Tales of Virtual Shopkeeper
The Demon King – The most powerful boss monster in the entire game. The first player to successfully find and take down the Demon King would be rewarded with a real-life cash prize... Unfortunately, the development team had done such a good job of hiding him that no player has even seen the Demon King before, yet alone defeated him! And that was the reason why the latest update had promised to include a new feature to make finding the Demon King easier, whatever that ‘feature’ may be.
I had just spawned outside the Fantasy Shoppe, ready to start the day. As I flipped the Sorry, we’re closed sign over, I heard a chorus of screaming and yelling behind me. I turned around and saw a stereotypical angry mob had gathered around the shop, torches and pitchforks in hand. (Why would anyone in this game choose to wield a pitchfork when swords, magic and guns are so readily available?)
“So you finally showed your face, you so-called ‘Shopkeeper’?” an annoyed-looking man bellowed from the crowd.
“Oh? Whatever is the matter, Sir?” I asked politely.
The Fantasy Shoppe door slowly creaked open in front of me, my intern popping his head out.
Kyoutarou Kitamura – Level 7 Shopkeeper
I leered at the purple-haired batboy. “What did you do, Kyou?”
“It’s not me that they’re looking for,” he squeaked as he pulled me into the shop, quickly slamming the door right before a fast-moving pitchfork impaled my avatar’s chest.
16th PURCHASE – DEMON KING (PART 1) – THE FACE OF EVIL
“What’s going on out there?!” I demanded.
“I-it’s the Demon King,” he stammered.
“The Demon King? What about him?” I asked, “Did someone finally beat him? What does that have to do with me?”
“I think you should see this,” Kyou said ominously, removing a piece of paper from his inventory and handing it to me – A wanted poster depicting the Demon King. This must have been the ‘new feature’ that the developers had been talking about. (It would certainly make it easier to find the Demon King if we knew what he actually looked like.) And at the center of the poster was…
“B-but that’s i-impossible,” I stuttered, “That looks like me!”
Sure enough, the photo on the wanted poster looked exactly like my avatar, but without the red-framed glasses. I suppose that I shouldn’t have been too surprised. While plentiful, the character customization options in Utopia Online are by no means infinite, so it would stand to reason that at least one other player on the server looks exactly like my avatar… Unfortunately, said player is the computer-controlled Demon King that every other player has been waiting years to kill!
“The developers have placed these posters all across the overworld,” Kyou explained, “There’s probably not a single player in town who doesn’t want you dead right now!”
“But that isn’t me,” I protested.
“Do you want to explain that to them?” Kyou asked, gesturing the door. At that exact moment, a familiar double-bitted axe broke a hole through the wooden door.
“Yuu Watanabe,” an angry redhead snarled, sticking her head through the cracked door like the villain in a horror movie, “I always knew that you were secretly an NPC, but I never would have guessed that you were the Demon King himself!”
Rose_the_Deathbringer – Level 27 Crusader
“I’m not the Demon King,” I pleaded, “Look, just let me explain, Rose!”
“Oh, no! I am NOT going to let you deceive me again, demon,” the Crusader scoffed as she tried to wriggle through the cracked door.
“Hey, be careful,” I called out, “You could scratch your armor, or worse, tear a hole in your bikini shorts in front of a crowd of onlookers.”
“As if,” Rose sneered, “You’re just trying to make excuses to prevent me from killing you!”
Rose continued to wriggle herself further into the broken door. She had successfully gotten her waist-up through the crack before stopping in place.
“Aheheh,” she laughed meekly, “I’m stuck. Can you either of you give me a hand?”
Kyou and I exchanged a quick glance over at each other, before turning back to face the idiot girl.
“No,” we replied in unison.
“You won’t be needing this anymore, fat ass,” Kyou grinned as he reached over and stole the Crusader’s battleaxe, putting it in his inventory.
“H-hey,” Rose blushed, her cheeks redder than her namesake, “I do not have a fat ass!”
“Then why can’t you fit your butt through that hole?” Kyou giggled, walking back over to me and opening the storage-closet behind the counter.
The two of us entered the closet, closing the door behind us.
“There should be an exit at the back of the storage closet that we can use to escape,” I stated.
“But won’t it be dangerous outside the shop?” Kyou asked.
“Not really,” I shrugged, “It’s just a game. The worst that can happen is that our avatars get killed a bunch. If anything, this hunt for my head is more of an annoyance than a danger.”
“But won’t it hurt if we die?”
“Oh, definitely. Like everything else, the pain in this game feels so lifelike.” (Now that I think about it, it is a rather strange decision for the programmers at ImagineTech to go out of their way to make players able to feel pain while playing Utopia Online.)
“Nuh-uh, I’m not willing to die to protect you,” Kyou grumbled, “You’re on your own, Boss!”
“Whatever,” I sighed, “You stay behind and guard the Fantasy Shoppe.”
“And what about you, Boss?”
“Me?” I smirked, “I’m going to find the real Demon King and put an end to this madness once and for all!”
I had just exited the Fantasy Shoppe through the back entrance. I was pretty confident that I would be completely safe here. The only other player who knew about this secret entrance was Dorothy O’Dougherty. But she wouldn’t attack me, would she? As if to answer my question, a dagger suddenly appeared in front of me, stopping right before making contact with my avatar’s face.
“Hey there,” the Irishwoman holding the dagger smirked, “I’ve been expecting you, Yuu.”
Aya Murphy – Level 213 Rogue
“Just great,” I sighed, “Look, I’m not the Demon King, Dorothy. Just let me explain--”
“Silence,” she bellowed, lifting her blade up as she prepared to strike me, “That prize money is as good as mine!”
I closed my eyes as I braced for impact. Luckily, her Strength Stat wasn’t very high, so this probably wouldn’t hurt much… right?
END OF PART 1...
PLEASE COME BACK SOON FOR PART 2!