It was only the second week of classes (third in the actual semester, technically) but it had felt like I had been here far longer than I actually had been. Everything was going fine, strictly speaking, but I still felt like a fish out of water.
Watching the upper-classmen socialize, I was struck by a powerful sense of loneliness. Sure, it was nice to have Sora, but he was a nerd, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. So, Sora didn’t go out much or have any inclination to party— he was all study and in his room when not at class or a Sigma Tau Delta meeting. It left me in the dark.
So, when I saw everyone else chatting about wild ragers and intoxicated rendezvouses, I felt as though I was going through the motions. Like, I was simply brushing off the fact that I hadn’t been invited anywhere. I know that the year was still young but it bummed me out all the same.
I knew what I had to do— go out and socialize more. But, I needed to get my foot in the door. In high school, I didn’t just go to parties by myself. I usually had a wingman, someone who had invited me, anyone. Here, I am back on the bottom. Yeah, I guess I could just show up, but it would be more beneficial if I went with someone, someone who had some connections to other people. I supposed I could maybe talk Sora into going; even if he knew no one, going with another loner was better than nothing.
I mused on these issues at length over the weekend. On and off as I completed my homework and tried my best to review my English seminar, I would lapse back into these depressive thoughts. Sora wasn’t available to do anything so it was up to me to wrestle with them myself. Fine.
Up late pacing, pontificating on possible clubs or student organizations to join, I realized that I had stayed up a bit too late. Eleven at night wasn’t terrible, but I still needed to go to bed. In any case, the loud people in the hallway had finally abated, so I brushed my teeth and finally got some shut-eye.
This time around, I was excited. With the core knowledge of medieval Chivalry and Romance literature under my belt, and having the basic idea of what to expect in Vingaard, I felt once more able to get shit done, especially with Sora by my side.
I was prepared. I knew that today would be the beginning of the course material proper. Because the last few days were filled with trying to make heads or tails of the supplementary readings, I had spent several hours last night going over the actual primary text for the course, Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur. Uploading the virtual edition into my Vingaard’s character profile’s inventory, I would be able to access the text at any time during gameplay. As I said— prepared.
Strapping myself into my Cloister following Sora’s instructions (hey, I was slowly getting a handle on how to do it myself!), I reflected on the fact that due to my slowness in completing the coursework and my awkwardness in acclimating to Vingaard, Sora and I were behind. The next class session was in just a couple of days, so Sora and I only had that long to get our shit in order; I knew I would feel really bad if Sora received a bad grade just because of me, so I was motivated to do my best.
“Hey,” said Sora as the Cloister was releasing its relaxing vapors. “I was thinking that a good stopping point for our first session of the day would be near the end of the prologue around when the baby Arthur is born. We could take a break then get back in and do a bit more before finishing tomorrow.”
“That sounds good to me. I don’t have a better plan. See you on the other side!” I replied.
A slight comradely laugh was all I heard in response before the soft vapors lured me into the receptive state and I found myself, like magic, in Vingaard.