My boss has always said: “Properly document your project! Even if you haven't finished it yet. You could get run over by a bus at any time. Whoever would inherit your project needs to be able to carry on. Vash calls it the Bus Factor.”

“The Bus Factor?! If that ever happens, I get to live in an RPG world!” I used to joke each time he brought it up before finishing the documentation.

Eventually, he'd counter with: “Doesn’t getting to live in an RPG world require you get run over by a truck?”

To which I'd answer with “Bus, Truck. Where's the difference? It's big and has more than four wheels!”

It has become like a running gag in the company. Never have I thought it would actually happen.

And yet here I am: I'm actually about to get run over by a bus. A bus! Not a truck!

Let's rewind a bit: I'm very sleepy after an all-nighter of online gaming. I have been grinding towards my new legendary weapon in the latest MMO instalment of a popular JRPG series. A few minutes after midnight, I've told myself “just a few more monsters before I go to bed”. And before I know it, my morning alarm has already gone off.

I guess that means no sleep for me today! At least I don't have anything requiring much brain to do at work. Lucky me!

I pack my cold lunch I prepared the day before and make my way to work. It's a cold, foggy winter morning. The weather forecast on the radio says something about freezing rain. As soon as it goes back to discussing politics, I switch back to my music. I don't like politics. People can be quite a drag at times… In politics, that means always.

I've almost arrived at work. Suddenly, I hear honking. I look up at the traffic lights. They are red. So… I have crossed the road with red lights! I'm way too tired for traffic laws. Sleepily, I nod to my left to apologize. I see a bus rolling towards me. Wait, hasn't that line of buses been in the local news lately? Something about the local public transport company skipping on maintenance and failing mechanical parts?

Anyway, I'm about to get hit by that bus. It seems like its brakes aren't properly working. The Bus Factor is real! I guess I owe Vash a smoothie.

Not that he can collect on that anymore…

But I still have 200 lines of code to refactor and start documenting stuff at all… Why am I thinking of work?! Forget that! I still need to finish my legendary weapon! I should have called in sick and continued grinding!

Well, at least I get to sleep now. Maybe I even get to be in an RPG! Prologue to a new life — at least I hope that is.

I close my eyes, preparing for the impact. Please don't make it hurt so much! And the next thing… I hear… is… chirping birds?! And no honking? And no traffic noises! But I can hear leaves rustling in the wind. I must have had a horrible dream! I mean, really horrible! Dreaming about your own death isn't a good thing. Maybe I should look for a counsellor. Since it seems the alarm hadn't gone off yet, I can continue sleeping for just a few more minutes.

I feel something touching my nose. I try to grab it to feel what it is. It feels… like a leaf? That's strange! Even though I like sleeping with an open window: my apartment is way over the treetops - it should be impossible for leaves to fall through an open window! I slowly open my eyes. This is not a familiar ceiling… I mean, there's no ceiling at all! Treetops come into my view — this is definitely not my room!

So did I really die after all? Is this heaven? Or is this hell? Or maybe this is just a lucid dream I'm having while sleeping half-dead in a coma? That would mean I got run over by a bus after all. Well, it beats being in pain. But is this even a dream at all? I mean, I can smell the forest. I don't ever remember having dreams where I actually smelled something and did not wake up from it.

Slowly, I get up and look around. There are trees everywhere I look. It seems like I'm in a forest. Where could this place be? The current temperature feels like a warm spring in a temperate climate. Let's check out this place! I look at the leaf I'm still holding in my hand. While trying to examine it, I see something popping up:

Item: Maple Leaf

What the…