Colonel Fitzwilliam’s manners were very much admired by the visiting alts, and they all felt that he must add considerably to the pleasures of their engagements at <Rosings>. It was some days, however, before they received any invitation thither—for while there were visitors of raiding level on the server, they could not be necessary; and it was not till almost a week after the gentlemen’s arrival, that they were honoured by such an attention, and then they were merely asked on logging on to come to a Kara run for nostalgia’s sake in the evening. For the last week they had seen very little of Lady Catherine or her daughter. Colonel Fitzwilliam had spoken in guild chat more than once during the time, but Mr. Darcy they had seen only at raid time.
The invitation was accepted of course, and at a proper hour they joined the party and made their way to the dungeon entrance. Her ladyship received them civilly, but it was plain that their company was by no means so acceptable as when she could get nobody else; and she was, in fact, almost engrossed by the raiders, speaking to them, especially to Darcy, much more than to any other person in the raid.
Colonel Fitzwilliam seemed really glad to see them; anything was a welcome relief to him at <Rosings>; and Charlotte’s pretty friend had moreover caught his fancy very much. He now sent her tells, and talked so agreeably of raiding and farming, of crafting and dailies, of playing the auction house and questing, that Elizabeth had never been half so well entertained on that server before; and they conversed with so much spirit and flow, as to draw the attention of Lady Catherine herself, as well as of Mr. Darcy, by means of their inattention to the raid. Darcy had been soon and repeatedly turned towards them with a look of curiosity; and that her ladyship, after a while, shared the feeling, was more openly acknowledged, for she did not scruple to call out over Vent:
“What is that you are doing, Fitzwilliam? Why aren’t you here interrupting these casters? Why do you and Elizabeth keeping lagging behind or running into walls? Raiding is serious business even when we do overpower the content.”
“We are speaking of crafting, madam,” said he, when no longer able to avoid a reply.
“Of crafting! Then pray speak aloud. It is of all subjects my delight. I must have my share in the conversation if you are speaking of crafting. There are few people in the world, I suppose, who have more true enjoyment of crafting than myself, or a better natural ability to level tailoring. If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient at blacksmithing as well. And so would Anne, if her play style had allowed her to apply. I am confident that she would have performed delightfully. How does Georgiana get on, Darcy?”
Mr. Darcy spoke with affectionate praise of his sister’s proficiency.
“I am very glad to hear such a good account of her,” said Lady Catherine; “and pray tell her from me, that she cannot expect to excel if she does not farm a good deal.”
“I assure you, madam,” he replied, “that she does not need such advice. She farms quite regularly.”
“So much the better. It cannot be done too much; and when I next write to her, I shall charge her not to neglect it on any account. I often tell people that no excellence in crafting is to be acquired without constant farming. I have told Elizabeth several times, that she will never maximize her professions unless she farm more; and though Charlotte has no ability to farm effectively, she is very welcome, as I have often told her, to take mats from the guild vault, and pay back the guild at 75 per cent of auction house prices.”
Mr. Darcy made no answer and an uncomfortable silence settled over Vent.
When the raid was over, Colonel Fitzwilliam reminded Elizabeth of having promised to heal a dungeon for him; and she agreed instantly to queue. Lady Catherine stayed in Vent, and talked, as before, to Mr Darcy; till he interrupted her with an offer to tank or dps for the random dungeon. Elizabeth saw what he was doing, and at the first convenient pause, said:
“You mean to frighten me, Mr. Darcy, by coming in all this state to see me heal on an undergeared alt? I will not be alarmed though your sister does heal so well. There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”
“I shall not say you are mistaken,” he replied, “because you could not really believe me to entertain any design of alarming you; and I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance long enough to know that you find great enjoyment in occasionally professing opinions which in fact are not your own.”
Elizabeth laughed heartily at this picture of herself, and said to Colonel Fitzwilliam, “Mr. Darcy will give you a very pretty notion of me, and teach you not to believe a word I say. I am particularly unlucky in meeting with a person so able to expose my real character, on a server where I had hoped to pass myself off with some degree of credit. Indeed, Mr. Darcy, it is very ungenerous in you to mention all that you knew to my disadvantage —and, give me leave to say, very impolitic too—for it is provoking me to retaliate, and such things may come out as will shock these guildies to hear.”
“Lolwut,” said he, smilingly.
“Pray let me hear what you have to accuse him of,” cried Colonel Fitzwilliam. “I should like to know how he behaves among strangers.”
“You shall hear then—but prepare yourself for something very dreadful. The first time of my ever seeing him on my server, you must know, was at a raid—and at this raid, what do you think he did? He tanked wholly without speaking, though our knowledge of the fights was scarce; and, to my certain knowledge, more than one healer was sitting down in want of mana when he would pull half a room. Mr. Darcy, you cannot deny the fact.”
“I had not at that time the honour of knowing the GearScore of anyone in the raid beyond my own party.”
“True; and nobody can ever trouble to look at their raiding frames. Well, Colonel Fitzwilliam, what do I queue for next? My fingers wait your orders.”
“Perhaps,” said Darcy, “I should have judged better, had I looked at my frames; but I am well-geared and we did not wipe on my account.”
“Shall we ask Mr. Darcy the reason of this?” said Elizabeth, still addressing Colonel Fitzwilliam. “Shall we ask him why a man of sense and education, and who has lived in the world and downloaded many an addon, did not look at raid frames?”
“I can answer your question,” said Fitzwilliam, “without applying to him. It is because he will not give himself the trouble.”
“I certainly have not the talent which some people possess,” said Darcy, “of raiding easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their level of expertise, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.”
“My fingers,” said Elizabeth, “do not click my mouse buttons in the masterly manner which I am given to understand so many leet raider’s do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same results. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault—because I will not take the trouble of capping VP. It is not that I do not believe my fingers as capable as any other healer’s of superior execution.”
Darcy smiled and said, “You are perfectly right. You have employed your time much better. No one admitted to the privilege of having you heal them can think anything wanting. We neither of us perform to strangers.”
Here they were interrupted by Lady Catherine, who came back to vent and demanded to know what they were talking of. Elizabeth immediately began healing again. Lady Catherine queued with them for the next, and, after playing for a few minutes, said to Darcy:
“Elizabeth would not play at all amiss if she practised more, and could have the advantage of understanding Elitist Jerks. She has a very good notion of healing, though her gear is not equal to Anne’s. Anne would have been a delightful raider, had her health allowed her to play more.”
Lady Catherine continued her remarks on Elizabeth’s performance, mixing with them many instructions on execution and spell choice. Elizabeth received them with all the forbearance of civility, and, at the request of the gentlemen, remained for yet one more random before calling it a night.