TRIBUNA

What if you found yourself inside a game? Lewis and thousands of others found themselves inside the online MMORPG: Swordsmaster. The thing is, there is no reviving, no multiple lives; if you die in-game, you die in real life. Lewis soon learns that the only way to be free is to beat the game, and that can't be done alone. Can you really trust someone you hardly know?

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1. Monster

The sky was darkening overhead as he walked down the dusty forest path. He couldn’t remember a damn thing, but he was sure that this wasn’t normal. This place seemed strange… as if it were magical. His black hair was messier than usual, and his slate grey eyes squinted through the moonlight for any sign of life. A sword hung from his belt, polished and sharpened. Was there even anyone here?

“Quick! Someone back me up!” A voice called from up ahead.

The boy ran, hoping that whatever trouble this person was having was enough for him to handle. By the time he got there, he knew he didn’t stand a chance… There were five of them, fighting against a massive beast.

“Damnit!” a girl, around sixteen, called out to the others, “We can’t do this; lets head back!”

They all turned and ran past the boy. The girl who had given the order grabbed his arm and dragged him along too. The monster was gaining on them, though, and one of them wasn’t keeping up.

“Rosie, come on!” Someone ran back to help the girl.

The boy cursed the creeping darkness. He kept tripping over rocks and tree roots and he had no clue who he was travelling with. The girl’s free hand was still clasped tightly around his wrist. Can you put faith in someone whose face you can’t see? Suddenly, there was a burst of ice-blue light. They all stopped in their tracks. Shards of what looked like glass fell to the ground and disappeared.

“Shit! Grab Nina,” The girl informed one of her friends, “We’re not losing anyone else.”

Her friend ran back while everyone else surged on. Suddenly, they burst into the light of the town squares streetlamps. The boy squinted as his eyes became accustomed to the brightness. At last, he could see the group clearly. Panting beside him was a short girl, with blonde hair in a lose ponytail and pale skin. She was bent double, gasping for breath. Then there was a boy, perhaps a little overweight, tanned and clutching a stitch in his side. His short, brown hair was sleek with sweat. Collapsed on the floor was a tall girl with chocolate-brown skin. Her short black hair was falling into her face, which was stained with tears. Then there was the girl who had grabbed the boys arm. She was so pale, her skin was almost translucent. She kept her head up, unlike her comrades, revealing emerald green eyes. Her long, straight hair was pulled into high bunches and was the same colour as the ocean. All of them were wearing plain clothes similar to his own, but with cheap armour.

“Who the hell are you?” The blue-haired girl rounded on him eyes blazing.

"Ummm..."

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