Chapter 16:

Friends and Fools

11 Kingdoms


Report: Friends and Fools Bookmark here

Accessing Personal Logs: Princess Fawn MidinBookmark here

I can still hear Melissa’s howl in the air when I take off the chameleon pin to alter the form. I don’t want to take any risks and try to make the change a quick one. With fears that the stadium full of players saw my transformation, not to mention the definite attention the system placed on me most likely showing myself before millions around the world watching across broadcasts. To hasten things I keep the class of character figuring it is the last thing noticeable as I did nothing more than run as a character. So I focus instead on my outer appearance, shifting the form to a smaller pale redheaded girl with freckles. The clothing is also altered to a combination of leather armor and light robes with a bathing suit look to it, to match the look of common Azurphire players.Bookmark here

I’m glad I made such a choice when I turn to make my way to the lower levels of the cargo ship. As I find a small collection of players that have gathered here seeing it as a good way to travel the world without having to pay ticket fees. Also more often the ship houses a mini-dungeon on the travel, where players can fight off rats and other creatures attacking the stock. So with some fortune, my plan to change before going below deck helped hide my form to players that surely would have questioned where the blond girl went, and when the red-head showed up. While most of the players I spy are ones from Noiox, I notice in the far corner a player that is in a position of rest is from another kingdom. It's easy to tell as his race is called a Craul. A half slime, the half-human combination from the Kingdom Emrass. Hard to believe someone from there, who just got the game, came to this part of the world. So the best I can gather is either they are a staff member or maybe a beta player that has moved on through the game. Seeing him not moving and just sitting squatting I take my chance to rest near him and look about my map for suggestions, but he breaks his silence when I approach.Bookmark here

“Hey there sweetie, you don’t look as excited as the rest of these fleshies.” The slime speaks.Bookmark here

Fleshies? I recall Gavin using the term but never expected to hear another person use Gavin's unique language of calling new players, by such a name that makes it sound like they are just a bag of meat going in to be eaten. But then with the virus hurting people, I guess that it can be said about any player in the game. “Sorry, I thought you were resting off-line. You don’t see many people from Emrass here.” I pause thinking I might be giving something away. “I mean I have played since Beta launched and never really saw one player from there in my time.”Bookmark here

“Likely the time zone difference, I work nights in Tampere, so I have lots of free time in the game in my time off, unlike others in that fall under the regulars from Emrass. Guess you’re not interested in the festivities of the whole world celebration of Game launch.”Bookmark here

I look a bit puzzled at the town name he gave, but a nod to his question. "Um, Tampere? I wish I paid more attention to my world government's class sorry." Trying to not upset him I pass a smile and pull off an honest blank expression to find where the man comes from. I get a stronger look at the man. In all sense of the game, he stands out. He looks more like a scientist in their white lab coat with the illusion of shaggy hair hidden behind thick glasses, the only real outstanding look that I find fitting is the white coat is tanned and sewn leather that drapes a set of sturdy looking armor. His brown hair and reddish skin all bear a translucent look and even shines brighter where the lights of the lamps hit his skin at their brightest points. Of course, the fact his face while round didn't have real features only shifts in color that shows a form of a mouth or eyes makes him a slight bit creepy to look at.Bookmark here

“Tampere is in Finland. Don’t worry, I guess from your failure to know that you must be American. Are you from the city of Hollywood?”Bookmark here

On this, I can't help but laugh at the man. But am a bit shocked at first, only to recall my current clothing states a player from Azurphire, which covers the West coast of North America. I find it difficult to first come up with a good cover story. "No, I am from Vegas. Besides Hollywood is not an actual city. It’s just a segment of Los Angeles." The first thing coming to my mind is Riex own home at the Vegas tower. I listen as he laughs at my correction of his worldly knowledge.Bookmark here

"Jilland, please to meet a pretty face in my travels." He smiles back but I find it hard to see his eyes behind the massively thick glasses on his character. But the translucent skin on his face becomes a bit more reddish in tone around his cheeks.Bookmark here

I try to think of a good name to give. “Quinn.” What was that? For some reason when coming up with a false name, all I could think of was a girl who used to bully me in middle school to hide my own.Bookmark here

"Well, Ms. Quinn, what brings you to travel on a long ocean voyage to the wintry waste of Perloud, if I may ask?" Jilland's smirk doesn't clear but the red tone of his face does. I find my bewilderment at the question he proposed to me. In my effort to make up a fake story I couldn't find a way to blurt out the reasoning in my gathering on the ship, let alone a slow-moving voyage like this? I stand with a visible dumb look of mouth open while I try to think of an answer that won't come. Jilland steps in. “Sorry I guess you’re kind of like myself, wanting to take in this massive world of artistic creation.”Bookmark here

I never really thought of it in the words of Jilland, but as he went on I got a glimpse of what this world was like to an outsider. "This is in many ways larger than our world. In it, countless numbers of artists each spent time developing every nook and cranny of this world. It's like when the first explorers of the world went into new lands and questioned just who is powerful enough to create such a piece of natural brilliance. In the real world, we call that man, God. But here in this world, it's a collective of voices each placing their signature and style into their work. Tell me to have you heard the legend that no two snowflakes are the same?" I standstill in the mouth open gape in front of possibly the first world creation art critic I can think of. But luckily this time I catch his question and focus on a proper answer.Bookmark here

"Yes, I am familiar with it. Though I do have to admit I'm not used to snow." In many ways my words aren't lies, I was in a panic in my first year of college when the temps of the outer DC area had gotten below the fifties and expected any day to wake to mountains of snow in the roads. My childhood in Miami prevented me from experiencing cold temps outside a winter swim in the ocean when the water became rather uncomfortable. Once up in DC for college, I finally saw snow in the early months of my second semester and it was strange seeing the way my reaction was erratic from my roommate of the time who came from the Chicago area. When the snow finally fell I couldn’t contain my excitement, while she just kind of grumbled how pathetic the locals were in getting about in the weather. Since then I would spend several winters and some snows came earlier. I would always hear stories from some further northern people about deeper snows and can’t even imagine such a hefty amount was even possible to deal with let alone have people live in it. I look at Jilland and question how familiar he is with the stuff from his native land.Bookmark here

"Well, you see I heard a story from a friend of mine that the snow in Perloud is like credits to the staff there. That instead of having their names placed on some directory on a website each member of the white kingdom added their name to a snowflake that falls."Bookmark here

Jilland’s words stun me. Could a group truly do such a thing? Black Clover was sure of themselves to acknowledge the army of staffers on the game in credits of the game. These went on ignored by many players I am sure. But it never even occurred to our group to do such a task for Noiox.Bookmark here

Many staffers scoffed at the crew of Perloud, and often in group meetings, they would be the group looked down at as the weakest of the other kingdoms. As much of the staff was assigned there from elsewhere in the world, what we decided was a form of punishment. Perloud or also known as the White Kingdom was run through bases in Africa. The tower was based in Cape Town due to the constant internal struggles of the countries it stood as the smallest tower and instead the company settled for smaller branches throughout the countries that were willing to take part. But when the towers opened and they brought in people from around the world to work the kingdom instead of hiring local people, several governments took action on removing Black Clover from their countries. In the days leading up to the beta they still were struggling with getting the kingdom up and running, while the company took on many locals to appease their gracious hosts, most of the new staff showed little experience at handling the system let alone computer basics it took to operate the game. The troubles they had in establishing the towers surely would have gotten more press and tarnished the game's reputation had the earthquake in San Francisco and complete devastation not buried the bad news in goodwill efforts by the company. Bookmark here

“I would love to see if that story is true." I bring out a small but visible smile as I truly enjoyed hearing the urban legend Jilland told me of the world. Surely there are all kinds of urban legends building around this newly born world before people. Then my answer to his earlier question on why I am headed that way hits me. "I guess I wanted to see what kind of world they created in Perloud. So often you hear of Azurphire, Arguo, Noiox, and Ruire, that you don't see what the rest of this world has for you to explore." I look as Jilland's face grows wide with a glowing grin of what I can only assume passes as trying to make teeth appear on a creature that has no real mouth.Bookmark here

"That's the spirit. I knew you weren't like these other people just out to see if you can find treasures unique in that area, which could fetch you a hefty sum on the market elsewhere. Though, I will say not much to see back in Emrass unless you're in for the whole rolling hills into deep forests. The whole thing is as much of the countryside on the outside. I guess it’s kind of boring. It’s why I bothered skipping Noiox.”Bookmark here

"You skipped Noiox because it reminds you of your home?" This is the first time I find my actual work outside my duties as Princess to be critiqued.Bookmark here

"Well, I did move about the capital of Midin, to see the work of the artists there and found much of their work was just a shame copy of many great architects of the dark ages. Sad really, the group that gets the most focuses to not show much originality." I find my teeth in such a tight clasp that they feel like they are about to fuse permanently into one solid piece. How dare this jerk treat my hard work like this? My fury almost blinds me to his speech as he goes on. "But I can't blame them I guess, from what I hear the more detailed and camera-focused Kingdoms. I believe are told what to create to make a unique feel of each place and perhaps it's because of so many other games in the past that focus on the magical kingdoms. Ones like Noiox that makes its design rather repetitive and boring from the more exotic locales of the world." I could still feel a tense nature in my jaw and now my fist but my rage was calming as he hit the nail on the head. While I was given the freedom to design the look of the buildings in their texture and aging, their form was pretty much given to me to follow a cookie-cutter layout placed out by higher-up designers. "Still I guess Noiox is about the celebrity of it all. Shame, about the young princess though."Bookmark here

I nod and decided to just quietly listen to Jilland go on as an outside observer of my world and my life. But before I know it I begin to doze off in exhaustion of my long day, passing out as Jilland is commenting on the artistry of the princess's fighting style in the arena during Beta launch. Despite the hard cold floor I soon find myself leaning over on my new traveling companion's soft and smooth shoulder.Bookmark here

File Source EndBookmark here

Accessing alternate FileBookmark here

Black Clover Floor 47 meeting room Security camerasBookmark here

The devastated crew of floor forty-seven sits around their meeting room table with sorrow filling their faces as they meet the latest news to hit their struggle to save Jamie.Bookmark here

“I can’t believe they can go through with such a decision.” Moses sits, wiping the outline of his face in a futile effort to shake the sleep from his restless eyes.Bookmark here

“The hospital says by this point it’s not likely she will ever wake up from the coma. While the equipment to keep her body alive is running an expensive cost for the health care to cover.” Melissa sits with a pout on her face and a bottle of whiskey in front of her. She looks at her empty shot glass and reaches to pour some of the translucent brown liquor in both her glass and her empty soul. But the hand of Alex gets in the way and prevents her from proceeding.Bookmark here

"You have had enough, Jamie, wouldn't like to see you kill yourself over her!" Alex says sternly.Bookmark here

“What do you know what she would want. You only know her in the game.” Melissa screams back. “She’s like family to the rest of us. Here we can’t do a damn thing but sit back and let her pass away, quietly while part of her is fighting for a way out. For the hope of getting out."Bookmark here

"Yes, I don't know Jamie, which is why I can think clearer than most of you that aren't already wasted on alcohol or whatever poison you choose to place in your systems." Alex looks at Melissa and then shifts to the others in the room. Rick is collapsed in a chair in the corner with no real expression on his face. Gavin sits in his usual spot but for a change is not eating himself silly with the collection of pizza before the team. Even the investigation team has gathered to help plan the next move of the crew as Jamie's body hangs on the end. "Look. As the only sober and competent member of this team, I suggest we take action where we can."Bookmark here

“How, the mind of the hospital is made up in removing the instruments from Jamie? She is being hunted thanks to some vengeance plan of Bart’s, in-game for sport. Oh and let's not forget the looming cloud of death that is the virus program and the insane hacker who we have no clue on their location on. That can show up and kill any of us if we try to get involved in helping Jamie." Moses drops his forehead to the table to feel the cool surface invite him to lay there and give in.Bookmark here

“How about we go to the media with this? I mean it’s going to come out when Bart’s arrest is made clear isn’t it?” Rick looks up at the agents for a sign of hope.Bookmark here

"Right now we have him under arrest under suspicion that Fawn is Jamie, but unless you can get us solid proof from the game other than witness testimony then he will go free. I think having the media would be a help on the issue. However, this investigation has gotten this far because Black Clover is cooperating with it and even helping in getting us the info we request." Agent Estaban, states.Bookmark here

“So if we go to the press, and spill it all out. Then we likely will be shut down completely.” Rick squeezes his fist closed.Bookmark here

“The company still won’t acknowledge her accident as an attack.” Gavin looks down at his feet in discomfort as he finds his words.Bookmark here

“We could just leak the info on Jamie’s life support being cut.” Rick looks about for a hopeful ledge to grasp for in this personal mountain climb.Bookmark here

“People have already started to ignore Jamie, they see Fawn as a computer program and the fans love Fawn, not Jamie." Moses doesn't even raise his head feeling it would take great effort to remove his forehead from the surface which has started to warm itself from his body heat.Bookmark here

“So then we have no hope? She’s dead, if not now she will be very soon.” Melissa reaches across the table but Alex drags the bottle of whiskey away and she instead grasps at a box of tissues and drags it closer blowing her nose.Bookmark here

"No, we have a few options. I will see what I can do with the media in helping stop the doctors from removing life support, for now, I will need your help Melissa and of course, we will need Jamie's mother willing to help as well." The table looks at a stern-faced Alex in surprise.Bookmark here

“How do you expect to do that, Alex?” Rick sits up in his chair eager to hear the plan from the tan aging ladies’ man.Bookmark here

"We play the suffering mother card, it will only buy us a week at best but it will keep Jamie alive long enough to gather some proof we can present before the media of what happened with the attack!" Alex says.Bookmark here

“And then what. Black Clover shuts us all down for revealing the game's flaw." Rick makes his way to his feet and looms over the table. "We need more time we don't know what we are looking for.”Bookmark here

"Show the recordings of mine and her battle in Strone and on the ship, along with what other evidence, we don't have to reveal that the company is at fault. Do the opposite and praise them for their actions to defeat the alone hacker that has found a way to kidnap a person from their own body. Show that this whole problem outside the recent hunt is the action of this lone hacker. This should equally lighten the attacks on Fawn up in the game."Bookmark here

Rick slams his hands on the table, "The media is going to demand more proof than that. What makes you think that they will believe us there without exposing the hacker in their own words?" Rick pauses and his face jars up at the thought of his own words. "You want to expose the hacker to the world. Make their actions known. You’re going to paint a target on all our backs.”Bookmark here

“We don’t know the hacker’s actual location at this time. But if we shake them up and stick our necks out then the hacker will be forced to take their actions in this mess. But how do we find the hacker." Agent Estaban scratches his chin pressing at a set of newly formed facial hairs.Bookmark here

“We don’t need to. We know right where to find the hacker in the game.” Alex sits with a confident smile on his face “We just need someone brave enough to go in, and poke the lion in its den."Bookmark here

"Who do you suggest, yourself?" Moses raises his head already with one of his eyebrows rose in a quizzical state of confusion but is answered as Alex shakes his head no.Bookmark here

"I'm slow in the game with my leg and have already been touched and affected by the virus. We need a player who has yet to even face the virus but stands as a strong enough figure that the public can identify who is involved. As I see it only one at this table fits the bill.” Alex turns his gaze to Rick and locks it there. “You said it yourself you care for the girl like she was your own, will you walk in the valley of the dead to meet the grim reaper for her soul.”Bookmark here

"You don't have to ask me twice!" Rick replies with a grin of his own.Bookmark here

"Hey now, this is a risk I'm not sure the investigation team can take. Why risk our link to Jamie’s team to get answers from." Estaban stops his argument as Rutashi places her hand on his shoulder.Bookmark here

“Um, Can I make, Shield program to protect?" She struggles through what little English she can muster in her attempts to make a suggestion.Bookmark here

"Are you saying that you have a plan to create a shield against the virus?" Agent Estaban looks at her and she nods.Bookmark here

“It will be, temporary." She continues as she grabs a dry erase marker and begins to draw on the wall.Bookmark here

“A code of the virus and a way to restrict its attack for a time of fifteen minutes based similarly on the Chameleon pin that Fawn wears, only with a shorter life span. I was able to, find the origin," Agent Esteban steps in to speak clearly so the group could understand. Bookmark here

"Earlier this week in investigating the virus we discovered its properties. Where it originates and how it acts and spreads." The group sits in silence all eyes fixed on Agent Wessbalm. "The virus is not a virus at all. It's a protection program fused with the game's programming to create a real sense of danger in the game. The protection program is set to burn out and trash the delicate electronics of the Neuro-link system at the chair should a person hack or alter the equipment beyond the company's design. Somehow the hacker has joined this program with the Neuro-link program to send a static shock. Overriding safety protocols and sending dangerous amounts of electricity to designated areas of the body that are targeted in the game. We are working on an anti-virus repair program that can be administered in-game by a selected player to any affected programs. That's saying however the hacker doesn't have other ways of using the virus and other programs. Plus programs still need to be restarted thus infected creatures need to be destroyed to remove the virus from their programming?"Bookmark here

“For now, I can build, protection program. It will be only temporary, I afraid.” Rutashi explains.Bookmark here

As she continues on Rick’s grin turns to a chuckle of joy and exhaustion. “Okay we have a plan then guys, Melissa you and Alex will be the team to save Jamie's body. Gavin, you need to track down where Fawn went in the game and keep an eye out for her, even help her out with the hunters. Moses, I need your help with this shield program and gathering the evidence for the media."Bookmark here

"And we will try to lock down the location of the Hacker for your upcoming meeting." Estaban proclaims with a sense of confidence.Bookmark here

“Yeah, we all have our pieces to play and we can’t afford to fail Jamie. Or else she may not have a home to come to soon. Let’s get this going ASAP, team.” Rick smacks the table and the members start to disperse from their seats. When Alex walks up to Rick and holds out his hand for him to shake which Rick gladly accepts.Bookmark here

"Listen, Rick, you will be facing real dangers in there you need to prepare for the worst. Call a med team in before you go after the hacker, understand." Alex taps his left leg to reassure the point Rick of the danger ahead.Bookmark here

“I will do what I must Alex, and look if I don’t make it out of this, you need to promise me you will not stop. Till Jamie is back out in the real world no matter how long it takes okay! She will need her white knight.” Alex smiles back at Rick.Bookmark here

"Yeah, I promise but you know that's not what I mean about the dangers. This hacker has warped characters and killed people in the game, no telling how powerful this person is in the game." Rick just nods and grins as he turns to walk out of the room. Alex is left standing with regret in his stomach for choosing to let Rick take lead on facing the hacker in their domain. But he knows it's only when things are truly desperate that such actions seem in the best ways.Bookmark here

File Source EndBookmark here

Accessing Personal Logs: Princess Fawn MidinBookmark here

I awake to an odd chirping noise and a small peck at my hand from a messenger bird. I always found it odd how they could reach inside dungeons in my days in the outside world, now I find it even stranger as I was sleeping on a bench after Jilland finally signed off for the night or day whatever time it was in his home city. I look at the bird its tiny yellow and blue feathers with a single red stripe across its chest. I continue to peck at me then down at a small stack of letters. I grab them and the bird quickly flies off. Shuffling through them I see one is from Gavin and another from Melissa, lastly one from Emi oddly enough? Guess she must be just as confused as much as the company is with my sudden reappearance from the other night's performance. Not wanting to focus on possible new issues I place the letters in my bag and make my way down to the ship's kitchen. Once there I see a small quest has been active from a group of players about gathering the right ingredients for a recipe from the ship's cook. I move in and grab some of the normal food that is placed in the kitchen for the atmosphere. I grab a chunk of what I can only guess is bacon and a roll of bread with apple and a small piece of cheese. I sit down and start to eat and watch as the two players on the quest run about in and out of the kitchen returning with a pile of ingredients only to have the NPC laugh, and tell them it's either not enough or it's not the right thing he is looking for. I eat my meal and dig through my bag pulling out one of the letters to read while the travel eats away at the day. I dig about my inventory and blindly pull out the letter from Emi.Bookmark here

Dear Big Sister,Bookmark here

Is it true are you still in the game? I doubt it is you. Even still Aya and I can’t help but wish it was you that the cameras saw last night on the broadcast. It would be good for master as well if he knew you were alive and well somehow. Since the accident, he has grown so depressed and places the accident and all the issues of the virus on his shoulders. The lives at risk have brought a heavyweight on him. I pray each night that someway that you will recover and that the one we saw in the nook was truly caught. But each day passes and no news on your recovery or the hacker comes to our shores. Please if you are out there come and see us and let us know you're okay in some way. I know this is futile for me to email an unused player but I feel my strength fading and I can't keep being the cheerful one for the three of us. Please come back, big sister. The world needs to have a touch of hope.Bookmark here

I fold the letter with an upset sigh of grief. Masaru is one of the two people left on my list to investigate being responsible for the accident. How could I let the pain I will cause on Emi deepen when I show up and start my inquisition on the master for answers to his involvement in the accident? It would break her heart if she knew that Masaru was a suspect in all this mess. I was originally hoping to hop on the boat to Arguo and go see the trio as my next step but the events of the night before caused my plans to be redirected with my only chance of fleeing the crowd out for my head to be this ship. Emi's letter does tell me a few things, however, first I was spotted on camera last night which means the internet is likely awash in rumors of my being alive and in the game somehow. Second Masaru is deeply depressed, or at least he has Emi thinking he is. And the depression is related to my accident. Normally I could just say it's because he feels truly responsible for what happened, but with the investigation, I have to question that option. After all, what I have been told is that Masaru was very upset at how the game turned out. His depression may be related to why I have yet to die at the hand of the game yet. I feel compelled to reply to Emi but fear if I respond it may cause more trouble than I care to get. Not only with the questions that will arise in Emi's mind but the chance that central computers may find me and cause my cover as Quinn to be blown. So, for now, I take the letter and store it back in my bag with the hope to reply when I get the chance in person later in my journeys. As I place it back I feel the edge of a second letter and pull it out. This time it's the letter from Gavin. I run my fingers along the edge and question myself if I want to continue reading, but as I watch the two players running through the quest I can tell it will still be some time before the ship docks in Perloud and this is the best entertainment I can get in my downtime. Even if it is in the odd geek language of Gavin, so I proceed to open it and instantly am shocked as the letter isn't addressed to Fawn but Jamie.Bookmark here

Jamie:Bookmark here

I am sorry for the news you by now have gotten. But the group has a plan set to deal with the issue.Bookmark here

So then Gavin must have found a possible way to remove this hunt for me from the game. I read on.Bookmark here

We need you to be discovered and we plan to activate the programmed broadcast of you to the world. We need to show that you, the real you are alive to the world. We need to get together to work things out and we know you're on a ship to Perloud. I will be in the Kingdom when the ship arrives, please make contact with me to help expose you to the world.Bookmark here

What that's the last thing I need with this hunt going on. I expose myself and let the cameras broadcast me to all the treasure hunters of the world. They will hunt me along with who knows else to deal with me running about in the world. It’s not like the attack on the ship from Strone. Then I wasn’t hunted I was more praised. Now I am a wanted target and the last thing I need is exposure. I begin to ball up the letter and toss it when I have a look at the next line.Bookmark here

Rick is about to take a great risk to resolve the issue of the hacker, he is going to confront them in the Nook. While in there he plans to try to track down the hacker’s actual location if he can hold a long enough encounter with the hacker, that is. Please rest and meet with me once the ship lands we need your help. We all are counting on you everyone wants to save you in both worlds.Bookmark here

Gabe.Bookmark here

He even signed it with his real name. Something is truly odd about this letter. What does he mean he wants to save me in both worlds? And more to the matter why is Rick confronting the hacker Dark Mistress in the game. Surely with the actions, the hacker has done to people in the game it's worse to confront the entity where it's strongest. I start to dig away at my bag for the last letter. The one from Melissa surely has some clue about what is going on that I have yet to understand. I reach in for it when suddenly I hear a voice hit me. "Wow, your still on I see!" Jilland's face forms a line in the shape of a smile as he sits next to me. "You're a real role-player sitting in the mess with food and reading letters. So I guess you got mine than from last night?" I stand in a puzzled shape and let out an uneasy smile of my own.Bookmark here

"Of course I was just reading it." I try my best to lie to my new friend but my rapidly increased heart rate should be a complete giveaway to him.Bookmark here

"Really please tell me what did I write to you, Quinn?" I can tell that the slime man is calling my bluff.Bookmark here

"Um, you wanted to team up as a group after the boat docked in town." I put down the food and letter all ready to fight Jilland.Bookmark here

“Interesting." He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a letter. "I don't recall asking that, nor does this rejected message show that. Of course, you would know that if the letter could be delivered to the mage Quinn of Azurphire. But then that is saying such a character existed in the first place.”Bookmark here

“Of course I exist, who do you think I am?" I try to console the now suspicious companion." I get ready to open the battle, flipping the table but a glance down shows the table is solidly part of the ship.Bookmark here

“Well let’s just say a certain character ran from a crowd last night straight to the docks and now is hiding out in some way hidden here.” I look around to see if the two players are in the room and find it to be empty.Bookmark here

“So what, you plan to attack me for the reward? I won’t fall easy Jilland.” I shift my gaze and try to carry a cold and strong force of will upon my stare at him from across the table.Bookmark here

"I am not going to hunt you no. I know when a stronger character is before me and you are the strongest I can think of, your highness. I merely want to ask if I can go with you on your journey. I am not that strong of a player and with my goal to journey the world having you on my side wouldn't hurt to protect me from threats my wandering will bring me." I now sit more puzzled than when he first showed.Bookmark here

“You want me to be a virtual bodyguard for you?” I ask in shock.Bookmark here

"I figure you help me out and we travel together and I will help keep you hidden from the hunters out there looking for you. So do we have a deal?" Jilland raises his hand out for me to shake and I sit there staring at it. Could I trust this man I met last night so much to have him protect my secret from the world? I have no way out at the moment and watch as the two players return with another load of goods for the chef. I sigh and start to rise from my seat as Jilland begins to pull his hand away when I grab it and shake.Bookmark here

“Fine we have a deal, but just to be clear I cannot let my secret get out to anyone!" I whisper to him as we shake.Bookmark here

“As you wish. Your Highness." Jilland smirks as he responds.Bookmark here

I'm sure with that handshake if I was before the monitors of the chair I would see my single-player status be changed over to a party member with Jilland. And while I am unsure of his motives at least he is not an infected player or Dark Mistress.Bookmark here

File Source EndBookmark here

Accessing Linked Material:Bookmark here

King Valspur Midin LogsBookmark here

The light of the teleport fades and Valspur finds himself in the outer ring of the Nook of Alliance now corrupted in a twisted form of a dark city that had its code altered. Figures of people and creatures roam about the shadows as Valspur walks down the path to a large collection of towers in the near skyline when a voice cracks in a boom from the sky above.Bookmark here

"Testing, Rick, am I coming through?" Valspur nods to acknowledge the voice of Agent Estaban on a localized speaker set to Valspur's character. "Good I will be acting as a second set of eyes here for you, I can't do much but at least I can help keep these infected programs from getting you unaware."Bookmark here

“Don’t worry, I have fifteen minutes on this shield they won’t attack me as long as it’s active. Have the other teams have any success in saving Jamie or finding Fawn?" Bookmark here

"A bit of advice, when you're on a dangerous mission it's best to stay focused on the task at hand. You will find out about Jamie and Fawn when you come out of this alive you got me."Bookmark here

Valspur starts to run at a fast pace for the towers. “Then I will have to get a move on quickly in finding the big bad witch.” It takes five minutes of his time just to navigate the twists of the jagged streets to the tower’s entrance. “You guys have any lock on the location of big bad?”Bookmark here

"Top floor, don't get caught on the stairs." Valspur smiles and laughs at Estban's warning which he thought was very serious.Bookmark here

"You didn't read much on the character classes when you took this job, I don't need stairs with my skill." Valspur places his hand on the wall and a magical glow releases from it. Placing his foot on the wall he can climb up the shear wall in a quick steady movement. “I’m coming for you hacker, you will pay for what pain you have brought this world, and the pain you have brought to Fawn!”Bookmark here

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