“Yes!” Ashfaq exclaimed, breaking the silence and startling everyone. He was filled with joyous emotions and was glad he did not dispose of Max’s group early on. He had witnessed the whole scene. The rumblings and the mysterious entrance took place right after Max placed his hand on the mountain. He compiled his findings and came to a conclusion that the reason the chair in the hut broke had something to do with Max. With this magnificent discovery, he could climb his way to the top and have people respect him as they should have. He would have access to the weapon that could consume the world. He would make those who had ridiculed him suffer and make the world beg on their knees. He quickly ordered his men to prepare for their entrance into the mountain. Flashlights were equipped on both their helmets and guns to provide as much lighting as possible. Entering the cave with as minimal light cover was stupid and Ashfaq was not one to enter with little preparation as possible.
He looked towards the kids and decided to allow them to follow his troops. He wanted Max to be there as there might be hidden devices that would require the presence of the boy. He needed to get close to the boy, to know what had happened in the hut. This was challenging for him as he was not a sociable kind and had been through multiple betrayals to never get close to another. For him, violence was always the answer. The strong will always rule over the week as that was what he had been taught ever since he was little. What use is connections in the world if someone stronger than you dictates your every move. He always believed that to survive in life, one must not trust anyone especially in a world where money had the power to influence. His men were there for him to utilise, for him to do the hard work instead. When he was glancing at the kids joking around and laughing, part of him yearned for a while. The rest was disgust as he wondered how they will feel when those closest to them backstabs them in their sleep. However, little does he care as once he had his hands on the weapon inside, he will test them against the kids for its effectiveness. It will be a good way to get rid of them.
Once his team was ready, they got into formation and entered the cave. The silence was eerie, making everyone on edge. Their concentration was at the peak condition. As they entered the cave, his men pan their lights around to get a better view of their surroundings. It was a spacious cave and whereby they felt as though they had stepped into another dimension. The walls towards his left took his attention. He instructed two of his men to light the area. It was interesting as the walls looked as though it was being dug. He walked towards the scattered skeletons located near the wall to inspect further. It was strange looking at the pieces of skeletons as he picked one up. It was a part of the hand which interested him the most as he focuses on the fingers. The fingers contained many scratches on the tip which led to him thinking maybe there was a connection between these skeletons and the hole in the wall. The hole was quite deep and a little more would have managed to dig through leading to the outside. To find the answers, they need to delve in deeper into the mountains.
As they walked in deeper into the mountains, the number of skeletons kept piling up. The question that was in everyone’s mind was what could have happened deep inside the mountains. The lights they prepared were not enough to uncover the walkway. The darkness kept creeping up on them, trying to gobble them without the protection of the lights. He looked back and saw that the glowsticks they placed were still trying their hardest to light the walkway. They had travelled quite a distance but yet to make any improvements. Darkness was everywhere, seemingly trying to confuse them into walking into the abyss. He checked his watch to see how long they had been walking and saw that it had already been an hour. Furthermore, he was confused as to the reason there seems to be a lack of light source. Even in ancient times, the people would resort to torches to survive the darkness. However, he saw no such things even on the walls. How did people manage to maneuver in the darkness without the aid of the light. He felt this eerie feeling down his neck, as though someone was watching him. It was putting him on high alert and he felt uncomfortable with the lack of vision. The feelings intensified the further they walked in.
A few more hours of walking, the walkway opened up to a huge open space. Though with little light, they estimated the space to be as big as a football field. This was disturbing to Ashfaq as open spaces are ideal for traps that could hinder their progress. He then instructed the team to move to the centre of the open space. There was a possibility that the treasure would be there waiting for them to find it. Just as they were walking, one of his men shouted. The man continued to light towards the darkness and told Asfaq that he saw a shadow when he was lighting the area. Ashfaq instructed them to not fire upon any sign of contact. Firstly, it was to preserve the limited ammo that they had. The next was communication with any sort of contact would be ideal as it would hasten the process of finding the treasure. Hence it was imperative that they obtain any clues to uncover not only what happened here but also what lies hidden in this mountain.
Moments later, another one of his guards had claimed similar to the first. Panic and fear had started to run in the group. His men, despite undergoing heavy and intense training, were not equipped to counter this kind of situation. He instructed his men to calm down and to group into a circle formation with the kids in the centre. This was because they had no means of protection and Ashfaq would not like them to perish before he had completely utilised them. With this formation, they would have all angles covered, leaving no blind spots for the ‘enemy’ to take advantage of. They inched step by step, with the centre of the space as their objective. As soon as they reached the centre, he showed a hint of relief followed by shock as he saw what was waiting for them. Stood there were three figures that looked human but had different features. The three of them wore torn up tunics, barely able to cover any parts of their body. Their hairs were long almost like a lion’s mane. One of them was a female due to the distinguishable feature that she had. The men were muscular in size, and he could barely make out the numerous scars they had on their body. Furthermore, these were different kinds of humans as they had large canine teeth. They looked ferocious, giving off a heavy aura. Ashfaq knew they were scanning his group, seemingly trying to find something. Then, the guy in the middle of the trio stepped forward. The moment he stepped forward, Ashfaq felt a heavy weight push down on him. He could hardly breathe or to continue standing. It took him his entire strength to struggle to gain control of his body. He was profusely sweating and was breathing heavily. He tried to look towards his group and saw that most of his men were kneeling on one knee, barely able to stand. Max’s group was not faring well as the four of them were already on the floor, each gasping for breath. It seemed the bloodlust coming from the three were domineering to their group. However, Max was shockingly unaffected by the bloodlust as he tried to help his friends. It looked like the three were not in for any kind of conversation as they continued glaring, the aura oppressing them making them unable to move.
Suddenly, he heard his men shouting and panicking. They had claimed that two of their guys had vanished. He looked at the men and moments before he turned back, he saw it happen. One of his men was yanked into the darkness. It was done at a speed where it was surreal. He was too late to realize it as they had already walked into a trap. It was then that he decided that the other side was unfriendly and wanted to annihilate them hence he hastily ordered his men to open fire while retreating. He needs them to regroup and gather his thoughts and think about countermeasures. It was a one sided battle as they did not manage to land a single shot. It did not matter to him as their priority now was to get out of the cave and have the cover of sunlight. Fighting in the dark was disadvantageous for them as their enemies seemed to be accustomed to fighting in the dark. They desperately fought trying to reach the exit as it was challenging to find their indicators amidst the flashing gunfire. Once they saw the light from the exit, they felt reinvigorated and dashed straight for the exit. They were clinging on to the hope that the chase would stop once they did manage to escape. Eventually, after much running and gunning, they managed to bathe in sunlight. Their fear made them look back towards the entrance to check whether their foe was still hot on their tail. Emotions of relief took over their faces to see that there was nothing behind them, that they could take a breather from the horrifying chase.
‘Those people were out to kill us. Why were they out to kill us?’ Ashfaq thought and asked himself. Several things bothered him about their encounter. They were abnormally fast and strong, chasing them without stop and they disregarded the threat of the bullets as if it could not touch them. After that ordeal, he knew that they were confident in their speed, plus the ability to survive in the dark would make them the perfect assassins. If he could control them, there would be no one in this world who is safe, making him the most powerful man. For now, he should take in one step at a time and figure out how to capture those humans. Just as he decided to cordon off the entrance, one of the men approached him and told him that the kids had gone missing. Clicking his tongue at the misfortune, he shouted at his men to hasten the cordoning of the area to vent his anger.