The view of the city of Redwall from about fifty floors above ground was mesmerizing and relaxing, especially with the cold, salty air from the Atlantic ocean that surrounded Redwall breezing through the sky.
Weston sighed, looking out at the city from where he sat on a ledge.
“I wonder if this is what Zack sees everyday when he wakes up. From this angle, the city looks nice,” he muttered to himself.
Then he stood up and stretched, and with that, he hung himself upside-down, saw that the window to the apartment below him had been left open, and flung himself in. “'Morning, Zack! Had your breakfast yet?”
Zack yelled, and morphed his key into Galadhar, ready to slash at Weston, though he was still dressed in a dark blue bathrobe.
“Weston?” Zack gasped, startled. “How did you get in? What are you doing at my place?”
“The window, duh,” said Weston, rolling his eyes; as if he hadn't been obvious enough. “What's up?” He plopped himself into the couch.
“You could've used the doorway – wait, you climbed all the way up here?”
“Well, pardon me. I was taking my morning walk and making it more interesting. Something like parkour. You have coffee? It's a little cold outside. By the way, I bought something you like!” He held up a bag of doughnuts.
“I'm telling you, don't calmly walk in like its your place! And through the window?!”
“We were supposed to be heading out later to Gladiate because we've got the selections to prepare for. We have to reach Level-65 in-”
“I got it, I got it!” Zack snorted. “I'm gonna get changed first!”
Weston heard the click of a door that was Zack's room, and he turned to the coffee table to see that Zack's holotop had been left on. Zack had been online. Not on the online Gladiators' game, but a different game. It looked like a shooting game where the player would walk through corridors like a hidden sniper and shoot his enemies down.
Weston tapped the keys on the holotop to see which made the sniper move, and which key was used to fire the gun. The way he made the sniper move was pretty jerky, almost amusing – until the enemy sniper shot him down.
When Zack returned, dressed in a black shirt, jeans, and denim jacket, Weston was staring at the screen.
“Sorry, Zack, your character died,” said Weston. “Three times by now.”
“Why did you touch my computer?” Zack demanded, reaching towards the holotop. He tapped the keyboard and brought the character back to life while at the same time stuffing his mouth with his doughnut. The speed his character began to jog at through the corridors in the game was really smooth, that Weston gaped at his skills.
“You play other games besides Gladiators?” Weston stared.
“Yeah. Plenty others,” said Zack. “Racing games, shooting games, I go to a bunch of other arcades, not just Gladiators. I mostly stuck to role-playing games, though.”
Weston stared at the screen, fascinated.
“You only played Gladiators?” Zack guessed.
Weston frowned. “Well – yeah, actually. It's one game that my dad approves, because I get to use my skills there. As a ninja. Also, it's a famous game; my dad won't be letting me play a less-than-famous game as Gladiators.”
Zack frowned. "Guess that's the only game you play?"
“What do you think of Gladiators?” asked Weston.
“Gladiators is . . . the toughest game for me,” said Zack. “Well – it's the most fun, too. It's got a lot of things, and virtual reality. Bonus points is that it gave you powers and abilities. You know the times when you sit at home doing nothing but play video games or study to the point that your mom or dad kicks you out of the house because you aren't playing like other kids? That's me.”
“Funny, I'm the opposite,” said Weston. “My dad wants me to be a genius in my family and sticks me in the library everyday, tells me to stay indoors to study and not play outside a lot. Even now, he's still doing that. By the way, I thought you don't have parents.”
“I have a guardian who took care of me in the time Sky wasn't home. And if what you're saying about your dad is true, you won't be playing Gladiators, would you? You'd have to be outdoors.”
“I just told him I've got a job at the Synchron Organization, and starting out as a Keeper of one of the Domes, and he'll let me off to work. So I get to play games out here whenever I want. And, like I said, the game's in his favor, so he's got nothing against it if he learns that I'm just playing virtual reality.”
Zack frowned. He didn't turn away from his game once, which was when Weston looked closely at his expression.
“You're not in a good mood, are you?” said Weston with a frown. “You look as if you haven't slept the whole night.”
“Guess the reason,” Zack mumbled.
“How can I? Something bad happened?”
“Not really,” said Zack. “I couldn't sleep last night, but when I finally did, I had a bad dream, and didn't sleep after I woke up from it.”
“A dream? What's it about?”
“That – I don't think I should tell you.”
“Just spill already!” Weston snapped.
“Say, Weston, did you know that Astrid was the last Core Gladiator?” Zack blurted.