I look down. They are so small seen from above. I always see them from above; I am the famous frozen phoenix after all. One of the players from the purple team tries to close in on me, but I evade the attack and retaliate with an enormous ice blast. It is not necessary, but I like to show off to the audience. I hear them gasp in excitement, some of them cheering for team blue, my team.
I fly closely to the roof to tease the last purple contestant. He falls for it at goes for the attack on my exposed right wing.
Someone from the audience starts yelling at me. I turn around to see an old man stand amongst the blues. I try to hear what he is yelling, but I can't through the protective glass.
I almost forget about the purple until he hits me with his giant sword. He character is the lost king of the Vikings, a very powerful one, but not powerful enough. His sword barely even touches me before I have flown into the roof through a portal. That’s one of my abilities, being able to fly through portals I make.
My character is the ice phoenix. It is very difficult to get, taking that there only exists this one in the whole universe. When people first saw it they didn’t believe it was real, no one had ever heard of it. Actually it doesn’t really exist either. It is one of the ten fire-phoenixes, but it turned into this when I first played as it.
My teammate Cami sets after the purple while I go for the boss. I come out of a portal on the wall next to the exposed boss; a giant red robot with a huge meat cleaver in each hand. When it registers my presence, I have already flown through a new portal on its other side and smashed its side with another ice blast very alike the one I hit the first purple with, except this one grows into ice shards on the body of the boss, covering its left side. Unable to move I snatch the key from it and fly to the middle of the arena holding it over my head in triumph.
Yet again, my team has won. The humming bell rings and Cami and the purple stop fighting. Cami smiles when he sees what I am holding in my hand. The key is a sign of victory, the first team to retrieve it from the boss has won the game. We battle in teams of two usually, though there do exist teams of five in a larger arena.
I see the purple I sent out earlier throw his sword to the ground. His trainer is trying to calm him down but it seems he can´t.
Beaten by a geek boy, ha. You didn’t think I was a girl, did you? My name is Meril, I am one of the world’s best fighters. I have the only existing ice phoenix character in the universe, a little plushy when not used on the battlefield. What I’m best at? Winning the game. Worst at: losing.
The game is a new thing I guess. Not too many years back this sort of technology were nothing but dreams far out of reach. It works this way: the whole battle is proceeding in a safe arena with a lot of obstacles and items in it, which you can use while in battle. We battle in teams of two against each other to get the key from the boss. The key can have different forms and shapes, sometimes hidden someplace hard to find. The boss is the protector of the key, if you get hit by him you can take damage, but it won’t send you directly out like a hit from a member of the enemy team. If a team completely sends out the other team they have free range to the boss and have practically won, but if they fail the boss the other team wins. You play as a character of your own choice from your own arsenal. When you play, you change into a live version of your character and gains all of its abilities. It is the perfect invention for someone like me. When not used it takes form as a plushy. However, do not worry, no one but the current owner of the character can use it in combat, so it would be meaningless to steal it. Not that I would worry anyway, I always keep my character close.
I see Cami jump down to the exit. His character is a sort of animal I guess, it looks like a combination of a kangaroo, a tiger, a snake and a bat. His special ability is to see others abilities. Oh, and he is magnificent at jumping.
He waves at me with a tiger arm and I fly down. I like the feeling of flying. When I was little and the game did not exist, I always dreamt of flying, I simply loved the thought of soaring through the sky, completely out of reach for anyone who was trying to hold me back. I got to fly, true, but its not fully free. I can’t fly anywhere not monitored, and if it is out of the arena I have to get special permission, or my character will be confiscated. Although since it is just me, I’m sure they would let me off easily. I am about to become the world champion after all, if my character was taken it would mean a loss to the whole of Scandinavia. The world champion gains a lot of fame for its world section. Mine is Scandinavia, as said before. There are quite a few of them in the world, but I haven’t ever paid enough attention to what they’re called. My loss, I guess.
I land besides Cami and we exit under a roar from the fans all around us. No one has ever seen a participant when not in the arena, so no one knows what they look like when not battling. It could result in switching members you say, but every member of a team gets a microchip inserted in their character so they can be recognized, and since you can only use your own characters the rest goes with the flow. You can own more than one character, but you’re only allowed to switch character a limited amount of times during a tournament. Not even the other member of the team knows what their partner looks like, or what age they are, so Cami and I could go to the same class without the other knowing. Sound a bit like a cliché superhero story, I know, but I am anything but a hero. I have never been recognized as a human being before, but I did when this was created. People saw me, not like in school when they all look above me or through me. No, this is different, a new chance to go around. I look forward to the next battle when we part ways to go to the private changing rooms. Automatically, the character turns back into a plushy after a limited amount of time set before the battle to ensure it would end in proper time, since no participant would like the world to know his or her face.
I step into the non-monitored room and the door closes automatically. I can hear the fans from way in here but ignore them. I walk around a bit waiting for the effects to wear off, and suddenly the old man comes to mind. What was he yelling? Was it to me? I can feel the effects begin to fade. My glorious white and blue wings fade, and so do my huge claws and feathers. It continues until nothing but me is left. A white blurr in front of me containing the power of my character takes form as the little plushy. I reach out for it and holds it close to my chest. My clothes change with me, so there is no need to take them off or on during a battle. I fetch my tiny shoulder bag from a locker in the corner of the room, and puts the plushy into it. Next to my bag is a tele-porter I can use to get home without anyone seeing me. Probably one of the best features. It would be problematic to explain how a 17 year old school boy got into this building without exposing myself to them.
I sigh and look in the wall mirror. There I am, scrawny as ever. My glasses are a little bend after I bumped into a door in the morning. It happens a lot, since my vision is very bad. I use the same excuse when I come home from school with blue marks on my arms and knees, even though they are from something else.
My hair is medium short and black, not so usual in Scandinavia, sure, but nonetheless black. The big shots at school often call me harry potter as a joke. That is the main reason I don’t have circular glasses, even though my mom wanted me to. I always wear a hoodie. It is one of the most neutral things to wear, so people won’t turn their heads and look at me for no reason. I also wear a pair of baggy jeans along with a pair of sneakers.
I look away. I am not a remarkable sight, which might be one of the many reason for my none-popularity at school. I sigh again and grab after the portal. There is suddenly a clicking sound from the door, and I see that someone has turned the handle. I forgot to lock it! I hurry and tap the coordinates. The door opens as I push the button. I catch a glimpse of a person in the door, but I can’t make out who they are or even what gender. Just a shade, then I am in my closet at home. I blink a few times before I can see properly again. The dark shade from the changing room in the arena is pierced into my memory. Every time I blink, I can see it as a dark figure in the middle of my sight. I shake my head and open the door to my room.
I wonder if the person in the door saw me. What were he or she even doing there? It is illegal to go into a player’s room while they are changing, because of the whole privacy thing. I don’t know what would happen if anyone found out I am in fact the famous Phoenix. They would most likely not believe it at first. Or second. In addition, if they finally got it, I can’t even imagine how they would react. No clue, not at all. I close the closet and sit down on my bed. I lay my head in my hands, careful not to smash my glasses any more than they already are. I cover my eyes with my fingers. What will I do about this? What if he saw me? Got a clear view of me and can tell the whole world?
Don’t be stupid, I think to myself. As if anyone would believe him, if he actually went to my school and exclaimed that I am Phoenix.
I spread my fingers and look out on my room. Boring, ordinary and plain. Except my corner of geek-ness, as my little sister calls it. It is right next to my closet. It is just a stationary computer on a small table. It is nothing special. Except maybe the huge stereo and the huge amount of videogames stored on tiny shelves covering the whole wall. Okay, I see it, but it is not as bad as you make it to be. I am aware of my gaming habit and I am not overdoing it. Not that much, anyway. Ooookayyy I game the whole night away, happy?
I look at the clock. It is late.
“Better go to bed “ I tell myself. I take off my hoodie and put on my pajamas. I leave my room to go brush my teeth, but when I pass the living room, I overhear something from the news: “ … as we speak, the members of blue team has went home after winning the quatre-finals. We have yet to interview the newly famous Phoenix that out of nowhere has become the most well-known player in all of the game history… “.
I ignore the rest of what the news reporter say, but I can’t help smiling to myself. It is all thanks to the game that a genuine geek like me could ever be a game ‘hero’ like Phoenix. I like the feeling of being admired, looked up to as a person of great power and tactics, though only on the field. As soon as I am at school, all that disappears. I am but a simple human, as someone wise most likely said in ancient times without technology.
I brush my teeth briefly and hurry to my bedroom. I overhear another piece of a program in the TV. This one gets my attention and I stand against the wall to hear it clearlier.
“… we have – just now – heard, that someone has actually seen Phoenix. We have no information on who it was, but as soon as we’ve found out we’ll take them into custody for breaking the rules of privacy …”.
I’m astonished by this. Breathless. They did see me. He or she saw me and told someone. Could they possibly point me out in a crowd? Did they get a clear view?
I shake my head and with heavy steps, I go to my room to sleep.