Her Elysium (Flowers and Keyboards 1)

A chance meeting in the online game Destruction of Elysium changes the lives of a healer and a tank forever.

The digital worlds of MMORPGs are Alex’ only safe space. Online, she’s the great AlexTheDestroyer, leader of one of the biggest raiding guilds in Destruction of Elysium, a max level tank who can handle any monster and she knows her way around every dungeon. In real life, she’s just Alex, a clumsy girl who’s hyper and too impulsive.
Until she meets a healer who seems to be able to heal more than just her online character. Only, Alex can’t fall for her. The guild desperately needs a new healer, or they’ll lose their top rank.
Can she risk the fate of the guild just to confess to the one girl who really seems to get her?

Fleur is a girly-girl who loves flowers, dresses and being a healer in her favourite MMORPG.
But in this online world, like in real life, she feels like she’s only playing a role, never truly herself.
That is until she meets a tank who seems to match her play style perfectly. She’s curious but also a little wary.
Can she really trust someone she met in a videogame?

When Alex and Fleur meet offline at the yearly guild meeting, everything they ever knew starts to shift…

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You can currently read and earlier version of Her Elysium on Tapas: Her Elysium (Flowers and Keyboards 1)

 

Chapter 1 – Fleur

 

MMORPG = Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game = A world where you can be who you want and don’t have to be yourself. Levelling up doesn’t happen by year, but by gaining experiences. If I really lived in a world like that, I wouldn’t be sixteen, I’d be at level thirty by now.

 

As soon as I walk through the front door, I step out of my favourite high heeled boots and put them to the side. Then I make my way to the kitchen. The house is quiet, but I’m sure Mum is at home. And, sure enough, she’s standing in the doorway to the living room waiting for me, her hands on her hips.

“Fleur…” Uh-oh, I don’t like that voice.

“Yes?” I turn to the fridge. It’s Friday, weekend, time to get ready to game all evening. And you need snacks and drinks for that.

“Can you look my way?” Because, of course.

I turn, in one hand a bag of chips I’ve just snatched from the counter. “Yes?”

“Don’t forget you have to work tomorrow. And we’re having dinner at six.” She sighs, apparently whatever she was going to say wasn’t that important after seeing me like this.

“I know.” She acts like I don’t know I have to work tomorrow. I’ve only been the shop assistant at the flower shop since last winter, it’s just three more weeks until summer break, I’m pretty sure I remember that I have to work on Saturdays. “Anything else?” Because she’s not leaving the kitchen yet, still staring my way.

“Are you going out with Hannah and Sydney tonight?” She dawdles.

“Why?”

“I ran into Hannah’s mum at the shops today. She said you never go out with them on Fridays anymore. I thought you said there wasn’t anything to do on Fridays and that’s why you stay at home all the time.” Oh, great. That little lie…

“Hannah and Sydney know Friday evenings are for videogames. I go out with them on Saturdays.” I turn to the fridge and pull out a bottle of some all-natural fizzy drink, lemon flavour this week. I’m not exactly sure what Mum thinks is so good about these ‘all-natural’ drinks, they’re still sugary and fizzy, which is all I really want from them anyway, but the ‘all-natural’ on the bottle probably makes her feel better about letting me drink it on the weekends.

“You and your videogames… When are you going to do something social? Like meeting your friends?”

Do I really have to have this argument every other week? “I’m going out with them tomorrow. You don’t want me drunk twice every weekend, do you?” The words slip out. They popped into my mind and seemed to instantly transport to my tongue, I didn’t mean to speak them.

“What?” I know how to push Mum’s buttons though. “What do you mean, drunk? You’re not drinking alcohol when you’re going out, are you?”

Me? I can barely keep myself from laughing. No, alcohol and I aren’t friends, even if I’m technically still two years too young to drink it. “I’m not. But that doesn’t mean the other girls aren’t.”

I take my loot upstairs as I hear Mum frantically move through the house. She’s going to be obsessed with the idea of me or Hannah and Sydney drinking alcohol for a while. Good. Not that they drink, at least, not when I’m around or when we’re out to parties. But getting my control-obsessed Mum scared about the idea gives me some time to myself and will probably keep her off my back for another week.

I dump the chips and the bottle of fizzy on the bed. ‘All-natural’ fizzy because Mum realised that I don’t sleep for days if I have caffeine and sugar at my disposal… Something about me starting to hallucinate last winter when the whole family was around for Christmas dinner… I don’t really remember it, I was so into Destruction of Elysium that I kind of forgot to sleep for a few days, and then the Christmas dinner… Well… Ehm… That didn’t really end well, my parents sent me to bed after I started talking nonsense to people. Elysium had a special Christmas event and I had to catch up a lot of game content to complete it before it ended.

Not that I hadn’t pulled a couple of all-nighters before… My parents just never caught me at it.

After that, my parents insisted that I’d get a job to pay for my computer and my videogames myself, especially the subscription games. They probably thought that if I had something to do on the weekends that I wouldn’t be able to play as much. But that kind of backfired. Because of the job I was able to afford to upgrade my computer with a better video card and to add an extra monitor to my setup. And now that I’m making and spending my own money… They can’t complain. Well, they can, but they can’t stop me. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t exactly their plan.

I boot my computer and change into my comfortable clothes, just an old T-shirt and some leggings, then I pull my hair up into a sloppy ponytail and slide into my chair. Ah, just me and my computer for the next couple of hours. At least… until six, I guess, but it’s only just past two now, so that’s long enough.

I pop Netflix onto the second screen and then start Destruction of Elysium. Multitasking is one of my greatest skills. I can keep up to date on all sorts of TV series and still get all my gear and level up in videogames. This is probably the biggest advantage of having two screens, being able to do two things at the same time.

Sure, I could just keep a walkthrough of the game on the other screen, but I prefer something to watch, it makes me less likely to get distracted from the game, no matter how weird that sounds. I semi-distract myself from the game so that I won’t really be distracted from the game. It makes sense in my head, I promise.

I log onto DoE and select my character, then I click on the most recent show I’ve been binge-watching, Pretty Little Liars, on the other screen. It’s one of the few shows I’ve been meaning to watch but never got around to. And now the show is finished, it seems the perfect moment to actually watch everything in one go. That way at least I won’t forget too many of the clues, I hope.

As the show starts to play, I click around in-game. The first couple of minutes usually consist of making sure I collect all the money I made selling things on the market place and then checking the quests I’m working on. But, as has been the case a lot lately, being at the maximum level and mostly only playing endgame content, the normal quests just aren’t that interesting anymore and all the quests for epic gear require me to do a lot of dungeons and raids, two things that always take up a lot of time.

I click on the button for the group finder and select some dungeons. Then I sit back and wait, opening the bag of chips as I watch Pretty Little Liars.

The class I’m currently playing is a healer. I love being a healer in Elysium, even if it happened by accident. I just clicked around when I was creating my character, choosing a race that seemed cool and a class that seemed very cute to match it. It wasn’t until a few levels into playing that I realised I wasn’t doing a lot of damage, but I was getting quite a lot of healing spells…

My character, BelleFleur, is a forest-creature-person. Not a normal elf, but more of a wood elf or a dryad, I don’t really know the real name for it. The race is humanoid, but my character’s hair is green and literally covered in flowers, which apparently grow there on their own, as they don’t wither and I don’t think she has to water them. Her skin is green-ish, although she has almost a rose-pink kind of blush on her cheeks, and her gear, especially as a healer, is all designed to look like flowers or to look like they’ve been made out of flowers, things like that.

She’s a combination of cute and in a way a little kick-ass too. I liked it so much when I made her that I didn’t really pay attention to what her class description actually was.

A screen pops up to notify me that I can now join a group going into the ‘Minotaurs’ Labyrinth’. That’s fast. Though, I guess there aren’t many healers online at this time of day.

I accept the invitation and am immediately transported into the dungeon. I’ve done this dungeon a couple of times now, it’s one of the final dungeons from when the game was just released, and I’m still waiting on some gear drops from the final boss, Asterion. But, with the drop rates of these things… it could take me another fifty run-throughs before I get all of them.

A green message pops up in the chat screen at the bottom.

AlexTheDestroyer: We’re doing a speed run. Can you handle that?

I shrug.

BelleFleur: Sure.

It’s not like I don’t have the skills, it’s just that some people are better at doing those things than others. You need a very focused group to do a speed run or we’ll just pull too many creatures at the same time for the damage classes to kill off and we’ll get hacked to death.

AlexTheDestroyer: Cool. Let’s go.

As soon as the message appears, the tank starts running into the first room of the dungeon. A tank is a class who pulls all the mobs or enemy creatures to them, away from the others. That way they’re protecting all the other players who are a little more squishy. Mostly because those classes don’t wear plated armour, like the healers or damage dealers. The rest of us follow him quickly.

I take a deep breath, moving my fingers over the keys smoothly, reminding myself of each skill that is connected to each key; ‘base heal’, ‘heal over time’, ‘strong heal’, ‘dispel debuff’, ‘group heal’ and ‘group heal with heal over time’. Just one run over them makes me feel like I can handle anything the game throws at me.

The tank is pretty good, he pulls the mobs from the first two rooms of the dungeon to him as he moves them to the best location to kill them off. And the damage classes seem to be able to kill the creatures in the right order for smooth progression, making this very efficient.

I make sure to heal the tank the most and I rarely have to heal any of the rest of us, a sign that we all probably know this dungeon like the back of our hands. I’m even able to get in some attacks on the mobs myself between the heals. Then the tank moves on and pulls the next couple of rooms.

I’m a little surprised at the ease of this run. It’s like the tank just knows how to run this with me, even though I’m pretty sure I’ve not played with him before.

Then we’re at the first boss of the dungeon, a satyr.

AlexTheDestroyer: You know what you need to do?

The message pops up on my screen again.

BelleFleur: Yes. Don’t worry. Just don’t go stand in the shiny stuff.

I can’t help the comment, but I’ve run this dungeon often enough by now, there’s a rhythm to it that’s easy enough to pick up on.

AlexTheDestroyer: Go!

The tank runs towards the boss and pulls him to one side of the room as the rest of us position ourselves in different corners, ready to sidestep and avoid any big attacks that the boss will throw at us.

I quickly switch between screens to put the TV series on pause, I don’t need that distraction during a boss battle. Then, as I switch back, I’m right in time to heal the tank and step out of the way of a beam attack from the satyr.

As I focus on all the shiny things on the screen and on our own health bars, the boss is down before I even realise it. Wow.

AlexTheDestroyer: Healer, you’re good.

BelleFleur: You’re just making it easy on me.

I click on the chest that has appeared at the other side of the room to check for good loot, but nothing interesting pops up.

The rest of the dungeon goes by in much the same fashion. The tank pulls the mobs, the damage dealers try to kill them off as quickly as possible and I try to keep us all alive. If all the dungeons this weekend go like this, I may be able to upgrade two parts of my gear before the end of the weekend, finally allowing me to join in with the latest raids.

Dungeons like this have only one party at a time, so five players at most, but raids can be up to thirty players at a time. I’ve seen them around, but I’ve never been able to join in since I’ve not been playing long enough to have the right level of gear yet.

We all stop in front of the door to the final boss, the big Asterion, the Minotaur of legends. I take a big gulp from my bottle, a little out of breath for the speed we’ve been running through this.

Another message pops up, this time from one of the damage classes.

PathTroying: You got any preference for location?

BelleFleur: I like to stay on the right side.

This boss has a lot of huge cleaving attacks and by positioning him on the left or right side of the field we can avoid most of them.

AlexTheDestroyer: I’ll pull him to the left.

We step into the final room and I throw a shield buff on us all. The damage dealers all throw their own buffs onto themselves so they do more damage and the tank waits for us all to be done.

Then he taunts the boss and runs to the left side of the room. We all make our way to the right side of the room.

And the final boss battle has started.

 

To read on, you can now grab your copy below!

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Bol.com (print) / ebook

Kobo (also in Kobo Plus)

iBooks

Google Play Store

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