23 : The Infiltration

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[A/N: A big thank you once again for 2.9k! This chapter is dedicated to eastcoastgirrrl who has always been the first to read each time I update! Thank you so much for supporting me ]

9k! This chapter is dedicated to eastcoastgirrrl who has always been the first to read each time I update! Thank you so much for supporting me ❤]

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Gwen had distracted them all away, and finally, it was time for Sheila to shine. She busted the doors open and made her way down the stairs to the basement. The putrid smell of blood was awful, but she made sure to wear a mask so the stench wouldn't overwhelm her. It was almost impossible to escape the clutches of the fetid smell that thronged the atmosphere.

"You inside?" Kei asked as he stood outside near the gates, making sure that all of Laurelai's men in the vicinity had left.

"Yea, I just used the code Natasha gave from Justin's dream."

Once Sheila got inside, she was greeted by more supercomputers than she had ever met in a lifetime. "Sweet Jesus..." Sheila gasped.

Sheila made sure not to touch any of them and plugged in the chip which Natasha could hack into the system and alter the settings.

"Nat, how much time do we need?"

"About seven minutes, five if my systems don't lag. I'm working on it as fast as I can, sweetheart."

"Gwen! You've got at least five minutes to distract them."

"Right!" Sheila could hear Gwen panting heavily over the communicator.

She scanned the room in search of the Infinity Emerald. Earlier, Kei had told her another secret of the emerald that could work the odds in their favour.

She had to find that emerald expeditiously.

The fate of everyone lay in her hands. Especially Gwen.

She couldn't afford any slip-ups at the given moment.

C'mon Sheila, where was it located from Justin's dream? C'mon Sheila, remember...

Although it was a long time ago, the orientation of the room hadn't changed one bit. Sheila searched the room for any secret compartments and signs of the emerald. She fiddled with the locks on safes, flipped through the documents in drawers and scrutinized the walls for any sign of an indent that could possibly trigger a secret compartment.

It was in a holder back then, but the holder was nowhere to be seen.

He probably hid it elsewhere less noticeable, and it didn't help that Sheila had five minutes to find it and steal it so he couldn't readjust the settings once Natasha reconfigured them in our favour.

Kei really did his research this time.

Apparently, since death wasn't ever possible in the earlier version of the game, Natasha would configure all the Seige members into the beta setting for "REVIVAL" instead of "OFF REVIVAL" while the Laurelai members would die as soon as they were shot in the head.

Which meant that they could only kill Laurelai members with headshots.

It also meant that if Daniel was smart enough to see through this plan, he couldn't foil it because none of the members of Seige, Winged Assassins nor Sanctuary would be able to die in Eregor.

And Natasha's job was to break the soul-link for all the allied gangs so everyone would emerge relatively unscathed.

Although the element of death was removable, the injuries dealt would remain. There was no way to completely reverse that. The injuries remained as long as they were alive.

Hopefully, those injuries wouldn't be fatal.

"How long more, Natasha?"

"3 more minutes, I'm done decrypting the system..."

"Right..." Sheila sighed heavily. Just where on earth would he keep that emerald?

She had already flipped through the entire room, scanning the same places over and over, searched high and low, but the holder where the Emerald had once been was just nowhere to be found.

In her haste, she bumped into the dusty, wooden cabinet behind her and a leatherette journal fell onto the floor.

"Ouch," Sheila rubbed the side of her head as she picked up the journal. There was a big cursive letter "E" on it. Surely neither Gwen nor Sheila had names starting with E, and Sheila began to skim through the pages.

It was Daniel's journal. It was unusually thick: the pages were yellowing and his handwriting was a legible Marion Richardson cursive that you'd seldom find among teenagers these days, considering he wrote this over 20 years ago.

"Emilia..." was the most common diction that danced across the pages.

There was a page of a different texture that was bookmarked, and as Sheila reached it, that glittery gem was engraved into the book could not be pulled out. It was as though someone had made a mould and grounded it inside the journal.

"What the hell?" Sheila struggled to use her knives to get it out, but it refused to budge.

"1 minute, Sheila!"

Oh god dang it.

Natasha's reminders only made Sheila panicky and her fingers went jittery. She hastily the journal into her leather jacket compartment and zipped it up so no one could see it.

Just what on earth was this Infinity Emerald capable of? And who was Emilia?

"We're done, boys!" Natasha called over the communicator and Sheila cast her thoughts aside. For the time being, at least.

It was time to execute the second phase of the plan.

"Gwen, are you in the field yet?"

"Yeap! They're reaching in five!" Gwen's breathing was heavy from exhaustion, but Sheila could make out her words and ordered Natasha to open the gate.

"Nat, now!" Justin and Kei called as they reached the scene. Instantaneously, the entire field transformed into a portal that everyone fell through into the world of Eregor.

"What the hell?" Gwen lost her footing as she realized the ground beneath her was no longer a grassy field but a humongous, bottomless pit with a bright light that was so blinding.

And that's when reality slapped them all in the faces.

This wasn't virtual reality gaming anymore, but a full-fledged war.

They got into Eregor without any VR headsets or devices but by the power of the Infinity Emerald and the supercomputers.

Facades were broken, and it was about time for them to realize: no amount of technology could hide the truth from them anymore.

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