“He must have,” Grimguy said, “I spent days trying to solve the blasted thing before giving up and deciding that it was simply not worth the effort.”
“But it was good that you solved at least a part of the puzzle,” Reptilio said and it was the very first time that I was hearing his voice. His voice was like that of a young man. “I was able to figure out the rest of the puzzle using it in a single glance.”
Wiseazz suddenly took a step backwards, frowning at us.
“Hey, wasn’t there was a third guy with you?” he asked, “Mastermind wasn’t his name was?”
“He logged out,” I replied.
“But it’s not possible for players to log out even if they are not perma,” Wiseazz said, “how did he do it?”
“He’s a member of the Kartoshi gang, in fact he was the guy who made Death13,” I said, Wiseazz’s eyes widened so I quickly added, “but he now fights for good. He had to log out as they found out who he is in the real world. He might be able to log back in if he survives the gang in the real world.”
“Okay,” Lovebird chimed in, and there was hurry in her tone, “so what’s our next course of action?”
“Go to the statue and show it the fixed puzzle of course,” Wiseazz replied.
“Then what are we waiting for? Let’s get moving,” I said.
We went back to the opening of the alley. I took a peep in the direction where Death13 had deleted the poor horse. But there was no one there in sight, just the destroyed houses.
“He’s isn’t there,” I said to the others, “I think he’s gone back to the fort after his meal of Karma.”
I had spoken too soon. Way too soon.
Grimguy let out a cry.
“He’s right behind us!”
I whirled around. Why Death13 was right there, at the very end of the alley! And he was looking directly at us. He raised a hand.
“Run!” I cried.
But the bolt of lightning from Death13’s hand was fast. It struck me, right in the chest. I was the one who had the most Karma after receiving the transfer from Wiseazz earlier. I watched in horror as my Karma began to fall rapidly from 500,000.
“I should have dealt with you before,” Death13 said. “How you managed to sneak out, I have no idea.”
At that moment, Lovebird took out her sword and hurled it at Death13. Her aim was perfect. It sailed through the air and struck Death13 right in the chest. In the moment of distraction, the lightning bolt, through which Death13 was sucking my Karma, faded. I fell to the ground, feeling a sense of great exhaustion come over me. But Lovebird grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the alley into the road outside. Wiseazz, Grimguy and Reptilio also fled out with us.
“There is no way we can flee him,” Wiseazz said.
“But you did flee him once,” I said, as I felt the strength returning to my limbs and was able to move faster. I recalled the time when Death13 had attacked Wiseazz and he had survived because of his high Karma levels.
“I did,” Wiseazz said, even as our group ran as fast as we could towards the gate, “but then there were many other players near me which served as distraction. Here we have no distraction. We are game out in the open. No matter how much we run he will catch up and that will be the end of us.”
Right then, Death13 appeared at the mouth of the alley where we had left him. He raised his hand.
“No!” I cried, and I pulled Lovebird near me for I feared that the angered Death13 would want to claim her since she was the one who had hit him with the sword. The bolt of lightning tore through the air.
It didn’t hit me or Lovebird.
“No!” Grimguy let out a cry.
His eyes going in horror as the lightning bolt sucked his Karma, of which he barely had any. “Please save me—”
And those were the last words of Grimguy.
I froze and stopped running, too high on emotions. Grimguy was the person who had been with me through all good and bad occasions in the game world of Prithvi. I found it hard to digest the fact that he had been deleted right in front of my eyes.
But both Wiseazz and Lovebird grabbed my arms and pulled me along, even as tears streamed down my face, my eyes fixed on the spot where he had last existed. I felt like I had swallowed a bucket load of ice. This wasn’t happening, no…
Bu it was. For there was Death13, and he was approaching us fast.
Just then I realised that Wiseazz was saying something to me, even as he and Lovebird and Reptilio pulled me out of the gate of Kapilpura. Heck, he was shouting in my ears to get my attention, but I was so lost in my sorrow over Grimguy that I could barely hear him. I looked vacantly at him, devoid of hope.
“Transfer me your Karma!” he demanded.
So he wanted protection from Death13? That was it? If the Karma was with me then I would be somewhat protected. But at this point, I really didn’t care what happened. I didn’t care whether I had a million Karma or zero.
“Transfer your Karma to me!” Wiseazz said again. I didn’t think much and immediately sent him all the Karma that I had. Once done, Wiseazz slowed down.
He handed me the solved puzzle that he had been carrying all along.
“Go and show it to Ravana and awaken him, all right?” he said.