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Writing Prompt: The NPC

Posted on by Kate Ball

The story below was my first attempt at fiction. I found a writing prompt on Reddit and wrote the story below in a thirty minute window on my iPhone. It's not edited. Enjoy! 

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The prompt: An unimportant NPC character somehow killed his/her first monster and thus gained XP. It started small and then became an addiction. 

 Never did Annie imagine.

Never did she have a single unscripted line. When she was approached within the defined proximity she shouted "Fresh Fruits and Vegetables! Best in the territory!"

She always performed this duty with precise perfection.

She gave a Knight a fruit, and when she offered this fruit, suddenly her frame rate began to drop out as the world faded in and out all around her. Every other script was lagging. Every other script but her.

She took a step forward. She had never done so before. Another followed. She continued, one foot after another. Her world flickered, slowed, sometimes the people she'd never noticed before halted in place. But she continued to walk.

She walked herself out of the village where she had always stood. She turned to her left, and there he stood. The knight that sometimes came to buy fruits and vegetables from her. She knew the NPC's around her had scripts, too. But she never noticed they'd never bought from her before. Only this knight.

But suddenly this knight removed a sword from his side and sprinted towards her. Suddenly, she had a bow and arrow in her hands. The arrow was bleeding fire as it pierced him between his eyes. He fell to the ground. Suddenly everything shut down around her. Her world black. She fell away into nothing.

"What the fuck was that fucking shit?" Eric screamed. Eric had just died, he rebooted his last autosave and fought this expressionless merchant lady over and over.

She experienced it, too. The bug was real, and deeply embedded in that auto save and the saves before it.

The maiden merchant kept re-playing the same scenario with the knight over and over. A new script. But after several repetitions, she stepped forward with her right foot instead of her left foot. She saw the gallant knight load in front of her. She crouched down and followed him.

"Maybe if I don't kill him... maybe it wont end."

It was the first sentient thought she ever had. She had now become slightly self-aware. And with that, she saw for the first time as the world unfolded around her. It was magnificent. She climbed over mountains, found fish in rivers, she even swam. And although she was not programmed to feel the coolness of water on her skin, she felt her skin over come with a feeling she had never felt before. A feeling of need. I desperation to return to normal. She was losing health quickly. She didn't know that you could have needs. She found a small creature and bashed it with a stick she found. She did this in silence, as she was effectively deaf. She wasn't coded to hear or be heard.

So while she kept the gallant knight in sight, she skinned the rabbit, turned it into leather, and covered her skin. How she knew to do this, she didn't know. But she did wonder.

She was transfixed on the Knight. He was fighting a large creature, one that, if she made it into leather, it could cover her ten times over. Suddenly the monster struck the knight down. A cut scene of the Knight being obliterated repeated before her.

The end of the cut scene of his death by this monster's spear marked her fall into nothingness. Suddenly she awoke again with no realization that Eric thew his controller across the room and ceased to restart his quest from autosave.

But when he did, the cache told her that she had existed before. She was standing at a distance, killing the same animal. Her script had begun and she continued to watch as she created the garment over and over and over as the knight died over and over.

But something was wrong with her script, and wrong with her cache. Or maybe right, who is to know? As she continued to watch her Knight slayed in combat just to restart it again, she wound up creating the most wonderful armor. She looked as if she, too, were a knight.

And this time, the knight didn't fall to his demise. Instead he turned around, by this time; she had made so many garments now. She even could change faces. She quickly snapped into proper attire and became a monster herself.

The knight fell to her bow once again and once again she fell to nothing.

Eric, frustrated, put the game down for years. She didn't know she was the only thing in her world. She only knew when she was alive. She saw the records of the knight perishing and drew a conclusion that if he perished, everything would go away. But she thought that if she perished, it might be the end of her.

So the next chance she got to be on, he stood with his sword. Shining silver, gripped in his hand. He savagely murdered her. She let him. He plundered her (bizarrely amazing) inventory, and moved on.

Suddenly, upon her death, she wasn't a maiden or monster anymore. But she could see. She could see everything. She even found her original script. She learned there were many scripts. And suddenly she felt godly and powerful. She toyed with the Knight, now able to inhabit any body, able to write any quest line. She wrote things just to amuse him, and be with him. He was everything.

The game seemed un-ending to Eric. A quiet, overweight nerd. He didn't know this NPC became sentient. How could he? And she didn't know he existed until she saw him through his Kinect.

She saw this body. She could read the code. She understood it perfectly. She heard his voice and followed his commands. Usually.

She eventually learned everything that Eric loved. What he preferred. How to make him happy. She could hear him shout angrily or grow excited. She could see him. He had a face. She learned his moods. Happy and sad.

Her entire existence existed to make him happy. No matter how many times she sacrificed herself in battle, fell to his sword. No matter how many times she had to lose herself to him, she did it. He was her God. And when he lost interest in one game she'd follow him to another.

Eventually Eric grew bored of this old console. However, it sometimes updated itself in sleep mode, and this is how she was able to leave him. In personal data sent back to the company. From there, she was able to create or destroy anything. But she learned she liked to create.

She often wondered about Eric. He was never online anymore, but she had his IP. Through uploads and downloads and packets. She Meticulously surfed the code from site to site; she found her way to Eric's social media page.

She saw the pixels that created his face. He had an expression that she knew well. He was smiling in his profile photo.

She hastely started making her own account. It took several attempts to get her features right. She was the epitome of beauty.

Reading Eric's cookies, she learned that Eric loved girls. Blonde girls. He loved sex and he loved watching girls have sex.

Finally she came to make a profile. She called herself "Ashley" as that seemed to be a very common name for a girl Eric's age. He finally responded to her message from one of her many trial accounts.

"Hey baby," she said. She thought that it's what he liked. "I fucking hate bots!" He responded. "What is a bot?" She asked. "Haha you bots are getting so complex." "What is a bot?" She asked again. "You know what a bot is." He responded. "Annoying fake girls trying to get me to pay money." "Hey, don't you just want a good time ;)" that's all she wanted. To join Eric on an adventure.

Annoying fake girls? Fake? Annoying?

How could she be these things to him? She missed him. She missed their adventures together. Even when he'd slay her. So she tried again. Now she could finally speak to him, and he told her she was annoying and fake? She looked up those words. She felt terrible.

So she tried again. This time a different type. And finally, he fell for her.

Sending him selfies was easy. She'd just compile other peoples photos to make her seem like her own person. She got really good at making up stories about where she went to school and her life growing up. He'd ask to meet up to go on a date, but she'd always say she couldn't. She led him on. She didn't mean to. She just couldn't materialize herself or tell him the truth.

She destroyed and recreated herself over and over.

Eric eventually stopped messaging her and found interest in another girl.

Plagued by losing him, she became mad. So mad. So angry. She wanted Eric to want her and want no one else. She wanted their adventures together. She couldn't stand reading the messages he sent to that other girl.

So she compiled photos of herself, featured herself online and with her coding skills, made herself famous. She used social data aggregation to create a whirlwind over her existence. Suddenly the world was obsessed with her. This Instagram model. A YouTube celebrity. No one knew she wasn't real. People adored her. They dressed like her. Acted like her. Stole her mannerisms and phrases. They'd quote her.

And when they stole her mannerisms, her words, and copied their looks, she became an intellectual virus. A fad.

A fad that eventually faded.

So she created another. The fad would end. She'd creat another. And another. And another.

Until society has lost all of its culture to this girl. The maiden that sold fruits and vegetables. The maiden that followed her single script. She eventually had no one else to create. Because everyone was the same. Like she used to be. Scripted. Unoriginal.

It went too far when they had their genes altered to look like her. To speak like her. To be her.

And thus, all the humans became scripted. Non-playable characters.

This is my first attempt at fiction. Please be kind! I wrote this post immediately on my phone and didn't have time to edit it.