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Do Your Best, Wind Mage!

Author: TK_Seki

© Webnovel

Chapter 1: Chapter 1: Another World Closes

"Finally!"

Hijiri threw his hands up in the air.

He had been on a hard grind over the last 24 hours, madly pushing through the game's final top-tier quests. In the few hours after that, he fought against the end-game's final boss with a party of trusted players.

It was when the greater behemoth Wrathbringer breathed its last, that his screen finally flashed the notifications he had been waiting for:

{ Congratulations, player Stellio! You have reached Level 500! }

{ You have attained MAXED OUT status! }

.

.

.

{ All stat attributes will be updated. }

Hijiri remained with his arms still in the air for a few minutes, silently staring at the messages that flashed across his screen.

After a while, he let them fall with a long sigh.

"Now, what do I do?" he threw his weight against his gaming chair's backrest with his arms crossed behind his head. His eyes absently scanned the congratulatory messages coming from friends and players of the game.

Pop.

Ferret: [Hey, Stellio! Way to end the last day of Fallen Gate by finally maxing out, eh?]

The corners of his lips hitched upwards. His online friend's comment drove the point home. After Fallen Gate closes by midnight, it will take a while before he finds another game that would interest him. His hands began to move over the keyboard.

Stellio: [It has been more than a year. It's a good time to end it...]

Olivier: [Do you have any plans after this? Let's go out drinking!]

Ferret: [A meetup? Sure, I second that.]

Berth: [Booze! Booze!]

He blinked. He had never met up with anyone from his friend's list before.

Well, that couldn't be helped. He was someone who couldn't be torn off the console once he dove into hardcore grinding. If he had any invites to meet up before, he probably had forgotten them while "In The Zone".

Hijiri felt a pang of guilt about this. /Well, why not? I owed them this much./

Stellio: [Okay. I'm in.]

Raymond: [WAIT, WHAT? Stellio? THE Stellio, who hasn't shown his face at least ONCE ever since Fallen started, is GOING? Maybe the world is also ending!]

Olivier: [... are you still bitter that he turned all 20 of your invites down?]

He couldn't help but chuckle.

Ping.

Ferret's private message slid in from the corner of his window.

Ferret: [Are you really going? My hopes are climbing already wwwww]

Stellio: [Yeah, I am. I haven't gone to any meetups before though.]

Ferret: [Then, we'll make it an event to remember! By the way, can you give me your number?]

Stellio: [...]

Hijiri pondered for a moment and looked at his smartphone. Except for family, there weren't any other contacts. It wasn't that he had no friends, no. He got along fine with his classmates. He simply thought it was pointless to add their numbers when he often ran into them in university. Plus, there really wasn't anything to talk about aside from lessons and some very superficial chitchat.

No one to talk about games and characters and other worlds.

To regular people, he was a game ota - albeit, someone who can talk a little normally.

Ferret: [!! Hey, don't get the wrong idea, Stellio! I just want to keep in touch. You're a great player, so maybe we can go try out a few other games after Fallen?]

/I wasn't thinking that!/

He chuckled and typed back.

Stellio: [Okay. Let's exchange numbers.]

It would be a good idea to ask for the others' numbers, too. At least his phone would be happy.

He lifted his attention to the wall clock above his console. It was already a few minutes before midnight. While listening to the pop of messages coming from players congratulating and saying farewell to each other, he let his arms fall limply to his sides.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Pop.

{Dear Players, we at Epherian Games would like to thank you all for staying with us in the last five years! As of 12 MN, Fallen Gate's servers will now be closing. Kindly log out of your accounts before then. Our team will be sending you special announcements in your emails!}

{To our loyal gamers, please look forward to them! We are looking forward to bringing you a better experience soon!}

This is it, huh?

Hijiri placed a hand on the controls and clicked a few keys.

{Player Stellio, would you like to log out? Yes/No.}

{Yes.}

{Thank you for playing with us at Fallen Gate!}

Blip.

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The event had ended before the workweek began.

They agreed to meet up the next weekend, considering that people have conflicting schedules during the weekdays. Players, after all, ranged from students to professionals. Weekends were a safe choice. Hijiri appreciated their consideration, though it felt like a long wait for someone who passed each uneventful day attending classes.

Saturday.

He had completely underestimated his excitement: Hijiri arrived at the meeting place 30 minutes before everyone else.

His fingers fiddled with his collar. Did he dress right? Ferret had sent him a text earlier, saying he'll be on his way. He'd only thrown together a shirt and jeans, slung his bag over his shoulder, and sprinted out the door. After a while, he heard someone clear their throat. "Oh! Is that you, Stellio?"

The voice belonged to the person walking to where he was. Hijiri could easily describe the newcomer as an "ikemen". The other was easily taller than him, with a friendly face and a head of light-brown hair. /A mix?/

He nodded and hazarded a guess. "That's me. Is that you-- Ferret?"

"Yeah, that's me!" Ferret's face split into a wide grin. "How can you tell?"

"You're the noisiest?" he quipped with a lopsided grin.

"Ouch," the other man returned, still grinning. "I am your self-proclaimed in-game best friend! How can you say that?"

In a way, that was true. Ferret played a high-level archer who had often gone with Stellio on several quests. He was also the only person who was constantly in his group whenever they partied. He had a sharp sense of judgement, which had gotten them out of sticky quests more than a few times. "I'm just being affectionate. It is nice to finally meet you."

The rest of the people eventually joined them. The group made their way to an izakaya with Berth in the lead. The latter happened to be friends with the owner, and highly recommended the meat and drinks with a thumbs up.

Raymond whistled when they arrived: the izakaya was one of the shops built in the narrow alleys that branched off from the busy city areas. It was an ideal oasis for people who want to enjoy their meals without the hubbub of the main streets. Everyone started chatting once they had settled themselves comfortably at one of the tables.

Introductions and IRL names were exchanged over beer (and juice for the minors, of course).

Everyone was already planning which game to try next.

Renji (Olivier) wrung his arm over Tetsu (Raymond). "Ray and I are hitting the FPS. I've sent my preorder form already! What's going on with you guys?"

"I'm gonna be away from games for a while," Yuzuki (Berth) murmured over his beer. "My company has a big project right now, so I can't be online to play while we're on it."

"Hang in there." Everyone gave him sympathetic glances, knowing that one day, they will also be in his shoes. The tank smiled at them gamely.

"Don't worry. I'll have you know my endurance is just as great in reality!"

He lifted his beer and downed it in one go while his companions cheered him on.

Ferret - no, Masaru (his given name) leaned sideways towards Hijiri while they were eating. His voice lowered so that only both of them could hear. "Hey, Stellio. I was wondering, did you check your email after the servers closed last night?"

Hijiri gave him a puzzled look. "N-no. Was something supposed to be there? They mentioned announcements..."

"Oh, so you haven't seen it yet," Masaru nodded. "Go check it later. You maxed out already, so I think they must have sent you that, too."

"What is 'that'?"

"You'll have to see," the ikemen laughed and turned his attention back to the beer, challenging the now-tipsy Yuzuki to see who can finish more bottles. It was already evening when they parted ways, the older members volunteering to see their drunken companions off (Yuzuki was shouldering a passed-out Masaru). Hijiri waved at the two friends who have to be home before they cut past their curfew.

/The meetup - it's not so bad at all./

It was fun.

He was still wearing a small smile when he arrived back at his apartment, feeling that things were suddenly too quiet. Everything had been very noisy around him until a while ago. /Heh./

"Tadaima."

With the meetup done, Hijiri had the rest of the weekend left. There was plenty of time to check what Masaru had told him earlier. /Did the company send them something other than announcements?/

Kata-kata-kata.

His fingers swiftly entered his console's passcode. After a few seconds, a simple screen greeted flashed open - Fallen Gate's external menu. His inbox had a red dot blinking beside it. "Let's see what we've got, then."

{Epherian Games congratulates all the players that have stayed with us through Fallen Gate! We are pleased to announce that our new game, Savior's Land, will be opening its servers to the public soon! ETA to be announced. Please stay tuned for our launch date!}

The message that came later made his eyes widen.

{Greetings, Player Stellio. We congratulate you for attaining Level MAX at Fallen Gate!}

{While we can no longer offer you redeemable rewards, we gladly extend our welcome to you for our new game's Alpha Phase! If you are interested, please download the client through the link below and enter the code attached.}

{We will be happy to have you with us once more!}


CREATORS' THOUGHTS
TK_Seki TK_Seki

⋆ 追伸/P.S. ⋆

Thank you for reading Okazemadoushi-sama, ganbatte!「お風魔道士さま、頑張って!」Shortly after I wrote Countdown 50, I wondered if I can release another story with a less-complex and heavy vibe. Haha. Let's do this gamer-style!

- I haven't finished the cover art yet lololol. -

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