Chapter 22:

Epilogue: A wish for the future.

Dive into the Night

(Several days later)Bookmark here

I made sure I woke up early today, since I had a lot of plans made. As I began to drink my morning coffee, I gazed out the window of my room. Clear skies, with minimal cloud cover. I walked back into my room with the rest of my cup of coffee. I had already turned on my PC when I woke up, so all I had to do was open my email. It was the first result in my inbox.Bookmark here

Hey Leon, I’m doing great here in Berlin, thanks for asking.Bookmark here

I think you can imagine my surprise when you dropped all of that in your email. I am glad that you continued to remember them, even if you can’t remember their name. And again, I’m sorry that we kept it from you all this time. I want to say that we didn’t want you to experience that trauma again, but maybe we were just being selfish. We had discussions where we considered speaking to you about it, but we never did. Although! I do have a lot of good news. As promised, I managed to get back from everyone. I neatly compiled everything in an attachment at the bottom of the email. I hope you will find it useful.Bookmark here

And Leon, I don’t think it was rude of you to take on [---]’s dream, if anything it’s commendable. We all had our own ways to deal with loss, and that was just how you subconsciously honoured [---]’s memory.Bookmark here

PS. Get a word in on my behalf, you hear? Tell them I’ll make sure to visit as soon as I come back!Bookmark here

-KelvinBookmark here

I quickly penned a reply before I turned off my PC and got changed. I was still on schedule, but it was always good to be early rather than late. Before I left the house, I checked my phone. I had a notification from Kaz.Bookmark here

Kaz: [Hey Leon, I have already sent the location through the group chat, but Hayate and Saya have not replied. Should I ask again?]Bookmark here

Leon: [It’s ok, I’m sure Touma will figure something out.]Bookmark here

[Well I might be a little bit late, but I'll definitely arrive by 11:30 at the latest]Bookmark here

Kaz: [Well, I will trust your judgement on this. This is the first time I will be seeing everyone for over a week. It is somewhat exciting.]Bookmark here

Leon: [I’ll text you when I get there, right now I have to head out first.]Bookmark here

Kaz: [Oh of course, you had your own business to attend to. I hope that it goes well.]Bookmark here

I put my phone back into my pocket as I left the house.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

After arriving, Leon parked his car and grabbed a bouquet of flowers from his passenger side door. He locked his car and walked into the cemetery. After walking past rows of headstones, Leon stopped at one grave in particular. He did not recognize the name, yet he knew it was the right one; as it matched the name Kelvin gave him in the email. Leon placed the flowers in front of the grave and paid his respects.Bookmark here

“I’m sorry, even now I still can’t fully remember you. However, I did remember our promise, even after all these years. Over the past two weeks I went on an incredible journey and met some amazing new people. It wasn’t with the guys you and I knew, but it couldn’t be helped. I could only wish that you could have seen what I saw there.”Bookmark here

Leon looked up at the sky as a gentle breeze blew through the cemetery.Bookmark here

“I’ll come back and visit whenever I have new stories to tell, since I remember you always loved adventure stories.”Bookmark here

As Leon turned to walk away, he paused. After a short moment he turned back around and sat down in front of the headstone.Bookmark here

“There’s one thing I would like to admit before I leave today. All this time, even though I could not remember you, I continued holding onto your dream. It was the reason everything in the past two weeks happened. I thought your dream was my own, so I strived to make it come true. But at the same time, I would not have met everyone if it weren’t for that. Nor would I be sitting here in front of you today. So, thank you. Thanks to you, I finally have my own reason to fight.”Bookmark here

As Leon left the cemetery, he opened the group chat on his phone and texted a response.Bookmark here

Leon: [Heading down there now, hopefully will meet you guys at 11.]Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

Leon walked into the small park in the middle of the city. The park only took up a few blocks of the city, but it was clean and well kept. A large fountain in the middle of the park acted as a waypoint for those walking around the park’s pathway. Kaz was sitting on a bench near the fountain, he waved to Leon as he saw Leon approach.Bookmark here

“How I’m I still the earliest one to arrive?” he asked Kaz.Bookmark here

“It is fine, it is a nice day after all. We can simply enjoy the weather while we wait for the others.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, I guess it’s been a while since we’ve had weather this nice.”Bookmark here

“Not like I would have known considering I was asleep for the last several days!” Kaz said with a hearty laugh.Bookmark here

“You know, speaking of that, how are you feeling today? Better than yesterday I hope,” Leon asked as he sat down beside Kaz.Bookmark here

“It is a slow recovery process, but it is not like we are in a rush to do anything.”Bookmark here

Leon and Kaz continued to talk until they noticed a black limousine pull up at the park entrance. A familiar looking man in sunglasses and a black suit stepped out and opened the limo’s rear door. May, Touma, and Saya all stepped out and walked into the park. Leon noticed that Touma was holding Saya’s hand as they walked. May reached Leon and Kaz before Touma and Saya. Instead of her usual attire, May was instead wearing a white sundress.Bookmark here

“Wow,” Leon said in a somewhat sarcastic tone. “What happened to ‘I like having pocket space’?”Bookmark here

“What, you complained when I wore pants and now you’re complaining because I’m not?” she asked, somewhat annoyed.Bookmark here

“Just kidding,” Leon said with a chuckle. “I think it looks beautiful on you.”Bookmark here

May turned her head away from Leon, but he could already see that her entire face was red from embarrassment. Touma and Saya walked over shortly after.Bookmark here

“Hey, look at the two pairs of lovebirds over here,” Kaz said with a laugh. “You really changed for the better, Touma. You are so much more confident.”Bookmark here

“I couldn’t do it alone,” Touma replied with a smile.Bookmark here

“Now we are just missing Hayate,” Kaz said as he looked around.Bookmark here

“We told him about today, but I’m not sure if he’ll show up,” May replied.Bookmark here

“Of course I would show up,” a voice called from behind the group.Bookmark here

Everyone looked to see Hayate entering the park from the entrance, wearing a normal summer outfit for once.Bookmark here

“A man has to own up to his mistake, after all,” Hayate said as he reached the group.Bookmark here

“I am glad to see you are doing fine, Hayate,” Kaz said with a smile.Bookmark here

Kaz stood up and faced the rest of the group.Bookmark here

“Now that everyone is here, I would like to make an announcement,” he began to say. “As you all know; I have succeeded my father as the head of the Ryusei Group. I had a terrible viewpoint of how I was to lead the Ryusei. I only thought about impressing others. With the state of the world today, I would like to do something different with the Ryusei Group. I want to put the group’s vast amount of resources towards a better future. After all, we cannot expect to be handed a perfect future, we have to work to build one ourselves.Bookmark here

“What are ya suggestin’ Kaz?” Hayate asked.Bookmark here

“Currently everything is still in the early planning stages, but I wanted to see if you all would be interested in helping me with this endeavour. I wish to take back the future, one step at a time.”Bookmark here

“Count me and Saya in,” said Touma. “Her goals are also mine after all. Besides, we saw the wasteland in the Dream. It was a prediction of the future of humanity, and not a great one. I would consider it a success if we could delay that as long as possible.”Bookmark here

“Hell yeah! You can count on me, Kaz,” said Hayate. “I … don’t want to live in my family’s shadow forever, so I’ll follow you instead!"Bookmark here

“And of course, I was informed that a certain someone was interested in helping with an international connection?” Kaz said in a sly manner.Bookmark here

May sighed.Bookmark here

“Everyone, including my parents, are tired of the current situation of our group. The older members don’t want to leave a terrible future for the younger generation. And at the same time, the younger generation members don’t want to live in a dystopia. So, I’ll see what I can do to help. It might still take a bit of time for us to … adjust. But I think we should be okay.” Bookmark here

Kaz looked down at Leon.Bookmark here

“How about you, Leon?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, sure Kaz,” Leon said as he smiled. “I’ve been looking for something to do anyway, so I’m down to try something new.”Bookmark here

Kaz smiled.Bookmark here

“Alright, now that I have gotten that off the list, what do you say we all take a walk and enjoy this day? It has been a while since we were able to do something like this."Bookmark here

Kaz, Hayate, Touma, and Saya walked ahead as Leon stood up and walked beside May. He noticed that she was reaching her hand towards his but she kept stopping herself halfway. Leon grabbed May’s right hand with his left hand and held it tightly.Bookmark here

“This might not be the full day I promised you, but I would still like to spend it with you, regardless,” Leon said as he looked away from May in embarrassment.Bookmark here

May pulled herself closer to Leon as she held onto his left arm.Bookmark here

“Just know that when that day comes, I won’t let you go,” May said as she looked up at Leon.Bookmark here

Leon looked back at May and smiled.Bookmark here

“Shall we?” he asked.Bookmark here

May nodded, the two of them walked after the rest of the group.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

Shinigami Sensei continued to sit at the cliff overlooking the ocean. He held a recording device as he spoke into it.Bookmark here

“… and so our podcast today comes to an end. As you walk your own path along the road of life, there will be moments where you may be caught off guard. Even so, you should not stop. Always continue to move, even if your future appears uncertain. As one day, this journey will come to an end. When it does, I hope you can reflect on it and smile. So until the day we meet, continue to live your life without regret, my children. I thank you for listening in.”Bookmark here

Shinigami Sensei put the recording device back into his cloak as he watched the ocean, a gentle breeze blew through the field of flowers behind him. The headstone beside him had two names carved into it. The first name was Oire, but the other name was ineligible. As Shinigami Sensei got up to leave, he suddenly turned around and stared. There was no one behind him, but he continued to stare for another moment.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

Leon walked back into his room after his shower, the rest of the lights in his house were already turned off. Leon picked up his phone and checked the messages, there were a couple new ones from the group chat.Bookmark here

Kaz: [If everyone is okay with this date, I can start making preparations right now.]Bookmark here

Touma: [I should be free.]Bookmark here

Saya: [Same with me!]Bookmark here

Hayate: [Hell yeah! I can’t wait to split some watermelons!]Bookmark here

May: [That’s assuming you can even hit them.]Bookmark here

Hayate: [What?!]Bookmark here

Kaz: [May, play nice please.]Bookmark here

May: [okayyyy]Bookmark here

[Why does everyone want to go to the beach this badly anyway?]Bookmark here

Leon: [I think it could be fun.]Bookmark here

[May you’re coming right?]Bookmark here

May: […]Bookmark here

[yes.]Bookmark here

Kaz: [Alright, I will see everyone next week then!]Bookmark here

Leon turned off his lights and climbed into his bed, he fell asleep after a few minutes.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

Leon found himself in a familiar black void. He slowly walked forward and eventually saw a door materialize in front of him.Bookmark here

“Isn’t this…”Bookmark here

Leon had seen the same door many times already from the past week, but there was a small difference. The door had a new lock on it. As Leon inspected the door, he felt something in his left hand. He raised it up and saw a key with six small gems embedded into it. The colours of the key and its gems matched that of the lock on the door.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.