“When you told me the girls had nabbed Marco, I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed.” stated Jarod. Then he bit into another of the macaroni and cheese hors d’oeuvres and said, “Poor guy doesn’t know what he’s missing. Aaliyah and Mila really have things covered.”
“Surprisingly, I actually did have some input as well.” I insisted.
Jarod laughed and said, “I’m sure, but this is still crazy!”
We had landed in Miami yesterday. Most of the remaining day was spent at a paintball center, and then we went to some clubs at night. Getting Aaliyah inside was as easy as getting Chad to let his daughter join us out of state for a bachelor party. That man was incredibly easy going and merely said, “I know you’ll take care of her. Have fun!”. The clubs we attended were all affiliated with the Slayer family, and Aaliyah’s I.D. granted us instant VIP access.
When most everyone was worn out, we retired to Aaliyah’s yacht and departed for Nassau, arriving there well before anyone was awake. The sunrise was beautiful. Though I was happy to share it with Aaliyah and Mila, I still wished Alma could have been with me.
Breakfast in the morning was quickly followed by gaming on the laptops Aaliyah had ready for us. I’m sure some people would find traveling to the Bahamas for video gaming ridiculous, but wasn’t that what bachelor parties were supposed to be? Surprisingly, every last person on Jarod’s list played Ancient Tribes of Earth, most of which were lieutenant generals in our guild under Jarod’s command, meaning neither of us had met them in person until Miami. Well, all of the ones in attendance with whom I didn’t live were.
I had expected to have a few people from school but wouldn’t argue about Jarod’s decision, though I was surprised to find out that Marlin and Lake were female. Jesse would have been unexpected, save that I remembered hearing her speak before after someone had called her by her real name. I had to wonder if this was the first bachelor party with as many girls invited as guys.
“Who’s Marco?” asked Shaurya.
He was around my age and played and played a tankish character with a tower shield named Foehammer. Jarod seemed to deploy him and his troops in the forefront quite often, though not always. Jarod’s tactics were far too diverse to be so predictable.
“Marco’s one of our friends and James’ chef. The guy’s cooking is off the hook!” exclaimed Brandon.
“He’s my friend too.” I pointed out.
“Oh, master, no one would question that you consider Marco a friend.” stated Mila.
“Does she always call you ‘master’?” asked Jesse.
Jesse was probably a few years older than me and fairly tall. Her character, Heaven, was a jack of all trades. She didn’t specialize in anything, unless you considered mixing all combat skills into a viable combat form a specialization. Jarod often had her troops held in reserve to support wherever needed.
“Of course! He is my master.” replied Mila. “I was made to serve him after all.”
“Huh?” replied Jesse.
“My mind was created by mother.” explained Mila, nodding toward Aaliyah. “And my body was then constructed as a joint effort between mother, Jarod, and me.”
“Wow. Thumbs up to you, sir.” commented Damien with a wink toward Jarod.
Damien’s character, Sinister, was commander of Jarod’s scouts, despite not being the stealthiest of them. He focused in control type magic that enabled him to scout through animals, intelligent plants, and even humanoids, which he also employed as anything else needed to support his group. Damien himself might’ve been closer to thirty than twenty. He was blond and had the type of face that made him look exceptionally friendly.
“I’m still confused. Are you saying that you’re a machine?” asked Lake.
Funny enough, Lake played a fire mage named Agnimitra. She had a talent for killing things in game and was the only one in her troop that focused in damage, as far as I knew. She was deadly enough that they didn’t need any other damage dealers. Lake was around average height, brunette, and a decent dancer from what I saw last night.
“She’s my baby girl!” exclaimed Aaliyah with a grin.
The mix of awe and glee surrounding the others first meeting Aaliyah was beautiful to watch, and it hadn’t fully subsided.
“She’s really not joking.” stated Jarod. “Mila, mind giving them a little demonstration? Maybe comment to them on the laptops?”
I could see questions forming on their faces before the notifications even went off. Then there was shock and laughter.
“I also can control this vessel.” stated Mila with a smile as the yacht suddenly turned on.
Marlin then said, “This is completely insane, but so cool!”
I didn’t have the slightest clue what Marlin did, though I recognized her character name, Scheherazade. She was around Emma’s height, but had long, black hair. I got the impression that she was constantly hiding something.
“Mila’s an incredible friend and exceptionally talented, so don’t underestimate her.” encouraged Jarod.
“I won’t, but where did you get the idea for the design? She’s hot!” exclaimed Damien.
“My master answered a series of questions to determine preferences, which led to the form you see here. I will admit to slightly resembling his girlfriend, who you know as Eseld.” explained Mila.
“Sorry, Mila, but I’d say more than slightly.” replied Brandon with a laugh.
“As mother would say…” started Mila before sticking her tongue out at him.
Brandon only laughed harder, but she really didn’t seem to mind.
“These laptops are pretty amazing.” commented Alec. “Have you guys logged in yet?”
He was a tall guy that seemed exceptionally indifferent to the clubs last night, but he was a talented gamer. Shino, his character, used a combination of melee and magic in her fighting. Alec’s main group seemed to run amok at a glance. After some observation, I realized that they seemed to do a combination of support magic and ambush maneuvers.
“Make sure the name at the bottom is right before you get too far into it.” stated Jarod. “They’re yours to keep.”
The looks of shock were priceless. I wondered if Jarod was fabricating laptops now or if he bought them.
As if she had taken to reading my mind now, Mila said, “I designed the operating system, though mother personally created the port for Ancient Tribes of Earth. The hardware was a joint project of Jarod and me.”
And I had thought they couldn’t look any more shocked. Clearly, I was wrong.
“James, did you hear that?” asked Marlin.
“Sure did.” I assured her.
“Oh, he doesn’t get to keep his. Don’t want Mila jealous.” teased Jarod.
Grinning, Mila said, “I wouldn’t mind. Think of master’s gentle caress as he touches the keys. Imagine his deft strokes across the touchpad. Even if he activated the motion controls, I would follow his every hand movement as if I were the air through which he moved.”
“Yes, Mila can be a flirt. Please don’t read into things.” I told the others.
“Sure, James. Not sayin’ a thing.” commented Jesse.
“Whatever floats your boat!” added Damien with a grin.
Smiling as well, Brandon said, “He’s actually being serious. His girlfriend’s got a bit of a temper.”
Not wanting to confirm or deny anything more, I said, “Let’s get started, shall we?”
Balancing how much was said in front of others could be tricky at times. There were so many secrets in my life, and telling too much would be too easy. Luckily, Jarod seemed to be having a wonderful time thus far, which was what mattered the most to me this weekend. I wished him every happiness.