Something Worth Fighting For
How long has it been? Ten years? I'm not entirely sure about that either...
For many, Sword Art Online maybe just a simple online game to play during these days, a game which is now under my supervision as the game master, yet during my time, it was this very game that changed my life.
What can I say? I'm a normal teenage boy back then. Who could have possibly thought that playing a VRMMORPG game after school will result in you trapped inside that very game for two years? Back then, I thought those virtual realities are just places where I could have some fun after a tiring day, where I could do things I couldn't in the real world, where I could be myself.
Of course, that all changed when Kayaba Akihiko showed up at the 'official launch' of Sword Art Online.
Kayaba, I could never forget that name.
The creator of SAO, he was the one who started everything, from the very moment he told me, no, told us that we're in for a battle for our lives, that the very death inside this world of his means we're gone for good in real life. Up until now, I couldn't understand his intentions. I remember him telling me about his dreams of a fantasy castle where he longed for, of a virtual world exceeding that of reality, but still, I don't get it. What's the point of keeping thousands of people, some of them children, against their will, forcing them to fight for their lives?
For the whole two years inside SAO, he took away almost everyone I cared for. He killed my friend and fellow beta tester Diabel, the Moonlit Black Cat Guild...Sachi, and, had I not intervene, deleted Yui, my very daughter, as well, but what that really set me on the edge, is that he hurt Asuna. He had completely broken me in every way possible. For everyone, he's just a mass murderer, a mad revolutionary, an unforgivable criminal.
Yet I can't do anything but to share a little sympathy to him...why?
Maybe it's because had he not made all these mess, I wouldn't have know the true meaning of my life? It's because of Sword Art Online that brought me to Asuna, to Yui, to Klein, Agil, Silica, Lisbeth and all other wonderful people living in there.
We fought together, through whatever obstacles that lie before us. Had it been just another regular online game where you could just restart when you die, I'll probably just solo all 100 floors without a second thought, but Heathcliff...Kayaba, saw through my ideas. He used his powers as a GM to defeat me in an unbeatable duel, to prove that even me can't beat every odds by my own. He was the reason of the bonding between me and Asuna when he brought me into the Knights of the Blood Oath Guild, where Asuna saved me from that bastard Kuradeel. I can't imagine what would happen if I didn't join the guild, and Kuradeel ambushed me with no one coming to save me. I guess I have to thank Kayaba for this. Despite all the atrocities he had done, he taught me the values of friendship and teamwork, and that is the sole reason I needed to win against him in our final battle, in which he fought alone, with no one to help him...
When he killed Asuna, I felt as if my mind has gone, my soul tearing itself apart. An empty shell that is my body moved hopelessly, trying to fight without a purpose. The next thing I know is his blade piercing through my body, and my lifebar slowly decreasing itself until it was all gone. I pray it to be quick, to end my suffering already, I cannot live anymore like this...just die.
Then something happened.
I suddenly remembered all those time I spent with Asuna, when we laugh, cry and fight for our future together. I remembered Klein, who is just a hopeless newbie when I first met him, becoming a leader of a guild that has never lost a single member during their stay in SAO, just because he cared, and will do anything in his power to save his friends, including me, who has never done anything to help him. I remembered Sachi's message to me on Christmas Eve, telling me to not giving up hope on living, and to see life goes on and discover the purpose and meaning of it, as well as reasons that a weak girl like her ended up in this place. I remembered Agil, who always supported me who is just a stranger to him. I remembered Silica and Lisbeth, both of whom shared affections toward me for helping them solve their problems, even though I told them it's no big deal at all. I remembered that old fisherman in the 22nd floor, whom me and Asuna promised to fight for him and others who can do nothing so they can return to the real world safety. I remember Yui whom I cared so much despite being just an AI, and when she was heartbreakingly taken away from me and Asuna by Cardinal, I turned her into a crystal, hoping to revive her and to raise her as me and Asuna's first child together.
I remembered what it means to fight for something.
And, with everybody's strengths in me, I used my every last bit of energy still left inside me, and strike my sword into Heathcliff...Kayaba.
After that, the game was won.
Aincrad was no more, as well as him.
But the fight's not over. That bastard Nobuyuki Sugou and the mad schemes of his stole Asuna from me again, and I had to go on another journey to save her in a whole new world. It was here where my resolves are tested yet again, when I was impaled by my very own blade while forced to watch that bastard abuses Asuna. I was on the verge of giving up everything again when he, of all people, showed up and reminded me what it means to fight even though it was hopeless. It was him that gives me the edge that I have lost, and the tool necessary to finally win this battle and save Asuna at last.
After the battle, Kayaba appeared before me again, giving me the World Seed. Why would he give me this, I do not know.
All I know is that he may not be such a bad guy after all.
Even before trapped inside the game, I always admired Kayaba. He singlehandedly created a virtual world by himself. Now that's something to be proud of. He's a smart, hardworking, determined person, and always has a cool, calm personality every time, something I idolize.
When I defeated him, I never considered that I destroyed all of his dreams, his ideal world, his life. I've taken everything from him just like he had taken everything from me and everyone else. Unlike us, he accepted it. He knew that he deserved it. He tried to play god in a world where he is a ruler, yet when I defied the very system that he created, he knew that his time is over, and gracefully stepped down from his throne, and jumped down into the abyss of nothingness, all because of me.
Yet he saved me, he saved me from falling into that same abyss, even though I was the one who pushed him down, and gave me the chance to undo his mistake; to create a perfect world in his place. A world where anything is possible. A world where everything is balanced, both life and death. A world that's as real just as it's fake, just like my daughter Yui.
He gave me the future, and left me to decide what to do with it.
But he was wrong about one thing.
The perfect world isn't possible, no matter in real life, or virtual worlds.
No matter how advanced our technology is, or how civilized our culture is, nothing can make life perfect.
But perfect isn't everything.
You can't make everybody happy, and not everybody can make you happy.
It's just as simple as that.
If only Kayaba had know this before he created SAO, then everything would've turned out different. I wish we could have met under better circumstances. Anyways, I have to thank him for teaching me numerous lessons that made me the way I am right now.
To not give up the fight no matter what.
Even when you lost everything, always remember what it took for you to gain all those things in the first place, then fight to reclaim them.
You can't lose when you have nothing to lose.
Thank you, you magnificent bastard Kayaba Akihiko, for everything.
Editor's note Well, there goes my first ever story! Please tell me what you think of it! Sword Art Online is a very special anime for me and Heathcliff/Kayaba is possibly one of my most favorite character, well, despite being a villain. LOL! And this is the reason I want to do his character justice, even though it may not justify the crimes he did...