Fate or Choice
Kiyro, Eve, and Jack looked down upon the red paint, confused about where it came from. Kiyro could tell it was fresh, but something about the paint felt slightly off. He didn’t know what, but the paint seemed out of place. Especially when it seemed like someone was dragged on top of it, leaving behind long streaks.
“What the hell?” Jack couldn’t stop himself from swearing. He was too confused about what he was seeing before him. “You guys did that?”
Eve had trouble forming words, so Kiyro spoke on her behalf. “No. We just got here just like you. I’m not sure where this came from, but it was here.” Kiyro squatted close to the scarlet paint on the ground and swiped a bit on his fingers. Then, bringing it up to his nose, he sniffed it. There was no paint-like smell but a slightly metallic smell.
Jack was already following the trails, curious about what was up ahead in the dark hallway. He carefully maneuvered each step around the scarlet paint trail and followed forward.
Eve stood behind Kiyro, too shocked to move. But then, her vision turned into a reality. The thought terrified her, and she repeatedly mouthed the phrase,’ It’s all a dream.’
Kiyro’s eyes widened as a thought crossed his mind. Blood. He stood up straight like a board. The streaks heading towards the dark flickering hallway were a bad idea. His senses were on alert, and he wanted to leave the place as quickly as possible.
“Eve,” Kiyro gently shook her to snap her out. “Eve.” He shook her harder.
Eve slowly turned towards him with a scarred face. “This is all a dream, right, Kiyro?”
Kiyro slowly shook his head side-to-side, telling her it was not. He wanted to tell her they were possibly in danger, but he did not want to freak her out. Even he was unsettled by how Everything was playing out.” We should go,” he spoke, trying not to freak her out.
“Pinch me.” Eve stared at him, determined that Everything was a dream, and she was still hallucinating the vision that she supposedly had.
“Eve, I’m not so sure it is the right time for that.” Kiyro wasn’t keen on pinching her, but he needed to move her along without causing serious panic.
“Just do it.”
Kiyro reached over and pulled on her cheeks as hard as he could. “Better?” Even when her cheeks were stretched, she still looked adorable.
“Owowowowow!” She pulled back from his painful stretch of skin.
“Now, if you don’t have any more things to say, it would be better if we go.”
“Where’s Jack?” asked Eve. She scanned around, looking for him. “He was here a moment ago.”
Kiyro remembered seeing Jack go on ahead towards the dark flickering hallway lights. “Damn.” He swore under his breath. This was the wrong time for Jack to search where the scarlet paint came from. “Stay here.”
“I’d rather go with you.”
“It could be dangerous.”
“It’ll be more dangerous to leave me here. I don’t want to be caught by anyone here. They might mistake me for the one who spilled the paint on the floor.”
“Just stay behind me. When I say ‘Run,’ don’t question it and run.”
Kiyro smacked himself on the face. “Because when someone yells to run, you take off towards a direction where there is no trouble. You don’t want to waste your precious seconds and die because you’re wondering what’s happening. It’s your life.”
“Ah, I see. So I’m guessing many people tend to go towards the direction of where the problem is because they’re curious.”
“Yes. When there is a problem, things happen that don’t always end positively.”
“Okay.” Eve nodded. “I’ll run when you say run.”
“I hope so too.” He quietly mumbled. It was not always an easy concept, especially when it must be done in a dire situation.
“Let’s go.” Kiyro went first, carefully walking towards the direction the blood seemed to be heading. They walked a reasonable distance until they heard Jack’s voice yelling in pain.
“It’s Jack!” Eve bolted forward towards the direction of Jack’s voice.
“Eve! No!” Kiyro ran after her, trying to catch her before something worse happened. Their pounding footsteps could be heard echoing down the hallway.
Reaching over, he snatched her hand and pulled her into his arms. “Are you out of your mind!” Kiyro tried his best not to throttle her for not listening to him. For once, he wished she would listen and not head towards danger. “You don’t run towards him without looking around; you go cautiously.” Again, he tried his best to calm himself.
“B-b-but Jack,” she tried her best not to pull away from him and run off towards Jack.
“I know. Calm down. We need to watch our surr-” Kiyro stopped and looked up. He felt a cold shiver run up his spine.
“Well. Well. Well. What do we have here.” A male voice was so cold it felt like a bucket of ice was thrown on both Kiyro and Eve.
Kiyro quickly pulled her towards his back, trying to keep her safe.
A pretty good distance away from them was the man in a white suit with a skull mask covering his face. His left hand was rubbing a silver cross as it began to twitch. The answer to the scarlet paint was in front of them. There were three bodies on the floor. One of them was Jack unconscious, while the other two were two students that lay dead with their necks slit open.
One was a female all in a white dress, almost angelic in presence. Her blond hair was splayed out, and her neck and wrist were bleeding non-stop. On the complete opposite side of her was a male with black hair and in gothic black clothes with his chest bleeding. They were both holding hands and looked like they were sleeping. In-between the two dead students, painted in their blood, was a phrase: Which wolf would you feed?
Kiyro’s skin crawled with goosebumps. A crime scene was before him, and his instincts told him to run.
“Tch. Tch. Tch.” The man with the mask clicked his tongue together. “I wouldn’t move if I were you. You just landed on a trap, and if you move, it will be set off.”
Kiyro and Eve froze. Their eyes darted frantically, trying to find the location of the trap. They could not move forward nor backward.
“Kuhuhuh,” the masked man snickered. “I can smell fear from you.” He bends on his knees in prayer in front of two deceased bodies. It was a wild sight, a killer praying for the slain.
The masked man spoke with both hands clasped and his head bowed. “Dear Father, Please forgive these wretched sinners. I have brought the lambs to be slaughtered and blood for an offering. For I know your heart rips to shreds for every man that dies by my hand. I can feel your sadness and quivering anger. Each death brings me closer to knowing I have succeeded in the mission. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.”
Kiyro shivered at what this man was saying. In front of him was an assassin of the underworld. One that was not easily seen or found, but this man had purposely arrived at a college in the middle of the day, where thousands of people stayed.
The masked man turned his head towards Kiyro and Eve. His hands dropped to his side next to the silver cross and began to fiddle with it again.
“Would you like to hear a story?” said the masked man. Kiyro could almost imagine the man smiling behind the mask. “There is an old Native American story about two wolves. They had a terrible fight that lasted till one overcame the other. One is evil- he is angry, jealousy, sorrow, regret, hate, greed, arrogance, guilt, lies, superiority, ego, basically the dark side of the world. The other is good- he is joy, peace, love, happiness, hope, serenity, kindness, truth, compassion, faith, and the light side of the world. Which wolf would you feed?”
“Why are you asking such a tale? What point are you trying to make?” Kiyro carefully asked while he looked for an escape route.
The man with the silver mask barked out laughing, startling them. “Don’t you see?” He waved towards the dead two students. “The answer is simple. It’s the one you feed.”
“You’re horrible,” Eve stated with disgust in her voice. She was furious at what he was saying. Yet, it was like Eve had lost her fear when the masked man spoke to them for a moment.
“Me horrible?” The masked man chuckled. “This is art. If you were to see how humanity truly is, would you be able to say that? The mind of a man is broken. Our envy and greed spread like poison. Those so-called kindness and love are overridden in an instant. Would you like to test this, the so-called heart of humanity?” With quick steps, the masked man appeared before Eve, and he raised her chin with his gloved hands.
Kiyro could not believe how fast the masked man came up to them. In reality, he was not expecting such a close encounter so quickly. He wasn’t even ready for it.
Eve held in her breath but glared back at him with a ferocity that Kiyro thought she could fire lasers out through her eyes and burn through the mask.
“What interesting eyes,” the masked man said. “People say that the eyes are the window to one’s soul. And so it is true that one can see the truth by gazing into one’s eyes.”
The masked man examined her face closer, almost to the point of touching. Kiyro could not step in nor move. His instinct screamed that one false move; they were both goners, especially him.
“I have never seen such a soul.” The masked man’s voice started to rise in pleasure. “Should I say false purity or a dark angel with a perfect balance of dark and light? A strong will, or maybe should I say stubbornness like a mule. It seems you have a hidden gift ready to be bloomed.”
Eve swallowed, trying not to show her fear to the masked man. Fear kept her still.
“I wonder how far I can push you till you break.” The masked man rang deep, “but I’ll savor this another day. My goal was never you nor him in the first place. Would you like to see the true mind of people change when they see death and seek revenge? Especially what they might do?”
The masked man leaned in close to her ear and whispered. “Aren’t you curious how you might change?” He inhaled her scent and chuckled.
Eve paled and pushed him roughly back. “You monster.” She spat onto his mask.
Kiyro couldn’t believe what she had done. He wasn’t sure either if she was brave or a complete fool.
The masked man wiped his mask with his gloved hand and flicked it away. He sighed as if what she did was insignificant and that it was not worth his trouble. “I was not expecting such a reaction, but it’s a different reaction than I actually approve of. The death of all my victims always ended up begging, crying, hysteria, and complete fear. But you are the rare few that would spit at death’s door as if it was nothing.”
Kiyro noticed something strange about the masked man. He could see something behind him like a transparent black shadow with red eyes that followed the masked man like a plague. This was not a typical scene he would see often or ever see. Yet, whatever was behind the man stepped out from his shadow and walked over to the two dead students. The obnoxious smell of sulfur and a strange smell drifted into his nose.
Covering his nose, he looked for the source of the smell. The more the black shadows moved, the stronger the smell wafted from the direction of the black shadow.
What he saw next startled him; two more shadows lighter than the black shadow seemed to appear from the body like they were standing up. At that moment, the black shadow viciously attacked the two lighter shadows. It was an attack that even made Kiyro cringe at sight. Holes appeared from the two lighter shadows, and the darker shadows seemed to cut through them like butter.
Kiyro thought he could hear the screams of the two lighter shadows. Instead, they disappeared like smoke from thin air and never returned. The only shadow left behind was the black shadow with red eyes, which melded back into the masked man’s shadow.
With a heavy heart, Kiyro instinctively knew that the two lighter shadows were dead. If second death was possible, their existence was gone entirely from this world this time. A static message flashed from his Alive gear.
Easter Egg has been activated.
Angel’s Quest override has been initiated.
This Quest is a priority before all the other Quest.
Save your friends. Pickpocket the stone in the masked man’s pocket. Ten seconds till an opportunity arises.
Failure: Possible death by the masked man
Kiyro quickly scanned the message that he had received. This was not the time to have a game quest initiating a life and death situation. He already had a big dilemma where death was knocking on their door. They could be the next victim of the masked man’s hands. What was worse was that this Quest asked him to pickpocket a killer. The thought mind boggled him.
Where were these quests coming from, and how was it possible that such a quest even started. These thoughts ran through his head like a lightning bolt, but no answer could be found.
5 seconds left
4 seconds left
“Damn it,” Kiyro silently cursed. There was no time to make a decision that could help them at this moment. But, being trapped, unable to move, the Quest asks him to do something crazy. He noticed in the right pocket of the masked man’s white jacket that there was a faint black glow. He knew what he needed to get, but the problem was how.
3 seconds left
2 seconds left
1 second left
The trap is a LIE.
A loud female scream burst out loud as it rang through the hallway. Everyone turned towards the scream and that moment, startling everyone with the unexpected guest. A young female student who stumbled upon them saw the death of the two students.
Kiyro bolted forward towards the masked man with his hidden dagger that he had hidden in his sleeves. This gave him a split opportunity for Kiyro to attack. But, after reading the message, he knew the trap was a lie. The masked man stepped backward with ease with each swing and dodged each attack.
“Get to Jack!” Kiyro yelled for Agnis to snap out of it.
Eve was startled awake from the shock, “What about the trap?” She asked nervously.
“It was a lie. Hurry, move!” Kiyro was having difficulties keeping the man in the mask back. Each swing was not able to even put a scratch on the masked man.
“How do you know?”
“Don’t ask, go!”
Eve ran over to Jack. She reached over and checked if he was okay. With her head close to his mouth, she noticed he was fine. “He’s breathing.” She whispered and shook him awake. “Jack. Jack. Get up!” She hoped she could awaken him.
Jack’s eyes fluttered awake slowly. “Eve?” He was staring at her, confused at where he was.
“Get up. We don’t have time.” Eve helped him up from the floor as he stumbled forward. She was having trouble balancing his whole weight on herself. They hobbled away from the crime scene as fast as they could.
Kiyro knew that his life was on the line, and he needed to buy time for everyone to escape. He could already tell this masked man was a professional because his light steps toward him, avoiding his every deadly strike. Every strike he aimed for was meant to break, immobilize, and kill in one hit if possible. His instincts were in overdrive, and there was no kindness in his strikes.
Once again, the female’s scream broke, and the masked man’s concentration broke for a split second. At that moment, Kiyro struck the masked man in the face, knocking the mask off. His hands whipped towards the masked man’s pocket and quickly pulled out the stone hidden away. He pocketed it as best as possible without the masked man noticing it. Then, like a bolt of lightning, the masked man ran towards the female. He slit her throat in one swing, and she crumpled onto the ground. Blood dripped down her throat and onto the floor, creating another pool of blood.
“What a horrible voice. It’s like nails running down a chalkboard..” The man covered his face and ran away towards the fire exit. He disappeared in the blink of an eye.
What happened next surprised him. The dead female student that just momentarily had her neck split open was gone. There was no blood on the floor nor any presence that there was even the girl there.
Kiyro did not go after him and instead went over to check the mask. There was an eye embedded in the middle of the mask. He noticed small blood marks on the bottom right side of the mask, and his knuckles were bleeding. A snapshot of the mask was taken; he, too, bolted towards where his friends went. Already he could hear the sound of running footsteps heading in his direction.
“Damn,” Kiyro cursed, slowing down to find another way to hide. Turning a sharp corner, he saw and slipped into the men’s bathroom, where a couple of other students were washing their hands.
A strong odor of disinfectant could be smelled, making him queasy.
Walking towards the sink, he steadied his breath, trying to control his unsteady heart. It was already difficult enough when he was winded from the run. Then, with confident steps, trying not to look out of place, he walked over to the sink and began to wash his hands.
Loud running footsteps of a large group of people passed by.
“What’s going on?” One of the male students peeked over to see what was happening outside. Others followed pursuit, curious of what the commotion could be.
“Did something happen?” Another stated as he walked towards the exit.
Kiyro straightened his hair using the mirror and snuck glances around the bathroom. He looked around and saw college books on the side of the sink. Peeking out from the corner of his eyes, and turning his head to check if anybody was nearby. Inching towards the books, he glanced around and picked up the books with one hand. Tucking it under his arms, he walked casually towards the exit.
Blending in with the hurried footsteps of professors and students, he quickly walked past them. He wasn’t sure if the rest of the group had finished their task of placing the runes stones. What happened today truly worried him, especially what had happened a moment ago.
To have a murder case in bright daylight, especially in the middle of the school day. It was unheard of. His mind raced with thousands of different scenarios and thoughts on why the masked man was killed during the bright daylight.
Real World Hidden Quest: Alpha Division individual quest The player’s portion has been completed.
The door has been closed with all the team members completing their tasks. Unexpected blood has been spilled, tainting the soil of the school. With the death of two, it is possible to reopen the door with specific requirements. It is best to leave the door closed and never be found again. Be wary of your surroundings.
Total Individual Quest that needs to be completed 3333 worldwide. 2353/3333 completed at this time.
Quest Level: B
Reward: Prize money has been sent to your bank account of $200 and is a rare accessory for your character.
The message that appeared before him turned staticky as an error message appeared.
Error! Error! All recordings of the Real World Hidden Quest: Alpha Division individual quest have been corrupted. An unknown Devil’s Virus has been sent to your device. All personal details and files are being downloaded.
Kiyro was in complete shock. He didn’t know what to do at this time. He didn’t know how where the Virus even came from. A large downloading screen could be seen before him, downloading all his information. “What the hell’s going on?” He was in a panic. Whatever was happening at this moment was making him sweat with fear.
This was a moment in life; he could do nothing. He wasn’t a computer genius to be able to hack into his Alive gear. He only knew the basics of computer coding and hacking.
The downloading bar got dangerously closer and closer to completion, scrambling his Alive gear into chaos. Then, another message appeared before him, overwritten on top of all this chaos.
Angel’s Quest has been completed.
Reward activation of the first stage of the Seed and Angel’s blessing has interfered with the Virus. Vaccination of the Virus against your Alive gear has been created. All data download has been halted and destroyed. You have acquired a Soul stone. Be wary of the stone, for it is tainted by evil.
A seed has been activated.
The first growth period of the Seed Sprout has been released. In addition, the seed skill of Telepathy has been learned.
There are two parts to this ability. The first ability is that you can read the opponent’s mind for three seconds. Only the basic surface thoughts could be read in real life and in-game life. Mental energy is needed to activate your ability. Train in meditation to work on increasing your mental power.
Second skill in-game, you can see the basic information window of your opponents. The chance of success is 50%
Kiyro felt a sharp migraine in his head. He stumbled around, trying to get a grip. He brought up his hands to quell the stinging pain. Then, just as it appeared, the pain disappeared in seconds. Looking around, he noticed he had arrived at the entrance of the college building.
He was alone at the entrance, confused about how he got there. Not a single sight of students roamed the campus ground.
“Young man!” A man yelled at him.
Kiyro whipped around to see who was calling him. He noticed that it was the janitor that he had helped clean up the mess on the floor.
“Old man, what are you doing out here? I was looking for you when you disappeared.”
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to leave in such a hurry. I had something of
importance to take care of. I knew you would finish the job.” The old man smiled.
“You used me.” Kiyro frowned. He didn’t mind helping the old man, but he felt like he was tricked.
“No. No. I really did have a back problem. I wanted to say thank you and searched for you, but you weren’t there when I returned.”
“For real?” Kiyro looked at him skeptically.
“Yes. I didn’t mean to leave so abruptly. I’m sorry, and thank you.” The old man bowed. He came forward and shook his hands, leaving behind something in his hands. “You are the seeded child. I’m glad that she picked you.”
“Seeded child? Excuse me?”
“Don’t worry. You’ll know later on but before that. I suggest you throw that stone in a river.” The old man pointed toward Kiyro’s pocket. Kiyro stared at him, baffled at how the old man knew. Then, rummaging it out, he showed him the stone he had stolen from the masked man and handed it to him.
“No. No. I will not touch it, for the few who can touch it and not be contaminated by its evil presence are people like you.” The old man pushed the stone towards Kiyro and folded it in Kiyro’s hands.
“What are you talking about? It’s just a stone.”
“Kuhuhu. A stone, he said.” The old man chuckled. “It is no ordinary stone.”
“What are you talking about? Are you saying it’s some kind of magical stone?”
“You could say something like that, but….”
“Come on. That sounds so unbelievable.”
“If the world were truly unbelievable, then such a thing would not have been made.”
“Okay. If you say, it is a magical stone. What can it do? Grant wishes?” said Kiyro sarcastically. He just couldn’t believe a stone could be magical.
“No, nothing like that.” The old man burst out laughing.” It captures souls of the dead.”
“What?!” Kiyro almost dropped the stone to the ground. He felt uneasy that the stone had a dead person’s soul harboring in it. “You jest right?”
“You saw what had happened to a dead soul with the two students. I know you can see.”
“How?” Kiyro stepped back. He was shocked to be found out so quickly and unexpectedly. How could such an old man know such an ability that he had? “W-what are you talking about?”
“You know what I mean. You can see the dead. It seems you have had this ability since birth.”
“How did you know?” gasped Kiyro.
“There are usually three ways a person can be gifted or, as some people see it, a curse. The first is that they are born with it, the second, someone or something helps awaken it, or third, a fatal accident happens that forces it open. For me, I was in a fatal accident that allowed me to be able to sense the truth that not many people can. You can say gut instincts, or should I say clairsentience. Either way, something that awakens is not easily taken. It’s either forced back or blocked. Don’t worry. Everything has a reason.”
“Wait. Wait. What if I want a normal life? Isn’t this something that was forced upon me? Can’t whoever take this back?”
The old man laughed, “Everything has a reason. One day you will know why.”
“This is crazy talk. I don’t believe you.”
“Denial is always the first reaction to hearing something they don’t want. Later it becomes accepted. Why don’t you try your new ability if you don’t believe me? What was it…ah yes. Telepathy.”
Kiyro was baffled. “How?”
The old man smiled. “I just know. Come on. All it takes is concentration, relaxation, and belief.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Ask me a question.”
Kiyro was having trouble believing, but he was still curious about what he could do. “How old are you?”
The old man grinned mischievously, “I have the answer in my head. Don’t guess. All it takes is a peek into this old mind.”
“I’m not sure I could do this.”
“Don’t worry. You’ll be able to.”
“How are you so sure?”
“Quit asking and just do it.” The old man crossed his arms, waiting impatiently at his denial.
“Fine.” Kiyro sighed. His hands were nervously rubbing against each other, wondering if what the old man had said was true. He stared straight into the old man’s eyes and waited patiently. His mind at first ran wild with hundreds of different numbers until a loud voice-like sound echoed continuously in his head. 349. 349. 349. 349. 349.
349? Is that really his age? Kiyro couldn’t believe he was that old. Nowadays, the average man’s lifespan is around 100 years old.
“I can tell you have found your answer,” the old man cut his concentration like a sword. “Go ahead. Tell me. I’m all ears.”
Kiyro was hesitant about speaking what he had to say. 349 years old was a farfetched answer at this time, but today’s ordeal was strange. Closing gates, a murder that they stumbled onto, a soul-sucking stone, and now an old man who was 349 years old. What’s wrong with one more crazy thing that happened today?
“Why do you say it like that? Come on. Be more confident.”
The old man slapped his hands against his head and sighed.
“What? I told you I couldn’t do it. Telepathy. What kind of nonsense are we spouting?”
The old man burst out laughing and turned toward Kiyro with glee. “You are stronger than I thought.”
“You guessed my exact age. I was thinking a whole different number trying to fool your mind. You are highly gifted.”
“Wait. I succeeded? You really are 349 years old?”
The old man grinned ear-to-ear. “Yes. It seems your friends are calling for you. I suggest you throw that stone into clean spring water or bury it deep into mother earth.”
“Why? How are you 349 years old?” Kiyro was having a difficult time believing in the old man’s words.
“Kiyro!” A female’s voice called out towards him. “Kiyro!” More voices were heard from behind.
Kiyro turned around to see who was calling his name. It was Eve, Jack, Isabel, and Will, while Alex was closely following right next to them. “Kiryo over here!”
When Kiyro turned back to talk to the old man again, he was gone like before. “Where did he go?” He walked around looking for the old man where he once stood. But, no trace or evidence that the old man was even there was left behind. “How is this possible?” With uneven steps, Kyro walked around in circles, trying to piece what happened before him in a logical sequence.
“Kiyro. What are you doing?” Eve asked. She got up to him curiously, following his steps, trying to figure out what he was doing. “Are you okay?”
“Yea… I just…Never mind. Let’s just get out of here before there is more trouble.”
“Okay. We got a load to tell you too.” Jack replied that he was fully awake and functioning normally.
“You okay?” Kiryo asked. The last time he saw Jack was on the floor unconscious.
“I’m okay. Just a slight bump on my head. It’s nothing serious.”
“We should move out now and find a safe place out of sight,” Alex replied. He was antsy to get out of the college as soon as possible. “The police are coming. We don’t have time to be talking here. Let’s go. Act natural don’t talk about the Quest.”
Everyone agreed, followed Alex out of the campus, and walked five miles talking about trivial things like a normal student.
Kiyro and his group were in a small coffee shop sitting in the corner. They were all tired of what had happened today. Each person had their own story that they were having a difficult time believing. They were hunched over, deep in thought, or sipping on their drink.
“What was all that about?” Jack broke the silence in the group.
“Which one?” Will asked, turning towards Jack, who was sitting next to him.
“The Quest. The murder. Everything.” Jack’s arms flailed wildly, accentuating his words. “Was it all a setup, or did we just dream all that?”
“Shhhh. Be quiet.” Eve hissed. She did not want to bring attention to their small group. She tried her best to be small. “I don’t want to be noticed.” She mumbled underneath her collar that she raised up, hoping it would cover her face but failed.
“Let’s do this one by one. Someone go first and tell us what you experienced. Maybe then we could decipher what is going on.” Alex instructed. “I’ll go first.” Everyone attentively listened to Alex’s story.
“Well…” Alex drummed his fingers on the table, “it just started out as a simple bump on the shoulder with another student. I said I was sorry, but instead, he got really obnoxious with me to the point where he swung at me first.”
“Are you sure you weren’t flirting with a girl?” Eve snickered. “That could be the main reason why you got swung at.”
“Maybe.” Alex winked and continued on with his story. “So eventually, Everything ended up in a quick fist fight. I won but was quickly settled by going to the principal office. The strange thing was that out of nowhere when I yelled enough from the annoying chatter, the desk, chairs, and even the principal and the guy was roughly pushed back into the wall. Instantly they were knocked out, and here I am.”
“You jest. Really?” Eve asked. “You’re not making this up, are you?”
“No. If I did, I wouldn’t be telling you this story, would I? I believe only when I see it and experience it for myself.”
“You’re making it sound like you have gained some superpower.”
“If I did, I would have been able to use it now.” Alex sounded a bit peeved to Kiyro. He wasn’t sure why.
“Well, I too had an odd experience,” Isabel replied. “It’s not as startling as Alex, but it was strange. While walking down the hallway, I would hear voices chattering loudly around me as if they were next to me. The odd thing was nobody was there. I was all alone.”
“Well, you know that classes are going on,” Jack replied. “That could be the source of hearing voices.”
“No. It’s not just that. I did open doors to the so-called classrooms. Not a single one had a student or a teacher in it. The voices actually got louder inside the classrooms than outside the hallway. That wasn’t the only thing. I thought I saw shadows moving around in the classrooms as well. I thought there was a full classroom for a moment, but I was wrong. Nobody was present.” Isabel accentuated the word nobody trying to get the point across.
“Then what happened next?” asked Jack. He was uncomfortable with what Isabel was saying. “You’re not saying there was a ghost or something, right?”
“Yes. Then I met up with Will here.”
“As Isabel was saying, we met each other in the hallway. I, too, heard voices, but the strange thing was that I heard someone calling my name. I swear it sounded familiar.” Will’s voice went into the distance, thinking about what had happened.
“Are you alright?” asked Eve.
“Yes, I’m sorry. I was saying. The voices sounded familiar and constant, as if they were leading me towards someone or something. I searched everywhere for the voice calling my name, but I couldn’t find anyone. At first, I thought it was some kind of hallucination until I saw a figure dart through the hallway. She would call my name and then disappear. Just like that.” He snapped his fingers.
“I see.” Jack rubbed his chin. “Well, compared to yours, I would say half of us know what happened while the rest don’t.”
“What are you talking about?” Will asked, confused at what Jack was saying.
“He saying that we stumbled on a murder scene,” said Kiyro. He wasn’t too thrilled to tell them about what had transpired before them.
“What!” Will retorted out loud, making the people sitting around them turn their heads towards Will. Then, finally, he covered his mouth and whispered, “You serious?”
“Would I be lying to you guys?”
“How did that even happen?”
“We just stumbled upon it. Jack here had to go toward the smeared blood on the ground. Didn’t you even think it was a red flag not to go?” Kiyro asked directly towards Jack. He was curious as to why Jack had gone towards danger. He expected Jack was an intelligent man that would not go head first into a possibly dangerous situation without thinking.
“I saw someone,” Jack replied. He folded his arms and leaned back on his chair.
“You saw someone? Who?”
“Hold up. You said you saw your mom in a college school. Don’t you think that’s a bit far-fetched to go towards the direction of the smeared blood?” Kiyro was baffled entirely at Jack’s answer.
“I can’t-” Kiyro stopped, “Come again?”
“I said my mom passed away a year ago from lung disease. I couldn’t believe that my mother was there. But I couldn’t help it. I was confused and followed her. Upon arrival, I saw the dead bodies lying on the ground, and then all I saw was white.” Jack raised his hands behind his head, massaging where he was hit. “The next thing I knew Eve was next to me telling me to get up. Everything was a complete blur after that. We somehow made it out here waiting for all of you guys. Kiyro would know the story after that.”
Kiyro sighed. It was finally his turn to tell what had happened throughout the ordeal. He didn’t want to believe it, but Everything had happened so quickly that it felt like a dream. “Eve and I met halfway through the Quest, and eventually, she told me something interesting. A vision that became a reality. Everything that she told me, she described it perfectly to what she saw, but not what came after.”
“It was almost like Deja Vu,” Eve shuddered at remembering Everything that played out.
“What was it?”
“Scarlet paint that was smeared on the floor, but she was off. It wasn’t scarlet paint but actually blood. Jack met with us and suddenly disappeared. We found him unconscious on the floor. What was even more startling was finding a man in all white with a mask on his face.”
“Is that all you remember?” asked Alex. “Was there anything else?”
“Yes. It seems the masked man has some ailment and a silver cross in his hands. What he did next was a bit strange. He prayed for the dead before us and said it was the artwork. I don’t think he saw us as a threat and instead let us live.”
“Did you get to see his face?”
“No. I was too busy trying to fend for our lives to get a glimpse, though I did get a good swing. He escaped like a rat and disappeared. Eventually, I ended up outside with you guys.”
“You know it’s a miracle that none of us died,” Eve replied. “I thought the killer would kill us too.”
“He might,” Jack replied.
“Damn it, Jack, do you have to state it like that?” Eve angrily replied. She was getting uncomfortable with the conversation.
“Look, I’m just saying. He saw all our faces. We didn’t see him. So that’s a problem in itself.”
“He’s not going to,” Alex cut in on their conversation, halting their small bickering and worry.
“How do you know this?” Eve asked.
“You would’ve all died at that time in the hands of the pro-assassin, but you didn’t. Why do you think that?”
“I’m not sure what you are getting at.”
“He let you guys live like Kiyro stated. What he came to do was to create art. You didn’t see his face nor know who he was, even though he saw yours. It means you were not his target and not worth his time.”
“But wouldn’t it jeopardize him?” Eve asked.
“On what account? You will tell the police that you saw a man in a mask and possibly get yourself revealed by telling the cops? Think. Once your name is known by the cops, you’re labeled. Till you have definite proof, it’s best not to reveal yourself and get in trouble or worse, killed.”
Eve gulped. She was shaking in worry.
“Don’t worry; he won’t be back to get you guys,” Alex assured them.
“How are you so sure?” She asked. “It almost sounds as if you know him or something. Do you?”
“No. These are just theories with the highest chance of him not attacking.”
“How high is this killer’s chance?”
“That’s at least 1%. So that’s still something we need to watch for.”
“We’ll be fine for now. I want to ask all of you, did your Real-world Quest complete?”
“Yea. Why?” asked Jack. He fiddled around with the straw of his drink. “Did you succeed, and suddenly your Alive gear got almost hacked into?”
“Yours too?” Kiyro asked with surprise. He didn’t expect them to have the same problem as him.
“Same here,” Eve raised her hand. “Then, after that, something stopped the so-called Devil’s Virus from infiltrating our gears. What was it, Angel’s vaccination?”
“Same,” Isabel and Will nodded their head to Eve’s statement. They leaned in closer, hoping if possibly one of them knew the answer.
“I got the same thing as all of you. I’m guessing none of you know what just happened,” Alex asked. Kiyro noticed that Alex was more talkative today than usual.
Kiyro thought about telling them about Angel’s Quest, but something stopped him in the back of his mind. It was like an egging feeling that told him it was not the time. He was more curious about the Angel quest than all of them, but from their reaction, it seemed they did not know what an Angel vaccination might even be.
“What a day,” Eve sighed and flopped backward onto her chair, “I think I’ll just go home and rest up. There were just too many things that happened today to take in.”
“I’m with Eve,” Isabel replied. “Let’s go for today. Maybe we’ll have another quest together soon.” She smiled at Kiyro.
“I hope so too.” Kiyro gave her a warm smile.
“I’ll see you guys in-game or possibly another Real-life quest.” Will got up and waved goodbye. Both Isabel and Will left the coffee shop.
Jack got up next. “I just got a phone call from my business partner. I need to go for now. I’ll call you later, Eve. See ya guys around.” He got up and picked up a call that came in.
Kiyro, Alex, and Eve sat silently without a word. They, too, were thinking about the day.
“I’ll be going as well. I’ll give you guys a call later,” Alex got up and left in a hurry.
“You should go too,” said Kiyro. He took a sip of his drink and placed it back down, “I’m waiting for a ride. I just sent Anna a message to pick me up here, unless you would like a ride too?”
Eve thought it over and shook her head yes. Both Kiyro and Eve silently drank while waiting for Anna to arrive.