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?


28. Chapter 28

I stepped out of the room. I walked past the group of four without saying a word. I signaled for them to follow me to the lobby so that we could talk.


“I should go guard Irady then,” Quaker said.


“’s alright,” I said in a low voice. “He isn’t going run anywhere. There is nowhere to run anyway.”


A bit hesitant, Quaker moved away from the door and came with us.


Irady wasn’t going to go anywhere. Even if he planned on escaping, there were no windows in the room, and the only way out of the through door, down the corridor, and exit through the lobby where we would be sitting. With his hands chained to the chair, he won’t be able to summon his AirMenu anyway.


And I didn’t think he was lying. Why would he lie about something like this? Why would he let himself get captured only to tell us a lie? It didn’t make any sense. He must be telling the truth.


We sat down.


I let out a long, tired sigh. I looked straight at Saaler and Thunder.


“You know, I think your father Gavin really had something against other developers,” I said with low eyebrows.


“What do you mean?” said Saaler, surprise evident in his voice.


I told everyone everything Irady told me the second time. I told them of how Irady believed that iSync is the way life was meant to be lived, and his justification for that. I told them how Irady encountered something in Praya that would permanently erase the existence of any non-Praya player in Praya as a sort of punishment for breaching the city. I told them that a player would not materialize as a vegetable body this way.


For a short moment everyone was silent.


“We could assume that Irady knew that we would reason why he was seeking our protection,” Flower said. “And this is all just a very convenient lie.”


“Although, why would he come all the way over here, get himself captured, just to feed us a lie?” I asked.


“The location of two players he gave us, show it to me,” Flower said.


I opened my AirMenu and sent her the note document. They were really simple directions. Walk a few blocks north from the Central Square, find an house called New Victory, then down there would be a basement dungeon where the players would be hiding.


Saaler pointed at the name New Victory. “This might a trap. Maybe this is a high level dungeon designed for elite Praya players, and Irady is hoping that you three might get killed if you go in there. Or he is hoping you will get permanently erased by that anti-virus.”


I let out a thoughtful breath as I stared at the name New Victory. Saaler had a point. Praya was a city for elite pre-beta testers after all. If there are any dungeons under this city, then they would be designed for players who already have had years of experience. And if that anti-virus program was as strong as it sounded, then we would have an impossible time fighting it.


“We could do it this way,” I suggested. “We will tell Irady that Thunder and Quaker will stay here to guard him. Saaler, Flower and I go into the dungeon to find the two players. If you don’t get a message from us within six hours, kill him. If his original plan was to lead us into a trap, then this way he will show some hesitation.”


“And what if you guys don’t return for real?” Quaker asked.


“Then kill him for real,” I said. “I’d rather have him alive, but wether he is alive or a vegetable body at the Fountain Square in Queenstown doesn’t make a difference for us.”


Quaker gulped and nodded.


I went back into the room and told Irady of our intentions. He simply shrugged and smiled.


“If you don’t deal with the threat that’s in the dungeon now, we will all be dead soon enough anyway.”


Satisfied with that answer, I went out of the room.


“I don’t like how we are just following Irady’s instructions word for word,” Quaker scowled. “It feels as if we are just walking into his trap without even thinking...”


“I know. I don’t like it either,” I said. “But in this case we have no choice. There is always the chance that it’s a trap, but we can’t risk not listening to Irady either. There is little reason for him to lie to us, and if what he said was true, if we don’t go to New Victory, we will never be able to log out.”


“Thunder. Quaker. Are you alright with staying here and guarding Irady?” I asked.


They both nodded.


“Thunder, I know that you are very strong. But don’t let your guard down. If Irady tries anything funny, knock him out...but try not to kill him,” I said.


Thunder nodded again. She then took her brother aside to have some private words with him.


“Quaker. Act as Thunder’s shield. She is fast, but she doesn’t have a lot of defense points. If bad goes worse, you try to take the damage of Irady’s hits if he manages to get lose,” I patted Quaker on the shoulder.


“What’s our plan for New Victory?” Flower asked.


I let out a sigh. “All I can say is: act swift, act fast. We’re not sure about what's waiting for us down there.”


I thought for a short moment. “But if what Irady said was true, then we absolutely must not get killed. We’re not sure what the monster looks like that will erase us permanently if it kill us, but we have to be extra careful now since we don’t know the difficulty of a Praya dungeon. I’m pretty sure Gavin has prepared a surprise or two for players from other cities.”


“Don’t worry. I’ll protect you,” Flower said.


I smiled and patted her on the head. “Aim like you did with the Silver Knight and this dungeon will be a piece of virtual cake.”


We spent half an hour checking our potion stocks, the durability of our equipment, how much power we had left in our Wind Boots, and the damage to our armor. Against the toughness of the Gold Knight chain mail, my Star’s Cut had taken a few scratches, but it would still outlast me in any battle.


I attached my Feather’s Cross to my side and made sure I had sufficient arrows stocked in my belt. I sheathed my Star’s Cut. Took a drink of water. I let out a deep breath. I reminded Thunder and Quaker one last time to shut their ears to whatever wonderful philosophical speech Irady might try to feed them.


Looking back one last time, Saaler, Flower and I went through the door.


We followed Irady’s directions, and although we almost got lost a few times, we eventually found it.


New Victory.


It was as clear as day that this was not a normal house. While every other building around it had yellow walls, and was build out stones, bricks and had traditional triangular rooftops with window stills and large wooden doors, this New Victory was something else entirely.


It was a building made entirely out of glass. It had steal beams forming the skeleton of the structure, but all the walls and floors were made out glass. The rooftop was completely flat and was made out of four large panels of glass.


The front door was also made out of glass, with a steel door handle for us to open it.


“Gavin really wanted this place to stand out,” I smiled sightly.


“I never knew my father had a thing for glass,” Saaler said as he admired the building.


“Seeing Praya, there must have been a lot of things you never knew about your father,” Flower said.


Saaler smiled sadly. “I guess that is true.”


We stepped inside the New Victory and looked down at the glass floor. Below there was nothing but darkness. I assume that the darkness represented the teleportation gate to the dungeon down below.


Minutes later, Saaler had found the trap door which lead to downstairs. There was no ladder, no stairs. Just one black hole leading into infinity.


“Are we supposed to jump down there?” I asked Saaler.


“Why are you asking me?” Saaler gulped.


Flower took a cup from a nearby table and threw it down. We waited and waited. There was no sound of the cup hitting the dungeon floor.


“Where does it lead to...” Saaler shook his head.


I swallowed. No doubt that this lead to the dungeon. But jumping down into a hole leading into nothing but infinite darkness was even more scary than bungie jumping.


“Only one way to find out,” I let out a nervous laugh.


I jumped. 

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