On that night, Akiko sat by the fire all alone. Yukiko was nowhere to be found. Looking at the stars, she finally began to remember something. A distant memory…a far-away dream that was here all along…
And then, the flashbacks started.
“Welcome to the forest of Pantalea!” said a young boy. “May I know your name?”
“Uhm well…my name is Akiko. And you are?” said a girl walking into the forest.
Akiko opened her eyes again, snapping out from the delusions. What could she have felt? These memories flowed back into her. They were unstoppable.
“Do you two promise to protect the forest until the very end?” Yukiko, in her younger years, said to the two children.
“Yes! Cross our hearts!” said the two.
Opening her eyes, Akiko’s eyes felt uneasy. “Ms. Yukiko…I…what happened…?”
And the final memory she could remember:
“Where are you going?” said the young Akiko to the boy. “You can’t leave us here!”
“I want to see the outside world. I was born in this forest and didn’t know what it looks like out there. Please don’t worry about me, I’ll return…”
The young girl sighed. “Take care…Makiko…”
Akiko opened her eyes filled with tears as Yukiko came from the bushes. She was at a marvel at what she saw in these delusions. Now she remembered everything - all the joy, all the sadness, and her purpose in life.
“Now that you have awakened dear, we shall go to the farther end of Pantalea. We will continue to protect the forest of life. Come with me!”