“Do we HAFTA sit here and do nothing all day?” Ayano asked for the eighth time that morning. It had been cute the first time, but after that it had just started to make Tai annoyed.
“We don’t have a choice,” he said for the eighth time. “Laughing Coffin’s in town, and we don’t have the levels or skill to get past them.”
“But it’s so boring doing nothing.”
“Deal with it, sis.”
“Fiiiiine. But I hate sitting here.”
“YOU THINK I LIKE IT EITHER?” he snapped. “You’re right, it’s BULLSHIT that we can’t go outside. But I’d rather stay locked in here for a couple days than get KILLED.”
“They can’t kill us, we’re in a safe zone.”
“They can’t kill us in town. Doesn’t stop them from paralyzing us, dragging us OUTSIDE of town, and killing us. Like they did to Alsorel.”
“Ugh. Why do they have to be such jerks?”
“Because they think it’s cool.”
“Yeah, it is.”
The next two days passed painfully slowly. As soon as they were sure LC was gone, the two siblings sprinted outside and ran in circles around the square. “Where should we go for lunch?” he asked his sister.
“I don’t know, somewhere good,” she said absently.
“What’s the deal, Ayano? You’ve been complaining nonstop for two days about being locked up, and now you don’t care that you’re outside? You’re weird.”
“I FEEL weird. And why wouldn’t I, with your cooking?"
“Hey!” They chased each other around the courtyard for a few minutes, then went off to get some food from a cook with a level that was much more respectable than Tai’s miserable attempts at lunch.
That meal was the last time he had seen his sister. The next day when he woke up, she was gone. At first, he’d assumed she had just gone for breakfast; but when he couldn’t find her anywhere in town, he became frantic.
Two days later, he had learned the truth. She had gone out at night to join a group of friends who were going to make a run at the Floor 51 field dungeon. The entire party had been killed by the same group of Laughing Coffin members who had just passed through their town: they had been contracted to kill a player who was going after the dungeon, and his sister’s small, low-level party had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That whole incident was just a pile of shit luck from top to bottom, and his sister was dead because of it. He knew it wasn’t his fault, but that didn’t stop him thinking about what he could have done to stop her leaving even though he hadn’t known she was planning to.
Feeling depressed, he had decided to join his sister in the afterlife. Suicide, though? That wasn’t what she’d want. XP farming to reach assault team standards took far longer than he had wanted it to, but he did it diligently. When he finally reached a high-enough level to join the assault team, he teleported to the Floor 59 dungeon and charged blindly up and down hallways. For three months he kept at it, but his HP bar never once went red. Finally, he just gave up trying to die.
It was about that time that he first met Nyssa. The first few times he saw her, she was doing pretty much the same thing he had been doing: sprinting full-tilt up and down hallways, into crowds of monsters, not looking like she had any real plan. Later, it was clear she was trying to die without committing suicide, like he had been.
He started to follow her, at first just because he wanted to see if she’d actually achieve her death wish. As the days went on, however, he realized he was following her because he wanted to talk to her. So one day, while she was charging down hallways, he charged after her, right into the largest group of monsters he’d ever seen.
After that, it was a fight for his life, so he didn’t really get the chance to talk to her. It wasn’t so much that the monsters were hard, because, well, they weren’t. There were just so many of them. Tai couldn’t see the walls through the horde, and it seemed like they kept respawning. He glanced over his shoulder to find Nyssa trying to wade her way through the mob towards one monster who was a head taller than the rest. He understood immediately: they must have to kill that one to make the rest stop spawning. He began moving towards the leader as well.
They got to it, obviously, but due to the monsters’ respawn rate, it took about ten minutes. Once they got the leader, the rest of the horde was a piece of cake. When the last monster was gone, Nyssa turned to look at him. “So,” she said, “why do YOU have a death wish?”