For this thirteen Tales, Zeelo decides to lend a little help.
Meanwhile at the Lair of Dr. Callyco
“No.” Dr. Cutie Pup was sitting on a couch and holding a game controller protectively against his chest.
“Awww, come on it’ll be fine!” The kitten in a lab coat was jumping up and down on the floor in front of him.
“It’s never fine! It’ll never be fine! It never has been fine! Anytime you use the word fine everything winds up the exact opposite of fine!” Dr. Cutie Pup shouted.
“Aw come on! I promise… Really! It’ll be fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine!” Dr. Callyco insisted.
“Dragging the word out always means it’ll be worse!” Dr. Cutie Pup backed up against the couch.
“It’s really not a big deal! I was just saying since it’s a one player game, we could try to make it cooperative by me being your little helper!” Dr. Callyco insisted. “Just offering you advice as you go through.”
“Yeah, and I’ll believe that you’ll start wearing pants before it actually stays that simple.” Dr. Cutie Pup rolled his eyes.
“You act as if a simple act of kindness, a willingness to aid others can just serve as a catalyst to some kind of pure and unrestrained chaos.” Dr. Callyco’s ears flattened.
“I’m not acting. It’s true.” Dr. Cutie Pup stuck his tongue out.
“Of course… I suppose sometimes that can happen…” Dr. Callyco grinned. “As tonight’s guest is about to find out.”
“I knew it! I called it! And that’s why I’m sticking to my guns on this!” Dr. Cutie Pup sneered.
“Tonight’s guest… Is a human named Zeelo.” Dr. Callyco paused. “Funny we can still find humans for this event.” He shrugged. “Zeelo is just a normal human… When asked for help, he was more than willing to assist… But he did not understand the true scale of what he had undertaken. And so… I bring you our second tale. The Tale of Little Helper.”
Thirteen Tales From Dr. Callyco
The Tale of the Little Helper
Level 70 Reached!
“Well… That’s nearly a year of my life.” Zeelo slouched back in his computer chair as the level up jingle played. The lights were out in his room, not that he would notice. A pair of goggles were strapped to his head, pushing his brown bangs out of his face. He couldn’t notice the dark as the only thing he could see right now was in the game.
Inside the game he saw things from the point of view of his character… A heavily armored hulk wielding a sword twice his size. At one point Zeelo was certain he had spend almost an hour customizing his appearance… But he hadn’t actually seen his character since around level 20 when the armor started covering his entire body. That had been months ago. It had taken a long time… But he had finally reached max level. But with that done it brought up a very important question.
“Now what?” He muttered to himself. The game was less than a year old, and relied a lot on forcing the player to grind to slow them down. There were a few end game raids, but they were mostly just hard modes of dungeons he had already cleared to get moderately useful equipment which would become outdated and worthless by the next patch. Zeelo wasn’t sure it was worth the effort, especially when he didn’t have any friends playing the game with him. Considering the need for a VR headset, the game, and the monthly subscription Zeelo couldn’t blame them. But since starting he had almost been exclusively in solo play… With no friends or guild to play with, staying in the endgame to grind by himself didn’t seem like a ton of fun. Maybe he was done.
He’d probably run around and rerun some older stuff now that hew as max level before he quit completely. But it was late… He should probably quit for the night. He reached forward in real space to hit the log out buttons on his keyboard but was interrupted by a quick booping noise indicating he had a new private message.
<<<A max level adventurer? Just what I was looking for! Do you have a moment?
“Uhhh…” Zeelo wasn’t sure who was sending the message. Usually there was a screen name attached… This time it was just nothing. He tried to type a reply.
>>>I was actually about to log out and go to bed.
Zeelo waited for a few minutes for another reply… Nothing came at first. Perhaps the person had decided to leave him be after that response. Zeelo felt a little bad about being that quick to dismiss them so sent another message.
>>>But I can hold up a minute if you need something.
<<<Are you confident in your skills as an adventurer?
That gave Zeelo pause… He was max level, so was fairly confident…. But it wasn’t like he had memorized all the game mechanics or fights.
>>>I mean I think I got most of it down.
<<<Do you think you would be able to mentor a novice adventurer?
Mentor? That was an interesting idea and… Wait a second… Since there was no screen names attached to these messages… Was Zeelo talking to an admin? He wasn’t sure… But being presented the idea… He kind of liked it. He wasn’t that interested in grinding for end game loot… But sticking around in the game, helping newer players learn the ropes and maybe running some of the lower level content with them… That actually did sound appealing.
>>>I’m pretty sure I could handle that.
<<<Oh great! I was worried I wouldn’t find anyone fast enough! Just, they’re really clueless, so any help you can provide would be great!
“Um but I’m still about to go to-“ Zeelo started to talk then blinked as he suddenly found himself in a new area in the game. It was a well lit forest… He didn’t recognize it… But that could just mean it wasn’t a zone he had spent a lot of time in. “Hey what just happened?” He looked around, then froze when he looked down realizing that his armor was gone. In fact… He was just wearing jeans and a sweater… The same things he was wearing in real life right now… And his character looked a lot scrawnier looking. He looked more like… Himself. “Well this is weird.”
Zeelo reached out trying to grasp his keyboard to log out. As he did his arms in the game copied the movement. He couldn’t find his keyboard feeling around anywhere… But as his hands brushed against the surface of a tree he could swear he felt it. It was official. He had stayed up way too late playing games. He tried to grab the goggles off his face… But feel around as he might there was nothing there… And then it was like he could feel everything happening in the game except…
This was in the game right? But… The forest was really detailed… They didn’t look like computer graphics… But as if he was in the actual woods. Something weird was going on.
“Hey, anyone around?” Zeelo called out.
“Looks like you arrived safely!” There was a cheerful feminine voice that seemed to come from every direction. “He’ll be showing up soon! Quick we gotta get you ready!”
“Ready? For what?” Zeelo was certain he wasn’t in the game now. There wasn’t a voice chat in it. Maybe he had passed out and it was all a dream?
“To mentor him!” The voice replied.
The ground around Zeelo erupted with light. Lines of violet light shot through the entire ground, forming the outline of an enormous butterfly centered directly beneath his feet.
“Ugh what is this!?” Zeelo tried to cover his eyes… But it was to no avail. The light seemed to go right through his hands! It was as if it was going straight through his body! A strange crackling sensation ran down his spine… And then he felt a burst of energy go through his system. It was as if he had just chugged twenty energy drinks at once. Every hair on his body stood on end and he felt as if he could run for miles without tiring down. Then… The changes began.
It was hard to realize what was happening at first. Zeelo’s clothes suddenly started to loosen on him. His pants and underwear slipped from his waist, landing around ankles. His shirt began to slip down from his shoulders. He tried to grab his shirt to prevent it from falling off, but as he jerked his right arm outward it slipped right out of his shirt’s neck hole. The hem of his sweater dragged against the ground, making Zeelo resemble a small child playing dress up… And… Actually…
As the neckline of his sweater slipped down to his waist Zeelo looked down at himself. His body was rounder, softer. Baby fat. His body looked like that of a small child, and he was getting smaller by the second!
“Am I getting younger!?” His voice was high pitched, seeming to confirm this… But something was wrong. The sweater was growing larger and larger on him. He felt like he was sinking into it… And a few seconds later the neck of the sweater was now towering above him on either side. He was far too small to just be a little kid! Something else was going on.
Zeelo wasn’t sure what exactly was happening yet… But right now if he stayed where he was he would get stuck buried beneath his own sweater. He quickly grabbed two handfuls of fabric and began to climb, trying to get atop his own clothing before he got lost. It was hard, he seemed to be shrinking faster… And he was getting younger! What muscle mass he had was melting away fast… He didn’t even look old enough to be in school yet! And the process of climbing was getting more awkward… He made it to the top of the sweater then immediately fell over onto all fours. This caused him to let out a squeaky yelp. Had he gotten so young he couldn’t even walk?
No, not quite. He slowly managed to climb back to his feet. He flailed his arms for a moment, nearly falling over, but he managed to keep his balance. He could just barely walk. But… He couldn’t be older than two years old!
Zeelo’s concentration was broken as he felt the same crackling energy run through his spine again. Somehow… He felt as if he had been filled with even more energy! Then suddenly… Something sprung forth from his back. It was a pair of large blue translucent wings! They looked like something he might see on a dragonfly. Without thinking Zeelo began to flap his wings and he lifted upward into the air. Sparks of a glitter-like substance fell from his wings with each flap. The glitter was soon covering and clinging to his entire body.
Zeelo’s bangs suddenly fell down into his eyes. This was strange, as his hair wasn’t that long… But it seemed to have grown slightly longer and more wild on him. And… It was a bright blue color now! It seemed to be a more vibrant hue of the same shade as his wings.
“Whoa I just…” Zeelo flapped his wings and moved through the air. Flying felt second nature… And he felt like he had so much energy to burn… And unlike walking he could fly with ease! His new younger age didn’t hold him back at all! He did a loop de loop through the air and then flew around erratically just enjoying the moment. At least five minutes passed before he remembered himself and what was going on.
Zeelo hovered in the air and stared down at the now gigantic clothing he had been wearing just a few minutes ago. There was no way this was happening in the game… He could feel this… And as he looked over his body he was pretty sure the game models would have lacked certain attributes.
“What… Happened to me?” Zeelo slowly processed everything that had happened. He was tiny, naked, somewhere around two years old, had wings and blue hair now. He had transformed into a fairy! But… Ignoring the why and how he had just become a little fairy boy for the moment… “Why am I so young?”
“Ohhhh sorry…” The chipper female voice from before spoke from somewhere above. “Humans are… Really short lived compared to other species… So sometimes there can be a bit of a hiccup in species reassignment. Most fae in their 20s would still be considered babies.”
“I… Guess that makes sense?” Zeelo shrugged as he continued to hover in the air. All of this was so surreal. And… He felt conflicted. The world was huge… And terrifying and he was freaking out a bit. And yet… He was a little kid, and could fly… And sure the world being this big compared to him was scary… But it was also exciting! Did… He like this on some level. Wait, but… “Why am I a fairy at all!?” That seemed like the most prudent question.
“You promised to mentor a new adventurer!” The voice replied. “He’s a little north of you! Not far. I’d explain more but I can’t maintain my connection long… And there are more future heroes in need of partners. Good luck and thank you for helping this young sapling blossom.”
“That doesn’t explain anything!” Zeelo threw up his arms. “Like… How is this even happening! And where even am I!? And…” He paused for a moment but not voice spoke back. “And you are gone aren’t you. Lovely.” He flew down and sat atop his sweater and crossed his arms. “… Could have at least told me which way was north…” It wasn’t like Zeelo had a compass or anything on him right now.
Zeelo grumbled to himself while he tried to figure out what he should do. He had no idea where he was… And apparently he was supposed to be mentoring someone! At the very least this someone might be worth finding… As they might be able to get him more information on where he was and how he could get back to normal and get home.
Did he want that? He felt like that was what he was -SUPPOSED- to want. But… He wasn’t actually sure…
Still… Whatever he did decide he wanted… More information was good, right? So finding this novice adventurer was probably his best option right now.
It was just a shame that he again had no idea which way was north.
“Alright you can figure this out…” Zeelo muttered to himself as he looked up at the sky. “Sun rises in the east and sets in the west. So by that knowledge you should be able to figure out what direction is which by the time of day and where the sun is.” He looked around. Judging by the amount of light… It had to be somewhere around late morning! Or… Maybe it was the afternoon?
And… Actually, since he was clearly in some kind of fantasy world… Would the rules even be the same? What if the sun rose in the south and set in the north or something? So, what was his option? Search the entire forest? At barely an inch and a half tall that wasn’t exactly a tall order! He couldn’t even hike a mile through this forest in one day now…
But he could fly!
Zeelo lifted up into the air again. There was a certain joy just in being able to fly. It was enough to make him forget his troubles for a brief moment. And… He could probably fly through this place pretty fast! He could get up high and… Maybe not too high. Wouldn’t want a bird above the trees to spot him and mistake him for a tasty insect. Still… Maybe it wouldn’t take that long to find this adventures.
Zeelo took off and flew in the opposite direction of the sun… If for no other reason than to avoid having it in his eyes.
This proved to be the correct direction… Not even ten minutes had passed before he encountered what he assumed had to be the novice adventurer.
It was a human (Zeelo would have assumed human as the default but since he was a fairy now you never knew) boy around twelve years old dressed in a simple pair of trousers, and a shirt. He had on a leather vest and green cape as well as had a wooden sword on his belt. Right now the young boy appeared to be trying to set up a tent. But… He wasn’t doing a very good job at it. He was trying to pull the canvas up on a pole… But had done nothing to stake the tent to the ground. The end result was that the slightest blow of wind was enough to knock the tent canvas over, leading to the boy to scream a bunch of nonsensical words. They could have been made up words the kid used because he didn’t want to swear… Or they could be ancient elven curses. Zeelo choose to believe the latter. It made the situation seem less sad somehow.
“I really don’t know how useful I’d be on a real adventure.” Zeelo sighed. “But… I at least know how to pitch a tent.” Zeelo watched for a few minutes longer as the kid managed to somehow get stuck underneath his own tent and began flailing about rapidly. As someone who had just only minutes early nearly gotten buried beneath his own sweater… Zeelo supposed he could sympathize.
This kid wasn’t going to get very far on his own… And… Well… Zeelo didn’t hate his new body. It felt… Nice being so young and full of energy. And being so small was a tiny (heh small puns) trade off for the ability to fly. And who knew… Maybe his experience playing a video game would somehow help the kid. Well… He’d play the mentor role for awhile… Or at least try. If nothing else it wouldn’t leave the kid worse off.
Zeelo flew into the clearing so the kid would be able to see him and then gave a shout. “Hey, listen!”