Chapter 4:

The Princess Rises

11 Kingdoms

Report: The Princess rises

Accessing Personal Logs: Princess Fawn Midin

Alternative source: Personal Journal entry of Jamie Eve

While the company back in the real world works to rebuild a fallen Kingdom, my fellow team members and I continue to work on our building effort. The castle took us some time it was still complete on the given timeline, and as we progressed through the look of the Kingdom of Noiox we began to note how our characters would develop more and more each day. A smile would reach my face looking at the sight of the strong beauty of long flowing dark hair, I saw each time I logged in.

In designing the Princess I chose a sort of reverse version of myself. A human of the game's average height I used a more modern take on the Brothers Grimm look for Snow White with a pale white and fair skin. Yet instead of gowns, I had designed a form of armor that would help show off her beauty. Her hair mimicked my own in a pattern only much longer with a change in tone on the tip of the bangs. Only I chose her to have long dark hair and purple highlights, after a style my grandmother once wore in her youth. She had beads in her hair and wore a crown, the Midnight Star, part of a legend being built into the history of the kingdom. In all my choice of form, she stood as the tamest of choices in the group, yet in many ways mine the most fitting. Rick lived up to his word and based much of his characters look loosely off of my own, to better convince the look of a father and daughter, but for a man in his late thirties to take on the look of a man clearly in his late fifties I had to give him credit. A strong and stout man, the king had the look of a man who has seen many wars and bore the scars to prove it, his hair was mostly grayed, with only a few patchy areas of black remaining. Unlike his fictional daughter, King Midin has hung up his armor for far more comfortable clothing of royalty.

Behind the king offering advice is the wise yet young, Duke Lev Nir. Moses insisted he has some royal title along for the position he was given, as Rick’s in and out game assistant. So Rick had agreed on Moses the title of Duke and in many ways, he was standing tall over us all on the team much as he does in real life. By playing a race of giant men called Tundar. His character dressed in a savage collection of hides built around him in makeshift robes. Lev's face has a cold and stern look to it, that is thrown off by the glasses he wears, according to Moses it is meant to make him seem educated. It sadly looks more like a savage warrior trying to pass off as a Harvard professor, as the group trying to make changes to their characters to better fit the role.

Then there is none of us fitting our roles better than Gavin. I swear he even somehow can calm his wheezing, in front of the microphone on the monitor helm, and has become the most demanding of the team to play our roles to perfect realistic nature. Lord Gavin, who has since accepted his role as my assistant, even though I haven’t quite gotten used to his role as such, plays his dwarf character like no other in the Tower.

He claims to be Fawn’s Dwarven godfather. I’m sure he did this in some sort of joke about Fairy Godmothers in fairy tales of old, and he devised it to look like every version of dwarves I have seen in each fantasy book I ever have read. Standing just about chest high on Fawn, he walks about in full armor with countless added gears, chains, and various other moving parts. His look is more like that of a short clock with a bulbous nose and long braided red beard.

The last of our team Melissa took a bit more liberty to her character's look than she did its name. She chose the race of Lupine, a were-creature race, and took on the title of the Kingdom's Captain of the Guard. She chose a Werewolf as her transformation form and stood into a small all-black fur-covered wolf. In her semi-human form, the form was that of a normal-sized woman about equal in Fawn's height, but her scarred face and short black cut hair only made an equal form to look frightening by any means. When I had the chance to ask her about her choice, she told me she was always an animal lover and as a child, she had a large dog that looked like her wolf form so she wanted to try it out. That it didn't hurt to have an authority figure that's own look could easily deter in-game crime. I couldn't help but wonder if she hadn't chosen her character's path to honor her dead husband.

Thanks to Gavin's effort, we even have started to talk to each other as our characters, and at times play the part.

“My Lay-de, careful with placing the yonder wall of the shop, you are running the axis into the store next door.” A cry from my height-challenged assistant comes out from a distance I can’t see. Today Gavin, Melissa, and I are working on some of the shops at the city’s main district. Along while we work, Lev and the king work on the task of getting a water system to flow correctly in the castle's moat. The animation was running funny, clipping its view at times for the past few days.

"Okay, I will pull back on it. Tell me when it's not crossing into your shop.”

“My Lay-de, your thou’s.” He cries back to correct my way of speaking.

“The Kingdom has modern language Short stack. Otherwise, we will confuse the younger audiences.” A snickering off Melissa comes out from the shop next door.

“Ye both could use a lesson in proper …” Gavin tried to continue but stopped with my own two cents being added.

“It is a demand of your royal princess you cut the correct ye old speak, Gavin.”

“Bah, no sense of the character!” Grumbles Gavin as he shuffles off to continue his work.

“Okay, Fawn I’m done setting the shelves and adding décor over here.” Melissa calls still with a bit of a snicker in her voice. “I’m headed over to help you with that one, okay.”

"Yeah fine." I reply.

It takes a few minutes for me to notice Melissa hasn’t come in. So, I step out to look for her. When I begin to step out, she nearly runs me down, her gruff character causes me a bit of a scare and I leap back. “What the heck, you scared the hell out of me, what happened?”

“Um, you haven’t released any NPCs in the city yet, right?" She asks with a puzzled look on her pixel-generated face.

"No, I have some designs but I want the town generated before I release them. Why?"

“Because I just saw a strange man and two young twin girls here.” She said. If there is one thing I can give the system credit, is its reading of a person's facial expression and having their characters mimic it. Melissa's current expression is one of total shock and I swear the dark fur-like hair of the character looked to be a slightly bit grayish from surprise.

“Maybe it’s just someone from the rest of the Onyx team. Let's go find out if they are messing around with our designs." I let out a sigh and step away from the shelves I was adding to the store leaving them hanging in a weird placement of, the midair floating lifelessly.

“I have never seen these members before and I swear I’ve seen them all.” Melissa grabs my arm and leads me out just as I see the king and Lev walk up, and greet a man in golden robes and two identical girls that look no older than 15 standing in stylish oriental armor. Soon after the man turns and looks in our direction with the King pointing towards us. "So, you ever see them?" Melissa asks.

“No, but I can't say I'm a bit nervous about this. Did we do something wrong?" I was lying to Melissa as my nerves were rattling well beyond a small fraction. It's I not only was looking at the stranger. But I started to move my eyes about to look at the holes in the chair's helmet visor to see if someone from the company was standing in my corner vision. The quick check showed I was alone in my room. So I move in closer to my digital father, to hear the conversation that they were having with the man.

“How have we been following through on your requests, Master Masaru?” The name instantly turns my nervousness into sheer panic mode. Could this man be the fabled game designer of legend? Melissa and I watch, as the three are led towards us with the King leading the way, leaving Lev to returning to the issue they had been hard at work on. The king seemed to be showing off areas of the city as if it was a house for sale and these were the very rich buyers. The closer they came, the face of the man showed to be aged with wisdom and skill, the robes did not bear any symbols of any of the kingdoms. Yet I knew yet the two girls had symbols of the gold kingdom on their armor. The king steps forth and introduces us to the man. “Here you go sir, let me introduce you to Fawn Midin, otherwise known as Jamie Lynn Eve. Fawn, this is Master Kinchrou Masaru, and the two girls are his prize pupils and the princesses of Arguo, Ayamo, and Emi.” I didn’t quite catch the girl’s names as I was struck dumb from the mention of the legendary figure that now stood before my computer-generated alter ego. The shock was enough to send my computer personality to the ground, my normal self would have joined if I wasn't strapped in the chair for my protection.

“Master Masaru?" The name is hard for me to pull out as I try to readjust the position I am sitting in with the chair.

“Yes.” He replies with a quick repeated shake of his head.

“But what ...” panic strikes my heart races like a storm in my chest feeling like it could burst out at any moment. As the man, the myth! The legend of gaming is standing before me. Given he, physically isn't before me, he is more likely in his home in Kyoto, while I sit in my room in Washington D.C. But in virtual space, I stand before one of the greatest artistic minds of this century, and he has come to meet with me.

The nerves hit my mouth, and my tongue goes numb trying to form words, let alone sentences. I can feel a cold sweat hit me and my body trembles. I watch the screen image on the display before my eyes as one of the girl’s steps forward in front of Masaru.

"Master Masaru has come to both look on, at how the kingdom of Noiox is going, and to be introduced with the designer he found great skill and promise in." The childlike face of the girl causes me to be even more unsteady in my actions and words before Masaru. My legs get weak and I try to keep my digital self-standing.

“I … am …” I find I have in-game started to act like Gavin is in real life. While my hands shake the controls, Fawn virtually copies my movements. Melissa steps in to speak for me.

“She’s pleased to meet, y’all.” Masaru stands quiet but his head slightly moves along with his eye movement, in time I would come to learn that this is him using translation software, that processes the speech of Melissa to his native kanji. In return, he speaks a few words that I could get such as anoko, and the word gujjobu, as previous words I heard my college professor use when he taught the students. The girl translates for me the words he fully says.

“Master wishes to let you know that you’re doing a good job following his instructions, yet putting your style into the work. He asks if you have been to castles of England, or the highlands in the UK to design this look.” The young girl smirks as she states and I feel kind of compelled to return the smile in turn.

I swallow my breath and try to calm down and form a sentence. “I … never been …no. I studied … the books Rick gave me and art … of the 14th century from museums and historical ...record, and try to add the classic view of romantic fantasy.”

Masaru stands reading and a smile hits his face, and then replies to my statement. For which the girl repeats it in English. “He says your choice to add the gothic look of the later centuries to the buildings, and adding a touch of Victorian and Steampunk look to the NPC's will help add influences of the allies you have in the game of the Blue Kingdom and Gold. He would like to ask if you were contacted yet by the New York offices on a decision they made this week.”

My mind thinks back to the pile of email building in my inbox. I find nothing from New York offices in my mind, nor have I received any phone calls as of late except for a company trying to get me to sign up for their credit card and my mother doing her daily check in on me. "No … no one has."

Masaru’s smile fades and he scratches his chin, and then says something I didn’t understand with any of the words except for Fawn's name. But the news caused the translator to gain shock on her face, along with the face of her twin and Rick's avatar as well. Before the girl speaks Rick busts out his comments on the matter.

“No way, you can’t be serious. It’s too much to pressure Jamie with!”

“What… What is it?” I asked puzzled

"The Company has changed its mind on using a random computer-generated character to promote the game. They want actual staff characters to be a virtual spokesperson. They want Fawn Midin to be one such spokesperson.” Rick replies with dread on his face. I made sure never to share my true issue of anxiety with anyone other than the other four members of our team. Now I regret that I never let it be known to the company.

“Wait, what?” My knees give out and I fall to the cobblestone road on my hands. In both worlds, I am visibly shaking in fear as a sudden acidic feeling starts to hit the back of my throat.

Rick answers my sudden confusion with his answer. "With the launch of the game, they will be putting a face on the advertisements, on the game, and in videos and promotional work both in and out of the actual game. Originally they were going to make a computer-generated and controlled AI."

The girl who was quiet before speaks up on the subject. “The info of the former choice was lost with the destruction of the San Francisco branch. The company felt time would better be spent on issues of the game if they could just choose an Idol from the current staff NPCs, so they chose people from each kingdom.”

The second girl picks up where the next one leaves off. "They wanted a solid and outstanding figure that gave a unique look and feel to the game. On top of that, they wanted the character's player to be visually appealing and well skilled in the game."

The girls switch to the quieter one again. “So, it left a very small field of choices, and the final decision came down that since your character is a proclaimed Princess, you will fill the role perfectly. As one of the 12 grand heroes of the world, a position that is more promotional for each Kingdom. You will be expected to make regular appearances and take part in events once the game goes live.”

Rick looks puzzled. I could barely hear his question, however, over the greater pounding of my chest. “12 heroes but there are 11 kingdoms. Who has two?”

The First Girl responds "My sister and I stand as the Heroes of Gold Kingdom. We are Master's pupils and players of our kingdom." The second girl nods her head but remains quiet as the first one continues “We too are princesses of our world, and will in part take part in the promotion along with you.” The girl turns and smiles at my stunned face. “We would like to ask you if you would let us call you, Oneesan. As you will be our kingdom's ally and the character with the most eyes on you, like ourselves.” I only identify the word the girl calls me partially meaning, sister, in their native tongue.

I find myself unable to reply to their words, and soon see the scene and sound fading too quiet black. Shouting is heard faintly in my ears as cries to get my attention and a distant alarm sound. I wake later to find myself in the clinic downstairs with Melissa by my side. “Are you finally back, with us hun?”

“Huh wha…” a very confused self asks, was what just happened a dream?

"You passed out at the console. Guess the news was too much." Melissa says as she squeezes my hand. "Never would guess I would ever see a person faint at the chance to become a gaming icon before. Of course, never thought I would meet one let alone work with one."

The nurse walks in reading my chart. “Okay Ms. Eve, now you’re back with us I have a few questions to go over with you. So, I need your visitor to leave.”

I turn to face Melissa who stuck by me through this. Ever since the day of the earthquake, the two of us have grown closer in our friendship, and now I look to her as the closest thing I ever had outside of grandma. “I will be just outside with the guys. We want to help you through your good news, okay.”

"Yeah," I say as my head spins and I wake from my greatest nightmare only to have the classic horror movie twist, of realizing it's all really happening to me. I respond to the nurse's questions as best I can, but my mental focus is on this horrible joke at my direction this company has placed on me without so much as asking me about it. Why am I so special to their plans? Why does this all come to me? All I wanted was a job where I could sit behind a computer and work on the job at hand. When did it become a subject of making me into a gaming superstar? Rage builds in my head. How dare they do this to me! How dare they make me go into the limelight! I did not ask for this. I don't want this. I will just turn them down, and if they say no I will quit. I chose my place on the team to stay away from the public’s eyes, and instead the company paints a large target on my back. My anger and intolerance, just keep building that when I was finally given the all-clear to go back to my room, yet have been told to stay off the chair for 48 hours, I rushed my way out the room and past the guys waiting. I was storming on my way up to the forty-seventh floor and gather my things with all intentions to leave. Yet a wall of human mass that is Rick and Melissa dash in front of me to block my path to the elevator. I quickly turn to make a b line to the stairs, while it would be longer at least I could make it up there eventually. Now I find a winded Gavin in the way. “OUT OF MY WAY GAVIN!”

“No, Rick has something to say.” Wheezes out Gavin sternly.

I start to turn around only to be lifted off the ground by Moses and thrown over his shoulder, he turns to have me unwillingly face Rick. "PUT ME DOWN!" I scream. What few people were around that hadn't been looking at me before, now stare at me dead on with judgment on my mental sanity being stuck in their minds.

"Jamie, I know how you don't like this but, many people would give their lives to be in your place," Rick states calmly

"I didn't ask for this. I took this job to be a designer and to hide away as simply a name in the credits. I won't take part in this." I scream back as best one can with my lung capacity strained by my body weight set on Moses's shoulder.

"So, what are you going to do, quit. Runaway from a good thing. You're fleeing from honor to your hard work and the recognition you deserve." Melissa cries out. "You work day and night. Heck, there have been days these past weeks I question if you're human because you never eat or sleep. When you're not working, you're helping out with relief programs, or going to therapy. The company sees your hard work and simply feels it should reward you."

"You don't know me, Melissa. Every time I meet someone new, I can’t help but think about every possible event, every possible threat, every possible pain that this new relationship will cause me. Now the company wants to take me a thrust me before the world and put myself on the line. It's not happening!" I grit my teeth and feel an uncomfortable feeling build up in me. This time it's not starting in my chest like my issue usually manifests itself. No, this time I find myself squeezing my fist shut as it shakes with a building rage.

"But it's not you, they want. It's Fawn. It's you as Fawn." I feel the vibration of Moses through his shoulder voice as he speaks.

“Fawn is me! Masaru could see that. She may not look like me but her feelings, her thoughts and actions, her voice, and her soul are mine." Tears form in my eyes from a combination of the pain I get of Moses's shoulder digging into my stomach and the stress of the issue in my mind. Things are quiet for a while. The only thing breaking the silence of the normally busy first floor of the tower being Gavin’s wheezing. Then Rick breaks the silence.

“Moses, drop her and let her go.” The look on Melissa’s face I can only think matches Moses’s and Gavin’s. As I am lowered, I turn and see that to be the truth and can see not too far from behind me Moses had been approached by Tower Security. I turn and start to make my way to the elevator. "Wait, Jamie, I want you to listen to me for one sec then you can do what you want." I stop in mid-stride and feverously turn to look Rick who has moved close to me in the face. “I have worked in this industry for years now, while yes, you are doing nothing different from anyone else that has had that position of yours, in the last 80 years of gaming. Few put their heart and soul into their work. That is why Masaru respects you and your work. That is why the company places so much hope in you. It's your hard work, and the love of your work you show them, that they want to respect and reward you for it. I feel I let you down though as your team leader. I should have let the company know about you and your anxiety issue. They are pushing you into the limelight and you shouldn’t take part in what you feel uncomfortable with.” I turn from him and go to press the elevator button to head up but he quickly comes up grabs my arm and swings me to face him. “But you have a chance to affect so many, in the ways you have been affected in the past. As Fawn, you can inspire the minds of so many. You are being offered the chance to show the world who you are. If you turn away from that you will always doubt that part of yourself, of who you could have been in that life. You may be running from the fears you have now, but shortly you will have to face them and they will have self-doubt along with them. If you choose to stay, I will talk with Corporate and see if they will lessen the pressure on you. The team will help you in any way we can, but we can't help you if you choose to walk away. No one will be able to help you down the line." He lets go and presses the button for the elevator for me. "Please, you don't have to decide right now. But calm down and think things through for your future in both terms. Then if you want to quit, and leave, I will accept your letter of resignation.”

The elevator doors open and I stagger in. No one joins me. I turn and face the panel pressing the button for floor forty-seven. The door starts to close and I look up at my teammates all standing there with gloom on their faces. Their all disappointed in me. The door shuts and in the chrome reflection, I see the hazy faded image of my face seeing the same disappointed look upon my face.

As the Elevator rises, I’m left alone with only the sounds of the elevator wheels squeak. I turn to look on the glass side of the window, from it I can see the other side of the tower where construction continues. Though we never were told what it's for. The common thought of the staff is it's planned to be a resort for people to come to play the game. The current tower dwarfs it after the tenth floor; I watch as the distant skyline of the nation's Capital is seen on my ride, I can't make out much except for one lone tower in the sky. The Washington Monument, a towering spike high in the sky striking at the heart of the land, our nation’s first president settled on, as the place where the nation would stand strong. My thoughts go back to a lesson I heard in one of the banned books I recount from my time in college. Legends of a young man who struggled at choosing his homeland or his country, a young man who never asked for the power he was given but took it and led with strong honor, and respect for each title. A man who by the time he finally was free of the duties of his home and had time to rest was called again to stand tall for the new country he so helped create. The same man the tower before me stood for. I lower my head in sorrow, for in my way I have been given these choices like our first president. To lead the skilled staff of workers and break ground in a new world of gaming. Yet here I question why someone would have faith in me, and how I could have faith in myself. I am different than Washington, I have no respect for my title or myself.

The elevator comes to a stop as the door dings opening to the floor and I walk slowly out making my way down the long hall. I pass the countless drawings, Moses and Gavin have made, to taunt each other to do better or outthink the other in the weirdest thing they can draw. I pass a section we taped off as the team tournament tic-tac-toe game. Where each week a player has to place a mark as they pass by, the winner, in the end, gets treated to a free meal on Fridays. I reach where I have to turn. Making my left turn I walk past where Melissa and I have set up a system of note passing. A way for the two of us to have a conversation each day with each other, even if we never saw each other that day. I made my way to my door. A small collection of my drawings surrounds the doorway. Mostly little cartoon faces of how I feel that day. I start to reach for the door but stop. I walk over to a small box of dry erase markers nearby, grabbing one and drawing a circle and hair to mimic my own. But I leave the face empty and blank. I toss the Marker back in the box and open my apartment door and walk-in.

Walking in, I pass the small collection of plates I let build on my kitchen counter, I head in reaching for a fruit punch juice in a stylish plastic container. I pull off the flimsy plastic straw and jab the container. Walking around the room I pick up my DAS. Five new messages, all from mom. Guess she got the call from work that I passed out. I should have used Dad's number as my emergency contact info with the company. I walk on into the room where my neuro-link chair sits. I turn on a wall monitor, sit back in the chair, and use the controls without the helmet to access my mailbox, and then I see two new emails one from Emi, one of the two girls from the Japanese Tower, and the other from Central offices in New York. Letting out a sigh I open the letter from Central and start to read.

Dear Ms. Eve,

We are pleased to announce to you the company has decided to use you and your character, Fawn Midin, as the corporate and production mascot for 11 Kingdoms Eastern US release. This will lead you to a greater amount of work but along with it a greater reward. We hope to set a meeting in the coming days and set up a system where you will work, hand in hand with our public relations team in presenting both your and the game's reputation, both in and out of your character for the game. We currently have a few future planned shoots for both you and your digital avatar, Fawn Midin, to take place in the coming days. We will schedule these around your current free time to not cause delays in the game development in Noiox. You will be standing along with 12 other characters in the game with the title of, Grand Hero.

While the title stands in-game as something players wish to gain, in actuality it’s a position where you will be expected to come forth and meet with the other members and discuss events, rewards, and issues of your acting Sector in a preset meeting place on the Central Server. Such meetings unless otherwise stated will occur at 14:30 Eastern on Wednesdays at a location we are sending you. We expect all employees with this title to take part in this, and if a substitute is needed the section team leader may direct one as such. We will be starting however with an online meeting of the Heroes next week, where a contest will be placed among the 12 of you to see who is fitting for the international face of the game.

A face-to-face meeting will be taking place in 3 weeks from the time this email is sent to discuss the issues and work out the details of your promotion. Once again Congratulations.

Gail Jeirade, Black Clover Spokes Woman

Kinchrou Masaru, 11 Kingdoms Lead Game Developer

Carlos Gielo, Black Clover Gaming President

Jaclyn Bouse, Black Clover Eastern US Vice President

Mitchell Vins, Black Clover Eastern US President

I sit stunned, still, even though I gained the news earlier from Master Masaru before in the game, here I look on at an email with the names of 5 of the most powerful people in the corporate world, directed at me. Worse yet they want to meet me face to face. Panic hits me again, my heart beats fast. No, I can't. I won’t. It's all just too much. I will just write a letter of resignation and head out. Yeah, that's what I will do. The faint sound of my DAS, ringing hits my ears which up till now only heard the pounding of my heart. I turn to look at it. The tone is familiar. It's Mom. Better answer it. Before I get an unexpected visit on my way out the door. I'm sure she is buying a plane ticket now if she isn’t already waving down the jets personally to hop onboard a flight to DC. I pick up the box and instantly hear the tears on the other end.

“Mom don’t worry I’m okay.”

The voice of a very sleepy mom comes through on the other end “Honey, you need to come home this weekend.”

“I can see you in a few weeks, a holiday is coming up …” She cuts me off in the middle of my sentence.

“Honey, it’s your grandmother. She wants to see you before … she passes. I didn’t want you to know because I know you’re so busy. But she is dying, and you are everything to her, and with this scare, I got from your work today I need you to come home." I find myself speechless from mom's words. My tongue is once again numb like the time earlier today, but this time my fears have been replaced by sadness, and the only words I can reply with are.

“I’m on my way.”

I hang up and start packing a small set of clothes and send a reply to Rick and the email sent by the company telling them I have to delay the meeting, due to emergency family obligations. I didn’t say a word to anyone on the team or elsewhere in the building. I took my savings and bought a plane ticket to head to Miami that night, and took a cab home. For the first time in years, I greeted my mom not in spite or frustration but with fear and love. It wouldn't be till the next day I would be allowed in the hospital, to see my grandmother. Her normally tanned skin was replaced with a pale yellow. I didn't ask mom how long she had been in the hospital. I didn't want to know. She acted as she was sleeping when I came into the room, but a smile hit her face before a word was said or a glimpse from her was seen. I looked on at the collection of tubes that ran along her face and mouth.

"Hi there, Gran-gran!" I say trying to hide the tears with a smile.

“An angel has come to me in my last hours. Jamie, you look so much like your mother at your age. But at least you know what it means to have some fun.” She lifts her frail hand with the tubes attached to have me take it, and I waste no time in doing so. Mom pretends to ignore her mother’s words of spite towards her. “I’m so glad you came. I was worried your school would keep you.” She says with a grand smile on her face.

“I’m not in school anymore grandma, I work at a company in DC." Trying to correct the senility that has stepped in on her in the last few years, looks like her death wasn't the only issue mom kept from me as of late.

“I told you ma, Jamie works for that big company Black Clover, up in DC.” Mother adds trying to help stir Grandma’s thinking. But does little and just seems to confuse her about things with the telling puzzled look on her face or for the fact that grandma in her youth would surely join the building collection of protestors towards Black Clover and the game's staff.

“It doesn’t matter, mom asked me to visit you and here I am.” I work hard to keep the words, because she said you were dying, from escaping my lips.

“She called you because I’m dying didn’t, she.” Grandma showed that even in her mental weakened state she still could read me by simply looking at my eyes. “But that’s not all that bothers you is it dear?”

"No, I just came to see you, Gran." I can feel the tears build in my eyes, but I work to hold them back.

“Oh hush, no one comes to a hospital to visit unless you’re born, or you're dying dear. And the doctors may be keeping it from me but the body doesn't lie, and mine is telling me it's about time to take a long and peaceful rest. I'm sure Ebby told you I was dying, or else you wouldn’t make the trip down here.” Grandma was using her nickname for mom, I never got the reason grandfather let grandma call mom, Ebony. Perhaps mainly as mom had such a pale-skinned complexion and light brown hair, but Grandma said it was because of Mom's dark grayish brown eyes. But I think it was more than Grandma loved her gothic life as a child, and wanted her child to bear a name that had a dark feel. I just quietly look on at grandma, her body is greatly frailer than when I last saw her. Her arms bore little muscle mostly skin, veins, and bone. My concentration on grandma’s appearance broke when her ramblings hit a recent point of the earlier events at the tower. “Child, you were always one to hide yourself from the world. I hope you learn to shine your light on the world, and not hide it away. Fear is a good thing for us all to have, but we must use it to make ourselves strong and face the challenges before us.” I heard these words before, similar words ring in my ears were said by Melissa on the day of the earthquake, and from my therapist, even Rick when I stood at the elevator a day ago.

“Face those challenges, and live with no regret of yesterday but prepare for tomorrow.” Grandma lets out a chuckle, that is halted as it progresses into a severe coughing fit. “Never thought I would say those words did you, Ebby?” Grandma looks on at mom with a grin.

“No mom, I never would expect you to plan for the future and save for a rainy day.” Mom chuckles, and it’s the first time I can ever recall mom laughing at my grandmother’s words with her.

"Money Nah, no good to prepare, money doesn't last. It's just useless pieces of paper with poorly drawn images on it in ugly colors. No, you prepare by opening yourself to new experiences in life. That is what it means to prepare. No one can predict tomorrow, but if you prepare yourself to live the day like it’s your last, oh what a ride it will give you.” Grandma’s words struck me. I knew I lived in fear, my constant medical bills for therapy told me that, but I didn’t think about letting life lead me down the path. As time passed Mom and I left saying our goodbyes to grandma. Ones that would later prove to be our last ones with her.

That evening, in her sleep grandma, passed away. A few days later we had the funeral, Mom didn't think grandma had set her last wishes in place but she did, and it was the oddest funeral I had ever seen. Grandma had it set that her funeral to be set up as if it was a ten-year-old birthday party. Her coffin was adorned with party balloons, there was no preacher but then grandma wasn't a religious person. No instead there was the video she made some time ago to be played at her funeral. And in the video will, she demanded that all those who remember we are not here for a day of sadness but a day of joy, a day to remember happy times. She ended her video reading from a big book of jokes. A few guests saw it as morbid and started to leave, but surprisingly to me mom just stood there and laughed at each bad joke grandma told in her video and soon many of us joined in. When I left the sunny skies of Miami, I knew my answer. Grandma had shown me the way in her last words, to fear the future but face it head-on. Before heading back to DC, I called and gave my answer. I would take the role of a grand hero, and be a game icon.

File Source End

Accessing Linked Material

Personal Email Jamie Eve – Kingdom’s choice on Fawn Midin

To Jamie Lynn Eve – Black Tower

From: Emi Chisu – Golden Tower

Subject: Are you okay

Dear Oneesan,

Aya and I wanted to apologize for catching you by surprise like that. But the Master insisted to have us meet you. Master later told us that he learned from your team leader that you don't like getting attention much. I feel we may have been too pushy on you. Where we? Please let me know. Aya is kind of like that too. She always hides behind me even though she's a thousand times better at doing the work Masaru gives us. Aya says what I lack in skill artistically I make up in being social. I’d think the three of us should try to truly get to be friends, and now that all of us are Grand Hero's we at least can see each other. Each week we have meetings, and I hope we can spend time in the game.

Hey, have you checked out the latest spec sheets Master sent out on the classes? In the game Aya is going with the class of Scientist, I think I will go with Card Mage. I like the idea of roaming the world collecting power to gain new ways to play. What about you Oneesan, what class will you choose when it becomes available. I guess it would be a good idea to figure these things out when you can before the company starts releasing the info publicly. If you asked, I’m sure Master would come up with a special class for you.

Hey, we saw your home city. You should come to see ours. When you get some free time why not take a chance and drop on by. Aya may not have shown it with her shyness but she was glad to meet you. So, it is great if you came and visited us. Well, I got to go back to work, Aya is getting upset I'm not helping her at an inn in town. I will drop you another email or send a chat message when I see you active, okay.

Emi Chisu – Dusk Princess

Arguo Kingdom

News Blog: [Mass Hirings at Black Clover]

The Mountain Rattler

Van Ghelar

August 04, 2065

Black Clover shocks the world again today with a call for mass hiring for their new upcoming game, 11 Kingdoms. No release date is set yet for the game but the company is hiring staff at several locations worldwide. This is a shock after the Company took a major hit when their Western US Headquarters, in San Francisco, was destroyed. And the head of that branch, Charles Thick, which oversaw the creation of the popular Origin 7 system was killed in the destruction caused by June's massive 9.5 Earthquake. The company not only is rebuilding their offices there but has a larger employment effort in the ruins to help rebuild the ruined city. Current estimates set the staff for this one game to near ½ a million employees. Just how big will this game be? Still, the company keeps tight lips on the actual workings of the game. Except for one call that they released this week. Each site set in the map leaked earlier will have a character played by one of Black Clovers staff assigned to that place for promotional purposes. They intend to release the first look of these characters in a future press conference.

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