Chapter 21:

Lost in the Night

Dive into the Night

That morning when Leon opened his eyes, he just stared at the ceiling. He reached over and grabbed his phone, holding it above him as he checked the time. It was 9:25AM. Leon took his phone with him as he rolled out of bed.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

As he was waiting for his coffee to brew, Leon noticed a new notification on his phone. Touma had sent a message to the group chat.Bookmark here

Touma: [I can confirm that Saya and Hayate are both currently missing.]Bookmark here

[In fact, there had been no contact from them for the past several days.]Bookmark here

Leon: [They seemed completely fine compared to Kaz, maybe has to do with Oire?]Bookmark here

Touma: [That would also be my guess.]Bookmark here

[Also I know that you suggested to get some rest, but I got work until 8.]Bookmark here

Leon: [Just, try to get some rest before we head into the Dream tonight.]Bookmark here

[We’re probably going to end up fighting all three of them, so might be good to mentally prepare yourself.]Bookmark here

[May, you got anything to add?]Bookmark here

May: [(thumbs up emote)]Bookmark here

Leon: [May…]Bookmark here

May: [There’s not much we can do.]Bookmark here

[If we win, great.]Bookmark here

[If we lose, well I guess they’re free to do what they want.]Bookmark here

Leon: [Then let’s make sure we don’t lose.]Bookmark here

Touma: [As much as I agree, it is still a possibility.]Bookmark here

[So if there’s anything you’ve been meaning to do, now’s the time to do it.]Bookmark here

[Make sure that you can fight without regrets tonight.]Bookmark here

Leon put his phone back in his pocket as he remembered what the anchors showed him. Everyone in his friend group was close with [---], yet they pretended that [---] did not exist when Leon spoke with them. Leon then remembered the exchange he saw between his younger self and Daniel.Bookmark here

“C’mon Leon, you know, [---],” Daniel tried to explain. “The person who suggested we take a trip together someday?”Bookmark here

“Uh, no. I thought I made that suggestion. I told you guys that we should go on an adventure someday. Don’t you remember?”Bookmark here

Now I’m not sure if I really am the person who originally made that suggestion. Leon thought to himself. Those visions, and that dream I kept on having. It all keeps pointing to the fact that [---] was the person who suggested we all go on a trip together. So when did I start claiming it was my idea?Bookmark here

Leon sat down and poured himself a cup of coffee. He took a sip as he leaned back in his chair and enjoyed the morning silence. Leon looked out the window, sunlight had begun to leak through the gaps in the clouds.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

Leon walked into his room after turning off the rest of the lights in his house, he noticed that his PC was still on. Bookmark here

[So if there’s anything you’ve been meaning to do, now’s the time to do it.]Bookmark here

[Make sure that you can fight without regrets tonight.]”Bookmark here

Remembering Touma’s message from the morning, Leon opened his browser and went to his email. He set the recipient as Kelvin before he began writing his email.Bookmark here

Hey Kelvin, hope you’re doing well on your tour. There’s something I wanted to ask you about regarding the trip we planned as kids. I want to preface this by saying all of this is going to sound really weird, but I really don’t know how else to put it. I’ve been having weird dreams lately; I think they were memories from when we were all kids. There’s a person I don’t recognize; I can’t remember their name nor their face. Yet, they were friends with all of us. Do you or any of the guys remember who they were? The last memory I had with them was in a hospital, I remember I ran away. I don’t know why I suddenly remembered all of this now, but I really do want to find out who they were.Bookmark here

In addition to that, I wanted to ask you about the group trip. Up until now I always thought it was an idea that I came up with. I thought it was something I wanted, but now I’m not sure. This person, they had the same desire; the same dream of going on an adventure. And they always spoke of this to all of us. Is it possible that in their absence, I took on their dream? And if I did, do you think it was selfish of me to do so? To have the only thing I remember about them be their dream?Bookmark here

Hope to hear from you soon.Bookmark here

-LeonBookmark here

After hitting send, Leon turned off his PC and the lights in his room. He climbed into his bed and closed his eyes. Yet, Leon did not fall asleep, he tossed and turned for a few minutes before he grabbed his phone and sat up in his bed. He opened his messages and started typing.Bookmark here

Leon: [May, are you still awake?]Bookmark here

May: [Yes.]Bookmark here

Leon hit the call button on his messaging app, he placed the phone beside his ear and after a short moment the line connected.Bookmark here

“May?” Leon asked.Bookmark here

“Can’t sleep?” May asked in response.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I just had a lot of scattered thoughts on my mind.”Bookmark here

“Well, too bad. Cause I can, goodnight.”Bookmark here

“Hey wait!” Leon said in a slight panic.Bookmark here

“Just kidding,” May said with a slight chuckle. “We some time before we’re supposed to meet Touma. So feel free to tell me what you want.”Bookmark here

“Well, it’s more of a request than anything.” Bookmark here

“Wow, you called a girl in the middle of the night to ask about a request? What’s next, you’re going to invite me out on a date?”Bookmark here

“Maybe … that was what I was going to ask. Even when we’re done with the Dream, I would still like to see you again. Whenever you’re free, I would like to spend an entire day with you; I want to know more about you.”Bookmark here

The line went silent.Bookmark here

“May?”Bookmark here

“I’ll … keep that in mind,” May finally said. “See you inside.”Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

Shinigami Sensei and the fox spirit waited in the centre of the village as Leon, May, and Touma arrived.Bookmark here

“You have successfully removed all the anchors and cleared most of the mist from the Dream. Tell me, my child. What did you learn?” Shinigami Sensei asked Leon.Bookmark here

“You were right Sensei,” Leon began by saying. “The current Oire is not the real one, his original form is a cloud of black mist. He’s something that arrived in the Dream a long time ago, and ended up followed the original Oire to learn about humanity. Eventually the original Oire disappeared after his purpose concluded, so the black mist took the form of Oire in order to understand why he decided to fade from the Dream. Somehow, that led him to deciding that he should train new heroes to end humanity. And so he made the anchors, which began to spread the black mist and bring in Nightmares."Bookmark here

“I see, so that was what happened. I thank you for your assistance in this matter, my children,” Shinigami said as he bowed his head.Bookmark here

“What I don’t get is how he managed to go from creating heroes to wanting to destroy humanity,” Touma wondered.Bookmark here

“Perhaps if he is willing, you may find out from his own direct words. Now my children, you have upheld your end of our contract. It is time for my end of the bargain. Regardless of his origins, this false Oire has a deep connection with the Dream. Even if I cannot directly deal with him, I can still assist you in your fight.”Bookmark here

The fox spirit stepped up and looked at the group.Bookmark here

“We thank you for ridding the Dream of the Nightmares and of the black mist. You have our deepest gratitude. However, there is one area that remains shrouded in darkness.”Bookmark here

The fox summoned a map into the ground, a single section at the very bottom of the map was only a black circle.Bookmark here

“This location in the south, beyond the wasteland. It is the only place where the mist remains in the Dream.”Bookmark here

“That must be where Oire and the others are,” Leon said as he looked at the map.Bookmark here

“Shall we go?” Shinigami Sensei asked. “He must be awaiting our arrival.”Bookmark here

As the party and Shinigami Sensei prepared to leave the village, May crouched down in front of the fox spirit and pretended to pat its head.Bookmark here

“If we don’t come back, I’ll miss you Kitsu.”Bookmark here

The fox spirit bowed its head.Bookmark here

“If fate would allow it, perhaps we shall meet again another day.”Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

The group arrived at the south western teleport house just outside of the desert. Leon, May, and Touma all had their weapons already summoned, Touma carried both his book and wore his gauntlets. They began to walk along the border toward the south east where they eventually reached the three-way border between the grassland, the city, and the desert. The area where the city and the desert merge resembled a post-apocalyptic landscape, with destroyed buildings, rubble scattered all around, and a complete lack of any life.Bookmark here

“This will take us straight to that last dark zone,” Touma said as he looked ahead. Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

As the party reached the dark zone, the ground beneath them slowly transitioned from sand and rubble back to dirt. Eventually they walked through a small forest, illuminated by the pale moonlight. Passing through the forest, they emerged into a field of flowers that lead to a cliff. At the apex of the cliff stood a single tree and a stone slab. Leon recognized the area immediately, it was the place where the Fake Oire first arrived in the Dream. Bookmark here

“The mana density here is far better than the anchor areas,” Shinigami Sensei began to say. “You should be able to fight without worry.”Bookmark here

“Indeed, the place of my beginning shall serve as the stage for your end.”Bookmark here

The party looked forward as the Fake Oire appeared in front of the tree.Bookmark here

“I still do not understand. I selected all of you for the Dream as you all had grievances against humanity, and yet you stand against me now.”Bookmark here

The Fake Oire looked over at Shinigami Sensei.Bookmark here

“Who is the observer that has followed you? I do not recall your presence in the Dream.”Bookmark here

Shinigami Sensei smiled as he looked at the Fake Oire.Bookmark here

“You need not worry, false guide. You are right that I stand here as an observer, for I am not a being of the Dream. Your end will not come by my hand; these children shall see to the end of your tale.”Bookmark here

“Ah, I see now,” the Fake Oire said as he looked at Shinigami Sensei. “So you are the one who represents ‘death’ in reality. How sad that you hold no power here. As for your so-called children, I too have those who would fight on my behalf.”Bookmark here

Two clouds of black mist materialized in front of Oire, Saya and Hayate stepped out of them and faced the party. Hayate had all of his swords on his body, while Saya had her sword, shield, and longsword.Bookmark here

“And do not believe that you shall be able to run away either,” the fake Oire said as he snapped his fingers.Bookmark here

A horde of Nightmares materialized in the forest and began to move towards the cliff, slowly moving towards the cliff. As they got close to the edge of the forest, Shinigami Sensei swung his scythe; instantly destroying all of the Nightmares.Bookmark here

“While I may not involve myself in your end, I have no qualms about your Nightmares,” Shinigami Sensei said to the Fake Oire before addressing the party. “This is the path you have decided for yourselves, I only wish for you to fight with all of your spirit.”Bookmark here

May and Touma walked in front of Leon and faced Hayate and Saya respectively. Bookmark here

“May and I will handle them, you take on Oire,” Touma said to Leon.Bookmark here

“You guys will be fine right?” Leon asked.Bookmark here

“Have some faith in us, leader,” May said as she deployed her arm blades.Bookmark here

“You both better be alive at the end of this, or else I’ll kill you myself.”Bookmark here

Leon smiled at his teammates as he rushed towards the Fake Oire.Bookmark here

“Where do ya think yer goin’?!” Hayate yelled as Leon dashed forward.Bookmark here

Before Hayate could intercept Leon, May dashed in and slammed her arm blades onto Hayate; forcing him to guard with his two swords.Bookmark here

“You don’t have time to look away, I’m your opponent.”Bookmark here

“Ha?! You think round two will be any different?! Come on, I’ll show you the difference in our power!” Hayate yelled.Bookmark here

On the other side, Touma slowly walked towards Saya.Bookmark here

“So you’re back, Touma,” Saya said as she drew her sword and shield.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I’m here to make good on my promise.”Bookmark here

Touma reinforced his gauntlets with Mana before he put away his book.Bookmark here

“The result won’t change,” Saya said as she got into a combat stance.Bookmark here

“We’ll see about that; I won’t make the same mistake again.”Bookmark here

Near the top of the cliff, Leon stopped several metres before the Fake Oire.Bookmark here

“You continue to surprise me at every turn, Leon. I never expected you to make it this far.”Bookmark here

“At this point, I kind of expect that. I’m guessing that whole situation with the forest Nightmare was also your planning?” Leon asked.Bookmark here

“I am glad you catch on quick, unfortunately this is where your journey ends.”Bookmark here

Oire summoned copies of Leon’s spear into both of his hands before he dashed towards Leon. All three fights commenced simultaneously, under the light of the moon and the stars. Bookmark here

//////Bookmark here

May and Hayate continued to crash their blades into each other as they began their battle, constantly parrying and repelling each other. Neither person is able to land a hit on the other yet.Bookmark here

“Seems like you actually did learn from last time!”Bookmark here

May ducked down and swung both of her arm blades upward, knocking Hayate’s swords out of his hand before she followed up with a side kick; knocking him back. May followed up with another dash, thrusting both of her arm blades towards Hayate’s chest. He was forced to summon his swords crossed in front of his chest to block the attack. Hayate pushed May back with his two wakizashi, before he summoned his odachi to replace the two wakizashi. He charged at May with the odachi, using its range to poke and slash at her. May was forced on the defensive, as she used her arm blades to block the strikes.Bookmark here

“All you can do is run and block!” Hayate cried as he continued to attack.Bookmark here

Seeing a slight gap in Hayate’s attacks, May thrusted her arm blades in two different locations. Her blades knocked the odachi from Hayate’s hand and also cut deep into his side, causing black mist to flow out. Hayate dashed back after the hit as he summoned two more katana into his hands.Bookmark here

“Even with all this power, seems like you’re just as weak as before,” May taunted.Bookmark here

“Shut up! You’re just too much of a coward to fight me head on! You’ll see, you’ll all see! I won’t ever be seen as weak ever again. I’ll kill everyone in my way. No one can every be stronger than me!Bookmark here

Hayate screamed as he charged forward, slamming his swords again May’s arm blades. The force of his impacts shattered his swords on impact, but he continued to summon more as they broke.Bookmark here


May and Hayate both slammed their weapons into the other person’s body, shattering each other’s shields. They both leapt back to create distance. May summoned another pair of arm blades while Hayate summoned a single katana. May deployed her arm blades while Hayate drew his katana, they both dashed at each other.Bookmark here

“FALL AND DIE!” Hayate screamed as their weapons collided.Bookmark here

May slammed one of her arm blades into the katana and the other into Hayate’s chest. The first shattered his katana on impact while the second hit caused Hayate to collapse to the ground.Bookmark here

“Blunt weapons?” he weakly asked. “What kind of warrior uses a blunt weapon?”Bookmark here

“The kind that’s smart enough to beat you,” May replied. "Besides, those guys probably want you alive."Bookmark here

As Hayate lost consciousness, May looked over to Leon.Bookmark here

//////Bookmark here

Beginning alongside May and Hayate’s fight, Touma continued to trade blows with Saya. He specifically reinforced his gauntlets to be more resistance against slashes and cuts.Bookmark here

“Just give up, Touma. Why do you continue to fight me?” Saya asked in between slashes. “It’s clear that you don't want to fight.”Bookmark here

“Of course I don’t want to fight you, but I can’t return you to normal with words alone.”Bookmark here

As Touma continued to parry Saya’s sword strikes, he focused his punches against her shield until it shattered. Saya tried to leap back, but Touma immediately followed.Bookmark here

“I’m not going to run away, and I won’t let you do it either.”Bookmark here

Saya swung her leg up and performed a front kick, but Touma managed to block with his gauntlets. The force of the impact knocked him several metres back. As soon as Saya made some distance, she drew her two-handed sword. As Touma got up, he opened his book and summoned a sword nearly identical to Saya’s. They dashed at each other again, their swords clashed as they collided. Bookmark here

“Saya! Oire doesn’t want to help humanity, he wants to destroy it! Why would you fight for him if your goal was to save people?!”Bookmark here

Saya pushed Touma back before following with an overhead slash.Bookmark here

“What are you talking about, Touma? What makes our goals different?”Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

Saya pushed Touma further back as she continued to slash at him, forcing him to block every strike.Bookmark here

“You know what humanity has done, and what it will keep doing to the world as long as it exists?” Saya asked Touma.Bookmark here

Touma managed to push back and create some space between him and Saya.Bookmark here

“Yes, I wanted to become a hero to save people. And the current way to save humanity, is to wipe it from existence.”Bookmark here

They dashed towards each other and clashed blades again.Bookmark here

“There’s no other way Touma! This is the best course of action!”Bookmark here

“If this is truly something you wanted to do, then why are you crying?” he asked.Bookmark here

Saya finally noticed the tears running down her face. She upped the aggression on her attacks. Bookmark here

“This is what power was meant for! We’ll reset everything back to zero! Humanity does not deserve a future!” she cried.Bookmark here

Saya swung again, breaking Touma’s sword. She tried to perform a follow up attack but she suddenly found that she could not move. Touma had summoned light chains from the ground to restrain her. Touma grabbed Saya’s sword by the blade and ripped it out of her hand, he snapped the sword in half and toss it to his sides. As Saya struggled to move she saw Touma swing his arm towards her. She closed her eyes in anticipation for the strike, but she did not feel anything. When she opened her eyes, Touma had embraced her. His chains fading shortly after.Bookmark here

“Touma, why?”Bookmark here

“I refuse to see you suffer. Please, Saya. I ask that you give humanity a chance at a future. I do not know the burdens you carry, but I can only ask that you let me carry them with you. Humanity’s future is not something you can decide on a whim. It’s something we have to work towards together.”Bookmark here

Saya wrapped her arms around Touma as they embraced.Bookmark here

//////Bookmark here

Leon began his fight against the Fake Oire at the same time as the others, but he was nearly outmatched. The Fake Oire matched his spear attacks with Leon as they fought, but the Fake Oire was able to repel Leon with every attack. Bookmark here

“While among the humans your skill and strength may be unrivaled, you best remember where that power comes from.”Bookmark here

The Fake Oire swung his spear upward, knocking one of Leon’s weapons out of his hand. The Fake Oire followed it with a sweep, knocking Leon back several metres. Bookmark here

“I just don’t get you,” Leon began to say. “How did you end up like this? This was never what Oire’s role was.”Bookmark here

“Ah, I see. So you must have seen my memories through the anchors. Indeed, Oire’s role was to create heroes for humanity. But.”Bookmark here

The Fake Oire dashed at Leon and began a barrage of attacks with both of his spears. Leon was forced to focus on blocking, but his shield was slowly chipped away. Bookmark here

“I could never understand him. Why he was willing to fade away when he no longer held a purpose.”Bookmark here

Leon summoned another spear to stop the Fake Oire’s barrage He then tried to start his own counterattack, but the Fake Oire parried every hit.Bookmark here

“Humanity was the root of this. They created Oire, gave him a name; a purpose. They made his life finite. At the end, humanity was the cause.”Bookmark here

The Fake Oire knocked Leon back again. Leon threw his spear at the Fake Oire, who knocked it away in a single strike. Leon switched to a two handed stance just as Oire charged in for another round of attacks.Bookmark here

“But alas, I cannot directly affect humanity. For I am only a being of the dream. Yet I had one more option. That was to play Oire’s role, and create new ‘heroes’ for humanity.”Bookmark here

The Fake Oire was faster and stronger than Leon in every way, but Leon refused to concede. He continued to clash spears against the false guide, even as his shield was reaching its limit The Fake Oire knocked Leon back as he continued to talk.Bookmark here

“Those who were chosen all possessed similar qualities. I found those of considerable status or possessed incredible talent or skill, but there was one more point that I required from my new heroes.”Bookmark here

The Fake Oire threw away his second spear as he pointed the other at Leon.Bookmark here

“I am sure you can guess what it was.”Bookmark here

He then dashed at Leon, who raised his own spear to guard against the hit.Bookmark here

“Despite possessing better skills or higher intellect, all these humans desired more. They could not see what they already had, instead they only noticed their own flaws.”Bookmark here

The Fake Oire increased his strength as he swung, knocking Leon back onto the ground again and cracking his Mana shield. Leon struggled to get up.Bookmark here

“Of course, everyone except you. Imagine my surprise, when I find a human whose desire is not even his own! One who was a reflection of my own self.”Bookmark here

“What? How did you?” Leon said in surprise. Bookmark here

“I saw it all. You abandoned your own path just to take up someone else’s, and for what? You cannot even remember their name! You built your entire identity from your perception of them, as if you wanted to become them!"Bookmark here

The Fake Oire laughed.Bookmark here

“Perhaps that is why I chose you. You and I are the same, Leon. We both lacked purpose or reason, so we took it from one who is no longer here. We thought of it as honouring the memory of the deceased, but in truth it was just an excuse to gain a purpose for which we lacked."Bookmark here

The Fake Oire pulled back his arm as he prepared to throw the spear at Leon.Bookmark here

“But you disappoint me Leon. I thought that this connection would help you see my ways. We who are utterly and completely alone in this world.”Bookmark here

May and Touma looked over to see Leon struggling to get up. The Fake Oire twisted forward and threw the spear towards Leon, but an object blocked the projectile before it made contact.Bookmark here

“That’s where you’re wrong, he’s not alone,” a familiar voice rang out.Bookmark here

As the dust settled, Leon realized the object was a large greatsword. A figure then jumped down in front of him and picked up the greatsword with his right hand.Bookmark here

“Glad to see you’re alive, Leon,” Kaz said as he turned to look at Leon.Bookmark here

“Kaz? How?”Bookmark here

The Fake Oire look on in anger.Bookmark here

“You faded from the Dream, how could you return!?”Bookmark here

Kaz looked at his right arm, the black gauntlet from before was still present. May ran beside Leon and helped him back up.Bookmark here

“I guess you can thank the present your Nightmares gave me,” Kaz said as he held up his right arm.Bookmark here

Leon recovered his shield as he summoned his spears again, May deployed her arm blade, and Kaz brought his greatsword up and pointed at the Fake Oire.Bookmark here

“Even with the three of you, there is no way you can match my power and speed!”Bookmark here

Just as he said that, the Fake Oire watched as a bright white light and a dim black aura surrounded the trio. He looked back to see Touma and Shinigami Sensei applying strengthening spells.Bookmark here

“I never said anything about providing assistance to my children,” Shinigami Sensei said with a chuckle.Bookmark here

Touma held Saya in one hand while he casted his spells onto the trio with his other hand.Bookmark here

“Give him hell for me,” Touma said with a smile.Bookmark here

“No amount of assistance will help you!” the Fake Oire screamed at the party.Bookmark here

The Fake Oire cried out as another pair of arms sprouted from under the back of his cloak, carrying a greatsword in the left arm and a great axe in the right. He also materializes a large shield in his left hand.Bookmark here

“I will strike all of you down!”Bookmark here

Leon looked at Kaz and May before returning his gaze to the Fake Oire.Bookmark here

“Just like old times, huh?”Bookmark here

The Fake Oire charged forward as Leon and May jumped in different directions, while Kaz stood at the front and took the Fake Oire head-on. The Fake Oire raised his shield as Kaz gripped his greatsword with both hands and slammed it into the Fake Oire’s shield.Bookmark here

“Die.”Bookmark here

The Fake Oire brought his greatsword down on Kaz, but the sword impacted something invisible above him.Bookmark here

“What!”Bookmark here

Kaz smiled as he turned his greatsword around and swung again, cleanly cutting the large shield in half. The Fake Oire thrusted his spear forward, but Kaz quickly jumped back to avoid the attack. May dashed back in and slashed at the Fake Oire’s right side multiple times. The Fake Oire brought his great axe down on May as she attacked his right side, she quickly crossed her arm blades to block the attack. He followed by attempting to attack her with the spear in his right arm. Just before he could thrust forward, his right arm was impaled from above by another spear. He looked up to see Leon leaping over him, and another spear leaving his hand. The Fake Oire jumped away from May as Leon’s second spear landed at the Fake Oire’s previous spot. As he quickly summoned a replacement sword in his left arm, the Fake Oire was struck by a barrage of light arrows. He looked over to Touma and threw his great axe towards him in retaliation. As the axe was halfway towards Touma, Kaz jumped in front of it and knocked it to the ground with his greatsword. The Fake Oire tried to summon another replacement weapon, but May dashed by and cut off his rear right arm. It dropped to the ground and quickly faded into black mist.Bookmark here

“Looks like you should have sprouted a new pair of eyes instead,” she said as she dashed by.Bookmark here

“Why you!”Bookmark here

As the Fake Oire turned to look at May, he also noticed Kaz dash back towards him with his greatsword raised. The Fake Oire slammed the sword in his left hand down onto Kaz, who quickly raised his greatsword to block the hit.Bookmark here

“She’s right, you know,” Kaz said with a smug smile.Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

Leon jumped up behind the Fake Oire and sliced off his rear left arm before quickly jumping away, the arm dissolving into black mist as it fell. Leon, May, and Kaz converged in front of the Fake Oire as he continued to scream in rage.Bookmark here

“You damn humans! It wasn’t supposed to be like this!”Bookmark here

“Let’s end this,” Leon said as he raised his spear.Bookmark here

Leon, May, and Kaz performed a synchronized attack. Kaz dashed in first and slammed his greatsword into the Fake Oire’s left arm, preventing him from blocking. May followed by attacking from multiple angles, damaging the Fake Oire’s legs and preventing him from running.Bookmark here

“Leon, go!” May and Kaz yelled in sync.Bookmark here

Leon dashed in from the back, running his spear through the Fake Oire’s cloak and impaling him into the tree at the edge of the cliff. Black mist spilled out of him as Leon let go of the spear. The sudden impact caused the Fake Oire's hood to fall off, revealing his appearance. His face was that of a man in his sixties, with short black hair and piercing red eyes.Bookmark here

“So that’s it then?” the Fake Oire asked. “All that planning, all that time spend trying to understand him, and I’m just going to fade without ever knowing how he really felt."
Bookmark here

The Fake Oire’s body began to fade into black mist.Bookmark here

“Even though he called me his ‘friend’, I never truly knew what he was thinking.”Bookmark here

Leon looked the Fake Oire and addressed him directly.Bookmark here

“I can’t claim to know what Oire really wanted. I can only give you the perspective of a human who saw your memories. Oire truly loved humanity. He was born from humanity’s wishes; it was why he never questioned his purpose. Even when he faded from the Dream, he held nothing but love for humanity. Perhaps it was wrong for him to ask you to understand humanity, as you were not born from its love like him. Instead you were corrupted by the darkness of humanity, and it only caused you to see his disappearance in a negative light.”Bookmark here

The Fake Oire breathed deeply as he continued to fade.Bookmark here

“I see, so I guess I was never meant to understand him.”Bookmark here

“I think that’s fine,” Leon responded. “You were friends because you were two completely different beings. Perhaps in his time here he tried to understand your existence as well. Although I cannot say if that was really what he thought."Bookmark here

“That’s fine, I can accept my defeat. After all, I might be able to see him now.”Bookmark here

The Fake Oire faded completely. As he did, the tree that he was pinned to also faded away. At the same time, a white aura surrounded the party.Bookmark here

“What is this?” Leon asked.Bookmark here

“That, my child, is the end of your time in the Dream,” Shinigami Sensei said as he walked up to the group.Bookmark here

He carried Hayate’s unconscious body over, Kaz took Hayate from Shinigami Sensei and support him on his side.Bookmark here

“Uh, Leon, who is this?” Kaz asked as he did a double take.Bookmark here

“I don’t think we’ll have time right now Kaz, I’ll tell you more later,” Leon said before he turned back to Shinigami Sensei. “So what will happen to us when we wake up Sensei?”Bookmark here

“You should be able to recall all the events of your journey here, as your goal was accomplished. The girl and the boy who were swayed by the false guide, they should also recover in a day’s time.”Bookmark here

Shinigami Sensei smiled at the group as he put his hood back on.Bookmark here

“It was truly a unique experience for me to encounter humans before their time is due. I hope for you all to live long, fulfilling lives. Until the day we meet again, my children.”Bookmark here

Leon, May, Touma, Kaz, Saya, and Hayate all completely faded from the Dream.Bookmark here

Shinigami Sensei walked over to where the tree and stone slab was. He sat down beside the stone slab and gazed out onto the ocean illuminated by a sea of stars.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.