Chapter 19:

Reality vs. Fiction

Half-Paid Heroes

...after about a half-hour, they were done with the setup. The monstrosity comprised of multiple pieces of audio-visual equipment towered over her, looking ready to devour her and her challenger as he took a seat next to her.

Now that she got a better look at this particular video game club member, she noticed he seemed to be the leader. Why? Because of the (most likely temporary) tattoos slapped all over his arms of symbols she recognised as being from games.

The game's single-round screen flashed in front of her and her challenger grabbed the controller, hitting the button to begin. Chris chose a female tank character with a hammer while the bespectacled boy went with a male defence-oriented fighter with a quiver slung over his back.

Chris had to muster all of her restraint to stop herself shaking her head. According to the online details available about this game, the tank was a better beginner's choice because the archer's attacks involved a lot more complicated button-mashing.

In the beginning, she found it hard to keep up as her competition landed multiple fiery arrows against her character. However, she merely took the damage and waited for a time to strike - her opponent was running out of stamina.

Charging up an attack, Chris pressed a few buttons and had her character swing at the archer, missing twice but succeeding thrice.

The fight was pretty one-sided in Chris's favour, in the end.

"I-I'm sorry I mocked you!" the bespectacled boy apologised, sweat building on his brow in embarrassment. "What's your secret, though?"

"I'm not going to tell you," Chris told him flatly, being careful to pull her dress down as she got up.

As the video game club member got on his knees and begged, she grabbed her bag and sauntered off.

It's not like I could tell you all fights are the same - just have some knowledge your opponent doesn't and use it against them, she mused, keeping it to herself this time. Then again, this game isn't like being in a real fight at all...

Gerry Hines