Chapter 13:

North, South, East, West

The Leigh Theory

I badly needed a twenty-four-hour sleep.

It felt like I just closed my eyes, let my consciousness leave for a few seconds, then woke up again. I still felt tired but forced myself to wake up as Megan went to our van.

"We will leave for Helmin City in an hour, so do your stuff until then," Megan announced as we struggled to wake up.

The adrenaline rush from yesterday made me forget about human's basic needs.

I accidentally woke Leo and the others up as I rushed outside, hitting my bracer. Leo immediately followed me, and we went to the city to find the nearest restroom.

After successfully answering nature's call and washing our faces, we returned to the van and had a light breakfast with the remaining bread. Nobody was left inside, as they all probably went around the city to look for food.

“You gotta have that thing fixed,” Leo said as he munched on a piece of bread while looking at the bracer on the car floor.

“Yeah, I should. Eli seemed interested in it, so I’ll let him check it sometime soon,” I replied as I flipped the battered bracer with my feet.

We spent the remaining time inside the van and waited for the others. A few minutes passed, and we had left Cnida City.

A few of our companions told us it would take almost a day to get to Helmin City. I thought it was a great chance to sleep and recover our strengths, but Leo thought otherwise. We stayed up for as long as the members were also awake.

Perhaps, it was also good to socialize.

Another morning came, and we arrived in Helmin City. Our bodies probably had adjusted to sleeping in the car seats and waking up to the sound of the engine turning off.

The members opened the doors and went out one by one. We followed them outside as we brought our things. As I expected, Helmin was similar to the cities we had been to.

“You two, what do you plan to do?” Megan asked us as she wrapped her arms around our shoulders.

Leo and I had no idea where to go or what to do next. I asked Megan if Helmin was the hideout of Omen as we saw our companions wandering in the city.

“Oh right, I forgot to tell you. Helmin is our city, but it isn’t here. Most of the members live here, while some live with us back in the hideout,” Megan explained.

“Now, if you want, you could just stay here for a while and wait until some of them return to the hideout. That way, you could rest here before we go to another operation.”

Back then, Megan told us she would introduce us to Omen’s leader. I thought for a while and looked at Leo. We both nodded and told Megan we would go to the Omen hideout.

“In that case, go and help Reese with restocking right there. We’ll leave in a few minutes, so don’t go far away,” she responded, then went to the middle of the city.

Reese was busy listing the things inside of the crates. He was in front of a small variety shop on the right side, near the city gates. He talked to the old man, who seemed like the shop owner. We went to him and asked what we could do to help. He stared at us and then at the other crates to his left.

“Bring these crates to the van outside of the city,” he responded in his deep, monotonous voice.

I wasn’t quite sure if he was irritated by us or if he just didn’t want to see us, but we followed his orders. The muscle we built back in the mines sure came in handy as we effortlessly went back and forth. A few minutes later, all the crates were inside the van.

We returned to the shop just as soon as we loaded the van, but Reese was nowhere to be found. Leo asked the old shop owner and told us Reese had already left.

Having no idea where to look for either him or any of the leaders, we waited near the city gates, hugging our belongings.

Just as Leo was about to doze off, Megan arrived at the shop, along with Reese, Eli, Hannah, and a few members of their divisions. I woke Leo up, and we immediately went to them. Eli immediately wrapped his arms around our shoulders and dragged us towards the van parked outside, while Megan and the rest followed after us.

As we traveled south, Hannah and two of her medics cleaned our wounds and replaced the bandages. Eli, beside me, lifted the bracer from the floor and inspected it. He grimaced as he saw the broken metal bars and signs of burning.

Judging by the sun’s location, it was probably noon. We slowly approached a deserted place with abandoned buildings. We entered through a run-down gate in the north and then parked in front of the western building.

We got out of the van and helped unload the crates. I observed the area and saw that we were in an open space, surrounded by four two-story buildings. Each building was situated in four directions and faced inward.

I, along with Leo, Megan, Reese, and a few others, brought the crates inside the western building as Eli and Hannah, along with their division members, went to the northern and southern buildings, respectively.

Upon entering the first floor, we got welcomed by multiple tables and chairs. We turned to the right and saw the stairs. On the left side was a door that led to the storage room. After transferring the crates, the rest of the members sat down on the chairs while a few went upstairs.

“Alright, that’s all of it. Let’s report now to the boss,” Megan said as she stretched after carrying the crates.

We left the western building and headed to the eastern one. The first floor was nothing but an empty hall with a few chairs. We turned left and went up the stairs. Leo then went to the foyer and had a grin on his face.

“A balcony inside the house itself?! I’ve never seen something like this before!” Leo exclaimed as he leaned excitedly on the railings.

Megan smiled at him as we continued upstairs. I tried pulling Leo from the railing, and he hesitantly followed. We then proceeded towards a door in the centermost part of the second floor.

“You two wait out here for a while. I’ll call you after we’ve reported to the boss,” Megan explained as they entered the room.

The entire second floor had rooms and a balcony that allowed you to look down on the first floor. Besides the door that Megan and Reese entered, there were four more doors on the second floor. My best guess was those were the rooms of the four division leaders.

A few moments later, Megan opened the door and waved us to enter. We hurried inside and were both astonished by what we saw.

“This woman is Omen’s leader, Georgia Thompson,” Megan introduced the frail-looking lady on the bed.

Georgia seemed pale and weak as two Omen members took care of her. My self-proclaimed age radar told me that she was about twenty or twenty-one. Despite her condition, her smile gave off a feeling of…


"These are the two recruits, Leo Price and Oliver Leigh. If it weren’t for them, we might haven’t returned here. They fought like beasts!" Megan grinned as she exaggerated.

Hannah suddenly entered the room and handed Georgia a capsule. She helped her to sit up and assisted her as she took her medicine.

"Oliver, come and visit my medical lab later. I still need to check that burn wound of yours," Hannah said as she took care of her.

"Thank you. I can now go on for another week," Georgia said as she smiled at Hannah.

I had no idea that Omen's leader was someone who depended on medicine just to live. Her situation wasn't something I expected.

As I thought to myself, I noticed that Georgia had been staring at me. She tried to talk to me, but Eli suddenly crashed inside the room.

"I'll be borrowing these two for a while!" Eli said as he immediately grabbed us and went outside.

Hannah told Eli that I still needed to go to her medical lab. Eli told her to wait, and we rushed downstairs, then went outside.

Eli gave us a quick tour of the Omen hideout.

"First, the hideout has two Arq Shards, mainly for the northern and southern buildings," Eli explained.

The eastern building was called the Leaders' Hall. The large and empty room on the first floor was where Omen assembled for announcements. The second floor was for the rooms of Georgia and the division leaders.

The southern building was Hannah's medical lab. That explained why it mainly utilized the shard since certain medicines needed proper storage.

The western building was the Communal Building. Some of the members lived there, and it had a lot of small rooms. It was also a storage for the resources.

"Lastly, this building in the north is all mine! Come on in!" Eli said as he invited us.

"This is my workshop. My team and I constantly maintain most things here; weapons, devices, and the buildings themselves. You name it.”

I was amazed by the number of electrical devices and weapons inside his workshop. Leo immediately went to a few Omen members already working on a few guns.

Eli then went to the back and took something from a crate. He then went to me and showed me my bracer.

"Now, as you've promised, please teach me about your weapon."

I told Eli everything, as he was someone that I thought I could trust. I told him about the Arq Shard as the energy source, and the bracer could transform into various things.

He placed the bracer on the table and took a few tools from a cabinet underneath. He then offered that he would help recreate the bracer.

"I saw how you fought back in Cnida. While the shield and gun were useful enough, I think you can move and fight better if your weapons are light and both of your hands are free," Eli commented.

He was right. Even with the gauntlets back then, my movements felt a little restricted. I couldn't properly utilize the parkour and tricking skills I got before.

"I still don't know what would suit you best. For now, though, what do you want as your weapon?" Eli asked.

I thought I wanted to use the wrist blade while still having the bracer. It felt awkward having my left hand as the active hand and the right as my off-hand back then.

I couldn't ask for more as Eli offered to help remake the bracer for the left arm, and he said we would retain the shield and gun function. He also wanted to lower the gun’s power output to make the bracer last longer and allow me to fire a couple of times.

On the other hand, Leo was quite fascinated with the guns the others were repairing. He blurted out that he wanted a firearm with no recoil and that could fire accurately.

"Leave it to me. I'll help develop weapons that could bring out the best of your abilities," Eli said proudly.

I wasn't expecting much, but I was glad that Eli was someone we could trust.