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Pixel Courage 32

On the way back to the coin merchant, I wasn’t focused. My thoughts still felt rattled.

Didn’t even want to be playing this game, really. No fun when the creatures you killed seemed so real. But at the same time, I didn’t want to feel as sleepless as I did in the real world. The tiredness was dulled in the virtual world.

So I trudged on.

Knew I had to keep moving. Didn’t matter how tired I was, rest wasn’t going to happen tonight. So instead of stewing in the shit that was my own thoughts, it was best to keep moving forward.

Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum

It was for this reason that I was surprised when I heard that sound — the sound that presaged danger.

Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum

Hadn’t heard it when it was quieter, and thus more distant. Just hadn’t been paying enough attention.

Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum

Whipped my head to the left, then to the right. Didn’t see anything.

Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum

Tried looking up at the trees. It was dark, making it hard to see much of anything here. Still, I tried.

Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum

The thing had been in the trees before.

Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum

What about now?

Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum

Where was it now?

Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum

I saw a dark clump hanging in the thicket of trees, all the wildly colored leaves and vines that blotted out the sky.

Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum

It was moving.

Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum Ba-Dum

Hanging from a tree on high, but coming down to get me.

BA-Dum BA-Dum BA-Dum BA-Dum

I unsheathed my sword.

BA-Dum BA-Dum BA-Dum BA-Dum

BA

A slimy gray appendage snapped out of the darkness, pushing past kaleidoscopic leaves.

DUM

I sliced it off with my sword.

57/65 HP

The green mist-like letters floated into the sky.

BA-DUM BA-DUM BA-DUM

Another appendage snapped at me.

BA

I sliced it off.

DUM

47/65 HP

A third appendage.

BA

Sliced away.

DUM

39/65 HP

It was as if the creature didn’t even care about its lost appendages. Just as I expected another one to snap out and attack me, though, something else happened: the entire creature leaped off the tree and onto me.

I held the sword out straight, letting the creature skewer itself on my sword.

It squirmed but didn’t squeal. Instead, I merely heard the telltale sounds.

BA-DUM-BA-DUM-BA-DUM-BA-DUM

15/65 HP

I tiled the sword so that the pommel was facing upwards. The creature slid off the sword and onto the floor. I stabbed it again.

BA-DUM-BA-DUM-BA-DUM-BA-DUM

8/65 HP

Once last time.

0/65 HP

The creature — squirming around with half its limbs, looking like some handicapped squid — stopped squirming. It stopped letting out the rhythmic pulse.

I flipped it over, so that I could see its underside.

+75 XP

The music was coming from the creature’s anus.

“Huh,” I said.

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