Bitter 231

Britta checked how much time she had left. Fifteen minutes. She finished her drink with some effort (she should have received some experience points for the achievement) and left Sonny’s.

There was just enough time to go to the post office and pick up her packages. One was probably the teleport scroll she no longer needed. She could sell it, though. She’d have to check the Auction House for the going price, but that could wait.

The streets were busy as usual, but it didn’t feel quite the same today. It wasn’t the town that was different, though, it was more her. She was busy, going from one job to the next, no time to stop and admire the digital architecture.

Everything was normalising. She was spending more time in her head, thinking about what she had to do, and less about what was going on around her. At this rate, this world would end up just as mundane as the real one.

She stopped to look around and acknowledge the lizardmen and catpeople walking in the crowd. Up above, a large bird flew past. It was too high up to make out clearly, but it had four wings, flapping two at a time.

Having re-established what a weird world this was, she took a breath, and then hurried to the post office.

There was a long queue, as usual. It was extra-annoying since she was on a clock and didn’t want to waste time, but there wasn’t much she could do about it. She waited in line, impatiently tapping her foot.

When she reached the front, Dennis greeted her with a fake smile. “How can I help you today?”

Seeing him reminded her it was him she had set out to talk to before the dwarves had waylaid her. She had planned to ask him about his relationship with the mayor, but she didn’t really have the time to get into it right now.

“I think you have two parcels for me.”

Dennis nodded, his smile fixed like a sign hanging off his face, and disappeared into the back. He returned with the parcels, one very small one, and one that was as big as she was.

“Here you are,” said Dennis brightly.

The small one was the size of a tube of toothpaste and fit in her pocket. She didn’t even know how she was going to get the big one off the counter. She grabbed it to test the weight and was relieved to find it was very light.

She picked it up and moved to the side. Carrying it wasn’t a problem, but she couldn’t see where she was going. She put it down and opened the lid. There was an outfit inside—a bright yellow one.

The Great Gnome had mentioned one of the rewards for completing the class quest was a full set of armour, in one of three colours. Day-Glo yellow wouldn’t have been her first choice. She pulled out the first item, which was made of heavy cloth.

Armour for an illusionist didn’t mean a helmet and a chest plate, it was more likely to be wizardly robes and pointy hats. She held the folded yellow robe in her hands and shook it open. It looked a bit on the big side.

“Identify,” she said.

A screen opened up.

<Illusionist Robe +25% MP regeneration, +5 Armor Rating>

It would give her some buffs, which was nice, although nothing spectacular. Mana regeneration would come in handy. She couldn’t remember ever seeing Armor Rating before, and she also didn’t like the American spelling of armour.

There was a settings button, a small cogwheel, at the bottom of the screen. She pressed it and two sliders appeared. One said ‘size’ and the other said ‘color’, which also annoyed her.

She ran her finger across the top slider and the robe in her hand grew bigger. She moved the other way, and it got smaller. She adjusted it to what she thought would fit her. She could have done it while wearing it to get it just right. It was a solid feature, though. She approved.

The other slider changed the robe from yellow to green in one direction, and to brown in the other. She could control the tone as she moved across the spectrum, going from bright yellow to lemon or mustard and various shades in between. That was good, too.

There were boots, gloves, a cloak with a hood, and a belt with pouches hanging off it. She liked everything, and being able to customise it was brilliant. All the individual items came with small bonuses. The boots gave her another 5% to her movement. The gloves gave her 10% on spell duration. The cloak gave her +10% to fire and cold resistance. And the belt gave her +1 Con. Dad was right, it did start to add up quickly.

She wanted to put it all on, but that would mean getting undressed in front of all these people. There were no players here, no real people, but it didn’t make her feel any less awkward.

The box was almost big enough for her to use as a changing room, but not quite. She could wait until next time, but she didn’t want to wait. She wanted to try on her new clothes.

She looked around. No one was paying any attention to her. She pushed the box into a corner, leaving just enough space for her to get behind it, with only her head showing. She slowly began removing her clothes. She told herself they were just NPCs and this wasn’t even her real body, but she was still getting naked in a post office.

There was no point thinking about it. She stopped looking around and switched clothes as quickly as possible.

Once she had the robe on, she felt a bit less exposed. She added everything else and then adjusted size and colour. She shortened the robe to knee-length and cut the cloak off at her waist. She went for a mix of brown and green tones. It fit well and looked good, from what she could tell.

She looked out from her corner to make sure no one had noticed. Everyone in the post office was staring at her. Two guards came up to the box, hands on sword hilts.

“You’ll have to come with us,” said the fatter of the two.

“Why?” asked Britta.

“Public indecency.”

Britta didn’t fancy going to prison. She especially didn’t fancy explaining to Stan what she’d been arrested for. She logged out.

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