Silence. In the middle of the busiest town in the game, no one was making a sound. They sat there, staring at their open menus. He hadn’t even bothered to look at his menu. The answer had come to him soon enough. He was too far in the center of town, too deep in to navigate his way out before the silence was broken.
Just as he shifted to take a step back, he heard a noise. He didn’t catch what it was, but he didn’t need to, to know what was happening. Sam started moving back, trying to get away from the crowd of people around him. Someone else made a sound, louder this time.
That one sound was the one that broke the silence for good. Around him the entire crowd of people started to panic. People started yelling and fighting, pushing against each other, trying to panic their way through an already panicked crowd.
He didn’t even get a step away from where he’d been standing before he was shoved to the ground. The horde of people around him didn’t seem to even notice, kicking him multiple times trying to get around, trying to survive. Most of those who did kick him ended up falling over themselves, starting the workings of a massive dog pile.
Sam struggled, trying to pull his way out of the growing heap. Thoughts flew through his head too fast to recount, until a blow to his face knocked all of them away. Whatever had hit him fell over, shoving his face into the ground.
He felt his own blood starting to pool around his face. The pressure kept building around him, as more people fell and moved around. He tried moving, but it didn’t change much. There was still a body on his head and a writhing mass of people around him. Obviously, he needed a new tactic, but he had just started the game. He wasn’t strong enough yet to do anything.
We’re doing our best to fix the problem, but we haven’t found anything promising. The words kept replaying in his mind, now that he wasn’t concentrating on the panic. Maybe he’d have the choice to leave if his character died. Or maybe death here would be like real death. Could they program a heaven?
As the effects from his hit in the face started to wear off, the pressure around him started to hurt more, but the pain in his face seemed to sear through his skull and into his brain. He needed to escape, but he wasn’t strong enough to force the bodies away from him. Even if there was something in his inventory to use, he couldn’t open it with his face shoved against the ground like this. The only other tool he could think of was his element, but he still hadn’t figured out how to use it.
He’d been meaning to ask someone about it, part of the reason he’d come into Cyan City in the first place. The other was to get some more supplies. He’d only been playing for a couple of hours, but he’d already gone through most of his starting supplies.
There had to be a simple way to use the element. Everyone had one, most knew how to use it. Maybe he’s been trying to use it on the wrong things, in the wrong ways. He closed his eyes, not that he even noticed, and concentrated, focusing on the writhing mass around him. He felt something deplete out of him very suddenly. Mana, right? Most games used mana for whatever magic stuff they had.
Slowly, the mass around him stopped writhing so much. Slower still, the pressure around him started to deplete. The people were actually getting off and away from the pile, the only movements were those made to leave. Less than a minute passed before the mass of bodies was gone, everyone back on their feet.
Sam pulled his face up from the ground, staring at the pool of his own blood, and watching a torrent of blood fall from his face. He blinked, just staring at the liquid, and before he could even move, someone approached to offer help. Using a cloth, they wiped most of the blood from his face. Once most of the crimson liquid was gone, they’d given him a health potion. It stopped the bleeding pretty quickly.
He still didn’t talk, shock now stunting most of his brain’s abilities. Whatever he’d done seemed to be wearing off, some of the crowd were starting to get panicked again. Most still seemed calm, but he didn’t want to wait around and see the effects wear off entirely. He pushed his way through the crowd.
Most of the city was still in panic. He couldn’t find much of a way through the crowd, so instead, he pushed his way into a building. Even in there, too many people were around to keep safe for a while. He kept to the wall, hoping to find a way to the staircase. The building had plenty of floors. If he could find a mostly empty one, he’d be okay.
Getting to the staircase was a relatively easy feat for the commotion going on around him. He slipped into the area, the heavy door blocking out most of the other noises. He pushed forward, heading up the stair case. He skipped the second and third floors, figuring people would have had his same idea and clustered there. He’d intended to skip to at least the sixth floor, but by the time he’d gotten to the fourth one, he was ready to collapse. Peaking through the door, there didn’t seem to be anyone in the area, so he let himself in.
As soon as the door shut behind him, a blade stabbed through it, less than an inch away from his head.