When you sleep on a large bed, you recover faster, so this was perfect. After they brought me into the room, both Holly and Mr. Assassin left the room. I assume they went to discuss what I was going to do now that I was there...but I digress.
A nice part of this room is that there is respawning food next to the bed, and since I already had water on me, I nourished myself back to normal, though I still needed time to rest. A few minutes later, my peaceful rest was disrupted.
That's when Holly came back into the room. She grabbed a chair from the desk and pulled it over to the bedside. She was moving slow, like she was still thinking about what she was going to do. It was a strange feeling for me. It's not that I didn't want to see her again, it's just that I didn't want to have to tell her we can't be together anymore.
"Jeremy...we need to talk.", she said, softly.
"Yeah...", I said, releasing a held breath, "I know."
After that short exchange, we sat there in silence for a few moments, as if bracing ourselves for what we were about to say.
"I'm going to be frank, Holly.", I began. Looking over at her, she lowered her head and looked down sadly.
"We can't travel together anymore.", I said.
"Because it's too dangerous...right?", she asked.
"Something like that.", I agreed.
"Or is it that you're afraid?", Mr. Assassin pitched in from the doorway.
"Jeff...", Holly said, looking over to him.
"You aren't confident enough in your own strength. You're afraid you won't be able to protect her.", he announced, like daggers into my sides. I let out a short sigh.
"I'm right, aren't I?", he urged.
"Yes...", I agreed, softly.
"So, because of your insecurity, Holly is forced to be away from the one person she wants to be with most, and has to constantly worry about you facing people who could potentially kill you?", he continued.
"They won't kill me.", I told him.
"How can you be so sure?", he asked.
"Because I'm the god damn number one player in the world!", I barked.
"Is that right?! I don't even think your sorry arse could take me on in your state! You can't even protect a single girl?! I could do that in my sleep!", he argued. At that moment, I got out of the bed, even though I wasn't fully rested. I rested enough to take the debuffs off, but not for long. I have no idea why I was getting so damn worked up. I knew what he was trying to do, but I was just falling right into it. It was like...I couldn't control myself.
"What's wrong? Did I make the wanker angry?", he taunted.
"You're damn right! I can protect Holly better than anyone else, and you know it!", I shouted. At this point, it was as if I lost my senses completely.
"You can't even take her on a simple adventure with you! I'm not convinced!", he shouted back.
"Fine. You wanna go down this road? You're on!", I challenged, "And I'll even match your level!"
With that, I activated my Power Limiter again, knocking me down to level 20.
"Agreed! And whoever wins is the best person for Holly! Now, let's take this outside!", Jeff said.
"Jeff!", Holly shouted in disapproval.
"No. I've got a better idea.", I told him. I walked over to the terminal on the wall and activated it, opening up the purchasing interface. From here, I could buy additions or repairs to the castle, as well as customize it however I wanted. Then, for a small fee, I added a staircase to the roof. On top of that, I paid a bit more to add an arena on the roof. It took a second to load everything in, but after it did, I told Jeff,
"On the roof. Now.", as I walked out of the room.
I briskly walked down the hall, up the stairs, onto the roof and up to one side of the arena. The arena itself was a large circular platform in the center of the room with holographic rings emitting from the edge, moving upwards.
I took a deep breath, collected my concentration, and pulled out the new Hand Canon I got. Then, I equipped my original Lone Wolf Helmet and Exo-Armor again.
I held the Hand Canon up in the air and thought back to the first time Jeff and I dueled.
"Alright. I'm here. Let's do this.", Jeff said to me, taking his place in the arena. Holly stood by the stairs outside the arena.
I turned around and held the gun to my side, saying,
"Let's get this done."
That's when he equipped something I almost couldn't believe. I grew silent from shock, and he commented,
"Yeah. That's right. I got my own Legendary Sniper Rifle. The "Sureshot 1996". But, before I use it to kick your arse, let me to explain how it works-"
"It's fine, really. I've owned several of them. I know what that gun does."
"Are you sure? Because I will gladly explain it.", he jested.
"It's special ability is 'Sure to Make the Bodies Drop', which auto-targets an enemy's critical spot for a brief moment after aiming in.", I said, giving in but stealing his satisfaction.
"But, are you skilled enough to quick scope with it?", I asked him, seriously.
"Well, you'll get to see now, won't you?", he told me. So, he challenged me to the duel and I gladly accepted.
We stared at each other for the entire length of waiting, but I was aiming down my sights. He didn't really even have to aim for a headshot if he was quick enough.
The duel began, but lasted for a moment.
He activated his super, going invis and amping up his crit damage by 3 times.
At the same moment, I activated my super to mitigate the massive damage he was about to deal if he hit.
Then, we both fired.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that his bullet missed and I hit a perfect headshot, downing him instantly, but for some reason...I felt refreshed. After the round ended and he got back up, I walked over to him and said,
"Just like old times, huh? Right down to me kicking your ass with one shot of a hand canon."
"No. It's different now.", he replied.
"How so?", I asked.
"Back then, you fought me out of spite and pride. You had this look in your eyes of complete disregard for anything but winning. This time, though, you had something you wanted to protect. Not to mention you were totally holding back.", he answered, with a smile.
"I guess so.", I agreed.
"You remember our deal, don't you? The winner is the most suited to protect Holly.", he added.
"I told you from the beginning, I'm the only one who can really take care of her.", I agreed.
"So, are you finally giving in?", he asked.
That's when I was kicked off of the server.
"Connection to the server was lost.", it notified me. I paused for a moment in disbelief.
"I have an internet speed of three GBPS. Don't tell me that connection to the server was lost.", I commented while clenching my teeth a bit.
A moment later, I got an instant message from Jason on my email. I quickly opened it up to see what it was.
"Hey there, Massacre. Do you have a minute to talk?", he asked.
"I assume this has something to do with my getting disconnected.", I replied.
"Yes. Not just you, though. Everyone on the game got disconnected.", he answered.
"Why?", I asked.
"Well, that's what I was going to talk to you about. I have bad news and good news.", he told me.
"Enlighten me.", I replied.
"As you know, Infinity Plus is an updated re-release of Infinity, which was a game for the Virtual Decade.", he informed.
"Yes, I'm well aware of that.", I told him.
"Infinity Plus is for the Virtual Century, but now that the Virtual Millennium has been out for a few years, Exo-Tech is shutting down the servers for the Virtual Century.", he said.
"What...?", I asked, in disbelief.
"Infinity Plus can no longer run since it is an online only game. With no servers to host it, it's unplayable.", he confirmed.
"So...that's it? That's the end?", I asked.
"No, that's just the bad news. The good news is that Infinity Plus Plus has been good to go for some time now, but it was never released because we weren't sure how successful it would be. Now that we're sure it will be successful in Europe, we will finally release it."
"Infinity Plus Plus?"
"Yes. It's the official sequel. It keeps everything from Infinity Plus and tweaks certain game mechanics, as well as adding in a whole new continent to explore."
"Uh...huh...", I agreed slowly, in disbelief.
"Even better, you'll be able to sign in with your current account, and you'll be able to reclaim everything you've collected in Infinity Plus throughout the game. However, we'll need a little bit of time to release the game. Advertising, creating the servers, printing the disks, etcetera. So, until then, Infinity Plus will be offline.", he finished.
"...Alright.", I agreed.
"Glad you understand.", he said, "Oh, I almost forgot. I formally invite you to our office in London. I have a special copy of Infinity Plus Plus with your name on it. There's no other copy like it in the world, and there never will be. It will be our thanks for all your continued support. We'd also like you to come and beta test the game for us, if you want. It's fully functional, but you never know. You'll also get to play it before anyone else, so you will be ahead of the game even though it's going to be brand new. You'll be able to write a whole new guide on it.", he added.
"I'd love to. Sounds like a lot of fun.", I told him.
"Great. I'll send you an email of our office hours and location. Until then.", he ended.
Infinity Plus Plus, huh? That means I'll no longer know everything there is to know about the game. Well, at least in the beginning I won't.
A beta tester. A special unique game disk. Looks like I'm still getting the VIP treatment.
Well, regardless, it was then that my adventures with Infinity Plus ended.
A new era was beginning. Infinity Plus Plus. Sounds kinda stupid, but it was a new game that I was determined to conquer, just like the prequel before it.