Hunter of Heroes
In the dark room, Saki Tachibana sat on the floor of her small room, glued to the glowing screen of her computer.
In the dark room, Saki Tachibana sat on the floor of her small room, glued to the glowing screen of her computer. Completely captivated in her own world, the reality surrounding her was forgotten and left behind as a distant memory. Her character is a young woman adorned in blue armour and her blonde hair reached her lower back. Saki had named her Selty, inspired by a character from one of her favourite anime that she had completed not too long ago.
Suddenly, the incredibly irritating apartment buzzer resonated from outside her bedroom door. She’s here! Saki thought excitedly. Without thinking of the headset attached to her head, she stumbled through the dark room, almost immediately tripping on a small pile of DVDs that were lying in the middle of the floor. Saki plunged face-first onto the carpeted surface with a muffled thud, but continued to crawl to the door and opened it slightly to peek through. A tall, slender girl stood outside, along with an equally tall boy who stood with his back towards Saki’s bedroom. She’s so beautiful tonight. Saki smiled to herself as she continued to stare in a daze. The girl wore a pastel blue sundress that brought out her deep, ocean blue eyes and complemented her short, wavy strawberry blonde hair. Saki found herself lost within her thoughts as she watched the girl laugh and smile cutely to whatever the boy was saying. But Saki quickly shut her door and slumped against it before she witnessed the couple touch lips. She admitted that she was jealous. She admitted that a part of her wanted to steal that girl away from him, her own brother.
Tiny beeps were heard from her headphones across the room, reminding Saki of the game she had been concentrating so hard on for the past few hours. She stood up and quickly crossed the room, carefully avoiding the hazards that covered the floor area surrounding her computer. She placed the headset back onto her head and set her hand on the mouse as she returned to speaking into the mic.
“Sorry guys! I’m back.”
“And where did you go off to?” Mio demanded with an annoyed tone.
“My crush is just outside the door. I had to see her,” Saki explained, “she’s wearing a very cute dress tonight.”
“Awww! Your future girlfriend is visiting?” squealed Saori in excitement.
“Saori!” Saki exclaimed as a blush crept onto her face. “She’s already taken. By my brother too…. She wouldn’t see me like that, anyway. She’s straight as a pencil.”
“Don’t be so negative. You never know what people are like before you talk to them,” said Mio, “and let me guess, you still haven’t said a word to her?”
Saki could practically feel her best friend roll her eyes with that comment. “Nope. Nada. Not in a million years.”
“Are we gonna start our mission now?” Saori asked impatiently. “As much as I want to talk about Saki’s girlfriend, I don’t have much time left on here.”
“She’s not my girlfriend,” Saki grumbled, “but yeah, let’s get started.”
Saki led her group through the cobblestone streets of the small town that appeared to have been from medieval times with lines of booths that sold a variety of food, jewelry, fabrics, tools, and weapons. Hundreds of players wandered around the Trade area, preparing for their next quests and battles or they were waiting for their teams. Saki had planned to upgrade her crystal sword and armour after she had saved up enough coins, but it frustrated her that she could only afford one. She received a grumbling no from Mio after she had asked to borrow a few thousand coins and Saori apologized profusely. Saki sighed in defeat before she moved Selty to the weapons booth. Clicking the Upgrade button, her sword flashed and her attack stats increased by ten. Saki rejoined with her team who have also upgraded their gear and bought supplies.
An hour passed and the group of adventurers arrived at a run-down looking building that had a sign hanging in front saying Tavern. The stone walls showed the beginnings of erosion and the left wooden door through the entrance was only hanging off of a single hinge. Saki imagined if this place were a real tavern, a strong scent of strong beer and burnt beans would waft out of the building. Players entered and exited the building continuously as Saki and her friends found an empty table on the inside. The bartender on the far end of the crowded room gave out missions to players and their teams, larger rewards and XP were given to more difficult missions which often required four or five players on a team. Mio offered to see the bartender for their next mission.
Saki glanced around the tavern until she spotted a player who seemed slightly out of place. The name Celes1 hovered above the character’s blonde head. They wore no armour, just a beginners tunic and their maximum XP was extremely low. Saki pressed the keys on her keyboard and Selty walked up to the new player, opening a private conversation between the two of them.
Hey, r u new to this game?
Yeah, I am. Lol! I just joined earlier today and it’s difficult finding a team
Yea, nobdy really likes beginners on their team. Lol! But hey, why dont you join my team? We could use another player :)
Yea! I’m speaking to my friends and they agree
Alright :) I’ll join you guys then
“What’s our mission, Mio?” Saki asked before taking a large swig of a two litre rootbeer bottle that sat beside her.
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Once midnight hit, Saki argued relentlessly that they should not leave the game just yet. Unfortunately, Mio logged off in frustration and left the conference call with a huff. Saori apologized over and over before she left Saki all by her lonesome. But before she could begin playing a different game, her bedroom door squeaked open. Saki’s twin brother, Ryuu, stepped inside. He grimaced at the numerous empty chip bags and two litre pop bottles scattered along every surface that wasn’t already taken up by the many video games that Saki owned. Ryuu was tall and lean. His shaggy brown hair covered the pimples on his forehead that Saki knew he was self-conscious about. In his hands, he carried a plate of spaghetti and giant meatballs.
“Time for some actual food,” he said, unamused by his sister’s eating habits.
“Thank you, brother,” Saki replied as she grabbed the plate carelessly out of his hands and began shoving noodles into her mouth.
“Continue like this and you’ll turn into a blimp.” Ryuu commented before exiting the disaster zone.
“Your comments are not appreciated here,” Saki returned to face her computer.
In a matter of minutes, she was licking her plate clean. She stood up and stretched, listening to her back crack one after the other. Saki gathered some of the other dishes that had been lying around the past couple of weeks and quietly walked to the small apartment kitchen. However, she froze immediately at the sight of Ryuu on the couch with his girlfriend’s head on his lap, quietly sleeping. The loud crash of dishes caused the girl’s eyes to open in fear and she immediately sat up, stray hairs stood up due to static electricity. Saki watched Ryuu bolt over, but she could not feel her body.
“Are you okay?” Ryuu asked worriedly.
Saki nodded slowly.
“You’re such a klutz, you know that?”
“Um… hey,” spoke the blonde that stood a few feet away, “I’m Casey.”
“H-hi,” Saki felt her cheeks burn.
“This is Saki, my sister,” Ryuu added as he swept up the broken glass.
“Oh! I didn’t know you had a sister,” Casey said as if Saki was not in the room.
“Yeah,” Ryuu said nonchalantly, “she doesn’t come out of her room much.”
Saki glared at her brother, but her cheeks reddened from Casey’s stare. “I-I was just . . . um . . . playing one of my favourite online games . . .”
“What game?” Casey asked, strangely excited in Saki’s opinion.
“H-Hunt for Heroes.”
“Really? I just joined that game today and someone added me to their group after I spent an hour trying to find a team.” Casey said excitedly. “People are jerks.”
Saki remained silent as her eyes widened slightly. She joined today? Someone added her to their team? Could that be . . .. A sudden thought slammed into Saki’s mind like a seagull hitting the glass of a window. Was it possible that the player she had asked to join her group was truly her crush? Could it have been Casey all along? The fact that they had just spent hours on a mission together, learning about each other and becoming quite close, completely blew Saki’s mind. Never in a million years would she have guessed that Casey, one of the popular girls on campus, would be interested in online RPG games or that she would accidentally ask the girl of her dreams to join her team of nerds.
Saki felt faint. She shook herself out of a daze and ran back to her room. She slammed her bedroom door shut and her breathing quickened. Her stomach grew tightened into figure 8 knots and thousands of butterflies fluttered crazily from the strange encounter. Casey had no idea that she existed and Saki had accepted that. She probably thinks I’m too weird. So weird that my own brother doesn’t even mention me at any point during the four months that they’ve been dating. Saki sighed heavily and fell back onto her small bed beside her computer. She swallowed the last mouthful of rootbeer and threw the plastic bottle across the room in frustration. She likes Ryuu. How could I possibly betray him like that. That would be awful. But this will probably kill me eventually if I don’t say something. Saki groaned and pushed her face into her marshmallow pillow. What do I do? And at that moment, she felt a vibration on her bed and a flash of light lit up her dark room. Saki lazily turned over and grabbed her small, black mobile device, tapping the number pad to see a new message.
Hey Saki :D
Sorry for not messaging you sooner. Returning home has been a pain in the butt.
Awww :( Im sorry to hear that
Have you done anything for the summer so far?
I did have a question…
What is it?
What would you do if you fell in love with someone who was already in a relationship?
I… honestly don’t know. Probably just become close friends with them and be there as much as you can through all the good and bad times. Why do you ask?
Nothing . . . Goodnight Ashton
Goodnight Saki :*
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“Hey Saori, we need backup over here,” Saki commanded excitedly as she assisted Mio in a battle against a giant red dragon.
“On it!” Saori’s character joined the pair.
“Where’s Celes?” Mio asked in an angry tone, “we could really use the help.”
The doorbell rang loudly and Saki sighed, “she’s visiting her boyfriend.”
“SERIOUSLY?” Mio screamed as her character’s health bar transformed from green to yellow.
“Wait . . . how do you know, Saki? Did she tell you?” Saori asked curiously.
“No, but I did find out that she’s my crush yesterday.” Saki mumbled as she jabbed at the keyboard, “she’s over here now.”
“REALLY?” Saori and Mio exclaimed in unison.
The dragon won.
“Okay, spill the beans,” Mio demanded.
Before Saki could reply, her bedroom door squeaked open and she felt her body jolt as if a bolt of electricity entered her veins. She spun around, prepared to scream at her brother for forgetting to knock, but immediately stopped herself when she spotted long blonde hair and a pair of sparkling blue eyes. Saki unconsciously flattened her untidy, black hair and lightly chewed her bottom lip. Casey stepped further inside the dark room and glanced around the floor and Saki’s posters that were hung up above her unmade bed.
“It’s kind of dark in here, isn’t it?” Casey commented quietly.
“It’s how I like it,” Saki replied as she shrugged her shoulders.
Casey stepped closer to the pale girl, “I’m sorry for startling you yesterday. I was so tired last night that I just conked right out.”
Saki blushed as she listened to Casey’s cute laugh. The kind of laugh that was contagious and made her smile, but her world suddenly halted to a stop and Saki’s eyes widened in surprise.
“I hope we can be friends!”
Saki nodded quickly as she smiled brilliantly. Being friends is good enough for me. She thought happily. I don’t need anything more. Quiet yelling and squealing was heard from Saki’s headphones and Saki’s face reddened.
“Guys! Please stop,” said Saki with a threatening tone.
“Are those your friends?” Casey asked curiously as she leaned closer to Saki’s computer. “Hey! That’s the game that I joined recently.”
“Y-yeah . . . these are my friends, Mio and Saori . . .” Saki mumbled nervously.
“This is exciting!” Casey exclaimed excitedly, “what’s your character name?”
“Selty. My username is RootbeerForever.”
Casey gaped in surprise. It seemed to take a few minutes to sink in that she had already joined Saki’s team. Saki waited nervously for the girl’s response. Maybe Casey disliked being on her team or maybe she found other players to make a team of her own. Thoughts swam in Saki’s mind when a smile grew on Casey’s face that reassured her again.
“I had no idea that was you! What a coincidence!”
“Y-yeah,” Saki mumbled as she returned the smile.
“Ryuu should hear about this!” Casey exclaimed before she ran out of the small room.
Saki turned to face her computer screen, completely astonished by the events that had occurred. Maybe she should speak up about her feelings, though maybe not. It was an ongoing battle with resolution in sight.
“Are you going to tell her?” asked Mio.
“I . . . I don’t know,” Saki nibbled on her right index finger.
Silence filled her headphones as she pondered her choices. If she told Casey, she may end up losing Casey as a friend or break her brother’s heart and possibly ruin their close sibling relationship. But if she remained quiet, could she stand to be Casey’s friend from now on? Eventually, Saki ripped off her headphones and fell onto her back as she closed her eyelids so all she could see was darkness.