I was always the sort of girl that looked for the call to adventure, be it in real life or between the pages of a book. So when my time came, I jumped on it.
It all began one fine morning in math class. I was leaning forwards on my desk, elbows down and eyes on the board where our teacher was explaining something about geometric series. It wasn’t my favourite teacher and it was certainly not my favourite subject, but I wanted to keep my grades up all the same. I only had a few months to go before high school was over, and then the whole world was going to open up.
A low sound rang out. Sort of like a cowbell being dropped from the top of a skyscraper into a fifty-five gallon drum.
I jumped in my seat and looked around, but all I found were a few students and friends looking at me curiously. I smiled sheepishly and got some grins in return.
I was about to ask if they had heard the bong noise when it appeared before me. A box, thin and nearly translucent, held in the air by nothing at all and with a simple request on it.
Bong! A great evil has set its root in the world. You are called upon to save it! Do you accept this quest?
There were two boxes below that, one labelled ‘I accept’ the other ‘I refuse.’ I tilted my head to the side, the box following the motion, then whipped my head to the other side of the desk only for it to glide back to the centre of my vision.
I held back a smile. It couldn’t be real.
“Hey,” I whispered to the girl next to me. “Do you see that?”
She followed the direction my finger was pointing and stared at the boy sitting one row ahead. “His hair?” she asked.
So, she couldn’t see the floaty prompt box. I waved off her questioning look and refocused on the box. The box that offered me a quest. The box that had appeared with a sound no one else could hear. The box that I suppose no one could see. My grin was so wide my cheeks were hurting.
I considered what my parents would say, but they were both struck with wanderlust and were the ones responsible for my desire to see the world. They would have been tapping the ‘I accept’ box a million times a second by now.
Grin firmly in place, I reached out and pressed the ‘I accept’ button.
Ding! The world thanks you for your sacrifice!
I promptly fell onto my butt.
The world had changed in less time than it took to blink. I wasn’t in a sterile classroom anymore with a window overlooking a snowy courtyard or surrounded by about twenty other bored students. No desks, no chairs, no low rumble of distant cars and air exchange systems. Instead, there was birdsong and the croaking of frogs and the gentle murmur of wind through trees.
I hopped to my feet and looked around. I was in a room still. Most of a room. An ex-room. The floor was paved with large flat stones slotted into each other, and the walls were made of a slightly different kind of stone with thick wooden beams running up to the ceiling above.
Tables that had rotted away were left lying around next to crushed chairs and piles of mulch that might have been leaves once. The entire room stank of mold and rot. It reminded me of camping out in the woods when I was a little younger.
Most of one wall was entirely missing.
“Whoa,” I said as I moved as close to the edge as I dared.
It was immediately obvious that I was in a tower of some sort, one that rose a level or two above the treeline of the forest beyond. Trees stretched out as far as the eye could see, a sea of swaying green treetops that rose and fell with the dip and rises of the landscape. In the distance was a grey blur that might have been a mountain range that swept into the horizon.
I couldn’t see any lakes or rivers, but could hear the nearby gurgle of water splashing against stones. Maybe the tower’s other side was against the ocean or a river or something. I couldn’t tell, and in that moment it didn’t matter.
The giddiness rose up in my tummy like an overflowing well, and it burst out as a happy giggle.
“Yes! Yes! Yes!” I shouted to the heavens as I started jumping around the room, arms waving in the air with every cheer. “I made it! I get adventures and dragons and princesses!”
I ran in little circles while giggling and might have boogied down a little, shaking my hips as happy energy coursed through my veins.
“Woo! This is going to be awesome!” My scream sent birds flying into the air all in a flutter.
A bell sounded, light and tinkling, like crystal chimes being struck together.
Ding! For Completing a Special Action while Devoid of Classes, you have unlocked a new Class!
My breathing hitched, but if anything the core of excitement in my gut only grew bigger. “A class,” I whispered.
Ding! You are now a Cinnamon Bun!
Health + 5
“Really?” I asked the prompt, but its only response was to fade away.
The tropes and stereotypes of a game weren’t new to me, of course, but I had never heard of a class called Cinnamon Bun. I had eaten some of those before, in fact, and they certainly didn’t taste like something someone could be. But maybe this world was different. I hoped that this world was different.
With dragons and elves and monsters of all sorts! I would be able to grow strong and tough and I’d meet a dragon and ride it into battle and maybe have tea with some dwarves and I was getting ahead of myself...
There was usually some menu or status page in the books that I’d read. And so thinking, my mind was flooded with information. Not very much, but some facts and figures and a sort of... memory of a screen. “Whoa.”
|First Class||Cinnamon Bun|
|First Class Level||0|
“So cool!” This, of course, prompted more happy dancing. I had a class and an empty skills list and a bunch of numbers that meant more than anything I had worked on in maths class. Also, Magic.
I didn’t know what some of them meant, but it didn’t matter! I had them and they were mine! A bit of a push and the box with my status and all appeared before my very eyes. I hugged it.
Or, well, I tried to hug it. The box kept juking out of hug reach, even when I started laughing and skipping after it. It was a good box and good boxes deserved all the hugs. Then, with a soap-bubble like pop, the box disappeared.
“Okay, okay, Broc, calm yourself,” I said between still escaping giggles. A few deep breaths helped to chill me out. I wanted to sit down, to inspect my super cool new stats and maybe to skip some more because I felt brilliant.
Unfortunately, the tower’s floor was a mess. Tables ruined, chairs, all save for one rickety thing in the corner, all busted up. There was a shovel with a flat head leaning against one wall though, and an ancient broom with bristles made from some plant or another.
If I wanted to have a rest, this wasn’t the place for it, not unless I cleaned it up a little.
The only exit to the room was behind a stack of fallen stones, each one looking as if they weighed as much as I did.
I pulled up the only seat that looked able to take my weight, then wiped its surface clean.
Ding! For doing a Special Action in line with your Class, you have unlocked the skill: Cleaning!
I laughed. A skill! A silly, rather boring skill, but maybe one that would help. It would help even more if I grinded a little, and I did like cleaning.
Nodding to myself, I picked up the broom and shovel and got to work. First making sure that the ground below the opening in the wall was clear of anyone or anything, then I started shovelling up the dead leaves and pushing them out.
A bit of grunting and some sweating had the broken tables busted up even more and stacked up neatly off to one side. The moldier bits I tossed out. Maybe I would have to build a fire later. Not that I had a lighter or matches, but I could make do.
Then came the sweeping. I swiped at the cobwebs in the corners, swept the floor clean and even dusted off the one usable chair I found.
Every so often I felt a whisper of a ‘ding’ in the back of my mind, like a distant noise that was just barely audible. A quick bit of focusing revealed that it was my Cleaning skill rising up, and quickly at that.
Probably because of its low level, I decided.
Soon enough the room was as clean as it would be. The mold brushed off the walls with more enthusiasm than skill, the floors swept, the broken furniture sorted and a small table and chair arranged to one side where I could sit down and relax.
I sighed as I flopped onto my seat, the old wood creaking under my weight but not breaking. “Classes!” I decided. That’s where I would start.
First Class: Cinnamon Bun
You are the Cinnamon Bun. Too good for this world. Too pure. You are the perfect support and friend to all. Nature itself smiles upon you.
Cleanse this world of its impurities in the name of love and justice!
I snorted. That wasn’t the most helpful description I’d ever seen. Too pure? Well, that... okay, so maybe I was a little naive, sometimes, all of my friends said so, and everyone was my friend. But the Class description didn’t have to be so smug about it. Also, First Class, which meant that I could maybe unlock a second at some point. Dragon Rider class, here I come!
The Cleaning skill sort of made sense if it was tied to some sort of class ability to cleanse things.
Maybe it was a class that was good against the undead? I certainly hoped so! Seeing a walking skeleton would be creepy. Unless it was a nice gentlemanly skeleton, in which case that was alright.
It wasn’t okay to mock or judge others because of their appearance after all.
Humming to myself, I focused on my Cleaning Skill instead.
Rank F - 90%
The ability to clean. As this skill rises in level your ability to Clean will improve!
“Well, okay.” That was utterly underwhelming. Still, maybe as I got better at it I would be able to keep myself and the world around me clean too! It was worth it!
I stretched in my new seat then hopped off. It wasn’t time for sitting back and relaxing. It was time to do stuff! First I had a bunch of things to test out!
Trying to figure out if I had an inventory of some sort was fruitless. No amount of shouting ‘inventory!’ amounted to anything. Then I looked for a handy help menu, but that was absent too. But, after much searching and some head scratching, I found something incredible.
You have one (1) Active Quest:
The Hole Down Under
An evil root has plunged into the world. Find it. Remove it.
That was it. No waypoints, no hints. Not even a handy-dandy list of rewards. I huffed at the quest box and that was apparently its hint that it wasn’t needed anymore. What even was an evil root?
Well, that didn’t matter. Maybe it was the sort of quest that would take a long, long time to accomplish. I didn’t have that luxury. The sum total of my belongings amounted to a pretty blouse I had bought on sale a week ago, a sturdy pair of shoes I liked, a thick cotton skirt that reached to just below the knees and some warm stockings. And of course my underthings.
Not even a jacket.
Fortunately it was warm wherever I was. So no need for too much warm clothing. Though a blanket would have been nice. Or a towel.
I had failed hitchhiking one-oh-one already.
Shrugging to myself, I moved to the edge of the hole in the wall and looked down. Two stories from my little nook to the ground, at least judging by the number of windows. The floors looked rather tall. Or maybe that was my newly discovered fear of falling to my death that was talking.
A look over to the blocked doorway confirmed that there was no way I was moving the stones there.
No ropes, no safety equipment, no easy way down.
At least the rocky walls of the tower were rough and had plenty of handholds. It might be possible, easy even, to climb down.
Firming up my resolve, I prepared myself to climb over the edge. My first step into a wild new world!
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- Someplace Cold, Canada
Bio: Yes Amazon, I really am me.