Trapped in an online world called iSync, Issa meets a thousand other players from every corner of the world, who all go by their online ID names. Struggling to survive and fighting for a way out, he meets Flower, a mysteriously smart girl. How will a human mind survive in conditions evolution hasn't prepared it for?


22. Chapter 22


We woke up as soon as the sun was up. Even though it was tempting to sleep in on this extremely comfortable virtual bed, we didn’t want to lose anytime. Before we left Berry’s Inn, we did an equipment check, had one last breakfast at Berry’s, and off we went.


We walked up the hill, away from Intos, and further away from Queenstown. Come to think of it, this would be the first time we had traveled beyond this little town. I wondered what would happen when we crossed over into the Praya server. For Saaler and Thunder this would simply be the way back.



“Hey Saaler, how long did you travel from Praya until you reached Intos?” I asked.


Saaler thought for a moment. “I think about four days. Two days before that we found another small town, but I don’t know the name.”



I nodded. It made sense. If Intos was the server border town for Queenstown, then Praya must also have something similar.


We activated our Wind Boots and sprinted ahead. I couldn’t believe how great it felt to sprint ahead at full speed along this green landscape with the fresh morning air. There were no bumps or holes, so we could sprint without having to worry about tripping.


For about an hour we traveled at this speed and slowly the landscape began to change. The path became less smooth and the flat landscaped vanished. Instead we were inside a large valley and were surrounded by tall mountains with the path becoming rocky and uneven. Carefully we slowed down by not concentrating as much as weight as before when firing off the boots.


After half an hour of carefully traveling down this winding path, we decided to take a break. Traveling at high speed on a road that was not straight took a lot of concentration.


“I wish we could just fly,” I said. I took a water skin from Quaker and drank.


“Yeah,” Quaker agreed. “We can’t run at full speed in this valley. It would be easier if we had wings.”


“If I remember right, after this valley should be a forest area,” Saaler said.


No one said a single word.


If we reached the forest area, we would have to slow down to walking speed. Traveling with any boost from the Wind Boots would be risky. Even though these weren’t our real bodies, no one wanted to run into a tree at full sprinting speed.


“Have we crossed into the Praya server yet?” asked Flower.


Brother and sister shrugged. Neither knew exactly where the border was between the servers. If the developers had done one thing right, it was the seamless integration of the different servers.


“How far is it until the next border town?” I asked.


“If we slow down to walking speed at the forest later, we should arrive there sometime tomorrow,” Saaler estimated. “But I’m not sure. I wasn’t exactly keeping records of our travels.”


I nodded. I looked around. Here we were in this wide alley, in this beautiful nature reserve, and we could not see a soul. I honestly would have expected for us to run into some of the escaped players, or at least see some non-player characters. But there wasn’t a single inn, no roadside stalls. Nothing. Just nature.


After the short break, we traveled at half speed for another hour before we were forced to take off our Wind Boots and slow down to walking speed.


It was the most frustrating feeling in the world. Traveling with the Wind Boots boost had become second nature for us, and here we were, traveling again at the speed our bodies were meant to. I couldn't feel the acceleration, or the wind, or the feeling of freedom that came with the extra speed.


It was time like these I was reminded that I was a mere mortal.


“Let’s say you were Irady,” I said as my mind wandered off. “What would you do if you met one of the stronger Praya players?”


Everyone thought for a short while. It was a tricky question since we weren’t sure of the position the surviving Praya players took. Did they want to stay inside iSync? Did they want to leave? Were they simply looking for other players out of pure loneliness?


“I would first introduce myself as a player from Queenstown,” Flower answered. “But what follows afterwards is difficult to say. Irady can’t reveal himself as someone who wants to stay inside iSync until the Praya player reveals it first. But there is an equal chance that he might admit it outright, since there is no way he knows of the superior fighting skills Praya players have. Although, Irady is smart, so I think he would make sure of the position the other player is in before stating his own goals. I think whatever the case, Irady would try to make an alliance first before risking any hostilities.”


It made sense. Irady didn’t have as much information as we did, so there was no way he could know that the Praya players were stronger.


The only problem was that Irady’s speed was more or less equal to that of Saaler and Thunder. If those two were among the fastest from Praya, then it’s possible that Irady could beat other Praya players in terms of speed. If he had the element of surprise on his side, he could quickly win a fight using his assassin’s knives.


Suddenly, Saaler stopped. He raised his fist and signaled for us not to move.


“Who’s there?” he shouted.


All five of us stood frozen. Was there someone hiding in behind the trees? Automatically I locked an arrow into my Feather’s Cross.


“I know you’re there! Come out!” Saaler shouted.


There was a rustling sound coming from a tree about twenty meters away from us. I aimed my Feather’s Cross at it. Flower did the same with her Eagle Crossbow.


From behind the trees, a hooded figure emerged. We couldn’t see his face, and for a moment I was worried that we had encountered the Tortured One.



Before any of us could react, the hooded figure turned around. He was preparing to run away. He entered a stance and his boots began to glow blue.


No way.


He couldn’t possibly be planning on sprinting at full speed inside this dense forest. He would knock himself out.


“Flower! Shoot!” I shouted.


Right before the hooded figure sprinted ahead, Flower pulled the trigger, but it was too late. In the rush, she missed and the small explosion only damaged the tree.


Before any of us could say another word, the hooded figure was traveling at full speed. Like a snake he dodged the trees while still keeping up with the full momentum of the Wind Boots. Within seconds he was gone.


“This is bad...” Saaler gulped.


I nodded.


“We better move fast,” I said.


Our opponents had found us. 

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