0000

“Before I died,” Anorak says, speaking in a much deeper voice, “I created my own Easter egg, and hid it somewhere inside my most popular videogame— the OASIS. The first person to find my Easter egg will inherit my entire fortune. ”

Another dramatic pause.

“The egg is well hidden. I didn’t just leave it lying under a rock somewhere. I suppose you could say that it’s locked inside a safe that is buried in a secret room that lies hidden at the center of a maze located somewhere”he reaches up to tap his right temple—”up here.

“But don’t worry. I’ve left a few clues lying around to get everyone started. And here’s the first one.” Anorak makes a grand gesture with his right hand, and three keys appear, spinning slowly in the air in front of him. They appear to be made of copper, jade, and clear crystal. As the keys continue to spin, Anorak recites a piece of verse, and as he speaks each line, it appears briefly in flaming subtitles across the bottom of screen:

Three hidden keys open three secret gates
Wherein the errant will be tested for worthy
traits
And those with the skill to survive these
straits
Will reach The End where the prize awaits

As he finishes, the jade and crystal keys vanish, leaving only the copper key, which now hangs on a chain around Anorak's neck.

The camera follows Anorak as he turns and continues farther into the dark cavern. A few seconds later, he arrives at a pair of massive wooden doors set into the cavern’s rocky wall. These doors are banded with steel, and there are shields and dragons carved into their surfaces. “I couldn’t playtest this particular game, so I worry that I may have hidden my Easter egg a little too well. Made it too difficult to reach. I’m not sure. If that’s the case, it’s too late to change anything now.

So I guess we’ll see.“. Anorak throws open the double doors, revealing an immense treasure room filled with piles of glittering gold coins and jewel-encrusted goblets. Then he steps into the open doorway and turns to face the viewer, stretching out his arms to hold open the giant double doors. “So without further ado,” Anorak announces, “let the hunt for Halliday’s Easter egg begin!” Then he vanishes in a flash of light, leaving the viewer to gaze through the open doorway at the glittering mounds of treasure that lay beyond.

Then the screen fades to black.

Excerpt From:
Ernest Cline
Ready Player One
Chapter 0000