Chapter 5:

A Collab and a Challenge

Life Stream: Helping a cute girl gain views and followers

“No way! She replied to my message!” Leona giggled as she clicked open the email.

I was surprised myself. I didn’t expect Astrid to respond at all, let alone in a day.

“So, what’s it say?” I asked.

Leona read the contents aloud,

“Hej Leona! Astrid here. Got your message about wanting to do a collab. Sure, I’m down for just playing a round or two in something tonight. Since I have no idea if you have VR, how about some E-Fortress. It’ll be a chill stream so we can free talk and see if we’re compatible with one another. Let me know if you’re game. -Astrid.”

“Sounds like a good opportunity, I’d go for it,” I stated.

“Alright, I’ll let her know I’m in.”

After Leona sent the message, she received a reply a few minutes later.

“She said “normal stream start time for me” so that would be 5 P.M. right?”

“Yeah, she usually starts streaming around 5 P.M. our time. You’ve got a little less than 3 hours. Might as well stream something short, how about something retro or more Pilemen?” I suggested.

Leona thought for a second.

“Let’s do Pileman, I can do a cave or two in that time.”

We started up the stream as Leona did her introductions.

“YO! It’s your girl Leona! Today’s gonna be a bit more chill. First up is some Pilemen, then it’s E-Fortress with someone you’re probably familiar with. Who is it? Only one way to find out.”

Her viewer numbers appeared to be stabilizing in the 50s. That was good. It meant she now had some followers.

“I hope this collab goes well,” I thought.


As it grew closer to 5, I sent Leona a reminder via chat.

“15 minutes? I can totally beat this boss in 5-NO! WHAT’S WITH THAT ATTACK!? WHY AREN’T THEY RESPONDING TO MY WHISTLE!?”

It looked like Leona was going to be cutting it close.

“Ahh! I’m out of time! Guess we’ll have to continue this next time. I gotta get set up for E-Fortress. BRB Time!”

I watched the chat as Leona got things ready.

“She could use a cool BRB screen,” one chat member said.

While it wasn’t strictly necessary, small things like a nice BRB screen can help improve the overall experience and give off a high-quality vibe.

Though this collab could honestly be a potential make or break for Leona. Those two really need to hit it off well, or at the very least avoid ending the stream on bad terms. My heart began thumping faster as it grew closer to 5.

“Alright! We’re live with E-Fortress, now let’s see if our special guest is live yet," Leona stated.

Around 5:15, Astrid’s channel finally went live. Luckily, Leona had played a pickup match while she waited, so chat wasn’t stuck watching the lobby screen for 10 minutes straight.

“Up! Looks like she’s finally on. Let’s hope this call works. YO! Can you hear me?” Leona asked.

“Yeah, sorry about that! I’m a little infamous for being late. Haha! You can hear me OK right?” Astrid asked.

“Loud and clear!”

“Seems like my chat can hear you just fine as well. How about yours?”

Leona and I checked chat.

“Looks like there’s no audio problems on my end.”

“Great, let’s play!”

I’d constantly swap between their streams as they played each other. Naturally Leona’s views spiked, though it was fair to assume some were simply viewing simply to stream snipe.

“No stream sniping! You’re free to swap between us, but don’t tell us what the other is doing. Do that and ya get the ban hammer,” Astrid stated.

I was glad Astrid thought about it. Since I was Leona’s mod, it would be my job to stamp out stream sniping. While I didn’t want to ban anyone unless they got toxic, I had no problem deleting messages.

“On the right behind the wall,” one chat member typed.

“On- Oh message deleted, never mind,” Leona said.

A disadvantage and advantage of having a small chat was that it was easier to read the messages compared to a larger chat. Since Leona’s chat was smaller, it meant she’d be more likely to see messages, meaning I’d have to work overtime to prevent her from accidentally seeing and reading an unsavory message. Funny messages were OK, but stuff like spoilers, things she asked chat not to tell her, and messages that were mean spirited and violated the TOS had to go.

As the round ended, Leona and Astrid began bantering with one another.

“AUGH! I thought I was good at this! How’d you get so good using the Piper? I thought he was the worst class,” Leona groaned.

“I got skillz. Try learning some mimicry if you wanna fool anyone when you play as the Agent!”

“Please don’t say something dumb. Please don’t say something dumb,” I thought as the banter escalated.

“Round 2! Loser downs a tube of Wasabi!” Leona declared.

“Well, someone wants retribution. Though why wasabi? Salmiak’s a far more fitting punishment," Astrid chuckled.

“Wait, what’s that?”

“Ah, its salty Swedish liquorice.”

“I wanna try some now. Send me some and I’ll send you some of the spiciest wasabi we’ve got.”

“No need for that, I’m living in Japan.”

“Wait really? I thought you were in Sweden.”

“Yeah, I do travel there to visit my folks, but I’ve got family here too and there’s honestly more fun stuff to do here than back in Sweden.”

It seemed like the banter was just friendly. These two were getting along great.

“We should try meeting up IRL, then we could do some hardcore challenge where loser has to eat wasabi salmiak!” Leona declared.

“Not bad, though I actually had a challenge in mind. An extreme gaming gauntlet,” Astrid declared.

“What’s the challenge?”

“We each compete against each other in 3 different games. A game you’re good at, a game I’m good at, and then a game where luck determines everything, like Maria and Squeegee’s Jamboree.”

“Jamboree? Though that’s more fun with 4 players.”

“Yeah, though we could just play against CPUs. Whichever one of us places higher than the other wins. And if one of us wins 1st, that person wins the entire gauntlet.”

“I’m down! So, what’s the punishment for the loser?”

“Well, aren’t you eager, though I doubt you’ll want to follow through once I tell you what’ll happen to the loser.”

I was starting to get worried. Leona had essentially declared her intent to challenge Astrid live. Plus, I had no idea what kind of punishment Astrid would suggest.

“Loser gets their head shaved live on stream.”

Leona froze as my heart began beating rapidly. I know Leona could get extreme with her challenges, but not once had she ever done any hair related dares. Worst of all, opinions on her might worsen if she chickened out of the challenge. Ugh, why did you have to be so gung-ho Leona?

“You still there Leona? Don’t tell me you chickened out over the thought of losing all your hair?” Astrid taunted as she brushed her hand through her hair.

After a long silence, Leona spoke up.

“How much we shaving?”

“Oh, just a buzzcut. Wouldn’t want to be too mean to a small streamer.”

“No Way!”

Astrid sighed.

“Too much for ya? Guess you’re not as daring- “

“Nah! I’m saying that if I’m gonna shave your head, you’re gonna be bald! Like Skinhead bald!”

My jaw dropped in horror as Astrid laughed.

“Are you trying to sound tough? Sorry, but shaving you bald would be too much for you. Wouldn’t want you to bawl your eyes out on stream.”

“Oh, are you saying YOU’RE scared!? Guess your win must’ve been a fluke.”

Astrid began to scowl as I struggled not to have a heart attack.

“Alright Sassy, loser goes bald. But they’re also getting their head waxed.”

Leona went silent again. This game of chicken was going badly for her. Why did she boldly declare she’d accept the challenge? Yet to my shock and horror, she didn’t let up.

“The eyebrows go too,” she smugly stated.

“Heh? Well since you’re THAT determined I’m holding you to it. We’ll discuss the details off stream. Let’s log off so we can discuss it,” Astrid chuckled.

Both their chats went crazy as they ended their streams.

“Are you crazy!? That was extremely reckless! If you lose or chicken out, it could be disastrous for your image!” I yelled at Leona.

“Haha! I’m glad you care about my looks. Though you should know I enjoy attempting dares and challenges. Besides, have some faith in your girl. What makes you think this would end badly for me?”

Leona then received a private video call from Astrid.

“So how much of that was bluster?” Astrid asked.

“I meant what I said. I’m down!” Leona smiled.

“Hoh Hoh! Looks like you’re everything I hoped for. Now then let’s get down to business.”

Taylor J
Mario Nakano 64
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