Author’s Notes: Here is part 2 of the short! Not quite as long as part 1 but together they are about 40% of a full chapter! Not too bad eyy! Well, my weekend plans are looking good, unlike last weekend I actually have time this weekend to do a bunch of writing so we should be on schedule for next Friday! Anyhow, my legs are completely cramping up and it is 4:00am for me. Time for bed!
Also, I have just realized occasionally some of your comment have gotten auto spammed! If your comment doesn’t come up, let me know!
Editor’s Notes: …
“What?” I stare at Fen in surprise.
What does she mean she wants that?
“I want… That!” She repeats herself, not looking away from the screen.
Suddenly staring at me, she pleads with her eyes.
“F-fine. Let’s go back t-to Grenton.” I can not think of anything else to say. Somehow I can’t log out and I know it has something to do with Fen.
I have no trouble logging back into End Online, reappearing where I left. Looking around me, I cannot see Fen.
‘Of course, she will return to where she left.’
I now have Fen’s companion status on the side of my vision so I know she is definitely here.
I walk towards where she left from, at the entrance to the city. Before I can even reach there she comes strolling up to me through the crowd.
She looks completely refreshed as soon as she sees me.
Without a moments hesitation, her hand clasps mine, sharing its warmth. With her fingers intertwined with mind, she starts pulling on me.
“We… Need to… Eat.” She has a charming smile while deciding what will we do.
With her holding my hand, my heart feels like it is skipping every second beat. Only, it is not out of nervousness, but fear for this girl. I can’t shake the feeling that I am dancing with true death.
As we walk through the crowd, countless players glance my way. I feel like a hundred jealous daggers are pointed at my back from all the glares. I even hear a player murmur about how did some guy like me get such a pretty girl.
Looking around, there are currently a lot of valentine’s couples around. But, none of the ladies can match Fen’s beauty. Some of the male partners glance at her only to receive morbid stares from the females.
Fen stops suddenly and turns to look at me, a slightly pouting look on her face.
“Why… Do you have… That hood on?.. That guy… Didn’t have… A hood.”
“Sorry, but it doesn’t come off.” I give a pained look, but it is difficult to see under the shadow of the hood.
“No!.. It must… Come off!” Starting to mope, she reaches up and grabs the hood before I can react
She exerts force to pull it down, but the hood doesn’t budge an inch. After two tries, Fen gets irritated by the fact that she can’t take it down.
“Why… Won’t it… Come off?” She stops pouting and gives it another pull, more serious than ever.
She continues exerting force on it, slowly getting stronger. Perspiration breaks out on her forehead as she brings her other hand up to pull with both hands.
A cracking sound emits from the hood, followed by a blistering pain inside my head. A light floods my vision, temporarily blinding me.
The light fades, and I glimpse a notification before it vanishes. Unfortunately, all I get to read is the first line.
I wonder what it could possibly be, but there is nothing I will be able to do about it now, I cannot even leave virtual reality.
As the pain in my head begins to fade, I Slowly touch around my head. Feeling for the hood, only to find it is not there.
With my eyes widening in disbelief, all the fear inside me vanishes before my shock.
“W-W-What!?” I cry out.
I eventually calm down enough to think about what just happened, turning pale at thinking about the consequences of revealing my true identity to others. If my identity under the hood gets revealed and the two are connected, then all the infamy I have gained will be carried on.
I am currently on a main pathway in Grenton, which is swimming with players.
Opening my status, I breathe a sigh of relief when I see that my infamy has turned to zero. The title I had as ‘The Hooded Man’ also vanishes, but surely that will return upon putting the hood back on.
‘Perhaps it is NPC’s who have to become aware of my true identity to incur the negative effect. Also, why couldn’t I remove my hood but Fen could? This girl, she is far too mysterious and frightening!’
I go with Fen to some sort of cafe that she tracks down by sniffing the air.
We sit down on two outside seats when an NPC waiter comes up to us.
“Good afternoon Sir, Madam. What can I get for you today?”
As soon as this butler style waiter asks me for my order a window appears in front of me with a list of possible food options.
I am really not feeling hungry at the moment so I only choose a large slice of ‘Fig Banana Bread’ and a coffee. Ironically, everything in this game is at least slightly different from real life, yet coffee is still the same.
Our food comes out almost immediately. Unsurprisingly, Fen only ordered a piece of steak.
With the food in front of us, it is strange that the girl doesn’t touch the meat. She just stares intently at me.
“W-What?” My voice stammers a little under the pressure of her gaze.
“I want… That…” She looks down at the inch thick banana bread I ordered.
“You want some?” I ask to make sure as I slowly push the plate towards her.
Seeing what I am intending, she shakes her head. Opening her mouth, she makes a cute little “Ahh” sound.
The nervous tension in me builds up as I comprehend what it is she wants.
Cutting of a small slice I place it on a fork and extend it to her mouth. She eats the entire piece while barely chewing. After swallowing her cheeks dye a deep crimson and I feel the piercing stares of onlookers again.
When she goes to eat her steak, she first attempts to pick up the entire thing in her hand to eat it. Stopping just before doing so, she gives a thought some consideration before picking up the silver cutlery.
Fen attempts to use the cutlery like I did, but she is too clumsy with them.
“Ah, Fen. You do it like this.”
I give her a small demonstration in the air on how to use it, which she astonishingly manages to imitate perfectly.
Our lunch lasted for a good half hour, in which time I fed her half my banana bread and she managed to force half her steak down my throat. By this time the earlier headache from when my hood came off is completely gone too.
“Are you happy now Fen?” I honestly want to log off right now. Not that I need sleep or anything. It is just the feeling of being trapped is terrifying and I need to get out.
“… I am!… We need… To do this… Again!..” She puts on a huge smile in delight.
I think about logging off, but first I want to test out my speed now that the hood is off. Technically, my speed should be about double what it was previously.
Fen follows as I turn into an out of the way alley, completely out of the public eye. The alley itself is long and narrow, perfect for my test. I take off at top speed to reach the other end as fast as possible.
With a dull thud, I run directly into the wall.
‘Too fast!’ I think to myself.
The speed is incredibly difficult to control, in a single moment I already lost over ten percent health and even stunned myself.
When I can get back up, I return to the alley entrance,.
This time, I activate ‘Perceptual Sight’ to slow down things around me. Focusing all my energy into the sacred art, time slows down even more than ever before.
The surrounding areas slow down by a massive fifty percent. A small message appears in the bottom corner of my vision, but it disappears before I can read it.
WARNING! Overload of mental capacity - High Risk. Safety procedure is currently non responsive. Emergency release is currently non responsive.
I try running, and it is almost like I am swimming through water. However, at the same time the headache from earlier start to grow in my mind. Stopping immediately, I am already satisfied with how fast I can be, it will simply take some practice to perfect.
The tension builds up in me as my finger closes on the logout button. Almost all the stress is relieved from my body when I successfully log out of not only End Online but also my locker.
Back in my bed, sweat is constantly beading on my forehead. For some reason, the headache I had in the game is still there.