Level 9.3
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It is the surroundings. It is blurry.

Wanderers are used to running away from the danger, something that can harm them. And yet, none of them have ever fought what cannot — it is incommensurable in size, it is a trap, and it cannot be left or remotely comprehended. Perhaps one day it will be discovered that its forest converges somewhere. May its fog shroud such a foreign location in the shadows of oblivion.

SURVIVAL DIFFICULTY:

Class unknown

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Level 9.3 — being a subsector of the grand Level 9 — is a titanic set of grassy fields and lonely roads circumscribed in foresty hills. Most wanderers arriving recall it as a confusingly static environment enclosing life forms within. It is the approaching cataclysm of the past — a past spent on the outskirts of one's town. Houses line in demesnes on top of hills, forever observing their lifers wandering around. The fields of wheat present herbs grown to meters in height, forming a labyrinthine complex with no end, only to diverge towards other buildings. These are tiny, putrescent, almost too solid to stand. The weak, windy atmosphere blows on them uselessly, much like wood hitting steel. The insides, remnants of a woodworker's labor, are all filled with utensils, furnishings, and wooden beams, drenched like they were brought inside after a tempestuous day. At the end of the hallway is a bathroom — a parallelipipedal corridor with a commode at its end right below a casement. One would imagine sitting on there and turning around, only to see the outside's nature standing colossally. It would be naive of someone to think that the trees may be falling upon them. In fact, they nestle without moving an inch in this overcast dreamscape. Next to them are yet more hills, leading to mountains, leading to plains, leading to nowhere.

Wanderers are most likely to become lost, walking with no aim or destination. The countryside has no environmental hazards other than itself — there is no escape, there is no inhabitant, and there is no yearning for freedom. Roads exist with no cars, but the dreadful echo of engines still pervades. It sure is depressing for explorers to feel irredeemably unprepared for the dangers of the outside world — the subsector feels like a rather distorted home, but that soon enough proves to be a hazardous, inexplicable illusion.


The Overcast


The fog possesses photoaltering properties, making all attempts to orient oneself fruitless. The hills fail to resemble mountains, being approachable and reduced to mere putrescent ground. The roads are a whole — it is a single highway warping sporadically and unnoticeably given the fog covering most of it; it has enough time to transform and trick lonely explorers. The forests surrounding seem infinite, but they eventually lead back to the grassy fields. Even when moving in a straight line, this place remains barren and labyrinthine. The highway's tar is metaphorical quicksand — it tires wanderers in order for them to rest, only to watch them cower in fear as the engine sound approaches, and the fog is then a mere blanket to hide under.

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It is imperative to stand.

On one side of the highway is a wall made of cobble and bricks, covered in moss of all sorts and drenched with it — the water that evaporated from the ground only to condensate later on. The wall is brittle, covered in a steel net in order to preserve its integrity. It is a subtle detail demoralizing wanderers further, as if they were the mere cliché of the people passing, although by now, other beings feel like a distant memory anchored to what's subconscious. With no company, explorers feeling the need of comfort can only lay down in the bushes, in the grassy fields — humidity is at its highest value.

The meadows' herbs also struggle — they grow in an irredeemably competitive environment trying to reach out for the little light coming from the clouds above. And yet, they do not fear the unknown — this is their habitat. To most, they are sadists and will not protect any lifer from what's hunting.


Entities


No life forms exist within Level 9.3 given both its resource-lacking environment and trap-like nature. It is speculated that the sub-layer itself may be an entity given its indirect psychological effects. However, no conclusions were drawn on the presumed purpose of this location.


Phenomena


Möbius Terrain


Looking for an escape within Level 9.3 is certainly one of the most arduous tasks that one could ever perform. While most wanderers look for an outside, they often fail to realize that no boundary would be crossed to reach it. Even so, it manages to present itself as a fuzzy image on the sky while the explorer is within the interior — there is one continuous terrain warped in a simple yet incomprehensible way. Level 9.3 is geometrically crunched in on itself. Nevertheless, an outside is reportedly inconceivable by explorers, as their consciousnesses and depth perception seem to be anchored to some terrifyingly mind-warping geometry — it is of no surprise that such machinery would be lurking forever, pursuing such a meaningless cycle of the mere infinity, having infinitely many outcomes, having infinitely many tortures for one's psyche.

Integrity


The sublevel is subject to a permanent static state, including the houses and the trees within — nothing may grow, fade, or break down. The level's geometry is thought to preserve this, subsequently causing a temporal alteration within the territory. Most wanderers tend to perceive the phenomenon prominently given its environment and auditory hallucinations. Due to this, it is deemed to be the cause of the aforementioned indirect psychological effects, resulting in a traumatic experience.

Engine Noises


Travelling within the highway, a sense of dread will fill one's mind. It is the spontaneous internal reaction to the surrounding environment — a noise echoing throughout the whole subsector; it nestles within the ears; it is approaching but never closer; it is far away but never arrives; it has enough time to catch its prey but never uses it; it is a predator in a perpetual hunt, hiding somewhere unreachable, out of the bounds of this one-sided mass of forests and wheat fields.


Discovery


Level 9.3 was discovered by a wanderer by the name of Cassidy Remnint. As she ventured towards what she hoped to be Level 10, a darkened corner within the wheat fields manifested, engulfing her within. On the other side lied the metaphorical torture machine described prior — she cried, and cried; she hoped she could find somewhere to rest without worrying about the everwatching sorroundings. Despite her attempts, despite finding shelter on numerous occasions, she could never go back. She would sometimes sit down and attempt to grasp the situation. Every time, it felt too complex, too effervescent. To her, her emotions felt like they were changing sporadically and that they were alarming her of nothing anyway. She wondered where the presumed threat hid, all without finding any source of her feelings other than sudden realizations — she was stuck, or was she? Cassidy could not perceive what was after her — or rather, what was not.

Cassidy would have ventured more within the houses; she would have tried to find out what was behind that door on the back of the house. She attempted to go through, but that doorknob was seemingly frozen. The door was rather weak in integrity however, and so she made it — she once again found herself within grassy fields leading to nowhere.

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But once again, that dreadful noise may sometimes threaten to manifest, only to appear and let one run.

There is no shame in cowering in fear — it is of no pleasure when no one can hear you blaring at the hills.


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