Chapter 22: Dodging Responsibility
“Haa. If I had these, the return trip would have been so much easier.”
I glower at the Teleportation Orbs that I detached from the mail sent by the admins. The ones that are apparently rewards from the Event.
Fen and I had to travel a considerable amount of time from the fire-dragon-valley place back to Nortius.
Even though it’s already hitting 3 AM, I can’t just leave someone so squishy by himself without getting him back to town.
And so, finally, at about half past 4, we finally reach Nortius, and Fen headed straight to the Teleporter, while I went over to the mailbox right next to the Teleporter.
Since I had an indicator that said I had mail.
Too bad there’s no mobile-mailbox so I could have just accessed it from wherever, but they can’t make EVERYTHING super easy.
Besides, urgent things can be sent through text chat, voice chat, or through a server announcement (if we’re talking about the devs).
“Haaah… I can’t even remember what quests I took from whom. Guess I’ll have to go through my Quest Log-“
“Ah, excuse me! Adventurer-san! Did you head over to the red rocks?”
“Did you find the ruins?”
“Excuse me, did you get the herbs-“
One after another, the NPCs are stampeding!
Like in real life, the passion of researchers who are this dedicated is kind of scary.
“Um, sorry, I need a bit to get everything in order!”
I stall for time and retreat into the building labeled “Lodgings”.
“Ugh, I don’t think I can turn in my quests until tomorrow… I mean, it’s not unreasonable to want to sleep after a two-day excursion, right? Although it’s only 5 hours in real-time.”
I yawn and stretch, paying for a room so I can log out in peace.
I look over at Fen.
“So? What are you going to do? I’m heading back to the main city, though.”
“Eh? What about the quests from this area?”
“I’ll turn them in of course, and then go back. Something wrong?”
I tilt my head, since Fen’s looking at me in disbelief.
“Something wrong… no, I guess not. But I see, you’re the type who just grabs quests without paying attention to the lore in the area…”
“How rude! That’s not true at all! This time, it’s just a sneak preview. Snea~k. Preview~.”
Aaah-! What’s with that ‘don’t try to make excuses’ look?!
“Nah, see? At the beginning of the game, there’s a ton of people flooding the beginner areas and the main city, right? So I came out here to kill time before going back when the NPCs aren’t completely bogged down by everyone asking for quests. And, this way I get all the grindy quests out of the way when I come back.”
I only took gathering, creature subjugation, and scouting quests. And quests that seemed like they’d be in the Hidden Ruins dungeon, but I over-estimated things, they weren’t leading there at all, and I wasn’t able to finish them so I left them undone.
Because it’s almost 5 in the flipping morning.
“And if any of the quests I took were leading into a bigger quest-line, they’re only just the very tip of the quest, not even really getting into anything that sounds important, so I don’t feel too bad leaving the area. Besides, I got a few quests that actually lead back into the main city, so I wonder if some more of them won’t lead me back in that direction.”
Ah. Even after all that explanation, Fen hasn’t changed his expression at all.
Finally he sighs.
“You managed to reason it out so well right on the spur of the moment, that I’m not sure whether I should be impressed or not.”
“I think I’m very impressive.”
“That… that isn’t your call to make. Haa… anyway, why are you asking me what my plans are? We’re not a party.”
“Technically we are still a party…”
I start to say, but Fen just gives me an unamused glare.
“Fine, fine, I get it. Nah, well, it’s not much. I was just going to sell all that stuff in the city, and you have some claim to the profits, y’know?”
“Oh, that’s right. Well, then, I’ll leave it to you.”
“Nonono, I mean, you’re just gonna let me handle all of it? I could totally cheat you, y’know?”
“People who say that usually won’t.”
Even if that’s true…
Fen gives me a slightly cheeky look.
“I don’t trust your judgment for all sorts of things, but strangely I trust that you won’t cheat me.”
I don’t know how to feel about that. Well, whatever.
“Fine, fine, whatever. No complaints with whatever I decide to hand over, ‘kay?”
I said, kind of sarcastically.
Fen just shrugs, lazily waves a hand, then goes upstairs and disappears into a room.
“Alright then, I need to log off too –“
“Excuse me, were you the Adventurer who brought the totem? I had heard you just returned from the ruins in the red rocks.”
“Sorry, but I was just about to turn in.”
Seriously. I’m so tired.
“It will only take a few minutes!”
Nii-san, I’ll sue you for harrassment.
Maa, if an NPC insists on talking to me, I guess I should listen.
“Alright… Oh, you’re the head researcher guy.”
The guy I had to deliver the totem to, but then got no follow-up quest from.
What was his name… Bjorn… Bryan… no, Bison?
“That’s right, I’m Researcher Byron.”
Eh, close enough.
“So? What was it?”
“Ah, that’s right. I heard you returned just now from the ruins in the red rocks.”
“Un, that’s right.”
Byron looks a little agitated.
“How was it? That is, I mean… the multi-headed fire worms; I suppose it was too much to hope that they had moved on, but…”
Eh… the mini-hydras? What does he mean ‘fire worms’?
“Oioi, don’t even tell me it didn’t even hit us with its special attack…”
Byron’s shoulders drooped.
“Haa… of course, they’re still there… the herd of them.”
“Wait. Back up. Herd?”
Byron looks tired as he nods.
“Yes. We’ve been trying to establish a camp of researchers out among the ruins, but because of the multi-headed fire worms, well… Ah… if only they could be driven off, even if it’s just for a short while, we could establish a camp and do more tasks, and even be able to trade with Adventurers and curious folk who come to explore the ruins.”
“Eh? Hang on… can’t you just sneak in and set it up?”
“We’ve tried that before, but the worms are perceptive, and as many as 8 to 10 of them will come stampeding down on us. We’ve lost too many good men … Do you think you could help us? Of course, we would reward you and your confederates well for the help.”
A stampede of mini-hydras?
I wonder what the strongest way to say ‘no fking way’ is.
But at the same time…
I mean, I’m super tired, but I don’t think I’m just making things up by thinking that what this Byron is saying is that there’s a party – no, this has to be a raid – quest that would unlock a whole new hub of NPCs close to a place that will have a lot of quests and resources.
“I … can I have some time to think about it?”
“Of course, of course. Ah, I know I’m being unreasonable, but I just can’t help hanging onto some hope…”
Right, ok, whatever crazy man.
We’d be throwing our lives away, you know?!
Ah, let’s just postpone this problem…
Anyway, I rent a room, head in, and log off.
As I take off my headgear, a wave of nausea and exhaustion hits me.
“Damn, I have an 8 am class tomor = today.”
“Oh my. Narumi. Narumi. Wake up, class is over.”
“That’s not going to work, Aki. So… take this!”
“Ah, Yaji, don’t –
“Arara… are you ok, Yaji?”
Ugh. I was having a great nap before these idiots came by…
I lift my head and glare at Yaji, who had just screeched and fallen on his butt after I smacked at him.
His hands are held up, clasped together, with his forefingers pointed out in front.
“It’s a good thing you didn’t just go for a kancho. I would have snapped your fingers off.”
“Mou, even though I told him not to do it.”
Aki says, although he’s laughing, so I’m sure that he didn’t try very hard to stop Yaji from poking me hard in the side.
Akihiko Hori and Yajirou Koyama.
Two dorks who unfortunately go to the same class as me, lol.
Ah, Aki is the flamboyantly straight guy who works at the izakaya I go to a lot.
“Hmph! Where’s my thanks for waking you up now that class has ended?”
Yaji complains. He starts to pick himself up as he makes a face like I’m totally being unreasonable..
“THANK you very MUCH.”
I say that as I bring my leg down in a light axe drop, and effectively squash him down so he can’t get up, then slouch forward back onto the desk in front of me.
A perfect foot stool.
“Arara, you were up all night playing, huh? Naru, your grades are going to suffer.”
Aki shook his head and laughed lightly.
“Eh, I just started a dungeon that took a long time. It’s not like – fuaa… ”
I try to stifle another yawn, but give up halfway.
“Eh? So Narumi is playing OS after all. I haven’t seen you at all though. Where are you?”
Yaji says, finally managing to roll out from under my heel and stand up.
“I’m in the next area.”
“Bastard. I feel like I have a hangover, you loud-mouthed annoyance. Eh, that’s right. But now people are starting to move out there, so I’ll go back and finish the beginner area stuff real fast.”
Yaji shakes his head.
“Uwah. As expected of Narumi. I hear that Little Brother-kun is already on the fast track to getting a guild together. Put in a good word for me, eh?”
“Impossible. There’s nothing good to say about Yaji.”
Aki is laughing at us in the background.
Maa, Toru is always the player to suck up to in VRMMOs so he’s going to have a lot of people milling around him. I think Yaji’s a bit too new with VRMMOs to really run with Toru’s group, but that can easily change within a month, so we’ll see.
Anyway, I don’t think Yaji’s being that serious about it.
Of course I’m keeping these opinions to myself.
“Anyway, let’s go get ramen, Narumi, ramen.”
“Ah, I’ll pass. I’m going to go home and sleep.”
“Ara, as I thought. Come on, Yaji. You promised to treat me.”
Ah. I guess Aki let Yaji copy his notes again.
Before they leave, Aki pauses a second, as if remembering something, and looks over at me.
“Oh, that’s right. Are you going to be around Karolstrem later this evening? That’s the main city.”
“Yeah, that’s the plan.”
“Ara, then we should make plans to meet up. See ya, Naru!”
They’re so energetic.
I wonder what kind of avatars they’re playing…
“… Ah. I don’t have time to be worry about them.”
I’m agonizing over the troublesome things that I have to deal with as I sluggishly get up and head towards the bus stop.
“Haaa… Even though it’s just a game, isn’t having these kind of troublesome things a foul?”
What am I talking about?
Of course it’s that raid quest.
I pull out my phone and head to the OriginStory Player Portal website.
Like all VRMMOs recently, you’re able to link your game account to your phone.
The Player Portal lets you log in to check your Quest Log, text chats, Item Bag, and avatar status.
Of course you can’t actually DO anything, it’s read-only, but it sure is convenient for keeping you thinking about playing the game … constantly, lol.
I mean, if you want to be able to play from your phone, just play a mobile game. That kind of functionality totally misses the point of VR.
Ah… Right right. I was doing something…
“Damn, I’m way too tired.”
Yeah, even though I didn’t take it, in my Quest Log there’s a quest that’s clearly labeled “Raid Quest”.
A 10-party raid quest.
That’s 60 people.
What a pain in the ass.
What about it is a pain?
Well in the first place, I might have only skimmed the forums, but I’m pretty sure this mini-hydra quest is the first Raid Quest that’s come up in the game.
Whether I do it in secret or do it publicly, when people find out about it, all hell is going to break loose.
And I guarantee people will find out about it.
I mean, I can’t do it by myself, and there’s no way 60 people will all keep their mouths shut.
Before you know it, my mail and texts are going to get flooded with “Can I join” or “Give me details” and the like.
Second, the result of the quest sounds like it would add an NPC-filled safe-zone in a place that doesn’t have one originally.
So… like… what does that mean exactly?
Does the new safe-zone show up for everyone?
Is the quest a 1-time only deal?
I don’t want to make enemies on monopolizing a quest. A 60-man raid… how am I supposed to decide who gets to join and who doesn’t?
And even if I manage to fill the slots without any fuss, getting 60 people to all cooperate and show at the same time, and all that…
Guaa… what a pain.
Maybe I’ll take a nap before logging in …
“Huh? Er… Chibi – ah, no, Toru, you look so … mad? What’s up?”
An angry-faced Toru greeted me as soon as I entered the house.
There’s like, steam coming out of his ears…
“Don’t ‘What’s up?’ me! Yesterday night you sent me that text chat, and then nothing! I couldn’t get you on voice chat, you didn’t respond to text chat, but you were logged on the entire time!”
Now I remember. I sent him a text chat about taking down the mini-hydra
It was honestly kind of difficult to fight while keeping Fen alive, so I turned off all notifications while in the dungeon.
“Jeez! Because of that, we didn’t want to go too far from a teleporter, and we wasted all evening!”
“Sorry, sorry! Some things happened!”
“If things could be solved with ‘sorry’, there’d be no need for the police! Give me back my hours!”
My little brother is an obsessed gamer, hai.
“Sorry, I can’t do that, but can I trade you for a Raid quest?”
Instantly, Toru’s anger vanishes, like it’s a lie.
“Heheheh, yeah. That monster I sent you the text chat about seems like it has some interesting things related to it…”
“Nee-chan, tell me all about it!”
Alright! I’ve successfully pushed all responsibility for the first Raid Quest in OriginStory onto Toru!
Just as planned.
To limit VR harassment and account theft, a cell-phone and e-mail are required in order to make a player account. Sometimes even a doctor’s permission is required – but those are often only required for games that are a little too intense on the senses, like flight simulators or hard-core horror/gore.
Although initially the aim was to increase security both for player accounts as well as minimizing online harassment and crime (by increasing the chance you’ll get caught), in recent years VRMMOs have included a phone hook-up as well as the iris-scan to log in.
As that trend increased, so did the involvement of cell-phones in the gaming experience.
Being able to still be contacted through phone while in game, allowing real-time monitoring of your current status, and some even have minigames that can give your VRMMO character certain benefits (although some hardcore VRMMO gamers are pretty against those minigames, since most encourage you to use micro-transactions with real money).
Sorry for the delay. It was a “down” period. I don’t have depressive episodes often enough or to such a magnitude that it impacts my everyday life, usually, but this was an exception, it seems.
For the record, I had actually written an entire chapter through the past few weeks. It read like a toddler trying to tell a story using legos as visual aids. Entertaining, but not necessarily in the way the teller was intending it to be.
I took a look at it after my head started to clear … and rewrote the entire chapter lol.>