Demona has her battle axe out, “Ok...I'll draw it's attention. Killian...you flank it with arrows and bring down it's HP. While it's distracted Noah can go invisible sneak up behind it and deliver the final blow.”
I look at the beast.
It's an 8 headed alien looking monster with 100 eyes. It has the face of a woman, the body of a lion and it's tail of cobras. I read the stats. 35,000 Health points. That is fucking high as fuck for one single monster. The thing looks at us ready for us to make our attack.
It's hard to believe that it's been a year since we've entered.
It's been a year that we've been stuck in this game.
It's been a year since Manolo let us know that we die in this game we die in real life.
We win this game...we win 10 million dollars.
But was it even worth it?
“That's a stupid plan. You're not a tank and I'm not an assassin,” Noah tells her.
Noah has some pretty good fucking armor. He actually has the best out of all of us. It's probably because he steals so much from other players. His excuse was that this wasn't the real world. According to Noaht here was no such thing as “Virtual hell” so he did what he had to survive. His suit is light armor, all black with a hood. His double daggers are at his side and they glow a bright red showing off the fact that they are special daggers. He traded them off this sucker warrior who found them in a dungeon. I'm pretty sure Noah got a really good deal off of them.
“I have to agree with Noah,” I tell Demona, “Your HP isn't that high...what it kills you.”
It is a real concern. There is no restart. HP meant Health points. If you let your Health points go to 0...you're dead. You're gone. No restart. No rebirth in the nearest city. You were gone in the game...and in real life.
That was our reality.
That was our fate.
“I don't expect it to live long enough to kill me,” she explains.
It sounds like Demona. After a year I got to know her very well. She has on heavy armor. The armor is this fiery red color. She's dyed her hair a fiery red color to match the dye. She is level 50... 5 levels higher than either Noah or I. She was strong as fuck and that was fine. It was her confidence that scared me.
“Demona, think about this. People literally have parties of at least 15 players to beat this Boss. There are three of us.”
“Yeah, just think about it,” Noah says.
Demona looks at both of us.
“Thought about it.”
With that...Demona runs forward battle axe in hand with a warrior cry that could shake a fucking nation.
We barely survive. Two more blows and Demona would be dead. We've used up all the potions that we bought. Noah has this weird Paralysis condition where his right arm isn't moving because of some spell that was cast on him. He's pissed off and not talking. I'm the only one out of all of this that doesn't seem to have a scratch and at least has half of my health points still left.
“We need to teleport to Yellow City..” Demona says, “Killian, weren't you supposed to buy teleportation stones?”
Teleportation stones were used to teleport out of dungeons to various cities. It was best to use especially after a boss fight. If we didn't have a teleportation stone we literally had to walk out of this place.
“I used all of my money on potions,” I state, “Potions that saved your life...”
Demona and I look at Noah. He's the one with all the money. He could have at least bought some damn teleportation stones.
I lead the party. I use explosive arrows to clear out a bunch of ogres that are walking our way. One arrow clears out the bunch of them. It's the easiest way to move especially with my party so injured. I can't depend on them. Noah is literally carrying Demona in one arm and his other arm is stone. I'm the only one protecting us as we make our way out of this place after the boss fight.
“Don't look at me,” Noah says, “It wasn't may plan to try to fight this fucking Boss...”
He's right. Demona is reckless. She's beyond reckless. Noah makes it sound light hearted but honestly I'm pissed at Demona. She really still thinks this is a game. Even after a year she thinks she's invulnerable. I don't know how many times we had to save her life. I used up every last health potion I had on her to keep her health from reaching 0.
Demona seems to be able to read our minds. She shrugs her shoulders and lets out an annoyed, “We beat him. Didn't we? We're almost halfway done with this fucking game.”
“I heard there was a guild that beat the 10th Dungeon,” Noah says.
Fuck. That means people were ahead of us.
“We'll do better next time,” Demona says, “We can go heal up and try to clear the 9th dungeon at the end of the week.”
“NO!” I state.
Demona looks hard at me, “Killian---”
“Didn't you fucking hear me?” I ask looking over at Demona, “No. No means no. We have no guild. It's just us 3. We need to take our time with this shit. We need to level up safely before we attempt any more dungeons. This isn't a joke Demona. Look at you for godsakes. I can give you a push to the ground right now and you'll be dead. Not hurt. Not injured. Dead. Does that make fucking sense to you?”
Demona doesn't answer me. She gets quiet. She has her battle axe in her one hand. I don't know why she's so stubborn.
Noah shakes his head, “I keep telling her we aren't prepared.”
“Yeah well how about you stop being so fucking stingy and help the rest of us out?” I ask Noah, “How much money do you have? If Demona had better armor or I had better arrows maybe we wouldn't be fucking cutting it so close all the time.”
Noah gets quiet.
I storm off ahead of them.
I am clearing their way but I need some time for myself. It's been the three of us. We weren't in a guild. It wasn't because I didn't want to be in one. This game was a lot easier to play if you played in a guild. You had a better chance of beating the game if you played it in a guild. Guilds got extra defense points when they made a party together.
The bad thing about that is that you had to split the 10 million dollars with everyone in the guild. Demona didn't trust guilds and Noah felt like he didn't want to share the money.
So we were here. 3 individual players putting together a party for nothing.
Yellow City was the 2nd city that you get to. It was close to dungeons 5-10. The Yellow City Inn was crowded. Most people were still dealing with dungeons 1-5 back in Origins. I don't know how it was possible that we were able to get this high without joining a guild. The game was becoming more and more difficult. It was taking more and more stress.
I get out of the shower and start touching myself. I don't know why I'm thinking about Madden as I do it. Steam fills up the room. I haven't seen Madden in almost 5 months. It wasn't that I didn't want to. I'd just been so busy trying to train and get stronger.
This was more then mental. This game was physical. It was taking all the stress out on our bodies.
I grab my dick. I can see Madden right now. I start squeezing the head of my dick. I rub my fingers on my muscles. I've gotten muscular. I wonder if it transfers over to the real world. I have to admit I like how muscular I've become. It's hard not to be muscular in this world. Those people were the first to go. Let's just say all the fat people were dead by now.
I grab onto my muscular chest, squeeze my nipples, run my hands down my six pack and play with my pubic hair. I imagine Madden being here, licking my nipples, sucking my dick. I imagine him on his knees tasting my nut. I imagine him putting his finger in my ass while I finger my own ass. My finger slides deep in there.
“Oh Madden...” I'm groaning.
My finger goes deeper and deeper into my ass. I imagine him sucking the nut out of my dick as I begin to cum all over the towel. The virtual world orgasm felt as real as a real world orgasm. There was no way of telling that we were in a game when it came to certain things.
Suddenly the door opens.
I jump up and grab the towel wrapping it around my waist.
“Sorry I heard you scream out Madden...I thought he was in here. I wanted to say hey,” Noah says.
I'm embarrassed, “Goddam Noah what do you want?”
“I laid Demona down. She's resting.”
“Noah. What do you want?” I ask, “It's enough I get no fucking privacy here.”
I know I'm being mean but I'm still heavily annoyed with him. We ran into that dungeon because of Demona but we were ill prepared because Noah didn't want to share his resources. I was beyond upset at that moment. At times I think about just leaving Noah and Demona. It would be so much easier to join a guild like Peacekeepers or even Dragonslayers.
“That's what I wanted to talk to you about,” he says.
“You run in on me jerking off to talk about my privacy?” I ask raising an eyebrow.
It's hard being mad at Noah. He starts laughing at that moment as though not taking this serious at all. I cross my arms and attempt not to join in his laughter. It's really hard though. There is something infectious about Noah's laugh. He has a way of laughing at everything.
“Listen. I know you're mad and I hate my best friend being mad at me,” Noah says.
Noah shrugs, “I figure that's what we are. Demona, you and I. We're best friends. I know maybe I haven't been acting like it. I know I seem like I've been a little stingy. I want to apologize...”
Noah calling me his best friend was big. I'd never had a best friend before this game. I don't acknowledge it. It's awkward to acknowledge someone saying something like that about you. It scares me. This game was deadly. It was dangerous. I'd seen so many people die in this game. If you died in the game you died in real life.
There were just so many fucking ways to die in this game too.
Still I cared about Noah. Maybe that's why I didn't him and Demona yet.
“It's OK,” I explain.
“It's not OK. Look. I know a way to get us real privacy. The doors in the inns don't lock. The doors in Guild houses do lock.”
I roll my eyes, “There's only one problem with that Noah. We don't have a guild house.”
“Well we should get one.”
“Noah. We don't have a guild...”
“Let's start one.”
I look over at Noah. He was serious. This guy was absolutely serious.
“Noah--- it costs money to buy a guild license. It costs money to buy a guild house. You don't just up and say you want to start your own guild. You read the game rules.”
A guild was a group of players. In Play Dead, there were many benefits to being in a guild. You didn't have to defeat dungeons if your guild defeated it. You also got extra defense when fighting with your guild members. A guild also got to participate in monthly Guild Wars which were fights where you were able to win some special equipment.
Noah opens his menu at that moment. He presses a few buttons.
I get the message that I got a message. I open it up and see that Noah has transferred almost 50 thousand coins inventory. Coins were game money. I had enough to make a guild.
“You want to start a guild?”
“I want the three of us to start a guild. Together,” Noah explains, “After all we've been through it only makes sense.”
Guilds usually had a lot more members. 3 members was low. Still. It was a start.
“Why are you giving this to me?” I ask.
“Because...he wants you to be Guild leader,” a voice at the door says.
It's Demona. She should be asleep. She is at 15 percent of her full health. Sleeping is a good way to restore your health points. I'm looking at my friends and I'm kind of confused on why they are here doing this.
“Why me?” I ask, “Demona, you have the highest level...you should be the guild leader. You have experience being guild leader in another game.”
Demona shakes her head, “That means nothing. This game...it's different. We all know it. This is hardly a game to us. I trust you. Noah trusts you. You're the glue that keeps us together.”
“She would have killed me a long time ago if it weren't for you,” Noah assures me laughing.
“And if you say no...I still might,” Demona laughs.
I think about it.
This was big.
My friends were here supporting me. They believed in me. They were standing by my side. For the first time I actually feel wanted. For the first time I actually felt important. This game wasn't real life. I understood that more than anyone but at the same time I also understood that I needed friends to win this game. I couldn't be alone like I was in my real world.
I nod at them, “Let's do it. Let's go start a guild.”
We are walking back to Origins where there was an NPC that let you start your own guild. Noah is throwing his daggers overhead and catching them in his hands at that moment over at over. We have to take the main road back to Origins. We left Origins almost 3 months ago and haven't been back since then. It's a long walk. It would take a full day. This world was huge and we hadn't even seen a percentage of it yet.
It was beautiful though. I trail behind the others and just enjoy it. The main road usually didn't have any monsters. You'd have to get off the beaten path to encounter monsters. The main road between Origins and Yellow City is where a lot of people trained to get stronger with weaker monsters. The dungeons were always these different places and usually the most elaborate.
Manolo may have been a mad man who didn't give a fuck about humans but I'll tell you one thing. He cared about details. The sun was getting low in the sky and it nestled behind mountains. In the distance woods were piling up high like waves of green. There were birds in the sky. Sometimes you'd forget this world wasn't real. It was so easy to forget at times...especially during the long walks between cities when there weren't any monsters.
Every once in a while there would be what we called a 'glitch'. A bird would disappear out of no where or an NPC (Non-playable character) would repeat itself over and over again. It reminded us that this world wasn't real. It was damn sure close it though.
“We should rest,” Demona suggests.
She opens up her menu and selects a tent from her inventory. Out of no where a tent materializes. It is completely constructed and has a fire that comes already lit next to it. Even after a year the materializing of objects especially out of an inventory still seems weird to me. It's weird...but it's convenient as hell.
It made me think. What made something real?
Who were we to say this fire wasn't real?
I gather near the fire. The fire is still warm. It's still blazing. It still flickers up against our skin. It still burns if we get too close. It would still kill us if we allowed it. What if God was just like Manolo? What if he was just a game designer?
“What should we name the guild?” Noah asks us breaking the silence.
“The Shut-the-fuck-up Noahs?” Demona suggests.
She has her axe in her hand and she is practicing her FIRE SLICE skill on a tree. She learned the skill just before our last boss and she hasn't stopped using it ever sense. The FIRE SLICE skill lights up her axe in flames to cause extra damage when she attacks with it. I watch Demona intently as she scorches a tree over and over with the attack.
Noah rolls his eyes, “How about The Legend, The Bitch and The Gay?”
“Wait---who you calling gay?” I ask.
Noah looks over at me, “Oh shit did I say that out loud?”
Demona gets quiet. Noah gets quiet. I look at my friends as though a little confused on why it got so awkward all of a sudden.
“Are you guys calling me gay?” I ask.
Noah shakes his head, “No. Of course not. I mean you were jerking off and calling his name but that's straight. Right. I mean whose to say what's normal anymore? We are stuck in a fucking virtual world. Anything is believable.”
Demona smirks at Noah. I have to admit. It doesn't sound stupid.
“Ok,” I admit to them, “I'm gay...”
“Why don't you just message him?” Demona asks me, “It's been months since you've seen him. I'd kill to have a friend from the outside world in this game.”
“He's not my friend. He's my brother's friend.”
“You said that a million times already,” Noah says shaking his head, “Luckily for you, we aren't looking to get you more friends. That's what this mean bitch and I are here for. We are looking to get you some Asian dick.”
Noah shrugs, “Listen. I may get killed by an ogre or a dragon or a walking skeleton tomorrow. Sorry that I'm not sorry. I'm not holding my tongue and being politically correct.”
Demona rolls her eyes, “Noah's a donkey...I get it. But the donkey's right this time. Send the boy a message.”
They have a point though. I could be gone out of this world. There were threats everywhere that we went. The least that I could do is send him a message.
I take out my menu.
I type the words: Hey what's up? Long time.
I select Madden. I hit send.
“Was that so hard?” Demona asks me.
In the next second there is a reply. I'm scared to open up my menu again. Demona looks over at me. Noah does the same. The two of them make their way over to me and hang over my shoulder. I can see them being all nosy when I open up my menu and go to messages. I scroll to the last received message.
It's from him.
“He wants to see you. Now...”
“He sent you his coordinates. He's not that far.”
“Oh my god,” Demona says, “We should go.”
“No. We shouldn't. Killian should go,” Noah tells Demona, “Alone. I know you are obsessed with Madden but Killian has dibs.”
“If Madden is gay...” Demona states.
Noah shrugs, “Well I guess that's up to Killian to find out.
I never leave my friends and it's getting dark. Luckily I'm walking on the main road so I'm not really concerned about too much. As I walk the sun in the sky gets lower. The day schedule in Play Dead mimics the real world. Everything seems the same as far as that goes. It even gets a little colder.
As I walk I keep thinking about the fact that I'm rarely not without Frick and Frack also known as Demona and Noah. I've only been walking for about 20 minutes and I miss them. I wonder if that's how it actually feels to have friends.
I have to get used to this...
I shake off the feeling when I hear something. A scream.
When you hear a scream in Play Dead you have one of two choices. Run away or run towards. I know I may be an idiot when I take out my bow and arrow and run towards it.
I watch as two players are crystallized and die right in front of me! They aren't being killed by monsters. They are being killed by other players. I'm shocked when I see this. I knew it was possible. Player kills were what they were called. PKs. A PK happened when one player killed another player outside of a town. Your health never went down inside of a town unless you attacked a moderator but no one one's been really dumb enough to do that.
I'm on the road when I see a group of about 5 players kill two guys. They are all warriors. They are all male. They are all strong. They are all attractive. There is one girl left and the girl looks scared as fuck.
“She's a level 1. Holy shit,” one warrior says.
“I bet you can't kill her with one hit,” another warrior replies.
I scream it out of no where. I don't know who told me that I was a hero. I release one of my arrows at the man who is approaching the girl. It enters into his armor. It barely pierces it. I think he loses only 5 percent of his health from my attack. It drawers attacks from the other guys though. These fucking people look at me at that moment.
They are fucking assholes. These men start making their way towards me.
“What do we have here?” one of the guys say.
“An archer...with a weak ass bow,” another of the guys laughs.
All five guys laugh at me at that moment. I open up my inventory as quickly as I can and take out an explosive arrow. Fuck. It's the last one. I hadn't gone to the market. I figured I didn't need to. I was using all my money to start our own guild once we got back to Origins.
“Hold up guys...look at that baby face,” one says, “He's kind of cuter than she was.”
It's a random twist when they say that.
That's when I realize the other four men are looking at me the same way. They all have this sick face on.
“Run! RUN! They'll kill you!” the girl screams out.
Two of the warriors go after her but I shoot an arrow. I shoot to scare them. I don't want to kill a player...not even people like them. There is still something that scares the fuck out of me by doing that. The explosion causes a bit of a stir. Hopefully it got the attention of someone. A part of me is hoping that it got the attention of Demona and Noah back at camp.
The five men make there way to me. They are aggressive. They are fast.
I open my inventory. I have to act fast!
I shoot at the biggest guy. His health goes down and down and down quickly. All of a sudden I notice he's using potions. That's when he opens up his inventory.
He selects a skill!
It must be a defense skill because all of a sudden my arrows don't have any effect on him.
“Try again handsome,” he tells me.
Without a warning I see another warrior use one of his skills. It must be a speed skill. The warrior is behind me all of a sudden. Another warrior uses his speed skill to appear at my side. They grab me from both directions! I struggle and drop my bow to the ground without much of a fight. The warriors are immediately grappling me to the ground.
“What the fuck are you doing?” I ask, “Get the fuck off me.”
“We should take him, right here...”
Were these people fucking serious?
“What the fuck are you trying to do?” I scream out.
They have no sense of law. These men. They just don't care. I notice the biggest one again. He has a strong heavy face that is firm. He has long brown hair that falls to his back and white skin that seems a little flushed with red. He leans over to me and he KISSES ME!
This man shoves his tongue down my throat.
I watch in shock as the other guys attempt to grapple at my dick and ass. They are all pulling at me each way attempting to undress me.
They are animals. They are animals and for some reason they think there is fucking consequence to what they are doing! Did they just think they could rape me! DID THEY REALLY PLAN ON FUCKING RAPING ME RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW!
My heart races realizing this is exactly what they want to do. The big guy attempts to lean over me again. He tries to kiss me again.
That's when something happens. A blade goes clear through his face from behind!
“OH SHIT!” one of the guys says.
All of them jump back and notice that someone else has come out of no where. The person has on a black fitted suit. The suit fits tight. It accentuates a body that seems perfect. The guy has a mask on and I can't see his face. All I can see is this perfect body of his. It's a black futuristic suit with neon lights accenting every part of the suit illuminate the night. I haven't seen this kind of armor before but it definitely seems rare. This guy has to be a rogue assassin. There is no other class or specialization that can move that fast.
The guy that was stabbed is crystallized and dead in a second. The other two warriors attack the black assassin. The black assassin flips over them with relative ease, gets to the back of them, pulls out his gun and starts shooting a round of bullets. The two men die.
There are two men left but these two guys seem to realize this assassin is playing no games. The two men run off at that moment.
I look at the black assassin who saved my life.
“Who are you?”
He doesn't say anything. He just looks at me for a few seconds nods and then turns to walk away. He walks fast. I can't help but to look at how his suit accentuates every muscle in his body. He might as well be wearing nothing at all. My mouth waters looking at him. This guy has turned me on so fucking much and I don't even know his name.
There's something familiar with the confidence he walks away in though. Do I know this man? Have I met him before somewhere.
“Thank you...” the girl says, “Thank you so much.”
The girl has a short hair cut and big innocent looking eyes. I'm thinking she must be Indian or something like that. She has an Indian accent. Her large beady looking eyes look up at me like a deer. She's pretty short too probably standing at just around 5'2”.
“Don't thank me. Thank that guy,” I tell her.
The girl looks over at him.
“He's leaving...you should call him back,” she states.
That's dumb. The guy is long gone anyway. I turn, “Listen. What's your name?”
“Well Sarafine...you should get back to town. I don't know how the hell you survived this long being level 1, but I suggest you go back to Origins.”
I start walking away at that moment but notice the Indian girl that I saved is following behind me. She isn't letting me leave.
“At least let me heal you,” Sarafine says.
“You're a mage?”
She nods, “A white mage. That means I cast supportive magic. I heal.”
She pulls out her staff and waves it around as though showing me proof. It's a level 1 staff. It's the kind you get when you just start your game. I knew I had bad equipment but how the fuck did this girl survive this long in the game without doing much of anything? How the fuck was that possible?
“Listen your heal attack won't do much for me,” I tell her.
“Well at least let me take a look at your equipment. What is that? A level 30 Artemis Bow. You're probably level 45. It's way under your level. I can upgrade it for you if you take me with you.”
“How the fuck do you know what kind of bow I have?” I ask, “How did you learn that stuff at level 1?”
She shrugs, “I just know.”
She's odd. She's really odd. Sarafine is freaking me out and I don't get why. There is something about her that I can't put my hand on and I don't know how to describe it. I didn't learn there were level 30 bows called Artemis until I was level 30. If she was level 1 that means she was hiding out in Origins. A lot of people hid out in Origins and refused to participate in the game. They were too scared to face the tough monsters. None of them were even level 1 still though. She had to be the lowest level character still left in the game. How the fuck was this girl level 1?
“I don't need your help.”
“Actually you do,” she explains, “My scanner is reading 15 warrior approaching between the levels of 30 and 60. They are in the same guild as the men who just tried to rape you on the side of the road.”
My heart drops.
How the fuck did she know that? What kind of scanner was this girl talking about?
She's right. I see in the distance warriors coming. They are strong. They look angry. There's no one here to save me now. The mysterious black assassin is long gone.
“How did you know that?” I ask
Sarafine looks up at me, “I don't know how I know.”
“Stop bullshitting me!”
“Honestly. I don't remember anything. I woke up...5 minutes ago. I don't have a memory of who I am. I don't have a memory of how I got here.”
I look at her. I open my menu. She's not an NPC. She's a player. She's a live player from the real world. She's not a program trying to fool me. This is strange. What the fuck is going on with this girl? Who the fuck is she and how the fuck does she know all this stuff?
“You don't remember how you got into Play Dead?”
She shakes her head, “No...”
“How did you know these people were coming.”
The 15 men are approaching me. There is no where to run. There is no where to hide. They'd find me. They'd hunt me through the game.
Saraphine's eyes blink a few times, “I just know that I know. I also know that the chances of surviving this fight are 0 percent...”
To read the next chapter in advance go to www.crushedcrown.com