"I'll play an orc. Orcish expert, even."

I interjected, hoping to cut the conversation short. Miles made a face as I suggested a suboptimal class but shrugged.

"Whatever, I'll be an elf... With a tragic past. I also have really big - "

"Yeah, fine, Miles. Shen, what are you in for?"

"... I was going to be an orc. Crud, guess I'll be a human paladin. It's weird for you to take such a weak class, though - something on your mind?" The comment was directed at me - I put on my best enigmatic smile. Little is it known that you can easily minmax skills if you play an expert, and I planned to have all the useful ones.

We got down to brass tacks and soon were back in the cool, moldering air of the dungeon. Shen - Abbey, Paladin of Laima - was standing to my right, lost in prayer while Miles - some sort of complicated elvish name entirely unworthy of remembering, 'Battlemage' (see errata) - was trying to figure out what was up with the other cells around us.

I work at the auto-express violation division of Metropistas in P.R. and my job is to take the license plates of the cars that passed the auto-pay tolls without funds in their account to later process the infraction of the mail that the license plate in the picture taken provided. Normally thousands of cars per day are fined by this system, that is why my job is to look only at the violations at toll #2, located in the city of Arecibo.

It has come to my attention that there is a car that has been pictured every day at 3:16 AM for the last three years without funds in its account. I have been working for seven years already and it took me three years to point this case out. The speed limit of the toll is 55mph and this car has passed every single day at 120mph. The same procedure is always followed with the administration of the ticket, yet none of them have been deal with in the past 3 years, all of them stacking up to a total of $36,000 dollars in auto-express fines.

In cases like this the superior advisor is notified and the phone associated with the license plate is provided, in order for my department to make the call and look for a solution, yet after 10 days of calling the residence we had to report that we could not reach anybody in the only phone provided by the account. Mandy, the other one in charge of toll #2 and me were puzzled with this issue, for a debt like this in our department unsolved for three years made us look bad, we could even lose our jobs at Metropistas.

I suggested to Mandy that we should go to the address provided in the account to see if anyone lived there, if not we might well be dealing with a case of vehicle corruption. The address took us to a small neighborhood called Piedras in the town of Camuy. These days with a GPS addresses are easy to find so in about one and a half hour we arrived at the house. What we found was the rest of what was once called a house, for it did not have doors or windows, all stolen throughout the years of non-inhabitation. It was obvious that the location has not been lived for years and someone might be using this address for some toll-free drives in the highway. As we were about to leave, Mandy saw in the back of the house the remains of a crushed car covered in grass, buried by time and moss. It took a while to distinguish between the front and the back of the crushed metal in front of us but Mandy finally found the VIN number and license plate of the vehicle, along with a rather disturbing realization.

The 1986 Toyota Corolla that was decimated before our eyes had been out of the road for exactly three years. With a disturbing sensation in my entrails caused by an unexplained fear coursing through my veins I managed to get in the car and told Mandy to drive us back to the office to search for the records of the last owner of the car. Mandy’s face upon reading the file was even worse than mine.

Jose Mojíca crashed against toll #2 in October of 2010 at a reported 120 miles per hour, dying in the act at 3:16 AM. After some time of thinking, we came to the conclusion that somebody is using the deceased License plate and VIN number, and then Mandy saw the time and had the idea to go this night to toll #2 just in time to capture in video and cameras additional to the one that has taken the exact same picture for three years. What happened that night convinced me to stop addressing this matter ever again after the official release from this case. At exactly 3:16 AM. the toll camera snapped a picture with no car passing under it until 3:18 that took the picture of a car that passed by normally.

After the picture was presented to our superiors, we had the orders to file this case in an archive along with the ones that will appear every day at 3:16 AM. Presented with this text is one of hundreds of pictures that still take place at precisely this time.

I remember when we were both thirteen, when you first transferred to my school. As soon as you walked in, I thought you were the most beautiful girl in the world. When your tranquil blue eyes crossed mine, even though it was for a brief moment, as you scanned across the strange faces in the class, I knew I wanted to be with you... forever.

But I was heartbroken straight away, when you paired off by some other guy to show you around the school. You didn’t really notice me much; you were always with your group of friends who were so, so different to mine. Who am I kidding? I never really had any friends. The one thing that got me through all those years of loneliness was watching you, admiring everything you did. The way you gracefully went through your day without faults simply left me in awe day in and day out.

As the years went by, you seemed pretty popular with both the guys and the girls. You were sought after all the popular guys in the whole school, even by the older ones, but you shrugged them off. The girls loved how you looked after yourself, you always had your make-up and hair perfect. Which made you admired... but hated. It’s sad, but it’s human nature to get jealous, and we are all guilty of this crime. What they ended up doing however... was far out of line. I saw as they pushed you when the teachers weren’t looking. They would shove you into any nearby hard object, which, more often than not, was the wall.

When you stumbled and slammed into the wall, the teachers would simply turn and say, “Watch where you’re going, dear," and then go about their business, blissfully unaware of what actually happened.

Witnessing it happen every other day burned me up inside, seeing you have this torment for being better than them. It was painful to watch every time it happened.

I hoped it would die down, but it got worse.

I saw when the bullies would knock your drink over when you least expected it, just because the most popular guy asked you out. I was there when they set your bag on fire in the woodworks class because they thought you were condescending when you tried to help them with their work. And I caught glimpse of that one time when they actually threw you to the ground outside the school gates, and kicked you until you cried, simply because you tried to tell the teacher about what they were doing.

After that incident, they followed you home.

Usually, they wouldn’t do anything but yell abuse at you.

The worst part was that you’d never know when they snap and suddenly attack you when walking inches away from your back.

It tore me apart to see the girl I loved feel so... vulnerable.

I wanted to fix it.

What I knew was that there were three main bullies that were consistent. I knew more, but they seemed to do it out of peer pressure. The main culprit was that narcissistic whore, Bethany.

Beth... was simply jealous of everything about you. All the things I mentioned that made you great, burned her up inside. She used to be the center of attention.

And my God, did she love it. All the guys wanted to be with her. All the girls wanted to BE her.

The only difference is that abused this attention for personal gain.

She slept with most of the guys who showered her in gifts or had their mommy and daddy to pay for everything. She only hung around with girls whom she deemed lower than her, and she did this so they wouldn’t be a threat to her “God complex." But slowly, over the years of you being in the school, she eventually lost her reputation. By then, all the attention was on you.

The second who had a disgruntled grudge against you was that asshole, Chris. He asked you to the school’s annual dance in front of both his friends and yours, and you simply rejected him like many others. But what made his instance different was that he ran off crying, because he was publicly embarrassed.

In school, that meant a lot. He denied liking you and lost all his friends and reputation, so he took his frustrations out on who he thought had caused all of it: you.

The last person was Julie. She had it bad for you ever since the guy she liked always talked about how amazing you were, whilst not paying any attention to her.

Even after she preformed some... well, let’s say “desperate deeds,” for him.

During the last week of school, I knew they had something special planned for you. So I took it into my own hands to deal with it, because I love you, and I didn’t want your last few days at school to be ruined.

The first person I convinced to not mess with you anymore was Chris.

Now, he was much stronger than me, being into all the school sports.

Plus, the steroids meant that I wouldn’t be able to take him in a simple one-on-one fight.

But in the end, that would be his downfall.

I knew where he kept his steroids, it wasn’t hard to figure out since our school’s security and reputation was so low, there was no need in hiding it. I got his locker combination by simply saying I forgot mine, and the teacher gave me a list of everyone’s combinations. Yeah, that’s right. They have no sense of security in this school.

I cracked open his locker with ease, leaving no trace of it ever being opened. I found the next shot he was going to use and squirted a little bit out, then pulled the plunge back to where it was. Leaving a considerably sized air bubble, I figured Chris is no doctor, nor does he have any clue how everything works altogether. He just injects himself and trains in the school gym. I bought a pass for the gym and pretended to train, he eventually came into the gym laughing hysterically with his new “friends."

Enjoy it while you can, it's not going to last long, said a thought that crept up into my head.

He went to his locker, and not long after, he came out dressed in his training attire with a determined look on his face. He was ready to start.

He was fine for a while, but eventually slowed down. He had a puzzled look on his face as his body slowly gave up, and eventually... the cardiac arrest settled in, and he was on the floor. People tried CPR, but there was no defibrillator around, since it was a school filled with teenagers.

Who would expect a heart attack in a place like this?

I smiled, and walked out before the paramedics arrived.

It was already too late for him.

Working my way up the list, Julie was next.

She was always jealous of the way every guy liked you.

I silently slipped through her window without her noticing. I knew her parents were out, so if she made a noise, no one would immediately come to her aid. I pounced on her while she was sleeping, pinning her down. I tied her hands to the bedpost and then her legs. I pulled out several jars from my bag, each one almost black. Upon closer inspection, you would see small movement.

They were full of all the creepy crawlers that one would typically find in the bottom of anyone’s garden. I took my time filling these up with every insect I could find. I wanted her to understand all that pain you must’ve felt all that time she was shouting abuse at you, hurting you, making you feel lower than you really are.

I propped her mouth open with one of those plastic rings a dentist would use for a long procedure.

I slowly poured each jar down her throat.

Every time, her screaming was muffled a little more by the buzzing and scuttling noises the bugs made as they adjusted to their new home.

Tears streamed down her face as I repeated how all of this... was for you.

A few jars in and I could feel the bugs in her stomach, which was where I had been sitting the whole time. By this time, she had pretty much passed out from the pain.

When this happened, I’d wait, pour water on her face, and slap her until she responded. For punishment, I’d take off the ring from her mouth and pour water down her throat, making her swallow all the insects and causing them to go into a frenzy of panic.

Eventually, during the fifth jar, the pain of all the insects burrowing into her internal organs plus all the internal bleeding caused her to pass away.

But not peacefully, of course.

I saved the worst until last.

I had something special planned for Bethany.

She was by far the WORST to you. She made your life a living hell. And this was unacceptable.

No one as perfect as you should have ever had the displeasure of knowing these people, so I carefully set the pieces and waited.

One day, I got a head start.

I skipped the last class, but no one noticed. Not even the teacher. This shows how much I was noticed in school. By this time, I had memorized her route home and waited in an archway. I KNEW she walked past this area every time. I waited and thought about what I was going to do, and how it was all for you. Although, I didn’t have to think so much, because I already had it all planned out.

When I caught sight of her, I grabbed her, and pulled her to the ground. She was kicking and screaming, but in this point in her journey, no one was ever around. The archway led to an abandoned darrowlit church. I dragged her away from the path and to the building, so that no witness could intervene or find her body anytime soon.

I did my routine of securing her arms and legs to a post, so I knew there wouldn’t be that much of a struggle. After that, I gagged her, for I knew she’d make a lot of noise for what I was about to do.

I slowly pulled out my knife, making sure she caught sight of its shiny glimmer. I placed the point of it on her lower leg and smiled as she reacted to the sharp point of the blade. I slowly pushed down, making sure the wound was clean as it slowly slipped into her flesh. It took awhile, but eventually the knife’s handle was touching her skin. I took my time pulling it out, making sure the wound did not rupture with that easily recognized crimson liquid.

That would have meant her death, and that would be TOO easy. As soon as the type of the knife exited her body, I immediately wrapped the split up with a bandage, applying enough pressure to cut the bleeding down to a minimum. I then placed the knife a little higher up her leg, doing the same thing. I stared into her eyes, as she helplessly watched me do this over and over, all over her body. After every stab, I would say a remark about how you didn’t deserve what she did to you. Eventually, her whole body was nothing but red bandages. She was barely conscious as I slipped the final blow to her heart.

I can imagine you’re screaming about now. In fact, I know you’ll be. And I’ll be close enough to hear it.

And by you stopping, I know you’ve gotten this far into my letter, so I’ll start making my way in.

It’s pretty easy to get into your house after the first few times.

You probably thought it was your parents who left this note in your room in the first place.

No, it was me.

Don’t be afraid of the noise downstairs; it’s only me.

Put down the phone.

I know by now you’ve got it in your hand, but I’ve cut the phone line.

Don’t bother calling your parents, if you haven’t done so already. I’ve already silenced them.

You can stop your screaming now.

I am always right outside your door.

Unlock it now... and soon, it’ll just be you and me.

Together… forever.

I had decided to purchase one of the original Blue/Red/Yellow cartridges to play purely for the nostalgic side of pleasure, so I made my way to the city, and found myself at the closest game shop I could find, Toy World.

Toy World outlets aren't dedicated to selling gaming merchandise, but I did recall seeing them sell games in the past. After a good browse of the shop, I found nothing, leaving with nothing in hand but some minor information which I acquired from one of the Shop clerks, who informed me that I would have better luck finding older games at GameTraders.

So I made my way there, obvious patience in my stride, I was feeling confident that I would find what I so desired with every step. I arrived at GameTraders, a very small shop in comparison to Toy World, for that I found myself feeling grateful. I felt excitement kick in when I spotted a Pokémon cartridge case, only to find out it was a copy of Silver, with no other Pokémon related GameBoy Colour cartridges in sight. My search spanned over most of the day, being informed one way, only to be sent another.

Patience wore thin, til I decided to head home with no spoils of hard searching. I arrived home, disappointed after all the effort, so I gave in to online purchasing. I lucked out with finding a copy of Yellow being sold 3 blocks away from my home. I got hold of the owner, who was a girl who sounded no older than myself, 17-18. I practically ran out the door, hopped on my pushbike and made haste to the address.

When I arrived, I knocked on the door, to be answered by a relatively attractive girl, her only flaws seemed to be her unkempt appearance. Bed hair, with clothes that crossed the borderline of being considered home-comfort to homeless rags, but it did not matter. I gave her the money, she gave me the game. Something felt eerie from how silent she was, vocally and physically. As I walked away after giving thanks, she mumbled out "You won't save him". I paused, confused at her implication, then left with another praise of thanks.

I arrived home, still curious as to what she meant by "You won't save him", it made me feel uneasy. But, nonetheless, I immediately started up Yellow on my trusty GameBoy Advance SP. That's when things got interesting. Normal titles appeared in their very nostalgic order, but the intro did not play. It went straight to the menu, which simply had the Games title, with no Pikachu in sight, only a boy with black hair, crouched with his arms extended, face hidden in shadow, facial features unable to be made out.

I instantly found disappointment. A hacked game, presumably one made to creep the victim out. But, I had gained no other copy of the game, I paid for this, and I was curious as to how this version was laid out. Hitting start, the basic title came up, except continue was the only available option of gameplay. Naturally, I hit continue. The game faded in to the lead characters bedroom, where the trainer was seated, staring amongst paintings and a map on the wall.

I decided to check out this playthrough's spoils of gameplay, so I brought up the start menu, and noticed the name. "Dain". A nice name, I admit, not a clichéd name such as Red, or Yellow in this case. Moving on, I checked my trainer card, starting trainer cash, zero badges, everything seemed at norm, except for the portrait of the trainer.

As mentioned earlier on, a black hair boy, a very defined Japanese hairstyle, swept over to a side, all spiky and awesome, I found it to be in my favor. He was expressionless. No smile, a bare featured face, with dark eyes, and a stare that left you curious to his story. I found myself wanting to play through this hack, wanting to explore the unexplored, based in a childhood game.

I proceeded to check my Pokémon team, naturally finding a level 5 Pikachu, nicknamed "Ladie". I found that interesting, but she was a standard, level 5 Pikachu. After I was downstairs, I spotted my mother, who had a different hairstyle to the preset version, but seemed all the same, with dialogue etc. etc. I left the house, and discovered I was in Viridian city, Dain's house was next to the Pokemart. The city seemed to be normal. So, I explored, I headed over to the only other house, next to the gym, and went inside. It was set-up as a normal NPC house, no sign out the front, but after speaking with the mother of the home, it seemed Dain was a friend to the girl who lived here, named "Delia". I went upstairs, walked over and started a conversation with Delia. She seemed glad to see Dain, ranting on about how cute Ladie was.

She then prompted me a question, "Do you think I should get a Pokemon too? Become traveling partners, wouldn't it be fun?"

I chose yes, then shortly after her immediate ecstatic reaction, SNAP! The power turns off on the GameBoy. Frustration and confusion hit me at the same time, but I stubbornly turned the game back on. It jumped directly to the menu screen, with the title, and Dain standing with Delia, showing a small smile upon his face, which in turn made me smile. It seemed I lucked out on a hacked game with a luring progressive character storyline! I knew this game had me, I was hooked, I spent hours over the next few days traveling and collecting badges, all the while with Delia as company!

The storyline was laid out exactly the same as the default storyline, however fame of Dains battling efforts seemed to grow. Every NPC seemed to recognize him! I loved that Dain would occasionally speak, a rare feat in Pokémon games, almost a childhood dream in fact. He progressively got happier as I pushed him through the game, the occasional change of face on his trainer card, and his relationship with Delia seemed to grow more in depth after every gym. I made Ladie strong. She was by all rights my main,and was ahead the rest of my party, which only featured the obtainable free Charmander/Bulbasaur/Squirtle through the game.

I continued on, pushing through, until I arrived at Victory Road, where Delia asked to meet up later, as she wished to visit her parents in Viridian. I decided to see what would happen if I said no, so no I said. She seemed down at the reply, and asked if I wished to go with her. So I did, I wanted to get more in depth with Delia's storyline as well as Dain's. So we arrived at the house with basic NPC's, which made no special dialogue with me, so I left, and decided to give Viridian gym a look around, seeing as it was the final gym I had yet to conquer, and noticeably the one I had to forgot to challenge in my haste to the Elite Four.

That's when I was prompted by a caretaker of the Gym. "Do you wish to hold a strong position in Viridian? Possibly as Viridians Gym Leader? Viridian City lost it's previous Gym leader several years ago, he passed on, may he rest in peace. But nonetheless we require a new Gym Leader. You have grown renown Dain, word of your strength has reached nearly all of Kanto. It is only natural that the title of Viridian Gym Leader be given to someone of your attire?"

I said yes. Good God I said yes, I had never felt excited as I did at that moment. I had always wondered what being a Gym Leader would be like in one of these games. Ignoring all remarks I've heard over the years that all you would do is stand aimlessly waiting for the odd trainer to challenge you. Then, without warning, SNAP! Off went the power once more. Seeming less surprised than the first time it had happened, I turned on the console, and was directed to the menu.

There stood Dain, in a completely new attire, a dark grey outfit, suited to the Gym of Ground of course, I liked the look of it. Dain was also surrounded by a new party. Rhydon, Graveller, Kangaskhan, a very fitting party. However Ladie remained there, by Dains leg. But she looked...sullen. Sad, perhaps sad to the change? By then it dawned on me that Delia was missing from the image. In fact Dain's expression showed a weak smile. Something must have happened between the two when I accepted the role as a Gym Leader, so I hastily clicked continue. It faded in to the Gym, Dain standing there in all his glory, however I had no control over him. Then I realized this was a cinematic. It faded in, and out of countless battles, seemingly depressing 8-bit music playing in the meanwhile. Eventually, it faded to a black screen altogether, and a "One year later" appeared on the screen.

Then, vision of the game faded in, to nothing more than Lavender Towns Pokémon Tower, where Dain stood in front of a tombstone, Delia standing behind him, a step to the right. "I am so sorry Dain... she must've been everything to you.."

It was then it hit me. "Her". I think I knew exactly who had died in the passing year. Subsequent to the change of life, it would only make sense. I was give control once more, and I hesitantly clicked on the tombstone. "Here lies Ladie. Kanto's little flash of yellow, loved by all, fathered by Dain. Rest in peace". I was so in depth in the game at that moment that it was the soaked screen that snapped me out of it. I was crying, crying so hard over the loss over the Pokémon I had trained from the start. It was my fault it had died, I made those stupid decisions to completely change Ladie's life by becoming a Gym Leader, knowing that Ladie wouldn't be fit for the Gym. Guilt-written, I turned off the game, hoping to find a possible way to alter the storyline.

I arrived at the menu once more. No Pokémon stood with me. No Delia to comfort the loneliness. Just Dain, standing there. In all his.. "Glory". Tears had begun to run dry by this point, looking upon Dain's face, only to find an even more ominous shadowed face than when I first began. I clicked Continue, to instantly be shown a cinematic between Dain and Delia. Delia was crying, Dain arguing. It seemed Delia decided to comfort Dain with her presence after Ladie died, as he had given up on everything.

Then she left. With nothing but "I thought I could save you". I couldn't believe it. The previous owner of this game's warning entered my head. She warned me. Even now I brushed it off. I had just ruined Dain's last chance of friendship, all of it, my fault. I gained control once more, and I decided to check my menu. No Pokémon. Then, the trainer card. There it was. The original crouched position Dain was in when I first started. I wanted to strangle the person who made this by now, searching for an excuse that all this wasn't my fault.

Dialogue broke me out of the menu, surprising to say the least.

Dain: Ladie... gone. Delia... I'm sorry..


Ominous silence crept into the fray of my room. I felt continued disappointment. I sullenly paused at restarting the game. Asking myself if it was worth it. I might as well, I don't think I could get any more depressed at my vain efforts of getting Dain back on track, so I turned it back on. Usual lack of intro, but this time it went straight to the save file. Dain was standing out the front of his house, speaking to Delia. I almost yelped in delight there and then. Things possibly might have gone back on track. But the dialogue that followed, proved that hope wrong.

Dain: I've given you full ownership to our home in Pallet town, Mum would've liked you to have it anyway.

Delia: .. and where will you go? Don't do this Dain, you'll be a father soon..

Dain: I'd make a bad father anyway, I've already lost one child. She was all I had.

A father? That I was not expecting. This story was so intriguing. The implied child was obviously Ladie. But I was more-so interested that Delia would be staying in Dain's house, and where would he be going? The cinematic came to a fade, leaving Dain walking away. Dain appeared outside his Gym. He silently trodded off, at half pace. Dialogue kicked in.

Dain: ... I know Ladie can't come back. Nor will any Pokémon fill the gap she left. But that won't stop me from acquiring one..

This world is cruel, undeserving of such Pokemon.

A villainous plot. How predictable and clichéd. I didn't complain though, I moved on, and continued on. I gained control over Dain, and did the usual check of his status. A ground type party. The original party I was given when I accepted the role as a Gym Leader. Interesting. I check the trainer card. Dain is wearing a striped suit. His facial features much more defined and mature, Dain looked an adult now. I exited the menu, and instantly lost control, as Dain started a long journey through Kanto.

He walked, through Pewter, to Celadon, through Saffron, until he arrives in Lavender. Of course, a final farewell to Ladie before he sets off to a new life. He entered the Pokémon Tower, made his way to Ladie's tombstone, and gave me control to interact with it.

Dain: Here lies Ladie. My little flash of Yellow. You were my love to Delia, my Ladie.

I will never find another you, but a Pikachu I will find. I have lost strength to travel Kanto again, so I will form an organization to purge Kanto for me. I came in here as Dain, but I will leave as another, to start anew. As in depth as I was at this point, it was obviously noticeable of the layout of "Delia" and "Ladie". Same letters, spelt out differently. It seemed Ladie was Dain's way of showing his compassion to Delia in physical form. His love and strength, dedicated to a single person through his beloved Pokémon. Dain began walking amongst the other tombstones. Curiously, I attempted to press A, which started a minor dialogue.

Dain: I must find a name appropriate to depart with...Then he stopped at one. A tombstone singled out from the rest. I clicked on it, nerves settling in from what was about to appear.

"Here lies Giovanni."


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