too, but I got nervous and more nervous when she wasn’t responding and after 2 minutes or so, I cried and told myself “I can never thank her for all the time she spent for me” and after saying so, she hugged and told me,”Daijōbudayo I’ll never leave your side”, I had teared up even more and told her “ thank you…for everything” and she told me “may I have the chance to stay by your side forever?”, at first I thought it was just meant as friends but when I saw her face all red, I knew what it meant and I hugged her tighter and said “You have the right to distort my life the way you want” and we cried tears of joy and laughed, the other participants were still there, viewing my status through the monitor and had their doubts removed when I came back. When we all had come out of the room, the government officials had been waiting for us all and congratulating the test and apologized for having such a virus enter the system. As a parting gift, the participants were given gourmet food for our farewell party, Me, Nao and Taki had been drinking while we were at it. When the party was over and everyone headed home, Taki had given us his email address and went home and that left me and Nao, it was awkward and it filled with awkward silence then finally she told me three words I apparently have heard of only once in my life “I love you Ren” and she had kissed me in the cheek, smiled and went home. Me who had many questions to ask didn’t mind it and happily went home and greeted my parents. I told them all kinds of stories and who I had a liking on and they happily supported me.
Three years later I served as a senior swordsman with my girlfriend Nao and we were currently watching over younglings who were training and during those three years, I had learned about the backstory of Nao and how shocked I was to know she was a kid that I never asked for the name when I was playing back in the village the week before the disaster stroke. Time has passed and the experiment became a success and now the public had been using it for a year after the 2 years they spent improving it since that fateful day. and we looked at each other with a smile and said “The future awaits those who pursue their dreams after an endless nightmare”.