Chapter 1:

Chapter 1: To You, I say Goodbye

Code Reader Kagami (LitRPG)

“Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universeBookmark here

A wiseman once uttered those words long before he understood the full scope of his own country. Perhaps if that philosopher had to code computer universes to make his living, he would not glorify mathematics so much. A wall of numbers... continuous hidden words, coded for no reason other than to make you strain your mind.Bookmark here

Within these walls, lay countless stories and tales, actions and mechanics, histories and probabilities, all which could easily be outright stated. If the god created the universe through the same method he was now doing, he would truly pity him.Bookmark here

The dimly lit lab room gave the illusion that no one was there. This was however, offset by the loud clicking noises. Those of the newer era could easily recognize this as the noise a keyboard makes.Bookmark here

“Kata kata” Bookmark here

…..Bookmark here

“Kata kata”Bookmark here

Without stopping for a single moment, the train of words and numbers continued to drift. The source of this noise? None other than Kagami Shima. His glasses rested loosely on his nose, zooming into the texts that continued to erroneously display itself on his computer. Bookmark here

His concentration on his work was finally disrupted by his phone ringing. He continued typing, albeit a little slower as he finished the last paragraph of edits he had to do. Finally, he couldn’t resist the urge to check his phone anymore. It continuously vibrated in his pocket. His alarm clock.Bookmark here

“04:00-- End Project”Bookmark here

“Crap… I’m sorry Owa. I’m going to have to keep this one. I’m sure Hina-chan won’t mind just this once.”Bookmark here

He thought deeply on the probably disappointed face of his daughter when she’d realize he wasn’t coming home tonight. He couldn’t. After-all, the game launch was about to be finalized tomorrow. As the best coder in the company, this was his prerogative. He was to clear up all mistakes and make sure it is presentable for its first gameplay preview. Bookmark here

To be honest, he’d much rather dreaded this job. They work him like a ringer, and continue to impose crude deadlines. He actually hated his talent much more. He was above average with his talents in coding. He could have easily landed this job with just average skill, but due to his exemplary talent, they continue to place all the workload on him. Bookmark here

Alas, he has no other choice really. The pay is good, and at least he can afford to take care of his daughter. It’s an otherwise hard task for a single father without a good paying income. Lady Hina was taking care of her at the moment. Though she had probably already foreseen that he would take this long with his final project. Bookmark here

The sound of keyboards continued to hollow out throughout the room. The sole blue screen of the computer served as the only source of light, keeping him awake long enough to finish the project. “After this, I should probably be getting a promotion.” He smiled as his eyes were blinking in and out. He was slowly beginning to tire and fall asleep.Bookmark here

After all, a 16 hour shift was nothing to joke around about.Bookmark here

He snapped himself out of it quickly. “I have to finish this first. I must finish this first.” He resolved his determination and slapped himself awake. The finalizations should be done with now. “I should probably take a look over it once more. Just to be sure.” Such was the caution of Kagami. Bookmark here

“Yes… that’s good… they probably didn’t think I could pull it off huh… heh. If I don’t receive the recognition, I’m probably going to quit…. This game should make it to the top 50.”Bookmark here

He had spent the greater part of his past two years on this game. The huge immersive world was amazingly crafted. The AI within the game was greater than what any game could afford to even produce yet. After he finished the original version, they had to scrap it and revise it. No console could smoothly run that kind of data yet. Bookmark here

He truly reconstructed the world within a single disc. Bookmark here

His eyes began to grow heavy. “All...alright.. I should be going now. This is good.”Bookmark here

He picked up his coat and threw it around his shoulders. “Alright. Owaaaa, here I comeee” This thought alone energized her. By now, he had already set aside a good fortune for her to complete college. Now, it was just a matter of finally giving her the world he had promised to give his daughter. The world he had promised her mother as well.Bookmark here

He stepped through the dimly lit halls of the office. “It’s too late… undoubtedly I’ll crash if I start driving. Might be better to call a cab.”Bookmark here

“Hello?”Bookmark here

“Hey. Karagiri headquarters. I’m trying to get a ride to Sapporo.”Bookmark here

“Yeah. Sure. We’ll be right over.”Bookmark here

He shut the phone and remained seated next to the inactive bus station.Bookmark here

“we’ll?” He doesn’t really recall ever taking a Taxi with 2 people in it at once. Kagami yawned. ‘At the very least, I should try and stay awake… I can’t very well fall asleep and miss my ride can I?’Bookmark here

He picked up the phone once more and called Shima. “Hello? Hina Chan?”Bookmark here

“Mr. Shima, A-are you alright? Is everything going okay?”Bookmark here

“Yeah. Of course. I’m just running a little late. I had quite the bit of a workload today I suppose. I’ll be there soon. I apologize for taking longer than usual. I should have been home 7 hours ago.”Bookmark here

“Oh not at all.” She laughed politely. “Owa’s fast asleep. She tried to stay awake until you came home, but it seems she’s all out of stamina.”Bookmark here

“Haha. I see. Her and I both. I’ll have to take her out to the park tomorrow to make up for it. Knowing her, the spoiled brat would probably want some ice-cream as well.”Bookmark here

“Oh she’s not that bad, really!” Bookmark here

“Aye. You just haven’t been around her as much. Well… I’ll be home soon..”Bookmark here

“Ah...y-yes, See you soon Shima-san.”Bookmark here

“Hina-..”Bookmark here

“Hm?”Bookmark here

“Sorry. I’ll be sure to pay you well as well for your time.”Bookmark here

“Mm-” You could practically hear her shaking her head over the phone. “Please, its not hard work, and I actually kind of enjoy it. You already pay more than necessary, don’t worry about it.”Bookmark here

“Yeah…”Bookmark here

-Piiiiiiiiiii……-Bookmark here

Unfortunately, the human body does not gain its powers to function off of will alone. Soon after the phone had shut off, so did his mind, and he fell into his slumber. Long before the taxi had arrived. Bookmark here

“HONK HONKKK”Bookmark here

His eyes shot open. “Hm?”Bookmark here

“I believe you called us?”Bookmark here

He hazily blinked, staring at the duo within the car. “Ah… yes… that’s right… taxi.”Bookmark here

He got up and entered the small vehicle. “Well, where to?”Bookmark here

“O-...odori park… “Bookmark here

“Oo--ooodori paaaark, he says.” The young man in the front passenger seat laughed. “Man look at ya. You shouldn’t be goin to no park, you should be going to bed.” He cackled. The other man also burst out laughing.Bookmark here

‘What loudmouths… I’m just trying to get home…’Bookmark here

“Anyways, what ya doin at the Karagiri at this time of night. Ya know, you’re lucky ya ain’t get mugged or something. This area gets rough around this time’s why I keep my boy here with me.”Bookmark here

“Heh, That's right. Though you should know, sleeping around in these typa streets… man I tell ya.”Bookmark here

“.....”Bookmark here

“Yeah….” Bookmark here

‘Just let me sleep peacefully… you guys are too obnoxious to be entering my dreams…’Bookmark here

‘And jeez… what’s with their energy… its 05:00’Bookmark here

“I bet ya he showed up too late for the interview! HAHAHA”Bookmark here

“AHAHAH. Quit yar jokin son.”Bookmark here

‘And what's with this smell….?... it…. It's…’Bookmark here

Whatever thought he was thinking was much too late. He had already crossed into the world of dreams.Bookmark here

“Papaaa, look, look!”Bookmark here

“Haha, nice! You look like Meguri!!” Bookmark here

A character he made in the game. So far it was her favorite character. She loved everything about her. Meguri, the world patroller. She’d ride gallantly on her horse and slay all the evils of the land. He created her to strike fear into pvpers. For if she kills you while red-named, you lose everything including your level. Bookmark here

In contrast, to the girl riding gallantly on her giant white mare, the small young girl riding on her dog was, to most, a disgraceful cosplay. But, if he could have gotten away with it, he’d probably have animated her just like that. They both laughed.Bookmark here

The dog ran off and he could hear the duo playing around with each other. Kagami laid back in the grass, staring at the beautifully painted skies. The sun was just beginning to set, and decided it would be best to overlay the clouds with orange. Bookmark here

It gave off an amazing feeling of warmth. It was almost as if the sun was embracing them. For such a nice day, there was no one around and the wind blew by in just the right moment. Bookmark here

“This…. This is perfection. I could die right now, and be completely happy. Owa, Kiba, and myself enjoying a vibrant day like this.”Bookmark here

He was feeling much more relaxed now that the fatigue he had accrued was given a chance to rest. ‘Come to think of it… I don’t actually remember even getting back. Maybe I was just that tired.’Bookmark here

‘And those obnoxious taxi drivers… give me a break. I can still hear their voice ringing in my head now.’Bookmark here

‘Their annoying slurred accent, their dumb laugh. And to top it off they stank… It was almost as if they were… they were….’Bookmark here

He couldn’t quite put his finger on the word he was trying to think of. ‘Nevermind. I should just enjoy this time with Owa. Surely there will be a lot of press in the next coming day.’ Bookmark here

‘But still… it was almost as if they were…’Bookmark here

“Alchoholics papa.”Bookmark here

“Huh?” His eyes hot open to see Owa standing over him. “Where’d you even learn a word like that?” Owa was only 8. If it was the babysitter…. No, Hina-chan wouldn’t do anything like that.Bookmark here

Owa smiled. With one tear rolling down her cheek. “Papa… don’t you get it? They were alcoholics.”Bookmark here

He still wasn’t quite catching onto what the hell she was saying. “W..what are-...”Bookmark here

The world around him started turning red. The orange skies quickly shifted to sanguine. As if the color of wine. “Wait…. Y-”Bookmark here

“Baiiii Papa… I’ll miss you.…" she sniffed. "Don’t leave.”Bookmark here

And just like that, the world shifted to its cold reality. Here he lay, within a scene of chaos. Blood dyed his eyes, and the warmth of it embraced his entire body. “W-qhhrr...auhhgh!!!” He tried to speak, only to spurt out blood profusely. Bookmark here

‘No… what is this… this can’t be… this can’t be happening.’Bookmark here

‘Move…. Move!!’ He tried, but his body refused to listen. ‘Odori...I should be at Odori…’ He was in the middle of the highway crossing from the subprefecture, into the Hokkaido prefecture. The arid sky was completely different from the vibrance he had earlier felt. He finally got his body to move, but slipped all over the blood in front of his path. Bookmark here

‘Wh-...why…. I shouldn’t be dying…. Not like this… I shoudn’t be. No… No… no.. noo….! Owa… This can’t be happening.’Bookmark here

He tried to lift himself with these thoughts in mind. But alas, the human body could not operate on will alone. No matter how much reasons he plowed into his head. Bookmark here

“I have to see Owa.”Bookmark here

“I have to make it up to Owa.”Bookmark here

“I have to pay Hina extra for her decency and help.”Bookmark here

“I have to set aside funds for the future…”Bookmark here

“I must…. I can’t leave her too.”Bookmark here

All for naught.Bookmark here

The pain finally kicked in and he screamed out loud, clutching onto what he finally realized was just his upper torso. Bookmark here

He attempted to crawl forward. Pointlessly. Bookmark here

As if in his condition, he could merely crawl all the way to Odori park.Bookmark here

Up ahead, he could see the younger man in the taxi, pounding on the drivers chest. Attempting to revive him. Bookmark here

“FATHER!!!.... I-I’m… NO THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING.”Bookmark here

The pain in his voice…Bookmark here

The tears that constantly streamed from his face. “I’m sorry!! I SHOULD HAVE TRIED HARDER TO CHANGE YOU. I SHOULD HAVE TRIED HARDER TO HELP!! I’M SORRY. THIS IS ALL MY FAULT…!!”Bookmark here

“Please… I said I’m sorry… so please….. Don’t die.”Bookmark here

“Don’t dieeeuaaaghhh!!!!” His tears were genuine. It was almost as if he could shred his vocal cords.Bookmark here

Seeing this made his heart sink.Bookmark here

He was seeing exactly what was going to go through Owa’s head…. ‘My stupidity… I should have refused. I should have spent more time. I should have…. Not worked so hard on a future…. A future that was so uncertain.’Bookmark here

That’s right. The only things that were certain, were the things that are already happening. Raising Owa. Making sure she was loved. Making sure she was happy. These were the only things that were certain. To plan ahead for the future, he had missed out on what he could have been doing now.Bookmark here

‘Hah...heheheh… this is a joke isn’t it…’Bookmark here

His foolish advancement to the park had stopped. He turned around, laying flat on his back and placed a hand over his eyes to hide the tears.Bookmark here

‘Even to the end…. I’m a failure.’Bookmark here

‘The promise that I made… not even then could I keep that word huh…’Bookmark here

‘I’m sorry… It seems even I ca-....’Bookmark here

‘-n’t…’Bookmark here

Whatever thought he was thinking was over. On August 10, 2037 06:23, Kagami Shima. Had died.Bookmark here

Undoubtedly. His story should come to a close.Bookmark here

And yet....Bookmark here

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