The sound of things shattering entered every players' ears. They looked at the glorious scene of iridescent crystals raining down while Wu Yan stood in the middle of this light show. They watched with bafflement like frozen statures. Meanwhile, Asuna, Kirito, Souta, Klein, and Agil...
"I-is it over?..."
The players voiced their disbelief...
The other players kept repeating the same question as if they couldn't believe the data crystals raining down around them, the remnants of the genius known as Kayaba Akihiko...
Is this the end?
The other players wondered, their bodies were trembling with excitement. They also clenched their fists until their hands turned pale. Tears slowly rolled down their cheeks...
"W-we did it..."
"Yeah... this is the end of the game..."
"Everything is over..."
The raid players all shed tears of joy. It didn't matter if they knew the guy or girl next to them, they all hugged each other as they bawled their eyes out.
The joy of clearing the game, the relief from further suffering, the freedom from the threat of death, the hope of a greater future, it all melded into the tears they were shedding at the moment. The sound of players weeping reverberated throughout the halls of the throne room.
After 3 long years in SAO, they are finally free...
Aincrad emitted a very loud mechanical sound. This sound told every player that this game is now cleared.
In the Red Jade Palace, Aincrad, every player still alive were either jumping with joy or crying out loud. Then, the players started disappearing in flashes of light, leaving an empty castle and a desolate world behind...
SAO got cleared...
When Wu Yan came to it, he wasn't in the Red Jade Palace anymore. Instead, he was floating high up in the air, a vast space with seemingly no end...
"Where is this?..."
Wu Yan looked around. The boundless horizon and the flowing white clouds greeted him. He's literally stepping on clouds, like gravity got nullified, he floated around without a sense of weight.
Wu Yan scratched his cheek with furrowed brows.
"Am I in heaven?"
Wu Yan mused out loud, they must have been a mixed up, surely, he didn't belong in heaven. The next moment, an anxious and hesitant voice came from behind.
Wu Yan turned around in shock. He saw Asuna who was looking at him with her hands covering her mouth. She is also crying really hard...
Asuna couldn't resist the urge to glomp Wu Yan, she jumped into Wu Yan's embrace.
"You idjit! You idiot! You stupid meanie!"
Asuna yelled at him while sobbing.
"Do you know how worried I was?!"
"Don't cry, don't cry!"
Wu Yan didn't know how to handle a girl when she's crying like this. He continued hugging her awkwardly.
"Yes, it was all my fault..."
Wu Yan rubbed away the tears on Asuna's cheek in a rather clumsy manner.
"If you promise to stop crying then you can scold me however you like..."
Asuna looked up to see Wu Yan freaking out. She giggled out loud.
"You're seriously dumb, you know that?..."
Asuna rubbed her face against Wu Yan's chest. She mumbled with a sad voice.
"I seriously thought you were going to die by the Captain's sword..."
Wu Yan bitterly laughed.
" I am sorry for making you worried..."
"As long as you're okay..."
Asuna lovingly rubbed her cheeks against Wu Yan's chest. Then, she looked around.
"Where are we?..."
"You tell me..."
Wu Yan shook his head.
"I don't know..."
A familiar and high-pitched voice came from somewhere far away.
The two were stunned by the sudden voice. They turned around only to see Yui in her original one piece white dress. Her eyes were misty with tears. She looked like a kid who came back home after storming out of her house. She wasn't brave enough to approach them.
Asuna yelled in surprise. Excitement rose up within Asuna.
She ran over to Yui and she hugged her. Asuna started tearing up once more despite stopping her water works a short while ago.
Yui hugged Asuna back.
Yui thought she would be left alone in this world after the Cardinal System issued the world cleared notification.
She also wasn't expecting to see her loved ones the moment she opened her eyes!
At this moment, Yui is satisfied. Even if she can't leave this world, she's content with one last look at her parents...
"Ah, it seems I was correct to gather you guys here..."
Wu Yan froze up while the mother and daughter combo were stunned in place. He sucked in a breath of air as he turned around. He saw a brilliant looking man standing some distance away in a formal gown. It was a face unfamiliar to the three here. But, Wu Yan & co still recognized him.
Wu Yan bitterly chuckled.
"Or should I call you Kayaba Akihiko?..."
Kayaba chuckled in response. He looked down with a thoughtful gaze. Wu Yan, Asuna, and Yui also looked down. Then, they were petrified with shock.
An iron castle floated beneath them. They were looking at the iron prison that held them back for 3 years!
But, this giant structure is currently crumbling bit by bit. The oversized floating castle was getting reduced to nothing in front of their eyes.
Wu Yan sighed.
"Is that okay with you?"
Kayaba's eyes wavered for just a moment. He continued with an expressionless look.
"It did its job wonderfully. This is a fitting end for it..."
Wu Yan lowered his head as he waxed thoughtful.
"What about you?"
Kayba turned around. He looked at Wu Yan with a firm gaze.
"Like the castle, my end is only fitting..."
Wu Yan looked at Aincrad with a pitiful gaze.
"What a shame..."
Kayaba raised his head.
"Why do you think so? Do you not hate it?"
Wu Yan chortled.
"I know this is going to disappoint you but I don't resent that thing. It never gave me bitter memories, only sweet ones..."
Kayaba's eyes turned blank for a moment. Finally, he condensed his thoughts into one simple line and a bright smile.