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Do your sword thing on them, I thought, reciting my Grandma's last words for the hundredth time. It wasn't like they were extremely profound, in fact, they spoke to my family’s ignorance about who I was. No one really understood me. Still, though, her words helped me keep my head screwed on straight as I buried her in the backyard.

"Rest in peace, Gram. You didn't get me, but it doesn't matter. You loved me anyway, and I will never forget that..." I told the mound of freshly disturbed dirt.

I looked around the yard aimlessly. The moonlight reflected off the old slide I used to play on as a kid, reminding me of a time I would never get back. Rainbow letters inconsiderately intruded into my vision once again.

You have leveled up! Please choose an ability!

I swiped them away just like I did all the other times they tried to ruin the funeral. Suddenly, the soft whine of a dog cut through the silence of the night. I had expected there to be sirens, screams, or literally any other sound that would signify the end of the world, but there wasn't. It made me think I was going crazy, and in fact, I probably would have believed it if it wasn't for the fact that my cell phone no longer worked, nor my Grandma's old-fashioned landline.

I ran over to my Grandma's golden retriever. He did his best to run to me as well, but his canine excitement was no match for his old age. He only made it a few steps before I got to him. Pommy, my Grandma's name for the dog, licked my face as I bent down to greet him.

"Hey, buddy! I am glad to see you!" I whispered. Pommy whined and flipped to his back so that I could rub his stomach.

The comfort of my lifelong companion died as my reality slowly crept back into my consciousness. I looked around the yard once again, racking my brain for answers, or a plan. I just wanted to curl up and go to sleep or play some WOW, but society would say that was just me trying to shut out the world. For once, I agreed. I needed to take action. I needed to find my Katana.

I placed a hand on my knee and leveraged my massive body vertical. "C'mon Po-" I said, pausing as a childhood desire to rename the dog came back to life within me. "If we are going to brave this new world together, and I assume you want to come with me..." the greying retriever barked, "Good, then you will need a new name," I didn't need to think too hard to come up with one, "Goldrin," I dubbed the dog, "You are not too golden anymore. You are mostly grey, but that's fine. I hereby name you GOLDRIN!"

Congratulations! You have received a pet - Goldrin!

I swiped the notification away with a roll of my eyes, I know, he has been my pet my whole life, twenty years, I thought.

"Okay, buddy. Let's go find my Katana," I said. Goldrin borked, and we set out to my Grandma's basement. It was slow going. I would have liked to blame it on the ancient dog, but really it was because none of the lights were working other than my Grandma's bedroom lamp for some reason... and because I was fat.

I grabbed a kitchen knife from the room in which someone would find those types of things and cautiously opened the basement door. Looking down into the darkness, I was overcome with the feeling to run away. It was like that irrational fear you got when coming up basement stairs that caused you to run up them at breakneck speeds. Except, I was already on top of the stairs, and the fear wasn't coming from some imaginary creatures in the basement that threatened to grab me if I didn't flee fast enough, it merely emanated from everywhere.

Goldrin wined, awarding me the opportunity to call him a coward and thereby believe I wasn't one in the process. Whoever heard of an entire party of cowards anyway? There was always one coward in the group, but never two. I stepped down the stairwell, searching for each hidden step with an outstretched and trembling foot. When I reached the bottom... nothing happened. Unless you counted the oppressive darkness that seemed to grow into infinity and beyond. I fought against it, showed it who was the boss, and took a step. Apparently, the darkness wouldn't go down without a fight. My foot never landed on the ground and simply rolled forward, causing me to lose my balance. The rest of my body hit the floor, and then finally, my foot did as well. The kitchen knife clattered against cold cement somewhere off in the distance.

Agility check failed - you have fallen.

Goldrin barked worriedly from the safety of the stairs. "I'm fine. I'm fine. I just tripped over something," I reassured him.

I investigated the darkness with my feet, trying to find the object that tripped me. I found it and kicked it towards my crotch, moments before my abdominal muscles gave out. I decided to do a sit up so I could grab the object, but it was no-go.

Strength check failed.

I settled for awkwardly rolling to my stomach and getting up like that. The object I tripped over, rolled away in the process, but I was able to grope around long enough to find it. It was oblong, about the size of a large penis, and had a switch on it.

"Oh, thank god," I said as the fear that I forgot to get rid of my fleshlight before I moved out faded and I realized I had a regular flashlight in my hands. I whispered a quick prayer, thanking the gods that my innocent Grandmother never had to discover my personal belongings and pleading with them to make the flashlight work. I flicked the switch.

My past was illuminated right before my eyes. The roundtable where I played my first DND campaign. The razor scooter from hell which was responsible for 99% of the scars on my shins. An old dresser that likely contained all my styleless and mostly black garments from high school. It was all there. Grandma had kept it all.

Another bork sounded from the top of the stairs, this time more curious than concerned. "Yea, it's still here!" I answered Goldrin as the light from my regular flashlight gleamed over my Katana that hung from the wall. I walked up to it confidently and grasped its cloth wrapped handle. My sausage fingers fit perfectly into the grip, worn down from a month or two of intense-ish practice.

Item Received - Hero's Katana

"Told you," I whispered to my toxicly masculine uncle, all the jocks at my school growing up, and really, just everyone I had ever met besides my Grandma. I gave my Katana a few practice swings. A sudden feeling of completeness washed over me. I was ready to take on the world. I was prepared to cut up anything that stood in my way, especially jugs of water. I was ready to take action, bring justice to my Grandmother's name, and defend her honor!

A bright rainbow splattering of words entered my vision, causing me to recoil and ruining my heroic pose. I sighed but figured if anyone ever made a movie about me he or she could just cut that part out.

Quest Updated! Your Grandma came into contact with the deadly Scroungers and like many before her, didn't live to tell the tale. She did live long enough for one thing though - to task you with bringing justice to her name and defending her honor! You have located and equipped your legendary Katana - all fear the vengeance and wrath that is you!

Quest Type - Chain

Current Objective - Slay 5 Scroungers

"Easy," I told myself, hoping that the scroungers wouldn't take the form of my Grandma and immediately regretting it. The sounded like they would be terrifying, so it would be better if they all looked like my Gram anyway.

"Bork! Bork! Bork!" Goldrin yelled at me.

"What is it, boy?" I asked with a raised eyebrow, my Katana resting on one shoulder and my regular flashlight illuminating my face for heroic reasons. Goldrin borked again, spurring me into action. I ran up the stairs, ready to take on whatever was in front of me, and not the least bit afraid of anything behind me.

"Holy shit," I said without taking too many breaths. “I just ran up that whole flight of stairs!”

Goldrin sprinted to the front door, leaving a streak of silver in his wake. At least, that was how I imagined it. The old dog actually waddled over slowly, sat down briefly to take a break and scratch his ear, and in general didn't move nearly as fast as required to create a streak in the air. It was all the same though.

"You want to go outside?" I asked the dog, "but we were just outside. There is no way you have to go again."

Goldrin turned around slowly as if to say, "In human years I am more than 100 years old, dude, I have to pee all the damn time now."

"Okay, okay," I deflected, opening the door and stepping out into the night once again. I sat on the stoop, guarding my companion as he did the deed. The sound of... it, seemed louder than usual, bringing the curiosity of the silent night to the forefront of my large brain once again. Grandma lived in the hood. It wasn't always, 'the hood' but she had lived here for so long that the neighborhood declined around her as the years went by. It never bothered me when I was younger though, even when I lived with her. Grandma's house was a beacon of good times and safety in an otherwise, desolate and mean world. Now that I thought about it though, the safety granted at Grandma's house was probably only emotional. Gangs and other hooligan's perpetually roamed the neighborhood, which was one of the main reasons I was bothered at the moment. There should have still been gang members running around. In fact, I should have been in the surreal process of being assaulted at that very moment.

Is everyone dead, I thought. Goldrin looked at me to check if I was still alert and guarding him in his vulnerable moment. I gave him a nod to reassure him that I hadn't drifted off in thought.

A scream pierced the air.

Goldrin clenched his 'deed' muscles and put a tail between his legs.

I stood, narrowing my eyes until they were practically closed.

A damsel, I thought, in distress...

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About the author

BigMartyrs

Bio: Writer of disparate LitRPG stories.

Current works = Legends of the Great Savanna (published) , Milton (Ongoing)

Stay in touch at JLLincoln.com

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