Type Online: Pariah
Type Online - Pariah Online: Chapter 3
I felt cold. Like the warmth I had in my body had left all at once from where I was stabbed, and only now could I feel it pushing back in, little by little, making every part of it feel like it was freezing. The black I was seeing started to fade, and I could almost make out what was in front of me. It was still dark, but I could see stone and concrete. I managed to push my body up and steady myself on my forearms after more effort than I thought it would need. A stone floor, I realized.
More ice cold to the touch with every second as my body started to warm up again. I tried to wobble to my feet, just to fall over. After crawling to a wall and trying again, I righted myself, and breathed in deep, trying to keep from getting light headed. Breathing seemed to actually fill my lungs. It felt so abrupt, I must not have noticed before. I could hear rain hitting a window I had woken up next to. Periodically, lightning would make everything in the room completely visible for a split second, followed by thunder cracking so close the noise shook my entire body.
So I had gotten taken out by the spooky shadow dudes... had anyone else? Had Diana? Or Roni? Wolf definitely had. I looked down at the front of my clothes to see where the monster had impaled me, but nothing was there. Even my robes were fine, nothing looked out of place. My bag was still there, glittering in the tiny bit of light in the room that came from further off lightning. My staff was still on my back.
I looked around. It kind of looked like a generic castle room where they kept prisoners. The door was open and I could just walk out if I wanted, but all of the other spooky dungeon trappings were there. Broken stones in the corner, an uncomfortable looking cot that was only half propped up any more, missing a leg. It even had a mound of hay to sleep on to replace the messed up cot in another corner. Someone was on it, I realized, as another bolt of lightning lit up the room. A dirty white cape poncho draped over them at odd angles. It made me jump when they slowly began moving. They groaned miserably.
“Hey, are you okay?” He went still after he heard me, but slowly turned over to look over in my direction. He started trying to get up right after but had about as much success as I did when I first tried.
“Let me help you,” I said, walking towards him and trying to grab him to hoise him up. He swatted my hand away as it met his shoulder, and glared. He seemed to notice the pancho he had been wearing on the field had been ripped up and dirtied, and he ripped the rest off and threw it to the ground. Underneath they wore a beautifully embroidered white shirt and pants. Despite their short hair, slight frame, and somewhat boyish face there was no mistaking they were a young woman. They had pointed elf ears and an androgynous face.
“You're that little guy those two were power levelling in the starting field, right?” She practically spat. I stepped back from helping her up.
“Well, I was there with them and...” I remembered a cleric getting mashed under a tree as we walked by. I stopped meeting her eyes as I realized she wasn't going to stop glaring at me, “Yeah, I remember you.”
She didn't reply, instead testing her legs and popping her menus open and going through them at a speed I could barely comprehend. I stood there awkwardly as my eyes fully adjusted to the dark just in time for the overpowering lightning light to surge back into the room and blind me again. She ignored me, and once she could stand well enough, headed towards the door and out in the hallway.
It was already crappy to be so ignored and rejected in a normal MMO, it felt so personal and real in VR. Like I was the person that wouldn't take her coupon at a crappy retail job at the mall or something. I could almost make out faint voices and laughter from the direction she went when I peaked my head out from behind the door after her. Being alone in the cold dark with the rain outside hitting the windows and intense thunder made me swallow hard and speed up to walk behind her.
After a few minutes of walking through more dark hallways plastered in knight fantasy decor things finally began lighting up. There were rooms similar to the ones we had woken up in, but as we continued on they lessened and were eventually completely replaced by stone wall. Little candles were held up on the wall by metal cantle trees, each couple of steps seemed to increase how common they were getting as we progressed. It felt like it was going on forever, but they illuminated things bit by bit as we continued on.
Curiosity got the better of me, and I jogged ahead of the Elf girl, hearing a huff of what I imagine was resentment, as I passed her. I passed a big suit of armor as I came to a bigger door just a few hundred feet ahead, and I found myself in a room with tons of other players, all sitting around an incredibly long table with benches on both sides to sit down, and a gigantic feast piled high in the middle. My mouth almost dropped. There had to be at least two hundred people there, and more beyond the point I could even see.
The decor was still knight armour, candles, and not much else, but the players themselves didn't seem upset it with it being repetitive or generic. They were popping bits of food into their mouths and talking excitedly, laughing and stowing some of the items on the table into their bags or clicking through their menus as random junk on the table evaporated, probably doing the same thing.
I saw a little space of about the size of three empty seats not too far in and wandered over to them. I sat in the middle so I wouldn't have to be next to anyone specifically, still feeling kind of self-conscious and confused. I opened my menu and started sifting through my PM screen, hoping I could let Diana know where I was and if she could get me back to a town so I could log out for the rest bonus. It was grayed out and made an odd sound when I selected it. Disabled. It must have been related to the event. The Light Mage came and sat beside me, popping a grape in her mouth. She glanced at me, expression somewhat less pissy, before looking over the other loud players.
“Where are we...” I said under my breath, staring at the food in front of me. A giant silver plate was situated in front of me too, and I wondered if I should reach out and start piling some food up to dig in like the rest of them. A lot of the other players were loading theirs up, some were putting the plates straight into their inventory, then pulling stuff from the feast pile and eating it off the table like kids. I picked mine up and looked at myself in the reflection. It was still dark staring at myself like it was a few minutes back before we made it to the hall. The lighting must've not been rendering properly for me, still registering that environmental light.
“I have no idea.” Said the Light Mage. I was surprised she even heard me. Or that she’d bother to reply. Her tone was low and tired. She started clicking through his menus, sighing heavily, “We're in an instanced event, we can't even log out from here. Fun.”
“Oh,” I said, not really sure what else to say. I was glad she was giving me the time of day now, and not just freezing me out at least. I felt the seat next to me shift, and I turned around to see who had taken up space there. My body seized up, and I jerked away. They were covered in bandages and fabric, only one green eye visible. That death magic user from before, the one that beat that knight lady's face in. He didn't move once he was fully seated, just crossed his arms and stared directly in front of him. So he’s a super role play type too. I thought.
It was hard not to stare. It was hard not to say anything, either. I wished I could start up a conversation, maybe ask him for some tips, but instead, I awkwardly smiled at him for a moment. He stared down at me, face still covered, but probably not smiling back. I got a hold of myself and looked back down at the feast in front of me and spotted a little pastry that kind of looked like a danish with a dollop of jam in the center. I picked it up and moved it towards my mouth.
“Don't,” he growled so low I almost didn't hear him. I stopped and put it down on the dark plate in front of me.
“Huh?” I asked. The Elf was staring at me now too, wondering why I had stopped. She looked down at the food on my plate and squinted, I did too. It wasn't reflected back well, but the shape and texture were totally different. It was blurry. And seemed to somehow almost move.
A noise from the front of the room grabbed our attention. It sounded like an electronic scratch, way louder than the thunder outside. There was enough force in the sound to quiet the room substantially.
“Thank you for patronage of Type Online. As many of you know, today marks our second anniversary.” a distinctively female voice began talking. It sounded soothing, gentle, “We wanted to award players for their patronage. We love that you're here today to be a part of that today.”
A few people clapped before letting the almost applause die out awkwardly. She continued, “We invite you to take place in a game within this game. By being here you've already accepted the challenge. By being culled from the normal population of your respective servers, you've made your way here.” a few people muttered quietly. The Light Mage Type said something under her breath like “We're here because we got picked off in the event?”
She continued, “From this moment on we'd like to present you with new trials and interesting experiences. In order to compete in this game, we'd like to test your ability with pre-planned objectives we've set up around our new world. You can choose not to take part and simply mull about for the remainder of the game, which we hope to see come to a conclusion within the next year.
Though if many of you choose to do this, there's no guaranteeing you'll be able to fulfill the requirements needed to continue participating as a whole. The winners who contribute will receive valuable and extravagant prizes to be announced at one of the upcoming event instances, though some may be rewarded before we fully explain these items or prizes. The first of which we've assigned the name of 'escape the tower,'. This specific quest won't have any prizes awarded. This is also, for your convince, the only one you'll be mandated to compete in, and it will commence immediately.”
I heard my plate clatter and looked down. The pastry I had set down was now wriggling, and gray, with bloodied teeth mashing against each other as it scurried sluggishly beneath me. My breath hitched, I was going to scream. I started to jump up from my seat, but felt the Death Magic Type man on my right had forcefully grabbed my back and held me down while covering my mouth with his other hand. He was sitting completely still and breathing quickly as he watched what was now a writhing mass of bloodied and disgusting monsters where the feast had been.
A girl sitting next to Apostate on his opposite side jumped up, yelling, and some of the creatures immediately launched themselves after her as she did. Behind me, I heard the clang of what sounded like those giant empty suits of armour now moving from their metal stands. The Light Mage Type next to me was gagging, and coughing, little bits of blood dripping down her white shirt and pants. “It hurts...” she choked out, barely able to get the words out as she grasped at her neck.
The men in front of us that had been gorging themselves were now openly vomiting red and black onto the table, and the creatures themselves lunching forward at their faces as they too tried to get away.
“The entry fee you'll be putting down in order to partake in this contest is your human life. Thank you for your time in listening to this mandated first message. And good luck.”