I stepped up with my bow ready in my hand and arrows held prepared in my quiver, perfectly crafted for moments like this with a firm iron head and body with fletchers made of phoenix feathers. An ultimate weapon I was very proud of.
Before me stood a ten-foot baby cyclops, red eye bearing down at me with anger. It was wearing barely a cloth around its middle which was blowing in the wind. I hoped not to catch whatever monstrosity was underneath and remained staring into its eye. It held no weaponry thankfully but was definitely not going to just let me go away unharmed.
‘You want to challenge me, mortal?’ the cyclops had a husky voice for a child; one that would scare off any Newer Levelled player – better known as a noob – but not me. An adult cyclops would be a level 300 at least and impossible to beat without a group. This baby cyclops was only a level 200, which was still difficult to beat and better to defeat in a group but I was determined to remain solo. I was only a level 101, but that was not going to stop me.
I took a deep breath and pulled an arrow from my quiver and struck the creature in the head. A perfect shot, but it only took away minimal amounts of its health.
‘Shit,’ I muttered, grabbing for another arrow and firing again.
I struck him over and over in the head, heart, chest, knees, but he would not budge, lashing out with his hands the size of my entire body.
After five minutes of attack I had lost all of my arrows into the baby cyclops’ flesh.
I should have run. That would have been a logical move. There were other players around now, fighting merely skeletons and giant lizards, trying to level up in the simplest of ways. They were being smart and staying away from the cyclops and baby cyclops, prowling around the land all smug and gigantic. I even saw some High Levelled Players – better known as Legend Players; players with a level 100 or over – staring over, smiling, obviously recording me, thinking that it would be a funny video if a newly made Legend Player like myself was to get killed by a baby, losing my Legend status almost immediately after. If I died now then I would be brought down two or three levels and have to work hard to get back up again. If I ran away, I would be known as a coward to the whole world.
The other players around me kept looking over. I was not sure whether they were laughing or looking over at me in worry.
I started to get messages coming in; one, two, three, twenty, all telling me to give up and run. The baby cyclops was too strong. My health was just lower than my enemy’s. I was surely going to die and lose everything I had collected, humiliating myself. The video would go viral and I would be laughed at for months. I had not died for over a year and I was not going to now. I would win.
Giving a hop and rolling behind a boulder, I hid for a few seconds before picking up some rocks by my feet, throwing them at the baby cyclops. That was doing nothing. I looked around for a bit of hope and just came face to face with the boulder.
‘Here goes nothing,’ I muttered.
I picked up the boulder and threw it right at his stomach.
Those long hours a day at the Warrior Gym and Warrior Training definitely came in handy.
The baby cyclops stumbled and fell onto his behind, rubbing at his forehead in confusion.
I took this chance and ran to the cyclops just as he was getting back to his feet.
The baby cyclops pushed the boulder off of him with ease.
I gave a leap and landed right on the baby cyclops’ shoulders, grabbing onto his bald, shiny head.
Dings after dings filled my ears with message requests, voice chat messages and video chat messages. Most of them were probably filled with people telling me I was an idiot and definitely going to get myself killed. I ignored them all.
‘Huh? Get off!’ the baby cyclops was yelling, trying to swing and grab me but I kept dodging his clumsy hands.
I smiled, taking me sword from my belt and struck it into the baby cyclops’ head; once, twice, three times, four, until on the fifth he fell to the ground, his health at 0.
My health regenerated and I could stand up full, smiling down at the baby cyclops, dead at my feet.
My inbox fired up with congratulation messages, asking me how I did it, who I was and how I learned that.
A couple even popped up with Legend Players whose levels were the highest you could get in the game; level 500.
One name popped up on my chat from a Tag-Name that I, myself, followed closely. He was a Legend Player who spent most of his time making a name in himself, going on quests, blogging and videoing his tactics for everyone to see and admire.
I ignored all of the messages and Voice Chat requests, moving over to retrieve my arrows back from the cyclops’ grey flesh.
There was a ding in my ears and a Voice Chat request flashed in the right-top corner of my tablet. Underneath the speech bubble was a very familiar Tag-Name.
I grinned, spinning around to see him standing there in jeans and an iron vest and level 1 leather shoes. Truly ridiculous.
I pressed accept to the Voice Chat and laughed. ‘What do you look like?’ I asked, starting to skin the cyclops.
‘You’re in a Free-For-All world,’ LordFalcon told me, walking over and giving me a hug. I nudged him off and got back to skinning the cyclops, collecting as much cyclops skin that I could, ‘I thought you might have needed some help, but now I see you’re doing just fine.’
I rolled my eyes, finishing off my skinning and turned to him. ‘Falcon,’ I confronted him with his nickname I gave him, ‘I’m a higher level than you. How would you help me? Plus, you look like a Level 5 in those clothes. You’re going to get spotted and slaughtered at any minute without any protection on.’
LordFalcon looked down at himself and shrugged.
A dressing room curtain circled around him as I stood there, arms crossed and eyebrows raised.
‘Hold on,’ LordFalcon said, ‘ah hah!’
In a second the curtain around him vanished and he was wearing full armour over his pale body, except for his head where he wore a jester’s hat over his bleach blonde hair. I almost felt embarrassed to be near him, but he was my best friend after all and I couldn’t just leave him. I was sure Legend-Players were looking over at us with hunger.
‘Let me finish what I’m doing here and then we can go back to my place,’ I told him.
‘I can’t,’ LordFalcon sighed, frowning sadly, ‘break is almost finished for me at school. I only had enough time to check on you but you were in the middle of a fight, I didn’t want to disturb you.’
That’s cute. I smiled. ‘Thank you,’ I said, placing a hand on his arm, ‘well I guess we can do some training later in the gym?’
LordFalcon nodded. ‘Sounds good,’ he started to walk around the cyclops, admiring my work.
I laughed, finishing off my skinning and looted the cyclops. He had five hundred coins, sheep skin, an axe and a map that held lots of hidden challenges around the world I was in. ‘Score!’ I cheered, taking the map out of my inventory and waving it at LordFalcon. ‘Secrets.’
LordFalcon turned into an excited puppy and ran to my side, jumping up and down. ‘Show me! Show me!’
I clicked on the ‘Share Screen’ icon on LordFalcon’s profile and opened the map.
His noise of awe informed me that he had accepted the request and was successfully staring at the map with me. ‘That looks so cool!’ he said, his voice hushed. ‘Send me a copy of this please?’
I scoffed. ‘No way, this is mine.’ I clicked off the ‘Share Screen’ icon and heard him huff. ‘We can do the challenges together, but I’m not giving you a copy. You’ll go off and do them without me, or with your IRL friends.’
‘Pfft,’ LordFalcon shook his head, ‘They’re not cool enough to see this map. I’d keep it hidden!’
I sighed. ‘No,’ I put the map back into my inventory.
‘Fine,’ LordFalcon sulked, ‘but it doesn’t mean I’m not going to keep pestering you.’
‘You arsehole,’ I laughed.
‘Language,’ LordFalcon gasped.
I stuck my tongue out at him.
Just as I did the school bell went off around me and I frowned. ‘I have to go,’ I told him, ‘I’m sorry!’
LordFalcon frowned glumly. ‘So do I,’ he said, ‘I’ll be online around five.’
‘See you then,’ and I logged off.