It was very early, but in hope to start another day peacefully, I decided to go to work earlier today, and I have arrived at the Night Dragon Corporations building at 6 am. As always, I greeted the guard at the gate and headed straight to the main hall where, as my bad luck dictated, I saw my two superiors eagerly talking about something I couldn’t hear with huge smiles on their faces. One was holding a cup of cocoa milk and the other had a cup of coffee in her hand. How did I know this? Because everyone in the whole company knew that one of them, more precisely our “white deer“, was a coffee addict and our “black dragon” despises coffee for some reason, using cocoa as a substitute.
The reason why all of us know about this? It’s one of the bad omens we look out for; if they are drinking these, it means that they have a good reason to fight the urge to sleep, and said reason in most cases is directly related to some bad in-game events or updates which will cause us, the employees, even more sleepless nights than our superiors!
Thus, while watching them pass the main hall and entering the elevator, I made sure to be out of their sight, at a reasonably safe distance, while already starting to overwork my brain to think about any possible idea they could have come up with.
Needless to say, my face darkened while I imagined all possible outcomes and my imagination ran wild, knowing that my day probably wouldn‘t start like I hoped. I even slowly regretted coming to work early. No, I should have just made a nice appointment with a doctor instead. Until this day I wonder if I can pass this off as being bullied by my superiors to get a few days off work, but dreams are dreams and I have to work to earn my income. With a huge sigh, I started to head over to the elevator and pressed the button. While I waited, another person, who was also annoying in his own way, joined me by suddenly appearing behind me.
“Sup‘, Keruna! You sure are early today.”
This deep voice belonged to one of the other hidden GMs, actually one of my seniors, who seemed to enjoy his job a bit too much and somehow shared some traits with our superiors. When I turned around I saw the well trained, ex-soldier, called Maeda, holding a cup of coffee and energetically taking a sip. Previously, before he joined our company he was a commander in the army, and started working here a year ago for who knows what reason. He’s quite the impressive figure and someone you wouldn’t want to pick a fight with, but despite his appearance he’s a nice guy, as long as you don’t meet him in-game! I sighed and started my reply with the usual complaining about the usage of our in-game names of our main characters. It was kinda a habit of our company’s employees, started by our CEO’s who are bad at remembering our real names and instead using our in-game names which they could memorize more easily.
“You could at least try remembering my real name after 5 months of working together, you know? I thought I could start my day peacefully if I arrived early, but sadly that is not the case. Did you see the two natural disasters?“
“Oh yeah, they also got their dose of “anti-sleep medicine” and I overheard them talking about some liches or something. Looks like we‘ll soon have another event starting. Reminds me, I heard a funny story!“
“A funny story?”
The elevators doors finally opened and we went in while talking.
“Heh, yeah. A story about a certain GM being at a fierce survival fight against a soup ingredient. Sooo? Dare to share the feeling of ending up as a soup ingredient yourself?”
Meaning my superior or the development guy, more likely Fienja, shared the story with everyone on our company staff’s forum and even dared to change the story a bit to make it more funny, from rice curry to soup…
He grinned from one ear to the other and hit me teasingly with an elbow on my ribs.
“Oh come on! We all faced some insane situations while playing the game. You can tell me, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, lad~“
Some people sure have the talent to pick topics right where it hurts, in your deepest wounds, sprinkling salt everywhere.
“Well… our CEO’s thought it was funny to raise a certain chicken’s level to a one-hit experience and my team mate and I were done in with a kick and a peck…“
“Please send me the live video of this later! I intend to make a “best of funny deaths“ from all video footage of us GMs and upload it to our forum, and this one has to definitely be included.“
I could only reply with a grim nod to this.
“So now you’re in Crea City, right? I’ll visit you in-game lad, see ya later!”
Before I could even respond and tell him to stay away as far as possible from my beloved Twilight Assassin, the doors opened and he rushed off, knowing well that I would try running off to somewhere, if he logs in too late and doesn’t manage to find me before that.
With a good idea of what will await me if he manages to pull this stunt off, I hurried to the game capsule myself and logged in as fast as possible.
At Crea City, I respawned at the Church of Life an hour earlier than Sion from the time we had appointed over an e-mail. With my additional time I decided to walk outside the church and sit down on a bench not far away. While resting and enjoying the atmosphere of the crowded square facing church, I screened the names of the passing players to check for inappropriate names. Most players abide the rules of Mirage of Eternity but there were still a few who found it funny to choose vulgar names and challenged us GMs to a game of hide and seek to get blocked and try this stunt again. There was especially one player I knew who I banned for two weeks and deleted his character thirty times already. Of course he didn’t like me doing this, and as I already suspected he was challenging me again by running around the central square as if nothing was wrong. Except for his naming sense…
This time he was even more “creative“ than last time’s “HugeDick“ character name and went by the name “FuckYouGM“ today. Over this much stupidity I could only sigh and use the voice command “mute“ so no one was able to hear what I would say next. And with the next voice command “delete character ‘FuckYouGM’“, his character was promptly deleted and disappeared in the next second by a forced logout. This time I didn’t even care to ban him because I imagined what will happen next and already prepared for a battle of stubbornness.
As expected he logged in not long after this. I could easily discern him by his unique User ID, I can see along a player’s name, with a new name and a determined face. Now he used the name “BastardGM” and an evil smile appeared on my face. Accepting the challenge of war, I redid my prior action, after all I had a full hour to delete his characters over and over again! An action which also makes these names unavailable in the future.
Next were the names “FuckOffAlready”, “IseriouslydespiseYOUasshole”, “IneverNEVERgiveUpman”, “Thefuckareyoudoing” and “GoDie”. After another 15 names he finally succumbed and gave up with a character named “YouWonBastardUntilnextTime!!” and with my final deletion of his newest character I gave him an additional 2 weeks ban.
Just a minute later I received a pm over the admin contact pm system, where players couldn’t see the name of the GM they wrote to, but which was a reply to the last pm of the information of his deleted character and his two weeks ban. He already knew it was the same GM at least, because I added a tiny note to the first ban message he received.
Well played, you’re a true badass! It was another great challenge of stubbornness. I have to go to school now, but next time I’m sure to win! See ya in two weeks, prepare yourself~
Your annoying prick~
For some reason I actually really enjoyed this challenge since I banned him for the fifth time and it kind of ended as some kind of ritual for us to play this little game to pass boredom. I just couldn’t hate this stubborn guy, though I still don’t know what motivates him enough to never reach a higher level this way. Maybe I should suggest a special title for this player at the development department? Something like “Honorable Master of Stubbornness“ or “Annoying Prick“, which probably won’t pass but would fit him best, because he even calls himself this. I quickly wrote my routinized reply as well.
Bring it on! I’m always up for the challenge, usual spot, same time I guess?
Seriously one of these days I’ll give you an award or at least a small reward for being so stubborn! Of course something account-bound, else it gets deleted and lost together with your character… =P
Have fun at school! I’ll play for your share as well for the next two weeks~ \ ^o^ /
Your all-seeing GM!
After sending it off, I stretched and finished my task of “deleting users with inappropriate usernames“. I looked on the in-game clock shown on the menu screen I just opened and realized I still had 15 minutes left until the appointed meeting time with Sion. Meanwhile I decided to check the guild chat.
At this time only Keradis, our guild leader and top tier player ranked 53rd in the top 100 list, was online. He was one of the few pro-gamers who earn huge amounts of money by playing VRMMORPGs and selling his earned in-game gold, armor, weapons and rare items. Most of the pro-gamers I met in Mirage of Eternity were a bunch of people who looked down on weaker players, but Keradis is one of those few guys who always help others, have a lot patience, give advice, take time explaining and simply are kind in general, despite his necromancer profession and fierce looking avatar.
His character belongs to the Felidae, a race of cat species which can be imagined as a huge, often twice the size of humans or my character belonging to the demon race, white tiger with large horns on his head and a long tail. This race comes in all kinds of colors and patterns, and covers the whole feline family, from tigers to lions and even the “common housecat“. They usually walk on two legs but can sprint for a short distance on four to increase their speed greatly and for charging at their enemies. They are a true warrior race and awesome melee fighters, but also have a huge tendency to necromancy, which makes sense in my eyes. What else is there to do with the many corpses the Felidae warriors slay and leave behind? So naturally some of them choose to be great necromancers to further increase their armies. At least this is what their description says in regards of their race’s specific history. But Keradis really brings honor to this!
If he has enough mana and enough guild members die in a hard raid, if worse comes to worst he can revive half of the guild members as undead! I highly respect him, and also his high level standing at 81, which he has reached just yesterday, raising the level cap between players again, doesn’t even show his true strength! After all, one has to count not only his level but the small army he can summon as long as he has enough mana as well, so it wouldn’t be an understatement to say that he far surpasses his level and can be compared to at least a level 88 player, who to my knowledge, does not exist yet.
As soon as I saw his name, I instantly greeted him. And just like his reputation stated, he didn’t waste any time and passed the news to me.
“Morning Keruna! You’re really early. I’m currently in a level 82 dungeon and can’t join you. But a friend told me something interesting so you better check this out later; it could be a new event. He saw a never-seen-before NPC near the fountain at Crea City which looks like a minstrel.”
“This sounds really interesting! I’ll meet up with Sion at the church. He’ll probably have to repair his equipment, but I’ll visit the NPC as soon as I can. I’ll let you know if it’s worth coming to Crea City or not.“
“Don’t forget to invite Sion to our guild! He’s still saying that he doesn’t want to join a guild but he’s a good player so drag him over here somehow.”
“Haha, still trying to recruit him? Don’t worry, I’ll try my best to persuade him.”
“But what happened for his equipment to get that much damage? I know that you tend to your equipment so well that it won’t break even if you die ten times in a row, but Sion shouldn’t be that bad off either. Did you two fight against a boss monster and lose?”
As expected of our guild leader, not only does he know me way too well and even my regular teammates outside the guild, he also hit the nail right on the head, which made me smile faintly over so much insight.
“Yep, you can say so. We found a chicken which Sion intended to cook, but somehow it suddenly changed from a friendly NPC to an aggressive monster which had a whopping level of 100… Sion was literally stomped to death by a mere chicken and I was pecked to death by it, we both were one-hit koed.”
For a second there was silence but then Keradis broke out in laughter, probably because he had dared to imagine the said scene.
“Haha… You guys sure discover strange quests often. Too bad I wasn’t around! I would have loved to see that chicken in action.”
“I bet that it wouldn’t have ended like this if you were there, leader. Ah, right, and we got a rare title, probably the strangest one in the whole game! And no, before you even ask, I won’t ever use it!”
“Haha, too bad, I just intended to ask this: what title is it?”
“Nothing special but still disgraceful… It’s “killed by a chicken“…“
“Haha… I really would love to see the proud Keruna… hahaha…. running around the city with that title…“
Once more he started laughing and had a hard time calming down while imagining that scene in his mind.
“Uh…no thanks I really have to pass on this, but Sion intends to use that title a few times if it makes you happy.”
“Guess I have to make-do with this, eh? Well, I’m going for this dungeon’s boss next and I have to concentrate on that. Let’s continue this talk at a later time, k?”
“Good luck, and I still don’t know how you managed to fight in a level 82 dungeon while laughing your ass off.”
“Haha, it’s an ability you have to master over many years~”
Here you sound like an old man when you’re actually only 2 years older than me! Oh well, that’s a pro-gamer for you. Even a hidden class don’t stand a chance against a normal class pro-gamer at level 81. Imagining him getting his claws on a special, or worse, a hidden class, sent shivers down my spine. I bet he would jump from his 53rd rank directly up to the top 20 with a special class, and with a hidden class I can picture him clearly at the top 10. After all, he is a true monster on the battlefield and sticks to the nature of his fierce race. By now, it wouldn’t even surprise me if he’s some IRL elite fighter too.
Time flew by while chatting with Keradis and I decided I better hurry back inside the church to meet Sion so I could check out the minstrel at the fountain.
Just when I reached the stairs leading to the church, Sion came out from behind the huge front doors. When he spotted me he waved and instantly came over. One thing was strange though. He usually waits patiently inside the church and reads a cooking book. With furrowed brows, I headed in his direction, just to spot something which made me freeze and make a 180 degree turn! It was a drop-dead gorgeous elf woman with blonde hair and crystal blue eyes who came from the church, following Sion. She waved at me with a smile as bright as the sun. Elegantly, she came closer and closer, and facing the incoming danger my urge to log out also grew each and every step she made.
‘Darling’ my ass!! Drop dead Azura and leave me alone. Don’t ruin my day.
I regretted setting up a meeting time with Sion. Why didn’t I think about warning him before Azura contacted him via pm to meet up…
“Azura wanted to meet you so badly, Keruna. You two sure are some lovebirds!”
Sion has been misunderstanding the situation since the day when we first met Azura, and he still always gives me an all-knowing smile. That day, “it“ instantly clung to my arm and flirted around in front of Sion so much that now he thinks we’re newlyweds or something. But in fact, “it” – nothing fits that character better – was none other than our ex-soldier Maeda, my senior hidden GM!!! That guy somehow managed to persuade the natural disasters to let him use the gender opposing his own, which he would have had to use in this game, just so he can fool around, and of course the natural disasters were all fired up by this idea. Since then, he regularly fools around with us, other GMs, and players by pretending to be a drop-dead beauty, flirting around and hooking up with some handsome men just so he can secretly laugh at them drooling over a macho guy without knowing…
Talk about evil! Let’s just hope Sion begins to stop believing whatever it says…
It didn’t take much longer for Azura to snuggle against my arm, hiding a mischievous grin from Sion and the others, so that only I could see it.
“How could you leave me behind, darling? I missed you sooo much~“
While it said this, it looked up with watery eyes in a pleading demeanor and as I feared, every man near us stopped moving, eyeing the beauty with hungry eyes while glaring at me as if I was some vermin attached to that gorgeous “lady“.
Guys, if you knew the truth you would probably seppuku¹ on me, so stop giving me death glares already!!
“I fear I was blinded so much by your appearance that I lost sight of you.“
“Hohoho, of course. There’s no woman who can surpass me~“
Uhu… I doubt a woman can surpass your macho muscles, indeed… You surely can make someone’s eyes rot, leading them to be blind the very moment they imagine your macho body overlay with this avatar’s appearance.
Of course the men still ogled at “her“, and Sion was just grinning from one ear to the other watching this “lovely“ scene despite my voice being completely monotone but his imagination simply was stronger than reality.
“What are you two up to? Let me join you, darling~“
“Nothing, you can get lost now.“
“Awww, playing the bad boy again?“
Sadly Sion had to spill the beans about our next step, which gave it more chances to make me hated by nearly all the men in Crea City.
“Well, my armor is broken and I have to fix it. Why don’t you come with us Azura? I bet Keruna is all flames to buy his lover some cute equipment~“
That’s actually the last thing I want to do. There are better things I can spend my money on instead of wasting it on an old geezer who fools around way too much for his age. But of course it instantly agreed and pressed its fake D-cup against my arm. After noticing the surrounding men grit their teeth and starting to mumble curses at me. I feared that I, a Twilight Assassin, would have to face an actual assassination attempt on my life any moment now.
In the end we three rushed to the next armour dealer’s shop and went inside. We greeted the NPC, with whom we already had high intimacy, which meant a better quality of goods and lower prices. While Azura and I discussed about admin stuff silently in the opposite corner far enough away from anyone to overhear, Sion went straight to business and started to unequip his armor bit by bit until his top was naked and he was only wearing his black trousers, showing his good build worthy of a true Knight. This wasn’t left unnoticed by the few women who were also inside the big armor dealers shop, and they seemed worse than the prior males, ogling at Sion like hungry wolves looking at a high quality grade steak. When I noticed this I couldn’t prevent myself from the thought that they would probably soon start drooling over him, and Azura, actually being male, was quite annoyed because of this.
Sucks when you can’t show your macho self in these situations eh, Maeda? Kekeke.
This sure made me happy and I couldn’t stop myself from giving “him“ a nasty grin to which “he“ replied with a sun radiating smile. Then I realized my mistake and froze. After all it WAS Maeda who was standing there and there was no way he wouldn’t take action…
Just when this thought crossed my mind he had already started his next move and approached the onlookers. Then he made a melodramatic gesture and started to speak out his poisonous sentences, which Sion couldn’t hear from this distance.
“He is quite handsome, right? Too bad that he has a boyfriend, and they are so lovey-dovey! You know, I saw them in a dungeon before, being in their own world.”
With a disheartened look Azura was peeking in my direction and the women followed “her” gaze silently, moving their gaze from bottom to top to take a closer look at me while I was left speechless once more and tried to pretend I didn’t hear it.
“What a shame.”
One of the girls looked back and forth on Sion and then on me.
“…they at least seem to fit each other.”
And there their imagination went wild and they started discussing in lower voices about us, giggling from time to time and Azura gave some comments here and there. But I couldn’t hear anything more than this. Not that I couldn’t imagine it with that evil smirk on Azura’s lips. What a talent to destroy a person’s reputation, but I can’t deny it either, they already seemed to believe it and try persuading themselves otherwise… This happened once already and when I tried denying it, it got even worse so I could only sigh.
After Sion’s armour was fully repaired and equipped, he came over to me and noticed the small group of females who were still imagining things. Because of their giggles he got a bit shy and nervously looked over to them, starting to whisper to me.
“Do you think they are interested in us? I’m still single, maybe I could get the chance of a lifetime?”
“Well they are interested, but in a different way than what you are thinking now. You’ve already missed your chance…“
“Trust me, you don’t want to know it and I’m too lazy to find a new teammate for a while.”
Because of the confusion he went through by not grasping the situation and my strange response, he started to speak louder so the women could hear our conversation now.
“Huh? You know I won’t leave you that easily.”
“I basically stick like glue to you.”
Sion… congratulations! You made the situation worse by A LOT…
I really felt like face-palming, but it would be too rude towards Sion so I refrained from doing it. But I already noticed the girls’ eyes suddenly having a strange, glittering shine to them.
“Whatever, don’t mind it, Sion…“
“Okay. Beside this shop is the ingredients shop, so I’ll buy some cooking ingredients. Anything you want to eat for lunch today?“
He asked this with his usual nice guy face while pondering over some recipes in his mind.
God, Sion!!! Don’t switch to your irl profession within a second! Stop, please!! They’ll misunderstand even further! And Maeda already has a hard time not bursting out in laughter!
From the corners of my eyes I still observed Maeda’s and the women’s reaction and noticed him slightly shaking and fighting against an incoming laugh attack.
“Anything is fine, you choose. But we should hurry, okay?”
“Do you have something prepared already?”
“I’ll tell you on the way…“
With that being said, I grabbed Sion and hastily started to go outside after taking a quick glance at Azura.
“Don’t mind me, I’ll stay with my new friends here!”
“It” said cheerfully, happy to hang around with cute girls and probably causing even worse misunderstandings. Basically, it was all written over its face. Sion and I said our goodbyes and finally went outside the shop, leaving this bad situation which Sion probably will never understand or find out about behind. I swear, I’m the last one who’ll tell him about this…
Inside the armour dealer’s shop a newly formed club saw the light of day. At this point of time neither I nor anyone else could have thought that it will be a huge fan club prospering in the future with the name “Sion and Keruna’s love supporters“. Their founders were squealing and talking about the recent happening in eager voices, fangirling over the caring, loyal “housewife“ and the cold but cool demon husband…
By now I really couldn’t believe my day could get any worse. But since I started working as a hidden GM at Night Dragon Corporation I was taught otherwise. Still, hope never dies!
After Sion bought all the necessary ingredients for his five star cuisine lunch, I told him about Keradis’ information about the minstrel at the fountain located at the center of Crea City, which we reached after half an hour of walking.
Indeed there was a minstrel standing right beside the fountain clad in expensive fabric and a hat with a large white feather attached to it, holding a lute. Many players were near the fountain and expected an event to start soon. We sat near the fountain as well and Sion started to cook while we waited for the event. After we ate and wondered if there would even be an event taking place, it seemed to start. The minstrel suddenly started to play the lute and after a short while began to sing. We were expecting a beautiful voice, but it wouldn’t be the Mirage of Eternity I knew if the voice wasn’t as awful as the worst singing I ever heard in my whole lifetime! The song was in a super high pitch voice which could make ears explode, completely unfit for any minstrel! Not to mention that the whole song didn’t make any sense to me.
“Oh thy, chaos is coming, dark is the skyyyy~
Nor night nor day, the evil is comiiiiiing~
Oh will there be brave heroeesss?
Rescue the maidens, rescue the children, the dark army is on its waaaay~
Reversing, reversing the words, breaking the speech
I hereby try to warn theeee
Oh can you hear me siiiiing???
Dear adventurers, hard times are comiiing~
But don’t despair yet, light will shine agaaaiiin~
Fight bravely onwards and onwards,
The reversal will last an hour, whereas after the darkness will start marching.
Seven days of preparing and rest, oh thy hell will start.
Death is their destiny, death is what they seeeeeek~
Oh do you hear meeee~?
Oh brave ones look at the skyyyyy~“
After such a seemingly endless time, the torture was over and I praised the heavens for their mercy to finally make it end. Until now I didn’t believe that a truly glass shattering voice could exist, I learned my lesson… It does exist after all! I looked at Sion who probably though the exact same thing as me and was as pale as a white sheet, staring with a blank gaze at the minstrel who bowed in front of the crowd. But there was of course no one who applauded or screamed for an encore. On the bard’s face a frown formed but he just shrugged and at this moment it struck me.
Everything came together! The coffee, the cocoa…and this gruesome song from hell! I instantly checked the name closer with my GM special privileges and my fears were proved right. It was Kaje, who changed her avatar to a minstrel and hid her name from normal players’ eyes, changing it to “Sunken Moons Minstrel“… Which meant this was another one of their event ideas. But I couldn’t grasp it fully yet, it looked too modest for them, despite the ability to brain-damage people by just listening. And as if my worries just came true, Sion finally awakened from his daze and spoke to me.
“This was… the worst thing I have ever heard! What horrors did you force me to witness?!“
But I couldn’t understand a single word he said nor hear anything else. At this moment a new status window appeared.
The “Sunken Moons Minstrel’s” curse was cast on you.
After hearing the infamous “Song of the Chaotic Reversal and Lurking Danger“, sung by the “Sunken Moons Minstrel“, also known as “the minstrel of evil“, a curse was placed on you. Because of the worst of the worst performances ever shown by any minstrel alive, the effect of the curse duration was maxed out and after your hearing recovers you won’t be able to convey your words as you want for a whole hour.
Warning: Every nine out of ten sentences will end with either nonsense or the opposite of what you want to convey, leading to misunderstandings and maybe even dangerous situations. Be careful brave adventurer! Please also note that this song despite its bad text and performance holds a deeper meaning, which will be revealed at its full extend seven days after the curse was lifted.
Deaf for: 30 seconds
Cursed for: 1 hour
Unknown event: starts 7 days after the curse is lifted
Resistance to light: -100
Resistance to darkness: +100
Sometimes I hate myself for slowly getting too used to my superiors….
¹Seppuku is a form of Japanese suicide ritual done to regain one’s honor after betraying someone or not keeping an important pledge or promise. The suicide is done by disembowelment. For more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seppuku
Proofreader: Sinros, Weni