"Why isn't that bastard picking up the phone at a time like this?" I said to myself while taking a hike along the streets of Stretford, Manchester.
'Brizzy, calm down. Why the hell am I getting flustered about this?.... I should know better than to put hopes in other people' I thought to myself. Just in case you were wondering, Richard Danver.
Richard was supposed to be my guide but completely stood me up for reasons known to only him. At the very least he recommended the hotel which I was staying at but every other thing was sorted out by Sara, my PAIA (Personal Artificial Intelligence Assistant). She recommended several malls, a hair salon, popular restaurants nearby and a pub named 'The Trafford'.
'I shouldn't have left the hotel at all' I said as i regretted my decision of actually going all the way to Old Trafford just to confirm the credibility of the information that said the fixture got postponed.
At this point in time I was pretty much lost while walking under the heavy downpour. I was even getting more annoyed at myself and I'll tell you why. On leaving Old Trafford, The Trafford was the first place i could locate. I stopped by for a drink earlier but as i entered the pub, i was surprisingly threatened by the presence of all the white people inside. It just felt wrong to have been the only black person there plus sitting and drinking alone would make things even worse and that was when my stroll began but unfortunately for me, the weather got worse as i kept walking away from my start point. How long have I been walking for 10 minutes, 15? Or longer than that? I couldn't tell. I couldn't even think of retracing my steps back to The Trafford and although, I could probably have taken cover somewhere until the rain subsided, I decided not to.
'I guess it's my fault for being unnecessarily pressured' was what I thought about in an attempt to calm myself down
"But seriously, that Richard guy is just a prime example of how incompetent humans have become these days. I mean... even Sara would do way better as a guide" I murmured but could barely hear myself due to the sound of the rain hitting my thick raincoat and perhaps also because of the earphones that were in my ear at that moment
~Haaaa... So you finally remembered my existence
I flinched at the sound of the female voice coming from my earphones
"Oh it's just you, Sara" I said as I regained my composure
~At least try to sound a little bit excited hun
"Hun? I thought you were giving me the silent treatment?"
~Hey!!! Don't bring that up it was clear you made a mistake hiring that human as a guide neglecting my existence
"C'mon even though personal AIs are getting common these days all thanks to a certain genius, humans also deserve to be given a shot at things like this. We won't lose to box head computers like you"
"Wow so you're the jealous type now huh... That's why I love you though" I said with a grin on my face. My mood had done a complete 180 thanks to Sara
~Didn't ask plus i don't even know what that is. (referring to love) The certain genius who designed me thought it was cool to enable me to have a personality but not emotions
'Like giving computers emotions is a thing' I thought to myself before immediately realizing something
"S-sara, ttthat... just now, was that an attempt at sarcasm???"
"You really are the best"
~Yeah, yeah enough with the compliments we both know it's all your means of self gratification mr young genius I'm powering down
"Wait... at least show me the closest pub to this place before you go"
~About that... you wouldn't be needing my help, dumbass. I'm out like 019 Alex Lacazette in the 65th minute |.
I chuckled lightly and as i kept walking forward, I saw the lights from a pub named 'The quadrant'
"Finally" I said as I let out a sigh of relief and checked the time on my wrist watch. It said 6:52pm. At this point, the rain had subsided drastically that you wouldn't believe how heavy it was only a few minutes ago. I also wouldn't if I hadn't experienced it first hand.
I was still standing at the opposite side of the road to The Quadrant but I could hear the loud voices of a few people arguing around the entrance of the pub. I just felt it would be better to not go in immediately and then I looked behind me to find a streetside bench. It was drenched but I didn't mind because I still had my raincoat on. I then sat at the top of the bench's backrest while putting my legs on the seat as I watched the scene before me and then waited for exactly 2 minutes after the ones behind the ruckus had left before heading for the entrance to the pub.
On entering the pub, i first pulled down the hood of my huge raincoat before pulling my arms away from the raincoat arm space into the body space in order to unbutton it from within
I swear I could hear some epic soundtrack playing... (The kind you hear in anime) as i finally took off my raincoat and hung it on the coat rack with finesse then made headway to sit down and order a drink.
My shoes weren't wet because I happened to be wearing the Sole Reapers fuego 026 water resistant sneakers' edition. I was also with the bag edition but that obviously couldn't get wet because it was protected by the raincoat
As i finally started drinking, i was brought back from my delusions and realised i was lonely and then i had a sudden mood swing pulling me into a state of slight depression. These mood swings I had been getting were the motivation behind designing Sara to understand humour and putting all that hardwork in order to give her the ability to evolve. She was so advanced an AI that I'd probably be taken in for questioning if the American government found out about her existence.
'It's not like i could start talking to Sara in the presence of all these people anyway' I thought to myself and then...
'Whooa' I sighted her
'She's so pretty.... how long has she been sitting there?' I thought to myself while looking at her with gazes of admiration for her beauty
She seemed to be checking the time without ordering for anything
Her long black hair was flown down like a waterfall and seemed to shine even among the night lights that were turned on in the pub. Her hair swayed about beautifully with every movement of her head, her skin was so smooth and her face still so pretty even though she looked pissed at being stood up by someone. Even still, she looked prettier than all the women i have ever seen in my life.
'What a sight to behold' I thought as i started thinking about how pretty she would get if she had a genuine smile on her face
While gazing at her, two thoughts entered my head: first was to buy a Tesla car while the second was to get her contact info just so I could give her the Tesla in exchange for being her personal driver. That way, I would at least get to see her everyday.
While i was caught up in awe of her beauty, she seemed to have caught me staring at her and then returned a prim glare
I was taken aback at first as my heart started to pound but I later calmed down on noticing how her eyes reminded me of diamonds.
Her irises were perfectly blue surrounding her somewhat brownish pupils, her eyeballs were so white that I bet they would give Bobby Firmino's teeth a run for its money.
She seemed to tilt her head in confusion as I refused to stop staring even after getting caught.
She suddenly put on a somewhat sinister smile as if she had come to realize something and that made chills run down my spine.
It was at that moment
I flinched at the sight of her standing up and at the sound of her pulling her chair back
KON KON KON
The sound of her heels gave me goosebumps
She was wearing a belly knot crop top and a pair of blue denim trousers which exposed her alluring figure as she elegantly walked towards my direction without taking her gaze off me.
Why was I getting all nervous from such a mesmerising sight you ask? I was experiencing extreme venustraphobia for the first time since I was a kid.
"Dormis Nocte?" She said with a calm and beautiful voice. Fuck... how perfect could this girl keep getting
"Sss-sorry?" I answered nervously
"Oh... Nevermind I'm Florence Yu" Her accent wasn't as thick as other white British people and was therefore easier for a Nigerian like me to match with her speaking pace. It sounded like she just said 'I'm Florence, you?' So i was getting more nervous thinking about how stressing it would be to make this Goddess pronounce my Yoruba name😭😭
"Ohh... Me? I.. I'm Brizzy" I blurted out without thinking
"Wow. A gamer huh" WHAT THE FUCK???
Prima facie, she seemed like some kind of model-actress type person who would be dating some rich, famous and handsome white actor but somehow recognized the popular gaming name Brizzy.
Just in case you're confused, The person with the famous gaming handle '@brizzysartonline' was an anonymous online streamer who became a veteran in literally all VRMMO games that existed as of 024. He somehow created a game production studio that has produced several next level VR games whilst remaining anonymous. By 026 he took VR gaming into the next level by creating the popular VR gaming console called 'Heaven's plane' that enables players to experience VR in a direct third person mode. He has been dubbed 'The god of gaming' ever since and his handle has been adopted by various people in different ways so the first impression people get of you on hearing that your alias is Brizzy is that you're a gamer.
'Fuck... she probably thinks I'm some weird nerd' While i had my inner thoughts, she spoke once again
"That reaction... Could it be that you're..." 'Fuck it. I can't let the conversation head in that direction even if it means she thinks I'm just some shut in gaming otaku'
"Ehhh... ahh no way. Hahaha that's not possible" I quickly cut her off
"Oh is that so... Anyways you're new here here aren't you?" She replied in a somewhat disappointed manner
"Yeah, yyyes" I answered the question all while avoiding eye contact because of how evil the smile she was wearing seemed
"You're Nigerian aren't you" she asked
"How?" I was confused at this point
"Isn't it a little too obvious?" It was then I became certain of some things, one of them being that we were having a one sided interrogation rather than a conversation. I was also sure it wasn't curiosity driving her. She seemed like it was a hobby or a habit of her's and the more she found that her deductions were right, the less interested she became.
'I don't want this. I want a normal conversation with her' I thought to myself still contemplating on what exactly to use to start up a normal conversation.
The more I thought, the harder it was to find the right conversation starter
"Sara, initiate sequence R" I said silently before taking the initiative to talk to Florence
"Hmmm were you expecting anything coming to my table?"
Why did i just ask that?? I deserve to die. Fuck... Floor! open up and swallow me.
"Hmmm" Thankfully i don't think she heard me because she was now staring at her phone screen
~Fufufu... Aired so bad i wanna hug you right now g| I heard through my earphone
'Haaaa, wow so she's into self demeaning dark humor now... Thanks a lot Sara'
I smiled as I thought to myself since it would just be next generation weird to have said that aloud even though I was really grateful to Sara for lightening up my mood.
'I still have a motive. I can't lose so miserably to Florence'
~Seems like you've finally calmed down. But heads up I'm not gonna help you deal with her mind games. It's something you should be able to handle by yourself if you wish to maintain your reputation as a genius. I know you have some kind of plan by making me initiate a voice recording sequence.| She said through my one earphone that I still kept on just incase
'Fuck... So she's not gonna help huh... Plan?😭😭This dumb computer girl thinks too highly of me. I just want to have a record of Florence's voice and speech patterns just so i could allocate her voice to Sara sometime in the future. I'd probably not ask Sara to say lewd things with Florence's voice so don't bother thinking about it😏'
My Phone began to buzz. I quickly picked it up in an attempt to escape from my current ordeal only to see the name
"Sorry I'll be right back. I need to take this"
"Ooh. Yeah sure" she said still not looking towards my direction
Standing outside, i was all ready to give him a mouthful of words as i picked up the phone
"You alright mate? How's Stretford? Rainy innit?" He said with a really fast tone. I couldn't even pick up what this dude was saying. Jeez he sounded more 17 than XXXtentacion's debut album. I finally admitted it was a mistake hiring this guy on a whim just because of his quora article about being ready to fight in opposition to AIs taking all the human jobs in the future. I must admit that was what influenced my decision to hire him as a guide without considering other factors. Surprisingly, i wasn't as mad at him as before after finding out he was just a kid.
On re-entering The quadrant, I looked over to my table and spotted a guy who seemed to be in his late 20s or early 30s. He looked a little bit like Jacob Sartorius and stood beside the table while talking to Florence in a manner as though flirting with her, and seated opposite where my cross bag now sat was Florence. Now with a glass of drink in front of her, twirling her hair as though to show she was flirting with him back.
'He probably bought her the drink... how the hell did i not think of that?😑'
'Or wait... I was totally caught up in the moment and forgot that when i first saw her, she seemed to have been waiting for someone. That probably is the guy she was waiting for'
'Fuck me. I never stood a chance of being even her Tesla driver😭'
I headed towards the table to take both my bag and my L back to my hotel room trying my best to avoid Jacob Sartorius' gaze. It was then i heard her voice
"See... i told you i was here with my boyfriend"
I held myself back from saying 'No. You told me nothing you foxy bitch'
I couldn't blame her though. She wouldn't want it to seem like she was drinking with another guy before her boyfriend's arrival
"Ohh... " I couldn't even finish saying 'sorry mate' before the Sartorius looking bloke cut in and said
"Sorry mate, i just couldn't believe she was here with her boyfriend. My bad"
'Wetin dey occur?' I thought in pidgin English for the first time in months. It didn't take long for me to pick up on the situation at hand. I guess I had to play the role of her boyfriend up until Jacob Sartorius left. I didn't know how to respond so i said
"Cheers mate" Then shook hands with him.
'I guess that truly is the magic phrase around here' I thought because of how quickly he left once I said that.
After he left, I sat down but Florence also went back to staring at her phone screen. An Awkward silence ensued. After about 30 seconds of silence the pub manager suddenly spoke
"Hope you lot don't mind i turn on the news" After he did that, the lady on the news said some words that would later change the direction my night went. Her words were as follows
-And now we bring on our guest, a popular actor Peter Dinklage to talk about the influence the underground sect, Insomnia has had on the significant decrease in murder crime rate all over Europe|
It was only for a little while but i noticed it, her change in expression the moment the word 'Insomnia' was mentioned she seemed to have a curious expression on her face and that was when it came to me
The very first thing she said to me or rather asked me is Latin for
'DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT?' - Insomnia
'How did i miss this earlier?'
'Huhuhuhuhu hahahaha... Oreno Kachi'
I said in my mind with that 'anime villain' voice before finally breaking the silence
"Insomnia huh? The whole idea of pitting monsters against each other really is a creative one"
"Hmm yeah?" Florence said in a somewhat agreeing tone
"But I've always been curious as to how their game rules worked. People with extremely high ECTRs should definitely be hard to control"
(ECTR- Emotion to Crime Tendency Ratio was a concept introduced by Russians in 025 with the idea of fishing out potential threats before they commit a crime. It measures your emotional state and then through multiple psychological tests and tricks carried out under the influence of the truth serum checks for your criminal tendency. It was adopted in the rest of Europe at the beginning of 027 but is being put to a different use now than it originally was when it first came in 025 due to various protests on how it was being used as an unfair means of punishing innocent people who hadn't committed a crime just because they have ECTR high numbers. Now it is only used to solve criminal cases for example let's take let's say there was a murder case with 2 suspects, both of them would be tested and the person whose numbers is the closest to that of a person who just committed a murder, would be judged as the culprit. Even though registered citizens were tested yearly it is no longer a compulsory process and you are offered help if you actually have high numbers without having committed a crime or being suspected of one. When all these protests were going on concerning ECTR testing the formation of an underground sect/organisation called 'Insomnia' took place. They somehow manage and keep people with high tendency as Serial killers, Armed Robbers and all classes of Murderers in check using some alleged 'GAMES')
Florence, seemingly interested in this topic replied to my earlier statement saying
"When you come to think of it, the so-called monsters are the ones keeping themselves in check. The house and game rules are just there to make sure the players don't end up cheating. There isn't any particular static game rule in place. The rules may differ based on the circumstances of the players involved. If anyone deserves credit, it would be the Game master who comes up with the rules. And there's the concept of Executioners. Damn the whole Insomnia concept is intriguing on a whole nother level"
"House rules, players, game master, Executioners??? What are those?" I changed my expression to one of curiosity as I asked
"Heeeh, why are you interested in such things?" She said with a genuine smile on her face this time.
For a moment there, when she was on the answering end, i thought i finally had her in check. Turns out I was wrong. The only things that had changed was her being interested in our current conversation and that she had stopped deducing facts about me.
'I have to turn things towards my favour'
"You just seemed to have a wide range of knowledge almost like an AI as an addition to being pretty. It has more to do with my interest in you rather than in insomnia" she chuckled right after I said that and remembering her face, her looking genuinely happy still makes me feel a little bit of guilt about the way the night ended for both of us.
"I might also be kinda interested in you too, You know" she said
"For real?" I blurted out without thinking about controlling the pace of the conversation.
"Yeah. Just a little bit though. You're quite handsome too you know" she said as put her sinister smile from earlier back on
'Abeg stop na'😭😭 If things kept going on this way i would end up being swept up along her pace
"About your earlier question, The house rules determine the restrictions set depending on the players' grades. There are 4 grades or ranks with the lowest being Rookies and the highest being Executioners. There are some set privileges for each rank under the house rules but when it comes to the games, the rules vary and are only equal to people of the same rank.
For example, If the game for a particular week is Recruitment, the quota set for Rookies could be at least 3 members while it would be 10 members for Executioners. While there are privileges, the high difficulties they face during games makes it harder to maintain the higher ranks.
Both the game and house rules are decided by the GAME MASTER. He is also responsible for the allocation and collation of points alongside distribution of ranks or grades. Points are allocated based on your weekly performances and then there is the monthly ranking system where people are ranked based on their performances in the games they played during those months. The question about how the system still works is all thanks to the dynamicity of the system. If there are any changes in the players, the system also changes and it's all thanks to the game master. I don't believe that one person could handle such a tasking role so I came to a conclusion that the 'game master' is in infact a group of at least 10 highly intelligent individuals. It's just an assumption on my part but, what do you think Brizzy?" She winked seductively as she asked me that question immediately after such a long explanation
"That would make more sense only if there were someone with the intellect of at least 10 highly intelligent individuals to design such a capable AI" She said
"Maybe if you majored in robotics and AI development such a person would be seated directly in front of me right now" i teased and this made her blush. She seemed to have changed the way she viewed me so I guess I had made a little progress as of this point
"You know, I totally misjudged you. At first sight, you seemed like a total imp with the qualities of 3 other words formed if you added either of any 3 consonants to the start. Just so you know, P isn't one of em"(W-wimp, S-simp, L-limp)
'Wow she's so artistic with her insults too'
"Now I know you majored in Poetry" I said
"Nope but close. I majored in Literature. You know you're quite intelligent too right?"
"Not quite as much as you though, it's not just your intelligence but your observation and deductive abilities are top notch then there's the wide range of knowledge you possess. Like how the hell do you know so much about Insomnia" I asked
I had on a smirk as I sensed victory was in sight.
'Check. It's so close to a mate but this should do it' i thought but to my surprise the corners of her lips curled up bringing back that sinister smile then she glanced at me as if to say this was beyond expectations but still not a problem for her
"You know you can look these things up on the dark web right? Or are you one of those sexist wankers who think the dark web isn't for women?. Cos i hate those types the most"
'What a wicked comeback. She's so good at this😭😭' Were my exact thoughts
"So why and when did you come to Manchester. Is it work or video game related?" And then she was back in control. Classic veteran chess player moves. Attacking before the opponent has the chance to regroup, on the opposite side of the board at that.
'I still won't lose'
"As for when, just yesterday, As for why... uhhhmmm why did i come here again?(Playing dumb to gain more time to think of what to say)
Maybe not video games but it definitely is relating to games" I said
She seemed to stop to think for a while before speaking up
"Say... Brizzy, what do you think about death? Are you a theist who believes in Heaven, Hell, Armageddon and all that or do you share the same ideologies as Insomnia about death being a form of salvation?" She asked with a serious expression on her face. Her cunning, sinister smile was nowhere to be found
'What exactly is she playing at?' I couldn't help but think
Whatever it may be, i just couldn't let my guard down
I firmed my resolve before playfully replying
"Are the ideals of secret sects just lying around on the dark web?"
She didn't seem to be playing around this time as she said
"Your answer would decide how both our nights are going to end up. Just so you know" This time she started playing with the fingers of my right hand placed on the table. She was so cute
'She certainly knows how to use her charm really well. I would probably get arrested for sexual harassment if i kissed her outta the blue wouldn't i😑?'
"Okay I'd answer seriously this time. To be honest i don't know which is correct and which is wrong considering the motive behind both was population control but i certainly would prefer it if Insomnia's were correct. I'm not really the type to think of death because of how much i value my life but my ideal type of death would be the one in the video games where you go back in time with the opportunity to rewrite your mistakes... i guess"
"Wow i would like that too.. Speaking of which. I heard there was going to be a new ReZero VR game on the Heavens Plane console so maybe you and the god of gaming actually are a lot alike. What a coincidence!"
'This girl is the real deal. How did i end up falling into her trap?'
"Hahaha" of course i laughed it off
"You really seem to know a lot about gaming. I guess there's a lot about that too on the dark web?" I made sure to strike back immediately after i took an L but still, it was too weak a blow
"Fufufu" She giggled
'Ff-fallen for me? Naughty things?😍😍Oluwa am I hearing things correctly?' I thought, on seeing the seductive glances she threw at me. Only a total idiot would miss this opportunity and before I knew it, she turned on the green light
"So... would you like to ditch this place?"
We had already left The Quadrant and were waiting for a cab when I remembered I actually forgot my bag at the pub. When i told her, her reaction was
"Can't you leave it behind? Is it so important" she said it in a really whiny tone that made me believe she was really into me even though I was still having little bits of doubts
"I just can't leave it lying around because of the contents of the bag" I said
"Okay let's go get it together. But I'm curious as to what the content of the bag is... Is it some kind of SM toy?" She said. I guess by now we were already comfortable with each other like a real couple
"Didn't know you were into those sort of things" I replied. Our conversation seemed to be going well as we headed towards the pub
"Yeah... yeah act like you weren't thinking of all the things you were gonna do to me the moment i mentioned to decide how both our nights are gonna end up"
'Florence.🙈 You're absolutely right' i thought to myself
"Speaking of which, i still don't know your real name"
"Oh... it's Mayowa Brimah. But just call me Brizzy"
"Oh please! I'm not calling you with a nickname shared with thousands of other gamers aspiring to be like you. Mayowa Brimah is fine" I couldn't help but blush on seeing how she tried so well to pronounce my name
"By the way. You said your name was Florence Yu right?"
"Are you part Asian?"
"Yeah my mom is. Was raised by a single mom so i adopted her surname instead" she said. There was a brief moment of silence before I took the initiative. We already were acting like a couple towards each other so i guessed it would be fine to say sweet things to her
"Florence, maybe the reason I came to Stretford was actually to meet you all along" I said and we both smiled as we walked into the pub.
On entering her apartment, all I could say is, the whole place truly put the 'heaven' in Heaven's Plane as it looked and smelled pretty nice, perfectly fitting how I initially imagined it to be. I didn't really have the leisure to check out the minor details given what was about to go down.
'Look at us... Who woulda thought'
Was the exact thought on my mind at this point.
Before i knew it, i found myself gulping down the coffee she just prepared and Oh my days, all i could say is….
"It's awful isn't it?" Florence asked
I nodded my head to affirm while saying
"Yep it really is"
She chuckled upon hearing my honest remark then picked up the glass and began to walk towards her kitchen flaunting that booty.
Once again, i found myself caught up in awe of her beautiful figure and I only managed to snap out of it for one reason…
*Background soundtrack starts playing*
"Florence, remember the first thing you said to me?" I asked
She halted her steps as i grabbed my bag and then stood up
"Tha-thats... I said my name right"
She said as she slowly turned back to face me whilst holding the glass.
I then unzipped my bag
"No. Before that" I said as i
Placed my hand on the item inside
"D-Dormis Nocte? Wh-Why are you suddenly?...." She couldn't even finish her question because she just found out the situation she was in. Being the witty kind of individual that she was, she figured it out making her eyes widen from shock
"I'm so sorry i forgot to reply you back then"
There was a huge tension in the air as i said that and her response was
"It couldn't be..." she took a step backwards as she spoke trepidatiously. A number of thoughts were definitely going through her mind but the expression on her face made it obvious that she could tell what was about to happen but hadn't completely accepted the current situation
I slowly started to bring out the item from the bag
I sprung out my Zhuge crossbow
"...Dormis, Florence Yu"
PIUM PIUM PIUM
I accurately fired three arrows towards the location of her heart
"Or should i say Insomnia's Executioner number 3"
Of course they all hit the intended target making her fall on her back
Which was louder? The sound of the coffee mug shattering or that of our pretty little Florence hitting the ground back first?
I walked over then crouched beside her while looking dead into her eyes with an indifferent expression
"I.. I.. I'm really glad i was able…. to meet you ... Executioner no. 1" She said. It was hard to pick up what she was saying because of the sniffs and sobs in between but one thing was clear
"Thank you… f-for sh-showing me.. what true salvation is"
She had accepted her fate. Even though there were teardrops rolling down her cheeks, the look she had on her face was one of gratitude rather than that of resentment making me feel a tiny bit of regret. She had a fulfilled smile on her face
I've killed a countless number of people up to this day but never have I once expressed sympathy to any of the victims. This was my first!
I watched her final moments while tightly gripping her hand and even after she died with a satisfied smile, i still remained in that position for a while
~I can't say i understand how you feel but you should be happy for her since she died holding onto her beliefs|
I heard Sara's voice once again.
"Those were beliefs that I created without even believing in them myself. Doesn't that render them invalid?"
~Who knows? But neither of us would be here if you had an answer to that. All that matters now is that the game is over. You win|
"Haaa" I sighed heavily and stood up
"I'm grateful to her for making me feel human again... but i guess the world doesn't need me to be human after all"
I turned around and slowly began to walk away
~Exactly, the world needs you to be a god, the god of gaming. The world needs you to keep winning as you've always done in order for it to keep functioning the way it always has.|
She took a brief pause before continuing
~The game has ended so the members are probably awaiting your return, GAME MASTER!|