Deception (Conquest: A Dystopian GameLit Saga Book 2) – Chapter Seven: Old World

What just happened?!

Brittany shook off the dizziness. Just moments ago she was trudging through a frozen tundra with the snow-covered Tower of Babel looming in the distance. She blinked rapidly, trying to get her bearings. The right side of her head throbbed, and when her eyes focused she realized that she was no longer wearing the warm armor she had purchased – but instead, she was back in her police uniform.

Oh good! I didn’t die.

She felt relieved to be back in her body again, but confusion quickly set in. The commotion around her was deafening. With a grunt, she pushed herself up off the hot sand. She felt claustrophobic with the thousands of people bustling about, stumbling over each other. The last time she had felt this overwhelmed by such a mass of people was when she walked the streets of New York City last year while visiting her aunt. This time, however, there was only a single building with a glowing orb sparked with lightning hovering above it.

Where am I?

Despite the lightning shattering across the sky in every direction, it was a clear day betraying two suns in the sky. She could also see the outlines of three moons to the east.

Conquest? But where’s my gear?!

Shoving through the crowd, she forced her way to the strange building. She was greeted by a massive stone wall with no entry. Several others among the crowd were likewise scouring the wall in search of an entrance, but there didn’t seem to be one. Anxiety mounted within her. Children were crying. Unattended babies were screaming. Adults were yelling frantically – many of them trying to find their children.
She saw a familiar face out of the corner of her eye. She’d never met the man in person before, but he was well known throughout the world.

POTUS?!

He looked overwhelmed and seemed to want nothing more than to hide. Hundreds of people were clamoring for answers, and he didn’t have any. He reassured the people repeatedly that if he could find his presidential advisors, he’d provide more information.

Brittany climbed partway up the rock wall, looking out at the sea of people. There were thousands, if not millions of people packed closely together as far as she could see across the horizon. Behind her was a shoreline, and waves lapped up on the beach. Hundreds of people were in the water – and most of them appeared to be drowning as they struggled to reach the shore. Brittany’s police instincts snapped into action.

I must help them!

“Clear a path!” she yelled at the top of her lungs, waving her arms frantically, “Those people are drowning!”

Something strange was happening on the water. With her free hand she rubbed her eyes and blinked several times. She watched as a dark cloud hovered over the water, floating from one drowning soul to the next. It appeared to be sucking the life out of them just prior to their untimely death.

It’s the Leviathan! We must be in the game!

She climbed down and pressed on her right temple. Her vision turned to static momentarily, followed by an error message:

ERROR!
Conquest Servers are currently inaccessible. Satellites are out of range. Please try again later.

“Huh?”

She pressed her temple again, but after a few minutes she got the same error message.

What is going on here?

Her focus was broken by a bloodcurdling scream. She snapped her head up to see a throng of people climbing out of the water. Their skin was pale and lifeless, and their eyes had glossed over. Fear shot through her spine as her eyes locked onto one of the pairs of lifeless eyes.

They’re dead!

The corpse grabbed a screaming man by the throat, and a raspy voice echoed from somewhere inside it.

“Yield thy soul unto me!”

The man’s body went limp, and a white flame floated from the man’s chest. The dark cloud was there in an instant. Red flaming eyes and a gaping mouth were the creature’s only distinguishing features. She watched in horror as it breathed in the white flame.

Brittany lost all sense of sanity in that moment as she barreled her way through the crowd to escape.

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