Monday, November 25, 2013

Chapter 3: Black Out of the Night

What? A guy just logged out from the menu? What the heck is going on here?

I tried to open my menu and hit the log out button. Nope, it doesn't work. I thought it was only possible to do so from the place that guy logged out from. I tried, but still no positive results.

How can he just simply logged out like that? It can't be that he used a 3rd party application, the game should be banned when the news hits about players being stuck in Blademasters Online.

A gust of wind blasted from my back. Next thing happened, I dropped down to the ground.

4 hours earlier...

The lively city of Stoneridge. Known as the capital city of the 1st floor. It has been about a month since the bug happened, but even then the players hadn't made any progress yet. Lots of players had been blabbering out about the theories they came up with. Theories to be able to beat the game. Still, a certain obnoxious idiot won't believe in any of them, as for him they were just theories with no proof and simply can't be fully trusted.

Most players enlisted themselves into clans. They believe with numbers, it is possible to get more information and hunt easily. Some clans escalated to popularity quickly, simply because a famous RPG gamer from another game was in it. The clan was called Chivalry. The famous player used the in-game name Havok. No one knew his real name, and he seemed to intend it to be that way. Chivalry was known for their expert tactics in combat. They divide their members into squads with a very tight training schedule.

Pugna pro incentia. Fight for freedom. That was their motto. The Chivalry was known for their expert tactics in combat. They divide their members into squads, attackers, blockers, supports, and even special operatives. They have harsh training routines, believed to be the source of their power. However, X simply thought that it was all simply because they had an admirable commander, the one and only Havok. He sets every single strategies, knows the best way around things, able to make quick decisions in a matter of seconds. Lots of people were talking about them. A lot of them wanted and have tried to join them, but they only consists of players who were noted for their special... skills.

It was about 6 p.m. X was getting hungry and decided to head to a quite famous tavern in Stoneridge, Ridgeview Crest. The place was known for it's delicious toasted sandwiches, beautiful ridgeside view, and a beautiful chef.

Ring!, The bell on the door rang as soon as he entered.

"Welcome!", X was greeted by the infamous beautiful chef most people were talking about. She has slick dark brunette hair which is tied up on the back and a pair of beautiful light brown eyes1. X was speechless at first, but he thought she wasn't his type and averted his gaze.

"Table for one please", X replied to the chef's friendly greeting.

"I see. This way please.", X was shown to his table. It was at the edge of the balcony on the ridgeline. The golden sunset rays caught his eye and gave a moment of real world feeling since entering this virtual world. After gazing off for about 5 seconds of staring at the sunset, X was brought back to consciousness by the chef waving her hand in front of my face.

"Are you okay?", she asked.

"Err... Yeah. I was just caught up by the scenery here.", X replied.

"You like it? I picked the spot for this restaurant myself.", the chef said with a huge smile.

"I see. Wait, you picked this spot?"

"Yes. I know a lot of people was thinking I'm an NPC, but I'm actually a player", X could've swore she was an NPC, but hearing that she is a player caught him off guard. He then realized she wasn't lying after seeing a diamond above her head, showing that she's indeed a player.

"You can actually own and run a restaurant?", X asked while walking to his appointed table.

"Yes. Apparently there are a lot of things that work like real life in this game.", the chef said while handing X the menu.

"And you manage everything here?", X asked while looking over the menu.

"Yes I do. The stocks and suppliers work just like real life. My father owns a restaurant so I might know a thing or two about managing this place hehe.", the chef replied. Knowing this fact, X thought It seems like you can simply take a break from the war and settle down.

To X, it can be a good thing and a bad thing. Good thing is, the players can simply take our time and feel like the real world. Which brings him to the bad point, people might get accustomed and just simply start a new life here, which means less players will be on the front line trying to finish the game.

"Umm... I really can't pick what to chose. I'm not exactly that picky on eating", X said as he scanned the menu and found nothing he really craved for. The chef gave a confused look at X as if not expecting it to happen. X could only narrowed his eyes even more and try to pick an order.

"Most people order wild meat sandwich. It seemed to be the customers favorite here.", the chef said encouraging X to take an order.

"Hmm... You know what, surprise me.", X closed the menu and gave the chef the menu.

"Surprise you?", the chef gave an even more confused face as she isn't sure what X meant. X gave a brief glance at the chef and sighed.

"Just make any type of toasted sandwich you want, but not from the menu.", X replied in a calm manner, as if he really didn't care that much.

"I.. I see. I'll try my best", the chef said with a stuttered smile, caught off guard by the fact X chose something out of the ordinary. After the chef left, X stared at the view even more. The sunset rays starting to fall fade behind the mountains on horizon.

"Hey! Wait up!", a little girl shouted while chasing a boy.

"No way! I'm gonna go to that place first!", the boy shouted back while sticking his tongue out towards the girl.

BUMP! The boy crashed into a tree while he wasn't looking at where he was headed. The boy fell down in a sitting position.

"Oww... My backside...", the boy grumbled.

"That's what you get for not waiting up.", the girl said in an angry tone. She held out her hand towards the boy. "Come one, we'll go to that place together.", she said with a pleasant smile.

"...xcuse me", a voice startled X. He opened his eyes as he jumped backwards. He saw the chef trying to wake him up from his nap.

"You must've had a tiresome day. You wouldn't wake up at all, even your food went cold.", the chef continued. She gave a sigh, but wouldn't press even more of her annoyance at X more than a single sigh. X looked around and realize that it was night.

"Whoa... I'm so sorry I slept", X said while he facepalmed. He never thought that a view could've soothe him so much. He thought it just has been a long time since he saw a beautiful view like that.

The chef sighed. "Well, I'm reheating your food at the moment.", she said. X looked around again and realize that the whole place was empty.

"Umm... Is it already closing time?", X asked in the most polite manner he could manage, although knowing X, he doesn't really understand what manners is.

"Yes it is.", the chef said while laughing. "But since you ordered something special, I guess I'll give you an exception. Come inside, it's getting cold outside.", she said with a smile. X followed her into the restaurant and sat down on the counter. The atmosphere inside the restaurant is quite simple but has a nice feeling to it as it gave off a feel like a tavern in the 1800s.

"Did you design the place?", X asked as he's curious about the place itself, since it was run by a player.

"Not really, I just picked it out from a basic store template and added a tiny amount of decoration."

"I see..."

"Here you are!", the chef said while handing X the reheated toast sandwich. X looked at it and everything was neatly placed, just like what you would get in a 5-star restaurant. He looked up at her, but she had a shocked expression.

"Something wrong?", the chef startled even more due to X's hideously scary looking eyes.

"Umm... Well... I was just startled that I forgot to ask you for your drink.", she said as she averted her gaze.

"It actually slipped off my mind too.", X said with a straight face as he closed his eyes. The chef laughed after a certain pause, leaving X dumbfounded by why she suddenly laughed.

"It doesn't really matter though.", X said, leaving the chef to raise her eyebrow. "If I did order a drink earlier, it will probably thaw out already.", X continued.

"It definitely will", she said with a playful smile and gave X the menu again. "So, what will you have?"

"Umm... Is there any C**a-C**a2 or the sort?", X asked.

"I'm afraid no one had found out the way to make soda in this game", the chef frowned as she looked as X. X simply sighed and asked the chef if she had any suggestions. "I might suggest the Zuto berry tea though. It is a lot like sweet tea, and it's rather popular here."

"I'll have that.", X said. The chef went to the back to prepare X's drink. X stared at the sandwich in front of him. He decided to open the top toast to see what's inside, he found some kind of patty, some fresh vegetables, and some kind of sauce. He then closed the top patty and held up his sandwich preparing for his first bite. Suddenly the chef went out from the back with his drink.

"Haven't had your first bite yet?", she asked.

"Yeah. I was just checking the ingredients you use inside.", X  took his first bite. His eye widened just from the first bite. The sandwich had an amusing taste. Although it might look like a regular sandwich, it's taste is just simply can't be put into words. The crunch of the toast and vegetables, the rich taste of the patty, and the velvety taste from the sauce really hits the spot.

"It's good!", X said still with his eyes wide open. The chef looked surprised at X's reaction, but eventually smiles afterwards.

"What's inside of it?"

"The vegetables are fresh from the batch that came this afternoon, the patty is a smoked wild meat patty, and the sauce is a special sauce I tried to make just now.", the chef said. She sighed afterwards and continued, "I'm glad you like it", with a smile.

"I see. You have got yourself a very satisfied customer.", X said while trying to put a grin on his face. He quickly finish up his food, although deep down he really do want to savour it's flavour even more, but he felt bad it was already past Ridgeview Crest's closing time.

After finishing up his food, X drank up the Zuto berry tea. It wasn't too sweet, but not too plain either, in addition it had some kind of cooling effect afterwards.

"Do you like the tea?", the chef asked.

"Yeah. It has a very... interesting taste.", X said as he picked the right words for it, although he could only came up with the simple ambigious word of interesting.

"I see. Can I take the plate away?"

"Yeah sure. How much should I pay?"

"Err...", the chef paused thinking. She came up with her answer a couple of seconds later, "This time it's on the house."


"Yes. But next time you will need to pay"

"Isn't it obvious?", X said as he averted his eyes. "Thanks again... err..."

"Valeria", the chef held out a hand to give me a handshake. "Val for short"

"Thanks Val. I'm Extorsion, but you can simply call me X.", X shook her hand.

"Sure X. Come again!"

"Duh... I still have to eat something tasty you know", X said as he walked outside.

Night has fallen on Stoneridge. However, X didn't felt like going back to his inn yet, so he decided to go out on a stroll in a forest near the south-western part of Stoneridge. He was looking for a place for him to think, but apparently he found a suspicious looking guy using a grey hood. X followed him due to his uneasiness by using his Stalker skill. The skill allows a player to stay invisible as long as the player is able to stick to the shadows. X decided to follow the suspicious player from above to make him less suspicious and use the leaves' shadows for cover from the bright moonlight.

The suspicious guy stopped in a middle of some trees in a circular formation. X stayed on the tree while trying to see what the guy was doing. He opened his menu and pressed his log out button. He suddenly glows and breaks into pixels.

Did he log out?, X asked himself. He tried to log out but nothing happened. It just shows the same bug notice like the first time he tried. But how is he able to do it? X tried one more time, the result is just the same.

X thought that the place where he stood on might be a place where a player might be able to use the missing script from the log out sequence. He stand on the spot the hooded guy stood when he logged out and opened his menu, followed by pressing the log out button. It still failed. X had no idea how the suspicious guy did it.

Although X was preoccupied by figuring out why can't he log out, he was able to hear rustling of bushes behind him. His right hand prepared one of his throwing knives while his left hand prepared to close his menu interface. In a split second, X closed my menu and threw the throwing knife towards the bushes. Suddenly X felt a sharp pain on the back of his neck. He was able to realized that he had been ambushed, but before he was able to do anything, he dropped down to the ground.

1 Try picturing an anime styled image from the start to the end. Count this thing as a light novel
2 Yes... the infamous brown colored soda beverage

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