Neoquest II: The Forgotten Heroine: Part Two
Terror Mountain had always been a pretty short stage, but it was even shorter in this game. Doctor wasn’t that bad, and Eirika was still getting those sick pauses. Arthur had spent most of his points on getting Doctor group healing and shielding, and hadn’t spent any on the anti-sickness thing.
Once again, at the end of the chapter, there wasn’t any scene that went back to the spaceship. Instead, there was Eirika, and Doctor was checking up on her. He merely said that she didn’t have too much time left.
By this point, Arthur had gotten completely immersed in the story, and from his heart he wanted Eirika to continue. She was sick and had troubles, but she still perservered, and he wanted to win too.
Then, the cutscene changed and this time it showed Eirika receiving a message from someone. It was a simple letter that said:
I know it has been difficult for you, but you need to carry on. That sword I gave you was given for a reason. Don’t lose hope.
That perked Arthur’s interests. He had still kept the Gifted Sword, since Father’s Sword was an important weapon in the original Neoquest II, but hadn’t worried too much about why it had been named so.
The scene changed to the Lost Desert. The game was once again shorter this time, and there weren’t any references to a ship like the original game. Valm wasn’t there, and no one else joined them. The level pretty much ended abruptly, and the game was starting to get difficult.
There was another cutscene after the Lost Desert, but this involved Eirika looking even more worn out, and another letter from whoever had sent her on her path. It said that the end of her journey was near.
It was getting late though, so Arthur saved the game and went to bed. The next day, he was eager to continue. This was honestly nothing new to him, when he had started playing the original Neoquest II, he had become hooked like that for several days, before he had gotten sick of the game.
The Haunted Woods had always been a short chapter like Terror Mountain. The plot was almost the same, the sun was always up, but the strange thing was that there was still no reference to the characters actually being on a spaceship.
Another thing was that the music had changed. It had become strange and eerie, and the thing was that Eirika’s pauses had started to last longer, and now the sounds of that creepy gasping sound were actually louder than the music. And now there were new noises mixed into it, it sounded like a girl’s sobbing. Eirika’s sprite in the game also looked as if it was crying, and it was then that Arthur began pumping in points in the Doctor’s ability to lessen the illness.
It worked somewhat, but it didn’t stop. During one of these things, another person suddenly appeared next to Eirika, but this time it was a Ghost Flotsam. She said:
Excuse me miss, but I’m a travelling writer collecting stories. I couldn’t help but notice you struggle. May I join you? I think you might have something interesting to write about.
The flotsam was simply named Sorcerer and seemed to be the game’s version of Mipsy. She helped and Arthur found himself clearing the Haunted Woods stage easily.
Another cutscene flashed and this time it showed Eirika on the ground, and her deep gasps were very hauntingly projected from the speakers. Now, someone walked into the scene, a hooded figure. Eirika looked at the figure, and though she was unable to speak, her expression seemed to get the message across.
“Do not worry,” the stranger said. “I sent you on this mission for a reason. I will join you now. Everything will be fine if we defeat the game.”
The scene shifted to Faerieland unexplainably, and now the stranger had joined the party, except instead of a name, he just had ??? next to his name. He didn’t have any skills, and during battle, all he could do was ‘Zap’ like Mipsy did. His attacks did a lot of damage, but something about him really unnerved Arthur so he tried to avoid using him if possible.
The game was shorter, as several sections had been cut and Arthur found out that the maximum level was only fifty. However, something began happening to Eirika. The noises started getting louder, and there were regular sobs in-between them. Also, the damage she was dealing in battle started decreasing, so that Arthur was forced to use ??? on occasion. Later on, in addition to the sobs, he began hearing some words: “…… Mother….” The scary thing was that he had never heard of actual words coming from the speakers before, and while the rest of the game wasn’t really that good graphics wise and stuff, that voice sounded real. If he hadn’t known better, Arthur would have thought Eirika was really in the room with him.
As the game progressed, Eirika got worse and worse. Eventually, she couldn’t even attack, and so Arthur was forced to use ??? on almost everyone.
Of course, the battle with King Terask finally came, and in this version he was much stronger but after being defeated the first time he didn’t come back. Also, there was no Father’s Sword to use, but somehow ??? now had the Gifted Sword. He used it, and it said, “Gifted sword damages Terask’s programming!”
That was weird, since nothing else in the entire game had given the hint that the whole thing was a simulation.
Still, Terask fell, and there wasn’t the normal final cutscene. Instead, the screen went blank, and there were no noises except for Eirika’s sobs. It then showed Eirika lying in a bed, with Doctor sitting besides her and Sorcerer pacing around the room. Arthur tried moving Eirika, but the game kept saying ‘Eirika is too tired too move!’
Doctor started saying some things, like how about the disease was progressing, while Sorcerer seemed to be scribbling some things down. ??? was nowhere to be seen.
Frustrated after some time, Arthur put the game down. He tried turning it off, but that didn’t work. He left it thinking that the power source had to run out eventually, but the next day it hadn’t.
Arthur then remembered the warning at the beginning of the game. In seven days, Eirika would succumb to her sickness. It was the fifth day. The sounds of her sobbing and gasping still came. Arthur tried muting the things or at least turning the volume down, but it didn’t work. He just threw it into a box which muffled the sound.
On the seventh day, Arthur opened it, strangely curious as to what was going to happen. Not much seemed to have changed, but suddenly the gasping sound got louder and louder, and there was that voice again, and it said. “If only…. Mother…. one last time…”
There was no more sound after that, and Eirika’s health gauge had dropped down to zero. The scene shifted and showed the Masked Stranger who was just called ??? talking to Rohane’s mother.
Understandably, she seemed distressed. “I don’t understand. She was always a brave girl, and wanted to carry on. You… it was you who convinced her to join this quest. You told her… that it would be alright if she beat the game.”
The hooded man took off his hood, and revealed himself to be the villain at the end of Neoquest II. “I lied,” he said. “Your daughter was a weakling, someone who couldn’t even survive my basic simulation. Don’t worry though, your other child, Rohane, will soon set on a journey similar to this. He will fail of course, but when he does, at least he will be remembered as a hero. Your daughter though, she will simply be…. forgotten. I will see to it personally that all records of her are wiped clean.”
The cutscene ended. Arthur waited for something else to show up, but it didn’t. The game had frozen at the point, and then it showed a message showing: GAME COMPLETE. It went back to the starting scene.
It honestly disturbed Arthur, but he was sure that it was probably just a prank by some Virtupets programmer with too much time on his hands. He gave the game to Fred, who promptly threw it out. Arthur almost forgot about all of it, and then eventually he went on to graduate, went on to medical school, and the whole thing was a distant memory in his head.
But then, while working at the hospital one day, he heard that a fallen spaceship had been found near Kiko Lake, and inside there was only one person, a Blue Usul. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with the spaceship, except for the fact that it seemed to have been infected by a virus previously, though very few traces of it remained for forensic experts to find, as most of the data had been deleted. Arthur was called in to help with the autopsy.
The moment he saw the Blue Usul, he felt that he had seen her before. The preliminary reports listed the cause of death as being respiratory failure.
“There’s no name on her,” one of the doctors said. “Nothing that we can identify her by.”
“Her name’s Eirika,” Arthur said. He put up photos of her all over Neopia, but no one recognized her. There were no records of her spaceship on Virtupets… she had been entirely forgotten. No one would know about her bravery.
Many years later, a new game came out that allowed one to enter simulations. Arthur purchased one, mainly for his son, but thought that he’d try it out first.
He decided first to play as a doctor, but was surprised to see that there was a character already for him: a Grey Techo. A sudden chill ran down his spine, surely…
It all happened just like that game he had played all those years ago. He found he couldn’t even control the Techo’s actions, and he ended up watching his moves made so many years ago play out in front of him. The game ended, and he was relieved and tried the simulator again.
There was another character already loaded for him. It was a Ghost Flotsam. With an eerie feeling, he continued and found himself suddenly next to a Blue Usul and a Grey Techo. He asked them if he… no, the character he was playing was a she, could join them.
And, like Sorcerer had said, Arthur wrote down the story. The story replayed itself the same way.
This time, as Sorcerer had said, Arthur decided to complete the story, and tell the world about Eirika, so at least, she would not be forgotten.
And that, is what you have just finished reading.