It was a day to remember. Sunlight brightened to a clear sky. Birds danced on warm, steady breezes as nature's fragrance wafted across stunning green hills. The scene was perfect.
However, this had not helped Melly's mood. She hung from a tree, transfixed by a long disgusting line of drool. It dangled off an oversized jaw lined with gnashing teeth. A rabid Dire wolf that had chased her growled and snarled as it fought to rip off any available limb.
Today she had worn her favourite dress. It was now brown. Her hair dishevelled, and the mushrooms she had gathered strewn here and there.
Why me? She thought. All she wanted to do was scavenge some food for tonight's dinner. Some wild potatoes or even a bundle of carrots. Instead, she found herself face to face with mortal peril. She looked up, pleading with the heavens, and begged all the gods for aid.
"Please someone. Anyone! Help me!" she screamed. From powers that be, only silence answered. She closed her eyes as tears streamed down her cheeks. Before she could bite back a sob, a massive popping sound tore her from her misery.
"Holy crap! These graphics are incredible!" someone shouted. Their voice oozed wonderment.
“What?” Melly mumbled and frantically scanned her surroundings for the source of profanity.
Down the hill stood a handsome blonde man. He was talking to himself, staring into blank space and making weird finger motions.
A wandering village idiot? Melly wondered. She knew a few of them occasionally got free. Eventually, some good Samaritan would find and return them. The odds had not shifted in her favour.
The rabid wolf below turned to the muttering form for only a second. It shrugged in disinterest. A crazy man was not worth the trouble. Renewing its efforts, the wolf snapped its sharpened fangs inches below her feet.
"Help!" Melly screamed to the unidentified, crazed stranger. Here, she thought, was her only hope. It was small. If nothing else, she may even use the poor sap as a human meat shield.
A blue light flashed into existence, and a small creature materialised in front of the simpleton, accompanied by a cheerful crescendo of invisible bells.
"Greeting’s adventurer. I am a blue fairy and your helpful guide for this land."
"Oh, hi!" he replied, amused by the new series of events.
"Help!" shouted Melly. The man turned towards her and gave her a casual wave before resuming his attention to the blue flickering distraction.
"You may call me anything you want, master. And I will follow you throughout your vast travels and help you on your way!" it sang with pride and joy.
"Great! Then I shall call you. Um, Fairy!" exclaimed the man, proud of his ingenious naming technique. Fairy nodded in understanding and grinned.
"Thanks, master!" Fairy flicked its wrist, and something she couldn’t see appeared before the man.
“Pick your class,” the man spoke in a monotone.
Melly's grip loosened and shifted as her weight fell a few feet closer to death.
The man glanced towards her plight casually, then back at the imaginary object.
"Hang on, hang on!" he scratched his chin. "What class should I pick?" he asked himself.
"Class? What the hell!" Melly blurted out in a panic. "Help me you, idiot!"
The stranger turned poked and prodded his fingers as he read. "So, my choices are Fighter, Adventurer or Spell Caster. What weird choices!"
"Hmmm. Okay, Adventurer. A well-rounded character, jack of all trades but master of none. The Adventurer class has no special skills but unlike other classes can pick up multiple subclasses and professions. Sounds nifty. I guess that's it then!"
The man nodded, then pressed what looked like an invisible button, sending azure lights surging skywards.
"Name now! Well, might as well use my usual-" he continued to ramble.
The odd man poked random fingers across the air and mouthed a string of syllables. "Cle Mi Ti Cus the Splen Di Fe Rous.”
Fairy spun three times and trumpeted. "Greetings, one and all. The brave adventurer Clemiticus the Splendiferous has arrived in this wild land. Be grateful that such a strong brave and handsome adventurer has blessed your world, Fanswald, with his presence!"
"Thanks, fairy!" Clemiticus cheered as he gave his new blue fan a thumbs up. "Now-" He finally turned towards Melly. "Time for my first quest!"
"Help?" she pleaded.
He nodded nonchalantly. "On my way," he said as he ambled towards the dire wolf, who now was only inches from Melly's ankles. Melly watched as Clemiticus strode over and punched the wolf in the back of the head.
"Yelp!" the wolf cried.
"Clemiticus has learned Punch!" Fairy announced.
"What are you doing!" Melly exploded, fear forgotten and enraged at the idiotic attempt to kill himself.
Turning, the wolf faced its new dinner. Clemiticus cracked his knuckles and jabbed the air a few times. His fighting stance looked odd and a bit too playful.
"Come on, Doggo. Come have a go!" he teased.
"Clemiticus has gained the skill taunt!" beamed the fairy.
The dire wolf lunged forward and chomped down on the man's left arm. The massive weight of the animal lashed back and forth. It was a mighty attempt to bring the man down. However, the man stood mesmerised at the odd-looking scene.
"Master adventurer," squeaked the familiar voice. "If you wish to fight, you must first equip a weapon!"
"Ah! whoops." Clemiticus laughed and smacked himself on the forehead with his free hand. “And how do I?" he asked as the Wolf attacked his other arm.
"You have a bottomless inventory in your pockets, sir!" Fairy spoke. "You will have a weapon inside as a part of your starting gear."
"Bottomless?" asked Melly.
Clemiticus winked, "Cheer’s bud!" and plunged his spare hand into his boundless pocket.
An absurd amount of lustreless steel appeared from the small opening of his leggings. Flourishing it into the sky like a freshly caught tuna, Clemiticus shouted. "Aha!"
The wolf's eyes widened in shock. The broadsword fell, and with a single thwack, the beast lay cleft in twain.
"Clemiticus has learned sword strike."
"Clemiticus has gained combat experience points!"
"Clemiticus has reached - level two!"
"What?" asked Melly. Her mind was struggling to piece together the insanity before her.
Clemiticus the Splendiferous returned the blood-soaked weapon to his pocket with a flourish. Spinning into a heroic pose, he faced Melly.
“Outstanding!” he yelled with a grin.
She dangled now. Her hands wringing grooves into the branch she still held. With her jaw drooping, she stared in bewilderment at her saviour, not sure whether to continue to climb the tree to get away from the loon or climb down and thank him. Melly gathered her thoughts, deciding on the latter when Clemiticus spoke.
"So, what do I get then?"
A smug expression fell on his face.
"Get?" Melly grunted as she climbed down.
"Yeah. like loot or something. That was a quest, right?"
He prodded and poked at invisible things all around himself as he spun in a circle. "Hey! Where's the EXP bar? I’m level two, right?"
"Get?" she repeated. "EXP? Level two? I don't know what you mean!"
Confusion had slapped her across the face again. The guy kept flipping from saviour to nutter.
"You know, it's a starting quest... so maybe a few coins and a pair of boots."
"A pair of boots. For what?" Melly asked. Curiosity had got the better of her.
"For the quest. You know like a reward."
She looked him up and down. He wore modest travelling gear, complete with a lovely pair of leather boots. "You want boots?" She asked.
Clemiticus was way too enthusiastic.
"But you are already wearing boots."
He looked down and inspected his outfit for the first time. "Why, hello there?" Clemiticus looked back and nodded. "Yep!"
Melly was incredulous. "And you want more?"
"Well, of course! Starting gear has no stats. So even a pair of dead rats tied to a string would be of greater benefit to me than these." He shook his feet, one after another, as if to prove that the perfect fit of the boots was somehow an impediment. The blue fairy that now sat on his shoulder nodded in agreement.
Yep, she thought, screw this! He's insane. Without another word, she turned and walked away. An old memory flashed in her mind as she walked. Something her father had once told her. There are two types of people you don't argue with: crazy and stupid. Clemiticus was both.
"Walk away," her father had said. "Get out of there. And don't look back."
It was brilliant advice. So, she took it.
"Hey!" the man shouted. "Wait up!"
Clemiticus gathered all the grubby food items she had dropped and hurried behind her, dragging two halves of a wolf's carcass behind him.
No, she thought, don't talk back to him. Just walk away!
"Oh, here we go!" He paused behind her, and with a strange squelching sound, he let out a cheer, as if he had won the village archery competition.
"What are you doing!" she screamed in frustration, willing herself not to face him.
"Well, I am looting my rewards since you won't give me boots." He sounded sulky now. As if this was entirely her fault for gathering supplies, with the foresight of bringing an appropriately fitted pair of size eleven boots.
She placed fingers on the bridge of her nose and closed her eyes. Her horror-filled curiosity had defeated her. She couldn't stop herself. Will power fell away as she gave out a final defeated sigh. What met her gaze would haunt her forever.
Clemiticus the Splendiferous was hopping, trying to insert his remaining foot into the second half of the wolf's carcass. With an odd plonk, a plop and a gush of gore, he examined his new boots and gave her a blood-soaked thumbs up.
"Clemiticus has equipped: Dire wolf boots!" announced Fairy.
"Plus, three stamina, baby!" Clemiticus cheered.
"Screw this!" she shrieked and stormed away with her hands in the air.
Thank you for reading!