Yusaku couldn’t exactly say how much time had passed since he had been thrown into this room, quite literally. The only thing that reminded him of the fact that he indeed still was alive was the familiar, constant pain and the feeling of hunger that didn’t seem to go away. Forcing himself to open his eyes again he was rather soon met with white walls, the VR glasses on the ground before him where he had thrown them earlier in some kind of angry fit.
No one would come for him this time, no matter how much he was hoping for it. He couldn’t even say who he had hoped for to begin with. Kusanagi, who probably was busy enough with his brother? Takeru who had left Den City behind? Ryoken, who yet again ran away on that stupid boat of his with a farewell that probably had broken his heart if he hadn’t been so broken about the fact of having to fight Ai to begin with?
They wouldn’t come for him. They probably didn’t even notice what had happened in the first place.
Think of three things .
If he wouldn’t feel this weak already Yusaku would have laughed about the fact that the same words kept him going. Nearly a decade later and it was still Ryoken’s three things mantra that kept him going. It wasn’t about going home anymore, as he was rather well aware of the fact that home didn’t exist. But he still had three reasons to live.
One , he wasn’t the only one. They had spoken about getting the other five involved as well in their attempt to recreate the Ignis. He wasn’t so sure how successful they had been with this plan. Part of him hoped that Takeru was okay. Part of him was rather much aware that Spectre was safe with Hanoi. But the other three… Yusaku couldn’t give up when it wasn’t only his life depending on it.
Two , even if part of him was hoping for Takeru to be okay, he still needed to get out here alive so he could face him and Ryoken to ask them why they didn’t search for him. Why they had left him behind like that.
Three , he needed to get out here alive so he could make those responsible for this suffer .
But no matter how many times he had brought those thoughts back to his mind… it was getting harder to go on. Not only because he was getting tired of it. The pain, the hunger. Yusaku could still remember every single piece of food he had gotten back then when he had been in a situation like this the first time. This time… the portions were even smaller . Nearly not enough to satisfy his empty stomach. He was a way better duelist than he had been back then. Had won nearly all duells in the first what… days? Weeks? It didn’t matter. Because even with his winning he didn’t get enough food to fill his stomach. And with the growing hunger he got more and more unconcentrated. And once he had lost the first duel in nearly a decade… his mind had stopped working at that moment. Panic had him in it’s strong grip and the teen hadn’t been able to do anything for the next few hours… days… he couldn’t tell. It didn’t matter anyways. It was a down spiral that he couldn’t escape.
And eventually he ended up in the state he was right now. Hungry, tired and surprisingly angry . He couldn’t really say at who directly he was directing this anger to. Those that put him in this situation? Those that failed to save him? Probably every single human being that wasn’t going through the same pain as he was right now.
It was the moment something changed . Yusaku wasn’t able to say what exactly it was at first due to being so tired, but with a few seconds delay he understood that it was his link sense that had gone up, telling him something was around. It felt… kinda familiar like Ai had been, but at the same time different and the teen’s eyes widened a bit. Had they already been successful? Was it another Ignis?
Closing his eyes he tried to focus more on that feeling. Were there more than one? How many others had they dragged into this hell? Eventually he could find two smaller pulses, not as strong as the first one so… there were two others. But they weren’t here as long as he had so the AIs weren’t developed that much yet.
This… wasn’t supposed to happen. Ai had been the last remaining Ignis and with his death… there wasn't supposed to be any others. If there was an Ignis to come back it should have been Ai. It should have…
‘ But Ai did leave you behind, didn’t he?
Well that… was a new one. Yusaku’s eyes opened in surprise once he had heard that unknown voice. Was… this new AI talking to him?
“Shut up. He didn’t have a choice.” Or at least Ai had believed he did not. Ai had fallen for the simulations to a point where he hadn’t been able to accept any possibility other than having to die. For him . But yet… that was nothing he would blame Ai for, no matter what that voice says.
‘ You say that now. But you want to get out right? I could help you with that.’
At those words he bit down on his lower lip a bit. Enough for it to start bleeding, but not enough for it to actually hurt. His pain tolerance obviously had gone up thanks to his treatment here. “And how would you do this?” Was he actually thinking about taking up that offer? Yusaku couldn’t deny that getting out sounded like a dream. And if there was the possibility….
No one else seemed to come for them…
“What do you want me to do?”
For a moment there was silence and he nearly started to laugh because was he already getting crazy and imagining talking to someone?
‘ Go online. ’
And he flinched at those words. Because that actually was the last thing he wanted to do. Another duel… he was too tired, too hungry for this. And yet... he needed to fight. To go on. Needed to get out to save whoever was held here with him.
Shaking hands were grabbing the glasses again, putting them back on his face. Thanks to them blocking his vision Yusaku didn’t notice how his duel disk started to blink. Downloaded a new program. He was as ready as he could be to face another AI opponent. Instead the words ‘Into the VRAINS’ flashed up on his duel disk and the teen collapsed on the ground.