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And then I made the three of us turn into giant keys. But I wasn’t done yet. He tried to run, much as the first soldier had, but it was to no avail. I made player bags rain from the sky, quite a few of which fell atop him, such that he was completely covered in a heap of countless player bags.

All the while, I could feel the soldier’s heart hammering in his chest. My plans were working. Using an omniscient voice I forced the second soldier to promise that he would return our bags and help us escape from the vile dungeon, and only then will I remove the thousands of bags that he was covered in.

There was a sound outside the cell at that moment. The cell door opened. It was the first soldier. The light from the nearest torch that was perched on the corridor falling on his face, made him look like he had seen the most horrific thing in his life. A very visible shudder had taken over him. The three of us went out and the soldier made no attempts to stop us. I had not yet allowed him to come to the surface of the sea in his dream. Only when we were completely out of harm’s way would I free him from the spell. There was no sign of the second soldier however.

But I was well aware that he had gone to fetch our bags. No matter what obstacles he faced, he would bring our bags. And it was after a minute that he came running, quite out of breath, his eyes unfocussed. There were three bags in his hands, which he handed to us.

“Show us the way out,” I said to the two of them. “And don’t let anyone else know.”

Both of them nodded, being under my complete control, scared that I wouldn’t free them from their own dreams.

Along the corridor they led us. This time, they didn’t lead us through the way that eventually emerged into the throne room. But they took another way. After some time we reached a door. One of the soldiers opened it.

It was the whole wide world outside. It felt good to be outside in the fresh air. The three of us were about to run away from the spot, when suddenly one of the soldiers grabbed my arm. His lips were quivering and he seemed like someone begging for mercy.

“Please,” he said, “free us.”

“Close the door and return to the dungeon where you were supposed to guard us. Get inside the cell and then fall asleep and forget all that you have done in the past few minutes. Only then will you be free.”

The soldiers’ faces fell at these words of mine. Yes, they might have helped us, but I wasn’t going to take any risks. What if they informed everyone about our escape right after I ended the spell on them?

The soldiers however nodded. They went inside and closed the door. I needn’t worry about them from this point. I received a message just then. It was Wiseazz. My heart hammered in anticipation as I opened the message.

“Hey, the puzzle has been solved,” Wiseazz said, so that I felt like a great weight had been removed from my shoulders. “Can you believe it? It was Reptilio who did it! Damn, I should have taken him to the place where the statue was when you first called me. Too bad, I wanted him to be safe and so I left him in the hideout, otherwise we could have fixed everything a long while ago. But anyway, let’s look at the brighter side. Now I am going to go to Dinoland and fix everything. You all wait. I hope the gang members haven’t been too harsh on you.”

“We have successfully escaped,” I messaged back, “maybe let’s meet up and go to Dinoland together? Other gang members might have gone to the statue and if you go alone it won’t be easy for you to show the solved puzzle to Ravana’s statue and awaken him.”

“That’s not a bad thought,” Wiseazz replied, “I am glad you have succeeded in escaping. Where should we meet though?”

I thought quickly. We just needed a proper location. We couldn’t go back to Ravana’s inn, since Nanda would be there and though he was a good person he was too scared and ultimately we couldn’t trust him. I ran the places through my mind and finally decided that we should meet near the main gate of Kapilpura.

The three of us moved fast. We kept to the shadows. Occasionally we would see people moving around. They moved fearlessly and we suspected were probably members of the Kartoshi gang. It took us a long while owing to our slow pace, but we finally reached the gate.

But there was no sign of Wiseazz or his loyal pet Reptilio. I looked about the spot, for the large size of Wiseazz shouldn’t be hard to miss even in the dark.

“Where are they?” Lovebird asked.

“Ask him where he has reached,” Grimguy said.

I messaged Wiseazz asking his location. He didn’t reply. But after a tense minute, I saw him waving from the corner of an alley. He beckoned us to go to him. I didn’t understand this. After all, we needed to get out of Kapilpura to get to the Rak village where the portal was located which was the only way we could get to the statue of Ravana.

“Why don’t you come along?” I asked him by messaging him.

“Death13 is nearby.” Barely did I read the message, that at a spot about a hundred metres away there was a bright flash of light, followed by the neighing of a horse as though it was in great pain. It took me a moment to realise, even as Lovebird let out a horror-stricken gasp, that it was Death13 sucking Karma from a poor horse. Within seconds the poor animal was relieved from its pain as it was completely deleted from the game world.

We were in direct line of sight of Death13, though I wasn’t sure if he had seen us yet because of the darkness. From the alley Wiseazz beckoned at us again. We heeded him, and very cautiously we covered the distance to him, all the time casting glances towards Death13 who seemed to have his back turned to us thankfully.

“Come, come,” Wiseazz said as we reached him and Reptilio, and he led us deeper into the alley, “if that monster sees us we would be in real trouble. I guess he knows that you have escaped?”

“Thankfully not,” I said, “but I cannot guarantee how long he would not know that.”

“So what exactly happened?” Grimguy asked, and there was a very innocent kind of excitement in his voice that was completely detached from the danger that we were in. “I mean the puzzle, how did Reptilio solve it?”

Reptilio grinned for the first time ever. The grin was clear even on his scaly face.

“He has a quick eye,” Wiseazz said, and he seemed to take joy in the fact that his pet was capable of such a great task.

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CrAJywood

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