Bitter 229

According to the tutorial, or what Britta remembered of it, the Agility score affected movement, balance and dodging. The higher it was, the quicker she could move, and the less likely she was to get hit. She would also get additional bonuses to various skills and abilities.

Hers had just doubled, so any changes should have been quite noticeable. She didn’t feel any different. She swung her arms around, did a few jumps, stood on one leg. How else were you supposed to test for greater agility? Her sub-class was Acrobat; did that mean she could do tumbles and backflips? She tried to do a handstand, and fell over. She felt a bit silly, but at least she was in a dark tunnel where no one could see her.

She stopped and looked around, remembering that in fact she was always being watched, and even recorded. It wasn’t like she relied on her Agility; she could wait to find out how it would affect her.

More important was the new spell she had access to. Teleport would enable her to get out of here and carry on with the game. She scanned the status screen, a slight wince on her face in preparation of it not being there. It would be typical of the game to put an additional caveat on the spell. Not available until some requirement had been reached.

It was there, under spells. She breathed a sigh of relief. The word to cast it was ‘frangipane.’ She would change that to a gesture.

She tapped the spell and a screen of options opened. She could use it once daily, but it was shown as 1/5, which meant she would eventually be able to use it five times in a day. It didn’t say how to get those extra turns, but it was probably by levelling up.

There was also a column for ‘Maximum Distance,’ which was entirely greyed out. She couldn’t travel any distance, but she wasn’t unduly worried. At the bottom was an option to choose ‘Primary Destination,’ of which there were two: New Town and Gnome Village.

She couldn’t teleport short distances (yet), but she could jump between altars.

Currently, the destination was set to Gnome Village. She changed it to New Town. Good thing she hadn’t tried to teleport straightaway. She would have teleported back here, and that would be her spell for the day gone. As she visited more altars, she would be able to choose one of them as her destination of choice. At least, that was how she assumed it worked. Did it also mean she could choose where she logged in rather than have to come back to the same location?

If she could log out of one place and log back in somewhere else, wouldn’t that be the same as teleporting? And she could do that as many times a day as she wanted. It couldn’t work like that, not unless it was an oversight by the devs. Which wasn’t exactly impossible.

She chose a gesture to activate the spell, a tug on an invisible string above her head, which was meant to be like pulling on a light switch, but may have looked a bit like she was flushing a toilet. She did think about changing it, but it felt oddly appropriate.

Once that was locked in, she felt much more at ease. She had a way out. Of here, and of anywhere else she might get trapped.

She still had other things to sort out. She had three skill points to assign to her skill tree, which would give her another new ability. She could do that in New Town, perhaps over a mug of hot chocolate at Sonny’s. If they had hot chocolate.

Before using her new spell, she decided she should speak to the Great Gnome. She walked out of the other end of the tunnel. The large cavern was illuminated by glowing toadstools, and shadows rippled across the walls like water. The Great Gnome’s throne was in the middle of the chamber, but it was unoccupied. There was no sign of the gnome god.

A tunnel led to the room with the gryphon’s nest. He could be in there, but Britta didn’t feel like intruding. She could have searched the cavern while he wasn’t about. She might find some random loot lying about, like you would in a game, but that seemed… rude.

She prepared to teleport. Would it be an instant shift of location or a weird phasing in and out of reality? She hoped it wouldn’t give her motion sickness.

“Britta?” said Dr Reedy’s voice.

“Yes?” said Britta, looking up at the dark cavern roof.

“Ah, there you are. Sorry, we lost you for a moment. We’re having some technical difficulties with the lower levels of the Gnome Village. Does it look normal to you?”

Britta looked around. It didn’t seem any different from before. “Yes, I think so. Is there anything in particular?”

“Just some clipping. Makes it hard to see certain parts when objects cover each other. Nothing we can’t fix, once we isolate the cause.”

Britta wondered if it was a bug, or a deliberate move by the game to keep certain areas hidden.

“Some good news,” said Dr Reedy. “We’ve found a way to get you out of there.”

Britta smiled to herself. As soon as she’d chosen the sub-class that allowed her a way out, they’d discovered how to do it from their end. She wasn’t even mad.

“We can switch your respawn point to any altar you’ve previously visited.”

“You couldn’t do that before?” asked Britta, wanting to confirm something.

“These things get buried beneath code sometimes,” said Dr Reedy. “It was there all the time, we just didn’t see it.”

Britt doubted it. She strongly suspected it was only because she’d made her choice that the game allowed them access to the respawn location. Now that it didn’t matter, they could do what they liked.

Whether the game arranged things to happen like this for some greater purpose, or just to amuse itself, Britta had already made her choice. No point dwelling on what could have been. Not until respeccing became available to her.

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