How much time had passed since I appeared in this world? Not much. What did I want back then… To sit and do nothing? Well, I got what I wanted, and I was already fed up with everything.
After I had saved the entire planet, it turned out that my recent partners had acquired a bit of power over the world. My suspicions had been right all along—I was being used! Sure, they were generous enough to provide me with what they considered to be a perfect life. I got a home, money, free time... Samantha even wept on my shoulder and said that she would miss me. What was stopping them from paying me a visit? No one came to see me! I wasn’t about to believe the stories that a price was put on my head and that criminals from all over the world were looking for me, or that they wanted to deal with all of that before I could officially come back. I was bored out of my goddamn mind.
“How you doin’, Dan?” Stephen, a local hobo to whom, oddly enough, every clerk would give a bottle of booze or two, emerged from the nearby store. And there they were—two bottles were sticking out of his oversized coat. “Will you keep me company? You're Russian, you guys love to drink.”
“Thank you, but no,” I answered firmly. I didn’t even live here! My house was at the countryside, in a residential district. However, there was absolutely nothing to do there; but on the outskirts weren't as boring and you could always find some company. “I am here on business today.”
“I get it, you’re keeping an eye on the champion,” Stephen immediately realized what was going on. “I stay close to you then. Although you already know my opinion about those games… Nothing but a waste of time. Do you know where all of that is coming from?”
At first, I was almost offended by what he had said about the games, but his question piqued my interest. Stephen would sometimes talk about stuff that one couldn’t find on the internet.
“You know that everyone in this day and age has an identification chip implanted in their body, which has access to our money and can heal us in case anything happens.” It was something everyone knew, even me. I implanted such a thing into my own body recently. That was when I found out about the champion battles. “Twenty years ago, someone created a program that, in turn, created something like information clusters that rely on our chips and natural anomalies. Something like the Earth’s magnetic field or traces of solar bursts.”
“So, those clusters make a champion?” I was amazed by the genius who had not only been able to think of such a thing but make it happen as well.
“Exactly, and we’re sitting next to one of those anomalies right now, waiting for new developments,” Stephen sipped half a bottle of beer at once and looked at me doubtingly as if I would change my mind and have some beer after all.
“Oh, damn you, give me that. I feel that I’ll be sitting here for a while.” He handed me the other bottle. I wondered how it remained cool and fresh considering that it he kept in his coat's pocket and that it was hot outside. “This is good.”
Waiting immediately became more pleasant; and it wasn’t because of the beer, but because of the good company. Stephen may be a strange fellow, but chatting with him was always interesting.
“By the way, who are you trying to catch?” Having emptied his bottle, he turned toward the shop with a look of doubt on his face, wondering should he go in to grab another one or remain where he was for a while longer.
“I don’t really care,” I admitted. “I just want to get a rare one and train them.”
That wasn’t a problem for me, especially with my experience and brains. This time I planned to follow the plan to the T. No more impulsive decisions, only precise combinations and strategies. I was able to stay on top before, but this time, I was sure that everyone would be awe-struck with what I had prepared for them. Here, in the future, everything was too comfortable. For a real gamer to be born, they would have to be brought up and trained in an atmosphere full of stress and pressure, and they would have to have the ability to work in such conditions and to win no matter what. Take, for example, the first time I went to that computer club...
Suddenly, the world around me seemed to have stopped, and the veil of nostalgia that washed over me vanished without a trace.
“Dan, I’ve been looking for you.” Just a second ago there was no one in front of me, but now one of the Fates that I had met in the last tournament was standing there. What does she want?
“I have a delivery for you… A reward for your victory.” She could read my thoughts!. Don't think about her chubby cheeks… Goddamn it! Ok, don't look into her eyes and don't irritate her further. She didn't seem to seek to take vengeance on me and continued talking, “Your decision to refuse to have your wish come true has turned out to be contrary to the equilibrium, so I will have to adjust things on my own.”
Ability received: ''Curse of the Genie''