July 16, 2054. 7:54pm.
July 16, 2054. 7:54pm.
(5 hours later since the force ejection of the game of Growth.)
Kiyro stretched his aching muscles. He finally felt relaxed and energized. He quickly jogged around the block, releasing his pent-up stress and the pain from sitting too long on the chair. The harsh summer heat had lessened throughout the day, and he was already sweating bullets from the heat. Usually, he would lay down while playing the game, but laying down for too long made his body feel like mush and, at times, cramp up. Rummaging through his sweatpants, he pulled out his key.
Opening the door, he heard his sister call out from the kitchen. “Kiyro. I left your mail on the dinner table.” Instead, she was searching for a strawberry smoothie in the refrigerator and creating a bit of ruckus. He wondered what she was doing that made her make so much noise.
“Thanks,” Kiyro closed the door behind him and began to take off his shoe. He tapped it a couple of times on the mat and easily pulled it off.
Walking towards the dining table, he noticed a small brown box and a white letter underneath it.
“Sis, who’s this from?” Kiyro curiously examined the box.
“I’m not sure. It just came in an hour ago before you left.”
“Really?” He picked up the package. Written neatly in black ink was the Yami Hikari company logo with his name and address. A tiny fingerprint size Embryo logo was posted in the middle and lightly faded into the background.
“Yami Hikari? I don’t remember getting anything from them.” He turned it over once more.
Pulling a switchblade from his pocket, he ripped it quickly across the line. It was a fluid motion that was done so neatly that one could not tell if it was cut open or not. He opened the small box and noticed a single white postcard with a small leather pouch. Picking up the postcard with his long fingers, he flipped it around. On it neatly written in all caps in black ink was one line: Read with Alive Gear on.
“A hidden message?”
He pulled down his Alive Gear on his head and turned it on. A soft buzzing sound could be heard as it blinked on. The usual sound of the classic theme song of Growth played. When he looked down at the paper, a message appeared automatically.
Dear Mr. Koga,
We are sorry to inform you that you have not passed the qualification to join the playtesters. Your level requirement has not reached the qualified requirement. Since the end of the Hidden quest in the world of Noriene is completed, the test is over. Thank you for your interest and support. I hope you have a wonderful day, and a small gift has been sent to your avatar’s inbox.
Kiyro’s face fell with disappointment and loss. All this time, he worked hard to get to 149, where he ended up. He thought the testing period was still going on the whole time but ending when the Hidden quest finished was completely unexpected.
He clicked off the message and peeved.
“I shouldn’t have taken such a chance.” His voice was full of anguish at the loss of time he had spent. He sighed and straightened himself. “The past is the past. There is nothing I can do but to continue forward.”
Reassuring himself, Kiyro shook it off and knew he couldn’t stay in a mellow mood. He had a couple of backup plans that he had thought of. During the past week, he searched for possible places we’re hiring in his spare time.
A loud ping sound could be heard, and another message appeared before he turned off his Alive Gear.
Welcome to the bearer of a Seed.
The final stage of the Hidden Quest: Alpha Division shall begin its final phase. In the box, there are a special set of stones that you must place in designated areas. A map will be sent to you shortly. Please follow the instructions. The time limit to finish this quest is one week. After that, the rewards and failures are high. Please remember you have the choice to continue or end this quest at the end. Please think carefully, for you are not obligated to do this.
Please wait for a moment…..
A seed has sprouted its first roots.
As the bearer of the Seed, the long-awaited time has finally come for the Seed to grow. The first roots have taken hold and will continue growing over time. Do not be afraid, for you have taken a different path than the rest of the world.
“Seed? Is it talking about that Seed that I had gotten from my job? Why is it activating now?” Kiyro wondered. He had forgotten he still had the Seed a while ago. For it to sprout now, he wondered where this was going.
Real World Hidden Quest: Alpha Divisions
Special type: Individual quests
The curse is still in effect in the world of Norine, but the effect has lessened to the point where it does not bother the people’s everyday lives. Find the curse and dispel it in the real world. A map will be sent to you electronically, and a bag of rune stones has been delivered. Place the stones in a designated area. Do not lose the stones, or your quest is forfeited. The players cannot enter the server until the quests are completed. You can share this quest with other friends to complete the quest together.
Time limit: one week
Difficulty level: C
Reward: money or an item.
Would you like to take on the quest? You are not obligated to take on the quest. If you choose no, there is a waiting period until the quest is completed to enter into the server.
Kiyro thought for a moment and decided to take on the quest. The possibility of him gaining something more urged him forward. Especially the reward being money made him curious about what kind of quest it could be.
“Yes,” he stated. But, he wondered what it would be.
The quest has been inputted into your real-life quest slot. This quest will be a number one priority in completing the quest.
Total Individual quests that need to be completed: 3333 worldwide. 120/3333 completed at this time.
“3333 quests?” He stared at the message in shock. “This is going to take longer than I expected.” It was one thing to finish one quest, but 3333 quests in under a week were impossible. He walked towards his bedroom and stepped into the bathroom.
“But how are 120 already completed? It’s only been about five hours since people were booted off.” He racked his brain for answers. Then, in the next few minutes, the number that stated 120/3333 changed to 123/3333.
Kiyro placed the Alive gear on the bathroom sink and entered the shower. The hissing sound of the hot shower pounded on his back, relieving his aching muscles. Hot steam quickly filled the bathroom, making it slightly difficult to breathe, but he did not mind it.
“So, does that mean I’m not the only one doing this quest?” He scrubbed himself clean with a loofah. His toned muscles were slightly tanned from the summer sun, and he wished they were back to his normal color. He did not fully understand what was going on with the game company.
He remembered that the game of Growth would be an interaction between the real world, and now a quest has appeared that was played in real-time. He reached over to grab a white towel and stepped out of the shower with a towel in hand.
It was the fastest shower he had ever taken in a while. He was curious about this new quest and did not want to stay too long. Usually, he would stay in for an hour, but today was an exception.
With his boxers and t-shirt, he made his way toward the computer. Small puddles trailed behind him as he made his way across.
The computer hums softly, turning on and lighting up the room. His curiosity piqued. He searched the Growth website for answers in-between putting on his clothes. I wonder if there is anything about this subject online, he thought while turning on his computer.
The first place he went to was the homepage of the game. A special announcement was posted for everyone to read in bold letters.
To the players of Growth
We are proud to announce that the Massive Real Live World Quest has been initiated worldwide since everyone departed from the world. During the whole week, the game will undergo a new upgrade and update. In addition, some players have received a special package for a new world quest: Alpha Division. For the players who have not received the quest, you can help out the players who have received the quest to speed up the completion of the quest. We hope you enjoy the quest and see you all again inside the world of Norine.
Let the infinity cycle begin anew.
Underneath in bold letters in red were words.
125 out of 3333 quests completed.
06 days 05 hours 45 minutes left till completion.
Was this all the information that they have? Kiyro thought. He clicked to the forum to see what the people said.
Growth > Forum > Real World Hidden Quest Alpha: Containment
Moderator Rock: A thread has been created for the large volume of questions on this quest. Please do not spam and create similar threads. All comments that do not have to do with the quest will be deleted.
Solomon: Thanks. This is so much easier to find information relating to this quest. I was wondering if anyone already has one.
Sava: I do. I just completed it thirty minutes ago with my friend in Texas. There’s nothing special about it but just placing some rune stones in a designated spot. Even I can carve these little doodles on the stones. I don’t see the purpose of this quest. It’s too strange.
Quen: What do the rune stones look like? Does it look like the Elder Futhark alphabet?
Sava: Elder Futhark? Do you mean those pictographic symbols?
Quen: Yes. Each rune was an ideographic or pictographic symbol of some cosmological principle or power, and to write a rune was to invoke and direct the force for which it stood. So in pretense, the word “rune” means both “letter” and “secret” or “mystery.” Its original meaning likely means “hushed message.” Each rune has a name that hints on the line of its philosophical and magical significance. The runic alphabets are called the Elder Futhark.
Sava: I see. I looked up what you meant, but the pictographic symbols on the little stones are not the Elder Futhark alphabet. It just looks like some kind of doodle to me.
Kizz: I placed the rune stones near an abandoned house. Nothing happened. Though I did get some game money added to my avatar. Pretty neat.
Tori: Game money, is that it?
Lami: No. I got an equipment item for my character.
Dren: Real money for me.
Jess: You jest. Real money?
Seo: Does anyone want to party up? I live in South Dakota.
Ed: Is that even a good idea to party up. That sounds really dangerous.
Gold: Hey guys, check out the website for Eleventh-hour Game online. It’s a new broadcast on up-to-date games. There is a talk show about the latest games. The hot topic is The Growth’s World quest at this moment. There’s already a pre-recording of it online for everyone to see. They just started, and it’s already become popular worldwide. It’s definitely something worth looking into.
Ed: Okay, thanks. I’ll check it out.
Kiyro continued to scroll through the forum, but no new information was shown. Instead, there were more shoutouts to check out the Eleventh Game online webcasting show. Luckily for him, his sister has connected the old TV with his computer allowing him to watch internet videos when he transfers it to the TV in the living room. Clicking over to the web bar Kiyro searched through the search engine to find what he was looking for.
On top of the list was the Eleventh-hour Game Online Webcasting show. He clicked through it to see what was playing. A trumpet-like sound could be heard blaring its horn, welcoming him to the website; four dies rolled towards him in front of the homepage. The first slowly rolls into a number one, each following after another. Each one has a star instead of a dot.
“Welcome. Welcome. To the Eleventh Hour Game Online Webcasting show. We are proud to present the latest gaming news of the future. Enjoy your stay as you tour around the site. Please remember that each roll of the dice has different web links to different shows. Right now, the hottest trending news is on roll number eight, Growth’s World Quest,” said a cute female voice.
A miniature cartoony version of a human appeared on the screen directing him around the website. “We also have hot new clips on gameplay. Just change the dice to a one, three, one, and finally, a one totaling the number 6 for more information.”
“So which roll cast would you like to go to?” The miniature person stated with glee and winked. For a split second, Kiyro couldn’t help but think it was adorable.
He scrolled over the dice and changed the numbers of the dice to a total of eight. The first one is three and the last two into two. The screen faded black and opened up to three main videos. The first one is entitled Growth’s Real World World Quest, the second The elusive Seed, and finally, Angel’s Request.
Each one already hitting over a hundred million views.
“I think this would be better watching it on a large screen than the small computer I have,” Kiyro stated. He clicked on the tab and transferred it to his TV in the living room.
He got up and took his mouse to the living room with his Alive gear. Walking to the living room, he made himself comfortable on the sofa. The TV was already on when he got there; it had automatically turned on when he transferred over the windows. So instead, Kiyro changed the channel connected to his computer to watch. Anna was already on the sofa eating a bucket of ice cream.
“Hey Kiyro, what are we watching?” asked Anna. She picked up a spoon full of ice cream and slowly ate it.
“Just wait a moment.” Kiyro hovered his mouse over the first video with the most viewed results: Growth’s World Quest. Clicking on it, the video began to play.
“This is Brian Jackson and Jennifer Hong giving you live coverage on the up-to-date gaming news on the Eleventh Hour gaming broadcasting show.” The lightly colored brown-skinned male smiled gently with his cosplay-like costume.
“I’m so glad you’re here with us, Brian,” said Jennifer. She was a beautiful-looking female wearing a maid outfit. Both of them looked a bit out of place. “Hours ago, the game Growth booted out all the players on the server. That’s close to billions of players worldwide that have been ejected out. The number of disgruntled voices was quite astounding.”
“Yes, it is. I would be upset when I booted off the server when I was playing. But for the Yami Hikari company to announce a Worldwide Quest at the end of the Special Hidden Quest: Alpha. That was quite a risky move. Both cities in the Growth world have been protected, and the Landsharks thwarted. Both sides have suffered heavy casualties, but the citizens have prevailed from the rough war. I must say that was an epic battle. We are lucky to have footage from the WaterRose guilds. Who graciously gave us small footage of their epic war.”
“Getting footage from inside the game is quite difficult these days. One could only get footage by renting out magical orbs obtained through a certain quest. The problem is renting out one of those magical orbs; you must pay by the hour. So what was it, a hundred gold per two hours?” Jennifer stated cutely.
“Yep. Only the wealthy can rent those, and even then, it wouldn’t be able to record them for so long. People have tried to find different ways, but there aren’t any solutions to the problem.”
“Well, we should be glad that we have something to show our viewers don’t you agree?”
“Yes, we should. Now on to the short clip.”
An image blew up on the screen and covered the whole screen. Laid out before them was a half-crumbled city. As skeleton-like creatures rode on their backs, large elephant-like monsters emerged from the dark shadows. It was an epic fight between the dead and the living. An ongoing battle lasted through the night and into the morning when the sun was slowly coming overhead. Arrows and magic were cast toward the dead, and the living retaliated with fierce convictions. However, they did not waver and instead battled on.
In the middle of the large fight, surrounded on all sides, was Liliac from the WaterRose guild. Her guildmates surrounded her tightly while she blew the horn. The undead Landsharks screamed in agony, and the elephant-like monsters swayed from the blaring sound. BlackTurret, Rangers, Zoulz, Killemall, Zenith, and Hercules guild swarmed like a wave dispatching them in droves.
As Lilac finished blowing on the horn, her black panther companion rushed in, dispatching the surrounding enemies encroaching too close to her. A chanting of mages’ voices could be heard singing their usual song. Their voices intensified with each chant; they stood around Liliac in a circle holding up their hands like a prayer to the gods. A small white barrier expanded out, covering her guildmates and the other players alike.
Lilac pulled out a magical book, and it fluttered open as a single piece of paper ripped out of the page and floated before her. Magical light blue glyphs appeared on the paper as it glowed with power. Then, blue flames erupted as the paper burned into crisp and disappeared. She raised up her sword into the sky, and she looked upwards.
Black Clouds quickly gathered in the sky and appeared before the guild. The sky flashed with lightning and thunder as the clouds rolled in. The thunderous roar of power electrified even the air. The world became dark. Lightning strikes danced like flickering lights as they impacted into the ground, wiping out dozens of monsters in their path.
The electric lighting did not harm the players in their white barrier, but not all came out unscathed. Throughout the whole time, nature took its course; the voices of the chanting mages were slowly wavering, losing some of the smaller scale barriers. As the lightning and thunder quelled, three-fourths of the enemies were annihilated. The rest became easy picking for the guilds. Finally, the scene faded out and was brought back to Jennifer and Brian.
“Wow. What an epic fight. If I’m not mistaken, she had used one of her grand spells. Supposedly she found a rare scroll book in her dungeon explorations. She stated that was a one-time spell, though,” said Brian. He stared with awe. “That was truly an overkill.”
Jennifer nodded with agreement. “I heard there was an equally crazy amount of fighting with Hercules and the Grand Legion’s guilds. What was it? There was a giant monster named Lilith that terrorized the city. What’s more astounding is that Lilith was one of the six legendary heroes of history. Her memories were seen by all the citizens of the City of Diadem and the players present. What a crazy predicament that she was still alive to this day.”
“Yes, it is. What is interesting to learn from that city’s battle was that Lilith was not killed by either Hercules or Grand Legion guild but by some horse-size fox-dog-like creature. Do you think it was another monster?”
“I’m not so sure. No more sightings of it were specified after the booting of the server.”
“But what surprised everyone is that the quest has been made into a real-life quest. So what is the company thinking?”
“I’m not sure, but I’m excited to know where this will go.” Jennifer cutely giggled at the camera. “So far, we know that there are three types of quests. The 1st one is the placement of runes in a specific area. The 2nd one is the delivery of runes to certain groups. The final quest is still pending, and we don’t have any information about it yet. A total of 3,333 worldwide were sent out to different players. At this rate, the quests should be completed in a couple of days; what would be next?”
“That would be a question we would all like to know.”
“I completely agree with you there. So what exactly is the first quest even about? Is it just placing rocks in certain locations?” asked Jennifer as she peered at him curiously.
“Mhmm. That’s all there is to it. You will get a map delivered to you through the Alive gear. Wherever the place is located is where the runes need to be placed. You do know that runes are widely known for the use of magick.”
“Really? You actually believe in that?”
“Well, that is a matter of opinion. For each culture, there are different types of magick that each is based upon. But, still, they all do one of these main things: Inscribing words into paper, objects, building, body, and even using sound to supposedly activate the natural flow of energy that is in the world. So, with that being said, if by activating…Actually, let me correct myself; in other words, gathering the power of the world’s preexisting energy, wouldn’t you say that the event in itself is something more?”
“So, are you implying there is more to this quest?”
Brian nodded his head and crossed his hands. “Yes. Let me tell you why.”
A video appeared of Mrs. Noriko in her interview with the newscast. A part of the clip was shown.
The voice becomes louder, “……is it true about the break up with the Kosmos company?” Added Simon.
“Yes. There were some difficulties, but we parted ways long ago. They have gone their own ways, and we as well. I have a question for you. Do you believe in Magick?”
“Excuse me? Magic? Are you talking about the parlor tricks that magicians do?” Simon chuckled at his own answer. But then, he looked toward John as if she was saying something funny.
“No. There is a difference between Magic and Magick.” She smiled.
“What is the difference?” Simon looked at her, confused. He wasn’t sure where this was going.
“Magic is today’s magician who creates the illusion of tricks, while magick is natural. But, unfortunately, the world supplies natural Magick.”
“I must say. You say the strangest things. What does Magick have to do with anything in the game?” John was confused.
“Everything.” She smiled.
The clip was cut off at that moment.
“Don’t you see? Mrs. Noriko is a believer in natural magick. Why else would she state that in the news?”
Jennifer fidgeted in her seat. “I’m not so sure I like the thought of that. It’s already upsetting enough to hear something so ridiculous. The number of people who would be turned away from this idea could be astounding, and this would game be labeled as a devil’s game.”
Brian chuckled as he brought his hand in front of him into a fist. He shook his head lightly to Jennifer’s answer.
“Yes, there will be people considering this as some kind of hoax already, but the number of people curious and wanting to know if there is more would take that extra step. Humanity has always wanted to know more; if there is, science has not answered all the questions yet. We all want to escape from reality in some form or another. We read fantastical books and watch them in movies to have a taste of this dream. Many people out there already crave more than a mundane life. The thought of possible magic in our own world is like holding a piece of candy to a child. With that being said, what could the quest be aiming for but magick itself? Have you thought of that?”
Jennifer’s face scrunched up with a bit of worry. “If that is true. The question comes down to, are we ready?”
“Why wouldn’t we be? We’ve already been using it since the dawn of man.”
Jennifer shrugged, showing him uninterest.
“Either way, there have been high reports of the quest being completed so fast that we don’t have to be worried about not being able to play any time soon. So for all you hardcore gamers out there, go and help the people doing these quests, so we can enter into the game sooner.”
“What a thing to say to the viewers.” Jennifer scolded him. “Please don’t mind him. Enjoy the game, and wait for our next review. We’ll see you soon and give you more in-game screenplay as soon as possible.”
The video clip fades black and goes back to the three web videos that were up to view.
“I must say that was an interesting thing to watch. I just recently heard about the World quest. Kind of astounding that Yami Hikari company has done something outrageous again. I should’ve known.” Anna stated as she scooped another mouthful of ice cream into her mouth.
“Wait, you’re saying that you don’t know as well?” Kiyro asked. He shouldn’t be as surprised, but he still was.
“Yep.” She was busily flicking the ice cream quickly into her mouth.
Kiyro clicked on the next web video titled The Elusive Seed. Once again, the screen enlarged and filled up the whole TV. Brian and Jennifer were sitting comfortably in a bean bag chair. Both wearing completely different cosplay outfits. They were both in private school clothes for rich kids.
“Hey, guys. Welcome back to the show Eleventh hour. This is Jennifer and Brian giving you more information about the game of Growth. Today we will talk about the elusive Seed that the players have been talking about. So far to this date, we have been reporting there to be over several thousands of people already having this so-called Seed given to them through real live quests, in-game quests, and by some unknown player. Unfortunately, we have no set details of this player’s features, so we can’t tell you anything about these ghost players.” Jennifer stated in a chirpy voice. “The thought of ghost players sounds a bit too creepy.”
“Don’t worry too much about them. It’s more of a rare occasion that anyone would meet these so-called ghost players. We know that the Seed allows the player to have a chance to activate a Seed Shard quest. And we know that a seed shard quest activates a hidden world quest and finally transcends into the world quest.”
“Why? What purpose would a Seeded player have?”
“Well, there have been rumors that these seeded players have some kind of privileges given to them in the game. That would be able to start a Seed Shard Quest that reshapes the history of Noriene, but other than that, there hasn’t been much information as of late. No other special report has been specified by any other seeded player.
“Is that all? Seems a bit small for something so special.”
“There has been an odd rumor that all seeded players go through some bedridden stage the moment they get the Seed. Supposedly they get headaches, become sick, have horrible stomach flu, and other common cold symptoms, but it’s not something you should worry about. For example, an acquaintance is a seeded player and was fine all week.”
“With that being said, Aldrin, Hercules guild leader, had successfully accomplished the Seed Shard quest and paved the way for the players to explore new areas, buy land, a new level cap increase, and seemed to acquire some legendary armor. Did you see his amazing Gryphon Armor? It’s a sight to behold.”
“Yes. He looked so dreamy in his armor. Almost like a saint.” Jennifer drooled a little, thinking about Aldran in his armor.
“So far, we know that his armor is one-of-a-kind armor that is given in a Seed shard quest. No replica of such armor has been found or made to this date. I think it even rivals or is better than Jergorian’s armor and sword set,” said Brian in excitement.
“You serious!? That’s pretty amazing. Since Aldrin got his armor, there has been a rumor that he has even beaten Jergorian in a one-on-one duel. That would make him the number one player in the game of Growth.”
“Mhmm.” Brian nodded his head in agreement. “But such power could corrupt a player. What interests me now is what would Aldran do next? What accomplishment would he set? That in itself is the question.”
“I would love to see into the future to glimpse such a thing. I want to be his wife. He’s so hot.” Jennifer stated dreamily.
“If you say so.” Brian rolled his eyes. “Well, this is all for our news on the Seed. Check out the game footage we were given by famous players like Aldrin, Jergoiran, Liliac, and even Kyo. See you guys in the next episode.” Both Jennifer and Brian waved their farewells, and the screen turned black.
The mouse hovered over the next video.
“That’s quite an interesting thing to know about the Seed. I didn’t know it would become so popular.”
“Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. This is the Eleventh-hour game online show bringing you up-to-date news about different exclusive games worldwide. This is our first video of our site. Our host for this news is Jennifer, and I’m Brian.”
Two heavily costumed young people in an angelic-looking pure white costume were sitting in gothic-like chairs. The contrast between the two people and the background was extraordinary, making them seem slightly out of place.
“Our updates would be on the eleventh hour at exactly eleven minutes during the day or night. But preferably during the morning. Our goal is to bring you a powerful awakening of your belief to reality in life through games. We will be showing footage and news and giving you our opinion on games considered more extraordinary than normal,” said Brian. Soft white feathers fell from over them.
Kiyro couldn’t help but feel these people were a bit odd in the head. He didn’t hate it; it was just that they were a bit too weird.
“We want to know your thoughts and opinions. Send us the videos that you think are considered unique. We would love to see and possibly even post it on the web,” said Jennifer. She used the cutest tone of voice she could muster.
“At this moment, the two games that have been rivaling neck-and-neck are Growth and Combat Crisis, but having a fully functioning immersive game is none other than Growth.The Alive gear has made its way into almost every household. It would be considered a bit strange if you didn’t have much gear with you on hand. Don’t you agree?”
“Mhmm. The function of the Alive gear has been growing exponentially and has become the number one product hot off the shelf, but I wonder how long this will last.” Jennifer waved around a white feather that she caught during the process when the feathers were falling from above them. “As the code of awakening to activate your subconscious mind. We implore you that whenever you see this number, you remember us. It’s our guardian angel’s request to tell you to wake you up and remember that we create our own realities with our thoughts, intentions, beliefs, and everyday actions. We’ll see you again.” They both winked and motioned goodbye.
The screen turned black and minimized back to the front page. Where the dice roll number 1111 was at. Kiyro and Anna stared speechless at the screen. He didn’t know what to say to his sister about the whole thing.
A blare of loud cackling sounds appeared before Kiyro’s TV, startled Kiyro and Anna. Then, a small cute avatar that looked like a fat bird appeared before their screen.
“I’m Alive!” The avatar exaggeratedly laughed. “Oh? Where am I?” It walked back and forth from one side of the TV to another.
“I’m sure I got the right address.” The fat bird pulled up a white envelop-looking paper. “It said right here that I am in the right place.” It scratched its head with its stubby wings.
Kiyro’s Alive gear turned on automatically by itself.
“Oh?! So I was right.” The fat bird disappeared from the TV. A holographic image appeared out of the Alive gear. A fat bird was displayed in the middle of the room. It hobbled around and turned towards Kiyro.
“Excuse me,” the fat bird called out towards Kiyro. “I’m guessing you are Zero.”
Kiyro stared with complete loss at the holographic image before him.
“Oh, nice. I didn’t expect the Alive gear to have an actual hologram. This is quite an interesting development.” Anna placed her ice cream on the table and leaned over to look at the hologram closely. She reached over and poked at it out of curiosity.
“Hey, hey lady. That’s a total violation of space. It’s completely distorting my image. Scoot back.” The fat bird shooed her away but stopped short. Anna’s cleavage was showing a little, and the fat bird’s speech pattern and voice abruptly changed. It flapped its wings, trying to fly a little higher to get a better view. “Actually, you can come closer.”
Anna got up and sat back down on the couch. The fat bird frowned and settled back down on the table.
“That voice.” Kiyro’s mind raced, and a name popped in his head. It was Sylph.
“You’re that wretched perverted ring,” Kiyro eyed him with contempt. “What are you doing here?”
The fat bird turned around and stuck out its chest. “I am not a perverted ring. I am a pervert King. So bow down to your holiness.”
“That’s not something to gloat about,” stated Kiyro. However, he wasn’t so sure how he should take this all in. A ring taking form and appearing before him as an avatar; why now?
“You should be glad I am here to help you.”
“I don’t remember calling for help.”
“You didn’t. I’ve been specifically sent to guide you through your quest. Think of me as your personal guide and avatar.” Sylph puffed up like a bird making him look adorable.
“It’s so cute.” Anna squealed with delight as she watched. “I want one.”
“Lady. You can have me anytime.” Sylph winked at Anna.
Anna’s hands went towards Sylph, attempting to put it on the head, but her hands slipped through.
“Oops. I forgot,” said Anna. She pulled her hand back and acted cutely.
“That tickled.” Sylph giggled like a Pillsbury doughboy as if he was touched.
“You’re a hologram.” Kiyro raised his eyebrow. He wasn’t sure if Sylph was just playing around with them or if Anna really touched Sylph’s body.
“I can feel too, you know.” Sylph pouted. “Just because I’m see-through doesn’t mean there are no interactions. This is high-technology. Why wouldn’t there be a function of one?”
“Really?” Kiyro started to reach over towards Sylph with his outstretched hands.
“No. I only like it when a lady touches me. I don’t want dirty man hands.” Sylph fluttered around and landed on Anna’s shoulder.
I swear if this fat bird wasn’t in such a form, I would think he was another Zeraph. He might even be worse than Zeraph. So Kiyro thought, and he cringed. One was enough, but two sounded like a disaster.
“Well then, what is it that you came here to help me with?” asked Kiyro.
Sylph hopped around Anna’s shoulder and flew towards Kiyro’s shoulder. He landed lightly on his shoulder and made himself comfortable.
“Tch. I dislike being on men’s shoulders; it’s so uncomfortable.”
“I don’t understand how you can supposedly feel what it is like on my shoulder. Can you please get on with it?” Kiyro stated, a bit annoyed. Sometimes he wondered if Sylph just said those things to annoy him.
“Fine. Fine. Put on your Alive gear.”
Kiyro nodded and picked up the Alive gear that he left on the desk. Putting it on, the world around him was lit up with a projection of the map of Georgia. A few red dots were placed heavily in downtown Atlanta while a few were more spread out around the suburbs. Finally, the image zoomed in toward the destination close to where he lives. He examined it closely and noticed it was just empty land with only a few apartment buildings surrounding it.
“Hmm?” Sylph jumped around Kiyro’s shoulder, peering into his Alive gear map. “Is something the matter?”
“Yea. It looks like an empty square of land. What exactly am I supposed to do when I get there?”
“Don’t worry about that. You just need to arrive at the location before it gives you the next step. So get up and let’s go. We don’t have all day.”
“Wait now? Why can’t I do it tomorrow?”
“Don’t you want to finish this and get the reward?” Sylph peered over towards Kiyro, and he quietly mumbled. “Tch and I want to stay with the pretty lady and her boobs.”
“Yes. You’re right. Why not go?” Kiyro heard every word Sylph stated, and he was not going to let this stupid bird do something stupid.
“Is it a world quest?” Anna asked. She was finished with the bucket of ice cream. Kiyro always wondered where all that food went in her skinny body. Her stomach was like a black hole.
“Really? Now, this is getting interesting. What do you know, my own brother has one.”
“It’s not a big deal. It’s just a quest.”
“Just a quest,” gasped Sylph as if he heard Kiyro state it as if it’s dirt. “This is not just a quest. It’s the quest that affects the world. Don’t you know how serious this is?”
“Not really. It’s just a game.” Kiyro lazily stated. He wasn’t sure why Sylph was getting so caught up in the quest.
“I can’t believe this idiot. Even though a curse to you is small in the beginning, when time passes, it accumulates and can become something big. It’s not something you look away from as if it’s nothing.” Sylph tutted and wagged his wings at him like a child. “But the strength of the curse depends on how strong the caster is. If they are not strong but weak, the curse is sent back to the caster, but for it to be a world-scale curse, that being is very powerful or knows what they are doing. He or she has found a way to cast the curse without it returning to them. It could mean that there is not just one source of power from which the curse is being cast.”
“So, how does this affect my life?” Kiyro crossed his arms together.
“Sigh. Think about it. Why do you think that this quest is being held in your world? It would have made sense if it was held in Noriene.”
“Surprisingly, you can tell the difference between Noriene and Earth.”
“Duh. I’ve recently been reprogrammed to understand both worlds. Tch.” Sylph rolled his eyes.
Already Kiyro was at the point where he wanted to smack Sylph several times. He was even at the point where he felt he should create a program that did that specifically for him whenever the perverted ring acted. So already, he was formulating a couple of plans in his head.
“I could try coding a command code whenever he made that stupid sound,” mumbled Kiyro a bit too loud, but luckily Sylph did not hear it and continued chatting.
“So let’s go before this gets worse. There are 3,333 quests to complete. Each quest holder already has a personal avatar and understands this situation. Look, it’s already 300 quests completed today.”
“You should go,” replied Anna. “Don’t worry about me. I’ve got to go and do something as well. I just got a text message to come in.” She motioned him away and sighed. “I’m going to be late, so don’t worry about setting dinner for me.”
“Fine with me.” Kiyro got up and walked over to the door. “This isn’t going to take too long, is it?”
Sylph fluttered around above Kiyro’s shoulder and head. “That depends on how fast you will be getting this done. It could take all day or five minutes.”
He reached over and put on his gym shoes. He would have let this slip if it wasn’t for the possibility of gaining something. Not only that, it made him wonder what Sylph was implying when he stated that this was connected more to the world. Was there some secret that he was missing?
“You ready?” Sylph asked.
“Yea.” Kiyro got up and headed out towards the door. “I’ll be back.” He called out to his sister.
“Be careful out there,” said Anna.
“I’ll be fine.” Kiyro opened the door and left towards his quest’s location.