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PostPosted: Mon Mar 7, '11, 12:13 pm
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I have often wondered if I had made so many mistakes in my nine years of life of Earth that it would be my destiny to be consigned to an eternity of living in a world that seemed to reset itself about once every thirty years or so, and to have no company from any departed soul from Earth, some soul that could sit by my side and reason with me about times past or even just fill me in on things that my tragic death caused me to miss out.

I suppose it’s my fault, when all is said and done. After all, I chose to enjoy Miracle Warriors back when I was alive. I chose to call it my favorite game. I chose to insist that my schoolmates and I imagine ourselves as characters and monsters from that game, even though I usually go overruled and we would play Ninja Turtles instead. And because of that choice, I am now a permanent fixture of the game...an ageless entity that exists to help the hero and nothing else. Whatever I do outside of giving the hero some advice is of no consequence in this world.

I think I gave up hope after about the twenty-fifth repetition of the game or so. I know I shouldn’t have, but I did. I simply stopped caring. I stopped huddling in the corners of my rooms at the inn and crying myself to sleep. I stopped waiting for Lacey, despite the fact that according to my logic, she’d only be in her mid-30s or so now. It didn’t matter. I had been wandering the world of Miracle Warriors for over 750 game years now. There must be so many games out now that the possibility of anyone still referring to this game as their favorite was slim to nil. I mean, if games had progressed so much from the Atari to the Sega Master System, just imagine how things would be now. There’s no way in hell that any sane person would still find enjoyment in the Sega Master System, let alone an obscure RPG like Miracle Warriors.

It was in this despair that I had my first brush with real evil.

I was walking across the valley of Quirinus from Garia to Oruk one day when I came across a fellow merchant. We greeted each other amiably, as I always did, and then I had a thought: What would happen if I attacked him? What would he do? So, as we sat down to a nice snack of herbs and Beastie meat, I furtively slipped my hand into my cloak and wrapped my fingers around my dagger. While he was chatting on about rumors that the famous pirate Treo now joining the hero’s team, I fell upon him.

The poor man tried to fight back, but I was too fast for him. I was about to slay him when I decided that it would be better simply to knock him out and steal his belongings. So I banged the haft of my dagger against his head until he was unconscious and, putting his merchandise into my cart, bypassed Oruk and fled to Kadia instead. I sold his merchandise at a high price and, finding myself with more money than I knew what to do with, I started hording it. I kept most of it in a basement of a house in Kadia, although I kept some in Doris and Garia as well.

With each year, my thefts broughts me more and more money, even to the point that, whenever I ran into the hero and his party, they’d try to kill me and take my money. Those fiends! It’s mine! I acquired it through my own craftiness! Why would they want my guilders! The fools! They’re supposed to be ridding the land of evil, not of merchants like me? Go kill a Desert Mammoth or Sea Serpent! Leave me alone, I would say!

It was then that I declared the hero and his three companions my enemies. I hated them all! If the hero ever stopped me early on in my journey to question me, I’d attack him with my sword, that’s what I would do. All he wants is my money anyways. He just wants his precious guilders so he can update his weapons and buy feathers and herbs and god knows what else. Get it from somebody else. Leave this merchant alone!

***

I think I was already on the thirtieth repetiton of the game when one day I was out walking from Menos back to Minos and I was stopped by a black monk. He wore a strange, horned helmet, carried a large staff whose serpent-like extremity seemed to be swallowing a brilliant green jewel, which matched perfectly with his green robe. He looked at me with a sinister smile and invited me to follow him. I didn’t have any merchadise to deliver at the moment so I obliged.

“Art thou the infamous “funny talking merchant” I’ve heard so much about?” he asked, rather kindly.

“Yes.” My response was short and direct.

“I have heard a lot about thee. Thy fortune rivals that of all the kings in Marula and Arukas combined and thine ruthlessness surpasses that of the most powerful Desert Wanderer.”

“Silly rumors,” I responded humbly.

The monk shook his head. “No need for modesty, kind friend. Yet, despite thy great wealth, I know that thou lackest something important in thine life.”
I raised an eyebrow. I wondered if the monk could read minds.

He went on. “I know that, if thine life is to be complete, thou wilt need a companion. A real companion and not those silly little lovestruck harlots in Oruk and Kadia. Thou desirests for someone much like yourself. Terarin can give you that companion.”
For a moment a picture of Lacey, the innocent little girl flashed in my head. She must be about almost forty now. For an old merchant like me, that would simply be perfect.

“You’re right. I do yearn for true companionship.”

The monk patted me on the back. “Then being a monk for Terarin is the best choice you could ever make. When she has conquered this world, she can give you ten, if not twenty companions that you desire. You’re life would be one of eternal pleasure. No longer would you be alone.”

There was something in his promise that appealed to me. My sense of hope was once again re-ignited. The old dreams of meeting someone like me, from my world, broke their chains in the recesses of my mind and I found myself invigorated once more.
With a wry smile, I looked at the monk. “Please go on. Tell me what I’d have to do.”
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