Two days after the Deadly Nightfall game disaster Sabrina found herself sitting on a park bench with her Grandmother Rebecca. “What’s put that scowl on your face? Usually you’re practically tripping over yourself to tell me the newest bit of story in that game you play.”
“Grams, my game has turned into a nightmare. With gnomes.”
She didn’t appreciate the chuckling that incited. Didn’t anyone take this seriously? It had only been two days! Only two days of questing with the streaking fireball that was Shortios and every attempt at questing had ended with a massive shouting contest. The only positive thing was they were starting to run out of insults.
“I still don’t understand why you have such a difficult time getting along with that young man. Have you tried simply talking to him? Not about the game but about other things?”
“It’s because he sucks. Can you believe he’s never seen Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome? I said a quote from the movie and he completely missed it.”
“Really? Maybe he ‘sucks’ a little bit. At least you know it can’t get worse.”
That put a smile back on her face. Her love of movies came from watching them with her Grandmother. Maybe she had a point too. All the arguments she had with Shortios seemed to come from the game so maybe they could find some common ground if they talked about something else?
“Thanks Grams. I’ll try out your idea and see if we have anything in common outside of the game. Who knows, he might not be completely horrible.”
“I’m glad to hear you say that dear. This is enough fresh air. How about we go back and watch some Lord of the Rings?”
“That is the only version I acknowledge.”
Five hours later she was feeling nice and mellow. Sitting with her Grandmother watching one of their favorite movies always put her in a good mood. Now to hold onto said good mood as she played. Despite Shortios’ claim to have gold farming down to an art they were still thousands short of paying back their guildmates. Logging in she noticed the fireball belcher wasn’t on yet. Thank Heaven for small favors. She might be able to get in some enjoyable game time alone.
She only managed to start her daily quest routine before her tranquility was shattered. Just hearing his voice over the guild ventrilo server made her want to run out to the nearest home and garden store to buy then smash each and every garden gnome they had in their inventory. No, she had to get past those impulses. The image of shattered pointy hats and shoes scattered across her floor flashed in her mind and made her grin before she pulled herself back to reality. This was the exact reason Matthias had ordered them to quest together. To learn how to get along without homicide getting involved.
“Hey there Shortios. Let me know when you’re ready to get started.”
That was nice and neutral right? She could do this. Just think of Shortios as someone she HAD to get along with because that pretty much was the case. If they couldn’t learn to get along they were out of the guild. Be nice, Sabrina. Kill him with kindness. Wait, did that still count as homicide?
“Don’t rush me bandaid. I only just logged on.”
She gritted her teeth to keep from responding. He didn’t know she was trying to be nice. Well, he better clue in really damn quick because this tactic wasn’t going to last very long if he pissed her off. Granted that wasn’t hard to do but it felt like he was twice as irritating when she was trying not to be antagonistic. Breathe and think of shattered garden gnomes. Okay. That was working.
“Not trying to rush you, the opposite actually. Take your time.”
“Why? So you can ditch me? I’m ready to go right now!”
If she didn’t unclench her jaw she was going to break her teeth. He’s just expecting your usual behavior and responding to that. Be chill Sabrina. You can do this. Rise above the petty, midget sparkplug. Just because he’s being an asshat doesn’t mean you have to stoop to his level. Probably just touchy because he’s at fart height. It must suck to stare at people’s butts all game. That helped her relax a bit.
“Not planning to ditch you. I’ll meet you at Storm Glen.”
“Don’t want me seeing what you’re up to? Crappy try, I’ll meet you there at Yarrow’s Pass.”
“Fine. That works for me.”
Maybe if she tried really hard she could get all her daily quests done before the sleepwalking wrecking ball got there. He couldn’t make a portal to the keep at the pass could he? Just her luck Shortios did indeed have a portal. There went her enjoyable game time. Lamenting her bad luck she directed her avatar onto a mount and headed back to the keep.
“I told you I’d meet you where you were! What were you doing? Fraternizing with warlocks and trolls to set up an ambush?”
“What the hell? Screw you! Is your brain proportional to your height? Can’t understand when someone’s trying to be nice?”
“Insulting me is trying to be nice?!”
“Insults? You should consider those compliments!”
She was about to turn around and leave him there when a hail of arrows swept down on their characters cutting their tirade short. The keep was under attack by a guild of trolls. Hallelujah! She loved playing against other players on the opposite faction. They provided a unique challenge. No preset patterns or movements so the fight took actual skill. Plus they gave her something else to fight instead of the current bane of her existence. She was smirking watching them drop one after another while trying to ignore how well Shortios was cutting them down. Sighing she realized they’d make a pretty penny selling the loot from the other players. She was trying to think up an actual compliment to give him since she was trying the whole “being nice” thing until she noticed some reinforcements for the trolls sneaking over the walls.
“We got more coming over the wall, Shortios. Um. Shortios? Yo! Pointy toes! You lagging?”
The stupid gnome had stopped fighting and was now repeatedly walking into a wall while getting hit from behind by the incoming player group. It was sucking up her magic points to keep healing him. Then she heard it. Snoring. The bastard had fallen asleep!
“Oh fuck no! You wake your ass up RIGHT NOW!! I can’t handle all these pig faced knuckledraggers by myself! OY! Someone blow an air horn over vent or something!”
No No NO! He had dragged her back to the keep just to leave her to be slaughtered by a raiding group of trolls while he took a nap. On top of that insulting her and implying that she was setting up an ambush to kill him. Hell if she didn’t know about his narcolepsy she would assume this was a trap he set up. If he had been in the room right then she’d have smashed him over the head with her laptop.
“If anyone’s in the area I need help! My ankle biting DPS is taking a nap!”
“I’ve got a group I’m leading to you right now, Brynthyl. We just finished the Wailing Lake dungeon. Think you can hold on?”
Aldric’s group was the closest? Aw hell, that’d take at least five minutes on mounts. Could she hold out that long? If she let Shortios die she could. With malicious glee she refocused on keeping herself alive. Shortios was dead within moments. She paused taking a couple more hits to line up her screen shot before ducking into the building, jumping from platform to platform making herself a more difficult target. The picture of his corpse would make the perfect wallpaper for her desktop.
“Here we are! Shouldn’t take very long to clear them out for you Brynthyl. Damn, they got Shortios. He’s going to be pissed when he wakes up.”
“Sucks to be him.”