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/qst/ - Quests


It is the year 2030, and competitive gaming has become something of a worldwide phenomenon.

Gone are the days where the field of professional gaming is stigmatized, giving way to a trend that started small and blew up astoundingly. Stadiums once dedicated to physical sports such as football and baseball became tailored specifically for high-stakes gaming. From full virtual reality first-person shooters and grand scale real-time strategies to intense puzzle battles and star-making rhythm games, one truth had become clear to the world; gaming had become the greatest form of competition to the public.

With the world having moved to accept gaming as the primary sport, certain things had moved to accommodate it. Sporting goods stores shifted to include PC parts, VR equipment, and various health items in their stock. High-profile bars had begun to do away with the regular run-down slot machines, choosing to instead offer short games to play with fellow patrons on a night out. Arguably the biggest change, however, was the culture of the game café – once a rare sight on the streets, today many could be seen booming with business like never before.

The latter of the three examples is one you have a lot of experience in, considering your current circumstances.

"Are you LISTENING to me!?" A hand slams roughly against the counter in front of you, breaking you from your half-dazed reverie. In front of you stood a woman of short stature, narrowed eyes boring into yours with the fierceness that only a truly enraged mother could replicate. You blink slowly at the woman, reaching out to prop up the pencil holder that she had knocked down with her mighty counter bash. You swear that you can feel spittle flick across your face as she continues.

"As I was SAYING, you need to control how long my son spends at this shabby little corner joint. He should be focusing on his education and studying, not coming here every evening to gallivant with the ruffians that he calls friends!"

You open your mouth to respond, but she starts again with a rabid fervor.

"As a business owner, it is your JOB to know and regulate how long someone should be using one of these machines! A bartender cuts off a disgusting drunkard when he has had too much to drink! And here you are, allowing my son to waste away inside of a blasted machine that takes his mind away from the world around him! I know for a FACT I have contacted you about this before!"

If she has, you can't remember her. And now that she's taken a pause to suck in air like a malfunctioning vacuum, you figure that you won't have another shot to talk unless you do so now.

>Assure her that you'll be sure to watch her son's game usage, like a liar.
>Tell her the truth - it's her job to control him, not yours.
>Call over the boy and give him $20 out-of-pocket to play.
>>
>>3431363
>Tell her the truth - it's her job to control him, not yours.
Hopefully the future has better parenting standards than [CURRENT YEAR], but judging by this lady, it doesn't seem that way.

Also, nice setup with explaining all the exciting virtual games and culture surrounding it and the subsequent letdown of the MC being just a proprietor.
>>
>>3431380
Proprietors need their spotlight too, darnit! Writing now.
>>
You let out a short sigh at the woman, massaging the bridge of your nose as you struggle to reign in your irritation.

“Ma’am, I appreciate the sentiment, but if you’re worried about how much he plays games, you need to stop him from coming here.” You see her eyes widen, mouth forming into a frown of indignation, but you cut off the remark with a look. “My job is to admit paying customers so they can have fun. If you have an issue with him coming here, then tell him yourself – you’re his mother.”

Whilst it may have come off harsher than intended, you can’t bring yourself to care as the woman bangs both her hands on the counter again, knocking over your pencil holder for a second time.

“I will contact your MANAGE-“

“I am the owner of this business, ma’am. I will reiterate – it’s your job to control him, not mine.”

She freezes, a variety of emotions flashing across her face, before growling and stepping back with a beet red face. Whether it’s due to anger or embarrassment, you didn’t know; but a part of you was slightly satisfied regardless.

“DENHALM!” She bellows, causing other customers who weren’t plugged into VR to look over with faces ranging from frightened to severely irritated. A few moments later, you see a boy with a shock of blonde hair look around a Tetris XXI machine. With a searing look from his mother, he comes over to her side with no resistance. The mother leans down with a few angry whispers, followed by grabbing his hand and leading him towards the door. Denhalm looks back at the store with a defeated, wistful gaze – and then he disappears around the corner.

Boy, you’ve hardly opened and it’s already a hell of a day.

Leaning against the counter with a heavy sigh, you stand up the pencil holder once more as the concerned bystanders go back to their respective machines. The mellow blue lights of the room do little to calm your agitation, nor does the sudden blink of your smart phone. You have a message – and if the name of the sender says anything, it’s not a good one.

How do you proceed?

>Answer the text, it’s not good to keep this person waiting.
>Procrastinate the text and instead go and observe some of the clientele.
>Reflect on who you are and how you ended up with this irritating job.
>>
>>3431459
>Reflect on who you are and how you ended up with this irritating job.
...unless it locks us out of the other options, in which case:
>Answer the text, it’s not good to keep this person waiting.

I gave you heck before, but in all due seriousness I really like this idea.
>>
>>3431459
>Procrastinate the text and instead go and observe some of the clientele.
>>
>>3431482
>>3431489
Did a coinflip between the two of you, and it's time for some self reflection! Writing now.
>>
A part of you begins to reminisce about the better times in your life, before you opened this game café. You wouldn’t say that you were unhappy working here, but it was times like this where you had a hankering for who you used to be and what you used to do.

It was around five years ago since you had put that life behind you – whilst you certainly had claimed glory, the rise to fame always had a rapidly declining descent when all was said and done. You shake your head with vague bemusement, you aren’t quite sure why you’re skirting around it when you’re thinking to yourself. Trauma? No. Bad memories? Absolutely.

In 2025, a now popular game had just been birthed into existence – it was known simply as Warscape. At the time, it was considered one of the first forays into full virtual reality gaming – a first-person shooter that you could plug yourself into. It was revolutionary, to say the least; it added tension to multiplayer games that hadn’t been felt before, made people want to play it because they could *feel* the adrenaline of war.

At the same time, however, it offered a competitive platform that none could match. So much so that it is still considered one of the most popular games to this day – hell, the last you had checked, it was still the most played game on the market.

Putting all of its accolades aside – you were drawn like a moth to flame. At that time, you were an avid gamer just like every one of your customers, and you were damn good. Enough that once you gathered a team for the 5v5 ranked mode release, you blazed through the competition with reckless abandon; at one point, you were in the top 5 ranked teams in the entire world.

Unfortunately, those days were long behind you, and you don’t quite like thinking about them. Due to what happened after your historical climb, you ended up buying this store, and that’s where you’ve been for the past five years.

Isn’t self-reflection fun?

>Answer the text, the blinking is getting on your nerves.
>Watch your clientage game with cautious enthusiasm.
>Shed a tear for days long past, perhaps in combination with one of the two options above.
>>
>>3431554
>Answer the text, the blinking is getting on your nerves.
Goddammit.
>>
>>3431554
>Answer the text, the blinking is getting on your nerves.
>>
>>3431591
>>3431609
The text beckons with sweet dulcet tones...what could it say? Writing now.
>>
After eyeing your phone with trepidation, you sigh mentally and pick your phone off of the counter, the blinking notification taunting you with what laid beyond. You gulp, a slight nervousness coming over your thoughts – you didn’t like to have conversations with this person for a reason, after all. However, the march of time waits for no one, so you force down your hesitation and awaken the technological rectangle.

After typing in an inordinately complex PIN code on the slightly outdated device, the phone accepts it and the lock screen fades away, revealing the picture of some vaporwave shit that you have as your wallpaper. Admittedly you had set it as such a long while ago, but honestly you were too lazy to do so now, and the text takes precedence over that particular issue.

You click on your messages app – and there it is. You stare at the name, and it stares back.

Alexis Bryant, otherwise known as your building’s landlord.

She was a woman that infuriated you more than anyone else in this world – mainly because you had to talk to her in the first place. When the whole shebang happened, it was no stretch to say that you had cut everyone out of your life. Friends, family, online acquaintances; all of it was gone and would never return. She was the only person in your phone, and not only did you have to talk to her, but you had to put up with her jabs because she owned the goddamn building.

Enough about that particular spiel, time to read the message.

‘Good afternoon! I hope you’re doing well, and that you’ve had lots of business today!

I figured it’s been a while since we’ve had a chat, I know you’ve been awfully busy running that little shop of yours. I’m going to be coming down in a few hours, so be sure to be ready for me! I know how skittish you get sometimes!

See you soon!’

God, you hate her. You hate her little chats, because you know goddamn well that she’s going to either up the rent or try and squeeze some money out of you like always. All with that pointed smirk on her face, all because she knows who you are.

>Sit back and wait for her to show up, it’s not like you have anything else to do.
>Watch people play games to ignore impending fate.
>>
>>3431668
>Watch people play games to ignore impending fate.
Try to be nonchalant about it.
>>
>>3431668
>Watch people play games to ignore impending fate.
I wouldn't say we're ignoring it, we're just mentally preparing ourselves.
Besides, it is a good idea to make sure everything is going all right with the customers.
>>
>>3431694
>>3431714
Time to go observe the masses! Writing now.
>>
You sit for a minute, and you acknowledge the fact that idly waiting will only cause that pit of nervousness in your stomach to grow, so you stand and shake your head. Might as well go see what the place is up to, you need a distraction.

You lift up the divider between you and the rest of the world; walking out into the midst of cheers, loud beeps, and calm lights. This place wasn’t the biggest in the world, but it’s smaller space created a sense of closeness, in your opinion. The blues and purples of the lights washed over every surface, the sense of calm they were supposed to provide doing nothing to dissuade the excitement of the crowd. It made you smile, just a bit.

Moving between machines, you spot a small gathering out of the corner of your eyes. Two of the many VR stations you provided were occupied by two teenagers, and judging by the screen in front of them, they were playing some sort of strategy game that you couldn’t remember the name of. The crowd was looking on with calculating glances, murmuring to themselves when one of the two made a move. It was a welcome sight in a building where you often had to tell people to tone down their voices, and you find yourself leaning just out of sight to observe them.

From the looks of things, the girl with the trendy pink sweater was winning by a large margin. In fact, you’d say you had stumbled across the last vestiges of the game, as it seemed she had his final base surrounded in a bad way. And just as you thought, moments later she snatched victory from him, the screen broadcasting that she was indeed the winner. The two removed their helmets, and she giggled at his grumpy expression, leaning in and giving him a quick kiss.

You had to smile at the sight. There was nothing better than playing games with someone that you loved, in your opinion. You move away and make your way through the building with a measured pace, being sure to reprimand those who were getting too excited and patting a young lad on the shoulder when he beat the high-score on Galaga Remaster Supreme.

Honestly, when you thought about it, some of the newfangled game names were just downright silly.

Eventually however, after your meandering through the building and promising that you’d finally fix the osu III machine, you make your way back to your desk…and you pause.

There’s someone standing there, and not anyone you had been expecting. You initially assume that she’s a customer, but there’s a certain poise to her that you don’t often see. She’s here for a reason.

>Walk behind your desk and greet the girl.
>Turn around and busy yourself with owner work, like a coward.
>>
Gonna take a break to go shower and eat, I'll get back to anything that's here when I return!
>>
>>3431840
>Walk behind your desk and greet the girl.
Nah, I don't think it's in-character to spurn a customer.
>>
Is this going to be like King's Avatar that would be kind of cool?
>>
>>3431840
>>Walk behind your desk and greet the girl.
>>
>>3431840
>Walk behind your desk and greet the girl.
>>
I'm back! Had to leave the house, neighbor needed some help. Just checking in, off to dinner and the bath for me.

>>3431912
>>3431992
>>3432022
It's only polite to greet a lady, will write when I'm back!

>>3431922
Who could say, really!
>>
You shake your head at the mere THOUGHT of turning around, fleeing this customer in front of you due to her posture. Who cares what she’s here for? She is standing in front of that desk, and that makes her a customer, therefore you will attend to her as such. That’s the real owner work in this café, you’re no coward.

With that in mind, you walk over and undo the latch to the desk, causing the girl to slowly look up at you with a look of confusion. As you walk over to your chair, you see her eyes follow you, followed by a quick shake of her head, and ending with the widening of her eyes.

“Good evening, ma’am. Are you looking to play?” You ask her, chancing a smile as you settle behind the desk. From this distance, you can see that her eyes are a warm brown behind a thin pair of glasses, her face framed by long locks of wavy brown hair. A grey coat adorns her body, no doubt to combat the bite of the chilly Autumn wind. Honestly, she didn’t look like she belonged in a game store, but you’ve seen more out of place people in your day.

She takes a few moments to speak, and when she does, her voice is strangely small.

“…you look different.”

Despite the seeming frailty of her voice, the words cause the smile to go from your face and affix into a confused expression.

“Have we met?” Was the natural follow-up that came from your mouth, to which she shakes her head.

“…no…we haven’t…but…I remember you.”

You feel your blood turn to ice, and you cough into your hand.

“I believe you have me confused with someone else.”

“No…you’re…”

>What is your name?

[Now comes an interesting part: name selection! As I’m quite new to this board, I figure that I’ll leave 20 minutes and if there’s more than one suggestion I’ll just roll to choose between them!]
>>
John Smith, because I'm boring like that.
>>
>>3432294
Wolfgang O'Neal.
>>
>>3432312
>>3432336
The titillating battle between John Smith and Wolfgang O'Neal...let's roll.

dice+1d2
>>
Rolled 2 (1d2)

>>3432399
I am an idiot and now have done so properly, please laugh at my lack of reading like I deserve.
>>
“No…you’re…Wolfgang O’Neal…right?”

Her measured tone of voice does nothing to quell the sudden pang of fright that spikes through your body at her words, coughing again as you move to straighten your posture. You’d like to play dumb at this point, but you know that wouldn’t fly – your reaction to the name shows you’re exactly who she thinks you are.

Fuck. Not like this, colonel.

“…what do you want?” The veneer of friendliness between customer and provider was now gone, your eyes narrowed with suspicion at the girl whose eyes are once again widened. You can’t bring yourself to care, as you feel your mental walls erect and your posture change into something more guarded.

You don’t have issues, you swear.

“Ah…I’ve been…looking for you…”

Apparently, if she had managed to find you. Ever since the incident that you’re still being mentally vague about, you had been careful to hide your tracks once everything was all said and done. With the stigma you had incurred against your name, you just wanted a quiet life – and you had found it. Now it was like everything was being dug up from the earth once more, making you feel quite insecure and also kind of sweaty.

Either way, you needed to get this girl to leave.

>Ask why she’s been looking for you.
>Try and divert her somehow. (Bonus points if you describe how to divert her.)
>Shed a tear for days long past being brought up again, perhaps in combination with the above options.
>>
>>3432462
>>Ask why she’s been looking for you.
>>
>>3432509
That's the polite way to do it! Writing now.
>>
After a few minutes of silence between the two of you, you manage to force yourself into a moderate state of calm. Deep breaths in and out, enough so that you’re able to look her in the eyes again. She seems worried yet does not say a word. That’s perfectly fine by you.

“Why have you been looking for me?” You force out through gritted teeth, and this time she leans forward, dainty hands pressing against the counter as she does. Her fingers begin to idly tap as more carefully calculated words breach the now tense silence.

“…I want…to recruit you.”

If you were in a TV sitcom, a record would have scratched at these words. It takes you a moment to come back from that, having mentally received a bitch slap so powerful that it sent you back on your heels, but you’re able to recover and stare at her with a look only describable as incredulous.

“E-Excuse me?”

“…you heard me. I want…to recruit you.” She repeated the words with the exact same intonation, with no evidence of impatience or the like. She was stating a fact, and it was one that shook you to your very core. It took you more than a mere moment to process this one, mentally jumping through many hoops.

This girl had not only gone through the trouble of somehow finding you in spite of how careful you were to disappear, but she was standing directly in front of you asking what seemed like the impossible. You weren’t a fool – you knew exactly what she was trying to recruit you for, she wouldn’t have done all this for nothing.

“No.” Your response is firm and resolute, and you go to turn around, when she speaks again.

“…I want to…recruit you.”

“And I just refused. Leave me alone.”

“…no.”

You have had enough of this day.

>Repeat yourself: no means no.
>Attempt to walk away: she isn’t going to listen to you.
>Tell her to leave.
>>
>>3432577
>>Attempt to walk away: she isn’t going to listen to you.
Are we going to be the guy who, in a VR world where everyone uses guns, uses a sword, because we are the Dorito?
>>
>>3432590
no
>>
Rolled 3 (1d20)

>>3432590
Yeah, you don't need to take this from her! Writing now, also rolling for no reason.
>>
“Listen, you’re obviously not hearing what I’m saying, so either go and find a game to play, or get out.” You stand from your chair and go to turn away from her – if she’s going to be stubborn, then you’d just remove yourself from the equation! To your abject surprise, however, you feel something take hold of your wrist. You attempt to move, but the hold is like iron.

What the fuck?

You turn back to analyze the situation you are now in, and you couldn’t help but make a noise in shock at what you were seeing. The girl was half leaned over your counter, her pale and dainty hand latched firmly on your wrist. You try and pull away, but she only clamps down harder and WOW that actually kind of hurts.

“…I want to recruit you…and I don’t intend…to take no for an answer.”

Her gentle voice sends a chill down your spine now, sounding anything but nice.

“You can’t force me.” Those are the first words you can think of to say, trying to force down your fear as you stare into her dark brown eyes. Her face is as expressionless as a mask, eyes boring into yours with intensity. What the hell was with this day, you had opened less than an hour ago!

“I can’t...but I can…challenge you.”

“Why would I accept?”

“Because…I won’t leave…until you do.”

“And if I call the police?”

“And…reveal your location?”

…fuck, she has a point. It wasn’t like you were in legal trouble or anything, but if the police came around to remove her, there was always a chance that your name would come into the spotlight. Why couldn’t you have had a nondescript name like John Smith? Why did your parents name you Wolfgang O’Neal?

Metatextual naming conventions aside, you two were staring at each other now – her gaze one of flat resolution, and yours one of put-upon anger.

What do you do?

>Okay, man, the jigs up. What did you DO?
>Accept her terms.
>Try and refuse, even if it won’t work. You never know senpai.
>>
>>3432644
>Accept her terms.
>>
>>3432685
Sometimes you just need to go with the flow. Writing now!
>>
>>3432644
>Accept her terms.
But after closing hours or in private?
>>
>>3432644
No stop!
>Wait her out.
Our land lord lady can call cops and ask for her removal!
Our name won't be needed
>>
>>3432740
You're too late, anon.
>>
>>3432740
[I'm so sorry, anon. It's too late, the gauntlet has been thrown.]

The silence that stretches on between you two feels like it lasts forever, a mental battle of wits being waged through staring. Part of you can see some customers beginning to look at you two out of the corner of your eye, but you pay them no mind. Right now, it was time to decide.

What were the pros? None that you could see other than getting this girl off of your back, honestly. It was a situation that held no gain for you – either you face this girl down in a game, or she continues to hound you until you eventually cave. You’re very well aware of what game she’s going to choose – Warscape. It was the reason she came here, and what she’s trying to recruit you into – a team for that blasted game that ruined your life. What were the cons? Everything. Disgrace from losing after stepping into her gauntlet, being forced to join her team without any say in the matter. You were absolutely seething, teeth grinding against each other…and then you pause.

You blink once. Then twice.

“…fine. I’ll take your fucking challenge.”

Finally, a visible reaction. Her brown eyes widen, and her lips part a fraction – she wasn’t expecting you to say yes, not after all of the fuss you had just put up. Part of you wasn’t even sure why you said what you did just now, but you can’t turn back time – the gauntlet had been thrown, and you had walked into it.

“…I see.” She responds, and you frown. It sounded like her voice grew a touch lighter, and you hated it.

“What are we playing?” You ask.

“…you know.” She responds. Yeah, you know just damn well what she wants to play.

“Then let’s get this over with.” You scowl, managing to forcefully tear your arm from her grasp with no small effort. You stalk over to your divider and raise it, stepping out and rolling your neck. You walk further into the building without saying a word to the girl, knowing exactly where you needed to go and that she would follow you.

As you walk by a broken machine that needed fixing, you catch a glimpse of yourself. Shaggy black hair, now shoulder length. You knew your green eyes didn’t have much light to them anymore, you had seen them in the mirror this morning. It was a far cry from the 16 year old boy with slicked back hair, a cocky grin, eyes burning to take on the competition.

Whatever. All you cared about was making this girl go away and continuing your peaceful life, and if you had to step out of retirement for one last match?

Well, so be fucking it.

[This is the end of my writing for tonight as I really do need some sleep! Please leave questions, comments, critiques, and concerns if you’d like – thank you so much to everyone who contributed, I’ll be back tomorrow fresh and early! Good night, and have a great day!]
>>
>>3432748
NOOOOOOOO!
>>
Well, I can't think of any critiques, but I will say I am a huge fan of this idea so far, and I like your mystery boxes; who is this woman/robot? What is she recruiting us for? What traumatized us so badly that we needed to go into hiding?
Obviously I don't want you to answer those now, I'm interested in seeing how these are revealed in the story.
I was off-put by our occupation as simple shop owner, but you almost immediately made the character more interesting by leaving his past ambiguous.

That said, I am looking forward to more. Let's show this lady who is probably some kind of machine how good we really are!
>>
>>3432785
[Thank you so much for the kind words! I hope to continue doing well with this.]

Despite the blaring noises of the machines and the looks you were now receiving from your clientele due to your pace, you paid nothing any mind as you march towards a well-used area of the arcade. As you remember noting earlier, you had a smattering of VR stations – so much so that you have the entire back two walls of the building dedicated to them. Unlike the consoles you could purchase at home however, these were made expressly to have one game installed. You have a few dedicated to the strategy game that the teens from earlier were playing, four stations set for Tetris XXI (you would be surprised at the popularity of VR Tetris), along with other miscellaneous games.

You didn’t need to say that you have plenty of Warscape machines – despite your spite towards the game, it’s the most popular game in the market. Only a fool of an owner wouldn’t include it in their lineup.

You glance over your shoulder quickly to make sure the girl is following you, and as you had suspected, she’s walking without a word. Admittedly, you expected her to at least observe the building around her – there was plenty to look at, after all – but her eyes are locked on you. You turn your head back around with a sigh, running a hand through your unkempt hair. Hopefully you could get this business squared away in time to meet Alexis; you never would have thought those words would cross your mind, but right now she’s most definitely the preferable option.

You move past a group of Street Fight XV machines, and there they are. It was no exaggeration to say that the entire wall of the arcade was dedicated to Warscape – and a large amount of the machines are occupied. Young kids to full grown adults were plugged in, bodies still in life yet fully mobile in the game. You can see full scale battles being waged on the majority of the screens – a heated 1v1 there, the final duel of a 5v5…formerly you would have perhaps been excited by the sights, but you’ve long grown cold to the game. Exposition aside, look, there’s two free machines! A person is lingering by them, however – a regular that you recognize, in fact!

“Yo!” She calls to you as you approach, eyes lighting up as she stands from the chair and moves towards you.

Her crimson-dyed hair accentuates her blue eyes well, and she wears a grey hoodie with a blue undershirt and blue jeans. The hoodie is rolled to her elbows, and you can see a full sleeve tattoo on her right arm – you knew it was meant to portray dragon scales along with a smattering of other symbolism.

“Did I forget to pay my monthly fee?” She must have been shocked to see you coming towards these machines, as you aren’t quiet about your distaste towards Warscape.

>Ask her politely if you can use the machine.
>Yeah, she has forgotten, actually.
>Flirt – she’s quite beautiful, after all.
>>
>>3433159
>Yeah, she has forgotten, actually.

>But we can overlook that for our favorite customer

>Ask her if you can use the machine
>>
>>3433186
We all forget things sometimes! Writing now.
>>
[Sorry for the wait!]

The idea briefly comes to your mind to remind her that yes, she actually had forgotten her payment for the month, but you decide to let it slide. She was quite literally one of the first customers that you ever had after opening this place, and you were making enough that you could cover her fee, just this once.

“No, you’re good. Are you using that?” You point at the machine she had just moved away from, and upon following your gaze, she shakes her head.

“Nah, I was waiting for some friends to squad up with. Why, what’s up?” She crosses her arms, and you see her eyes move over your shoulder. Upon glancing over once again, you see the mysterious girl standing stock still, looking back at the two of you with the same expressionless gaze as before.

God, she was kind of creepy, honestly. As well as annoying, as well as a few other choice adjectives.

“…because I’d like to play.” You utter, looking back towards the girl again. ‘Like to play’ was a relative term here, considering that you were practically being forced into it, but her knowing that would only lead to trouble. She was hotheaded enough that she’d probably try and take the girl on in an alleyway or something like that. “Is that okay, Cinder?”

“Huh!” Cinder, the customer in case it wasn’t clear, steps back with a surprised look. As you had said before, she knew that you disliked Warscape – she didn’t know why, but she knew it in general. It was easy to see that what you said has shocked her, but she recovered in record time.

“S-Sure! Do you want to play against me? I’ll go easy on you!”

“No, unfortunately.” You point at the girl over your shoulder with a thumb, feeling another flash of irritation at the situation. “It’s annoying, but I’m going to be playing against her. If I’m lucky, it’ll be the only time I play this damn game.”

Cinder’s eyes narrow at the silent girl, but she ends up clicking her tongue and not saying anything to her.

What do you do now?

>Sit down in the chair and log in, no point in delaying the inevitable.
>Warn the quiet girl that she’s about to have the fight of her life.
>Tell Cinder to make sure she enjoys the sight, since it’ll be the only time she sees you play.
>>
>>3433251
>Sit down in the chair and log in, no point in delaying the inevitable.
Screw theatrics, we didn't ask for this.
>>
>>3433260
It's damn true. Writing now!
>>
>>3433251
>Sit and log in.
We don't dilly-dally, we are too dead inside for that.
>>
>>3433316
...OP post didn't show up.
Goddangit.
>>
>>3433260
>>3433316

Instead of allowing the tense silence to continue any further, you step past Cinder and move towards the chair. The chair has a tall back to it, made specifically to comfort players who are in games for long periods. Back when you played, you had seen too many places go with hard-backed chairs that left you aching when your mind unlinked, so you made sure to try and avert that issue as best you could.

You are the goddamn shining image of a great owner, yes you are.

Upon sitting in the chair, you notice that the girl immediately does the same, taking the bulbous helmet that accompanied the machine and sliding it over her head. Admittedly, it looked kind of silly with her long hair sticking out of the helmet, but you chose not to snark. You had to log in yourself, after all – and it’s not like she would have heard you anyways. You noticed her body slump slightly, the tell-tale sign that someone had linked into the game.

You let out a long sigh, picking up your own helmet and staring at it for a moment. It had been a long time, and you couldn’t help the memories that now come to your mind. Great victories orchestrated by great people, the cheering of thousands causing arenas to rumble in their wake, the feeling of seizing another win alongside your closest friends…geez, when did you start to get sentimental?

You crack your neck and fasten yourself in the chair, sliding the device over your head. It cradled your head quite nicely, the padded inside just as comfortable as it was all those years ago. Pressing down the last vestiges of hesitation within you, you raise your hand and press the button on the side of the helmet. Whilst you were certain that in reality, your body had slumped the same as hers – your mind was as sharp as ever, the inky darkness of the helmet receding as your vision turned white. Moments later, colored polygons began to form – the prismatic sheen of the login screen hit you with nostalgia.

“Hello, user.” The robotic voice of the machine whispers into your ear, sending a tingle down your spine. “Thank you for using Auxilia Systems’ virtual reality console…do you have an account, or do you wish to create a new one?”

“I have an account.” You say to her, and a translucent screen pops up in front of you. It has two simple words followed by blank spaces.

>Username:
>Password:

[Another important thing for you guys to choose, oh joy! I’ll give this 20 minutes like I did with the name, and if more than one person replies, I’ll roll between you!]
>>
>>3433324
>Username: PussySleyerxXx_69_xXx
>Password: F4st_4s_fucc_b01
>>
>>3433324
>Username: N0v4_C43s4r
>Password: v*B^@1W20rHl|6?z
Completely random pasword.
>>
>>3433360
>>3433373

You know what, screw rolling, I know how to integrate both of these. Writing now!
>>
>>3433324
>xxSn1pe
>F4st_4s_fucc_b01
We were a pro right? Even if our name was cringy it would have been changed by our sponsors/team/coaches to something barely more acceptable.
I can however accept
>S1eyer

Unless this is a personal account, then pussy slayer is fine, but why would we keep one?
>>
>>3433386
FUCKING CAPTCHA 5 MINUYES

I give up, any name is fine.
>>
>>3433387
I'm so sorry, anon.

You stare at the screen, now having a mental debate on what to do. As most pro players do, you have two accounts – the one you used for playing the majority of your matches, and the other one for bullshitting around when you didn’t feel like playing seriously along with being able to play games without scrutiny. So many choices, by which you mean two choices, and you eventually decide to log in with the alt.

>Username: PussySleyerxXx_69_xXx
>Password: F4st_4s_fucc_b01

You click the button, and a little polygonal pinwheel begins to spin in the middle of the window. A moment later, it halts.

“I’m sorry, user.” The voice begins again, and you feel a pat on your shoulder. “This account has been terminated due to the username containing the term ‘pussy’. Please try again.”

Well, fuck. You had designed this account name with the utmost care, choosing something that couldn’t be linked back to your main account in any way whatsoever. And then they just TERMINATE IT because of PROFANITY? Fucking laaaaaame, what kind of game is this, having a profanity system?

As you click back into the login screen, you can’t help but feel that the robotic voice is disappointed in you, somehow.

Well, time to go in with your actual account.

>Username: N0v4_C43s4r
>Password: v*B^@1W20rHl|6?z

Despite it being 5 years since you had entered this password, you still remember it as clear as day. Mainly because it had been a long and arduous process to memorize it in the first place, doubly so by the fact that you couldn’t bring a reminder into the system with you. Thankfully, this account goes through, and the window disappears.

“Welcome back, Nova.” The voice says, the technology being advanced enough in order to not read out the name with numbers. This was the true robotics advancement that the world needed, truly.

The rainbow-colored polygons fade into darkness once more, and after a short minute of pure silence, the sound of running water graces your ears. The darkness fades away again, and you’re now looking at your personal lobby from all those years ago.

>Observe the room for old times sake.
>Prepare your loadout for the upcoming battle.
>>
>>3433451
>Prepare your loadout for the upcoming battle.
>>
>>3433463
You have your priorities straight. Writing now!
>>
You shake your head – you knew damn well what the room looked like, it looked exactly the same as it had 5 years ago. Instead you raise your hand and snap your fingers, and just like that, another window appears in front of you – significantly larger than the login screen. It has quite a few options available, even if the design is quite different to what it formerly was.

Each option was segmented into vertical columns with the name of the contents displayed in gold text above it, standing out against the grey background.

>Loadout
This menu shows a quick option to select your guns on the spot, rather than teleporting to the personal armory that every player is given. In the armory contains every weapon that a player has collected, bought, or otherwise obtained through special events. It also contains a doorway that leads to the community market, where guns are sold and auctioned every day. You wouldn’t be using that feature as of now, but now you know that it exists.

>Avatar
This menu has no quick options available, instead showing a small slowly spinning recreation of your current avatar. It was tiny enough that you could hardly make out any detail other than your hair, which was black and windswept, but hey if you needed a little sprucing up you could always pop into that menu. She’s forcing you into this, so she can damn well wait if you want her too!

>Social
This menu was simply for coordinating things with other players. There was a folder for a friends list, a folder for team and army chatting, direct messages, the whole works. You knew far too well that all of yours were empty, so you don’t even bother considering to check any of them.

>Settings
This was self-explanatory, you could fine tune your experience of the game here. Many options were there to change your peripherals, how intense the color is, the sounds – this game really did pride itself on being accommodating to any player, and you could appreciate that.

You chuckle to yourself as you click on the quick select for Loadout, and a separate window pops up. Within the window is a list of loadouts that you had used once upon a time, and whilst they were quite simple in nature, they were quite effective in the hands of someone like you.

Well, someone who was like the old you. What do you choose?

>Loadout: Sniper – Helmsplitter Rifle, Greyhound Pistol, Combat Knife. A build meant for the long haul, the long-range game will be yours if you’re careful.
>Loadout: Control – Vagabond Assault Rifle, Greyhound Pistol, Combat Knife. A build meant to control the field at your leisure. Dominate from mid-range and give them no quarter.
>Loadout: Assault – Skyfire Shotgun, Punchline Revolver, Bladed Gloves. A build meant to get up close and personal. Move swiftly, and it’ll all be over with brutal efficacy.
>Loadout: Stylish – Dual Punchline Revolvers, Combat Knife. A build meant to disrespect the enemy, something that only a high-level player would dare to do.
>>
>>3433576
>Loadout: Control – Vagabond Assault Rifle, Greyhound Pistol, Combat Knife. A build meant to control the field at your leisure. Dominate from mid-range and give them no quarter.
>>
>>3433576
Ffffuck I'm late. It seems everything's been going fine, though.

>Loadout: Control – Vagabond Assault Rifle, Greyhound Pistol, Combat Knife. A build meant to control the field at your leisure. Dominate from mid-range and give them no quarter.

As much as I'd love to humiliate the fuck out of this bitch with the Stylish build, we may need any advantage we can get.
>>
>>3433616
Better late than never!

And I'm going to go make myself something to eat, then afterwards I'll come back and write whatever choice is the majority at that point in time.

Thank you for all of the responses, it does mean quite a bit to me!
>>
Alright, I'm back! Writing now.
>>
After a moment of serious contemplation, you decide on your Control build. Whilst it would be quite fun to take her on with your Stylish loadout, you haven’t played this game in five years, therefore you weren’t sure you could pull it off without messing up. In order to win this match, you would need adaptability, doubly so because you no longer had a team to cover your bases.

You were all alone in this fight, a fact that simultaneously made you nervous yet calm.

You click to confirm your choice, and the window morphs back into the regular menu. You wave it away, and it’s when you do that that you notice something odd. Something you hadn’t registered initially, as it had been so long.

The air in here smelled fresh. And while that wasn’t something that would normally alarm you, it was the fact that you could smell at all in this game that did. When Warscape was first released to the public, it was one of the first games to ever implement a link to the mind – and as such, it wasn’t really life like. As the technology was very new, they didn’t have the ability to code things such as scent. To your recollection, the only thing they actually had was touch, sight, and hearing. Even then it was nothing advanced – there was no wind in the maps, there was no complex feeling…despite being able to interface with the mind, they hadn’t learned how to apply everything. It seems they’ve come along way.

Whatever, you probably won’t be an issue, right?

You take the opportunity to do a little test, hoping that you were making the girl wait a little longer. The room is lit very similar to your café, very mellow lighting along with a wall-spanning fish tank that was filled with virtual wildlife. You walk over to it and press your hand to it, and not only do the fish scatter away, but you can feel the smoothness of glass under your palm. This was unnerving in a manner, knowing that studios could now code such a thing into games, but you force yourself not to dwell on it.

Another visual sweep of the room shows a long black leather couch, absent of decorative pillows or anything of the sort. In front of it is a glass coffee table, and next to it is a small stand with a lamp. All of the items that once were held here had been confiscated, along with your in-game funds. It was a small wonder that they let you keep the damn room in the first place.

And speaking of that, your eyes wander to the last section of the room. A cylindrical pedestal sits there, the top a deep cerulean. That was how you registered yourself for matches in this game, and what you would need to do to start the match with the irritating girl.

Next to it, a girl stands, non-blinking. Short blonde hair, blue eyes, and a blue uniform. Wherever you go, her eyes follow.

You choose to ignore her.

>Queue up for matchmaking, she knows your username already.
>Inspect your avatar, she can damn well wait.
>Reflect on your empty social tab.
>>
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>>3433791
>Reflect on your empty social tab.

>"Gonna go offline now, see you guys later."
>Last online: 6 years ago
>>
>>3433804
But seriously, check on our avatar. If they got so far as to add aerodynamics then we should account for it.
>>
>>3433791
>Inspect your avatar, she can damn well wait.
>>
>>3433808
>>3433819
Smart thinking, time to reflect on your past choices in fashion! Writing now.
>>
You go to walk towards the matchmaking cylinder (you’ve named it that just now and are proud of it), but you pause halfway there. Why did you need to go right away? It’s been ages since you’ve been in here, you should also look at your avatar. You might need to update it if you have any cosmetics available to do so, especially now that they seem to have gotten advanced enough to add advanced touch.

Swiping your hand through the air, you bring the menu back up and click on your miniature avatar. A split second later, you’ve been moved into a different room, similarly lit like your main floor with the added feature of a giant closet.

As you suspected however, the closet has nothing inside except old hangers, everything inside long gone. You grumble in irritation, facepalming as you do so. You walk inside the closet regardless and locate the mirror inside, standing in front of it in order to give yourself a onceover.

It seems like they weren’t able to take off the cosmetics you had on your person, thankfully. Your avatar’s hair looks like it’s eternally windswept, black locks sticking up in a way that would make one think you had sat in front of an industrial fan. Your eyes are a dark red, and you cringe at that – back when you were sixteen, you thought those eyes would intimidate players you were facing off against, and now you realize you had fallen victim to a teenage stereotype. Without another thought, you tap the mirror and another menu comes up, this one offering hair, skin, and eye customization. You immediately turn your eyes to your regular green, albeit a bit brighter than in reality.

Your clothes didn’t look too bad, thankfully – a dark coat that went down to the back of your knees with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows, some form of body armor above a simple t-shirt, and dark slacks with brown boots. Unfortunately, you had moved past this type of fashion a long time ago, but with no other clothing options other than the default, it suited you just fine.

You hear a chime from behind you, and upon turning, you see the other accessory of this room. A device akin to a touchscreen vending machine, only one that sold clothes and offered a teleport into the in-game market. Back in it’s early stages, it didn’t matter what you wore into a fight, so you could just do what you want – if it mattered now, you might be in big trouble.

Regardless, you’ve spent enough time on fashion, and you return to the main room.

>Queue up for matchmaking and prepare for a fight.
>Regard the solemn woman next to the pedestal.
>>
>>3433858
>Regard the solemn woman next to the pedestal.
>>
>>3433858
>Regard the solemn woman next to the pedestal.
>>
>>3433858
>Regard the solemn woman next to the pedestal.
>>
>>3433867
>>3433869
>>3433879
Writing now!
>>
Upon getting yourself ready for the ordeal ahead, you still feel eyes on you. You turn around and face them, and obviously it was the blonde girl standing next to the pedestal. You step to the left; her head moves to follow. You step to the right, she does the same. All throughout, her face remains devoid of any emotion – the girl from earlier at least showed a trace of humanity, this woman had no such advantage.

It would make sense, you suppose. After all, the woman here isn’t a human’s avatar.

You walk towards her, and she doesn’t move. When you stop in front of her, she doesn’t step back. The same soulless gaze watches on, and to be quite frank, it’s creepy and irritating. With that in mind, you raise a hand and start knocking your knuckles against her forehead. No movement still, although her eyes do avert upwards to look at you.

You sigh and reach for the matchmaking pedestal, and for the second time today, your wrist is caught inside of an iron grip.

“I am required to scan you.”

“…I know.”

“Please hold.”

The hand around your wrist begins to emit a green light, followed by a thin-fibered digital mesh to come over your body. It lingers for about a minute, and then all too quickly, it’s gone like it wasn’t there in the first place.

“No abnormalities detected at this time. You are free to play, Nova.”

“Whatever.”

As you press your hand against the pedestal, the woman next to you begins to change. The skin covering her faux metallic frame begins to shift into a silvery substance, and then begins to attach itself to your wrist. You let it happen without struggle, you’ve seen this process happen before.

You are teleported from the main floor once more into a new room, one that’s all white save for another pedestal in the middle. This is what’s known as a private lobby room – normally there would be far more pedestals and far more people around, along with the room actually being furnished and filled with the light of an eternally blue sky. In comparison to those, this room felt like solitary confinement.

As you approach the pedestal, you hear a pinging noise in your ear. It appears you have been hooked up to the matchmaking system, and you already have a game request from a single person.

>From: 0phelia
>Lobby: Recruitment.

You scowl at it.

>Accept the message and get on with the show.
>Be petty and don’t do it, wait for her to message you instead.
>Observe the blinking bracelet now around your wrist.
>>
>>3433930
>>Observe the blinking bracelet now around your wrist.

She can wait a minute.
>>
>>3433930
>Observe the blinking bracelet now around your wrist.
>>
>>3433930
>>Observe the blinking bracelet now around your wrist.
>>
>>3433937
>>3433941
>>3433943
Gotta look at the shiny lights! Writing now.
>>
You scoff at the invite, deciding instead to take a look at what was now strapped to your wrist. If she has a problem, she can shoot you a DM.

You raise your arm to get a closer look at the device – it was made of a silver substance, just as smooth as it had looked when it was moving towards your arm. It had three lights on it – one red, one yellow, and one green. Currently the red light was the one blinking, the others dormant. If you had to put a guess to it, you figured that the yellow light would turn on when the world was loading, and green when you were actually in the match. Goddamn, these things were incredibly thorough, another thing that you respected yet hated because it was on your own arm.

Monitoring bracelets were one of the worst things to have in this game, purely due to the connotations attached to them. You don’t feel like thinking about this subject anymore.

As you lower your arm, you hear another beep – and as you go to check it, you can’t help but smirk a bit spitefully. A DM from 0phelia, and one that felt like a small petty victory.

>”Are you planning to play?”

You couldn’t help but chuckle at the impatience, and it leads you to type out a response at record-speeds.

>”Dunno, was just thinking about it!”

Her response comes just as fast.

>”I didn’t expect a former pro player to be so irritating.”

This emits a full-on laugh from you, despite your now twitching eye.

She really pisses you off, and you’ve hardly known her for an hour. Perhaps you needed to get out more?

>Accept the match invitation and show her what you’re made of.
>Continue to be a petty man, because she deserves it.
>>
>>3434008
>Accept the match invitation and show her what you’re made of.
>>
>>3434008
>Accept the match invitation and show her what you’re made of.
Might as well...
>>
>>3434008
>Accept the match invitation and show her what you’re made of.

Just caught up. This quest has been great so far. Can't wait to see where this goes.
>>
>>3434008
>>Accept the match invitation and show her what you’re made of.
You're about to find out just how irritating I can be.
>>
>>3434008
>”I didn’t expect a former pro player to be so irritating.”
Says stalker. Two words for that bitch, restraining order
>>
>>3434008
>Accept the match invitation and show her what you’re made of.

Oh, we're the irritating one, now? Hilarious, coming from "princess ultimatum" over there.
Shit talk aside, I'm excited for this.
>>
>>3434017
>>3434024
>>3434026
>>3434027
>>3434050
The time for your first battle in five years comes. How will you fare against this woman who's tracked you who knows how far? Writing now.
>>
The room is dead quiet as you stand in front of the pedestal, the screen almost taunting you with it’s presence. No more messages come from 0phelia, and instead leave the shadow of sudden doubt to hang over yourself. It was a feeling that you had felt many times before, but not recently – your old coach called it stage fright, but there was no stage here. All there would be in this battle is you vs her, and no one else.

You had always had a team at your side when you played this, people who would pat you on your back and tell you to lighten up, who had saved you from losing countless times in the face of your enemies. And sadly, that was the mindset you had had as a competitive player – anyone not on your team was an enemy, someone to be wary of even outside of the game. House break-ins, slashed tires, anything to get ahead of the opponent. Even if this wasn’t a professional match – in fact it was anything but that – you still felt your hands clam up and a nervous titter go through you. And just as you always did, you took in a deep breath, and exhaled after.

>”Calling me irritating? We’ll see how long you last.”

She was your enemy now.

>”I look forward to the challenge.”

With a snarl, your hand raises, and you jam your finger against the button to accept the match. A mere moment later, your vision goes white.

---

[Going to take a small break here, just to jot some plans down for the immediate future of the quest. I’ll be back shortly, and with another choice before your five year hiatus ends in a clash of bullets and steel!]
>>
Hello! It’s me once again, returned with some fleshed out things for the battle to come. First order of business is to introduce some mechanical things – starting with this!

>Player: Nova
>Health: 100/100

That’s going to appear when you take damage in combat! Health trackers are always vital to games, and this one is no exception. The next bit is some info about the loadout you’ve chosen, just so you know how much damage you’ll be putting out should you hit your opponent.

>Vagabond Assault Rifle – Ammo: 30/150 – Damage: +20 to arms and legs, +25 to torso, +40 to head and neck.
>Greyhound Pistol – Ammo: 16/80 – Damage: +10 to arms and legs, +15 to torso, +30 to head and neck.
>Combat Knife – Damage: +25 to arms and legs, +50 to torso, +75 to head and neck.

Mmm, look at that knife damage. Got to get close for that to work, though, and do you really want to risk that?

And the final thing gameplay wise is that in combat situations, I will mark the choices with numbers – this is the number that needs to be beaten for that to be a successful action. In these early stages, there won’t be a set number and I’ll be rolling situationally, although this is certainly subject to change later.

Finally, as a personal aside before the choice, thank you for showing interest towards this quest! As I said earlier in the thread, I am a relative newcomer to this board, and therefore am not well versed on etiquette or the like. I’m gonna continue to make this as good as possible, so feel free to critique me on anything you feel necessary and please give your opinion as to how things are going!

Now, here’s your final choice before your first battle. What will you choose?

>Skyscraper: Your battle will be set across a set of skyscrapers, all interconnected by various means with no safety net to catch you should you fall. Whilst thick with supplies, other factors may prove crippling to those caught unaware.
>Crevice: Your battle will be set in the mountains, across an abandoned town that was ruined by the mile-wide crevice that opened in the ground. Due to the event, your opponent might not be the only hostile entity around.
>Flatlands: Your battle will be set in the beautiful countryside, dotted with groves of trees and local wildlife. Small houses are located here and there, and supplies may be hard to come by.
>>
>>3434198
>Skyscraper: Your battle will be set across a set of skyscrapers, all interconnected by various means with no safety net to catch you should you fall. Whilst thick with supplies, other factors may prove crippling to those caught unaware.
>>
>>3434198
>Skyscraper: Your battle will be set across a set of skyscrapers, all interconnected by various means with no safety net to catch you should you fall. Whilst thick with supplies, other factors may prove crippling to those caught unaware.

Thank you. You're doing a wonderful job. I don't have any criticism nor critique I could offer you.
>>
>>3434198
>Skyscraper
Sounds like a very technical map, but without outside factors. We should have the advantage.

Also you doing fine, don't worry about it.
>>
>>3434198
>Crevice: Your battle will be set in the mountains, across an abandoned town that was ruined by the mile-wide crevice that
opened in the ground. Due to the event, your opponent might not be the only hostile entity around.

Skyscraper sounds like close quarters only. With mid range loadout we should pick Crevice.
>>
>>3434208
>>3434216
>>3434218
It appears Skyscraper is the winning vote! Get ready, get set, because the fun's about to begin! Writing now.
>>
Your body feels as if it’s in freefall, the sensation rushing down to your bones. You try to move against the fall, but you find yourself unable to – you reckon that you’re being deposited into whatever map the system had chosen, but it had never felt like this before. This was an intensity that you weren’t used to, and just as you began to accept the pressure, it ended as soon as it began. Moments after it, you felt your feet touch something solid, and the whiteness that surrounded your peripherals faded away into something absolutely breathtaking.

From the looks of things, you’re very high up in the air. So much so that all you can see above you is a stretching blue sky, minus the area to your left that had clouds forming. You look around you, and to your surprise, there are seven other buildings similar to this one in a square formation. From the looks of what little you can see from this angle, you’re directly in front of where the formation’s center should be…and yet there’s none to be seen.

The wind tousles your hair as you contemplate your environment, absentmindedly reaching down to make sure you’re armed. In some of the old maps, you would have to go to a location for your weapons, but it didn’t seem to be the case this time – your pistol and knife were holstered to your belt, and your Vagabond was strapped across your torso.

You can’t help but chuckle. You’re back in the saddle.

Snapping out of your reflection, you look around the rooftop that you’re on – there are a few air conditioning vents that you could take cover behind were anything to happen, there’s a door that presumably leads into the building, and you think that’s a bag leaning up against the railing farthest from you? There’s a lot of things to look at currently.

What do you do?

>Go to the railing and inspect the battlefield further.
>Go through the door and into the building.
>Investigate the bag leaning against the railing.
>Other. [I’m open to suggestions, and if people vote on what you suggest, I’ll put it in!]
>>
>>3434341
>Carry the bag to cover, inspect it then move to a vantage point.
>>
>>3434351
+1
>>
Heading to town to grab some dinner, I'll be back soon and I'll write whatever's highest voted!
>>
>>3434341
>>3434351
>Carry the bag to cover, inspect it then move to a vantage point.

This is smart; hopefully she isn't a Sniper, but I also doubt the game would allow contact to happen this quickly.
>>
>>3434351
>>3434363
>>3434399
I'm back - time to carry that bag! Writing now.
>>
After crafting a game plan in your head, you crouch low and begin to move towards the bag. You can’t see her anywhere, but that could change at any moment – in theory she should have spawned a distance away, but you didn’t know if she was the type of player to just run on over and bullrush you.

Judging by how meticulous she had been in real life, you would doubt that to be the case, but you had seen weirder things in your day.

You make it over to the bag, and you peer over the railing facing away from the building square – that was a very long way down to the street below, and the honk of a car horn startles you away from the edge and towards the back of the rooftop entrance wall. You do a precursory check around to make sure you aren’t being observed, and when you’re satisfied, you press your back to the wall and unzip the pack.

The bag contains the following:
>A moderate length of rope.
>Three health patches, each able to heal +20 HP a piece.
>Binoculars.
>A flashlight that would fit on either your rifle or pistol.

Well, that was an odd smattering of items – the odder thing yet, however, was the voice that you heard when you finished rifling through the bag.

“Participants have found their starting items. Invulnerability has been removed.” You jolt away from the wall, seeing a translucent sheen cover your body and disappear just as quickly. “The time limit has been set at one hour. Good luck, participants. The match is officially started.”

…that wasn’t a feature that you could recall existing, but you needed to make pace fast it seemed. With that in mind, you unstrap your rifle and move around the corner, keeping it levelled at the rest of the buildings. When nothing came to greet you, you open the door to the building and shut it behind you. Making haste, you rush down the stairs and kick open the door to the first available floor – it looks to be some sort of office space that’s entirely abandoned, not a single soul to be seen. Upon seeing this, you move into the room quickly and take cover behind a desk. The windows here take up the entire wall, meaning she could have seen you by now.

How do you proceed?

>Check around the room for anything of use.
>Make your way down to the next floor.
>Use binoculars to try and scout the other buildings.
>Other.
>>
>>3434679
>grab something that can be thrown, in order to fake a flashbang/grenade throw and produce a distraction
>mount the flashlight on the rifle
>check the other buildings with the binoculars
Need info, more than anything. Dunno if fake flashing is still a thing, this isn't counter strike after all.
Health patches are instantaneous?
>>
>>3434696
These ones in particular are, yes!
>>
>>3434705
Nice.
I'd say the priority right now is mapping our surroundings and finding the enemy position, in order to not go in completely blind and to avoid possible ambushes.

Do we recognize the map structure, or it's different from the last time we played?
Sorry about peppering you with questions.
>>
>>3434736
No need to apologize, I'm writing yours out now!

This isn't a map you're familiar with, and I can go beyond that to say every map you would have known has changed significantly! It has been five years after all!

thank you for asking questions it helps me solidify some stuff as well
>>
>>3434696
+1 to all of this
>>
First off, you need to get this flashlight hooked up. If this game had truly become nigh-on realistic, in theory she could cut the power to this place, and even if it was daytime you couldn’t predict how the day and night cycle would change within an hour. You shrug off your pack and grab the square flashlight, sliding it on underneath the barrel.

>Player: Nova
>Health: 100/100
>Battery: 100%

When you secure it to the rail, a screen comes to life on the side of it showing a full, green battery. It fades, and you reach out to tap it, causing it to come back to life again. Good, now you know how to check it just in case you’re uncertain about it at any point in the future. Hint hint.

After spending a moment to memorize how to turn it on and off again, you poke your head above the table. No sign of anyone that you could see, but she could be stealthily hidden whilst having eyes on you. You reach up and clumsily move your hand around until you clasp a coffee mug, and without much thought, you throw it above the desk in an attempt to bait her into firing.

No bullet comes, but that doesn’t mean you’re safe. It only means she’s smart.

You wait a few seconds just to be sure, and when nothing out of the ordinary happens, you reach for your binoculars and press them to your eyes. You begin to scan the buildings from left to right, not seeing anything out of the ordinary…but the one right across from you has something foreboding.

The door that would lead to the stairwell is wide open, meaning that she had came down from the roof as well.

The question is…when had she done so?

>Search around for anything of use.
>Move to the next floor.
>Other.
>>
>>3434767
Well, it's unlikely that she's just rushing towards us so it's time to determine her route:
How many floors look like are accessible on the other skyscraper? Where is it connected to ours? We need to understand if she could come straight at us, needs to descend a number of floors or could just get herself a sniper nest.
On the plus side, we know in which building she is unless she ran full tilt from the start.
As for actions:
>Pick up another throwable, but keep it on us
The moment we hear steps or we think she's nearby we can gain a small distraction and throw off her aim.
>See if there's something clearly meant to be picked up
I doubt there will be another goodie bag, but there might be a random drop or something useful.
>Descend
Slowly. Keep a clear line of fire on entrances, be ready to roll or jump for cover.
My IP probably changed again, oh well.
>>
>>3434796
Sound reasoning! Writing now.
>>
>>3434796
Support. Maybe we should deliberately throw the match? Winning against somebody who just might be a high profile player or coach/recruiter in such a crowded public place is likely *exactly* what she's counting on. Even if we technically beat her at her bet, she still wins since our secret will be laid bare for everybody to see.
>>
>>3434833
I'm sure op has a contingency for just such an occasion. Don't you, OP?
>>
>>3434853
You'll see.
>>
>>3434833
Was the deal that we go with her if we win, or go with her if we lose? Hmmmm...
>>
>>3434866
As I was a little vague, I can clarify that - the deal is if he wins, she will leave without a fuss. If he loses, he's recruited.
>>
You narrow your eyes, allowing another bit of time to pass before you stand up, still keeping yourself half hunched in case you needed to dive down quickly. While you’re at it, you swipe another empty coffee mug off of the table and stow it in your pack. You’d use it in case you needed to make a split-second distraction, because if there were grenades anywhere, they weren’t showing themselves.

Speaking of that, you should probably try to scour this room for anything that you could potentially use. While trying to remain unseen, you skirt around the various tables and overturn a few in the process, finding nothing except a mysterious syringe hid between where two tables meet. Your brow furrows at this, but you put it into your backpack, hoping that the needle won’t stab you in the middle of a sprint.

>Mysterious Syringe – Effects: ???

Well, isn’t that a nice thing to find in an office. You shake your head and move towards the door, sending another glance outside to make sure nothing had changed. You click your tongue and open the door once more, closing it behind you as you go down the spiral stairwell.

“Heh…this is insane.” You murmur to yourself as you move, ears trained for any movement. You highly doubt she could have moved over here that fast, nor was it viable strategy wise. She knew this game better than you; therefore, you were on the defense. Luckily, you had made a damn good name by overturning the odds, even if that name was now dragged through the mud.

At least if you win this, your secret will remain safe. Due to the strict policy that game cafes had nowadays, there was a built-in feature that censored player names and related details in order to protect customer privacy. It was common courtesy, and places could be fined without it – and you were quite thankful for it now, because there was no fucking way you would have taken the challenge otherwise.

A lot of etiquette went into game cafés, after all!

You make it to the door and open it slowly, rounding the doorframe to peek into the room. Another office area, this time structured more like a meeting room rather than a work area. Once again there were no rooms on this floor other than the one you were in, causing you to crouch down behind another table.

Peeking over the top with the binoculars, you still don’t see any sign of her.

>Search the floor for anything valuable.
>Descend.
>Take a risk, creep to the windows and see if you can spot anything.
>Other.
>>
>>3434935
>>Search the floor for anything valuable.
>>
>>3434960
Gotta scrounge like a pro! Writing now.
>>
>>3434935
hey are game cafes like manga cafes
>Search the floor for anything valuable.
>>
You desperately search for something that could even the odds, frantically looking under tables and through drawers and cabinets – right now you were incredibly exposed, and if she was making a fast pace, you’d be vulnerable. Every good player had a plan going into a match, and you had none. This was a new game with new rules, it seemed like a lot of what they had first made had been thrown out the fucking window, and here you are with a coffee mug.

You fought against the pit of nervousness that had begun to grow in your stomach, instead choosing to continue your search across the room. With every new area scoured, the pit only grew and grew to the point where you were murmuring to yourself…

And that’s when everything went wrong.

You couldn’t see what had happened, but all of a sudden something crashed into the building, the loud bang nearly rupturing your eardrums along with the cacophony of thousands of windows breaking in a horrible symphony. The force of the blow, while not knocking the building over, certainly upset your position and sent your head crashing into a file cabinet.

>Player: Nova
>Health: 95/100

“What the FUCK!?” You couldn’t maintain a whisper, springing up against your better judgement and moving towards the window. When you looked down, you saw something that made your blood turn to ice.

Down in between the buildings, at an angle you couldn’t have possibly seen unless you had leaned your head over the rail…were bridges. All starting from a level area about three floors down, they each had a connection to every other building, as impossible as it seemed. And the one between yours and the building opposite had been cut.

It took you a few moments to see her, and when you did, another nervous spike went down your spine.

She looked nothing like she did in real life. Her hair was now a light blonde, waving freely in the wind as she stood frozen like a statue. You couldn’t see anything in detail from here, but you knew she was wearing dark clothes and had a length of steel in her hand, arm still outstretched from cutting the cables.

The worst part of it…was that she was looking at you.

You had taken her bait.

>Try and fire at her, she already knows you’re there.
>Flee, try to get to a different building and find a new vantage point.
>Taunt her from your position, showing that her move didn’t faze you in the slightest.
>Other.
>>
>>3435035
>Try and fire at her, she already knows you’re there.
Let's hope the shooting mechanics haven't changed.
>>
>>3435035
>Try and fire at her, she already knows you’re there.
>>
We have a mid-range rifle, guys. I don't think it's going to hit.
>>
>>3435035
>Other: get behind cover and analyze her loadout as best you can.
See what she's carrying, both in hand and on her body, anything that's visible on character models.
Maintain cover and watch her next move if possible.
>>
>>3435035
>Other: get behind cover and analyze her loadout as best you can.
>>
>>3435072
>>3435090
Ignore >>3435038, this is a much better idea.
>>
>>3435072
+1
>>
>>3435072
>>3435090
>>3435101
>>3435112
Time to get a good look with your handy dandy BINOCULARS. Writing now.
>>
You slap your face hard in order to force yourself out of your shock and awe, instead moving away from the window to make her believe you were going back to the door. In reality, at least in your mind, she was three floors below you and therefore couldn’t confirm if you had or not. So, when you moved far enough, you immediately made a U-turn and positioned yourself between a water cooler in a desk, allowing you a full view down at her.

You let out a sigh of relief when you see that she isn’t looking at you anymore, so you take this opportunity to dig out your binoculars and raise them towards her.

Fuck, that was one scary outfit.

The binoculars aren’t clouded over in any way, so you can see her perfectly; her eyes are a deep crimson, her face morphed into a sharp frown. She was wearing a pair of well-fitting pants with black combat boots, the only thing on her torso being a white crop-top of sorts and a black cape affixed to her neck and shoulders. It certainly took you off guard, as a part of you had forgotten that people often made their avatars to look different than themselves. She must have been no different. You shake your head, leaning closer to see what she had on her person in general. All you can see is a medium-sized blade at her hip, and a sawed-off shotgun on the other.

Fucking hell, they added SWORDS to this game? This was a first-person shooter!

After a few more seconds of contemplation, she turns on her heel and begins to walk back into the building. A thought pops up into your head, a potentially dangerous one.

You might be able to make that shot, if you were skilled enough.

>Take the shot at her head, despite the risk. (Roll needed: 18 or higher.)
>Begin to descend to the bridges, you need to MOVE.
>Other.
>>
>>3435155
>Begin to descend to the bridges, you need to MOVE.
Best to MOVE
>>
>>3435155
Knowing online games, sword wielders probably have some *teleprots behind u*-tier bullshit.
>>
>>3435155
>Begin to descend to the bridges, you need to MOVE.
We have to get closer.
so would it be a d20 to take the shot?
>>
>>3435179
Yessir.
>>
Try to move and set up ambush
>>
Rolled 4 (1d20)

>>3435155
>SHOOT THE BITCH
>>
Quick question out of nowhere - anyone have any speculation as to what you may be hiding?
>>
>>3435155
>>Begin to descend to the bridges, you need to MOVE.
She's got a sword and shotgun;
this is the worst-case scenario we need without something that takes advantage of corners and hallways. Somehow I'm think we'll have to take it anyway.
>>3435202
Nice one.
>>
>>3435174
>>3435179
>>3435213
Time to disappear, you have a plan to forge! Writing now.
>>
>>3435205
a few guesses:
Had a falling out with our team/friends, leaving a bad taste in our mouth wherever the game is concerned
Suffered a particularly humiliating defeat at some point (maybe at a world championship?), bonus points if it actually wasn't our fault.
Smear campaign against us/our team led to us being coerced into early retirement
Just stopped having fun with the game at some point down the line
>>
>>3435205
I think we threw a game
>>
You resist the urge to fire, instead waiting for her to fully walk into the building. When she moves out of sight, you rise and sprint towards the door, not pausing until you passed through the threshold and slammed the door behind you. You lean against it, running a hand down your face.

“She’s close ranged…she needs to get in close to hurt me. But I didn’t see her third weapon, the game always makes you log in with three…could she have discarded it? Could she be hiding it for a last-ditch effort?” You murmur to yourself, sweat rolling down your neck as you tried to work through the mental hoops on what to do next. Chances are she’s using your absence to move to another building, it was shown that she’s fast enough to do so. You hurry down the stairs as you continue to talk, skipping the seventh and sixth floors and going down to the fifth, where you knew the bridges were.

You pause at the door and raise your rifle.

“…well, here we go.” You mutter, steeling your resolve and opening the door as quietly as possible…nothing happens, thankfully. The only thing that greets you is a gentle breeze, and that’s what makes you pause. You hadn’t stepped out into the doorway yet, because just before you were going to do so…you reach into your pack and grab the porcelain coffee cup. Instead of throwing it like last time, however, you clip it onto your belt.

Call it a feeling, but something seemed fishy.

>Move into the room slowly and keep close to the ground.
>Throw porcelain coffee cup into room, just in case.
>Try to get in as fast as possible, immediately ducking into cover.
>Other.
>>
>>3435253
>Throw porcelain coffee cup into room, just in case.
>>
>>3435205
We pulled something heinously illegal to gain an unfair advantage in a championship without our team's knowledge, and it was discovered and revealed during the game.
>>
>>3435223
I agree with everything but the last one, and also >>3435227 could be onto something.
>>
>>3435253
>Move into the room slowly and keep close to the ground.
She shouldn't have gotten that far that quickly.
>>
>>3435265
She was on that level, as she cut the particular bridge leading to your skyscraper. She could still be there, for all you know!
>>
>>3435253
>Throw porcelain coffee cup into room, just in case.
She might not fall for it, and she may even have heard the first time we tried it, but it's better than going prone when our enemy has a frickin shotgun!

See... I thought she was going to be a sniper at first, all her actions thus far pointed to that, but something something book by the cover, and all that.
>>
>>3435271
+1
>>
You unclip the cup hesitantly, pressing yourself against the wall as much as you could. You hadn’t looked into the room yet, but you felt that something was wrong – instincts that you had forged five years ago were telling you that something was wrong. And as much as you wanted to put your past with this game behind, you knew to trust them.

With that thought in mind, you throw the porcelain cup past the door frame.

>I want someone to roll a 1d20. First come, first serve.
>>
Rolled 11 (1d20)

>>3435293
>>
>>3435298
My, my. Writing now.
>>
You hear the cup clatter against the ground, the sound breaching the tense silence and causing you to sag in relief. You really had thought she had planned something – you were almost expecting her third weapon to be a sniper, and for her to pick you off as soon as something peeked around the corner. You let out a sigh in relief, and that’s when a certain noise hits your ears.

Mechanical whining followed by skittering against a hard floor.

“What the…” You listen closely, peeking into the room only slightly, enough that a bullet would be hard to hit you. The noise was definitely coming from that room, and as it was unknown to you, you decided to take a gamble.

The screaming of a mechanical object greeted you, so high-pitched that you had to flinch and draw back. When you opened your eyes to look at the source, your eyes widened, and you threw yourself back around the corner, receiving a swift reminder as to how much the game had changed.

BOOM

Fire floods your vision as you’re sent back against the far wall, head banging off of it as the sound of roaring flames fills your ears.

>Player: Nova
>Health: 80/100 (-15 HP)

It was a spider. A fucking spider, about the size of your hand and made out of metal. It had moved towards the cup and detonated, the throw tripping some sort of motion detection. The only thing you were thankful for was that it blew up the cup and not you, and unfortunately, it had left you with two brand new dilemmas.

1. This woman had explosives that had never existed in the original game. You didn’t know how many more she had, but the fact was that she had them in the first place – and it meant she could have other things. This was dangerous, and you were in unknown territory.

2. That fire was in the way of where you needed to go, the place being out of this fucking building. Even if the direct bridge to her building had been severed, you could likely make it to another if you moved fast enough. As far as you could tell, she hadn’t cut any of the cables to other bridges.

This…was a quandary indeed.

>Run through the fire and onto the bridges, trying to shield yourself as best you can. (-10 HP)
>Go to the floor above – it would take more time, but you could possibly find a way down to the bridges through the window.
>Other.

>>3435298
That would have been heat-seeking if you had rolled one lower.
>>
>>3435360
>Use a health patch
>Run through the flames
>>
>>3435360
Anything from a crit

Yell out to her and say "this is a little unfair all this futuristic crap"
>>
>>3435380
Also this
>>3435370
>>
>>3435380
If it were a crit...well, I can't tell you what would have happened.
>>
>>3435370
>>3435380
Writing now!
>>
“Motherfucker!”

You spit, standing from your position on the floor and glaring at the flames. You first slide off your backpack, taking out one of the milky white patches – you press it against yourself, and it disappears with a light tune. A moment later, you feel any fatigue from moments earlier fade – in fact you’d go to say that you felt like a brand-new guy.

>Player: Nova
>Health: 100/100 (+20 HP)

You winced, however, because you knew exactly what you were about to do. You also slide off your jacket, being sure to put your backpack on again right afterwards. You pick up your rifle and affix it to your chest, you check the weapons on your belt, and then you put the jacket over your face and arms, leaving area for you to actually see.

“Let’s fucking go!”

You tear forward into the inferno, and your body begins to sting heavily. Thankfully the system didn’t replicate actual serious pain, that’d be horrendous, but whenever you incurred an injury it did sting quite a bit. It was to let you that you had been hit in the first place, and boy howdy did it work. You fight through the sensation and make your way out into the bridges, making sure to not stumble off by accident and securing yourself against the cable railing. You remove the jacket, and seeing it’s condition, you throw it off into the street below.

You wouldn’t need it.

>Player: Nova
>Health: 90/100

Your vest still remained intact, along with the rest of your clothes. You shake off your disorientation and refuse to take in the swaying of the bridge, and you move to go to one of the bridges connecting to her building.

“Hm, you actually survived that.”

The voice cuts through the sound of wind and crackling in your ears, and you look up to see it’s source. As expected, 0phelia stands tall on the bridge quite a way in front of you, regarding you with something between surprise and a sneer.

“All this futuristic crap is a little unfair, don’t you think?” You call to her, removing your pistol and knife from their holsters.

“It isn’t my fault that you didn’t think to do your research.” She smirks at you, reaching down and drawing her sword from its sheathe. “And now we’re on even ground, don’t you think?”

“Where’s the rest of them?”

“In the surrounding buildings. My goal was to either kill you in there or draw you out here, and I believe I have succeeded.”

You go to speak again, but you hear a rumble of thunder. Upon looking up, you realize that at some point, the beautiful blue sky had become dark grey with ominous clouds. You had been so focused on trying to find a means to fight her that you hadn’t paid attention to your environment.

You were really out of practice.

“Shall we begin?"

You say nothing, only crouching into a ready position.

It was time for you to finally show her just how damn well you could fight.
>>
I'm afraid I'm gonna have to call it here for the night, I have to get up early to go with my grandmother to chemotherapy. I hope you enjoyed this, and thank you all for contributing! Please leave your questions, comments, critiques, and concerns - I appreciate all of the feedback I can get! Have a great night.
>>
>>3435451
good night OP
>>
>>3435451
Geez. Well, I really hope everything goes well (both for you and your gram). As much as it counts for from a "1 post by this ID" Anon on an underground snail racing forum, I send my blessings.

Stay well, and hope to see you soon!
>>
Well, that went about as well as it could have. I was half expecting her carrying a rocket launcher or c4 and just blowing up our building.
As it is we've burned through 30 hp and are currently sitting on 90, but can recover 40 more. We are at about medium distance? Meaning a good chance of hitting her with a couple shots before she can close in and make her use whatever patches or health packs she got in her bag.
Then what? If we get in a couple headshots she will be plenty vulnerable to a handgun follow-up, otherwise she will hold advantage with her very close range kit.
Currently cursing myself I've been IP hopping unfortunately for suggesting mounting the flashlight on the rifle instead of the handgun, as it could have blinded the enemy when whipped out, but we can still make use of it by not allowing her to look at us directly while at long range. Problem is reducing her accuracy is all we can do, unless we wanna take our chances and blind her close range: we have only one ranged option, one close range and a CQC; usable items are rope (that unless we want to secure ourselves or lay down a tripwire won't be very useful) and the MYSTERY BOX that is the syringe and I don't really want to try it out on ourselves but it will probably either be a revive or a drug, or an instant kill, or even a buff/regen, could be anything really.

Knowing her kit our best option would be camping her out, but that's kinda outta the question so sharpshooting it is.

On other matters, why did she want us to be on the bridge? Just a close quarters matter? Or does she want to show this to someone? It's a private lobby isn't it?

About what we did: something that caused us to go into hiding AND get most of what we had IG stripped away from us? Something illegal for sure, be it taking a deal from an opposing team or cheating. It could also be it wasn't us, and we were framed/badmouthed.

Thanks for running OP, it's been pretty good so far. Hope the situation on your end isn't that bad, I've been in that spot before.
>>
>>3435447
I don't get it and don't like it. We are supposed to be veteran or something. And here we are she stand right in the open we got gun in our hands and we let her monolog. It doesn't really make sense.
>>
>>3436047
We didn't even have voting options maybe the post isn't done all the way?
>>
>>3436064
>>3435447
>“Hm, you actually survived that.”

After that line we should start shooting. The fact that we are talking is silly.
>>
>>3436066
That's a fair opinion to have! Admittedly, I would have given you the option to do so had I not needed to sleep, but I needed to create some form of stopping point to pick up from later today.
>>
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All is silent except the crackling of flames, and despite her bold claim of beginning the fight, she makes no move towards you. Now that her monologuing is over, you figure that it’s time to step back a bit – analyze the situation and form a plan of attack. You were a bit ready to get into a fight just now, which you always should be when it came to this game, but allowing her to monologue? That was some anime bullshit right there, and you should know better.

Such bad form, honestly.

However, setting your professional skill level aside, you have quite a few options in front of you; some with more risks than others! Let’s focus on what you know.

To start with, you know two of her three weapons. She has a sawed-off shotgun and a medium-length blade, firmly cementing her as primarily close-range fighter. Judging by the fact that she outwardly claimed that she had more mines in the rest of the buildings – bad form on her part, unless it was a bluff – you could mark her as a demolitions type player overall, you were pretty confident about that.

Next, your location. Currently, you have two places you can run to. There’s a building directly behind you, and one to your left – you had no idea what lied within, but it would be better than fighting her in the open. From what you can recall, weapon drops were a thing that happened when you played previously, however you had just been made painfully aware how much things had changed. Despite that, you had one advantage over her – your assault rifle. The Vagabond was a burst fire weapon, and from here you were fairly confident that you could hit – it also helped that she would need to get closer to hit you with anything that wasn’t fucking explosions.

The sky rumbles with thunder. It’s time to choose.

>Take your shot, if you’re accurate enough you can end this right here.
>Flee into one of the buildings, despite her threats. You were pretty sure there had to be some sort of restriction on how many mines she had.
>Other.

[And with that I’ll be gone for 6 – 8 hours, sorry for my last post being subpar! In the shitty map you are green and she is red.]
>>
>>3436156
>Take your shot, if you’re accurate enough you can end this right here.
>>
>>3436156
>Flee into a building.
Go to the one on the middle left, it's closer and there might be something of use inside, providing there isn't another explosive hidden.
>>
>>3435974
I was thinking explosives too, but the more conventional kind, not the fucking spiders everywhere kind. The sword thing threw me off, too!

Thinking about this, with all the patches and changes in the game, maybe some weapons have to be earned through victories or lootboxes; which might explain why we got generic FPS options. Hell, we didn't even get grenades in our kit! But this is not a complaint, I like a system that rewards gameplay.

>medium distance
Yeah, not sure why people are thinking she's going to be hard to hit, assault rifles shoot accurately at longer distances than people think, and since we have our actual fingers on the trigger instead of a controller, it would be easier to space our bullets one at a time instead of burst firing/spraying.
I feel like if she's able to close the distance gap, it'll be over for us, between the shotgun and the fuck-off sword she has. Hit and run might be our best chance, and hopefully she doesn't have bullshit anime speed!

>blinding tactic
I didn't think about that. That would have been a good fallback option for her getting close, as long as our QM/dice roll decided to go with that line of reasoning. I said this before, but I want to emphasize that we are most likely going to fucking die if she gets within blade's reach of us. Not only because of assumed damage values, but our MC has been portrayed as "skittish" and he hasn't played in half a decade, we may have some unseen malus working against us in close combat.

>syringe
God damn, I want to try it so bad, but that's a pitfall. Like you said, it could be anything, and I wouldn't doubt there would be such items that you could jab your enemy with to cause debuffs. If it were the 90's, I'd say there's no such thing as a bad pickup, but we shouldn't risk it knowing how evolved this game is.

>she's showing off
I agree with this theory. Probably live streaming or recording the match somehow, to show her superiors (if she has any, she could be the leader). She did say she was recruiting us, after all.
>>
>>3436156
>Take your shot, if you’re accurate enough you can end this right here.
SHOOT HER, SHOOOOOOT HEEER!

Old memes aside, we have nothing to lose from taking the shot, except a few bullets. On the off-chance she picked up a throwing weapon along the way, she might counterattack, or hell, shotguns may actually be realistic in this game, but I think we're in a position to be able to eat a little damage.
>>
>>3436256
>>3436265
Never mind what I said, I support this.
>>
>>3436156
>>3436265
Yeah, we are sitting on 90 HPs and even our knife does only 70 on a head hit. We're not in immediate danger.
Unless she got some armor that raises her total hp we should be able to inflict serious damage.

My vote is
>take your shot
too
We got the accuracy advantage, but even if she starts to close in or shoots back we can just strafe and/or retreat.
In that case it'd be better to hide back in our starting building, as her trap was already triggered and we don't risk blowing ourselves up again.

Thing is there's many things we need to account for and adapt to on the fly, because of lack of information ooc and ic, but it's pretty fun to devise tactics to minimize danger while keeping the offensive.
>>
Hello, I'm back and ready to resume!

>>3436176
>>3436265
>>3436382
>>3436514
A lot of really interesting ideas, I'm enjoying seeing how you work through these issues! Writing now.

>>3435974
>>3436256
Good call on the flashlight, that line of thought will be used.
>>
As if it was a starting pistol in a race, the crack of thunder roars overhead, and 0phelia is moving forward. As she runs, she also removes her shotgun from its holster – it’s a scary sight, but you feel your resolve strengthen as you holster your pistol and knife just as fast, choosing to raise the rifle instead.

With a concise movement, you reach forward and tap the ON button for your flashlight, hopefully obscuring her view as you pull the trigger.

The sound of gunfire tears through the air as three bullets fly forward, the girl squinting her eyes as she quickly darts from side to side. Unfortunately for her, and fortunately for you, you hear a meaty crunch as one of them makes contact with her right arm. Immediately after you confirm that you hit, you turn on your heel and fucking book it to the left building, running as fast as your virtual legs can carry you. You hear the crack of a shotgun behind you, but by some miracle none of the spread makes contact – you were outside of accurate range, thank god. You knew that you could survive at least one shotgun blast from close range, however if she got near you with the sword, it would be all over.

“Not so fast!” You hear her voice rise beyond it’s usual tone, and you turn your head in time to see her running parallel with you on the inner ring of the bridge. She unclips something from her belt and aims it just in front of you, at the bridge’s railing. A moment later, you see a black rope spring forward and latch on to the thick cable, and it begins to pull 0phelia towards you as well.

She has a GRAPPLING HOOK? What had happened to this game while you were away, for fucks sake?

She’s approaching at a very fast rate, enough so that you wouldn’t trust firing due to the time it would take, and so due to that you settle for the most bullshit thing you had done in five years.

You spring forward as she reaches the rail, turning in midair just in time to send your boot into the side of her head.

Catching your footing, you continue your dead sprint to the building, the only sound following being the clattering of her body against the metal grates that made up the bridge.

You hate to admit it, but you’re grinning. It felt good to give as good as you got.

>Run inside and ascend to a higher floor, turning around now could allow her to close the distance.
>Turn around and risk another few shots, you could end this if you acted fast.
>Other.

[You finally got some offense in, look at you go!]
>>
>>3437111
>Run inside and ascend to a higher floor, turning around now could allow her to close the distance.
>>
>>3437111
>Run inside and ascend to a higher floor.

She'll kill us if we pause.
>>
>>3437187
>>3437225
Writing now!
>>
You weren’t feeling that risky, not after everything it took just to score some damage on her. You barrel into the building, locating the door to the stairwell and opening it, slamming it behind you without looking back. You whip around and raise your rifle, aiming it to where you believe her head would be if she decided to follow.

All is quiet, other than thunder and rain pattering against the walls. No footfalls, no mechanical skittering, nothing. You don’t allow yourself a sigh of relief, instead aiming towards the stairwell and ascending with focused eyes. She could have used her grappling hook to ascend to the floor above you for all you knew, you didn’t have an idea as to how long the range was, nor how many uses it had.

You did have an idea as to her general equipment, though – she has her hook, her spiders, and her weapons. You didn’t know the third weapon, nor what else she had obtained from her starting bag or the general environment – there were many unknown factors, but what little you did know worked to your advantage. There was a time limit, and she would have to get close or use her spiders to finish you – something tells you she won’t be taking a draw for an answer, either.

You reach the door to the sixth floor, bracing yourself outside of the wall just like you had before. This time, there were no questions about it, you’re going to check every room that you go into now. If memory served you correctly, which at this point it probably didn’t, direct explosions did about -80 HP. You’re certain that the only reason you got off as good as you did was because it was the force of the explosion, not the blast itself.

You lean forwards and press your ear against the door, and upon hearing nothing, you obscure yourself from view and gently open the door. Looking around, you’re able to find a stray pencil, and you toss it in.

Nothing is heard, and you know you can enter without trouble. When you step around the door frame and into the room, however, you find yourself tripping over something. You catch yourself just fine, and you turn to see what tripped you…

>[Along with any choice you vote for, roll me a 1d100, please! When I tally the results, I’ll randomly pick the roll between whoever voted.]

>Get up and grab what you tripped over, continuing to search the room for anything of value.
>Grab what you tripped over and go to the window, taking cover as you search for your opponent.
>Other.
>>
Rolled 31 (1d100)

>>3437289
>Get up and grab what you tripped over, continuing to search the room for anything of value.
>>
Rolled 33 (1d100)

>>3437289
>Grab what you tripped over and go to the window, taking cover as you search for your opponent.
>>
Rolled 95 (1d100)

>>3437289
>>Grab what you tripped over and go to the window, taking cover as you search for your opponent.
>>
Rolled 77 (1d100)

>>3437289
Are the windows broken in this building? Go to the edge of the window and repel down and just hang there until she comes in then ambush her
>>
Rolled 74 (1d100)

>>3437289
>Grab what you tripped over and go to the window, taking cover as you search for your opponent.

>>3437319
That roll.
>>
Rolled 2 (1d3)

>>3437316
>>3437319
>>3437325
Let's see who's roll goes through!

>>3437320
The windows aren't broken in this one, only in the building you started inside!
>>
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>>3437375
EZ
>>
>>3437383
Oh boy.
>>
>>3437396
Is that a good "Oh boy", or a bad "Oh boy"?
>>
>>3437429
You just enabled some cool shit to happen at a point in time. I have no qualms in telling you that you just got something damn good.
>>
You stand up and check what you tripped over, and to your surprise, it’s a sleek black case. Something that a business man would carry on his way to work, and seemingly untouched. You reach out and grasp it, lifting it up and moving over to a table in order to open it. Upon undoing the clasps, you open it to find the interior lined with black foam. In the middle sits a simple black cube, devoid of any abrasions or deformities. You pause, reaching out to run your hand across the top; when you do so, dark red lines appear on it in an indescribable pattern. You retract your hand, and as you do, the cube disappears.

…what the hell?

>??? acquired.

You shake your head and hope that it hadn’t done something that would fuck you over, crouching down and moving to the window as fast as you could. Thankfully, there’s a desk pressed right against the glass, so you try and obscure yourself from view whilst checking the bridge below.

It was empty. The blow hadn’t stalled her for long, it would seem.

Your eyes roam across the battlefield once more, trying to search for any sign of the girl – you find none, and you rack your brain on what to do next. You could go down and try to make your way to another building, although if it happened to be the one she was hidden in, you’d have a tough battle ahead. You could work this place over for more supplies, and even if it would allow her to set up some more traps, it could potentially give you a better means to fight them.

”Contestants, I am notifying you that half an hour has passed.”

The voice makes you frown, had it been that long already?

What do you do?

>Search the building for supplies, you need any advantage you can find.
>Go back down to the bridges and try to draw her out.
>Descend and find another building to move to, hopefully not containing either her or spiders.
>Other.
>>
>>3437493
>Search the building for supplies.
We need to find something long range, if we do we can take her out without her getting close at all.

Also that cube is ominous.
>>
>>3437493
We need to be rather cautious, but we can take our chances with this building I guess.
Just need to be careful with the spiders.
>search the building
Now that we're back inside we can arrange some simple traps with the rope, mostly tripwires. Snares are simple enough and effective, but we would need something springy.
The other just requires the rope to be tense, most effective right behind doors or corners.
>>
>>3437585
>>3437617
Time to stay vigilant and get loot. Writing now!
>>
With another sweep across the outside, you stand up and begin to search the rest of the floors as cautiously as you can.

This involves you walking half crouched for who knows how long, moving as silently as possible while trying to remain fast and thorough. You finish up looking on this floor very quickly, moving to the one above and following suit until the ninth floor. Each time you check out the window, and each time you see no evidence of her presence, even when checking with binoculars.

You have to give her a little credit, she’s very good at remaining unseen.

Your search ends on the ninth floor, as you aren’t willing to go onto the roof. For one it would leave you wide open, doubly so as you didn’t know how the range of her grappling hook was nor if she had found a long-range weapon. After doing a precautionary check, you finally begin to go through your inventory, reaffirming what you had going on.

>Player: Nova
>Health: 90/100
>Battery: 95%, OFF.

>Inventory:
>A moderate length of rope.
>Two health patches, each healing +20 HP a piece.
>Flashlight – currently equipped to your rifle.
>Binoculars.
>About two handfuls of caltrops, a small spool of wire, and an unidentified spherical object. (Found on Floor 6.)
>A strange rusty hook. (Found on Floor 7.)
>Three vials of a green, bubbling acid. (Found on Floor 8.)
>A set of throwing knives. (Found on Floor 8.)

Your only other discovery had been what seemed to be an ammunition stash on the floor you’re currently on, seemingly able to dispense any bullets needed. You have no idea if there’s a limit on how much it can put out overall, but it’ll be useful while it lasts.

Overall, you hadn’t found much to help you offensively other than the vials of acid. Defensively, however, was a different story.

It all depended on how you want to play it, honestly. You had once prided yourself on your adaptability, after all!

>Play offensively – go down to the bridges and seek her out yourself.
>Play defensively – set up traps and wait for her to come to you.
>Play brashly – brazenly taunt her from the rooftop, because that will certainly help your circumstances.
>Other.
>>
>>3437711
I forgot to also add the knives to what can help you offensively. Bad form on my part, truly.
>>
>>3437711
>Play defensively – set up traps and wait for her to come to you.
>>
>>3437711
>>Play offensively – go down to the bridges and seek her out yourself.
>>
>>3437711
>wire
>CALTROPS
Very nice, setting up extremely damaging tripping traps would now be way easier and way sneakier. Or we could just try to choke her lol.

>hook
Not sure about this, but could be used as the trigger for the snare together with rope and, again, something springy.
Could also work for a pulley trap I guess, but I am not sure how we are going to fix that to the ceiling.
Or we could make a grappling hook for ourselves, without the fancy self-respooling engine.

>Throwing knives
Pretty nifty, good as distraction and for damage. Probably can be used in a trap with the wire but no ideas.

>acid
Can work as makeshift grenades or set in traps in order to fall on the victim. Great find.

I'd say
>play defensively
Unless she can bring down the building or pick us off with a sniper rifle we hold the advantage here.
Taunting her could work, ironically, to bring her to our position but we need quality bantz to make her pissed enough.
>>
>Pays a team of hackers
>successfully deletes data in server
>deletes game too to everybody
>world goes into chaos
>invesgators scratch there heads to who did it
>used a VPN the whole time
>>
>>3437716
+1
Most of the doors that we leave behind us should be propped open a little bit and then if we can balance something on top so when she opens it all the way it'll make a sound kinda lile this

https://youtu.be/M3ttcnCzrp4?t=14m21s

I hope that link works
>>
At a drive-thru right now so I'll continue when I'm back home.

>>3437749
Are you implying that a defensive taunt combo is in order?

>>3437772
Sometimes it really do be like that.
>>
>deletes recovery file
>uh-oh whoopsie doopsie loopsie
>another game like that would take years to develop without source code
>>
>>3437778
Defensive taunting sounds great.

"How can you expect to lead a team when you can't even beat an old washed-up pro like me?"

"You know, I was expecting a little more out of you with the whole mysterious stranger shtick but I guess looks can be deceiving."

"Were you ever planning on using that sword of yours or is it as much for show as your guns are?"

"As talented as I am, even I'm not gonna be able to carry your team if this is the kind of ineptitude that I'll be working with."
>>
>>3437819
you do realise the whole game is gone, and you're asleep with a VR headset on...
>>
>>3437711
>Play defensively, also taunt like one anon suggested.
Just keep hurling stuff at her until she gets fed up and comes after you. Hopefully she'll be blind to the traps, because in close quarters without an advantage, we're fucked.
>>
>>3437711
>Move to another building to search for more supplies
>>
You close your eyes, leaning against the wall with crossed arms and pursed lips. You briefly entertain the thought of going down to fight her on even territory, however a moment later you conclude that you’d most likely lose. She had more knowledge of the game than you at this point in time, coupled with the fact that she seemed quite skilled. Chances were without the odds stacked in your favor, she would win without contest and you’d be forced to join her sham of a team.

That meant you needed to end this fight in this building. Although you didn’t have many materials, you could try and rig a few traps throughout the rooms and halls. You didn’t have to worry about how you’d get her inside, you had a damn good feeling that she wouldn’t be content to let a draw happen. As if spurred on by your thoughts, a voice rings out throughout the arena.

”Fifteen minutes remaining.”

You run your hands through your hair, staring holes into the floor. Today had been one hell of a day, that’s for sure. First the mother, then your landlord, and now you were back playing this game due to your persistent opponent. It was really troublesome, especially because no matter how the outcome of this match happens, you still need to go meet with Alexis.

Whatever, real life didn’t matter right now. You have a match to win, so you stand up and get to work. It’s quite a process, flitting throughout the halls and setting up your half-baked traps. Hell, with no time to properly test anything, you’re hardly sure if the damned things will work – and unfortunately, your main plan of attack relied on a trigger.

Here’s what you managed to come up with;

>Floor 7
Quite frankly, this was the one that took the least amount of effort to set up – you had found any breakable and sharp object that you could locate, and in turn put them all up and down the stairwell. This mixture of ceramic and staples was the distraction for the real danger above – the segments of rope you had cut would trip her if she wasn’t careful, sending her into the caltrops you had placed within the shadows. While it was the easiest to set up, it was also the one most likely to be noticed.

>Floor 8
Using the rest of the rope, the hook, and most of the twine had allowed you to make a very rudimentary pulley system that spanned the entire room. The trigger was a multitude of wires in the middle of the actual room – above it hung a vial of acid, suspended from a light fixture using some rope and the hook. All of this hinged on the acid vial falling, because when that occurred, the other special surprise you had prepared would spring upon her.

You had neglected to trap Floor 9, mainly due to lack of materials and time. The majority of the set up had gone into the complex acid trap, which admittedly, was your final gambit. If that failed, you’d be forced to fight her at her own whim – with how late it was, she’d be going in for the kill.

All that was left to do was lay out the bait – yourself.
>>
>>3438183
>Go up to the roof and begin taunting.
>Break out a few windows on Floor 6 – you’d make her follow you up the stairs.
>Do some last-minute preparations. [This is the suggestion option – purely because I’m sure I missed something in my very tired state.]

Speaking of that, I’m going to go take a nap. I’ve been awake since six in the morning and can hardly keep my eyes open, so this is where I’m calling it for the moment. Apologies for not really getting a lot of writing done today, I’ll be sure to put out more either later tonight or tomorrow! As always leave questions, feedback, comments, criticisms, and concerns – I am marking down any comments that are made so I can improve upon the story, and I apologize if this post is sub-par due to my tiredness. Have a great night!
>>
>>3438187
>Go up to the roof and begin taunting.

Goodnight OP.
>>
>>3438187
>>Go up to the roof and begin taunting.
>>
>>3438187
>Break out a few windows on Floor 6 – you’d make her follow you up the stairs.
Take some potshots at her if she's within sight. Taunting her only makes our plan that much more obvious, after all our previous seriousness.
>>
>>3438494
Yep, we have to pretend we got nothing to go on to lure her into a false sense of security.
>>
>>3438498
you didnt actually vote, you know
>>
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>>3438804
>concurring with a vote isn't voting
Okay.
>Break out a few windows on Floor 6 – you’d make her follow you up the stairs.
>>
Hey is the game they're playing called gun x glory? We never got confirmation on that.
>>
>>3439023
the name of the game is in like, the third post

>>3438811
No, no it isn't. Generally you try to make the process of counting votes as easy as possible. This includes copying the vote properly, using greentext when appropriate, and linking the relevant storypost for your vote.
>>
>>3439040
Now I feel silly
>>
>>3438187
>Break out a few windows on Floor 6 - you'd make her follow you up the stairs.

Gotta agree with >>3438494 we've been pretty serious up until this point, and at least there will be cover if her unknown weapon is long range.
>>
>>3438494
>>3438811
>>3439106
Good morning, and my god, I don't think I've had that good of a sleep in years. Writing now.
>>
You briefly entertain the idea of marching up to the rooftop and screaming vague obscenities and insults at your opponent, but you realize that this would be in bad form and stop thinking about it.

You were a professional once, and you have STANDARDS.

Instead of leaving yourself exposed to the elements, you move downstairs whilst being careful to avoid your caltrops and tripwire, and you enter the sixth-floor office once more. Disregarding caution for the moment, as you’re actually trying to get her to see you, you walk up to the window and sit on a nearby desk. Withdrawing your binoculars from your belt, you raise them up and try and scan the neighboring buildings for any signs of the girl. As you were quickly becoming used to, you saw no sign of her, so you sigh and raise your rifle instead.

Technically, this was a waste of bullets, but you had hardly fired shit and you have an ammo cache above you, so you don’t give a shit.

You sweep your gun from left to right, firing burst after burst of rounds and shattering every single window. As you do, the heavy wind rushes into the room, blowing your hair back even further as rain begins to pelt your body. You can only pray that a stray bullet would somehow hit her, but you aren’t holding your breath on that one. Even so, you finish your task and reload your weapon, having spent a whole clip for the name of bait and vandalism.

It’s when you turn and back away from the window that you hear it – the sound of a metallic crunch.

Upon looking over your shoulder, you see a black cable sticking into the desk you had just been sitting on, the metal claw having embedded itself deeply within the wood. You turn on your heel and make to flee towards the door, and you hear the sound of something hitting the ground behind you, and the cock of a shotgun.

It seems you hadn’t been wrong in her closing in quickly, but what do you do?

>Run into the hallway and ascend to the eighth floor, hoping she falls onto the caltrops.
>Turn around and fire at her with your rifle, with 90 health you could afford to take the hit. [If you vote for this, roll a 1d20. Roll to beat: 14.]
>Other.
>>
>>3439396
>>Turn around and fire at her with your rifle, with 90 health you could afford to take the hit. [If you vote for this, roll a 1d20. Roll to beat: 14.]
eh, wear her down
>>
Rolled 3 (1d20)

>>3439396
>Turn around and fire at her with your rifle, with 90 health you could afford to take the hit. [If you vote for this, roll a 1d20. Roll to beat: 14.]
Haven't got to shoot anything yet
>>
Rolled 12 (1d20)

>>3439415
>>
Rolled 1 (1d20)

>>3439396
>Turn around and fire at her with your rifle, with 90 health you could afford to take the hit. [If you vote for this, roll a 1d20. Roll to beat: 14.]
A word of advice, of you have people roll for a choice, it might be better (or worse, I suppose, from the player's point of view) to save the call for a dice roll until after the choice in question is locked in, otherwise you might have people changing their votes if they see that a particular action has only bad rolls
>>
Rolled 16 (1d20)

>>3439396
>Turn around and fire at her with your rifle, with 90 health you could afford to take the hit. [If you vote for this, roll a 1d20. Roll to beat: 14.]
>>
Rolled 11 (1d20)

>>3439425
>he says as he rolls a 1
I was going to choose the first option as that is the most LOGICAL but now I can't because I'll look like one of those people. Thanks.
>>3439396
>Turn around and fire at her with your rifle, with 90 health you could afford to take the hit. [If you vote for this, roll a 1d20. Roll to beat: 14.]
>>
>>3439425
Like you, for instance?
>>
>>3439425
That's a very good point, thank you for the advice!
>>
Why was everybody choosing to turn around when she already cocked her shotgun again? We have our back turned to her.
>>
Rolled 4 (1d5)

>>3439415
>>3439417
>>3439425
>>3439426
>>3439434
Alright, let's see who's roll goes through. Writing now.
>>
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>>3439459
>>
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>>3439459
>>
You whip around and raise your rifle, pulling the trigger just in time to see her crouched form fire her shotgun. It feels like time slows as the bullets fly, you throwing your form to the right just as she throws hers to the left. You grit your teeth as you prepare to feel the sting of the bullets, hoping that you had somehow managed to dodge the spray.

You feel something hit you in the chest, but no stinging. You look down just in time to see the armor left over from five years ago disappear into blue shards. It was a fucking miracle.

She, on the other hand, didn’t move fast enough to dodge the bullet that pierced her cheek.

A strangled yelp comes from her as she’s unable to catch herself, hitting the floor hard. You manage to catch yourself just fine, and you come to realize that you now have a modicum of opportunity to finish this. You raise your rifle once more, but then she does something that takes you entirely off-guard.

She throws herself out of the fucking window.

You hear her crash against the metal of the bridge, and then footfalls preceded by a muffled curse.

What do you do?

>Go to the window and see if you can fire at her from your vantage point – she still needed to reload her gun, and you didn’t want to risk her sword coming into play.
>Hurry down to the fifth floor – if you keep your pursuit, she’ll have nowhere to fall back to.
>Go through the window yourself to take the fastest route to her – you have her on the defense, you could end this right now!

>>3439493
I can't believe you've done this.
>>
>>3439459
>The only successful roll
Aww yiss
Her aiming is shit, no wonder she went into CQ demo :^)
>>
>>3439512
>Go to the window and see if you can fire at her from your vantage point – she still needed to reload her gun, and you didn’t want to risk her sword coming into play.
Like hell are we getting that close.
>>
>>3439512
>Go to the window and see if you can fire at her from your vantage point – she still needed to reload her gun, and you didn’t want to risk her sword coming into play.
>>
>>3439512
>window shooting
I wonder if it's gonna end up in a draw or if hp will be counted, should time run out.
>>
>>3439512
>>Go to the window and see if you can fire at her from your vantage point – she still needed to reload her gun, and you didn’t want to risk her sword coming into play.

When you're good, you're good.
>>
You don’t hesitate, rushing towards the window and scanning for her – for once, you’re able to spot her immediately. She’s running down the bridge, having almost made it to the inner circle – you raise your rifle and fire off some potshots at her, but all of them hit the metal grate. You curse to yourself, getting her into your sights to try again, when she suddenly turns on her heel and extracts something from her belt. Before you can take advantage of her pause, she fucking throws a dark object right towards your position.

Something that glints when a lightning strike occurs, the crack of thunder doing little to mask it’s extremely loud screeching.

For the love of god, ANOTHER ONE?

>Run back into the stairwell – you need all the health you can afford, and you need to develop another plan of attack.
>Try and shoot the thing in midair – it would prevent the explosion from reaching you, although it would obscure your view of her for a few seconds.
>Use the one throwing knife you have left to try and deflect it back at her – an extremely risky thing to attempt, but you had seen an old team member pull it off with a grenade and their own combat knife.
>>
>>3439595
>Use the one throwing knife you have left to try and deflect it back at her – an extremely risky thing to attempt, but you had seen an old team member pull it off with a grenade and their own combat knife.
no u
>>
>>3439595
>Use the one throwing knife you have left to try and deflect it back at her – an extremely risky thing to attempt, but you had seen an old team member pull it off with a grenade and their own combat knife.
>>
>>3439595
>throwing knife
I know it's the meme option, but I want to pick it so bad.

Does that ball look like the one we picked before?
We could throw her our own for double no u points
>>
>>3439595
>>Use the one throwing knife you have left to try and deflect it back at her – an extremely risky thing to attempt, but you had seen an old team member pull it off with a grenade and their own combat knife.
We aren't a pro for nothing.
>>
>inb4 this turns into the Phantom Ganon fight
>>
>>3439616
>>3439617
>>3439627
You guys picked the option that I didn't think would be picked. I can't believe this.

However, there is a roll associated with this one, and it's quite high due to trying to reflect a fucking grenade with a throwing knife. What were you thinking picking that option. I love all of you.

Everyone roll me a 1d20, and add a +5 to it due to reasons. I'm not sure if the option lets you add a +5 since I'm new here, but if it doesn't, I'll add it to the roll myself.

>>3439621
Roll as well since you really wanted to pick it. Also, the ball doesn't look like the one you have in your pack, but that's a good idea that I'll bring up at some point in the future.
>>
>>3439649
Also the roll to beat is 18, I forgot to include that because I am a fool.
>>
Rolled 4 + 5 (1d20 + 5)

>>3439649
>because reasons
okay
>>
Rolled 12 + 5 (1d20 + 5)

>>3439649
You can *technically* add 5, but it doesn't actually total the sum for you. That would be too convenient, wouldn't it?
>>
Rolled 15 + 5 (1d20 + 5)

>>3439649
Yeah. It's easy. All you have to do is dice+1d20+5.
>>
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Everybody else better roll.
>>
>>3439663
The reasons are good reasons, I swear.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d3)

>>3439663 (9)
>>3439665 (17)
>>3439669 (20)

If it lands on three I am going to be amazed.
>>
>>3439689
Welp, our luck's run out.
>>
>>3439689
Welp. Writing now.
>>
It feels like time has frozen as the mine sails towards you, the screeching permeating into your ears. Behind it, 0phelia reaches into her belt once more to put something on her body, causing a green hue to flit over it before disappearing. Two healing patches, effectively negating the damage you had just done. A moment later, she raises her hook again and fires, the claw gripping into the wall above you. She begins to be pulled forwards, and you know that you have to do something quick.

You get an insane idea in your head – one that was extremely risky, but one that could stop her right in her tracks. You withdraw the last throwing knife from your belt and take aim at the grenade, trying to line it up perfectly even with rain and wind pelting your body. You think you have it, so you throw it and hope for the best.

You didn’t take in the possibility of her doing something to prevent it from happening.

When she saw the knife go towards the explosive, she acted quick – she used her freehand to grab her sheathed sword, flicking it out of her belt and sending the sheathe directly at the knife – and it actually hit, sending it wildly off into the street below.

You don’t stick around, turning as fast as you can and fucking bolting towards the door – in fact, you’re almost there when you hear the screaming halt and become replaced by a loud explosion. You once again find yourself thrown through the doorframe, slamming against the wall with a low grunt.

>Player: Nova
>Health: 70/100 (-20 HP)

You didn’t have time to rest, you needed to move and move fast.

>Run upstairs – you still had your traps in place, and you can heal as you make your way up.
>Run downstairs – you could keep your range advantage whilst also denying her a close-quarters encounter.
>Other.
>>
>>3439733
>Run upstairs – you still had your traps in place, and you can heal as you make your way up.
>>
>>3439733
>Run upstairs – you still had your traps in place, and you can heal as you make your way up.
>>
Just make sure not to trip any of them. She still has the grappling hook, though.
>>
Popping into town for a bit, I'll be back and write the majority soon.

Also for those who want to go upstairs, I assume you'd like to heal as well?
>>
>>3439733
>Run upstairs – you still had your traps in place, and you can heal as you make your way up.
I keep expecting you to take the best of the first three rolls, since that's what many other QM's do, but I like the way you're doing it now. Makes every decision feel more dangerous.
>>
>>3439762
It is part of the the vote, so yes.
>>
>>3439741
>>3439744
>>3439763
I'm back and filled with chicken, let's begin once more. Writing now!
>>
You spring up from the ground and take a sharp left, catching sight of her moving towards you through the burning room. You move up the stairs as quickly as possible, feigning a tripping motion as you pass over the caltrops, thankfully avoiding them in your haste. You hear her footsteps following, but you pay them no mind – if you stopped at this stage, you’d be dead meat.

Speaking of that, you reach into your bag and extract a healing patch, pressing it to your chest. You feel a soothing sensation across your skin, and therefore more invigorated.

>Player: Nova
>Health: 90/100 (+20 HP)

Back to the matter of the woman chasing you, judging by the location of her footsteps, she was almost at the caltrops herself.

If she would trip, that would just be lovely – any damage that would soften her up would help loads.

>Roll a 1d20, after 10 minutes I’ll roll to see which one goes through. The goal to beat is 13, since she’s currently focusing on chasing after you.
>>
Rolled 8 (1d20)

>>3439929
>>
Rolled 6 (1d20)

>>3439929
I don't suppose we still have a vial of acid on hand? We could try throwing some at her when she trips.
>>
Rolled 10 (1d20)

>>3439929
>>
ffs, where's that fourth guy?
>>
Rolled 11 (1d20)

>>3439929
>>
>>3439941
I have a prediction that this roll won't go well, so based on your idea, I'd like for you to roll another 1d20 for me.
>>
Rolled 8 (1d20)

>>3439929
>>
Rolled 6 (1d20)

>>3439940
>>3439944
>>3439949
>>3439956
Well, shit, none of these went through. However since >>3439941 has a neat idea regardless, I'm gonna roll for that one too.
>>
>>3439962
The rolls in this thread are cursed. We need the other guy back fast.
>>
Rolled 17 (1d20)

>>3439962
POWER
>>
>>3439975
YOU CAME IN THE NICK OF TIME.
>>
>>3439649
Sorry boss, I was away.

Do I still need to roll?

Did my IP change again? I swear I am almost half the people in this thread goddammit
>>
>>3440005
It's all good, don't worry about it. You don't gotta roll but things worked out just fine! You'll see in a few moments.
>>
As you continue forth, you hear no sounds of tripping or crashing. She must have either seen the wire or stepped over it, whichever it was, you didn’t know. However, an idea came to mind as you came close to the 8th floor door, one that had you digging in your belt again. When you felt the smoothness of glass, you wrapped your hand around the vial and turned, throwing it right down the stairway.

You couldn’t help but laugh at the surprise on her face when it collided, spilling the viscous green liquid all over her face and torso. You didn’t stick around to savor it though, because you flung open the door and moved across the room, expertly avoiding the wires you had placed. The door slammed shut, only to be kicked open by the enraged girl who barreled in with her sword in hand.

You thought she would have reloaded her gun by now, but apparently she had been too focused on pursuing you to do so.

Such bad form, honestly.

She charges forward and wildly swings towards you – it seemed that between the shooting her in the head and the acid in the face, she lost a bit of her composure. Thankfully for you, she walked right in the way of the wires, causing another vial of acid to fall. This one, however, she sees and aptly dodges – the thing clatters to the floor and shatters, the liquid pooling out onto the ground and several other wires you had placed.

A zipping noise is heard throughout the room, followed by the sound of something being thrown through the air.

Hopefully the two throwing knives you had rigged would work as intended.

>Alright, so last time the rolls didn’t go so well. But the past is the past, so gimme another 1d20 – your score to beat is once again a 13.

>>3439975
I hope your idea was to your liking.
>>
Rolled 7 (1d20)

>>3440049
GG
>>
Rolled 13 (1d20)

>>3440049
NO RE
>>
Wow, guys, start rolling anytime.
>>
Rolled 10 (1d20)

>>3440049
UNLIMITED
>>
Rolled 3 (1d3)

>>3440069 (7)
>>3440081 (13)
>>3440092 (10)
We'll see if it lands on two, because meets it beats it.
>>
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>>3440143
Nice jinx.
>>
>>3440143
Sometimes it really do be like that. Writing now.
>>
Close but no dice for the knives, but she must be out of patches by now and we can probably blind her again.

And, well, shoot her.
>>
You see the glints of steel flash through the air, but unfortunately, her arm is faster – whatever silent comments you had been making about her aim, she manages to successfully deflect both knives with her sword. Sparks dance in the air as she moves forward, too close to properly maneuver the outstretched blade into your skin. However, it doesn’t prevent her from using her free arm to wrap around your waist before you can react, pushing her shoulder into your chest and sending you both through the window.

You sail downwards through the air with her arm firmly latched around you. You manage to wrench your knife out of it’s sheathe, trying to angle it at her neck in the midst of freefall – however when you swing downwards, she releases her grip, instead pushing off of you by planting her feet against your abdomen. It only furthers the speed of your own fall, sending you crashing against the grate and skidding across the bridge.

>Player: Nova
>Health: 60/100 (-30 HP)

You force yourself up, the rifle following shortly afterwards as you fire another volley at the girl. The sound of clashing steel notifies you that you fucking missed, doubly so by the fact that she’s approaching you fast. You attempt to turn the flashlight on once more in order to mask the attack, but as soon as you do, you see her arm whip out.

Your throwing knife from earlier crashes against the light, shattering it and causing it to disappear into polygons.

Adrenaline pumps through your system as you consider your options – she’s almost reached you.

>You have a single vial of acid left - try and use it as a distraction to get away.
>Engage with your knife – if you can manage to block some of her attacks, there might be an opening for you to exploit.
>Try and fire – you have a good chance of hitting, but she could just as easily use her agility to get out of the way.
>Flee – you need to try and regain your range advantage, she has you where she wants you.
>Other.

[This story is the first time I've written an action scene, so I apologize if it's unsatisfactory.]
>>
>>3440228
>Try and fire – you have a good chance of hitting, but she could just as easily use her agility to get out of the way.
Too late to run; it's do or die.
>>
>>3440228
>Try and fire.
We don't have the liberty of running anymore, we gotta try and finish this.

Also you're doing fine OP don't worry about it.
>>
>>3440228
>Use the syringe on ourselves.
>>
>>3440228
Wait what
Why did we stay in grab range?
Why didn't we shoot her while she was triggering the trap?
Did we shoot her while she was still freefalling or she already landed?

Anyhow
>throw the acid flask and shoot it right when it's about to hit her, keep moving backwards while shooting in the meantime and be ready to switch to the handgun instead of reloading.
>>
>>3440280
It's probably adrenaline, now that I think about it...
>>3440228
>Use the syringe on ourselves
>>
>>3440228
>>3440291
>>3440280
Oh yeah, forgot about it. It's probably worth a try.
>syringe

I apologize if I sound harsh, but some details evade me.
>>
>>3440228
>Full auto that bitch
>>
>>3440290
>>3440297
No worries, I get where you're coming from!

For why you stayed in grab range, and for why you didn't fire while it was being triggered - you were fully expecting the trap to work - you were going to gun her down when the knives stuck her, but that obviously didn't happen due to her deflecting them and then tackling you out the window. And you shot at her when you both hit the bridge ground, yeah.

Apologies that I didn't express it clearer via the story!

>>3440244
>>3440259
>>3440309
Also time for full auto gunning. Writing now!
>>
>>3440339
Or burst fire gunning since it's a burst fire rifle. Bleh.
>>
>>3440339
QM, wait, I changed my vote to the syringe!
>>
>>3440349
Oh shit, I didn't even see that. My bad, syringe time.
>>
”Five minutes remaining.

The words echo in your ears as you dig into your belt, moving into a coiled position to dodge. The acid could miss, she was probably better in melee combat than you, you don’t doubt she’d be able to dodge the bullets, and fleeing would cause nothing but a sword in your back. It felt like you were truly out of options, damned to a fate of working for this girl who you didn’t even know. You grit your teeth as she rushes forward, and then you feel it – something smooth that you hadn’t even thought of since the beginning of the match.

The syringe.

Your hand closes around it and rips it out of the belt just as she descends upon you, pressing it to your neck just as her sword flashes towards you.

Craaaaaaaaaack.

You hear a loud crackle in your ears as your body surges forward, diving between her legs and making her miss her mark. She turns around and stabs at you, but you roll out of the way of that one too. You unholster your pistol to fire, but the flat of her blade strikes the barrel just as you pull the trigger. She goes for a punch with her free hand, which you block with yours. The blade comes up again, and you deflect it with your knife, springing away before she can recover.

Your body is burning. You feel like you’re on fire, like your mind is in overdrive. You’re vaguely aware of yellow sparks bouncing off of every exposed area of your skin, body vibrating with repressed energy. You’d call it adrenaline, but it was different somehow – your body was lighter, and your mental processes were faster.

What the fuck had been in that syringe?

You didn’t care, it had given you the ability to dodge her strikes. Unfortunately, you see her raise the shotgun, and you just manage to dodge enough of the spray to only take minimal damage.

Player: Nova
Health: 50/100 (-10 HP)
Status: NRG (15 seconds remaining)

You could feel the energy fading almost as quickly as it had come, and you knew you only had limited opportunity to exploit it.

This ended now.

>Reflect on circumstances, checkmate your enemy.

[I love everyone who thought to use the syringe. The fact that you used it directly at this moment makes me happier than you could imagine.]
>>
>>3440465
Finish this

Also does anyone want to be the player that fucks with their opponents mentally?
>>
Have we figured out what that thing was in the briefcase?
>>
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>>3440465
That's what I'm here for, baby!
>>
>>3440488
What briefcase?
>>
>>3440465
>Checkmate the enemy.
Well shit I thought the syringe was gonna be a debuff.
>>
>>3440499
From this post
>>3437493
>>
>>3440499
The one with the cube.
>>
>>3440509
>>3440510
Oh.
>>3440465
>Reflect on circumstances, checkmate your enemy.
Start by disabling her hands.
>>
>>3440499
The one we literally tripped on which contained a mysterious cube.
>>3440465
What we have left? Rifle, pistol and gun for sure.
Are we out of patches? Lost count we have either one or none.
We have the mystery ball and a bottle of acid.

>throw the acid while you shoot with the pistol
With our enhanced reflexes we should be able to either hit the acid mid-air or force her to focus on one of the two avenues of attack: if she dodges in one direction to avoid the acid we can cut her off with the bullets, she can't deflect everything and if she decides to avoid the bullets she will need to either throw herself in one direction or grapple away and we can counter both as she'll be moving in a straight line.
Checkmate indeed.
>>
>>3440479
>>3440490
>>3440507
>>3440517
Time for checkmate. Writing now.
>>
>15 seconds remaining.

Your hand flashes into your belt and you remove the bottle of acid, throwing it directly at her and firing your pistol seconds later. The bottle bursts and the bubbling liquid flies at her, to which she actually charges through, sword glinting from another strike of thunder. You spot her applying another patch to herself with her free hand – she should be out, now that she’s used it.

You go to fire your pistol once more, but she sharply jerks her head out of it’s path, the bullet whizzing over her shoulder as she swings the sword in an underhand arc. You angle your knife and slam it against the blade, sending it off it’s mark and past you. She compensates for this with a knee to your stomach, followed by a kick to the head with the same leg.

You are unfazed.

>Health: 40/100 (-10 HP)

>10 seconds remaining.

You recover by digging your knife into her shoulder, catching her wince as she goes to sweep your feet from under you. You stand strong and dart out of the way, another pistol bullet burying into her outstretched leg. She curses and raises her shotgun again, firing directly at you. You jerk away, yet still feel the sting as your arm catches most of the shot.

>Health: 15/100 (-25 HP)

You’re the one who closes the gap this time, deflecting her sword once more in a storm of sparks. Another shot from your pistol, this time to the abdomen – it was an interesting sight, seeing actual panic across her face. You can’t help the grin that comes across yours.

>5 seconds remaining.

She jumps away from you, fishing into her belt again and pulling out another mine. You knew you would lose if it left her hands, so you make the ultimate gambit once again – you go to throw your knife. And this time, when you do, a strange thing happens. You feel your arm jerk down a few inches, strange red lines moving across the limb wildly, and it moves forward to throw the knife.

The hilt of your blade hits it directly, sending it out of her hand and over the bridge's railing.

She looks at you with shock, and that’s when you strike. You throw yourself forward once more, faster than even she could react to. You punch her as hard as you can in the wrist, the sword following the mine over the side of the bridge, and you raise your pistol to the underside of her chin.

“Jackpot.”

BANG!

All is silent as her head slowly tilts down towards you, eyes wide and mouth open. Her skin slowly begins to flake away into blue polygons, her body as still as a statue.

“What…the hell…”

As if swept away with the wind, her body disintegrates into the air, and you collapse onto the bridge.

>0 seconds remaining: NRG buff removed.

A moment later, a screen appears in front of your eyes.

>Match concluded.
>N0v4_C43s4r defeats 0phelia.

“…heh…and they called me…a dirty cheater.”

Your vision turns white as the map begins to disappear, and you find yourself grinning all the while.

>Return to lobby.
>>
And that's what the cube does. Told you guys that 95 roll got something good.
>>
>>3440612
WELL FUCK.
>>
>>3440612
>Return to lobby.
I would say "nuthin personnel", but you made it personnel.
>>
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>>3440618
>>3440612
WOW! That is some crazy story telling cirno. I still don't know what it does.
>>
>>3440612
>>3440618
Impressive.

>return to lobby
>>
>>3440630
It's all personnel kid.

>>3440635
I hope it's crazy in a good way! Think of as a single-use aimbot only legal. You wouldn't have hit that shot without it.

Thank you all for keeping up with this until now! You've won your first battle in five years - and in excellent form I might add! I've been putting off an essay all day just so we could get to this point, so I'm gonna head off and do that. I'll be back on later to continue this, so I guess see you then!
>>
>>3440671
Wow! Great quest OP
>>
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>>3440671
Most definitely in a good way. Thank you and good luck on your essay.
>>
>>3440671
You know what I'm really looking forward to though? All the people who were watching the match after we exit the game. Please have that be apart of the story.
>>
>>3440693
I also figured this would be included. So the MC is fugged no matter how you slice it.
At the very least the Cinder chick watched.
>>
>>3440697
QM said that arcade versions of Warscape censor player details, though. Do you think she might have livestreamed it?
>>
>>3440713
Even if his name is censored, he's now personally famous, and his arcade will be too. If there was a group watching them IRL, word will spread. it is also possible that someone streamed it.
the match was tense and impressive. The girl is probably a pro player with a reputation, so this is an upset. People will talk about it.
Probably.
>>
Aw, fuck, I missed it.

That was really awesome though, and wouldn't have had it go any other way! That was CLUTCH!
>>
>>3440731
Ahh, that's a good point. Hopefully the girl isn't a sore loser, because since she actually knows who he is, she could just leak where the arcade is.
>>
>>3440612
>Return to lobby.
Guess we showed her what happens when you play against an ex-pro lol
>>
[Yo! I’m back with this one update for the night, and then I’m off to sleep. Essay took longer to do than expected and now I’m just tired. See y’all tomorrow with the aftermath of your explosive win!]

It takes what feels like a long time for your vision to return, the darkness slowly fading into the soothing blue of your old home base, the leather of your couch pressing against your back. You look down at yourself – your coat and armor now gone. It seems that the old feature had extended to other forms of clothing – it used to be that only the armor would disappear when ruined, ensuring that you would need to buy another if you wanted to use it again.

You notice that the steel monitoring bracelet no longer is on your arm. You look towards the matchmaking pedestal, and there the blonde robot stood, expression blank as she idly gazed at you.

“How’d I do, bot?” You call out to her, half-exhausted. She doesn’t respond. Apparently not using the system in years instilled a very common symptom into you for the moment, often called noob sickness by many frequent players. Full dive VR is often overwhelming for first time players, and there was a mode you could select in order to ween yourself into it – however you were on a time schedule and didn’t even think about doing it because you were busy fighting 0phelia.

A part of you couldn’t believe you had won that, especially with how rusty you had been. Another buried part of you claimed that you had it from the get-go, pointedly ignoring the amount of damage you had ate and that she probably would have had you killed without that syringe. Goddamn, that game was intense. You were still grinning as well – a well-earned win still got your blood pumping, it seemed. Unfortunately, rather than savoring the good vibes coursing through you, it was about time that you exited the game.

You had a woman to eject from your store.

>Log out of the game, rewards were meaningless when you didn’t plan on playing again.
>Check your rewards for the match, loot is loot after all!
>>
>>3441509
>Check rewards for the match.
We earned that loot, damnit! Also goodnight QM.
>>
>>3441509
>>Log out of the game, rewards were meaningless when you didn’t plan on playing again.
You still have some selfrespect, you used to play this game when it wasen't gachashit of gamebreaking futuristic toys.
>>
>>3441509
>Check your rewards for the match, loot is loot after all!
Might as well. You never know what we might need if we get pulled into a similar scenario.
>>
>>3441509
>Log out of the game, rewards were meaningless when you didn’t plan on playing again.
>>
>>3441509
>Check your rewards for the match, loot is loot after all
>>
>>3441509
>>Check your rewards for the match, loot is loot after all!
>>
>DC 13 to 14
>best of 1
So everything except write ins are more likely to fail than succeed?

I don't....comprehend. Why not just make it write in no rolls?
>>
>>3441509
>Check your rewards for the match, loot is loot after all!
Might as well
>>
>>3441686
Because gaming comes down to both skill and luck. You can only guess what your opponent will do in any given situation and it's up to you, as the gamer, to make the most of it. Plus, the QM is new and taking a different approach to quests.
>>
>>3441704
So the opponent is ALSO more likely to fail than succeed? That carries the risk of both parties flailing ineffectually at each other.
>>
>>3441509
>Log out of the game, rewards were meaningless when you didn’t plan on playing again.
>>
>>3441509
>Log out of the game, rewards were meaningless when you didn’t plan on playing again.
>>
>>3441509
>Check your rewards for the match, loot is loot after all!
This and take a quick look at our friends list, just for the nostalgia
>>
>>3441763
>quick look at our friends list
Its empty! Get over it!
>>
>>3441509
>loot

Might as well look at it, right?
>>
Good morning! I'm up and ready to write more, however it will be more sporadic due to having multiple deadlines for the day.

>>3441686
I understand where you're coming from on this, and it's a very trial and error process at the current moment. I'm just trying to find out what works and what doesn't! I think the best of one rolls add weight to the decisions made, but I'm willing to change it to best of three if enough people want me to. You're definitely right about the DC though, I'll be lowering that for future events!

>>3441514
>>3441643
>>3441668
>>3441682
>>3441702
>>3441763
>>3441818
It seems you're just a liiiiittle curious as to what you got, and who can blame you? Writing now.
>>
>>3441856
One system I've seen working quite well is to set a DC and then count all three rolls. If all 3 rolls are over the DC it's a great success, 2 is a regular success, only 1 roll over is regular failure, and so on.
>>
>>3441868
That's actually a really neat idea, I may switch over to that in the future.
>>
You lazily move your hand through the air with a flourish, fully intending to log out of the game in order to tell the girl to leave. You weren’t planning to be impolite about it – it had been a good match, so she at least deserved a handshake – but she had lost the challenge, and not to mention she had fucking stalked you to your arcade five years after you had dropped off the map.

You’re not so sure about that one, chief.

However, just as you’re about to click the logout button within the settings menu, something catches your eye. To the right of the screen, there’s a little golden box just hanging in the air, the edges occasionally shimmering. You raise your eyebrow at it, but curiosity overcomes you quickly – it’s a floating gold box, no one can blame you for that! You poke the box, and it expands into a new window – apparently this calculated your post-match rewards.

>Victory!
>N0v4_C43s4r def. 0phelia
>Level Increase: 1 -> 2
>Funds Gained: $10000 ($5000 legacy bonus)
>Materials Gained: Tier 1 D-Ticket x3, Tier 1 C-Ticket x3, Tier 1 B-Ticket x1 (Tier 1 B-Ticket x1 legacy bonus)

You feel your eye twitch. Since when had this became a gacha game? Back in the old days, everything was earned through a tier system – you had to play in order to unlock shit, and the in-game currency was spent on clothes for your avatar and skins for your guns rather than weapons themselves. From what it looks like, they had done away with the tier system entirely – apparently the items just come through a fucking lootbox now? What was the fun in that?

Weak. Real fucking weak, Auxilia Systems. You feel ancient gamer rage roaring through your soul, but you ignore it, since you don’t plan on playing this again. Time to log out.

>Logout and return to the lobby, you’ve spent enough time dawdling.
>Dawdle further, you’re a petty asshole and you want to check out the gacha system for heckling purposes.

>>3441577
It was actually half gacha bullshit the entire time, you saw through me.
>>
>>3441910
>logout with a sigh over marketing practices
>>
>>3441910
>>Logout and return to the lobby, you’ve spent enough time dawdling.
>>
>>3441910
>Logout and return to the lobby, you’ve spent enough time dawdling.
>>
>>3441910
>log-off

Legacy bonus? So because our account's old, even though we were only level 1, we get a leg up on others? How cheaty.
>>
>>3441910
>Dawdle further
Check out our friends list dammit
>>
>>3441910
>Logout and return to the lobby, you’ve spent enough time dawdling.

>>3441926
Most likely they made it pay to win and add legacy bonus as an attempt to appease to old players.
>>
>>3441910
Wait, does that mean we just beat a whale?
>>
>>3441945
More importantly, what level was she?
>>
>>3441915
>>3441917
>>3441918
>>3441926
>>3441944
Time to log out with a sigh over marketing practices. Writing now!
>>
>>3441952
good question
>>
You let out a long sigh, raising a hand and pressing the logout button. Pay-to-win marketing practices were the worst, and you can’t help but feel a little sad that your once favorite game had gone this way – you had cherished it once, after all.

As you feel the world fade away into nothingness as it ejected you from the game, you hear something strange. The sound of rapid pinging, going so fast that the game itself seemingly couldn’t keep up with it. The sounds clipped into one another, making it very unbearable to listen to – thankfully you could feel your mind being pulled from the game, the sound ceasing with it.

What was that all about? Eh, probably nothing important.

“You may now remove your helmet. Thank you for playing.” The robotic voice of the console whispers into your ear, and you find yourself in control of your body again. You reach up and remove the helmet, the air of the arcade cooling your slightly sweaty face. Something seems off to you – the fact that you can’t hear anything throughout the arcade – you decided just now to use this term because game café gets tiring to say after a while - other than the beeping of machines. Usually there was some form of conversation taking place, yet none could be found.

You turn around to investigate the source, and you feel your heart seize in shock.

Well, that’s quite a crowd.

Apparently throughout your match with 0phelia, people had started to take notice of it. Customers had ceased playing their own games to wander over and observe the battle – from your current perspective, all of the game stations that you can see are empty. As soon as they see you looking back at them, the oppressing silence snapped, and they erupted in a swarm of noise.

“HOLY SHIT! Since when did you play this, boss!?”

“HOW DID YOU HIT THE SPIDER WITH THE KNIFE, DUDE!? YOU GOTTA SHOW ME!”

“YEAH, YOU SHOW HER, BOSS!”

Amidst all of the cheering, Cinder stands at the front of the crowd – and her eyes are shining.

>Ask the crowd to keep it down politely, you didn’t want a noise complaint.
>Approach Cinder, ask her how you did.
>Check on 0phelia, she seems to have not logged out of the game.
>>
>>3441995

>Ask the crowd to keep it down politely, you didn’t want a noise complaint.

>Approach Cinder, ask her how you did.

>Check on 0phelia, she seems to have not logged out of the game.

Why not all three?
>>
>>3441995
>Ask the crowd to keep it down politely, you didn’t want a noise complaint.
>Approach Cinder, ask her how you did.
Sweet, sweet booty call.
>>
>>3442006
Just a matter of which to do first!
>>
>>3442006
0phelia's fine and the longer she stays in, the better for us.
>>
>>3441995
>Ask the crowd to keep it down politely, you didn’t want a noise complaint
>>
>>3442010
Well, I guess we should quiet down the crowd first, talk to cinder, then check 0phelia
>>
>>3441995
>Ask the crowd to keep it down politely, you didn’t want a noise complaint.
>>
>>3441995
>Ask the crowd to keep it down politely, you didn’t want a noise complaint.
>Go to our desk, I hope we didn't make landlord lady wait, she would be extra annoying
>Wonder WTF is wrong with today pro league that that half assed shiet tier match make them so impresed
>>
>>3441975

>>3442018
Seconding, what a bunch of hicks.
>>
>>3442018
>>3441995
Support

We can talk with Cinder in the meanwhile.
>>
>>3442018
>>3442027
The joys of a smallish town watching the arcade owner play is a pure feeling.
>>
>>3442018
Supporting
>>
>>3441995
>Ask the crowd to keep it down politely, you didn’t want a noise complaint.
Do this first; if unchecked this could result in more unpleasantness.

>Approach Cinder, ask her how you did.
She clearly has something to say to us, maybe we get some insight on what exactly has been happening to the game during our hiatus.

>Check on 0phelia, she seems to have not logged out of the game.
This is concerning, I'm not really sure what to make of it; could be something simple like a sudden case of butthurt, or something sinister...

As for the repetitive pinging, I want to assume it's some form of notification flood; friend requests or private messages from observers most likely, or unreceived messages from the past catching up with our login. Though, the second one isn't too likely, because we spent a lot of time in the lobby before our match.
>>
>>3442018
I'm against this. That match was sick, especially the last five minutes. The clutch comeback is the best feeling in the world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS5peqApgUA
>>
>>3442037
>This is concerning, I'm not really sure what to make of it; could be something simple like a sudden case of butthurt, or something sinister...

That bitch was streaming our fucking match! FUCK!!!!
>>
>>3442037
I'm betting 0phelia's talking to either her livestream viewers or someone else on the team she's setting up.
>>
>>3442018
That was NOT "Heh, 2EZ", that was "Haha, too easy"; we ALMOST lost.
>>
>>3442053
It WAS kind of a shit tier match, though. One opponent was five years out of date and didn't even know the game had swords, grappling hooks, syringes, etc, and the other DID know and still lost.

And you're right, the only reason we won was because we pulled a last-minute miracle when we didn't even know what the syringe did. It wasn't due to superior skill or tactics, we deus ex machinaed a win. Glad as we are to kick her out, there's not a lot to be proud of in that victory, except for holding out as long as we did before it happened.
>>
Seems most people are into telling everyone to quiet the fuck down, so that's what we're doing! Writing now.
>>
Before you do anything else, you need to tell everyone to quiet down. You’ve had a noise complaint at this place before; when some pro RTS player from the city came in to have a go at the machines. Throughout the ruckus, you had managed to make out that his gimmick was going to arcades and challenging other players, then recording it and putting it on some streaming website. You weren’t letting that happen again goddamnit – the fine was easy enough to pay, but Alexis had lambasted you about it for weeks.

With that in mind, you rise up and raise your arms into the air.

“Alright, everyone, quiet down. As much as I’m flattered, I don’t want to have to pay another fine because of your loud mouths. Go back to playing your games, the show’s over!”

Thankfully, the crowd quiets and most move along, although some stick around to come closer and ask you various details about how you did certain things. All you can respond with is that, well, it wasn’t all that they were making it out to be. You were just winging things on the fly, and the only reason you won the match was due to jabbing an unknown syringe into yourself. There wasn’t much skill to that victory, however it still made you happy knowing you wouldn’t be chained to that girl’s team.

After you manage to send the wayward stragglers off, this time it’s Cinder who descends, eyes still aglow. When she reaches you, she throws an arm around your neck, bringing you down into a headlock.

“All this time…you’ve been turning me down…and here I find that you have at least some basic skill…” You feel her fist come into contact with your scalp, giving you one hell of a noogie. “I thought you didn’t even know how to play…”

“The game’s changed a lot from when I played, Cinder.” You manage to get out, forcing her arm off of you and standing up, fixing your hair. “I know I’ve told you that I’ve played before.”

“But that was back when it first came out! Everything’s so different now!”

>Be cocky – smirk at her and tell her that you knew you had it in the bag despite your lack of knowledge.
>Be honest – everything took you a little bit off guard, what with how complex everything had become.
>Tease her - compared to a semi-pro like her, of course you wouldn't know all that much.
>Other.
>>
>>3442108
>Be humble - play it off as luck and your opponent underestimating you, try not to attract any more attention.
>>
>>3442114
I support this.
>>
>>3442108
>Yeah I noticed that, it sucks ass.
>>
>>3442108
“I’m going tell you be honest. I would have never tried to play it again if I knew it became gachashit.”
>>3442114
And sure this too.
>>
>>3442114
support
>>
>>3442119
I'd like to add this to my previous vote. Be sure to complain how everything sucks now, like an old man bitching about kids playing on his lawn.
>>
>>3442108
>Be honest – everything took you a little bit off guard, what with how complex everything had become.
>>
>>3442114
humble it out
>>
>>3442124
>>3442108
This, ham it up tho. Like making a cranky voice and everything.
>>
>>3442114
Stay humble, and voice your concerns. Writing now!
>>
“Well, I wouldn’t have won that without luck on my side. Plus, she underestimated me a bit.” You look up at Cinder, reaching forward and poking her in the forehead. She steps back at this, eyes crossing to look up at where you tapped her. “It doesn’t help that all the changes suck ass, though.”

“W-What do you mean!?” Her eyes snap towards you, and her arms cross.

“Well, let’s start with the fact that it isn’t a tier system anymore. Now you have to get your supplies through gacha bullshit? That’s lame.”

“It’s not all gacha, I swear! You’re just going off of the tickets, aren’t you!”

“Yeah, that’s exactly it.”

“W-Well, those are cheaper to get rather than buying from the shop!”

Oh, so they sold weapons as well now. Either earn gacha tickets and get something random or pay out the ass to buy exactly what you wanted. Why was this becoming the trend? What had happened to good ol’ hard work for a game instead of paying your way through?

“You kids are all whales, I swear to god.” You shake your fist at her lazily, smirking at her clear irritation.

“I’m a year older than you, you don’t have room to talk!” She goes to speak again, but something interrupts the conversation.

BANG!

You hear the sound of something being slammed against a solid object coming from the machines, and you move past Cinder to investigate. Your eyebrows raise as you find the source.

0phelia had removed her helmet, slammed it against it’s holding station, and now was breathing heavily as she stared at the screen. You wouldn’t have expected such an outburst of anger honestly, she seemed rather meek in real and flamboyant at best in game. Now she was trembling with rage as she rose up from the chair, turning around stiffly and looking at you.

She looked furious.

She begins to walk towards you, her knuckles whitening from how hard her fists were balled. She moves past Cinder and goes to move past you – however this time, she roughly shoves her shoulder against yours as she does.

“…fucking cheater.” She murmurs this very low, voice filled with spite. Without another word, she continues onwards towards the door, opening it and slamming it behind her as she leaves.

“Geez, what a sore loser.” Cinder remarks as she leans against a machine, clicking her tongue at the outburst of rage. “She wouldn’t last at all in the pro stage, I’ll tell you that. I feel like I’ve seen her before, though…”

“Doesn’t matter who she is. Would you do me a favor?”

“What’s up?

“I have to go meet with the landlord, mind keeping an eye on the place for me?

“Yeah, no problem.”

As soon as she agrees, you feel your phone buzz in your pocket. Withdrawing it, you see that Alexis has sent you a message – what it is, however, you don’t know.

>Answer the text from Alexis.
>Inquire for more details about the game from Cinder.
>Reflect on the rudeness that you had just experienced.
>>
>>3442108
>Be humble - play it off as luck and your opponent underestimating you, try not to attract any more attention.
>If you really want to grill me on it, it'll have to wait until after I'm chewed out by the landlady
>>
>>3442227
>Answer the text from Alexis.
It's going to be Alexis forcing us to join the team or whatever, isn't it
>>
>>3442227
>Answer the text from Alexis
>>
>>3442227
>Answer the text from Alexis.
>Consider writing restraining order
>>
>>3442227
Biiiiiiiiitch~

>Answer the text.

We totally got live-streamed.
>>
>>3442227
>Answer the text from Alexis.
>Inquire for more details about the game from Cinder.
>>
>>3442227
>Answer the text from Alexis.
Better now than later
>Inquire for more details about the game from Cinder.
What was all that pinging?
>>
When we get back into the game, we should change our profile name to a tongue-in-cheek reference to our past as a known cheater. Something like Addy_Daddy, Wallhax, or AIMB0T.
>>
>>3442275
>When we get back into the game
>implying
>>
>>3442227
I gotta know, were we supposed to lose that one? It kind of seemed like the perfect recruitment opportunity, quest-wise.

Ending up enemies with the girl who was supposed to be our team leader would be amazing.
>>
>>3442315
I want to go full harem and have her as part of our squad.
>>
Yo! I'm still around, just made lunch, so I'll be writing your response to Alexis after I'm done with that!

>>3442315
It could have gone either way, honestly, I had things planned for both outcomes. I will say that by winning, you definitely got the more interesting one, although I can't elaborate as of yet.
>>
>>3442315
Considering how much of a bitch she's been? Absolutely amazing.
>>
>>3442333
If we would lose i would vote for calling cops and having her removed
>>
>>3442332
The second this goes haremshit, I’m out faster than this bitch flipped moods.

>>3442333
Nice.
>>
>>3442352
Cool. Later.
>>
>>3442275
I thought we threw a game, or were we blackmailed? Hell this could be ripped straight from The King's Avatar
>>
>>3442358
I assumed that we got caught cheating in some way in the past and are gonna be earning our redemption. Like some kind of reverse Lance Armstrong.
>>
>>3442333
Do we have cameras in arcade?
>>
I wonder if the game has a bunch of different modes. Like a mode where everyone has highly mobile power armor or a mode that’s like Titanfall where everyone can summon giant mech (which could even be made into a MOBA like thing with npc soldiers and vehicles assaulting the enemy base). I just wonder how much variety the game has.
>>
Still eating lmao, sorry for the wait.

>>3442358
I've never heard of The King's Avatar - what's it about?

>>3442365
There are cameras, yeah!

>>3442455
While I don't have any modes other than the essentials fleshed out as of now, I can confirm that the modes you're talking about exist in some capacity. The developers are kind to people who like to create stuff, whether it be modes or otherwise.
>>
>>3442482
King’s Avatar is a about a middle aged MMO pro that gets left behind in a rapidly changing industry and his journey to prove he still has something to offer to the industry. Or that’s the gist of it.
>>
File: kings avatar.png (12 KB, 554x87)
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>>3442490
huh
>>
>>3442493
That's similar in some ways and different in others, I might need to read that!
>>
>>3442482
>There are cameras, yeah!

We definitely need to make spare copies of footage with that sore loser.
>>
You groan outwardly but unlock your phone and read the contents of the message.

>”Yo! Just down the street at the bar, hurry up or I won’t pay for lunch~! Got something to talk to you about too, so don’t keep a lady waiting!”

“Is she pestering you again?” Cinder asks, looking over your shoulder at the screen. Cinder was often the one that you complained to when Alexis was up to her shenanigans, by which you mean when she was just being an asshole.

“Yeah, but what else is new? Besides, I need a break after that whole deal.” You murmur, beginning to step towards the door yourself. You could only imagine all of the messages you’d get if you made her wait too long, as well as all of the sensitive nerves she’d pick at in the process. She always made sure to remind you that she knew who you are, and that she was the only one willing to sell to you during a time where it was almost a witch-hunt.

Yeah, you didn’t see much point in keeping the past hidden when you had been confronted in more ways than one today – as 0phelia had said, you were a fucking cheater.

You were only 16 years old when you had gone into the competitive field, managing to convince your parents to allow you to drop out of your high school in the process. You were touted as a prodigy almost immediately, being recruited into a team after only 4 months of ranked play – something initially unheard of at the time, although you had been made aware that others had broken that record as the game continued to evolve. The team that you had joined soared in the ranks and popularity, breaching the top 10 teams in Warscape and settling in the comfy spot of #2.

All was good until they had decided to host the first tournament for the game.

Simply named the Warscape Invitational, a lot of teams showed up, and you guys blew through all of them. At the end of the line it was simple – Auxilia System’s own team titled Auxilia, versus your own team Genesis. You had made a mistake that day – as your team leader had called it, stage fright. You had been the most nervous of the team, and that was when your coach had approached you.

“Hey, Wolf. I have something for you…”

You had accepted it during a moment of weakness. You had only intended to use it for the final and then ditch it, never using it again or thinking about it – unfortunately, you had been caught. To say that the competitive scene exploded in rage would be an understatement. Your account set back to level 1, all purchased items and funds erased, and now a requirement to be monitored whenever you played.

That’s why you left. Between the death threats, the vandalism of your team house, and the disowning by your parents – you just…disappeared.

Even in 2025, gaming was still a worldwide phenomenon, and one moment of weakness had ruined everything.

>Leave.
>>
>redemption arc START
>>
>>3442227
>“…fucking cheater.”
Just caught up, let me see if I get this right:
We were a pro who was discovered to be cheating. She either thought we didn't cheat or thought we still had skill despite cheating and so came to recruit us. When we used the legal aimbot to win the game, she didn't realize it was an item and thought we were actually cheating again? If so then goddamn, that's a pretty nice way to integrate an item we rolled into the story.
>>
>>3442586
Also, are you that streamer guy, cirno? Or do you just like 2hu?
>>
>>3442605
That's actually exactly right, I'm glad you caught that!

>>3442608
Nah not the streamer, I just like 2hu.
>>
>>3442586
Was it a cheat or was it a drug that improve our performance?

>You had only intended to use it for the final and then ditch it, never using it again or thinking about it – unfortunately, you had been caught.

So we didn't cheated we make attempt got caught and everyone thought that we used it all the way to the top is that correct?
>>
>>3442634
Yep, basically. You made it into the game with the cheat, and were found to be using it by a game observer. It called your skill into question - has he been using it the whole time? Is that why he rose to the stop so fast?
>>
Also this will be continued once I get a bit more work done, I still have my deadlines to keep lmao.
>>
>>3442650
good luck, OP.
>>
>>3442613
But if people were watching the match, she's going to find out we grabbed an item and didn't actually cheat...

Wonder if she'll stick to her pride or actually apologize and try to recruit us again.
>>
>>3442650
lol I hear that.
>>
>>3442686
She can't ask us again tho, she lost the bet.
>>
I hope we get a WWE/NFL style entrance theme.
>>
>>3442934
The deal was that 'she leaves without a fuss', not that she can't harass us in other ways. I bet she's the type to try and screw us on technicalities.
>>
While OP’s out of the thread, how are we playing our hero? Are we going to play up the “old school” trope by focusing on mechanical precision and creative employment of basic tools? Will we try to push the meta until it breaks like back in the day? Will we go all-in on new gimmick tech and focus entirely on the new game mechanics? How do you want to play Wolfgang?
>>
>>3442978
Solid basics and loads of cheese.
We're going to be the one Auxilia is gonna base their patches off, always one step ahead of the game finding the weak points in their code and documenting it so that nobody is can call us a cheater.
>>
>>3442978
I'd say probably stick to the basics and try to exploit basic items to their maximum potential. If there are future players who focus solely on gimmicks and new items, using old items cleverly could take them off guard. Sort of like the deal with the flashlight. We did score a shot on her while using it to blind her.
>>
>>3442978
old school all the way, using items people barely remember, using strats that havent been meta since our time. plow through with pure skill and a dash of luck
>>
File: whitera.jpg (23 KB, 336x375)
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>>3443020
>>3443056
>>3443130
>mfw we're gonna Special Tactics the shit out of some poor scrub
>>
I wonder if OP would be fine with me posting shit he could take inspiration from.
>>
>>3442493
He doesn't get caught cheating though he just gets kicked out or basically demoted to training dummy for the other players on the team. KA is a bit more like Wow where ours seems like Call of Duty

Never read the Manga but the animators top notch
>>
>>3443215
Anime*
don't know why autocorrect did that
>>
>>3442613
I didn't read it like that I read it as she was talking shit about our past. thanks for clearing that up
>>
>>3443138
Who needs fancy swords, explosives, and other such things when we have the power of GUN?
>>
>>3443349
>throwing knife skills honed in the ancient "Duty Calls" series of first person shooters from the late 2000s and early 2010s
>studied under ancient Quake and Unreal Tournament masters, though never quite matched their precision
There's so much old FPS culture to draw from.
>>
>>3443378
B U N N Y H O P S
>>
>>3443378
>start crouch spamming right over a sweet kill
>kids literally don't it
In my day we didn't have tags or dance emotes. We had to take random gestures and make them insulting!
>>
After three essays done, I return and am in writing form. Thank god I have nothing due tomorrow so I can just spend time on this lmao.

Writing now, you have a landlord to meet!
>>
As you walk out the door of the arcade, you see Cinder sit down and put her feet up on your desk, giving you a wave as you leave. You appreciate her, you really do – she was easily one of the best things about coming here.

The breeze is slightly chilly as you step into the outside world, the coming of Autumn always beginning with a minor cold snap. The sky had grown grey since you had come in earlier that morning, even the flashing lights of various screens on the street feeling drained of color. You glance quickly at your weather app as you turn right and begin walking, thankful that you weren’t due any rain or snow. It was just a moody day, you supposed.

As you make your way to the end of the street, you notice something odd – the trash bin that was set next to a news screen had been upturned, five small holes having pierced through the incredibly thick plastic. You briefly wonder what could have caused that, but honestly you can’t be asked to care at the moment, considering you’re now walking up on the bar. When she had said the bar was literally just down the street, she wasn’t joking, you could probably toss a stone from the arcade’s entrance to this place.

And hey, as your luck would have it, your landlord is lingering around the entrance.

She must have finished up with her work for the day, as the usual business suit you were accustomed to meeting her in was absent. Instead she’s wearing a cream-colored sweater, along with a pair of jeans and smart looking shoes. The outfit was nice enough, but really didn’t match up with her short black hair and eyes that reminded you of gunmetal steel. With her leaning against the wall and a cigarette between her fingers, she actually looked sort of intimidating in a way.

All of that went out the window as soon as she notices you approaching, the once serious expression morphing into a wide grin.

“Yo! It’s about time you arrived, I was waiting so long!”

“You literally messaged me two minutes ago, Alexis.”

“And that’s so long in the past! You look rough, want a smoke?” She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a pack, flicking open the case and offering one to you.

>You take one – you didn’t smoke often, but you certainly felt like you needed it.
>You politely decline – smoking was a habit that you had never indulged in.
>>
>>3443766
>You take one – you didn’t smoke often, but you certainly felt like you needed it.
>>
>>3443766
> decline
>>
>>3443766
>You politely decline – smoking was a habit that you had never indulged in.
Winners don't do drugs, mayn.
>>
>>3443766
>>You politely decline – smoking was a habit that you had never indulged in.
Kids would probably smell that shit whenever they pass us by in our arcade anyway, bad business.
>>
>>3443766
>You take one – you didn’t smoke often, but you certainly felt like you needed it.
>>
>>3443771
>>3443772
>>3443780
No smoking allowed on this day. Writing now!
>>
>>3443766
>>You politely decline – smoking was a habit that you had never indulged in.
>>
“I’ll have to pass. Don’t want the kids smelling the shit on me.”

“Eh, suit yourself!” She smoothly puts the pack back in her pocket, moving off the wall and waving a hand at you to follow her into the bar. You sigh and walk after her, giving a short greeting to the muscular man who served as the bouncer.

The inside of the bar is relatively empty at this time of day, a few patrons either playing virtual pool or idly watching some mid-level tournament for an up and coming strategy game. Due to this, Alexis easily locates a table facing the street, and beckons you over to sit across from her. You do so, and when you’re sitting, she leans across the table.

“So, what’d you do to piss off that girl?” She whispers conspiratorially, cheek resting against her steepled hands.

“It’s…a long story.”

“I can believe it, considering how she fucked up that garbage can!”

Wait, that was HER?

“You’re kidding me…”

“Nope! She stormed out of there all angry lookin’, and then when she got to it she kicked it over and started stomping on it! Thought she was gonna come after me too when she walked by me, for god’s sake!’

“…well, that’s slightly disturbing to hear.”

“It’s what I’m here for!” She catches the attention of a waiter on standby, waving him over and asking him for some drink or other. Another thing you knew about Alexis – daytime drinking was one of her favorite activities when she wasn’t working. When the man heads off, she turns back to you with a smirk.

“So, for what I actually called you here for…” She leans forward once more. “I have some news, and it concerns you!”

“And what would that be?”

“Well, my dear ex-pro…I’m gonna be expanding the building in a few months!”

“Is that so?” You idly note that the waiter comes back, setting a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of what you think is cola down on the table, along with two glasses. Alexis wastes no time in beginning to pour a mix of the two into hers, and she looks up at you as she does so.

“Yep – that place next to you was offering the lot up as their business is going flat, so I snatched it up! By the way, do you want some?” She motions towards the array of liquids in front of you.

Man, what is it with this woman and offering you adult substances?
>Let her pour you a drink – you may not smoke, but a drink is something everyone can enjoy, right?
>Snatch the cola out of her hand and pour it into your own glass.
>Decline once more – you had to go back to work after this, after all.
>>
>>3443828
>Let her pour you a drink – you may not smoke, but a drink is something everyone can enjoy, right?
One drink cant hurt
>>
>>3443828
>Let her pour you a drink – you may not smoke, but a drink is something everyone can enjoy, right?
>>
>>3443828
>Decline once more – you had to go back to work after this, after all.
Our body is a temple that we must care for; we consume only the purest of Mountain Dews.
>>
>>3443828
>Snatch the cola out of her hand and pour it into your own glass.
>>
>>3443828
>Let her pour you a drink – you may not smoke, but a drink is something everyone can enjoy, right?
accept her drink, acquire her cummies
>>
>>3443834
>>3443836
>>3443854
Might as well have one, it's only polite, after all. Writing now!
>>
You hesitate for a moment, but you concede – from what little experience you had, you weren’t a lightweight. You’d be able to have one and get back to the arcade just fine.

“Yeah, sure.” You respond to her, leaning back in the booth and idly looking at the strategy tournament. It seems things were just wrapping up – a short woman was maneuvering a menacing looking war mech towards what you assumed was a base, and shortly afterwards it was decimated by a whirring of bullets and explosives.

Alexis presses the drink into your hand, to which you take a sip from – it definitely burned going down, but the cola made it tolerable.

“Well, just let me know when you’re going to expand so I can order new machines. I assume this will mean I have to pay you more per month?”

“Oh, absolutely! Don’t give me that look, though, I could jack the price way up…but I just care about you so much~!” She bops your nose from across the table, to which you respond by batting away her hand. She giggles impishly, taking a large swig from her glass. “That attitude will never get you a lady, Wolfgang. Let loose! Otherwise you’ll make women look like the girl from your store!”

“I highly doubt many people would act like how she does.” Alexis picks up on the irritation in your tone, and her look grows intrigued.

“What’d she do, kill your dog?”

You look at her, and then to the side, and then back at her. Ugh, you’d have to tell her, you had made a mistake in letting your irritation with the girl show. You lean across the table, keeping your voice low.

“She knew who I was. Tracked me down and everything.”

This time a look of surprise comes across your landlord’s face, a noise coming from her throat.

“Huh, that’s strange. You were really thorough I thought, and I certainly didn’t snitch on you.”

“That’s what I thought too, but here we are. At least she’s gone now, because if she comes back, I’m calling the cops.”

“That’s a good plan, yeah! She did look pretty mad, though. Maybe she’ll leak your address online?”

“Don’t even joke about that.”

She snickers as she takes a drink, and you two fall into a momentary silence. The general vibe in the bar is surprisingly calm, and even with your current company, you find yourself able to relax somewhat. It had just been one thing after another ever since you clocked in this morning.

“So, I’m guessing if she knew who you were, you kicked her ass in a game?” She raises her glass at you to punctuate her point, and as you go to respond, you hear a new noise from the TV.

BREAKING NEWS!

Looks like the tournament must have ended.

>Regard breaking news with mild interest.
>Continue speaking, the breaking news doesn’t matter to you.
>>
>>3443888
>>Regard breaking news with mild interest.
Shieeet, hope the girl wasn't that famous.
>>
>>3443888
>Regard breaking news with mild interest.
Uh oh...
>>
>>3443888
>>3443902
Actually, I want to keep talking, so Alexis can do the "you might wanna look at this" thing.
>>
>>3443888
>Continue speaking, the breaking news doesn’t matter to you.
>>
Admittedly, I'm pretty tired. Those essays took all of the energy I had out of me, so I'm gonna call it here for tonight and write whichever choice is more popular in the morning! Have a great night.
>>
>>3443888
>Regard breaking news with mild interest.
>>
>>3443920
Good night OP. Thanks for running!
>>3443909
This. Besides, we'll probably overhear something if it's important.
>Continue speaking, the breaking news doesn't matter to you.
>>
>>3443888
>Continue speaking, the breaking news doesn’t matter to you.
>>
>>3443888
>Regard breaking news with mild interest.
Watching news means we don't have to listen to her
>>
>>3443888

>Regard breaking news with mild interest.
>>
>>3443888
>Regard breaking news with mild interest.
>>
>>3443888
>>Regard breaking news with mild interest
>>
>>3443888
>>Continue speaking, the breaking news doesn’t matter to you.
>>
>>3443888
Good morning from Clapistan, OP!
>regard the breaking news with mild interest
Also what’s so bad about peppy landlord lady? She seems cute. Wolfgang’s probably fucked up from having his life ruined, but maybe he can slowly get less grumpy.
>>
>>3443888
>Continue speaking, the breaking news doesn’t matter to you.
>>3444194
I agree.
>>
>>3444194
1. We pay her rent.
2. She smokes.
3. She is annoying.
4. She take time from our brooding schedule.
>>
>>3444214
This.
>>
>>3444214
>she takes time from our regularly scheduled brooding sessions
10/10
>>
Good morning! I'm finally up and at 'em.

>>3443898
>>3443934
>>3443972
>>3443977
>>3444037
>>3444124
>>3444194
Time to watch the news - you don't gotta answer that question! Writing now.

>>3444214
A brooding schedule is one that needs to be enforced. Although now I have the image of him dedicating an hour a day to just stare out a window, sighing all the while.
>>
>>3444415
>dedicating an hour a day to just stare out a window, sighing all the while.
Are you implying we don't? Please rectify this immediately.
>>
>>3444438
You don't do it all the time, but it's definitely happened more than once!
>>
You close your mouth and turn your head towards the TV, sipping at your drink while tactically avoiding the insistent questioning by your landlord. That’s one of the reasons you don’t like talking to her – when she asks a question, she keeps pushing it until you’re finally worn down. Watching the news was a much better way to spend this time, rather than answering every question that strikes her fancy.

A moment later, the BREAKING NEWS graphic fades away from the screen, the camera moving towards a tall lady with chestnut hair and a revealing top. You weren’t one who really kept up on the news, but upon noticing the channel number, you vaguely remember a group of kids enthusiastically discussing this broadcast due to all the gossip to be found on it. Regardless, she looks at the camera with a phony smile and begins to speak.

“Good afternoon everyone! My name is Erina Robinson, and we have just received an interesting tidbit of news for you long time fans of the game Warscape. Just moments ago, our station received an influx of messages regarding an interesting livestream that took place about an hour ago!”

You raise your eyebrow at the screen, idly noting that Alexis has fallen silent as she observes the screen alongside you.

“An up and coming livestreamer known as 0phelia was shown to be squaring off against a controversial player in the early days of Warscape-“

No. No. No.

“-known as N0v4_C43sar! If the name doesn’t ring a bell, you may remember him as the first rookie player under the age of 18 to be drafted to a major team! He was on quite the rise, but in the finals of the first Warscape Invitational, he was found to be using a cheat that automatically corrected his aim so that he never missed a shot! After the subsequent termination of his leaderboard ranking status, he disappeared never to be seen again! However, his vanishing act seems to have ended as of today – he returned to the scene and seized victory from 0phelia in classic form! We haven’t been able to contact 0phelia for her thoughts on the subject, but we’ll be keeping you updated as we learn more – until then, please enjoy some of the choice scenes from the battle!”

The screen is filled with moments of the battle from 0phelia’s perspective. Her cutting down the bridge, the first battle on the bridge, your second knife throw hitting the mark perfectly, your final shot to the underside of her chin.

You feel your body seize up in panic – you hadn’t even considered the possibility that she was livestreaming the entire time.

“…dude, that was pretty rad.” Alexis whistles, looking over at you with a look of surprise. Yours however are still staring at the screen, old fears beginning to rise through your stomach.

>Excuse yourself and hurry back to the arcade.
>Try and play it off, it had been long enough, surely people have calmed down about it.
>Finish your drink solemnly, and then ask for one more.
>Other.
>>
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>>3444447
>Finish your drink solemnly, and then ask for one more.
Ask for the rest of the day off too, our life is over.
>>
>>3444454
Supporting.
>>
>>3444447
>lose your shit
Not only are you outed on the news but she was definitely streaming. This seems like a pretty big deal.
>>
>>3444447
BITCH
I knew this victory was too good to be true
>Finish the drink, then ask the bartender to give you the whole bottle, you're gonna need it
>>
>>3444447
>Excuse yourself and hurry back to the arcade.

We need to close the place up and start packing for our long fordue vacation.
>>
>>3444447
>Excuse yourself and hurry back to the arcade.
This is why your avatar should NEVER match your real appearance. Anyway, looks like the game people's monitoring stuff have confirmed we didn't cheat, because there was no speculation about it in this match.
>>
>>3444454
>>3444457
>>3444464
Drink to numb the pain. Writing now!
>>
You don’t respond to Alexis’s statement, instead you take a look at the glass in your hand, subsequently downing the entire thing a moment afterwards. It goes down with a smooth burn, and you slide the glass towards her when you’re done.

“I’m gonna need another one.” You look her dead in the eyes, at which she chuckles as she begins pouring.

“You need to take a chill pill, man. It’s been five yea-“

“She was STREAMING it, Alexis. Everyone fucking saw.” You place your head in your hands, vivid memories flashing before your eyes. Rocks thrown through the windows, spray paint on the front door, amongst other various forms of vandalism. They didn’t have your location, thankfully, but your avatar still did look similar to how you did now. The only difference was that you had let your hair grow out.

“I’m closing up for the day when I get back, I can’t work like this.” You take the glass from her with a panicked murmur, hearing the blood pound in your ears as you do. You should never have taken the match, but you just wanted her to leave and not bother you. Now there you were, old pictures with your team being displayed across that fucking gossip channel. You groan.

“If you say so…I can’t remember you taking a day off before, so I’ll let it slide. I really think you’re reading too much into it, though.” She leans back and sips from her own glass, her face amused but her eyes concerned.

“I worked so hard to disappear. And now all of it has been undone by that fucking girl.” You take another drink, a shaky sigh coming from you as you look out the window. “She knows where the arcade is, too. She could damn well leak my location.”

“Isn’t that illegal?”

“What does it matter if she does it anonymously? It’ll get taken down, but it doesn’t stop more people from distributing it.”

“True…man, you really fucked yourself on this one, champ.”

“Go to hell.” You stand up from your chair and stalk towards the door without a word, running your hand down your face. A part of you feels sick, another part paranoid, and another part just wanting to be left alone. You needed to go close the arcade.

>Go to the arcade immediately.
>Take a walk around the block to cool down.
>>
>>3444514
>Take a walk around the block to cool down.
>>
>>3444514
>Take a walk around the block to cool down.

I'm sure there is a crowd gathering and we're liable to punch someone in this kind of mood.
>>
>>3444514
>>Go to the arcade immediately.
>>
>>3444514
>>Take a walk around the block to cool down.
>>
>>3444514
>Take a walk around the block to cool down.

Is our apartment is in the same place as arcade?
>>
>>3444535
Nope, your apartment is a few blocks away.
>>
>>3444514
>Take a walk around the block to cool down
>>
What does the vr tech look like in this setting?
>>
>>3444556
I'm imagining the vr pod from yugioh
>>
>>3444514
>Walk around the block.

We should check online, see what people are saying.
>>
Yo! Sorry for my sudden absence, had to run into town. Eating lunch now, and then I'll write your cool down lap.

>>3444556
Basically a console with a bulbous helmet that you pop on.
>>
Just caught up. So far, so good.

Reminder that Auxilia Systems went downhill after original founders left.
>>
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>>3444556
I drew a shitty MS Paint version of what I imagine an Auxilia booth to look like from the side.
>>
>>3444830
>drawn in MS Paint
Fucking deity tier.
>>
>>3444556
I imagined it like a roller coaster seat with a headset at the top
>>
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxY0nXSzMHQ
Here’s something I think you all can appreciate.
>>
>>3444811
Vanilla is how real men play. Now that was a game!
>>
Hello! Sorry for disappearing once more, a bunch of stuff kinda happened and I had to step away. I'm back now though, so I'm starting to write!

>>3444830
Hey, that's almost exactly what I was thinking for the arcade editions! Deity tier indeed.
>>
You hear Alexis trying to call you back, but you ignored her. That last sentence really struck a nerve with you, and so you step out into the cool Autumn air, slamming the door behind you a bit harder than necessary.

Today’s a shit day, that’s for sure.

Instead of heading back to the arcade like you originally had intended, you decide to head around the block in order to clear your head. At this current moment, you’re pretty sure you’ll snap at someone if they even look at you the wrong way. Even just walking in the near empty street clears your head a little, no sounds of people or games or news broadcasts to be heard. You jam your hands into your pockets, looking at the ground as you walk forward.

Well, you had had a good run. Five years of media silence maintained until today, and now here you were, being broadcasted on the news just like the good old days! Hopefully it would just stay on the minor news channels, but you doubt you would be so lucky – they just loved to drag up old shames and stamp them further into the mud. As well as that, you were fairly certain you could expect your arcade’s address to crop up somewhere online – you had told Alexis that the concept would be a joke, but on reflection, she seemed to be enraged enough to do something as drastic as that.

“This fucking sucks.” You say aloud to yourself, sighing as you look at the rest of the town in the distance. You felt like you needed a good long brooding session right about now.

As you continue to make your way around the block, you feel your phone begin to vibrate against your jeans. To be honest, you didn’t really feel like talking to anyone right now – especially when your anger was starting to morph into self-loathing. Why had you taken that bet? Why hadn’t you set the conditions that she couldn’t stream it? Hindsight is 20/20.

What do you do?

>Make your way back to the arcade to close it and turn off your phone while you’re at it.
>Answer your phone, a foul mood shouldn’t stop you from common courtesy.

>>3444438
*brooding intensifies*
>>
>>3445051
>Make your way back to the arcade to close it and turn off your phone while you’re at it.
Fuck off.
>>
>>3445051
>Answer your phone. It’s time to start putting up your polite facade for the inevitable shitstorm.
>>
>>3445062
+1
It could be important
>>
>>3445051
>>Make your way back to the arcade to close it and turn off your phone while you’re at it.
>>
>>3445051
>>Make your way back to the arcade to close it and turn off your phone while you’re at it.
>>
>>3445051
>Check to see who the caller is before we answer.
Do we have answephone? If it's an unknown number, let it go through to that and then listening they leave a message.
>>
The first few hours of a crisis are often the most important. Every scrap of intel we can get our hands on is critical. We've been through the media wringer before, we should be jaded enough to know this.
>>
>>3445051
>>Answer your phone, a foul mood shouldn’t stop you from common courtesy.
>>
>>3445051
>Answer your phone.

>>3445084 says it best.
>>
>>3445051
>Answer your phone, a foul mood shouldn’t stop you from common courtesy.
>>
>>3445062
>>3445066
>>3445074
>>3445091
>>3445094
Time to answer the phone - who could it be? Writing now.
>>
You sigh once more and reach into your pocket, turning it over in your hand to look at the caller.

>Unknown Number to Cascade Arcade Main Line.

You were thankful that you had installed this app on your phone – an exclusive thing for businesses who want to be able to answer calls to their building from anywhere. You had to go through a whole annoying validation process for it, but it certainly was nifty and also better than Cinder answering your calls at the current moment. Man, the future is truly something, isn’t it?

Sarcastic anecdotes aside, you answer it. You weren’t shocked that an unknown number would be calling your work line.

“Good afternoon, this is Cascade Arcade, how can I help you?” You speak into the phone, voice a bit sharper than usual. Initially you had disliked the name that Alexis had chosen for the place, but it had grown on you over the years.

You hear nothing but the sound of wind on the other end, but before long a familiar voice speaks, causing you to scowl.

“…this is just…the beginning.” 0phelia’s voice comes through the line, voice tinged with rage even now. “…even if you cheated…I’ll still allow you…on the team.”

Where the fuck did this bitch get off acting like this? She came to YOU! You feel something snap inside your head.

“Didn’t you notice the band on my arm? It nullifies cheats, dumbass. Don’t be a sore loser just because you lost to me, and if you call this line again, I’m notifying the police. I don’t have time to deal with brats who can’t accept their losses, and even more so with people who feel the need to stalk me to my place of business - you’ve already given me enough trouble to deal with, so leave me the fuck alone.”

You tear the phone away from your ear and end the call, the sudden wave of rage you feel causing you to shout and punch the nearest light pole.

Maybe you shouldn’t have had anything to drink after all.

>Go to the arcade and close it immediately, you’ve dawdled enough.
>Dawdle more, search the internet for more traces of news out of angry curiosity.
>>
>>3445149
>Go to the arcade and close it immediately, you’ve dawdled enough.
200% Done
>>
>>3445149
>Go to the arcade and close it immediately, you’ve dawdled enough.
+
>Annonce that place will be closing do to the extension our landlord is planning
>>
>>3445159
Support
>>
>>3445149
>>Go to the arcade and close it immediately, you’ve dawdled enough.
>we’ve spent the last five years in peace and quiet, trying to live down our one moment mistake, and this spoiled bitch tries to ruin our life over a fucking game
Are we sure we don’t want to go the one-time vigilante route?
>>
>>3445149
>close the arcade

What a pathetic loser. Who the hell would want to be on a team with a boss who thinks you're a cheat and hates you, anyway?
>>
>>3445157
This
>>3445159
Announcing the place will be closing due to the extension is a bad idea. Just say that "something came up" or something.
>>
>>3445149
Go to the arcade and close it immediately, you’ve dawdled enough.
>>
>>3445157
>>3445159
>>3445173
>>3445189
>>3445204
>>3445180
>>3445230
You've had enough of this shit, time to go back. Writing now!
>>
>>3445149
>Dawdle more

>>3445189
I'm surprised that she didn't recognize us using the legal aimbot item. You'd think that if she had aspirations of going pro she'd be at least that familiar with the game. She even has it recorded to review footage, the red lines were visible on our arm. If she calls again we should call her out for that and tell her that even if we joined she'd be too heavy to carry.
>>
>>3445255
>I'm surprised that she didn't recognize us using the legal aimbot item. You'd think that if she had aspirations of going pro she'd be at least that familiar with the game. She even has it recorded to review footage, the red lines were visible on our arm. If she calls again we should call her out for that and tell her that even if we joined she'd be too heavy to carry.


Thats why game is shitty. You have so many gimmicky items that you can't keep track of them. It more of a race who can bring more shit to the table then who have better skill and team composition.
>>
You inhale deeply, and then exhale. Your fist aches. Any of the emotion that you had dissipated by taking the walk around the block has returned twofold, and you find yourself moving towards the arcade with a case of active bitch face and clenched hands. The nerve of that girl to call your work line and still act all high and mighty! Players like her were still rampant in the scene, it seemed. It was even more ludicrous to you because the monitoring armband was a well-known punishment, and that weird fucking cube thing was an in-game item! She was supposed to be a popular Warscape streamer!

Your rage doesn’t abate by the time you make it back to the arcade, opening the door and nearly slamming it behind you. This causes Cinder and a few patrons to look up at you, surprised by the noise. You don’t care – you move over to talk to Cinder.

“Cinder, help me get this place closed.” She blinks at you due to your tone, but nods, getting out from behind the counter and flitting off towards the deeper area of the arcade. You start with people who aren’t in the VR machines, allowing them to finish off their games and sending them off with an apology for the sudden closure. When you get to the VR systems, you move around to the side of the physical booth, sliding open a panel and pressing a blue button. This was an exclusive for arcade consoles, sending a notifier to the player that it was time for closing. It’s a long process, but eventually the arcade is clear of players, leaving behind you and Cinder.

As soon as the last person moves through the door, you kick the counter as hard as you can.

“Fucking BITCH!” Your voice roars through the establishment, resting your head against the thick oak that constituted your desk. Cinder blinks once more, leaning against it herself.

“You, uh…you okay? Somethin’ happen?”

>Tell her the truth – there’s no reason to lie to her, she’ll see it in the news eventually anyway.
>Don’t tell the entire truth – say the girl had been giving you some trouble, and nothing more. You know, like a liar.
>>
>>3445314
Cons of Warscape trying to outclass every single game in the market - adding enough stuff to make your head spin. Gotta love them marketing practices.
>>
>>3445326
>Tell her the truth

Inb4 she hates us now
>>
>>3445314
I’ve actually seen a video on this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSgA_nK_w3A
It’s no longer a competitive game but a party game.
>>
>>3445326
>Tell her the truth – there’s no reason to lie to her, she’ll see it in the news eventually anyway.
Not worth hiding shit, but we have to emphasize that we used an item in the gane to win today.
>>
>>3445326
>>Tell her the truth – there’s no reason to lie to her, she’ll see it in the news eventually anyway.
>>
>>3445326
>Tell her the truth – there’s no reason to lie to her, she’ll see it in the news eventually anyway.
If we man up and own it unashamed, we will come out unscathed.
>>
>>3445342
She watched us win, she already knows.
>>
>>3445330
You do understand how competitive players think right? They hate RNG and will actively lash out at anything that increases uncertainty.
>>
>>3445326
>tell her the truth

Let's also look up 0phelia and see what level she is, I'm curious.
>>
>>3445326
>>Tell her the truth – there’s no reason to lie to her, she’ll see it in the news eventually anyway.
>>
>>3445332
>>3445342
>>3445344
>>3445352
>>3445360
>>3445361
Be honest to your friend. Writing now!

>>3445355
Absolutely so, and there's plenty of people who have gotten on Auxilia's case for adding so much stuff! The only example I've had to show so far though is just Wolfgang being like "this isn't the game I'm used to, why is this like this now. ancient gamer rage time."
>>
>>3445326
>Tell her the truth – there’s no reason to lie to her, she’ll see it in the news eventually anyway.

>>3445355
RNG bullshit is probably restricted from turnamets and such. And was added to appease to casual community and widen playerbase. It make sense while make me angry. Even if its not real
>>
>>3445391
Also this. You won't find super high-tier items like the aimbot cube spawning in a ranked or tournament environment. There are drops in those modes, but nothing to that level of bullshit lmao.
>>
You look her in the eyes and briefly contemplate understating the issue, but you immediately discard it and even feel a little guilty. Cinder had been coming here consistently for five years – you considered her a good friend.

“Before I tell you, just to be sure, you saw the red-line things, right?” You feel a bit silly for asking this, but considering 0phelia’s whole deal at the moment, you feel the need to ask regardless.

“Uh…yeah? I’m really surprised you got one of those, the chance of them actually spawning is about 0.5%. You must have crazy luck!”

You let out a sigh of relief, at least you wouldn’t have to argue your case on that front.

“I’m gonna drop something that I haven’t told you before. I’ve been keeping it a secret for good reason, and I’d just like that to be known before I say this, alright?” You’re entirely certain that Cinder wouldn’t be the type to join in on the large hate parade of days gone by, but you wouldn’t be surprised if she was a bit miffed at you for keeping secrets. You guys were pretty close, after all.

“Okay? You’re being mysterious, so this better be good.” She hops up onto the counter with a chuckle, folding a knee over the other as she looks over at you. Her eyes are alight with curiosity, but you still feel some reluctance in finally letting the fact slip.

“I’ll try to keep it as quick as possible. Remember the whole debacle about that player a few years back, the one who cheated in the first invitational?”

“Yeah, that was a reaaaal big deal. I heard that the team had to move houses because people kept coming by and fucking with all of their stuff. Never heard what happened to Nova after that, though, he just vanished off the face of the earth.”

“Well, Nova is me. And that girl who came by earlier somehow managed to find me, challenged me to a match in order to try and get me on her team, and then said that I cheated again to win the match. Now apparently, she livestreamed the entire match for everyone to see, and it’s all over the news – that’s what’s happened and why I’m in such a piss poor mood.” You find that you can’t even look at her after you say this, the words tumbling out before you can coherently organize them.

The silence of the room is oppressing.

Oh boy, had you done fucked this up? Had you just gone and ruined a friendship due to keeping your backstory a secret? You can’t believe this shit.

“…so, you’re telling me that you’re N0v4_C43s4r. Am I right?”

“Y-Yeah.” You find yourself stuttering out the answer, because you’re a nervous bitch right now.

You are utterly unprepared for the arm that finds it’s way around your neck, yanking you down into a headlock similar to the one you had experienced earlier today.

>Inquire why she’s doing this– you just exposed your tragic backstory after all!
>Try and struggle – you’re still a nervous bitch about this, a headlock isn’t helping.
>>
>>3445450
> Go limp and let it happen, we’ve had a rough day and the last thing we need to do is lose one of the few people we could confide in
>>
>>3445452
I support this with all of my heart. Cinder's great, don't want to lose her!
>>
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>>3445452
>Go limp and let it happen, we’ve had a rough day and the last thing we need to do is lose one of the few people we could confide in
>>
>>3445450
I need to confirm something. We drop from game 5 years ago correct?
>>
>>3445464
Yep, you did. She's been coming here nearly ever since you opened the place.
>>
>>3445452
> Go limp and let it happen, we’ve had a rough day and the last thing we need to do is lose one of the few people we could confide in

>>3445473
So we started this business at the age of 16?
>>
>>3445457
>>3445459
Do you think she’s still spiteful about the fact that we gave into the temptation to cheat once, or the fact that we’ve kept that aspect of ourselves hidden from her for half a decade? Do you think this is genuine honor-bound malice, frenzied frustration, or even excitedness tempered by overwhelming exasperation? More importantly, do you think cucking out like this can help us salvage this situation?
>>
>>3445479
Probably a year or two later, and I imagine that, as a previously god-tier champion, we had plenty of cash to startup an arcade for a teenager.
>>
When did we first meet cinder? I'm trying to find when we were first introduced to her missed that part and having a hard time finding it.
>>
>>3445479
>>3445484
Technically Alexis started it with your money, and when you were of age she handed it off to you to run. As the other anon said, you had a lot of money to your name.

>>3445486
Backstory-wise, five years ago. In this thread, just before the fight with 0phelia!
>>
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>this is probably the first kind embrace we've had since we lost everything
>>
>>3433159
If you mean when she showed up in quest
>>3445486
>A person is lingering by them, however – a regular that you recognize, in fact!
>>
>>3445452
Seconding.
>>
>>3445496
She putting us in headlock on daily basis
Also>>3445450
>yanking you down into a headlock similar to the one you had experienced earlier today.
> you had experienced earlier today.
> earlier today
>>
Making some dinner quick, will continue shortly with you falling limp in front of your friend, sort of like a camper being confronted by a wayward bear.
>>
>>3445507
Nevermind, I'm a retard.
>>3445508
A double retard.
>>
I return from dinner, it was moderate.

>>3445452
>>3445457
>>3445459
>>3445479
You've had a rough day, man. Sometimes you just gotta get headlocked by your friend. Writing now!
>>
It occurs to you that you could struggle out of this, however right now you’re afraid of upsetting her more than you possibly already have, so you assume a well-used tactic from Cabela’s Big Game Hunter 2029 and go limp, essentially submitting to her and allowing her to have her way with you.

Kinky.

“…so, you’re Nova, huh…” Her voice is strangely low, even when she raises her other hand and begins to apply a harsh noogie to the middle of your skull. “You’re the guy who got me into playing the game, huh? You’re the guy who got me into using dual weapons, huh? I’m so fucking pissed…”

What? This sure was news to you, and not at all what you had expected to hear at all!

“I thought I recognized you when I first started coming here…and yet you didn’t tell me, even after five years?” Her noogie strength increases, and you’re starting to feel like you have a lack of air. However, before you can tap out, she continues speaking. “That explains why you’re so tight-lipped about a lot of things, and why you don’t ever play with me…but you’re telling me I could have gotten ADVICE from you for FIVE YEARS?”

You feel threatened in the face of this girl, who in all actuality is a lot stronger than you. You’re starting to feel a little woozy due to the lack of air, but you’re afraid to interrupt her current tirade and accruing a harsher punishment.

A part of you feels thankful, though. Relieved. She isn’t pissed that you hid it, she’s just pissed that you didn’t tell her. That’s a real strange sentence to think about, but you’ll roll with it - not only because she's squeezing the life out of you, but because you feel a little bit of happy tears coming on.

Today had been a long day.

>Continue being headlocked, she’ll let you go eventually.
>Tap out, you’re running out of air.
>Cry a little bit out of relief, because she doesn’t hate you.
>>
>>3445561
>Cry a little bit out of relief, because she doesn’t hate you.
>>
>>3445561
>Tap out, you’re running out of air.
>>3445574
>>
>>3445561
>Tap out, you’re running out of air.
>>
>>3445561
>Tap out, you’re running out of air.
>>
>>3445561
>Tap out, but also cry a little.
>>
>>3445561
>Cry a little bit out of relief, because she doesn’t hate you.
>>
There seems to be two votes going for cry and tap out, two for just tap out, and one for straight crying. Does a crying and tap out combo sound good to you all?
>>
>>3445629
Sounds good to me OP.
>>
>>3445636
>>3445574
>>3445578
>>3445588
>>3445589
>>3445592
>>3445594
>>3445636
Alright then, time to tap out and also cry, because you're kinda drunk. Writing now!
>>
What is even the name of the cube?
>>
>>3445663
They're called Deadeye cubes.
>>
She continues muttering things, but you can’t quite hear them between an ear being pressed against her side and the arm wrapped around your neck. You try to grit your teeth and bear it, but it becomes too much, so you reach up and tap her rapidly on her shoulder. It takes a few seconds, but she does get the hint and lets go, causing you to brace yourself against the desk and gasp for air.

“Why did you…do that?” You get out between deep gasps, raising an arm to rub at your throat. Jesus, she’s freakishly strong. You’ve always known that her thin frame was deceiving, considering how many times she’s pulled you into headlocks – normally she didn’t let it get to the point that you were gasping for air like this one, though.

“You’re the one who’s been keeping secrets! I could have used you as a coach rather than hiring some dude for a lot of money!”

“I go and tell you all of that, and all you care about is using me for free coaching!?”

“What else would you be good for!”

You both eye each other, and you can see that she’s a bit miffed. Her face is uncharacteristically set into a frown, yet her bright eyes hold sympathy. A part of you knew that she understood why you were so secretive, as she regularly competes on a professional scene herself. People who are into the sport can do terrible things, as evidenced to everything that had happened to you. She got it, she really did. You don’t quite understand why you thought she wouldn’t.

Maybe it was the heat of the moment, the fact that you had slammed two glasses of whiskey and cola, or maybe it was the fact that today had dashed away your five-year seclusion. You could blame it on a number of things, but that didn’t change the fact that you sniffled a bit at this.

Cinder’s face changes from miffed, to confused, to surprised.

“U-Uh, hey, you okay?”

No, not really, actually. You feel the tears from before welling up to the corner of your eyes, because this shit was emotional for you. It had been a very long time since you had cried, and one of your few friends accepting your past was kicking you right in the tear ducts.

Cinder doesn’t look like she knows how to deal with your growing sniffling, looking up and down and all around as she tries to think of a way to deal with your sad ass. Evidently not finding anything, and with your sniffling beginning to louden, she settles on a hug.

How long had it been since you had been hugged? You didn’t know, but it certainly turns your sniffles into sobs.

>Try and compose yourself – you need to focus on damage control for the days to come.
>Ride out the tears – her embrace is nice, and you don’t find yourself wanting to leave it.
>Other.
>>
I have a feeling those Deadeye cubes are somehow linked to us, just a feeling
>>
>>3445496
This is the actual first embrace you've had since you lost everything.
>>
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>>3445676
>>3445687
>Other.
>try not to cry (harder)
>cry a lot
>>
>>3445676
>>Try and compose yourself – you need to focus on damage control for the days to come.
>>
>>3445676
>Other
>cry out our bitch tears
>>
>>3445676
>>Ride out the tears – her embrace is nice, and you don’t find yourself wanting to leave it.
I dunno about calling this an embrace but alright, Wolfman clearly needs it
>>
Gonna pop off for a bit to go shower, I'll be back soon!

>>3445709
Wolfman needs the sad embrace, it's the first one he's had in years!
>>
>>3445676
>Try and compose yourself – you need to focus on damage control for the days to come.
I had my fill of crying men with the Star Wars cuck.
>>
>>3445676
>sniffle a bit
>compose ourselves enough to talk through the hug
>”First coaching lesson: hugs are good.”
>give her a squeeze and then let go
>”Second lesson: send me some of your match footage. Let’s do some tape room study. I could use a distraction from the incoming shitstorm.”

Or something like that

Let’s be a fucking smooth ass operator if we want to waifu Cinder.

Otherwise

>try to compose yourself and focus on damage control
>>
>>3445676
>Cry
We get this out of our system and face the future with newfound resolve.
>>
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>>3445788
>an ex-pro gamer
>being any kind of operator
>>3445778
>letting outside anything affect how our characters would behave in-character
Also wat.
>>
>>3445803
>wanting to RP a permavirgin who constantly cries about everything
We need a backbone if we’re gonna make it in the face of a world that thinks we’re literal cheating scum.
>>
>>3445811
>wanting to RP a permavirgin who constantly cries about everything
I never said that, I said that there's nothing, in what we have done so far, that would indicate that we're capable of being smooth. In fact, it'd be more believable to try and FAIL.
>>
>>3445820
... at least in social situations. Pile onto that the fact that we've probably spent our spare time wallowing in isolation and you don't exactly have yourself an Orpheus.
>>
>>3445803
Why the fuck not? It’s a fucking option and it’s up personal preference.
>>3445820
>believable
What a fucking buzzword. When people say they want they’re usually talking of their ass.
>>
>>3445825
Eh, see, you can show vulnerability and cry and enjoy the hugging and such and even tell Cinder so. But you can’t just stay vulnerable forever, you know?
>>
>>3445840
>What a fucking buzzword
"Buzzword" in and of itself is a buzzword without an explanation; worse, it's a fallacy. Tell me what is a more likely response after being hugged by one of the few people you'd consider a friend, after realizing that your quiet life is under threat of falling apart, after isolating yourself outside of work, after having almost everyone disown you after basically having a fall from grace, in private:
>letting at least some the 5 years of whatever happened in your shitty life flow out of your tears
or
>getting back to business, even though it's closed
>>3445842
I'm not saying I want to be a fucking Shinji but if it's any time for healing, it's now.
>>
>>3445842
>can't stay vulnerable forever
This is literally the first time he's cried in the quest (the previous instance is still this very same one). You're acting like he's been crying non-stop. I agree that he should harden up (and waifu Cinder), but it should be after he stops holding everything in.
>>
>>3445855
>*if it's any time to start healing, it's now.
>>
>>3445855
People use ‘believable” wrong. People like you think it means “realistic” when they mean “grounded in reality” but often use it in reference to “immersion.” In truth “believable” is all about what you can trick someone into believing which on a practical level is anything, thus is none of those things.
>>
>>3445868
Well, shit.
>>
>>3445873
You seem to think that I care about realism which is both a mistake and silly belief for me to have. The only thing that truly matters in a story is what’s “interesting” because we don’t read fiction to have reality shoved in our face.
>>
Welp, I'm finally back. Sorry about the wait, got roped into watching a movie but I'm back in the saddle. After tallying everything up, I'm preeeetty sure composing yourself wins unless I'm blind, so I'm writing that now!
>>
Damnit, composure won because crying got split with 2 "other" votes.
>>
>>3445929
Mine own included, I'm fucking retarded.
>>
It feels like an eternity before you can force your tears to quiet, your eyes stinging from just how many you had shed. You draw back from Cinder and notice that you’ve left a noticeable mark on her shoulder, which makes you feel a momentary flash of shame, but you shake it off. She wordlessly reaches around you and grabs a box of Kleenex, handing the whole thing to you. You feel like you have to diffuse the odd feeling in the air.

“…if you tell anyone about that, I’m banning you from the arcade.” You try to make your tone lighter than you currently feel, but upon failing to do that, you reach out and put a hand on her shoulder. “Thanks…I really needed that.”

“I can tell! Don’t worry about it big guy, your secret’s safe with me.” She pats your hand, going to sit on the counter once more. “What’d she say to get you so riled up?”

“It’s only the beginning.” You say, wiping at your eyes with a tissue. “Which she followed by offering for me to join her team, to which I shut her down. I doubt she took that very well, which will no doubt leave me in an interesting situation from now on.”

“Yeesh, that’s not foreboding in the slightest.”

“No kidding.” You sit down in your chair, letting out a low disgruntled noise. “Do they have a system where you can just…look up a person’s profile?”

“Yeah, why? Want me to look her up?” Cinder asks, already pulling out her phone to do so. You nod in response while giving her the necessary information, leaning back in your chair and staring up at the ceiling.

You had to admit, you felt a lot better after crying. Your mood had definitely stabilized, and you think you can focus on the situation at hand without having another mental implosion.

What do you do?

>Look up news about your situation – you might be able to extract some tidbits while Cinder pulls up the profile.
>Focus on trying to map out what actions she might take from here on – you know for a fact that she won’t be taking the affront lying down.
>Ask Cinder about something that had been bugging you about the game – namely the pinging that occurred on your way out.
>Other.
>>
>>3445942
>>Focus on trying to map out what actions she might take from here on – you know for a fact that she won’t be taking the affront lying down.
Have to prepare for the inevitable doxxing
>>
>>3445942
All of the above
>>
Question to those more experienced with this board than I, is there a certain point where one should consider archiving this thread and making a new one? Don't really know the board etiquette quite yet, very new yadda yadda.
>>
>>3445952
Meant to say I instead of one, very tired atm.
>>
>>3445942
>Focus on trying to map out what actions she might take from here on – you know for a fact that she won’t be taking the affront lying down.
>>3445952
>check creation date
Oh shit, it's been 6 days. Probably make a suptg archive and new thread after we check everything, start the new thread on the next in-universe day.
>>
>>3445947
>>3445949
>>3445961
We'll start this info sesh with trying to anticipate her moves! Writing now.

>>3445961
Goddamn, it feels like it's been a lot shorter than that. Thanks for the advice!
>>
>>3445913
>cry
>>
“Mind if I bounce some things off of you?” You ask Cinder, bringing your legs up to rest upon the counter. “Just trying to think of what she could possibly do from here.”

“Yeah, go ahead.” She murmurs, scrolling through her phone with a pensive look on her face.

“Well, to start, she’s most likely going to leak the arcade’s address online. Most likely through an anonymous source.”

“Absolutely.” Cinder responds. “If she’s popular enough for the match to instantly be shown on the news, she’d never do it herself.”

“That’s what I was thinking. Next – she could send people over here to hassle the customers?”

“Like hell I’d let that happen.” Cinder snorts, looking over the top of her phone at you. “I happen to like this place quite a bit, if she sends people to mess around, I’ll eject them myself.”

It’s good to know that she has your back.

“Hmm…other than that, I’m not sure what else she could do other than verbally trash me online, which I’m plenty used to already. Maybe I could have you challenge her in-game to defend my honor?” You joke, to which Cinder barks out a laugh.

“That’s a good one, man. By the way, found her profile – yee