-Denpasar, 17 September 2020-
The sun cast a gentle glow over the tranquil city, enveloping it in a serene embrace on that Monday morning.
As the doors of a nearby shop swung open, a mature lady emerged, clutching a weathered broomstick in her hand. With deliberate strokes, she meticulously cleaned the dusty mirror, her back turned to the bustling street.
A mischievous twinkle danced in her eyes as she playfully winked at a young man standing on the sidewalk, his handsome face capturing her attention.
The man, Desmond, stood tall, towering above the crowd at an impressive height of 6'2". His physique exuded strength and power, commanding respect and keeping people at a distance.
However, his focus seemed consumed by the world within his headphones, his eyes fixated on the illuminated screen of his phone.
The display revealed a web novel, its black background adorned with white text and a cascade of comments from avid readers.
Briefly, Desmond's attention flickered towards the mature lady, acknowledging her gaze, but it was a fleeting moment before he returned to the captivating world of the web novel.
The young heir, disguised under the cloak of anonymity, was determined to experience a semblance of normalcy in his life.
Taking public transportation, mingling with ordinary people, and attempting to forge genuine friendships were all part of his intricate plan to break free from his notorious past as the heir to the number one mafia organization.
He craved a life untainted by his family's dark legacy, even if only for a moment. However, as the morning breeze whispered through the streets, Desmond couldn't shake the feeling that something out of the ordinary lurked in the air.
A subtle shift, a disturbance in the mundane, hinted at an impending change that would test his resolve.
As time ticked by, more and more individuals gathered around his location, all sharing the same purpose of waiting for their respective buses at the bustling terminal. The crowd swelled, creating a tapestry of diverse faces and voices.
Sensing a pair of eyes fixed on him, Desmond's gaze swept across the sea of people once again. It was then that he caught sight of a young man in a hoodie jacket purposefully making his way towards him.
A flicker of suspicion danced in his eyes, causing his grip to tighten around the concealed pocket knife he kept for protection. Something about this hooded figure felt off, raising an unsettling alarm within him.
People didn't just stare and approach strangers without a reason, unless there was an existing connection of some sort. Desmond's mind raced, dissecting every possible scenario. The hooded young man's approach only deepened his unease.
As the young man drew nearer, a smile played upon his lips, and he spoke with disarming friendliness.
"Hey, I noticed you were engrossed in a web novel too. It's refreshing to meet someone who shares the same passion."
Desmond's brow furrowed, skepticism etching its way across his face. How could this stranger have spotted him from such a distance? The thought lingered, weaving doubt in his mind.
It was clear to him that the mysterious young man's words held little credibility, unless he was woefully naive. Did Desmond, with his imposing physique and icy countenance, look like someone seeking companionship?
The notion of a potential connection with this stranger triggered a question in his mind. Could this person be more than meets the eye?
A killer, perhaps? With his senses heightened, Desmond remained on high alert, his steely gaze piercing through the hooded figure's facade.
"Listen, ease off," he retorted, his voice carrying an edge. "We may share a hobby, but that doesn't automatically make us friends."
Undeterred by his chilly response, the enigmatic young man persisted, resembling a curious fledgling bird.
Desmond instinctively attempted to step away, but his movement halted abruptly as the mysterious young man's hand firmly grasped his shoulder.
"Let go," he commanded, his tone icy and devoid of any warmth, his glare piercing into the enigmatic stranger.
"Relax, man," the young man shrugged, retracting his hand. "I simply wanted to make friends, just like you."
Before the tension between them could escalate any further, a distressed cry shattered the air, cutting through their encounter.
A woman's voice, choked with tears, pleaded for help as she lay on the sidewalk, her bag snatched away by heartless thieves.
The commotion sent shockwaves through the crowd, and people swiftly parted, creating a path for the thieves who approached with menacing intent.
Some, driven by fear, attempted to flee in the opposite direction, desperately seeking safety.
Desmond observed the chaotic scene, a hint of derision curling at the corners of his lips. "A bunch of cowards," he mused silently, acknowledging the wisdom behind their instinctive retreat.
Amidst the frenzy, the once-mysterious young man, who had sought his friendship, defied the tide of fear. With sheer audacity, he lunged forward, attempting to apprehend one of the thieves with his bare hands.
Desmond watched, a mix of amusement and skepticism swirling in his eyes, as the young man spread his arms in an attempt to block the charging thief.
In a twist of fate, the thief's momentum caused him to stumble, losing his balance and crashing to the ground.
Seizing the opportunity, the mysterious young man swiftly restrained the fallen thief, using his knees to pin him down and exert control.
Meanwhile, the other thief, witnessing his partner's predicament, scanned the scene for an escape route. His eyes landed on Desmond, who exuded an air of nonchalance in the face of danger.
Making a split-second decision, the thief charged towards Desmond, desperate to evade capture.
"Hey, catch the other one!" the mysterious young man gasped, his breath heavy from the recent altercation.
Desmond cast a lazy gaze upon the approaching thief, who brandished a gleaming knife in a feeble attempt to intimidate him. A flicker of contemplation danced in his mind.
Should he retaliate with a stab of his own? The thought lingered briefly, but then, with perfect timing, his awaited bus rumbled into view.
"Forget it," he muttered dismissively, his decision made in an instant. He nonchalantly shifted his body to the side, allowing the thief to pass unimpeded.
The fleeting sense of danger dissipated like a passing breeze, momentarily forgotten as Desmond's focus shifted back to his web novel.
Yet, as Desmond attempted to resume his engrossing read, a strange sensation pricked at his awareness. Lifting his head, he discovered a pair of hands stealthily reaching for his precious cellphone.
For a brief moment, Desmond stood dumbfounded, his mind slow to process the audacity of the thief's actions. Then, reality struck, and his eyes widened as he realized his phone was missing from his grasp.
A surge of anger ignited within him, painting his face a deep shade of crimson. A pulsating vein throbbed upon his forehead, a physical manifestation of his seething rage.
Glancing over his shoulder, he caught a fleeting glimpse of the thief darting away, his stolen phone clutched tightly in hand.
"What the fuck?" Desmond seethed through clenched teeth, his voice laced with a mixture of disbelief and fury. He vividly recalled his earlier decision to let the thief escape, only to be repaid with this betrayal.
Without a moment's hesitation, Desmond sprang into action, his muscles coiling with determination. He raced after the fleeing thief, the world around him blurring into a frantic chase.
The thief, like a cunning mouse in a game of hide-and-seek, deliberately misled Desmond, leading him astray and dangerously close to oncoming traffic.
The screeching of tires filled the air as Desmond narrowly avoided a collision, his heart pounding in his chest.
A few meters ahead, his eyes locked onto the thief vanishing into the depths of an alleyway, prompting him to inhale deeply, momentarily steadying himself.
Determined, he followed the thief's trail, maneuvering through the tight confines of the narrow passageway. With each step, anticipation surged within him, a potent mix of adrenaline and resolve.
Within the dimly lit alley, he caught sight of the thief, casting a smug and triumphant grin over his shoulder. The miscreant swiftly ascended a nearby building, employing a discarded trash can as a makeshift stepping stone.
Gracefully, he leaped to a window ledge and commenced his daring ascent, nimbly traversing the gaps between buildings.
As Desmond surveyed his surroundings, his keen eyes discerned a dangling rope nearby. Without hesitation, he seized the opportunity, gripping the sturdy cord tightly in his hand.
Retrieving his trusty pocket knife, he deftly sliced through a secondary rope, connected to weighty bags positioned adjacent to the one he clung to. With a sudden jolt, the rope sprang to life, propelling him skyward, toward the rooftop.
Arriving on the elevated vantage point, Desmond swiftly assessed his surroundings. He watched as the thief, after a few minutes of arduous climbing, finally reached the rooftop, his astonishment palpable upon encountering Desmond's waiting form.
Their distance narrowed, the air heavy with tension. Desmond swiftly extracted his pocket knife, poised with deadly accuracy. With a calculated throw, the blade hurtled through the air, honing in on its intended target—the thief's heart.
In a moment of disbelief, the thief froze, his eyes transfixed upon the silver glint protruding from his chest.
Silence enveloped the rooftop as the thief stood, dumbfounded, gaze fixed upon the foreign object lodged within him. Time seemed to halt, suspended in that fleeting second, before the thief's body slumped forward, succumbing to the pull of gravity.
With a grim satisfaction, Desmond spoke, his voice tinged with a mix of relief and vindication. "Almost lost my precious phone," he murmured, his gaze shifting toward the pool of crimson forming beneath the thief's lifeless form.
Reclaiming his stolen possession from the thief's unyielding grip, Desmond exhaled, a mix of triumph and weariness washing over him.
A deafening bang shattered the air, piercing through Desmond's senses like a thunderclap. Agony coursed through his being as the sound reverberated in his ears, causing sharp pain to radiate outward.
"Gah!" he gasped, his vision blurring as a crimson torrent erupted from his mouth, staining the air.
In a state of bewilderment, Desmond's gaze drifted downward, his eyes widening in horror as they settled upon a gaping hole in his chest.
The bullet's entry point, a stark reminder of his mortality, seared through his consciousness. Thoughts raced through his mind, a maelstrom of unanswered questions.
How was the thief still alive? How had a weapon found its way into the hands of a common thief in this strife-ridden third-world country?
As Desmond grappled with his confusion, his body surrendered to the inexorable pull of gravity. Like a marionette with severed strings, he descended, his limbs betraying him, until he lay prostrate upon the unforgiving ground.
A torrent of questions cascaded through his thoughts, echoing relentlessly. Was this truly the end for him? Would he meet his demise in such a futile, inglorious manner?
The life he had sought—a respite from the burdens of status, prestige, and his burdensome heritage—now lay shattered, reduced to nothing more than a fleeting dream.
In the wake of shock and regret, a calmness gradually settled upon Desmond's consciousness. Acceptance mingled with the encroaching darkness as his grip on consciousness weakened.
The throes of mortality enveloped him, pulling him deeper into the abyss, until all that remained was an ethereal stillness—a life extinguished, slipping away into the void.
[Reconstructing Host Body ….]
[Installing Artificial Intelligence 'System'…]
['System' Starting 10%..]
['System' Starting 50%..]
['System' has been completely booted!]
[Retrieving Host Status…]
Age: 18 (Former)
[Processing a New World…..]