Bitter 14

Britta looked down on herself—she was naked. Well, she wasn’t, but her character was. And it wasn’t a very pleasant sight.

She had wanted to swap characters, probably for a human one, but the option never presented itself. There was bound to be a way to do it, even if it meant restarting from scratch, but like everything else in this game, how to do it was probably hidden under umpteen levels of menu options.

Her gnome body seemed to be nothing but drawbacks. Small, weak and very ugly. The red colouring of her hands continued across her body, only broken up by the patches of wiry hair on her stomach and legs. Had they not invented the razor blade here?

She had boobs, if you could call them that. Small and droopy bags of flesh would be more accurate. And then there was the space between her legs… the empty space. She had no genitals. It was as smooth as a Barbie doll down there. She also didn’t have a butt crack. At least it confirmed her thoughts on going to the bathroom. You couldn’t.

It did make sense not to have sexual organs in the game. With things being so realistic, there would bound to be weirdos who wanted to do weird things. The game wouldn’t last very long if idiots decided to take the whole raping and pillaging concept literally. And you could guarantee they would.

Britta swung her legs off the slab and jumped down. A momentary sense of vertigo overwhelmed her, but then it passed which gave her hope it would get easier with time. She looked around, but there were no sign of her clothes or anything else.

The room wasn’t very big, about the same size as her bedroom back home. The slab took up most of it and the rest was four walls, no windows, and a wooden door. A closed door, but was it locked? Having little else to do, Britta walked over to it and pulled on the handle, which was a piece of knotted rope passed through a hole.

As she yanked it, someone pushed from the other side and the door flew open, sending Britta scurrying back to avoid getting smashed in the face.

A plump woman dressed like a nun, only in yellow and orange, came bustling in. “Oh praise Roha, you’re awake. Do you feel alright now do ya?” She spoke very quickly and with a lilting accent that could have been Irish, if the Irish occasionally forgot how to do their own accent.

“I think so,” said Britta. “Have you seen my clothes?”

The woman looked human but Britta assumed she must have been a computer-operated character. From her dress, they were probably in a church or temple or whatever religious places there were here. It would be the obvious place to be resurrected. At least it meant she didn’t have to traipse through the wilderness looking for signs of civilisation. It had found her.

“Clothes now, is it? Well, yes, I can see you’ll be needing some of them. Wait here a mo’.”

She twirled around and left, slamming the door shut behind her. Britta waited, not wanting to approach the door only to have it hit her in the face, which was guaranteed to happen, she just knew it.

The nun returned a few seconds later with a pile of rags in her arms. They looked similar to the ones Britta had worn earlier, although the colouring was slightly different. Did this mean whenever you died in the game you lost all your equipment? That would be a pain, although it would incentivise people to not get killed.

Britta got dressed while the nun stared at her. It was a bit unsettling, but there was also a vacant quality to the stare that made it feel like she was getting dressed next to a mannequin.

“Do you have any weapons I could have?” Britta asked.

“Oh, no,” said the nun, jolting back into active duty. “No, no. We don’t want to be fooling around with them kind of things here. Oh, no, no, no.”

That would be a no, then. Great. She’d started off with nothing but a handful of terrible abilities, now she had even less. But this was a game. It was designed to allow players to work their way up from nothing. She just had to find a quest or complete a mission or whatever. The tasks at the start of a game like this were always easy. Fetch this, collect a bunch of that.

“Can you tell me where I am?” She might as well get as much information out of the nun as possible.

“You don’t even know where ya are?” said the nun slightly condescendingly, Britta thought. “You must have taken quite a bump on the noggin there. Make sure to visit the healer. For a small donation he can heal whatever ails ya.”

Okay, that was worth knowing.

“Thanks. And where is the healer?”

“The healer can be found in the Church of Roha.” There was a strange disparity between the way she spoke when she was chit-chatting and when she was giving out actual game instructions. Two different programmers?

“And where is the Church of Roha.”

“Why, this is the Church of Roha. Welcome!”

Yep, you couldn’t get round it—computer AI was as dumb in VR as it was in every other kind of game system.

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