Somewhere far away from the catastrophe that is happening inside Ratmawati City.
A group of people wearing light brown button-down shirts with pockets and chinos are going through a desert, the wind brought along golden sand that irritates the skin and eyes. Each one of them is also wearing a mask to protect their face from the prickling sand.
"Barrier up, the wind is getting stronger", a man with green eyes commanded to the others.
Upon the command from the man that seemed to be leading this group of ten people, each one of them started to circulate their mana and create a barrier a couple of inches outside of their bodies, showing that they were all Awakened.
Even though they were Awakened, for some reason the wind still made it hard for them to advance.
Not only that but the Wind Elementalists amongst the group find something weird since for some reason they weren't able to reduce the wind blowing on the group, it's like they are unable to access nature's wind around here.
Almost feels like someone is controlling the wind, and they can't overpower that person's power.
Slowly the group traverses through the barren and flat land that covers as far as their eyes can see. Above them was the bright golden sun blazing their skin, but it feels like the sun is an inch away from their temple due to high the temperature in this place.
Under the same boat as them, there are a couple of mutated hawks flying over their heads.
"How long are we from the reported site?", the man with green eyes asks.
Another guy tapped on his smartwatch before a holographic map popped out, there were an arrow and a red dot on the holographic map and they were close, signing that they will arrive at the destination in a bit.
"About thirty minutes of walking at our current pace", the guy replied with a sigh.
Out of their lives as Awakened they have never felt burdened by the nature like this, and it really feels like being a normal person again, "Just what is wrong with this place, how come I can't manipulate the wind mana around here?", a woman grumbled before wiping the sweat dripping on her forehead.
Each one of these Awakened covers the four fundamental elements, they are a versatile group.
But even though they were very versatile having different elements from fire, water, wind, and earth, the blowing wind still made their bodies heavy. Not only that but the closer they got to the destination, their barriers started to get blown by the wind.
It's not that their barriers shatter, but they are slowly being unable to harness their powers.
At first, the barriers of wind around the Wind Elementalists get blown by the gushing wind, and soon the other Elementalists are also robbed of their barriers making their advancement even harder due to being hit by the full brunt of the blowing wind.
Some of them kept trying to use their elements but ultimately failed miserably.
"Maybe there's an artifact here"
"Whatever it is, we're a part of the Exploration Department. It's our job to check it out"
After the man with green eyes said that, the group of ten picked up their pace.
This group of ten follows the sun which will lead to the destination that was tasked to them. Some of the citizens from nearby cities were hit by a subtle shockwave alongside an earthquake a couple of months ago, it was not that destructive so they aren't really worried.
But in the last couple of days, a weird phenomenon appears. An endless sandstorm.
Coming from the direction of the shockwave, the citizens are sure that the thing that created the shockwave months ago is the one that sparks this endless sandstorm. Many of them started to worry and finally tries to reach out to the UWO.
Just about today when the group arrived, the phenomenon becomes stronger.
Not only was the wind blowing even harder, but the water source for the city and the mutated animals are starting to act strange. From the local people, they said that their farm animals are behaving chaotically, almost as if they were expecting a natural disaster.
Other weird occurrences are also happening, and this group is going to check them out.
About twenty minutes later after a hazardous and tiring move against the strong wind, they were about to arrive at the destination but out of nowhere the ground suddenly quaked forcing the group of ten to crouch and hold onto the ground strongly.
Even though the sandstorm has proven hard enough to deal with, the grown also started to quake.
Without being able to use their powers, they can only do this to prevent them from stumbling over.
Embedding their fingers into the sand, they try to hold on as an earthquake happened, "Hold on! Don't let go or you'll be blown by the wind! Grab onto each other strongly, it's going to be hard to find you if you got separated!"
Upon hearing this, each of the Awakened tries to hold on with all their might.
But a man at the very back got gushed by a powerful wind and his hand slipped, his eyes widened trying to grab onto the person at his front but his fingers are unable to reach him. With nothing to hold onto, the man got pushed away rolling on the sand.
Many of them glance to the back but the man has already been engulfed by the sandstorm.
Gritting his teeth, the leader shouted once again to lay low and refrain from moving much. About three minutes later which felt like an eternity, the earthquake finally receded but the sandstorm didn't grow weaker.
All of them stand up before they look back at where the man has been blown to.
"We should pause for a moment to search for Amal, he's probably pushed far by the wind but we can't leave him alone in this kind of place", a long black-haired woman said in concern, the wind is strong and Amal definitely unable to stop the momentum without being able to use any spells.
Upon hearing this, the leader was about to say something but got interrupted.
"I don't think we need to search for Amal..."
Each one of them shifted their eyes at another guy bringing a huge backpack at the very back, he looks at them all before pointing in a direction. Following the direction the guy pointed at, the others sucked in a cold breath.
Amal can be seen not far from them, stabbed by a huge broken twig on his chest.
Despite being unable to use any of their powers for some reason, their bodies still belong to an Awakened's body which is strong and durable. But Amal was killed by a huge broken twig of a tree, it's very surreal for them.
Seeing that one of them has died, the leader and a couple of others check on Amal.
While they were checking on Amal to try and figured out how he died like this as if his body is as fragile as a normal human, the others try to decipher what just happened to them.
"What timing to have an earthquake here..."
"Yeah, but I don't think it's a natural earthquake. I think it's caused by a powerful shockwave coming from the south, I vaguely sensed a gust of light energy that is not mana"
"South? Isn't that Ratmawati City's direction?"
Many of them started conversing regarding the sudden earthquake out of concern, they thought that it was bad luck at first but it seems it was not. But the leader snapped them back and remind them of their objective, finishing checking Amal's copse.
"It doesn't matter where it's from, we're going to keep on moving. The state of war against the Supernatural is on our shoulders, so we need to keep moving"
Upon hearing this, they nodded their heads firmly before continuing their journey once again.
The guy that finds Amal's corpse first didn't forget to cover Amal's face with a piece of cloth before following the others, he swears to himself that he's going to bring Amal with him on the way back out of respect.
Even though the group has just been formed, it's not proper to leave Amal's corpse like this.
After moving forward once again they finally find a lake on their left side which is the trademark sign that they have arrived, the destination should just be over the lake. But as they were about to check the perimeter, they saw something is happening on the lake.
"What the heck?!", a man falls butt-first, caught in surprise when the lake suddenly exploded.
Hearing the sudden yelp and splashing sound, the others instantly went over to the man and saw the lake that exploded, blasting water high into the sky before suddenly freezing into ice in a blink of an eye despite the scorching sun.
It was a hunch at first, but they were even more sure that something is not right here.
A particular elemental mana's abundance relies heavily on the terrain, fire mana will be abundant in volcanic terrain, while water mana will be abundant in the sea. But now, this kind of phenomenon happened randomly.
Working in the Exploration Department, a phenomenon such as this is quite common for them.
But what makes this phenomenon surprising was the fact that the mana around here and the phenomenon don't add up. Usually, a phenomenon like this was caused by too much existence of a particular elemental mana in a certain place, something this random shouldn't happen.
A water and Ice phenomenon in a desert, something is definitely not right.
Helping the man stands up, the group saw the ice slowly turns to water again, filling the lake as if the phenomenon never happened. It was weird but the leader standing past the lake signaled for them to follow him.
Standing idly while inspecting the space in front of him, the leader noticed something.
Despite the sand and wind blowing right into his eyes which makes it hard to see, the leader noticed a weird translucent wall that looks like an invisible barrier in front of him. Upon a touch of his index finger, a ripple effect happens almost as if he's touching the water's surface.
From the back, the leader looks like touching nothing but air, "Did you find anything?"
Upon hearing this the leader unsheathed his sword before he signals for the others to step back, he then points the tip of the sword forward before he thrust the sword into the invisible barrier to test the water.
While looking weirdly, the others were surprised to see the tip of the sword disappear.
Just like thrusting into water or another dimension, the sword went through the invisible barrier all the way down until the end of the blade. The leader frowns before he pulls back the sword and finds that nothing happened to the sword.
"This is the place...", the leader said firmly.
From the report that they received, the weird occurrence comes from beyond the lake.
Sheathing back the sword, the leader intends to put his arm into the invisible barrier but is stopped by a man behind him, "Alex, it's dangerous to act impulsive like this. Why don't we run a couple of tests before going inside?", the man suggested out of carefulness.
But the leader, Alex waves his hand, "Nothing happened to the sword, it should be safe"
Upon hearing that the man pulls back his hand not intending to stop Alex further, he and the others watch as Alex tries to put his arm into the invisible barrier. Unconsciously, the others held their breaths even though they were not the ones putting their arms inside the invisible barrier.
Alex touched the invisible barrier with his fingers and finds the sensation feels exactly like water.
Gathering his courage, he slowly puts his hand into the invisible barrier and felt nothing but coldness. Not bone-chilling cold but night cold, it feels like his hand is being breezed by the night air on the other side.
Feeling nothing is wrong, he puts his entire arm in and went inside the invisible barrier completely.
Immediately after entering the invisible barrier, he can feel weird energy enveloping his entire body, the feeling is akin to being guided into another dimension. For a moment he can't open his eyes, but soon enough he can finally open his eyes and marvels at the scene in front of him.
Aligning with his expectation, he was definitely teleported into another dimension.
What greeted his eyes upon being opened was a huge Egyptian temple that is dim-lit with only a couple of torches around, it was very spacious and cold. Inspecting the entire place clearly proved to be difficult as his eyes are still not used to the darkness.
Aside from the Egyptian temple, his eyes saw a couple of statues and trees around the place.
Even though there should be lives if there were trees in this place, there is not one mutated animal that can be seen. On top of that, there seems to be a fight here since there are a couple of scars around the place.
Not long after, the others followed inside and also marvels at the scenery.
"What is this place? A hidden temple?"
"Woah... it's huge, there are definitely artifacts inside that temple. We might've hit a jackpot!"
Upon hearing this Alex gazes around trying to search for any lurking danger that they needed to be wary of, but his eyes were fixated on the ominous feeling coming from the entrance of the temple that seems to be blocked by a blue barrier.
Just when Alex was about to try out his power again, his eyes suddenly dilated.
Wanting to try out if he can use his element again in this place, he finds that he still can't. The elemental mana in this place is unmoving and unable to be used, now he can sense that it's not that he can't use his power but the elemental mana seems to be tied to something else.
As a fire Elementalist, Alex can see the fire mana trying to get to him but can't.
Even when he tries to attract the fire mana stronger, the fire mana only trembles on their spots without even moving an inch closer to him. Something is controlling the mana inside this place, but Alex still finds it unbelievable.
'One element is natural, but the others also can't use their elements...'
Looking at the entrance of the temple once more, a bead of cold sweat runs down the side of his face, 'Whatever creature that controls the elemental mana must be a quadruple Elementalist which is impossible...'
Before the group of nine can do anything, a voice suddenly caught their attention.
"Let me out..."
"Humans... come closer and help break the restraints"
An astral voice seeped into their ears forcing them to look around warily, they immediately alerted knowing that something is inside here with them. Nothing can be seen around them, they should be alone but the voice clearly indicates that there is something else in here with them.
Most of them started to panic, it's the fear of not knowing that grips their souls.
but then suddenly a very loud banging sound surprised all of them.
Out of nowhere, a very loud banging sound surprised all of them, it clearly comes from the entrance of the temple. Something just hits the blue barrier, and it seems to want to get out of the temple.
"Remember, remember, when the execution trumpet roared..."
An echoing voice resounded once again that sounds eerie and evil to the core.
"Little bad insects who deemed themselves Supernaturals. Chuckles of the Supreme, adjudge them to extinction at the hands of the Orchestra of Pain. Reminding their descent to the bottom, their weak lineage, and pitiful selves going through the accouch of slavery"
Gritting his teeth, Alex looks around trying to find the source of the voice to no avail.
"Ask the wails of the trillion dead, screaming at the holy profession, begging for leniency on their misconduct. Remember, remember, as any misbehaving weak insects will meet the Executor"
Each one of them was surprised to feel a gush of energy pushing them back.
Out of everything that they have ever sensed in their lives, nothing has an energy that is even remotely close to this one. There was no doubt that this thing should be the one controlling the elemental mana, and it was very powerful.
From the gush of energy alone, they can feel a shiver running down their spines.
Not even ninth-rank Awakened and Kings of the Supernaturals can replicate this chilling energy, this kind of ancient energy was akin to the energy of a God that was sleeping dormant inside the Egyptian temple.
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