Ren yawned and rubbed his eyes as he sat up slowly in his bed, sunlight trickled in through the gap in the curtains of the hospital room he called home, His room wasn’t really what you’d call a typical hospital room as he was situated in the permanent care wing. The walls were still that boring hospital white but he had a few luxuries that a normal hospital room would never have starting with that the room was his alone.
Needless to say, having a private live in room at a top hospital was very costly but due to some luck on his part and a good lawyer, after his rescue from the hell he once called home all his parents assets and funds were seized, being as they were ones that made several of the new drugs available they had rather large holdings many of which the police were still trying to track down and seize.
Sometime after his parents sentencing thanks to a lawyer that wanted to see Ren looked after once they heard about his case he was awarded a sizable percentage of their assets and funds as compensation, while he didn’t really like the idea of using the money his parents had earned the way they did he knew well enough that he had no future without it.
And so here he was now, his own room in one of the top hospitals in the country, for the most part it looked almost like a normal bedroom, he had a normal soft bed not one of those crappy steel tables with a sheet over it like some places have, a flat screen TV hung on the wall across from the bed so he could watch it while laying down, he had a simple desk and computer sitting on it, and of course beside his bed sitting neatly on his bedside dresser was his to this date most prized possession, the 1 of 5 only in the world limited edition FLOW helmet.
He gave the helmet a light pat before he head to the bathroom to take care of business, once he was back there was one of the nurses waiting with breakfast. “Morning Ren, did you sleep well?” She smiled to him brightly.
“Yup! How’s your morning been Lucy?” Ren smiled back and took a seat to start on his breakfast.
The nurse Lucy took a seat beside him. “Mmm, not too bad, I’m on the day shift today luckily so I get to play with you all day.” She grinned at him.
Ren chuckled softly, as a part of his stay at the hospital he almost always had a nurse assigned solely to him at all time as the doctors were never certain when the ill effects of his condition might arise, while the female nurses tended to tease him a lot, the bond between them was more like a group of good looking older sisters fawning over their cute younger brother.
“Guess you’ll be hopping back into that game again once you’re done with the morning exercises?” She looked at him curiously.
Ren glanced around to the helmet sitting on his bedside dresser then looked back to his food shaking his head. “No, it won’t let me back in till tomorrow due to various reasons, I thought it might be nice if I could go outside into the city a bit today… if you’re up for it?”
Lucy let out a small excited squeal and hugged him. “Of course! You know I love spending any time I can with my cute little Ren!”
“Oof.” Ren wriggled and flailed a little at the sudden hug, it was something he could never get used to, but he still enjoyed the attention, it made him feel like he had a true family at the hospital. “Just don’t go telling people I’m your son this time.”
“Aww, but it was the only way to get rid of that sleaze ball that was hitting on me, humph! He had the nerve to call me damaged goods after that.” She hugged him tighter and ruffled his hair playfully. “I only need my cute little Ren though.” Ren couldn’t help but blush at her words, causing her to giggle and slip away. “Ok, you finish your breakfast and get yourself ready, I’ll go fill out the day leave form and inform the doctor.” She slipped out the door at that and headed down the hall to get things ready for the day out.
After breakfast Ren got changed and hopped into his wheel chair, when he went out he had to always take the chair since he still couldn’t be too active without incurring problems. Heading down the hall he was greeted by people that both worked and those that resided in the hospital like him, before taking the elevator down to the bottom level of the building he stopped at a small work station where the doctors and nurses would be when they weren't looking after people.
Lucy was at the desk filling out a form as Ren approached, she had already changed out of her work clothes and into her normal clothes which consisted of a pair of jeans and a short sleaved top, she noticed Ren coming and turned to face him with a smile. "All ready?" Ren nodded and she held out a clip board to him with a pen which he took and signed the day leave form, basically it was just a form that notified the hospital that he was spending some time outside.
Lucy took the clipboard back and handed it over to the receptionist behind the counter. "Ok! lets goooo!" She ducked behind Ren and took control of his wheelchair, pushing him over to the elevators rather briskly. Ren was on the top floor so it would take a little while to reach the bottom of the 30 floor building. "So how are you finding that VR game so far?"
Ren grinned. "It's awesome! I've learned all kinds of things and I can do so much that I can't in real life."
She smiled and ruffled his hair lightly. "You know, I've heard some of the others saying that they are going to get the game so they can play with you now and then."
"Really? That would be great! My character can't fight though really, but I've learned neat things like blacksmithing and enchanting so I can make any equipment they might need." He grinned.
"Oooh, I bet they would love to use the equipment that you make." The elevator gave a small ding as they arrived at the bottom floor and she pushed Ren out and down the hall to the entrance of the building. "Ah, don't tell them I told you though, I think the others wanted it to be a surprise." She giggled softly as she wheeled Ren out of the building.
Outside a taxi was already waiting for them, Ren hoped into the back seat as the taxi man helped Lucy fold up his chair and put it in the boot. "So where are we going?" Lucy slipped into the seat next to Ren and smiled to him.
"Mmm, I was thinking the usual." He smiled back at her.
Lucy nodded and turned to the driver that was waiting for destination from them. "Central plaza please." The man nodded and started the car up.
"Sooo, have you been making any friends in the game yet?" Lucy looked to him curiously.
"A few.. most of the people that I've gotten along with though are the npc's that have been teaching me my trade skills. It's amazing really, you wouldn't think that they are just programs, as for other players well only two come to mind, they are a part of my team on a quest I'm doing at the moment, there's Clint and Tommy, Tommy has a scout class and Clint has a rare dual cross bow class."
"Dual cross bows?" Lucy tilted her head curiously.
"Yeah, he uses small ones that are mounted on the back of his bracers, I think he's really into cowboy stuff, he wears a cowboy hat and a coat like you see in the outback movies he would have gone for a pair of guns probably but I don't think they exist in the game."
"Sounds like an interesting guy, what about the other one?"
"Tommy, mmm, I haven't talked with him much yet but he's funny."
Lucy smiled and nodded. "Well if you feel your getting along with them then they must be a decent pair, you said they are on your team? Does that mean there are other teams?"
Ren nodded and went on to explain the details of his current quest, even the cab driver seemed to listen intently to the story, though FLOW was still a relatively new game it held a strong appeal to people of all ages.
Thankfully they arrived at the city central plaza before Ren got to telling Lucy about his current situation in the game, he knew she would turn into a completely rage monster if he told her about Tristan tripping him and causing him to fall, though he guessed Tristan probably was hoping more that he'd be squashed by the ogre rather than falling into a seemingly bottomless pit.
Once his chair was ready for him he stepped out of the cab and settled down into it as Lucy paid the cab driver, he got a few glances from people, most of which he was sure were likely wondering why he was using a wheelchair when they just saw him step out of the cab with no troubles.
Lucy came back around to stand behind Ren and take control of his wheelchair as the cab drove off. "So, shall we take the usual route?"
"Yup!" Ren grinned and they began their trek along the line of shops and stalls.
The plaza was something like an open air shopping centre, rows of stores lined each side of a large paved path way, which was also covered with a string of temporary stalls like you'd find at a market, various goods were up on display at the stalls, from homemade jams and blankets to fresh cooked foods and antique knick knacks. The shops that lined the edges of the plaza were your normal stores, from clothing to electrical and of course your chain food restaurants.
They spent the next few hours wandering along the rows of shops and stalls, browsing over the wares that were on display. "So how do you think i'd look wearing that?" Lucy grinned at Ren as she pointed to a dummy in the store window, on it was a set of sexy black lace underwear.
"How should I know!" Ren blushed furiously and began to wheel himself onwards only to be chased down and hugged by Lucy who ruffled his hair playfully.
"Hehe, so easy to tease." She grinned and moved back behind him to continue wheeling him along the store fronts. "You need to get out more often Ren, maybe you'll find yourself a cute girlfriend."
Ren rolled his eyes. "Not likely, people judge on first glance, and at first glance I'm just some little kid or cute toy to be dragged around as some sort of mascot.."
"Hmmm, already met some people in that game did you?" She leaned over his shoulder to look at him with a grin.
"...I.. sort of.. I guess... a group of girls wanted me to join their party one time, but even after telling them I couldn't fight they still wanted to drag me off with them, I could tell all they wanted though was to have the cute kid on their team as their mascot to fawn over." He frowned. "I get tired of it at times...and there was this other woman as well.. she seemed... perverted..." He shook his head to get the memory of the buxom assistant woman he'd met when he first entered the game... now that he thought about she seemed similar to the women that appeared when those girls grouped up on him to..."Couldn't be..." He muttered under his breath.
His thoughts were interrupted by a light gurgling from his stomach. "... time for lunch?" He looked back to Lucy who giggled at hearing the sound come from him and nodded in agreement before heading to one of the nearby food stalls, this one seemed to sell hot jacket potatoes with your choice of toppings, Ren got a Mexican bean fry on his while Lucy got chicken with sour cream and sweet chilli.
"So what's your impressions of the game so far?" Lucy looked to Ren curiously.
"It's amazing! It's so realistic it really feels like your there, I mean if you look close enough you can tell that it all highly advanced computer graphics, but the fact that your actually there in a body that can completely interact with the world in every way possible makes it so easy to overlook, when your staring at a wolf that's panting and looking at you like your its next meal, it's hard to think that its 'not real' when you can feel the heat of its breath on your neck, when I encountered one it scared me and I ran, I can't use weapons so that's partly the reason I ran but I could probably use my hands and feet to fight.. it just scared me too much.... ogres are even scarier..." His words trailed off quietly at the end.
"Wow, sounds pretty neat, maybe I check it out sometime and go adventuring with you hmm? I'll help keep all those drooling girls off your back." Lucy grinned. "Nothing wrong with being scared, but if you don't fight doesn't that kinda limit you from enjoying a lot of the game?"
"So far it hasn't, I've been training my crafting skills really hard and I think soon I'll become a really valuable support companion, I can repair equipment and I've started learning enchanting as well so I can add permanent effects to equipment, like making swords do fire damage to enemies, When I get back to the city I'm going to go and find an npc to teach me woodworking next, I made a promise to make Clint a better set of bracer bows, eventually I gonna make a legendary weapon that a true hero will use!" He grinned broadly to Lucy.
Lucy grinned back at him. "Well you better make sure he's worthy of it before you hand it over."
Ren nodded. "Yup!"
Lucy's expression then turned to one of slight disgust as she could see from behind Ren approached a man that looked at her with an obviously lecherous gaze, Ren was confused by her expression to start with until the man moved around past him to rest one hand on the table and lean over to looks at Lucy, seeming to completely ignore Ren.
"Hey babe, you look like you're bored sitting here babysitting your little bro, why not ditch the wheels and come catch a movie with me?"
Lucy smiled up at the man. "You obviously haven't been watching me long then have you, did I really look bored when I was talking, laughing and smiling? Aside from that what makes you think he's my little brother? Could be my son or even my boyfriend for all you know." Ren coughed and spluttered on his soda at the last comment which Lucy just grinned at.
"Now, you've been rather rude and interrupted my day with my darling, you're not going to get anything from me so you may as well just turn and walk away now." She held up a hand as he was about to say something. "And before you try to push your luck, if you start trying to come on to me any further I'm going to scream at the top of my lungs for the police and I'll have you done for harassment."
The man almost seemed to growl now and turned to leave with a 'Tsk'
"You've got it hard.." Ren commented as Lucy let out a sigh and slumped back into her seat.
"That's one of easy ones to get rid of, some are a lot more persistent even after I give them that lecture. But you get the same kind of things happening to you know?" She grinned at Ren.
"Uh... kind of.. I guess... but I think it's more dangerous for you...at most all that happens to me is I get hugged and doted on."
Lucy stood up and moved around to take control of the wheel chair. "Aww, you're a sweetie, thanks for worrying about me." She ruffled his hair lightly before starting off once more on their trek around the plaza.
Soon enough the day wore on and Ren let out a light yawn causing Lucy grin. "Guess that's the bell hmm?" She wheeled Ren back to the road side where a row of taxies waited for customers and got into the first one in the line to headed back to the hospital.
The trip back was a quiet one, Ren half dozed off as he recalled the last moments in Flow before he was forced out.
Ren was plummeting into the depths of a dark void, a roaring ogre not far from him as his only companion on their way down, thankfully since the ogre was a lot heavier than Ren it was gradually distancing itself from Ren.
Even though it was a game Ren's heart was pounding as he fell to what would certainly be his death, it didn't take long before the small amount of light that came from the cavern he fell from was no longer reaching him, leaving Ren in complete darkness, the sound of his heart and the wind rushing past as he fell was all he could hear, that and the ogre that was still speeding along ahead of him.
Surprisingly Ren didn't shout or cry out as he fell, it was more like he was holding his breath and waiting for the inevitable end to come, but it seemed that would not be anytime soon still, the crevasse slowly started to become visible once more as a soft green glow seemed to emanate from the walls, getting brighter the further down he fell.
"Dammit! I don't want to die here!" He had an idea but it wasn't going to end well one way or the other, he tried to imitate skydivers he'd seen on TV and pointed himself downwards in an attempt to make his fall faster, he sped towards the ogre that was already out of view but its roars could still be heard. "I'm dead anyway so may as well try." He didn't realize it but a slight grin had crossed his lips at what he was going to attempt.
Soon the roaring ogre came into view, it seemed it was starting to run out of breath from all its roaring, Ren shot down at it like an arrow crashing into its oversized stomach and grabbing onto the folds of skin that wriggled and jiggled like a bowl of jelly, thankfully the ogre didn't seem to notice its passenger.
Ren had to take brief breaths of air to keep himself from passing out from the stink that came from the ogre, its skin felt slimy and sweaty, it was truly disgusting but he was determined to try and use the giant mass as a cushion for his fall.
He couldn't see past the flapping masses of skin before him so he had no idea if the ground was approaching or not, all he could do was cling to his makeshift life raft and hold his breath, every so often he had to use iron grip to stop from slipping from the ogre as they plummeted towards the ground.
Seconds, minutes, maybe hours he had lost all sense of time as he clung desperately and soon it was brought to an end with a loud thud, crunch and splatter as the ogre hit solid ground, likely dying instantly on impact and Ren's world turned dark on him, a single message popped up before him in the dark.
You have fallen unconscious due to a heavy impact
Time of unconsciousness remaining
While unconscious your body will remain in game and be vulnerable to attack
The state of unconsciousness had Ren laying or rather floating in an empty space of darkness, there were no sounds, no wind, no smells, nothing at all, he could move his body in this space but he doubt he would actually move anywhere by flailing about like a fish so he resigned himself to logging out.
That had happened yesterday and he was now only a couple hours away from his body being allowed to awaken in game, he had no idea what was going to be awaiting him in the depths of that canyon like pit he was now at the bottom of.
As the taxi approached the hospital Ren felt his drowsiness leaving him as he was now starting to get anxious about his condition in game and was eager to get back to the others and give an earful to Tristan. "I wonder what happened up there after I fell..."
Tristan made a leap as the bridge crumbled under him and just managed to scrabble onto the last piece of solid ground on the other side of the crevice and flopped onto his back, panting and gasping for air, but a huge grin was plastered on his face only to have it vanish quickly as a boot came crashing down at his head. He quickly rolled to the side and jumped up shouting. "What the hell! What do you think you're doing!?"
Clint growled and stormed over to Tristan grabbing him by the neck. "You tell me! What the fuck was that! You tripped him on purpose!"
"Ha! As if I needed to, he wouldn't have made it across anyway, way to slow." Tristan smirked but then let out a grunt as Clint's fist connected with his face. "What the fuck! Let go of me you shitty cowboy wannabe, don't you have any idea who I am!?" He face swiftly met another fist.
"You think I give shit!? I should kick your ass off the side of this cliff, see how you like it eh!?" Clint roughly pushed Tristan to the edge of the crevice ready to kick him off the edge Sparta style before a voice yelled over them.
"ENOUGH!!" The captain of the soldiers had strode forth and faced Clint and Tristan. "Both of you stand down!"
Clint growled. "What! You want to take this shits side?!"
"I'm not taking anyone's side, now stand down or I'll have my men detain you."
Clint growled again and let go of Tristan who was smirking at him now, before stepping back though he flung one more punch to his face wiping the smirk from it. "Did you see that captain! He attacked me like some thuggish brute!"
It was the captains turn to growl this time. "Yes, and I'd be doing the same if you'd done to one of my men what you did to that boy, men! shackle him. Tristan you will be taken back to the city and be tried for treason, you knowingly disrupted another persons attempt to flee causing them to fall to their death, not only that, your actions have removed a key personal required for this excursion, that boy was the only one capable of maintaining our equipment, now we have no choice but to return to the city."
"What! that runt is worthless, just let me take the lead and I'll complete this mission single han.." Tristan's words were cut off as the captain slapped Tristan firmly with his armoured hand.
"FOOL! No man is an army onto themselves, your arrogance and stupidity has cost us not only time and money but the safety of our kingdom, if the threat below isn't dealt with soon it will be to powerful for even the entire kingdoms army."
Tristan knew he was digging his own grave now but he sure as hell wasn't going to apologise for tripping the little shit that wouldn't repair his armour, he wouldn't have needed it repaired in the first place if the kid had just handed over the skill book at the smiths. "It's all that little shits fault." he growled under his breath.
Before Tristan multiple windows had popped up, most were fame decreases, it was now heading into the deep negatives and several other messages arrived due to his fallen fame.
Due to fallen fame many of your class skills are now locked until you correct your fame rating
Due to your actions you have failed the expeditions requirements and can no longer participate in the expedition
Due to your fallen fame a onetime offer to change your class is being made!
A class morph is available to you!
Heroic Prince -> Dark Prince
This class is only unlocked by the Heroic Prince falling from grace, all skills related to the Heroic Prince class will be lost and a new skill set will replace them
Accepting this class will teleport you to a special event
Do you wish to change your class?
A dark grin crossed Tristan's lips. and he muttered softly "Yes..."
A dark mist enveloped Tristan causing everyone to let out a gasp and step back from him, the mist covered him completely as he let out a laugh, the mist circled and spiralled into its centre and vanished along with Tristan.
Ren was now laying on his bed, slipping the Flow VR Helmet over his head and settling down to get comfortable, it was going to be a long trip. "Login." He appeared back in the black space of unconsciousness, a small window appearing before him.
Time left to regain consciousness