Object 80

The Holder of Extravagance

In any city, in any country, go to any sizable school or university you can find. After locating the front desk, walk up to it and ask to see the one known as "The Holder of Extravagance". The attendant will look unfazed, even slightly bored, as though this question has grown so common as to become routine. Tiredly, they will rise and lead you through the halls of the building. You will see many dozens of unboundedly fascinating and eye-catching objects, but do not once stop or slow to examine any of them in closer detail, or the group of supposed students who have been following you will take the opportunity to pounce, and you will never see the outside of the walls again. Instead, stay focused on following the attendant.

Eventually, he will lead you to a door and gesture for you to enter. Do so, and it will shut rather gently behind you. That click you heard was the lock. Don't try to open it - the students mentioned earlier are waiting outside the door should you succeed.

You find yourself in a history classroom, but it's more boring than any other classroom you've ever seen. There are no posters on the gray walls, the shelves are devoid of books, and the desks are bare and minimal. A teacher sits at the front desk, wearing a bland gray outfit, grading papers. The combined effect makes you want to drop off to sleep, but be warned - if you do, the nightmares that you enter will never end. Also, do not attempt to interrupt the teacher at her work - she feels overworked for her pay already, and if you bother he she may well snap.

Instead, steel yourself and sit down. Third row from the door, second desk back. Sitting any other place will lead to your demise in the events to follow. A scuffle will be heard outside the door, but do not turn to look in that direction - none of the students wish to be noticed as they walk in, and all of them are already late. Merely keep your gaze directed forward.

Somehow, they all manage to sit down without the teacher noticing, and the lesson begins. It is almost painful in its execution - bare-bones, no-frills teaching. A notebook and pencil have appeared on your desk - quickly begin taking notes, lest the teacher notice and fail you. And you don't want to fail this class, believe me. The facts are so stripped-down they hurt, but never once should you halt or interrupt.

After a while, a test will be announced. Accept it. It appears to be written in a language from another planet, and about places and people you don't think have ever existed. Keep calm, write from your notes for the first few questions. When you reach question four, lightly tap the kid in front of you on the shoulder. Quietly - you don't want the teacher to catch you - ask him, "When was it meant to happen?"

The kid will glance nervously at the teacher, then scribble madly on a piece of paper and pass it back to you. Read it quickly and memorize what it says - the location it details is where the Object is hiding. But the moment you take your eyes off the paper or attempt to move, the teacher will catch you, and all hell will break loose.

The room will suddenly be clothed in the heaviest opulence you have ever seen, and the students and teacher will be revealed in their true forms. These bar description, but know this - they have all the same strengths and weaknesses of the normal human. All across the school, the illusion has been broken, and you're going to have to reach the Object - wherever it is - before the students manage to take you down.

The gauntlet's off now. Use whatever methods available to reach the Object - violence, murder, deception, nothing is barred and nothing is sacred. There will be no repercussions, but if there were, they'd in no way be worse than what will happen should the students bear you to the floor. Make your way to the location, and the Object will be glaringly obvious among the opulence - a plain brown-paper package tied with twine, about the size of a large soup can. A thin paper envelope is tied under the string. Grab it, then locate the nearest bathroom. Battle your way into it, then slam the door. It will lock, and hold, but not for long.

Quickly, slip the envelope from the parcel and throw it into the second stall - it doesn't matter where it lands as long as it's in the walls. The envelope is what draws them, so you want to stall as much as possible. Turn on the hot water in two of the sinks and the cold in the other one. Then, with the door pounding so loud it drills through your head, face the hand-dryers. There are three. Take a deep breath, then slam the button on whichever one you like.

Everything will blackout for a bit. If you pressed the wrong button, the blackness will lift only for you to experience what the students are about to do to you. It's never the same, but it's always unbearably painful, and you won't stay sane long enough to witness your demise. If you pressed the correct button, however, you will wake up sprawled on the floor of a bus stop half a mile down the road from the limits of the second-largest city you've ever visited. Sit up, rub your eyes. You're alone here, and for the moment, safe. Unwrap the package - there's a surprising number of layers on it.

Keep unwrapping until you find a layer of green wrapping paper. Stop at this point and look to your left - a cheap lighter is sitting on the bench, along with sufficient bus fare into the city. Grab both, pocket the money, and pile the brown paper and string up. Burn the pile - that last layer of wrapping was there solely to protect the Object from the brown wrapping, and you don't want it in existence when you open it finally. When the pile is nothing but ash, unwrap the final layer and toss it away. You now hold a strange gold-colored D cell battery. Get up quickly - the bus is coming, and you don't want to look like a total weirdo by sitting on the floor of the stop rather than the bench.

The battery is Object 80 of 2538. It will never run out of power, but if put into any device, that device will never run on any other battery save the gold one.