“So Delta, how’ve you been?” I ask from the back seat of the brand-new car she has rented for our trip today. The fact someone could simply up and borrow something as expensive and large as a car is beyond my comprehension. Who would loan out something at such a great risk? Earth is in incredible world.
“I’ve been better,” she answers.
“I’ll bet there’ve been some good things in your life, at least,” Francis says. His tone seems cheerful, but his expression seems quite suspicious.
“Um, that was a weird way to phrase that statement, and a bit passive-aggressive,” she says.
“No, I’m being completely sincere,” Francis lies.
I think he’s upset about his parents telling him that Delta is looking to have a child. Once again, I feel like an outsider who should not at all be involved in this situation. It is awkward, to say the least.
“I like being your friend,” I interject. “You two have shown me great kindness, and going out of your way to help me has only solidified my feelings towards you. Perhaps one day we can grow our emotional bond even further.”
“Wow, that’s really sweet,” Francis says. “Someone’s got to help you, and I’m glad it’s us.”
“No comment,” says Delta.
“I do have one question, though, before we really get going,” Francis says. “About your system and all that.”
“Ask away. I should be able to answer it.”
“How come food doesn’t do anything?” he asks. “I mean besides give you Destiny Points sometimes.”
“Uh, hm. I’m afraid I don’t understand your question.”
“I mean, in most video games, if you eat food, you restore health and stuff like that,” Francis tells me. “A piece of meat will restore 20 points, a roast steak will restore 60, an apple will restore 5, that kind of thing. How come it doesn’t work for you?”
“I have never really thought about it,” I say. “Hmm… Well, my best guess would be that the system on Mystix simply doesn’t work that way. It adds onto your essence, your soul, but it does not change the way your body works in any fundamental way. Being hungry reduces your total Life Points faster than if you are well-fed, just as a bleeding gash from your arm or a deliberating disease.”
“So if you get your head cut off all of a sudden, that’s 15,000 Life Points gone, just like that?”
“Yes. Our meter is reflective of our life essence. Killing us brings that to zero.”
“Wait. If the system is reflective… but you lose one point per minute just standing there…”
“The Destiny System is poisonous to sentient life, yes,” I explain. “It is a well-known fact and one that every single person on Mystix is taught about and warned of before they decide whether or not to use the Sorting Scepter and accept the system into their being. In order to power ourselves up, we must let the system drain us as well. We are merely a vessel for the greater strength dwelling within us. One day, perhaps, the system will unleash itself upon all who have accepted it and unlock our full potential, but if that is done, it could come at the cost our very beings.”
“Eryk,” Delta says. “Have you ever heard of HP Lovecraft?”
“Well, then, how come sleeping slows down the Life Point drain, then?” Francis asks.
“Because the system is unable to sap away our life force as quickly when our minds are not active. It is quite simple, really.”
“Okay, enough of this stupid talk,” Delta says. “Time for our first stop on your RPG point system thing.”
“Ah, the first test?” I ask.
“According to the extremely detailed notes Francis texted me, yes,” she says.
We pull over and park at a store with a blue and green sign that reads, “Fami.”
“What does ‘Fami’ mean?” I ask as I get out of the car.
“It’s just a name,” Delta says.
“Actually!” Francis hops out in front of us and points his finger high. “’Fami’ is an abbreviation for ‘Family.’ It’s all about displaying the warm and welcoming feeling of the store, like we’re all one big happy family.”
“Oh, so ‘Fami’ means ‘family,’” I say.
Delta stares at him blankly.
Francis’s expression fades immediately. Without another word, we enter the Fami.
I wonder what kind of place this is. Why are we coming here for my Detsiny Point training, anyway?
Immediately, I am hit with the realization of what is contained inside.
Row upon row, laid out like a general store I am so familiar with. And yet… It’s all amazing-looking food products, technology of all sorts!
It’s the most convenient-looking general store I could ever imagine!
But… why are we here? That is the question I want to ask.
“Why are we here?” I ask.
“Grab everything that looks tasty, and everything that looks nasty,” Delta says. “This is the first part of our test. The junk food trials.”
The junk food trials…
I feel like I’m in paradise.
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