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Willow looked between Soleil and Violet. Was this true? Could Sage really get Violet a new BASE account? And what would that mean for them playing videogames together or what would that mean for all the other players who got their accounts blitzed?

“Really?” Violet’s voice was surprised.

“Really. But it’s going to be expensive. Very expensive.”

Willow looked at Soleil, whose gaze was dark. “You can buy new BASE accounts? Is that true, Soleil?” Because that meant that they could have gotten Violet a new account sooner…

Soleil shrugged, her gaze not lightening. “Sure. There is a black market trade in BASE accounts, so I’m not surprised. But if you get caught with one…”

Yeah, the chances they would be taking with that would be big. Trading in black market accounts didn’t seem like the safest thing to do or the best thing when you could probably be banned or something for doing it. But they didn’t really have another choice, did they? Their original accounts couldn’t be used anymore anyway, Soleil already knew that.

“I can get us new accounts, just say the word.” Sage sounded calm again.

Violet shook her head. “I don’t know. I don’t have any money in my accounts right now. I can’t pay for it.”

If money was the issue… “We have the guild funds. And the boat, that will bring in a pretty penny.” Willow shrugged.

Violet didn’t look very happy about that. “But what about trading? What about making money long-term?”

“I don’t think any of us want to play if you two can’t join us.” Willow reached out to Violet, taking her hand. “You’re all part of our guild. We can make the money again, but we can’t get new friends like you two so easily.” She squeezes Violet’s hand a little. “I’ll talk to the others. Just say it.”

Violet’s eyes closed, but she nodded just a little. “Okay.” Her voice was quiet.

“Good! I’ll start looking around.” Sage suddenly sounded much more upbeat.

“I’ll just pretend I didn’t hear any of this,” Aster spoke up, Willow had almost forgotten he was there with them.

“Me too.” Soleil raised an eyebrow at both of them. “I don’t think it’s the best idea, but it’s not like we’ve got many other choices right now. I’ll see about a more legal solution as soon as this whole mess is over.”

“Thanks.” Violet smiled at her.

“Now, we’ve got a computer to install and a few things to set up so that Violet can join in your antics again. So I think we should go do that now. Hopefully talk to you two soon, under better circumstances.” Soleil started clicking around again.

“Talk to you soon!” Sage called out.

“Later,” Aster said.

“Soon!” Violet nodded, looking a little happier now.

“Talk to you later.” Willow looked away from the hovering cards, and from the corner of her eye, she saw them disappear.

Soleil started to move. “Time to get a few things done. I can’t keep messing with Willow’s BASE messages, we’d both get in trouble, so I need to get her home in not too long.”

Willow nodded, not liking that idea, but she knew it was true.

But at least, with Sage’s new information, they now had something to go on, instead of going in blind constantly.

Maybe Sage getting blitzed wasn’t the best thing, but at least they’d found out something useful for them before they were gone.

***

Willow and Soleil didn’t stay long at Violet’s place. After they’d set up the computer, they configured a chat for Violet that could interact with a specific type of old school chat that could still be accessed from the BASE platform. Then they set up a chatroom with Violet, Sage and Willow in it. Willow was going to get the others into the chat later, after they knew for sure that the others were on board with the plan. When they left, Willow fell asleep in the car, she was was that exhausted.

After Soleil had made sure that Willow got to her place safely, she’d looked at Willow with a sad look in her eyes and she’d apologised, although Willow didn’t really have any idea why. She was too tired to think straight, so she’d have ask Soleil again in the morning.

When Willow was in bed, she’d fallen asleep fast. So exhausted. Little sleep the night before, and then being all over the place all day, and then finally going over to Violet’s place late… Yeah, that wasn’t really good for her energy.

When Willow woke up the next morning, there was a notification already slowly blinking at her. Before she did anything else, she opened it, her heart beating. A notification could mean anything at this point. But it was just a simple message from the BASE platform.

*Helheim Fallen Online goes live in 5 days! Have you bought your pre-order copy yet?*

Was it there to taunt her, or was this a normal message that everyone who signed up for the beta of the game got? She didn’t know, but it still annoyed her.

Five days until they went live meant that the new beta keys would be sent out in two days… If they had to get into HF, they had two days to make sure that the others from the guild also got into HF to make it happen. And two days to make sure that Violet and Sage could buy new BASE accounts…

Willow stretched and sat up, going to the living room and throwing the plate of food from last night away before picking up breakfast.

Then, as she made a sandwich, she opened the chat with the members of the guild who were still left.

Willow: Opal? Juniper? You there?

She started eating, enjoying some quiet time before the rest of the day was going to be really busy, she already knew that.

Opal: Yes. I’m here. Any news?

Willow: Yeah. Just… Not going to be fun.

Opal: I don’t care. Is Sage safe?

Willow: Yes, they’re safe, and they had a plan, but they’re going to need us for it.

Juniper: What’s the plan?

Willow: Meet me in DoE in ten minutes.

That way she could finish her food and get dressed before she dove back into the VR world.

Opal: Sure.

Juniper: I may be a couple of minutes late, but I’ll try to be there as soon as possible.

Willow: Thanks.

They had no idea what she was about to ask them. But there was only so much that they could do on their own, as a guild they were a lot stronger, and had a lot more resources.

Willow finished her sandwich and then changed into clean clothes as she made herself comfortable on the bed. Then she opened the chat with Violet and Sage.

Willow: I’m about to ask the others. This will work out. I promise.

Then she went to the chat with Soleil.

Willow: I’m going to need 4 beta invites for the new beta batch on Sunday. Can you make it happen?

Finally, she put on the VR headset and was transported into DoE immediately.

*You are now logged into Destruction of Elysium*

She looked around, at all the things they’d collected inside the house. At all the things she had in her account, everything they’d fought so hard for to gather. And now they were going to give it all up. She was going to ask the others to give it all up too… And she’d still do it, even without Opal and Juniper, she was going to do it.

Willow opened her marketplace screen and pulled up her current inventory. So many things would have been sold at a higher price if they had more time to make this happen. But they were going to need the money soon, very soon.

[You’re selling 19 Linen Cloth for 457 coins each, 8,683 coins in total]

[You’re selling 19 Linen Cloth for 457 coins each, 8,683 coins in total]

As she went she split the stacks up into amounts that were easier to sell off for a slightly higher price. There was a perfect stack size and pricing amount for everything. You could sell larger stacks off for a slightly lower price faster, but a medium or small size stack could sell slightly higher because some people really didn’t want 100 items of something at a time. So she put up a range of stack sizes so that she could hopefully sell them off as soon as possible.

[You’re selling 99 Linen Cloth for 449 coins each, 44,451 coins in total]

[You’re selling 99 Linen Cloth for 449 coins each, 44,451 coins in total]

[You’re selling 49 Flax for 386 coins each, 18,914 coins in total]

While she was loading all she had onto the marketplace, Opal and Juniper both came online too.

Opal: Willow?

She went to the garden, where Opal was, and soon Juniper too.

“I spoke to Sage and Violet last night.” She spoke, because she didn’t want there to be too much of a trace of what she was about to tell them.

“And?” Opal looked at her, a little surprised.

“Sage found something… It points to a systematic thing in HF and they said it could probably be fixed from inside HF.” She took a deep breath.

“Okay?” Juniper raised her eyebrow. “And?”

Willow licked her lips before she spoke the next words. “If we get enough money together, we can get Violet and Sage new BASE accounts. Hopefully. So that they can come back.”

“How much?” Opal frowned.

“I don’t know. A lot, that’s all I know.” Willow didn’t look at them, instead looking at the ground. “I’m going to sell everything I have here. Between getting Sage and Violet new BASE accounts and them not having accounts to even pay for their rent and everything else right now. I’m going to sell everything off here. I just wanted to let you know.”

“Willow…” She felt Juniper’s hand on her arm. “I’m right there with you. Of course. It’s just not the same without them.”

“Me too.” Opal also stepped closer. “We’ve played together for years now. You’re almost closer than family to me. And if going into HF and fixing whatever Sage found will make sure that we all can keep playing for years to come. Of course, I’m joining you.”

Willow nodded, a tightness in her chest. “Thanks. Thanks so much.”

She opened the chat with violet and Sage.

Willow: They’re in.

Then she looked up at her friends. “Thank you, for everything.”

“Of course.” Opal grinned, then he pulled a face. “You’re going to want to sell the boat too, I presume? And the house?”

Willow nodded. “Everything.”

The exchange rate to credits for DoE wasn’t very good, but it was all they had right now, at least, it was all Willow had to contribute.

“And I’m trying to get us all into HF for the next beta batch. I know that it’s scary but I’m going to need you, we’re all going to need you.” She kept her voice low, fear still in her heart. She still had no idea how she was going to make this work. How she was going to defeat a game from the inside out. But with her friends at her side, she could try and make the best of it.

They had two days to sell everything they had in this game off and try to get Violet and Sage new accounts and also get all four of them into HF… It wasn’t going to be easy, but it was the only thing they could do. It was the only plan they had.

Sell everything they had.

Get Violet and Sage new accounts.

Get all four of them into the new batch of beta keys of HF that was going out in two days time.

Find the weak spot in the game.

Fix the piece of coding which was targeting people to get blitzed.

It sounded so simple…

Right…

 

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