The four of them where battered and worn, but alive. It was unbelievable that they managed to survive, and it was only their second day here. They knew they couldn't hide in the basement forever, there was no food here and they had already gone a full day without eating. But for now, it was a safe place to catch their breath and recollect themselves, before tending to their wounds.
Zanath was unharmed, luckily for him. He was used to running and doing these sort of things so he was the first to recollect himself and got up. He silently wandered off into the basement and began looking around. Picking up a toolbox and looking through its contents. He pulled out a hammer and some long nails and began looking around the basement once more. He seemed to be lost in thought though, his mind was elsewhere.
Kadin was the next to get up. He ignored his burns and broken shoulder for the time being, spotting a some blankets and noting the toolbox Zanath had pulled out. He grabbed one nail and then grabbed some of the thin sheets, from there he used the nail to tear up the sheets. He was cringing and wincing with every movement of his broken arm, but he didn't care. He knew that he probably worsened the breakwhen he that arm to pull himself onto the roof and to catch Estellese, so he didn't see any point in babying it or worrying about making it worse, he already screwed it up. Once he tore up a few pieces of the blanket he handed two to Estellese. “Bandage your burnt hands for now, if you need help just ask.” He said softly. “We'll have to find something to treat burns in the city, until then that's the best we can do.”
Estellese quietly thanked him and got to work on bandaging her hands while Kadin walked over to Mendores. “And we need to bandage that wound to stop the bleeding.”
“Kadin, you have your own burns to tend to. You should do that first.” Mendores said kindly, he was more worried about his newly made friend then himself. Despite being injured more, he knew he was tough enough to deal with it a little longer.
Although, Kadin was the same as Mendores there, he put his friends first and wasn't going to tend to his own wounds until his friends where alright. “You are bleeding, that must be stopped first. Plus it's my back and shoulder that are wounded. A bandage isn't going to help with that much.” He stated. He simply wrapped the torn piece of the blanket around Mendores' torso over his shirt, making sure it stayed tight over the slash wound in his side to stop the bleeding. Once he finished bandaging Mendores he went back to sit on the ground to rest for a bit.
“Alright. We need a game plan.” Mendores said. “Think back to before we entered the pods, was there anything anyone saw that could be of use? Try to picture the rooms we were in. I remember Zanath was sitting on the left side of the waiting room and he was zoned out, or watching the light, I'm not sure which. Right Zanath?”
“Huh?” Zanath called out from the other side of the basement. And for a moment his head popped out from behind a shelf.
“Did you see anything odd or out of place, or anything we could use to escape in that building we were in. Before we got into the game?” Estellese asked him. “We are trying to picture the place and search for clues.”
“No I did not.” Zanath said simply before disappearing behind the shelves again.
“He's working on something, and he was spaced out for like, the entire time we were there. Let him do his thing.” Kadin mused. “I remember you two were sitting next to eachother, and I was off in the corner. And after an hour or so of silence I started the conversation.” He said, as the group tried to remember the day of events that lead them here.
The four of them were in an empty white room, there was nothing but the four of them and a few chairs in this waiting room. “This game is going to be groundbreaking for the gaming world. The very first, perfect virtual reality game. I can't believe I won that contest.” Kadin finally broke the long, awkward silence before glancing up at the others.
Estellese smiled a bit and nodded “Yeah, me neither. So there was only four contest winners for the alpha testing of the game?” She asked.
Mendores nodded and opened his eyes. “Yes, only four. But surely we can have fun in the game with just four of us.” He said.
Estellese sighed lightly, a bit disappointed she was the only girl there. But she shrugged it off. “So what's everyone's names?” She asked.
Kadin looked up from his ticket, “Kadin.” He answered simply. “Master thief and evil genius.” He added jokingly.
“Wait, you're a thief?” Estellese questioned, giving Kadin a strange look.
“Only in the video game world. When playing games, I play to have fun and I do everything but play nice.” Kadin said, “Are the rest of you going to introduce yourselves?”
Estellese sighed and rolled her eyes a little, shaking her head at the guy. “Just don't be a troll and screw up the game for everyone else. I'm Estellese, or Estell for short.” She said simply.
Mendores nodded “I'm Mendores.” He answered simply. “Nice to meet you everyone. I think we should stick together and work as a team here, at least until we understand the game enough to go solo.”
“Where's the fun in that?” Kadin countered. “That's like getting a new game and playing on easy or normal first. It's boring as hell. Start on the highest difficulty, learn as ya go, never take the easy road-”
“Be a showoff who doesn't know when to stop talking.” Estellese finished Kadin's sentence for him, earning a pout and a glare from Kadin.
When they finished talking Zanath looked over at the others, “And I'm Zanath. I'm mainly interested in how this game will work really. That must be some crazy advanced technology to actually make virtual reality like this possible. It's interesting, I want to know how the machine works.” He said.
The door to the room finally opened, and what looked like a scientist in a lab coat walked out. He looked at the four young adults, “Do all of you have your tickets?” He asked. To which the four of them all held up their tickets. “Good. We will begin the alpha testing now.”
“Finally” Kadin interrupted. Stretching a little and putting his hands behind his head as he waited for the scientist to lead the way.
“Just follow me to the pods. You four are the first people, beside the game developers, to see this game. Make the best of your time here.” The scientist said before turning and walking back into the room he came from, gesturing for the others to follow him.
The four of them followed the man, and listened as he continued to speak. “The alpha testing, as always, is not the final product. The game is subject to change while you're playing it. Some things may be added, some things may be removed.” He explained, then stepped into a room with four futuristic looking pods. He gestured to the pods “Climb in, and close the pod. You will feel yourself fall asleep, and then you will be in game.” He said.
“Alllright!” Kadin cheered. Only half listening to what the man said as he quickly darted over to a pod and climbed into it. He laid down inside it and closed the pod over himself, before immediately pressing the start button and closing his eyes. As the man had said within seconds he looked to be asleep.
Estell sighed and shook her head as she watched Kadin finding his childish behavior a bit annoying. But once the scientist finished speaking she climbed into her own pod and closed it, noticing a few buttons on the inside. She pressed a few of them and was toying around with them for a moment. Before she also hit the start button and closed her eyes.
“That's the last I remember before entering the game.” Estellese finished. “The waiting room was just an empty room with a buncha chairs. Not even a magazine or a plant in there. And the pod room was the same, an empty room with the four pods and nothing else.” She said.
“Well, before we entered me and Zanath had a conversation with the man running it.” Mendores said. “Zanath was asking him how it worked, and the man was avoiding the questions. Eventually he just said he hadn't made the game and was just there to run the test. But I think he was lying about that.” He said.
“Well, duh.” Kadin stated simply. “This whole thing was a lie.”
“What happened while you two were in the game? Before me and Zanath entered?” Mendores asked.
“Not much, we were trying to figure out what happened. And I was laughing at Estell's hair.” Kadin said. To which he got a glare from Estellese.
“Why would you laugh about her hair?” Mendores asked.
“It's pink!” Kadin laughed. “She had brown hair in the real world, like Zanath. But when she logged in her hair was suddenly pink. At least Zanath changed his hair color to white, that looks sorta normal. But pink?” He chuckled. The look on Estell's face showed that she was trying really hard not to smack him.
“It looks fine.” Mendores stated. “Anyways, once we were in the game, did anyone see anything in the game version of the building that could be used to get out?” He asked.
“I noticed that the building had become a lab of sorts as I walked out. Once outside I was too distracted by the goblin” Kadin replied.
“What happened there? You left the building being all cocky. Then when we went outside you were getting your ass kicked by a goblin.” Estellese stated.
“Hey, I thought it was just a game. I didn't know getting hit would hurt.” Kadin sighed and began explaining exactly what happened. Starting right as Mendores and Zanath joined them in the game, a minute or so after Kadin and Estell had gotten in.
They were in an empty room, the same room the pods the had just gotten into were in. Only the pods were now gone and a table with books on it was in the palce of the pods. “So this is the game? I guess they weren't kidding when they said the game was realistic then. You know it's realistic when you can't tell the difference between the game world and the real world.” Kadin laughed lightly. Then turned to see Mendores and Zanath appear in the room.
“Is this the game?” Zanath asked as he looked around, inspecting his surroundings and the people in the room.
Kadin nodded “We think so.” He said. “You two just appeared out of thin air, so I'd assume it is. Lets get going now that everyone's finally here.”
“What are those books on the table?” Mendores asked as he walked over to the table and picked up a book. Examining it before opening it to read a few pages.
“Who cares? We're not here to read a book. Lets goo” Kadin replied.
“They are game manuals, that say how to play the game.” Mendores said, inspecting the book in his hand. Estell and Zanath quickly walked over to him and also each picked up a book and began reading.
Kadin rolled his eyes. “Come on. What kind of newbie actually reads the game manual before playing the game? Leeets gooo.” He complained.
“The kind of newbie who want to know how to play.” Estell muttered quietly, they hadn't even been in the game for ten minutes and she already wanted to find a sword and stab him. She was looking forward to kicking his butt in this game later on. Maybe that would fix his cocky attitude.
Kadin let out a long sigh. “Fine, I'm going ahead of ya then. Don't come crying to me to save ya when I get all the good stuff 'cause you where all too busy reading useless books. The controls are exactly like real life, we don't need to know the controls when we've been doing it all our lives” He said, before turning and leaving the room. “Heck, if I hadn't gone into the pod and seen the three of them appear out of thin air, I would've thought I was still in the real world... Which is kinda creepy if you ask me... If I had been unknowingly placed in this world...” He murmured to himself as he walked.
While the building was the same exact shape it had been in the real world, he was starting to notice a few changes in it. It was no longer an office building. As Kadin looked into the rooms he passed it looked like it had become some high tech laboratory, or something of that sort. He shrugged it off though, he did have a little interest in the lab but was more interested in just playing the game. Figuring he could come back to it later if need be. He walked outside and looked around.
As he had predicted, the outside looked exactly like the real world, only a little more empty. He didn't see any cars driving down the street, or any people outside. Although, one thing did catch his eye. A five foot tall human-shaped figure, that was green and wielding a club. Kadin easily guessed it to be a goblin, despite not being too short, by it's green skin, pointed teeth and rather savage appearance.
Kadin took note of the fact that he had no weapon, and the goblin had a club. But he picked up a small stone anyways, thinking 'What's the worst that could happen? I die and respawn back in the room with the others?' He took careful aim and hurled the stone at the goblin. Hitting him right in the middle of it's forehead. “Heeey! Dumbass! Over here!” Kadin taunted the goblin, waving his arms over his head.
The goblin stumbled back from the hit, then looked up at Kadin and growled furiously. It raised it's club and sprinted after the man. Kadin was a gamer, he had never been in a real fight before, and quickly learned it was much harder then it looked. He lunged forward and threw a jab for the goblin's throat, but before he could even reach the goblin, it used the club's longer reach to smash him in the shoulder with a sickening crack. Kadin shouted in pain as he was thrown backwards from the force of the hit, slamming into the wall of the building behind him. He quickly reached his left hand up to grab his wounded right shoulder.
Kadin groaned in pain, cussing loudly “I get that this game was supposed to be realistic... But really, did they need to make the pain perfectly realistic too?” He complained. That alone made him instantly regret starting the fight, he didn't think it'd actually hurt to get hit, or at least not that badly. Why would they make a game so painful? He would've been more careful had he known.
He looked up, trying to clear his mind of the searing pain in his broken shoulder. Only to see the goblin inches away from him swinging the club down at his head. Kadin shouted and cussed as he quickly threw himself to the side, narrowly avoiding being killed. He pushed himself back up onto his feet, stumbling a little as he got up. But before he could do anything else the goblin lunged forwards and swung the club at his ribs again. Causing Kadin to have to stumble back to evade the club.
He may have been alright with dying before, but now he knew he could feel pain and wasn't too keen on being killed. He really didn't want to find out how much being beaten to death by this goblin would hurt. But there was nothing he could do, the goblin kept pressing the attack faster then Kadin could retaliate, throwing attack after attack after attack at Kadin. The black haired man was struggling just to avoid getting hit, never mind getting a chance to swing back. With each attack he was getting worn down, it was becoming harder and harder to continue dodging. And it took more effort to dodge then it took to just swing a club, so Kadin would be worn out long before the goblin would.
Kadin was panting heavily and backing away, watching as the goblin approached him for another attack. Although, what happened next confused him. He saw the goblin suddenly get tackled to the ground from behind by a pink blur. Then, seeing that the goblin was down Kadin just fell backwards onto his butt, panting for air.
“Estell! Are you insane?” Mendores called out as the other two guys came out of the building with her. Laughing a little at the sight of the small girl almost wrestling with the goblin after having tackled it.
“Yes I am. Is that a problem?” Estell chirped in a joking manner, making the other two guys laugh lightly. She had jumped on the goblin's back, attempting to ride it's back, but she had knocked it over instead. And now was wrestling with the goblin as she sat on it's back, trying to keep it pinned to the ground while the other two guys ran over and quickly pulled the club out of it's hands. Although Estell couldn't keep the goblin pinned for long, the goblin threw her off itself, knocking the pink haired girl onto her back with a grunt as she hit the ground.
The goblin sprung back to it's feet, but it didn't matter. Estell's distraction was enough for the other two guys to make their move. Zanath, who had disarmed the goblin, smashed it's knees with the club while Mendores quickly delivered a powerful elbow to the back of the goblin's neck. Making the goblin fall limply to the ground, knocked out cold.
Estell laid on her back and threw her fists up in the air. “Woo! We killed our first monster. That was actually kinda fun.” She cheered.
“Yeah that was.” Mendores said as him and Zanath chuckled, high-fiving each other before they both held out a hand to Estell. Who used both of her hands to high-five Zanath and Mendores at the same time before grabbing their hands and pulling herself back to her feet.
She looked over at Kadin and chuckled lightly, “Only two seconds into the game and I've already had to save your butt. What happened to the cocky guy in the lobby?” She teased.
“I got hit.” Kadin stated. “There's a major problem here, the game's a little too realistic. The pain feels completely real. I really feel like I broke my arm.” He said in a very pained tone.
“I'm sure they wouldn't do that for a game.” Zanath said. “That doesn't make any sense. I can understand a little pain, but completely real? Nobody would play a game like that.” He pointed out.
“Yeah, you're just being a wuss. Deal with it.” Estell said simply, grabbing his arms and pulling Kadin up to his feet as well. Making the man cringe and yelp in pain as she tugged his broken arm.
“I am not, they really made it way too realistic.” Kadin argued. Shooting a glare at Estell for pulling on his arm.
Mendores thought about it, then pinched himself as hard as he could. He looked up at the others, “Kadin is right, pain feels perfectly real. Pinch your arm to find out yourself.” He said them. “Should we log out and inform the creators about it? I mean, that may just be a small mistake they can fix before we play.” He said.
Kadin nodded “We definitely should. Just imagine how much it's going to hurt if we get stabbed, or clawed up, or burnt. Things that happen constantly in games, it needs to be fixed before we continue.” He said.
Mendores nodded a little, trying not to laugh as he listened to Kadin's part of the story. Although Estellese couldn't help but to laugh at him, and when Kadin glared at her she just stuck her tongue out at him. “Hey, you had that coming.” Estellese said.
“And that's everything we did yesterday. Right? After that we figured out that we couldn't logout, and decided to wait out the rest of the day until they pulled us out of the game. And they never did.” Mendores said. He was quietly hoping there was more to what happened, because he couldn't find anything in their recollection of their first day here that could help them get out.
“Yeah, that was it. After a day we gave up on waiting and set out to find food, got chased by a dragon, and ended up here.” Estellese replied. “I can't remember anything that could help us get back to the real world.”
“There was nothing there we could have used to get out.” Zanath's voice said as he walked back to the group. He was carrying what looked like a few pieces of wood with nails sticking out of them. “Right now, our only hope is that someone notices we are gone and comes to get us. In the meantime, we need to survive. If the creator was sick enough to make pain realistic we don't want to find out if death is too.” He said as he handed out the pieces of wood. Upon closer inspection they were the legs of a wooden chair, apparently Zanath had broken the legs off a chair and hammered a few nails through them to make them into makeshift clubs.
“Nice work with the clubs Zanath. You have a plan?” Kadin asked as he took his makeshift club and looked it over.
“No, I do not. Although we need food and weapons. As well as medication.” Zanath said. “I suggest we hit the grocery store, there should be a pharmacy and food there and if it's as deserted as this town we can just take what we need. And if we hit the hardware store, maybe we can grab some tools to use as weapons.” He said.
“That means going back up into the city though.” Kadin said. “We will need to be stealthy, and look out for the dragon. I am pretty sure the noise was what drew the massive swarms of monsters to us, so as long as we're quiet and sneaky, we should be able to move about on the surface without being mobbed again.” He said. “I have no doubts that we're going to have to fight our way through town though, now that all the monsters are here.”
Estellese nodded a little “Right, everyone ready then?” She asked, she was holding her club a little awkwardly with her burnt hands, and Kadin took note of that but he didn't say anything.
Mendores nodded and everyone stood up. “Ready. Lets clear the door.” He said as they all prepared to go back outside.
Next chapter: Aftermath, first steps forwards.ns 188.8.131.52da2