109. The past you want to forget sometimes come back
『”Well, I’m glad you’re both okay.”』
“It’s true that you’ve saved us, but I’m not sure if we’re okay.”
Two people talking to each other next to the bed.
Atsushi and Kirishima managed to log out of the game after Kirishima mentioned the keyword. Although there was no abnormality in their body, they were temporarily hospitalized at a nearby hospital because some aftereffects might appear.
“……Really, even in real life, you guys are good friends.”
Kirishima said those words to Atsushi, who was next to her, with a sullen look on her face.
“Or rather, Shirasawa-san. What was that keyword at the end? I knew that you hated me for various things, but is it enough to make me say that?”
What a good point.
To be honest, even Atsushi was wondering about those last words.
『”Well, I wanted to put something different at first, you know? Like Jum〇nji or Ba〇se. But I couldn’t.”』 [TN: Jumanji and Balse (Laputa : Castle in the Sky)]
“Of course. On the contrary, I’m relieved you couldn’t.”
Atsushi made a quick retort.
Certainly, both of them were in a sense, “words of the end”, but as for the second one, it was far from just the end, it was the word of destruction.
“But, why was that keyword approved?”
『I don’t know much about it either, but the Chairman said that it was meaningless unless it was something related to the game, And I thought that that word related to the player’s survival. You see, most of the time the inexperienced women in horror movies survived, right? So, I think that’s why it was approved as a keyword.”』
“Hah? What an unreasonable theory…”
Kirishima held her head.
Of course, she would. After all, regardless of whether it was true or not, everyone who was monitoring the game, including Atsushi, asked the truth about it. And the reaction of those around her after returning…was a kind of hell.
Then, Atsushi asked Yuri a question in order to change the topic.
“So? What’s Hiiragi doing?”
『“For this case, he asked for cooperation from many, so the police are questioning him about it. The two of you have been questioned too, right? But, I think the police will come to hear the story a few more times, so please take care of them at that time.”』
The incident had already been reported to the police and was being investigated. Therefore, it would be a natural step to ask Atsushi and Kirishima, who were the victims, about the situation.
“Above all, I still couldn’t believe that only Kirishima and me that were left behind in the game.”
『”Yes. Moreover, it’s a horror game world. If Atsushi-san and Kirishima-san were like those normies you can everywhere, surely both of you would surely have died.”』
“What kind of example are you trying to make? Shirasawa-san, your world view is really biased…”
Atsushi nodded in his mind at the passing comment.
Even so, I wonder why it was just the two of us…
It’s easy to dismiss it as a mere coincidence. But, to say that two people who happened to come to play together in their first VR experience, just happened to be left behind in the game just a mere coincidence, would be too much.
Also, from what I heard, the game was hacked. Means, someone did it on purpose. In that case, there must be some meaning behind leaving us behind.
While Atsushi was thinking such.
“―――Oh. Everyone’s here.”
The door to the hospital room suddenly opened and Hiiragi entered.
“Chairman. Are you done talking to the police?”
“Yeah. I’ve finished the general explanation. Well, I’m sure you both will be asked a lot of questions later, but it seems like it’s enough for today. Anyway, there’s something I want to show everyone. Especially you, Kirishima.”
At Hiiragi’s words, Kirishima tilted her head.
Towards her, Hiiragi continued with a serious expression.
“Actually, there’s something that piqued my interest. Look at this.”
Saying that, Hiiragi opened the laptop he was holding in one hand in a way so that the three of them could see it too.
There was one image.
To be exact, it was a picture of a broken sign in front of an abandoned house inside the horror game.
“This is from your game record. I thought there might be some hints to the culprit in that game. I was looking into it a bit. Then… I saw this.”
As he spoke, Hiiragi enlarged the image and made it clear.
And they all stared at each other.
There were words that they… No, to be exact, words that Kirishima knew well were reflected.
“You guys probably didn’t notice it because you weren’t paying attention to it, but still… I didn’t expect this word to appear there.”
While saying that, Hiiragi also looked at the laptop screen.
The words written there were,
It was once the name of the religious group that was founded by Kirishima’s father.
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