Bitter 232

It was a cheap tactic and she was probably using it too much. She couldn’t just log out every time things got awkward. There might even be opportunities to be gained in those sorts of situations.

Still, it was handy. And the whole point of the game was to make the best of what they gave you. It was up to them to change the mechanics if they didn’t want them to be abused.

The feeling of having got away with something didn’t last long. She had left her old clothes behind when she logged out. That in itself wasn’t a big deal—she probably would have thrown them away or given them back to the Adventurers’ Guild. The problem was that she had put the other parcel in her pocket.

She groaned as she realised. She didn’t need the teleport scroll, but it was money. Possibly quite a lot of money. She was very short on funds and a little gold in the bank would have made life a lot more comfortable.

She was in the white room, feeling very annoyed with herself. Her self-imposed hour was already up, but the urge to go back in and get the scroll kept her from exiting.

Then she realised that even if she did go back, she’d respawn at the temple and have to go all the way to the post office. More hassle. And would her stuff even still be there?

She shouldn’t have panicked. Even if they did arrest her, what would they do? Put her in prison? She’d be out in a wave of her hand. She was the greatest escape artist in the world!

Or so she assumed. She didn’t know that for sure. There were probably some restrictions on her teleporting ability that she wasn’t aware of. Can’t teleport out of an official jail cell, on a Thursday, if there’s a full moon.

No, it was best to trust her judgement. When you feel the need to get the hell out, get the hell out.

But she did regret losing the scroll. She wondered how much it was worth.

She exited the game and took off the helmet. She had been pretty disciplined—only five minutes longer than she’d intended.

After she’d taken a shower, she sat at her computer and tried to get her head around French homework. She wasn’t really in the mood. Maybe the scroll was in the lost and found and she could reclaim it. It seemed very unlikely.

As painful as it would be, she did want to find out how much it would have gone for. Just to make herself feel really bad. If the Auction House was online, she could have done a quick search and the questions would be answered. She’d be able to get her head back into her schoolwork. There were so many mildly infuriating things about the game.

She went downstairs to get a drink and found Dad in the kitchen, washing some pans that weren’t dishwasher friendly.

“What’s up with you?” he asked when he saw her face illuminated by the fridge light.

She told him what had happened and he burst out laughing.

“It’s not funny, Dad.”

“It is a bit. Why were you getting changed in the post office? Are you some kind of exhibitionist? Your mother’s the same.”

“No she isn’t,” said Britta, hoping he was just joking. “Do you know how much I could have got for the scroll on the Auction House?”

He shook his head. “I’ve never seen one listed. I guess most people who get one don’t want to sell it.”

“Didn’t you get one when you did your class quest?” she asked him.

“No. I got a quiver of infinite arrows.”

“What? That sounds much better than a scroll you can only use once.”

“It only gives you basic arrows. Just means you don’t run out.”

“And how much would you get for that if you sold it?”

Dad shook off his wet hands and dried them. “Hmm. Maybe a hundred gold. More if there’s not many for sale.”

Britta felt sick. Even if she’d got half that for the scroll, she’d be sorted for life. Well, maybe not for life, but she wouldn’t have to worry about minor expenses anymore.

“The rest of your gear sounds pretty nifty,” said Dad. “Good bonuses.”

He was trying to cheer her up, but it wasn’t working. She didn’t even know what nifty meant.

She got herself a drink—a hot chocolate that was actually palatable—and went up to her room. There was no point dwelling on it. She could always make more money, and it was another valuable lesson, learned the hard way.

She sat down in front of her computer and did her French homework. When she finished, she checked it over and then sent it in.

The helmet was on her pillow. She picked it up and stored it under the bed and got ready to go to sleep. Brushed her teeth, moisturised, brushed her hair.

The hell with the money. It would only have made life easier, and where was the fun in that? New gear, new abilities, boosted stats—she had become a much more formidable character. It would be interesting to see how she’d perform now when she didn’t have to run away from everything. Even without money, there was a lot of fun to be had. And she could teleport. How many poor people could say that?

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