Lying down inside the capsule with his Porti gear on, Ken was thinking about what happened between him and Ellie. Ken was a type of person, who never wasted himself over thinking about relationships especially love but this time, this feeling bit was a bit different. Although he didn’t have too much emotional backing to support his emotions towards Ellie but still he would like to stay with her and spend time with her.
Probably it was the fact that when Ken joined the pizza store, it was Ellie whom he met first and she was the one to teach him how to work in the store. Further, when Ken used to spend his time alone in the store, during lunch breaks or during a change of shifts, Ellie was the one who filled the void of a friend in Ken’s life and she used to talk with him and spend time with Ken despite having so many colleagues.
So, Ken had no objections if a friend would turn into a lover. Especially the person with whom he spends most part of his day. Shrugging those thoughts off, Ken tried to focus on the goal infront as he shifted and moved inside the capsule to position himself correctly.
The capsule wasn’t too world class or too much facilitated but it was comfortable enough to provide a peace of mind. With the gear in place, Ken closed his eyes to calm his mind down and meditated for a while.
Meanwhile, the other players also waited for their for the round to start. Some played with their head gears while some meditated just like Ken but in the crowd of eagerly waiting players, was a man who was strictly marking Ken since the time he entered the arena and was as much focused inside the capsule as our ken.
“With everyone inside their capsules, I request you all to kindly switch on the button on the top of the gear and follow the instructions as displayed on the screen of the gear”. The porti gear of the tournament was nothing like the one which was provided at the time of the test. It was like a beanie made out of metal with porti sensors on the inside with a button on the forehead(gear).
Beneath the button was a slit which was provided by a red light LCD which indicated the health of the player. The slit was perfectly boarded by thin metal strips which were of the shape of the tube lights which ran through the front of the gear. The slit and boarder perfectly contrasted each other and gave the appearance of old-fashioned battle knights helmet which is molded into to fairly modest, high tech gear.
As the players switched their gear on, a menu appeared on the black screen inside. The menu was a user-driven one which instructed the players to build their character. It provided various options like skin color, type of hair, clothing, footwear, and weapon.
<<Meanwhile, Marvin addressing the gathering >> “ So, to all our audience’s out here, we have a VR segment for you all also. We will be providing you all our specially designed VR sets, which will enable you to view your favorite players from their point of view by just entering your player’s name.
Further, this huge dome screen will also be displaying the stats and progress of the game. So sit back and enjoy the ultimate gaming experience as the players unravel it fold by fold”.
With this, Marvin walked off the stage as the VR’s were passed on by the staff members to the crowd.
“ Miss Ellie! Miss Ellie” a hand came patting from behind as Ellie removed her VR and turned behind to find Ak greeting her with a smile.
“ Hi! Ak… It’s a pleasure meeting you here…. What are you doing you here? “.
“ Don’t ask me anything, just come with me! “. Holding her fists, Ak dragged Ellie out of the arena and took her to a room just beside the arena.
“ You guys! “…. Ellie exclaimed with surprise as Ak took her inside.
Ken pressed the enter key to submit his character and sit back to see what will happen. Suddenly, the black dull screen began flipping itself, tile by tile to unravel into something that Ken had only imagined.
The flipping tiles arranged themselves to form blackish blue cloudless sky with diamond-like stars which were twinkling across the wide night sky. The area around wasn’t clearly visible except for dense black tree outlines which nearly covered the whole surroundings. There wasn’t any light around, so it was quite clear that it wasn’t an area where anyone or much players have landed.
But the sight seemed familiar to Ken and in an instant, he guessed that it was a forest area where he has landed. He briefly scanned his surroundings but under the faint night light, nothing much was visible. At the bottom, there were two bright dots which attracted Ken’s attention. They were red and green icons and were arranged on either side of the screen in the same way as given in the test.
As such, Ken pressed the green button on his right, hoping to find some useful spells but this time the white hollow menu popped up to show a list with “ spells available “ titled at the top.
Ken clicked the icon but only to find three basic spells lighting bolt, firebolt and water cannon, available in the list. At the end of the list was a message inscribed in italics which said that the spells will unlock based on their NIXp and their XP level.
This was a typical MMORPG game format about which Ken had already read in the fast few days and like earlier, this didn’t felt new to him. But instead what felt knew was the word NIXp which was highlighted in blue among the black italic text.
As Ken clicked the highlighted NIXp, a pop-up menu appeared that read,
“Wondering about NIXp? Well to be frank, it’s the measure of the emotions that you use in a situation. In a fight, some became aggressive while others hold their temperament and stay cool, in a dire situation few choose bravery and few choose cowardice while exploring a new thing few became excited while few became indifferent and decide to stay away.
Human beings are the epitome of emotions, estatcy of feelings that run on situations and their adaptation in our own regards. Without us, the term emotion is abstract and without emotions, we are puppets. Keeping this in mind, we have thinned down the emotions to the measure of a scale called the NIXp which will keep track of the emotions that boost you up or bring you down.
Further, the ability to use spells is purely dependent upon the NIXp. The more the NIXp or the NIX power the more strength or ability of a player using spells of his arsenal.”
Reading the above description, Ken knew that whichever emotion he will be assigned, he has to use that emotion most of the time so as to boost up his level and unlock new spells.
On the right-hand side, there was a “players tab” which displayed the no. of players in Ken’s vicinity. Ken opened up the tab to find a sketched map of the area with two or three dots appearing on the map.
At first, Ken thought that the dots are either treasure points or some kind of special area but later, based on the book that he read about MMORPG’s and considering the name of the tab, he interpreted that the dots are the players, whose location was given on the map.
“…………” sounds of a bell came to Ken’s ears as he quickly closed the tab and took out the silver sword hanging by his waist to counter whatever was coming towards him. From far away, a speck of yellow light came slowly and steadily towards Ken as he stepped backward and regurgitated the name of spells that he read just now in the spell list.
The speck of light inched closer and closer as Ken took in deep breaths and prepared himself to face the danger.
“Moooooo…..” sound of cow came from the shadow as the speck of light turned into a lantern of light and revealed the face of an old elf who was sitting on a cart attached to the back of a cow. The elf was a rather new creature to Ken but Ken had already read some novels and comics in which elves played a major role and hence he easily digested the fact that he just encountered an elf infront of eyes for real.
The elf was an old, worn out creature that wasn’t too muscular and neither did he wore too much clothes. He had a dark green cape with a hoodie on top and resembled the character of ‘dobby’ from the famous ‘Harry Porter franchise’.
“Young man! What do you seek in such a dark and lone place?” said the old elf with a heavy voice as a surprised Ken looked at him.
A long pause followed as Ken didn’t reply as he was too astonished to realize what the Elf had asked. “Young man!” Ken broke out of his zone as the Elf asked once again.
“Nothing sir! I just landed here and was exploring my surroundings.”
“Sir!!! HaHa!… call me Toddy young man!”’
“And I’m Ken!. it’s a pleasure to meet you” as Ken offered his hand to the Elf who was sitting on the cart on a platform specially built for him.
“You seemed to be lost?”
“Actually I’m kind of new here and I don’t know where to go.”
“No worries Ken. Come join me and I’ll drop you in the town where I’m heading to”
Without any second thoughts, Ken slid past the grass kept at the back of the cart and adjust the grass so as to make the place comfortable for himself.
“I hope that grass isn’t bothering you much?”
“Nah! Actually, it’s quite relaxing to use fresh green grass as a cushion.”
“Ok! then, Enjoy your ride” Toddy pulled the rope attached to the cow as the cow ‘Mooed’ again and started moving towards the long steep muddy road.