Chapter 21:

Chapter 21 - Easter Egg

Monster Girl versus the Multiverse (Isekai)

'The Easter Egg....' said General Mantis. 'An item that can grant any wish, formed within the Dungeon Universe from the wishes of all the beings in the Multiverse over the course of 13.8 billion years....' He shook his head. 'It's a ridiculous fairy tale, but the Overlords believed it, and so do many Adventurers in the Adventurers Guild today. It's even said that whoever finds it will become the Multiverse King.' He chuckled.

No one in the audience of Players was laughing.

Everyone started talking.

'If it's an urban legend in our universe,' said Jane, 'and a fairy tail in the Multiverse, then there must be some truth to it!' Her crazy eyes lit up. 'My dad was abducted by a UFO! If I find the Easter Egg, I can wish to get him back!'

Emma smiled. 'An item that can grant any wish, huh? With something like that, I could create a homeland for my people. Us Jews have been a lost tribe ever since World War III....'

'Screw that!' said Chu. 'When I find it, I'm going to make myself a billionaire!' He laughed.

Emma scowled and turned to Akumi. 'What about you, Monster Girl?''

Akumi shrugged. 'I don't really care about the wish'—she grinned—'but going on a quest across the Multiverse to find an ancient artefact sounds like the greatest Dungeons & Drakes campaign ever!'

Saeko tapped her shoulder with her foot. Her wild eyes were sparkling. 'You're going to have some competition there, Fuji! It's me who's going to become the Multiverse King!'

She giggled. 'No way, senpai! I'm going to become the Multiverse King!'

They glared at each other playfully. If they were in a shonen anime, this would have been the start of a beautiful rivalry.

Michelle shook her head. 'You guys are all sheep.' She flexed her biceps. 'I want to become the Greatest Fighter in the Multiverse!'

'The goal of an imbecile.' Lee tapped his temple. 'A true visionary would seek to become the Greatest Military Strategist in the Multiverse!'

General Mantis cocked his head. It was obvious he hadn't anticipated just how superstitious, ambitious, and competitive VRMMO world champions could be. If you put a goal in front of them, they'd strive to achieve it no matter how impossible it was.

'I see,' said General Mantis. 'It seems you're just as insane as the Overlords.... Nevertheless, from what I've gathered, I suspect this “Kazuo Kayaba,” this “CEO of Nanosoft,” this “Lead Designer of Multiverse Online” from your universe, is just an alias of the Dungeon Master. Just like with the Overlords 60 years ago, he has once again transported 100 Players from your universe to the wider Multiverse using the Easter Egg as bait. Why, I know not.'

'Well, that's okay.' Akumi beamed. 'We don't want to conquer the Known Multiverse like the Overlords did. We may talk big, but we're just gamers at the end of the day. You have Dungeon Gates, so just send us back to our universe.'

General Mantis looked down. 'I can't do that.'

Akumi felt her heart skip a beat. 'Come again?'

He shook his head. 'You're universe is unknown to us. We don't know the route through the Dungeon Universe to transport you there.'

The theatre was silent.

'What do you mean?' said Emma. 'We can't go back?'

'I'm so sorry,' said General Mantis. 'The Adventurers Guild has never been able to find the Overlords' universe no matter how hard we tried. We don't even know its genre. You may choose any universe in the United Worlds to stay in as recompense: the High Fantasy Universe, the Cyberpunk Universe, the Space Opera Universe...but we have no way of returning you home.'

Akumi slumped in her stone chair. She felt lost.

Her family: her mom and dad, her grandmother and grandfather, her little brother.....

She'd never see them again.

Someone started chuckling at the back of the theatre. Akumi recognised Wizard's echoing English accent, his burning blue eyes in the darkness. 'Now this is interesting.'

Michelle tried to stand, but her chains held her down. 'No, it isn't! Some of us have families back home, you jerk!'

Wizard's eyes blazed. 'Silence, Single Ranker! We were insignificant in our universe! We were failures acting out power fantasies in video games! But here we can be anything! Don't mourn your old lives; embrace your new ones! Be good, be evil, but whatever you do—be great! I swear by the Horns of Shub-Niggurath, I will become the Greatest Mage in the Multiverse!'

Beast guffawed. 'Get 'er done! I'm going to become the Greatest Warrior in the Multiverse!'

Ninja cackled. 'Well said! I'm going to become the Greatest Assassin in the Multiverse!'

The room erupted into noise. Some Players were furious, some were overjoyed, some were distraught.

Akumi cried.

She should have never agreed to beta test Multiverse Online.

She'd made a terrible mistake.

A memory of her and her family playing Dungeons & Drakes around the dinner table flashed through her mind.