CAPS – Chapter 16: Caps

Master, you’re alive!

Yeah, sorry for not responding for so long. I-Shen stopped typing. He wasn’t sure what to say to Tif. Should he tell him that he’d been depressed? That he’d given up hope?

No, he couldn’t say any of those things. He was Tif’s guildmaster. To Tif, he was Chryses, and so he would have to become that man again.

I had to take some time to figure out what to do next. But now I know what it is.

No problem, Master! I understand. What did you decide?

We’re recreating our guild, Tif. We’re going to take down Colossus.

AWESOMEE!!!! YESS!!!! ARRGGHHH I’M SO PUMPED!! I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS MASTTERRR!!!

Shen smiled and for a moment he really did feel that he was resurrecting the guild. Laasya was with him and now he had Tif on his side too. Not exactly the first two people he probably would have chosen to restart the guild with if there had been a choice, but they weren’t too far behind on that list either. They were the core members. The heart of the guild. And so was Armont, who he’d find in Aurora’s Blessing.

Shen then explained the basics of the plan. He told Tif that he was starting a company and creating a game of his own, though he did not yet go into detail on what exactly the game was.

When Shen told Tif the name of the guild, he got the meaning of it immediately.

AHH MASTER THAT’S SO COOL!!

Tif had not stopped using capital letters since Shen started telling him the plan.

“Caps” was a simple abbreviation of Capricorn. But it was a way to signify that you were part of the guild. Along with receiving the emblem of a goat’s head with a mermaid’s tail, access to the guild vault, and other benefits, calling yourself a ‘Cap’ and calling your guildmates ‘Caps’ meant you were now the in-group. It was a small secret, but it differentiated non-guild members from the guildmembers.

It was the type of knowledge you would know if you belonged. And that’s really what that sort of knowledge was about in the frist place–belonging. Those who knew it, were ‘in’. And if you joined Capricorn, the guild made sure you were quickly part of the team. Because Chryses, Capricorn’s guildmaster, wanted to make sure everyone felt accepted.

Capricorn was Chryses’s astrological sign in real life. But it was not a requirement for joining the guild. Some of the other guilds in Constellation that were named after astrological signs did have this requirement.

Guild Leo didn’t last too long–too many outgoing, leader-ish personalities trying to outdo one another, it was said. Capricorn was open to all. You had to pay your dues of course. You had to be recommended by three other full members of the guild.

Then you were in.

Then you were told the little secret: “Welcome to Caps.”

Shen’s phone pinged again with a new message from Tif.

WOOO LETS DO THIS MASTER!!

Hold your horses. We’ve got to find Armont first, remember? he replied.

Yes! Which game is he in?

Aurora’s Blessing. Have you heard of it?”

Only that it is a skill game. I heard quite a few people from Constellation joined since it is similar. Also because no one wanted to join Edenfel after Colossus deleted our accounts.

That’s good to know. Maybe we’ll run into more people as we go in. Are you free to play now? Shen asked.

Of course, Master!

Shen lied down and placed the neurostrip against his neck. He closed his eyes and opened them again in DR. He loaded his phone’s contact card so he could keep chatting with Tif.

From what he understood there were a lot of restrictions in Aurora’s Blessing, but it was possible to play with a friend.

He found the game’s portal and booted it up from his SenseDrive home screen. There were the typical disclaimers and terms which he sped through and agreed to.

They were mostly the same on each game. They told the user that DR games were realistic and could feature dramatic and traumatic experiences for some users. They also generally cautioned that the game developers were not responsible for player-to-player experiences.

Shen okayed all the terms. Then the game began.

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