iSync

Trapped in an online world called iSync, Issa meets a thousand other players from every corner of the world, who all go by their online ID names. Struggling to survive and fighting for a way out, he meets Flower, a mysteriously smart girl. How will a human mind survive in conditions evolution hasn't prepared it for?

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8. Chapter 8

Chapter 8

 

“I wonder if something happened to them...” Quaker said.

 

 

Letting out a profound sigh, I opened the AirMenu to check the time for the up tenth time. Have they gotten lost? We did say meet up at the fountain in an hour right? Did the talks with Irady take longer than expected?

 

With every passing minute, the three of us grew more worried.

 

“Sven, can you ask some of your people in Soul Driver to see what’s going on with May Day?” I asked.

 

Sven nodded, and opened the AirMenu. A moment later, he received a message.

 

“Safire says that there is more trouble at May Day,” Sven said. “She says that the stronger players are preparing to move out and defeat the monsters at the Eastern and Western gates.”

 

“Did she say anything about Flower and Fefe?” I asked.

 

Sven shook his head.

 

I gulped. Irady couldn’t have possibly done something to them right? In addition, I didn’t expect Irady to want to move out this fast. Two or three more days of training would help many players define their skill set. It would also take more time to prepare proper defenses against monsters like the minotaur. The standard issue shield wasn’t anywhere near what was needed.

 

“Where is May Day located? I asked.

 

Sven pointed to the left, in opposite direction of the Jolly Tavern.

 

“Let’s go see Irady then,” I said.

 

Both Sven and Quaker gave me uncertain looks. Just us three would be no match for an entire guild of thirty-eight people.

 

“Are you sure?” asked Quaker.

 

“Standing here isn’t going to help us,” I returned. “Plus, I think we should see who this Irady guy is. If he is really all that important, then we should know him too.”

 

Nodding, the two followed me in the direction that Sven pointed out. About twenty minutes later, we were standing in front of “Square’s Inn”.

 

“They should be here,” Sven nodded at the building.

 

Around us, were some players from, what I assumed, May Day. They gave us curious looks, some walked up to us and asked if I would sell my Eagle Coat, and how we got this chest armor.

 

“You can just buy it,” I mumbled and without looking at them, opened the door.

 

One we stepped in, it was quite similar to the the Jolly Tavern. In front of us was a small hall with some tables, while at the back there was a bar counter where one could sit down, have a drink, and have a nice conversation with the virtual bartender. There were some players sitting at the tables, all of them wearing standard issue default equipment. The only difference was that they had their swords on display. There were many weapons covering the tables, almost as if they wanted to show off their combat ability.

 

Immediately, the players noticed us.

 

“What do you want?” a male player with short, black hair asked us.

 

“We want to talk to Irady,” I said. “Two girls came here to talk to Irady, but they haven’t come back. We’re looking for them.”

 

The guy narrowed his eyes. “What makes you think we have them?”

 

“Go get Irady,” Quake stepped forward. With his wide frame, and tall build, he could certainly give off a fearsome aura if he wanted to.

 

The guy scowled, but gave in. He opened the AirMenu, and sent a voice message to Irady. A few minutes later, the leader of May Day came through a door from behind the bar counter. His hair was slightly curly, and was colored in a mixture of brown and black highlights. He wore a long dark brown coat with loose ends of leather cuffs hanging down from his upper arm. He wore a necklace with a dark red rose crystal attached end at the end. Considering that we haven’t ventured out of Queenstown, I assumed what he wore were accessories which didn’t give any stat boost.

 

When he saw Sven, he raised an eyebrow. Maybe he didn’t expect the leader of Soul Driver to be here.

 

“Issa! Quaker! Sven!” he greeted us with a wide smile on his face and shook our hands. “My name is Irady, leader of May Day. It is such an honor for you to visit us!”

 

Uncertain, I shook his hand and tried to smile too. I never imagined him to be so friendly. Yet I wasn’t sure if he was just pretending to be happy to see us. I decided to forgo the pleasantries and ask him head on, after all, we were all just players in this game.

 

“Have you seen two girls called Flower and Fefe?” I asked.

 

For a moment, Irady’s face froze. His eyes shifted from one side to the other, as if he was thinking about what to say. He pursued his lips, then smiled brightly.

 

“Why, yes, I have!” he beamed. “A while ago they came here to talk to me.”

 

“Are they still here?” I asked, feeling slightly annoyed at how I had to squeeze the details out of him.

 

Irady nodded. “Yes, they are still here. They’ve been enjoying themselves in the back of the inn.”

 

“We’ve come to pick them up,” I said simply. “They are part of our team.”

 

Perhaps taken aback about what I said, Irady didn’t reply at first. Then, he put on his pleasant smile again.

 

“I believe right now they have fallen asleep,” Irady replied. “I don’t think it would be too good to wake up two ladies during their beauty sleep. Why don’t you come back later?”

 

“It’s alright, I’m sure they will forgive me,” I said cooly and tried to walk past him. Irady blocked my way with a nervous smile on his face.

 

“I have an idea,” he awkwardly tried to sound jolly. “How about you join May Day? With your high defense Eagle Coat, and experience in combat, you would be of great help to us during our Western and Eastern Gate raid.”

 

“No, thank you.” I said sternly and tried to push him out of the way. Irady took a step back, but two May Day members joined his side.

 

“Now, now. Let’s not be hasty,” he said, now sounding more confident. “We need a good healer and crossbow for our Gate raids, and Flower and Fefe are currently the best ones in the entire game. We need them for our next raid.”

 

“Then let me talk to them, and if they say they agree to this, I will leave,” I said.

 

“I’m sorry, but they are asleep now. How about you join us for the raid? Then you could also see Flower and Fefe again.”

 

More May Day members joined his side. I looked behind me, the way to the exit was still clear. I made eye contact with Quaker and Sven. They had also realized where all of this was going. Irady wanted us to join May Day, so that they could grow stronger and complete the raids faster, ahead of Soul Driver. He didn’t want to let Flower and Fefe go because they had more experience than anyone in ranged combat and healing. I scowled. Irady repeatedly mentioned how they were asleep, that is probably why they didn’t answer their messages. Did he put them under some kind of sleeping spell? Or could sleep potions be bought from a store too.

 

It was blackmail. He wanted to force me to join May Day by holding Flower and Fefe hostage.

 

“Please, how about you join us. Together we will grow stronger,” Irady opened his arms, as if he wanted to hug me.

 

I had half a mind of fighting him, and put my hand on my Feather’s Cross. I felt Sven’s hand on my shoulder. He shook his head.

 

I knew what he meant. With about half of all the May Day members sitting in here, even if we had greater combat experience, they would swamp us with their numbers. Also, shooting Irady here would declare war against May Day. Starting player hostilities before we even set out to find the sixteen escaped players was purely counterproductive.

 

We had no choice but to retreat.

 

Without another word, we exited Square’s Inn. Hastily, we walked out of the alleyway until we felt there were no more May Day members following us.

 

*  *  *

 

 

“Damn it!” I slammed my fist on the table in the Jolly Tavern.

 

“There’s little we could do though, they had us outnumbered,” Quaker said.

 

I sighed. I knew what he meant. We would have been completely run over if we decided push him back by force. At the same time, we couldn’t make use of Sven’s Soul Driver members either. That could easily spark a war between the two guilds, and such a meaningless conflict should be avoided since our main objective is to find all sixteen players so that we can log out.

 

“I’ve got an idea,” said Sven.

 

“Which is?” I asked.

 

“We can’t use Soul Driver members because that would be too risky,” he said.

 

“But you forget,” he added.

 

He sat down, drew out a piece of paper and a pencil.

 

“I designed Queenstown.”

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