Chapter 17: Wiki Run

In the infirmary, Nioca regained consciousness. He sat up slowly. "Ow. What happened?"

Ephesos handed him an energy potion. "You drained all of your energy holding open a portal to the freaking afterlife. Have you gone completely insane?"

"I'm beginning to suspect that's the case. How is everyone else?" Nioca looked around. Azuma was still unconscious. The Almighty Doer of Stuff was completely blocked from view by a crowd of fluffy turtles and birds.

"Azuma should wake up soon. Nalyd is fine. He's just locked up for now so no one has to listen to him complain. ADOS is..." Ephesos turned to look at him. "...not good. He's conscious, but I can't get a reaction out of him. He was muttering for a while, but since then he's been completely silent. It kind of creeps me out, honestly. What in the world possessed him to go into the afterlife?"

Nioca shrugged. "He wanted the fluffy turtles back."

"He got his wish, at least. With the exception of Inspector Peanut, they all seem to be fine."

"Where is Inspector Peanut?"

"It's locked up as well. Almost everyone wanted to kill it, but Dintiradan said it might be the only way to get the Almighty Doer of Stuff back, so I guess we have to deal with it somehow."

"I don't suppose it got locked up with Nalyd."

"Hah. Unfortunately not."

Nioca looked around again. Something was bothering him. "Hey, where is Stareye?"

"He's... missing."

---

The escaped prisoners avoided the nearest Google station and headed towards a different one. It was a tense and silent journey. Emperor Tullegolar led the way. Iffy and Stareye traveled at the back. Stareye had a tendency to slow to walk or wander off in a different direction, so Iffy had to constantly coax him along. Arancaytar maintained a safe distance between himself and Nikki, which was difficult since he couldn't fly too high in case it gave them away and Nikki would frequently stop suddenly to look around.

Nikki stopped so suddenly Arancaytar nearly collided with his head.

"Gah. Quit doing that," Arancaytar whispered.

"I'm sorry. I just think I can hear something," Nikki said quietly.

Finally, the group arrived at the station.

"Where should we go to hide from the Lurker or whoever comes after us?" Garzad whispered.

"I don't know. I didn't exactly do a great job of hiding from him before, remember?" Arancaytar said.

"You won't be by yourself this time, though. That should help," Iffy said.

Arancaytar looked around at the rest of the group. "Not likely."

"Shh!" Nikki halted once more. This time, everyone heard the footsteps. "We need to go. Now."

"But where are we going?" Iffy asked.

"Well..." Nikki walked over to the ticket machine. "We should go to Wikipedia. It's so big that none of Dintiradan's cronies will be able to find us." He spoke loudly and winked obviously at the group. "Everyone get aboard."

"But you just..."

Garzad jabbed Iffy in the ribs.

"Oh. Good idea!"

When everyone was safely in the vehicle and it had taken off, Arancaytar said, "Where are we really going?"

"Oh, Wikipedia," Nikki said.

"Wait, what?" Garzad said.

"See, I made it really obvious to whoever was following us that we wanted to go to Wikipedia. It was so obvious that they'll think it was a trick and that we definitely won't be going to Wikipedia, so they won't bother to search there. But we are actually going there and so they will never find us. It's the perfect plan."

"Er... right," Arancaytar said.

Eventually, the vehicle arrived at the Google station inside Wikipedia. Nikki and the others got out. It was immediately boarded by several newbies.

Jewels pushed her way through the crowd. She had her axe in her hand. "Surrender please and come back to the Waystation with me."

"Aw, you're kidding me. It was a brilliant plan," Nikki said.

Jewels shrugged. "It was, but there are enough of us looking for you that we could afford to have someone wait here just in case. Will you surrender or not?"

Nikki pulled out his pen. "Sorry."

"Run!" Iffy yelled.

"I'm sorry too," Jewels said, "But it has to be done. Daze!"

Everyone but Nikki halted and stood with blank looks on their faces. Nikki hasted himself and charged at Jewels. Jewels parried and riposted. Nikki parried as well, but the attack still knocked him back several steps. Suddenly, Jewels collapsed. Nikki kicked the axe out of her hands and examined her. Someone had killed her by stabbing her in the back.

Riibu resumed visibility. "Hello. I figured you could use the help."

"Yeah. Thanks for that. How did you find us, though?"

"I've been following you for several days now."

"You mean hours, right? Because we've only been on the run for a few hours at the most."

"No. I've been following you for several days now."

"Really? And I never noticed? Wow. You've gotten really good at it, then." Nikki thought for a minute. "Also, that's kind of creepy. But we've wasted enough time. Help me undaze everyone, will you?"

Several Wikipedia editors pushed their way through the crowd. One pointed at Nikki. "That's him. That's the wiki vandal!"

"Er..." Nikki ran.

Riibu turned invisible again and ran after him. The editors ran after him as well. One of them accidentally bumped into Stareye as she tried to get through the crowd. Stareye was knocked to the ground. He stood back up and stared at everything around him.

---

Tyranicus told Thuryl what had happened over the past week. When he got to the part about the sudden reappearance of Arancaytar, Garzad, and Emperor Tullegolar, Thuryl stared at him. "That's the excuse Dintiradan gave? Hoo boy."

"Well, it made more sense when Dintiradan said it. Er," Tyranicus said.

A spider crawled under the door into his room. Thuryl quickly scooped it up and dumped it into the empty potion bottle.

"Be careful. I'm pretty sure that thing can understand everything we say," Tyranicus said.

Thuryl shrugged. "I'm not planning to stick around, so it doesn't matter to me."

"Yeah, but I am." Tyranicus saw the look Thuryl was giving him. "Oh, come on. The only reason you disapprove of me working with Dintiradan is because no one else has a problem with it. If everyone else were rebelling against him, you'd be here telling me to support him."

"Probably." Thuryl quickly explained what had happened at Spiderweb since the survivors had left.

"So what do you want me to do?"

"Just pass the news along to Dintiradan."

"That's it?"

"That's it."

"Well, okay. That shouldn't be a problem," Tyranicus said.

Thuryl vanished. Tyranicus stared at the spider struggling to climb up the glass sides of the bottle. He sighed. After a few minutes, another spider crawled into the room. Tyranicus quickly scooped it up and dumped it in the potion bottle as well.

---

Iffy was the first person to regain his senses. He looked around and then quickly shook Arancaytar and Garzad out of their stupor. "Where's Nikki? Where's Stareye? What happened to Jewels?"

"How should I know?" Arancaytar asked.

Someone in a cloak with the hood pulled low over their face made their way over to the group. "It's me, Nikki." He briefly pulled back his hood.

"What are you wearing that for?" Iffy asked.

"I don't want to be recognized. The editors here hate me for some reason."

"Right. What happened to Jewels?"

"Dead, for the moment."

"And Stareye?"

"Huh?" Nikki looked around. "He was here when I... see, Riibu, this is why I told you to stay with them. I didn't need the help, but clearly they did."

"How would you have gotten yourself out of the dead end you ran down if I hadn't been around to distract the editors, then?"

Iffy watched the arriving vehicles suspiciously. "Jewels will be revived eventually. Can we not talk in such an exposed place? Please?"

"Good point," Garzad said, "Now, do we take ET with us or not?"

"With," Arancaytar said, "That way we'll know when he decides to try something."

---

Tyranicus found Dintiradan in the Moderator Board.

Dintiradan was in a bad mood. Too many things were happening all at once. He was losing control. "What do you want?"

Tyranicus dumped the spiders out on the table. "Thuryl stopped by."

"What? Where is he?"

Tyranicus shrugged. "I don't know. He left again, and didn't tell me where he was going."

Dintiradan sighed. "Fine. Where has he been this whole time?"

"At Spiderweb. He says that Attorukkip and EcksianBot will be here soon."

Dintiradan closed his eyes. After a moment, he said, "Yes, they just arrived at the Google station. Anything else?"

"A'p'd'r and R'd'p'a are probably dead by now."

"Okay, anything else?"

Tyranicus hesitated.

"Look, I have lots to do, so please just tell me."

"Well, I was just thinking that it's time to reclaim Spiderweb. We're all really powerful now, and it would keep Randomizer and Slarty and the others occupied. If we wait too much longer, Ecksian will have the new message board built and the extra defenses will make it harder to retake. Plus, now that EcksianBot is gone, Ecksian will be shorthanded and the bots will be disorganized."

"But it will mean leaving this place less well defended. Well, I'll think about it. Is that everything?"

Tyranicus nodded.

"Then you may go." Dintiradan waited until Tyranicus had left before picking up the spiders. "Now, what isn't he telling me? And don't whine about getting captured. I just got done talking to Nalyd; I'm sick of complaints."

---

Stareye wandered aimlessly around the ground floor of Wikipedia. People constantly bumped into him and pushed him out of their way as they went about their business. Eventually, he stumbled into a room with a portal in it. There were a few people waiting in line to use the portal, but they ignored him. A sign on the door said "Random Article Portal".

Stareye stared at the portal. It reminded him of something. Something very important, but he couldn't remember what it was.

A few minutes later, a slith entered Wikipedia and headed for the Random Article Portal. Along the way, he was joined by a vlish.

"Hey, Orssshsss."

"Hi, Auspicious. Come to waste more time here like me? You start off by reading about snails and then suddenly it's three hours later and you're reading through the individual pages for each episode of an obscure children's show. I love it."

"I usually end up reading about anatomy and physiology myself. Hey, what's this?"

Auspicious Vlish and Orssshsss reached the portal room. Stareye was still staring at the portal while standing in the middle of the doorway.

"Hey, are you going to use the portal or not?" Orssshsss asked.

Stareye didn't respond.

"You're blocking the doorway. Move," Auspicious Vlish said.

A human joined Auspicious Vlish and Orssshsss. "What's the hold up?

"This stupid noob is in the way. Move!" Auspicious Vlish shoved Stareye inside. Stareye tripped and fell. Orssshsss and Auspicious Vlish stepped over him and entered the portal.

Stareye stood up slowly. He was shaking, but he couldn't look away from the portal. It was something important, but what was it?

"Are you okay?" the human asked.

Stareye nodded. Then he ran forward and threw himself in.