A Legendary Tale

by: Lane Nobriga
Yua’s bedside alarm clock goes off, and she sleepily swats at it, trying to hit snooze. She finally finds the button and enjoys the return to silence. She’s about to drift off again, but her eyes fly open.
‘Oh my gosh, today is the day!!!’ She excitedly dives out of bed, completely awake in an instant, and scrambles to find some clothes to put on. Just then, her phone lights up, displaying Haruto’s name. It’s a video call, and she almost answers before realizing she still isn’t wearing a shirt. With lightning speed, she throws one on and accepts the call.
“Hey, Haruto! What’s up? Have you finally called to confess your undying love for me?”
Haruto laughs at this and says, “You wish! By the way, I love the new style. Your shirt’s on backwards,”
Yua looks down and feels a wave of embarrassment. She tries to play it off cool.
“Oh yeah, all the cool people are wearing it this way. You just don’t understand high fashion.”
Haruto rolls his eyes. “Sad but true. Anyway, I just wanted to check in and see if you’re still going to make it to my party tonight? First time meeting in person. This is so exciting!”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world! You know I’ll be there. I just hope you’re not shorter in person.”
“Hey, us short guys deserve a chance too,” he says, putting on a mock sad face. “Alright, gotta go for now. I need to figure out how to word my love confession to you. See ya!”
The call closes, and Yua feels herself flush. She knows Haruto was joking, but his words still make her stomach flutter. They had met in Anime Metaverse the day it opened and quickly became inseparable friends, but Haruto was frustratingly unaware of the fact that she wanted more than friendship from him. However, this would soon change because she plans on telling him how she feels tonight at his party. But she needs to finish an important step first which is a grand gesture to show how much she cares. She grabs the headset from on top of her dresser and puts it on, immediately being transported to Anime Metaverse.
The town square is alive with activity as Yua makes her way through the crowd and heads for a crafting station. A large group of new players gathers around the announcements billboard. Anime Metaverse has been out for nearly a year now, and Yua is amazed at how many newcomers are still joining every day. She’s tempted to stop by and offer some tips, but there’s no time for that now. She has a mission to complete.
As she nears the crafting station, a message pops up in front of her:
[Message from Haruto! “I see you in the Metaverse. You better not lose track of time and forget about tonight. >:( 7 pm, don’t be late!”]
She laughs and hits ‘Reply.’
[Wow, stalker much? I’m beginning to think you’re obsessed with me! I won’t be late, I promise :3]
Yua steps up to the crafting station, flicks her wrist to bring up the submenu, and selects the Samurai Outfit from her inventory. She had pulled this ultra-rare item from the Starcrane a month ago and had been holding on to it ever since so that she could give it to Haruto for his birthday. She wanted tonight to go perfectly, so she planned to Enhance the outfit to maximize its effects so she could amaze him with a one-of-a-kind gift. She scrolls through her available items and selects one to burn along with the Onyx to enhance the Samurai Outfit.
[Perform Enhancement on Samurai Outfit?]
Yua’s hand hovers over ‘Yes’ nervously. She only had enough Onyx for two attempts at Enhancement, and she was afraid of failure.
“Here goes nothing,” she says aloud and selects ‘Yes.’
The outfit begins to glow with golden light, and Yua’s breath catches in her throat, desperate for success. The glow grows brighter but then suddenly flickers and disappears altogether, leaving a torn-up version of the outfit on the table.
[ERROR - Samurai Outfit has broken.]
Her stomach drops at the sight of the message.
‘This can’t be happening,’ she screams internally. A feeling of dread sweeps through her entire body, and tears begin to well up in her eyes. ‘No, it can’t be.’
She turns and runs away from the crafting station as the tears spill down her cheeks. The crowd in the town square suddenly feels suffocating, and she pushes her way past everyone, headed for a nearby park. Her worst fear had happened, and now she was left with nothing to give to Haruto on his big day.
‘Way to go, Yua. You really messed up this time.’
She stumbles through the park and finds herself in front of a large stone shrine in the shape of a Starburst Crystal. She had heard of these Prayer Shrines before but had never tried to use one. An older woman is kneeling in front of the shrine, and she looks up at the sound of Yua approaching. The woman gives Yua a kind smile as she stands.
“Hey there, dear. What’s got you crying on such a beautiful day?”
Yua is suddenly self-conscious, and she wipes at her eyes, trying to compose herself.
“It’s nothing. I’m just….” She tries her best but fails to hold in her emotions, and the tears come pouring out again. “I wanted to give my friend an enhanced item for his birthday, but it broke, and now I don’t know what to do! He means so much to me, and I just wanted to do something special and-”
The woman reaches out and takes Yua’s hands in hers, calming her down.
“It’s okay, I understand. Try to take a deep breath.”
Yua takes a shaky breath. The woman guides her over to the shrine and gestures for her to kneel in front of it.
“Now, close your eyes and focus on your intentions. Let the Starburst connect with your soul.”
Yua does as she’s instructed. She focuses hard on her feelings, desperate for a way to fix things, and is suddenly overcome with a sensation of warmth that washes over her. She takes a slow, deep breath and opens her eyes. A message appears in front of her:
[Ding! Player Yua had their prayers answered! Congratulations! You have received Nanomachine.]
Yua’s mouth hangs open in awe. The Nanomachine was a legendary item with the power to fix broken items. She can’t believe that she’s looking at one in her inventory. She quickly selects the Nanomachine, afraid that it might somehow disappear, and uses it on the Samurai Outfit. In an instant, the outfit repairs itself.
[Nanomachine has been burned: Samurai Outfit repaired]
“Well, look at that.” Yua jumps at the sound of the woman’s voice behind her. In her state of shock, she forgot she wasn’t alone. She stands and turns to the older woman.
“I can’t believe it! Thank you so much for helping me. You’re a lifesaver.”
The woman smiles and waves her hand in front of her, accessing her menu. Then, with a “Ding!”, Yua gets a message.
[You have received item Golden Apples!]
Yua looks at the woman, confused.
“What’s this for?”
“So that you don’t make the same mistake twice. Use this when you enhance, and it will be immune to error.”
The kindness completely catches Yua off guard. “But… don’t you need this for whatever you were praying for?”
The woman simply smiles and says, “I prayed for the chance to help somebody today, and you were the answer to those prayers. So take this, and use it for your friend. I was in love once too.”
Without waiting for a response, the woman winks at Yua and walks away. Yua flushes again.
‘Did she say LOVE?!’
Not wasting any more time, she runs back to the crafting station and brings up the Samurai Outfit again. She combines the Golden Apples, chooses an item to burn along with it, and selects ‘Enhance.’ The outfit glows with a shimmering golden aura, and this time it doesn’t disappear. A message pops up:
[Item Samurai Outfit Enhanced Effects: +10 Increase]
Yua jumps up and down with excitement and cheers, oblivious to the strange looks this attracts from nearby players. She quickly waves her hand to bring up the menu and logs out of Anime Metaverse.
The time on her clock reads 6:35 pm. Yua gasps and sprints out of her apartment, heading for Haruto’s home. She arrives with only minutes to spare and stops outside for a brief moment to summon her confidence. She doesn’t know how things will turn out, but she can’t help feeling optimistic as she walks up and knocks on Haruto’s door. As the door opens and Yua steps inside, she smiles, ready to take a leap of faith.