Prince stared vacantly into space as he leaned against the wide trunk of a tall maple tree and crossed his arms. He rhythmically tapped the tip of his left boot on a rock by his feet, silently waiting. Lifting his gaze to the thick boughs above his head, he watched a large, fluffy white cloud soar across the bright blue sky until it disappeared from sight. With a sigh he glanced around his surroundings, scanning the widely-spaced tree trunks for any of his teammates. Aside from a large number of mangled corpses which littered the blood-stained ground around him, he was alone. Even the familiar warmth of Meatbun sitting on his head was missing, as the bun had gone to spend time with Yun. The two had adored each other ever since they met. Prince sometimes felt a slight stab of jealousy toward his pet getting attached to another player, but easily forgot it when he saw how blissful his friend and ‘son’ were when they spent time together.
Five minutes passed.
Another ten minutes.
A bumble bee flew past Prince’s leg to land on a flower near the base of the tree. He thought about killing it, but stopped when he wondered if tiny insects also gave experience points. With as much as he loved killing things, he’d never actually included the NPC insects of Second Life as monsters.
He sent another searching look about the area. “Why are they so slow?” he grumbled to himself. Usually he was the only one who had trouble finding their meeting spots, unless a teammate went with him to keep him from getting lost. He shifted restlessly into a more comfortable position, gritting his teeth when his armor let out a screech as it scraped against the rough bark
Glancing downward, he looked back at the bee for lack of anything better to do and watched as its tiny body got covered in flower pollen. When it launched itself off the flower and began to fly away, Prince pulled his black saber out of its sheath and began to quietly follow the bug as it looked for another flower to land on. It flew for a few moments and began to fly downward to a patch of daisies several yards away from the tree Prince had been leaning on. Prince lifted his sword and watched the bee’s progress. When it was a few inches from the daisy, he swung the blade down to chop the unsuspecting insect in half.
Prince jumped in surprise, halted his sword in mid-swing, and looked up abruptly to see Lolidragon marching across the grass toward him, waving her arm in greeting. He glanced back to the flower, but to his annoyance, his prey had flown away and was nowhere in sight. Lolidragon stopped beside him and looked to where he was staring.
“What are you doing?”
“Did you just attack a flower?”
“No!” Prince sheathed his sword and stomped away from the flowers in embarrassment, not wanting to tell her he’d just stalked a bug, which he didn’t think was much better than attempting to murder a flower. “What took you so long? I’ve been waiting here for ages!”
“Well, excuse me for not being able to find this place!” Lolidragon exclaimed, placing her hand on one hip and frowning slightly. “I had to login late because of problems at work, and all you said about this place was that there were maple trees and mutated rabbits.” She glanced momentarily at the bodies scattered across the ground. “All of which you killed, looks like.”
Prince shrugged. “I got bored. They’ll re-spawn soon, anyway.” He hadn’t known the place would be difficult for the others to find. He’d simply wandered there while killing things. To avoid getting lost even further by trying to head back toward town, he’d suggested for the team to meet there for their training.
“The others should be here in a few minutes,” Lolidragon announced. “I messaged our location to them.”
“Okay,” said Prince as relief washed over him at not having to wait any longer. “So, what’s going on with your work?”
Lolidragon heaved a sigh. “Oh, just the usual problems with glitches.” Her eyebrows drew together angrily. “For all the billions of lines of computer coding I have to type up a day, my boss never gives my department time to test it out before we add it to the game so there’s usually problems with the updates, and then my boss yells at us as if we do it on purpose…”
Prince’s eyes widened. He hadn’t known her job was so taxing. He’d thought she simply played the game all day long. “Is it a serious problem?” Lolidragon’s eyes lit up at his inquiry and she turned on Prince, suddenly looking very eager. Prince took a step back as she walked toward him. “W-wait, what are you doing?”
“Don’t you want a demonstration?”
“No!” He waved his hands at her, feeling extremely frightened at her change in mood. Anything that made Lolidragon excited usually involved something chaotic happening to other people and Prince’s life was already extremely chaotic.
“Aw, come on,” she coaxed mischievously. “Where’s your sense of adventure?” She quickly closed the space between them and grabbed his shoulders so he couldn’t retreat anymore. Prince looked into her eyes fearfully as she leaned closer. When she was little more than an inch away from his face, she paused and her smile stretched wider. He opened his mouth to once again ask her what she was doing when she abruptly tilted her head back, and brought it forward again with as much force as she could muster, crashing her forehead into his.
“OW!” Prince yelled as pain exploded in his head both from the impact and from the sharp points of his tiara cutting into his skin. He could feel a warm drip of blood start down the side of his face as he pushed her away and put both hands on his steadily bruising forehead. “Ow! Ow! Damn it, Lolidragon! What the… hell…?” Prince’s eyes flew open as his words dropped off. His voice, normally smooth and deep, had suddenly become much more high-pitched and girly. Rubbing his forehead once more, he noticed his tiara wasn’t there anymore. His eyes widened as he looked down and found himself staring at Lolidragon’s extremely large and heavy chest.
“WHAT?” He looked up wildly and came face-to-face with himself. His body was smiling gleefully at him, one hand on his hip and one hovering over his lips as a giggle shook his body. “What a stupid glitch!”
Prince watched, feeling unsettled, as his body nodded and then sighed. “Yeah, I don’t know how we managed it…” Lolidragon adjusted the tiara on her forehead and wiped a trickle of blood off her face, red eyes glinting gleefully.
Prince tried very hard to not look down again as the unfamiliar weight tugged at his chest. The skimpy pink armor Lolidragon always wore was too tight and far too airy in various places. He lifted a hand and brushed the long, reddish pink hair off his shoulder. Lolidragon, obviously not at all uncomfortable at the spontaneous body switch, was straightening Prince’s black armor, her hands lingering over his body for much longer than necessary.
“Quit touching me,” he ordered with a frown.
She looked back at him with a pouty expression. “You’re so stingy.”
“It’s my body, I can be stingy with it if I want! Now, give it back!”
Her eyes widened slightly as she looked past him and a smile spread across her face once more. Faint footsteps made Prince turn around and he watched in horror as their teammates appeared, striding through the trees and waving at the pair. Gui ran ahead of the rest, frantically waving his arm with a happy smile on his face as he skipped through the grass and yelled random compliments and greetings to Prince.
Without hesitation, Lolidragon leapt past Prince and waved in return. Prince felt slightly sick as he watched his body bound through the grass, corpses, and flowers as she ran to greet them. Gui froze in his steps and sent Prince’s body an extremely bewildered look as Lolidragon stopped in front of them.
“Yes, Gui?” Lolidragon cooed as she looked up at him soppily. Prince knew she was having the time of her life.
“Are… Are you okay?”
Lolidragon lifted her finger and drew it across Gui’s cheek. His mouth dropped open as she took a step closer. “Of course!”
“What happened to your forehead?” Ugly Wolf inquired ‘Prince’ in concern.
Prince, suddenly remembering Lolidragon’s character was much faster than his own, launched himself across the grass as Gui took a terrified step back from Lolidragon who had grabbed the front of his shirt and was forcefully pulling him closer again with a seductive look. He was mumbling incoherent things, a deep blush spreading across his panicky face as he tried and failed to pry Lolidragon’s fingers off.
“Y-Your Highness, please, let go…” he sputtered in embarrassment as he glanced around in a helpless way to the others.
“Loli—I mean, Prince! Stop!” Having no idea what he should be calling himself, Prince jumped the last few feet and tackled his body to the ground before Lolidragon could do anything to Gui, or the other way around. The thought of his body being in the hands of the team’s perverts terrified him even more than what Lolidragon had already done.
Lolidragon looked up at Prince’s outraged face and started laughing. “What? I wasn’t going to do anything…”
“Like I’d believe that!” he screamed, grabbed his body’s neck, and promptly began strangling it. “GIVE IT BACK! GIVE IT BACK, NOW!”
“Lolidragon!” Ugly Wolf grabbed Prince’s upper arms and pulled him off before he could choke himself to death. “Calm down!”
“What the heck is going on with you two?” YuLian asked and looked from one to the other in a whirl of confusion. “Prince, what’d you do?”
“Your Highness.” Gui hesitantly held out his hand to Lolidragon to help her up. “What does she mean, ‘give it back’?” He looked regretful for helping her when he tried to take his hand away afterward and she refused to let go. The blush on his cheeks spread further as Lolidragon once again smiled at him, the usual gentlemanly smile but with lascivious twist.
Prince struggled as hard as he could in Ugly Wolf’s grip as he watched Gui retreat behind Doll as if the tiny girl would be able to shield him from the sensuous looks ‘Prince’ was giving him.
“Please, Your Highness, something’s wrong with you… You should—AAHH!”
“Let go! I have to stop him!”
“Did he eat something weird…?” Doll called over Gui’s cries for help as Lolidragon began to chase him in circles around Doll. The others looked like they didn’t know what to do about the backward situation of ‘Prince’ chasing Gui, rather than the other way around.
“SAVE ME!” Gui screamed in terror as he ran past them as fast as he could. Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t fast enough.
“Something is seriously wrong with him,” YuLian gaped as Lolidragon grabbed hold of Gui’s cloak and continued the chase. The delight over tormenting Gui was clearly showing on her face.
“Oh, let go! Prince, please, stop!”
“Get ahold of yourself!” Gui wailed as he zig-zagged through the trees in an attempt to lose Lolidragon. The only thing he succeeded in losing was ground.
“Wolf-dàgē!” Prince finally bellowed. “LET ME GO!” Ugly Wolf looked down at him in surprise and reflexively relaxed his grip, allowing Prince to slip through his claws. “STOP RUNNING!” he yelled and chased after his body once more. “GIVE IT BACK, LOLIDRAGON!”
Lolidragon looked over her shoulder and her eyes widened in surprise to see Prince barreling down on her. She dodged to one side at the last second and Prince crashed into Gui instead, who then tripped over one of the monster corpses that still littered the ground. They fell down in a crumpled heap. Prince jumped up again, leaving Gui unconscious on the ground next to the dead rabbit, and resumed his pursuit.
“No! Get away!” Lolidragon yelled between laughs over her shoulder and ducked behind Ugly Wolf.
“Wolf-dàgē! Grab her!”
Ugly Wolf pulled Lolidragon out from behind him and hesitantly held her in place as Prince stopped in front of them, gasping for breath. Lolidragon looked disappointed at having her place of refuge turn on her.
“N-now,” Prince wheezed. “Give it back!”
She looked pouty again. “Do I have to?”
“Yes!” Prince grabbed the front of his body’s shirt and yanked her back and forth. “Now!” He abruptly swung his head down on Lolidragon’s and they collided with a hollow thunk. Pain burst through his skull again and he took a step backward, willing himself not to cry from the intense throbbing. After a moment, he opened his eyes and felt a new wave of terror rise in his chest.
He was still staring at himself.
“Why didn’t it work?” he yelled wildly.
“Well…” Lolidragon glanced around hesitantly and smiled in a twitchy way. “There’s something you should know.”
Prince grabbed his body’s shirt again and started shaking it once more. “Tell me!”
“About that glitch…”
“Hurry up and tell me!” Panic swirled through him as he looked at her guilty expression.
“We don’t know how to switch back, yet.”