The pain was only temporary, the death though, that would last forever. Jekande’s heart stung both from the bullet he’d been shot with and watching his sister being burned alive. His wife huddled next to him.  A small town was now a large pile of cinder and ash. When the Jaisnin rebel faction marched in, many had thought that they would take what they want and leave if only they’d known. The rebels said that some towns, with Tude town, in particular, had been providing government forces with supplies and spies. that needed to end. An example had to be made.

It was not just a slaughter, it was a bloodbath. Now he lay dying in the undergrowth of the forest where they’d fled to. His mother and sister could not make it. The soldiers had been following them but darkness had descended and not a moment too soon. They were approaching the Zazales river and there was no way they could have crossed it. Frustrated, the soldiers had fired into the wilderness before retreating. One had gone through his chest and another caught his shoulder.

His wife Yesande was beside him as were some townspeople but there was no doctor in sight. He could hear his son crying in the background. This wasn’t how it was supposed to end. He sat up trying to give Yesande precious advise. His lips failed and he heard himself fail even in pronouncing her name, “Eande…Eande” he held her hand tight as his strength failed him.  He gave one last heave summoning all the energy he had to sit up but his vision started to fail, he fell back as an overwhelming darkness washed over him.

A soft blue light blinked to indicate that the simulation had ended and Ande took off the visor. He lifted his hand and waved his tentacles. All his limbs were there. Nyesis floated to him on a hoverboard. She tried her best to keep on a straight face but burst out in laughter, “how did you think it would end?  You’re good but you’re not that good.”

Ande bent over, “Nyesis are you sure this is just a game”?”

“It’s just a game,” she said,

“It feels so real.”

“You think you have a human wife and child who’re refugees now?”

Ande shrugged even he thought it was lunacy.

“Where are the rest?” he asked.

“Kalal’s gone back, this time he’s started as the illegitimate son of a priest and a reverend. Rirok’s decided to be born to a doctor with 60 patents. You think maybe you could at least give yourself a fighting chance or something the next time you play? At least make your dad a warlord or something. Nobody’s that good.” She yelled the last words as Ande floated out to enjoy the view of Planet Wever.

60 million light years away, on Earth, Yasande and the townsfolk buried Jekande in a shallow grave. It was all they could afford for him.

 

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