Swords and Singing

by: Shatea
“He’s here again.” A woman dressed as a kpop idol said to her friend.
Another regular, a player decked in armor, nodded to me. “See you.” He was trying to get a rare item and wanted to make sure that when he crafted it, there was no chance of error.
“See ya!” I smiled and walked up to the holy ground that housed one of Anime Metaverse’s mystical wonders. Thousands of players came here to pray hoping to get a miracle – Legendaries.
Kneeling upon the stone, I prayed like my life depended on it. I probably didn’t need to pray as hard as I was to activate the game feature, but I felt like doing it sincerely would increase my odds.
Nothing. I sighed. “Always tomorrow! It’s rare to get anyth—”
The Game System: [Ding! Player Kookie had their Prayers answered! Congratulations!]
I almost tripped over myself. For the past month, I’ve been praying and island-hopping for games. I looked at my menu screen and eyed the date. It‘s almost her birthday.
The next day, I went to pray as usual, but the kpop lady came up to me. She spat out, “Hey! You’re, like, the only one who goes on their knees and actually prays. It’s weird.”
Okay? I looked at the tiny brunette with a psycho alert blaring in the back of my head. With a stiff smile, I kept my distance as I grunted, “I just like to do it.” When I turned my face to brush her off, she blocked my way.
“You should gwive wup.” Her words slurred a bit.
“Hey man, it’s not cool to pick on people!” The armored regular came up to us. I swore, I should really get his name. “So what if he’s a crazy person?”
She started crying. “Eh?!” I blurted. Suddenly it looked like we were the ones bullying her.
“I think she’s drunk.” I stepped up and asked, “Hey, do you need someone to talk to?”
“I failed! I twained hard every day, you know? I even practiced in the metavwerse! WAH!!!” she sobbed.
I was ‌worried. Did she have no one irl to talk to? “Do you have someone? Are you safe at home?”
“Y-Yea. I’m home.” She whispered. It seemed like her earlier cry calmed her down a bit.
This was her 30th failed audition. If she doesn't show results soon, she’ll be forced to go into the family business. The armor dude started venting as well. He’d been overworked lately and his only stress relief was crafting. Finally, they looked at me.
The trainee peered up at me curiously like a cat, “What do you pray for every day? I’m sorry for earlier,”
“Nah. All good.” I shrugged. “My sister only started playing AM recently and she wants her treasure fixed before her birthday.”
“Oh, when is it?” She squealed. “What a good brother you are!”
“Uh, in two days,” I said.
“You sure you’ll make it in time?” Her expression distorted with disbelief.
“I’m not giving up until she says she doesn’t need it.” I stomped my feet. “Even if it’s a game, I want to make a miracle happen. It’s also fun coming here. That’s why we started playing, right?”
The trainee’s eyes widened, “That’s it! I forgot why I started training. I wanted to prove to myself that I could make it, yes, but my true dream was to keep singing. I lost sight of my roots.” She smacked me lightly on the shoulder. ”I’ll help you pray. Right now!”
I laughed. I went down to kneel, but to my surprise, so did the others.
“Please let me get a legendary.” I prayed sincerely.
“Please let the weirdo get a legendary.” Kpop Wannabe added, “His youtube videos are viral now.”
“Please give us a break.” The overworked armored craftsman followed after.
Nothing. No wait, what did that kpop chick just say? Youtube?!
Before I could ask her about going viral, a squeal attacked my eardrums from behind.
“BIG BROTHER!!!” A small pink animal leaped out and‌ I caught it by reflex.
“I did it!”
Armored Dude whispered to the Idol Trainee, “Probably the sister?”
I asked Amy with my best concerned brother face, “What are you doing here? You should be doing homework.” Secretly, I was laughing at her cuteness.
“Stop! Not important!” She held her palm out with authority.
“It kinda is,” I said. What was that? Stop? As in stop talking? So cute!
“But look!” She quickly brought out something shining and my eyes widened. “Here! For you!”
“How did you get this?” A Legendary. My baby sis got a freaking Legendary. My eyes caressed the nanomachine with awe. I couldn’t help but hop in glee.
“I saw you praying a lot, so I snuck in to pray too. Are you going to be rich now?”
“Here, lemme show you. Take out your broken item. I can fix it.”
Amy’s eyes bulged as she took out her broken sword. “Oh! I can be a hero again?!” As a very imaginative 6-year old who loved swords, she believed that the only way to be like a hero from her favorite anime was to have a similar sword.
Taking the metallic nanomachine, I activated it and watched as it took the sword and repaired it. I picked up the sword and, like in the movies, performed a ceremony of knighthood on Amy. “There! Now you are Lady Hero Amy! May the Power of Anime Bless You.”
“WHOOSH! I’m HERO AMY!!!” Amy swung the sword zealously. “Thank you! Can we go play now?”
“But your homework, Amy.” I tried to sound stern and crossed my arms.
“But…” Amy pleaded while mimicking me when I prayed for legendaries. God, how long had she been watching me? Our family had a little ninja.
“Oh fine. Come back after.” I gave in too quickly when I saw those eyes. “But only after you’ve done your homework! No cheating.”
“YAY!!!” Amy twirled before logging out.
Trainee asked, “Couldn’t you just make a new one?”
I shook my head, “That rare item’s token id is also Amy’s lucky number, her ‘Fated Gift’. So nothing could replace it.”
She nodded in understanding, “Ah…A miracle really happened.”
“Yea.” I agreed with a slight smile. Seeing Amy’s face light up as she held her sword was worth every prayer.
Armor Dude piped up, “So you going out later? Can I come?” He scratched his neck. “I keep bumping into you, man, so it’d be nice to hang out with a fellow Soulmate.”
“Sure, bro. We’ll probably start off at Karaoke.” I jabbed a thumb towards the karaoke bar.
Trainee asked, “Can I join? I can teach your sis all the hacks to get max points.”
“I’m sure she’d love that! By the way, what are your names?”
“Kevin.” Armored Dude puffed his chest out. “Best at crafting and the gym!”
“Maria.” Kpop trainee flicked her hair back like a diva. “And you better remember my name! I’ll be famous.”
“I’m Xellos. Nice to meet ya.” I jabbed a thumb at myself. “You can call me your worst nightmare at Yugioh.”
From that day on, we met up after work or school and became close friends. As the years passed, I started to help Kevin with consulting for his company’s new Web3 department and he had since become less stressed. Amy got addicted to singing and dancing thanks to our karaoke sessions, so she even started training to be an idol under Maria. As for Maria, she didn’t become BTS, but ended up starting her own music nft project. She hooked indie artists up with recording studios at discount prices. On top of that, she taught her community about creating their best performance without clinging to perfectionism.
Overall, we were much happier ever since we met each other in an anime metaverse.
And it all started with a prayer.