Read #1 book on Hinduism and enhance your understanding of ancient Indian history.
Read #1 book on Hinduism and enhance your understanding of ancient Indian history.

Shivangni Saha

Thriller


3  

Shivangni Saha

Thriller


Gamer's Luck: Ch. 3

Gamer's Luck: Ch. 3

10 mins 178 10 mins 178

Damn. I can’t sleep.


I might seem over the wall thinking about being second place but look at it this way- whatever you dream off, whatever your motivation to be first in school, sports, art, dance is, whatever it feeds on, that is gaming for me. Sound cliched? We hate to admit it, but most people thrive on cliches in reality. We condemn movies and series for being cliched and predictable, but apart from the happy ending that would most likely never happen in the real world, everything else is pretty much based on observing real humans when they’re in love or angry or solving a crime and so on. We do dramatize it a bit for entertainment’s sake, but that doesn’t mean we’re not the role models for these platitudes. They’re cliches, not lies. 


*The alarm clock produces sharp rings that echo as they gradually grow louder and pierce my brain*.


“Ugh.”


I groan as I twist in bed to hit the stupid contraption that imprisons a universal man-made social construct to shut it the fuck up. 


I can feel the bags under my eyes engrave deeper into my skin. I usually love my dark circles, they’re like the honorable scars I receive after staying up all night to accomplish my missions, like awards. Only this time, these bags of sleep deprivation are a result of overthinking, and that too not about a game, but about a player. I have really got to find this dude.


*School bell rings, ending the day for Fuji*

“Tadaima!”


With that said, I swiftly enter the room as I attempt but horribly fail to smoothly take my pants off and change into my favorite sweats, I then pounce into my swivel and ready myself for another round of Adagio and hopefully, another rendezvous with Sir Purple Dickhead. I settle myself into my chair, grab the cola bottle from below the desk, take a gulp, and man, I was born ready for this.


*WELCOME TO ADAGIO* *PLAY* *MAP* *LEVELS* *WEAPONRY AND CLOTHING* *HELP* *SETTINGS*


*Selects “PLAY”*


“Aite, let’s go.”


I selected Dino as my character for today under my username “Void”. A grouchy looking man who has wings (yes, this buff man is apparently part fairy), uses an oversized hammer with special abilities and a stretchable whip as his default weapons (although they can be upgraded), and has a thick beard. If I had to compare his appearance to anyone, I’d say, imagine a lumberjack, and that too the most typical looking, buffed up lumberjack you’ve ever seen. He also wears thick fur boots (I don’t know why he wears such suffocating clothing since he works during the summer but hey it’s all about the aesthetics, I guess) and a sleeveless, authentic fur jacket. He’s dressed with yellows and browns from head to toe. He may seem simple at first, but he’s the perfect avatar for smoothly conducting my gaming tricks, which always guarantees a win. 


*4 hours later*


I’ve officially defeated 54 players, where the hell is Purple? 


“Fuck it, I’m gonna get some ramen and chill for a bit.”


As I’m about to step out of the room, I hear the computer make its usual screeching beep when a player is trying to contact another. I turn around and my face lights up with a nervous excitement as I read the words,


“PURPLE IS SPECIAL CHALLENGING YOU!” “ACCEPT” “REFUSE”


“Oh really? Right now, when I’m about to have ramen? Of fucking course.”


What perfect timing.


I slide back into my chair and take a deep breath and press “ACCEPT”. 


“3, 2, 1… FIGHT!”


Adagio. A game that doesn’t rely on just how fast or strong your player can attack the other, but how calculating you are, too. Adagio literally means “in slow time”, referring to how slowly, consciously, and rationally you need to plant your moves- it’s more than just brawn and speed. You have to predict a player’s next move, all while observing and defending their current ones. One second it looks like their avatar’s punching you right in the face; when the next second, they're shooting themselves off of the battle arena’s wall into you at the speed of light, and the thing punching you was an illusion. There’s more though. To really win, you have to know what character your rival is using: their strengths, limitations, weaknesses, weapons, commonly used attacking patterns and if possible, hidden specialties. Only when you’ve memorized all of this by heart will you know what to expect at least 80% more of the time, than when you don’t know shit about anyone. Some avatars thrive on supernatural powers and long-distance combat, and they’re great at running away from their opponent whenever they get too close. In that case, choosing an avatar also capable in distanced combat would be advised, on the other hand, characters with such powers are much weaker when exposed to close-up combat, so if you could somehow catch them and get them to stay near you for a few good seconds, you could keep physically beating the shit out of them, limiting the time they take to recharge their powers before they can blast you off. Your rival is chosen randomly and isn’t revealed to you 5 seconds before the game starts, and like that, the battle arena is also chosen randomly and isn’t made known to you until 3 seconds before. However, “special challenges” can be made by players to battle a specific someone they want to face off with. Sometimes, if these arenas are your opponents' avatars' natural habitat, also known as their domain, they’ll prove to be much more beneficial and empowering for your rival than in a domain that wouldn’t affect either of you and will make winning the game a lot more difficult for the other player. A player can upgrade either their weapons, clothes, spells, powers, and more, that too in the middle of a game, which always happens in the blink of an eye, so no, you won’t have a chance to attack them while they’re upgrading. Depending on the levels you’ve unlocked in the game, the arenas become an obstacle too. Let me give you an example of this, along with explaining the concept of a “domain”:


Let’s say my opponent is a scary, overly enthusiastic disco dancer with an outdated afro who specializes in long-distance combat and uses dance moves/patterns, mics, large phonograph records, and so on, as his methods of battle. Three seconds before the game, I find out that the arena that has been selected for us to fight in is a disco, and of course, you can only guess who’s a domain that is. But this disco isn’t normal. A disco where the tiles move around and instruct me to follow them with my feet in their respective order, all while trying to fight for my life, and every time I miss a tile or a beat, the floor zaps me or something of the sort, depleting my already burdened health bar, is certainly not normal. You may think, “who the heck would choose a disco dancer as their avatar in this type of game, especially when they have a 1 out of 330 chances of their domain being selected as the arena?” True, if their domain doesn’t end up being where we fight, I would most likely win. But that’s why this game is so popular. It doesn’t just focus on the physical abilities of an avatar, but the mental ones too. How well you can sing and dance, to how well you can garden and give life to gigantic murderous plants, or how well you can use pyrokinesis (control fire); even how well you’re able to strategize and use chess pieces to kill for you! It’s such a varying game. Not a big fan of physical fighting? No worries, our 100’s of differently skilled artists, chess players, gardeners, jugglers, animal lovers (beast-tamers), spell scribes, wizards, and more have got you! You can be anyone here, so no, it’s not just your typical fighting game. 


There’s also no time limit. As long as you can kill ‘em off completely, you win.


The symbols on my controller are clicked in a consistent, systematic sequence, ensuring for a slow but steady win. I’ve played him before and I can tell this guy is analytical, the more attacks you expose him to, the better he understands your attacking pattern and uses it against you. He’s smart, but I’ve gained enough knowledge to defeat him from our previous fights, although I’m aware he’s gonna drain me of my “specialties”, which has never happened before. One thing’s for sure though- he doesn’t know how to attack. 


Okay, surprise alert, I’ve only played him in games of doubles. I don’t know why but it always ended up being that way, I’ve never received a separate challenge from him before this, nor has the game ever put us two against each other in the single’s category.


I noticed how good he is not because he’d win every game regardless of how weak his partner is, but how he’d harness his partner’s mismatched strengths and powers to attack in the most effective ways possible, and eventually yes, winning every game. In every battle I’ve gone against him, I’ve realized that he always defends, observes, predicts, and advises his partners (through his headphone mic I’m guessing) on what weapons, actions, and attacking patterns to carry out against the opponent. Crazy, but it works. He once had a level B (A is a beginner’s level and D is an expert’s) gardener as his partner and managed to win against me and my teammate, and we were both heavily equipped, muscular, close-up combat fighters, and I’m a D+ player. Yes, I’m aware that I always pick the physically strongest- don’t judge, we all try to be what we actually aren’t.


Anyway, it’s just really weird that this guy just doesn’t ever seem to attack. Does he even take part in single-player matches? Well, either way, I’m about to find out what he does now that he’s got no one else to manipulate. I don’t know why but even though he isn’t trying to strike me in any way right now, he gives me bad, bad vibes. 


It’s been an hour and 27 minutes. Alright, I’m gonna be using that one move that I only really use at the last minute of my patience and when my pride’s taking a hit, ‘cause this guy beat it up enough. This move’s a combo I like to call “Dino’s Hammer”. Yes, very simple, but instead of “Thor” it’s “Dino”, so… I didn’t want to make it cringe either. Basically, this combo of attacks involves a strike to the opponent’s left cheek on our last level of speed, as we do that, we hit them right on the stomach, also on the last level of speed, and the intensity is hard enough to make them fly up, whoever your opponent’s avatar is. As they fly up and are still fighting the confusion of being hit twice with such speed, Dino throws up his hammer in the most dramatic way possible while instructing it to “gently” bring down the “flying” opponent, with one of its upgraded moves: lightning. Yes, this character is clearly based on Marvel’s Thor. As the lightning strikes our rival down to the ground, all happening at the speed of light, we begin to end the attack combo by striking the player on their back one last time while they're on the floor, Dino holds a physical lightning bolt in his hand as he stabs the player through their back with it, all while electrocuting them. Gory, I know. But that never fails to completely drain a player of their health bar once and for all, so it’s bound to work on him. I couldn’t use this on him during the double games because certain special attacks are not allowed during double’s matches. Stupid, right? Anyway, I don’t have to hold back any longer. As I press “triangle” to initiate my attack, the guy’s already in the air. Wow, are you for real right now? Why isn’t he even trying to defend? It’s like he wants me to attack him. Guess this is gonna be an easier win than I thought. Just, please don’t be a trap. As I press “circle” and get my hammer to fly up to his avatar, where my beloved weapon will light him up to the ground, he suddenly grabs my hammer by the handle. Of course! I knew something was going to happen. He’s an amazing, undefeated player, of course, he’s not gonna go down this easy, so I predicted that he was gonna do something out of the blue when he’d think I’d least expect it. I am a genius. 


I kick his hand off almost as fast as it came for my hammer, as my avatar and I laugh at his carelessness. I’m about to finish him off in the air, still on a watch for any surprise attacks, but I think he’s surprised himself that I predicted his move. And bam. 


I… died?


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