Luck and Curses of an Anime Fanatic

by: Shatea
“Okay, so I got Stardust, Mercury, Moonstone, and Neptunion to craft more. I still have Venarite from last time –” I blabbered as I scanned my inventory.
“Just hit the button!” Ino was busy waiting on me to hurry and play the Starcrane game. We promised to fangirl together on one of the anime islands. “Your stare is creeping me out.”
“But Ino, I’m not lucky!” I whined with my nose pressed against the glass of the vending gacha machine.
“Ok true. You’re the walking disaster of our class.” Ino relented. “But staring at your venarite isn’t magically going to make you luckier.” She pointed at the vending machine, one of many that dotted the island like in the streets of Tokyo. “There are so many machines to stare at so just hurry up! You can stare as we walk.”
“But I want to break the unlucky streak for once!” I teared up as I looked back at my past. I’ve been unlucky every day since birth. Every time I walked down the street, a vase would fall. When I ran to the public toilet, it broke. Even when I tried to make it to class on time, I was always late – from stray dogs following me to class to ducks attacking my hair. While I got small unlucky mishaps every day, my dad got forever lost in a grocery store trying to buy milk. Yea, our family was cursed.
Ino tapped her chin. “Well you know what they say about generational curses…Oh no, that was a metaphor. Nevermind, you’re a supernatural mystery.”
I grimaced then focused on the gacha vending machine. Full of mysterious prizes, it looked like Mount Everest to me, the world’s unluckiest girl. “Ugh. Okay, so I’ll try three times today. Gotta budget my ores.”
”Sarah, why are you putting on random accessories?” Ino looked at my wrists in judgment. She loved reading Vogue so this was blasphemy.
“I need luck! These all relate to luck.” I dangled some bracelets. “I don’t care what I win, I just wanna win. Starcrane is my shot. It’s the metaverse!”
Ino rolled her eyes, “You look like a shady fortune teller”
I shooed her off with my hands, “Shh!”
She pouted as she crossed her arms. “Whatever. Please just hurry so I can see my anime waifu!”
I finally held a venarite to the Starcrane. There was a musical jingle as I pressed the button on the vending machine. I said I didn’t care what I won, but I hoped it was a rare NFT or a pet or – AHH! There was so much I wanted! Please lady luck…!
I put the Venarite in. The Starcrane activated and then –
[Socks. Effect: Keep feet warm]
“One more time!”
[Cute Socks. Effect: Your toesies are warmsies]
“I don’t need cutsie language! Third time’s the charm!”
[Nerdy Glasses. Effect: To help you study because you need it]
Don’t judge me! I slumped my shoulders.
“There, there. Lemme try, ok? I’ll get you something.” Ino comforted me.
“Nah, it has to be me. Grandpa said that the only way to break the family curse was to beat it. If any of my family beats the odds just once, we will be free. It only started because grandpa pissed off a drunk witch. His curse was to never taste alcohol again.”
“Sarah, are you a walking shonen manga? So you just gotta win once? Haven’t you ever won at Mario Kart?”
I shrugged. “Only games of chance count. But my curse can mess with anything. Remember when I won first place in the competition? The one that the teacher said I had a 99% chance of going to the final round? The contest got canceled.”
“That’s just because of corrupted founders,” Ino reminded me.
“When I went to adopt a cat? Turned out it was my neighbor’s long-lost cat and has ten kids.” I pouted. “You make it sound like a kitten soap opera.” Ino rolled her eyes. She always rolled her eyes at me. “Are you the abandoned lover?”
“Point is, I don’t have luck.” I put my hands on my hips and stuck my tongue out at her.
“Well, you revealed corruption and helped reunite a cat family so…maybe not so bad. Here, take my venarite. We still have time before the event!” She gazed at me tenderly.
Tch. Ino was doing that motherly gaze now.
Ok, so it still made me feel better. I hugged her dramatically. “Aww…BFF!”
“How many times did you try?” she asked.
“20…no, definitely over 100. Let me count.” I held out my fingers as I tried to recount my days. “170…Oh this week was a break so…maybe 270 to 280?”
Ino grinned. “Well, I got 30 venerite. I don’t play as much as you so I have a lot of tokens stacked up from staking too. Let’s go!”
I launched our Venarite into the Starcrane like a machine gun and roared, “Come on!”
[Rikka In A Sock – JK! Still a Normal Sock. Effect: Rikka ditched your feet]
[Lingerie. Effect: Charming Aura. Double Effect On Your Anniversary]
[Old Books. Effect: Use with Nerdy Glasses. You need it]
[Love Letter. Effect: Nostalgia When You Read It]
Curse my grandpa for bullying a drunk witch!
Finally, we were down to the last one while Ino questioned reality as she saw my inventory of strange prizes grow. She shook her head. “Seriously, I heard about miracles, but you’re the unlucky version. Even I would have gotten a decent prize by now.”
“Welcome to my life.” I put in the last Venarite…OH? Loading?
[Toy Sword. Effect: Adorable at Kids Parties]
“GAHHHH!!!” I roared before quickly calming down, accessing my game menu, and instantly changing my outfit into a pink dress complete with a fan illustrated by an anime girl. “Ok, ready for waifus?”
Ino blinked. “You recover fast!”
“I’m used to it. Stoicism is my middle name.” I shrugged. “So what if I can’t win? At least I get to have fun with friends.”
Ino teared up before quickly doing something on her menu screen. “There! I crafted another. Just for you.”
“It’s pointless. We’ve been through thirty.”
“Well, then thirty-one!” I sighed before just throwing the venarite in. “I’m telling you –”
[Ding! Spark activated! You won Maid Outfit! Congratulations Player Sarah!]
“EHHH?!!” I dropped to my knees. “HOW?!!”
Ino giggled. “That’s why I asked how much you tried. No one knows exactly when, but after enough attempts, you activate a Spark and get a falling star wish granted. I remember you wished like a crazy person on the first day, so…I can’t believe you wished for a Maid Outfit. Next time, wish for a pet.”
“What? Maid Outfits have stats! And they are hard to get, ok! I wanted one. Now I can fit the part at maid cafes,” I cried happily as I hugged Ino. “You’re the best friend ever! I-I’m free!”
Ino smiled mischievously. “Hey, try Starcrane. Your odds are better heh.”
“Don’t get me cursed again. Grandpa said if I ever broke the curse, we’d get a Gift instead. And if we abuse the power, we’d get a worse curse.”
“I’m afraid to visit your house now. Remind me not to visit witches.”
“Nah, it was just that witch we needed to worry about,” I said.
“Why?” She tilted her head. “She was my grandmother. Never figured out how to break her own curse.”
Ino sighed. “I’m suddenly happy to be a normal girl going to see her waifu. C’mon before you tell me your uncle wears a mask and hunts down criminals at night.”
“…Uh…” “Shh! Waifu laifu! No more shonen stories!” We shared a laugh and started a new round of fangirling over the anime idol event we were rushing to — just a typical day inside Anime Metaverse.