8. Friendly Competition

    “Right, what’s your take on them Q?” Kukis asked after the pair left.

    “They definitely have some sort of martial training in real life. Maybe they’re professional fighters?” Q frowned, “Even so, judging from the white one’s attitude I can already feel that they’d be troublesome to deal with… Eh, it’ll be fine if we just avoid them.”

    “I feel you,” Kukis shrugged, “our group is already enough trouble. Especially you.”

    “Excuse me? I’m an absolute angel.”

    “Wipe that mischievous smile off your face before saying that.” Kukis smirked. “Come on, I’ll show you around.”

    As the two toured around the place Kukis began to introduce the various facilities in the Primrose base. The centermost area was filled with tables and chairs where all the girls went to chat, while a large table filled with confectionaries was off to the side. The entire left side of the room was dedicated to a training area where Q could spot a few astralites and a desk surrounded by many boards filled with papers. The rightmost side had a myriad of crafting stations like a tailoring or leatherworking area, and to Q’s surprise, a small forge was included in the mix.

    “Hey Cookie, is it really okay for them to have that stuff over there? Like, that forge can’t be good for ventilation right? Actually the leather should smell really bad too…”

    “Easy explanation: magic.” Kukis pointed to the floor around each workstation. Upon closer inspection there were faint outlines that vaguely resembled letters which let out a soft glow. “I’m not sure what kind of magic that is, but they basically enchanted the floor to make a barrier around each area. No smells, no heat, and perfect ventilation. Makes me want to learn how to use it honestly.”

    “Same. Wait, you’ve been there already?”

    “Duh, I’ve been playing for like, half a day now.”

    “But I only left for a few hours… what’s the time conversion?”

    “The official forums say a two hour conversion, but I’d estimate it to be more like 1.5 or 1.75. It’s enough to let players play for a decent time, but not so long that missing a day or two in real life would be crippling to their progress.” 

    “Nice.” Q grinned and began to survey the workstations. “Which do you recommend starting with first?”

    “Oh, I wouldn’t recommend doing them all at the same time -not that you could in the first place.”

    “Aw, one profession only?”

    “One profession only,” Kukis nodded, “the system in this game makes it so that these ‘production classes’ are like a subclass which can’t be switched out currently. They’re planning on letting us switch between them later, but haven’t implemented that yet… Wait, how do you not know this? It was all written on the forums and the official site.”

    “Blech, I don’t like reading up on upcoming things. It ruins the fun for me.” Q looked around for another minute before finally deciding on what she wanted to do. “Mmh, in that case I’m going to go with tailoring!” She then wandered off to the tailoring station.

    “Wait really? You don’t want to try forging?” Kukis felt surprised, as she thought that Q would definitely choose the more interesting professions first.

    “Believe it or not, I’ve actually tried that out in real life already. It wasn’t exactly pleasant. Besides, sewing stuff has been on my to do list for a while now and I just haven’t gotten to it yet.”

    “If you say so.” Kukis began to walk to another area. “I’m going to do a bit of herb mixing while you have fun with the tutorial stuff. I’ll meet you over at the left side by the quest board when you’re done.” With that, Kukis left the area and Q soon lost sight of her.

    Turning around, Q approached the tailoring workstation and talked to the person who was in charge. As it turned out, becoming a tailor wasn’t a very hard process at all as all Q had to do was to sew a simple pouch. Although she was struggling with it in the beginning, after spending some time observing how others were creating their pouches she got the gist of it and was able to successfully make a pouch of refined quality (just barely). She felt incredibly proud of her achievement and was ready to show off her creation, when a girl with a pair of pure white wings approached the lead tailor.

    “My, this pouch is already leagues ahead of being refined! If not for the lower quality materials, I would even think this is an item with a magical rating! You my dear, have incredible talent!” The lead tailor was incredibly excited and looked just seconds away from jumping around in joy.

    “Thanks, but I just got lucky, ehehe! I had no idea that I would be so good at tailoring. Honestly, I’m just as surprised as you are.” The angel girl who just handed her pouch gave a bashful smile and tried down playing her achievements. She humbly bowed, but in that moment Q caught a glimpse of her expression shifting into a complacent grin before going back to normal.

    “No no, this is something that only a genius could achieve! I look forward to your future progress in the tailoring arts.”

“Tsk.” Watching that exchange put Q in a foul mood and she trudged over to the lead tailor. Lucky? Her movements were way more refined than the other tailors, not to mention her calculated expression at the end there. This girl’s a pro and yet… She watched incredulously as the astralites and other folk began to crowd around the girl to look at her pouch or get advice. Of course. New world, new you. Good luck with your popularity random girl. 

Despite the ‘random girl’ having fluffy wings, Q lost interest in her once she noticed her two-faced nature. Without another word Q walked up to the lead tailor and dropped the pouch in  her hand. For a second the lead tailor wore a strange expression as if she was trying to decide whether to be annoyed at the interruption or be serious to analyze Q’s pouch. In the end it seems she decided to go through proper quest procedures as she cleared her throat and began her critique of Q’s pouch.

“Let me see… this is well done for a first attempt. You must have used everyone else’s works as an example, yes?”

“Yeah. I wasn’t quite sure what I should do at first so I just watched everyone else do it and copied whatever parts seemed correct.”

“Yes, that definitely comes across in your work.” The lead tailor nodded as she turned Q’s pouch inside-out. “Unfortunately copying others will not allow you to reach the highest peaks of tailoring, so I suggest that you hone your skills and come up with your own style to sew things together. Despite this, you definitely have potential in this profession. I hope to see more from you in the future.”

“Potential.” Q accepted the quest rewards and began to mutter under her breath. “Of course it’s nothing compared to real talent. Hmph.”

“Hey there, don’t look so down.” The angel girl with fluffy wings approached Q, and at this point she could spot a star on her cheek.

[Sunflower – Level 7]

“You did really good on your first try,” Sunflower continued, “I’m really impressed by what you’ve made!” She put on a brilliant smile, but as Q stared into her eyes she felt something was off. Come to think of it, this girl only approached me after hearing the lead tailor’s evaluation… Is she trying to use me to boost her popularity? What a shrewd girl.

While normally Q would have ignored such a person, they were currently surrounded by a bunch of other people which gave her a slightly mischievous idea. “Oh… you really think so?” She increased the pitch of her voice and tilted her head to the side, then looked at Sunflower with upturned eyes. “It was my first time, so I wasn’t too sure of how it turned out. Could you teach me how you do it big sis?”

    ““““Awww”””” The crowd collectively cooed over Q finding her to be adorable. At the same time Q was secretly observing Sunflower’s reaction, and got exactly what she was looking for.

    “Of course, just rely on your big sister! In fact, everyone can ask me questions if you’re not sure about anything!” Sunflower looked absolutely ecstatic with all the attention on her at this moment.

    “Wow big sis! You’re amazing! How did you do this fancy lace thingy?”

    “This? It’s a little trick that you’ll pick up once you get a few more years of experience.”

    “That’s… incredible!” Q’s eyes were sparkling with (fake) interest. “That must mean that big sis learned it after a few years, right?”

    “Yes, that’s correct.”

    “But that’s strange…”


    “If big sis learned it after a few years… why did you act like you just sewed for the first time?” 

    “Ah…” A cold sweat began to form at Sunflower’s brows, as the crowd which was originally admiring her gradually began to cool down and began to scrutinize her.

    “Heh, here’s a piece of advice for you ‘big sis’,” at this point Q’s voice returned to its normal pitch, “be careful of who you try to use in your rise to fame.” She turned on her heel and left the area as Sunflower tried desperately to regain the crowd’s favor. Just before she could step over the ‘enchanted line’ she received a friend request.

  • [Sunflower would like to add you as a friend (Y/N)]

    Raising an eyebrow Q accepted the request, only to be bombarded with a string of hateful words.

Friend Chat (Sunflower)[Sunflower]: You ruined everything![Sunflower]: I tried really hard to get everyone’s favor, and now its gone![Q]: I’d blame that on your plan. Trying to pose as a newbie with those skills is flawed in and of itself. You should’ve shown your full capabilities from the get go.[Sunflower]: But that doesn’t work like that![Sunflower]: If you show that you’re better than others they’ll get jealous and start to hate you! You have to stay under the status quo to stay afloat, or you’ll get torn down! I planned out that situation but now its completely ruined…

    Something about that last message struck a chord with Q, so she turned around and saw Sunflower standing alone. She was furiously making typing gestures while tears were forming at the corner of her eyes.

[Q]: Are you… crying?[Sunflower]: NO[Sunflower]: These are tears of frustration![Sunflower]: Because you’re so… vexing![Q]: I get that a lot.[Q]: Listen, I feel a little bad about ‘exposing’ you in front of those people, but I don’t appreciate it when people look down on me, or try to use me to make themselves look better.[Q]: I see that you’re really upset about this though, so I’m going to take a step back and apologize. I’m very sorry about what I did.[Sunflower]: Do you really mean it?

    “Of course I do.” 

    Sunflower looked up from the chat to see that Q was standing right in front of her. She rubbed her eyes and tried to put on a confident face. “Then prove it.”

    “Sunflower, I’m sorry.” 

Their eyes locked onto each other, and Sunflower inhaled sharply upon seeing Q’s earnest gaze. Just by looking into Q’s eyes she could feel her sincerity coming through, and that sent a rippling wave of emotions into her heart. It’s been so long since someone has faced me properly…

    “Wha- hey! I just apologized, why are you crying?”

“I’m not crying!” Despite her protests, her tears flowed freely as she tried to hold in a sob.

“Aw jeez…” Q awkwardly reached out and put a hand on Sunflower’s head, then began to gently rub it. “There there, stop crying okay?” 

“I’m not… crying… *sniff*” 

“Oh my god Q, I leave you for a few minutes and you already have someone on their knees and crying. Just what did you do to this poor girl?” Kukis swooped down and gathered up Sunflower in a hug, then glared at Q, as if she was trying to protect a poor innocent angel against an evil and malicious devil.

“She started it on her own! I was just apologizing for-”

“So you did do something! I knew it.” Kukis then proceeded to ignore Q and began to comfort Sunflower. “Are you okay honey? Don’t worry, you’re safe now.”

“A-are you an angel?” Sunflower seemed to be completely taken by Kukis’ kind demeanour.

“No, you’re the angel!” Q retorted.

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