Magnolia slapped her face with her own hand, had she a controller the parrying and blocking would have been slightly easier. But as time went on, this tutorial had them practice until they were buckling at the knee.
She had dropped to her knees, sweat pouring from her forehead as she exhausted the last of her MP to heal everyone. After a short rest her HP and MP would rise, but that was only when there were no enemies nearby. Eugene and Alex had perfected the block and parrying. Cassidy had managed a mana shield, but that only lasted thirty seconds. She also had her own mana shield that she grew accustomed to, but Magnolia couldn’t concentrate with the boys running low on HP.
Journey congratulated them for raising their shield and parrying skills up to level 2.
“How much longer of the tutorial?” Alex asked, mostly for curiosity than anything else.
“You’re about 1/5 done with the training.” Journey chipped up happily. “You’re the second to last group left according to the data plots.
Eugene glowered. Meanwhile Cassidy groaned into her gloved hands. “I have never thought I’d say this, but we’re the game critics that suck at tutorials. We’re like that idiot who couldn’t bloody jump and soar past the barrier.”
Magnolia grimaced. She remembered this particular video on YouTube. This video also gave a poor critique on the gaming mechanics based upon the tutorial. The reason why this video was frowned upon in the gaming commuity, was because this game in question had a fairly decent platformer despite the stupid running levels. Boss fights got harder as one progressed into the story, but the music was spot on.
Alex pushed himself back up onto his feet. “Shove off, let’s blaze through the rest. Everyone knows parrying is the hardest in these roleplay games.” Any gamer would feel their pride at risk when compared to a bad game critic.
Eugene could not agree more with his friend. “Everyone ready? Let’s move on. Journey, show us the next part.”
Journey had pushed their party to the limit. Eugene went to look at the damages caused by the tutorial to see Magnolia gasping for air, Cassidy placing her head between her legs, and Alex massaging his aching hands. They were at level 6 thanks to the extra training they all committed themselves to. If anyone were to complain about that, their levels would put them to shame. If there was one thing Eugene prided himself with, it was the long hours of grinding to breeze past a game.
It was the quickest, and surefire way to make it through a roleplay that had no guides up yet.
The white faced AI, Journey, approved of their progress and cleared them from the tutorial session. A bell sound came from their wrist console and it scrolled across the screen: Quest: Tutorial Completed. A rain of experience points washed over them, as well as an item for each player. While the experience wasn’t enough to raise them up another level, it did get pretty close to it. What kept their minds off the experience was the shiny hourglass hovering by them.
Everyone gazed at the new item quizzically. Another bell sound chimed from their console, and it directed them to their main quest. Main Quest 1: Find the irregularities in Mydalr.
Journey smiled before explaining what this key item was. “This is the remnants of time. Your objective is to collect these broken pieces of time and return it to Chronos, the God of Time. He has pre-selected you as his champions to complete his mission. There are many enemies that will try to manipulate the time, but it is your duty to collect the time pieces back. This will restore time back to normal in that world and you will travel to another set location.”
Magnolia gathered the storyline and quest with relative ease. But there was something that appeared to be bugging her . Like all games, there was a chance their characters would die. The infinity marker in the top left hand corner of the console also concerned her.
“What does this infinity symbol mean?” Eugene pointed to the symbol that she had just scruntinised. Journey answered convincingly.
“That is how many lives you have. Currently you have 1 lif—” He glitched before finishing his statement. He looked confused at the infinity symbol. “Infinity amount of life. Players have infinity amount of life.” This time when Journey spoke, his dialect was stoic and devoid of the life it had before. Previously he sounded like a cheering friend, but now he sounded oddly robotic-like.
Everyone glanced as the AI’s screen blacked out. The infinity sign glared ominously to them.
“It could be a glitch in their gaming program.” Cassidy replied. She remained calm as she thought back. “We do have the safe word to use to escape the game as well. It’s not like a game over is going to do anything.”
Eugene frowned. His scaled, taloned claw stroked his chin in thought.
Alex also commented, “Eh, we get a game over we zap back and lose some experience or time maybe? We’re just beta testing anyway. What’s the worst that could happen?”
Magnolia pondered. Wouldn’t it be ironic for beta testers to get stuck into a virtual reality game? She laughed despite how ironic it truly would be. Eugene seemed to catch her glance and slight chuckle.
“Something on your mind Mags?”
She shook her head, “No. But, how do we get to this Mydalr from the Land of Time?”
Journey popped back up from the black screen as if the glitch had never occured. His white face and ghost of a smile graced them as he introduced himself again and went right into the functions of the hourglasses. “The hourglass will teleport you where you need to go. It is the compass on your journey. You will travel to many different places, all ranging from areas and of course periods. Your attire will automatically change according to the period, but for better armor classes and weaponry, you will have to update in the local armorers. Further information can be found in the manuals on Shopping (Items), Shopping (Armorer), Shopping (Weapons). Good luck.”
The four of them stared at the hourglasses in front of them. They supposed that if they were a party, their quests would be the same. Although, they did wonder where Sh4D0w_N1nj4_M4nipul4t0r was. He was the first of their group to go into the game world, so hopefully he was enjoying the game.
“On the count of three?” Magnolia stated, and all four lifted their hands up.
“One,” Magnolia and Cassidy chimed.
“Two,” Alex continued.
“Three.” Eugene finished and felt the jolt from time collapsing invertly. They clung to each other as the slowly were whisked away from the Land of Time’s tutorial grounds. It was a strange phenomena that occurred, as the ground crashed into tiny fragments of lights. Eugene looked back, more on a curious note, and saw what looked like another avatar reaching out to them. An older male, a tall green-sized Half-Orc seemed to be yelling something at them, something that he couldn’t quite figure out.
The world shifted, altered, and changed teleporting the four of them away from the tutorial grounds.
“Shit…” He gasped for air trying to catch the group before they left. He should have known this would have happened. After all, they’d been stuck in this game world for over ten years now.
His cropped-black hair cut short around half skull as he buzzed into his wrist console. “Fynn, man sorry I failed.”
A chatroom link opened up for him as the familiar face of Fynn popped up. The only difference in his persona was his scar over his left eye upon his face. His attire was that of a rogue, wearing all black from head to toe. His one functioning eye, the right, was brown.
“It’s all good Hec– Oh shit.”
The transmission cut out as Hector paused to assess what had just happened. He tapped on the chat room icon again and Fynn hurriedly responded. “Hector, Oculus is on our trail. We need to regroup and make our escape. Liz, can you lob some fire balls?” The image of Fynn’s avatar shifted as the transmission signal became a bit weaker. That didn’t stop Fynn from yelling into the device. “We’ll meet at the rendezvous. 10 minutes.” The intercom dropped and Hector pulled his hourglass from his pocket. It was three-fourths full of time dust. Activating the power of his time dust, he jumped out of the Land of Time to their safe place he knew his friends would be at shortly.