Wade exits the immersion bay and finds Morrow waiting for him. Morrow congratulates him, hugging him tightly. He explains that GSS’s lawyers are waiting to talk to him whenever he is ready. Morrow points Wade in the direction of Art3mis, telling him that she inside a labyrinth but that it would be easy for him to find his way through. Wade quickly realizes that the labyrinth is based on the one in Adventure, and soon after finds Art3mis, sitting on a stone bench. Wade sits next to her, and tells her that she looks just like he always imagined: “Beautiful.” Art3mis introduces herself with her real name, Samantha, and Wade does the same.
It is significant that the book ends not inside the OASIS, but with Wade going outside, into the fresh air. This symbolizes his willingness to embrace the scary and painful aspects of the real world. Of course, such a gesture is necessary to building a real relationship with Art3mis/Samantha. The fact that she is willing to tell him her real name indicates that she, too, is confronting the vulnerability that comes with embracing reality.
Art3mis asks what they’re going to do now, and Wade says they are going to solve world hunger and “make the world a better place.” He tells her that he is in love with her again, and she apologizes for disappearing after he first confessed to her. Wade tells her that they can take everything very slowly, and she assures him that she wants to be with him, because he is her “best friend” and “favorite person.” She kisses him, and for the first time he can remember, Wade does not want to be inside the OASIS.
Having won the hunt, Wade has little interest in personal glory. He wants to share the prize money equally among his friends, use it to help others, and work as a team with Art3mis. This demonstrates how much Wade has grown over the course of the novel, proving that he truly is “worthy” of inheriting Halliday’s fortune and ruling the OASIS.