It was almost dusk and Kizami and the others could not find Kazuma. Looking around them, some people were getting annoyed and worried. “I wonder what they’re all trippy about…” Maria wondered.
“I don’t get it,” Kizami sighed in frustration, “We searched all over the city and he’s nowhere to be found. I wonder if he logged out.”
“Why don’t we look in the Battlegrounds?” Aevella suggested.
“Well,” Kizami replied, “we don’t want to just go in there blindly. We don’t know if he’s even there.”
“He’s there,” Maria confirmed, looking at her In-Home menus.
“How do you know?” Kizami questioned.
Maria shared her panel to Kizami, “Just check the roster.” Under Kazuma’s name displayed his location and activity.
“Why didn’t you say something sooner?!” he overreacted.
“You didn’t ask.”
“I asked when we were checking the waypoints!”
“Oh,” Maria giggled, “That’s my bad. Sorry.”
Kizami felt more annoyed than before, “Whatever, let’s just go get him and log out.”
Within 10 minutes, the group teleported to the Battlegrounds. The area was vast and littered with flower fields.
Maria clamped her hands together with a glimmer in her eyes, “This place is heaven!” At a second’s notice, Maria grabbed Nana’s hand and they both pounced into the flower field happily.
“This is a battle area?” Kizami questioned, “It’s more feminine than dangerous in every way.”
“Perhaps your friend passed to the next area,” Aevella considered.
“Yeah, probably. Come on, guys. Let’s move.”
“Aww,” Maria complained, “But I wanna play in here a little longer!”
Before the girls got up, a rustling in the field zipped past Nana and Maria and closed in on Kizami and Aevella. Keeping their guard up, they waited until their foe appeared out of the field in front of them.
Kizami was so confused, “I-is that….a walking melon?”
A watermelon with thin limbs like twigs stayed put, wobbling back and forth. Maria looked closely at it, “Aw, it’s so cute! Can we keep him?”
“I don’t think you can keep a monster, Maria,” Kizami mumbled.
“Why? He doesn’t look dangerous to me.” All the while, the melon stared at Aevella as she got a good look at it. Suddenly, the melon ran at Aevella, its mouth suddenly opening wide revealing what appeared to be a number of tongues, and jumped directly onto Aevella’s bosom. Aevella screamed and fell backwards, the melon clinging tightly onto her chest.
“What the hell?” Maria boggled.
“We need to help her!” Nana insisted.
Kizami monitored Aevella’s HP level, “It doesn’t look like she’s taking any damage so I don’t think the monster is hurting her at all.”
“Only you would let this continue,” Maria exclaimed.
“That’s not true! I’m just saying there’s no reason to panic if she isn’t hurting.”
“That’s so irresponsible, brother,” Nana replied.
“Goddammit!” Aevella shouted, “Get this thing off of me!!”
“Away, you boob-suckling fiend!” Maria yelled as she kicked the melon off with one blow as the monster was killed and shattered into pieces, looking like glass remains.
Aevella was panting, her face red as a beet and her attire torn in several places in the chest area. A slimy residue was left behind by the monster on Aevella’s bosom. Aevella shuddered intensely.
“You okay, Vella?” Maria kindly asked her friend.
“Just please tell me that was the only one,” Aevella demanded.
Looking behind them, a stampede of melons charged their way towards the four players in a rush. Maria hesitated, “Well, I don’t think I spoke too soon but I wouldn’t count on being left alone.”
Right before being swamped by the mass of melons, a beam was shot at the monsters, causing an explosion and disintegrating all the enemies in one blow. Looking towards the origin of the shot stood Kazuma in shining armor.
Kizami was finally relieved, “Kazuma!”
Nana was surprised by Kazuma’s appearance, “Yamatai-senpai…”
“Come on,” Kazuma implied, activating his navigator, “Let’s get out of here.”
Nighttime flickered the city lights on to illuminate the streets and buildings as the gang appeared in a well-lit garden that lied behind the city church near the square. Aevella sighed with relief as the rest calmed themselves.
“Thanks for saving us, dude!” Maria thanked, slightly panting.
Kazuma looked less than happy.
“Maria,” Aevella shuddered, “Let’s go home. I don’t want to be here anymore!”
“Okay, okay.” Maria opened her panel and sent friend requests to everyone else, “Feel free to contact us anytime, guys.” She then looked at Kizami, “Thanks for all the help.”
Kizami flustered, “A-anytime.”
And with hugging Nana goodbye, Maria searched her panel for the Log-out key. A minute had passed and Maria and Aevella were still there.
“Um,” Maria mumbled, “Where’s the exit key?”
“Oh,” Kizami answered as he opened his panel to show Maria, “It should be in the settings tab.” He flipped to the settings and scrolled through to the bottom to find the exit key. “Huh?”
“Nana, look at your settings for the Log-out button.”
“I don’t see it, brother.”
“Neither can I.”
Kizami looked at Kazuma who had a grim and disdainful look on his face. “What’s wrong Kazuma?”
Suddenly, a blip popped up as everyone simultaneously received a message. Kizami noticed that everyone received the message from the same recipient. He read aloud:
Fellow participants. Right now, you’re probably wondering why there is no Log-out option on your panel. Do not fret. This is not a mishap. From my word to you, there was never meant to be a Log-out option. In the most sense, every one of you never logged in to begin with. During the connection process, your body was being collected by data and radio waves. Whether you see this as a game or not, you will remain here until the goal is completed. Farewell to all and good luck.
“W-what is the goal?” Nana asked fearfully.
Kizami looked at the bottom of the message.
Goal: Reach Server 3
“Server 3?” Kizami repeated, “So, if we don’t make it there, then…”
Kazuma finished, “We’re stuck here forever.”