Adventure in a Virtual World

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 9 (v.1) - No Such Thing As A Day Off

Submitted: April 24, 2016

Reads: 211

Comments: 1

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Submitted: April 24, 2016

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I stare at him in disbelief. Had Zoe really been this close all along? If so why hadn’t I seen her? Not even bothering to finish eating I walk over to where she’s sitting.

“Um, Zoe?” I ask, tapping her on the shoulder. The others snap their heads in this direction. She stands up and flashes a demonic smile. I stagger backwards as if she’d punched me. 

It’s her alright, but how could it be her? That same devious smile that followed me around the past week was the same one as when we were kids, that came just before we did something we weren’t supposed to. She had followed me around as her younger self, that I could believe, but how did I not realize it was her? I feel horrible that I couldn’t even recognize my best friend.

“Long time no see Jake.” She wraps me in a hug and starts giggling.

“Pft. Stop it, you’re getting your hair in my mouth.” I turn my head and put my arms around her. I slowly hug her tighter until she squirms free and punches my shoulder.

“Ow, what was that for?” She sticks her tongue out at me.

“That’s for not telling me who you were!” I stick my tongue out right back at her.

She punches me again, a bit harder than the last one. “You’re the lame one who didn’t notice it was me.”

“Fair point. Sorry,” I say with a laugh.

“You can make it up to me by showing a girl a good time,” she says batting her eyelashes.

Absentmindedly I glance over at Shana but catch myself, however not before our eyes meet. I quickly look away and back to Zoe. “I think we were all planning on heading into town today to do some shopping. You’re welcome to join us.”

Our conversation is interrupted as a couple approaches the table. I look up to see a line forming behind them and quickly return to my seat. 

For the next couple of hours we sit there and talk with the nobility. Some leave gifts of money, others seek advice and aid for problems they have within their lands. Devlin stands by and helps us respond to the more difficult requests. Then there are those who go as far as making marriage proposals. Tracy and Elliot are spared that awkwardness by making it very clear they are already spoken for. At long last we are finally released from our obligations and venture into town.

“So Jake, how many hearts did you break back there?” Elliot asks.

“Not as many as Shana and Zoe,” I reply laughing. Zoe loved every moment of it, Shana not so much.

“It was awkward! One of the boys was like twelve or something,” Shana complains.

“Come on, he did tell you that you were pretty,” Elliot says winking at her.

“Hush, you’re not helping,” Tracy scolds him.

As we enter the shopping district we decide by unanimous decision our first stop should be the tailor. We managed up to this point with only one set of clothes but magic can only get you so far. It turns out that magic has many more creative ways to cause destruction and mischief than it does cleaning up after itself. Hand washing was out of the question without a spare something to wear while waiting for everything to dry. Besides, this would be the perfect opportunity to pick out something more formal. In a week’s time Calemdor will be holding their annual ball.

“Hello there kids. I will be right with you,” the seamstress calls. I’ve noticed that anyone under the age of thirty here are referred to as kids. I’m not sure if that’s a localized thing or whether thirty is just considered young. Come to think of it, I’m not sure how old these elders actually are. “How can I help you today?” she says emerging from the back room.

“I was wondering if I could get more clothes like before?” I ask. “They turned out really well.” 

She smiles with pride and nods. “I knew you would be back.” 

She heads to the back room. I hear what sounds like rummaging through paperwork. When the rustling stops she lets out a cry of triumph and returns with a pile stacked almost as tall as she is. 

“My apologies dear, but I will need you to put each of these on so I can make the adjustments again.” She pulls out two dresses and gestures towards Shana. 

Poor Shana, here we go again. 

“No need to look ashamed deary, he seems to like you just the way you are.” She nods in my direction. 

My face grows hot and my ears burn as I watch Shana quickly disappear into the changing room. Kill me now, I think miserably.

“Woah, Jake. You look like a lobster. A boiled lobster. Do you remember when we were twelve, that time we went to that seafood restaurant with your family and you asked the waitress why she-.”

My eyes grow wide. “Zoe, please shut up!” I plead, beginning to regret inviting her along. 

“So you do remember! Your mom was sooo pissed.” Zoe laughs so hard tears form in the corner of her eyes. Elliot and Ryan look between the two of us, hopeful for an explanation that will never come even if my life depended on it. 

When the two women return the seamstress asks if she can help us with anything else. One by one we take turns discussing our personal preferences in attire. Before sending us on our way she double checks to make sure all the proper measurements have been taken to avoid any further mishaps. I make a point to thank her it on the way out.

Earlier, Devlin had suggested that we check out Calemdor’s largest and most popular tavern. He mentioned that today would be the perfect time to go since they have some form of entertainment on weekends, whether it be music, plays, or a competition.

As we make our way to the opposite side of town Zoe and the guys crack white knight jokes at my expense. It only gets worse when I try to explain I was simply thanking her for everything. Giving up, I try to distract myself with thoughts of lively music and possibly drowning myself in alcohol. If I’m going to be putting up with these clowns all day I sure could use a little relaxation.

As we wander the streets I can tell that we are headed in the right direction, the buzz of hundreds of voices carries for blocks. My spirit soars as lovely music drifts around the buildings lining the street. The others seem to share my enthusiasm, especially Zoe. Any excuse to dance is a good excuse to dance to her. Even though she’s a year older than me, she still acts like a teenager. 

No wonder she used a spell to look younger. It still baffles me where she gets all this energy from though.

A block away from the tavern the music abruptly stops and a scream pierces the air. Loud angry shouts escape through open windows. I look at the others and without saying a word we sprint towards the commotion. Flinging open the door I see a large crowd gathered in the center of the massive room. I hardly have the chance to take in the splendor of the well furnished tavern before being swept into the crowd. I desperately try to push my way to the front, trying not to choke on the smell of fear, tears, sweat, and booze. 

Glasses shatter, chairs scrape across the floor, and women plead with drunken men to calm down. The sea of patrons I’m trying to navigate becomes more and more difficult to wade through. A glass breaks near my feet and I decide I've had enough of this.

“Get out of my way!” I shout shoving my way through the masses, my party still close behind trying to clear a path. Finally I emerge in the center of the room where a young man in a guard uniform is attempting to separate two riled up male combatants. The guard’s uniform is stained dark red and he looks deathly pale, it’s a miracle he’s still standing. 

With a leap I spring forward into a flying tackle, slamming one guy to the ground. Moments later I hear either Ryan or Elliot take the other guy to the floor with a sickening thud. Locked in a battle of wills the guy before me struggles to break free, flailing his arms and kicking his feet, doing everything in his power to throw me off. A pair of hands from behind me lock around my throat in a vice grip and I start to panic. The man on the floor strikes at me with a clenched fist, winding me as he connects with my stomach. Somewhere nearby a gruff voice shouts, “Out my way filthy witch!” 

Realizing that this situation is quickly getting out of control I firmly grasp the sword attached to my waist and draw full force, smashing the hilt into the ribs of the mystery assailant. They release their grip and crumple to the floor. I stand up on wobbly legs and the room goes completely silent, all eyes on my outstretched sword as it pulsates neon blue.

Tracy looks to me in anticipation, one blade hovering over the neck of the man she took down. Zoe stands with her back turned, sword trained on the chest of a mountain-of-a-man easily twice her size. Shana kneels over the body of the young guard, tears streaming down her face. The once rambunctious atmosphere now one of suspense, waiting for me to utter a command. My throat is so parched that it burns even thinking about speaking. 

The sound of the doors nearly torn off their hinges shatters the silence, the entire Security Council appears quickly taking matters into their capable hands.


© Copyright 2018 T.J. Little. All rights reserved.

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