Well folks, it's been a good run, but it's time to end the story with a few bangs, a bittersweet moment, and a lot of love and affection.
The Future Is Bright
It was over...the last trial was over, that means the game is over...and Yuki should be free.
"Well played, Mr. Rogers." Mikado praised. "You bested even me at the very end, even when all hope was lost."
"I appreciate the slight sarcasm in your tone." I replied.
"If you wish to call it sarcasm, then do so."
"Alright, you lost, now turn Yuki back to normal." Akane said. "We have you outnumbered."
"Oh, Ms. Tiara. I do not recall taking orders from you, even if you are an A.I."
"Seriously, you're still resisting even though the trial is over?" Yoruko asked.
He nodded. "That is how far I'm willing to go for the sake of despair and for the sake of bringing back Utsuro."
"Well, no matter what you say, it's over." Kokoro said.
"We'll be leaving now and we'll be taking Yuki back with us." Emma added.
Hibiki nodded. "Yeah, so give Yuki's body back."
"I promised that I would let you leave with Yuki." Mikado smirked. "I didn't agree to give his body back."
"That's no fair!" Yuki exclaimed.
Akane sighed. "So now, you're gonna be a sore loser?"
"If I cannot have Utsuro..." Mikado brought out a switch. "...then I shall take you down with me!"
"What does that switch do?" Emma asked.
He grinned. "Behold, this was to be my trump card if I lost this trial...and now, the time has come!"
He pushed it and we heard sirens around the room.
*VIRTUAL REALITY SELF-DESTRUCT SEQUENCE ENGAGED*
*ALL AVATARS, EVACUATE THE VIRTUAL WORLD IMMEDIATELY*
"What?! Self-destruct?!" Kokoro asked in shock. "You're going to kill us all?"
"If I cannot have Utsuro, then I'll just blow up the entire virtual reality and bring you all down with me!" Mikado replied. "Now we can all die together and vanish away into the eternal darkness that is true despair! HAHAHAHAHAHA-"
We suddenly heard a gunshot and A.I Mikado was bleeding from the left shoulder.
We then saw Dylan who had gotten back up and he was holding a gun. "Guess I was right to bring this along, I always knew you'd pull something desperate. I also have Kiyoka to thank for giving me lessons on how to pull off a clear shot on you."
"ARRRRGGGHHHH! HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO SHOOT ME?!"
He sighed. "It didn't occur to you that not all of us used the same simulation pod? You're not really smart, are you?"
"Wait...you used the same pod Mr. Hashimoto used?"
"That's right, the admin simulation pod that comes with the 'admin code'." Dylan smirked. "And now, with you weakened, I get to do this!"
*Administration privileges for A.I Mikado has been revoked!*
Dylan aimed the gun at him, but then he looked at me. "Actually, Owen, would you care to do the honors in finishing him off?"
"Me?" I responded.
"Go on, Owen." Akane said. "This is your chance to pay back A.I Mikado for all that he has done."
I nodded and Dylan gave me the gun and I aimed it at A.I Mikado, my chance to finish this once and for all.
"DAMN YOU MR. ROGERS!"
"No, you're the one who's going to be damned." I replied. "You love despair so much? Then go and live within it for eternity!"
I glared at him. "This...is for Sora..."
*BANG* *BANG* *BANG* *BANG* *BANG* *BANG* *BANG* *BANG*
After shooting him eight times, he was a bloody mess and then...
...he fell and his A.I side shut down immediately.
"Now it's over." I said quietly. "So long, you corrupted bastard..."
"Ah!" Yoruko gasped.
"You...shot him." Emma said in surprise.
"Woah, that was brutal!" Hibiki added.
"Why did you shoot him eight times?" Setsuka asked.
I dropped the gun. "Each bullet I fired, were for the other people that were sacrificed, all because of that A.I."
"The good news is that with A.I Mikado gone, the A.I privileges has been transferred to me." Akane said. "Unfortunately, I don't have time to shut down the self-destruct sequence. All I can do with the time I have left, is restore Yuki's conscience back to his body and have him logged out."
"Please do, I'm getting tired of being stuck in this portrait!" Yuki said.
I hummed. "Will it hurt him?"
"I'm afraid he'll suffer a side effect, restoring a human conscience to the human body it was removed from, can have repercussions. Please don't be frightened Yuki, but this will most likely result in your senses overreacting and will put your body into a temporary coma."
Yuki gasped. "What?! Coma?!"
"Why a coma? Isn't there another way?" Yoruko asked.
"I'm sorry, but this is the only way I can get you out safely." Akane answered. "The rest of you should be able to log out yourselves, right?"
"Yeah, but what about you?" Dylan asked. "Surely there was another reason that you decided to help us."
She looked down. "Well, there is...and she's been wanting to meet you all again, even if it's just for a short time."
"She...can it really be her?" Kokoro asked.
"I'll let her answer that. Well, it's been short, but I'm glad I was able to help put an end to this madness, so long..."
She then switched to Sora who smiled and everyone was shocked to see her.
"It's been a long time, everyone." She said. "And you all look so different as well."
"Sora?!" Yoruko gasped as she started crying.
"Ra-Ra!" Setsuka said. "So all this time..."
"So you're the one called Sora?" Dylan asked. "Are you and Akane linked in some way?"
"Yeah, about that...let me explain, cause there isn't much time left."
Dylan nodded. "In that case, I'll log out right away. I'll give you all some time, whilst I make sure you all log out safely."
He then vanished, logging out of the system.
"After I was 'killed', I saw Akane who told me that I was a reincarnated A.I form of Akane herself. She then explained to me everything on how and why this was all happening and I was mad at first, realizing that I was an A.I this whole time, but I came round to accepting it. Both Akane and I have been watching over you all since then. But there was nothing we could do, because A.I Mikado had full control over the entire simulation system."
"I see, so the reason why that tower appeared was because of you." Kokoro said. "It had nothing to do with the outside?"
"Well, the tower appearing was part of the outside's involvement, but it was me and Akane who made sure it was implemented into the fourth island."
"So ever since the first trial, you were still with us." I said. "I can't believe I got lured into despair so easily."
"Yeah, that was a real shock to me, because you were always so resilient. But look at you now...I am so proud of you, you were able to finish what I couldn't do and even though the group lost many lives along the way, you did amazing in keeping the ones that remained, alive and well."
"You're right, Sora..."
Yoruko rushed over to hug her. "Sora...please don't go, we've missed you."
"I'm sorry it has to be like this, Yoruko." Sora hugged back. "But there's little time left before this virtual world collapses. I need to make sure Yuki gets out of here, only Akane and I can do this."
"Ra-Ra...if that's how it needs to be, then we'll leave you to it." Setsuka said, sniffing.
Hibiki was already there with the tears and Emma wasn't far off.
"Sora, you should be pleased to know that despite all the mistakes I've made, I did my best in keeping Owen safe." Kokoro said.
"Yeah, I saw it all." Sora replied. "But I'm also happy that you were able to become more friendly to others, and for you five girls to fall in love with him, he's very lucky."
Yuki coughed as if trying to retort that he's supposed to be the lucky student.
"Anyways, it's time for you all to go." Sora declared. "Don't worry about me, I'll always watch you in spirit."
"In that case, forgive me for being selfish, but can I at least let this happen just this once?" I asked.
I went to Sora and Yoruko nodded at me whilst wiping her eyes.
"Alright, but just this once." Sora replied.
We hugged each other close and then, she gave me a kiss on the cheek and I did the same before we moved away from each other.
She then gave me her best smile. "Maybe one day, there'll be a day when AIs and humans can learn to share emotions like this."
That made Kokoro sniff as she rubbed her eyes with a tissue.
"So please everyone, never give up moving forward...and live the best lives you can wish for."
*SELF DESTRUCT SEQUENCE IN FIVE MINUTES*
Suddenly, some of the floor tiles started glitching, we're out of time.
"Alright girls, we need to get out of here." I said, rubbing my eyes. "Let's leave it to Sora to get Yuki out of here!"
"Okay, Sora, please take care of Yuki." Yoruko added.
"Me and Akane will do our best...goodbye everyone." Sora replied.
We nodded and waved as one by one, we started vanishing from the room logging out of the virtual reality. Everything was quiet, but then I opened my eyes and the simulation pod door opened. I slowly got up and saw the other pods opening and the five girls came out.
"Log out successful in all six pods." Kiyoka said. "Phew! That was a close one!"
"But Yuki's pod hasn't opened yet." I reminded.
"Let's leave that to Sora. Right now, I think it's about time you six had a moment away from the simulation room." Dylan said. "I'll escort you all to the resting quarters so you can relax there. Then I've gotta make a report to the boss's office...I have a feeling that they're not gonna like what I have to say about this."
"I'll keep an eye on the simulation whilst you do that." Kiyoka added. "Cheer up everyone, you did it! You defeated the A.I."
"Yeah, we did and it feels great to have finally got our payback." Setsuka said. "But still, Ra-Ra...and Ki-Ki..."
"I don't think there was anything more we could've done." Emma added. "But it's like Dylan says, we need to relax for a while."
We agreed and followed Dylan who took us down a hallway and over to a large room filled with beds and tables.
"This is the resting quarters, you can relax here for a while." Dylan said. "After I've done my report, I'll come back here for you. Maybe you should also use this as a chance to decide what you six wish to do. On whether you can choose to live peaceful lives, or to become official members of the Future Foundation."
"Official members, huh?" I muttered.
"Anyways, I'll be back soon." Dylan immediately left the room.
"He seems well informed on everything." Yoruko said.
"That's because he knows what it's like to be involved in a killing game." Kokoro added. "Speaking of which, I think now's the time to own up to my mistakes."
"Your mistakes?" Setsuka asked.
"I'm really sorry that I ended up dragging you all into this. If I had never agreed to teach Mikado how to create an A.I of himself, none of this would've happened and everyone else would still be alive."
"Kokoro, it's true that you were indirectly responsible for this." I said. "But there was no way you could've known that the A.I was going to hack the simulation system and wipe all of our memories."
"True, but I still feel that I should've never agreed to begin with. But, if Sora forgives me for that, then maybe I can learn to let it go."
"As for what we should do." Emma hummed. "I would need to think over this, due to my involvement with Void."
"I'll most likely go back to my detective work." Setsuka said. "Future Foundation will wanna hear my side of the story as well."
"Judging by how I dress, I still have my idol career." Hibiki added. "But I'll have to make an announcement to my fans. Maybe I could set up a tribute tour for my sister."
"That would be wonderful if you did." Yoruko agreed. "As for me, I guess it's back to being a councilor."
"Speaking of going back...I'm not sure if I can." I said. "While I came from the states, I don't think it's possible for me to go back. I think that maybe...maybe I could take a page out of Dylan's book and become an official member myself."
"Oh, you wish to join the Future Foundation?" Emma asked.
"If you want, I can put in a good word for you." Setsuka suggested.
"Sure, but not right away, I still wanna think about it." I replied. "Besides, if I did go back, I'd miss you five very much and I would be feeling lonely again."
"Yeah, I don't think I'd be able to carry on if you weren't nearby." Yoruko hugged me. "And besides, maybe we should find somewhere to live so that we can all be together."
"You mean that we should find an apartment and all of us move there?" Kokoro asked, smiling. "You know, I wouldn't mind that."
"It may sound like the most sensible option if we're to keep the harem together and live for Sora's sake." Emma said.
"And we shouldn't have to worry about Yuki, she promised to get him out of there and I'll stand by her belief." I hugged Yoruko back. "In the meantime, I think we deserve to share the love, wouldn't you agree?"
"Yeah, you're our harem boyfriend now, and I love you so much!" Hibiki said. "I hope we get to write songs together someday."
"I love you as well, Owen. I will always be grateful for the day you gave me a chance." Emma added.
Yoruko kissed me. "I was the first one to fall for you and that'll never change, I love you."
"You gave me a reason to see in others, even when things were going wrong, I won't forget that." Kokoro smiled. "I love you also."
"Ro-Ro, whatever happens in the future, I'll always love you and stand by you." Setsuka said.
I smiled back and kissed each of them in return.
"Thank you girls, I will always love you girls too." I replied as we hugged closely. "As long as we can keep our love, our affection, our support and our determination for each other alive, we'll always find a way to move forward into the future, no matter how near or how far that next step is."
The journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step and with us surviving, we were one step closer to making a difference in our lives and our future. The darkness of despair can never be permanently conquered. A.I Mikado's involvement with the simulation, the Void association and the attempt of reviving Utsuro showed us that. But that doesn't mean despair should rule the world. As long as we use hope, we can keep despair away for future generations and move forward, no matter what. I am a songwriter, but I am a human who can move forward when others are nearby. And as long as I'm well loved, then I will always believe in myself.
Here's to our hope...if despair invades our lives, then our hope will make sure that we're not gonna fall!
Story Ending Theme:
Daughtry - We're Not Gonna Fall
*END OF FINAL ARC*
Survivors: Owen, Yoruko, Kokoro, Setsuka, Hibiki, Emma, Yuki
Obtained Item: Future Foundation Medallion
YAAAAAAAAY! I'm finally done with the sequel, and I gotta say, I think this turned out to be far much better than the first one.
Also, nearly 126k words in one story?! That's nuts, even for me! xD
Anyways, feel free to fave or follow me if you want to see more stories from me.