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[F01-PP] [Ryoubai & Akatsu] Finally Getting Somewhere <<The First Lesson>>


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Kat led Ryou by the hand as they followed the boy that Kat had kept them company in the alleyway. He had a lot more energy and seemed to be in much higher spirits. To be fair, Kat was much in the same spirits now that she had taken a nap, and she gripped Ryou's hand tight so she was sure she wouldn't lose her. When all three woke up and talked to each other, the boy found out that the two women had zero ideas on how to play the game. So he agreed to help the two learn the ropes, and the primary way to do that was to do the starter quests. 

The boy had led them through the labyrinthine Starter City and seemed to know exactly where he was going. This was impressive considering after wandering around for an entire day yesterday, Kat had zero clue on where anything even was. If you asked her to get back to that cafe they were at yesterday, she would have had trouble even knowing the direction it was, let alone how to get there. However, the boy not only had confidence in where he was going but purpose. Kat was glad someone did, at least, considering how lost she and Ryou had been.

When they reached the square, Kat found that there were a lot of players gathered there, with a man in a monocle and nice suit running around harrying basically anyone who passed by. The boy stopped and looked back at the two girls, who had been struggling to keep up with his burst of energy. "Right there, miss," he said to Kat, and Kat frowned as she walked up next to him. "Now, don't call me miss. Call me..." she tapped her chin as she remembered the other people she met calling her Akatsu based on her username. She almost forgot that's what she had set it as since she couldn't think of anything more original than combining her first and last name in a fun way. But she wondered if she could get a nickname out of that. She ran the letters over in her head, and finally after what was probably a way too awkwardly long pause with the boy staring at her finished her sentence with, "Kat! Call me Kat!" Her smile didn't do much to not give away how proud she was for coming up with that.

The boy blinked at her, and then his eyes lit up, "Okay! Miss Kat!" Kat's cheeks puffed out in annoyance, but before she could protest the "miss" part the boy turned to the man scrambling around the square and pointed at him. "That's the man who will start your quest. I suggest you two start a party and then talk to him, and he'll tell you what to do. Good luck!" he said, before bounding off. "Thank you!" Kat yelled after him and waved, and he turned and waved back as he ran, before disappearing into another nearby alleyway. Kat really hoped he'd be okay. But she turned to Ryou, "What did he mean party? I don't usually go to parties, and especially not in video games."

Spoiler

Skills:

  • 10 SP Total: 8 Spent | 2 Unspent
  • Claw Skill - [Journeyman] - +4 DMG

Inventory:

Equipment

  • Rare Claws
    • Slot 1: Accuracy [+1 BD]
    • Slot 2: Accuracy [+1 BD]
  • Vanity Kimono (Cloth Armor)

Consumables

  • 2700 Col
  • 3 Starter Healing Potions [50 HP]

Stats:

  • Level: 2 
  • XP Total: 612/1000
  • HP: 40
  • EN: 22
  • +4 DMG
  • +2 BD
Edited by Akatsu
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Ryou still seemed very groggy after their nap in the alleyway. Her back didn't hurt which surprised her as they were resting on a bumpy, uneven cobblestone road. Ryou explained to the boy that she had never played a video game like this before. She had played Tetris or Snake, but that was it. She frowned as he seemed surprised. She also wondered how they found each other after they had wandered for most of the day. Ryou spent a lot of her time before they had all been teleported to the square trying to open her menu and log out. She hoped that the starter quest wouldn't be too dangerous. She didn't exactly trust that the game's system or rules would be fair.

She rubbed her eyes a bit as she was dragged along by Kat. She was sure to hold on tightly to Kat's hand as well. After what happened, she was scared about her being lost or worse. She was surprised that the boy knew where to go. He must have been good at video games before being trapped in here. She wondered when he found the time. When she was his age, she didn't find the time at all. That and she didn't have access to games all that often. It made her wonder if she squandered her childhood, always studying and never doing anything fun. 

Ryou looked nervously at the man with the monocle. He kept on trying to talk to anyone that passed him by. In the real world, people like that made her nervous anyway. She did her best to avoid him but she actually had to talk to this person. She listened to Aki and the boy talk. She smiled gently at Aki's pouting. She had never liked it when people tried to talk to her like that. When they had first met, Ryou addressed her as "miss" as well, but Aki instructed her to call her by her name. She wondered what nickname she would come up with for this world. People generally just addressed people by their usernames, she thought. It wasn't as if Aki's username was particularly long or needed shortening. She probably just thought a nickname would be cute. She smiled once again once "Kat" was suggested. It was very fitting for her. 

Ryou let out a chuckle as Kat pouted more. At least the kid still called her Kat. Once the boy had explained what they had to do and bounded off, Ryou waved goodbye to him, then looked down. "Aren't all of these people doing his quest anyway? He won't mind if we do it again too?" She shook her head. "It's a game. I have to remember that it's a game. Of course he wouldn't mind." Ryou rationalized to herself out loud. She snapped out of it when Kat began to speak. "I think he meant like a group. I know we can make one but let me look up how." She said, opening up her menu. She had gotten the hang of that at least. She read the instructions and opened up the menu to add Kat as a friend, then invited her to a party. "There. Now all you have to do is accept the invitation."

 

 

Spoiler

 

Skills:

  • SP Total: 8 Spent | 2 Unspent
  • Polearm Skill - [Novice] - +3 DMG
  • Heavy Armor - [Novice] - 8 Mitigation

Inventory:

New Character Bundle: Basic Package

Equipment

  • Uncommon Polearm
    • Slot 1: Accuracy [+1 BD]
  • Uncommon Heavy Armor
    • Slot 1: Thorns [9 DMG when hit by Non-Crit]

Consumables

  • 2700 Col
  • 5 Starter Healing Potions [50 HP]

Stats:

  • Level: 2
  • XP Total: 612/1000
  • +3 DMG
  • HP: 40
  • EN: 22
  • +1 BD
  • 9 DMG when hit

 

 

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As Ryou explained that “party” in the video game meant “group” all Kat could think to ask was, “Well, why don’t they just call it a group then? Party means something entirely different!” She puffed her cheeks in annoyance and waited for Ryou to go through the menus as she tapped her foot. She wasn’t necessarily being impatient, she just didn’t understand why video games had to be so complicated!

Finally, Ryou let Kat know that there were invitations sent to the “party”. At this point she wished it was a real party. She could use a few drinks after all they had gone through. Either way, Kat fumbled through her menus as she looked for the menu to accept the invitations sent. This probably would have been a lot more difficult if not for the blinking indicators showing her that what she needed waited for her in the social menu. She grunted a little in frustration as she pressed the buttons in the air in front of her.

She squealed in surprise as the UI dinged at her and in the upper right corner of her vision, she saw Ryou’s full username pop up next to hers with a big green bar. She guessed that was the group system. She wasn’t sure if she was going to refuse to call it a party yet or not. With a smug smile at her own thoughts, she looked back at Ryou and said, “Okay, so now we talk to monocle man and we’re good to go, right?”

Kat nearly shot off into the air like a rocket as she heard a man clearing his throat behind her, “The name is Dorian, my lady, and yes, I should like to speak with the two of you if you would spare a moment!”

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Ryou looked at Kat, tilting her head a bit at her frustration. "I'm not sure why they don't just call it a group. Is it like that in all the games like this? Was your group called a party in Dragon Quest?" She asked, looking confused herself. She still didn't get it, but the wording didn't quite matter to her. Hopefully when Kat accepted the invitation, they would be able to keep better track of each other. She desperately didn't want to relive having to sift through people to find her, for both of their sakes. She watched as Kat struggled with the menus, Ryou was still having a bit of trouble herself but was slowly getting the hang of it. Pressing at the air felt so weird, she thought, but actually touching the menus felt like something. It was mind-boggling.

Ryou jumped slightly at Kat's sudden squeak. She glanced up and saw Kat's username pop up under hers with a green bar. The green bar must have been health, she thought. The crushing weight of what that meant hit her. Health was quantified, and if it was empty, Kat would die in front of her. Being able to see how much life someone had left was terrifying. In any case, at least she would be able to help protect her and heal her if push came to shove. She didn't want Kat's health to be anything but full, but that was wishful thinking in this world. They were just about to take a quest, after all. She looked at Kat once she began talking again and nodded. 

She yelped a bit with the sudden noise behind them. She spun around and got in front of Kat. It was the man with the monocle. Ryou let out a slight sigh of relief. "I-It's nice to meet you, Dorian. I'm Ryou, and this is Kat. What quest do you have for us?" 

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Dorian cleared his throat, "Oh, nothing so grand as a quest, I assure you. I just have a debt I need repaid, and for the life of me, I can't remember who I gave it to. Would you be willing to look into this for me?" As the party leader, Ryou would receive a quest notification screen in front of her, and Kat just stood there staring at Dorian, waiting for him to continue, having received no notification herself. She looked to Ryou, then back to Dorian, "Yes, we would be happy to help!" she explained to the man, but he just stood there waiting for Ryou to respond. Kat blinked, puffed out her cheeks again, and then began tapping her foot. "This game is so weird!" she exclaimed.

This seemed to snap Dorian back to life for a moment as he turned to look at Kat, his eyes wide, "Oh, miss, I assure you this isn't a game. Debt collection is a serious issue that must be handled with utmost respect and authority!" Kat's face went red hot, "DON'T CALL ME MISS!" she said, her tension finally boiling over at how stupid all of this was. Dorian was taken aback by the sudden outburst, before turning his attention to Ryou, "Other madam, please tell me your friend will handle herself much better during the ah.... quest, you have presumed this to be?"

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Ryou listened intently and nodded. Her eyes widened and she jumped a bit when the quest notification popped up in front of her. He must have really been in character. She pressed the accept button after Kat said that they would. She may have been the party leader, but she didn't want to make big decisions like that without her companion's input first. She looked at Kat with a raised eyebrow with her sudden exclamation about the weirdness of the game. He responded like someone deeply in character would, saying it wasn't. It felt wrong. Why did they have to act like this? Did it help with coping with the situation? It certainly didn't feel like a game to Ryou, or to Kat. 

She continued to nod along to Dorian's thoughts about debt collection, then shot a sharp glance at Kat when she yelled at the poor man. "Kat, please... he's calling you miss out of respect. He's not doing it to be mean..." She said, her brows then furrowing with worry. She looked at Dorian nervously. "She will do this quest with the utmost care, sir. Please excuse us. We've had a very stressful morning." She said trying to match the way he spoke. Generally she spoke more casually than that but she thought of it like talking to her bosses. She did her best to placate him for the time being. He must have thought they weren't up to the task now. Not that it was Kat's fault, they really were stressed and with that kid calling her miss as well, it didn't help. "We'll get started right away. Thank you for entrusting us with this." She said, giving a slight bow before leading Kat away.

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Dorian seemed satisfied by the response Ryou gave him, and nodded, but was surprised when Ryou started to leave. As Ryou started to walk away he quickly blurted out, “A-ah, Zachariah! Zackariah the alchemist is who I think I lent the money! I’ll mark your map with the location of his store! Good luck!” And then the two were gone. Dorian gave a small crooked smile and shrugged, “What an odd pair.” He then turned, and as if he forgot the entire thing began to harry the next group passing by.

Kat pouted as she was dragged off by Ryou. “Sorry if I made you mad,” she admitted, “you’re right, it has just been a really stressful day.” It was both an understatement and unnecessary to say. They had both experienced it, but Kat felt better saying it aloud to her friend. “We should probably look at the map to find this Zackariah guy. I wonder if we’re going to have to beat him up for money, like in the mob.” Kat pondered aloud, her eyes beginning to sparkle again for all the wrong reasons. “Ooh, maybe it’s one of those things where we break all his stuff and he’s like, ‘please no I’m sorry I have your money!’” Kat then began giggling uncontrollably, after putting on her most masculine voice possible for Zackariah’s line.

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She turned around and gave a nod, smiling slightly. She completely forgot to get the name of the person who Dorian had given his money to. She turned around and walked away with Kat. She looked around and then tried to open the menus to look at her map. After a few minutes of trying to get it open, finally the map was open. She looked like she was concentrating hard on not getting lost. She wasn't even sure how they had gotten around without it in the first place. Maybe that kid was looking at his map as well, but she didn't see it, as far as she knew. She occasionally glanced over to Kat to make sure she was keeping up alright. Ryou walked with purpose towards their destination, making sure to look tough so people didn't think about messing with them.

Ryou raised an eyebrow as she heard Kat. "No, you didn't make me mad. I just don't think Dorian understood why you were upset. Then again, he does seem a bit scatter-brained, doesn't he?" She explained as she kept walking down the street. "The map is the only way I'm managing to get there without us being lost." Ryou rolled her eyes a bit and sighed. "I don't think we have to do any of that. Dorian seemed forgetful, not angry that Zackariah hadn't paid him back yet. I'd rather us not have to beat him up for money. I hope Zackariah just forgot too." She shook her head, almost pouting herself. "Let's not break anything. We wouldn't want to make a bad first impression, would we? Let's at least try and be polite first." She said, hoping to persuade her. Ryou was doing her best to rationalize what they would have to do if it came down to violence. She didn't doubt that the creator of the game would make the first quest something horrible like threaten a person to collect a debt. She wanted to actually learn how to use things in this game so that Kat and her would have a better chance at survival.

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Kat frowned at Ryou for not showing the same enthusiasm for her for the quest. It was going to be fun! Ryou needed to live a little. She didn’t think these NPC people were actually people, if she understood after it was explained to her. She could probably hurt them and they forget the next day. That was a grim thought. Kat furrowed her brow as she followed Ryou. Best not to think stuff like that. Kat wanted to be a hero. Heroes get all the glory, not villains.

Kat nodded along to her own thoughts as if she had been talking to someone this entire time, barely noticing where they were, until a sign caught her eye. “Zackari- Ryou wait! This is it!” she shouted, grabbing Ryou by the back of her armor’s cloak. “We almost walked past it. But hey, your map reading must be going well if you got us here!” Kat smiled at Ryou. She was having so much fun already.

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Ryou still didn't understand the concept of what an NPC was. She wasn't sure what an older man was doing playing a game like this. She just assumed they wouldn't have the time or interest. She wondered about Dorian's life outside of the game. Was he that scatter-brained in person or just here? Was he a mayor in real life like he was in the game? She set it in her mind that she would create a spreadsheet for him, just like she had done at work for all of his outstanding loans once she had collected enough information and give it to him. She hoped it would help. With the weird mashup of technological advancement in this world, there weren't any computers besides their menus if they were counting them. She got lost in her thoughts again as she almost passed Zackariah's shop before Kat tugged on her cloak.

Her eyes widened and she yelped, stumbling back a bit. She looked up around and sure enough, she was just about to miss his shop. "Oh, sorry. I'm just thinking. I need to pay more attention." She mumbled before holding the door open for Kat. The shop's bell jingled as they were greeted by the smell of herbal concoctions. She went inside after Kat. There was an older man behind the counter, bustling around with his alchemy equipment. He glanced up from his work and smiled at the pair. "Hello, welcome in. I'll be just a moment." He said as he grabbed a couple of jars from the shelves with different herbs and what looked to be bug wings. "If you're here to order something, I'm afraid I'm beginning to run out of supplies. There will be a wait until I can get some more." He said, still focusing mainly on his work.

Ryou watched him work. "No we're... not here--" She was cut off by Zackariah as his eyes sparkled and he looked up at them with a smile on his face, he must have had an idea. Ryou looked at him a bit nervously. "Would you be willing to collect some more supplies for me? I have quite the backlog of orders to complete today and I can't complete them without more flowers, rare woods, what you would find outside of the city walls. I promise I'll help you fill your order once you return. I'll even teach you how to make your own potions. Does that sound good?" Ryou looked a bit annoyed. She would have to complete this before asking him her question, wouldn't she? She nodded, then looked to Kat. She hoped she wouldn't start breaking his things for answers.

 

Edited by Ryoubai
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Kat walked into the store as Ryou held open the door for her, and she was assaulted by the smells of all the potions being brewed. They all smelled wonderful! Mostly. Some of them smelled like medicine. Kat wrinkled her nose at those ones. She looked for those that smelled nice and wafted them into her face as Ryou talked to the old man behind the counter. She presumed that to be Zackariah, but Kat was busy figuring out which potions she didn't like so she could break them if she had to get answers. She had gotten around to picking somewhere around three potions she didn't like the smell of that she would break when she overheard the old man telling Ryou that he had an errand for them.

"Hey, old man!" Kat shouted from the back, and Zackariah turned to face her with a smile on his face, seemingly noticing her for the first time, "Oh, you must be this young madam's companion. I bid you welcome. As I stated, all of these potions are the last of my stock. I would be happy to help fill an orde-" Kat cleared her throat and Zackariah stopped speaking abruptly with a bit of a surprised look on his face, "I'm terribly sorry, please let me finish, as I was saying, I can help fill your order-" Kat cleared her throat louder, and the old man stopped once more. Yet despite this, he seemed hardly annoyed, although Kat was beginning to find herself annoyed instead. The old man began the spiel one more time, and Kat instinctively pushed the nearest potion she didn't like off the table. It fell to the ground and shattered into a bunch of brightly colored pixels, which made Kat yelp. She yelped again when a big warning window popped up in front of her, and the potion reappeared on the table as if nothing had happened. Through all this, Zackariah finished his spiel, completely this time without interruption, and looked back at the two women in front of him. "Well? What do you say?" he prompted them again, and Kat just gave a sigh.

"Ryou, this game is so stupid. I can't even do what I want," Kat said, pouting as she pushed the potion off the table again, just because she knew it would ultimately do nothing but make her feel better. At least the little glowy pixels were pretty when she was expecting them.

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Ryou watched Kat carefully, an eyebrow raised. Ryou's stare bore into Kat, Kat knew that stare well, she usually saw it when she was doing something bad. Ryou knew that she was up to something, probably debating on what to break and unfortunately she was right. She shook her head at her mouthing "don't do it". Ryou listened to the man repeat what he was trying to say. So they really would have to do his quest before they could ask if he had Dorian's money. Then Kat pushed a potion off of the table. She screamed out of surprise. If that was the effect that happened when something was destroyed, would it be the same if someone died? She felt sick to her stomach. She wondered what the warning said for Kat and went over to her. 

"Kat, stop! Now he's going to call the guards! We're going to be in so much trouble..." Despite everything he finished what he had to say, and they were still welcome to complete the quest for him despite her breaking his things. Her brows were furrowed with worry and she waited with bated breath for the guards to show up. They never did. "Yes, we would be happy to accept your quest if you would allow us." She said, hoping she could salvage this. She wasn't sure why he didn't seem annoyed at Kat's interruption, or at her breaking his property. Perhaps he was just patient. He must have known a majority of the people in the town were new and trying to get their bearings. She yelped and looked at Kat again, glaring at her. "That's enough. Stop messing with him. Let's do the quest, okay?"

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Kat grumbled as Ryou scolded her. She hadn’t done anything the game would get mad at her for and Zackariah didn’t care. Kat was ready to throw a temper tantrum because Ryou was upset with her. She didn’t want Ryou to be upset, she wanted Ryou to have fun. But here she was still worrying about things like they were in the real world. It was infuriating to the woman. It was like when Kat had finally dragged Ryou to karaoke but she made Kat sing all the songs because Ryou was too worried Kat wouldn’t like her singing.

”Okay, fine. Let’s get this stupid quest done and over with,” Kat said, before stomping to the door, “Do whatever party leader things you have to do, and I’ll be outside.” She huffed, opened the door, walked out and slammed it behind her.

She moved to the side of the door way and folded her arms over her chest, and tried her best not to start crying. This was supposed to be Ryou’s chance to lighten up and she wasn’t taking the hint. She supposed all she could really do was wait and see if the quest itself let them have fun. She didn’t even know what they’d have to do.

Edited by Akatsu
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Ryou could already feel Kat beginning to ice her. She didn’t like making Kat upset, but to Ryou, this was so much more than a game now. It was their life and she wanted to make sure they didn’t get into any trouble. She wanted them to be okay, so in her mind, they had to be careful. This was only the beginning, so they should make a good first impression to the other players. All except for the man Kat had promised them to. She hadn’t seen him around and hoped it would stay that way. Ryou rushed to follow Kat outside. “Kat— wait!” She called out. The door was slammed in front of her face. She sighed and opened the door, walking out.  

She didn’t think she was taking the leadership roll too far, but then again Kat seemed so upset. It was time she swallowed her pride. “I’m sorry… I know I’m not the best at this. I’ll try harder, okay? I didn’t mean to make you upset. I just got scared. I don’t want you to get in trouble.” Ryou said as she looked down sheepishly. Kat was so ready and willing to let this world take them on a brand new adventure. She wished she could be as spontaneous as she was. Ryou had always been a stick in the mud. She hoped she could change on this first quest. 

 

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Kat folded her arms and when Ryou presented herself in front of her, Kat looked to the side, away from Ryou. She listened to her apology, and she wanted to forgive her, but this always happened. She pouted and tried her best not to let the tears start forming again, she wanted to be the one to be mad at Ryou, not start crying because Ryou was being nice to her again. She continued to stare off down the street as she said, "I clearly didn't get in trouble. The stupid NPC didn't even do anything, and the potion just went right back on the table as if nothing had happened." Kat tried her best to get Ryou to understand that this was a game, and that she needed to lighten up. She was going to keep trying. "Zackariah didn't even mention the stupid potion, don't you think that's weird? These aren't people, they're programs, and we're just here to do whatever they want for us to get things. It's a video game!" Kat huffed, as she looked back at Ryou, dead in her eyes.

"It's a video game, and I just want to have fun, okay? I've never played video games, because they always seemed stupid, but now I see why maybe people like them. But you have to lighten up and have FUN!" Kat raised her voice, though she didn't mean to. Her anger finally ended up getting the better of her, as tears started streaming down her face, "FUN RYOU! I WANT US TO HAVE FUN FOR ONCE IN YOUR LIFE! I'VE ALWAYS JUST WANTED TO HAVE FUN WITH YOU!"

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Ryou wanted to reach out but moved her hand back as she looked at Kat. Her lips were tightened into a frown as she tried to keep it together herself. She hated seeing Kat cry. She made her cry too much already. The worst case scenarios already started playing in her head. Kat wouldn't want to play this with her anymore and they would go off on their separate ways and never see each other again. They would be injured or worse while she was angry at her. She didn't know what to think anymore. She wanted so badly to loosen up. She didn't want to be the serious type anymore. She stared back into Kat's eyes. Tears were already starting to well up. "I'm sorry... I just-- I just... I've never really played any video games before. I'll keep in mind that they're not... real..." She stuttered out. The concept was hard to grasp for Ryou, they acted so real, but it made sense that they weren't real given that they were there before all of the players and the fact that they didn't yell or scream when their things were destroyed...

Kat just kept going on with her grievances towards Ryou. She hated it when people screamed at her, especially Kat. She never meant to make her so upset. She couldn't get anything right, not even being stuck in this stupid game. She didn't have any obligations and she acted like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders despite leaving them all behind. She felt like an idiot. Ryou did the only thing left she could think of. She got on her hands and knees and bowed, her head touching the floor. "I'm sorry, Kat. Please forgive me... I'll do my best to have fun from now on!" Her voice broke as tears streamed down and onto the stone street. 

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Kat stood stock still as she waited for Ryou to respond, the tears flowing freely. She knew she had gone overboard, but she had wanted to get this off her chest for years now. She had known Ryou for so long, became such good friends, did everything she could to take care of her, and still to this day had never gotten to know Ryou. The real Ryou, the one that wasn't overworked and actually lived her life. She didn't know Ryou's family, just that Ryou sent them money. She didn't know Ryou's life, or habits, just that she came to the bar half asleep and ready to get drunk. She wanted to know more about the only friend she had ever really had, and Ryou was always just too busy.

But when Ryou broke down and got down on the floor, Kat couldn't help but break down even more herself. She ended up getting down on her knees and putting her hand on Ryou's head. "I.... Ryou don't cry... I'm so sorry!" Kat stammered. She put herself over Ryou's bowing form and picked her friend up so that Kat could look her in the eyes again. "It's... it's okay! We'll do the quest and we'll have fun! I'm sorry I got so mad! Please don't cry anymore!" She quickly wiped away Ryou's tears, and hugged her friend, "No more tears, please..."

Edited by Akatsu
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Ryou hated how guarded she continued to be after Kat had been so good to her. She wanted to open up more about everything she had asked her about. She was friends with Ryou for long enough to ask about her past and her family, after all. Ryou always thought there was wasn’t much to say. If she was being honest, she wasn’t sure if she had her own personality or if she ever did. She had always been working herself to the bone, too busy, and too quiet. She didn’t allow herself to have fun. She had to keep moving like a shark or else she felt she would get too comfortable and too lazy. She was just starting to feel comfortable enough to go to the bar to see Kat and get drunk. That wasn’t really her personality either. There would have to be a lot of self-discovery while they were both in here. She couldn’t take making Kat so sad, especially while they were trapped. Her being like this didn’t help anything. The disappointment and shame in herself was overflowing. She wanted to show how deeply, horribly sorry she was for a number of things. How she was while they were out of the game and how she was acting while they were here.

Tears began to stream down more readily when Kat put her hand on Ryou’s head. She sat up a bit and looked back into Ryou’s eyes. She sniffled. “I’ll do my best to understand from now on, okay?” She said, trying to smile for Kat. “You don’t need to apologize.” She gently pet Kat’s head. “We’ll be alright and we’ll have fun…” She assured her. She wasn’t sure how they would have fun after both of their breakdowns but she was sure they would try their best. She stood up with Kat. “We have to go outside of the city’s walls. Are you ready?”

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Kat was worried but when Ryou patted her head all her worries seemed to melt away. She nodded in response to everything being okay, her smile shining brightly despite the recent meltdown. It was always easy for Kat to bounce back. She had to, or else she couldn’t make the money she wanted to.

However, when Ryou mentioned going outside the city walls, a bit of color drained from Kat’s face. “Oh no. Why?! What’s outside the city walls? Are we finally going to have to kill things?!” Kat asked, a bit panicked. She wanted to pretend all day long that she was ready for this. That it was easy. But pretending is easy when you never have to actually do it. She jumped up to her feet and brushed some of the dirt from her kimono. She hadn’t been reading the quest info. She wasn’t even sure where to find it, if she was being honest, so she was trying not to launch into full blown panic mode.

She looked back to Ryou and took a deep breath, “No, these are the starter tutorials. It should be easy, right? Please tell me it’ll be easy.”

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Ryou gently smiled at her. Her tears had finally dried and she was relieved that Kat was starting to feel better despite their shaky start to the day. She thought about what Zackariah had said, he didn't mention having to kill anything, only gathering. She checked the details of the quest just to be sure, and she was correct. "No, it doesn't say anything about killing things. We just have to gather stuff, it doesn't say what though. Just five things outside of the city walls." She shrugged. She didn't like how open ended it was. It could be worse, she thought. It could be something highly specific and harder to get. Zackariah really didn't care what they gathered? She shook off the thought, she had to remember that he wasn't real. She assumed that if they wanted to craft something specific, they would need specific ingredients.

She put a hand on Kat's shoulder. "It will be easy. Only five things, then we can go back into the city. Nothing more, nothing less." She tried to reassure her. She didn't want it to be anything more. She also decided against making the spreadsheet for Dorian. He wouldn't be needing it after all. He would continue to be scatterbrained for as long as the game needed him to be. It was a weird thought and it made her feel uneasy.

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