The in game story requires a bit of explanation probably. It is essentially based on a previous short story I have written. In my senior year in high school, I had to rewrite a fairytale, and I chose to rewrite the story of the Bamboo Cutter. The story I wrote is what the in-game plot is based on, but a basic knowledge of the original Kaguya may help. Kaguya was the moon princess that was banished from heaven and sentenced to repent on Earth. Many men fall in love with her beauty but she will see none of them. Five of them, she sends out on wild goose chases after legendary items in order to see if they are fit to marry her. All of them fail miserably and some are wounded in the process. They all end up hating her and giving her up. Even the Emperor falls in love with her, but she will not be with him. At the end of the story, she leaves earth to go back to heaven, and the Emperor at the end is pining after her.
My take on the Kaguya story is highly different, but I doubt anyone will want to read the original short story that I wrote as it is rather long. You will discover some of the game plot as Katara does, but I don't know how far I'll actually get into the real plot of the story, as something happens to throw our innocent gaming group majorly off course. For this reason, I may give a plot synopsis of the game later to make all the happenings easier to understand.
--Virtually a Princess--
:Level 1: Hooking In:
With darkness hanging heavy around her, Katara decided hooking in was already different. She had played many virtual reality games, but never had she felt anything like this, as if her entire world was warping and changing. Virtual reality could build a three dimensional world around its player, but functions were limited. Players could move and interact with their environment, but they could not feel the world. They were detached and without sensation, an unfeeling cyborg or phantom in the digital world of the game.
She had not even fully spawned into the world, but she could already feel smooth stone on her skin, brushing against her finger tips and arms. Never before had she felt such a thing in a game of any kind, and she relished this intense awareness of the world of which she would soon be a part. At first, the cool, glimmering green gems around her were pleasant, and she enjoyed the feel of them. As she became more solid, however, a wave of panic hit her. The gems were enclosed around her, suffocating and entrapping her. The darkness engulfed her and seemed to crowd tighter around her as unforgiving as the cold stone on her skin. She tried to scream, but so tight was her gem encasing, she couldn't move at all. In her chest was a hollow burning for air, and she vaguely felt the strange sensation of being alive yet not breathing. She couldn't speak or move in order to pull herself out of the virtual world.
How had Sokka talked her into this?
"Get your brother. Dinner's ready!"
Katara sighed. If dinner was ready and Sokka wasn't already at the table, that meant only one thing. He was in his self-proclaimed 'Sokka-cave.' He had convinced Dad to let him use the basement as a room and a makeshift mad scientist laboratory. Katara hated going down there. It was messy, and it smelled like teenage boy. She decided to hack his chat room first and check if he were logged on.
Besides, he hated it when she did that. Her hands moved rapidly over the keys and a chat box appeared on screen.
Sokka the Great: NO! if we don't have a princess, we can't start!
Master Arrowhead: awww! but everything is ready! PLEASE
roguevigilante: he's right what's the point if we don't have all the characters together
flurry-of-dancing-flames: why doesn't toph or the white mage do it
Master Arrowhead:toph said she'd rather kill herself when we voicechatted last time
Master Arrowhead: she said i wanna get the game started but i ain't no princess
Sokka the Great: we don't know the white mage well enough yet to trust her being the princess
roguevigilante: doesn't your sis game Axel?
flurry-of-dancing-flames: No. Just no.
roguevigilante: welcome to the chat Sugar Queen.
Finally someone noticed her.
The Painted Lady: why does Toph tell everyone to call me that?
The Painted Lady: Sokka, it's dinnertime.
Sokka the Great: HOW DID YOU HACK IT AGAIN?
roguevigilante: it's not that hard.
flurry-of-dancing-flames has just changed his display name to HOTT PANTS
HOTT PANTS: …
HOTT PANTS has just changed his display name to flurry-of-dancing-flames
flurry-of-dancing-flames: Couldn't painted lady be the princess? She games right?
Sokka the Great: You mean Katara?!
Sokka the Great: why didn't i think of that
The Painted Lady: wait what
Master Arrowhead: ok its decided katara is the princess.
Master Arrowhead: can we start now?
The Painted Lady: Wait, what are you guys talking about?
Sokka the Great: don't worry. i'll explain it after dinner
Sokka the Great: i'll fill her in guys. just get everything ready.
Sokka the Great: we start tomorrow!! Somebody send Toph a voice message! tell white mage to be ready!
After the goodbyes, the small chat group began to log off. Sokka spoke rapidly in excited tones that night, and Katara had only caught the finer points of his recent invention. According to his convoluted explanation, he himself had created a ground-breaking, new kind of virtual reality helmet. Apparently, he had created a game himself, and he modeled the characters after the closest members of his gaming group. Of course, he had proclaimed proudly, he'd given it a story, and there were plenty of NPCs. He'd created one character, however, that he knew would have to be a player character, but he didn't know who was going to play it.
"You're extremely lucky," her grinning brother told her. "You get to be the princess. She's almost the main character of the game. Second to me, obviously. The White Mage wanted it, but I honestly don't think she's cut out for it."
"Who's The White Mage? Have I been in a party with her in one of the online games?"
"Naw," Sokka said. "She's a new addition to my gaming group. I thought I'd let her in on it."
He quickly dropped the subject and then went into the specifics of the program styles he had used and what of the latest assorted technologies with which he had built the set of helmets, but she had already tuned him out.
'New helmet, huh?' Katara thought to herself. 'This ought to be interesting.'
The helmet's capabilities were rather awesome, Katara decided, but she wanted to get off the ride. Most virtual reality games have a disconnect key, a word to say to disengage from the game if the helmet malfunctions. She couldn't move her lips to speak such a word though. Her mind was struggling against it, but for all her fighting, nothing changed. Sokka's malfunctioning helmet wasn't spawning her into the game world correctly. It appeared to her as if her character had spawned inside of a wall. She was no stranger to spawning in strange places, and she often had to reset her helmet to spawn correctly. Sokka would realize something was wrong and find her, she assured herself. It's just a matter of waiting, and keeping the rising panic down.
Suddenly, light flooded into the top of the crystal, and her chest swelled in hope. The light twinkled through the stone, turning her prison into a sparkling haven. Light meant someone knew where she was. Light meant she was going to be rescued. Surrounded by emerald light and the small arcs of colorful rainbows that the stone threw off, she realized that her prison was moving upward. The movement seemed excruciatingly slow, but soon her face was even with two pairs of boots. As the stone moved upward, she found she was in a brightly lit cave, and inch by inch, she was acquainted with her rescuers. Focusing on them helped combat the fear churning her stomach.
The first was a teenager with light blue trousers and weathered black boots, and a sword was affixed to his back. A regal looking blue jacket adorned his shoulders, and his complexion was dark with large blue eyes peering at her, brown hair falling around his face. He had a strong, good-looking sort of face, but he also looked noble and knowledgeable. It was the face of a warrior and an intellectual, and he greatly resembled Katara's father. This must be Sokka's character.
The second was a boy in his pre-teen years. Gray eyes peered out of a round, happy face, and blond hair curled around his pale countenance. He was wearing a modified version of monk robes made of orange and yellow. The yellow robe was long and fell just about his ankles revealing dark boots. An orange sash cinched the robe in at his waist. The sleeves on the yellow robe trailed down his arm, disappearing underneath an orange arm guard that covered him from his elbows to his wrists. An odd bit of orange cloth hung around his shoulders and looked very much like something an airbender would wear. Katara had been in fighting parties in some of the online games with Aang and knew this member of Sokka's close group was an airbender. She figured that this blond monk must be his character.
The teenager grinned and said in Sokka's sometimes squeaky adolescent voice, "Time to get you out of there."
'About time,' Katara thought, irritation seeping through her.
A bright blue light shone from the blond boy's hand, and this blazing light stretched out towards her. It wrapped around her, cocooning her chest with warmth. She could feel herself being pulled from the crystal around her, and when she felt her feet touch the ground, she gave a loud gasp of relief. She looked back at the stone, and as she peered closely, she could see the hollow shell where her body had been. She looked back at her brother, her eyebrow twitching dangerously. Before she could speak, however, he ducked into a low bow, large grin in place.
"I am Sai, The Scholar. Do you remember me, Your Majestic-ness?"
She'd listened to the opening narration. Of course, she knew who he was.
"Sokka, how dare—"
"Sai," he corrected. He ducked as a hand sailed at his head.
Then the blond pre-teen stepped between the two bickering teenagers. His voice was chirpy and childish, and when he spoke, Katara couldn't help but smile. "I am Hakuturi, The Monk. I am pleased to be reunited with you." He bowed deeply. Katara smiled and patted the blond head.
"You're adorable," she said, her eyes sparkling. Aang straightened, red stained his cheeks, and he scratched the back of his head nervously.
With her irritation and fear forgotten, Katara turned to peer at her reflection on the stone. She had dark skin and wavy brown hair cascading down her back. Her eyes were an interesting shade of purple that glimmered in light. She was clothed in a radiant light purple dress of soft chiffons and silks. The dress fit snugly about her torso, showing off her curves, but flared outward at her waist. The sleeves of her dress also flared out and whirled around her arms. She knew the sleeves and the skirt would whirl in the wind cinematically if given the chance. Her hands were adorned with tight white gloves, and a silver necklace shaped like a crescent moon hung about her neck.
She was enjoying discovering her character's appearance when the cave began to shake and tremble. A teenager shouted somewhere in the depths of the cave, "Here it comes, guys, get ready to run!"
Katara looked at her brother, confusion in her eyes.
"By waking you up, Your Princess-ship, we also woke up the beasts that live in this cave. We have to meet the rest of the group," he frowned seriously and slipped momentarily out of character. "We can't beat the boss without them."
A teenager clothed in red and blue armor careened around the bend in the cave, humor and arrogance written on his face. His hair spiked wildly around his face and a thin scar ran diagonally across one of his eyebrows. He smirked at Katara, grabbing her hand tightly in his as he ran past her. She was tugged along with him, and as she fell into place beside the newcomer, she silently thanked the Moon and the Ocean Spirits that Sokka had enough forethought to make her feminine little boots easy to run in. Her hand held by a stranger's as she ran, she looked back to see Sokka and Aang keeping pace with them.
She felt her someone watching her and realized that her heroic stranger was peering at her from the corners of his eyes. His lips tilted up into a strange little smile. "Time to get out of here, milady," he said in a strong, attractive voice. "I'm Mamoru, The Protector, and I won't let anything happen to you."
Katara tried to concentrate on his voice, to judge his true personality on sound alone. After all, in the world of the game, voice was the only thing that was real. She found herself blushing, however, and averting her eyes. Mentally, she had to remind herself, 'I'm Kaguya, Princess of the Moon Kingdom, heiress to the all the Kingdoms of Heaven. I am not Katara, and this is not the time to be thinking about an internet romance.' A monster was crashing through the cave behind her, and she decided that it sounded fierce and large. The cave path curved and suddenly she was facing two large double doors. She gazed wondrously at the ornate doors made of carved emerald as she ran, and consequently, tripped on a rock protruding from the cave floor.
She winced inwardly as the ground rushed at her, and she wondered if her sense of touch extended as far as being able to feel pain. Before she could hit the ground and find out, she was caught and whisked into the arms of Mamoru. His face was unexpectedly close to hers, and he smiled, his eyes fixed on his destination. She'd never gamed with him, and she wondered what his name really was.
"Watch yourself, Princess," he said in his charismatic, entrancing voice.
They crossed the threshold of the large double doors, and she heard Sokka's voice shout, "Close the doors, quickly!"
Mamoru set her down carefully in the center of the wide room and graced her with a quick smile as he rushed back to help Aang and Sokka close the doors. The room looked very much like a temple or church in a cave. Destroyed pews were scattered about large room, ancient religious relics that she didn't recognize littered the floor. Three large doors led out of this forgotten temple arranged in a triangular sort of way, one at the head of the room and two at the far corners. She realized that she was standing in a pool of colored light and looked up to see a stain-glass window depicting a strange religious symbol. She was entrance by the strange symbol and barely registered the three new characters entering the wide room.
"Did your patching chips work?" she heard Sokka shout.
"Yeah, it worked great!" came a childish female voice.
Katara, eyes still studying the symbol on the ceiling, shouted to her brother, "What's a patching chip?"
"It's what initiates the cut scenes and makes your character do what it's supposed to do," came the reply.
Ah, well, that was different. Usually characters existed in the game world only as what was defined by their player. She was puzzling what it must feel like to have one's body move but to have no control when her thoughts were distracted by a sudden movement behind the stained glass. She stumbled back just enough to avoid the stained glass that rained down as a large amorphous blue blob crashed through the window and hit the ground with a disgusting squelch. It resembled something close to an extremely large flan that sometimes appears in Final Fantasy games.
It turned its body, but Katara couldn't tell which side was the front. The slow creature suddenly shot out two tendrils of trailing blue slime and lifted her into the air. She realized that there had been no tutorial, and she had no idea how to use her abilities or magic or whatever it was her character had. She threw out her hands. Even if she didn't know her powers, she wasn't going down without a fight. Searing white light ignited on her hands as she moved, and the blue creature screamed in pain and dropped her. She landed in a precarious crouch and stood up straight. Floating letters appeared near her head. '-14 MP,' it said.
She turned her attention back to the thrashing creature. With no in-hand weapons and no idea how much MP she had, she was at a loss as to how to proceed. She was spared the trouble, though, as two blades rent the creature in two. The creature emitted one final wail and faded into thin air in true video game fashion. On the other side of the creature, a young man dressed in a princely outfit of red and black was sheathing a pair of twin blades attached to his back. His shirt, black and hemmed with red, had no sleeves, and the folds of the shirt were pulled over gi style before being belted at his waist. His under shirt was long sleeved shirt of light red, and he wore light red pants that were tucked into darker red boots. He had long black hair that was pulled into a low ponytail at the nape of his neck. Two vibrant golden eyes gazed at her from a pale, regal face, a slight smile gracing his lips.
A low, robotic voice in Katara's ear whispered, 'Cut scene initiating.' She suddenly felt like her body was no longer hers. The young man's body became rigid, his posture straightened as if he were pulling himself to his full height. Katara felt tears fall from her eyes, but she could not move to wipe them away. Why in the world was she crying anyway?
The young man bowed and said in a rough, low voice, "I'm so pleased to see you again, my dearest Kaguya."
Katara let out a strange gasp that almost didn't sound natural to her own ears. "Emperor Kirin!" she shouted in a strangled voice, and she threw herself into the young man's arms. She was watching a cut scene from the inside, and she didn't like it.
When she pulled away from Kirin, he smiled and placed a kiss on her forehead. His lips were soft, gentle, and she was surprised to find she rather enjoyed the feel of it. "Together again," he said in his oddly rough and sad voice. Katara's patching chip forced her to smile before she slowly began to regain control of her character.
Sokka had left so much out about the rules of this game, and he was going to pay for it.
--End Level 1--
In game/ online character names introduced in this chapter:
Kaguya, The Painted Lady- Katara
Kirin, flurryofdancingflames, Axel, HOTT PANTS- Zuko
Sai, Sokka the Great- Sokka
Hakuturi, Master Arrowhead- Aang
The Blind Bandit- Toph
Mamoru, roguevigilante- Jet
The White Mage- you'll find out in the next chapter. Lol
Question for the readers: I'm trying to keep the players and the character's very separate, so the only time I'll likely refer to Sokka in game as Sokka is when he speaks. Because his voice is still his voice, Katara will register it as Sokka's, and the same with the other gamers that she knows well, like Aang and Toph. This is what I have planned but if this is confusing, I'll do it a different way. How do you think this would be more understandable?
There will likely be some editting done to this, but I wanna hear some suggestions on how to make this better. I realize that there is a lot of character description, but the next chapter will have more story to it.