Several weeks went by, with nothing very eventful happening. Over that period of time Arthur was finally released from Doctor Hudson's care, one thing to note was that his brain activity finally began showing normal results. Although Doctor Hudson was still confused about what caused it in the first place, there was no reasonable way he could find out, especially now that the symptom had apparently vanished.
Arthur eventually went back to school for the last few weeks of the year, the assessment period had already ended, so there wasn't anything important for him to do, as he had completed all his work for the year. While some teachers still decided to hand out work, or make small quizzes, most of the teachers decided to spend the last few weeks in a more entertaining manner.
The history teacher picked out a different movie for each day, naturally each movie fit the theme of his class, however he slid a few entertaining classics into the bunch. The maths teacher hosted a bunch of interactive games he projected on the white board, such as a trivia competition.
Within the sports class, due to the sudden dismissal of the previous teacher, the person in charge of the sports class was a substitute. He hosted a game of dodgeball here and there, but for the most part he just gave everyone free time to do whatever they like. Some ran off to play soccer, others decided to play basketball, most of the groups decided to just sit in the shade, Arthur's group was one of them, the substitute teacher also preferred sitting in the shade.
Naturally everyone who was behind on their work had to sit in silence, rushing to complete their work before the year ended, especially so that they could join in on the fun.
Arthur, Holly and Quinn finally finished school for the year. One of the major events after school ended was Arthur's birthday.
Arthur was nervous, his father used to make every birthday a big deal. But in the previous timeline, ever since the incident that took Anna's life, birthdays became a sad reminder. Causing the loud company wide parties everyone enjoyed to turn into a day of quiet mourning that everyone dreaded, it was unbearable at times.
Arthur psyched himself up, this was the first company birthday party in a very long time, he was going to enjoy it to the fullest. He made sure to invite Emily alongside his closest friends, Holly and Quinn.
Arthur laid down on his bed, staring up at the ceiling. He remembered everything about this birthday, he wondered what would change based on his actions, such as inviting Emily, or his request on a few particular snacks that he grew to enjoy over the years, or even choosing a different type of cake.
Arthur heard a knock on his door, but before he could tell them to come in, the door burst open. The man standing in the doorway was Donovan, who was wearing a pretty nice suit.
"You know the chance of me being naked right now wasn't zero, right?" Arthur remarked, glancing at Donovan who looked pretty proud of himself. "A minute earlier and you'd have been a criminal."
Donovan's facial expression darkened for a moment, before Arthur pipped up again, "So I take it the guests have started arriving?"
Arthur naturally already knew this, it was the exact same situation as last time. The only difference being Donovan entered while Arthur was still picking out a shirt in the previous timeline.
"Yeah." Donovan spoke in an almost disparaged voice.
Arthur rolled off of his bed, and walked towards the door, complimenting Donovan's new tie as he walked past him. Arthur lived in what was more like a small apartment building than a house, each room took up an entire floor, giving Arthur plenty of space for his ever expanding list of hobbies.
The building was right next to the laboratory. In fact the back entrance of the lab was easily accessible through their back garden. Arthur's father spent a lot of time at work, to the point where he rarely had time to drive home and sleep, let alone not seeing his children for weeks on end. Being sick of sleeping in his office, he eventually had the bright idea of building a house next door to his laboratory, letting him sleep in his own bed and see his family every day.
Arthur made his way to the bottom floor, which contained all the regular parts of a house, a kitchen, an entertainment room, a dining hall, the laundry, etc. Each floor had it's own bathroom, and a kitchen for that matter, but they made sure to eat as a family on the bottom floor when they could.
"Heya Art, Happy Birthday!" Anna was sitting in the kitchen eating the leftover candied cherries that weren't used on the large birthday cake resting on the kitchen counter behind her. She pulled a cherry out of the jar by the stem and held it out close to Arthur's face. "Want one?"
Arthur leaned in and bit the cherry, the lightest pull detached the fruit from the stem. Anna flicked the stem onto a pile of stems, it appeared she ate quite a few.
Donovan made his way down the stairs, glancing at the two siblings. "How do you two eat those, they're so sweet." He couldn't help but cringe at what they were eating. To which Anna taunted Donovan by devouring another cherry.
"Are we ready to head over?" Arthur asked, only now admiring the three layer cake Anna had spent the better part of yesterday preparing.
"Alright, Father sent a couple people over to carry the cake, I'm going to go get dressed real quick." Anna dashed upstairs, coming back down roughly twenty minutes later. Her long blonde hair was styled with a bridal updo, and she wore an elegant black dress. "Alright, I'm ready."
This was the one of the only times in the year Anna could wear something other than medical scrubs or a lab coat to work, she made sure to dress up for the occasion.
Eventually the two made their way through their backyard into the laboratory and up to the first floor. The first floor was completely redecorated for the occasion, especially the largest room, that was big enough to hold company wide meetings and was often used as the general hangout area for employees on their break. There were now several tables set up all over the room, with some tables being used as the buffet, holding an impressive spread of various foods and snacks, with more food being brought out from the company kitchen in an adjacent room.
Arthur and Anna made their way to a small group of well dressed individuals, one of which was their father, who noticed them almost immediately upon coming into view. "Happy Birthday, Arthur!"
The two men by his father's side also wished Arthur a happy birthday, they also complimented Anna's appearance, which brought a smile to her face.
More people started arriving, and eventually the party had started. Arthur spent the first hour or so greeting everyone who arrived. Out of his friend group, Quinn arrived first, he was wearing a pair of jeans and a button up polo. Then DEmily arrived around the same time, clearly dressed up to impress a certain someone. And last but not least, Holly nervously entered the party roughly ten minutes after. Her hair was done up nicely in a loose braid crown and she was wearing a floral print summer dress.
"You look great." Athur's compliment caused Holly's rosy cheeks to brighten. Arthur took her by the hand and lead her over to Quinn. Emily was nearby, but she was hovering around Doctor Hudson, as expected.
Over the next couple hours, everyone indulged themselves in various types of food, dance, and even a few party games, until the time everyone was waiting for arrived.
The centre table was cleared away, and a large three layer cake garnished with candied cherries was brought into the room. Arthur's father approached the stage, at the furthest part of the room, grabbing the microphone from the podium, he began a speech, everyone became silent as he spoke.
"Now, those who know me know that I like to keep these events exclusively about my children, business be damned." He continued. "But, this was a special request from my son, a preview of the advertisement that is set to go live at the start of next month."
A projector beamed an image on the white wall behind him, Arthur's father walked off stage, allowing everyone to see the projection clearly. The video showcased a vast fantasy world, alongside gameplay from the developers and even some of Arthur. Showcasing them attempting to flip, climb a tree, throw magic with their hands. The general consensus at this point was that it was a pretty engaging roleplaying game with realistic graphics, hardly next gen.
The next part of the video explained the core element of the game, freedom.
Mentioning that the game was not controlled using any form of controller, nor keyboard and mouse, but instead using the mind, as if you were physically transported into the game itself. The reactions took an immediate turn.
You could do anything in this world, not limited by strict rules of traditional games, this was a true virtual experience, the genesis of a new world.
Arthur nudged Quinn's shoulder, and then whispered to him. "I told you it was worth saving up for."
Quinn could only nod in response.