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Chapter 2: Glitched

Rioku fit on her new armor. It was nice that Zike was a very well known and good character in the game. He had bought her a weapon and new clothes so that she didn’t look like a newbie. She smiled and turned in a circle so that Zike could see how she looked in her new clothes. She wore red armor that covered her body plus the addition of shoulder guards and a sword at her back. There was a zipper in the front so it was like a jumpsuit. She walked over to the bench where Zike was sitting and looked him in the face.
“When are we going to do something?” Rioku asked. Zike smiled.
“I dunno, but maybe we can see if Vult-46 wants to do something with us.”
“Vult-46?”
“He’s one of my friends and I want you to meet him at some point. He would like to meet you too. I’ve told him stories about you since I first met him.”
“Wow, cool. Yeah, contact him… you can do that right?”
“Yup, just press a few buttons and…”
Zike stood still for a second and his eyes lit up with a blue color. Within a matter of seconds, they returned to normal and he smiled. “Vult will be here shortly.”
It was only a matter of time until Vult came walking over the slightly dirty pathway. He looked up at them and smiled. He looked like a tough big kind of guy, but his smile was enough to show that he wasn’t that bad after all. Rioku stood up and walked over to Vult-46. She smiled and held out her hand for him to shake. He looked down and put his hand in hers and shook it happily. He looked up at Zike and smiled.
Rioku sat down in the bench again. Vult and Zike were talking at the second and she didn’t want to disturb them. She looked around the playing field and saw many animals and nature around her. She didn’t know a game could be this wonderful. She sighed and looked back at Zike and Vult. It seemed like they were finishing up. She then stood up and walked over to a tree. She was about to sit down when she noticed something strange.
A young girl player was walking towards Zike and Vult. Everything would have been normal… if her skin wasn’t ghostly pale and she didn’t have bleeding wounds on her. Rioku gasped and ran over. She then stopped at a good distance from the girl and looked at her more closely. She was still walking over to Zike and Vult. Rioku tried to get a look at her face, but her black hair was in the way and she was hunched over.
“Zike! Vult!” They looked over in a bit of annoyment but then they looked shocked when they saw the girl. They both ran over immediately.
“What the heck-” Zike was suddenly struck with fear when the girl latched on to his arm with her little scabbed arms. Her face could be seen a bit, but her eyes were still hidden. Rioku had no clue what was going on.
“Let go of him!” Vult screamed as he tackled the girl over. He ended up landing on the ground. The girl, however, was still standing. How could she still be standing?
The girl murmured. No one could understand what she had said. They looked at her for a few more seconds. Then, she turned around. Everyone looked at each other as she started to walk away. “What the son of a gun?”
“Wait!” Rioku looked back to see the girl. She was gone.

The three had managed to find a place to rest up from the incident. It was a small public house with seats and a counter for serving drinks. The three sat in couches around a coffee table. Rioku was stumped. Was it a glitch in the system? She wanted to ask all these questions… but no one could answer them. At least… not yet.
“Hey, I have an idea. Let’s go show Rioku how to fight monsters!” Vult had mentioned it and Zike looked up at him. Vult saw that Zike was a little confused at the moment so he settled down. Vult took a dagger out of the side hilt next to his red vest and started to sharpen it. “Fine, suit yourself.”
“I wonder what was up with that girl?” Rioku asked. No one answered her. She sighed and forgot that she was still in a game. How odd it was when you couldn’t remember that you were playing a game. “I’m gonna go outside to get some fresh air.”
“I’m coming with you!” Zike stood up. He looked worried. “I wouldn’t want you to get hurt… especially after that incident.” He walked out the door. Rioku followed him shortly. Vult then looked up, shrugged, and followed shortly.
Rioku stood outside and looked around. It was horrible. Players were running and screaming everywhere and it looked like complete chaos. Rioku closed her eyes.
“This is just fake,” she thought. She shook her head and tried to return to Julia. She wanted to be Julia, not Rioku.
“Come on! Wake up, Julia! It’s a game… right?” She tried to get out of her state. It seemed the game was sucking her into it. A slight tug at her shoulder got her back into focus.
“RIOKU! RIOKU!”
“What!” She looked up at Vult and Zike. They looked worried. She apologized. They saw a young man run up towards them. He was wearing shades and a suit that looked a dark cerulean color. She gasped when he stopped in front of them and looked at them with fear.
” Help us! There’s a big bug in the system! It won’t let anyone log out! Everyone is getting affected by the glitch and is being taken over and…” Zike gave the guy a little slap on in the face. The guy loosened up and treated the wound by rubbing his hand against his cheek.
“Slow down buddy. Tell us from the beginning,” Zike asked strongly to make the guy calm down a bit. There was still some screaming in the background and the occasional object would be thrown or would drop. Zike looked at the guy hard. The guy took a breath.
“My name is Chaos James. I’m a thief leader and I was on my occasional stealing route when a bunch of people came walking up to us. They were all hunched over and covered in bruises and scabs…
“At first, we just thought they were a bunch of newbies that had gotten pretty beaten up, but then we noticed that they didn’t look that noobish. We then walked up and tried to talk to them. You know, try to lie so we could take their cash.
“Well, it didn’t work out so well. Two of my boys were grabbed and thrown away like rag dolls. The other two tried to throw in some punches, but the odd thing was that the people,” he gulped, ” were like ghosts. Everything we had just went right through them. After that, I ran. As I was running I found you and that’s the honest truth.”
The three heroes looked at each other. Vult put his fingers to his chin and looked like he was pondering about something. He looked at Rioku and Zike and made the face of a genius.
“That girl from before… she was just like those other people Chaos here was talking about. Are you sure that by any chance it was a huge glitch that could have done this? I’m thinking it would have to had been done by some kind of hacker, or worse, a techno genius.” Vult looked pretty sure of his answer. He was about to ask Chaos a question when he realized that Chaos James had left quite sometime ago. He must have been in a hurry, because he dropped his weapon, a gold staff, in the process.
Rioku, Zike, and Vult all looked at each other. They had the look on their faces that said, “Lets go see what’s up.”

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