Authors' Note: This is a mother/daughter (booksforme/reading again) team effort in honor of people we both know, so maybe there will be something for all ages. Upon request, we'll add an MMO-talk translation page.

Disclaimer: We own neither Twilight nor The Shop Around the Corner although we are partial to both Edward and Jimmy Stewart.


From the look of things, there seemed no way that Lehstat could possibly survive.

Even the monster's shadow was enormous, towering over him with claws alone twice the size of a normal body. Its shape was clad almost entirely in silver scales that suggested invincibility, while from under spike-covered eyelids disconcerting yellow eyes stared him down.

Yet there must be no hesitation. With a satisfying thud, Lehstat rushed into the attack, as if unaware just how battle-weary he must be. Small and powerful, his movements were almost graceful, even in comparison to the unsettling form he was taking on.

This was an experienced one. Too bad that the battle must inevitably be lost.

The creature staggered backwards, but just as quickly recovered to lunge at him, raking the air with its deadly claws.

Lehstat moved hurriedly back, yet could not quite escape the monster's grasp. With one colossal swipe, the creature sent him to the ground, hovering on the brink of death...

But then, from the shadows, a woman garbed in white rushed to his side, emanating waves of radiance like stars. At the last moment, the creature was knocked backwards by the rays, retreating towards a darker corner of the cave. In one slow moment, Lehstat turned around and faced the person who had just saved his life.

Arrwyn: lol gg

Lehstat: haha, thx

"Bella, sweetheart, are you home?" Renee called as she headed up the stairs. She looked in to the darkened room and saw her daughter watching the computer screen intently. Her face was illuminated slightly by the flickering light from the screen. "I don't suppose you noticed that it's getting dark," she said as she turned on the lights.

"Oh, sorry mom we were just in the middle of something," Bella replied distractedly, rapidly tapping the right arrow button to move Arrwyn out of the way again.

"We? Are these actually people or those 'virtual friends' of yours? Why don't I ever hear that you are spending your time outside with someone nice?"

Ugh, not this conversation again. She was never going to be able to convince her mother that these people really did share an intense friendship with her. They knew her better than most of the people here in Phoenix. Sure, she'd never actually met them. Heck, they were scattered all over the globe, but they had shared a lot more than just a game in the time that she'd been with them online.

"Hello, Mom? Phoenix. Summer. Hot. You know as well as I do that everyone either spends their time in their air-conditioned home or in their air-conditioned car heading to some other air-conditioned spot. I'm not being all that unusual here."

"Well, why don't you try going swimming in the pool? We need to do more than just clean and maintain that thing. Why don't you get some use out of it?"

"Mom," Bella huffed, "I'm pretty darn clumsy. Do you think it's a good idea for me to go swimming all alone?"

"You're right. Invite some of your 'real' friends over for a change."

Okay, I'm an idiot. I should've seen that one coming, but I walked right into it. Still, though, Bella could be just as stubborn as Renee could.

"I'm sorry mom, I don't think that's possible."

She raised an eyebrow and looked intimidating. "Why not?"

"My real friends don't know where I live. Unless, of course, you're willing to be a little looser with your 'online information' rules?" Bella asked, not in the slightest bit hopeful.

Renee actually stamped her foot in the doorway, seeming childish. "Bella, that's not funny. You're throwing your life away on some stupid computer game." She waited a minute for a non-existent cutting response, then added, "Dinner's almost ready. If you don't get off the computer right this instant, I'm going to turn it off for you."

Bella rolled her eyes. "Come on, mom. Lehstat insists on taking on this monster that's way too high level for him. I'm kind of trying to keep him alive."

"Right this instant," she said again, in that serious tone of voice that she rarely ever got. Then she slammed the door behind her, and Bella sighed at the computer screen.


Please R&R!