You missed but felt the back of your hand graze the rats fur on its back as you stumbled past Butterfli3 with the momentum of your punch.
You let out another scream. “I TOUCHED IT!”
You opened your eyes and spun around to face Butterfli3 and the rat, and screamed again when you saw he had another two rats latched onto his leg now.
“THEY’RE GOING TO EAT YOU ALIVE!!” You wailed.
Butterfli3 laughed. It was the most adorable laugh you had ever heard. You froze and looked at him. He was smiling.
“I’m ok O/N, go on, punch them. You can do it.”
Spurred on my his calmness you walked up and gingerly punched the rat on his arm. You recoiled in fright.
“Oh my god I hit it!!” You squealed.
“Harder O/N!” He called. “Punch harder!”
You frowned in concentration and took another step forward, punching harder this time. It worked and the rat exploded into millions of crystals. A little menu bar popped up:[RAT DEFEATED!]
EXP: 3 pts
“I…I did it!!” You cheered.
“Well done!” Butterfli3 praised. “Now punch these two.” He said, presenting his leg that was still being chewed on by the other 2 rats.
You punched one then the other, each rat giving you another 3 EXP points and 3 Mahi.
“Oh? What’s this?” You asked pointing to the little information icon above the second rat that you had punched. “What’s ‘item(s) dropped – 1 Rat fur’?”
“You now have rat fur!” Butterfli3 said happily.
“Yeah but what do I do with it?” You asked flatly, not seeing the reason for excitement.
“Well, you can sell it and get more Mahi or you can collect them, save them up and have something like a coat or other clothing item made out of them.” He said.
“Oh… ok I might just save them for now.” You muttered.
“Want to keep grinding?” Butterfli3 asked innocently.
Your face flushed bright red. “G-grinding?? Like….” you paused, your mind imagining the two of you dirty dancing up against each other, your hips grinding into each other. “I…”
“Oh! Grinding is where you keep doing a repeat action over and over.” Butterfli3 said quickly. “In this case it would be… punching rats.”
“Pu…punching ratsOH MY GOD OF COURSE!” You yelled with relief. “I thought you… nevermind.” You said quickly.
He tilted his head curiously. As you shook your head.
Suddenly you felt a slight pain in your leg and looked down. There was a rat attached to your ankle, it’s sharp teeth embedded into your VR flesh.
“BUTTERFLI3!!” You shrieked, shaking your leg and jumping around.
“O/N! It’s ok!” He said with his hands outstretched defensively. “You can defeat it! Just punch it.”
“ITS BITING ME! IT HURTS!! WHY DOES IT HURT?! THIS IS A GAME?!” You screamed as you ran around in circles, flapping your leg occasionally.
“O/N! Just calm down and punch it! Quickly before depletes your health!” He urged, trying to keep out of your way as you sprinted erratically around, hopping and kicking wildly.
“BUTTERFLI3!!” You cried as you ran towards him.
“O/N! O/N!” He called, trying to get your attention but you were panic stricken.
You were so busy looking down that you bowled straight into him, the two of you hitting the ground with a thud. Butterfli3 managed to grab you at the last minute and pull you against himself to cushion your fall and you felt his warm arms envelope you as you toppled over.
Butterfli3 kicked the rat that was attached to your leg as his back hit the ground and it burst into a million crystals before evaporating.
The pain disappeared immediately and you opened your eyes, looking deeply into his as the glittering crystals of the defeated rat floated past.
You felt like you knew this person. There was just something about Butterfli3 that felt familiar.
“Buuterfli3.” You asked softly as you still lay atop him. “Do I know you in real life? I feel something familiar with you?”
He blushed deeply and averted his eyes as he sat up, still holding you gently.
“I umm… No I don’t think so and I mean no offense when I say this but I wouldn’t want you to know me in real life because I’m not who you think I am…”
“What do you mean by that?” You asked with confusion as he gently let you go from his embrace.
“I…I’m not cool in real life…” he said sadly as he looked down. “In this game I feel like I can be the best version of myself, I’m strong, confident in my qui-SKILLS!” He correct quickly, hoping you didn’t notice his slip. “And no one would believe that I play this game anyway even if I did say something.”
“Well I’m the same… as far as the ‘playing this game’ part goes. No-one would believe I play this game.” You said with a laugh. “Do you go to school? Which school do you go to?”
“Umm O/N…if it’s ok…let’s not talk about the real world when we’re here… I like the escape.” He said softly, looking away slightly.
“Oh! Yes of course, sorry Butterfli3.” You said gently.
He turned and looked back at you, your faces pretty close together still.
You blushed and pulled back shyly. “Gosh he’s adorable, isn’t he?” You thought. “Oh! I just remembered!” You said quickly, changing the subject. “Why the HECK do I feel pain here? Why can I TASTE food, why can I FEEL the texture of items?! I’m so confused!!”
“That’s because this is a full-dive system!” Butterfli3 said, getting up and helping you up. “It links into your brain and limbic system so that you can experience all your senses here, that’s why this game is so popular. It’s at the frontier of gaming.”
“Wow… ok but it’s not real right? Like, I’m not gonna have a rat hickey on my leg tomorrow at school am I?”
He chuckled softly. “No. It’s just a sensation, it’s not real.”
“Thank god!” You said gratefully.
“So…do you want to keep grinding?” He asked, rubbing the back of his head shyly.
“Yes please!!” You replied.
By the end of the next 4 hours you had successfully punched about 144 rats and earned yourself 432 Mahi, as well as a heap more rat furs.
“I can’t believe how many we have grinded!…ground?” You said with excitement followed by confusion as you and Butterfli3 finished up for the day.
“Farmed.” He said with a smile. “Grinding and farming are kinda the same thing. Farm just sounds more appropriate in this sentence.”