A few months after everyone cleared the First Gate, the Sixers purchased an artifact from an auction called Fyndoro’s Tablet of Finding. Artifacts are unique, super-powerful magical objects which give their owners special abilities. There are only a few hundred artifacts in existence so it is always news when one is sold. Fyndoro’s Tablet allows its owner to find another avatar, and thus could be used to beat others and win the Easter egg hunt. When it was auctioned there was a massive bidding war between gunter clans and the Sixers, but the Sixers eventually won.
This chapter begins with even more grim news. Again, the power of the Sixers is shown to be so immense that it is almost impossible to imagine beating them. Although the gunters put up a good fight, they simply cannot compete with the Sixers’ disproportionate level of wealth, influence, and information.
After Art3mis finds the Jade Key, the Sixers use the Tablet to establish that she is in Sector 7, and immediately head there in droves—inadvertently revealing the location of the Jade Key to everyone else in the OASIS. Newspaper headlines announce that Parzival has been “dethroned” and that Art3mis is now the top gunter. Wade curses himself for having wasted time pining over the girl who has now beat him in the contest. He feels a renewed sense of determination and returns to analyzing the quatrain. He studies the map of Sector 7, and it suddenly occurs to him that the key might be hidden in the replica of the GSS Museum, which is on the planet Archaide.
Wade may be at his lowest moment, but it is at this point that he has his next breakthrough. This development in his trajectory suggests that sometimes it is necessary to sink to rock bottom to become aware of one’s own mistakes and begin to rectify them. While everything was going well for Wade, he couldn’t understand that his obsession with Art3mis would ultimately come to damage his chances of success at the hunt. Now he realizes the truth.
Wade instructs Max to power up his spaceship, the Vonnegut. He notes that Archaide is a PvP zone and upgrades his gear in preparation. As he flies out of orbit, he notices a few of the “crazed fans” and “aspiring bounty hunters” that hang around Falco, hoping to get access to him. He often has no choice but to kill these avatars. Wade decides to use the nearest stargate—a teleporter for spaceships—in order to get to Archaide, because he is in a hurry.
This passage explores the bizarre nature of celebrity. While Wade feels like a failure, he is surrounded by “crazed fans” who idolize him as a hero. In reality, of course, neither view is quite right: Wade is neither entirely a hero or failure, but rather just a person.