Friday. July 10, 2054. 6:00 pm.
The street lights flickered on in the neighborhood as the sun slowly began to set. The birds were loudly chirping as they chatted with one another, and a soft breeze blew through the hot summer evening. Old newspapers were plastered against the interior walls of the bus stop alongside lettered graffiti. Kiyro waited patiently for the bus. Already he was sweating from the hot, sticky Georgia weather.
How he missed Chicago’s summer weather. The cool breeze from the lake, the less humid air, and the city that never sleeps—nothing truly stopped in the city of Chicago. Throughout the day, different shops stayed open, and people were out in the street. Unlike in Georgia, more cars could be seen out in the city of Chicago than in Atlanta.
With a loud screech the bus stopped in front of Kiyro. The moment the door opened, a musty smell wafted out. He stepped back from the strong stagnant air. Quickly scanning inside, he walked to an empty bus seat and sat down comfortably.
Today he was wearing black sneakers, blue jeans, and a blue shirt. He did not feel the need to look decent while doing his errands. It didn’t take long for Anna to continually whine and bother him for food while he was playing Growth. Every couple of seconds a flood of messages would ring in his ears, breaking his concentration.
Having an extra person in the apartment depleted his food. He forgot how hungry Anna got, even though she was really skinny. The thing about his whole family was that they all had a high metabolism and foods tended to disappear like water. Any leftovers usually were gone in under a day. Nothing lasted in his house.
Lately though, he noticed an increase in her consumption of food. It usually meant one thing: it was that time of the month. It wasn’t strange that he knew his sister’s cycle. It only meant one thing to him. All food depleted under a week. He always wondered where all the food went in her stomach.
Kiyro pulled out the note that was in his pocket. Scribbled on it quickly was Anna’s handwriting with one word written on it: Bibimbap. He crumpled the paper back into his pocket. Anna left him a note and money to buy groceries for the night. She was going to be late again tonight.
It was the usual routine whenever she was going to be late: leave a note asking for a specific meal and leave money if there wasn’t any food left in the fridge. Today was Bibimbap: a spicy dish that had mixed vegetables, beef, egg, sesame oil, Korean red hot pepper paste, and rice all into one bowl. It was one of Anna’s many favorite dishes.
He didn’t mind cooking for her. He actually enjoyed cooking his own food: he could eat a variety of food at his own leisure and at a low cost. He made sure to take the necessary vitamins to keep his body healthy. It wasn’t difficult to do. In the past it took a while to memorize the basic nutritional information of all of the different vegetables, fruits, and meats, but as time went on he now kept it in the back of his mind.
He crumpled the paper into his pocket as he leaned back. It was not a packed bus tonight; oddly enough there were less people on the bus route than usual. There was only a group of rowdy teenagers talking loudly amongst themselves.
“Were you guys at the coliseum to hear the speech today? It gave me the shivers.” One of the boys leaned over the seats as he talked to the other two that were behind him.
“No.” The teenager next to him heavily sighed. “I was at work. I wish I was there.”
“Man, you missed something great. You should’ve seen it all. It was truly AMAZING.”
“I know, man. Don’t rub it in.”
“Sorry. It’s just I can’t tell you enough how great it was. Are you going to do the event, though?”
“Hell yeah I am. It’s an once-in-a-lifetime thing. Who would want to miss such an opportunity to work with the warlords? Especially Jergorian’s guild. Their accomplishments are almost legendary. How I wish I could join his guild.”
“Tch. The Grand Legion guild is nothing compare to Liliac’s WaterRose guild. Come on. Haven’t you heard about their latest accomplishment of taking down the General Kirin’s Fortress? She did it all under thirty minutes flat with only the top ten of her best warriors. Seriously, who would be nuts enough to do that without getting killed? It’s known to be one of the top difficult quests to do before the second update happened.”
“You guys are all wrong. Aldran’s Hercules guild is the best. They’re the ones that activated the Seed Shard quest. That quest must’ve been something big for it to be announced. Think about it. It was announced throughout the whole server.”
A couple of the teenagers nodded in agreement.
“Keh, I cannot wait for the event to start. I want it to start now.”
“You got to be joking. That would be a bad idea. Didn’t you heard about the predicament we are in? There is no solution as of yet. It would be a complete massacre. It’s like going blindfolded to our death sentence.”
The others’ faces scrunched with worry at the thought of death.
“Okay. Okay. Fine, but did you see her pet black panther? It looked so cool. I wish I had one.”
“Yeah.” One of the guys’ voices trailed off for a moment. “I saw it. Taming wild animals is hard, especially that one. Don’t you need a special skill to even tame them?”
“Yep. You need some kind of intimacy to handle them. I wonder what her secret is.”
“Not sure, but I would like one as well. On the note of pets, did you guys hear that the one million gold egg got sold to a girl?”
Kiyro slightly fidgeted as he strained to hear what they were saying. His curiosity piqued at what they might say about him.
“Mhmm. Apparently it was a common monster, a fox. Its true value was one gold. I personally say it’s worth 10 copper.”
Kiyro coughed loudly as he tried to stop himself from blurting out loud and giving them a piece of his mind. He almost fell out of his chair trying to stop himself from getting up and walking towards them. The four teens turned around towards him to see what the ruckus was about. He played it off as if it was nothing.
Kids these days. They don’t see the value of a pet, thought Kiyro as he continued to listen to them. Even having a fox pet could truly be handy.
They turned back towards one another and continued with their conversation.
“Agreed. Who in the right mind would want a fox for a pet? They don’t do anything except for hunting small game. All the lower class pets are just decoration and for carrying your bag.”
“All you get is their pelt if they die.”
“That’s kind of sick. Who in the right mind would want to wear their pet? That’s some psycho stuff right there.”
Pfft. If you only knew. Kiyro chuckled softly to himself.
“Well, it’s probably dead by now. Low class pets don’t last long. Give or take a week and…” The male student motioned his hands across his throat. “Players usually use them as a shield when things go bad. I think I saw the owner with a replacement that is a bigger dog-like creature. I wouldn’t ever forget a beauty like her, but her past pet is so dead.”
Kiyro once again struggled to stop himself from speaking out loud in an outburst and instead gave a loud hacking cough. Everyone turned around towards Kiyro.
“Is that guy okay?” one of the guys leaned over and whispered loudly to his friend.
“I don’t know, but I hope I don’t catch the flu from him.” They whispered to one another as they eyed Kiyro warily.
“I think I heard that there was an outbreak of avian flu or something.” Everyone inched backwards in their benches away from Kiyro.
“No shit. You serious?” Their eyes become wide with worry. “Let’s go.”
All four of the teenage boys got up and hurriedly left, for they did not wanted to catch the possible flu.
“Dead? Me? Hardly!” Kiyro was slightly irritated that they thought so little of him. It bothered him to the point where he wanted to give them a piece of his mind. Throughout the whole bus ride, he sat silently thinking over ways to make his character known. With a loud screeching halt, the bus stopped in front of a large grocery store.
Rushing out, he began walking towards the grocery store that was around the corner. He didn’t have time to dally to long today. Today was the second-to-last day to complete leveling up to 150, and he was only at 130. Doing the quest for Bishop Etran had helped raise him five levels, while the Drezo Regalia quest has given him an extraordinary boost in levels that helped him reach to 120. The last ten was a constant grueling task of killing nearby monsters. Luckily, he was able to get Zeraph’s help to get the last kill on monsters, for which he was given bonus experience points. Zeraph on the other hand had already reached his quota of level 150, as had Agnis. He was surprised that Agnis has reached her level of 150 so quickly before him. The last 20 levels he heard took about another couple of days straight of grinding to reach to 150. He was not so sure that he would make it in time.
Going through the store, he knew what he needed to buy. Walking through the grocery aisle, he had begun to pull out different ingredients that he needed for the next week. He had the habit of choosing the freshest variety of vegetables and meat. He understood how precious it was to not squander the food that he ate. During the one-month training of hell at his DanketsuRyu Academy, he had to survive off the land. There were a lot of times he had suffered from starvation and he now understood the value of food.
When his mother had passed away, he took over cleaning and cooking for the family. There were a lot of mistakes at first, but it took time and effort to learn. He did not mind it at all. It was a survival skill that he needed.
Kiyro took his time through the process of picking out each one of the ingredients. Even though he had a deadline, his priority to take care of his body was of the utmost importance. If he wanted to make money, he knew he had to keep himself in top shape. Walking over to the check out with a basket full of items, he noticed a young cute lady pulled up in front of him carrying a large number of grocery bags.
One of the bags tore, creating a loud crashing sound against the stone floor. Different varieties from spaghetti sauces to canned fruits rolled along the ground. Kiyro stepped out of the way before one hit his foot. People nearby stared to see what was going on.
“Damn it,” exclaimed the young lady as she stepped backwards in frustration. She looked around flustered as her groceries were all splayed out on the ground.
A spaghetti sauce can lightly tap his foot and stopped next to it.
“I’m so sorry.” She bent over to quickly pick up her groceries.
“It’s alright.” Zero began to help her.
A soft sweet smell tickled his nose. It reminded him of the smell of bubblegum and fresh laundry.
“Thank you.” She smiled angelically.
What a pretty smile. His thoughts were dazed for a moment. He couldn’t help but smile back.
“No problem. I hate it when the bags do that as well. It just means that you need to double bag it when you think it’s going to be too heavy.”
“I see.” Her long eyelashes batted lightly. Kiyro cheeks burned slightly red. Her cute, petite round face and short hair waved side to side.
Kiyro unconsciously took a slightly deeper breath of her sweet bubblegum scent. He felt a bit like a pervert, but he couldn’t help himself. He took a quick glance and noticed her frilly white dress puffed up around her; her sleek legs were covered in black stockings with black shoes.
“Thanks for helping me out.”
“No problem, glad to help.”
The girl stopped and turned towards him shyly. “I know I am asking for too much, but do you mind helping me carry this bag over just down the street? I should’ve gotten less, but the amount of people I have to feed for this weekend’s dinner party…” She sighed heavily.
“Sure. Let me finish with mine first.”
She nodded and side stepped out of the way.
Kiyro quickly scanned his items through the self-checkout machine, fumbling in the process. One by one, he tied the ends of his bags and then picked up the girl’s. The amount he had to carry doubled in size.
Gah. I forgot how heavy groceries can be, thought Kiyro. Next time maybe I should borrow a cart or something. But then again, it’s considered stealing.
While walking towards their destination, there were a couple of times he had to stop and adjust the weight. It was cutting off the blood flow to his fingers and creating an annoying numbing feeling.
“I’m so sorry. I know it was stupid of me to buy so much.” She walked next to him trying to match his speed. He was slightly faster than her.
“It’s alright. It’s not too bad actually. Just balancing it is what makes it slightly difficult.”
She smiled. “My name is Isabel, by the way, and on the bright side we’re almost there. I just need to get to my friend’s store. She’ll be taking me home.”
“Well, mine’s Kiyro. Nice to meet you, Isabel.”
Silence followed after. Kiyro could not figure out what to say, and instead he quietly walked forward. He was not the type to stay silent, but being around her made him nervous.
What should I say? His heart beat faster as he walked next to her. I must look like a complete idiot. He did not understand why words would not come out of his mouth right this moment. Just calm down, everything will be alright. Just ask her a damn question. It shouldn’t be so hard. I’m usually not like this. Come on, Kiyro. Come on.
“Um…Do you listen to music? I mean, do you have a favorite genre? I’m sorry. I know it’s awkward. I’m just trying to start a conversation. I’m not good at this.”
“Yes to your first question. I like to listen to pop, rap, and alternative rock. You?”
“Same here. Have you heard the rising group called Kariss before? They have some great music these days.”
“Actually I do. I’ve been listening to them recently. What was it, their number one title this month, wasn’t it Trinity Falls?” she replied.
“Yeah, I loved it.”
“It had such an awesome bass line and its wicked electric guitar. I wish I could play like that.” Isabel’s eyes drifted off into her own world.
“Agreed. The vocals were amazing as well. Something about it just makes you electrified,” he said excitedly, enjoying their short conversation.
“Well, we’re here.” They stopped in front of Geek City, a small shop selling electronics. In front of the door was a human-sized cat figure waving its paws at all passersby.
“Is that a Maneki-Neko?” Kiyro stared upon it, surprised to see such a large Maneki-Neko in America.
“Yep. My friend is a huge superstition maniac. He has so many ‘good luck charms’ it’s outrageous. You should see his house…”
Kiyro peeked through the door and was amazed at the number of different cultural good-luck items were inside the store. From colorful banners of fish kites, to brilliant colored Maneki-Neko cats, to small bamboo good luck trees, and many more. One could say it was overflowing with them. As they walked in, from left to right in the mixture of electronics, in between each shelf were small statues of different good luck items and good luck charms.
“Well then. I’ll just drop this here.” Kiyro placed the groceries next to the counter. A large bowl of good luck bamboo trees decorated the counter. It was so heavily covered in it that it looked like a forest. Something pulled him through the store, he wasn’t sure what, but an odd feeling that he couldn’t explain. Out of the many items that he had passed by, one particular charm stood out to him. It was near the back of the store in between two large animal statues. Something about it lured him in. It was a small figurine of three small koi fish swimming up a river. Oddly enough there was a faint, soft white aura around it. Kiyro reached over and picked it up. He closely examined the details. Something about it felt warm and good.
“Are these good luck charms for sale by any chance?” He turned around towards Isabel.
“The one you’re holding? Nope. That’s his treasured one. He only sells similar copies of them in the front desk. He won’t sell the ones that are already there for display. He’s odd like that. After he visited China, Japan, and Korea, he collected so many of them that it’s mind boggling. I’m surprised you picked that one out of all the rest. What made you pick that one?”
“I’m not sure. Instinct?” He did not want to tell her that there was a small white aura around it and make him look like some kind of crazy fool.
“You’re not the only one to pick it up. There have been a rare few that have asked to buy it. I personally think there is something special about it. I’m not sure what, but whenever I look upon it has a warm feel to it.”
“Please wait.” Isabel placed her bag down next to his and rummaged through her pink side purse. She was diligently searching for something, and when she found it she stopped and looked up at Kiyro with a brilliant smile.
Isabel handed him a ten dollar bill. “I know this isn’t much, but here. Please take it,” she said softly. Kiyro looked upon her with surprise. He did not help her to gain any money, but did it to just help.
“No, please. It was nothing really. I do not need it.” Kiyro pushed the money back towards her.
“But I would feel so bad if you don’t take it.” Isabel pouted. She looked like she was thinking over something to say.
“Look. It is not a big deal.” Kiyro reassured her as he closed his hands around her hands. He could feel her soft skin under his own. Her hands are so soft, he thought. It would feel so nice if I could hold it for a while. Just as quickly as he thought of her hands, he quickly let go.
“Well…” Isabel glanced up at Kiyro. “It is embarrassing to say, but do you play Growth? I could help you a bit in the game.” She fidgeted for his answer.
“No. No. It’s not embarrassing at all. I too play Growth.” Kiyro gave her the most charming smile he could make.
“Do you mind trading contacts?” she bashfully asked.
“Sure. I’ll be glad to.” He fidgeted to get his Alive gear out of his pocket. He was jittery from a stroke of luck he was given. A couple of times he almost dropped the gear from fumbling through his pocket.
“H-Here.” He slightly stuttered. “What’s your game name?”
“Okay. I got it. If you ever need my help, I’ll come running. I owe you a favor.”
He slowly nodded, taking in her words.
“Well, I’ll see you around.” Isabel waved her hand. Kiyro slowly turned around and took a couple of steps out of the door.
Isabel. His thoughts drifted into a lull. Isa-bel. His grin widened. I wonder what she likes? Her sweet scent lingered in his mind.
“Kiyro!” A girl’s voice shouted out towards him. “Kiyro!”
Kiyro snapped to reality and froze. Who?
He slowly turned around with apprehension. A good distance away from him was Eve waving her hands wildly and trying to get his attention. Her long blue-silver hair fluttered backwards as her white summer dress flowed gracefully with every curve of her body. She stopped short next to him with heavy breaths. A whiff of soft fresh linen followed after. Placing her hands on his shoulder, she hunched over and tried to catch her breath.
“Didn’t…you…hear me calling you?” she wheezed.
“I-I…” He was shocked that she was here of all places. “When? What? How?” Zero stuttered confused.
“I was passing by when I saw you with a girl. Is she your girlfriend?” She elbowed him lightly with a smirk.
“Aw, come on. I just saw you ogling her from miles away. It’s okay. I won’t tell anyone.” She grinned from ear to ear as she stretched her arms. “Nobody will know. Just me.”
“I know. That’s what I was afraid of.” He sighed. During the time that he had known her, she had literally created more than enough trouble in his life. He didn’t need more.
“Well then. Who was she?”
“Someone you don’t need to know.”
“Come on, why?”
“Because you make my days a living hell,” he said with a grin.
“What?! No I don’t. I make your days exciting.”
“Exciting enough to kill me. Especially like that time when you dragged me into that dungeon that was WAY beyond our level. I was literally, what, fifty levels short from the requirement and we had to run away from the boss. I would have died. You need to practice some more caution.”
“Caution? I am always cautious. We were doing perfectly fine. Stop being Mr. Grumpy.” She pouted for a second.
“Fine? Me being used as a toothpick was not fine.”
“Well… At least we got away. It’s all in the past. Let it go and think of it as a new day,” she stated cheerfully and patted him on his shoulder.
He sighed, making a point to her sometimes it would go over her head as if it was nothing.
A soft meowing sound was heard behind them. Eve turned around so quickly that it startled Kiyro back a couple of steps.
“Did you just hear that?”
“What?” said Kiyro as he looked around to see where the sound was coming from.
“Over here!” Eve burst out in excitement as she directed him towards her voice. “It’s a kitten!” she excitedly yelled. Kiyro saw Eve bent over by some empty wooden crates next to a garbage can. Underneath the crates was a small, white, fluffy kitten.
“Oh, you poor thing,” Eve cooed at the kitten. She reached out towards the kitten with care.
“Hisss!” The kitten spat with such ferocity that it startled itself. It moved backwards, trying to hide underneath the crates.
“It’s okay. Come here, sweetheart.” Eve lightly placed her hands on its back as she tried to pull the kitten up.
“Meow!!” With a swipe of its claws it scratched Eve a couple of times on her hand. Eve cringed but did not pull back.
“That’s not going to stop me. Come here.” She snatched him off the ground by pulling him up from the scruff of its neck.
“You’re so cute.” She cupped the kitten with both hands, trying to calm it down and keep it from wiggling out of her hand.
“Careful. It’s still young. Don’t scare him; it’s going to take a while for him to get used to you.”
“Wait. How do you know it’s a boy?” She looked up at him a bit surprised.
He pointed down at the kitten’s private area.
“Oh.” She blushed. “I see.” Her voice became quieter. He couldn’t help but chuckle at her reactions.
“Here, let me show you how to hold a cat.” He reached over to her and lightly took it out of her hands. The kitten fussed and hissed a couple more times before it settled down comfortably in his arms.
“What? How?” She looked upon him with surprise.
“The way you held him made him uncomfortable. Put your hands underneath him to support his feet. It seems he’s not used to being held in the way you just did. Here, you try it.”
He handed her the kitten by the scruff. The kitten curled up into a small ball as it quietly waited to be placed back down.
“See. It’s not too hard.” He smiled gently, watching the scene before him.
“Oh! Look! Look! He’s purring.” Her smile radiated with pure happiness. Kiyro could not stop watching the two. It was a perfect scene of a girl and a kitten.
“I’m going to name it Tempest,” she cooed with love.
“Wait, wait, wait. You’re going to keep him? Are you sure? Does your place even allow pets?” He was surprised how quickly she decided without a second thought.
“No. I just wanted to name him. I always wanted to name a cat Tempest. Plus my apartment won’t allow pets. Can you please keep him till I get a place where I can take him?” She pleaded and looked at him with a puppy dog eyes.
A message appeared on his Alive gear.
New Quest has been initiated.
Eve has asked you personally to watch over Tempest for duration of time.
Reward: One copper coin a day till you have given Tempest back.
Special trade in: You can trade in the money you have earned with one ticket for any events/hotels/food etc… that is listed on Growth’s special promotional webpage and will be sent to you through email.
Duration: Unknown. Once accepted, the quest will be hidden and one other real life quest can take its place. Once filled you cannot get any other quest. When Tempest is given back to its owner, it will automatically update itself and the reward will be sent to your inbox.
“What’s up?” Eve looked up at him curiously as she held the cat next to her face. It was too adorable to look upon…
“I just got a real life quest….about your cat…”
“It’s stating that I could trade it in for some kind of special ticket later on.”
“Wow, you got one of those quests. I heard there was something big going on with the Growth Market.”
“Yeah. You remember how I said you could make money in real life?”
“Well, since the last update players were able to convert their real money into digital money to buy items in the Growth Market. People sold game items and real items through, but to use the money in real life has certain requirements. Not a lot of things could be bought in real life using Growth money.” She continued to stroke the cat carefully with admiration. “The only way people could buy game items with real money was through the Growth Market. Lately there has been an increase in players setting up actual businesses through the game of Growth. They set up their company’s shop and sell items through the game. People were able to look through menus and try out the products in hand before they bought it. It would digitally appear before them, and all the functions of the products or the looks were shown. When the players bought the items they wanted in real life, it would be delivered to them through mail.”
“Wait. Hold up. You’re saying that people are actually setting up their own shops in the game to sell their products in real life? What are the requirements?”
“It’s a booming business. Let’s see. There is a monthly 3% fee of net profit to use the game of Growth to advertise your company, and if you want to set up an actual shop the monthly fee is 5% of your net profit. There are a couple of documents you have to sign first before you are allowed to sell on Growth.” She paused for a moment. “Can you please take care of him? I’ll pay for all his expenses,” she begged.
|Quest: Tempest has been updated
Eve has asked you personally to watch over Tempest for duration of time. She would pay for all of Tempest’s expenses. A new communication of Tempest’s profile would be set between the owner and contractor. You and Anna are not allergic to cats. The apartment lease agreement does not stop you from owning a cat. There is no pet deposit fee required.
Difficulty Level: DRewards: Two copper a day till you have given Tempest backSpecial trade in: You can trade in the money you have earned with one ticket for any events/hotels/food etc… that is listed on Growth’s special promotional webpage and will be sent to you through email.
Duration: Unknown. Once accepted, the quest will be hidden and one other real life quest can take its place. Once filled you cannot get any other quest. When Tempest is given back to its owner it will automatically update itself and the reward will be sent to your inbox.
A female automatic voice read out the message in front of him.
|Please wait a moment… A call is being sent through to Anna.|
“A call? Wait. What?” Kiyro was taken aback at what was unfolding in front of his eyes.
“Pleeease,” Eve begged, her eyes sparkled so brightly it felt like he was blinded by it
|An automated message has been forwarded to her to alert the situation.|
|Please wait… Connecting…|
|You are connected. Please go ahead.|
“Kiyro? What’s this quest message about a kitten?” asked Anna with a chirpy voice through the other line.
“Uh…” Silence followed after. “Cat?” Kiyro stared; stupefied at everything that was happening to him.
“I’m not allergic to cats and I just received your quest. Go ahead. I don’t mind keeping one around.”
“O,” Kiyro mouthed slowly.
“Okay? Talk to you later. Bye.”
The line dropped dead on the other side in a hurry.
|Call has been completed. Would you like to take on the quest?|
“I…uh…” He stumbled with his words, unable to state what he wanted to do.
“Come on, Kiyro. Please? I’ll give you my best armor that I have just recently received from a difficult quest. It’s called the Shadow walker armor. Plus I won’t make you do things anymore. You won’t have any more debt with me.”
“Really?” Kiyro’s eyes sparkled with the possibility of no more contracts.
“Yep. I’ll even cancel our companion contract…” she solemnly said with a bit of sadness in her voice.
“Fine. I’ll take Tempest.”
|Quest has been accepted. Quest: Tempest will be hidden till completion. Another real-life quest will be available to take.|
“Now its your turn.” He waited with joy. No more would he be bound to her.
“You will still go hunting with me, right?” Eve face drooped sadly, waiting for his reply. Kiyro looked upon her pleading eyes and sad face. Words that he wanted to say could not be said.
“Yes. I’ll still hunt with you.”
“Thank you! Hehe. Call upon Companion Contract termination…Call upon Companion contract termination. Hmm…”
“What’s wrong?” Kiyro looked upon her with worry. He did not like where this might be going.
“I can’t seem to terminate the Companion Contract. The only thing I can do is terminate the Heel function. Look, I’ll show you by sending you the message that is in front of me. Give me a second.”
A message appeared before him.
|Agnis attempted to do a Companion Contract Termination. It is invalid. Heel function can be voided with the consent of both parties. Would you like to go ahead and do that?|
“Well then, how about we just terminate the Heel function?”
“It’s better than nothing.”
“Great,” she happily replied.
“Yes,” stated both of them at the same time.
|Heel function is no more. Companion contract has strengthened and upgraded into a Friendship Contract. New status bonus has been added. +5 permanent status to both parties.|
“This is better than nothing.” He sighed. It was too good to be true to be let go, but the game had not allowed that. The brief taste of freedom had completely disappeared in a wisp of a smoke. On the other hand, he was let go from the Heel function that had irked him immensely whenever she used it. At least the burden of being zapped anymore was gone.
He examined his status menu.
Title: Beacon of Hope
|Race: Drezo Regalia
|Level: 131||Main Job: Record Keeper of Historia
Secondary Job: Scribe
|Health points: 7501||Mana Points: 8,951|
|Attack: 501 (+15)
Defense: 276 (+5)
Agility: 550 (+5)
Endurance: 340 (+5)
Luck: 40 (+15)
Leadership: 0 (+5)
|Magical Attack: 850 (+5)
Magical Defense: 650 (*5)
Wisdom: 502 (+5)
Intelligence: 3750 (+5)
Dexterity: 456 (+5)
Fame: 300 (+20)
|Under a Friendship Contract with Agnis.
All Three Forms:+ Transform beginner level 5 (35%)+ Camouflage beginner level 7 (60%)
+ Skilled hand mastery beginner level 9 (80%)
+ Kicking Mastery beginner level 5 (88%)
+ Keen Hearing beginner level 5 (28%)
+ Communication with the dead (Active)
+ Sensing the dead (Active)
+ The last stand (Auto)
+Creation of Oculus-Morpheus beginner level 3 (2%)
+ Recording of O.M
+ Destruction of O.M
+ Restoring of O.M
Human Form Specialties:
+ Ninjitsu Training for Mastery
+ Five Elements of Hiding: Fire, Water, Earth, Wood, and Void (Auto)
+ Weapon Mastery beginner level 5 (77%)
+ Pressure points beginner level 5 (35%)
Hybrid Form Specialties:
+ All the abilities of the Human and Origin Form can be used.
Origin Form Specialties:
+ Fire Breath beginner level 3 (25%)
+ Keen Nose beginner level 5 (70%)
+ Crush beginner level 7 (20%)Elements: 15% increase of defense against dark elements, 7% increase of light elements,Info: A hybrid human that is born from an Egg. The title Beacon of hope draws in lost souls that will appear before you to ask for help. Your aura will stand out to the dead. Shadowy dark apparitions are wary around you. The bounty price on your head has decreased. In Origin form the status is doubled from the human form.
“So what do you want to do with the cat? I do not want it to have any fleas or be dirty.” Kiyro shifted his bag of groceries into his other hand. He still did not feel completely comfortable in doing this quest, but he did not want to leave the kitten out on the streets.
“Let’s go grab the things Tempest needs at the store. You can put your groceries in my car. It’s really close by. I parked over there.” She pointed across the parking lot to a grayish blue sporty looking car.
“Not bad. Is that an automatic or a manual?”
“Really? How long have you had it?”
“Three years. I thought it would be cool if I drove a manual, but that was a stupid idea. My right hand hurts from shifting and my left leg gets cramps at times during traffic hours. Overall, though, it’s not bad driving it. I do enjoy the shifting, just not in traffic.” Eve sighed at the thought as she clicked her car key. The trunk popped open. “Do you drive a manual?”
“No, I know how to drive one though.” He walked up to the trunk of her car and dropped his grocery bag in it.
“I’m surprised that there are people who still drive manuals. In the fifteen years since those self-driven cars got popular, most people don’t seem to want to drive even automatics even though it’s installed. Usually, people are watching movies, playing games, or sleeping while their car drives, but you are on a whole different level. I’m impressed.”
Agnis slightly blushed and smiled. “Thanks.”
“Now, I am not sure if the grocery store is friendly to cats. I’ll just wait out here and you get the stuff for the cat.” He reached over to pick up the cat from her, but she slightly shied away.
“But… Fine.” She stopped for a moment. “You promise you will wait?”
Kiyro closed the trunk close as the kitten meowed.
“Yeah. I’ll wait at the bench over there.” He directed her to a side bench that was a couple feet away from the car. “I won’t be too far, and I have the Alive gear, so you can call me anytime.”
“Ok-ay.” She handed Tempest over with reluctance. “I’ll be right back. Stay put.” She stroked Tempest’s head one last time. She turned around and walked towards the store.
He sighed with relief as he too turned towards the bench. Pulling out his phone, he checked his time. He had about a couple hours left to spare before he needed to get home. Sitting down comfortably, he once again reviewed all the events that had played out today.
Finally he was alone to think. Today was oddly enough an interesting day: from the calling of the top twelve warlords to meeting with Isabel.
Isabel. She was just his type. Cute petite face, ladylike, her height came up to his nose, and her mesmerizing eyes. How could he forget those eyes? Then, just like a whirlwind, Eve came over to him and dropped a cat on him.
He stroked Tempest lightly over his head and heard him purr. It was too sudden, more like an unlikely circumstance that the world gave him to have more headaches. He did not mind cats, but the thought of interacting with Eve in the real life bothered him. Even in real life he could not get too far from her. It was like having another sister that he had to take care of.
Now that he was free from that wretched Heel ability, he did not mind her company in the game. Zeraph and Agnis made the game a bit more enjoyable. His friend list consisted of only four people: Zeraph, Agnis, Flora, and Alan. It wasn’t because he didn’t meet many people; it was because he just did not want to interact with others at the moment.
He had things he had to do, and friends would come later. He was satisfied with the amount of people he had at the moment. Eventually he would get more, but not right this moment. Not until he passed the test.
A soft breeze blew towards him as an intoxicating smell of fresh perfume permutated his nose. His eyes searched to see where it was coming from and his eyes rested upon a very beautiful women with an hourglass figure stepping out of a Lamborghini a couple of feet away from him.
There were a lot of beautiful women in the world, but compared to Eve she was a different type of beauty. The best words he could describe her with were an exotic high class flower with deadly poison that would leave any man or woman playing in her palms. Even he watched from the distance, a bit mesmerized by her glamour.
Everything about her screamed the epitome of female sexuality: her high cheeks, pink juicy lips, exotic face, and silky smooth golden hair flowing perfectly. She was like a living Barbie doll walking down the streets with her red high heels and red skin-tight dress.
A Hollywood star? Kiyro watched. It was highly unusual to see such a high-class lady walking around a public grocery with no escort. No man or women could strip their eyes away from her.
Kyle would have loved gossiping about her curves. He smiled. She is more his type than mine. He remembered how his twin brother and he would quietly nudge each other as they went out birdwatching. Those were the times. The laughter, the jokes, and sometimes he even missed the quarrels that they both had.
No. His hands clenched. Forget about him. He shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. There were times when he was curious where he had gone; at times he caught himself looking for his brother out in the crowd. Sometimes he thought he saw him weaving in and out of the crowds, but it was always just a random stranger.
He continued to watch in the distance. A true gentleman of gentlemen, a wealthy-looking man stepped out his black jaguar car. His hair was slicked to the side heavily with gel. The street light glistened on the silver cross around his neck. The tall white man with a red-collared long sleeved shirt and black leather gloves walked towards her. His black jeans went perfectly with his clothes and his black tie hung neatly around his neck.
But something else caught Kiyro’s eye. Moving behind him was some kind of blurry blob of human figure phased in and out.
What the hell is that? Kiyro thought as he rubbed his eyes a couple of times to clear his sight.
Once again as he stared in the man’s direction the blob changed shapes and turned into a humanoid figure. It was like seeing a very thin translucent silhouette. His eyes widened and his skin crawled with goosebumps.
No way. I hope it’s not what I think it is. Kiyro felt a shiver run down his back. It’s all in my head. All in my head.
The humanoid figure turned its head slowly towards him. Kiyro knew whatever it was knew he was looking at it, even if he could not see its face. Damn. No word could describe his fear and unease. Whatever it was made him want to flee. He knew he was not insane or drug-addled. His mind raced with alternatives to what he was seeing.
Nothing. He couldn’t find anything wrong with himself. What he was seeing was not due to lack of sleep or an illusion. It was there. He gulped.
It was like his childhood days all over again, but what he saw now was less vivid than what he saw as a child. He did not understand what it was, but knew that it could do harm. Kiyro moved around uncomfortably on the bench. His legs shook, his arm felt weak, and his mind raced with a dozen questions and past memories.
The gray humanoid blob began to slink forward, phasing in and out, slowly creeping towards him in a staggering motion. Each time it appeared, its body became distorted in odd angles. A jagged stray wind blew towards him, bringing with it a foul smell like sulfur that invaded his nose. His breathing became stifled with unease and his heart started to beat loudly.
Whatever it was, it was getting too close for comfort. Kiyro’s eyes widened in fear and he began to slowly stand up. In a blink of an eye, the blob appeared in front of his face. He sat motionless from fear.
In a wisp of smoke the blob dissolved and disappeared. Kiyro looked down in surprise and gently patted Tempest on the head.
“Thanks, buddy.” He gingerly smiled. He glanced back up and saw nothing. Whatever was there had vanished without a trace.
“Angel!” The exquisitely beautiful lady ran towards the man, waving her hands. Her smile glowed with joy.
“Angel!” She wrapped her arms around him and kissed him on his cheeks. “I’m so glad to see you.” She smiled radiantly.
“Rose. How great to see you.” Angel cooed and he hugged back with just as much force that she gave. “It’s great to see your beautiful smile.”
“Hehe. Oh, Angel. You always say the sweetest things.” Her fingers lightly caressed his chest.
“Darling. You know me too well.” He kissed her cheeks and lightly pulled her in. She giggled with glee.
Kiyro tried his best not to listen in on the conversation, but he couldn’t help it. They were obnoxiously loud and were drawing attention to themselves.
“I’m surprised you would want to meet here of all places. I thought it would be at one of those café’s that you like to go too.”
Rose shook her head. “No, today I was nearby and did not have time to sit and idly chat for too long. I thought this would cut back on some time.”
“Ah I see, so how was your day, darling? How was your last case defending your client? Did you win?”
Her face lightened up once again like a child that was given a candy.
“It was so easy. I could have done it with my eyes closed.” She flicked her hair. “They don’t compare to what I can provide.” She winked and deviously grinned from ear to ear.
“Heh. That is so true.” He smiled back with a devious grin.
“In total I think I made a million from the case. It’s not much. I’ve made better.” She scoffed, her head held up high like a royalty.
“I see. Did you enjoy your last event?”
Rose’s smile fell into a frown.
“No. Blackie was mean to me. He left me and instead sent me three inadequate roaches that couldn’t perform right. It took a couple of tries to teach them and get rid of them completely. It wasn’t such a big deal.” She stood proudly with her hands on her hips.
“Blackie did all that? Well, he is the type to do that. A very predictable behavior pattern he has. You must have rubbed him the wrong way, didn’t you?”
“No~” she nonchalantly replied with a smile. “I only told him I love him.”
Angel burst out laughing. “You said that? I hardly believe that. You know how he hates hearing that word come out of your mouth especially.”
“What are you talking about? We have a special relationship. A give and take.”
“Are you sure, darling? It’s not take and take?” he remarked coyly and winked. “No matter; I’ve got to meet him. Send me a message when you get in touch with him, will you, darling?”
“I sure will. I need to get back with him as well.” She pouted with her lips perked, making her lips redder by the second. Her hands were set against her hips, making her look like a child.
“Kuhaha.” He burst out laughing. “Sweetheart, you have the most beautiful pouting face. I’ll be heading out. I’ve got to go start my new masterpiece soon. I’ll be seeing you around, darling.” He picked her up and gave her a deep kiss. She replied back just as intensely and wrapped her hands around his shoulder.
“Mmmm. You’ve always had the best kisses.”
He chuckled and pecked her on her cheek. “You know I’m good.” He winked back flirtatiously and turned back towards his car.
“See you around, Angel,” she replied sweetly. “I’ll drop by once in a while.”
“I know you will, darling. I know you will.”
His tires squealed as he raced out of the parking lot and drove off into the distance.
Kiyro watched stunned at the scene that lay before him. It felt like a tornado had come through and passed by.
What just happened? He quietly patted Tempest, who purred under each touch.
Tempest meowed loudly, asking to be petted on his head more.
“Yeah. Yeah. Buddy.” He patted him lightly.
Off in the distance Rose walked back and forth on the phone posing like a supermodel at a runway show. If he didn’t know better, it was like every movement was meant to be on the latest top hottest model magazines. He noticed several men eagerly watching her, waiting for a perfect opportunity to come up to her. Kiyro shook his head and rolled his eyes. Whatever was around those two strangers left a bad aftertaste. The feeling was still there, but he didn’t know where it was. Just as he was about to turn his head away, both their eyes interlocked.
“Shit,” he silently mouthed.
Rose honed in like a swooping hawk and walked towards him with confident steps. She stashed her phone into her purse hanging loosely by her side, and her hips swinging side to side accentuated her curves.
Each step she took his hands stroked Tempest a bit stronger. Looking back and forth, he tried to ignore her as best he could, but she arrived in front of him.
A strong smell of intoxicating perfume filled his nose. Tempest hissed with unease.
“Hello, sweetheart,” she purred with the most intoxicating voice he had ever heard. He knew he could not escape.