Bitter 19

“What else does the guild do?” Britta asked. Might as well get all the information she could.

The elf straightened up, which removed the cleavage from Britta’s eyeline, but stuck her giant breasts out so far Britta was tempted to duck. It was a good thing no one had any private parts, this place was a pervert’s paradise.

“Here at the Adventurer’s Guild we can provide you with up to the date information on the latest quests, missions and raids. Upcoming events are regularly updated and news of the latest achievements can be found on our bulletin boards. In addition, the Guild is the number one place to find a party, buy special class equipment and sell your unwanted items.” The elf looked down at Britta like she’d just come out of a trance. “Although you can probably find a better price if you know the right people.” She winked.

The way the characters went from so casual they seemed like real people to automatons spitting out prerecorded words was disconcerting.

There was no point hanging around the guild until she actually had business here. It was obviously meant to be a hub for players following the normal game mode. Kill things, make money, buy better gear, kill bigger things.

For Britta, this was just a way to pass the time. There was a whole town out there for her to explore. She’d look around until she got bored, and then she’d log out and do her homework. Another exciting weekend.

“Thanks for your help. I give your character design two out of ten.” She had no idea why she was being mean to a bunch of pixels, but it felt justified. Normally, Britta would be polite to an adult no matter how annoying they were but here she could say what she felt. Which wasn’t necessarily a good thing, but it was enjoyable.

She walked out of the guild and was hit by the noise and smells of New Town. People were still streaming by in their hundreds.

The buildings seemed to go on in all directions. Perhaps she would earn some XP for tourism. She walked down the steps and immediately felt overwhelmed by the crowd. At least she had boots on this time and didn’t sink to her ankles.

It still took quite a bit of effort trudging through the mud. The people doing their best to trample over her didn’t help, either. She wasn’t going to do much sightseeing from this position.

The crowds even made it hard for her to see where she was going. There had to be a different route she could take that would be a little less busy. She took a left to get off the main street but rather than another street, she found herself in a small alley.

It had to lead somewhere so she decided to investigate further.

The walls on either side got higher, and the shadows made it quite dark. She only saw the dead end when she got to it. She tapped the map in the upper corner and it expanded in front of her. McDonald’s golden arches stood out.

She definitely wanted to see what the in-game McDonald’s was like. Did it smell the same? It would be a bit sad just to hang outside sniffing the air. She decided she had to eat an imaginary Big Mac so she’d be able to compare it to the real thing. That would give a proper idea of how powerful VR was going to be. Would it taste the same? Would it make you want to go to the toilet straight afterwards?

But that would require money. She looked back at the map. At the twinkling arches. Did they really expect people to come to a fantasy world and work minimum wage? Flipping burger and stacking shelves in glorious 3D?

What was she even thinking? Here she was in a state of the art, completely mind-blowing simulation, surrounded by fantastic creatures, and she was obsessing over burgers and getting a crappy part-time job.

She closed the map with a shake of her head and turned around to head back the way she’d come. A large figure loomedahead of her.

“Okay, short stuff,” it growled. “Hand over your valuables.”

She was being mugged. Well the joke was on him, she had nothing worth taking. Perhaps he'd feel sorry for her and give her a loan.

“I don’t have any money,” said Britta. It was hard to make out what her attacker looked like in the shadowy alley. He didn’t have a name tag over his head so perhaps he wasn’t another player, but then there was probably a way to hide your identity. You wouldn’t get far as a criminal if you blasted out your name everywhere you went.

If this was a computer controlled character, did that mean this was a random encounter she’d walked into? When was something good going to randomly happen to her?

“Take off the jacket.” He started lumbering towards her.

She could make a run for it, but there wasn’t much space either side of him. As he got closer, she could also now see the dagger in his hand. Britta started backing off.

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