HAH! Thought I’d never actually post a chapter, huh? Well I didn’t think so either! But I fricking wrote the fricking thing. This chapter is just to introduce the protagonist, so it’s kinda short. Though I don’t know if future chapters will be of similar length. So uh… just read this for now. Or whatever. If you see an error or need an explanation for something, just comment a thing.
As the pixels of the dead body floated up into the air, I looked through the loot that was left behind. Heavy armor, a large mallet, health and mana potions, a surprisingly good amount of gold, and a few miscellaneous items, but nothing special. I pocketed the gold and the more valuable items and went on my way, searching for another player in the woods I could jump.
“Why are we still doing this?” Daemon asked, as if he expected a different answer.
“Like I keep saying, I wanna be fully prepared before I attempt the Tower. And I have to at least be level 20 before I can even enter the Tower.”
The small red dragon floating above my shoulder sighed. “Yeah, I got that, but continuing to kill random players in this area barely amounts to anything.”
“Oh my god, with this again? What I’m doing is working out so far! I’ve gotten some good armor and a crapton of gold and potions off of players I’ve looted and I’m about to get to level 18!”
“It’s almost been two months, and all you have to show for is huge amount of gold that you’re not even using…”
“All I have to show for?!” I exclaimed, glaring at my guide. “Because of the whole looting thing I’m doing I haven’t had to buy any armor, weapons, or potions! That sounds like time well spent, right? Besides, I’m gonna use the money to buy higher ranked gear once I start getting up in the Tower.”
“Yet we’ll never even get to the Tower if you keep up with this whole stupid looting thing…” Daemon huffed, releasing a tiny burst of smoke from his mouth. “Ugh… I could have been guiding an actual good players but no, I’m stuck with your…”
“Hey Daemon, shut up,” I whispered, seeing the faint outline of a username bobbing up and down in the distance. Player’s usernames were perpetually floating above their characters unless they had certain abilities that disabled their name from being seen. But since I was a relatively new player, Psycho Android Xl was just above my head. All I could do was hide in the trees and hope the other player hadn’t caught a glimpse of my name.
“Yay, this again…” Daemon said in his usual monotone.
“Oh to hell with you… Just go before the other player hears you.”
Daemon just shook his head and disappeared in a puff of smoke.
I stayed hidden up in the trees as the username came into full view. “ShadowSam88, huh?” The character attached to the name looked like a mage/warrior hybrid. He was holding a steel sword in one hand and a red spell book in the other. I looked back up at the username, seeing the number 23 right beside it. “He’s six levels above me… This should be fun.”
A few seconds later, ShadowSam walked directly under the tree I was hiding in. Without any delay, I jumped from my hiding spot and dive-bombed the other player. I quickly drew my knives and held them to his throat. “Hey Sammy.” I cooed, my lips curved in an evil smile.
ShadowSam took a deep, taking in the air I just knocked out of his lungs. He then looked me over, finding a stopping place at my bust. After a few seconds, he looked up at my username. “Psycho Android? You’re the one who’s been killing unsuspecting players in these woods?”
There was a moment of silence. “What?” I finally asked. “How do you know that?”
“There are wanted posters for you in the local town. Apparently people don’t like getting mugged by some low level noob. Through I didn’t think you’d only be 17… Oh well. Even though you’re only worth five hundred, I’ll gladly take you in.”
“Dude, I’m the one who’s holding knives at your throat. I don’t think there’s much you can…” Before I could finish, Sam raised his leg and kneed me in the butt, knocking me off of him. He then got to his feet and started reading from his spell book, sending a burst of fire directly at me. Thanks to my skill point allocation, I was just barely able to move out of the way of the burning orb.
“You’re fast…” ShadowSam muttered. He quickly sent two more fireballs at me, though I was still able to dodge them both.
“And you’re dead!” I ducked low and charged forward, preparing to slice at my opponent’s gut. Just before I made contact however, he lowered his steel sword, deflecting my attack. With a hard punt, he sent me into a tree and followed up with another burst of fire, this time scoring a direct hit. My hit points dropped to nearly half. “God…” I grunted, feeling the pain spread over my body. While it wasn’t what getting kicked in the chest and hit by a fireball must have really felt like, it hurt nonetheless. The headset I was wearing was topnotch, allowing real-time pain feedback among other features.
“So you have a good amount of speed and agility, but almost no defense? Looks like you are a total noob. Only a complete loser uses their skill points like that.”
“Oh shut up! Rogues are supposed to be fast!”
“Rogue? Who becomes a rogue these days?”
“Oh you’re extra dead now!” I ducked low and charged forward yet again, this time expecting my attack to be deflected. Just as Sam lowered his sword I vaulted over his weapon and kneed him in the face. As Sam staggered back, I spun around mid-air and kicked him again with my other leg. Before I could deliver a third blow, Sam swung his sword in a wide arc, just barely clipping my calves. As I got driven away by the slash I threw one of my knives at the other player, slicing his hand that held the spell book. But Sam held on tightly to the red book as he read a slightly longer incantation. A fiery explosion immediately triggered between us. Instead of trying to avoid the blast completely, I rushed around the attack, taking minor splash damage as I charged Sam.
He used his sword to block some of my attacks, but a majority of my slashes cut through his armor. I followed up by sweeping at his legs, sending him to the ground as I picked up the thrown knife. With both weapons in hand, a delivered a series of rapid stabs just as ShawdowSam got to his feet. While my attacks were dealing minor damage, I was able to overwhelm my opponent and whittle him down to one hit point. Right before I hit with the final blow though, Sam’s body was eaten up by intense flames.
“Wh-what the hell…?”
“It looks like a passive skill of some sort. Most likely attached to a rare artifact or gemstone,” Daemon answered, suddenly appearing by my side. “I’m guessing when the user’s HP gets down to one point their body is covered in fire and moved a few feet away. It most likely gives them a final chance to run away.”
“Well that sounds useful…” I said under my breath.
“Then go get that player,” the dragon told me before he puffed away.
“Gladly…” I stayed still for a moment, listening to my surroundings. I quickly threw my knife to my left, missing a figure running off in that direction. I ran a few paces towards ShadowSam and threw the other knife, missing yet again. “Dammit!” I yelled, rushing off towards the player, leaving my knives behind. I would be able to return and pick them up after I killed Sam.
Sam continued to run away, occasionally firing a flaming burst at me. “Why are you chasing me!?” He asked at the top of his lungs.
“I want to kill you!” I yelled back, sliding under a fireball.
“Kill me? I just let you live though!”
“What? Let me live! You’re the one with one HP!”
“I could have easily finished you off once the gemstone activated! I decided to let you live instead! Consider yourself lucky!”
“Dude, you decided to flee! Now stop being such a pussy and let me finish you off!”
“You… You’re a girl! Don’t call me a pussy!”
“I can way whatever the hell I wanna say you pussy! Now stop running!” After a couple more dodged fireballs, I finally caught up to ShadowSam and tackled him from behind, sending his spell book and sword flying from his hands. “You gon’ die now, bitch!”
“Jesus Christ!” Sam cried, “What’s wrong with you!?”
I leaned down, turning Sam’s head to look into his eyes; the same evil smile as before scrawled on my face. “My name ain’t psycho for nothing!” I screeched, raising my arm against the other player. My fist came down hard against the back of ShadowSam’s head, slamming his face into the ground.
“You’re a messed up girl…” ShadowSam88 stated with the last of his breath. His username slowly faded away as pixels of his body floated away.
“That’s cause I ain’t a girl,” I replied back just before the character completely disappeared.
I then took everything of value I could, completely filled the space available in my pouch.
“Well wasn’t that just a great adventure,” Daemon said in a voice filled with sarcasm.
“Oh hello Daemon…”
“Hey there idiot.”
I stood up and drank a health potion taken from one of the players I killed. “You’re an AI, right?” I asked as I began to walk back to where I left my knives. “Like… you’re just artificial intelligence programed to act as a helper?”
Dragon flew by my side, flapping his wings to keep himself airborne. “Yes, and you’re just an idiot acting like a person.”
“Yeah, yeah, so as I was saying… If you’re just AI, why are you such an asshole?!”
“Each starter guide has a randomized personality. So I just happen to as much of an asshole as you are,” Daemon said with a blank stare.
“Oh I hate you… Once I get to level 25, I’m so gonna get a more personalized guide.”
“If you ever get to level 25… You went through all that trouble to kill that last player and you’re still just 17.”
“Wait, really?!” I brought up the virtual menu and checked my stats. Three more experience points until I got to level 18. I let out an exasperated sigh. “Well, I guess just jumping random players in these woods isn’t really helping.”
Daemon crossed up arms over his yellow belly. “Oh really? I thought this was working so well.”
“Anyways! We should travel to Incipio… I can get better gear there. From the stores and from unsuspecting players attempting the Tower…”
“Oh god… You’re gonna jump players in the woods surrounding the Desolate Tower?”
“Oh hey, that’s a great idea! Thanks for coming up with it!”
“You know, I wouldn’t mind you getting a new guide once you get to 25…”
“I might just keep you now.”
“Why am I programed to feel exasperated…”
“Isn’t this game great? You’re an AI jerk who can get annoyed, I can feel actual pain when I’m attacked, and these graphics are sooo real! It’s like this is an actual world.”
“Well this is a virtual reality game… God you’re an idiot.”
“Oh just go away!” I swatted at Daemon but my hand merely went through smoke. I then took the time to observe my surroundings. The same pine trees surrounded me in all directions. “Uh…” I began, “Where the hell did I leave my knives?”
“A complete idiot…”
“SHUT UP DAEMON!!”