Bitter 52

By 4 PM Britta was back in the pod. She waited for the minutes to tick by until she could re-enter New World. She was in the white room with the prompt to enter hanging in front of her. She wanted to press it but knew it wouldn’t do anything until her twenty-fours hours were up.

Lying there with only the sound of her heart beating, she wondered where she would resurrect. It hadn’t occurred to her until that moment. If she came back to life in the Church of Roha, she’d be a long way from the gnome caves. Would she even remember how to get there? Maybe the gnomes had their own underground temple. It was a slim hope to avoid a huge waste of time trekking across the wilderness.

As she inwardly groaned at the prospect, she realised it was already past time. She’d already lost two minutes. She hit the button.

She had until 9 PM, 10 PM if she wanted to really cut it close. Five or six hours should be plenty. She felt the change in her body as she opened her eyes. There was a while light over her like she was on an operating table.

She lay still. This wasn’t her familiar cell in the Church, which was good. But where was it?

Looking from side to side she could see drapes. No, they were tendrils of some kind. Vines covered in small leaves. The light was coming from a large white flower with droopy petals, hanging overhead like a lampshade. Tiny insects darted in and out of the light.

Britta sat up. The light went out. She was in total darkness. She lay back down, the light came back with a flicker. Interesting.

She sat back up and pushed the curtain of vines out of the way. She was on a slab not unlike the one in the Church. When she jumped off it, her feet sank into something soft. Not like mud, more like a plush carpet. She crouched down and felt about. It was slightly damp but springy. Moss?

She stood up and checked herself. She had all her clothes. She hadn’t been carrying anything so she hadn’t lost any items. As her vision adjusted, she became aware of a dull glow around her. Large mushrooms, disc-like and sticking out of the wall in front of her, gently lit her surroundings with a blue wash. The longer she stood there, the more she could see.

She was at the base of a cliff. Was it the one she jumped off? Would there be a Britta shaped indentation in the moss where she landed? She craned her neck up to try and see the top, but it wasn’t within sight. If she had been meant to climb down, there were no obvious handholds or steps, not that she could see anyway.

Had they really expected her to do some casual mountain climbing? Some people might find that sort of thing exciting, but it seemed like a lot of effort. Lucky for her she found a shortcut, after all. Another thought occurred to her. Was she expected to climb back up?

She noticed a dark area in the rock wall. The entrance to a tunnel. It was pitch black.

There didn’t appear to be anywhere else to go. There was the shrouded altar she’d woken on and a sheer cliff face on either side, with her in the valley between. She could try going further down in each direction, but with the entrance to a tunnel right in front of her, it made sense to investigate this first.

The tunnel was very dark. A light would be handy. She tried breaking off some mushrooms, but as soon as they came away from the wall, their glow faded. She had the ability to create a flash of light but not a persistent one, which would have been more useful right now.

Or maybe she did. She opened her status screen, wanting to look up her Glamor spell. It might have a different application or use, especially now that she was a Level 3 character.

As soon as the screen opened, the area around her lit up. The screen itself provided light, but it also obscured most of her vision. It was like looking through a window at night; all you could really see was your own reflection. In this case, all she could see were the numbers on the screen. It wouldn’t really help her see where she was going, but would be of great help to any monsters looking for a neon sign pointing out where to get a snack.

She clicked on the Glamor button and read over the details of the spell. It said the same things as before, nothing new.

“Can Glamor do anything else?” she asked out loud. There was no response. “Can I change Glamor?” she asked.

Changing Glamor to passive mode, said the computer voice that occasionally spoke to her.  The screen in front of her changed.

In passive mode Level 1 Glamor produces a small ball of light. Duration is one hour. Cost is 5 MP.

Okay. That was good, although how was she supposed to have known she could do that? Shouldn’t there be a tutorial… Britta realised there was a tutorial, the one she’d refused to do.

She made the sign to cast Glamor, and a ball of light, about the size of a tennis ball, appeared at the end of her finger, then fell to the ground. Britta picked it up. It didn’t light up the whole valley, but it was enough to see by. It was like holding a tennis ball night light.

She directed it at the tunnel entrance and then walked forward.

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