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So rather recently a novel idea had come to mind that combines two different worlds together. I’m a huge fan of Sword Art Online, and I won’t lie, this idea is heavily influenced by that anime. I wanted to try to create a story that surrounds an individual, as well as her alter ego in a full-dive virtual world. There would be obstacles in each world that she would have to overcome, while at the same time adding the possibilities of reality and virtual reality merging.

Below is a test scene I’ve written (pretty quickly so it’s not polished), that is my attempt at combining the two worlds in a written format. I would love some feedback and even some suggestions of other novels that take the virtual world in as a theme. I’ve seen some people call this ‘cyberpunk’, and not sure if that’s the sub-genre this would fit into or not.

Thanks all!


Raven’s Graveyard

“Zombies… in a graveyard, very original.” BlairRose said with a sarcastic sigh. She had just vanquished a dozen oversized blackbirds above, and now the enemies were coming from underground. Three decayed flesh beings, of unknown origin, broke free of their graves, and began to shuffle towards the half-elf Ranger. One seemed to be a dwarf, the second an elf, the third a large creature that seemed to be the boss of the area.

But that was only beginning. Inside, BlairRose thought she could handle the three monsters with ease, but suddenly a cold feeling passed through her body. Looking down, zombie hand had just broken free of the earth and grabbed Blair’s right ankle. The grip was secure and she could not shake the monster as the rest of it’s body emerged. Falling to the ground, BlairRose looked around to notice that the four zombies had doubled, then quadrupled in numbers. A swarm had appeared out of nowhere.

Her eyes shifted towards the top left hand corner of her vision, where her health bar was located. At two-thirds full, any optimism that she could get out of this without dying diminished. Pulling out her dagger, BlairRose chopped off the Zombie’s hand and rolled out of the grasps of four others.

With a swipe of her right hand, Blair’s game menu appeared, navigating down to her equipment setting, she quickly changed her bow and arrows from earlier to a pair of twin short-swords, of which her proficiency level was not as high. She couldn’t hope to defeat them all on her own, not with her arrows or swords… but BlairRose knew that coming into the Raven’s Graveyard.

“C’mon and get me.” BlairRose yelled to the surrounding zombies. She hacked and sliced any limb that came in her zone. The orange health bars of the nearest Zombie monsters decreased, but slowly. This is what she got when entering a zone five levels higher than her own. Yet, she had a trick up her sleeve, even though her sword skills weren’t high, at least BlairRose’s agility and speed skills were. She may not be able to take the zombies down quickly, but at least she could outmanoeuvred them.

Five minutes into her fight-for-life zombie swarm, BlairRose had only managed to kill four zombies, more kept going, then the boss was still howling and shouting from a distance. Blinded by a deep fury, BlairRose kept fighting, kept throwing herself into danger.

There was a reason for this, Arcanetide was special to her. It was a place where she could escape from reality, become someone else and forget about the worries that weighed on her mind. Today, BlairRose just wanted to get into a fight, she wanted a release of all the pent-up anger, frustration and aggression she had been holding in for the past couple of weeks. That was why she came to Raven’s Graveyard, why she knew the zombies were higher level than her, that the chances of her surviving was slim to none. She didn’t care, this was her outlet.

BlairRoses’ health bar was now in the red. Game Over was only minutes away, but she kept hacking away, one zombie after another, as if in a berserk state. She turned to an elf, half skeleton, half flesh and was about to slice it’s head off when, to her surprise the zombie burst into flames.

Stunned, and surprised, BlairRose glanced above as a bright light tore through the clouded darkness. A rain of fireballs hailed down destroying many of the zombies surrounding BlairRose.

Suddenly a white pop-up menu appeared in front of BlairRose.

~ Tiffa would like to join your Party. ~ Followed by a red and blue button. Blair sighed and accepted the invitation from her friend. Seconds later, a green glow wrapped itself around her, as her health increased back up to above half.

“So, this is where you’ve been hiding out?” Tiffa asked, slicing a nearby zombie with her staff to get in position behind Blair. Tiffa was an Elf Mage, and the two had been playing Arcanetide for the past year together.

“I just needed… a release.” BlairRose explained as she hacked another zombie in half. Tiffa continued to use her fire magic, significantly reducing the number of monsters.

“You’re having fun without me.” Tiffa said, with a wink. Her character had long pink hair tied into two braids down her back, a white and pink cloak with hood and a black and white skirt and shirt underneath.

“It’s not like that… I’m glad you found me though.”

“Yeah, you’d be respawning back in Redgrove by now if I hadn’t noticed you online.” Tiffa replied with a smile, destroying the rest of the zombies with another strike of fire. “Fire are Zombie’s weakness.” She added to Blair’s puzzled look. Tiffa was a few levels below Blaire, yet had been able to take out more than her in a short amount of time. “It’s not like you to come to an area like this unprepared.”

Blair remained silent, the two now faced the boss of the area. The two friends shared a look, a smirk, a nod, before tackling the boss head on.

***

Ten minutes later, the two laid sprawled out on top of a broken tomb. Both had their menu screens open, going through all of their loot. The graveyard around them was empty and silent, waiting to regenerate for the next traveller, or group to enter.

“Blah, Zombie Flesh, really?” Tiffa said with a disgusted look as she discarded the item from her pack. “What’s it even used for?”

“Maybe trade?” Blair suggested.

“With who? For What? Some Undead weapon? Yeah, no thanks, I think I’ll pass.” Tiffa said, closing her menu. “So, now that the monsters have been dealt with, wanna tell me where you’ve been these past couple of weeks?” She turned over on her side, violet eyes glaring suspiciously down on BlairRose.

“Just RL issues.” Blair shrugged, moving to a sitting position, her long black hair trailing down her own back. She really didn’t want to discuss it with Tiffa. As much as BlairRose considered her a friend, she was still an online friend, and this was personal. Tiffa seemed to understand, though Blair thought she saw some disappointment in the face. “Sorry I hadn’t messaged you, or the others. Things were a bit sudden and this was my first time free to come online… I just needed to let out some steam.”

“I get it. We were just worried. You’re usually the one online all the time, connecting everyone. It’s been sort of odd not having you around.”

“Sorry…” BlairRose apologized again.

“Canadians, always apologizing. Don’t worry, life sucks, that’s why we’re here right?” Tiffa said with a laugh and a small shove against Blair’s shoulder. “Let’s head over to The Fish and Alchemist, I’m sure the others are logged in by now.”

“Sounds good. Maybe Quint will take the Zombie Flesh.” BlairRose said with a smile. It would be nice to see the others again, now that summer vacation was around the corner BlairRose had made it a mission to reach level 30 before school starts back up in September.

Tiffa had jumped off the tomb and turned to say something to Blair when a red warning screen flashed in front of Blair’s vision. The screen flashed and became distorted before going completely black.

***

Elizabeth Hendrick opened her eyes, instead of Arcanetide she saw the ceiling of her own room, then her mother who leaned over Elizabeth with the cord of her VR headset in her hands. Busted.

“This is what you’re doing!?” Her mother asked, but by the tone in her voice, she was not looking for an answer. “Wasting your time in some virtual world! You’ve got exams next week, you’ve already taken time of from school for the funeral, you need to be putting the time into your studies – especially if you want to get into a good university like your brothers.”

“Wasting my time!? This is what dad did, it’s his game!” Elizabeth answered back, getting to her feet and grabbed the headset out of her mother’s hands. Her father was a game designer at Fate Interactive, one of the top leaders in virtual reality software and hardware. He created Arcanetide, the top-selling VR MMO game for the past year. Then suddenly, he was gone.

“I don’t care! This… this isn’t about him. You’re grades have been suffering for years, your father always stood up for you, but not now. You’ve got one year of high school left, do you even know what you want to do afterwards?”

“Mom! I don’t know! I do the best I can, you know that.”

“The best is not enough. William’s a doctor and Daniel is in his second year of Law School. They knew what they wanted to do when they were still in middle school, they were able to plan and gain all the required credits. Look at you, seventeen and no future!” Her mother’s face softened, but only a little. “Liz, dear, I know I’m being harsh… but you need to face reality and decide on your future. These games aren’t helping, they’re just getting in the way, they are a distraction and you need to get rid of them if you want to be a success.”

“What if I don’t want to go one to university?” Elizabeth shouted back.

“You are going to university! That is not up for debate. I am not going to sit back and watch my daughter sit around this summer doing nothing. I want a list of five possible universities and courses you are going to apply to by the end of exam week. No excuses! And no video games.”

“You can’t do that! Mom, please… Arcanetide is more than just a game. It has allowed me to connect with people from all around the world. It’s a reminder of Dad.” Her mother said nothing, a hurt expression passed her face before slamming the door on Liz.


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