7 Ever Ruler of Slaughter
And so, six weeks pass uneventfully, yet nonetheless full.
I suffer through Ken's idiotic bro-ness until I can create my own bodyweight and free-weight circuits, run the agility course, and design a targeted flexibility stretching and dynamic warm-up routine. I get my ass royally kicked in the advanced MMA classes, but it's so much better than time with Douche Doll Ken, it's easy to keep coming back for more.
I go through a case and a half of Muscle Mead, and eventually it's not so disappointing to catch sight of myself when I step out of the shower.
I also drink a few mugs of De-Tox Tea, and holy fuck, it's an experience so revolting it's damned otherworldly.
Thank the gods for the V-Haven suck-out-all-the-gross-shit gel. This so-called "tea" tastes like the color dark green and forcibly expels toxins and impurities from your body. It's both disgusting and yet bizarrely satisfying in the way popping a zit is when you're sixteen.
Alopix particularly enjoys my newfound health kick, since our daily runs grow longer and longer. Knowing it will be a while before I have the time again, I take him out to the Olympic Peninsula for serious forest trail runs, and we spend the night in a cabin with Deion, Theo, and Robbie. It's cold as balls, and we have exactly zero internet service (which makes me twitch more than I'm happy admitting), but the snacks are good, the beer's local, and I laugh more than I have in over two years.
Throughout December, I also spend way more time in the library than I ever did as a student. Thanks to Xiuying stoking my interest young, I already own a decent collection of books on world mythologies, historical legends, and fairy tales. But now that I have a better idea of which specific myths are going to be realm focuses in-game, I hang out in the library, researching the gods I'm less familiar with.
Fiiinally, it's T-minus two hours until game time, and I'm practically edging in anticipation of the countdown.
I'm tempted to just crawl into my V-Haven and wait, but I'll be spending 12 hours a day in the thing from here on out, so that feels dumb.
Out of ways to procrastinate, I end up sitting on my couch with Pix, staring listlessly at the closed V-Haven.
This is SO much more productive.
I slap my face like they do in Japanese anime, and it is exactly as ineffective and unsatisfying as you'd expect.
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Groaning, I roll off the couch and do what I always do when I'm feeling bored or tired or indecisive: I walk to the fridge, open the door, and stare.
Naturally, I don't eat anything. It's the act of staring itself that's important.
I get lucky, and it only takes three repeats of the couch - walk - fridge - stare cycle for inspiration to strike.
I haven't come up with my new avatar name yet.
Once we realized this game really was different, most of us in the beta decided we'd be changing our avatar names when we registered for the official launch. A game this steeped in mythology practically begs players to choose names with legendary significance.
Besides, Dregs no longer seems appropriate. Through sweat, blood, and tears, I've lifted myself from the dregs of humanity to a victor who stands at the pinnacle.
I don't plan on letting anything or anyone knock me off my Fucking Awesome Mountain.
Hoping for inspiration, I skim my favorite book 'Zeus Fucks the World, Literally and Figuratively, and other Accurate Tales from World Mythology.'
Xiuying had blocked out the fucks and super vulgar descriptions before she gave it to me, since I was eight at the time, but I pulled off the post-its covering all the good stuff in middle school. As I scour it for the perfect name, I'm almost dizzy from excitement.
Yes, I was that kid who spent hours longer designing his RPG character and backstory than most people even played the RPG.
Shit, I had so many fucking Sims.
Naming's always been one of my favorite parts. It's not that I hate my real name. Eric Lieu means "Ever Ruler of Slaughter," which is possibly (definitely) more badass than my geek self truly deserves.
My dad's Chinese and my mom's American, originally Nordic or something. Since she's blonde, I once made the joke they both had Yellow Fever.
They did not like that.
When Mom got pregnant with me, Xiuying convinced them to just give me an American-sounding first name because Americans are bizarrely stupid when it comes to pronouncing pretty much all things.
"Ooh, did that word used to be French? Boom, not anymore suckerz!"
The most horrifying example of this is a tiny town called Versailles—pronounced Vur-saylz.
I puke in my mouth a little even when I just pronounce that in my head.
In the case of my sister, her elementary school experience went pretty much like this: "Oh, huh, your name's Xiuying, the most common girl's name in all of China? Well I think it's weird, so…I'm going to call you Jenny!"
Nine times out of ten, I'm sure your average well-mannered Chinese girl would have just rolled with it and henceforth been known as 'Jenny.' But something to understand about my sister is that she is not a Jenny. She's not a well-mannered Chinese girl either.
She's Lieu Xiuying, and she will punch a five-year-old blonde girl wearing a sparkle bow and pigtails.
She will also punch blondie's eight-year-old brother, when he shows up after school to "teach the Ping Pong brat a lesson" (because casual racism is always classy). And when he uses his height and weight advantage to bust her lip and knock her to the ground, she will fight dirty.
Dirt in the eyes, kick to the balls, and run like Hades is on your heels.
She's a real inspiration to me.
And her awesome book ends up providing inspiration to me as well! Half an hour until go time, I find the perfect name for the character I want to become.
I know myself well enough to realize this identity is going to quickly become more me than, well, me. Viren's Refuge is an entirely new world, full of possibility and limitless futures.
And I am going to kick its ass.
By the time the final Mythic Realm is conquered, I'm going to rule the whole damn virtual world, and my avatar will be a god.
It's going to be fucking epic, my dudes.