I look over the note that my brother left me again.
All I have to do to get a response from the system is ask it?
“[Status]” I say, bringing up the rpg-like blue screen.
General Info: Chris Nordstrom, Age:17, Lvl:1, Class: Dungeon Master, Mana:XXX, Health: 150 DP: 10, Gold: 20
Titles: Chosen Of Thoth, Dungeon Master, NPC, Master of Dexterity, Card Shark,
Special conditions: Normal
Physical Condition: Impaired Vision (minor)
Physicality: Athletic 50%
Brilliance: Genius 90%
Equipment: Inventory Ring (unique)
If I remember correctly, my DP, whatever that is, was at zero the last time I looked at my status. What changed?
My brother said that I can ask the system anything, so here I go, “[System, what is DP?]”
DP (Dungeon Power): The dungeon master gains one point of DP once per day per member of the starting race in the Dungeon Master’s dungeon.
Shouldn’t I have thirty DP then? SInce there are 30 zombies in the dungeon. Maybe I used up twenty somehow.
I rub my eyes, glancing at the clock. I’m supposed to be getting up for school in an hour, hopefully my nap from earlier will carry me through even without the extra sleep. Why did our school have to be one of the few that didn’t cancel classes?
I sigh, turning my attention back to my status screen. “[Identify Titles]”
In response to my words, a flurry of blue screens pop into my vision, each one covering the next.
Chosen Of Thoth: Thoth has decided to sponsor you. Various benefits may pop up.
|Dungeon Master: You are the master of a Dungeon World. You have control over that world.|
|NPC: You are not currently a player. /ERROR/ Title changed to Special NPC do to your special status, allows access to basic system elements while in the Beta phase.|
Before continuing with my titles, I glance at my status to see that that the title has changed from NPC to Special NPC. I continue on to the next title curiously.
Master Of Dexterity: Due to your focus on dextrous actions such as: Soccer, Sleight Of Hand, Ballet and Gymnastics. You gain a bonus to actions requiring Dexterity and the gaining of skills that require dexterity
Ok, it isn’t what it looks like, I may have done gymnastics and Ballet for eight years, but I stopped! I am now doing the much cooler and manlier sport of Parkour and I’ve stopped doing Ballet all together. So don’t judge me.
|Card Shark: You have played card games with others and bended the rules so that you earn money from them, multiple times. You gain a natural bonus to your luck when gambling.|
Oh come on! I stopped doing things like that a year ago. It might have been because everyone refused to play with me anymore, but that’s besides the point. Why can’t I get a title for being good at chess? I played in my middle-school club! Actually, scratch that, I’m glad I didn’t get a title like “super-nerd”. I might have been a little too eligible for that title.
I wonder how my titles compare to others? Too bad I’m not related to any beta testers that could simply sit down and explain everything to me.
If I get any abandonment issues, I’m blaming you Sam.
Shaking my head, I move onto the final thing that I want to cover before I take my pre-school nap. “[Identify Class ‘Dungeon Master’]”
Class: Dungeon Master (NPC only)
You have been granted one of the most powerful items in existence
Now your very being revolves around it
Raise your dungeon well
You are a Dungeon Master
Summon Dungeon Inhabitant.
|Transform: Transform into one of the variants unlocked in your Dungeon, DP cost varies based on variant target.|
Grant Rebirth (basic): Mark three souls in your dungeon to be reborn with memories intact whenever they die. Currently Marked: Undead Shaman Luna. DP cost: 20
|Summon Dungeon Inhabitant (basic): Bring up to (3) inhabitants from your dungeon into the world you currently inhabit (Earth) DP cost: 10/transport|
I found out where that 20 DP went. I remember that when I named Luna, it mentioned me using a class skill.
So do I try out the one class skill I can, or fall into the sweet embrace of my bed?
I glance around my brothers room.
The least I can do is move into my own room to make my decision, so that’s what I do.
I step into my small bedroom with a sigh, exhaustion filling me. I realize as soon as I see my bed that the idea of the choice was silly.
I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the bed, only to be woken up an hour later.
With a yawn, I turn off the alarm. My eyes slowly focus in on the two blue screen in front of me.
I reach for my glasses, before I realize that I can easily read the text on the blue screen.
Congratulations! Your zombie shaman has risen their first skeleton from the dead.
You have been awarded +10 gold.
|One of your Zombies has advanced into the variant Undead Warrior! +10 gold.|
Cool? More gold is nice, I guess.
This means that last night wasn’t completely imagined then.
I grab my glasses, putting them on, then I search for the notes my brother left me from last night, reading through them again quickly.
I leave my room to brush my teeth, then skip a shower in favor of making myself an actual breakfast with eggs.
It feels… weird. Going through life as if everything is normal after what I did last night. Zombies, real live zombies. They were fricking horrifying too.
“Status.” I can’t help but say, bringing up the little blue screen that proves that all of this is real.
My DP was still at 10. Does that mean that it increases at a set interval everyday? Or were the gains so slow that my status hadn’t registered the increase yet?
After I’m finished with my breakfast, I rinse the dishes, putting them into the dishwasher, and I leave the house.
My parent’s house sits in the nice little cul-de-sac of a wealthy neighborhood. It’s not too unusual to see people starting their days all around, but I take notice of a few people that I don’t recognize, the words of my brother’s letter making me slightly nervous. He’d said that people would be watching me because of my connection to him.
A couple of the other students at my highschool were already at the bus stop by the time I got there. They were brothers of hispanic descent, with the same brown hair and eyes. I only knew them because we’d waited at the same stop for the past three years.
The older one was busy teasing the younger one the entire wait, which helped calm my anxiousness over the strange people on the street.
One of the people in particular, a twenty year old wearing a leather jacket, and shades, sat smoking a cigarette, and seemed to be paying more attention to our group than was usual. I controlled my nervousness carefully, knowing that looking nervous would only make whoever was watching me, watch me with even more care.
I’m thankful when the bus finally stops by us. I step on and quickly spot James who’d saved a spot for me.
I sit down, thankful to take off the heavy backpack I had for my classes.
“Sup man?” James says, pulling out an airpod from his ear. “Did you see the latest news?”
“What happened?” I ask, looking at the video James is watching on his phone.
James hurriedly rewinds the video so that I can see it.
The video starts, pointing at a young woman wearing a masquerade mask, staring at whoever is filming.
James, of course, doesn’t lend me an airpod so that I can hear.
The young woman wearing the masquerade mask in the video turns away from the camera to look at two other people wearing ski masks. They all appear to be in a historical exhibit of some kind, and the two other people are obviously Beta Testers.
One of them, the man, stands floating in the air with a gun over his shoulder, while the woman, has a black mist flowing out from a dagger at her waist.
I watch as they talk, then a fight begins. The woman in the mask disappears as the gunshot from the man blows a hole in the wall where the masked woman used to be.
The view from the camera points at the wall as whoever is filming hurriedly hides behind a wall.
A second later, the phone is hesitantly pointed back out at the fight. The woman with the dagger reels back as cuts form along her body, and the masked woman appears in front of her. Unfortunately, the man with the gun is ready, and he shoots the masked woman into a wall.
The masked woman just stares as the other woman’s dagger is thrown at her.
Then another dagger appears in front of the masked woman creating a shield of some kind.
Two gunshots ring out, and the fight is over as the two people in ski masks fall over. The video ends.
“Holy shit.” I say, slack jawed at the speed of the fight.
“No kidding.” James says, pulling his phone back. “Apparently the woman wearing the masquerade mask saved a whole bunch of people at the museum. She’s a ‘hero’”
I review the fight in my head, and rethink any idea I’d had of confronting the Beta Testers chasing me and my brother.
“When did this happen?” I ask James trying to review every part of the fight in my mind. Did my brother know these people? Was the masked woman the one chasing my brother? Or was it the other Beta Testers that the masked woman fought? God damn it, I have no answers, and I can only speculate.
“It happened two days ago, but the video was just leaked. Apparently the government didn’t want the video released.” James smiles excitedly, he does love conspiracies. “That reminds me, Ziron, a streamer, has been saying that he’s going to be doing a big stream later today where he goes into the City of The Dead with a Beta Tester.”
He catches my full attention by mentioning the City of The Dead, I’ll have to remember to watch that stream. I look up the time for the stream he mentioned on my phone, and set an alarm so that I’ll be ready to watch it.
“How much longer are you planning to avoid Carla?” James asks.
My thoughts stall as my mind witches over to his question. “As long as it takes for her to give up?” I respond hopefully.
James just stares at me questioningly. “You know that’s really-”
“Stupid. I know.” I say, sighing. “I just can’t reject her ok? I know the stuff she’s going through, and if she asks and I say ‘no’, then it will hurt her. I don’t want to do that.”
“There’s such a thing as being to nice, you know?” James says, obviously annoyed with me. “Look man. You don’t want to lead a girl on, believe me, I’ve tried it.”
We both shudder as we think of Anna.
“Just let her down gently. It might suck for a little bit, but she’ll get over it.” James looks at me hopefully.
“Who are you guys talking about?” Diana, a sophomore that is friends with James’s little sister asks, sitting down on the seat across from us. Diana has long, thick black hair and inquisitive green eyes that stare at us curiously.
We both clam up. Diana couldn’t keep a secret if her life depended on it. And I personally don’t think my love life is the whole school’s business.
Crazy thought, I know.
I hurriedly think of something else to talk about, “Hey Diana, have you seen the latest video of the Beta Testers?”
Diana doesn’t buy it, but she rolls her eyes and accepts the change of topic.
It isn’t much longer before the bus arrives at the school, and we go through another boring as hell day of classes. The one light in it all is my biology teacher, Mrs. Henderson, she actually keeps the whole class interested in her lecture during the class.
For lunch, James and I slip out of the school to eat pizza at a new spot that opened nearby.
While taking a bite of the delicious pizza, James catches the eye of the girl he currently likes. I let him go to work his charms on the pretty girl while I enjoy the pizza.
A familiar looking man wearing a leather jacket, and shades, slips into James’s seat.
I stare at him, trying to place where I’d seen him before. It only takes me a moment to realize I’d seen him at my bus stop this morning smoking a cigarette.
“Sorry kid. I hate to do this.” He says, his voice deep and gruff.
I open my mouth, not sure what I’d do. Scream for help? Call James back?
Before I can make up my mind, a word comes out of his mouth that stops all my thoughts. “[Sleep.]”
The world fades to darkness as I slump over the last bite of my pizza.