Tales of Virtual Shopkeeper
A ghostly kimono formed on top of Watashi’s outfit, the text displaying his Class and Level changing to that of a glitchy abomination of random characters – He was a zashiki-warashi! Of course! That was the ace up his sleeve! Without a mortal body in the real world, he wouldn’t be able to be prosecuted for his actions, while his consciousness was forever free to wreak havoc in Utopia Online for the rest of time without a fear of dying!
“How do you like me now, Yui?!” he boomed, “Say ‘hello’ to the new and improved Watashi, or should I say… Zashiki-Watashi?”
“No,” I sobbed, falling to my knees, “Y-you turned yourself into a zashiki-warashi?! W-we’ve lost!”
“That’s right,” he smirked, pointing his gun at me, “This isn’t my fault, Yui. I didn’t want it to come to this, truly I didn’t. I gave you plenty of opportunities to stop playing this dumb game! You chose to ignore me! You chose to oppose me! And now, you will pay the price!”
I felt the tip of the gun press against my head, but I was too dejected to do anything about it. I resigned to my fate.
Watashi pulled the trigger and my lifeless body fell to the ground. No matter how you look at it, this was game over for me – I had died.
26th PURCHASE – DYSTOPIA ONLINE (PART 3) – ZASHIKI-WATASHI
You may be wondering how I’m still able to narrate this story, even though I died? Don’t be such a smartass, there’s a perfectly normal explanation… Well, ‘normal’ might be a bit of a stretch, but we’ll get there when we get there. But as of current, my body was lying dead on the forest floor.
Rose_the_Deathbringer, REX and ~Schrödinger~ stared vacantly at my corpse.
“YOU MONSTER,” Rose screamed, punching Zashiki-Watashi’s body to no effect.
His head turned one-hundred-and-eighty degrees to stare at the Crusader.
“Do you want to die, too?” he snarled aggressively, waiting for a response.
The Crimson Kings just stared at each other, completely silent.
“Heh. That’s what I thought,” the ghost boy smirked, putting his gun back in his inventory, “If you don’t want to suffer the same fate as your friend, I suggest you take off your headsets and never come back to Utopia.”
“…I refuse,” ~Schrödinger~ butted in.
“What was that, punk?” Nagi asked.
“I said that I refuse,” ~Schrödinger~ barked, “One of ~Schrödinger~’s favorite things to do is to find someone who thinks they're all high and mighty, and say ‘no’ right to their face!”
“I agree,” Rose beamed, standing next to her Therianthrope Guildmate, “And what about you, Smooth Criminal?”
…REX was nowhere to be seen.
“Hmph, at least your leader knows when to call it quits,” Zashiki-Watashi grinned, waltzing over to the remaining Crimson Kings and withdrawing his gun.
~Schrödinger~ threw a bunch of knives at the serial killer, but –as expected– they did nothing.
And just like that, Rose and ~Schrödinger~ had died too. The Crusader’s body fell to my left whereas the Therianthrope’s fell straight on top of my slowly disintegrating carcass.
With that, Nagi proudly walked away to find more helpless victims and all hope seemed lost… However, REX quickly reappeared – He had only taken off his headset momentarily to avoid Zashiki-Watashi’s wrath, but now he was back.
“I hope this works,” the Necromancer muttered, taking out a staff and holding it over our dying bodies, “And now… REVIVE!”
The staff began to glow and our bodies began to repair themselves, one by one. I guess that Necromancers were able to revive anyone from a state of non-living, provided that their body hadn’t completely disappeared? How convenient.
I gasped for air as I returned from the dead, my brain immediately getting to work. If there was a way to use the game’s mechanics to revive someone from death, then perhaps there was also a way to kill an immortal? But before I could come up with a plan, there was something that I had to do first.
“Uh, ~Schrödinger~,” I began, “You’re kind of… lying on top of me. Do you mind getting up?”
“Eep,” the catboy yelped, his face as red as a beetroot as he leapt up onto his feet, “I-it was an accident! Don’t get the wrong idea!”
“Tee-hee,” the Crusader who was lying beside me laughed, “I can see up your tunic, ~Schrödinger~! I never thought you’d be the type to wear print boxer shorts!”
“C-can it,” he scowled, his face even redder than before as he covered the bottom of his tunic with one of his clawed hands, “Th-this isn’t the time for jokes! Have you forgotten that an unkillable murderer is running amok as we speak?!”
“As much as I hate to admit it, the catboy’s right,” I sighed, adjusting my red-framed glasses as I stood up, “But I think I’ve figured out how we can destroy Zashiki-Watashi!”
“Really?!” REX exclaimed as he helped pull Rose upright, “Don’t just stand there, tell us what we have to do!”
“That’s the best part,” I winked, “We don’t have to do anything!”
I opened up Utopia Online’s in-game messenger and began typing.
“Who are you messaging, Watanabe?” the catboy asked me.
“Do you remember when Aya and I defeated you and MIO-nee?”
“Don’t remind me,” ~Schrödinger~ hissed, “It was very uncool of you to get my sister banned like that!”
“Anyway… If Lady Kaguya permanently bans someone who doesn’t have a mortal body in the real world,” I began, “Where do you think their consciousness will go?”
“You think that the Princess will be able to kill Zashiki-Watashi by banning him?” Rose questioned.
“It’s worth I try,” I shrugged, sending the message to Lady Kaguya, “I explained the situation to the Princess and told her to meet us at the Town Square. Since that’s the nearest player hotspot, I assume that’s probably where Nagisa is heading.”
“Well then, what are we waiting for?” REX smiled, “Let’s freakin’ go and kick his ass!”
When the four of us arrived in the Town Square, Lady Kaguya was already waiting for us.
“Greetings, Yuu Watanabe! Where is this ‘Zashiki-Watashi’ that you warned me about?”
Kaguya Fujiwara – Level 1000 Princess
“He’ll be coming soon,” I assured the AI, “Do you remember what I told you, Lady Kaguya?”
“Sure do,” she nodded, “You and the Crimson Kings will distract Zashiki-Watashi, while I prepare to hit him with my Banhammer!”
“That’s the sound of his footsteps,” I told Lady Kaguya, “Get into position!”
Within the blink of an eye, the Princess had run behind a nearby building, ready to ambush Nagi. I furrowed my brow as Zashiki-Watashi appeared over the horizon. His new kimono was besmirched with fresh blood, presumably from some unfortunate players that he had encountered on his way here.
“Now then,” he chortled, “Who should I kill next?”
“How about one of us?” I called out.
Nagi looked over at my group in both disgust and confusion. Even though he was wearing a mask, I could tell that his face had contorted to that of a grimace.
“How the Hell are you still alive, Yui Shiotani?!”
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” I retorted, sticking my tongue out.
“Whatever, it doesn’t really matter,” he bellowed, “I’LL JUST HAVE TO KILL YOU AGAIN!”
Zashiki-Watashi lunged forward, ready to tear me apart with his bare hands. I quickly withdrew my shield, holding it out in front of me and blocking a punch!
“Now, REX,” I yelled, “Hold him in place!”
From the ground, a horde of skeleton arms had risen up, grabbing Nagisa’s legs.
“L-let go of me!”
The four of us stepped back, leaving Watashi completely exposed.
“NOW! DO IT, LADY KAGUYA!”
The artificial intelligence leapt out from her hiding spot and sprinted toward the serial killer at Mach 20 speed. She jumped into the air, comically large hammer in hand, and swung down! It was over, Zashiki-Watashi was defeated! …Or so I had hoped. Everyone watched on in shock and awe as Nagi caught the Banhammer mid-swing! Neither he nor the Princess were willing to let go of the weapon.
“So, you’re Kaguya Fujiwara?” the ghost boy asked, “My father told me so much about you – An artificial intelligence capable of thought and emotion akin to human, you were his most prized accomplishment… It will be so satisfying to kill you where you stand.”
A pistol materialized in Nagisa’s free hand, aiming at Kaguya!
“I’m not sure if an AI can be perma-killed during this new update… Let’s find out, shall we?”
Lady Kaguya braced for impact as Zashiki-Watashi held his finger over the trigger, ready to shoot at any moment. Just then, something caught my eye – A rubber ball bouncing in Watashi’s direction!
The ball made direct contact with the gun, knocking it out of the murderer’s hand!
“What the Hell,” he shouted, “Who dares get in my way?!”
“Direct hit,” a Rogue cheered in her distinct accent, “That’s what I call ‘Luck of the Irish’!”
Aya Murphy – Level 716 Rogue
“Dorothy,” I beamed.
“How many times do I have to tell you, Yuu?” she sighed, “It’s ‘Aya Murphy’ when I’m playing Utopia Online!”
“What are you doing here?!” I asked, running over to her and giving her a big hug.
She pointed behind her. “The bunnygirl told me that you might be in trouble.”
I looked behind Dorothy and saw Bonnie waving at me.
Asami Usami – Level 969 Therianthrope
“When we arrived at Nagisa’s house, he shot himself dead,” she huffed, “I knew that he was planning something, so I came as fast as I could.”
Asami walked over to Aya and grabbed the legendary sword Excalibur from her belt. Without speaking a word, she began to walk over to Zashiki-Watashi, who was still ensnared by REX’s undead army.
“Wh-what are you doing, Bonabelle?” Nagi stammered.
“This is for Homura,” she stated bluntly, swinging the legendary blade forward and severing Watashi’s hands from his avatar’s body!
“M-my hands! How am I supposed to wield a weapon?!”
“You’re not,” Asami replied matter-of-factly.
Lady Kaguya stared at the whole scene intently as if it were an edge-of-your-seat blockbuster.
“Hey, artificial lack-of-intelligence,” I sighed, “Are you actually going to do something?”
She gave me a confused look, like she was trying to solve the hardest math question ever devised.
“The Banhammer, you idiot,” ~Schrödinger~ screeched, “Zashiki-Watashi isn’t holding the Banhammer anymore! It’s all yours!”
“Oh,” she said, sticking out her tongue and tapping her forehead with her fist, “Duh! Why didn’t I think of that?”
Lady Kaguya leapt into the air once more, holding her hammer above her head, ready to strike. A crowd of players and NPCs alike had gathered, cheering her on as she prepared to vanquish the evil that plagued the server.
“It’s hammer time,” she giggled, slamming her massive Banhammer down onto Watashi’s body with a mighty crash!
Everyone stared at the criminal as his body began to disappear.
“Yui, I’m dying,” he shrieked, “Y-you have to help me, I’m your best friend!”
“Nagisa,” I sighed, flipping him off, “You and I aren’t friends. You said it yourself; If I’m not willing to stop playing this ‘stupid game’, then we can’t be friends anymore.”
He paused for a moment, before exhaling, “…No, you’re right. I deserve this. All the lives I took in order to tank my father’s reputation can never be recovered. What’s one more casualty, huh?”
And with that, Nagisa had disappeared from Utopia Online –and the real world– forever. The crowd erupted into a cacophony of claps and cheers, crowding around me, Aya Murphy, Asami Usami, the Crimson Kings and Lady Kaguya Fujiwara.
“Drinks are on me,” a large breasted girl with pink hair smiled, before turning to ~Schrödinger~, “Except for you, you’re still banned from my pub after last time.”
“What did I do?” he protested.
And so, everyone drank and partied long into the night. I had decided to skip out on the drinks. While it was perfectly legal to drink underage in Utopia Online, I just didn’t want to get flatout drunk. I wanted to be able to remember this night for years to come. Everyone else, however, was completely pissed up. Not that I really minded. After all, people were a lot more susceptible to telling juicy stories when they were drunk. I knew that I was going to hear a lot of interesting tales tonight…
END OF PURCHASE
THANK YOU FOR READING TALES OF VIRTUAL SHOPKEEPER ACT 2! I HOPE YOU ENJOYED READING THIS STORY AS MUCH AS I ENJOYED WRITING IT! :D