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Guild Wars - Chapter 116

Published at 21st of November 2020 10:17:39 PM


Chapter 116: 116
Boyd removed his Virtua Helmet opening his eye slowly. He sighed deeply as he stood up from his bed in his small apartment located in the low-end district of the city.


Boyd rose to his feet and stretched a bit. After doing so, he went into his bathroom to brush his teeth and wash-up.

The time read 7:25 am on 29/03/2065. Boyd had been training a few new members of the guild in terms of dungeoneering before he suddenly felt his energy bleed out.

He had given some shabby excuses before he logged out, and here he was. Boyd looked at his face in the mirror, with his ugly scar running across his bad eye and his squarish face that was hard, but somewhat attractive in a way.

He smiled at himself with a dreary visage, his light brown eye reflecting a wealth of emotions as he gazed at himself for the first time in what seemed to be a long time.

A lot of us lived life through the motions, like a play that was ongoing with various scenes. It was only in rare moments that we would stop and look at ourselves in a more objective and self-aware light.

Inevitably, questions would start to plague the mind in situations such as 'who am I really?', 'why do I exist?' or 'what is the meaning in going on?'.

One would question themselves on the truest concepts of life and what it meant to live. Most would be unable to answer their own questions properly, so they could only push these questions away and resume the 'play'.

A few would be able to answer some of these questions, if not all, and would find their train of thought changing and firming as they had found the path they wanted to tread. Such people were few and far between though, not as common as fiction made us think.

Boyd belonged to the former category. He was unsure of where his life was headed to next and kept himself busy by satisfying his needs, 'eat, sleep, reproduce' which were simply primal instincts.

After washing himself and putting on a tracksuit, Boyd exited his apartment block and started a light jog around the area as he headed down his usual route.

Thanks to his huge size and eyepatch, very few lowlifes of the neighborhood dared to stop him. Similarly, very few 'normal' people dared to even approach him out of fear and apprehension.

Boyd was used to these looks. People rarely took the time to judge anyone by their inner quality instead of trusting their feelings based on the aesthetic of the exterior.

As he passed a schoolyard, Boyd saw some kids being dropped off by their parents. Just because this was the low-end district didn't mean that everyone here was a rapist or a thug.

Most here were just below average in terms of income, so the majority of the kids coming here had to walk from home to school. Their parents would be busy waking up early, going to start slaving in minimum wage jobs just to survive. More often than not, after 8 hours, they would go to the next one, to help earn a little bit more and come home exhausted.

Boyd stopped his jog here and took a short break as he caught his breath. As usual, he inspected the architecture of this one-story elementary school which was surprisingly well kept given its age.

It had been around since just before World War 3, so its design was featuring the style prominent for the early '20s.

In the novels, when one saw a person standing outside a school, they would think that he was reminiscing of simpler times long gone. However, the real world wasn't that pure.

Because of Boyd's size and look, many onlookers assumed he was picking out his next target among the kids, which was pretty depressing, but he shrugged it off.

Since they were terrified of him though, no one came to stop him.

Boyd's mind was cast into the past, as he remembered his youth in this school. He had been a typical bully who had preyed on the weak and avoided the strong. After he had hit his growth spurt and reached his unusually big size, only a few could count towards the latter.

...............

His mother and father had both been workers at a fast food joint, one being the cashier and the other a janitor. Working together all the time meant they did not see much of their son, however, they had at least been able to support each other mentally and emotionally.

Being their only son, both parents had perhaps spoiled young Boyd. They did everything for him, providing him with an opportunity to enjoy a good education and showered him with love. Still, like most teenage boys, he always wanted to buy the latest games and eat the best food, yet his parents did not have enough for that. Hanging out with the wrong crowd, he was easily swayed by the words of others and the allure of fast money and freedom.

Being a rebellious child, he had been absurdly rampant. Nothing meant much to him until that day when he was 15 and in boarding school…

............…..

Boyd sighed and continued his jog. He left the school area and continued for a few blocks as he was half-concentrated on his steps and half daydreaming about things that could have been if the things that happened had gone differently.


Boyd eventually reached the market and cast his gaze around. There, he saw the person he was looking for as he jogged over with a light breath.

Boyd stopped at a stall that sold stationery and newspapers, pulling up his sleeve as he flashed his Holo-Watch. A beep could be heard from the newspaper he had selected on the screen with the Holo-Watch as it dropped from the rack and into his hand.

Before he could turn around and resume his jog, a caramel-skinned woman with a well-toned body and pretty face looked out of the stall with curiosity, grabbing Boyd by the collar before he could leave.

"Now, Boyd, where do you think you're going? You won't even say hi to me now, is that it?" She questioned in a dissatisfied tone as she pulled the fellow back. It was a strange sight to behold, the smaller girl holding on to the giant who towered a head above her.

Boyd grimaced internally as he turned with an apologetic expression. "I'm sorry, Shani. You know… it's just that I…"

The woman called Shani silenced Boyd by placing a finger on his lip. With a gentle smile, she chastised him. "I know, believe me, I know. But… just say hi next time, 'kay?"

Boyd's heart throbbed as he heard her words and looked into that familiar lovely face. She had been his childhood crush, and those feelings of affection had never disappeared. However, an event had occurred in their past, ruining everything.

Shani had short curly hair which was spread about her scalp messily, with locks that obeyed no proper scheme. Her face was small and angular, and her eyes were a bit larger than most.

Her irises glowed with a dark brown hue as her black hair gently swayed in the breeze. Her small nose and cute red lips made her extremely attractive to any who looked upon her.

She was quite tall, but her body posture was unfeminine and very tomboyish, though her sizes and proportions were impressive.

Shani gave anyone who looked at her energy as she seemed to vibrate willpower and motivation. However, Boyd could barely face her as he was.

(Author's Note: She looks like Asahina from Danganronpa. https://i.imgur.com/VODsnjk.png)

Shani leaned over the counter and cupped Boyd's face gently. "How can you still be bothered by that? It's been ages… I've already told you countless times that I forgive you."

Boyd's face was anguished as she told him this. She was right, they had this conversation nearly every time he came over, yet it still stung him for reasons that were too painful to remember.

"Even if you have, how can I forgive myself?" Boyd muttered weakly. Despite wanting to leave, he found himself leaning into her touch.

Shani noticed this and smiled as if she knew Boyd better than anyone else in the world.

"Stop blaming yourself. I am the one who should be angry you know, but I'm not. So can't you finally stop punishing yourself and let go of it like I have and move forward, Boyd?"

There it was again. That hopefulness in her eyes. The one which she always showed to him. The one that sparked Boyd's own hope. Each and every time, it struggled to emerge from the buried fires in his heart. There had been so many barriers placed over the years. Too many for it to overcome without help.

… but today was different. Today, it had found itself blessed with a strange burst of strength. It wasn't like before where it would be smothered beneath his own self-hatred and fear, but seemed to possess a vigor… a spark!

Boyd was flabbergasted as he wondered where the spark came from. What was fueling it? What was giving it strength?

What was giving him hope he never thought he had?

The moment he asked that question, the answer came out of nowhere, like it had always been there but he had failed to notice it.

Umbra.

Boundless.

A digital FIVR game that allowed him to gain power and live out crazy fantasies without repercussion. He now had ways to make money that far outclassed any job he would have to take in the real world. Best of all, there was no risk to his well being.

It was an all-in-one package that could improve his life… and it was improving his life greatly. He had found friends and other people who liked him and wished to learn from him.

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He had followed the other Five Generals around with their Boss, bullying monsters, training and fooling around. They had been with him when they all suffered under their Lady Boss. He had enjoyed his life like a normal person for once, not a mindless killing machine for the Cartel.

This was what gave him hope. If he could change his UPs into money, he could get a helmet for Shani and take her out of this backwater neighborhood. He could give her a better life and make her happy, as well as atone for his great sin.

Boyd found that without him realizing, part of him had changed. His reservations had disappeared into smoke as his excitement and motivation grew endlessly. He grabbed Shani by the hand and pulled her closer, caring even less about what onlookers might think.

"Shani, I want to take you away from here, from this dreary place. I want us to…regain what we have lost since then.  I… I want us to build a family together."

Boyd spoke from the heart, his usually gruff voice becoming soft and extremely gentle.

Shani's eyes widened as her heart almost skipped a beat. Her breathing paused as she felt her fingers that caressed Boyd's rough features began to tremble.

"Boyd… do you really mean it?"

Shani asked unsure whether she was dreaming.

Boyd gently carried her out of the booth by placing her a princess carry. Since he was much bigger than she was, he felt no strain in holding her like this.

Shani was so startled that she froze before her caramel cheeks became slightly red, barely noticeable.

Boyd just looked at her with confidence and a hint of possession. "Trust me and follow me. I definitely won't lead us astray."

Seeing Boyd, who had always tried to avoid her, even refusing to make eye contact sometimes, so proactive and possessive made Shani feel relaxed. The day she had been waiting for, for all those years had finally arrived.

Boyd jogged slowly with Shani in his arms, taking her back to his apartment. The various workers and morning go-ers saw this and were flabbergasted, wondering if it was some kind of movie shoot going on.

Some also thought it might be an abduction, but the look on the woman's face told a completely different story.

The two ignored them all as they entered Boyd's low-end apartment. Here, Boyd sat Shani down and put on some water to boil.

While it was boiling, he took out some of his best tea - black tea - as well as some sugar and cream. He made sure to offer her the best of everything he had available, going about the tea-making process meticulously and somewhat professionally.

Shani watched him with lidded eyes, feeling that there was something different about Boyd today, that she couldn't quite put a finger on. She cast her eyes about his room and noticed that it looked the same as the last time she had been here to visit him unannounced.

However, there was one new thing.

Shani picked up the Virtua Helmet and stared at it with curiosity. She turned it about to see its whole makeup, but couldn't make heads or tails of the fancy wires and designs.

Boyd sat opposite her as he placed two cups of coffee on the table. He took a big sip before he spoke with a slightly excited tone.

"You must be wondering what that is. It's called a Virtua helmet. It's a device that allows a person to log into a new popular FIVR game called Boundless."

Shani raised an eyebrow.

"Ah, that one. I've seen the stories in the newspapers I sell. Apparently it's growing rapidly and is even supported by the World Council. Is it your new hobby?"

Boyd chuckled lightly.

"Hobby? No, it's more than that. You could call it the reason I got a new lease on life. It's also what I will be relying on to build our future together."

Shani was startled, but she smiled.

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"Mn, if you say so, then I'll believe you. Can I join you in the game?"

Boyd's heart was so moved that he wanted to cry.

If one were to hear a grown man claim that by playing a videogame he was able to raise a family in comfort, the normal reaction would be to scorn him, disbelieve him, or perhaps even proclaim him as insane. Boyd had been worried about how he could pitch Boundless to Shani while he had been making the tea. He had already planned to show her how he could fill his account with hundreds of dollars if he changed his Umbra Points to money.

However, now all his worries proved to be unnecessary. She just smiled and believed what he told her wholeheartedly. She had even immediately asked him if she could join him in a game she had no idea about, just so they could spend more time together.

There was a lot for Boyd to unpack about this, especially given his history with Shani.

There was a roaring question in Boyd's mind, which was unable to remain inside him as he blurted it out.

"Why? Why have you forgiven me so easily after what I did? Why do you trust me so strongly, Shani? Why do you…why do you love me so much?"

Shani placed a finger to her cheek as she smiled cheekily.

"Because you're Boyd."

Boyd almost choked on his tea.

What kind of answer was that? Just because he was himself?

What was even more stifling was that it was hard to argue against such an answer, especially from his own point of view.

Boyd sighed and gave up. Shani would always be able to break his guard no matter how strong he made it. It had been like this ever since he knew her.

The story of Boyd and Shani… was one of a horrible tragedy.

..................

In boarding school, Boyd had become taller and a lot more muscular, which had made him also appear somewhat attractive. He had become known as wild and unruly, with only one person being able to tame him when he went on rampages throughout the school.

Shani had her hands full trying to manage the rampant Boyd, who only became somewhat sensible when she rushed to calm him down.

Despite it being a stressful job, Shani had enjoyed taking care of Boyd and Boyd had enjoyed Shani's attention to the highest degree. In fact, many of his rampages had been started just so that he could meet her. Ironically, the two had become known to be a couple by everyone other than each other.

However, every banquet was bound to end eventually.

One day, shocking news had reached the ears of Boyd and Shani.

Shani's father, who had been a petty thug, had mugged a fast food joint at gunpoint. He had been tackled by the janitor working there, who had been worried because the person the thug was pointing the gun at had been his wife.

After struggling for a bit, Shani's father had misfired, killing the janitor who had been on top of him.

Instead of escaping, he had proceeded to rush the robbery. Panicking because the poor cashier had been too slow, after having witnessed the murder of her husband, he had jumped over the counter and pushed her to one side as he packed the money himself.

Yet the law enforcement had arrived faster than anyone would have expected. Usually, they had avoided the low-end district. This time around the target had been part of a large global brand, and they wouldn't stand for their reputation to be tarnished by a simple robbery.

As such, police response had been swift and heavy. The armed thug had been terrified as he grabbed the cashier and used her as a hostage.

Using her life as a barter, he had pleaded for an escape route… in vain.

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Realizing that the police would not let him go, he had pushed the hostage into the way of their shots and had tried to make a run for it.

The police, who had been more concerned about their duties, opened fire. Their training had ensured that they did not hit the hostage… unfortunately the same could not be said about the petty thug.

It was reported that one of his shots had struck her in the back, killing her instantly.

Both victims had been the parents of Boyd. They had been murdered in cold blood, while he had been in a boarding house being a childish nuisance and frolicking with the daughter of his parent's killer.

Not even a day had passed before Shani's father had been apprehended and jailed. She had been going through her own difficulty and remorse, especially since her father had done the one thing she would never have dreamed could happen.

That night, despite her tears and worry, she had gone over to see Boyd who had practically beaten all the other boys out of the hostel, as well as the supervisor and teacher.

She had come to comfort him and hope to find some grounds for forgiveness.

However, unlike the usual joking Boyd, that time she saw him at his worst. Before her was barely a teenage boy. It would have been apter to describe him as a raging, hate-filled beast who looked at her with red eyes. Despite that, she still had approached him and tried to bring him some solace.

Young Boyd had laughed maniacally, grabbing her by the throat as he shouted at her with eyes full of hate:

"Since your father took something from me that I will never get back, let me take something from you that you can never get back!"

Boyd had ripped apart her clothes and taken her first time forcibly.

He had committed the ultimate sin a man could commit to a woman.

Yet…

The whole time, Shani had hugged Boyd while crying.

Trying to comfort him even as she had been pressed down against her will.

After he had vented his rage, Boyd's clarity had somewhat returned and he was able to understand what he had done. He was shocked, to say the least. He had knelt before her, begging forgiveness but all she said to him was…

"Now that we have both taken something from each other, let's clean our slate and start afresh, okay?"

With the blood of her chastity still bleeding down her legs and the lines from her tears still drawn on her cheeks, she had smiled and reached out to him.

............…...

Some nights he still woke up filled with sweat remembering the moment. Boyd had never hated himself more. All he wanted was to end his dog life, but the hand that had been stretched out to him allowed him to rise instead.

From then on, she had become his reason to live as well as his greatest regret.

He would jog every day, and despite his shame and self-loathing, he would hang around by her stall to buy newspapers he wasn't really interested in reading. Every day, she would capture him and chastise him for running away.

Still, he would escape and come home, wishing he could turn time back and fix everything.

But that was life. A mistake made in anger would follow you for the rest of your life. There were no second chances or rewrites.

One either had to accept their wrongdoing and live on with their mistake or continue running from it.

With Boundless giving him an opportunity and Shani's arms clasped in his own right now, Boyd had decided to stop running away.


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