The wolves emerged from the brush around us at the same time once again. I suspect it was done this way to keep us from shooting them one at a time in panic. No matter where I looked, there was a large grey wolf in front of us. None of them growled, but I didn’t want to make any of the shaggy beasts angry. They focused on us with steel grey eyes.
“Don’t anyone make a sudden move,” I warned by companions. I knew she had to be close.
And then Camilla The Wolf Queen appeared.
She stepped out of the forest between two of the big greys, patted them on the head, and walked up to us. She still wore the same combination of furs that I remembered from the last time, the same ones also worn by Chamita on the mountain.
However, I knew this version of her was much older and regal. Gone was the innocent look of the young woman who cried when her pet wolf was killed. This was not the mystical Chamistra from the Indian subcontinent. She was still the same women, I could tell. I only wished Howard could be here to see her and how she’d changed, but he was taken out in the last scenario.
“Your pets?” I asked her as I waved my hand at the wolves around us.
“I like to think of them as family,” she told me. “But, yes, they will do as I tell them. So please put the guns down. They get nervous if they think I’m threatened.”
We did as she requested and the wolves sat down on their haunches. A few lay on the ground.
“Can you tell us what the hell is going on in this place?” I asked her. “I thought we were in some kind of game scenario. I was supposed to find you so my companions could talk you out a treasure in gemstones. Oh, I was also supposed to kill you because the company who sent us into this VR world claims you are a rouge computer program that threatens the fabric of civilization.”
“So what are you going to do, Vince?” she asked me. “Shoot me, if you think that will make a difference. You can kill me at this range, but my boys will kill you and your friends later. There is no way you’ll be able to get them all at this range before they tear the three of you apart.”
“I have no intention of shooting you,” I told her. “So that should keep you happy.”
“Who is targeting us with those bombs?” Pat demanded.
“How can the company manipulate this place if you’re blocking the access point?” Prince Axum demanded.
“The game is still in play,” Camilla announced. “The company thinks it can manipulate it, but there is too much already set in motion before they tried to alter the rules. There are some things they can change and some things they can’t. Yes, I still control the access point, but they may have found another one into this place. I won’t pretend to be a demi-god, not even in a virtual world. I realize Vince is still hooked up to his sleeping body and the two of you are programs that will eventually need to access your physical forms. Just listen to me and I’ll try to help you.”
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