Sunday, 18 September 2016

Short Story: Quest

Today's story pokes fun at some of the weird shopping list, "collect twenty of this" type quests you get in RPGs. Don't get me wrong I love those games, and have sunk hundreds of hours into them (hello there Skyrim and Dragon Age: Inquisition) but these quests can get a bit... weird.

Just like today's story.


A new quest popped up on my heads up display. I opened it, excited to head out into the world on an adventure once more.
“They want me to collect what?” I said to myself in utter disbelief.
Fifteen pairs of underpants, assorted.
“What the actual fuck?” I muttered. Was the quest giver some kind of pervert or something? What the hell did they want with that many pairs of pants? I could understand it if they just wanted me to get fifteen pairs of pants in their size and preferred style but no. I didn’t even want to think what the quest setter wanted with that many pairs of random pants.
Still… the reward was pretty good. Enough credits to buy that new weapon I’d been after.
I accepted.
Now I just had to work out where to find the requisite number of knickers. I figured I could always go buy them for my employer, but I got the distinct impression that wasn’t what they were after. I checked the quest specification again; it just said “underpants, various”. Helpful.
I sat down for a moment, thinking. What sorts of places might I find stray underwear. The ad didn’t specify but my personal preference was for them to be clean when I picked them up.
My first stop was a launderette. There were always odd bits of clothes being left in the dryers.
I was in luck: the first laundrette I visited yielded three of the fifteen pairs I needed. I updated the quest progress meter and felt the first flicker of excitement over the reward. I was twenty percent of the way there. And I’d only received a few odd looks for picking pairs of knickers out of the lint trap.
By the time I had check all the launderettes within walking distance I was almost half way to my goal.
I was pretty happy with how far I’d gotten with the quest so far, because the next thing I planned on doing was checking the laundry people had put out on their washing lines. The weather wasn’t terribly great today which meant fewer people were likely to have their washing out.
I dived into the first garden I saw with washing in and started pulling pants off the line.
Three hours later I had fourteen out of my fifteen pairs of pants and a dog bite on my arse for my troubles. It didn’t matter though, I was so close to my goal. So close. I could almost taste the reward.
Which was good because I wasn’t looking forward to my next port of call: the leisure centre changing rooms.
Oh they would almost certainly have what I needed, but there was no telling what sort of state they’d be in. I’d seen discarded knickers in all sorts of predicaments before. I prayed I would find a pair completely soaked in chlorinated water. That was better than some of the alternatives.
I paid my way into the leisure centre, a small price considering the magnitude of the reward, and methodically searched the changing rooms. Every nook, every cranny, every empty locker. Nothing.
I left the leisure centre disappointed.
All I needed was one more pair of pants and that new weapon would be mine.
Just one more.
A thought occurred to me. I knew exactly where I could find a single pair of pants.
It was awkward getting the rest of my armour and clothes off but soon enough I was down to my underwear. I had my last pair of panties.
I scrabbled to put my clothes back on, feeling a little bit conscious of the fact I was now going commando, and ran to the quest marker to submit my items. The queue at quest submission was interminable, but at last I was rid of the fifteen sets of underwear. I asked no questions and refused to look the attendant in the eye as they passed me my reward.
As I headed to the store to exchange my hard-earned credits for loot, another quest marker popped up on the HUD. I hesitated a moment—thoughts of underpants, various still fresh in my mind—before clicking open.

If you enjoyed this story feel free to purchase one of my books either here, or here. Or you can buy me a coffee here.

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