Chapter 7! With two new characters! Who I still have to finish drawing… But at least I’m finally getting this chapter out. Oh, and ignore the lack of a Psychobabble this Monday… To the few of you who care. Well go on then, read the chapter. I said go on then!
I yawned as I swung my legs over the edge of the bed. It was only a little after 10 and I was already super tired. If not for the party, I would have gone to sleep instead of logging back on. And while I wasn’t big on parties to begin with, my parents said I needed to be more social. So attending a social event online seemed like a good place to start! Well it seemed like a good place to start for me anyways…
I pushed myself off the bed and went to the door. Opening it, I found Magnes about to enter the room next to mine. “Hey Maggie!”
The elf clenched her teeth together. “I said not to call me that.”
“Oh come on! I call you that endearingly.”
“Please don’t make me kill you,” She responded. “I don’t want Lith to yell at me for getting your blood and guts all over the walls.”
I rolled my eyes. “Fine, fine.” Closing the door behind me, I made my way to the stairs. My foot hit the first step before I was stopped.
“Hey, where are you going?” Magnes asked, a harsh tone in her voice. “You’re usually not up at night.”
“Oh, no where special. I just have a date with your sister….” I said as I made a mad dash down the stairs. The bulky elf bounded after me, elvish expletives exploded out of her. I bursted through the door leading to the store, catching the gaze of startled and confused Lith. I gave the more polite elf a warm smile as I ran past. Just when I opened the door to the shop, about to make my escape, something small yet incredibly hard collided with the back of my head. “Aargh!” I shouted as the object smacked me right out the door.
“I swear I’ll kill you, you little…” Before Magnes could continue, I heard a loud slap. “Ow, Lith! I know, I know, but—Please! You don’t… No you don’t! Ow! Oww! Liiith!! You don’t understa—Stop hitting me! Please! I’m sorry for throwing it, but just let me explain why I… Ow! Lith, please! She said that… Ouch!!”
Even though pain was ringing in the back of my head, I couldn’t help but laugh. Magnes and Lith’s dynamic always amused me. While I would have liked to see how the rest of this played out, I had to get going. I glanced at the object that had hit me. It was a small statue of a female elf in a sexy pose, sculpted out of some sort of marble. I smirked. “I wonder if Warrior would like a gift for winning the novice tournament…” I pocketed the sculpture and called Daemon, asking him to navigate me to The Broken Bottle.
I was at the bar a few minutes later. Noise from the party could be heard from a street over. An NPC ogre in a black tuxedo was standing at the door, a virtual menu opened up in front of him. While a few players were conversing outside the bar, most of the invited people were inside. I went up to the ogre and flashed him a smile. “You’re the bouncer?”
A grunt was his answer. He checked his menu before addressing me directly. “Name?” He spat out in a craggily voice.
“Geez, your voice is terrible… Anyways, It’s Psycho Android. Uh, Xl… at the end. Psycho Android Xl.”
“Alright, you can enter.” The ogre pushed the door open.
I nodded at the ogre while I walked into the bar. A notification immediately popped up in front of me. “Non PVP Zone” it read. I selected okay, sending the notification away. With my view cleared, I saw the entirety of the bar, which looked more like a clubhouse. In the middle of the room was a large open spaaace, filled with mingling and dancing players. Past the dance floor, there was the bar itself. Most of the seats were taking by people involved in their drinks and people next to them. A large crowd was gathered at the left corner of the bar, huddled around one player in particular. While I couldn’t see the player in the middle, I assumed it was Warrior of Divinity. The rest of the bar/club consisted of other player sitting around tables either talking, gambling, or eating simulated grub. While the whole place was crowded and noisy, everyone seemed to be in good spirits.
I walked through the dance floor and to the bar, ordering Retro Spirit Brew, a drink that would cause my display to have an 80s VHS effect. Most of the alcoholic drinks sold in DLO bars worked similarly, changing the way players saw the world. From making everything monochrome or covering the environment in a sepia tone, to giving the world an early 90’s anime look or a stark chiaroscuro style. Since alcoholic drinks did little to affect a player’s stats or abilities or anything else directly related to gameplay, they were pretty much only used for fun. Besides, fighting monsters in a world that looked like Picasso drew it might give players a headache.
Once I gulped down my drink, I closed my eyes. The shift from the regular, almost realistic look of the game to any other look was said to jarring. A moment later, I opened up my eyes. I took the new look of the world in, and then closed my eyes again. The bright fadedness of my surroundings had already hit me. I reopened my eyes, squinting slightly. It would take me a minute to get used to the retro aesthetics. A hand was placed on my shoulder, shaking me slightly.
“Hey, Psycho. You okay?”
I looked over, seeing the slightly concerned face of Thunder. I smiled. “I’m fine. I just drank a thing and the new look of things is a bit…” I spread my fingers apart and rocking my hand back and forth, “You know, weird.”
Thunder nodded. “Yeah, I understand. I drank a Ghibli Tonic. It took me a moment to get used to everything. What did you order?”
“Retro Spirit Brew. Everything has like a… pale glow. And every so often some static flashes in front of my eyes. It’s just… weird. But I like it. Also hey Thunder! What’s up?”
Thunder smiled. “Nothing much. Glad you could make it.”
“Yeah, yeah… Glad I was invited and all that…” I motioned to the crowd that was now at my right. “Is Mr. Winner in the middle over there?”
“Yeah, he’s there. Did you say hi to him yet?”
“Nah, I just got here. Came to the bar first thing.”
“Alright. When the crowd around him clears up a bit, I’ll take you over to introduce yourself.”
“Oh, quite the gentleman…” I purred, playfully swatting at Thunder’s shoulder. The guy let out a nervous laugh, his face slightly flush. I giggled. “It’s so fun to mess with guys.”
Thunder rolled his eyes. “So anyways,” he said, changing the subject, “Were you around for the whole tournament?”
“Uh…” I scanned Thunder’s face, looking for anything suspicious. His smile was as genuine as ever. “No, I didn’t see any of it until the quarterfinals of the master bracket. Why?”
“Oh, cause uh…” Thunder looked a bit nervous. “I didn’t see you… until the quarterfinals of the master bracket…”
I clenched my teeth together, glancing at Thunder as he looked at me. Sighing, I leaned in close to the guy next to me, bringing my lips up to his ear. “So…” I began in a whisper, “you saw me, didn’t you?”
Thunder pulled away from the hot breath in his ear. “You mean…” Thunder lowered his voice, “You mean in the box?”
I groaned, quietly. “Maaan…. You saw me from the stands? How’d you know it was me?”
“Yeah, I could clearly see you… And I knew it was you cause, well, I’ve met you. I just recognized you.”
“So then you only invited me here cause you saw me, right? Wanna get in good with the dude who’s BFFs with Miss Princess, huh?” Another nervous laugh was my response. I rolled my eyes, “Knew it…”
“Sorry…” Thunder muttered. His eyes widened a bit, “Wait, dude…?”
I shook my head and waved Thunder off, ignoring both things he said. “It’s fine, I would have done the same.” My mouth went back to my buddy’s ear. “But… Just like our little adventure last week, let’s keep this between us.” I put my hand under Thunder’s chin, turning his head around so that his face was mere inches away from mine. “Okay? Cool.” I released my hold on the startled guy and lightly tapped the side of his face.
“So,” I began a moment later, “How did he do in the tournament? Warrior of Divinity or whatever?”
“I’d say he did great. Though he didn’t tear through his matches like Dizzy Wizzy did… Still can’t believe he called out WarHawke.”
I nodded in agreement. “Yeah, that was awesome. Dizzy sure has some balls on him, challenging not only Hakwe but his whole army of a guild. Man, I can’t wait to see the war between those two break out. Glad I won’t be apart of it…”
“I doubt a whole war will happen though. Hawke is more calculated than that. He wouldn’t get his entire… army into a fight with one guy. You know, Hawke would probably take Dizzy down himself.”
My shoulders went up and down. “I’ll still be fun to watch all that shit hit the fan from the sidelines.”
Thunder gave me a strange glance, as if he was questioning me.
I returned the look with confused eyes. “What…?”
He shook his head. “I, uh… I was just wondering.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Aboooout…?”
“Are, uh… This is might be a weird question, but are you a girl…?”
There was a pause. I took a moment to look down at my chest, giving myself a quick little squeeze. My gaze went back up to Thunder. “Well these are boobs, aren’t they?”
Thunder awkwardly looked away from me, his face reddened up a bit. I wondered how the game knew when a player was embarrassed. Maybe the sensors in the headset could detect when a player’s face got hot, making the face of their in game avatars get red. I had so many of questions of how the specifics of this game worked. How the specifics of virtual reality worked in general. I decided to look up this stuff online later.
“Well, yeah… I mean… But are you are girl, in like… real life?”
“Why do you wanna know?” I smirked, deciding to have fun with Thunder now. “You wondering if I look like this in real life, huh? My avatar is pretty sexy, I know.” I put my hand on Thunder’s shoulder. “But I’m sorry dude, you’re not really my type…”
The guy became noticeably more nervous, a barely audible “Umm” escaping his mouth. “N-nevermind…”
I sighed, lowering my hand down Thunder’s arm. “Come ooon, tell me why you asked. I won’t bite… Much…”
Thunder cleared his throat; his eyes darted to me for a moment before becoming fixated on the corner of the bar. “Well, you… Not to be mean, but uh… You don’t really talk like, or really act like for that matter, like… a girl.”
“So you’re saying I act like a guy?” I crossed my arms under my bust, pushing my boobs up slightly. A pout was upon my lips. “How rude… The nerve of some people…”
Nervous laughter yet again. “S-Sorry… I’m sorry, didn’t mean to offend you…”
I giggled lightly, my girlish voice wavering up and down. “Man you’re fun to mess with! You’re like a little brother.” As Thunder began to settle down a bit, I mulled over my thoughts. I debated telling Thunder that I was actually a guy who just had a female avatar. Nah. I really liked messing with him. I’ll let my female façade go on for a bit longer.
Thunder spoke up, waving to some one behind me. “Oh, hey, Warrior just waved to me. I’ll, uh… I’ll introduce you. And try to forget what just happened…”
I giggled once again, following closely behind Thunder. “Sure thing Thunder Buddy!” Warrior was sitting in the middle of a circular booth in the corner of the bar, several other players surrounding him. I hadn’t bothered looking him up beforehand so I didn’t know what he looked like. While warrior was a bulky guy, he seemed a bit short. He also had the look of a holy knight, white and silver armor with gold lining. He wasn’t carrying a weapon though. Not that he’d need a weapon in a non-PVP zone.
“Thunder! What’s up man? This must be your plus one.” Warrior looked at me and flashed a smile, an actual sparkle leaping from the corner of his teeth as he did so. I blinked, slightly confused. The sparkle was probably an affect from the drink I had… Were sparkling teeth a thing in the 80s? I blinked again, realizing Warrior was staring right at me, looking expectantly.
“Uh, what…?” I mumbled, causing Warrior and the players around him laughed. I laughed as well, mostly because I had no idea what was going on.
“I asked you a question. Guess you didn’t catch it though,” Warrior explained. “I was wondering how you met Thunder. Cause for some reason, he wouldn’t explain how he met you.“ Warrior jokingly scowled at the guy next to me.
I giggled while slapping Thunder’s back, knocking him off balance. I was glad he hadn’t told anyone about the Desolate Underground. I had to come up with some story however… “This sweet ol’ guy saved me actually. I was being chased by some other players throughout the town and Thunder came to my rescue.” My hand left Thunder’s back, curling into a fist and punching his arm. “Then he followed me back to the… Inn I was staying at. Even though he really shouldn’t have… I could have easily made it back safely by myself.” Thunder glanced at me as he rubbed his arm. I smiled back.
Warrior clapped his hands together, brimming with excitement. “Oh look at you Thunder! Acting so chivalrous! Guess you were embarrassed to tell us, huh?”
“Y-yeah… I was just embarrassed is all… Didn’t want you guys to think I was some sort of anime hero wannabe.”
“Even though you totally are…” I quipped, getting a small bout of laughter from the surrounding crowd.
“It’s fine though!” Warrior replied, “I wouldn’t think you were lame or anything for helping out this cute girl over here.” The guy smiled at me like, before, another sparkle formed at the corner of his teeth. “Why don’t you two sit down?”
Slumping down on the booth as Thunder followed suit, I ignored Warrior’s little compliment and scanned the crowd of players stuffed in this corner of the bar. They were all fairly high leveled, at least 20 levels or so above Thunder. And he was 6 levels above me… Good thing this area was a PVP free. If anything bad were to happen, I’d be the first one to say happy birthday to the ground. I’d just have to make sure nothing bad happened. Or just make sure no one caught me doing anything bad… Warrior and I shared a glance, his wide and dorky smile met my sly smirk. A faint bit of red flashed through his dark cheeks as he quickly looked away from me. While this guy looked tough, he also looked like a doofus. My fingers twitched, ready for a bit of plucking.
I scooted closer to Warrior as he started a conversation with another player. I checked out the belt around his waist. There were a two medium-sized pouches thankfully strapped to the left side. Before putting my plan into motion, I checked my own left side. Thunder was also engaged in conversation with another player, a blonde female elf in a green tunic. The girl also had a sword, shield, bow, and a multitude of arrows on her back. I rolled my eyes. I swear if her guide was a small blue fairy… Shaking my head, I went back to the task at hand.
“Hey Warrior,” I said in a bubbly voice, “I wanna ask you something.”
Warrior looked over at me. “Yeah, what’s up?”
“Well, uh…” I propped my left arm up on the table, my eyes still focused on Warrior. “I wasn’t able to catch any of the novice bracket, so I didn’t see you fight at all. I was hoping you wouldn’t mind telling what happened.”
Warrior shook his head, “No problem! I’d love telling you how I preformed.”
“That’s what she said,” I mumbled. I piped back up with a smile, “Awesome! Tell me everything. I wanna know how you did for the whole bracket.” Apparently a few of the other players around us were interested in Warrior’s victory tale as they gave him their attention. As Warrior started talking, he made sure not just to look at me as he rambled on. Stealing from this guy would be even easier. With my left arm, and therefore left hand, still resting on the table, I put my other hand to work. I carefully popped open the clip that kept the pouches shut and began rummaging, making sure to look up at Warrior every now and again.
The pouch I was looking through didn’t seem to have anything useful, just small health, mana, and a few stat-boosting potions. Warrior probably left the bulk of his items wherever he left his weapon. My eyes darted up to the man talking as I moved my hand to the next pouch over. This one apparently was his moneybag. I took some gold out and transferred it to my own pouch. I still hadn’t found anything worthwhile to steal though… I closed the pouches just as carefully as I had opened them. Wondering if Warrior had any hidden pockets, I scanned over his body once more. The armor on his legs stopped at the top on his thigh, showing the hipline of the tight black pants he wore underneath. While it was common for knights and other high defense classes to wear formfitting pants under the armor that covered their legs, those players usually wore armor that also covered their hips and upper thighs as well. It was weird that Warrior didn’t have anything covering that part of his body. Hello hidden pocket.
I lightly lifted up the pouches covering the player’s waist, revealing a slit on the side of his pants. Checking that Warrior was looking at another player, I slipped my hand into the pocket, finding only a folded piece of paper. I slowly withdrew the paper out of his pocket. The corners of my mouth perked up. The piece of paper I had just stolen was a note, a quest. And only important quests were given out on notes. My thieving hand brushed up against a marble statue as I put the paper in my inventory. A perfect replacement. I pulled the sexy elf statue out of my pocket and put it in place of the letter. Warrior simply kept droning on about his performance in the tournament, unaware of what just took place under his nose. Hell, no one knew what had just happened. My smirk grew into a smile; I had pulled off a perfect crime! Even though I wasn’t here for that long, I felt ready to leave. I turned to Thunder, about to tell him that I would be off. My smile dropped. The blonde elf Thunder was talking to was staring at me. Her mouth was pursed and her eyes were sharp. Maybe my crime wasn’t as perfect as I had assumed.
I tapped Thunder’s arm, a bit frantically, “Uh, hey, I gotta go…”
“What, right now?”
“Like I said earlier, I’ve kinda been online for the whole day and I’m beat, so…” I motioned to the door.
Thunder nodded, “Oh, okay…” He slid off the booth as I turned my attention to the novice champion.
“Hey, Warrior, sorry to cut your story short, but I gotta skedaddle… Nice meeting you though!” I gave the guy bright smile and a slight wave, getting up from the booth.
“Aw, really? Well it was nice meeting you too. Hey, before you go…” Warrior swiped his finger through the air, bringing up his own menu.
A few moments later, a message popped in in my inbox. I clenched my teeth together. Did he really just send me a friend request? I opened up my menu and accepted the request anyways. If I seemed like a friend, he wouldn’t accuse me of stealing from him… I hoped. My new “friend” was noticeably happy that I had accepted his request.
“Awesome! I know we just met, but you seem like a cool person. And a friend of Thunder is a friend of mine.”
I snorted. No wonder Thunder is friends with this guy. They’re both way too trusting. I’d easily be able to use these guys for my own gain. “Yeah, I’m super cool, aren’t I? Well I’ll see you losers later.” I nodded to Warrior and patted Thunder’s shoulder. I checked the people around me, looking for the blonde girl. She wasn’t in sight. So she’s waiting to jump me when I walk outside. Great.
Turning around, I forced my way past the other players crowding the bar. Thinking about it, my sudden exit might have seemed suspicious. Maybe Warrior knew what I had done… Since he couldn’t fight me here in the bar, he probably sent me the friend request so that he could locate me later. I stopped in the middle of the dance floor, bright yet faded neon lights surrounded me. I glanced at the table I just left. Warrior was in the same spot, still talking to the players around him. Or… what if he saw me up in the viewing box during the tournament? I shook my head. I was overthinking everything. Getting back to my temporary residence quickly and safely would be the best thing to do. Unless Magnes was still mad at me… I let out a sigh and left the bar.
It was ten minutes after eleven. Even though it was late, there were still a handful of players walking throughout the streets. The slight fuzziness of my perception made it hard to get a good look at the other players. None of them looked like the girl from the bar thankfully. I blinked a few times and rubbed my eyes. The VHS effect on everything had lost its charm. I knew the way back to Magnes’ Shop and Smith, so I didn’t bother calling Daemon. Even though he was an AI, he was always in a worse mood at night. Who would ever make an AI get tired? It didn’t make sense at all. With my mind preoccupied and my vision fuzzy and faded, I failed to notice the elf sneaking up on me.
A quick flicker of static flashed before my eyes, blinding me from the player that had just grabbed my shoulder. Before I could react, the attacker held her blade to my throat. The sword had a blue hilt and a winged crossguard. I turned my head slightly, gazing into the hazel eyes of a blonde elf. “So Zelda is a girl…” I muttered as I checked her username, VannahTheFoxyHero.
Vannah groaned. “Oh shut up. I don’t wanna do this the hard way.”
“But baby, I’m always hard.” I cooed.
I extended my arm and elbowed the girl in the face. As her hand loosened, I crouched down, swinging my leg around at her feet. The elf stumbled over, giving me time to run away. I only got a few feet away before an arrow pierced though my right shoulder. An alarmed squeak escaped from me as looking over my bleeding arm. A second arrow was flying towards me, this time hitting my upper thigh. My whole body lurched forward as I desperately tried to keep my balance. My hand darted into my pocket, pulling out a smoke bomb. I spun on my heel and threw the bomb, directly hitting the elf. I pulled out both of the arrows embedded in me, splattering a small amount of blood onto the ground. The bright, neon blood stood out from the stone paved street. I resumed running away as Vannah coughed up smoke behind me.
I ran down the nearest alleyway, vaulting over a short wall that blocked me. I came upon the side entrance of an inn and busted through. A lizardman turned his attention away from an NPC behind the front desk, his slit eyes locked onto me. “Don’t mind me…” I glanced at my shoulder. “Or the blood.” Running out main entrance of the Inn, I found myself on the street of Magnes’ Shop and Smith. I just had to get down to the end of this road and I’d be safe! Just as I took my first stride, an arrow struck my calf. Ice exploded from the arrow and froze my foot to the ground. I dropped my shoulders as the elf walked up behind me.
“Ice arrows? Really? I’m guessing you have fire arrows too. And super special light arrows!”
“Sorry but my magic isn’t high enough for that yet. Only fire and ice at the moment.” The blonde girl jammed her sword into my non-frozen foot. Her arm came around my shoulder as I muttered several expletives. “I don’t want you running off again.”
After I settled down a bit, my mouth curved back into a smirk. “Oh I get it, you’ve got a little crush on me. Chasing me down like this…”
“Um… you’ve got the wrong idea.”
“Then what do you want with me?!” I yelled in her face. As Vannah recoiled, I pulled out my knives and sliced at her. I then began chipping away at the ice frozen to my foot.
Before I could get my foot out, the elf threw out a right hook, slamming her fist into my jaw. “I saw what you did! You stole something!”
I narrowed my eyes on the girl, licking the bit of blood that oozed from the corner of my mouth. “You mean other than your heart?” I ducked under a second punch and cut into my attacker’s gut. As the girl clutched her stomach, I put my own fist to her chin. I followed up by charging energy in my kunai, blasting through the elf as I yelled, “Striking Edge!”
While the sudden dash broke my foot out of the ice, my other foot didn’t get free so easily. I tumbled out of the dash in incredible pain. My ankle had split in half when I shot forward, separating my left foot from the rest of my body. I looked back to see the elf’s sword still stuck in the ground, my missing body part sitting under the blade. “Fuck…”
“You’re making this so difficult…” The girl heaved her sword out of the ground and walked up to me, gripping the front of my cape to lift me up. “What did you steal!? Tell me now and I won’t kill you!”
“Ooh, you’re a feisty one, aren’t you? Hot…” The girl withdrew an arrow from her quiver and jammed it into shoulder, forcing it through the hole her previous arrow had made. I let out a faint whimper.
“That’s it, I’m gonna have to do this the hard way…” Forcing me to the ground, Vannah straddled me and shoved her hand into my pocket.
“Hey, don’t steal what I stole!” I took out my second to last smoke bomb and threw it at point blank range. Amidst the fog and confusion, I sat up and slammed my head into the girl’s chest. As she flinched, I bolted. Only being able to hop on one foot didn’t get me very far. An arrow pierced though my remaining ankle and sent me to the ground. There was no way I could escape… I lifted my weapon up to my face, looking at the gem embedded in my kunai. Trump Pyre, my sole passive ability, could only be activated once a week. It triggered last Sunday… If I could hold out for a few more minutes, it would be Sunday again and a week would have technically passed. I would be able to die and get away without losing any of my items.
“You know blondie,” I began in a seductive, slightly strained voice, “there are better ways of telling someone you have a crush on them.”
“You REALLY must want me to kill you.”
I rolled over to my back and eyed the elf, the last remnants of smoke dissipating around her. “Only if you’ll kill me with kisses,” I replied with a wink.
“I…” The girl coughed up a bit of smoke then took a breath, trying to settle her rage. “I swear… Just give me what you stole and I’ll let you live. Do you honestly want to die right here, right now?”
“So you chose to die…” Walking up to me, the elf held her sword to my chest. The tip of the blade gently rubbed between my breasts.
“Ooh, baby… I’m getting so turned on right now.”
“Nope, this won’t do.” Vannah raised her sword up to my mouth. “I’ll cut your tongue off THEN I’ll kill you.”
I opened my mouth, extending my tongue out to lick the edge of the blade. “I’m not really into masochism but I can make this work.”
“Why won’t you ever shut up!?” The girl gripped her sword with both hands and plunged into my mouth. Blood sprayed out of my mouth, coating the dull steel blade in dark, neon red.
My eyes went from the brilliant display of the blood coating the blade to the hazel eyes of elf above me. I waggled my eyebrows as a warm embrace absorbed me. Just in time. My body became engulfed in flames, leaving nothing behind. I respawned a few feet away from my death, my health at one point and my body fully repaired. I slinked into the shadows as a scream exploded from the streets.
“Don’t think you’re getting away with this! I don’t even care about what you stole; I just wanna kill you! You hear me!? I’M GONNA KILL YOU!!”
I clenched my teeth together, multiple thoughts filling my head. Letting this go for now was the smartest of those thoughts. But I just had to get the last word in… “Oh my, you must have a major crush on me! You just won’t let me go, huh?!” Threatening words were launched at me as I left the scene, trying my hardest not to burst into laughter. No way any of this would come to bite me in the ass! No possible way…