His employees would always chide him for overworking himself, being the earliest to open up and the last one to close up the restaurant. Gideon would always wave them off goodnaturedly, knowing that they were concerned about him. He knew himself the best after all, since he was also a health buff. He needed to be always healthy if he wanted to take care of his wife and daughter.
The lights were turned off one by one, save for the one by the cashier as Gideon was working on tabulating the business for the day. His last employee to leave for the night shouted out a good night to which the restaurant owner replied earnestly. He was almost done as well and he would be able to close up after this. It was a normal routine for him like any other night, but the fates would not have it. As he wrote down the amount of revenue they had brought in today into the accounting books, the man was just about to place the Jewels back into the cash register when a sudden pang of pain hit him.
Gideon’s eyes widened in shock and pain as his left hand dropped whatever he had holding and his right hand shot to his chest, clutching hard at where his heart would be. His mouth opened but no sound came out. And just like that, Gideon Montare fell off his seat, his left hand snagging onto the open cash register and bringing it crashing down along with him. The man’s heart had stopped beating. In the morning, when his employees would return to the restaurant, not knowing that their boss hadn’t closed up for the night, they would receive a shock when they saw their boss dead on the ground.
The doctor verifying the death would sign it off as a heart attack from over exhaustion, as would all the other cases across Fiore and other countries. However it was just the beginning. With a rate of someone in the world having a heart attack and dying from it every one minute, none of the doctors around the world noticed the pattern until it was too late. And in Fiore, when it was finally discovered, it was an accidental discovery because of the near-death of a Magic Council member.
The Council member’s name was Dunan Thomas, a well-respected Council member who had once carved out a name for himself as the Undying Dunan. The man’s magic, a lost magic, allowed him to recover from almost any wound while keeping him immune from diseases. The immunity from all diseases had also allowed the man to live a very frivolous life in his younger days, the number of women he had gone through countless, regardless if they were proper or not. After all, the man had nothing to worry about sexually transmitted diseases.
But the new virus had almost beaten him. The man had succumbed to a sudden heart attack, to the shock of all his colleagues. While the other victims’ deaths were instantaneous, the lost magic in Dunan Thomas had kept him alive for a few precious seconds, giving enough time for someone to administer healing magic and pull him back from the brink of death. And that's how all the experts on diseases were brought in on the case, working day and night since a week ago racing to find a cure while people were collapsing from heart failures.
The virus, called the Reaper virus within the labs running tests to root out the source of the virus and also to work on the vaccine, was kept a secret from the general populace. The only ones outside of the Magic Council that were privy to the information were the higher-ups of the Rune Knights. And to top it all of? There was no progress being made at all on producing a vaccine for the Quiet Reaper.
Shane read the encrypted message sent through a custom-made iLac model with a stony expression and furrowed brows. He had received a very troubling message, one that threatened to leave him with a headache. At the same time, it also got his blood racing. Deleting the message after having memorized the message in one go, the rogue Rune Knight turned off the iLac and placed it back into his pants pocket. It was a lovely day to be out in Era and the former General of the Spec Ops division was enjoying a cup of coffee carefreely on the second-floor verandah of a quaint little cafe, situated in an alley not too far away from where he used to work. He could spy the Rune Knight headquarters from where he sat, grinning slightly.
It was no secret now to the whole of Fiore that Shane Stern, once the General of the Rune Knights, was now a fugitive wanted by the Magic Council and the Rune Knights. According to official reports, the ex-Rune Knight was wanted for the brutal murder of a Magic Council member called Western Donovan. General Ceostra and Major General Phacelia had been tasked with his arrest but through some method, Shane had managed to escape. As far as he knew, the Magic Council had tagged him the highest spot on the wanted list, instantly increasing his infamy to the same level as a Warlord.
And if the Magic Council knew that the former General was lurking within Era, sporting nothing but a full beard, the entire city would definitely be thrown into chaos with Rune Knights poking every alley looking for him.
Pushing those thoughts aside, Shane went through a mental list of the people that would be able to help him on this job. The man opened up his iLac and went through the documents stored within. If any Rune Knight had poked over his shoulder to take a look, they would be shocked still as the former General scrolled through the confidential dossiers of all the Rune Knight personnel. And they were even updated to boot, with not a single new recruit missing. Shane scrolled around for a bit, stopping on Major General Phacelia for a few seconds, before shaking his head slightly.
He had given his Major General, a good man by his standards, too much trouble. He would loathe to pull that man further into trouble unless necessary. And then his finger stopped swiping, as a certain dark-haired recruit appeared into view. The rogue Rune Knight grinned, finally finding the perfect candidate for the job. The blonde mage navigated to his contacts and with a few clicks later, Shane sent out a message to the particularly feisty yet intelligent recruit that he had had the chance of working with on a few occasions.
“Meet me tonight at ten at the old church on Crickett Avenue. I hope I’ve earned enough of your trust in the past to believe me when I say I need your assistance for something major. Shane Stern,” the message wrote. Looking at the animation of the message being sent on the screen of the iLac, Shane checked the time and then walked out of the cafe after paying for his drink. It was only three in the afternoon. He had plenty of time for what he was going to do next before it was time to meet Lilith.
[Total WC: 1379]