The closer I ventured to the citadel in the center of the city, the more signs I saw for some sort of beginner square. Hoping that this is where Suzie is waiting for me I pick up my pace, ducking and weaving through various alleyways and side streets trying to shortcut the large crowds. I fail to notice one of the residents in these parts with an outstretched leg and trip haphazardly over them. I stagger slightly, before straightening myself, turning to face the guy who I assume is trying to pick a fight with me.
“Oh, ho! Look what the cat drug in.” This smug dark elven man glares daggers at me. “I bet your and your kin have already taken over this realm.” He spits at my feet. “I say we take what he has.” He gestures to those around him and they begin surrounding me.
I sigh, “Even in a game you’d resort to being thugs?”
“Why not?” He scoffs. “This might as well be the real world now.”
I shake my head. “This is nothing like real life.”
The man moves deftly up to my throat and grabs the plume of feathers behind my head. “Tell that to your kin, Iris.” His words spew venom. “Tell them to lift the lock, eh?”
“W-what lock?” I stammer.
He grins widely. “Would you look at that, a new one. Maybe he can grant us the power to get out ourselves?” His small group of ragged players laughs. Suddenly, he stares me down, eyes close to my own. “Listen well, Iris. If you really are a new player, you’d be wise to avoid contact with others of your kin or you might end up in quite a rather sticky bind.” He throws my head back. “Alright boys, let’s leave this one alone.” He grins smugly. “He might prove useful one day, hmm?”
I blink and the small group is gone. Whoa, now that was freaky. Iris forcing people to stay in the game? That’s got to be a lie, right? There’s no conceivable way to force someone to stay in a game without their real body suffering. Is there? Agh! Don’t think about this now, David. Get back on track you dunce.
Refocusing on my task, I leave the alley and walk back onto the main street, finding it to have cleared up enough for me to enter the plaza. It’s a breathtaking sight that feels straight out of a movie. A fountain sits in the center which is just the foreground the the amazing castle behind it that gleams in glorious silver from the dazzling sunlight. Sitting on the fountain’s edge is a beautiful elf woman with cute pointy ears, dressed in a very dark set of clothes that would conceal her in any environment except one as bright as this one. The woman before my eyes could be no one else other than Suzie.