They traveled into the forest and followed the dirt path used by the locals to gather things in the forest. Jun noticed the insects as large as one foot, the further they go ventrued in. The path would sometimes split but thankfully, there were signs which would lead them to the old mines and the camp site.
They cautiously took passage on overly grown grass that easily reached up to their knees. A few occassions also happened where someone unintentionally disturbed an ant's nest. The ants didn't have drastic changes but they grew several times larger than what they usually are. The largest ant they encountered was a two inch an ripping Edward's jeans to shreds after he crushed numerous ants with his shield.
As they go up higher and higher, Jun noticed some weird flora as they traveled. Glowing wild plants that radiated mystery and some overly large trees that covered the sky. Most of the trees were enlarge and the group felt like they shrunk in size as they gaze up on the prolonged branches that reached everywhere.
Jun ignored most of the interesting things since he can't risk doing experiments for now. He could come back later and bring someone who has enough knowledge with plants. Everyday something new was changing and this changes were slowly becoming the norm. Jun accepted it early on that's why he was able to receive some titles befitting of his clear-mindedness.
When they reached the end of the land and stood in front of a cliff, the group realized that they finally reached the half-way mark according to Jervis' instruction. To be honest, they could have easily reached the camp site if they went through the normal route but since there were hindrances and Jun didn't really know the reason why they were acting like that, he chose to take the long way.
The group climbed a fenced steep passage by the side of the cliff to reach the top of the mountain. A small clearing with unlit campfires and wooden benches were in the area. Though the grass weren't trimmed, it was noticeable that it was somewhat maintained.
Jun turned around and went to the edge of the cliff, holding onto the fence as he stared at the blue sea on the horizon. It was a scenic view for everyone to appreciate and this area was taken care of by some locals. This could be called a secret place to those people who likes adventure and nature.
Below the cliff was a small body of water that flows to a river. On both of its sides were forested areas There's no path that leads down nor man-made attempts to build stairs or ladders since the river was flowing back towards the town. Herbalists who accidentally fall here would never be found since the river goes directly back to the ocean.
As they appreciated the onlooking scenery, simultaneous gun shots rang on the area. Before anyone could react, bodies were already dropping dead.
Jun got hit on his left stomach but it would have hit his body center, if he didn't turn around when he felt someone staring at him. Four people fell down and he had no time to check whether they're alive or not. He paused the time after facing the woods, then searched the direction from where the shots were fired from.
At first glance, he could only see the lush bushes, but thanks to his Time Perse ability, he was able to scrutinized every spot accordingly. On some bushes, there were protruding muzzles of a rifle while further behind it was someone kneeling with his eyes on the sights.
The good thing about this was that they're all on the same area and Jun easily thought of how to counter-attack.
He resumed time and quickly threw several things to the ground infront of them.
When the next burst of fire came, the pebbles Jun threw grew in size and blocked everything.
The shooters felt confused by the sudden appearance of the boulders. At the same time that they took their eyes off their scopes, something was thrown from the other side and flew randomly towards them.
On a closer look, the flying objects were batteries. Glowing batteries.
When the batteries landed and struck something hard, it suddenly brightened and blinked several times as if it was a ticking time bomb. The gunners knew that it was something bad and immediately rolled away. The explosive batteries created a small but powerfull explosion that destroyed everything on its 5m radius.
Most of the gunners were fast enough to react but one was unfortunately caught in the explosion. A gunner who's feet got caught in the 5m radius had his foot cleanly incinerated. When he noticed that his foot was missing and only has his legs. blood haven't even come out from the wound. Blood only flowed when the gunner tried moving his legs. He started wailing in despair, but was able to muffle his cries as he ground his teeth.
\"We're getting ambushed!\" some masked men shouted.
\"Oh, you just noticed?\" Jun said sarcastically.
Everyone hid behind the boulders but they have to move soon since this only last for three seconds. The wounded were quickly brought to cover and quickly went under Sheila's aid. Edward stood guard and keep his senses up as he actively gathered energy on his hands.
Jun threw his last batch of pebbles before the first batch's duration runs out.
\"They're right ahead of us, around twenty to thirty meters.\" said Jun to Adrian.
Adrian nodded his head and armed himself with a dagger and a pistol. His body distorted for a bit, then disappeared to the other people's eyes.
\"Stick to the left side.\" Jun reminded him. He noticed the masked man's trembling eyes beside him. \"Are you that scared of dying? After what the world turned into?\"
Jun shook his head and stood up, then channeled energy into the batteries he was holding. Its a one-time use explosive he got from Evo, in case of emergencies. He ran out and started throwing the energized batteries randomly on the center and right side of the treelines. He hoped that Adrian followed his advice and wasn't there.
At the same moment that Jun went out, a hovering box appeared directly above a wounded person's body. Meanwhile, Sheila just finished tending to her second patient when the last remaining wounded suddenly started trembling.
When its body stopped shaking, it slowly stood up and idly stared at the ground as if dazed. Then, all of a sudden, it lunged to the person next to it. It grabbed the person's shoulders and caressed the man's stomach with his masked face. The people nearby were alarmed and quickly pulled him back, only to see blood seep out from the lower part of the mask.
Sheila ran up and stabbed a dagger under its chin.
\"Fucking bastard!\" she yelled while crying, \"...you could have waited a few more seconds!\"
Sheila hugged the body and the alarmed people who were holding the body back suddenly released their their hold on it. With the unexpected increase in weight, Sheila wasn't able to adjust her strength and got pulled down by the body into the ground.
She sat on the ground while crying and hugging the body. Several seconds later, the body she was hugging disappeared and dropped a few crystals. She stared at the fragments on the ground and couldn't help but blame herself to what happened. Though she did her best, someone still died.
Sheila picked up the essence crystals and fragments as she bowed to herself, never again.
When she looked around, she noticed that Jun's guards were fighting each other and the number of injured people on the ground was increasing. Severed limbs lay on the ground while its owner sprawl dead beside it.
Then she finally realized that there are two groups were fighting despite wearing the same uniform. Burning fury rose in her heart.
This fucking bastards.
Nik's squad, the first batch of Jun's prisoners, was being slaughtered by Toby's group. Though Nik had some suspicion that Toby was up to something, he didn't pay enough attention which lead to this betrayal.
\"Why?\" said Nik as he stood with his remaining squad members.
\"We're all people, and people strive for the greater good.\" replied Toby.
\"Greater good...\" muttered Nik, then scoffed.
At the start, Nik's squad had fourteen people while Toby's group had seven. Four people were killed from Nik's squad which brought it down to ten.
When Jun left and Nik was about to follow him, he felt something weird. At the moment he turned around, the next person to him lunged at him and tried to stab him on his chest. He deflected the strike and retaliated.
After he successfully defended himself, he immediately looked around and finally saw the massacre on the area. Five people died from the blades of their \"allies\" which reduced the first batch to five people. The perpetrator of this event, Toby, tried to assasinate the only healer on the team.
Thankfully, Edward was there to protect Sheila while she was grieving on her own.
Nik's heart beat harsher when several gun shots echoed in the woods. After several seconds, no one got hit and they started to guard themselves from each other. Toby gathered his minions on one side while they watch as the remaining masked men doubt whether they could trust each other.
From that point on, Nik knew that he needs to do something, so he removed his mask. His action relieved some of the tension from the remnants of the first squad since they recognized his youthful face.
Thus, the two sides of the coin were formed.
It was inevitable.
The two sides clashed and Nik's group was having the attacking advantage.
When all of a sudden, a spear whirled and struck the ground, causing soil and grass to fly in the air. Everyone stepped back and looked to their sides.
To Sheila who was fiercely gazing at them.
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