Dave paused, painful past experience made him leary of standing around in the open with valuable artifacts in hand. He decided it would be a good idea to put the mana core where it belonged first, before he checked out the city management menu.
Dave walked up to the gate with the purple glowing sphere in his hand, wondering where and how the hell to insert the damn thing. He searched the blocks for some sort of receptacle or hollow area, but he didn't recall seeing any such thing on the other gates. As he stepped between the two columns a thick circular piece of reinforced stone, the size of a manhole cover rose up on three vertical arms, revealing a faintly glowing crystal cavity underneath the platform, with a round indentation in its floor. He knelt down and placed the mana core in the indentation, then yanked his hand back quickly as the round stone sank back down and covered the cavity with a click. The circular stone fit almost seamlessly, making the outline of the cover very hard to see. There was a pause after the click, then the same humming from before returned and the gate runes began to glow a bright purple. The gate was now active.
"It's done!" Dave said.
"The gate color is different than the other cities," Perfect said.
Dave shrugged, "Well it was modified by a god."
"The punk-rock kid is a god?" Flanker asked in disbelief.
"Yeah, believe it or not," Dave shook his head, he found it hard to process too.
"Well, he saved our asses. Plus got us the mana core, which made all our work putting the gate back together worth it. So he's good in my books," Fortress declared pragmatically.
Dave received an in-game call interrupting him just as he was about to click into the city management menu.
"You gotta log-out now," Ralph said.
"What's going on?"
"You need to log-out right now, trust me man."
"Okay. Gimme a sec."
"Something came up, I have to log out for a while," Dave said.
"What about the tomb run?" Perfect said.
"I'll save the gate codes so we can leave for the tomb from here when I log back in," Dave said.
"That works for me. I need to call Tess, she left a couple messages while we were in the scrum," Fortress said.
Flanker rolled his eyes. He still thought 'Tess' was a fat, hairy guy (named Stan) playing as a hot girl from his mom's basement. "Keep it real bro. Anyway, guess I'll log out too. Call us when you're ready to come back Skelly."
"Okay, while you guys are IRL, I'm going to scout around the city, see if I can find anything interesting," Perfect said. He was looking around already, probably using some vision Skill.
Dave stepped up to the teleportation gate and placed a hand on one of the blocks to get the gate code.
The position of Key Master for the Urburg teleport gate is unfilled. As the first entity to access the gate since its activation you can choose to become the Key Master.
Do you accept the title and all the privileges and responsibilities that are entailed with it?
Dave had never heard of a Key Master before. But if had to guess it meant he would have control of the gate and all its functions.
You are now the Key Master of Urburg
You have received the codes for the Urburg Teleport Gate.
You have received the Urburg City Teleport Gate executive passkey.
You now have complete access to Urburg city's Teleport Gate Menu (Note: this is different from the City Management Menu!)
Dave logged out. Ralph was pacing back and forth in his robe, coffee mug in hand.
"Hey man, what's going on?" Dave asked
Before Ralph could fill Dave in on what was going on there was a knock at the suite door and he hurried over to opened it.
Standing at the door were Vanessa, Zoe and Caitlin, all dressed and ready to leave.
Ralph moved to the side and held the door open to let the girls in, they walked past him silently, ignoring him except for a glare from Zoe.
Zoe looked at Dave and said, "Good morning, we're checking out. We'll be at my place for the day."
Zoe gave Dave a kiss on the cheek and Vanessa did also, saying it was good to see him again. Caitlin just watched. Dave really didn't expect a kiss from her. Then all three of the girls trooped out the door.
"Ahhh man. This is really, really, really bad," Ralph said resignedly. "Really bad," he repeated.
"Huh? They obviously got over what happened man. We're all good."
Ralph looked at Dave with pity in his eyes.
"Don't be a dumbass. They're just waiting until the right time for payback. To hit us at the worst possible moment in the most insidious and damaging way."
"Get back at us for what? I didn't do anything!"
Ralph smacked the back of Dave's head.
"Hello, McFly! You got the nookie but you didn't pay for it."
"I didn't get any nookie!"
Ralph shrugged, "Eye-nookie is still nookie, bro."
"Eye-nookie? That's not a thing, man! I told you, I didn't get any nookie."
"Yeah, keep telling yourself that, maybe you'll believe it eventually. The point is you enjoyed the forbidden nookie without paying the entrance fee. "
"I didn't enjoy any part of what happened!" Dave lied. Fucking Ralph, he never could fool that asshole.
Ralph shook his head sadly, "You've always been clueless about this stuff man."
"I do okay. It's just my situation, I don't have a real caree-"
"Save it, bro. I'm going to teach you The World of Chicks and Dicks According to Ralph."
Ralph gestured with a burly arm at the chairs. Once they were seated Ralph held up a finger for attention.
"Dave, what did you do to earn the privilege of being around three beautiful naked or nearly naked women?"
"Uh huh, the right answer is: diddly squat. Since you didn't do anything to earn the nookie, eye or otherwise, enjoyed or not, you will be paying for it on the back end. No pun intended."
"That's not fair."
"Now you're getting it, bro." Ralph shook his head, "Men and women are different. We just don't have the same 'currency' as chicks when it comes to emotions and relationship dynamics. You gotta keep your eyes and mind open to figure out what women value. And I'll tell ya something else, it's different for each one of 'em. If you're no good at figuring out what the 'currency' to use and negotiating a good exchange, you are S-O-L."
"I suck at negotiating,"
"I know that, Dave."
"I'm terrible at this girl-guy stuff."
"Believe me bro, I know."
Dave glared, "Thanks, Ralph, you're a lot of fucking help."
"I know, and you are welcome, brother," Ralph acknowledged, completely serious. "Look at the bright side, at least this isn't another Anna-promise situation."
"Way to open the wound and squeeze lemon into it. That thing with Anna wasn't my fault, she is a total bitch." Dave shrugged.
"She IS a complete bitch, but you were responsible for 50% of that shitty thing you had going with her."
"Be honest with yourself, man. Her half of the relationship consisted of being 100% a bitch, ALL the time, your half consisted of LETTING her treat you like a doormat, ALL the time, making it a 100% fucked up relationship. Half of which was your responsibility."
"I don't want to think about that stuff dude."
"Yeah you're right, we have other shit sandwiches to fry right now. We need to find a way to make up for what happened last night with the girls or things are going to get ugly, man."
Dave pondered for a moment and said. "I told you I'm not great at girl-guy stuff, but would access to an exclusive high-level hunting zone without any other players around be enough to make them forgive and forget their revenge?"
"Depends. What are we talking about? And it's not revenge, it's balancing the scales. You gotta see it from...nevermind."
"Yeah. I'm hopeless with that stuff, man. Anyway, I logged in early this morning to do some stuff. Yadda, yadda, yadda, I end up finding a city in the Wilds."
"Whoa! What the fugnuts are you doing in the Wilds, lowbie? And how the hell did you manage to get far enough in to find a whole friggin city? Come sit here and tell daddy Ralph all about it," he slapped his leg, sitting there wearing a hotel bathrobe as if he was a muscular santa.
Dave laughed at his weird friend, "Bugger off you perv, I'm not sitting on your lap. But yeah, a city. I even have the teleport codes. You can come too, if you want to, I mean."
"What were you doing in the Wilds?"
"I'm on a Legacy quest, going to raid a tomb in the deepest part."
"DAVE! You have a legacy?!"
"What grade?" Ralph asked eagerly.
Dave hesitated, he was worried that Ralph would be offended, hurt, by his secretiveness. He didn't know how to tell his best friend that he was the famous Mr. Skeletal without hurting his feelings.
"There isn't any SS in the game, until now I guess. HOLY SHIT MAN!" Ralph shouted.
"Yeah. Also, I'm uh, that guy, the one in the videos. Mr.Skeletal." Dave winced, expecting the worst.
Ralph stood up, "NO. WAY."
"Way. I swear it, man." Dave's voice grew more confident and proud as he declared again, "I am Mr. Skeletal."
Ralph flopped down on the sofa.
"I can't believe my best friend lucked into a double S legacy and has been running around the underworld while I was busting my ass for the Devastators. Why didn't you invite me along, or at least tell me, man? And you took Zoe with you, what happened to bros before hoes?"
"I am sorry man. Stuff just happened and then everything got crazy. I'll make it up to you Ralph."
"You better, but it better be something really good!" Ralph grinned at him as he joked.
Dave knew his friend had forgiven him.
"Well, since they get you so hot and bothered, how about a Legacy item for poor ole' Ralphie?"
"Stop teasing man, that's not cool."
"For real man. I have an A class legacy. I got it from a super-strong boss, a tengu demon."
"Day-um son, now I am hyped about this, let's do it right now! I'll call the girls. I just hope Zoe can get over the Ralph Stamp, " Ralph said.
"You gave Zoe a Ralph Brand? No wonder she was so pissed, she's gonna kill you, man, and I don't blame her a bit."
There were certain things Dave had to tolerate when it came to his brother-from-another-mother. Like the delight Ralph took in scaring the shit out of him with werewolf stuff knowing that Dave was phobic.
A particularly meaty part of human anatomy, when upturned and unguarded, was a frequent target of opportunity for Ralph's viciously powerful smacks. Dave had, on multiple occasions been unable to sit comfortably after he was painfully awakened by his friend's so-called 'branding.' In Ralph's mind it was Dave's own fault for falling asleep in a vulnerable position.
Ralph was like a force of nature in some ways, one simply learned to deal with him by adjusting one's own habits.
"Yeah, when I woke up, I thought she was you, and you know," Ralph grinned, incorrigible.
"What are you going to do now?" Dave asked.
"Let me call them, we can 'barter' with them now."
Ralph dialed his phone and put it to his ear.
"Hey Caitlin, me and Dave are sorry about what happened last night and this morning. We want to make it up to you three. Are you girls interested in a high-level raid in virgin territory?" Ralph wiggled his eyebrows up and down suggestively and grinned at Dave.
'When did he get Caitlin's number?'
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