Chapter 5: Jungle biome - walled city
Finally her graduation day was here.She was surrounded by her classmates who were all riding high on the sme energy she was. Terra grinned as she watched the president walk on the auditorium stage. He was a short pudgy man who obviously never set foot outside of the wall of the city and instead chose to live a comfortable life inside. “Welcome Hunters - Old and new alike. Today is a momentous occasion. This months class has been one of the strongest we’ve seen in years. I look forward to hopefully working with all of your in the future.” He paused to wink at the crowd. “As you know we live in an altered world much different from the one that our ancestors lived in hundreds of years ago. Much is not known about what happened. Sadly the knowledge has been lost with time but we do know that the world has not always been separated into different biomes. Once there were no monsters like the ones we live beside and fight everyday. As far as we know a toxin named Condrozapine was released into the world water supply. It altered the world itself . The animals were all genetically mutated and most of the world’s population was killed by it. It even altered the environment so drastically that different regions of weather that never would have been side by side are now practically next door neighbors. Hence the Desert,Aquatic,Cave,blizard and Jungle Biomes that we have today. Each biome has its own strengths and weaknesses. Most can only survive in one or two biomes because their environmental adaptations. Our relationship with our neighbors have never been the best. Quite simply they want what we have. The medicines and cures we create and circulate throughout the biomes are life changing and having control over them gives us control over other biomes. They all want what we have.” He paused for moment and met the eyes of hunters in the crowd. “
“It has come to my attention that the Desert biome has recently attempted to overtake our border in an attempt to steal our resources and take control of our city.An superior of our border militia has brought me this information.” He paused as the crowd gasped and broke out in whispers. “QUIET!” He shouted and silent descended once again. “ This cannot be tolerated or ignored. The desert dome has become a direct threat to our city and well being. As a result of this we will suspend any trade we have with them beginning immediately. There will be no travel between this biome and theirs at all.” He paused and the room didn’t break out in whispers this time, instead they were waiting for more information. “Im aware that this a graduation ceremony and many of you are untried when it comes to combat between biomes. I will not lie and tell you that it’s easy or fun. But I will say to remember why you became a hunter and what you have to lose if the desert biome does manage to overtake our borders. As hunters you now have an outstanding responsibility ...do not treat it lightly. Congratulations and safe travels.” He turned and exited the stage and and several class instructors came onto the stage and started announcing combat partners.
Whoever you were paired with you would live with and do all of your missions with. It saved room at the academy to have Hunters pair up in when it came to saving space. Functionality wise it was easier to send a summons to one door rather than two. Terra tuned out the names as she tried to process what potentially going to war meant for her. She could search freely for her brother until this situation was resolved. With the cities inevitable amping up of border portal it meant that missions would be almost endless as they defended their border and still handled the monsters that lived around their biome. She sighed as she realized this conflict could go on for years. “Terra Lee and Dexter Jenkins.” Her instructor said into the microphone. Terra wasn’t surprised because Dexter already told her but her classmates were. She noticed more than one envious woman sent her a dirty look.
They all believed themselves to be in love with Dexter. Terra usually didn’t care but now she wondered if he was in love with any of them. She’d forgotten about the fact that they would be living together. She and Dexter spent a lot of time together, but living together was a new frontier. She’d completely zoned out and when everyone around her stood up and cheered she was a moment late. The noise around her brought her attention back to the present. As she looked around she found Dexter smiling at her from across the room. She smiled back and as everyone around her began to leave the auditorium she made her way towards him. As she left her row she felt a hand grab her wrist and pull her back. She turned expecting to see a classmate of hers who wanted to talk, but to her surprise, and slight disappointment, it was Daniel. “Congratulations Terra. I’m very proud of you.” He smiled sweetly at her and reached down to grab her hand.
“What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be in jail?” She asked still shocked to see him so soon.
“Of course not. They would never keep me jail for long. Who do you think brought that information about the Desert biome?”
“How would you even know that?”
“I’m in charge of the militia that the city pays to watch the border between us and the Desert biome. I do what I can to keep you safe.” Terra stared at him in shock. “I’m loving that dress on you, You never wore anything like that back then.” Terra looked down at her dress finally noticing that he was holding her hand and snatched it away. She was wearing a short black sweetheart dress with a chiffon skirt that stopped mid thigh along with a pair of black open-toed wedge heels.She also had her knife holster strapped to her right thigh but he didn’t need to know that.
“Thank you, but if you’ll excuse me..” Terra turned and began to walk in the direction she’d originally been heading but found Dexter standing right behind her.
“I was coming to you when Daniel appeared.” Terra smiled at Dexter feeling much warmer towards him since the weekend they’d spent together. He stayed the night again on saturday but left sunday morning because he had something to do. She could tell that the way she regarded him had changed but she wasn’t sure what it meant.
“ You look beautiful.” He smiled at her and reached down to grab her hand and place a kiss upon it. Terra watched with wide eyes. He’d never made such an intimate move towards her before and especially not in public.
“Thank you.” She replied not recognizing her own voice, as it seemed suddenly much higher pitched. He looked over her head at Daniel and stepped between them.
“Daniel.” He said stiffly
“Dexter.” Daniel replied in the same tone.
Daniel looked at Terra again. “I’ll see you another time. Maybe you’ll want to talk to me then.” Then he turned and left as silently as he’d come. Dexter tugged on her hand to get her attention and she realized she’d been watching Daniel leave.
“The president wants to see us in his office immediately.”
“Welcome Hunter Lee and Hunter Jenkins. Congratulations on your completion of the hunter academy.” The president nodded to Terra respecifully. “As you both now know we are on the brink of war with the Desert Biome and as a result we need hunters more than ever. Especially hunters with each of your skill sets. You are both invaluable to this city and as a result you will receive missions of higher importance than those of your classmates. This is one of those missions.” He paused and adjusted his glasses. “You will both be required to visit the border militia and collect information then report back to me. If you see any Desert hunters engage them and do your best to capture one if you can. You will stay at the settlement for a week and if none have tried to attack you will then continue to the Desert city. You will meet with the president and inform him that I request a meeting. I’ve included all the details of the meeting in this scroll if he agrees.” He handed over a paper scroll to Dexter. “ If he does not agree then return home and receive further instruction. You will travel with Daniel Simmons to the settlement and from the settlement when you return from the Desert city. Is this understood?” “Yes sir.” Terra and Dexter replied in sync. “You are dismissed. You leave tomorrow morning.” He picked up a pen and opened a folder physically signifying that their meeting was over. Terra and Dexter got up and left silently.
“Sir,you requested my presence?” Chris asked as he knocked on the door of the president’s office.
“Yes,enter. Please take a seat. We have things to discuss.” The president replied as he moved papers to the side of his desk and gestured to the seat in front of his desk. “ I need you to get a team together and take care of some business for me. I have Terra and Dexter going to the border to intercept anymore desert hunters that may try to attack our border. I need you to organize a team of hunters for every biome. They will travel to each one and inform them of the desert biomes actions. You will give each the choice of standing with us or against us.”
“What if they are against us sir?” Chris asked calmly after a moment of silence.
“Then you attack their leaders and assume control of the biome.” The president responded in a cold voice.
“Why send Terra and Dexter to the edge of our biome to do guard duty when they are the best suited for this mission? Not all of our hunters can travel across all of the biomes.It doesn’t make sense to move our best hunters out of the way.” Chris was used to the president giving him orders that were the opposite of the ones he publically gave but they usually were given with logic behind them.
“They have another purpose. Terra is young and naive. Losing her family at such a young age left her with a desire to fit in and belong somewhere. She has found that within this city and that’s exactly the way I planned it to be. She believes that everything I do is with the interest of the city in mind and that’s how i want to keep it. Her ability to go to any biome means that she will take over the dynasty I am building for her one day.”
Chris stared at the president in disbelief for a moment before he answered. “ When do you want us to leave?”
“Right away. By the time Terra is back I expect to be in control of the majority of the biomes.Why should we play nice with the others when we can be in control of them? Go now and do as I say, send a messenger once you’ve received an answer.”
“Yes sir.” Chris slowly rose from his chair and turned to walk towards the door of the room. He had several teams to organize quickly.