Lawrence looked at Luda with a smug smile when his hand touched the wall. He waited to watch their eyes go wide in amazement when the wall vanished and became a window into another area of the realm, ringed by blue flames. But Luda’s face did not change; it did not express amazement, wonder, or terror. It did not express anything except anticipation, and a small bit of confusion.
Lawrence looked from Luda to the wall and discovered that the reason Luda was not amazed was because the wall did not do anything it was supposed to. It was still a wall. His smile vanished as he pulled his hand away, then reached out and touched it again.
After several seconds passed, Luda raised an eyebrow when nothing happened.
‘Wow,’ Luda signed, quirking an eyebrow sarcastically. ‘Amazing.’
Lawrence frowned and stepped away from the wall. He stared at the circles carved into the stone, confused. He had teleported hundreds, if not thousands of times before and it had always been the same dramatic glowing handprint that spread into a fully ringed doorway in the blink of an eye, but this time it did absolutely nothing when he tried to activate it.
“I- I don’t understand?” Lawrence raised his hand to the wall again, but again nothing happened. He raised his hand and pressed it to his left breast, and the game menu popped up into his field of view. Lawrence had his menu display set to private, which meant other players couldn’t see his menus or other visual displays when he activated them unless he chose to share. Lawrence felt safe opening his menu in front of Luda for this reason; also because he did so reflexively without bothering to consider the outcome. Fortunately, because his settings were set as they were, all Luda saw was him touching his chest then swiping at imaginary cobwebs in the air in front of him.
Lawrence swiped through several menus trying to find an error code for why he couldn’t interact with the portal. He had passed another player on their way down the stairs so he knew the portal itself was functioning as recently as a minute ago. He found no notices of downtime in the forum, no travel limitations for the area, and no reports for glitches or bugs.
With the usual suspects out of the way, Lawrence glanced back toward Luda, who was dragging their fingers over the stone wall in the corner. Lawrence considered them for a moment, then opened his party menu. When he gave Luda the medallion, he had taken the liberty of adding them to his party as well. From that moment on until he disbanded the group, they would share experience points and rewards, plus they would receive a bonus to gold and experience acquisition. However, while there were bonuses to joining a group, there were faults as well.
“Shit,” Lawrence finally said as he looked at Luda’s name on the party list. A red ‘INVALID’ was posted beside them. “You don’t have the HUB unlocked. I can’t teleport us there.”