The perma players’ new reality gains depth and color. The virtual world has seen its first birth — and its first death. The invisible umbilical cord connecting AlterWorld to Earth grows thinner, and even the Fallen One cannot prevent the looming catastrophe. Could Max have ignored the Russian girl who’d just escaped slavery in a virtual China? Could he have turned a deaf ear to her pleas as the desperate fugitive clutched at straws on hearing her native tongue? All this triggers a full-blown confrontation, sending armies of thousands into battle in the heart of the Frontier, burning kilotons of mana, melting desert sands and hacking through impervious mithril armor. The two nations’ furious war cries obscure the sky as the Gods shudder at humans’ desperate cruelty.