Silver Suns Chapter 11

“Shitshitshitshitshitshit!!!” Liolac pulled himself up and threw himself at FenYi, forgetting that he was even in a game. Momocha let out an angry wail, launching herself at FenYi. Raza dropped her spear in shock and Luna leapt onto his back, stabbing him deep in the back. FenYi laughed despite the pain he felt as he swung around to throw off the players and Momocha. Raza ran to Chi, lifting him up in her arms. She patted his face lightly, crying.

“Chi, c’mon, Chi!!” She sobbed, getting no response from him. The moment FenYi had stabbed Chi in the heart, she had hoped Chi’s body would disappear the way players did when they spawned at the graveyard. When his body hadn’t disappeared, she had had hope that he was still breathing but it was gone the moment she realized that he was no longer alive.

Luna swung from FenYi’s back, refusing to let go of the sword. She shouted to Liolac to get off and cast spells – his punches did almost no damage to the boss monster. Liolac tumbled off and began casting as Luna and Momocha fought to stay on FenYi, raining down blows upon the maniacally laughing man.

I can’t die, you fools! Ever since the curse, even when my life fades, I am returned here! I am immortal! I am a phoenix, I shall be reborn!

“I don’t give a shit, you fucker! You killed our friend!” Luna brought her sword down into his back again and again with one hand gripping his shirt. Tears welled in her eyes as she took a glance over at Raza and Chi. What if he’s really dead? What am I going to tell the kids?!

Momocha screeched over and over again as she punched and kicked FenYi with her glowing hands and legs. Raza sat with Chi in her arms, frozen in her grief. She had never lost a loved one in real life and had never realized how much she could grow to like someone in such a short span of time. Liolac rained fire upon FenYi, hoping that Chi would get up again soon. FenYi managed to throw Luna off and he grabbed Momocha by the back of her shirt. He threw Momocha into the wall across from him and dashed towards the defenseless Raza. He had become excited when he had killed Chi and wanted another easy kill.

FenYi was knocked back when Raza grabbed her spear with lightning speed and swung it above her head. She put Chi down carefully and yelled to Luna. “Get up, Luna! We have to kill him before he gets our hp down too low!”

The health tonics had cooldowns and Raza regretted not buying the special health tonics with shorter cooldowns from the cash shop. Without the special health tonics or a healer, they had to bring FenYi down as fast as possible. None of them wanted to fail and spawn at the graveyard… but more than that, they wanted revenge.

 

The trio sat around Chi’s body. Momocha had transformed back into her blobby self and disappeared, crying angrily.

“Do you think he’ll disappear and respawn at all?” Raza used her fingers to comb Chi’s hair back from his face.

Liolac sobbed over his friend’s body, unable to speak. Luna sat silently, finding herself unable to speak but also unable to cry. They had halfheartedly opened the glowing chest that had spawned near FenYi’s corpse and dumped all of the gear into Momocha except for the healing gear. None of them wanted to use any of the gear that had cost their friend his life but laid the gear he would have worn across his chest.

Raza tucked some loose hair behind her ear and stood. “We should go. We need to figure out what to do. If we can’t fix this, we have to take him to his siblings and figure out how we can take care of them in his place.”

She reached down and tucked her hands under Luna’s arms, pulling her up. She did the same to Liolac, who rubbed his eyes with his hands. Luna and Raza lifted Chi onto Liolac’s back and they slowly made their way to the portal that would take them outside.

Advertisements

Silver Suns Chapter 10

The dungeon was actually the city’s actual “dungeons,” where the city’s prisoners were kept. Players had to fight through corridors full of prisoners that had escaped, aiding the city prison guards in quelling the riot. Towards the end of the dungeon they would reach a coliseum where normally, prisoners were forced to battle each other for the amusement of some of SunYin’s wealthier residents.  Once there, the players would meet the “mastermind” behind the riots, FenYi. Upon destroying the prisoners fighting guards in the center of the coliseum, FenYi would descend down to the coliseum and they would have to kill him in waves. Once his health bar reached 90%, 70% and 25%, he would call prisoners to protect him – FenYi would recover his health until all of the prisoners were dealt with.

Luna, Liolac and Raza felt confident in the new armor and weapons they had gotten from running the dungeon the night before. They had even been able to get a pet accessory for Momocha, who was sporting the pink ribbon with joy. Chi was scared but excited – he had never thought that he would be able to participate in dungeons like this that were exclusively for heroes. Raza had been worried that Chi wouldn’t be able to even enter the dungeon and let out a sigh of relief when he stumbled out of the portal next to them.

“I’ll go out in front of you guys and tank the mobs, Raza and Liolac dps like you did last night – except Liolac, go a bit slower since we’re not a full party. Chi, stay behind everyone and save your mana for healing, okay?”

They all nodded, although Liolac looked disappointed. Luna pointed her sword at him. “I swear, Liolac, if you go around aggroing a bunch of mobs like last night, I will take the penalty for a same faction PK and make you spawn in the graveyard. Got it?”
Liolac pouted. “Okaaaaay, fiiiine.”

Luna lead the way to the first dungeon corridor and leapt into the first group of prisoners being fought by NPC guards.

 

“Hey! Hey!! You guys right there!!” The party turned to look into the cell the voice was coming from. There stood a tall man with white tiger ears and tail, waving his arms out of the jail doors.

“Yes?” Raza stepped forward as the rest of the party looked uncertain about approaching this stranger.

“Let me out of here, please? I wouldn’t help the others with their stupid riot so they left me in here. I was falsely imprisoned and I just want to go home to my family!”

“And how do we know you’re telling the truth? For all we know, you could actually be a crazy serial killer they didn’t let out because you would have killed them. I mean… you are in prison. We don’t know if you were falsely or rightly imprisoned and I’m more inclined to not let you out since it’s more likely that you’re lying to us.”

“My name’s Curtis and I swear to you, on the life of my children, that I am innocent! Please! I wasn’t able to call out to the other heroes who came into this dungeon, I just want to go home!”

Chi tapped Raza’s shoulder. “Maybe he’s telling the truth? We haven’t really met any bad people so far who have been able to talk to us like this…”

Raza frowned and turned to face Chi. “Just because you haven’t run into bad people yet doesn’t mean that this guy’s a good person. I mean, we don’t know exactly what’s going on with you and why you’re… different. What if he’s some crazy deranged murderer and he’s just tricking us? What if he tries to kill me? Or you? We still don’t know what would happen if you died.”

“I feel like he’s not a bad person, Raza. Let’s let him free! Maybe he’s a quest.” Liolac hopped in place, eager to keep moving. “I mean, if he really tries to kill us, we can just fight him. And there’s the whole… he doesn’t have weapons thing. What if he’s a really good person and he’s stuck here forever?”

The three of them turned to Luna, who had remained silent the entire time. She stared at Curtis, trying to figure out from his expression whether she felt safe letting him out or not. She found it odd that he hadn’t called out to them the night before, but thought that maybe the only reason he was able to call out to them was because of Chi’s presence. She was wary, especially after hearing Raza’s words calling him a possible murderer. He looked at her with pleading eyes, his white and black tail swishing from side to side behind him.

“Chi, what do you think?” Chi was scared but lost. He knew what it was like to be away from family but how could he know if this man was lying or not? He looked at the man standing behind bars and felt a tug on his heart. He didn’t want him to be stuck here forever, the way he had thought he was stuck when he had been a normal NPC.

“Let’s… let him out. I don’t want him to be stuck here forever… I wasn’t behind bars but I know what it felt like to be stuck in one place for months with no control over myself. It’s worse than hell. We should let him be with his family.”

Luna nodded. “Okay, I agree. Let’s let him out. But how do we find the key?”

Curtis’s eyes lit up and he pointed to a guard’s corpse in front of the cell across from his. “That guy was in charge of this corridor! He has the keys! Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Raza frowned. Something didn’t feel right about this guy to her, but since Luna, Chi and Liolac seemed to want to set him free, she didn’t say anything. She felt accepted by them but was still scared of chasing them off. She glanced at Curtis, who saw her looking and gave her a grin. He winked at her and she lunged towards Liolac, who had pushed the key into the cell door.

“Wait, don’t – “ The door swung open.

 

Curtis leapt out and Raza pulled her spear from her back holster about to attack him when she realized that Curtis was just hugging Liolac. His ears were twitching and his tail swished around as he hugged the shorter boy with a big smile on his face.

“Thank you soooooooooo much!!” He let go to give Luna and Chi hugs. Luna held up her hand to stop him but Chi accepted the hug. Raza coughed, embarrassed, and put away her spear. Curtis gave both Liolac and Chi pats on their head and left the way they had come with another word of thanks.

“He seems like a nice guy!” Raza nodded, her cheeks pink from embarrassment. No one but Luna had even noticed Raza pulling out her spear and Luna chose not to say anything after seeing her blush. They pushed forward in the dungeon until they reached the coliseum.

 

“Everyone have enough potions? Chi, give us fresh buffs. Do you remember what we told you about this fight? Move close to Liolac when he calls the prisoners at 90, 70 and 25 percent since they’ll be coming in from all around us.”

“I’m ready!” Chi held his staff nervously, excited to be in his first “real” battle. He stayed a bit behind Liolac as Luna and Raza charged forward, attacking the prisoners who were fighting more guards. FenYi jumped down to the center of the coliseum from where he had been sitting high above them – a balcony seating area usually reserved for the higher echelons of SunYin’s wealthy.

Luna jumped in first, slamming her shield into his chest with her body adding weight to the attack. Raza dashed behind FenYi to get more damage by attacking his back.

“Shit!” Luna flew back as she failed to block one of his attacks. Raza quickly cast three stunning attacks in succession so that Luna could jump back to her feet. “Sorry, sorry!”

“I got you, Luna! Don’t worry about it!” Raza pinned FenYi’s pants down into the ground with her spear as Luna ran back to them. Chi found himself enjoying the battle as he healed Luna and Raza, jumping this way and that to evade FenYi’s periodic ranged attacks with his extending sword.

FenYi’s health bar ticked down to 90% and he shouted, “Prisoners, come to my aid!” and five prisoners came running into the coliseum wielding various weapons. Luna stayed fighting FenYi, evading attacks and blocking when she could while Raza ran straight to Liolac and Chi. Liolac cast a spell that put a circle of blue fire around the three of them and Chi cast a shielding spell that appeared as a shimmering, transparent dome around them. Raza and Liolac countered the prisoners attacking them without worry of injury until the shield ran out. It cracked like glass around them, the pieces floating down like snow.

“Guys! You missed one!” Luna hacked away at the recovering FenYi in order to generate more threat and to attempt to mitigate some of his recovery. She was finding it difficult to both tank FenYi and the prisoner attacking her and leapt back to do cast a flying stun. Before FenYi and the prisoner could run after her, she jumped into the air, raising her sword above her head. She slammed it down into the ground and lightning shot out from her sword, surrounding both FenYi and the prisoner, stunning them in place.

Raza ran to her to help kill the stray prisoner they had missed and yelped when FenYi suddenly broke free of the stun with a roar that threw all of them towards the walls of the coliseum. Dazed, they stood up to find that the prisoners were dead and FenYi was still at the center. Liolac and Chi had been thrown in the same direction while Raza and Luna were further apart.

Liolac shouted, “What the hell was that?!”

FenYi had not used a spell like this the night before and confused, they tried to regroup. To their shock and horror, FenYi dashed straight towards Liolac and Chi. Chi hastily cast the shield spell again and healed both himself and Liolac. He attempted to heal Luna and Raza but found that they were too far away. FenYi brought his fists down over the two boys and the shield held as Liolac attempted to cast his more powerful spells in a panicked attempt to defeat FenYi before he attacked them again.

“Lio, Chi! Run towards me!” Luna scrambled up, grabbing the sword she had dropped as she ran towards her lightly armored comrades. “Momocha! Summon cloudberry!”

They hadn’t used Momocha’s battle skills earlier in the dungeon. They had wanted to save her for the boss fight and Luna was thankful that the group had talked about it beforehand so that Liolac wouln’t use Momocha’s skills for fun. Momocha ate the cloudberry and transformed into the white-haired form they had encountered at the Hesiod’s lair. Momocha ran ahead of Luna, flying into FenYi’s back with a kick.

Liolac and Chi scrambled to get away before FenYi brought his fists down one more time. The boys separated, running around FenYi to run towards Luna. FenYi turned around and ran after Chi, thrusting his sword towards Chi. It extended and stabbed him in the back. With a flick, Chi was dragged back towards FenYi. Momocha roared in anger and her feet glowed as she jumped onto the sword’s extension, breaking it in half. Chi fell to the floor, groaning.

Liolac ducked FenYi’s sword and grabbed Chi’s arm. He pulled him towards Luna, who ran past them towards FenYi. “Heal yourself! Hurry, I’m going to try to get aggro again!”

Chi threw a healing spell that would heal her slowly over time towards Luna and put his hand on himself to heal his wound. Liolac and Chi were horrified to find that the sword was stuck in his back no matter what spells Chi cast. Liolac attempted to pull the broken sword from Chi’s back but it refused to budge. Raza ran to them to try to help but Liolac waved her away.

“I’ll try to do something about this, go help Luna!” Raza threw a potion on the ground before them before running off. She had bought a potion that lessened threat from the cash shop just in case and she was hoping this would deter FenYi. Unfortunately, as Raza ran towards Luna and Momocha, FenYi stomped his foot on the ground, creating cracks in the ground that made them all lose their footing. Liolac and Chi were still trying to figure out how to pull out the sword when FenYi reached them. The man stood above them, smiling.

Chi, I am glad you came here. You cannot live and I will be rewarded for bringing about your end.

Chi pushed Liolac out of the way as FenYi brought down his broken sword down upon him. Chi’s quick movement made FenYi miss his target – Chi’s heart. He stabbed Chi in the leg, angrily pulling it out as Chi screamed in pain. Luna, Raza, Momocha and Liolac all screamed as FenYi raised his sword again, this time driving it straight into Chi’s heart.

Silver Suns Chapter 09

“Momocha, no!!” Luna lunged for her out of desperation even knowing she wouldn’t be able to reach. Momocha hit the woman’s face with a loud smack and she plopped to the floor with a smile as though satisfied. She began hopping over to Chiaki with a happy sounding gurgle.

“I’m really really really sor-” Luna was cut off when one of the men drew a spear and pointed it at her.

“This thing is yours?”

“Uhm… yeah. Look, I’m really sorry, she wasn’t in a good mood and -”

He jabbed his spear towards her face and she inched away. “Control your pet.”

He put his spear away and turned to the woman. “Let’s go.”

“But Ash, that thing – “ She fell silent when he gave her a sharp look. He threw a look over the rest of the table and turned back to his group.

“We’re late anyways. The clan leader’s messaging me about the raid. Let’s go.”

The woman glared at Luna and her eyes seemed to almost pop out in anger when Momocha stuck her tongue out at her. Luna groaned and hid her face in her hands as the group left the restaurant.

“Momocha… did you really have to?”

Momocha blew a raspberry at her and jumped onto Chiaki’s head. She hopped there lightly, obviously very happy with herself. Chi was still pale and Chiarra and Chisa held hands in fear while Chiaki seemed to forget about the incident the moment Momocha had hopped onto his head. Raza ate silently, wondering what level 50 players were doing in a level 30 zone.

 

“Oh man, did you have to quest without me? I’m behind now!” Liolac whined at Luna and Raza as he squished Momocha around in his hands. Chi and his siblings were having dinner while the players planned their entry into a low-level dungeon the next day. Luna grinned at him.

“Well, now you know how I felt when you leveled with that potion before.”

Liolac pouted. “That’s so not the same thing.”

He had finished school and done his homework on the bus ride home, asking his parents to leave his dinner on his desk. They had told him that just because they had bought him the game didn’t mean that he could skip family dinners every night and he had promised that it wouldn’t happen too often. He was disappointed to find that Luna, Chi and Raza had done a series of quests without him.

“Let’s do the dungeon at 8PM server time! I gotta have dinner with the ‘rents. Else they’ll take the game away.”

“I probably have to stay a bit late at work anyways since I skipped today. Raza, you okay with 8PM?”

“Sure. I’ll probably be online all day tomorrow, just message me when you get on. Luna, you going to tank?”

“Yeah… but I’m going to need a sword and shield if I want to do that. Chi will heal, you two are obviously dps… think we should get one more dps and make a full party?”

Luna wondered how Chi would fare in the dungeon. If there was a wipe or he died, would he respawn like a player? Or… would he just disappear from the game? Or heavens forbid, would he respawn as a normal NPC again?

“Guys…? I had a thought. What if Chi dies?” Raza voiced Luna’s worries. She had figured out that Chi was some kind of NPC from what little information Luna had passed onto her and she realized that his siblings would not do well in a world without him.

Liolac dropped Momocha, who gave him a toothless bite on his leg in anger. “Oh, shit! What if he does?! Think he’ll respawn at the graveyard? What if he… dies… like, actually dies like we do if we die in real life?! We can’t take him to the dungeon!!”

Luna bit her lip. “He really needs the gear from there, though… It’s not like we can share the loot with him, most dungeon loot is bound to the looter.”

“Will he even be able to roll for gear?” Raza hated to bring up these negative aspects and worried they would dislike her for it but she liked Chi and didn’t want to throw him into a dungeon where he might die and never appear again.

The group fell silent as they thought it over. Luna spoke first. “Okay, how about this. We’ll talk to Chi about the risks and we won’t invite another player if he wants to go with us. I don’t know how we would explain why he can’t roll for gear to another player so we’ll give it a try with just the four of us. If he doesn’t want to take the risk, we’ll find another healer and gear up so we can help him find bind on equip gear from mobs or quests. Or… we go without him first to see how difficult it is and only take him if we’re confident that he’ll be fine. We’ll still tell him the risk, but only after we try it out first.”

Liolac clapped Luna on the back. “Good thinking, Luna! Let’s go try out the dungeon tonight! I’ll recruit a healer and another dps for us!”

 

The four of them stood at the dungeon’s entrance. Luna, Liolac and Raza had had a surprisingly easy time in the dungeon the night before and were confident they would do well. Chi had stated that he would take the risk as he could gather rare herbs inside (Luna rolled her eyes at this comment) and wanted to grow stronger but knew that he had to take risks in order to do so.

“Ready, guys? Let’s goooooo!” Liolac jumped into the portal to “SunYin’s Dungeons.”

Silver Suns Chapter 08

They both froze as Liolac’s voice rang throughout the house. Chi’s siblings were huddled behind him and he held a fireball in his hands.

“I dunno who the fuckyou are, but let go of her right now before I throw this at you.”

Yfel let go and Luna fell to her knees, coughing. Momocha let out a screech at Liolac.

Lio! Kill!” Liolac raised an eyebrow. Momocha usually only addressed him when they were in battle out of excitement – he was the only one who went headlong into battle with her as Luna and Chi tended to be more cautious.

“I’m those brats’ father. You three, come here!” Chiarra, Chisa and Chiaki slowly began heading over to him when Liolac blocked them with his arm.

“Nuh-uh. No way you’re their dad. Luna, what the hell’s going on? You were taking too long so Chi got worried. Raza’s probably grilling him right now so we gotta get back quick.”

Luna rubbed her neck, coughing. “That’s their dad, Liolac. Unfortunately. I’m taking the kids.”

Liolac’s jaw dropped. “What?!”

Yfel growled. “I told you, bitch! You’re not taking my kids!”

“They’re not your kids, you asshole! Just because you provided DNA for them doesn’t mean that they’re yours.”

“No, we’ll stay, Luna! Please!”

Luna glanced at Chisa, who was trembling with her arms around her siblings. Chiarra was crying as she clung to her younger siblings and Chiaki’s eyes looked glazed, as though he was far away.

“No, Chisa. You’re not safe here and – “

She yelped and threw herself to the ground as Yfel swung a sword at her. She could tell that he had probably been a formidable warrior when he was younger but drinking and age had dulled his skills. She pulled her sword out of its latch and held it up to block his sword. She kicked out at this legs and rolled to her side.

“You don’t want to do this, Yfel. Just let us go.”

“You will show me respect!” He let out a yell and swung his sword again. She blocked it easily and yelled to Liolac to take the children out of harm’s way. Chisa and Chiarra struggled against him but Liolac managed to take them outside of the house. Yfel stumbled against the table, panting.

“Look! How much more gold do you want?! I was here when you yelled at Chisa that you were willing to sell your own fucking kids!”

Yfel’s eyes glinted. “They’re worth at least 100 gold each. They’re tainted by that whore’s blood but they have mine, too.”

“You want 300 gold?! Like hell I’ll pay that!”

“If you want that useless son of mine too, it’ll be 500!”

“He’s not even underaged! He’s 20 years old! Just take the 20 gold and the bracelets – you should be able to get at least 75 gold for those!” This had been the gold and items Chi had asked her to put into his bank account on her way back. She herself only had about 15 gold and maybe another 5 gold worth of gear that she could sell.

Yfel coughed as he leaned against his sword. “100 gold per child. 200 gold for the idiot. I won’t take a silver less.”

Luna held her sword out before her, wary of Yfel despite his seemingly calm demeanor at the moment. She didn’t feel right killing him, partly because he was still Chi’s father and partly because she had no idea how killing an “NPC” would affect the game. She had to admit to herself that the latter was more worrying than the former. She felt that getting rid of Yfel permanently would be better for everyone.

“Look, I don’t have 500 gold. I’ll send you 50 gold per month until the 500 gold is paid off. But the kids go with me now.”

“You can take one kid. I’ll send another one once you’ve paid 100g. The last one I’ll send once you’ve paid off the total 500.”

What the fuck, it’s like he’s a villain with hostages. “Nuh-uh. Either you give me the kids and I send you the money or I kill you right here, right now. I’d rather kill you but I don’t think Chi and his siblings would appreciate that much.”

Yfel seemed to be thinking it over. “Then 600 gold. 100 gold now, 500 in monthly payments. As interest.”

She couldn’t believe Yfel’s audacity but felt this was the only way for her to leave with the children without killing him. If she’d even be able to. She was only level 21 and despite her confident words and his being a drunk degenerate, Yfel seemed to be level 43. He had to be hiding something and the only reason he wasn’t using it was because he was still drunk and he couldn’t tell that he was actually stronger than her.

“All right. I can do that. I’ll be back tomorrow with a contract.”

Yfel threw his sword aside and shuffled off towards a door. “Don’t come before 11AM. I’ll be asleep. Don’t fucking wake me up.”

She let out the breath she had been holding. “Okay. The kids are coming with me right now though.”

“Don’t care.”

 

Luna fell to her knees once she shut the door behind her. Chi’s siblings ran to her, asking her if she was okay. She gave them a weak smile and put her arms around them.

“I’m okay. We’ll figure out where you guys will stay in the next few days – until then, you’ll stay with us.”

Chiarra burst into tears again as she threw her arms around Luna. Momocha hopped onto Chisa’s shoulder, rubbing her body against Chisa’s cheek.

“But who will take care of our father?”

Luna gave Chisa a pat on the head. “He’s an adult and he’s going to be coming into a decent amount of gold soon. He’ll be okay. Don’t you worry. Let’s go find a magician who can take us all to Chi, okay? He’s in a town kind of near SunYan.”

Liolac picked up Momocha from Chisa’s shoulder and squished her in his hands. He felt nervous and found Momocha’s squishiness helped to calm him down. Momocha let out an annoyed squeal but didn’t make another noise or try to escape his hands. Luna took a deep breath before standing up.

“Liolac will go first to let Chi know you guys are coming, okay? Momocha, c’mon.”

Momocha threw her body back so that she hit Liolac in the face before bouncing over to Luna. Liolac rubbed his face and warped to SunYin, the biggest city between Chuna and SunYan. He found that he was not looking forward to seeing Chi at the moment.

 

Chi was pacing as Liolac and Raza watched him from the magician’s guild in SunYin. It was the only way Luna and Chi’s siblings would have been able to travel to them other than walking all the way there. Liolac knew he was cutting it close with how long he was allowed to be on the game but wanted to make sure everything was okay before he logged off. Raza was just confused and she kept twirling her pink hair, staring at Chi as though willing him to blurt out what was going on. It seemed to work.

“How could Luna do this, Liolac? I mean, I’m glad they’re not with him anymore but how am I going to take care of them from here?? I have savings I could use but that’ll only last us so long. Do you know how much a house costs?! And what did she promise him?! There’s no way he let them go without some kind of promise or – oh my god, did she kill him?!”

“Calm down, Chi. I don’t think she killed him…”

Chi gasped. “You don’t think she killed him? So there’s a chance she did?”

“Uh…”

At that moment, there was a flash of light at the “Incoming Travelers” section Chi was pacing in front of. His siblings and Luna appeared there. The three children ran to Chi, crying.

“Are you guys okay? I’m sorry, were you scared? What happened, Luna?”

“Can we talk about this tomorrow? I need to get some sleep if I want to wake up early to call out of work.”

Chi bit his lip, wanting to refuse her request but knew he should keep quiet.

“Uhm… so… anyone want to let me know what’s going on?” Raza had stood up to get a better look at the incoming guests and was surprised to see three young children.

“Tomorrow, Raza. Let’s go to bed for the night, get some sleep. I feel like shit. I’ll see you tomorrow night, Liolac. Thanks for your help today.” Luna shuffled off towards the guild exit, waving behind her.

Chi held his siblings close to him, grateful that they were with him. Liolac yawned and gave Chi a pat on the back. “Gnight, Chi. I got school so I won’t be on until the evening so I’ll see you then.”

Raza stood to the side awkwardly as Liolac logged off. Chi rubbed his watering eyes and stood. “Raza, we will be staying at the inn. Will we see you tomorrow?”

She was surprised – it seemed that Chi was looking forward to Raza coming with them the next day. “Uhm… yeah, sure.”

She decided to log off earlier than planned so she could be online in the morning. She wanted to know what was going on and felt like she had found a friend in witnessing Chi’s reunion with his siblings although she still didn’t know who these children were.

 

Luna sat at a table in the inn’s lobby, stifling a yawn with her hand. She had gotten up at 7AM so that she could call in to her work. Thankfully they were understanding of her being “ill” as she had never taken a day off in her time there. Unable to go back to sleep, she’d found herself chugging coffee until she logged in a couple of hours later. She still had no response from the game’s support system and decided she didn’t quite care if they never got back to her about Chi.

“Momocha!!” Luna turned to see Chiaki running towards her. She hadn’t even summoned Momocha yet. She assumed the child saw her and just thought “Luna = Momocha” and summoned Momocha immediately. “Wanna see something fun, Chiaki?”

He nodded as he grabbed Momocha and squished her cheeks. Chi, Chiarra and Chisa appeared at the stairs, moving much slower than the little boy had upon seeing Luna at the table.

“Momocha, summon gogoji berries.”

Momocha glowed and light blue berries appeared in Luna’s hand. They had little lines that looked like rainbows on them. She fed them to Momocha, who glowed and transformed into a light blue creature akin to an oversized fennec fox with multiple tails. The tails were like a pastel colored rainbow. Chiaki let out a happy laugh and threw his arms around Momocha, who let out a wheeze. Her breath came out like ice crystals and floated to the floor like snow. Momocha pulled herself free from Chiaki’s arms and blew out more crystals over him. He clapped his hands excitedly, trying to catch the crystals.

“You’ve been looking forward to using those berries. Thank you for sharing it with Chiaki.”

Luna gave Chi a smile. “Well, it’s thanks to you that I even have Momocha. Besides, Chiaki is super cute.”

She ruffled Chiaki’s hair and motioned for Chi and his sisters to sit down. “Let’s have some breakfast while I explain what happened.”

 

It took Luna 10 minutes to tell the story of how she had gotten Chi’s siblings away from Yfel. They seemed relieved that their father was alive, although she didn’t agree with it. Chiaki was on the floor playing with Momocha while the older three siblings sat listening quietly.

“Look, I know what I did was outrageous but I couldn’t just leave you guys there after seeing that. I promise I’ll find a way to pay the amount. I’m sure we can get the magician’s guild leader from that other city to draft a contract so your dad can’t weasel out of it and demand more or something. I understand it’s hard, Chi, but honestly, I think it’d be better for you guys to be homeless than to live with your dad. I’ll help out until you guys get situated and I’m sure Liolac will, too. It’s my fault you’re in this -”

“So, what’s going on here?” Luna was interrupted by Raza’s question. She wondered why Raza was there but remained silent.

Chi spoke up. “Hi, Raza. Thank you for joining us. These are my siblings, Chiarra, Chisa and Chiaki. Chiarra doesn’t speak anymore, so I’m sorry if she doesn’t greet you. Luna brought my siblings to me upon discovering some… unsavory things going on at home. Luna, I want to thank you. I hadn’t known he’d become so much worse… Chisa told me all about it last night. I will take care of my siblings no matter what, you have done so much for my family already, I couldn’t burden you more.”

Luna raised an eyebrow. “You’re going to find them a place to live and pay your dad 50 gold a month? You know they still need to eat and go to school, buy clothes, stuff like that?”

Chi blushed, embarrassed. He knew it was nearly impossible for him to take care of his family at this point, especially if he continued on his journey with Luna and Liolac.

“And don’t you dare say that you’re going to abandon us now when we’re on our way to SunYan. I want to know what the hell’s going on and you’re our friend. You can’t live the way you have been – even if Liolac won’t help, I will.”

Raza spoke up at this point. “Uhm… I have lots of gold. I can help if you don’t mind…”

She felt a little skeevy offering, almost as though she was trying to buy their friendship. For Luna, though, it was the first time since she had met Raza that she felt a positive emotion towards her. She could tell that Raza was being genuine and that she only wanted to help.

Luna gave her a smile and send gently, “Thanks, Raza, but I’d like to see what Liolac and I can work out for now. Would you mind if I asked you for help if we needed it?”

Raza blushed, nodding. No one had ever used a tone like Luna’s with her before other than her own mother. It felt… nice.

“We have to come back to SunYin later anyways, would your siblings be okay here at the inn?”

Chi nodded. “Chiarra and Chisa can look after Chiaki… I’ll leave them some snacks and some money for touring the city. You guys okay with that?”

He turned to his sisters, who nodded. Chisa reached out and hugged him, murmuring, “Be safe, brother. We’ve missed you.”

 

Raza found that questing with Chi and Luna was much easier than with Liolac and Momocha. The pace wasn’t crazy fast but it also wasn’t too slow. Luna fought two to three monsters at a time with Chi throwing in some attacks while healing them. Raza didn’t feel a need to tank and used her highest dps output skills to make quick work of the quest mobs. Momocha was suffering from a debuff from the gogoji berry and was barely functioning. She moved slowly, practically rolling to move forward.

“You know, the berry’s called gogoji so you’d think she’d move fast. Normally she loots so much faster but… no, Momocha!”

Momocha had started rolling towards a mob that had run off with a bleed debuff on it and died near another monster. Luna dashed forward, attacking it before it could sense Momocha’s presence and attack her. Momocha stopped her rolling and frowned. She turned slowly to look at Chi and looked like she was going to let out one of her screeches – and yawned instead. Chi let out a laugh.

“It’s okay, Momocha! C’mon, get on my shoulder!” He threw a heal that jumped from player to player at Luna and jogged forward to meet Momocha and pick her up. She was moving at a snail’s pace and he felt bad for her – she was obviously unhappy with the “Sluggish and lethargic for 1 hour” debuff the gogoji berry had left her with. Momocha made a half-hearted attempt to jump into his hands and fell halfway. He stifled a guffaw and picked her up, putting her on his shoulder. Her eyes had become slits and she jiggled on his shoulder, almost as though swaying back and forth.

“Just rest here, Momocha. You’ll feel better in a bit.”

Mo… momo… “ She barely got the first half of her name out before she yawned. She grumbled, giving up on saying anything. Chi threw a combination attack and heal spell at the mobs when he saw it take a bite of Luna’s arm. Her sword was stuck in the ground and she had had to use one arm to block the attack while she attempted to pull out her sword. Raza killed it quickly while it still held onto Luna’s arm. Luna shook the corpse off her arm and pulled her sword out with both hands.

“I need a new weapon. This thing’s nice and all but it’s hard to swing around.” Luna frowned, wondering if she wanted to switch to a one-handed weapon and shield. Using a two-handed sword raised her attack power but she found that she had trouble moving quickly with such a heavy weapon.

Raza swung her spear around expertly, twirling it and smiling. “If you learn how to use this stuff in real life it’s easier in-game.”

Luna raised an eyebrow. “Yeah, like I have time for that. Show off.”

Raza smiled. Although the words seemed mean, Luna said it with a grin. “Luna, Raza! Incoming!”

Luna and Raza stood back to back as Chi ran towards them being chased by several wolf-like monsters, Momocha bobbing on his shoulder.

 

“Well… this is it. The guild leader made copies for us and he’s holding the original so your dad can’t do anything to it. He threw a fit and honestly, I think if it wasn’t for Raza, he would have demanded more money.”

Raza had followed Luna to Chuna and stood by the door with her best scowl on her face. Yfel could see that she came from money and had been cowed – not enough not to say anything or grumble, but enough not to renege on the deal. Chi took the parchment with trembling hands and looked it over.

“How… 600 gold?”

Luna smiled. “Small price to pay for your freedom. It’ll be a little hard upgrading our gear but I’m sure Liolac and I can manage it. You focus on taking care of your siblings, okay? You said you were going to spend some time today looking for lodging for them?”

Chi folded the paper and tucked it away into a pocket in his shirt. “Yes. I want to enroll them into the school nearby. I’m making more gold now traveling with you and Liolac so they’ll be able to attend school more regularly. I know Chiarra and Chisa will take good care of Chiaki. Chiarra is old enough so I can give her access to the bank account and since they’re not in Chuna I hope to check in on them periodically.”

Luna threw her arms around Chiarra, Chisa and Chiaki. “We’ll take care of you guys! You have to be good and do well in school, okay?”

They hugged her back, happy to be free of their father. “Thank you, Luna.”

It was quiet, but a voice Luna had never heard before. “Chiarra? Was that you?”

Chiarra nodded but was silent. Chi pulled Chiara into his arms, sobbing quietly. “I thought I would never hear your voice again…”

Chiaki stared at his sister. He couldn’t recall ever having heard her voice before. “Chiarra, your voice is pretty!”

He threw himself at his sister, jumping up and down excitedly. “Read me a story later!”

Chiarra smiled, nodding. Chisa stood to the side, hands over her mouth, crying. “I can’t believe… Luna, thank you so much.”

Momocha threw herself towards Chisa’s stomach and Luna caught her before she landed. “Hey, hey. You do that to a litlte girl like Chisa and it’ll hurt. She’s not like Liolac!”

Hugs! Momocha hug Chisa!

“With what arms?”

Momocha pouted at Luna’s Liolac-like comment but Chisa pulled Momocha into her arms. “Thank you, Momocha. I am not crying because I am sad, but because I am so happy. I have not heard my sister’s voice since I was six years old. You, Luna, Liolac, Raza… the four of you have brought back her voice. More than being free of our father, more than taking care of our brother… we can never pay you back for this gift.”

Momocha gave Chisa’s a cheek a lick before bouncing out of her arms. “Momocha dance!! Dance dance!

Raza found herself laughing when Momocha began to “dance.” She reached out to touch her, forgetting Momocha’s dislike of her. Momocha swiveled around and frowned but didn’t snarl. Raza had pulled back her hand when Luna gave Momocha a smack.

“Be nice! Raza’s our friend!” Momocha grumbled and rolled away towards Chi. Chi frowned at her, shaking his head in disappointment. She let out a little whine and rolled her way towards Chisa, who gave her a pat on the head.

“Raza is very nice to us, Momocha. She’s a nice person. She helped us today, too. Let’s all be nice, okay?”

Momocha let out a keen as she rubbed her head against Chisa’s hand. Luna sighed. “C’mon, Momocha. Play nice.”

Mean!” She disappeared. She had only done this before when she had had the debuff from the fragraria berry and they had failed to feed her for the full 10 minutes.

Luna rolled her eyes. “She’ll come around. Let’s get some food. I need to get some work done from home so I’m going to log off for a couple hours after.”

 

Chi, his siblings, Raza and Luna sat at a table in a restaurant. They ate mostly in silence, just enjoying each other’s company.

“Can I get you anything else?” The buxom waitress NPC stopped by their table with a big smile on her face. Chi kept his eyes down this time, as the first time she had come around, Luna had teased him mercilessly for staring. She elbowed him anyways, grinning.

“Hey, Chi. You need anything else?” His sisters giggled as his ears turned red. He stuttered out a small, “No,” his ears turning even redder.

The NPC flounced away to the next table. “Aw, Chi’s turned into a tomato~”

It was like the lack of Liolac’s presence made Luna act as though she had to make up for his absence. She was a bit more outgoing, a bit more teasing towards Chi. Chiarra and Chisa especially seemed to enjoy the dynamic, giggling every time Luna teased him.

“You okay, Chiaki?” Luna stopped poking Chi in the ribs and looked at the youngest member of the Yu family. He was pouting and pushing his food around on his plate.

“When’s Momocha gonna come out to play?”

Luna’s eyebrow twitched as she attempted not to laugh. “She’ll come out to play if I call her, you want me to call her for you, Chiaki?”

Chiaki nodded, looking as though he didn’t believe her. “Momocha, come out and play with Chiaki!”

Momocha appeared on the table and she was frowning. “Meanie!

“Aw, c’mon Momo~ Chiaki missed you!” Momocha launched her body at Luna’s face and she moved her head to avoid the smack. Momocha hit the head of the person sitting behind Luna and fell to the floor before hopping towards Chiaki.

“What the hell?!” The woman Momocha hit stood up in anger and threw her spoon at them. “What the fuck is your problem?”

All of them paled when three big men stood up behind her, looking down at them menacingly. Luna raised her hands in a gesture of peace.

“Sorry, sorry. My Meekokat’s kind of pissed at me and I instinctively dodged when she tried to hit me in the face.”

“Maybe you should pay better attention to your fucking pet, bitch. What if I’d knocked out a tooth?!”

“Uhm… it’s a game… Look, I’m really sorry but I don’t think it’s even possi-”

That was when Momocha made everything worse by throwing herself into the woman’s face.

Silver Suns Chapter 07

Luna knocked on the door at Chi’s house. A little boy in somewhat grubby clothes answered the door. “Who is it?”

“Hi, my name’s Luna, is Chisa here?”

The boy nodded. “Chisaaaa! It’s for you!”

Chisa appeared at the door. “Thank you, Chiaki. Go back to Chiarra okay?”

“Hi, Luna. Come in, my father won’t be home for a few more hours.”

Luna stepped into the small home. It was quite dark, with only a few candles lighting the home.  Chiaki and an older girl sat in the corner of the room, watching her silently. She waved them over but they looked to Chisa rather than move to the table.

“It’s okay, Chiaki, Chiarra. Come meet Luna, she’s Chi’s friend.”

They walked over to the table holding hands. Chiarra seemed to be the oldest amongst the three. Luna wondered why it seemed Chi trusted Chisa more with the money than Chiarra. They took the seats next to Chisa and sat silently.

“Nice to meet you, Chiaki, Chiarra. I’m sorry Chi couldn’t come with me, but he’s having some troubles coming back home. He misses you a lot and I brought you something he cooked for you.”

She summoned Momocha and Chisa, Chiaki and Chiarra all lit up.

“It’s so cute!!” Chiaki reached out to touch it and Chiarra grabbed his hand.

Luna smiled. “It’s okay, she’s friendly and she won’t hurt anyone. Her name’s Momocha.”

All three of them reached out to touch Momocha, who took little hops around the table, happy with all the attention she was receiving. She seemed especially drawn to Chisa, who looked more like Chi than the other siblings.

“Momocha, summon three hayfre meals.”

Momocha glowed and three meals appeared before the children. “Chi cooked these for you… we’re on a journey together and we were able to get some hayfre meat and he wanted you to have them.”

Chiarra began crying silently and the three of them ate with smiles on their faces. They hadn’t had Chi’s cooking in months and they had missed it. Chiaki coughed as he ate.

“Chiaki, eat slower, you’ll choke.” Chisa ran her hand over his hair and patted his back lightly.

Momocha sat on Chisa’s lap as she ate. “Thank you, Luna. This means a lot.”

Chiarra nodded in agreement and Chiaki just continued to eat. Once they had finished, Momocha took back the plates in her storage mode. Chiarra gave Luna a hug before waving her hands around, as if pantomiming drinking from a tea cup.

“Chiarra wants to know if you’d like some tea, Luna.”

Is she mute? Deaf and mute? Luna shook her head. “I should head back to your brother, let him know you enjoyed the meal. Here’s some money he sent for you.”

She handed Chisa the small pouch of coins. “There’s a little extra in there. He said you guys probably need new clothes.”

The three siblings hugged Luna tightly from all sides as though attempting to transfer their love and longing for Chi into her. She hugged them back as Momocha jumped onto her head.

“I’ll make sure to let him know you miss him. And you guys make sure you eat well and take care of yourselves, okay?”

They nodded as they held her. All four of them jumped and Momocha growled when the front door slammed open. A man stood leaning against the doorway.

“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE? WHO IS THAT?”

The three children cowered and Luna instinctively pushed them behind her. “And who might you be?”

“They’re MY kids and you’re in MY GODDAMN HOUSE. Who the HELL are YOU?”

She had known it was their father but did not feel comfortable acknowledging it. He had the same booming voice she had heard on her last visit here. He was obviously drunk and he swayed where he leaned against the doorway.

“I’m a friend of Chi’s. I just came by to check on the kids.”

“Is that meat I smell? You SELFISH brats ate like kings while giving your father dry bread and cheese?!” He stumbled forward towards Luna and the children as if to grab them.

She took a few steps back, putting her arms out behind her as if to protect them. “Actually, I brought them the food. Please take a step back.”

“Those’re my kids, you bitch. Don’t tell me to step back!”

“Out of respect for Chi and his siblings, I want to leave peacefully but if you keep acting like this I will be forced to act.”

Chi’s father let out a loud, barking laugh. “You think you can do something to me, little girl? A friend of that worthless son of mine? Do you know he hasn’t been home in months?! Thanks to him I can barely get anything to drink and I can’t gamble!”

Luna scoffed. “You’re their father! Why don’t you get a job and take care of your family!”

“It’s their job to take care of me! They’re my spawn, I provide the roof over their heads – the least they can do is clean it, feed me and give me my spending money!”

Luna was flabbergasted. She couldn’t believe the words coming from this man’s mouth. Chi was only 20 years old and from what she could see, Chiarra was the oldest sibling after him and she was barely 15 or 16. “Are you kidding me?! What the hell is wrong with you!! The least you could do is take care of them until they’re adults! Look at yourself, you’re no father!”

Chisa tugged on her sleeve. “It’s… it’s okay, Luna. You should go back to Chi.”

“I can’t leave you here like this. Just come with me.”

Chisa shook her head. “No, we must take care of our father. He is unwell. We cannot burden you and abandon him at the same time…”

“You’re not safe here, Chisa! Just come with me!” Luna had no idea what she was thinking. She had no idea where the siblings would stay or how they would survive but she knew that she couldn’t just leave them there.

Chisa stumbled when Chiarra pushed her and Chiaki. She waved her hands forward as if telling them to go. “Chiarra?”

Chiarra pushed the three of them forward towards the door. Chisa let go of Luna and clung to Chiarra. “Chiarra, no! We’ll stay together, Chi told us to stay together!”

Chiarra shook her head as she pulled Chisa’s hands from her clothes. She gave her a pat on the head and reached down to hug Chiaki. She motioned for her father to come over to the table. He stumbled over, shoving past Luna roughly. Chiarra pulled a small pouch from inside her sleeves and put it into this hands.

He smiled as he looked into the pouch. “Oh-ho, you’ve been holding out on me, brat. There’s 10 gold in here!”

He looked pleased as he pocketed the gold. Luna barely had time to react when he raised his hand to strike Chiarra. She took the brunt of the hit as she covered Chiarra’s small body.

“You bitch! You knew I needed gambling money and you were fucking holding out on me?!”

He swept his leg back as if to kick them and Luna threw her body back into him. He fell to the ground, groaning. Luna and Momocha both growled at him.

“You hurt any of these kids and I will beat you within an inch of your life! Back off. NOW.

Momocha let out a sound that Luna had never heard her make before that sounded almost like a bark.

“Chiarra, Chisa, Chiaki. Get out of the house, NOW.” The children ran out and Luna put her foot on their father’s chest to keep him down. “Momocha, summon 20 gold and all of the silver bracelets.”

Momocha spit out the gold and a small pile of silver bracelets onto the floor. “You take this and go drink yourself to death or gamble it away or whatever. But don’t go looking for the kids and don’t you dare try contacting Chi. I am stronger than you and I have friends stronger than me. We will ruin your life. Got it?”

Chi’s father attempted to speak and Luna put more pressure down on his chest. “Just nod if you understand.”

He shook his head in anger and pushed her off foot off. “Those runts belong to me. Their whore mother ran off and left me with them. They owe me! Without me they would be dead.

He shoved her with his hand with every emphasised word. Luna stumbled backwards with each push and Momocha launched her blob-like body at Chi’s father, growling and snarling.

“I am a war hero! I deserve respect! Especially from runts like you and brats like them!”

Chi’s father swatted Momocha away, who fell to the ground and growled out, “Luna, cloudberry!

“No, Momocha!” Momocha snarled as she put her toothless mouth around Chi’s father’s ankle as if to bite him. “Momocha, come here!”

Momocha growled but hopped onto Luna’s shoulder. She was angry as she bumped Luna’s head softly before jumping onto her head and continued to growl at Chi’s father. Luna pushed Chi’s father back with the palm of her hand.

“Look here, mister. No one owes you shit – least of all your kids. The very least a parent can do for their kids is to give them a place to live, food to eat and clothing to wear. You’ve provided one of the bare minimum as a parent. Respect is earned and you’ve earned nothing. So what if you’re a war hero, that means nothing to me. You – “

Luna was interrupted by the Chi’s father’s slap. “Listen here, brat. I am Yfel, Savior of Aljanna during the War of the Nations! You will – “

Luna punched him in the face. She had hoped not to get too physical with him but she could feel her blood boiling.

“Oh, fuck you. You may have been some great warrior back in your day but you’re just a drunk now! The kids are going with me and you can’t do shit about it!”

Yfel’s eyes seemed to blaze in anger. He wiped a bit of blood from his lip and pushed Luna against the wall. She kicked at him and Momocha screeched in anger as he pulled his fist back to punch her.

“WHAT THE HELL, LUNA!”

Silver Suns Chapter 06

The three of them munched on the apples Merati gave them as they walked down the road that would lead them towards SunYan. Luna glanced at Liolac’s level and felt annoyed. The quest had given them both a level after all the mob kills and quest turn-in, but Liolac had had his potion and was now level 23 while she was level 21. Maybe I’ll grind a little when he goes to bed.

Momocha had seemed to tire once they left the town and moved to Luna’s shoulder. After having had a good night’s rest, Rina was vibrant and openly curious about Momocha. Once discovering that Momocha liked berries, she had raided Merita’s pantry and given Momocha all the berries she could find despite both Luna and Merita’s protests. It seemed it was possible for Momocha to overeat – she had swelled to 1.5 times her original size. Luna rolled her shoulder and considered dismissing Momocha.

Chi looked cheerier than she had ever seen him while Liolac seemed to have forgotten his apprehensions and was practically skipping down the road as he whistled.

“A quest!” Liolac left them behind as he sped towards the bronze quest marker he saw on his map. Luna and Chi smiled at each other, glad that he had regained his vigor.

 

“Uhm… what just happened?” The trio stood at the meadow where they had just finished a quest. When a player leveled up, a white swirling light quickly twirled around them to indicate the level gain. That same swirling light had just enveloped Chi in three quick successions. Chi looked terrified, while Luna and Liolac looked stunned.

No one spoke.

Level up, level up! Congratu, Chi, congraaatuuuuu!!!

All three of them stared at Momocha. Was she right? Had Chi, an NPC, just leveled up?

Luna put her hand over Chi and gasped. When she had met him and all the way to Merati’s town, he had been a level 15 NPC. The same info box that popped up when she hovered over players appeared and it stated

Yu Chi.
Cleric. Level 18

Unable to speak, she motioned frantically to Liolac. She waved her hand between Liolac and Chi, as though she could will Liolac to put his hand over Chi.

Momocha continued to hop around as she screeched congratulations to Chi.

 

The three of them sat in a small circle with Momocha having been dismissed. Her excitement at Chi’s level gains had been unbearable.

Luna cleared her throat. “So… Uhm… What do you think is happening?”

No one made a sound for a few minutes. Liolac fidgeted where he sat, uncomfortable with the silence.

“WELL, like you said, Luna… Chi’s not… exactly… a normal NPC. And Merati said something about Chi growing with us… Maybe he’s more like… a player now?”

Liolac looked like he had scared himself with his own words.

Chi cleared his throat. “So… I felt uncomfortable bringing this up before, but it looks like I should talk to you guys about it now. The two of you call this world a game, you grow stronger exponentially, you keep saying word like level up and NPC and aggro… The conclusion I’ve reached is that… to the two of you, this is some kind of game? I knocked on Luna’s door last night but there was no response and I assumed you were sleeping. And the other day Liolac disappeared right in front of our eyes and no one seemed surprised. Is this… a game to you two?”

Luna almost felt guilty. The obvious answer was yes, but she didn’t want to give him the impression that they weren’t taking him seriously. As she was gathering her thoughts, trying to figure out how to phrase her words, Liolac opened his big fat mouth.

“YES! Of course this is a game! Why do you think I was so freaked out yesterday with Merati and Luna and everything?! You’re supposed to be an NPC, a non-player character! Luna and I are players, we log in to a video game and that’s what you call ‘your world!’ You’re not supposed to be sentient, you’re just some code in a game!

Oh my god, he did not just say that. Luna rubbed her face with her hand. She could feel a headache coming on.

“Chi… please don’t think that we aren’t taking your problem seriously. I promised your sister that I would get you home and I meant it. But the fact is that to us, your world is a type of game that we call a vrmmorpg – a Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing game. When I first met you, I honestly considered just running away because I was so scared. But I’ve tried to figure out what was going on with ‘your world’ from mine and I can’t find any information. I want to know what’s going on, why it’s happening and help you. These ‘quests’ we do and killing monsters gives us what we call ‘experience points’ and we level up. That’s why we seem to be getting so much stronger so quickly. My guess is that Merati’s potion did something to you and now you can get stronger too with us. It doesn’t seem like you can receive quests but you gain experience points when we kill monsters and turn in quests. For now, I suggest we keep moving and take our time absorbing this information. Feel free to ask us any questions and I promise you I will answer them as best I can.”

“Okay… thank you, Luna.”

Liolac looked guilty for his outburst as he listened to Luna’s explanation. Even if Chi was a suddenly self-aware NPC, he seemed as real as either of them and the confusion and pain in Chi’s face had been obvious after Liolac’s outburst. They sat there in silence a while longer before they wordlessly stood and headed back towards the road.

 

Chi was mulling over the information he had received from Luna and Liolac. He hadn’t told them that when the light had swirled around him, he had suddenly become aware of spells he hadn’t known before. He had known immediately that they were healing spells but didn’t understand why or how he suddenly knew them.

No one spoke as they headed towards the next quest marker. Luna didn’t summon Momocha because she was worried that Momocha was still in her over-excited state. The Meekokat was probably the smartest one out of all of them, as she had been the one to remind Luna of the cloudberry and the first one to realize that Chi had leveled up. I can’t believe that blob is smarter than me.

“Well… uhm… Chi, I’m sorry I said that thing earlier… about you just being a code in a game.”

Chi nodded absentmindedly. He didn’t understand what “code in a game” meant and he didn’t really care at the moment. “It’s okay, Liolac. I don’t mind. I’m just thinking about all of this right now… I don’t really understand everything but I’m still grateful for all your help. Luna’s too.”

Liolac slung his arm around Chi’s shoulder as best he could and Chi bent down to give him access. “I’ll help you all the way, Chi! We’ll figure out what’s going on, game or no game! As weird as all this stuff is, all I know is this: we’re buddies now and friends stick together.”

Chi smiled. “Thanks, Liolac. That really means a lot.”

At some point during Liolac and Chi’s conversation, Luna had summoned Momocha. She picked up the Meekokat and threw her at Liolac’s back. Momocha let out an indignant squawk and hopped away.

“Hey, don’t leave me out of the group!” Luna jogged forward towards them and gave Chi a light punch. “C’mon, cleric, let’s go get you stronger! Hey, do you think we can invite Chi to the party?”

“Ooh, let’s try!!”

Let’s try, letsh try!” Momocha hopped ahead of them down the road.

 

“Let’s just skip this quest, guys!” Luna stood behind both Liolac and Chi. Momocha, still angry that Luna had thrown her, was on Chi’s shoulder, ignoring Luna.

Liolac grinned. “Oooh, Luna, scared of some bugs?”

“Those aren’t just ‘some’ bugs! They’re huge spider-like things with gigantic FANGS!!”

Even Chi struggled to hide a smile. Luna was pale and big-eyed as she stared at the fanged, slightly hairy monsters spread out before them.

“Ugh, such a typical girl. This isn’t even real!”

The three of them turned to face the voice coming from behind them. A female player stood before them, wearing an outfit that was undoubtedly from the cash shop. Her spear glowed on her back and the cat-shaped pin in her hair glistened in the sunlight. She sauntered towards them with a smug expression.

“The three of you are partied together? Let me join you for this, I want to get it done quick! I’m really strong because I’ve enhanced my weapon to the max limit.”

Luna felt offended but knew that Liolac and Chi needed a melee player to help with defeating the the spider-like monsters called Aranae. There was no way she could deal with the grossness of these monsters – she hated spiders, and these were bigger than she was. She pressed her fingers towards the girl and invited her to the party.

“Well… welcome to the party, Raza.”

“Thanks. I’m assuming you’re sitting this one out?”

Luna nodded glumly. “I’ll send Momocha with you guys instead.”

She summoned Momocha and Raza dashed striaght to her. “Oh, my GOD. Is this a Meekokat?! How the heck did you manage to get one?! I wanted one but they don’t sell it and I’ve had a hell of a time trying to find one to tame!!”

Momocha seemed to dislike Raza. She growled at her and hopped towards Luna. Raza’s expression became cold and she turned away from them. “Hmph. They’re not that great, anyways. I can just buy more inventory space.”

Momocha leapt from Luna’s shoulder and hit Raza on that back of the head. “What the hell!!!”

Mean!!! UGLY LADY!” Luna stifled a giggle. She felt like Momocha was standing up for her for the “typical girl” comment.

She cleared her throat and told Momocha to go with Liolac and Chi. She had already registered Liolac and Chi’s voice with her so they could summon items from her. Momocha jumped onto Chi’s shoulder and stuck out her tongue at Raza. Raza’s violet eyes flashed in anger and she pursed her lips but didn’t respond. She flipped back her long pink hair and headed down towards the Aranae.

“Well, let’s do this.”

 

“Summon fragaria!” Chi groaned. Liolac liked to feed Momocha the fragaria berry as she turned into a humanoid plant creature that could root mobs. Luna and Chi hated it as for ten minutes afterwards, they kept having to continuously feed Momocha and she became too big for either of them to really carry on their shoulders but she would insist on riding on them.

“Wait, Liolac, let’s -” Liolac laughed as he fed Momocha the berries. NooooOooooooOOo. Chi could hear his thoughts echoing as Momocha transformed.

“Let’s go, Momocha!”

Momocha root spider things!” She let out a happy screech as she threw out her palms towards the Aranae that Liolac attacked. Chi felt like crying. Whenever these two pulled this stunt, he would have to spam heals on Luna as she tried to tank all the mobs that kept trying to throw attacks at Liolac and Momocha. He was sure Liolac would die.

Raza was off to the side attacking two Aranae at the same time and she was in shock. The Meekokat, that wizard… There was no way they would complete the quest properly the way they were fighting. She could see that the cleric was under some strain as he threw heals at the wizard and herself.

“Stop healing the pet! You’re wasting mana!”

Chi kept casting his spells and he shook his head. Momocha may not have been human, but she was a living creature just like any of them and she was a member of their group. None of them would die on his watch if he could help it.

Raza was annoyed. What the hell kind of idiot player would risk the party’s death and quest failure because of a stupid pet? The only upside to this entire endeavor was that he seemed to be a decent healer. She kicked over the Aranae in front of her and brought down her spear through its body repeatedly while it was down.

“Oh, shit!!” Liolac tripped over his robe as he attempted to back away from the Aranae darting towards him.

Lio!” Momocha rooted the spider monster in place and jumped onto it, bringing down her fists on its head. The Aranae seemed irritated and Chi almost laughed as he saw it losing 2 hp per hit.

“Liolac, get up!” Liolac winced as he struggled to stand up. The unrooted Aranae that he had attacked was bearing down on him quickly and he attempted to roll his body to the side in an attempt to avoid the sharp leg coming down towards him. He yelped as the sharp leg sliced into his arm.

“Damnit!” He tthrew up a fireball at the monster and although its health went down, it did not deter the beast. It lifted another leg to stab him when Raza barreled into it with her spear.

“Get up!” Raza swung her spear, sweeping the monsters eight legs out from under it. It fell onto its back, helpless as Raza stabbed its body. Liolac scrambled to stand, clutching his now bleeding arm. Chi healed him as he wondered to himself if his mending spell could be used to fix Liolac’s robe. Momocha was still doing her best to beat the Aranae under her as it attempted to throw her off.

“Hey, Meekokat, get off!” Momocha snarled at Raza, who glared at her.

“Momocha, c’mere!” Liolac waved her over and she jumped off, heading to Chi.

“…How come she only comes to me when she knows we’re gonna fight?!”

Chi grinned as Momocha put her arms around his leg, still glaring at Raza, who spared her a glance before running towards the Aranae Momocha had been on. Liolac aided Raza by throwing spells at it as she jabbed at it with her spear.

 

“That Meekokat’s kind of a dick.”

Luna raised her eyebrow and didn’t respond. She was feeding Momocha, who had reverted to her normal form. The debuff on her read: Starving. If you do not feed her consistently for 10 minutes, she will refuse to be summoned for up to 24 hours.

She hated feeding Momocha the fragaria berry because of this. She contemplated taking Liolac off of Momocha’s registered voices. The last time they had used the fragaria berry, they had failed to take the debuff into account and Momocha had disappeared. When summoned, she would pop up to screech out an angry “No!” before disappearing again. That had lasted 3 hours and she didn’t want to take the risk of losing Momocha for 24 hours.

“Guys, it’s getting late, we should head to a town and log off.”

Liolac nodded. “It’s Sunday, so I gotta sleep early. But can we eat first?”

“You guys want me to give you speed?” Liolac’s eyes sparkled. “YEAH! I love that buff!”

Chi threw his hands over the group and light sparkled down onto them. Raza was pleasantly surprised by the feeling. It felt almost like dew was falling onto her. She checked the icon that appeared near her and saw the buff information: Increase movement speed 45%. As weird as this party seemed to her, she was somewhat lonely. She had partied with many different people but they had all left her once the quests were finished.

“Do you guys mind if I go with you? I’m heading to town anyways.”

She wasn’t heading to town – she had planned on continuing to quest until she had to go sleep. Despite their grubby looking gear, she had to admit that they were decent players and she wanted to make friends. That was the whole reason she had started to play this game – she had no friends in real life and her parents had hoped she would be more social. The game was enjoyable but she had scared off all of the people she partied with with her brash and somewhat vain personality.

“Sure! We’re gonna eat some of Chi’s cooking first, though. It’s really good!”

 

They sat around the campfire as Chi chopped up some herbs on a small cutting board he had purchased in the last town they were in. Momocha hopped around, avoiding Raza, who sat a bit further from the fire than the rest.

Chi! Berries berries!

“You’ve had enough, Momocha.”

Momocha pouted and hopped away to Luna. After being fed for 10 minutes, she had grown to the size of a beach ball when she was normally the size of a small watermelon. Normally, Chi would have fed her some berries as he cooked but she had obviously grown too big. Liolac and Luna looked over the loot Liolac had taken off the Aranae.

“Hey, Raza! You want anything from here?”

Raza was surprised that Liolac offered. He grinned at her, waving a bracelet around. “This has +20 strength! You did half the quest so you should take what you want.”

She smiled and held out her hand. “Well, I guess I could use it. It’s kind of plain, though.”

Luna could feel her eye twitch. Raza’s tone and smug look rubbed her the wrong way. “You don’t have to use it, you know.”

“Well, it’s an upgrade so I’ll take it. Even though it doesn’t really go with someone like me physically.”

Chi poured herbs onto a plate hed next to the flames. “Someone like you?”

Raza flipped her hair back as she said, “Well, obviously someone like me should only have beautiful things. Why do you think I’m wearing this outfit? I couldn’t walk around with that ugly beginner’s gear on! And I had to enchant my spear to the max level because I mean, how ugly would this thing be if it wasn’t glowing?”

All three of their jaws dropped. Chi had never heard of someone who thought so highly of themselves while Luna and Liolac had thought people like Raza only existed in tv shows or bad teen movies.

Luna managed to eek out a small, “Oh, I see,” before turning to Chi. “What are we having tonight?”

“I thought I would pan sear the hayfre meat. I’m going to throw some herbs on it so it should be pretty good. I’ve never cooked with this meat before but I hear it’s good.” My siblings and I would never have been able to afford this meat. I wish I could send some to Chisa and the rest.

It was as though Luna knew what he was thinking. “Make some extra. We got a lot of meat when we killed those mobs earlier, right? I’ll take some to Chisa for you.”

Raza was miffed that no one had commented on her outfit or her weapon but she was more curious than angry. “Who’s Chisa?”

The trio fell silent, unsure of how to explain that Chisa was Chi’s sister but that Luna would take her the food. They couldn’t exactly tell someone they’d just met that Chi was a sentient NPC.

“Fine, you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.” The words sounded angry, as though she felt entitled to an answer.

“I’m sorry, Raza, it’s just really complicated, okay? Maybe after some time – “

“It’s fine! Obviously it’s none of my business.”

Luna hated being interrupted but held her tongue. She didn’t need Raza asking more questions in case she accidentally said something she shouldn’t. “Let’s eat, guys.”

Silver Suns Chapter 05

Luna and Liolac destroyed mobs as they made their way towards the Hesiod lair. Luna had convinced Chi to stay behind in the town to “look for items unique to the region.” She knew they’d have an easier time getting into the lair and back out if Chi wasn’t aggroing every mob in the vicinity but didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Luna sighed as Liolac cackled while throwing fireballs at a “Hesiod Mage.” She dashed behind the mob and brought her sword down. There was no way either one of them would have been able to complete the quest on their own, but they were having a relatively easy time together.

“Hey, Luna! Looks like we need to talk to that NPC in the corner over there.”

Luna looked in the direction Liolac was pointing to. A small child was cowering behind a building, only half his body visible. They jogged over to him and crouched down, tapping him with a finger.

P-p-please, don’t hurt me!” The boy began sobbing as he cowered.

Luna pat his head, saying, “Don’t worry, we’re not going to hurt you. We’re looking for a girl called Rina, have you seen her?”
The boy’s eyes brightened. “Rina? You know Rina? She’s over there in that big building! She helped me escape when we were kidnapped by those people but I only got this far. I don’t know how to get out.

Luna tapped him again for her prompt.

  1. Offer to save the boy with Rina.
  2. Thank the boy for the information and move on.

Luna tapped option A. “Come with us, kid. We were asked by Rina’s grandmother to save her, so just stick next to us, okay?”

The boy nodded vigorously. “Thank you, heroes! I’m Mazu. Will it really be okay to join you?”

Liolac jumped up and down. “Of course, Mazu! Let’s go save Rina!”

The three of them headed towards the building Mazu had pointed to, Luna and Liolac destroying mobs as Mazu clung to Liolac’s robes. Luna was thankful for Mazu’s presence – since he was clinging to Liolac’s robes, Liolac could no longer run ahead hitting all the mobs around them and she could take her time fighting one to two mobs at a time. She had gone through more health tonics than she liked trying to keep up with Liolac’s pace.

They entered the building and froze. Oh my god, it’s like a badly made dungeon in here. Why are there so many mobs?!

 

Chi wandered the town, now used to the dialog boxes that popped up in front of townspeople he spoke with. He wondered how Luna and Liolac were doing and whether they were safe. A small part of him disliked these stops for “quests” as each one delayed his arrival to SunYan but knew that Luna and Liolac needed to do them. They had mentioned something about leveling up and becoming stronger, as they would not be able to guide him all the way to SunYan without doing them. He didn’t understand why they didn’t just train against monsters and dummies but couldn’t complain. The leader of the magician’s guild had told him to go with the two of them and he didn’t know anyone else he could trust.

He went to Merati’s house with a small basket of bread, meat and cheese. He felt comfortable with her and felt that she had probably not eaten since Rina’s disappearance. He knocked on the door and Merati motioned him inside.

“What brings you here, Chi?”

“I thought you could use some lunch. I got some for us if you don’t mind.”

Merati nodded. “Thank you, Chi. Sit down, I will prepare the food.”

He handed her the basket and sat at the table as she walked slowly towards the small table she used to prepare food.

“You have a difficult journey ahead of you, Chi. You must remain strong and rely on the friends you make on your journey.”

Chi froze. “Ex-excuse me?”

“It was not a coincidence that I called to your group. I do not know why, but the world has changed. You are so far the only one who is able to be free of this curse. I am only able to speak with you like this because it is you. I have endured the pain of losing my granddaughter many times now. I am sure, though, that this will be the last time. Your friends will save her and Rina will be free from the constant terror of being in the Hesiod’s hands.”

“How… how do you know that my journey to SunYan will be difficult?”

Merati chuckled. “SunYan is only the beginning, Chi. I know it is not what you would like to hear, but you have a long road ahead of you before you will be reunited with your family. My hope is that you will find others like yourself to join you but my sight has not shown me everything in your future. You and your friends will grow stronger throughout your journey and my hope is that our world will be restored to normalcy.”

“I’m… scared, Merati. All I’ve known is to work and provide for my family… Going to SunYan had never passed my mind in the past. All I wanted to do was make sure my siblings went to school, had food on their table, had a roof over their heads. I thought that once they grew up, began their own lives, that I would get married and settle down, have a few children, keep working. It may seem like a boring dream, but that was what I wanted.”

“I am sorry, child, but that life is not in your future. I do not know how long your journey will be… I do know that you will grow stronger, your scope of the world will grow larger. You can do this, Chi. You must do this. It is not only for the many people in our world, it is also for your siblings. You must have realized by now that everyone in our world has been cursed. Dreams grow and change as you grow.”

Merati turned around and looked at him with a soft smile. “You will be okay, Chi. You have protected your family all your life, even when you were but a child. It is time to protect your family once again.”

Chi wiped away the tears that had welled up in his eyes and nodded. “Thank you, Merati. I still do not know exactly what is going on, but somehow I feel a little better.”

Merati brought over the bread, meat and cheese she had sliced on plates she placed on the table. “Thank you again for the food, Chi. Your friends should be back soon, let’s eat.”

 

Luna panted in the corner of the room with Liolac and Mazu standing behind her. She was covered in blood and she winced when she shifted her leg. The reality in the game was mindblowing. She could feel the sweat trickling down her back, the blood flowing from her leg. She actually felt out of breath. Momocha was perched on her shoulder, growling at the Hesiod mobs in front of them.

“Liolac… we… might need to level up some more to take on this quest. I knew it would be harder than the other quests so far since it’s silver level, but this is ridiculous. I don’t want to respawn in the graveyard. And who knows what would happen to Mazu.”

“Shit! Can’t we just – “

Luna! Cloudberry!

“Momocha, summon cloudberry!!” Luna was thankful for Chi’s knowledge. He had given her several different types of berries, telling her to only use them in an emergency. The cloudberry would give Momocha battle capabilities. I can’t believe I forgot about it! Maybe with Momocha fighting with us we can win!

The cloudberry zoomed out of Momocha and into Luna’s hand. She fed it to Momocha, who glowed and turned into what looked like a very tiny girl with white braids, glowing blue eyes and fox-like ears. She wore a simple shirt and a skirt but was barefoot. Luna wanted to reach out and pat her head but knew they didn’t have time to waste.

“Okay, guys. Let’s do this!”

Luna leapt forward again and Mazu hid behind Liolac. From the side, Momocha jumped into the fray, using her small fists and legs to punch and kick the mobs. Upon contact with mobs, her fists and legs glowed momentarily and the mobs moved backward. Luna used all the crowd control she could as Liolac threw fireballs and brought down a rain of ice above them.

“Shit! I’m out of mana tonics! If these guys don’t die during my next few rotations, I’m screwed!”

For the first time since they’d played the game together, Liolac looked unhappy and stressed. Momocha let out a yell as she began to glow. Luna jumped in surprise and almost took a knife to her arm. She quickly blocked and kicked the Hesiod rogue in the shin. He fell forward and she jumped onto his back and ran her sword through the mage behind him. Momocha barreled forward, her hands moving at a speed almost impossible to follow with the eyes. The mobs fell before her, their hp bars being reduced at a rapid speed. After a few seconds, she stopped glowing and began fighting again at her original pace.

Damn. I wish it lasted more than 5 minutes. Feel like it’d be super useful in dungeons.

Liolac’s spells and Momocha’s attacks made quick work of the mobs surrounding Luna. She had recently learned some threat-generating skills and was thankful she had them now. Without them, there was no way Liolac or Momocha would have been able to escape the battle mostly unscathed.

 

The battle over, Liolac and Luna sat on the floor, eating their hp and mana generating foods. Momocha had reverted to her normal form but was grumbling under her breath. Luna clicked her and saw that she had a debuff. Cannot eat special berries for 5 hours and is belligerent for 20 minutes. Ugh, I hope we don’t run into another ridiculous group of mobs like this room again. We’ll have to abandon the quest if we do.

“Hey, Momocha, you want some berries?”

Momocha hopped around to face her. Luna was shocked to see that she was capable of frowning. “NO! Momocha angry!

Liolac laughed. “What’s up with that debuff? This is hilarious.”

He coughed when Momocha slammed her body into his stomach. “Liolac MEAN!

Momocha hopped away, grumbling some more. “Well… at least it’ll only last 15 more minutes.”

Liolac nodded as he finished the last of his bread. “Ready to try the basement?”

 

Luna untied the ropes that bound Rina’s hands. “Hey, your gran sent us. Let’s go see her.”

Rina was a tall, willowy teenager with almost a waifish look to her. Her dark red hair fell halfway down her back and her dark eyes seemed tired. “Thank you, hero.”

Luna and Liolac had encountered some mobs on the way to Rina but had encountered more prisoners than mobs. They had gathered a small circle of people who lived either in or near Rina’s town. The small group headed out of the basement and stopped at the exit. The mobs outside had respawned.

Liolac wooped. “Stay behind us, villagers! We’ll take care of these guys!”

Luna sighed. She’d hoped they’d been fast enough to skip respawned mobs but they had obviously spent too much time in the first room. Momocha was still belligerent and refused to ride on Luna’s shoulder.

 

The entire group had decided to stay with Luna and Liolac after seeing them defeat the Hesiod followers. They walked slowly up the road, the children chasing after Momocha and the adults silent. It took them twice as long to reach the town as it had taken them to reach the Hesiod lair and they separated as soon as they entered the town. Rina ran towards Merati’s home and Luna and Liolac followed.

“Grandma!!” Rina threw herself into Merati’s arms, crying. “I can’t do this anymore, every moment is hell!”

Rina paused as she realized that she had spoken her true thoughts instead of the words she usually spoke after being “rescued.” Merati smiled down at her. “It is okay now, Rina. You are safe. But I do not think you should travel to your parents’ home for a while. You will stay here with me, safe.”

Merati hugged Rina and looked at Luna and Liolac. “Your rewards are on the table. Please take what you would like.”

They put the small pouches of gold away in their inventory and eyed the potions. Two glowing purple potions and two glowing green potions were on the table. “The purple potion is for altering the mind, the green the physical.”

Liolac was surprised when Luna took the purple. “Luna, you’re a warrior. Shouldn’t you take the green one?”

Luna shrugged as she took the purple potion and the sword. Merati watched her silently, patting Rina’s back softly. Luna turned to Chi and held out the glowing potion.

“Drink it.”

Chi blinked. “Uh… what… no, no, I can’t take your reward. You are already helping me so much by escorting me to SunYan. This looks like a powerful potion, it will greatly benefit you.”

Luna shook her head. “Either you take it or I make you take it.”

“No, really, please. I am sure you will become so much stronger if you take it. Please.”

“Chi, I know for a fact that you are supposed to take this. So take it.”

Chi nodded and reached out with a shaky hand. Liolac stared, slackjawed. Luna looked at Liolac out the side of her eye. “Take yours too, Liolac. You said you don’t have much inventory space so you may as well take it now.”

Liolac closed his mouth and nodded. It looked like Luna had no intention of explaining her actions. Both Chi and Liolac chugged the liquid. It felt warm going down but it wasn’t an unpleasant feeling. They both glowed and Liolac felt himself level up twice. He took a look at his stats – his maximum mana threshold had grown by one thousand. The potion had given him both two levels that gave him both hp and mana increases and another 500 max mana.

“Luna, you really should have taken the green potion. Look at my stats!!”

Luna winced. She knew she hadn’t been meant to take the potion at all, but after seeing Liolac’s statistics, she felt a twinge of regret. She didn’t feel it for very long – Chi had frozen in place.

“Merati, what’s wrong with Chi?!”

Merati smiled. “This will help him grow stronger. He will only be like this for a few minutes. Come, have some tea.”

Both Liolac and Luna looked uncertain but sat at the table. Rina and Merati began preparing the tea. By the time it was finished, Chi stopped glowing and was able to move.

“What.. what is this feeling?”

“Sit, Chi. Have a cup of tea.”

They all sat around the table, Momocha hopping around the room letting out happy gurgles. Luna held out a hand of berries to her and she devoured them happily. Merati handed her a cloth for her hand.

“The two of you must stay with Chi for as long as you can. He will need help to SunYan but also beyond. The three of you are linked to each other and you will be linked to others throughout your journey. We, Rina and I, are also linked to you. It is because the three of you arrived that my Rina has come home to stay. We were under the same curse Chi was and were forced to play out the same scenes over and over again. You three hold the answer to our world’s problem. I do not know yet what the problem is, exactly, but my visions tell me that you are vital to saving our world. The potion Chi took could not be given to him by myself or anyone else from our world. That is why I asked you to do so, Luna. Chi will be able to grow with you. He has some magical power and some battle skills but with this potion, his limitations have been freed. He will learn more spells, more skills. He will soon be able to aid you as much as you aid him.”

Liolac’s eyes became wide. “Uh…. Luna? Do you know what’s going on?”

Luna sighed. “Chi’s an NPC but he’s not an NPC, Liolac. Honestly, I can’t believe you haven’t noticed the strangeness until now. He sees dialog boxes, Liolac! And what kind of quest would require players to escort an NPC all the way from a level 10 area to a level 40 area? I tried to do some research yesterday and found no information about Chi. None at all. I even went to look at a list of quests and I haven’t found him anywhere. There are NPCs without dialog boxes, that guild leader was just weird, Chi reacts according to the things we do just like a normal person. He’s some kind of self-aware NPC that bugged out, it’s like the beginning of SkyNet or something!!”

Liolac was silent for a moment. “I… need to do homework.”

He logged off, disappearing within a moment. Luna sighed. “Well, Merati, I don’t know about him but I’ll stick with Chi as long as I can. I promised his sister I would get him home anyways.”

Merati smiled knowingly. “Liolac will be back to join you. You should rest in the town for the night.”

 

Luna sat at her computer after she and Chi had settled in at the inn. She wondered what Merati meant by Chi being able to grow as she perused the forums yet again for signs of “self-aware” NPCs. Almost 24 hours had passed since she sent in the ticket to support and she still had no response. She was getting more and more frustrated as time went on and she found no information on Chi or anything like Chi. She wondered if Chi just powered down when she logged off or if he did things in the game on his own. She would only be able to play a few hours a night on weekdays – today had been a Saturday so she had spent the entire day with Chi and Liolac, making as much progress towards SunYan as possible while still questing enough to level up appropriately.

After having some spicy instant noodles, she found herself yearning for the food in-game. Her ingredient tasting skill had skyrocketed as she ate Chi’s food and almost everything she ate in the game was much tastier than anything she herself made (although that wasn’t saying much as her cooking skills were appalling). She wanted to log in just to eat but knew she should get some sleep so that she could get an early start the next day.

10 minutes to eat wouldn’t hurt…

 

The next morning, Luna and Chi convened outside of the inn, near Merati’s home. They stood at the side of the road with Momocha on Luna’s shoulder. “Do you think… he’ll come?”
Chi nodded. “Merati said he will. I want to believe her.”

“Okay… 30 more minutes and we’ll go. He can catch up to us if he wants to join.”

Momocha dance!!” Momocha began jumping up and down on Luna’s shoulder, her blob-like body undulating as if to a rhythm only she could hear.

“Pfffttt. AHAHAHAHA!” Luna burst out laughing, unable to hold it in. Momocha had broken the tension between them and even Chi let out a laugh though he attempted to hide it behind his hand.

Momocha jumped off of Luna’s shoulder and continued to dance on the ground. “Dararara~ darara~~~~

“Is that thing dancing?”

Luna and Chi looked up and saw Liolac walking over to them as he stared at Momocha.

“Liolac!!” They both yelled his name excitedly and ran over to him. Chi spread out his arms as if to hug him and Liolac dodged.

Liolac let out a cough and stood before them with a serious look on his face. “I don’t know what’s going on exactly. I thought about it last night and I can’t really wrap my head around it. For now, I’ll keep helping.”

Chi threw his arms around Liolac, jumping up and down with joy. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!!”

Liolac finally smiled. They went to bid Merati good-bye and to continue their journey. Momocha kept dancing along the road as though to keep them entertained.

 

Silver Suns Chapter 04

Luna sat at the inn, waiting for Yu Chi and Liolac to show up. She wished she’d had more coffee before logging on but it was 8:10AM already and she didn’t feel comfortable logging off for coffee. She was frustrated. She had spent hours scouring the forums, Google, anything, for answers and had found nothing. She had reported the bug and still not received a reply from anyone when she’d woken up this morning. There had been no information of a “special event” quest or NPC, no mention of NPCs “coming to life,” nothing that could help her figure out what was going on with Chi. There was nothing she could do for now but help him or leave him and she knew she couldn’t leave him. Although undoubtedly an NPC, Chisa had moved something in Luna. She couldn’t break her promise to get Chi back home to her.

“Mornin’ Luna! You sleep well? Let’s get some breakfast!” Liolac sat in the chair across from Luna, smiling brightly. Luna was sure Liolac was at least two hours behind her time zone, and marveled that he’d gotten up so early to get online.

“Aren’t you tired? It should be 6AM or so for you, if I calculated correctly.”

Liolac grinned. “Yeah, but I gotta get up around this time for school everyday so it’s not a big deal. I went to sleep early last night after finishing my homework so I could spend the day playing! Have you seen Chi yet?”

Luna shook her head. She was a bit annoyed that he was late despite the fact that he was the one who needed help. She glanced around the inn and spotted him coming in through the front door. “There he is.”

Chi sat at the table, dumping a pack on the floor that fell with a thump. “Did you go shopping before coming here?”

Chi nodded. “Sorry I’m a bit late. I wanted to be able to leave as soon as possible, so I went out to gather some provisions. I have food, water, snacks, tonics, bandages… pretty much anything we’ll need until we reach the next town. Luna, could I ask you for a favor?”

What? We’re taking you to SunYan, what other favor could you possibly need? Luna could feel herself getting irritated due to her lack of sleep. “What do you need?”

“Remember when you got Momocha? I told you she’s a storage creature… if you summon her she could store these things without any burden. We would probably move faster if I’m not carrying this. And you can summon the items you need rather than me rummaging through the bag.”

Luna felt herself calming, then felt a wave of shame overcome her. She’d promised Chisa she would help Chi get home and yet she was being unreasonably selfish with Chi. She knew that she wouldn’t even have Momocha if not for Chi, that she would have been heading towards SunYan anyways, and yet she felt resentful towards this man who only wanted to do what was best for his siblings. She vowed to do better and be better. She summoned Momocha by pressing the “pet” icon floating in front of her. There was a small swirl of blue lights and Momocha appeared.

Mornin’ Luna! Momocha hungryyyyyyy!

Luna grinned. She couldn’t help but love this little blob that hopped around her as though she was a bouncing ball with constant rebound. “Hey, Chi, you got any more berries? I don’t have any.”

Chi nodded. “I picked up different types of berries for her. Some of them are special and will give her different effects so I’ll let you know as we go. Here, she should like these, they’re called baccate.”

Luna held out her hand full of berries to Momocha. “Momocha, do me a favor and try not to eat my whole hand this time?”

Momocha grinned and chomped down on Luna’s hand whole. Luna grimaced as she pulled away her now spit covered hand. “Mmmm, yummy! Like!!!

Momocha hopped around the table, obviously excited to be munching on the baccate berries. Luna wiped her hand on a napkin and turned to Chi. “Any way to get her to stop doing that?”

Chi shook his head. “They’re all different. At least you got a friendly one.”

“How do I… store things in her?”

“Just ask her to go to storage mode, that should work.”

“Momocha, could you go into storage mode please?”

Momocha, storage mode.” Momocha glowed for a few seconds before there was a flash and in her place were three smaller version of her with what looked like glowing plates above their heads. Luna picked up a bottle from the bag Chi had and placed it on the plate.

Registered: 1 Health Tonic.

Luna picked up two more items and put them on the other plates. “Registered: 1 Bundle Waterbloom, 1 Bundle Etsic.

The plates flashed and the items disappeared. “Hey, what if I just… dump everything in the bag here. Think that’ll work?”

Liolac jumped up. “Let me do it!”

He grabbed the bag and turned it upside down.

Registered: 49 Health Tonics, 9 bundles Waterbloom, 9 bundles Etsic, 50 Mana Tonics…

Momocha rattled off the items as the plates flashes rapidly. “Momocha, end storage mode!”

Momocha glowed. “Voice unregistered. Invalid command.

Liolac pouted. “I can’t even do that?”

Luna smiled and repeated Liolac’s words. Momocha glowed and in a flash of light, she was back to the bouncy little blob that liked to bounce around. “Luna!! Luna, Luna, Luna!

Momocha seemed to enjoy just chanting Luna’s name as she hopped around. “Well, let’s get breakfast before we head out.”

 

Luna wiped her brow. After turning in multiple quests on their journey to SunYan, Luna and Liolac had reached level 20. At least leveling’s quick at this point. We should hit 40 pretty soon barring any complications.

Liolac was proving to be the type of wizard that would annoy any tank. He charged forward before anyone else, hitting any mob he saw. Luna was getting a heavy virtual workout trying to keep up with his pace. If only exercise in this game equated exercise in real life. I’d lose so much weight.

She wiped sweat from her brow and watched Chi from where she stood. He’d proven to be… mostly useless in battle. Despite his obvious skill with the sword, he barely did any damage. Is it because NPCs don’t gain experience points? I really wish he could kill something or heal or… anything, really. He’s like a walking potato at this point. We can’t keep going like this, he’s aggroing half the mobs we go near, we don’t even need to kill most of them but have to because of him. I wonder if gear would help.

“Hey, guys! There’s a town up there! I think we can turn in these quests!”

Luna let out a sigh of relief. A town meant no mobs to fight. She needed a break.

 

After turning in their quests, they walked around the town, checking out the merchants and buildings unique to the town. “I guess we should go do the next round of quests?”

Chi and Liolac nodded while Momocha hopped onto Luna’s shoulder. When questing and fighting monsters, Momocha seemed to prefer being on Luna’s shoulder to anywhere else. In safe areas, like towns, Momocha charged ahead, jabbering in her high voice about this and that, pointing out anything that caught her interest.

“You three, come over here.” The three of them stopped and turned to look at the old lady beckoning them into her house.

Liolac walked over to her and bent down to meet the old woman’s eyes. She was hunched over, making her seem even shorter than she actually was. She barely reached Liolac’s waist. “You need some help, granny?”

Liolac’s eyes twinkled in anticipation. She had a quest icon over her head – a silver quest icon. So far the only ones they’d received had been bronze level quests. Silver meant better rewards than bronze while gold meant the best quest rewards in the game, but they wouldn’t be able to access any gold level quests until they reached level 60. He wasn’t sure how they’d missed this quest on the map but was excited to carry it out.

She gestured them into her home and they followed her in. She sat at a round table, indicating to them to sit down.

“I am Merati. I have a granddaughter who left my home three days ago. She should have arrived at her parent’s and sent word of her arrival by now. I heard from a traveler that a girl fitting her description had been kidnapped by the Hesiod followers. Would you please scout their area and check if she is there? Her name is Rina. Please rescue her if she is being held captive. The Hesiods are terrible, they dabble in black magic, commit horrible atrocities in the name of ‘advancement,’ sell people into slavery… Rina cannot be left to that fate! Please, save her. The Hesiod’s lair is just north of the town.”

Luna mulled it over and turned to her party members. “What do you think, Liolac, Chi?”

Liolac nodded happily. “What’s the reward, granny?”

“5 gold 50 silver for each member of your party, the choice between a Sword of Fenric or a Staff of the Phoenix, and a choice between two potions. The potions give random effects – one has a physical effect while the other alters the mind.”

Liolac and Luna’s jaws dropped. They had maybe 2 gold between the two of them. Chi obviously had more but it was his gold and they didn’t feel right asking him for any. Well, Luna didn’t feel right. Liolac still thought Chi was some special escort quest NPC. Luna wondered when Liolac would realize what was going on and if he would be able to cope with it.

“All right, we accept the quest. We’ll be back with your granddaughter soon, granny!” Liolac practically skipped out the door, thinking dreamily of the gold and Staff of the Phoenix he would receive.

Merati grabbed Luna’s arm as she turned to leave. “Luna, you must choose the purple potion and give it to Yu Chi.”

“Ex-excuse me?” Luna paled as she tried to pull her arm out of the lady’s surprisingly strong grip.

The old lady repeated in a loud whisper, “You must choose the purple potion and give it to Yu Chi once you complete the quest. You must.”

Luna nodded hesitantly, willing Merati to let go of her.  Merati looked into Luna’s brown eyes for a moment, as though searching for sincerity. She seemed satisfied as she gave a small nod and let go of Luna’s arm. Luna rubbed her arm where Merati had held her. Hope it doesn’t bruise.