Trapped Body and Soul in a Video Game (Full Version Unedited)

Tutorial – The Decay Begins
            The current year is 2100 and the next step in virtual reality is here with the VR game Rule Humanity Online. No it isn’t a slave simulator or anything like that. It’s a hack and slash RPG where players of different skills and play styles fight to rule over the online world they play in called In Mote Homines Fluctantur or The Floating Mountain of Humanity (FMH). The player or players that make it past all fifteen challenging levels get to rule over these castles where they can do things like change the difficulty of the game, spawn rates of the enemies, and drop rates of items. Now there are limitations such as you can’t make the game too difficult or easy and this applies to drops, spawn rates etc. There are also multiple castles and the higher your castle is on the mountain, the more influence you have on the game like changing the level layouts, switching enemy types, and level gimmicks all of which are balanced but there’s enough change that it forces you to play the level differently. The player(s) at the top are also given a stat and money bonus however if another player(s) overtakes them, they will get half of the previous player’s money and bonuses.
            This game started out as a crowd funded project, but was then funded by many international governments after they saw how big the project is and the historical significance it brings as it creates a virtual world that you could live in and move around unlike prior VR games that were just games where you could only stand in place. The alpha of this game was admittedly pretty shitty since you could only use swords and physical weaponry, but you have to start somewhere I guess. So after that, they put in magic, bows, crossbows, and other kinds of special weaponry and classes that you can use in trade of your normal class. Now the game is going to be fully released with extra features not put in the beta versions and about nine hundred and more people are estimated to play it at launch since the tech required to play it is so expensive, though others are expected to join after launch week. You would think more people would be more excited to play as the first one to get to the very top castle gets ten million USD. That’s right ten million dollars! That’s enough to set someone for more than a lifetime!
            My name is Kaylen and I’m going to be the first one to beat the game you can bet on that! I’m an eighteen-year old senior high school graduate who’s been playing all kinds of games since I was a kid ranging from shooters, RPGs, sports, and yes even hentai games. You aren’t a truly experienced gamer unless you try those out. I’m pretty good at all of them and despite winning tons of money at gaming tournaments, my family doesn’t believe I can make a living this way, I’ll show them! I’m living comfortably by myself anyways on the money I’ve made…in an apartment, but that’s beside the point! I’ll be living in an actual house with a wife and all in a few short days. I’m going to dedicate my life to this game to reach the top, with breaks of course so I don’t kill myself, but full devotion none the less.
            I relax sitting up in my bed, put on my VR headset, turn it on, and say, “Begin!” to enter the game.
            Everything around me turns white then a few seconds later the game prompts me to enter my name. I enter Cazzuto Salvatori then the game shows me an intro cutscene explaining the story of the game. Humanity started out on this mountain and couldn’t really get along with each other so God lifted the mountain to the sky and will keep it here until humanity learns to get along with itself. I’m then prompted to choose my primary class. I choose sword and shield, aggressive type, then the Town of Ferrum or the town that specializes in swords and up close and personal classes. You see in this game there are five different towns you can choose as your starting area; Ferrum, Magus for magicians and sorcery, Furcifer for bows, crossbows, and thief/stealth classes, Pugno for martial arts, and finally Clypeus for defensive and support classes. If you chose mage then chose to spawn in the sword city, then you’ll have skills pertaining to both classes, but you won’t have as many mage or sword skills as someone who chose the same class for their city. You can still change and fix your character to your liking later in the game, but choosing a particular city can give you a head start in making that mixed build that you want. It feels like there’s so many options for different playstyles and yet it’s also limited so the devs can balance everything. Sure you can become a mage with martial arts (element bender) that can shoot fire or whatever magic you please out of your hands and feet (probably should make that character later) if you want, but you can’t master everything. From the way it looks, it would probably take years to build a class that can master every single skill and ability from every class. I’m not doubting someone will try, I’m just ruling out that character build in my head.
            After I finally finish customizing my character to look like myself and loading into the game, I see the town of Ferrum and all of its medieval glory. Though the town looks somewhat gloomy, the lively people in it, and the shinning sun brightens it up. Man I saw gameplay of this and didn’t think everything would look and feel this real. Without further ado, I go to the training area to test out how to play the game along with other people then go to the quest board, which is packed. After managing to get enough quests, I go out into the field out the city.
Someone puts their hand on my shoulder and says, “Hey, do you mind helping me with my quests?”
The man has crimson red hair, a short beard, brown eyes, and an average body size. He has a big buster sword on his back so he might be compensating for a tiny dick. He’s pretty much your average twenty-year old if I leave out that last detail. He appears to be going for a swordsman who can enchant his weapons.
“I’ve been following you to see what to do…. Sorry if I seem creepy.”
I respond to the awkward man by saying, “Naw man it’s cool. I can be creepy to others to. It’s probably why people like us can’t get girlfriends.”
We both laugh at our struggle in the friendzone.
            “So what’s your name? Mine’s Kason543.”
            “Cazzuto Salvatori, just call me Cazzuto. Is Kason your real name IRL?”
            “Yeah. I thought someone would pick up on that. Is Cazzuto your real name?”
            “Nope, but since we’re being so formal, it’s Kaylen.”
            “Alright. I’ll still call you by your gamer name.”
            “Cool. So do you want to do the quests now? I’d really hate to fall behind everyone especially with that reward waiting at the top.”
            “Oh shit I totally forgot about that! Let’s hurry up!”
            Once we do our quests, grind some enemies, find some secret equipment and items, we go back to town to turn in our quests.
            “That was a fun start to the game wouldn’t you say?” I ask Kason.
            “Yeah, but I still gotta practice my sword skills.”
            “It’s like I told you. You just do the correct movements the game shows you then the system will do the rest.”
            “Alright, but I still need practice.”
            “How’s this for practice? We’ll be the first to beat the first boss.”
            “What? People are still getting used to the game like us so what makes you think we can beat the boss? Were you a beta tester or something?”
            “Nah I just watched videos of the alphas and betas. It doesn’t matter if I was in the beta or not since the devs changed a lot in the game.”
            “You guys are going for the first boss?” a girl says.
            A girl with dual axes and heavy armor approaches us. Boy she’s cute.
            “That’s his idea.”
            “It is. You want to come with us cutie?”
            “Sure, but don’t call me cutie. I like being called sexy instead.”
            “Ok cutie, do you want to join us?”
            Despite her somewhat looking baby face, her voice is pretty mature. I’d say she’s around my age and she’s got attitude. I like her already.
“Sure. I’d like to see my name on the Wall of Firsts.”
“What’s that?” Kerano asks.
I tell him, “It’s a wall that shows the players who did things first like first players to beat the boss, first players to find a secret, and first players to beat the game.”
“Ah alright.”
“So now do you feel confident in beating the boss?”
“Uhhh I guess so.”
“Let’s go then before other people get the same idea,” says the girl.
As we go to the boss room, we kill enemies along the way to get some extra XP to level up a bit.
            “You’re pretty good with those axes,” I say to her, “You like being aggressive in games?”
            “I like being aggressive everywhere.”
            She winks at me.
            “I’d like to fight you to test how good you really are later.”
            “And I’ll kick your scrawny ass. Hahahaha!”
“Oooooh hahahaha!”
We finish off the enemies at I stop us at the boss gate.
“So what’s your name cutie?”
“Temere La Cagna. What’s yours? BangedYourMom69?”
            “That was actually my name in a different game, but not this time. It’s Cazzuto Salvatori and I see you did the same thing I did with your name.”
            “It’s fun putting a language you learned from your family to good use, isn’t it?”
            “It is.”
            So she took Italian from her family too? This girl is way too similar to me to be true. She even knew that I used a second language of my family. Is that just a thing that’s commonly known from where she’s from? I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.
            “My name is Kerano543 by the way. Do you want to tell us your real name IRL too? Cazzuto and I already exchange ours.”
            “Maybe if we win after the fight. I’ll even add that fight you want with me afterwards as well.”
            “Let’s get this shit started then.”
I open the doors. We go through the boss fog and see the first boss of the game. It’s a giant hollow giant with holes in its face and body. The lore that I read for this boss says that he used to be a human that tried to become big enough to safely fall to the bottom to reach the planet and pull the mountain down to put humanity back on it as well. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for him as there are limits to human strength and him surpassing them turned him into a monster and lead to him being imprisoned here. The area around him is a huge cave with parts that we can run up to, to plunge attack him, but it’s only one spot so we have to work together on this one.
“Maybe we can bring it down by cutting at one of its legs?” Cagna asks.
“That’s a good idea, but I was thinking we could plug attack it from those ledges over there,” I say, “What do you think Kerano?”
As Kerano finishes enchanting his weapon, he says to me, “Temere and I can bring its down by its legs while you go to the top and ready for the attack.”
“Good idea man.”
We enact Kerano’s plan and I watch Cagna and Kerano attack the giant while avoiding its attack with well-timed dodges and even countering the attacks with their own. I’m starting to think that I got the boring part of the plan. The giant goes down by the time I get to the top and I immediately jump down and plug my sword into its spine, finishing off the boss’s HP. The body disappears, we get XP and money rewards, and displays in big golden words ‘VICTORY’.
“That was great!” Kerano says.
“See? Told you we could do it,” I say.
“With my help of course,” Cagna says.
“It’s true Cazzuto. I don’t think we would’ve won without her.”
“I admit it, but we’ll see how good you really are when you 1 v 1 me.”
“Yeah we’ll – Oh I almost forgot!”
She poses at a light in the cave. What is she…Oh that’s right! I do a little funny pose in front of the light.
“What the hell are you guys-”
Kerano looks in time for the picture which is taken after every first moment. Something we probably should’ve told him about so I guess now’s a good time.
“No it’s not!” he yells at me, “Everyone’s going to see me with that dumbass expression on my face and it’s always going to be there!”
“And that makes it a special photo!” I say to try lessen his embarrassment.
“Ugghhhhhh. Fine.”
We make it back to town and set up our dual. For players to fight each other, they must both agree to the fight otherwise players cannot harm one another. During the fight, an invisible barrier forms around the players so no one can run from the fight. The barrier also keeps the players not too far away from each other. There are also some PVP locations in the world for bigger groups so any number of players can fight each other at one time. Cagna and I decide to have our battle in town to be show offs and for the loser’s humiliation. The countdown for the fight begins and a crowd gathers around us.
“Don’t cry when I knock you on your ass,” she says.
“Same to you cutie.”
The countdown reaches zero and she charges at me. How predictable. I counter her attack with my shield and parry her resulting in two major slashes to her health bringing it down to near half. I manage to take some damage myself because of her piercing skill that comes with her being an aggressive class of warrior. She then almost instantly goes back on the attack with a dual heavy hit with both of her axes that pushes me back a fair distance. Our health is now pretty much the same.
“You were right about you always being aggressive…I like it,” I say.
She comes at me again and I use my shield skill which makes it like a brick wall to lower or even leveled attacks, lessens piercing damage, and makes her attack bounce off it. I move with a straight stab. She tries to use the mid-air back step, but I manage to hit her which leaves her with only about one more hit left to her HP.
“Damn!” she says.
Cagna recovers and comes at me again and keeps hitting my shield with a series of fast and hard hitting slashes until the skill reaches the maximum amount of damage it can take. She then backs up and charges at me for one last hard hitting attack that may end the duel. I back up and press a small button on my shield.
“Watch this Kerano,” I say to him.
The shield’s spiral turns and stops Cagna’s assault as it makes her dizzy. Kerano and I found this shield in a secret area in the fields. It can make an enemy or a player dizzy for a few seconds and it has good parrying abilities. I might as well finish her off now that I have the chance, so I go for a lunge attack skill. I pull my arm back and lunge forward. The game propels me forward and my sword goes through her chest and impales her to the ground. ‘VICTORY to CAZZUTO SALVATORI’ is displayed above us and the crowd cheers for my victory. I give Cagna a helping hand up and she accepts it.
“Wow. If you could feel pain, that would’ve really hurt,” says Kerano.
“You can feel pain in the game,” I say to him.
“You can? So I guess it wasn’t my imagination when I took small amounts of damage.”
“You can adjust the levels of pain in the menu. Just think about which option to want and a slider will appear to adjust how much pain you want to feel ranging from real to nothing.”
“I’ve got mine close to real,” says Cagna, “I’m not a bitch.”
“Contrary to your name. Speaking about that, you told us you’d tell us your real name IRL,” I say.
“It’s Angel.”
“Angel huh? My name is Kerano,” says Kerano.
“Mine’s Kaylen.”
“You got a cute name you know?” says Kerano.
“I don’t do pretty. So did you adjust your pain levels?” Angel says.
“I think it’s good.”
“Let’s test it out then.”
Angel sets up a one hit duel with Kerano and she kicks him in the nuts. Unfortunately, Kerano set his pain levels to what Angel said so he’s in bad pain right now. After he gets up, we go to look at the Wall of Firsts to see our names, sell extra equipment we found, buy better ones, and go to the town square to relax.
“That was a fun few hours of the game,” I say.
“It was more than I expected,” says Angel.
“Same here,” Kerano says as he goes through the menus to get used to using the thought controlled and the hands on one.
“This is definitely going to be one of the best games of all time. Welp, I’m going to take a break for now. It’s time for dinner. I’ll be back in a few.”
The two say bye to me, but then something strange happens…the logout feature isn’t working. I try to manual version and it still doesn’t work.
“What’s wrong? Don’t know how to use a menu?” asks Angel.
“No I do. See if you can logout, I can’t.”
Both of them try to logout and can’t manage to.
“What the hell is going on?” Angel asks.
“I don’t know. I swear this button was lit up a few minutes ago,” says Kerano.
Everyone around us try to log out as well and can’t which starts a panic in the city. I can even hear screams of panic and fear coming from the other nearby town. The sky turns a dark purple and red color before several figures in cloaks come down to each town.
One that hovers above our town says, “Do not panic as this is now your reality.”
What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Are we really trapped here?
“If you want to escape and know the real why you are trapped here, you must reach the top of the mountain otherwise your body will die of thirst in three to five days a little bit longer if you have loved ones nearby.”
Well I’m fucked.
“The people on the outside are told that the first people here are going to speed run the game to reach the humongous prize at the top and because of that hundreds and even thousands of people will be here shortly to give you support. However, beating this game won’t be easy as you only have three lives. Lose them and you will be put into a permanent coma unless someone frees you from the top.”
At least we won’t die, but then again, a permanent coma sounds worse than death. Escape one prison just to be put into another you can’t escape from.
“Be sure to use each other and extras hidden throughout the land to survive. Do be sure to inform new players about the situation. Ut felix sit in te.”
The figures disappear and the sky goes back to the what it was before, but the sunset as been replaced with the night sky.
“May luck be with you?” Kerano says.
“You know what that meant?” I ask.
“Yes, it’s Latin.”
Angel runs away to the fields.
“Angel, wait!” I say as I grab her arm.
“Let me go! I’ve got to finish this before I die!”
She must be living by herself like me.
“I know, but we should go with you. It would be easier with a group don’t you think? Even the figures said it.”
“Besides what idiot goes into a game like this alone? Besides you.”
“Kaylen!” Kerano yells at my attempt to lighten the mood, “Don’t say th-”
“No Kerano, I understand what Kaylen was trying to do however mean it was.”
“I apologize anyways since I don’t know how to lighten the mood in any other different way.”
Angel laughs a bit.
“I guess you’re the idiot then if you know so little.”
“Hey I don’t claim to be a genius. We should probably get going.”
They both agree and we head off to a race against the clock in this fantasy world turned horror. Man, someone should hire me to write headlines!

Chapter 1 – Levels 1,2,3 - Fantasy only in appearance
            We teleport to the next floor after picking up new quests. You get the privilege to do so if you beat the boss and/or if you were in a party that did and it’s activated through the menu. This floor and the two floors above it I heard are supposed to be fantasy oriented and it looks to be that way with dragons in the sky and weird creatures that roam that landscape. Speaking about the sky, I can actually see the sky even though we’re in the mountain. It’s like there’s nothing there at all.
            “You ready?” I ask my friends.
            “Yeah,” Angel says.
            “Kaylen, how can you be this ready to face this game after what happened?” Kerano asks.
            “Standing around frozen in fear accomplishes nothing. Thinking about it too much accomplishes nothing. I’d rather do something to get us out of this situation than do either of those things that would just do more than nothing now that I think about it. It would make things worse.”
            There are also probably more people speed running the game now so I’ve got to get to the top to get the reward, but these two don’t need to know that motive.
            “You’re right, Kaylen. Sorry I was stuck on the situation.”
            “I understand.”
            “Where did you learn to be like this?” Angel asks.
            “I read old stories of survival-”
            “And played horror games. I could never get past the ones with cute scary things until I got this mindset.”
            “…Of course.”
            We go through the dungeon like valley, leveling up, picking up items, completing new quests, and picking up as many as secret items and equipment though most of it isn’t for my kind of build.
            “Let’s hurry this up. I want to have a feast of all kinds of chicken wings when I get back,” I say.
            “Oh come on Kaylen, you’re going to make me starve to death faster if you make me think of that,” says Kerano.
            “Damn it you’re going to kill us Kaylen! Now you owe me that feast when we get back,” says Angel.
            “That goes for me too!” Kerano bandwagons.
            “That’s if I tell you where I live.”
            “Nah I’m just kidding.”
            We make it to the boss room door.
            “I’ll give you guys anything if you keep helping me out,” I promise.
            “Anything?” Angel asks with a smile on her face.
            “Yeah I’ll even give you a lap dance if you want.”
            “I’ll pass being the one to receive it,” Kerano asks, “Though I will record it just to embarrass you.”
            “Me too.”
            You guys.
            The boss for this floor is a man bird demon that wields two swords. The game’s lore that we found states that it used to be another man who tried to escape this mountain by growing wings and this is what happened to him. He flies around the room at high speeds while slashing at us when he passes by that are hard to dodge and parry. The attacks also do piercing damage which the damage for is mediocre, though there is so much of it that it’s growing to be a real problem.
            “I can use my new sword slash ability that allows me to throw a slash at an enemy from a distance,” says Kerano.
            “Do it,” I say.
            Kerano’s sword lights up and he unleashes a horizontal sword slash that hits both of the boss’s wings and brings him down. The three of us hit him with everything we got until his wings grow back and flaps us away from him. He’s now more aggressive and Kerano can’t manage to hit him with his skill…I got an idea.
            “Angel! Kerano! Stand back and let me take his aggro!”
            They nod at me and go behind me. I activate my shield’s special ability when the boss heads for me. This stops him almost in front of me and so I leap to cover the distance and use a sword skill which makes me do a front flip vertical sword smash to bring him down. Kerano and Angel finish him when he reaches the ground. ‘VICTORY’ is again us for the taking. I high five them both at the same time.
            “That was amazing!” says Kerano.
            Angel agrees then says, “Yeah, I wouldn’t have beaten him if I went out on my own.”
            “So what do you say?” I ask.
            “…Thank you Kaylen.”
            Holy shit! She gives me a hug out of nowhere! Just in time for the picture too!
            “Wait what?!” she says in surprise.
            “Ha! What were you expecting? We were the first ones to beat this boss,” I say.
            “Can I get a hug too?” Kerano awkwardly asks.
            Angels tries to kick him in the nuts again, but the game won’t allow it.
            “I’ll take that as a no.”
            We return to town to rest and we find that people are eating at the in-game restaurants. When we talk fellow players about it, they say that they felt filled as if they were eating actual food. Before, food just gave to timed buffs, but now they trick your mind into feeling full? Alright then.
            “Let’s eat!” I say to my friends.
            “You’re buying right?” Angel asks.
            “Yeah. You sold most of your equipment since it isn’t for your build so I’m pretty sure that you have the most money,” says Kerano.
            “Do I really have to?”
            “Yes! And I want that feast now since you made me hungry thinking about it!” Angel says.
            “Yeah! You owe us one!” Kerano bandwagoning on Angel’s dick again.
            “Ugh. Fine.”
            They cheer and we go have a feast consisting of meats, fatty foods, and desserts.
            “Your in-game character could get fat from this you know,” I bluff.
            “No it can’t,” Angel says, “And if it can, you’ll have to carry me for the rest of the game.”
            “Like I’d carry your fat ass. Even if you still looked cute.”
            “My fat ass would still look cute. Right Kerano?”
            “No comment.”
            “See? He agrees with me.”
            “He’s just a good ass kisser. Me? I wouldn’t kiss your nasty ass.”
            Angel tries to kick me repeatedly underneath the table, but she forgets about the game rules.
            “You know I can’t be hurt right now, right?”
            “I know. I just get off on doing this.”
            “You’re into some weird shit.”
            “I was joking!”
            After dinner, we actually feel like we’re full. It’s probably a mind trick, but it’s weird cause the food tasted real. Anyway, we go up to the next floor, which is a sort of puzzle floor with rivers being blocked which blocks certain paths we need to go to. We direct and close off certain waterways to make path to where we need to go to. Once we make it to near the boss door, a group of three players approaches us. One dual wielding knight in edge lord dark purple armor, one who’s a mage maybe attack and debuff focused, and a thief looking guy with a small shield and a knife.
            The edge lord says, “We see that you’re the lead group beating the floors. How about you give someone else a try?”
            “Nah,” I say, “We’re going to the top as fast as we can before anyone dies.”
            “What about that reward at the top?”
            “It’s a nice bonus. And having our names on the Wall of First to let people know we were the ones to save them does sound like boner worthy material.”
            “He doesn’t speak for all of us,” says Kerano.
            “How about we duel to see who will fight the boss first?”
            “You got a deal edge lord. 3v3 or 1v1?”
            “It’ll be a team duel.”
            Three DPS builds versus what looks to be the same. This should be easy. We set the duel to half health and begin the duel. Angel rushes ahead as usual and goes for the thief, but he dodges her attacks. Kerano uses his sword slash ability at the mage to stop him from casting and almost brings him to half health. I go for the edge lord while using the same strategy I used against Angel which works perfectly on him to I easily defeat him. The thief gets distracted by this, leading to a double hit K.O. by Angel then it finishes with Kerano knocking back one of the mages spells back at him. ‘VICTORY to CAZZUTO SALVATORI’s group’.
            “Cazzuto Salvatori’s group?” Angel asks.
            “Yeah. You guys joined me so that’s the group name. We should probably rename it to something like…Swords of Darkness or…Blades of the Darkmoon? Knights of the Blood Oath…”
            “How about something original?” Kerano asks.
            “Nome gilda originale.”
            “Not literally asshole,” says Angel.
            We shake hands with the other group and make our way into the boss room. Her story is that she tried to seduce God and the angels to try to lower the mountain back down to the ground, but they didn’t take too kindly to this so they turned her into a snake. This one is mostly aggressive, focusing on one player at a time with unrelenting attacks with only two seconds to breath. Thankfully we get her to keep giving her aggro to someone else so the other two can do damage. Overall easy fight thanks to our numbers and skill.
As always, we rest at town and everything and go back out again. If the game is going to be like this, there’s going to be nothing to worry about. Hmmm we’ve almost spent about six hours here and we’ve only completed two floors out of fifteen not counting the third. I’m not sure about our or at least my survival odds so how about we speed things up. I mean we’re pretty tired right now though we aren’t actually physically doing anything. Kerano is going in and out (not a sex joke) and is trying to stay awake and Angel is trying to keep a straight face despite being the most tired out of us. We need to rest soon, but that’ll cost us time.
After we teleport to the next floor, which is a floor composed of lava and demons, I turn to my friends and say to them, “How about we skip some of the small stuff on this floor and go a little faster?”
“Why? We’ve been doing fine the way we’ve been doing it,” says Kerano.
“No, he’s right. By the time we beat the game it would’ve been close to three days. We still don’t know if our bodies will last until then,” says Angel.
“Right. We still need to rest for a few hours since we’re all pretty tired.”
“Oh that’s right. Why don’t we rest now?”
“I think we’re good enough to beat this boss. I mean we beat the other boss easily so let’s just do this one before we rest up.”
“You sure about that?”
“Yeah, besides the other floors are going to be differently themed so this one is like the others.”
Yes! Though the lava and enemy placement are kind of bullshit on this floor, we make it to the boss in no time. This boss is said to have tried making a deal with demons and the devil himself to lower the mountain, but it ended in the boss being turned into a huge demon and the rest of the demons and the devil being sent to Hell. The boss room is full of pools of lava and the boss throws up lava which creates more lava pools that take a while to disappear. It has a spear that it uses to try to push us in the lava with swipes and stabs. Damn, this boss fight is harder than I thought. Shit! I can barely get close to it as it spits lava close to it. This isn’t going to end wel – No! ... And it just fucking ended with our first life gone. We spawn back at our town and Kerano falls to his knees.
“Fuck!” Kerano yells.
Angel paces back and forth while angrily mumbling to herself.
“I’m sorry,” I say.
“Sorry?!” they both yell at me.
“You just cost us our first life Kaylen! We only have two more chances and we don’t even know if the next floors are going to be as bullshit as this one or if we’ll waste another on it,” says Kerano.
“Hey losing the first life usually means we should be more careful so let’s never rush through the game again.”
“And never listen to you,” says Angel.
“Don’t be so harsh on him Angel, he’s just an idiot, remember?”
“But,” Kerano says as he gets in my face, “If make us fuck up like this again, you aren’t going to have a say in major decisions.”
“I understand.”
Holy shit they’re pissed. I better be more careful to keep their trust to get through this game otherwise I won’t have any help getting to the top.
We go back to the floor and we be more careful this time while looking for better equipment or something to help us with the boss. There’s a little hidden space around the boss room with demons there that oversee the boss room that controls the lava pools. We kill them and use an item on the cauldrons which should get rid of the boss’s lava ability.
“It was only a few steps away from us! We could’ve saved one of our lives!” Kerano says.
“I’m sorry Kerano. I’ll make it up to you guys I swear! I’ll buy you guys breakfast, the hotel rooms, anything.”
“Will you stop calling me cutie?” says the cutie.
“Now that’s asking too much.”
“Haha. I don’t think I’ll ever understand you guys’ ability to crack jokes in a life or death situation like this.”
“I was going to say it’s what makes us special, but after hanging around Kaylen, I’m starting to think it’s a mental illness.”
“So you’re saying you’re retarded?”
“No! I didn’t say that!”
“Yes, you did.”
Angel pushes me and hangs me over the edge while holding my chest. Kerano lets me hang there for a little while having a laugh with her before making Angel pull me back so we can have another go at the boss. This time it’s way easier since there isn’t any lava and the boss doesn’t even have the ability to create lava pools now since we used the item on the cauldron which pours water on it. We defeat it in no time, do a quick pose for the Wall of Firsts, and head back to town to rest. I pay for the rooms as promised and go to sleep, hoping that tomorrow will be somehow be better than today.

Chapter 2 – Levels 4,5,6 – Help in Times of War
            A knock at the door wakes me up. I look at the clock and it’s eight thirty in the morning. In any other scenario, I would’ve gone back to sleep until eleven so I get up, get changed back into my armor, and answer the door. It’s Angel who’s in a purple nightgown.
            “Ooooh this must be a dream,” I say.
            “This isn’t what you’re thinking it is! A squad of ten people came into the game and they said they were with the government.”
            “They already beat the bottom floor and the first three floors.”
            “Damn. How’d they do that so easily?”
            “A part of their group is going to be in each city soon to explain themselves. So let’s go.”
            “Right, but why didn’t you change before you came here?”
            “Because as soon as learned about it as soon as I woke up and you aren’t too far from my room.”
            “But it only takes a few thoughts of the menu. What? Do you have trouble thinking?”
            She takes out her axes and hits me on the head.
            “Feel better?”
            “Good. Let’s go then.”
            We go to the town square with Kerano and see the group of supposed people from the government. Their group is composed of many different kinds of combination classes like knight mages, tank thieves, archer healers, etc.
            One of them step forward and says, “We are military soldiers and professional cops hired from the combined efforts of your and our countries.”
            Oh really?
            “At first, we were sent here to see if you were all were really going to complete this game in one go. After seeing that wasn’t true, we’ve been dedicated to helping you beat this game and give you the freedom you deserve. We were given permanent XP and currency boosts thanks to our connections to the creators of this game who unknowingly sealed their fate. You can rest assured that you will see reality again.”
            The crowd cheers, but I still want that prize at the top. They might take it if they’re going to be speed running the game at this rate.
            “Kerano, Temere. Let’s go.”
            “What is it Cazzuto?” Kerano says, “We can just lay back and relax now that we have real soldiers fighting for us.”
            “Do you really think the creators of this game will actually let them get away with this after they publicly announced their intentions?”
            “The creators of the game probably thought these guys just wanted to play the game.”
            “But they aren’t listening in, are they?” Angel asks.
            “I think they are and they’re probably going to find a way to get rid of them. We shouldn’t get too comfortable and keep going up.”
            “But what if they aren’t and we just get killed again?” asks Kerano.
            “It’s just to be certain Kerano. Trust me.”
            Kerano sighs.
            “Alright, but don’t forget that we’re going to be extra careful to avoid any unneeded challenges.”
            “I didn’t forget.”
            Ok so they still trust me. That’s great. Maybe I’ll split the money with them.
            We teleport to the next floor and it appears to be war torn with NPC humans against each other. The lore states that people couldn’t stand being this close to each other (no big surprise) and starting fighting each other because they disagreed on too many different things like distribution of power, continued worship of God, and the magical arts. It appears that some of those government soldiers are already fighting and exploring the area. I can’t let them get ahead of me and yet I can’t make Kerano and Angel speed up. Having them trust me is more important I know, but still. We kill enemies as usual and find as many items and secrets as we can. Kerano’s ability to read Latin also helps us find hidden secrets in the world which leads me to a new armor and weapon set in one of the many castles. You can pay to have these translated by the way though you’re given an extra XP and money if you find the secrets and solve the puzzles without the translation.
            We finally make it to the boss room and manage to see a few government soldiers enter the room. Damn. We’re going to have to wait a bit. The player limit to each boss fight is three, but in the beta, certain boss fights can be fought with four people. In the meantime, we watch the boss fight through the fog, watching how the boss moves and what attacks it uses. These soldiers are pretty well trained in this game despite being here for only a short while. I guess they saw how other people played it and/or the government or the creators told them certain tricks to the game. Either way, they beat the boss and let us have a go.
            This boss is one of the warlords who started the in-game war because he believed violence was the only way to counter the violence others started. As such, he switches from an aggressive mode with two axes when we attack him enough and a more subdued katana and shield when left alone. We take advantage of the moments when he switches between attitudes to get hits in or heal and defeat him without too much trouble. I swear this game is meant for more aggressive players since the last few boss fights were pretty easy for us. We should just speed along, but again, I don’t think I can convince Kerano and Angel that.
            We teleport to town to rest and recover and that’s when one of the government soldiers approach us.
            She says to us, “I’ve seen that you kids were the ones leading the charge to beat this game.”
            “We were and now you’re stealing our title,” I say.
            “Is that what you’re worried about? Being recognized as heroes?”
            “This dumbass doesn’t always think before he speaks. Forgive him, please,” Angel says.
            Thanks for the save Angel. She was about to figure me out.
            “Alright, but don’t try so hard. We’ve got this.”
            “Yes ma’am.”
            Tch. Calling me a try hard. Ha! I’ll show them. Though my chances aren’t looking too well at this rate. Maybe I should just hang back and - oh yeah! Ten million dollars and what I said to Angel and Kerano earlier move me forward so we teleport to the next floor.
            This floor is war torn like the previous, but this is between demons and corrupted humans. I guess evil can’t exist with itself. There are canons and the castles are more heavily defended than the previous, which gives this place a real war experience. I probably would’ve loved this if my actual life wasn’t a stake. Those real soldiers are probably more relaxed than the rest of us when it comes to this floor. Despite that disadvantage on our part we make it to the boss room. I swear they really put more Latin riddles here. Don’t they know Latin is a dead language? Thank God we have Kerano.
            Like the previous floor, this boss is one of the original warlords except he’s a large demon who supposedly tempted humans to fight each other. He spawns replicas of us that fight him some of the time and go after us most of the time. They look exactly like us, use the same skills, and even talk too. We have to actively talk to each other to make sure we’re who we say we are especially since we can do damage to each other.
            “I’m always the one that doesn’t crack jokes like you guys do,” Kerano will say.
            “I’m the asshole,” I say.
            “I’m the bitch in the group that isn’t Kaylen,” Angel the cagna will say.
            This constant communication helps us defeat the boss who only uses long range bows as his weapons while only moving around on occasion while he lets his mirrors of us fight for him. After achieving victory, we head back to town to do the usual, but for some reason, the government soldiers get paralyzed then fall over and disappear into embers as if they died.
            A loud voice, which is probably the one of the creators, says that, “We apologize for this inconvenience. The government soldiers that have entered the game will no longer help you.”
            I’m partly distressed but mostly pleased by this as I don’t need to worry about them getting in my way.
            “These soldiers are not dead and are in comas. They will be released when someone or people defeat the game like the rest of you when that happens. We will not allow further government associated players in the game anymore, but be rest assured as you can see, there are thousands of players here who can help you get through this. Ut felix sit in te.”
            I see Kerano begin to freak out, but I grab his shoulders.
            “Calm down Kerano! This isn’t over yet. Remember what I told you before? We planned for this so this shouldn’t affect us that much,” I say to him.
            “Thanks man. I was going to have a panic attack.”
            “You alright Temere?”
            “I’m good. Let’s just defeat this last boss then eat and sleep.”
            “You got that right.”
            Now there’s almost nothing stopping us from reaching the top. We were one of the only groups heading to the top while the others rested and relaxed so we have a two floor head start on everyone.
            This next war torn floor is the aftermath of all the battles we’ve been through on the two lower floors with bodies littering the fields with destroyed castles and scorched land.
            “I wonder if anyone is as far as us,” Kerano says.
            I say to him what I already thought.
            “But what about all those new players that joined?” Angel asks.
            “So? There’s like fifty-three thousand new players.”
            “That’s just more people who are at risk here,” Kerano says while clenching his fists in anger.
            “And it should motivate us to keep moving so let’s go.”
            “Right!” they say in unison.
            Now there two have a pep in their step so we move faster through this floor. Though we don’t really need it as most of the enemies are basically half dead and most of the secrets and items are barren as if people took them during the battle and fled with them. We make it to the boss room in no time and this boss is multiple enemies. They’re supposed to be soldiers who have grown too used to fighting that they couldn’t go a day without fighting after the war. They’re aggressive and can be dangerous in packs, but Angel’s and Kerano’s builds are well equipped to deal with this situation. They defeat the boss for me so without them I probably would’ve been gang raped by this boss. They seemed really determined leading up to and during the fight, probably because of what happened to those soldiers and the unaware players that come into the game.
            We’re actually the first people to beat this boss so we actually are ahead of everyone. Good. So good in fact that a few groups of fellow players congratulate us when we return back to town and hold a small party for the party that’s “full of courage and fearless”. Maybe I can use that as our group tagline. People crowd around us to ask us about our strategies and how we’re able to keep moving forward. Kerano tries to impress a few chicks with his sword skills and tales of how he’s one of the key members of the group. Angel shows off her skills and duels some people, who she wins against, though she doesn’t get any male admirers. Figures. I try to do both with a little style and succeed in getting people to know that I’m the leader of the group. As the party starts to settle down, I see Angel sitting on a bench by herself away from everyone.
            I sit next to her and say, “What’s up? Done showing off to the crowds of men you couldn’t attract?”
            “Well that was an unexpected answer.”
            “I thought being strong and cool would get people to like me.”
            “This is a video game. You can’t get real relationships from it unless you talk to them enough and meet them IRL where you see that they’re just assholes when they aren’t playing.”
            “But you’re just an asshole. So does that mean you’re nic- no that can’t be.”
            We both laugh at the idea of me being nice.
            “Yeah I’m an asshole everywhere so I’m always honest.”
            Angel looks at the sky.
            “Even though it’s fake, the setting sun here looks nice.”
            “Well that’s what millions of dollars can do in a game.”
            “Can we just enjoy this together?”
            Attempting to make a move…I move closer to her and put my hand on hers. She jolts a bit in surprise, but lays her hand back down.
            “What? You said you wanted to enjoy it.”
            “I uh…yeah.”
            She lays her head on my shoulder. Attempt successful!
            “Wait, I think the game is glitching,” she says.
            “What? What’s happening?” I say with concern.
            “You’re actually being nice.”
            “Well I am good with the ladies if you haven’t noticed cutie.”
            After laughing and enjoying our time together, we go to the hotel to rest for a few hours before going out again. I wonder if Angel actually likes me now. We’re probably not the first ones to fall in love because of this situation, but what I said earlier makes me worry about how she is IRL. I’ll just take this one step at a time. We’ll get out of this game and she’ll definitely love me when I get the prize money. Two of the best prizes a man could get in one go. Love and money to set us for life. This game is better than I thought.

Chapter 3 – Levels 7, 8, 9 – A Horrifying Turn of Events
            We only take a few hours to sleep then head out to the next floor. This one is full of zombies and horrifying monsters. After the in-game war, the violence and hate that it made gave birth to these monstrosities. The monsters are more aggressive and use surprise/jump scare tactics such as having their back turned to us only to have a monster pop out of their back and instantly attack us. These ones are distinguished by bubbling backs so it can be easy to counter the surprise attack if we keep a sharp eye out for the small details. The monsters also have grab attacks that go through our blocks, which are more or less rape attacks that do enough damage for us to be careful of them. There are even mimic (bullshit) chests that attack us when we open them and grow legs and teeth. They do however drop good items. On the other hand, it is funny to see Kerano get tentacle raped by a disgusting looking monster that wants to cuddle with him. I try to get Angel into one of these traps though I can’t manage to. I think she notices this and almost gets me raped by a slime gIRL. No thank you, I am not into fucking jelly. Kerano however gets grabbed instead of me. He’s such a great friend.
So after Kerano pretty much gets molested by every monster, we make it to the boss room. It’s a big monster with sharp tentacles-
“Ah damn it!” Kerano yells.
            -for a head, arms, and legs. It uses mostly grabs-
            “Fucking Hell!” Kerano yells again.
            -and stab attacks so it can use its deadly close range attacks…and to use tentacle rape attacks (not really rape but it looks like it along with the others).
            “I swear to God I’m going to fucking put the game creators into a virtual hentai game!”
            Speaking about them, they aren’t Japanese so I don’t know why there are so many tentacles on this floor. Maybe it’s for a laugh or they’re inspired by Japanese games.
            “Die! Die you fucking piece of shit!” Kerano yells as he goes full psycho on the boss.
Anyways it’s supposed to be a monster that is born from a mixture of love and hate which were emotions that were high during the war. Thankfully we can parry and/or counterattack its attacks with our own to make this a boss of constant attacks and aggression, perfect for Kerano’s pent up anger. We defeat it and Kerano shows both middle fingers for the Wall of Firsts picture and we do the same.
“That’s right! Fuck this fucking floor dude. Fuck it!” Kerano (you know what tone of voice by now).
After this fun filled floor, we rest, turn in quests, and sell items and equipment we don’t need as always. Before we head out, a group of people who are composed of different builds like the government soldiers approach us.
“Hey Kerano,” one of the guys say.
“Hey guys. Temere, Cazzuto, you know about my little group here don’t you?”
“You whore. You got all these people sucking your dick?” I say.
“Well I need more than you guys to satisfy me.”
“Ohhhhhhh,” his little posy says.
“Wow. Jokes from you?” Angel asks, “Do I need to kick you in the dick again?”
“Let him have his group Temere.”
“Thank you Cazzuto.”
“He needs more than his sword to compensate for his small dick.”
“Ohhhhh,” Angel and I say.
“Wow Kerano. These are the people you play the game with?” one of the gIRLs ask. Man she’s pretty.
“Yeah. I know they can be the worst, but they have their moments that make them worth staying with.”
I give him a bro hug.
“Hey don’t shower me with all your affection Cazzuto. Temere might get jealous?”
“I saw you two last night.”
Angel starts blushing.
“Well we’ve only kind of started we aren’t actually a thing yet you know? You’ve actually got to meet someone IRL to do that. Right Temere?”
“I uh, right.”
What? Did she really think that -
“Well whatever. You guys are cute together.”
He pats me on the back.
“Anyways what do you have to report?” he asks his group.
“We’re growing our guild and we’ve been grinding for the best equipment.”
“We’ve also got some new players just playing as blacksmiths and merchants to get us discounts on everything else.”
“A few of our higher-level players are completing floor 6 as we speak and should be catching up to your friends and you.”
Damn it.
“Good. Well continue with your work and good luck.”
“Yes sir!” they say as they salute then walk off.
“Wow Kerano. I didn’t know that you lead an army,” I say.
“I’m actually leading the largest guild in the game. I gathered them at the party and now we’re doing everything we can to beat the game.”
“There isn’t any other guild doing this?” Angel asks.
“Not anymore since we’ve convinced them to join ours to focus everything into one group. Everyone gets paid according to their skills and needs.”
“So you’re a communist group?”
“No not really. Anyways we should probably get going.”
“Yeah. Let’s go. We wouldn’t want your underlings to get ahead of us,” I say.
“Haha right. I’ve got to show them why I’m the boss.”
Wow Kerano. I’ve gotta say I’m impressed with your ability. I just hope your little group won’t get in the way of me winning the prize.
We teleport to the next floor and this one is a deserted town with close corridors and a gothic feel to it. The enemies here appear to be monsters created by science and the lore books and items we find supports this. What we find states that humans tried using science to evolve humanity past its current state to try to make itself on the level of or higher than God Himself, but it failed as the materials that exist can’t do that. They weren’t even to be like the angels or demons. So the people of this town were turned into horrible monsters scarier and uglier than anything I’ve seen on the previous floor. Some of them are insane and are crazy aggressive even when they take a lot of damage while others are scared and run away from us. Guess who drop good items and equipment? Right. The guys that become fucking Olympic sprinters when they see a sliver of you around the corner. Thankfully Angel uses her rushing ability and Kerano uses his sword slash to catch these guys. I’m starting to think I shouldn’t have gotten a simpler sword and shield build, but then again, I probably couldn’t have beaten Angel without it.
The boss room is in a cathedral and the boss herself is a nun who turns into a dragon. It is said that she fell in love with the devil and the dragon is his son. So in a way we just saw the most fucked up birth scene this side of the deep web. The dragon attempts to use the stone sword and shield of the cathedral to fight us like a demon solider, but it’s fairly easy to bring him to half health our teamwork. He then drops the weapons and acts like a pissed off dragon while breathing fire and charging all over the place. This is where one of my shield abilities Iron wall comes in as I use it when he charges at me to make him grind to a stop. Angel and Kerano attack him while I act as an impenetrable wall leading us to another glorious victory. We do our little victory photo then head back to town.
Full of energy and the adrenaline of winning, we head out to complete another floor before eating and sleeping. I don’t think we’ll want to eat or sleep after completing this floor since it looks like we’re in an area completely made of flesh. I turn down the sense of smell feature in the menu as do Kerano and Angel. The monsters are like aborted children and other things that are not appropriate for the general audience let’s just say. I also hate that the special items and equipment are hidden behind phallic looking areas that we have to open with our hands. Gesh. I don’t even want to know the lore for this place. Once we reach the end of the area, we slip off and fall onto solid darkness. The area itself then comes to life and is the boss. This monster is said to be of the devil’s first creations that perfectly shows the evils of mankind and man do I believe that! It’s incredibly huge and disgusting – How the fuck are we going to defeat it?! We try to bring it down by cutting its thin ankles and it does bring him down however this is only the first part of the boss fight. What I can only assume to be the butthole opens up and invites us in.
“Well you should be used to this Kerano. This is all you man!” I say to him.
“Uh uh Kaylen we’re fucking this butthole together!” he says.
Angel drags me into the butthole (something that would sound better in a different scenario) and we traverse its body while killing smaller creatures in it and destroying its internal organs. This makes the boss melt and gives us a dirty victory. People are really going to love the story as to why we look so disgusting in the Wall of Firsts picture.
We return to town all smelly, but victorious, but still smelly as the shitest of shits. I guess it’s good as time as any to take a bath. We go to the only place in-game to wash off which is a bathhouse/spa. Kerano got his group to get us discounts on special treatment thanks to their merchant status. He brings a few other people from our group to give us company and we get a good wash and massage that give us temporary stamina and health buffs.
A messenger comes up to us after the bath and reports to Kerano, “We found a special area on floor 8 that holds a powerful weapon. The problem is, is that the building that the weapon is held in is said to be difficult and when it kills you, you feel relive the pain of dying forever until a fellow player can you put you back together with a ritual.”
“Hmm I don’t think it would be wise to go after it then if it’s that much trouble,” Kerano the pussy says.
“Kerano,” I say, “We’ve been through many horrors and challenges today. I think we can handle a challenge two floors below us.”
“I don’t know Cazzuto. The consequences do seem severe if they’re true.”
“High risk, high reward. You know how it goes. You can even bring your gang with you if it makes you feel better. More people watching each other’s back means less chances of death right?”
“I guess you’re right. Let’s go for it then.”
I’ve heard about this weapon in the beta. It’s supposed to be a sword that can leech off the health of enemies and recover your lost health after you take damage. I can also use this opportunity to demoralize Kerano’s little group if the rumors of how the deaths are, are true. It can essentially gift me the victory at the top if everything works out.
Kerano gathers five of his best soldiers and we teleport to the eighth floor and go to the building that supposedly holds the weapon. It’s a…school. Ok. A pretty creepy and odd school at that too though I don’t see any enemies. We all separate and investigate the school in groups of two. Angel suddenly shrieks and clings to me.
“What is it cutie? Afraid of the dark?”
“No! I saw a ghost down that hallway! It was missing its eye and mouth.”
Oh shit son this place just got more interesting.
“Well don’t you worry now. I’ll protect the little princess.”
“Shut up.”
“And how does a ghost scary you and not what we saw during the last floor?”
“Because I didn’t expect it.”
“Oh alright.”
Liar. We walk through the hallways while hearing strange noises echo through the school. It gets louder and louder until we can finally recognize the sounds as screams of help. We run towards the source and several members of Kerano’s group of been brutally smashed, sliced, and disfigured by traps in the floors, ceiling, and walls.
I back up and look for where a trap might be around us and this wall looks weir-
“Watch out!” Angel says as she pulls me behind her and gets hit with the trap which slices her in twos.
Her face, body, arms, everything gets sliced into two pieces then they get spread around the school. Damn it! I didn’t want it to be this way. I turn around to see Kerano on his knees picking up the pieces of his comrades.
“Kaylen!” he says in a livid voice.
“Angel got-”
“Yes, I saw what happened. You go after her then come back and help me.”
“Got it.”
I go around the school picking up pieces of Angel’s body while avoiding bullshit traps set by these spirits. They’ve only started to come into effect as I’m assuming that the ghosts are programmed to lure in unsuspecting players in far enough then activate these traps. I can’t believe I’m even doing this. Sure I don’t need to carry her body parts as they’re claimed as special items, but still. Ok. I manage to get all of her body parts so now I need to do that ritual they were talking about. I search the school and find a library that tells me the ingredients and words needed to say to bring back everyone that died. They have to be in the school and hello there. I see the sword hidden behind a secret room covered by a chalk board. I open it and get the sword we’ve been searching for.
Kerano enters the room and asks me, “Did you find Angel’s body parts?”
“Yeah. I also got a list of items and words we need to have to resurrect everyone. I got the sword we were searching for as well.”
“What?! It’s only a single-handed sword?! Did you know about this?!”
“I uh, heard about it in the beta.”
“So you knew we were getting a weapon that only you could use.”
“Not really. Other people in your group can do it too and-”
“Whatever let’s just save our friends. Now tell me what we need.”
Kerano and I search the school and thankfully find all the items we need in the school. We resurrect everyone outside the school and they appear to think that they’re still feeling the pain they felt before. After a few minutes of trying to get them to calm down, we bring them to town where they can fully relax after we get a few casters to use a calming spell on them. Now they just appear to be dea- really tired now especially Angel who just leans her head against me.
“You too are on your own now,” says Kerano.
“What are you talking about Kerano? We’re supposed to be the leading group. Best friends too.”
I hold out my hand, but he smacks it away.
“You cost us the lives of my group and your girlfriend for your own gain. I told you I would do something like this you would never have a say in a major decision again. Well I’m going to clear the way with my own group. You can thank us later.”
“Are you really going to take that big prize at the top for yourselves?”
“I don’t give a fuck about that. Is that really what you’re worried about? The money?”
“Not really I just-”
“I don’t even want to hear your explanations anymore. Come on Angel.”
Kerano tries to pull Angel up, but she clings to me.
“Come on Angel. You only have one life left and this dickhead costed you the first two!”
He tries again and fails.
“You know what, you’re right Angel. Even though I hate you right now Kaylen, you need someone to protect you. Goodbye.”
Kerano and his groups leave us to go to another hotel to rest. Angel and I go to the same one we always go to, but she still won’t let go. I guess I got someone to sleep with me tonight. Weirdly enough the game allows us to sleep together as if the creators expected this which I don’t doubt. I actually prefer it to be this way and not for the obvious reason but for the fact that protected me and died in my place. I’ll repay what you did for me Angel. I swear it on my life.

Chapter 4 – Levels 10,11,12 – Pallet Cleansing
            I wake up the next morning still in bed with Angel. She’s still clinging to me as if I’m going to leave. When she wakes up when I start to move, she still clings on.
            “What’s wrong Angel? I’m not going to leave you.”
            “I know. It’s just that I’m afraid if you do.”
            “Because I try to be aggressive and tough to everybody to get friends. I haven’t been able to get any so when you treated me like a friend then I knew I couldn’t lose you.”
            “Hey you are tough. You saved my life and you’re the strongest person on the team. Now stop being so sad and be that strong gIRL I know you are.”
            “Ha. You stop being so nice and be that asshole I know.”
            “I’m trying to be good after what you did for me, but fine, you asked for it.”
            I kick her off the bed.
            “I thought I paid for a sexy whore, but all I got was this ugly bitch!”
            She instantly gets up.
            “Fuck you asshole! You wouldn’t know a good ass if it sat on your face!”
            “Oh that’s a good idea. That’s also the Angel I know.”
            She smiles and punches me in the face. We laugh then go out to the next floor.  I was expecting more horror, but this floor is a beautiful field of roses, wildlife, and vegetation. I look into the lore and it appears that after all the death of the previous horror and war floors, life began again and this is what it looks like. The monsters aren’t even aggressive here even when I go over to pet them.
            “Touch them Angel, they don’t bite.”
            Angel is hesitant to touch the wildlife, but when she does, it takes a liking to her and walks a short distance to dig up a new axe for her.
            “What? Where’s my sword?!”
            “Ha! You don’t get one!”
            The animals here seem to be the ones giving equipment and special items. All we have to do is appease them somehow. We have to ask certain NPC animal researchers to get hints as to what we need to do for certain ones, but it’s worth it for better equipment. Angel and I got brand new armor sets and I even got a shield that can deflect certain types of magic attacks. Since there are no real obstacles, we make it to the boss room and the boss is huge cute bunny, hamster, cat thing. There are multiple fruits and things to use to take care of the boss. Apparently, the lore states that this…thing…chimera…thing I don’t know how to describe it, was born from the peace that came after all the suffering and death and keeps this place the way it is. We literally take care of it as it were a pet. What the fuck? I guess this was just a puzzle floor, but still. I just got all this new stuff and I wanted to test it out. To my surprise, a camera takes a picture of us as we finish taking care of the big cuddly thing so that means we’re the first to get past here. That also means that Kerano must be helping his group get past the lower floors though I don’t think he can help them fight the bosses since you can’t grind them in this game.
            So after that, Angel and I try them out at the training fields back at town and they work wonders especially my new sword and shield. Angel’s axes are also pretty cool as they have extra reach when she uses them. The weapon elongates the blades when she uses them and they can cause bleeding damage as well.
            “You know I never expected to be so powerful in this game especially when I started,” Angel says, “I thought I would need to do some rough physical training, but I did it all naturally.”
            “Well the game lets you do it if your stats match up. If you did anything you did in the beginning in real life, you wouldn’t be able to.”
            “Yeah but-”
            “But this is a video game.”
            “I know but-”
            “But this is a video game.”
            “I get that but I wish-”
            “Butt, this is a video game.”
            “Oh fuck you.”
            “Hahaha. You should know most things in this game are fake.”
            “What about our relationship?”
            “I think it’s pretty real since we’re both assholes. We’ll know for sure when we get out of here.”
            “I can’t wait that long!”
            “Don’t worry, I’ll be with you until then.”
            She hugs me and I hug back. Keeping up with her usual attitude, she knees me in the crouch. Thank God the game doesn’t count it as a hit.
            “You better not be lying!”
            “I promise.”
            We go out to the next floor and it’s similar to the last with the main theme being puzzles, but this time we help people as in help them with chores, finding lost people, solving word puzzles and moving puzzles etc. It’s so weird that the game is like this more than halfway through. Yeah I get that times after such war and violence would usually bring about peacefully times like this, but it’s still so strange to me that I can’t get over it. I would have to say that the game is preparing us to just use our minds to solve problems. I think we might’ve already hit the level cap at forty since I haven’t gained any in a while. The people here gift us with more equipment and items and hints as to how to use more special kinds of equipment like leg armor that help us dodge and run faster and body armor that can lessen the damage of falls.
            With no trouble like the last floor, we make it to the boss room and hey it’s an actual fight! It’s a veteran from the wars and violence that have plagued this mountain. He’s dedicated in training soldiers to ensure that the atrocities of the past never happen again. He fights in variety of build styles including mage, swordsman, thieves, archer, everything basically. We have to put all of our knowledge and skills to defeat him. He’s very skilled at fighting both of us at the same time. He can almost instantly attack from behind him even when he’s attack me when I try to tank his hits as a distraction. It’s a real fight that I’ve been aching for and it is finished when I get to deflect his lightning bolts back at him. He doesn’t die, he just gets brought to one knee or more accurately, kneels to us. We show the same respect as the camera takes our picture.
            Since we’re on a roll, we go straight for the next floor and it’s…different. It’s still the same beautiful floors as the previous ones, but the monsters here fight us and don’t die. The only way to bring them to heel is to fight them as if they were mini bosses. They then kneel like the previous boss then don’t bother us anymore. We fight like five to six of these, which don’t give us any equipment or items to help us fight the boss so we just have to go with experience for it. No never mind that now as the boss uses a completely different fighting style than any other monster or human soldier that we fought before. It’s a warrior angel who supposedly taught man how to fight in the beginning of time. She has an odd way of fighting as she can use both close and long ranged attacks at the same time, which makes it a co-op focused boss fight or in other words pretty fucking cheap, but then again, pretty much everyone in this game fight together. It would be completely suicidal and fucking stupid to solo this game. Good thing I have my shield to deflect most ranged magic attacks and Angel is quick on her feet to dodge most of the attacks. The boss then screeches out and prepares for a big attack after we bring her down past half her health. She absorbs light, earth, and wind while we continue to attack her. The light around her changes from red to blue to black to white.
            “Angel! Get behind me!”
            Angel gets behind me as I think the boss is ready to let loose her attack.
            “Get ready to use party potions and buff items on me. Ready…”
            Everything goes silent and blinding white before we see the boss have seven arms with seven different kinds of weapons in her arms prepared to attack.
            Angel uses items on me as I tank the boss’s attacks. These attacks hit hard and flow into one another as if the boss is doing a deadly dance of blades and magic. The orchestral soundtrack of the game follows suit and after a twenty-hit combo the boss finishes the dance with a huge crushing attack that calls down light from Heaven above.  Everything stops again even the music as the boss finishes in a bow. Angel walks out from behind me and bows too and I just fall the fuck over with 1 HP just as the camera takes our picture and the boss fight ends.
            “Haha. So I guess it was a good choice to put points in my luck stat.”
            “You son of a bitch. I’m just going to leave you here.”
            “Please don’t.”
            She starts to walk away.
            “Angel? Don’t do this to me cutie.”
            She keeps walking for a few more seconds before using coming back to pick me up. Whew. Got me worried there for a second. We go back to town to rest and eat. We watch tons of people walking around getting busy with the game or resting as well.
            “There are so many people here now than before,” Angel says.
            “Yeah. What’s the player count now?”
            “Almost a million.”
            “Wow. Do you know if anyone lost all their lives yet?”
            “I think so, but I’d rather not think about that especially since we have so little time.”
            “Oh shit! I just realized we’ve been playing this game for two days and a half!”
            Angel falls completely silent.
            “I don’t know if my body is going to be in any condition to get up by the time we get out of here.”
            She grabs and holds my hands.
            “Then let’s hurry up and finish the last few floors!”
            “But the thing is, I don’t know what the condition of my body is. I might even be dead right now and just a ghost in the system.”
            “Don’t you fucking say that to me! I want to be with you as soon as I get out of here!”
            “So why don’t we spend some time here together in real relaxation? There’s a chance that you’re in the same condition like me and we’re both basically dead.”
            Angel goes quiet for a second again.
            “But what if we still have a chance?”
            “Ok then. Let’s do both. We’ll spend a little time out then we’ll go out to finish the game so we don’t regret it. Deal?”
            “Deal I guess, but where are we going to go?”
            “How about the tenth floor? It was beautiful there and the monsters seem to like you.”
            “That does sound like a nice place. Ok let’s go then.”
            We teleport to the tenth floor, find a nice spot, and sit underneath the trees with the animals and enjoy each other’s company. Suddenly we hear rustling in the bushes and several players that look like they’re from Kerano’s group walk out and approach us.
            One of them says to us, “Do you think we can join you guys?”
            “Sure,” I say.
            “Thanks. We overheard you guys and thought that we should do the same.”
            “It’s fine. You don’t have to explain yourselves.”
            They come over and lay in the grass with us.
            After a while, one says, “You know I wish there was a place where we could just force our way out of the game and log everyone out.”
            I say, “I’d imagine it to be a completely white room with a stone panel in the middle and the whole thing would be guarded by an unbeatable boss monster. But then again, it’s a stupid idea to think a place like this exists in the game.”
            “But what if it did?”
            “Then the creators would only give you a few seconds to play with their source code before kicking you out and deleting the area.”
            “So it could’ve existed?”
            “I would say no. Because you would need some God level intellect and skill to learn and play with their source code especially in a game like this, which is a first of its kind. Even if someone like that existed in this world, most of the gamers here are around thirteen to fifty years of age. No one in that age range could possess such abilities.”
            “It would be cool if it was a person in a fictional story.”
            “Not really, cause a character like would completely break any tension in it.”
            “You really like ruining people’s fun imagination don’t you mister knowledgeable man don’t you?” Angel asks.
            “Hey I’m just using common sense. It doesn’t take a genius to realize what’s wrong with the concept if you saw it written down on paper and put more than three seconds of thought into it.”
            “Let’s just go back to relaxing.”
            We relax together for hours until sunset where everyone including the animals are sleeping. Angel looks so peaceful right now so I’d rather not wake her up to tell her that we’ve been here for too long. I look at the clock to see that a whole three days have past since we started the game so that means I should be dead by now. I cuddle up closer to Angel and close my eyes for what I think to be my last moments with her.

Chapter 5 – Levels 13, 14, -1, - Not so Far Ahead, but also so Close to the End
            I open my eyes to see the beautiful area around me with Angel still close to me with a smile on her face – and our game armor still on?! I’m still alive?! Kerano’s friends are gone so are we still alive?! I try accessing the game menu and it works! I jolt up, which wakes up Angel.
            She instantly takes out her axes, one of which hits me, before asking, “What?! What’s happening?!”
            “We’re still alive!”
            “It’s been more than three days and we’re still alive in this game.”
            “So we still have a chance?!”
            “I guess or maybe our souls are trapped in this game.”
            “What? How can that even be?”
            “I don’t know and I’d rather not worry about it anymore let’s just finish this game already.”
            We go to floor 13 and to my surprise it is a PVP only floor where players are fighting to get ahead of each other to get to the one of the first castles that control the mountains. Once a player is defeated, they respawn back at the entrance just to go back into the fray.
I stop one of them, who’s a dancer knight with brown hair, to ask, “Do you lose lives if you die here?”
She answers, “I don’t think so. I’ve died like four times already.”
She then swings at me with her rapier which I parry and Angel and I defeat her in a couple swings as she’s staggered. The gIRL then responds back at the start.
“Screw this! I’m going to take a break!” she says as she teleports away.
“What do you think Angel?”
“We should probably just run through them and if they decide to fight us then we’ll tank the shit out of them together.”
“I can get behind that plan.”
“Well you’re going to have to get behind me.”
“Even better.”
“Not that way! Haha! At least not yet.”
“Haha! Alright let’s get to that castle.”
Angel charges forward like a multiheaded spear while I protect her from behind. I was going to joke about protecting her behind, but I’m more interested in what we can do when we take over the castle. We manage to get to the castle gates and Angel pushes open the door while I tank the hits from the other players. She gets the door open and we go into the castle. A huge throne room with a few floors to it on the sides. On the throne sits a single player who looks like he has a mage/archer build.
“You’re the first ones to make it here,” he says.
“What? You didn’t know that other people were fighting outside?” I ask.
“There are? I was wondering why I haven’t been challenged yet.”
“How did you get here by yourself?” Angel asks.
“I didn’t. The rest of my group lost a life each on the boss fight so only I get the castle and I will protect the castle for their honor until they come back!”
He takes out a crossbow, which lights up red and starts shooting magical fire bows as if it were an assault rifle. We take cover behind the pillars in the room and think of a plan through text party chat. I come up with the idea to keep him distracted while Angel quickly goes around the back to destroy him since he’s just a mage archer. She agrees and we enact our plan. He focuses on me as I walk towards him with my shield taking his constant barrage of hits. Angel then uses her speed to quickly go around and gets close enough to attack. The color of his bow changes to yellow and shoots Angel away with a barrage of lightning shotgun blasts. She quickly retreats to the closest pillar to heal up. The guy then switches to a poisoned light machine gun to continue his assault on me. I back off behind the closest pillar to use an antidote and to catch my breath.
“My crossbow can change into any form of gun. It only has so much ammo per type. I thought I’d tell you just to keep things fair.”
“You’re such a nice guy,” I say.
“My group thought that too. We were together since the beginning of the game.”
“Did one of them happen to be a gIRL with a rapier sword and brown hair?”
“Yeah actually one of them was. Did you stop her from coming here all with the rest of them?!”
“No, she kind of just gave up to rest for a bit. I’m sure she’ll be back.”
“Hahaha. Well that is like her.”
Suddenly the guy is smashed across the room by Angel who must’ve been sneaking around to him while we were talking.
“Good job Temere,” I say.
“I hate long talking sessions,” she says.
The ruler is defeated and is teleported away. A camera then takes a picture of us sitting on the throne. I guess even though we weren’t the first rulers of the castle, we do get the picture of being the first to conquer a player controlled castle. We look through the options of what we can do. Hmm. Use this place as a respawn point, restore health here, buy weapons and items at a discount, have our own vendor, change the drop rate of items within fair boundaries, change respawn rates of enemies within the same as before, change character appearance? Ok. We don’t really touch any of it and just go up to the next level. The castle will be defended by shadows of both of us that are slightly weaker than us while we’re gone. Thankfully we don’t need to beat both castles to advance.
This floor is completely different in terms of battles as players don’t really seem to be fighting one another and are just attacking the empty air around their enemy. There are far fewer players here too as if no one wants to complete the game even though we’re directly below the final area. When one of them does get defeated, they don’t spawn back at the start of this floor. A few of them give up to head back to the start.
I catch one of them to ask, “What’s going on here?”
“You don’t want to be here man. If you die here, one of your three lives get taken away.”
“Oh shit.”
Another one says, “We’ll just wait for someone else to beat the game. I can’t bring myself to kill anyone.”
They all teleport away.
“I’m not going to kill anyone Kaylen unless they get in our way,” Angel says.
“No, there’s no need to even do that. These people don’t want to die so let’s just swing around them while charging through. I’ll be leading this time.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll protect your ass.”
“Thanks. It’s precious to me.”
We charge through the small crowds of players and reach the castle gates with little to no trouble as people are afraid to kill us and/or be killed. Angel opens the gate while I try to stop approaching players by swiping at them. I accidently hit one which kills him. Everyone looks at me with fear in their eyes before running away.
“Oh fuck…Oh fuck!” I yell.
“Forget it for now Cazzuto let’s go!”
Angel grabs my hand and pulls me into the castle. It’s more spacious, looks fancier, and has more floors than the other one. However, there aren’t any dining tables like the other one and it’s just empty in the middle. There are many tombstones near the throne, which can only mean we aren’t the first ones to beat this castle before with a player as a boss.
The new ruler of this castle stands up and says, “You shouldn’t have come here together.”
“What are you talking about? Why not?” Angel asks.
“You’ll see.”
This girl, who’s the ruler, uses a similar style to Kerano where he can enchant her weapons, but she also dual wields like Angel. She even has Angel’s speed as she goes straight for her. I try to help, but her reactions are quick and difficult to parry though Angel is just as good or even better than her when it comes to aggression and quick thinking. The only thing I can do is distract her and pin her against Angel so she can do a lot of damage when she can. Oh! I got an idea. I leave myself a noticeable enough opening so she notices to come behind me to hit me, but I have my parry ready before she does so I counter her the moment she attacks me and cut her head clean off. The battle is finally over.
“Damn it! This is the second time I killed someone!” I say.
“Hey I was a part of this too so you didn’t do it alone. We also had to do this. We couldn’t have advanced without her losing a life.”
An announcement voice comes on and says, “There can only be one ruler of this castle. You must fight each other to the death to determine who it is.”
“What the fuck?!” Angel yells.
“You are also both reduced to one life. Life or death. One or the other. The choice is up to your battle.”
A duel begins and an invisible barrier traps us. We can’t escape out of this.
“Fuck!” Angel screams at the top of her lungs, “Kaylen!”
“Angel! I can’t do this.”
“I’ll kill myself so you can survive.”
“No, don’t! This is a duel and you can’t hit yourself with your own weapons. We have to settle things this way.”
Angel yells again activating her aggression buffs. I quickly activate my own buffs as well.
“Give me a fight then. A real fight that we can both brag to the loser about when either you or I leave this fucking game.”
“You got that cutie.”
We both charge at each other and collide with our weapons. Angel lets out a flurry of blows while I absorb them to add to my attack though it does cost me quite a bit HP. I then parry some of her attacks to release some of the damage and heal with my special sword. Our health is already quite a bit past the half way point.
“You’re pretty good, but you’re holding back, aren’t you?” I ask.
“How can I not?!”
“You asked for a real fight. Bring it on you pussy. This will decide who’s really better than the other.”
Angel yells at me as she charges with tears in her eyes. I can feel the same, but I have to fight. She charges up like the last boss we faced. She’s able to do that dancing attack move? Well shit. Gotta turtle up. I reactivate some of my buffs and others I haven’t used to stand a chance. A light coming from her blinds me before I see her come out of it with a barrage of heavy hits and slashes. It’s like the boss’s except she doesn’t hit as hard, but it she still hits incredibly hard. The finishing blow is coming. This is the moment that decides who lives. I get hit with Heaven’s light from above and stand my ground as my HP slowly decreases into the red. I close my eyes as wait for the result and after a few seconds, it’s determined.
Angel’s HP is drained because of that move and she’s cooling down. We’re both at one percent health without a moment’s notice, I quickly shuffle forward to deliver the final blow to her chest.
She smiles and says, “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Angel’s avatar burns away and the I go to sit on my throne.
Damn it. She’s going to be in a coma until I beat the game. I’ve got to get going instead of sulking here, but…who’s going to help me? Maybe Kerano will, but I don’t know about him. Hopefully someone in town will help me. I take a few minutes to rest and get myself together. One of the many privileges that this castle gives me is special armor that can be crafted at a significantly lower price. I also fully upgrade my sword and shield with both getting new appearances. My shield can deflect most magic attacks save for really powerful ones. My sword can now leech more health and get more health back when I lose it. It also has the ability to let me use a buff, which trades health for greater DPS. I can turn it on and off and if I use it right, I can keep getting health while attacking with full force as if I had Angel’s DPS level, which was higher than mine. I let a shadow rule over the castle and leave without even looking at what I can do with my new power. Angel’s life is all that matters to me right now.
I teleport to town and look around to see who’s available to help. Kerano suddenly appears in town. Did he really just…
“Hey Cazzuto. I need your help. I just lost a life to the final boss and-”
I kick him in the nuts.
“Why do people always do this to me?”
“Because you’re supposed to be the smarter one and you lost a life?!”
“Look I’m sorry, but you have to help me.”
“I will and we’ll beat this game. If it comes down to one us losing a life, I’ll do it. I still have two lives left.”
“Ok ok. You seem more dedicated than before. Where’s your girlfriend?”
“…She lost all her lives.”
“She’s in a coma then. You guys were going for the fourteenth floor boss weren’t you?”
“Yeah and we didn’t know about how the game chooses rulers until it was too late.”
“I’m sorry. My group is trying to block access to one of those castles and inform people, but I guess they weren’t able to get to the other one yet.”
“So what happened with the final boss?”
“It’s pretty tough.”
“You got a plan?”
“Yeah. There’s a few extra floors below these towns that will weaken it.”
“How do you know that?’
“I’ve been reading some of in-game lore and they hint towards it, but it’s guarded by three powerful guardians on three levels.”
“Why don’t you bring along another one of your friends?”
“You know how boss battles only allow three players on most boss fights and four on others? These floors only allow two players.”
“Did the lore say something about that?”
“Ok. How do we get there?”
“There’s supposed to be an entrance around the first boss entrance that can only be accessed by people who beat the twelfth floor. You ready to go?”
“I’m ready.”
“Good because the faster we do this, the faster we can free Angel and everyone else here. We even get that ten million bonus too remember?”
“Oh, yeah I remember.”
I actually forgot for a good number of hours. I remember always thinking about it and now it’s the last thing on my mind as it should be.
We go to the first boss entrance and sure enough, we find a staircase that leads us deep below the town. We enter a cathedral with blood all over the place.
“Man, there’s blood everywhere,” Kerano says.
“On the windows.”
“On the walls.”
We sing together despite the fact that ‘on’ is supposed to be ‘to’.
“To the sweat drop down my balls! To all these bitches crawl! To all skeet skeet motherfucker! All skeet skeet god damn. To all skeet skeet motherfucker! All skeet skeet god damn.”
“The classics never die.”
“Haha you got that right.”
We laugh and continue on. There aren’t any enemies though there are traps along the way. Some I can let my shield hit, others I need to dodge. It’s nothing like that school’s traps on the floor eight so these traps cause us no troubles.
Once we get to the boss room, we see clergymen and their followers. They are supposedly the first people who started the worship of the devil. These people killed dozens of people to appease their idol, but he did not give them any favors after they were killed by the law so they are chained to the same place where the people they killed are buried. They aren’t too much of a hassle since Kerano’s sword slash ability is perfect for this mob boss. I take care of the ones he misses and the “fight” is over already.
“That was it?” I ask.
“Yup. Did you want it to be more difficult?”
“Not really as the faster we dispatch these bosses the better.”
“Yeah and it’s not like they can stand a chance against us two.”
“You got that right.”
A camera takes a picture of us as we bro hug.
We move lower into the base of the mountain via a staircase.
“So Kerano, do you forgive me?”
“Forgive you? Of course I do.”
“Yeah. I know that you meant well for getting that weapon, it’s just a shame the way things turned out for my group.”
“Did they ever get better?”
“Of course. They relaxed with Angel and you. Remember?”
“Oh, I forgot what they looked like so I didn’t know it was them.”
“It’s fine. We’ve got two more bosses to beat then we can beat this game together as best friends.”
“The bestest of friends.”

Chapter 6 – Levels -2,-3,15 – Final Bosses
            The next lower floor is a dark ruined city with wooden shacks attached to the circular wall that spirals down to a swamp at the bottom.
            “This looks like it’s going to be difficult,” Kerano says.
            “This looks like it’s going to be bullshit,” I say.
            “But we got this.”
            “You got that right…but it’s still going to be bullshit.”
            I’m right for the most part as the area is very rickety and breaks beneath our weight in certain areas. It’s kind of a mixed blessing as it gets us closer to the bottom, but it’s also a trap that puts us in the middle of an ambush. The monsters here are deformed people and are use poison and filth as their weapon. Their weakness is fire so I have to constantly use an item to coat my weapon with fire. Kerano however doesn’t need to worry about that since he can enchant his weapons. We make it through without a lot of trouble since we’re both experience player and arrive at the bottom. This swamp area is highly poisonous with the water and the enemies being more dangerous than the previous. There is one good thing about it though that makes things easier to get through this area. We find slime gIRLs hidden in corners of the swap that go exclusively for Kerano.
            “Come the fuck on!” Kerano yells in his PTSD ridden anger.
            “Hey man at least you know you can attract some kind of girl.”
            “Shut up!”
            After all that fun, we make it to the boss room and it’s a pile of garbage…literally. It’s a human being whose body is made of human waste and filth. It used to be a person that indulged in whores, food, wealth, and even killing. Since he was so in love with some of the worst parts of humanity, he was cursed by getting too much of everything he wanted and it enveloped him to the point where it turned him inhuman. Just like the monsters outside of the room, he’s weak to fire so we metaphorically and literally burn his sins away until all the filth falls off, which gives us the win. That was probably the only way to beat the boss as there are other things in the room to burn him with like torches and flaming swords, but we didn’t need them. After the Wall of Firsts picture, we walk to the next floor.
            As we descend the stairs, I feel the sense of true victory over this game within my grasp.
            “Do you feel that Kerano? We’re almost done the game. Only two more bosses and we’ll free everyone from this virtual prison.”
            “I can feel it in my balls. Hahaha!”
            “Hahaha! Oh that’s the best kind of feeling.”
            This last floor is a catacomb with tons and tons of coffins. Kerano looks over to some of them and his eyes widen.
            “These are the tombs of players who lost all of their lives,” he says.
            “Shit. They’re trying to get to us by showing us this. Let’s just ignore them and move.”
            As we move forward, the coffins start to shake.
            “They’re coming to life! Run!” I say as the one thing that comes to my mind is facing Angel again. A horrifying thought that I try to shake off as we run through the catacombs.
            We make it to a huge door that looks fragile.
            “I think we need to break it down,” Kerano says.
            “Let’s do it!”
            Kerano and I unleash as many quick and powerful attacks as fast as we can as dead players come out of their tombs and come to kill us.
            “I’ll keep them busy Kerano. Keep attacking!”
            I shield both of us while slashing to keep the many players away. Kerano finally breaks down the door as I see Angel coming from behind the crowd of dead players. He sees me look at her and pulls me to safety in the boss room.
            “Thanks man.”
            “No problem.”
            This is the last boss before we can face the last one. It’s a single player character who is sitting in a light surrounded by fire that doesn’t hurt us. The boss is a sword and shield user like me, which is good since I know its skill set now because of it. Kerano and I charge it and attack it with everything we have. It’s pretty easy since a normal player can’t face two people like us, but after we bring its health down a little, it switches play styles to a mage. It does this every time we bring its health down to a certain level until we get it down to half health. A stronger wind pushes us back and extinguishes the fire in the room. The boss then cuts itself in half and the two halves become Kerano and I with a full health bar.
            “There’s no better boss than the two of us!” I say.
            “You got that right!”
            Kerano and I charge at opposite character and fight them 1v1. Kerano’s character is pretty tough with his heavy hitting attacks that are fast despite wielding a large weapon. I focus on defense being my offense with my shield skill to make it stagger then hit it with my shield to stagger it further then use my sword to deliver heavy damage. This version of the boss is weaker so it’s simple to defeat it. Kerano defeats my character around the same time I defeat his.
            “I would totally defeat you if we actually faced each other,” I say.
            “You might,” Kerano responds.
            I was expecting a sarcastic response, but ok. The walls of the room light up and so does the rest of the catacomb.
            “I guess we’ve done it,” I say.
            “You ready to face the final boss?”
            “I am.”
            “Let’s go then.”
            We teleport to the last floor. It’s just a humongous castle at the top of this mountain with a bridge connecting us to it.
            “We’re not bringing anyone with us?” I ask Kerano before going in.
            “No and you’ll see why.”
            The castle gates open for us and wow does it look amazing compared to the earlier castles. It looks like a real fantasy castle with a waiting room, dining room, and chill out in front of the fire room…that’s totally a real room by the way. I then notice that the castle doors have closed behind me and Kerano has disappeared.
            “Kerano? Kerano?”
            My voice echoes throughout the castle with no response.
            “Kerano?! Kerano?!”
            That fuckface better not have gone ahead of me! I find the throne room with a guy in a kingly robe sitting on top of the throne. Is this the final boss? I can’t really see his face. The door closes behind me as the boss steps down from the throne. A dark force envelops him and turns him into a skeleton king with a buster sword. Shit! I’m going to have this boss alone. But I can do it! The two of us charge into each other at collide swords. We then unleash a flurry of attacks against each other until I block with my shield to stagger him. I activate my swords special function and hit him with everything I got while restoring health and dealing massive amounts of damage. The skeleton king rolls back then goes back on the attack catching me off guard and knocks me across the room. I lose more than half my health, but he’s almost dead. This is it! I get back on my feet and runs towards him shield out. He sees my aggression and throws sword slashes at me. I’m taking damage, but I can do it. I can win! I get close to him and before he can hit me I dodge his downward slice and use a two-handed slice with my sword to finish the fight.
            “Yes!” I yell out loud.
            I probably should’ve been more careful during that fight, but I won. Now it’s time to get out of here. Wait…what’s this? The boss is still disintegrating until only Kerano is left.
            “What is this?” I ask, “Kerano?! Tell me what’s happening!”
            “Kaylen. I already beat the final boss before you. Before we even faced the lower levels.”
            “So why didn’t you free everyone before then? You know that time is extremely limited!”
            “It’s because I know why the developers of this game made it like this. They wanted to create a beautiful real life fantasy world that people could enjoy and live in. I saw it too when I was with Angel and you. Especially when we were relaxing under the night sky together. Sorry I changed my appearance for that.”
            “How did no one know that you finished the game?”
            “The developers didn’t allow the Wall of Firsts to take a picture and record my victory until they talked to me. So since I agreed with them, they didn’t put anything up.”
            “How about those lower floor? Was that just padding?”
            “No they actually lowered stats of my skeleton king form so you had you a chance against me since you were by yourself.”
            “What about being stuck in a permanent coma after you die?!”
            “People enjoy reality knowing that they’ll die in the end.”
            “But at least they get released from one place to go to another. Angel and the other people are stuck the way they are!”
            “I don’t exactly expect you to sympathize with me.”
            “Good because I don’t. Why did you not free everyone? What about people like me who live alone? I’m going to die soon if I don’t get out of here.”
            “You won’t die. I convinced the developers with some of the money I won to bring everyone who lived by themselves to hospitals. They were thinking about it, but weren’t too sure about it.”
            “That doesn’t change anything.”
            “Of course it does. We found so much in this world that we couldn’t have found in reality like love and power beyond our dreams.”
            “This is a video game. Nothing else nothing more. Sure video games can give you riveting and emotional experiences with other players, but you shouldn’t let it become your life like you’re doing now!”
            “Then face me again. The second phase of the boss fight begins now.”
            My health us restored as we both buff up then attack each other. I try to block with my shield but most of the damage goes through me so I quickly back off.
            Kerano says, “I have a skill to get through that special shield of yours.”
            I unequip my shield and two hand my sword.
            “So we’re going all out?” I ask.
            “Yeah. Kind of like your girlfriend who you wouldn’t have met without this game.”
            “Fuck you!”
            I activate my sword’s special ability while going all on Kerano. We both trade heavy hitting blows while dodging and staggering each other. We’re almost evenly match though my sword gives me the edge in the fight. Kerano is staggered another time and I decide to put everything on the line for this last attack. I attack as powerfully and as quick as I can to finish him off while he attacks me as well. We’re both losing tons of health, but he’s lower than me by a bit so I got this! I deliver one last final blow before stopping my sword’s ability. It finishes the boss fight and the “game”. Kerano lays down on the floor while looking up at the design on the castle ceiling. It shows a painting of the fights we’ve been through with different fighters and friends living and fighting together.
            “It’s over Kerano.”
            “I know…it’s just that…I wanted a better life than the one I had. A life full of adventure and friends that I can’t have in reality. I’m such a loser with a dead-end job in a cheap ass apartment.”
            “I understand. My life is pretty much the same. I’ve got no family, friends…I don’t even have a job or go to college.”
            “Can you give me a second chance? Let’s use the money the devs me against them.”
            “I forgive you. Just make it up to everyone who you’ve kept in here longer and I won’t say anything to anyone about this.”
            “Thank you so much Kaylen.”
            “And don’t forget that we’re using some of that reward money on the three of us. I’m also using it on that diner I promised you guys in the beginning.”
            “Hahaha. I can’t wait.”
            I step up to the throne and go through the menu, ignoring the ruler privileges, and pressing the log players out button. Everything then feels like it’s falling. The mountain is probably lowering itself down to the earth. I see the world start to dematerialize as I’m being logged out. After everything is gone, I see a bright white light through my VR headset. Man my body aches. I can just about move. I look around to see that I’m in a hospital like Kerano said. The three of us are even in the same room together hooked up to fancy medical equipment that must’ve saved my life. God bless science!
            I can hear the sound of other people getting up so I guess it’s my turn. I slowly get up and thankfully the tubes and wires let me move to Angel’s bedside. She’s even more beautiful and cute than she was in the game. She slowly sits up on the bed with brightest smile anyone has ever given me. Kerano gets up as well and walks to us. We smile at him and he smiles back.
            I sit down on Angel’s bed, “I told you we’d get out of there.”
            Angel holds my hand, “I didn’t doubt you for a second.”
            “Hey don’t thank just me. Thank Kerano as well.”
            “Oh well, you don’t need to!”
            “Thanks Kerano.”
            “Ah you’re welcome.”
            I smile at him and he smiles back.
            “So since this is the first time we’ve really met, I’m Kaylen. It’s great to see a cutie like you around here.”
            “I’m Angel. It’s great to meet an asshole that can be nice.”
            “And I’m Kerano. It’s nice to meet fellow losers like me!”
            Angel snaps her gaze on him.
            “Do you think I’m a loser? We’re in reality so I can kick and punch you as much as I want and you’ll feel it.”
            “Well we’re all pretty weak now so…”
            “Try me.”
            “Hey you two we still need to go have that dinner I promised you.”
            “Oh that’s right! I’m starving!”
            “Me too! I literally haven’t eaten in weeks!”
            We laugh together for the first time in reality as we enjoy each other’s company.
            All the players in the game were logged out and made a successful recovery. We reported what really happened in the game with almost over a million players being stuck in the game. The creators of the game disappeared without a trace as to where they went, but they are now going to be hunted for being responsible for the biggest hostage situation in the world. Maybe Kerano, Angel, and I will help them out if we ever are in need of money or something to do, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem. For now, the three of us including Kerano’s girlfriend that he met in the game (surprising I know) are living together in our own big house in a nice suburban neighborhood. I’m thinking about marrying Angel soon, but what kind of ring should I get her? Nothing is too expensive for me so it shouldn’t be too much of a concern.

            I stand on the outside balcony of our house and watch the real beautiful sunset with my girl and my best friend at my side with his girl on his side. Though I have to admit that the game was terrible for what it did to us, I also have to admit I wouldn’t be in this position if it weren’t for the game so I guess that’s one thing that was good about it. We can live our lives now with a greater appreciation for it even till the end. But even though I’m a dedicated gamer and love the virtual world, I have to say, reality is so much better.

The End


  1. I think someone just commented feedback here recently. I accidentally deleted it when I was touching my laptop screen my mistake, however, I did read your feedback and thank you for it. Please comment again if you wish and please forgive my accidental mistake.

  2. This video games is very good, I am going to play this game for sure...double thumbs up.

    This is the original comment that I found through my email. Again I apologize for my mistake.