33) 'The Final Boss Keeps Wrecking Me' And Other Moments Where You...

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33) 'The Final Boss Keeps Wrecking Me' And Other Moments Where You Contemplate Giving Up On RPGs And Doing Something That's Actually Productive With Your Youth (But Don't)


Heston was the tutorial. Messiah was the warm-up boss. Martin was that one enemy that reminded you you had to grind and get decent weaponry. Pi, though? He was the final boss. It was Benjamin's duty to stalk him that day and he kept humming Sephiroth's theme song under his breath.

The thing with Pi was, he had other people. He was Different. He always had been.

That's why Benjamin had forced Thijmen to come with him. Thijmen would be useful. Even if he still kept laughing whenever he heard the phrase 'gay shit'.

As for now, he kept spying. They sat on a cafeteria table like the cool kids, close enough to see Pi, but far enough to be out of hearing range. They ate cafeteria food like cool kids, too. It was scientifically impossible for this plan to fail. Except.

"Thijmen," he asked, "Do you have a plan?"

"Why would I have a plan?"

"You're smart."

"You are, too. Come on. I know you can think of something."

In RPGs, whenever the final battle approached, there was always this bonding moment with heartwarming music at the backgrounds. Maybe a campfire or two. It was supposed to be bittersweet and all, given their journey was coming to an end. That's where they differed from real life. Journeys in real life did not have to end. Friendships were the same, too, he supposed.

"Before the squad," he said, "I never really had a friend group. I don't really know why I'm telling you this, but."

Thijmen just ate and listened.

"How about you? Like your friends from the Netherlands. Uh. You don't have to answer."

He finished chewing and swallowed, before actually answering for a change. "I did have friends in the Netherlands."

"What were their names?"

"Bas and Jelle. They were kinda stupid. Like, you know, they did stupid shit that got them in trouble. It was funny. I still talk to them through text sometimes. I told them about you."

"Oh. What did they say?"

"They asked me if we'd had sex yet."

He wasn't even surprised. They sounded like the perfect friends for Thijmen.

"You should introduce me to them sometime. Maybe. If they won't bully me. Maybe not."

"Maybe," Thijmen agreed.

"Maybe. And what about your family? You never told me."

"Because you never asked."

"I did. You told me to shut up." It was scary.

"Oh. Well, I have a younger sister and a younger brother and parents. Not much about them, really."

"Is having younger siblings really as annoying as they say?"

"Yes."

"Interesting. So what's the plan?"

"You were supposed to think of one, Ben."

He wanted to keep talking about Thijmen anyway. Well, he wanted to talk Thijmen into planning, but life wasn't that easy. He sighed.

In RPGs, there usually was this moment when it seemed as though everything was lost and the villain had won and they had nothing to help them push forward except for themselves. If it were not for the subsequent bonding moment, the villain would win. However, what the villain invariably forgot was that The Power Of Friendship/Love overcame everything.

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