Another day, another scrim. Badlands was well-worn ground, every curve and cranny explored by every last competitive player in the community. Loved for her carefully crafted forms, she was feeling past her prime. The old slut of the map community. Everyone knew what she had in store, the same stagnating meta. She sighed, dust shaking from the metal shacks, staring longingly into her own vibrant, seductive afternoon sunset. She was tired of players. When would another map notice her?

Other maps. What were her acquaintances up to? She checked her phone.

Hightower had uploaded a few new pictures: one of her, earlier the previous day, of selling her home-grown plants at the market; one later the same night getting smashed at a pub with Suijin. Those two really knew how to party, but Badlands never really felt like she fit in with their company. She continued scrolling.

Gravelpit had finally decided to get professional help with her split personality disorder. Good for her! Badlands had never really gotten along with her because of symmetry reasons, but had always respected her for her unique qualities regardless.

Further down she scrolled, skipping by familiar face after another. Pipeline, Lumberyard, Vanguard, Sunshine – she paused. The one that got away. Even though they had both agreed things couldn't work out, Badlands was never able to forget her bright blue skies, her stunning pair of lighthouses, a sewer route that wouldn't quit – she scrolled away, then back, unsure what to do about the feeling beginning to grow in her spawn rooms, when she noticed someone in the background of the photo.

It was a map she didn't recognize. She looked a bit similar to Sunshine, but a bit more homely. There was nothing remarkable about her form, no landmarks to behold, but something about her spoke to Badlands. Her layout was immaculate, and while her details lacked refinement, they were a breath of fresh air, something Badlands wanted ever so deeply. She felt a calming, her sunset growing in warmth.

No. There are roads that shouldn't be traveled down again. She looked away from her phone. Even if things could work out, it wasn't worth the emotional risk. Badlands had a competitive community to support, and if she had another breakdown like she did before, that would be the end of that. She had to remain strong, remain safe. This was her life now, and it didn't allow for instability anymore. How Badlands wanted to be in alpha again, to be free of responsibilities!

She didn't have time to think about all of this. Dreamhack was tomorrow, and all of her colleagues would be there, including Sunshine. Time for some rest.