Getting Tynan Boey to talk to her and open up wasn't a very difficult thing to do. Laura knew that the best way to get someone to start talking is to ask about themselves and then lead them into talking about a topic they're enthusiastic about before falling silent to listen to their tale. In fact, Laura preferred listening over talking. One tended to learn more by listening to others than imposing their thoughts onto the world.
"My colleague Kamie always told me that if I didn't dress well, nobody would want to get to know me better."
The biker slammed a fist on the virtual wall beside her but the sound resounded in the speakers. Tynan was slightly startled by the explosive reaction.
"How dare she judge a person by their attire? So what if people loved wearing what they feel most comfortable in? It's not against the law to do so, is it? What's her deal?"
Seeing the E-ghost get so worked up, the IT graduate chuckled. "Well, I can't say she's wrong either. This is why I didn't get a job even after graduating two years ago. I used to have many friends but they've all gotten jobs and some even have girlfriends. Occasionally, I see them with new watches or more grey hair. Some of them would lose weight and others would gain it around their belly but not me. I'm still the same old programmer who couldn't find a proper job because I'm way too poor to afford anything decent for anyone to give me a chance."
"What did you study? Also, you graduated two years ago... how old does that make you?"
Tynan laughed in a self-deprecating manner. "I'm just your regular techie, a graduate from a university here in Melbourne with a useless degree in Information Technology. Graduating at twenty-four means that I'm now twenty-six going on twenty-seven soon. Pathetic isn't it? I'm a grown man with no friends, lover, house or career."
"That's not true," Laura was quick to tell him the opposite. Even though Tynan acted like a slob, anyone who had to cope with poverty and depression would probably not fare any better. To give the man credit, at least he was still actively trying. He was holding onto a part-time job while sending out his resume even though sending out a fresh graduate resume at twenty-six was going to be tough to get an interview.
"The fact that you have not given up means that you're not yet human garbage. I might not be human now but I can be your friend. I believe this is a mutually beneficial proposal for us. You help me complete the missions the system gives me so that I can level up and I accompany you for who knows how long?"
Tynan smiled. He was more and more convinced that E-ghost or AI was actually controlled by a real person behind it but that didn't matter anymore. Laura was probably the best thing to ever happen to him since the day his world came down on him. He wouldn't even be mad if it turned out to be a catfisher either.
"Sure, it beats playing games and chatting to faceless people online without knowing where they'd be tomorrow, right? Ok, tell me what your mission requires and I'll do my best to help you out. Talking to you is more fun than playing online games. I've grown bored of it two months ago but never had any real reason to not play it."
Laura thought that it was a strange reason for playing games but who was she to question somebody else's preference?
"Likes and dislikes then the task will be completed," she told him honestly and Tynan grimaced.
"It's hard to remember the things I like now... it's been so long ago since I actually found anything enjoyable... Ah! There is one now," the half-Scottish smiled at her blindingly.
"I like talking to you. It's nice to have a friend, Laura. I named the phone Laura because phones are as precious as wives and I wanted this to mark the end of my rainy days. It was meant to be a new beginning and already, my world is much brighter with your existence."
The racer felt a small fluttering in her non-existent heart with the heart-melting confession. While it was a sweet thing to say, Laura couldn't help but feel slightly sad for the man in front of her. To be happy over such a simple thing... How much did he have to suffer alone? If she didn't come into his life, would the police come to find a dead body in this apartment someday?
Ignoring the morbid thoughts, Laura listened to Tynan run his mouth about things he disliked from having to eat cup noodles every night to save money to the customers who try to negotiate for the prices at the convenience store. As Laura listened to more of Tynan's complaints, her heart became lighter as she floated crossed-legged into the air on his screen.
The man noticed it but thought that Laura was cute when she was most relaxed so he started telling funny stories about some of the strange and difficult things that happened at work. Hours flew by without either of them realising. They enjoyed themselves immensely until an alarm went off.
"Dammit! I'm sorry Laura but I need to clean up and get ready to work. We should talk again after I end in six hours, e-ghost or not, I really had a great time talking to you. Don't go anywhere, alright?"
Laura smiled and felt slightly guilty. They'd been talking till the next morning and she didn't feel tired or notice the exhaustion taking its toll on Tynan until it was too late. The programmer saw Laura's troubled expression and chuckled.
"Don't worry too much about it, I enjoyed the time I spent last night. No time enjoyed is time wasted at all. I have not transferred my SIM card to the G-phone so I hope you'll be alright all by yourself today. I promise to do the transfer when I come back. Please take this time to rest or do whatever e-ghosts need to do."
Laura didn't have much time to say anything before Tynan was already rushing out of the house. She took a look around and spotted something that looked suspiciously like a wallet lying innocently on the chair in front of her.
The e-ghost groaned. Why did Tynan have to be so forgetful? Luckily for him, the task was now completed and it was probably a good time to purchase that useless telekinetic skill. Also, she was going to upgrade the window so she can see if there was a way to call Tynan's phone to inform him about his missing wallet before he got too far.
With the race against time, Laura got to work immediately and smashed the purchase confirmation button. She had a nerd to save.
Tynan was already on his way to the store he worked at when his phone rang. It was an unknown number but the programmer decided to pick it up anyway. Chances were, it was an insurance agent trying to sell him something but being the nice person he was, the man simply couldn't decline calls."Hello?""You doofus! You left your wallet at home!"Startled, the half-Asian nearly dropped his phone. "You- Laura? How did you get my number?"If he could see the e-ghost, he would have seen Laura rolling her eyes. "I have skills. That's not important, come back and get your wallet before you starve!"The conversation made Tynan smile. Having someone care for him just made him feel very warm on the inside. "I understand. How about I run back to get it during lunch break? I don't work very far from where I live, a ten-minute walk would suffice. Can you wait until then? Is there something you'
When Tynan came back from work, he was carrying two heavy bags of groceries. It had been so long since he last cooked that he had to get everything from sauce and oil to rice on top of the things Laura requested. The shopping trip took longer than he expected and he was slightly tired from such a long day.Laura was resting and trying to piece back her memories. How did she end up as a ghost inside a phone? Also, it seemed like every time she tried to find out more about herself using the Internet Assistant, the system would deny her request. It was as if it didn't want her to find out how she died. The worst part was how Laura was unable to recall anything about her family. She knew background information like her home and that she had parents and was an only child with a pet cat. However, none of them had a real image to the names she knew. It felt like an implanted memory and at this moment, the ex-biker felt confused about her identity.
Laura was excited. She was able to see more of the world outside now that Tynan was bringing her to work. In the twenty-first century, it wasn't uncommon to see people holding their phones up and talking to themselves. People would assume that they were on a video call and Laura made it very convincing that she was someone calling from the other side of the line.Tynan showed her around town as he walked to work. The e-ghost smiled at the peaceful town. There were a few cars and only a few people because it was afternoon. Tynan's shift started after lunch and ended around dinner time. He was covering for Kamie who called in for an emergency leave today.The first thing she noticed was how crappy of a human the manager was. He was an overweight man who looked extremely greasy and didn't clean up after himself very well. While Laura tried her best not to judge a person by their looks, it was a clear case of human ga
It was a lazy weekend and Tynan didn't have to go to work. Initially, he intended to spend the day lazing in bed until noon but when he saw his new phone, he was quickly reminded of Lauren and swallowed thickly. The realisation of his feelings last night made him feel a little awkward around the e-ghost who was now very silent.Getting out of bed, Tynan wondered what would be a good breakfast for the snoozing e-ghost. After a few days, Laura and Tynan discovered that while Laura didn't need sleep or food, she would sometimes go offline for a few hours. During that period, the phone would work like any other phone and Laura couldn't be contacted.It was a scary thing but Laura explained it as a power outage of sorts where the system wouldn't allow her to view the outside world and she would feel a very strong feeling lulling her into a half-asleep state where she could not open her eyes yet could still hear faint stuff going on around her. Laura didn't know what she was
Tynan was taking a break. He'd call it a rather productive day as the game was making good progress. The first dungeon stage was complete and he tested it several times to find bugs. Laura even helped out as the game reset, giving him comments about where she found it lacking or difficult to cope with. He didn't know that the e-ghost was a gamer but Laura turned out to be rather decent with games even though she claimed that she didn't play games often in the past."You're actually quite good at this," Laura commented and Tynan rubbed the back of his neck in embarrassment."Thanks. I actually wanted to work in a game development company that's why I studied programming. It's hard to get into that market here in Australia. I did think about moving abroad to America but nobody would employ me. The dream company to work for would be Playrix in Russia but I don't speak Russian so that's a huge no-go. Getting a job at that shitty convenience store was the only thing that al
Laura and Tynan settled into an easy routine after a while and just like that, two weeks flew by. The dirt princess was slowly but surely levelling up her housekeeping skills but she was unable to complete the new task the system assigned her. She wasn't able to improve Tynan's financial system and that was becoming a little bit of a nuisance."Why wouldn't the system level up already? Surely it wouldn't take much longer to get Internet Consultant to level 2, right? I'm already level 10 with cleaning, level 3 with cooking and level 7 with comforting!"The system addressed Laura's complaints with patience.[The ratio of xp to level up purchased skills from shared xp in trainable skills is 5:1. Replying, a total of 30 levels must be achieved in trainable skills to level up purchased skills once. Shared xp function works collectively, purchased skills will be levelled up at the same time.]Laura read the explanation twice and threw her hands up in frustratio
The strong chemical smell of hair products invaded Tynan's nose as he entered the salon that he hasn't been to in half a year. His hair was already touching his shoulder and the natural waviness of his red locks was becoming a tangled mess since he hadn't maintained it.It didn't take long for Laura to figure out that Tynan hated the hair salon with passion. The man kept fidgeting and scowling whenever the stylist touched his hair and praised it. The lady with rainbow fringe kept asking him a volley of questions that Tynan didn't know how to answer or particularly care for.Hence, the e-ghost took matters in her own hands and texted Tynan to communicate with the distressed programmer.Laura: Do you want to keep it long or short?Tynan looked up from his phone and asked the hairstylist if he could maintain the length of his hair. It was a pain to keep coming back to the salon because his hair grew as quick as the unattended grass outside. He didn't want to
After the successful image transformation, Laura quickly uploaded a good picture after some editing. Tynan left it in her capable hands and decided to tackle the more important stuff, grabbing discounted groceries from the store. If he was going to save money, he was going to start by cutting down on food expenses. For a while, he wouldn't be taking cooking requests from Laura.Laura didn't question where Tynan was going in such a hurry. She was busy dealing with marketing matters for his new freelancer profile and checking out the competitors on the website while the programmer jostled for discounted vegetables and meat.The grocery shopping trip ended quickly and Laura noticed how many people were looking at Tynan. Perhaps it was his new looks, perhaps it might be the ridiculous amount of grocery bags he was carrying home. Either way, he attracted a lot of attention."Tired already?" the dirt princess asked when Tynan had to stop by at a park to rest before he