David groaned as he pulled the doughnut-shaped device off of his head with his right hand, the other rubbing his eyes. Note to self, maybe shorter times. Or be lying down or something. He slowly stood, stretching, his joints groaning and popping.
Now that he was up, he dropped the console onto the bed for now, moving to the bathroom. It was the only thing he hadn't really considered before diving, and now he had the need to empty his bladder into the nearest porcelain wormhole. With his business done, he took a moment to brush his hair back, catching his face in the mirror.
That was...odd. His eyes didn't seem quite right. They had always been a pretty normal brown, although now they just seemed lighter. Almost a mocha sort of colour. David shrugged, it was probably just the lighting in the bathroom. It had never been that great to begin with. So he walked out of the bathroom, heading downstairs to make himself some dinner. But the only thought that ran through his head, through the rest of the evening, was when he could dive and see Suzie again.
The next day, after his classes were done and he was back at home, he finished what he needed to do around the house in a hurry, the FOG on his mind the entire time. He made sure to use the bathroom prior, to give himself more time on the Reality Check. He practically leapt onto his bed, plugging in the ethernet cable and laying back with the device over his eyes. The world transitioned to that black, simple menu once again. Seeing Suzie online, he decided to shoot her a PM before he dropped in.
D: Hey suzie! Had a good day?
S: Yeah, you up for a quest? :)
D: You know it
D: Plus I cant wait to try out combat
S: OK, meet you in the square!
David grinned, setting his Reality Check for three and a half hours, that should be more than enough. And, with a thought, Epic City once more bled into life around him, senses once more awash with the sights and smells and sounds of the virtual world. It felt good to be back, even Dana felt oddly comfortable to him. He grinned, lifting his staff and hurrying to the square.
Suzie stood there, one hand resting on the hilt of a blade fastened at her waist, bright eyes darting and searching for him. As soon as she saw Dana, she grinned leaping forward and pulling him into a hug. "Hey~!"
"H-Hey." He responded, as soon as his lungs could recover from that glomp. He dusted off the front of his robes, flashing Suzie a smirk. "So where to, oh fearless party leader?"
"Abadi Forest. Seems like a goblin infestation that could use our...assistance." She winked, gesturing towards the northern end of town with her head. "I picked up the quest from a Sage, so as long as you come with it should include you automatically."
"Sounds good to me!" In the corner of his eye, a new little bubble appeared just below his health bar. It included Suzie's name, complete with a little health bar with a crown over it. Suzie got one too, because she blinked and her eyes flipped to the up and left. She grinned, taking his hand and jogging towards the entrance of town, David keeping up with his own little smile.
As they approached the northern gate, two NPC guards nodded to them and stepped together, crossing their halberds across the door. "State your business in the forest." One of them said in a gruff tone, looking the party over. Suzie responded by pulling up her quest menu, flicking it lightly with one hand so that it spun and faced forward, towards the guards. They leaned forward, looking over it before nodding, stepping aside and pulling their weapons back. "As you were."
Abadi forest was nothing like either of them had expected. The trees seemed to reach on to the horizon forever, the taller trees climbing high into the sky, forming a near complete canopy over the lower trees. Despite this, the forest floor still was somewhat bright, light breaking the ceiling and illuminating the trail they walked down. In the distance, a few crystals floated above the trees, softly pulsing to some magical heartbeat.
"This place is beautiful..." Suzie said quietly, her boots lightly crunching the dirt under her feet, jaw slightly agape at the sights and sounds. It was truly unlike anything that could ever exist in the real world, but it felt very real. David leaned over, running his hands lightly along the sides of a black barked tree near the road. He could actually feel the contours and little ridges in the hard surface. The detail was nothing short of extraordinary. Both of them stopped when a notice popped into being in both of their visions.
A few green humanoid beasts lumbered out of the trees in front of them, no taller than four feet, and rather gangly. Both David and Suzie ducked behind a tree, managing to avoid detection for now. "Can you scry them or something?" Suzie whispered, slowly drawing her sword. "I'd like to know what we're up against."
"You got it." The spell popped into his head, and he pointed at one of the goblins. "Scry." He noticed his mana gauge glowing slightly, but remain at 60. The Amulet around his neck was helping to keep his mana from depleting as much as it would. Pretty useful, as it made this low-cost spell free. A menu floated up, seen by both David and Suzie.
Weapon: Fists and claws
"Seems simple enough. Can you run a distraction? I don't think it matters who kills, since we both get XP from it." She slowly stepped out from behind the tree, blade held at the ready. David nodded in response, whispering a word that brought tongues of fire to his fingers. With a grin, she stepped out, whirling her blade and bringing it down in a hard strike against the first goblin. It hissed, health bar sliding into the yellow but managing to turn, claws sharp and glinting in the forest light.
Just as it began a swing, a burst of fire stuck it hard in the face, making it reel back and shriek, before bursting into a shower of pixels. The other two goblins in the group had turned and let out their own battle cries, leaping into the fray. Suzie got into the swing of things, the system adding to her combo. Whenever one got too close, a quick blast of magic kept it just within range of the warrior's short sword. In a few extra moments, those two were nothing more than pixels fading into the air.
Suzie panted, grinning, as she sheathed her sword, dusting off her hands. "Well. That was fun." She said simply, opening up her inventory to look at what items had dropped. David did the same, mostly to get a look at his spell book.
New spell learned: Ice!
New skill: Improved Fireball!
Oh, this was going to be fun.
Many goblins later, both of them had reached level four, and were in a long battle with the King of the Abadi Goblins. It was truly a battle for the ages, at least it felt like such. The beast roared and swung his big club, which Suzie deftly flipped over, driving her blade into his wrist. The hit was ineffective, it barely made a dent in his health bar and he shook it off like it was nothing. She bounced back, standing next to David, who was readying a defense charm. "I'm not sure how long we can keep this up..."
"Give me an opening and I'll handle it." He grinned, before the two broke and ran to either side of it. The troll swung again, Suzie able to draw its attention while David leapt forward, managing to land on the club and sprint up its length, planting a foot on its hand and kicked off, spinning through the air and pausing just above its head, hand out, fingers splayed.
"Cone of cold!" A beam of ice poured from his hand, trapping the Goblin King in his place, giving Suzie just the opportunity to jump forward and drive the tip of her blade directly into the neck. This time, it fell forward onto its face, melting away into XP and gold pieces. A few moments later, both fizzled, reappearing in their inventories.
David landed a little ways away, standing up and dusting off his robes, before turning to Suzie. He was about to speak, but a familiar notice popped up.
Reality Check: 3.5 hours elapsed. Adjust?
Dammit, that didn't feel like three and a half hours. Oh well, he shouldn't go over it, at least not for long. "Hey Suzie, I've got to go. You can come by tomorrow, right?"
"Absolutely. Go ahead and log out, you'll respawn in Epic City. Meet you in the square?" She grinned.
"Sounds good to me. See you tomorrow!" He drew up a menu, once more the last feeling from this world was a kiss on the forehead.