Chapter 24.2 – Ran’s Past
At noon, the caravan stopped for lunch. Ran was feeling empty and Rikku moody. Ran just sat down randomly, her gaze lost in the void. Belle was standing by her side, impassive and silent. Rikku wasn’t around for once which surprised many. A busybody approached Ran. You could see his bubbly personality and how invested he was in this new world and his role as a Hero.
Kirito had black hair and eyes. His features were obviously japenese and was most likely not even japenese back on Earth. He stood in front of Ran to get her attention.
“Hey! I know, it’s not easy and you must feel lost and alone. You are not alone. We are all here too. Later, there will be more people to accompany us in our journey, you’ll make friends and lovers. Don’t be so down! It’s an Isekai after all. This is a world with dungeons, dragons, swords and magic! You should enjoy it! I mean, it’s a fantasy world! An actual Isekai. Who cares about the past?” Kirito was full of enthusiasm and zeal for the future.
The whole camp froze. Dorian and Parvian looked at him as if he was a complete idiot.
“Who cares about an Isekai? Surely not me!” Ran felt anger rising. “Did being summoned erase all your problem? Yes, you don’t have to worry about money, food, and lodging now, but what about other problems?” She pointed to her heart. “How about troubles here?” Pointing to her head. “And here?”
Kirito was stunned silly.
“If you were alright before, then it’s not too bad. What if you weren’t? What if you were already a bit… confused? Wouldn’t you have some trouble adapting to a fucking new world?” Ran shouted.
She stood up and pushed him away.
“How can you be this stupid? Do you really think this is fun and games? Do you really think that just because you have some powers, you’re better than before? Do you realise you’re going to kill actual people? You’re going to slaughter all your life? Do you realise that your hands will never be clean from the blood of innocents? Please, keep that fucking weeaboo bullshit for someone who doesn’t have any braincells either.” She turned around and walked away.
Kirito stayed there, bewildered. He was lost. Was he really wrong?
Ran paced around her carriage while kicking rocks here and there. Did he really think she was moody because she wanted to? That she was throwing a tantrum out of the blue? Maybe she really was fussy.
Her forehead was creased, and she was grumbling nonstop. She was still shouldering this enormous weight and didn’t know how to throw it away. Everything was in the past. It was over. She was over. She had laid things to rest. She could move on now.
She stopped in her tracks.
She should move on now?!
Her back sank and was about to crumble under the pressure. She didn’t realise that everyone was staring at her lonesome back. Her struggles were clear in the eyes of others, yet they all carried a certain indifference. The weak die and only the strong survive in this world. Most of the spectators didn’t believe she would survive long, so what if she was struggling?
Kan Yune sighed loudly.
He went to comfort her. Even if she wouldn’t survive this trip, he still had to pretend and play his role of the dignified high priest.
“Ran-sama,” he said.
She whipped her head in his direction, her gaze was conflicted and her irritation visible.
Kan Yune squeezed out a smile. “Ran-sama, I can see you are troubled. I am really sorry about that. I can’t even imagine what you are going through and how hard it must be. Please, know that you are not alone in this strange world. You have the other heroes, you have us, we are all counting on you and we are all willing to help you.” He only met Ran’s empty gaze in response. Even so, he continued. “I understand this is a strange world and we are expecting a lot from you but look at the bright side. Here, you can be whoever you want. You can free yourself from the past and start anew.”
He could see his words weren’t getting through to her.
“It’s okay to doubt. It’s okay to feel that nothing is going the way you wanted it to. The situation is overwhelming, and it takes time to adjust. This is what makes us human after all.”
“What makes us human….” She echoed Kan Yune’s words.
“Indeed! Emotions, doubts, fear are what makes us human. Human struggles to live and progress. Human fears death and learns courage.”
“Fear death?” Ran sneered in derision. As if death means something to me.
“Aren’t you afraid of dying?” Kan Yune frowned.
Ran snorted and began to turn around to leave.
Kan Yune could feel his irritation and blood pressure surge. “You may be a hero, but you are still human. You live today but may die tomorrow. This world is dangerous, and no one lives forever. Who knows what will happen tomorrow?”
Ran was utterly flabbergasted and could barely process what he said. “This world is dangerous? Living today and dying tomorrow…”
Kan Yune frowned deeper. Is she retarded or crazy?
Ran felt as if she were enlightened. This world wasn’t hers. Living and dying. Being reincarnated. Starting anew. This is Samsara* and she was right in the middle of it.
(Saṃsāra in Buddhism is the beginningless cycle of repeated birth, mundane existence and dying again)
Rikku appeared out of nowhere and put himself between the high priest and the girl. “Ran, are you alright?” He asked, with concern.
She raised her head with a sense of excitement. “I’m a human. I live and I will die. This is Samsara.”
Rikku grimaced. He really had no idea what was going on in her head. He could only nod and comfort her. “Yes, you are a human in the Samsara.”
“This isn’t my world, this is an Isekai. I can live and die.” Ran repeated.
Deep in her soul, a relieved sigh flew by. She smiled broadly. This smile came from the very depth of her heart. A gleaming and genuine smile. The light blinded Rikku and Kan Yune, their heart skipped a beat.
She is Ran. She was summoned to this Isekai world to be a hero. She is Ran, a human in Samsara.
She felt the breeze on her skin, the warmth of the sun. She heard the songs of birds and smelled the fresh fragrance of the forest. The concern and worry in Rikku’s was the last thing she saw before losing consciousness.