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Plane of Twilight

Plane of Twilight

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Book 5 of the Gamemakers Online series

War invades Gamemakers Online.

While Alex was trapped in a hospital, Professor Marzio scattered her friends across the zones, making it impossible for them to wage war. When she finally gathers her ragtag army, it pales in comparison to the enemy, but Alex isn't just fighting against this external threat, she has a time bomb ticking in her head—a cancer so large that it's affecting her in game. As time runs out, and the clash of steel echoes across the battlefield, Alex must make a terrible choice that will change the fate of the Hundred Halls forever.

Synopsis

War breaks out in Gamemakers Online as Alex, hindered by a time bomb-like cancer and her friends scattered by Professor Marzio, rallies a small army against a formidable enemy. With time running out and the fate of the Hundred Halls at stake, she faces a harrowing decision that will alter everything.

Chapter One Look Inside

Chapter One

A great crushing heaviness bore down on Alex, as if the whole ocean had come rushing into her room while an elephant sat on her chest. It would be easier to give up, to succumb to the pressure, return to oblivion, but a smoldering fire, too stubborn to extinguish, kept her fighting upward.
"Mmmm..."
A vibration in her lips was all she could muster, until a crack formed in her eyelid, wide enough to let the burning light into her tomb.
"...mmmm..."
Words reached her like shapes in a fog, blurry and unrecognizable. She crashed back into the void...
...only to surface again, a burst of solar flare through the tiny crack.
"Mmmm...mmmm...oooommmm."
The single word was a Herculean trial, a wrestling of the great boar.
This time, the ethereal words had meaning, chipping through the armor of her exhaustion.
"—there? Are you awake, Alexandria?" said a voice that could only be her mother's.
"Mmmmoooommmm," said Alex, feeling like she was speaking with rubber balloons for lips.
"Oh, sweetie, it's good to see you awake for once. All these drugs they have you on, it's, it's...I hate to see it," said her mother.
The caress of fingertips against her forehead soothed enough to endanger Alex's awareness. The last thing she wanted was to return to unconsciousness.
"Ssssttttoooopppp," said Alex, the last part of the word coming out like a breath of air.
It felt like a pair of industrial cranes had to be brought in to open her eyelids, but once the glare of hospital lights faded, the processing of visual information helped her cut through her sluggish state.
"Mmmmom, help me...up."
Her mother studied Alex as if she were sprouting a second head.
"You should rest, Alexandria. You need your strength for the surgery," said her mother.
"Nnn-no, no surgery," said Alex, wishing her tongue wasn't the size of a basketball. "No surgery."
"I'm sorry, sweetie, but it's the only way, and after all we've been through this summer, with the lawyers and everything, I don't want to wait any longer. You're going to die if we don't take it out of your head. Then we can go on our trip across the country. The nice professor from your hall is going to lend us an RV to use," said her mother.
"Nnn-nice professor...nnn-not nice," said Alex.
"Of course he is. He's very nice, so nice," said her mother. "You know he reminds me of your father. So nice."
Through the haze of drugs, Alex knew that Professor Marzio was nothing like her father. He had to be using an enchantment on her, to convince her to sign off on the surgery.
"Nnn-no, Mom. No surgery. No."
Her mother patted her hand. "He's nice, like your father. We should listen to him. He's going to lend us an RV. Have I told you that?"
"P-p-please, Mom," said Alex, trying to move her hand forward to emphasize the words, but her arm muscles would barely budge.
Her mother looked up at a monitor, frowned, and rose above the bed.
"You've upset yourself. I need to find one of the nurses. You really need to be unconscious, or you get upset. You keep getting upset, and that's going to make the surgery more difficult."
Before Alex could muster a word otherwise, her mother left, and two heavy blinks later, a young male nurse with dark brown skin entered the room. He was vaguely familiar, probably from attending her all summer, though she couldn't remember a direct interaction with him.
He held up a syringe full of drugs to send her back into oblivion. Alex pawed the blankets uselessly, miming words like a fish out of water.
"No. No more, no more, no more..."

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