<System: BBEEEEEEEPPPPPP!!!!!!! IMPORTANT NOTICE!!!!!!! PAY ATTENTION!!!!!!!!>
Every immoral host in the world was suddenly startled by the crazy high-pitched sounds made by the system. There was also a video recording that popped up and played right before their eyes. Each host's circumstances were different but no matter what they were doing and where they were, be it in the middle of a business conference, drama shooting or bed exercise, the announcement and the video unceremoniously appeared, taking them by surprise.
<System World Announcement: Warning to every immoral host out there! No one is allowed to divulge, in any way or form, the existence of the system to an unknowing third party!>
<System World Announcement: For emphasis! Once again, no one is allowed to divulge, in any way, manner, form or whatever, this great system's existence to an unknowing third party!>
<System World Announcement: All immoral hosts are advised to keep the mystery of the system to themselves. Be warned. This is will be your ending once you tell others what you should not!>
These messages flashed right after the video displayed how an unrecognizable mess turned into a pile of ashes. The video actually had no sound whatsoever, as obviously, the system had muted it. Nonetheless, it was easy to tell how this bloody thing should be an immoral host that had violated the terms. This pig probably shouted some forbidden words in front of other people, thus angering the system.
After all, this was the first time it made a worldwide announcement. It did not do this before even when several hosts had dropped dead.
All hosts knew they could run rampant on Earth as much as they like as long as they keep the system a secret. Of course, they were required to complete the main missions. But actually, it would still be okay even if they ignore some missions, long as they warrant low-level punishments.
The only absolute restriction strictly imposed on them was the non-divulgence of the system's presence to normal people.
No one knew what would be punishment for noncompliance.
But now they witnessed it.
Some merely sneered. But many hearts still turned cold from fear.
However, there were also a few who did not pay much attention, thinking no other requirement could possibly be easier. They were even thinking it was a matter of course not to broadcast the existence of the thing that made them superior to everyone else.
A few minutes later, the system's warning finally stopped.
Everyone went back to what they were previously doing.
There were some in the middle of relaxation who had enough leisure to wonder about the circumstances that forced the host in the video to disclose the forbidden. Still, in the end, they concluded that this unfortunate soul was a big idiot. How else would he become the first person to violate a very simple protocol?
Anyways, all of them were thinking he really deserved death for committing a no-brainer act like that.
<System Announcement: You haven't started anything yet but you already failed! Hehe, Task 'Steal The Demon's Prey' Failed! Punishment commencing! ENJOY!!!>
Sofony was at the living of the condo, ready to leave for Floyd's location when the announcement repeatedly rang in her head. She was yet to recover from the shock brought by what she had witnessed when another unwelcomed announcement came out.
The system did not give Sofony any time to digest her current situation. A sharp and tearing pain suddenly assaulted her whole body causing her to fall down. She felt immense fear after she remembered the failure consequences of not successfully taking Floyd away from Gio.
But it's all too late now. The same time her sight blacked out was when blood started to trickle down from her eyes. It slowly accumulated next to where she laid. The pain seemed so endless that it made her scream and cry.
The next few seconds that followed was very torturous for Sofony. It was the most painful she had experienced in her life. She wanted to at least confirm if there were still something in her eye sockets, but she was feeling so numb all over she could not even move a finger. She kept crying and trembling. In her mind, she was also madly calling for the system, asking for any cure or relief. The pain was increasingly getting intolerable so she desperately called for help and asked for ways to end this suffering.
Sadly, the system only said, <Hehe. You deserve it, so suffer. You won't end up this way if only you were resourceful and efficient enough when doing missions.>
'It's not my fault that he provoked you! You know I just received the mission and that it's impossible for me to appear right away to where he is! I didn't even manage to leave the house! He also didn't die to Gio, but you! He died because of you, system! You're so unreasonable! You're so damnable! Go to hell!!!'
<System: Heh, you still have so much energy with you despite being tortured by pain? Nice. I wonder if this is an edge of having high stamina. Anyway, failure is a failure. Be thankful that at least the punishment is not Felicity regaining her memories and personality. I'm sure, for you, that's worse than losing any of your body parts.>
Another bout of pain coursed through her body. Now, the blood, sweat, and tears were mixing with each other. Her clothes became badly drenched. She could no longer pay attention to its taunt as all she wanted right now was to get relieved from all the sufferings.
'Take away the pain, I'm begging you!'
But she received no reply from the devil AI which seemed to be hell-bent on inflicting the penalty to her.
Shortly, the pain and fear of suddenly losing her sight went past her tolerance. Sofony's body spasmed violently and not long after, she passed out on the tiled flooring.
Two hours ago, Gio found Sofony in an alarming situation at the condo. By then, she had already been unconscious for more than three hours. He arrived late because he had settled other matters aside from Floyd's. Moreover, the hidden villa was in another city. Also, no one else came to the condo so before Gio, nobody discovered her situation.
He didn't like the emotions that consumed him when he was rushing her to the nearby private hospital owned by his family. Despite being used to seeing and smelling blood in his daily life due to various reasons, the experience was still different altogether when he saw the blood pooling around the unconscious body of his girl.
Sofony also looked like someone who went through a great deal of suffering. This was because when he initially found her, she was really a sorry sight, with all the bloody face, disheveled hair, unnaturally pale and almost bloodless complexion. This nearly drove him crazy and made him forget his suspicions about her and Floyd. That time he knew, he felt not only confusion but also fear and panic.
Not long after, he heard from the doctors that she had gone blind. Actually, the real situation was, her two eyeballs had been gouged out of their sockets which explained the unusual amount of blood on Sofony's body when he first discovered her.
This report truly snapped something in him. Thus, he madly ordered his people to examine the surveillance cameras around and near the place to check who was the bastard that did this. He wanted to know who took her eyes away as he had vowed to personally hunt him down and show him what hell on earth truly was.
His men did their job, yet they oddly didn't see anyone coming near the unit.
There were pinhole cameras installed in the living room which Gio personally checked, but all he saw was Sofony standing near the door with no one else but her inside the unit. It was of no rhyme or reason that she suddenly collapsed, and when he replayed the records, there was only two or three seconds interval between the image of her with a pair of perfectly fine eyes and her fainting on the floor with bloody eye sockets.
With all of these before his sight, his expression did not change, but his eyes increasingly grew icy.
Before he went back to the hospital to see how Sofony was doing, he tried to have George check the other angles in the video taken from the in-house camera, however, George said he could only see a screen of black from the requested time interval. He personally played it again and he could still see the same scene. But George insisted there was really nothing there, and that was when he recognized that many things just didn't add up.
Gio never believed in sorcery or anything unexplained by logic and science, yet in one day, he encountered two strange inexplicable events.
Both incidents were somehow related to Sofony Mendez. This video, and that Cruz boy's puzzling death.
No, those were not only the weird cases involving her.
Gio suddenly remembered his assistants telling him about Steffany Mendez, previously surnamed Jimenez. This girl seemingly came out of nowhere. Sofony said she was a distant relative from the province and was also a landslide survivor, yet when his people did a background check, no one knew how this girl, who was supposed to be one of the missing people, suddenly appeared next to Sofony. Based on reports, the landslide happened near midnight. But then on the next morning, why was this Steffany Jimenez already at Alina City?
In his opinion, this point alone was already questionable. Even if it's true that Sofony was the only relative left, why was the girl sent to her right after surviving a landslide? Wasn't the norm to drive a victim first in a hospital, and in case she had no injuries, then to an evacuation center or anywhere she could get rest and pass the night? Shouldn't they only settle the matter of custody or something after that?
Actually, Gio didn't know much about this stuff, but still, he was sure something about this girl was odd.
And the family registry, how come Gio and his investigators couldn't find whoever settled Steffany's documents to formally make her Sofony's sister?
At first, he didn't put it to mind because the girl who Sofony introduced to him a couple of weeks ago looked harmless and normal. But now that he thought about this, seriously how did Sofony resolve this mysterious' sister's identity when she seemed not well-connected?
As he stood next to her bed in one of the largest private rooms in the hospital, the gaze he directed to the sleeping face of the girl was complicated. His girl looked scarily fragile now that she was lying like this on the bed, with white bandages on her eyes.
"Young master. We really couldn't find who did this to Miss Sofony."
"Keep searching. I don't believe we won't be able to rat out whoever made her go blind." Actually, he suddenly remembered the weird video earlier and silently began to doubt whether they would be able to find anything. Nevertheless, his pride wouldn't let him easily give up so he didn't take back his words.
"We'll do our best then. But, young master. Aren't you going to catch some sleep? It's already past 3 am."
Gio heard the worry in his assistant's tone. So he replied, "Later." Then he took a few steps forward and held one of her pale hands. It was strangely cold, and Gio somehow hated it. His gaze went to her face, quietly tracing its details until the bandages on it made him recall something.
He turned to the man standing behind him and asked, "Did the doctor tell anything about her eyes? Would she still be able to see? How about an eye transplant? I'll pay any amount of money as long as she could see again."
George was silent for a while before shaking his head. The assistant cleared his throat first then said, "Actually, they said the problem was her whole eyes had been gouged out and that in today's medical science, there's still no way to transplant a whole eye to a person. They said it's due to the eye's complex web of muscles, blood vessels, and nerves connected directly to the brain. One of the doctors mentioned how once something called optic nerve was cut out, it cannot be reconnected again, and this was the real main problem."
Gio's eyes immediately turned cold and his tone became sharp.
"Are you saying she'll be blind for life?"
It was already admirable that the assistant merely flinched for a second when he felt the coldness emanating from his boss' tone. However, he didn't know how to say the answer. He could only lower his gaze and not meet his boss' piercing eyes. His silence was not appreciated by Gio though, as the man knew it meant yes.
"Should we contact her sister?" The assistant asked once some time had passed.
Gio didn't answer right away and George was perceptive enough to give him time to think this through.
A while later, Gio gave his assistant a side glance.
"Inform no one. Keep this a secret."
The man standing next to him nodded then quietly went out. Gio stayed there for a while but also left when he saw no signs of her waking up.
The night quickly passed and Sofony was still unconscious. The afternoon of the next day, one of the nurses assigned to her immediately phoned Gio that she had finally woken up. However, thirty minutes later, when Gio arrived there after ditching an appointment, the nurses awkwardly informed him that Patient 137, Sofony Mendez, suddenly disappeared.