Chapter 12:

Feeling of Safety

The Leigh Theory

The entire existence of the bracer has led up to that one, single moment.

Everyone in Omen struggled with injuries after the fight with the Paradise Protectors. They all tried to fight through the pain to prepare for the incoming army.

Hannah and her medics attended to the gravely injured. Those with minor injuries were given the Cell Repair device to help with their wounds. I was one of those not severely wounded.

I noticed her shy personality changed when she was in the middle of her duty. She became a different person and was quite confident while she handled the patients.

Eli and his mechanics checked each of their weapons and the vans. They immediately replaced overheated laser guns and broken blades.

I couldn't blame them if their weapons weren't durable enough. They were just a resistance group with almost little to no help.

Reese was the one person that I didn't expect to be injured. My impression of him was that he was involved with the distribution only. I wasn't expecting that he also fought on the frontlines. Right beside him was a huge-ass sword.

Megan went to each of them and asked if they could still fight. She suffered a wound on her right thigh and bled a lot. Hannah tried to make her rest, but Megan refused.

"If what they said was true, then we should fight back. We wouldn't want all of our hardships just to go to waste!" Megan exclaimed as she limped towards Reese.

She asked Reese if he could stand up and fight through the stab wound on his left shoulder. Reese nodded and carried the greatsword with his right hand.

"Miss Megan, look at both of your wounds! Look at everyone's wounds! Do you think we could even fight in this condition?!" Hannah asked furiously.

Eli quickly walked toward Megan and held her shoulders. His outgoing personality suddenly changed into a more serious one.

"What do you think she would do?" Eli asked calmly as he stared at Megan's eyes.

"R-Retreat and regroup."

Megan looked around, and all she saw were her injured people. She then clenched her fist and looked down.

"...but we can't afford to retreat. The city would be in shambles if we just left them," she replied with little resistance in her voice.

No one in the city had an inkling of the happenings outside their city walls, and that thought kind of frustrated me. Although, it was probably better than having the townspeople panic in fear, like what happened in Chora.

While the different division leaders argued, I saw the Paradise vans from the horizon slowly approaching us. Megan went beside me and saw it as well. I turned to her and saw fear and determination in her eyes.

"I will fight them all–"

I interrupted her and patted her shoulder. She then turned to me with a face of hopelessness.

"Miss Megan. Fall back and let me handle this," I told her as I looked into her eyes.

Without a word, she turned to her comrades and ordered them to retreat to the city. Hannah, Eli, and Reese stared at me as they withdrew.

Even though I said those words proudly, I wasn't confident if what I planned to do was enough or, worse, could even work. At that moment, all I thought was to give Megan the same feeling of safety.

I heard Leo screaming at me as I walked away from the city walls. He must've thought that I had lost my mind.

I might've lost my mind.

I stared at my bracer and let out a deep sigh. I sequentially pressed the thumb and then the index finger button.

It was time to make use of the Lightning Gun.

The bracer opened and formed four long semi-flat metal bars, which extended diagonally upwards past my fists. Underneath the bars, facing inwards, were several wirings and other electrical components. A few metal pieces and the compartment for the Arq Shard were the ones left on my arm.

"It's all or nothing," I muttered.

I pressed and held the index finger button, which then caused the electrical components to glow. A few seconds later, electrical sparks appeared underneath the metal bars.

The sparks then condensed into a lightning ball in the middle as I held the buttons. During the process, the entire bracer, especially the compartment for the shard, began to heat up.

The five Paradise vans had become visible from a distance. I ignored them for a while and focused on the Lightning Gun. At that moment, I felt the bracer getting hotter as I kept charging the lightning ball.

I panicked a bit as I heard the sound of the engines. As I charged the gun, electric sparks flew out of the bracer and scattered around me. I felt the bracer slowly burning my arm, but I endured and waited for a couple more seconds.

Having reached my pain tolerance, I immediately pressed the thumb button.

I aimed the bracer at the incoming vans and fired the supercharged lightning ball. As it escaped from the gun, the metal bars got destroyed, and the heat burned through my arm sleeve, damaging my skin.

I got deaf for a short while, as the release created a sonic boom akin to the one created by a thunderbolt.

A round electrical field appeared on the vans' spot as soon as the lightning ball reached them. They stopped moving, and after a few seconds, there was a massive explosion.

I immediately removed the bracer as it kept burning my skin. The arm sleeve got destroyed, making me suffer a second-degree burn.

I tried to scream as I rolled on the barren land while holding my arm, but I couldn't hear my voice. I wasn't sure if I did stop the vans, but I just hoped for the best.

I realized that if I failed and missed, I would be responsible for the end of Omen. As the weight of my responsibility came crashing down on me, I forced myself to stand up to check if I stopped them or not.

In the distance, all I saw were burning, upside-down vans. I tried walking toward the scene, but someone stopped me.

My hearing gradually returned as Hannah went in front of me and immediately checked my body. She saw the burn mark and quickly gave me first aid. Leo then arrived and checked on me.

"What the hell happened?" Leo asked as he stared at my burns, then at the broken bracer on the dirt.

"It might've overloaded and couldn't handle the power," I tried to explain to him but was told by Hannah to shut up for a while as she focused on my arm.

After treating my arm, Leo and Hannah assisted me as we turned back to the walls. Megan then intercepted us and stared at me.

"We need you two…" she said with a deadpan face, then turned to her people and helped them.

Omen members with minor injuries rushed to the vans and the burning ones behind us. They must've gone to double-check and retrieve usable things.

Leo told Hannah that he would assist me and that she should go and treat the others. She nodded and instantly went her way.

The leaders checked on everyone and retreated to the city. As we approached the city gates, I realized I had left my bracer.

"I'll look for it later. Right now, you should just rest and have the medics properly treat that nasty burn," Leo said as he helped me sit beside the city walls.

Numerous things were in my mind as I leaned on the walls. The bracer, my wounds, the vans; I was worried about all of those things.

Two medics rushed to me, poured cool water on my burn, and treated it with various medical things I didn't know the names of; the gauze was the only thing I recognized. And forceps. And cotton. I guess I knew a couple of things.

Leo stood up and told me that he was going to look for the bracer, and as he was about to leave, Eli appeared beside us, carrying the smokey bracer.

"This is yours, right?" Eli asked.

I was dumbfounded when I saw him holding the bracer effortlessly. I knew it was blazing hot that I even got rid of it.

"Here, use this if that thing's still hot," Eli said as he placed the broken bracer on the ground and removed his gloves.

Of course, it was the gloves.

"I'll get back to you later. I still have to help Megan and the others, okay? Okay."

From that moment onwards, I realized we would spend the rest of our lives on the battlefield. We understood that each day would be a potential encounter with Paradise.

Nighttime came, and Omen camped outside of the city. The vans were parked beside the walls while we gathered around a bonfire. According to Megan, that was how Omen spent their night in every city, as they couldn't afford the inns.

Eli immediately sat to my right and put the bracer on his lap. He then examined it as he was pretty curious about it.

"Leo, I will make a gun that could bring out the best of your shooting skills. I saw how you easily helped Oliver from afar!" Eli exclaimed as he leaned toward Leo.

Leo then smiled awkwardly as he didn't know how to react. I didn't expect that he would be bashful when he got praised.

"As for you, Oliver, what the hell is this? How did you make it?!"

The two years' worth of hard work has reached its limit. It would take another two years to recreate the bracer, given that I didn't have any access to the proper materials and tools. Or so I thought.

Megan got out of one of the vans and went to the center. She then tried to gather everyone's attention.

"Omen, we were able to fend off Paradise, thanks to everyone's bravery," Megan said as she went behind us and placed her hands on our heads.

"However, we had a lot of injuries, but thanks to these recruits, Oliver and Leo, we didn't suffer any further."

The Omen members clapped their hands in unison. Eli slapped my back, then clapped passionately.

"Rest for tonight as we will head back to the hideout tomorrow," Megan added.

Some members went one by one and high-fived the two of us. After the people had cleared, Hannah went to me and checked my arm once again.

"I-I'll recheck it back in the hideout," Hannah said as she backed up and repeatedly bowed each time she took a step.

In the corner of my eye, I saw Reese sitting on the left side. I accidentally made eye contact with him, and he nodded back. I didn't understand it exactly, but I guess it was a nod of acknowledgment.

"Oh, wait, what great timing! I can have you teach me about your weapon back in the workshop! We can even upgrade it there!" Eli exclaimed as he clapped his hands once.

A lot of things have happened in the past few days. One day, we were just busy selling fruits, and the next thing I knew, I made five vehicles explode.

Perhaps, that might've been the actual start of our journey.