Bitter 68

“Britta, I’m your father. I wouldn’t steal from you.” He put his mug down on the table. “And it’s not like you’ll need any of it.”

Britta’s eyebrows crawled towards each other. “That sounds like you are going to steal from me.”

“I play a ranger, not a thief,” Dad said emphatically.

“Really?” said Britta. “I’d thought you’d be a mage. Someone said they were the most OP class.”

“And you think I only play OP classes?” said Dad huffily.

“Yes,” said Britta. “That’s why me and Marisa stopped playing with you.”

“You think that about your own father? I can’t say I’m not hurt by that, Britta.”

“And OP is…?” asked Mum, like she didn’t really care.

“Overpowered,” said Dad. “Unfairly strong characters that bad players enjoy playing. Your daughter thinks I’m the kind of man who cheeses his way through games.”

Mum looked no less baffled.

“They also said mages were really weak at lower levels,” Britta said.

“True. Probably the squishiest between levels one and five. Are you suggesting that’s why I didn’t choose to be a mage?”

“Yes, Dad. Isn’t it?”

Dad threw his hands in the air. “Of course it is. That’s why nobody chooses mage. What class are you, by the way?”

Britta was fine discussing her character with Dad. The more distracted he was by her in-game activities, the better chance he would forget her slight transgression, she hoped. And it was also a chance to ask him a few questions about the game.

“Illusionist.”

“You’re joking?” Dad scoffed. “No wonder you died so many times. They’re even squishier than mages. What were you thinking? Oh my God, this better not affect my rating. I need to make sure they know it wasn’t me doing all the dying.” He had his phone out again and began texting.

“Why would it affect you?” said Britta. “I’m the one who died.”

“It’s on my account, and only I’m supposed to be playing.” He tapped away furiously on the phone.

“But it doesn’t really matter if you die, does it? You just come back to life.”

Dad looked up. “It affects your Elo for PVP.”

Mum walked to the fridge muttering to herself.

“So what?” said Britta. “It’s still the test run, isn’t it?”

Dad let out a long sigh. “PVP is what this game is all about. Getting to play it now at the highest level is going to be a huge advantage when it goes live. You only get access to the top arenas if you have a high Elo in the game.”

“Okay,” said Mum. “PVP?”

“Player versus player,” said Dad. “That’s where this game is going to take the world by storm. It’s going to make MMA look like two old men slow dancing. People will freak out. You can do things in this game you’ve never even seen in movies.” The more he talked, the more excited he got. “You PVE to get geared, and then you fight other players in the arenas.”

“So,” said Mum, her hand on her hip, “people are going to fight to the death?”

“Not for real,” said Dad. “It’ll just look real.”

So this was how Dad planned to make them rich? Become a top fighter in a pretend world? She knew watching other people play video games was popular, but that was just nerds. Admittedly, nerd-money was big business, but not compared to football or even boxing. Why would the rest of the world care about people hitting each other with pixels?

“That’s great,” said Mum. “Really great. Britta, I forbid you to play this PVP.”

“I’m not even playing the game anymore,” said Britta.

“Yes,” said Mum, “but even if you do play again, sometime in the future, I don’t want you murdering people for entertainment. Understood?”

“You don't have to worry about that,” said Dad. “She's an illusionist. She’ll make a rabbit disappear, and they’ll chop her head off with an axe. Trust me, she won’t be PVPing. An illusionist. Why?” He shook his head, unable to believe it. “You must fall down dead every time someone shakes your hand.”

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