Chapter 18:


Theodora Plays to Win (With Cheat Codes)

Blue lights flashed above their heads and a message popped up in Katya’s periphery:

Event triggered, Rules: Free-for-all, Time: 5 minutes

Prepare for engagement.

Countdown: 30 seconds.

“What is this?” Katya was beyond bewildered by this sudden turn of events.

Everest positioned herself between Katya and the door, anticipation building.

“Stay here and watch, but keep out of sight, we can’t risk you getting discovered by the other team. I doubt they’d take their see’r onto the battlefield, if they even have one, but it’s not worth the risk.” Her profile cut a statuesque image of a hero.

Opal took Katya’s hand, “Don’t worry, my sister is one of the best fighters we have. I told you when you first woke up.”

“Watch her” Everest cautioned, obviously talking to Opal and not Katya.

There was the sound of grating metal as the entire wall fell forward to reveal a desert. Miles of golden sand spread out as far as the eyes could see, only interrupted by a handful of brick shelters. The sand however wasn’t the most surprising thing, it was the fact that they appeared to be at least 50 feet above the ground. Beyond a shiny silver railing she could see people shaped dots running about on the ground.

Everest stepped onto the deck and climbed onto the railing, “What are you doing?!?”

“I’ll be back.” With that she leapt off it like a diving board.

“Can you explain what’s happening? Pretend I’ve been in a coma for the last five years and don’t have any idea what’s going on. In fact, give it to me like I’m from a whole other planet and tell me what the hell is going on!”

“Mmm? Hmm? I’m not good at that sort of thing. Sis, or Luna would be better at that. Just watch and see how awesome Evie is”

“I can’t really make out what’s going on” Opal hands Katya a pair of binoculars. When did she even get these? Katya put them up to her face and they latched on. Katya let out a startled yelp as they strapped themselves to her head. It didn’t hurt, it was just very unexpected. “What the hell are these?!?”

“What do you mean, they’re Zoggles.”

“Another world, Opal, another world.” A question mark seemed to appear over Opal’s head.

Katya refocused her vision, this time she could see the battlefield and everyone on it as clearly as if she were down there with them.

The human shaped dots were apparently just human shaped and not actually human. The creatures had beige skin the same color as the desert and scales running across their entire body. They all had long green or white hair except for one who had a dalmatian colored mohawk.

More people flooded the “battlefield” as the countdown went into the final 10 seconds. They were all different shapes and sizes and species, very few of which were human, and they far outnumbered the reptilians below. All the “people” coming from our side looked far larger and more intimidating. Any remaining doubts about this being another world had now vanished. Katya was on a completely different planet from the one she knew as Earth.

The timer finally hit zero and a familiar sounding voice rang out as if amplified by a loud speaker, “Begin”

The battle began. Red and green laser beams shot across the field of battle. Everest slid underneath them Matrix style before jumping up axe first at an attacking reptilian. The reptilian flickered out of existence making Katya’s eyes go wide. What is that? What sort of logic was governing this new world. Blue energy flowed into Everest as she continued forward into the melee.

Our side was overwhelming the reptilians, their numbers rapidly dwindling. The Dalmatian was on stand-by at the outskirts of the free-for-all. He surveyed the battle looking for something in particular.

Everest sliced another reptile in half with her ginormous battle-axe. Just looking at her you wouldn’t think she could handle such a large, off-balance weapon, the odds of it swinging her around seemed like it’d be more likely but she was clearly well suited to the weapon.

She spun around using the weapon for extra momentum and cutting several other reptiles half (horizontally this time). The dalmatian gave a throaty shriek and broke into run, straight at Everest. The timer was down to two minutes.

“My sister’s really strong. After the Great Displacement and the beginning of the Game Era, Evie became determined to grow stronger and bring our family back together” as Katya had guessed, the girls were surviving on their own. A voice told her that family wasn’t all that great and that they’re probably better off separated, but that may have only applied to her. “She a really good fighter, but I don’t think it’ll be enough. I’ve heard you can actually die in the upper level zones. I don’t want to lose her.”

The dalmatian jumped into the fray with a hatchet in each hand. Everest turned around just in time to block a swing from her right. She counters with the staff end circling it low across the ground. The dalmatian does a flip bringing the hatchet down over Everest’s head as he pinwheels over her. Everest rolls her axe across her shoulder causing sparks to fly as the two blades collided.

They exchanged some words but the Zoggles only enhanced a person’s sight. Katya noticed some movement in the sand near Everest’s feet. “No”

Something the dalmatian said made Everest angry, her axe began to glow blue. The dalmatian’s eyes widened slightly but he was also smirking, knowing the dastardly trick he was about to pull. Just as Everest was about to charge, scaly reptilian hands burst through the sand at her feet securing her ankles. The dalmation taunted her, spinning his hatchets around and smiling. Everest was now feral with rage.

Everest tapped a button on her axe and the handle retracted; at the same time the axe blade dropped the ground linked to the staff by a metal chain. It was a short chain but it was enough. The dalmatian raised his guard for the first time in the battle. He suddenly looked over to his right as a boy in black sped by severing his arm knocking up the sand to reveal the two reptiles holding Everest in place. The dalmatian screamed. They might not be able to die but it sure seemed like he could feel that.

Everest bent her knees slightly as if preparing to do a sprint. Energy began to gather around her legs. The dalmatian turned to face her just as she kicked off the ground into a somersault bringing the reptiles and her axe with her right on top of Mr. Dalmatian. The first rotation cleaved him in half. The two lackeys hit the ground with such force you could almost hear the bones breaking from here. She didn’t stop there, she channeled energy into the axe and went into a second rotation. The axe’s aura expanded as it came down, covering a third of the battlefield. The impact zone was narrow but it still took out roughly a dozen reptilians.

At that moment, a buzzer sounded bringing an end to the spectacle. Just like that both sides stopped fighting and went back to their respective territories.

“How do I take these off?” She put her hands to the goggles and they came off in her hand, “oh. Oh!” However, her eyes remained zoomed for some reason. Everything was super close, “Umm, Opal! My eyes are still, they’re still-”

“That happens sometimes, especially if you haven’t worn them before. Isn’t it cool!”

“It’s very not cool, very not cool!”