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And I'm Back In The Game!

What the...

Oh yeah. I'm back on the ship. I nearly lost my bearings after that 2 hour break. I nearly forget where I was in the game. I see that we're sailing again. And Cara's moving too. That's good.

''We're nearly approaching the fifth level,'' Cara yells back to me as she hoists the sails. Nearly there? Wow, I just got back in the game and I'm already approaching the fifth level? Time doesn't slow down any more, does it? Well, then again, I did spend a lot of time before the break sailing endlessly on the waters.

''Hey, Cara, can you tell me what she's like? The fifth level keeper?'' I ask Cara.

''Hmm, she's...nice, but only when she wants to be. Oh, and she's the oldest out of all the level keepers,'' Cara replies. Oh, she's the oldest, huh?

''Is that why she's the Information keeper?'' I ask Cara.

''Wisdom comes with age,'' she responds. Wisdom does come with age. And sometimes losing your marbles too.

''Since she's the last one, she's going to be the most difficult, right? I mean, she's not going to make it easy for me to get to Diana, is she?'' I say to her as we float down a waterfall.

''No, I don't think she will. Usually she wipes out the remaining participant, or participants, if there are more,'' Cara answers.

''How many...usually reach her level?'' I ask another question.

''Usually? None,'' Cara replies.


Absolutely no one?

''That's not very many,'' I say. Not very many at all. Now I think I am going to dread this level keeper the most. God knows what she will do to me.

''But this is the first time we've had 3 participants survive and come to the fifth level. That's a good achievement. But, she hates too many. She usually whittles it down to one,'' Cara says nonchalantly. Oh, that's good to hear. I might be gone in the next level. And if Vaughan's still around, it definitely won't be a 'fun' level.

''Oi, Mr Williams! Have you seen the weather forecast for today?'' Cara asks me as she looks toward the sky. What on earth is she on about? What weather forecast would I watch in a virtual reality game? On an imaginary television? Any way, what is she looking up at...

''Oh my...,'' I say as I see the clouds beginning to form a dark grey circle above us. I hear thunder reverberate through them, and flashes of light brighten up the sky. The wind begins to blow more harshly, and the waters around us begin to turn into a-

''MAELSTROM!'' Cara shouts at the top of her voice as she laughs.



A whirlpool?


And why is she laughing?

''Prepare for a shipwreck, Mr Williams! It's going to be a rough landing in the fifth level!'' Cara screams as she lifts her self up on the mast and swings on it as if she is swinging on a pole.

I have no doubt that this is her doing.

No doubt whatsoever.

''Are you crazy?'' I say to her.

''No; just insane!'' she yells back.

That's the same thing...

I thought this girl was calmer than Dimple, but she's worse. What on earth is wrong with the people in this world? Can't anyone be normal for once? But the outside world...gets crazy sometimes.

Maybe this world...isn't so bad after all.

I begin to smile as I look at how carefree Cara is. This to her. This isn't crazy. We always hide the craziness of life away from kids, but here, the kids are...embracing it. Loving it.

This is their world.

And this is normal for them.

Why shouldn't I be...just like them?

As the rain pours, I close my eyes and accept it. Accept the rules of this crazy world without rules. Accept the unexpected. I take my hand off the wheel, and spread my arms out.

I welcome you, crazy world. I welcome your strange kindness.

''Hold onto something! We're going to be in the tornado!'' I hear Cara's voice bellowing above the din.


Did she just say tornado?

I open my eyes and I see that the sky has formed a funnel cloud, which I see is developing into a full-blown twister. I see the wheel going crazy, and I can't get any control of it. I decide to go over to where Cara is while I battle the windy tempest and deluge of water coming at me in all directions. I hold onto the mast and look at Cara. She's grinning at me, not caring what could happen. I guess I should do the same, if it helps. I smile back at her, and hold on tightly to the mast.

''Here it comes!'' Cara says as I hear the Andromeda Dreadnought moan and wail under the vicious thrashing of the wind and rain. I hear it creaking under the pressure of the twister, and then I feel it...


And spin.


We're spinning around in circles!

We are pulled upwards into the twister, going round and round as we hold on for dear life onto the mast. I close my eyes, as I can no longer keep them open in the wind. When I close my eyes, it feels like an eternity. It feels like we have been in this storm for a long time. I'm not sure when it is going to end. But that's up to Cara, of course.

''Not long now, Mr Williams!'' I hear Cara shout. Yeah, you said that like 10 minutes ago. Now look where we are. I wait to feel if the wind and rain will dissipate. When will this end?


Please stop.

Just stop.

I just want this all to...


It stopped.

It stopped?

''Ah, finally!'' I hear Cara say. I slowly open my eyes and see that...we have stopped. But...we're not on the water. We're in the air. It's like the suspended in the air.

''Finally you ended it,'' I say as I come away from the mast and look around.

''No, I didn't. She did,'' Cara reveals. She did?

Who's 'she'?

''Well, hello, Mr Williams,'' an American-voiced girl greets me on the ship behind me. I turn around and see a white girl with dark hair, coloured with pink, purple and blue streaks in it wearing a red hooded jumper, ripped up denim baggy shorts that reach past her knees and stripy coloured socks with off-white sneakers.

''Hello,'' I say back to her.

''You already know who I am, so I'll cut to the chase,'' she replies in a bored manner.

Wow, she really is nice when she wants to be.

''Cut to the chase?'' I repeat. She wants to get down to business already? Her and Vaughan should get along just fine, then,

''Yeah, the chase. If you want to get to Diana, you have to chase me first,'' the fifth level keeper says.

Hoho, a challenge from the get go? Guess she likes to get things done, no questions asked. But I do have one question for her, though.

'' Wraith?'' I ask her. She gives me a strange look. Hope I've piqued her interest, then.

''Why do you ask?'' she asks me back.

''Well, you're the Information keeper. You hold all the information in this game,'' I reply back to her. She wants to play literal word games. I'll play with her.

''Well, I do just that. I keep information. What makes you think I would give it away?'' she answers back. Wow, this girl's a tough nut to crack. I may have met my match.

''So, are you going to tell me?'' I question her.

''You need to chase me first,'' she replies. And before I can say anything else, she disappears without a trace.

''Where on earth did she go?'' I say aloud.

''Go after her and you will find out,'' Cara says as she goes to the edge of the Andromeda Dreadnought.

''You're going already?'' I say to her.

''Yep. Your challenge has started,'' Cara says as she points past me. I turn to see where she is pointing at, and get a good view of a timer flashing up. Mathilde gets straight to business, doesn't she?

''Have fun,'' Cara says before she jumps off.


I don't think I will if I have to deal with a level keeper who clearly seems to be on her period.


I think this game has given that word a new definition.

I don't think I have the luxury of 'fun' in this challenge.

Chase her. I have to chase her.

How am I supposed to chase someone who is invisible?

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