Flight: Chapter 2

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Sam stared at the blade, stunned. More than half of the blade had pierced through the wall beside him. If he’d been hit, there wouldn’t have been a chance for him to live. He pulled the sword out from the wall, holding on to it with a death-grip.

“I’m not looking for a fight. Just trying to wait out the storm.” He’d almost said that he was already pretty weak, but decided that would hurt his case rather than help it. Still looking around the room, his hand slipped onto the door knob. He tried to twist it silently, hoping to slip out before whoever was attacking him won.

Before Sam could get the door open, another knife flew through the air, slicing through the middle of his hand and into the door knob behind it. He tried to scream, but the sound got caught in his throat, leaving only a small sound to be heard.

You’re supposed to wait to remove stab wound objects until you have a way to treat it properly. How much did this game apply real world sciences? He didn’t have a bandage to use, or any medicine he could take to slow or stop any bleeding or raise his overall health level. Taking a gamble and a deep breath, Sam dropped the sword to pull the knife from his hand.

Pain now burning through his hand, he looked back at the door. Twisting the knob did nothing, now. He was trapped in a room with someone aiming to kill him. He looked around the room again, still not catching anything human-shaped. He dropped to a crouch, slinking to the left side of the room. Some sort of counter, looked like one a jeweler used to show off their jewelery. Not the best cover, but he had very little to work with.

The glass of the counter shattered as Sam got near it. He nearly jumped out of his skin, but he used that movement to get fully behind the counter. Unfortunately, the cover provided very little actual refuge. Backed against the opposite side of the counter, two more people were crouching; one held a knife and the other had a gun.

A loud shot rang through the air. Sam fell back, landing heavily on the broken glass on the floor. Blood was pouring out from a hole in his leg. Did he have a set amount of blood he could bleed, or could he theoretically bleed forever? Once again, he found himself laying in a pool of his own blood. Had it even been more than five minutes that he got away from the horde?

Part of him told him to stay down. Wait for his Death to take him away. The rest of him kept trying to think of a way to survive. Whatever he’d done on the horde wasn’t going to work again. His mana or whatever was still too low. His fingers moved over the handle of the knife in his hand.

He heard the two shuffling, trying to decide whether or not to just shove his body away. He’d almost forgotten about his own weapon. He hadn’t had a chance to use them yet, except for some basic practice on a scarecrow he’d set up out in Celadon Plains. He would only have one chance if he wanted to have any hope of not dying.

He flexed his feet, activating a small mechanism that pushed the blades out over his boots. As soon as the talons moved, he pushed his hands against the wall and the counter, pushing himself towards them. As soon as he felt liked he’d moved far enough forward, he twisted to the side. Both of them let out a scream, which he took as his cue to keep going with his plan.

Sam forced himself up, into a sitting position. The girl that had been holding the gun had already dropped it, focusing on the blades that had sliced through he thigh. The guy who had the knife was getting ready to use it. He brought his foot up, kicking the bottom side of the hand that held the knife, swinging his own knife before the kick even landed. Sam’s swing had skewered the heel of the man’s hand. The other man’s knife clattered to the ground.

He reached out for the gun, while the girl still focused on her bleeding leg. As soon as he gripped the weapon, he pulled his feet up, retracting the talon blades. He pushed himself back, putting one hand on top of the counter to pull himself to his feet. As soon as he was standing again, he pointed the gun at the two.

“You, girl, give me all the ammo you have for this gun.” Sam struggled to not let his voice waiver or crack as he talked. He could barely keep his hand from shaking.

The girl looked away from her wound to see the gun pointed at her, and immediately started sorting through her inventory. As she was doing that, he shifted his attention to the knife-man.

“You, stand up and pull out any bandages that you have.”

The man glared at him, but did as he said. It was reassuring to know that guns were still a powerful enough weapon to give power in the game. By the time the knife man was standing, he’d already pulled out his bandages. Sam only held out his bleeding hand, for the man to bandage.

As Knife started bandaging his hand, the gun-girl pulled out another pistol. Sam shot at her, sending bullet through the arm that she’d held it with. She let out a scream, dropping the pistol immediately.

“I told you to get out ammo, not another gun!” He reached out with his injured leg, wincing at the pain. He placed his foot down heavily on the gun and pulled it back towards him. He put as much weight on the gun as he could. As soon as Knife had finished bandaging his hand, he pushed him towards the girl. While both were fumbling over each other, Sam reached to pick up the other gun, stashing it in his inventory.

“Whoever was throwing blades before, I’d suggest you stop, because I will shoot both of these people.”

Sam looked around the room, watching for more blades or another person. After a few moments of watching, a man appeared in the middle of the room. Probably an enchanted cloak, or something. Thieves’ Guild bonus, maybe. He heard the clatter of small pieces of metal, pulling his attention back to Gun-Girl. She’d brought out multiple boxes of ammo. He only took one of them.

“Now, I’m going to walk out of this room, and if any of you move before I’m out of the door, I will shoot you. I’ll leave the other gun by the door, so you aren’t helpless. Don’t get it until I’m gone.”

None of them said anything, but all of them nodded. He couldn’t decide if it was shock, fear, or what, but he didn’t care enough. He moved towards the door, and when the knob still didn’t work, he shot at the knob until it broke off. At that point it was easy to push the door open.

He went into his inventory, pulling out the second gun he’d taken, and placed it by the door. No one bothered him as he climbed back down through the building, and out through the front doors.

The world outside was just as violent as it was when he escaped inside, but the inside wasn’t any better. He’d have to make it through the city and to the wilderness to get some rest.

It was going to be a long night.

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Flight: Chapter 1

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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.

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Character: Prologue 1

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The game case felt heavy in his hands, as if it was trying to push its way to the ground. Still wrapped in its original plastic, it was worth about one hundred and twenty dollars. They hadn’t made enough copies of the game, when it had first come out. Some people who had pre-ordered the game still didn’t have their own copy. Sam had been lucky. He’d pre-ordered his copy from a smaller store. It wasn’t a popular place, few people even knew that it existed, but Sam went there all the time.

He was a gamer, though his girlfriend was even more of one. While he could spend 10-20 hours a week playing games, she’d spent 30-40 hours a week on them. She’d always ask him to play with her, and he would most of the time. He loved to play games with the girl, but he couldn’t do it all the time. He had homework, and regular work, and his own projects that he was working on.

He remembered trying to decide if paying one hundred dollars for the game was worth it. He had never liked MMOs, but they were Megan’s favorite type of game. The game cost a little less than a day of working for him. But he could just imagine her face, the sparkle in her eyes and the excitement in her voice when she saw that he’d gotten it. He had planned on telling her immediately, but she was one of the people who didn’t get their copy of the game, even though it was pre-ordered.

He decided that it would be awkward for him to show it to her before she’d gotten her own, so he kept it to himself for a while. Eventually, he’d even forgotten about it. Her copy kept getting delayed because the company couldn’t keep up with the demand that was created. The game had ended up stashed away in his closet.

They had been dating for more than a year, they met each other a few days before that. They shared a zoology class together. He’d always loved the class, while Megan was taking it to fill a gen-ed requirement. She asked him for some help on one the first homework assignment and they hit it off really well. He asked her out a few days later.

The game case slipped out of his hands, falling to the floor with a light thud. Bruises had formed on his hands where they’d been pushing into the corner of the case.

Megan had dragged him to a game shop, once. One of the bigger releases. Some single player game that everyone was super excited for. She had them camping out in front of the store for a whole day, just to get the game. The day was slow at some points, but for the most part he had enjoyed just sitting there with Megan. The best part, though, was when she got her hands around the case. That look she got in her eyes whenever she was really happy, or excited about something.

Sam looked at his phone, which was sitting screen-down on the floor a foot away from him. He reached out towards it, putting his hand around it for a moment. He didn’t quite want to pick it up, but he did anyways. The screen hadn’t locked yet, and his recent messages were showing.

“Sam! Youll never guesss what I got!”

He threw the phone and it spun across the room, striking the wall on the far end. He picked the game case up again, staring at the front of it. He started tearing through the plastic wrapping around it, the wrapping repeatedly slipping from his hand, or catching on a corner of the case. He struggled popping the case open, but when he did, he took out the small cartridge on the inside.

Quickly slipping it into the slot on his VR Machine, he pulled the helmet on and turned the machine on. A whirring noise proceeded, followed by the home screen of the console showing. He had the game starting seconds later.

“Would you like to create a new character?”

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