The fire crackles by us as I open my eyes. My whole body feels heavy and I'm drenched in sweat. I feel much weaker now. I could see bits of my shaggy hair hanging down, but the color is different. The color became mixes white and grey. In my arms is Kaede, her black hair is flowing down her back and a flower ornament sits on it. Her yukata is the color of the maple trees that surround us. I could hear her breathing heavily, sweat flowing down her face. Her eyes tremble for a moment before tears start to flow.
I sit on my knees and use my lap as a pillow for her. I then glance around the forest. The wind carries the endless amount of leaves. The only sounds to be heard are the crackling of the warm fire and the quiet whimpering of Kaede.
"Kaede…" I think about how we got here. If the dream was true then that means that Kaede should know English. Although, the bigger problem is that if it is true, then how are we alive? After a few minutes her crying stops. Her eyes slowly open as the sun shines its bright light at us.
"Where… Am I?" She mumbles something unaudible.
"Kaede?" I look down at her.
"Huh?" She looks up at me, "dad? What happened?"
"A lot happened, Kaede, a lot…"
"I-I thought…" She starts tearing up.
"Don't worry, Kaede, you didn't die," I smile and pat her head to assure her.
She sits up, "then where are we?" She wipes her eyes.
"I don't know, to be honest… I guessing we'll have to trek through this path to find out. Maybe there is a town or something."
"I hope so," our stomachs growl and we laugh for a moment.
"Yeah, it seems as though we're both hungry," I stand up, "let's go then." I hold out my hand and she takes it. We then restart our walk.
"What's that?!" Kaede yells at a ball of light that is floating down the path.
"I don't know, let's check it out," I reply. We start to pick up our pace. The light starts to grow in size as we approach it. Soon after, the light becomes large enough to engulf us both. At that moment, though, it catches us and the brightness forces our eyes shut.
"Dad!" Kaede calls out to me.
"Kaede! Don't move!" The ride in the light starts to become turbulent before tuning down. The light then disappears in a flurry of colors. We open our eyes and they widen with shock. A beautiful Japanese woman stands before us. She's dressed in a yukata. I could feel tears flowing down my face and my voice feels choked; it felt as if I couldn't talk.
"Kaede..." The woman walks to her and her mouth moves. I couldn't hear any words, though. She then kisses Kaede on the forehead before Kaede disappears. After that, she walks to me.
"Esme," she says a familiar name; most likely mine. "Thank you for taking care of Kaede. I bet you have a lot to tell me, huh?" I couldn't force my voice so I nod. "I'm sorry for not being there for you and for her…" She falls to her knees and tears up. "I-I'm so sorry… Esme… I've been a bad wife to you… A-And a bad mother to Kaede… I wish I could stay longer with you and her… I'm sorry…" She buries her head into my chest. I hug her as I try to force my words to her.
"I-It's okay…" I look down at her and could see a small transparency; she looks see-through. "Aimi…" I then pull her chin up and press my lips against her's. Soon after, I could feel nothing in my hands and nothing against my lips. "Goodbye…" I open my eyes.