Last time, we started the story with Mario, a coder for a skanky crank in a big city who entered the world of virtual reality to make the money for his rent. While there he meets a centaur.
The voting last time was clearly in favor of the centaur asking Mario to help him find his friend Jim. Now we continue.
“The path is ours, young man,” said the centaur as he shifted his weight from one pair of hooves to the other.. He pawed at the ground. Mario coded for a flock of large green birds shaped like little ibis to fly overhead. The centaur glanced up at the birds as their wings undulated creating waves of trails in the magenta sky.
“We can share and we shall be safe for the Green Tablukan has retreated to the caves,” said the horse man.
“What is a Tablukan?” asked Mario. He coded for three different breezes to hit the centaur at the same time. They fluttered his mane, tail and the hair on his left shoulder. Mario had not been at this for long and he still became a little excited at his own handiwork. He wished that he could see the slickers enjoying the games. Other times, he was glad that he just got to code and go home. What if they didn’t like it?
“The thing is a large beast that enjoys eating the organs of living creatures. He leaves the skins and bones behind,” he said. Then, he shook his mane. He pulled out his leather belt pouch. Mario coded for the centaur to wave at him. All of this would happen to the person in the game the next day. The characters whom he met were other coders. They were plugged in cranks all around the world getting bit for threads of code. Mario stepped up to the centaur who let him see a small locket with the picture of another centaur in it. The picture was of a blond centaur.
“This is my good friend Jim. He’s been missing for three days. He was supposed to be guarding this path, and now he’s gone. Skin and bones,” said the centaur sadly.
“You don’t know that. Maybe this Tablukan thing didn’t get him. Maybe he just got bored of the patrol gig and decided to go on a walkabout,” said Mario. The magenta in the sky shifted to a soft turquoise as grey clouds passed above them. Little leaping reptiles skipped over the path behind Mario while a loud growl sounded in the forest. Mario was going to code for danger but decided against it. A large orange haired primate stepped from the forest and ambled towards the centaur. Mario did not need to code a weapon.
“No sign of Jim at the pond. Have you seen him?” asked the friendly giant. “Oh, hi. I am Brad.” He extended his hand to shake Mario’s. These gamers were very friendly. Mario wondered what was going on. Usually, there was more competition and violence when people met. Mario shook his hand. As long as he got his bit when he finished his shift, he would be fine.
“Can you help us look for him?” asked the centaur. “No. Forget I said anything. It would be too dangerous,” he said as he twitched his tail and looked sheepishly at the ground.
“No, Kenny. That’s a great idea. Why don’t you help us find Jim?” asked the primate. The large orangutan looking man creature looked at him and tried to persuade him with his smile, but his large teeth were more frightening that inspiring.
“You would be helping a great guy,” he said. “Jim never hurt a person in his life.”