“This place is a lot busier than I expected.” I marveled.
We were at the gaming tournament, and even those the convention center was quite large, the ticket lines were crowded with people. The tournament prize had only been $500 and it was a local event, so I had the opinion that there would only be a few dozen people around, but I seemed to be wrong. More surprising though was that there were a lot of guys present. I had gotten the impression that gaming was mostly women. My involvement had been mostly diversity reasons, as it gave their team a discount.
“They announced a celebrity judge,” Avery growled. “It’s the singer from the group iRock. It’s some pretty girl from a pretty girl band. All these boys are just here to crush on her.”
“Her manizing ways might suck, but her open interest in video games does give the rest of us a chance.” Dina sighed.
“How so?” Katie frowned, not seeming to grasp what he meant.
“Well, if even a cute girl can like video games, then we don’t seem so nerdy for being gamers. Just look at all of the boys here. We might even have a chance with some of them. Would you prefer the fish fest that this event would have been without him?”
“Ah… whatever.” Avery waved her question away while muttering under her breath.
After a fair amount of waiting, we finally made it through the lines and entered the actual hall. It was noisy and I could barely hear myself think. Thankfully, the girls seemed to know where to go, and we ended up heading to a doorway to the side which was currently being blocked by a security guard lady. After checking our credentials, she let us through. As I was the last one walking in, she winked at me.
Bethany, as if having a sixth sense, suddenly turned around and grabbed my arm, pulling me to her as she frowned at the guard. The guard girl ignored her though, and we finally found ourselves in a back hallway lined with rooms. There, we were finally given a room quiet enough to be able to talk to each other. It was just a small waiting room. Avery pulled out the papers that they had handed her, going through them.
“It looks like we’re going to have three events.” She declared. “A singles event, a duos event, and then the four-woman team event.”
“We’re all going to get to participate in the singles?” Bethany asked, finally letting go of my arm now that we were out of sight of any other girls besides our teammates.
“No, because we’re registered as a team, we can only send one person for the single event, and two for the duo event. Since everyone else who isn’t in a team can only participate in the lower events, it’s how they rectify the advantage of groups.”
“Seriously? Every event has a $500 cash prize, right?” Katie asked excitedly.
Avery nodded. “Yeah, that’s the first prize. There are other prizes too, but they’re smaller.”
“Oh? What are they?” Katie asked excitedly.
“It doesn’t matter what the prize is unless we’re the ones who win. How are we deciding who participates in the first two challenges?” Dina interjected.
“Doesn’t that depend on the genre?” Bethany asked.
“They don’t tell us which game, but the first is a racing game, the duo is fighting game, and the group is first person.” Avery read off from the papers.
The girls all looked at each other.
“Noah should do the solo.”
“What?” Avery glared. “You want to give the duo to a boy?”
“Won’t he stand out then?” Dina asked. “No one else will send their boy player.”
“Isn’t it good that he stands out? No one will think he has a chance. First, they’ll think our team is weak if a boy is our best player, no offense Noah.”
“None taken,” I responded toward my sister’s apologetic look.
“Secondly, they’ll look down on her in the match, and she’ll have a real chance of being competitive. Didn’t you say racing games was your specialty?”
That was true. While I didn’t have any skill with sports games, I played a lot of racing games. Furthermore, racing didn’t change much at all between worlds. Cars were cars, after all, and so the fundamental programming didn’t differ much. The game titles hadn’t even changed for most of the games.
“They are my specialty. If it’s racing, I might have a chance to get in the top three.”
This might be a local event, but it wasn’t like I had been a competitive gamer in my old world. I wasn’t so full of myself that I thought I’d easily get first. All of my competitive racing experience came from racing people online. The girls still looked hesitant, but then Avery read off another rule.
“Oh, it looks like the person who participates in the single cannot be picked again for the duo. The group must pick two other people. Also in the name of fairness.” Avery spoke that last part sarcastically.
“In that case, yeah, it’s probably best if Noah did the solo.” Dina’s doubt quickly disappeared.
Katie nodded. “Yeah, that works.”
I blinked. “Why does the duo not allowing me in it matter?”
I glanced at Bethany, who seemed just as confused as I was.
“Well, if you were in the duo, then it’d be an issue of who would be your partner,” Dina explained.
“Wouldn’t I be Brother’s partner?” Bethany asked.
“You wouldn’t be his partner.” Avery snorted. “I would.”
“I would.” Dina had spoken at the same time.
“Why would it be one of you?” Katie cut in. “I’m the best at fighting games. It’d be me and Noah.”
“You only think you’re good at them.” Avery rolled her eyes.
“I still don’t get why my being in the duos is difficult.”
“Isn’t it because whether we fail or succeed, the comradery of that teamwork would bring the pair of us closer together, and we’d become a couple?” Katie asked, her eyes flashing with eagerness.
“I-I have a girlfriend.” I declared helpless.
“Exactly, singles it is.” Avery put her foot down.
I let out a sigh. I might have written all of that off as nonsense, but that was before I ended up sharing a sexual experience with Luna, Nora, and Sophie. It made me realize that it didn’t matter what girl I hung out with, they all had at least some desire to fuck me. They might not ever act on it, but my body certainly filled someplace in their sexual fantasies. That’s why I could never go partway again unless I meant it. If I gave them an inch, they’d take all seven inches, so to speak.
As for the three former friends, I had casually let Mackenzie and the twins know to lowkey threaten them. I hated bullying them, but I also knew their type. At least one of them would get vindictive and start going around telling people how I was a slut. They would keep their mouths shut now. I depended on my sisters to help clean up that mess. If I went to Samantha or Abigail, it might have turned to fighting. My sisters were a bit less jealous and a bit more tuned to my behavior. In this world, it was fine if I leaned on my sisters, just like a sister would depend on her brothers.
The girls debated a bit on who would be in the duo, but it was finally decided that Bethany and Avery would be the key players. Being the team leader, Avery insisted that she be in that match. As for my sister, I might have batted an eyelash at Avery in Bethany’s favor. We might have had a sordid history, but Avery still had a weakness for boys that hadn’t gone away. I would never consider Avery a girlfriend after what happened between her and my little sister, but I wouldn’t be against using her as a booty call when none of the other girls were available.
We seemed to be able to just have enough time to finish the selections when there was a light knock on the door. “Singles up!”
Avery handed out the selection, and then I left the room. The girls wished me their luck, and I followed the assistant while they left back out to the crowds where they’d be able to watch. We were brought out onto a large stage with tables and systems set up. I was a bit relieved to see the games were going to be played on a familiar system. If I was going to have to use a keyboard and mouse, I wasn’t going to be as confident.
A group of nearly one hundred contestants came out. This group was larger because it didn’t just include a single person from each team, but countless people who had come just to play the singles. By the way, since someone who was in the singles couldn’t play a double, there were no couple’s groups in the singles. This was ultimately the way they sorted all of this out.
My chair had an assigned number on it, and a little card with my team’s name, Quarters in the Coinslot, written on it. After finding my place, I took a better look at all of the others I was playing against. As Avery had predicted, the vast majority of them were women. Some of those women even gave me what I could only describe as flirtatious looks or winks. That’s when a familiar voice spoke from behind.
“It looks like the token boy has been let out of his cage.”
I glanced at the only other boy on this stage. He was the gay guy I had met before, the one who had tried to recruit me into the Pocket Rockets. Of course, since he was in an all-boy team, there would naturally be a boy in their finals. I still couldn’t help but feel annoyed that I would have to verse him.
“You’re in this one as well?” I tried to keep the angst out of my voice.
“I had to wonder what a cute boy like you was doing in this competition, now I know.” he glanced to the side.
I followed her to another smaller stage that had been set up. This was a judging table. They had both computer screens that could flip through our feeds, but also the direct line of the video being broadcast over the screen. There was a girl behind it with big boobs and skin-tight clothing. I had to admit, she was pretty hot. Standing around her judge stand was a noticeable group of guys. It was obvious they were separate from the group here to see the competition because they were all facing the judging table, looking up with awe or jumping and screaming. The security had created a circuit around the judging table and was seemingly just keeping back a flood of people.
This celebrity who I didn’t recognize should have had her stuff to worry about, but as if she could feel me looking, she suddenly looked across the room and our eyes met. She gave a smile, and it was a bit shocking. I quickly looked away, my face feeling a bit hot. This wasn’t me acting girly. Had any hot female celebrity suddenly looked at me, I would have been embarrassed. There was a distinct difference between dealing with the hottest girls in my school or dealing with the hottest girls in the country.
My reaction seemed to be exactly what the leader of the Pocket Rockets expected. He rolled his eyes, making a loud snort in the process. When I glanced back at him, he was already walking to his seat. Everyone finished finding their places, and then an announcer appeared on our stage with a microphone in hand.
“There will be five races in all. You will randomly be placed in a match with 15 of your contestants on each round. Places one through ten will receive a proportionate amount of points. Whoever has the most points at the end of five rounds will be the winner.”
This match sounded a bit like how Peach Kart worked, and when they pulled out the game, I saw it was even one I was familiar with. I took a breath. I could do this. I could win!