My Mom's the New Wannabe King?!
My Mom’s the New Wannabe King?!
Please enjoy these rough chapters of my upcoming light novel!
Everything is subject to change on publication.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that my mom would defeat the Wannabe King. She hadn’t much energy since dad left, but now…she’s struck down Bomb-heads, sliced Cave Dwellers and befriended Sparks! She wasn’t the mom I knew, but then again, I’m not sure I even knew her at all.
Let me take you back to where it all began. December 14th, the annual Virtual Gaming competition was being held at my High School for Wannabe Gamers. We train all year just to be apart of the V Games. Only two students are picked to represent each school, and the two that make it into the final battle get the chance to test out the latest Virtual Reality game. This year, Wannabe King, only played by the most elite gamers in the US advertised for two students in the V games to win the chance at defeating the Wannabe King.
This year I was picked! I couldn’t believe it! This was my chance to play a classic elite game. If I didn’t win this, the chance of tackling an S Class Boss and potentially taking his place wouldn’t come my way again! Let alone the chance to impress Karri Suka. My partner for the V Games, and my all-time favorite ex-girlfriend. There’s something about that strawberry blonde hair and her fruity flavored Chapstick. I still get goosebumps! But, I’ve since moved on…
When the day finally came, my mom prepared breakfast for me and packed me a lunch. The kitchen was a mess before I left, and the sweat on her brow as she waved me goodbye had me wondering if I should have helped her clean up. It crossed my mind for no more than a few seconds before I felt my lips stretch across my face at the thought of the day ahead. I passed Victor and his girlfriend, Anne, at the front gate, gave him the finger before straightening my tie and unbuttoning my blazer. I then set myself up in the perfect spot to bump into Karri. The red-head never looked where she was going. She always ran with her head down and took long strides as if she were jumping over pot holes on the street.
“Oh, hey Riu,” she said, crashing into me in the hallway.
“Karri! In a rush?” I asked, knowing full well that she was.
“Of course I am! And you should be too! This is the V games Riu, quit dawdling in the hallway and get to the computer room. We have ten minutes!”
I watched as her hair bounced with every lengthy stride past the classrooms and into room 2B.
I followed suit.
Upon entering, the air became cold and a stifling tension lingered.
Three Wannabe officials sat up against the white board behind one long desk. Each had a mug of coffee and papers in front of them. They would be scoring us throughout the competition.
The rest of the desks in the classroom had been pushed to one side and the chairs removed completely. A large screen had been hung on the wall across the room for the judges watch and be able to score correctly.
The door slammed shut behind me, slicing the silence of the room.
Karri had been here three times before, and by her calm demeanor and the fact that she had already put on her blood red Daydream V glasses and was stretching her bare legs on the floor, it was obvious she knew what she was doing.
I slung my bag off my shoulder and whipped out my deep blue Daydream V glasses and placed them over my eyes. They were a similar style to sunglasses, and had a tint to them when they weren’t connected.
I placed my bag next to Karri’s and made up a few arm stretches on the spot. Even though I was a rookie, I didn’t want to come across that way in front of the three judges.
After a few minutes, one of them stood up and announced the rules.
“The VG you are playing today is a game you may not be aware of. Yes, it’s an unknown game, made solely for this purpose. I am unable to disclose the name of the game.”
My eyes shot towards Karri. Her face said it all. She was also unaware that we would be playing an unknown game.
“You have one hour to track down and defeat Catalyst, an A Class Boss. I am also unable to disclose anything that can help you track him down, or help you in any way.
“Only two of you will win. Good luck.”
As he sat back down the woman next to him immediately stood up and walked over to the main screen. She peered into a blue duffle bag placed on the floor and pulled out the latest Sensory equipment. It was my first time using such expensive gear, and I readily held out my hands for her to slide the on Sensory Gloves, then a wrap it around my ankles.
Flashing bright blue, the Sensory Gloves and weighted ankle wrap beeped along with my V Glasses. Both me and Karri made our way to the middle of the room and stood side by side.
Karri’s breathing quickened. I watched as her chest bounced to the rhythm of her hastened breath. I had always thought she would remain calm and rearing to go, but the thought of playing an unknown game must have rocked her.
I pressed the side of my glasses on and put the thought to the back of my mind. I had to stay focused. But still…her hands were shaking.
I reached my hand to hers in hopes I could soothe her, but as soon as my fingers touched hers, she swatted them away in one swift move.
“I’m fine,” she said, but the look in her eyes betrayed her. “Let’s just get on with it.”
As she faced the front, a countdown appeared in front of us. This was it. Now or never.
Come on, Catalyst. Show me what you got!
I couldn’t hold my sword much longer. Catalyst, a shiny demon-like creature towered over me, attempting to crush me from above.
My eyes shot to Karri, relaying a wink to signal her to finish him with her final blow. But after a long fight, she was worn out. She clutched her weapon to her chest, eyes wide and red as sweat ran down the side of her cheeks.
Fear had struck her and caused her feet to be glued in place.
“Karri!” I shouted, “Now! Shoot him now!”
“…We can’t win. Not like this.”
The demon snarled, revealing his blunt, almost human-like teeth, threw its hands in the air and smashed the ground. Our ankle straps vibrated and sent a sharp sting up our legs that threw us off balance. The thing with the V Gear was that the damage was real. Not to the extent of pain you receive in the game, but enough to wear you out. And that’s why Karri was in so much pain. She had taken a powerful hit previously, and was running low on ammo.
I fell to my knees as the pain in my calf lingered. Karri had also fallen.
“Get up, Karri. We can do this,” I said, standing tall once again.
On both hands and knees, she hung her head.
“I can’t… I just can’t. Not this time.”
Catalyst had already begun making its way towards us. Each of our health bars were in red. It was him or us.
I clutched my sword tighter. I wasn’t about to be taken out when we were this close. Something was going on with Karri, but it wasn’t the time to sit and talk about it. I had to do this on my own.
Hot air and ash spat from the volcano bubbling in the background. Bright orange lava ran from its core, causing the temperature in the atmosphere to rise dramatically.
I took a breath and swung the sword in front of me. The beast was slow but strong. I had a few seconds.
It’s just me and you, Catalyst…
My name was called, but when I turned, Karri was lying flat on the floor. Her eyes closed.
Again, my name… It was coming from outside the game!
“Please… get your hands off me,” I heard her shout. “My son needs his lunch!”
I took off my V Glasses and saw my mom. Her hair was a mess, still in her grey worn-out slippers, clutching my lunch in her left hand.
“Mom! What are you doing here? I’m in the middle of a game!”
The judges behind looked astonished. One had gotten up from her seat and had her hand on my mothers’ arm.
“Your lunch… You had forgotten your lunch.”
I stared at the brown bag she had in her hand before looking into her eyes. Her eyes used to sparkle, especially when she smiled. A beautiful emerald green that could comfort any pain or sorrow. But as I looked into them then, sorrow and pain filled them. It was the first time I had noticed the spark in her eye no longer shone. That it had been replaced by a dull, swampy color.
“I no it’s not much… I’m not much.”
“Mom, what are you on about?”
I watched as she peered behind me to where Karri was laying.
“Is she okay?”
“Mom, I haven’t got time for this!”
“But can you still win? Without a partner, I mean?”
Just as those words left her mouth, I heard a rattier, much more annoying voice in my ear.
“What's up, dork? Didn’t think we'd catch up, eh?”
Ethan. What a prick.
“Suka's down?! Too bad. I would have liked to fight her. Oh well. Let's beat this demon, Sasha!”
I quickly placed my V Glasses back over my eyes.
Ethan and his partner ran for the beast, shotguns locked on target.
Catalyst had only one or two more hits left until it was defeated. I wasn't going to let them finish off the A Class monster me and Karri worked so hard to take down. But my mom…
“Mom, we'll talk after. Okay?”
I swung my sword in front of me again and bolted forward.
I’m fast. Much faster than Ethan. He was on the slightly chubbier side. But his partner, Sasha… I had heard about her before. She had won the V Games four years ago but was injured in the process. Looks like she's fully recovered!
Catalyst engulfed itself in flames and sets off on a rampage, and the flames began to regenerate his health.
With a blast to the ground of his mega bullet, Ethan shot into the air. Sasha launched her lasso toward Catalyst and captured his horn. She dug her heals into the unsteady ground and pulled the beast towards her.
“Now!” she shouted. Ethan took aim and fired into the eye of the demon.
As I continued to run toward it, Sasha was immediately pulled forward as the demon stumbled back.
She was thrown into the air attached to the end of her lasso, directly above the monster. A grimace of rage to rival the demon spread across her face as she pulled out the sword on her back and plunged it into the A Class boss’s chest.
I came to an abrupt stop. The monster slammed to the ground in front of me.
Sasha emerged with a smile and jumped off.
“Aha! So awesome, Sash. Great finishing move!” Ethan expressed with amazement.
She placed the blue sword on her back and dusted off her hands.
“And that, my friend, is how you defeat an A Class demon.”
With a wink from her brown eyes in my direction, and a high five with Ethan, a sadness filled me.
How could I have lost?
I looked back for Karri but she had been removed from the game. She was meant to be the best partner you could have. What happened?
I lamented on that thought for a while until I noticed something strange.
The demon’s body hadn’t vanished. And on second looks, the game hadn’t shut down, nor had we received any XP.
A jolt shot through my legs once more as the rocky ground began to crumble.
“Ah, wait! W-what’s goin’ on?”
Ethan and Sasha tried to hold each other up under the massive earthquake.
The painful tingle in my legs crippled me once more.
Catalyst rose, and as he did, he doubled in size.
“This can’t be happening!” Sasha cried, “It’s not fair!”
Catalysts scream had the volcanos bursting from the core. Magma and molten core spread wildly down the volcano and began to cover the surface.
The earthquake caused me to become dizzy and disorientated, losing my footing in the process.
A tightening sensation squeezed my ankle.
“Ah, crap! I’m stuck!”
Catalyst swooped his open fist and sent Sasha and Ethan tumbling across the rocky ground.
Once it did, he locked eyes with me. There was no way I was about to escape, and with little health left, it was bound to be over.
And as stormed towards me once again, big black horns and deep dark pits for eyes, I had to remind myself that it was just a game. I wasn’t actually going to die.
I closed my eyes and tucked my head under my shoulder, ready for the powerful blow.
A ringing in my ears lingered as the sound of gunshots blasted beside me.
“Don’t give up now, Son. Mom’s here to help!”
His brown leather shoes where still tucked neatly in the closet by the front door, along with his grey suit jacket. I noticed them every time I grabbed my shoes in the morning. Day after day I stared at them, until I didn’t notice them anymore. The same with my moms smile. I noticed the frown on her face every day before school, silently cooking me breakfast… until I stopped.
But as I turned and saw Karri’s avatar, her cropped pink hair shaping her face and a glow that radiated from her eyes; she was smiling.
The beast had fallen, and his health bar was red once again. All I needed to do was finish him off.
I picked myself off the ground, my brow drenched in sweat from the volcano’s heat and my hands still unsteady, but I was ready.
I ran beside the demon until my aim was perfect.
I then sprung into the air and dove my sword into its chest and down his torso! Steam shot from his chest as I opened him up.
“Aghh! My eyes!”
The heat was blinding and the grip on my sword was failing. My V Glasses became blurry.
“Mom, I need your—”
“Help?” I got you, my love!”
A rhythmic beat of footsteps began. Then, BANG, and another… BANG!
I held onto my sword as I continued falling, honing in on my mom’s movement above the painful scream of the beast.
Another shot fired, then a crash.
My V Glasses finally cleared, and I remained on top of the fallen demon, sword still plunged into its chest.
I paused, readying to strike again, but the demon’s limp body vanished into red, flickering lights and I dropped to the floor.
The game shut down and an applause erupted.
When I took off my V Glasses, my mom was stood in Karri’s place, in contrast clothing compared to Karri’s avatar.
Karri hunched over in the corner, skirt tucked between her legs and fighting back tears.
What had just happened?
My mom smiled nervously as the applause continued.
Before I knew it, I was stripped of my V gear and pulled towards the judges.
“Congratulations,” the man said, holding out his hand. “And my, my, my! Where did you learn to play like that?
“Not you, Riu. You’re mother!”
My mom stood beside me, clutching her arm and showing a half smile.
“I used to play, back in the day,” she said, staring at her slippers.
“You used to play?” I asked, in shock at the statement. “You never told me you use to game?”
To be honest, my mom’s never told me anything about her past. Only that when she was a kid, she was somewhat of a tomboy. It never occurred to me that she had a whole life before me.
“I-It was a long time ago…”
The judge flicked through his paperwork as the others began to pack and clear the room.
“I’ll be in touch soon. Great work today.”
My mom soon left, and Karri began packing her things, ready for lunch.
“Karri,” I said, closing the distance between us. “I’m sorry.”
Fiddling with the zip on her orange backpack, she let out a content sigh.
“Oh well,” she said, lifting her head with a forced grin. “These things happen.”
“At least you’ll still be advancing, seeing as we defeated the boss an’ all. Can you believe it?”
“Do you think that makes me feel any better?” she suddenly snapped.
“It’s because of you I lost. Can’t you see that? You were meant to be my back up. You were meant to be protecting me!”
Karri’s eyes filled with tears and her cheeks burned red with anger.
“I stuck to our plan! You were the one who ran off doing your own thing!”
Even though those words were true, I regretted them as soon as they left my lips.
“How dare you! You’re the rookie here, Riu,” she stated harshly.
“A rookie and his mom just won you this game!”
Pain radiated through her eyes.
She stared at me in silence. I counted the seconds wishing she would say something.
But she didn’t. She grabbed her things and left the room without saying a word.
So much for winning her back.
A few days had passed since winning the V Games. Karri shunned my every attempt at starting a conversation. I tried to act casual with her in class, but she would go the extra mile and pretend I didn’t exist! Girls can be really tough sometimes.
Sunday soon came and I hadn’t any plans. I also hadn’t spoken to my mom much since she took Karris place. There was a slight awkward mood in the house. I would catch my mom staring at me but when I’d turn to look at her, she’d look away! I really don’t understand women.
“I’m sorry I stepped in the other day. I just didn’t want you to lose, and I thought I could help… But it wasn’t my place.”
I placed my knife and fork on the table. The bacon and eggs in front of me were sure to go cold if I dragged out the conversation, and I was starving having went to bed early to avoid a drawn-out apology from my mom. I guess there was no escaping it.
“No need to apologize, mom,” I said in hopes she’d leave me be.
“No, Riu, there is!”
She walked over from the dirty dishes she was washing in the sink and sat next to me.
“There’s something you don’t know…”
Running the dish cloth through her fingers, stopping a few times to fiddle with the loose stings at the end, she stuttered a few times before taking a deep breath.
There was a sudden knock at the door.
I scrunched my nose in confusion and my mom pointed her finger at me as if to ask if I’d invited anyone over, on a Sunday of all days.
“Don’t look at me!” I retorted, getting up from my chair and slowly walking towards the door.
Opening the door, the cold air hit me and sent a chill down the back of my neck.
A plump man stood in front of me, took off his hat and placed it on his chest. He then handed me an envelope.
“Riu, I presume?” he said with a delightful smile.
“Uh, yeah… That’s me.”
“I’m here to officially congratulate you on winning the High School V Games!”
The man’s wide smile lingered.
“Oh! Thank you!” I replied, accepting the envelope.
“You and your mother are invited to attend a small gathering celebrating your win, and immediately after you’ll enter into the elite game Wannabe King, for your chance to become the new king!”
This was what I had always dreamed! Me… a chance at playing an elite game… of becoming the new King! Both, me and K—
The creak in the floorboards echoed through the hallway as my mom creeped closer behind me.
“Me?” she asked, peering over my shoulder in a meek manner.
“Yes! You and your mom are invited. Your previous partner has been eliminated from participating.”
“What? Why?” Karri was the one registered?”
I jolted my shoulder in aggravation, forcing my mom to take a few steps back.
“I wouldn’t know. I’m only the messenger. Feel free to ask Mr. King, creator of Wannabe King, tomorrow night.”
“Mr King?! Tomorrow night?!”
My mom gasped behind me.
“Oh, and don’t forget the invitation! It’s in the envelope. Have a good day!”
As the heavy-footed man left, I attempted to regain my thoughts before closing the door.
How embarrassing. My mom as my partner. I didn’t even know how much game experience she had! It looked as though she did have some, but enough for us to defeat the Wannabe King? What were people going to think? If she were to lose the game for me, I’d never talk to her again! I’d look a right loser!
As the bitter air from the cold, dreary day pierced my skin, so did my emotions. They shot through me, one by one.
“You can’t come.”
“But,” my mom whispered, “I was invited…?”
“I can’t be seen at an elite gaming company in front of the King with my mom! Don’t you get that?”
“I don’t want you there! You can’t come!”
Clenching my fist, I crushed the envelope in my hand and shouted, “You’ve ruined this for me!”
The air felt colder somehow, and the wind had picked up, almost as if it wanted to punish me.
My moms’ slippers shuffled into the distance as she left me at the door. She usually wouldn’t say much when I was angry, only retreat to her room and wait out the storm. So I wasn’t surprised when she left me standing there in the freezing temperatures with only sweat pants and a t-shirt on.
I didn’t want my mom to be my partner. I only wanted Karri standing next to me. I wanted us to make it, together. For her to be the next Wannabe King! I’m sure she would have bested me, in the end. She’s the one who worked hard all year to get to the V Games. Was I really the one to screw it up for her?
I shut the door and returned to my breakfast. It was cold and so was I. I scraped the rest into the bin and wondered to my room.
I placed the crumpled-up envelope on my desk in the corner and threw myself onto the bed.
I’ll open it later…