Pieces of Memories

… Constantly changing sides and trying to defeat her anxiety, Sia was swirling non-stop but it was impossible for her to get some sleep. The time was already 2:45 and she was supposed to be at Ministry of Defense on 7 o'clock in the morning, but every time she closed her eyes, pictures from inside the game captured her thoughts.

Door's creaking sounded. She felt the mattress backing down under Sebastian's weight. He remained silent for few moments. "Tough day," she heard him whispering after a while.

Sia turned towards him. "What do you believe will happen after, Sebastian?"

"After?" he repeated, surprised.

"When Maria returns." Sia answered.

"You heard Ito saying that those who return from game have no memories of being part of it," he responded calmly. But deep inside his blue eyes, a spark of doubt flickered.

"What about us? How are we supposed to keep living?"

Sebastian opened his eyes wide, as if he had no answer to that.

"For Christ's sake, Sia. It's just a game! You're here just because you want to save Maria! And..." he stopped. His eyes returned to Sia's hand. "I'm still expecting for an explanation about your hand healing.. I think this is gonna be the most exciting part…"

Sia turned away her face. Out of sudden, she felt the temperature in room falling sharply. It's all inside my head… she tried to calm herself.

"You had turned into stones…" she said with hesitation. She felt terrified just thinking about it. "You... Ito… Every player in the camp. But the expressions on your faces were so vivid – as if you were about to return to life at any moment… And then…"

She stopped as she felt her cheeks were blushing. At least it's dark inside the room, she thought. "There was someone there… He was alive.. And…"

She stopped before the word 'beautiful' slipped from her lips.

Sebastian sat up and remained staring at her, examining her face.

"Scary," she said, breathless. The purple eyes and the sardonic smile appeared before her eyes again. "And he said… He's waiting until I find my true power and only then everything will acquire the meaning that they must have…"

"True power? What was that supposed to mean? The Skill is not a power? So what is it then?"

Sia shuddered. "Sebastian, I know you might not believe my words since we don't truly know what is going on inside this game. But the way he looked at me… It reminded me of an incident…"

She turned her eyes towards him. "It was back when that monster had attacked us in the Forest ... And I had just recovered from the spell of Ito. Everything around me had lost its colors, and in the center of the sky was an eye. As if it could see everything… everyone… I felt fear as I had never felt before. But when I took another look around me, everything was as it used to be! I thought that what I saw was a side effect of the spell, so I gave to it no second thought… And then… after…"

Sia grabbed her head as she felt her desperation growing. "All those voices I hear… it is as if someone is inside my head and is struggling to get out..."

Sebastian got her hands. His eyes remained fixed on hers.

"You will not rejoin the game," he said with a voice that allowed no objections. ''I have heard of similar incidents where the player couldn't distinguish the reality from virtual reality. The symptoms may get worse."

"No!" Sia exclaimed." You were the one who told me that I'm the only one who can bring Maria back!" She felt tears flooding her eyes.

"Sia" Sebastian said softly, "I understand that you love her since she is a member of your family. But if I had to choose between your own security and hers, it's obvious that I would choose your own. "

A slap landed on his cheek and echoed loudly in the dark room.

"You can't… command me…" she whispered as she narrowed her eyes. "Especially in that way. If you remember, we made a promise when we were kids…"

Sebastian got out of bed. Before he turned his back, Sia saw a smile that had spread at his lips.

"We are not kids anymore." He tossed over his shoulder as he left the room.

Putting the helmet on her head, Sia watched Sebastian out of the corner of her eye. He looked carefree, as if nothing had happened the night before. He spoke with Ito about the strategy to be followed from now on, in order to get deeper into the game.

Few moments later, Ito approached her. He seemed to be exhausted. His amber eyes stared with concern strongly imprinted on his face.

"Miss De Niez…" he said, and coughed. He lowered his eyes. Even his voice sounds tired… Sia thought, surprised.

"We will put into practice some things that so far, we haven't tried." he said as he adapted the helmet on her head.

What on Earth did Sebastian tell him..? Sia thought as she threw a quick glance at Sebastian, but his calm face revealed nothing.

"Miss De Niez ... You do not watch again!" Ito almost roared.

Sia smiled. Much better … I prefer you that way… she thought, feeling pleased. She turned her gaze to him, looking at him almost with reverence.

Ito sighed. "Sometimes you are more than unbearable…" he muttered. He linked the last cable.

"As I said, we will try some new things. From now on, we will record the signal of all those around you in a radius of five hundred meters. "He announced.

Sia opened her eyes wide. She went to ask why, but Ito decapitated her.

"I think YOU are the greatest denominator, which we still haven't used as intended," he said as he hit her shoulder encouragingly, moving to his own seat.