The Battle of Frobozz remains intense and at first only seven Sixers manage to obtain the Jade Key. However, they then install a force field, and suddenly the number of Sixers with the key jumps dramatically. Wade returns to Falco and meditates on the meaning of the line inscribed in the key. He falls asleep, and awakes to the horrifying news that Sorrento’s score has increased once again, indicating that he has cleared the Second Gate. Wade begins to have a panic attack. He calls Aech and Art3mis, but can’t get through to either of them. He tries to talk to Max, but this ultimately only makes him feel more lonely.
This moment in the novel emphasizes the fact that artificial intelligence and virtual reality simulations cannot fill the void created by lack of human contact. Although Wade’s relationships with Art3mis and Aech are mediated through the OASIS, he is comforted and fulfilled by the knowledge that there are real humans operating their avatars. Without this assurance with Max, he only feels more alone.
Soon, another ten Sixers clear the Second Gate, too. Two days later, Sorrento’s score increases again, proving that he’s obtained the Crystal Key. Wade is horrified, concluding that “the bad guys were going to win.” He thinks about what he will do if the Sixers win the hunt. He will give away all his OASIS possessions to someone in his fan club and leave his apartment for the first time since arriving in Columbus. He will go up to the roof of his apartment building, breathe the fresh city air, and then commit suicide by jumping off.
The fact that Wade plans to commit suicide if the Sixers take over the OASIS may at first seem dramatic. However, by this point it is clear that the OASIS is not just a game, but rather the only thing that makes Wade’s life bearable. If it is turned into an elitist, fascist “theme park” as Wade fears, any trace of purpose and meaning he has will disappear.
Wade’s thoughts are interrupted by a vidmail message from Shoto saying that Daito left Wade something in his will. Wade wonders why Daito left a will for his avatar when Shoto explains that Daito will not create a new avatar ever again. He assures Wade he will explain everything in person.
Just like Wade’s plans to commit suicide if the Sixers win the hunt, Daito’s death and will blur the distinction between reality and illusion. Is it only Daito’s avatar that’s dead, or was he killed in real life?