Jolie came back from the spring break with a fresh set of eyes. Perhaps it was the walk from the train station, in the unusually heavy snow, that purified her eyes in reverse, or the new buds that had already begun to show on the trees along the sidewalk, that created the exact contrast that was in the same process of blossoming in her mind — either way, on the seventh of March, she knew that she was in love, and irreversibly so.
There was an important, and unforgettable rule about her love, however, and that was:
Just for fun.
Her romance with GodsWatch would exist solely in the game, and in a lighthearted fashion. She was allowed to flirt, but not pursue, and her flirtation had to be innocent. She would always be aware of the fact that it would stay in the game, and never move further. It was simply an incorporated part of it — a role play. It was a role playing game, after all.
Jolie sat down on her bed and opened her laptop. Next to her she had a couple of chocolate bars, as comfort for the four hour train ride she’d had to endure — pure torture — and a cup of tea.
Her bed was low, consisting only of a wooden base and a thin mattress, so she could have things on the floor, and easily access them, which is why she had her cup there.
She thought about about how to talk to GodsWatch, now that she was aware of her feelings, and engrossed in her own mind, she almost didn’t see John’s message to her in the guild chat.
“Welcome back, Dreamy,” he said.
How had he seen so quickly that she was online?
During the break, she had logged into LoS, but only to do her daily activities. Of course, she had told her guild mates why she was being less social.
“Thank you,” she said, “Were you checking the guild’s online list, or something?”
John laughed, “I happened to be looking at my friend list, and your name suddenly went green.”
Green meant online, while offline character names were shown in gray.
One could only see if another player was online, if they were a member of the same guild, or if you had them on your friend list.
He continued, “Today back at your place, no?”
“Yeah,” she said, “I’m back.”
“That’s good, how was break? I missed you.”
She wondered if GodsWatch had missed her.
“Good.” she said, “My dog was cute.”
“That’s good,” he said, ” I have dogs, too.”
Dogs could be rearranged into ‘Gods’.
“Dreamy, I’ve been wondering something.” he continued, “What is that link in the guild notice?”
Link in the guild notice?
She clicked on the guild interface to see what he meant.
Ah the group chat. Dreamy had gone out of her way to grab the field marshal position one day, just to add it to the notice.
“Group chat,” she said, “No one told you?”
“I see,” said John, “I hadn’t asked anyone. I waited for you.”
“No one really talks in there anymore, though.” said Dreamy, “I thought it would be livelier after the merger, but now the old people have quit, and the new ones haven’t joined the chat.”
“I see,” said John, “I will join then.”
Group chat… Dreamy thought hard, smart, and forbidden.
“Wait,” she said, “I have a better idea.”
And so, Dreamy opened her chatcord app, then clicked the plus button on the right side, and a square popped up, asking her to pick a name for her new group chat.
She thought for a few seconds, then typed, “Dreamy’s LoS Chat.”
It was her first time creating her own group chat, and it was exciting.
The setup was quick, and it only took a couple of minutes until she had an invite link.
When she returned to Legend of Stars, GodsWatch was there, topping up.
The system announced:
GodsWatch has just completed his first daily top-up, and received abundant rewards.
GodsWatch has just opened the holy treasure, and received abundant rewards.
GodsWatch has just spun the Wheel of Fortune, and received abundant rewards.
Normally, Dreamy only saw this type of announcements about Zen or Rotervin — for some reason not RapidJudge. Curry topped up a lot, but he did it daily, in smaller amounts. Kay topped up a lot at once, like GodsWatch seemed to be doing right now.
She typed in the world chat,
“How much did you top up?”
GodsWatch didn’t answer right away, and while waiting, Jolie read a couple of more announcements:
GodsWatch has just completed the VIP dungeon, and received abundant rewards.
GodsWatch has just defeated Cleopatra, and received abundant rewards.
GodsWatch has just claimed the Legendary Sword of Orion, and become invincible.
Invincible? Really? Sarcasm.
John sent a shocked emoji in the world chat,
“Legendary Sword of Orion? Is VIP 5, no?”
Dreamy opened the VIP interface. Indeed, the sword was a VIP 5 reward.
VIP 5 was… how much usd? Dreamy counted, and figured it was around 500. Not too bad. After all, she had an inactive character at VIP level 2, and her own character was getting close to VIP 2 by now, thanks to a few top ups here and there, the first of which had been to obtain the ability to wipe-out certain events in one click.
GodsWatch: “I just got paid.”
Dreamy: “I figured.”
John: “The work training? You get so much?”
GodsWatch: “Yeah. It’s not really that much, though.”
GodsWatch: “A job would give more.”
GodsWatch: “But these jobs suck,”
GodsWatch: “Every place I apply to say I’m too young.”
But had he missed her?
John: “That is too bad.”
GodsWatch: “Not like I’m interested in jobs, anyway.”
Dreamy: “Me neither.”
He wasn’t interested in jobs? That wasn’t good. As a future prospect, he wasn’t a good candidate in that area — nor was he at all! Jolie reminded herself: Stop seeing him as a real potential — he’s not!
With that out of the way, Jolie continued,
“Anyway, do you have chatcord?”
Yes! Well, of course he did, he was a gamer, and chatcord was originally an app for gamers to chat on while playing.
John: “You want to invite him to SS group?”
Dreamy: “No, not that old thing.”
Dreamy: “I made a new one, for the whole server.”
Dreamy: “Here is the link: *chatcord link*“
She opened the app and waited in tension for GodsWatch to join. After all, it was the whole purpose of the group chat. But just for fun.
She switched between chatcord and the LoS browser, to see if he said anything in the world chat.
After a couple of minutes, she heard the notification sound of chatcord, and when she opened the app, GodsWatch was there.
“Ello.” he said, after which he sent her a friend request.
They were now friends, officially.
He send her a PM, in which he was so daring as to write “fap fap fap”.
Jolie responded with a doubting emoji, and he sent one with the tongue sticking out.
Seeing his messages, and the fact that they were friends on the app, made Jolie realize something important: she had broken her rule.
After so little time, she had already broken a rule. Had she so little self control?
It was supposed to stay in the game. But chatcord was an app for gamers, so perhaps it didn’t count? She was still using her in-game name, and so was he, and it’s not like they were going to exchange pictures of themselves. Indeed, it was simply an extension of the world chat — harmless.
In the group chat, John appeared, with a smiling emoji.
“I’m here,” he said, “I see I wasn’t first.”
“Welcome,” said Dreamy.
A couple of moments later, another member showed up.
It was Duskerbeat.
“hi.” he said.
“hello,” Dreamy responded.
“Fap Trap.” said GodsWatch, and Jolie didn’t know what that meant, so she sent a thumbs up.
Dusker said, “……..”
John: “How do I change my profile pic?”
“Noobs,” said Dreamy, “Go to the settings.”
GodsWatch sent a baby bottle emoji, after which Dreamy asked,
“Is the baby thirsty?”
GodsWatch: “For your milk.”
Buskerbeat: “Gods, if you want milk, go look for a cow.”
Dreamy: “I think he prefers me before a cow.”
GodsWatch: “I’m in Canada, so there are cows everywhere.”
John: “Please don’t do sex with a cow…”
After that, Duskerbeat and GodsWatch discussed animes, Dusker claiming to have seen 250 of them, and GodsWatch 300. John joined in, and they concluded that boys love wasn’t for them, but girls love, they didn’t mind — Dreamy would be nice with another girl, according to Dusker, and GodsWatch said something about tentacles.
MistressEclair, who appeared in the chat shortly after, was cast the part of the other girl.
MistressEclair was John’s friend, a level 101 ranger in BBF.
John suggested that the other guys purchased inflatable dolls.
After a discussion about favourite actors and actresses (mainly actresses), Duskerbeat concluded that Dreamy was his favourite girl,
“Ich liebe dich, Dreamy,” he said.
Jolie realized: if all of this was for fun, she shouldn’t limit it to just GodsWatch. And so, she responded with a winking emoji.
GodsWatch did not comment. He didn’t mind her flirting with the others? But why would he? To him, she was just an adult woman. When Jolie was 15, she thought that 22 year olds were complete grown ups. Of course, she had been wrong about that, but she suspected that GodsWatch viewed her with an assumption at least close to that.
John: “Dusker, I’ve never asked you before, but how old are you?”
Ah, there we go. Detective John.
Duskerbeat: “31 soon.”
Older than expected. A lot of people in the server seemed to be around that age, surprisingly.
GodsWatch: “Why are you all so old?”
Was Dreamy old, in his eyes?
When Heavenly Boss started, Dreamy didn’t see GodsWatch there. He was busy talking about buying a plane ticket to do something to Dusker, as revenge for him suggesting to stop talking dirty, after finding out about GodsWatch’s age.
“God, you’re missing hb,” she said.
“hb? I almost never see any hot babes.”
Wow, thought Jolie. That was the first thing he thought of?
Dreamy: “Heavenly Boss.”
GodsWatch: “Oh, damn.”
By the time he showed up to the event, they were already at the third boss, Arachne.
“Such a distracted kid,” said Dreamy.
“It’s all the meds,” he joked — or was it not a joke?
“Meds?” asked Dreamy.
Was he sick? Was that why he didn’t go to school? Could it be that it was terminal?
No, Jolie, she told herself, don’t be disappointed — he wasn’t going to be in your life, anyway.
“You take meds?” asked John.
Good, now Jolie didn’t need to seem like she was overly concerned.
“Not really,” said GodsWatch, “people want me to take meds for depression, which they claim I have, but I almost never do.”
Jolie felt relief. So he wasn’t dying. But he still wouldn’t be in her life, she reminded herself. At least, not in her real life. Although, lately, the game had been her real life more than the outside world.
“I hear you,” said John.
Good that someone did. Jolie had never been asked to take pills for anything. Her suffering was of the invisible kind.
After Heavenly Boss, GodsWatch said,
“Welp, gtg to see a movie.”
“Oh, you’re going to the movies?” said John.
Jolie wondered how that could possibly be more fun than talking to her. Maybe it really was just her imagination, that he might be feeling the same as her — for fun.
“If online, you can stay here.” said John, to Jolie’s surprise.
“Yeah,” said Jolie.
“The more the merrier,” added John.
Jolie had no idea why John was trying to get GodsWatch to stay, but she didn’t mind.
“Too lazy to type.” said GodsWatch.
Too lazy to type?!
“You can’t be too lazy to type.” said Dreamy, “all you need to do is hit a few keys with your fingers.”
“I get it now,” said John, “he’s watching a movie online and can’t type. It’s a porn movie.”
Of course. Why had Jolie not seen that? Especially considering what he wrote to her in private.
“Teen guys,” said John, “that’s all they think about.”
Dreamy had heard it before, so it wasn’t new to her, but it was the first time witnessing it so close.
If that was the truth about GodsWatch, it was good, because it meant that he was as un-serious about this as she was.
“Nah,” said GodsWatch, “It’s just, uncomfortable from my bed. My neck gets strained.”
So he also played from his bed. Two of a kind, why did there have to be such a distance between them? Both physical and in age.
People said that age was just a number, but was it, really? No, not in this case. She knew that people would frown upon it if she went in seriously, which is why she must, at all cost, avoid doing so.
John said, “then get up to your desk.”
GodsWatch: “Too lazy, it’s so far away.”
Oh yeah, because his room was the size of a house. Jolie remembered.
John: “Excuse. I still believe is porn movie, haha.”
GodsWatch: “Welp, I’m gonna go now.”
After the top up, GodsWatch ranked number 8. Curry and Kay were still ahead of him, at number 5 and 6, respectively.
Curry had gotten stronger after becoming the guild leader of the Cosmic Lights, a couple of weeks ago.
Just for fun, Dreamy opened the interface of her character, then GodsWatch’s character.
She moved them next to each other on the screen.
They looked good together. He wore his fiery swordsman outfit that reminded of gemstones, and she the watery blue. Together, they were like a sea and its hidden gems. Secrets underneath the surface of a still ocean. Exquisite pearls hidden behind plain rocks, only visible to the keenest of eyes.
Jolie felt as though she had found a thing that was just like those pearls. Just as special, and equally invisible to the untrained eye. Indeed, that was why people like Lantos didn’t understand him — they didn’t have the eyes for it. They saw him through the wrong lenses, and couldn’t appreciate what was in front of them.
It wasn’t that Jolie didn’t see him through her own, biased, lenses, but she liked to think that they weren’t as rose coloured as they might have been, if he had been older. Indeed, him being 15 had cleared up all sorts of obstacles that could’ve prevented her from seeing him as he was. If she had been drunk previously, his age sobered her up. It was ginger on a tired day, and the sun to a foggy night.
It was refreshing, because her love life had been riddened with delusions. But because this love wasn’t rooted in real life, and wouldn’t enter it, there was no need for expectations, and no need to create a desired picture of him. He just was, what he was.
She took a screen shot of their characters next to each other.
The next day, GodsWatch topped up again, and a new set of announcements popped up on the screen.
GodsWatch opened treasures, beat VIP dungeons and obtained the Silver Fox Mount, but most importantly — he received abundant rewards.
“Silver Fox?” said Dreamy, “So you’re VIP 6 now.”
His battle power had increased to over a million already.
“Yeah.” he said.
Was it, though? The gap between them was so wide now. She only had 700k in battle power, and her rank was still below 10.
One night, before Lucifer’s Inferno, GodsWatch was nowhere to be seen, and John took advantage,
John: “Dreamy, it seems like GodsWatch isn’t here.”
He wrote in the world chat.
John: “How about we go on a LI date?”
Dreamy: “A date?”
John: “I reached level 110, can climb up to plane 6.”
Dreamy: “I see, you’re thinking about the caves there.”
Dreamy: “Good date spot.”
Zenflood: “7 is better.”
Dreamy: “How come?”
Zenflood: “There are stars.”
Stars? That was, indeed, better.
A few minutes later, GodsWatch arrived. Jolie noticed from the announcement of him spinning the Wheel of Fortune.
“Hi God,” she said, “Apparently, me and John are going on a LI date.”
“Yeah,” said John, “looking forward to it.”
“Such a romantic spot,” said Dreamy.
GodsWatch: “Jesus does not approve.”
John: “Too bad, it’s already decided.”
GodsWatch: “Also, John, no hitting on my baby girl Dreamy.”
Your what what Dreamy?
Jolie leaned away from the keyboard, as if trying to see the thing from an objective distance. Of course, that was impossible.
I the background, John said: “Haha, it’s official then, there is a war for Dreamy’s heart.”
A war for her heart or not, this was exactly the type of thing that had the potential to change everything. It could fool Jolie into thinking that it was real; not just in a game, and not just for fun.
If he was feeling the same thing, would it be fair to the universe to deny it?
But he was 15. The undeniable fact was that he was 15.
So? She said to herself, 15 isn’t so bad. He’ll be… 16 … soon. Ok, it was bad. There were four more years until he was 20, and 20 year olds were still babies!
15 was younger than her 17 year old brother, who was absolutely clueless about everything. But GodsWatch seemed capable — after all, he was smart in the game. If he was smart in the game, he could be in real life, as well.
Indeed, his style in the game reminded of a ceo in romance dramas — he knew what he was doing, and how to do things more effectively than other people.
Surely, that was a general skill of his, that could be applicable in all areas of life. Right? Either way, she wasn’t the girl for him, and she kept telling herself that, but she also felt as if the sand in the hourglass that was just for fun would soon run out, and she was like a girl on a diet who knew that her limit was getting closer, that she would soon eat that cake, and there was nothing she could do about it…