A few days after the merger, Dreamy reached level 100, and jumped to number 20 in the ranking, passing a couple of inactive players, as well as a couple of lazy ones.
She wasn’t the only one who skipped ahead in the ranking, though. A certain player named Curry, who had been ranked number 25 at the day of the merger — one rank ahead of her — was now ranked number 12.
Dreamy wouldn’t have noticed, if not for the world chat:
GodsWatch: “That Curry, thinks he is something. Just because he’s a spoiled brat.”
GodsWatch: “He has topped up 50 usd every day since the merger.”
GodsWatch: “And all he uses his diamonds for is EXP pearls. His battle power has only increased by 100k.”
GodsWatch: “If I could top up that much, I would easily be at the top already.”
Sofia: “Relax, it’s just a game.”
Oh, boy, thought Dreamy, the beginning of another argument?
John: “Exactly. No use getting serious about a stupid game.”
Indeed. But Jolie was pretty into it, herself, so she had mixed feelings about John’s words.
GodsWatch: “Not my fault he’s a spoiled brat.”
Sofia: “He is spoiled, that is his problem, bro.”
John: “True. Nothing you can do.”
GodsWatch: “He should just slit his throat.”
Dreamy turned to the guild chat, amused:
“This merger is more fun than I expected,” she said, “We never had talks like this.”
“We didn’t,” said Yuna, “I think they all seem too serious, though. That John, too.”
Dreamy laughed, “Just what I was thinking. If he wasn’t serious, why would he comment?”
In the world chat, the discussion continued,
Sofia: “I know right, they are too serious.”
Sofia: “Oops. Was meant to guild.”
GodsWatch: “So you talk behind our backs?”
Sofia: “Yeah, sorry.”
Yuna: “Don’t blame Sofia, she is young.”
Sofia: “Yes, I am young, but I am a he.”, he laughed.
Sofia was a level 91 ranger.
Rotervin: “Hey, what’s up?”
GodsWatch: “Hi Roter. I have some extra gold, do you need any?”
So he could be nice? But only to his lover, it seemed.
John: “Hi, Roter, coming to Morpheus’ Lair today?”
Rotervin had skipped the past few days. In fact, he had only participated on the day of the merger.
Rotervin: “No, sorry, have stuff.”
Lantos: “Good, then maybe I can slay Gods at last.”
Apparently, he had changed his policy about not going after weaker players.
GodsWatch: “lol. But I’m not going, so good luck.”
For some reason, hearing that gave Dreamy a sensation of sadness. During the past few days, she had gotten used to his comments, and even started to look forward to them, however absurd that was.
Why not? she wanted to ask, but couldn’t gather the courage to speak in the world chat, where all of the vicious high level players could see her.
Lantos: “Scared, huh?”
GodsWatch: “I was only going to get kills for the event.”
Burned, Lantos. GodsWatch wouldn’t even bother defending himself.
The event he referred to was the boss killing event, that had taken place during the first week of the new server. Dreamy had ended up ranking number 8, and got an assortment of orbs as reward.
The only reason why she ranked so high, was because she didn’t have a life. Sure, she went to university, and studied literature science, and while she had made a friend in her class,that friend didn’t live in the same town, so they didn’t have much opportunity to socialize outside of class. She had a roomie, but Feng always hung out with her boyfriend, whose name Jolie had forgotten. Besides, both she and her boyfriend were PhD students, which made Jolie feel out of place. She was still an undergraduate.
Online was the only place where she had friends to relate to. It hadn’t always been that case, but so it was, now.
GodsWatch and Rotervin weren’t the only players who skipped Morpheus’ Lair that day.
The abcense of RapidJudge, Ace, Duskerbeat, and several other players, meant an emptier Morheus’ Lair than the server had seen since its dawn, but Dreamy didn’t mind — there were still enough players to fight for treasures with — not that Dreamy wanted to fight. She preferred peacefully sharing, everyone taking the amount they deserved. Meaning, it was OK to kill leeches (players who didn’t contribute to the boss kill, but still collected rewards), and she did, whenever she got the chance.
The Cosmic Lights got to kill their own boss this time — apparently, Zenflood was a just player. Even at the PK area boss, he didn’t kill Dreamy. Instead, he let her collect a total of 5 chests. He even stopped collecting before all of the chests were gone, to help other players. But there was a downside to that; seeing Zenflood’s helpfulness, she couldn’t possibly go and kill weaker players, herself.
The world chat was empty. There was no “Leeches are so lame, get strong instead of kill stealing”, “kero you ****, go to your own boss”, or “I wish the whole area was PK. Then I could get rid of all these leeches.”
Instead, Sofia, John and Lantos were having a friendly chat about the number of chests they had amassed; Sofia had 4, John 3, and Lantos 13.
Again, Jolie had mixed feelings.
Curry kept climbing in the ranks, and GodsWatch kept complaining about it.
Every day, around 4 PM, just before the first Heavenly Boss, he attacked Curry in the chat.
“Curry is so lame, he just topped up 50 again, and only got 10k in bp. If it was me, I would get 50k, at least.”
“Curry is such a brat, he thinks bp is everything, but his stats are crap. So his bp may be higher, but he’s still weak af.”
“Curry should just go and jump off a cliff, he is a VIP 8 now, but his bp is only 350k. If I was VIP 8, I would have at least 700k.”
One day, Lantos said: “Always complaining about other people, didn’t your mom teach you manners?”
And GodsWatch responded: “She’s dead, so idk.”
He continued, “My ‘dad’ turned into a woman though, but he’s an ***hat.”
There was a few seconds of silence, then,
John: “GodsWatch, how old are you?”
15?! Well, it made sense, but while it did explain his behaviour, in part, Jolie had seen plenty of better mannered 15 year olds. In fact, all of the 15 year olds she’d seen were better mannered…
John: “I feel like a lot of things have been explained this evening.”
Lantos didn’t comment. Jolie didn’t know how old he was, but he had mentioned work before, so she knew that he was an adult. She figured that he must be feeling embarrassed about picking a fight with a 15 year old, and thus not speaking.
John: “You’re 15, it’s school time for you, no?”
GodsWatch had previously mentioned living in Canada, so it was 10 AM for him.
GodsWatch: “Umm, not really. Since I’m not going to school.”
John: “Oh, why not?”
GodsWatch: “Because it’s boring. Welp, bosses begin.”
While fighting the bosses on auto battle, Jolie thought about what she had just learned.
In the guild chat, Yuna commented,
“Poor boy. It explains his behaviour.”
Stone said, “Not really. There is no good excuse to act like that.”
“You’re right, lover,” said Yuna, “but it’s probably more complicated.”
Ace chipped in, “Stone is right. He’s 15, he needs to learn how to be an adult soon. Otherwise he’ll have to face the consequenses.”
What consequenses? Jolie wondered. And weren’t all teenagers immature? It wasn’t a big deal, and her own teen years hadn’t been the brightest, either, but she had turned out fine.
Sofia added, “Meh, he’s just a boy, let him be. I’m just a boy, too. We don’t think that hard about stuff.”
Yuna laughed, “Maybe that’s the problem with boys. Dreamy, you’re so quiet today. Busy?”
Dreamy wondered what to say. She didn’t really want to comment about something that she knew nothing about.
“Studying,” she said, “I have an exam coming up.”
While that was true, she was an excellent multitasker, so for her, it was a bad excuse.
“Oh, ok.” said Yuna, “Good luck.”
“Thanks. I’ll talk more later on, though.”
And so she did, but not about GodsWatch.
On her way to university the next day, she thought about the findings of the previous day, analyzing.
His mother had died, and it did explain his behaviour, but whether it justified it or not, was a different question.
She had always thought that he seemed to be attention seeking, a bit like herself, to be honest.
While both of her parents were still alive, she had encountered many situations in her life that fostered attention seeking behaviour.
When GodsWatch talked in the chat, he wouldn’t always get responses. Seeing that, she sometimes wondered if he was sad about it, like she would have been, but one day, she learned that he probably wasn’t, and that her concerns were excessive:
John: “You mention your mother a lot. Are you sad?”
GodsWatch: “Idk. My emotions are weird.”
John: “What do you mean?”
GodsWatch: “I’ve never felt anything other than anger.”
Jolie wondered how true that was. Indeed, it could be true. She was fairly educated about sociopaths and psychopaths, thanks to mystery dramas, but he was 15 year old, and 15 year old boys were known to be confused about emotions. Not to mentioned, it wasn’t seldom that she saw teenagers online claim similar things.
Jolie knew that repressing emotions was possible, as she had done it herself; again, he reminded her of a younger version of herself.
There was also the possibility that he was actually a sociopath. In dramas, they often seemed to have unresolved issues with their mothers, which could be said about him.
She got new evidence that could support the case of the latter, on an early February day, just after GodsWatch’s daily Curry rant:
John: “Hi, Gods.”
John: “Tell me, have you always been this negative towards other people?”
Strange question, thought Dreamy. This John seemed oddly curious about GodsWatch.
GodsWatch: “I guess, since I’m anti-social.”
John: “Oh, how come?”
GodsWatch: “In elementary, I got into like 100 fights.”
This was the last drop. Dreamy could no longer withhold a comment.
She typed: “Badass.”
John: “Indeed.”, laughing emoji.
John: “Also, hi Dreamy. Nice to see you talk.”
Dreamy: “Hi, John.”
Dreamy: “I’ve been talking in the guild chat.”
John: “Then it’s too bad, you’re not in BBF.”
What? Was he hitting on her? She had been in the world chat for less than a minute. Was this even possible?
GodsWatch: “I even had the cops coming a few times.”
GodsWatch: “But not my fault.”
Finally, Dreamy could say, “then whose fault?”
Sofia: “What we’ve all been dying to know. Yes, whose fault, GodsWatch?”
GodsWatch: “I mean, I’ve never started a fight.”
Jolie found that hard to believe.
GodsWatch: “So boring though, all those humans are too weak.”
Dreamy: “What are you, then, an alien?”
GodsWatch: “I’m superhuman.”
Dreamy: “I’m a vampire.”
John: “A female nice vampire?”
John: “You can suck my blood if you need.”
Dreamy: “Thanks, but I’m fine.”
John: “By the way, Dreamy, may I ask you a question?”
Apparently, John was just curious about people in general.
Cerberus spawned, so there was a short delay before John continued.
John: “You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”
John: “Are you a man or woman?”
She laughed, “I’m a woman. 100%. So don’t think anything else.”
John: “Good to know.”
Why was it good to know?
In the guild chat, Yuna commented,
“You’re popular Dreamy, I told you you would find a guy soon.”
Dreamy responded, “John? He is just a level 94, ranked 30.”
She continued, “And he’s a ranger. I kinda like warriors.”
“Yeah, they’re good and strong.” Yuna smiled, “Better pick someone like Spear.”
“Yeah. Besides, Dante was a ranger…”
Yuna sent a facepalm emoji, “Not John, then.”
But John’s interest in Dreamy had just begun.
On another note, GodsWatch seemed to only be interested in killing bosses and dissing Curry. One day, after his rant, Dreamy commented in the world chat:
“You complain about him every day, it’s almost becoming like a daily event.”
GodsWatch: “Not my fault he’s a spoiled brat.”
Dreamy: “Yeah, we all know that.”
John: “Hi, Dreamy.”
Dreamy: “Hi, John.”
John: “How are you doing?”
She enjoyed the attention from John, but found it rather annoying that he interrupted her conversation.
John: “Dreamy, may I ask you another question?”
John: “How old are you?”
John: “It’s ok if you don’t want to say. I’m 25, btw.”
GodsWatch: “So you’re a MILF?”
What on earth was a MILF? Dreamy wondered.
Dreamy: “A what?”
John: “Don’t listen to him.”
Was it an insult?
She switched browser and typed MILF in the search bar. Mother I’d Like to Fuck.
She typed, determinedly:
“I’m definitely not a MILF.”
GodsWatch: “Welp, not my fault you’re ancient.”
Ancient? And why did everything have to be someone’s fault?
Dreamy: “I’m not ancient, you’re the one who is a baby.”
GodsWatch: “Then give me milk, mom.”
Jolie wondered what she had gotten herself into. She wouldn’t accidentally become some sort of mother figure to this 15 year old boy, would she?
Dreamy: “I’m not your mom.”
Indeed, she did not intend to become a replacement for his late mother.
GodsWatch: “D: But I want milk.”
John: “Behave, kid.”
GodsWatch: “Only if Dreamy gives me milk.”
In the guild chat, Yuna asked,
“What is going on? I just got here.”
Dreamy explained, “I’m not sure. I called him baby, and he started wanting milk.”
Yuna jumped to the world chat.
Yuna: “Rude boy, it’s bad manners to ask a woman for milk.”
GodsWatch: “Well, my mom is dead, so I wasn’t taught manners.”
He seemed to blame a lot of things on her death. Jolie figured that he must be sad without realizing it.
Dreamy: “It’s fine. But I don’t have any milk.”
GodsWatch: “So I have to milk you to get it?”
Yuna: *shocked emoji*
John: “I did not see that coming.”
Nor did Jolie.
She typed, “Even if you milk me, I still don’t have any milk.”
A few weeks into the new server, Dreamy reached level 107.
At the time, GodsWatch was at level 108, and one rank ahead of her. She was determined to beat him.
At level 109, Dreamy would use an EXP pearl to level up a whole level, and reach level 110. Then, she would be ahead of GodsWatch. Or so she thought, but instead of that happening, when Dreamy logged in on the day that GodsWatch would reach level 109, she saw that he was instead at level 110.
Smart kid, huh? Unlike most other players, he had saved the EXP pearl until the last level at which it was usable, in order to get the most out of it.
GodsWatch was now at rank 13, but he wasn’t satisfied:
GodsWatch: “As if Curry wasn’t enough, yesterday Kay topped up 500 usd, and now they’ve p2w:d their way up to rank 9.”
GodsWatch: “Such spoiled brats.”
Kay was a female ranger, who, just like Curry, had started out with about the same rank as Dreamy. She, too, felt bitterness over Kay’s sudden rise in the ranks, not to mention the fact that she had obtained a new outfit — something that Dreamy had wanted, ever since the fashion function was released, in November.
Dreamy wished that she could stay and discuss, as well as enjoy the entertainment, but she had to go out.
Dreamy: “Too bad. But see you later, I’m going to go try out pole dancing.”
Without waiting for responses, she got up and got dressed, then headed out to do that. Having wanted to try the dance for a long time, this was the first time she had access to a studio nearby. She looked forward to it, but even more so, she looked forward to getting back into the game after.
When she came home, her arms could barely lift above her waist — that’s how intense the 30 minute trial class had been.
After showering, she sat down in front of her laptop, with a bowl of ramen noodles.
It was just about time for Morpheus’ Lair.
She typed in the world chat, “Hi, I’m back.”
John responded immediately, “Hi, Dreamy. How was pole dance?”
“It was good,” she said, “my arms are dead, though.”
“Ouch.” said John.
“It’s fine,” said Dreamy.
Later, while waiting for Heavenly Boss, Dreamy met GodsWatch at Cerberus’ place.
She typed, “Hi, baby.”
He responded, “hi mom.”
Mom? Again? She sighed.
GodsWatch: “Where is my milk.”
Dreamy: “I told you, I don’t have any.”
She smiled, amused.
GodsWatch: “Then how was pole dance?” *wink*.
Dreamy: “Good. I met a ***y instructor.”
Sexy, that is.
GodsWatch: “Was she also a milf?”
GodsWatch: “I don’t know how to. Mom, teach me.”
Dreamy: “Stop calling me mom.”
John: “If Dreamy is mom, I am dad. Listen to your father.”
Since when did she have a relationship like that with John?
The boss came to life, and so did GodsWatch’s resentment towards Kay and Curry.
GodsWatch: “Kay used to be a nobody, then she paid her way up to getting all of the boss kills.”
GodsWatch: “She doesn’t deserve it.”
Dreamy: “Instead of thinking about that, why don’t you focus on pole dancing girls instead?”
GodsWatch sent a heart-eyed emoji. Aversion, success.
John: “Wow, Dreamy, I think you can tame him.”
Dreamy: “I just want a peaceful server, that’s all.”
GodsWatch: “I don’t mind being tamed” *wink*.
Of course he didn’t. He was a 15 year old boy — why would he mind? But Jolie had no intention of taming him in the way that he meant. There was a 7 year age gap between them, and even for the future cougar, Jolie, 7 years was too much, at this point. When she was 40 or so, it wouldn’t matter, of course.
However, life doesn’t always go the way we think, and Jolie would soon be reminded of that…