Chapter 12:

Hentai Communism


Cold sweat. Shivering. Laboured breathing.

Alice’s avatar was displaying symptoms that didn’t exist in Aksara Online. The player model, despite how lifelike it seemed, simply wasn’t programmed to be able to exhibit certain behaviour. What Jason was witnessing now fell into the realm of impossibility, but it was too real to be called fake.

He had seen Alice lose her leg before. She reacted exactly like how any player did. Indifferent. That was because the player and the avatar were two separate entities. While many different sensations were relayed over to the player, pain wasn’t one of them.

So to see her suffering like this, in such a realistic manner…it crushed him.

This wasn’t something he could call 911 for. Another human being was fighting for her life. All he could do was watch.

“Alice, Alice look at me!”

He held her tightly, only to realise she was burning up. Placing his palm onto her forehead confirmed it—a fever. The sheer speed at which her condition worsened felt like an acute allergic reaction.

Alice fought to keep her eyes open. Taking rapid breaths, she wasn’t able to speak, but she was still conscious enough to follow what was going on.

“Alice, stay with me, Alice. I’m here with you. Deep breaths.”

Pursing his lips, he started to take slow, deliberate breaths in an attempt to get her to relax. Realising what he was doing, she tried to manage the pace of her breathing. Tears began to flow as she battled to keep the pain welling up in her head at bay.

He held her weak hand firmly, reassuring her that it was all going to be okay. This was just a game for her, wasn’t it? All she wanted was fun, right? This kind of physical episode had no right taking Alice’s enjoyment away.

She was the devil. If she had to go down, she should go down swinging against god himself. Not against some mysterious attack like this.

After what felt like an eternity, Alice was able to match Jason’s breathing. Colour gradually began to return to her complexion. The pain wasn’t overwhelming anymore, but manageable.

“You’re a champ, hear me? Strongest player in the whole server. You’re gonna get through this. You got that?”

She gave him a firm nod, a much-needed reassurance for him. He had been putting up a brave front so far. Alice might be fighting for her life, but Jason was doing everything he could to not panic and break down. If something were to happen to her…

“Ja…son…” she grated the name out of her throat, “why…the long face?”

Good, she’s still cracking jokes…

“I’m glad you’re okay,” his words escaped in between a bittersweet smile.

“S-Sorry, I don’t kno—”

He placed a finger right onto her lips.

“Not another word from you. I had no idea what just happened, All I know is you gotta rest. You should log out.”

“Don’t leave…me.”

Was she out of her mind?!

She clearly was not fit to be inside her VirtuaSim any longer. Yet, she still held his hand, refusing to let go.

“Alice, you need to stop pl—”

“NO!” she coughed, her lungs unable to take the pressure that was forcefully exerted. “Please, please stay with me…a little longer…please…”

Tears began to pour once more. First was pain, then it was sadness. Jason struggled to come to terms with what he was seeing. The devil that so gleefully destroyed everything in her path begged him to stay in a teary mess. She was like a child refusing to be away from her parents. Pitiful. Yet, it pained him even more to leave her. Not like this.

“Alright. Five minutes, okay?”

It killed him inside. What she needed at the moment was medical help. Not him. This entire thing happened too fast. Out of nowhere. If she happened to die, she’d just respawn like nothing has happened, right?

Then, why did he feel like he’d lose her forever? Why did this feel all so real? The person cradled in his arms right now—who was she, really?”

“Jason…” she raised her other hand, wiping the tears that he didn’t realise were streaming down his face, “why…cry…?”

That was when it really hit him.

The repressed memories of an incident all too familiar.

He was just eight at the time. His brother, ten. Peter collapsed midway through his meal. His face—swollen. His breath—hyperventilating. Seconds ago, he was perfectly fine. But the anaphylactic shock happened out of nowhere.

With their parents at work, Jason panicked, cried. He didn’t know what it was. All he could do after calling the ambulance was to stay by his brother’s side. Peter begged him, pleaded for him to stay. It was a mirror image of what Alice was going through. Seeing someone’s life slipping out of their hands, but all you could do was watch. Peter lived, but the incident was buried in his mind for a reason. 

“It’s nothing,” Jason shook his head. “You just happened to remind me of someone, is all.”


“Yeah. Loved that bully. ”

She smiled, satisfied. Jason never shed a tear when she performed all her antics. Yet, here he was, showing his vulnerable side together with her.

Those five minutes turned out to be a lot longer than expected. But it helped Alice stabilise. For whatever reason unknown to him, the immediate danger no longer loomed over her head like the sword of Damocles.

“Alice…I need to go off soon, okay?”

She nodded, but with a tinge of sadness, “Promise me you’ll log in tomorrow, okay?”


He knew it was an unreasonable demand. He still had to sift through all the footage and settle real-world matters. But at the moment, nothing seemed to matter more than the person right in front of him.

“Let’s log out together at the same time, okay?” he asked, compassion written all over his eyes.

“Heh. Change one part of that sentence…and you sound like a hentai character during sex.”

Oh god.

He shed an extra, single tear for that. Happy that her brain was functioning as it should. Dying because of the imagery that came to mind.

“I’m serious. It’s late here. You should take a break, too.”

“Okay, Serious. We countdown together then?”


Visualising his menu, he looked for the [ Quit Game ] option.

“Ready?” he made sure.


Together, they counted.




In an instant, darkness overcame his vision, before being replaced by his VirtuaSim’s home page. With an exhausted sigh, he disconnected from the console, lifting the helmet over his head.

It had been a wild ride. From the crazy people he met to the endgame mobs that stood in his way, he never expected his return to his favourite game to be this chaotic. General Erection, Warthog, Alice…the people he stumbled upon had given him excellent leads and deets for Black Hat.

Especially Alice.

There was no way that she coincidentally got “a headache” when she tried to remember her encounters with Black Hat. Putting together everything he gathered thus far, it was clear that she had been affected by them in some ways.

Was it a hack? A virus that triggered if she tried to do something BH didn’t allow? Could a hacker even hurt someone physically through their VS?

But if anybody in the server could kill you, it’s Black Hat for sure.

General Erection’s gravelly voice replayed in his head, sending shivers all over his body. For just the first day of filming, the discoveries he made were mind-boggling. But the rabbit hole stretches even deeper, and he wasn’t ready to climb out.

Besides, he had a promise to keep.

But for now, it was time for respite. Jason was back in his room again. Stretching his aching body, he looked around, welcoming the musty scent of familiarity.

Everything was exactly where they were. His desk, the cup noodles that scattered around—he was home.

The same couldn’t be said for Alice.

Taylor J
Dhamas Tri (dmz)