Chapter 1

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I cast a Fireball on the Ice Dragon. I breathed a sigh of relief when the damn creature with TEN THOUSAND HIT POINTS finally died! I glanced at my clock on the wall right above my computer screen. The clock was an unlicensed, homemade Final Fantasy VII clock purchased from an overseas eBay seller; it read three-twenty-five in the morning, or there about. It was hard to read the exact time with the hand dials.

"Oh, crap! I was supposed to finish the chapter today! UGH!" I quickly saved my progress and exited the program. I had started playing the new fantasy role-playing game on my computer during my lunch break, after a ferocious writing session for four hours straight.

I KNEW I shouldn't have started playing the new game "Merlin: Sorcerer Supreme," but I just couldn't help myself. The temptation was too irresistible. I started playing and before I knew it fifteen hours flew right by! That was the problem with being a power gamer, or someone obsessed with making his game character as powerful as quickly as possible.

In my defense, though, I had a very good reason to try to breeze through the game so fast—for bragging rights against an obnoxious power gamer named "HiDeHo77!" in an online forum. And when bragging rights against a hated rival was at stake, nothing else mattered!

Now if only I didn't need to make a living, as a fantasy writer using the byline of "Lawrence Eugene Mulligan." I know, I know. That was such a cheesy name for a writer. Unfortunately, that was what my parents decided to name me—Lawrence after my dad, and Eugene after my grandpa; Mulligan was self-explanatory. Obviously. I was one of those slackers in school, who couldn't decide on what to do with his life, career wise. On a dare from some school brats, I decided to publish my short stories online. It was just some litRPG stories based on some (weird) fantasy world "borrowed" from Tolkien themes.

Somehow, the stuff went viral and people started downloading it. Eventually, a publisher came along and offered a contract for a new book based on that litRPG world. Seeing the dollar amount being offered, I stupidly agreed to the contract without reading the strings attached—especially not the part where I had to submit periodic updates of my book to Cindy Loewman, the pushy, bossy editor from hell!

Cindy had one face to face meeting with me, looked me up and down, and quickly realized that I was a slacker when it came to meeting a publishing deadline. Gee whiz, was I THAT obvious? Well ma'am, Stephen King I ain't! And so, after much cajoling (and threats to cancel the publishing contract), she finally got me to agree to submit a full chapter per week. Unfortunately, the tenth chapter was coming due in six hours and I was less than halfway through.

"Oh lord! How am I going to write two dozen pages in six hours?" The writer with a Ph.D. in procrastination moaned out loud. I stared at my computer screen in desperation. Breathe, Larry, breathe! Finally, I took my own advice, took a deep breath and started the word processing program on my computer. A promise was a promise, and I was going to keep it even if it meant an all-nighter! Or what's left of one anyway.

I started typing furiously at the keyboard and wrote . . . two pages! Stifling a yawn, I continued writing. However, I kept nodding off in front of the screen (despite exerting my willpower at maximum strength to stay awake) and eventually fell asleep on my desk. I was SUCH a wuss.


A rooster crowed nearby, and the sound broke through the spell called sleep. With my eyelids unwilling to open and face a brand spanking new day, I started to pull my arms up, my hands together, and stretched behind my head . . . when I felt my hands hit something. Did I put anything behind my chair? I was puzzled for a moment as I tried to feel the mysterious object with my fingers. Hmmm . . . the object had a rough, bumpy surface. It almost felt like—a tree! And my back—it was leaning against something hard, rather than my firm mesh, swivel office chair. The shock finally forced my eyes to open, and I was STUNNED! Instead of a computer screen, I was looking at a city street. However, the street was not familiar to me. I turned my head and realized that I was sitting on the ground and leaning against a tree, with a cobblestone road in front of me!

"Where the heck am I?" I blurted out loud. I looked down at my chest and saw that my clothing was changed somehow while I slept. Instead of my favorite blue and orange New York Mets baseball tee, I was wearing a drab green colored and VERY LOOSE, long sleeved tunic. The shirt was tied in place with a brown leather ring belt, attached to a sheath on my left hip, with a dagger in the sheath. Instead of black sweatpants, I was wearing gray tights! My blue slippers were replaced with short, black boots that rose just above my ankles. I had to admit, though, that these boots were more comfortable than my slippers. Never mind that! Think Mc Fly, think! How in the world did I end up . . . where?

I started to pull myself off the ground, but my body betrayed me as I was assaulted by a wave of nausea. I slipped and fell back on the ground with a hard THUMP!

"Hey lookee here! This man is still stinking drunk!" a haughty, male voice said.

"Should we toss him in jail to sleep it off?" another male voice asked, with a hint of eagerness.

"Nah, hauling in a drunk won't help us meet our quota for today as members of The Watch," the first man replied. "If we tried to puff him up as some dastardly scoundrel, we'll be laughed at by our captain. And the time spent on the paperwork for this drunk will pull us off the street if a wanted outlaw is running around. Nope, he's definitely not worth hauling in," the man concluded.

"But we can't just leave him here. Let's make him move away from this area at least. Our captain would reprimand us if he saw us leave this guy next to the road," the second guard suggested.

A moment later, a hard stick was shoved into my ribs. "Ouuff," I blurted out as the pain shocked my body awake now.

"Move it you lousy drunk!" the first guy yelled into my ear as he pulled my right arm. My leg was kicked for emphasis.

"Ow! Alright, alright! I'm up!" I replied as I slowly rose off the ground. My head was no longer spinning. I felt a rough shove at my back. I did not resist it but simply kept moving.

I didn't know who the men were, as I didn't even get a chance to look at them. However, I heard that they were members of The Watch, the local law enforcement, and that was good enough to for me. "Don't go looking for trouble," as my momma always said.

I looked around as I walked on the sidewalk. The city block was filled with shops and small houses. Some were a single story house, others two or even three stories tall. The houses were mostly wattle and daub homes, or houses that had timber frames and twigs and dried mud as walls. There were also houses made of cobblestones and timber.

I saw many people on the streets, dressed in clothes from the medieval era. Did I end up in a Renaissance Fair somehow?

I looked up at the sky and noted that it was still early morning. Now where can I go for information? I looked around and saw what I was looking for—an inn!

CHRONICLES of a PC Gamer Stuck Inside an RPG (Book One: Duelist)Where stories live. Discover now