"Of course! Star Gazer is the brand new game! It's popularity took over the game Second Life* the moment it started selling! All you need is a sleeping headset and an account! It's really easy!"
I looked at the man in front of me. I was in front of a technical store planning to buy the latest laptop. It was the hover type, and you can instantly command it to reproduce many screens at once so that you can go onto multiple places at once. The keyboard was a hologram, but when you typed at it it worked without any troubles. Perfect for easy carrying.
"I'm not interested," I said. I was planning to buy a computer, and that was it. I began to walk away to buy my computer.
"Wait! Your eyes! You're a Hyuuga, aren't you?" I looked back with my eyes. They were a steely white, with tints of silver and lavender, my pupils invisible. I forgot that they always told the public what my surname is.
"So what if I am?" I asked back, already knowing the answer.
"Well, Star Gazer was created by the Hyuuga Company, who usually doesn't involve with things such as video games! The Hyuuga Company, one of the top two companies in the world!"
I walked up to the man and swiped my hand at him. My hand passed through him effortlessly, as if he was made out of nothing. He was. I looked at the small, box-like machine behind him. No light was coming from it, but I knew that it was on.
"I never knew that holographic machines were so good around here. The light matches perfectly, is invisible from the box, and the details are so that the image looks almost real... The sound is well, too, as it comes directly from the images mouth as one would in real life, and I was just barely able to tell that itw was a hologram... Can it be that this is from this store too? I wonder if I should buy one, it would make things easier when it comes to talking with friends..." I mused to myself while the hologram man wailed if I was really listening to him.
"Anyway," I said, snapping back to the subject. "I'm not interested in buying the game my uncle made to rival the Uchiha Company's game."
"Your... Uncle?" the man repeated. "Then you're..."
"Yes, I'm Hyuuga Neji. Don't expect any autographs," I replied, leaving him and walking into the store. My uncle was famous, and so was my father before he died in an accident. I wasnt too famous, but I was known to some certain people.
So, if I was the nephew of Hiashi, why wasn't I interested in buying Star Gazer?
As I left the store with my new laptop, which was condensed into a small metal box to open later with a holographic instruction manual inside, I answered the question in my head. I helped make Star Gazer. I got more copies than I needed for free, and I had given all but one to my friends. I just decided to not turn it on yet. Why would I be eager about the game, as I had structured most of the wiring in the sleeping headset?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I tapped the nail-sized button on the metal box that made my computer. Red cracks appeared on the black box before it split open. As if it was alive, the box formed itself into a thin, red computer screen, it's screen blank and empty. Then the black screen flickered to life as a holographic keyboard appeared in front of it.
I sat down on my chair and typed down 'Neji Hyuuga' in the screen of the computer turning it off. I'll explore it later. I had come back home late, and it was time to go to sleep soon. Perfect.
I opened one of the drawers in my desk. Inside was neatly filed computer files and such, most of them note about Star Gazer. I fingered through them before I found the game itself. The cover had an emblem of a four pointed star in the middle with a black circle behind it. Very simple.
I opened it and reviewed the instruction manual inside. It wasn't as if I had to, though, as I already knew how the game worked.
After creating your character, you would be sent to a certain place (it mostly depended on your race where you land, but it is also random) with randomly selected stats. There is a wide variety of jobs that were scattered from swordsmen to warriors, bandits to rogues, magicians to priests. Of course, there were the more unusual jobs such as carpenter, potter, and astronomer: these have a wider range of mystical powers than the normal jobs, but were slightly weaker.
I tapped another button in the instruction manual, which was made out of a thick sheet of plastic-like material. A blue light shone out from a hole and floated in front of me, around the size of a small watermelon. A sleeping headset materialized in front of me; I picked it up easily and looked at it.
It was perfect and unscratched. It was like all the other headsets used for video games; the visor was clear with a slight lavender tint to it, to remind players who made the game. The edges of the visor gripped at the player's head, but not too tightly so that it would be uncomfortable when they slept, but not so loose that it'd fall off.
How did a sleeping headset work? It was simple, really. When one falls asleep wearing the sleeping headset, they enter the game. True, for those that spend many nights playing Star Gazer (or any sleeping headset games, such as Second Life) would become mentally tired from spending too much time thinking in an online world. However, Star Gazer had been made so that it was close to a dream. The only thing was, though, that the feelings, sounds, sights, and pain was almost realistic in Star Gazer. If possible, it was even more realistic than Second Life.
I laid down on my comfortable game as I put the sleeping headset over my eyes. The edges gripped onto my temples comfortably as I slowly closed my eyes. I wasn't the one that fell asleep quickly, but I knew that the sleeping headset made you fall asleep almost right away.
The world turned dark, as if the game was loading. Then a tiled ground materialized in front of me, and I found myself in a brightly lit room.
"Welcome to Star Gazer!"
An awfully familiar voice spoke to me. I looked at my right to see no one other than Hinata, my cousin, standing not too far away from me. Her indigo hair had been pulled up into a high ponytail, her carefully cut bangs on her forehead like always. She wore a dress that was pale pink with a black stripe in the middle, the hem of the skirt ending at the middle of her thighs. Thankfully, she wore white boots that reached up to her thighs, only showing a bit of skin. If she didnt Hiashi would go nuts. On top of her head was a GM helmet, which allowed them to talk to users when they entered the game.
Her eyes widened when she met her gaze with mine. "N-Neji-nii-san?" she asked, and when I didn't answer she smiled slightly. "I've been waiting to see you! It's been almost a week already, I though you wouldn't join the game."
"Hinata-sama." I greeted the heiress of the Hyuuga company with a bow before answering her question. "I gave the game to Lee, Naruto, Kiba, Shikamaru, Chouji, and Gaara already. It'd be soon enough for me to play as well,'" I merely answered. "Now, shouldn't you scan me?"
"Of course." The characters in Star Gazer, like many other games, were based in appearance off of the real life person. To do that, though, machines had to scan the appearance of the person playing. Bar-like machines surrounded me and emitted a harmless white light over me.
"Scanning process is over. Now, what race do you want?" Hinata didn't ask me if I wanted to see the races. I already knew all of them.
"Why not an elf?" I asked.
A humanoid being appeared in front of me. It was the exact image as me except for the large, pointed ears. They say that being an elf makes the person look more sharp and even handsome, but to me it looked the same. If it was beautified any more, I had to admit, it'd probably be too much for the game to handle.
It had been the same for the Uchiha Companys heir anyways.
I wasn't bragging, but I had been told I was handsome from a large amount of people. My dark brown hair was long and my side bangs framed around my face, ending a few inches below my chin. The rest of my hair was tied up in a low ponytail at the middle of my back. Like all the Hyuuga family, I had a sharp nose, narrowed, pale eyes, and a skinny yet strong figure. The Hyuuga company was known for not being only smart and powerful, but beautiful as well.
But so was the Uchiha company.
"Excuse me, Hinata-sama, but may you make my hair black? Also, please remove the tattoo on my forehead."
Ever since I was young my uncle had tattooed a green marking on my forehead. I don't know why he did it, nor did I question him. I just covered it up with a piece of cloth wherever I went.
"Why, for the hair?" She knew that I didn't like to talk about the tattoo.
"I don't want to be too recognizable in real life. Also, I want my outfit to be a white shirt that is tight around the chest and below, but with long, white loose sleeves. Above it will be a black vest, as normal beginners player will have. My pants will be a bit loose, but not too much, enough for regular movement. It will be black with white lining. I want black books that will be easy to run in, with short, metal spikes on the bottom."
"Of course, Neji-nii-san." It usually took a few hours to design a character, as each detail had to be filled in perfectly. However, in a few seconds the elf-like figure had been replaced with the clothes I had described. I inspected it closely before giving my approval.
"It's just like how I've drawn it before," I commented.
"Well, we have been saving this outfit for you," Hinata replied, shrugging slightly. She wasnt this open with everyone she knew. She only acted casual whenever she was around me, her cousin. You might as well call me a brother. "Well, Neji-nii-san, what do you want as your name?"
"..." I didn't answer at first.
"Silent Bird," I replied. The bird was my favorite type of animal, as I like to watch them whenever they fly in the air. Hinata nodded and my name was placed.
This was one of the things that the Uchiha Company had neglected. The accounts were only set in their own sleeping headset. However, anyone who had the headset could play with it without needing the password. Therefore, plenty of accounts got hacked and corrupted by those that stole headsets. Hiashi had decided to rebuild the effort of making and using passwords.
1231444512aa124ke321riv21a, I said. I knew that Id be able to memorize this. Hinata, on the other hand, let out a sweatdrop.
Oh yes. Id rather not have you tell any of my friends, nor anyone in the game, who I am in both realities, I said.
Why? she asked.
Isnt the meaning of a game to conceal yourself? I dont want to be known in the game as a Hyuuga as I am in real life.
But your eyes...
I can cover them in the game.
"... Well, you'll be sent to Star Gazer, Neji-nii-san! Your checkpoint will be in Potter's Village, as you already know, and that's where you will revive after you die. My username is LavenderPlum, so you can send me a hidden message any time! See you!"
I merged myself with the hollow character inside of me as the world turned black. LavenderPlum? What a strange name, really. I knew Hinata; her character must look exactly like her. Then why did she bother to hide her name? It would be the same if she wrote down "Hina" as her username instead. Either way shell attract guys like how a rabbit attracts wolves.
Maybe I should send her a hidden message... I thought as I was sent to Star Gazer. Hidden messages were only heard between the person who sent it, and the person who gets it. That way you can have private conversations even when theres many people around you or when youre far away.
The black void around me began to flicker, and I appeared in Potter's Village. Despite it's name, it had a grand effect to it. The buildings were clean and white, and it rose up to the blue sky with ease. Inns and restaurants for players were scattered everywhere, with the occasional potion and defense shops. Weapon shops weren't to be seen, as one was given a weapon when they made a job. It was decided that once someone gets a weapon, they keep the weapon as long as they stay in the game.
"Profile." I said nonchalantly. A screen appeared in front of me, telling my name and stats. Ah, it seemed that most of my stats had been put on strength, not too much on defense but plenty of speed. I'd have to change that later, but the amount of strength I got was tolerable.
I didn't have any money with me, so I knew what I had to do. I began to walk away from the 'village', ignoring some of the people that noticed me, and soon walked to an open field. It was empty. That is, unless you looked in the right places.
I looked down at my feet. A small hole was there, the edges around it cracked and dry. However, the inside looked moist, which meant that it had been freshly dug. And that means..
I stuck the tip of my foot in the hole and kicked high, forcing loose dirt to fly into many directions. Underneath I saw a ground mole; one of the beginner monsters that was common almost everywhere. I lifted my foot and brought it down on the terrified monster, which let out a squeak and disappeared.
I looked around and saw a man-eating blob, otherwise known as a slime. These type of monsters were extremely common in almost all roleplaying games. I stomped on that too and leveled up, a feeling of power bursting over me before I went back on my profile to set up my new skills.
There was a reason I had asked for spiked boots.