Prey for me
"Have you tried the new game?"
"It's like your very own reality…"
"Completely free? Not even microtransactions? That's impossible!"
"I read that it's a billionaire's passion project."
Chances are you've heard something similar in the buzzing hallways of Northside High. Enter the newest craze among the youth and online gaming community; Magik Hero U. On the surface, it would seem like just another cross-platform RPG game, but in reality it is far from it. A seemingly boundless uniquely generated map, stylish graphics, event-driven story line, and practically unlimited character customization. Most importantly, it is completely free. There isn't even a payment option built into the game.
The only cost there seems to be is time and dedication, both of which have been given in ample supply. Millions of players have joined the game world wide… and you are one of them.
Whether you be casual or fanatical (perhaps even financial), you received a game alert that would forever change the course of your life:
Congratulations! You've been chosen to become a Magik Hero! Accept?
You could feel it the moment you clicked or tapped the screen, like droplets of water falling down every inch of your skin. The mind couldn't sense anything different, but the body did.
It was the evening, just before bedtime, and a good thing too. For after the message faded and the chiptune jingle ended, an explosion of light burst from your device. Something jumped up from this light, which was certainly impossible considering the thing was about the size of a cat. You could see white and purple fur, soft like a plush doll, and two long ears.
A creature now took up the space between you and your device, sitting poised like a sphinx statue. There was a star-like marking on its head, though it seemed more like a window into a pocket of brilliant cosmos. Its rabbit-like ears twitched and two large eyes, swirling with stars, gazed up expectantly at you.
As if that was not bizarre enough, the creature spoke, "Hello, and congratulations on becoming the newest Magik Hero! My name is Moki and… Moki hopes the entrance was not too frightening! Moki has heard that humans can be scared out of their skin and would not like to test this theory!"
The creature known as Moki shivered and curled its fluffy tail over its paws before continuing.
"You should have many questions, but Moki must be brief! Tomorrow you can ask Moki all the questions you like, but for now Moki is here to test your E.G.O.! Please excuse Moki for a moment, this can feel strange to humans!"
Moki's eyes glowed, casting a bluish-purple light across the room, like a cheap planetarium projector. You could feel a gripping sensation in your chest, spreading outwards like a jolt of electricity. It held you in place as a circle of ornate symbols appeared below you, cloaking your body in blinding light.
When it was finished you no longer felt a strange sensation. You also no longer looked like yourself. This was most prominent in a change of height, body shape, outfit.
Moki looked exceptionally pleased with themself, their tail swishing happily from side to side, "How do you like it, hero? Familiar? It's just like how you imagined yourself as a Magik Hero in the game! You can now transform into this when needed. In your world, this form is called your Alter E.G.O., or EGO for short -- think of it as a transformation into your soul's energy. Unlike your human body, you are physically superior and capable of harnessing your own magik. Go on, give it a try! Moki will watch you."
Somehow, you instinctively sense something powerful sleeping inside you and call it forth to manifest… a small and pathetic example of your magik power. Even talking to fish seems more useful.
"Oh no, please do not give Moki that look! Magik powers must set in before growing to their full potential! It is dangerous to absorb it all at once, you see. Wait a full day, Moki will show you. Tomorrow night, meet Moki in Memorial Park for your first day of training!"
Moki padded over to wherever your phone was. If it was in your pocket or bag somehow it was now on the nearest surface. Moki bapped it with a paw and instantly a GPS map popped up with the coordinates.
"For now, Moki suggests you get some sleep and eat a good breakfast! Remember that your magik powers are just developing, so try not to experiment too much until tomorrow. Also, magik powers can only be used when in your EGO. Humans cannot recognize you in this form, but as a rule Magik Heroes are to keep their identities hidden!" Moki's ears perked up at something and turned their head to look beyond you. They blinked in apparent surprise and shook their little head, "Oh no, Moki has already taken too long! Sleep well hero, and Moki will see you tomorrow night! Please do not be late, and make sure to arrive in your EGO form... you will want to make a good first impression for your new friends!"
Waving their tail in farewell, Moki leapt up like a fox and dived back into the awaiting device. After they left an alert from the app was sent to your phone, stating a reminder for your meeting in exactly 24 hours.
⋆⁺₊⋆ ☾⋆⁺₊⋆ The next night... ⋆⁺₊⋆ ☾⋆⁺₊⋆Following the instructions given to you by Moki, you made your way to the Memorial Park. The meet-up location was grassy area right next to the artificial pond normally filled with ducks and carp. Tonight it was still and quiet, with the moon hovering on the pond's surface and a light breeze ruffling the trees overhead. It was exactly 24 hrs from when you first met Moki, though the creature was nowhere to be seen.
Soon the new Magik Heroes would arrive, and soon their journey would begin...
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