The Last Words of Konno Yuuki

"Konno Yuuki [Sword Art Online II]" | Art by kishiro-kun. Used with permission.

Drama king. Yep, that’s me. My wife nods her head every time I apply that name to myself. I don’t try to be, it just comes naturally. Usually it involves “feeling something very strongly,” which compels me to either awkward dancing or a watering of my beard. Both of which are key to healthy hair, by the way. However, in the last hours of Sword Art Online’s second season, my occasional and modest tearing up had turned into some unstoppable torrent.

The first hint of trouble to come starts when Asuna makes a new friend named Yuuki and joins her group of adventurers in Alfheim Online (ALO), a team that calls themselves The Sleeping Knights. After a stunning victory against all odds, the group announces they are disbanding, and Asuna is shocked. The news makes her recognize what she has thus far only felt: Yuuki and The Sleeping Knights have become so dear to her.

Yuuki and the others give only a silent goodbye, offering no reasons for their permanent departure. Asuna, who has come to love them, can’t stand the tears she causes when she pleads for reasons why. Their sadness is incomprehensible to her.

“I was born to die, so what was my reason for existing in the world?”

Yuuki suspects, and rightly so, that Asuna won’t be satisfied without answers, and will search high and low for her in the real world. Maybe, just maybe, the impossible would happen and Asuna would find her.

It’s all Yuuki wants and it is exactly what she is trying to stop.

She doesn’t want Asuna to know why she must leave; Yuuki doesn’t want to cause Asuna pain. But Asuna’s stubbornness brings her to Yuuki’s doorstep at the hospital. It’s a surprise, though many had warned her that there can be no happy ending for her and the girl who once called her sister. And now Asuna comes face-to-face with the secret Yuuki tried to keep, the thing that made a young woman both a young and old soul all at once.

Yuuki, the person who awed so many with her incredible in-game speed, is in reality a frail, dying girl. Her terminal condition is deteriorating her health rapidly. Yuuki has a bare few months to live.

Not only that, but Asuna learns the all the Sleeping Knights are terminally ill patients.

Yuuki ends her life’s adventure with Asuna by her side. In her final moments, she tells Asuna: “I was born to die, so what was my reason for existing in the world? Without creating anything, or giving anything to anyone. Wasting so much machinery and medicine, causing people around me trouble… And if I was going to disappear in the end, I would be better to die right now. I thought that so many times.”

Yuuki and the others give only a silent goodbye, offering no reasons for their permanent departure.

But because of Asuna she discovered peace and happiness. “It’s okay for me to be alive… Because my last moments are such fulfillment. I can end my journey surrounded by so many people, in the arms of the person I love.”

I am not sure what moved me the most about all of Yuuki’s story. Was it the crazy devotion of Asuna that drove her to searching like a shepherd who lost a sheep? Was it the tragedy of Yuuki’s story or the equally moving beauty of the person she became? Maybe it was the talk between those two friends about everything and nothing: about the meaning of life and death. Or maybe it was the poetry of The Sleeping Knights, people not far from the long slumber of death.

But Yuuki’s last words continue to ring in my ears. What is the point of life if we’re just going to die in the end? Why do we exist in this world if our bodies are just going to crumble into dust and be forgotten?

I think it’s so we can experience love in its rawest, most human form.

Love can drive someone to pursue an impossible search. It can bring life and meaning and value to the weak and needy, even as they leave this world. And sometimes, it can make a grown man cry even as he dances.

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson

Staff Writer at Area of Effect
Chris and his wife survive the Montreal winters with help from Harry Potter audio books and summer dreams. Chris enjoys many different books and his current reading obsession is split between G. K. Chesterton and Guy Gavriel Kay.
Christopher Johnson

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