After another hour of driving…
I’m starting to get antsy, I must admit. For how far away from San Fransisco we now are, it’s somewhat disoncerting to me. Just this morning I was in a vast city filled with towering buildings and people everywhere I could see. Now I am travelling on a small road with only forest and grass around.
If I didn’t trust the judgment of my two friends so much, I’d start to suspect they brought me out to the wilderness to murder me. But they would never do that. I’m too likeable and nice.
“We’re almost to the spot,” Delta tells us.
“’The spot…?’” Francis seems confused for a second, then goes, “Oh, the spot! Right.”
“I do not follow,” I say.
“We used to come here all the time,” Francis says. “It’s a special spot right near Mt. Diablo where you can see the whole mountain and it’s beautiful.”
“Fitting name, too, considering the circumstances,” Delta says. “We first came here the day after I got my license. I was so sick of living with my conservative asshole parents that I took their car without asking, drove all the way out here with a few friends, and we just hung out all day in the sun. They never said a word, so I kept doing it.”
“Your parents cared about conservation?” I ask.
“No, no,” Francis says. “She means like, her parents are really religious Persians so they were super strict and didn’t accept her very much.”
“Don’t know why they even bothered living so long in San Fransisco, the gayest damn city in the planet, if they were just going to act like jerks about everything,” Delta says to herself.
“Where do they live now?” I ask.
“Oh, I see. You know, I’m very religious, too,” I say. “My faith in The Goddess is absolutely unparalleled.”
“I mean, that’s not…” Francis tries to find the right words. “You met The Goddess, right? So you have proof.”
“I never needed proof.”
“What I mean is, neither do they, even though they’re… wrong?”
“Not necessarily ‘wrong,’” I say. “Perhaps the religions on Earth are all permutations of the same belief systems across all worlds. There are so many of them, and I saw a very informative computer panel showing a great many of them all at the same time. It was one of the most overwhelming yet satisfying experiences in my life thus far.”
“Like that awesome part in the second Matrix movie,” Francis says. “I wanna go there.”
“I think you have to be killed in a noble sacrifice,” I say. “And also be a North Spiran or the reincarnation of one. Something like that. We are apparently some sort of Chosen People.”
“That’s… really awesome.” Francis is too in awe to say anything more.
We drive for a little while longer, up a winding mountain path and then back down into a valley area. We reach an outcrop surrounded by trees, with a little stream passing by, and, as promised, a great view of Mt. Diablo.
“We’re here,” Delta says. “The spot.”
“I had my first kiss here, you know,” Francis says.
“I lost my virginity here,” Delta adds.
“…Oh. You’re so mean to me, Delta.”
We step out of the vehicle. Delta takes the large cube, a cooler filled with waters and snacks (please don’t make me eat more junk food), and brings it out to the middle of the outcrop.
I take a look at the view of the mountains.
I’ve seen a great many sights in my time on Mystix. I’ve travelled across continents, visited remote islands, fought battles in gigantic caverns, and yet I never get sick of sights like these.
The world is beautiful. Earth, just like Mystix, is filled with wonder and adventure. Sights like Mt. Diablo here are a testament to that.
“Ah-HA!” Francis shouts. “We were right! We wre friggin’ right!”
“What? Wait. Oh! I got a Destiny Point!”
“He got a Destiny Point!”
“Yes, he got a Destiny Point.”
“I can’t believe it!” I say.
“I really can believe it.” Delta sets down the cooler and rolls out a blanket. “That is exactly what the [Adventurer] class is supposed to be about, right?”
“Yes, but you’ve been here many times before. [Adventurers] are only supposed to get Destiny Points for finding places that are far-off or secret, long-lost or sparsely populated. Places where other [Adventurers] have seldom ventured.”
“And you are literally the first [Adventurer] to ever visit here… Wow!” Francis exclaims. “Do you know what that means?”
“Yes. It means every single new landmark and natural beauty, every hidden city… It’s all mine for the taking. Hundreds… No, thousands of Destiny Points for the taking.”
“Yep,” Delta says calmly. “And this test means our job has become that much easier.” Delta sits down on the blanket. “Come on. Let’s have a picnic.”
“What do you mean easier?” Francis asks.
“What’s a picnic?” I ask.
Delta ignores me, so I sit down on the blanket anyway. “It’s easier because that means we might not have to rely so heavily on food just to keep Eryk alive,” she says. “You were the one who suggested going to a scenic spot. Did you really not think of this?”
“Honestly, I thought it’d fail… I was banking on the next part of the test being a lot more important.”
“And it might be, but I’m not taking chances on it,” she says. “Hey Eryk. You need to drink some water. Hurry. You too, Francis.” She digs into the cooler and takes out three large bottles filled with, presumably, water. The bottles are made of metal.
“Oh, thank God,” Francis says. “For a second there I thought you’d bought a bunch of plastic bottled waters and helped kill the planet just a little bit more.”
“I’m not evil,” she says as she hands the metal bottles to us. “Well.”
I take the metal bottle and begin drinking from it. It’s some of the coldest, sweetest, most refreshing water I have ever drank in my entire life.
But still no Destiny Points. I’m starting to think liquids just don’t count like foods do…
I finish the entire bottle. Apparently all those snacks earlier had dehyrdated me to the point that I really could chug the entire thing. I’m impressed!
“Okay, now that that’s out of the way…” Delta cracks her knuckles and then stands up. “Eryk and Francis, come over here.”
We leave the blanket and go stand over by a tree stump. Delta gets up on that stump and looks at us like a taskmaster.
“Is it time?” Francis asks.
“It’s time,” Delta says.
“I wish you’d be more transparent in explaining things to me,” I say.
Francis backs up and raises his fists. “Okay, Eryk Solbourne. I’ll explain things to you. We’re about to fight.”