Loading... Chapter Sixteen
Owen hated leaving a mission like that, but Em had called saying she was having contractions, allotting no time for Daniel. Since Emily's husband was out of town, Owen and Neal were her support system. Owen lived too far away to help directly, his job was to simply show up at the hospital. He made it halfway there before Neal called saying it was a false alarm, leaving Owen to tell the taxi driver to turn around.
He pushed aside the annoyance of having the game interrupted. Not that he faulted her. The only blessing was that since he left the battle first he had been able to quit out without any penalty. It was late by time Owen got home again. He thought about logging back into the game, but it was all shut down, and that was for the best. He had to work tomorrow anyways.
The next day, after work, Daniel waited around the guild building. He had plans with Lance before training with Amilia later on, if he didn't give up and cancel completely. But he'd seen neither of them so far. It wasn't odd for him not to spot Amilia this early, but Lance should have met up with him some time ago. Being late was rare, but failing to show up altogether was unheard of.
Daniel tried to reassure himself that Lance had just lost track of the time. Unease settled into his chest, so he decided to do something more than wait around.
He found Gael in his office. "Sir, do you know where Lance is?" Daniel asked. If anyone would know, it would be their leader.
Gael looked up from his desk with a frown, offering Daniel a seat before he said anything else. Reluctantly, Daniel sat down. Gael got up, moving around his desk to lean against it. His hand rubbed over his mouth. "Neither Lance or you checked in after the mission last night. I was able to check on you, but Lance..."
"What?" Daniel felt the color drain out of his face. "Then, where is he?"
"We are trying to find that out now," Gael said. The tone was one Daniel has heard countless times. It was a political one, not one of concern.
"Well, look harder!"
"We are doing the best we can—"
"Like hell you are. Half of the thieves are just hanging around downstairs. A proper search party would have more looking. At very least you could have told me sooner, instead of having me figure it out a day later."
The two exchanged a few more choice words, but it ended up with Daniel storming out.
He searched the whole day for any sign of Lance's location. It was clear that the Knights had him, but where was still the question. Any stronghold he knew of wouldn't crumble from his efforts alone, and he didn't know anyone from the faction that would even confirm his guess.
It took a beat of his heart to realize that wasn't true.
He did know someone. Amilia.
Despite the anger and betrayal, he found himself on her doorstep. He bounced on his heels, hands balled into fists, and wondered if this was who he really should ask. His clear head had slipped away overnight, leaving him frantic and worn out.
Daniel knocked to no avail. He hissed between his teeth and glanced around. This was his only real lead. Going back now would only lose him more time. "Amilia, open up. I need your help," he called, loud enough to be heard through the door.
It took longer than it should have, but she came out. Scattered rays spilled around Daniel as he stood with his back to the sun. Five minutes ago, she would have ignored any problem the world tossed her way, but looking at Daniel now, she was unable to. "What's wrong?"
"I—I don't know where he is." Daniel's hands rose to the top of his head like there wasn't enough air in the world, but they didn't stay there long as they fluttered around. "I looked all over the city. I know it's a big city, but it isn't that big," he continued like a man who had lost his mind. "I think they killed him. I think the knights killed Lance. I need to find him."
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Bone Diggers (Paperback out now!)Science Fiction
When everyone IRL lies, the only person you can trust is an NPC. Dirty little secrets can't be hidden behind player avatars, because Bone Diggers like Owen expose the lives behind the code. When his two worlds blur, he must decide which is more impo...