Everyone had ordered their favorite and we all sat around a table in the New World coffee shop, a peaceful music playing in the back.
This time, Letty had refrained from ordering a blasphemous dish and had settled for a hot cocoa. Himawari had asked for a cup of black tea in which she had dropped five sugar cubes, while old Length and I had gone for a risk-free coffee.
“Come on, let’s talk about it then,” said Length, who couldn’t wait any longer.
I looked at him with a wry smile and brought the coffee to my lips. I considered for a second, then decided to start from yesterday, when we were hunting in the Meadow of the beginning.
“—and when the rats and birds stopped offering any resistance, we went on into the forest.”
“They’re still quite a few players struggling in this first zone but ‘looks like you’re getting used to it quickly,” Length commented, surprised.
I didn’t expect that kind of reaction at this stage of the story so I asked him, “Really? I mean, we can easily see the attacks coming so we’re not losing any LPs—”
“That’s already not normal.”
“Is that… so?”
Confused, I turned to Letty to gauge her reaction. She held her cup of coca in both hands and was lightly blowing on it. When she noticed me, she hurriedly raised her ears and added, “Ah, uh, yes. I also think the grass eaters and big chickens were weak. As Ledge said, we could easily dodge their attacks so…”
“Somehow I feel like I understand why you two were the ones to first defeat a boss.”
For some reasons, Length’s expression became clouded and as for Himawari, she had the look of someone who just realized something. Letty and I both tilted our head to their reactions.
Length looked me straight in the eyes and say, “The only thing I can really say is that the both of you got talent.”
I furiously shook my head at the preposterous remark.
“No way… I don’t have such a thing, plus—”
But Length cut me off and further added, “Nah, you no doubt have some. Normal people are still evenly matched with the Meadow’s enemies.”
“You probably got something like advanced kinetic vision or a good predictive ability. Or maybe your brain itself is different.”
“Anyway. You two got a close intimacy with this world.”
What does that even mean…?
“Be that as it may, it’s actually not so special. To put it differently, it’s about the difference between players who get 3D motion sickness and those who don’t. But that slight difference becomes huge in this VR full-body world.”
“When you first started the game, did your movements ever feel awkward or clumsy?”
This time, it was Himawari’s turn to throw us a question. Still, we both looked at her heads cocked.
At the very least, since my pod’s crash, it never felt particularly hard to move around.
“The average player will always need time to adjust to the body and movements.”
“Is that so?” Letty, like me, also seemed confused at Length’s explanations.
“If I had to say, it sorts of feels like you’re wearing a thin costume of some sort,” explained Himawari.
“For me it’s more like I’m wearing this huge and heavy coat.”
“In any event, for us normal players, our bodies feel unsteady at best.”
Both Length and Himawari were talking about something we never experienced before.
From the very beginning, we could move and hold things like we would in real life. And I didn’t have any major problem handling my spear. That these very basic things weren’t normal went over my head.
“Even if virtual reality has come far, it’s still only virtual. There’s still a subtle difference with actual reality.”
“Yeah but, when you put on the VR device, it automatically detects your body shape.”
“Even so, it’s still there. For a measure of 1 millimeters, there is a 0.5mm detection error. This subtle difference can make your movements awkward and frustrating.”
He paused to get a sip of his coffee, then look me dead in the eyes. “You two can tolerate this error. To put it in another way, you’re dense. So dense, that you don’t even notice that small error and can move like you would in real life. That’s the difference between you and other players.”
“So, you mean to tell me this is why we easily defeated the mobs in the meadow?”
Length and Himawari both nodded in synch.
“To begin with, the enemies in the Meadow of the Beginning are supposed to help players to get use to their characters. It’s the tutorial, if you will. For you guys who are already in full control of your characters, it’s no wonder you breezed through it.”
Length paused again for a moment, then sighed. “In any event, I think I understand now what you’re capable of. And it’s about time you guys tell us about the boss,” he said, grinning.
Length brimmed with anticipation. As for Himawari, it didn’t show on her face but she fixed her clear blue eyes on us.
“All right. Let’s start with the boss’ name.”
‘Strong arms Kaiser’. Along with its name, I told them where it appeared, how we fought and how we got back in Susanoo. I spared no details and often checked with Letty for accuracy.
Meanwhile, Length and Himawari had taken out various notepads and writing tools and were furiously noting down everything.
“—and that’s about it I’d say.”
“Well, that was intense…”
“I see. As expected, Source Stones drop from bosses,” mused Himawari.
When the story reached the train part, they both collapsed on the table, as if all their forces had been drained from writing so much. While waiting for them to recover, Letty and I calmly moisten our throats with a sip or two.
“Say Ledge, is all this on the forum?”
“No yet, no.”
“Post it all now. If you have picture, upload them, too.”
“Ah, right, will do.”
I had intended to do so anyway so I brought up my display. I started writing everything down, occasionally confirming facts and wording with the others. The moment I uploaded everything, the raging stream of comments descended upon the thread and reached the upper limit of 1,000 in the blink of an eye. Soon, a new thread was created and players continued arguing there. Players asked me for proof of the Source Stone, so I uploaded a photo of it, further increasing the furious stream’s momentum.
“Holy…” I certainly did not expect to generate so much drama.
“Well, that was to be expected. Almost every player checks the forum regularly,” Length nodded.
“I don’t know which one of you is going to use the Source Stone, but you’d be wise to use it after it all dies down a bit if you don’t want to stand out.”
“You think so?”
“Apparently, if you raise the level of Biological Appraisal from the Appraisal skill, you can see other player’s information to some extent. Stones are still far from being common so if someone finds out your LPs have increased, they’ll know you’re the one who defeated the Kaiser.”
“You… might be right. Thanks.”
Although the one who’ll use it was Letty, she also seemed to agree with the idea.
“Anywho, I think a lot of people will have defeated Kaiser by tomorrow so just wait until then.”
Now that the information had been leaked, Length expected a quick conquest of the forest. I agreed with him.
“Still, that was a good story. You have my thanks.”
“And I’m glad you were there to pull us out of this station.”
Length took a deep breath, conjuring forth his motivation. He told us he was about to write everything down on the official Wiki.
“Ah, I almost forgot. How about we add each other as friends?” I offered.
The two happily nodded.
“I couldn’t ask for more. I have a feeling you two will keep on bringing interesting stories.”
“Please add me as well. You can rely on me whenever you’re in trouble.”
“Ah, me too! Let me add you!”
Anyway, we all added one another as friends. Now we could get in touch easily anytime.
I looked over my gradually expanding friend list and couldn’t help but smile.
“Now, time to get started on the wiki, right Hima?”
“Ah, then how about we go shopping, Ledge? We leveled up nicely so I want to buy new cartridges.”
When we saw Length and Himawari ordered another round of drinks for themselves, Letty and I nodded to each other.
“Okay then, I’ll contact you if something happens again.”
“Yeah. I’m counting on you.” We waved goodbye to the two of them and exited the coffee shop.
◇Official Wiki and BBS
It is a platform that can be consulted and edited using the Yata-no-Kagami, one of the Three Sacred Treasures. BBS is an anonymous forum where information exchange between players occurs. However, because it’s anonymous, it also teems with fake information or exaggerations and one would need a fair bit of knowledge to navigate it. And because information on the BBS is all over the place, the Wiki exist to organize such information. Any player can edit the Wiki but they have to fill in their ID in order to submit the information. That is why the self-proclaimed “editors” pride themselves in putting together and uploading only the most reliable information.