326 The Storm

    The waves lapped noisily against the shore. The sky darkened as the tides began to rise. The lifeboats were stranded around the tidal pools. The teams were led by Gu Jun and Lou Xiaoning towards the highest cliff on the island. Even the Shearwater knew now was not the time to fight for dominance. Gu Jun used more than 5 minutes to close the distance of 50 metres because he'd stop every few steps to sense his surroundings...

    He could detect the breeze picking up. The wind carried with it not only the saltiness of the sea but also a trace of decomposition. To confirm, Wu Siyu's voice came from the walkie-talkie, "The taste around us has changed, be careful."

    'She sensed it as well?' Gu Jun immediately warned the other teams, "The anomaly around us is intensifying!"

    The lighthouse on the island was built by the Chilean military but that was done only several decades ago. Before that, this small island had no trace of human activity, perhaps... this was a place uninhabitable by humans...

    The sea breeze turned so violently as Gu Jun crossed the last meter. He stood at the highest point of the island. From his vantage point, he noticed that the tidal pools had all been covered up by the rising tides. From the sea, the waves crashed relentlessly against the shore.

    "Buddy, there's nothing too special about this place." Michael J. Bruce said with some annoyance. His tensed muscles relaxed.

    "It's probably just a collective illusion that none of us can see the birds." Bell Grant wiped the sweat from his forehead. The face that had many adoring fans looked around, "They are still here and we are too, but for some reason, we cannot see each other." The incident was strange but not strange enough to warrant unnecessary alarm. The other teams started to relax and grumble under their breath.

    "No..." Gu Jun's headache worsened as he looked at the raging sea. An indescribable panic filled his heart, like a bird stranded before the coming of a storm... Wait, a storm... Gu Jun noted how fast the water level was rising and his heart squeezed. The birds would be most sensitive to the changing of sea level. They did not see any birds because...

    "Everyone, stay away from the shoreline!" Gu Jun shouted into the walkie-talkie. "Head towards high ground now! A heavy storm is coming! Move!" Before he finished, the rest of Problematic Team moved to oblige. They carried little supply with them. But the members of the other countries hesitated for a moment before they heeded Gu Jun's advice. Some of them ran to the cliff, others to the helipad while the rest to the lighthouse.

    "Stay away from the lighthouse!" Gu Jun shouted again. Wu Siyu understood why. "The lighthouse does not feature in Jack Wales' story, it's too dangerous to go exploring now!"

    Suddenly, dark clouds descended upon them. The thunder boomed, shaking the whole island. Now everyone understood the warning that Gu Jun gave earlier. This change in weather pattern was indeed too sudden...

    The gale lashed and giant waves crashed against the shore. The lifeboats capsized and some of the supplies sank into the sea. The destroyer out in the sea blurred out of existence. The already weak signal with the command central broke off completely.

    "Ah!" Screams echoed everywhere. They came from the Shearwater members who were swept away by the waves. Of the 172 members, Shearwater had 62 people. With their dominance in numbers, despite Gu Jun's multiple warnings, some of them stayed behind to guard the lifeboats. The Russians and English also did something similar. It was these unfortunate agents who emitted the wails that echoed in the storm. Some of them were knocked unconscious by the waves while others were dragged towards the tidal pools. An English female agent shrieked in fear. There was supposed to be firm rocks under the tidal pools but she found no footing. It felt as if she was sinking into a swamp. The agent next to her hesitated between saving her and running to safe ground on his own but before he could make any decision, a giant wave took him away. The howls of these agents dispersed through the wind. For some reason, it sounded like they were crying out for Dagon!

    Panic started to spread as people rushed towards higher elevation. Gu Jun watched on helplessly as the veins pulsed on his forehead. As unwilling as he was, his rationality pushed him to shout into the walkie-talkie, "Run! Do not stop to save anyone, they are too late to be rescued now. Move away from the shore now!" Then he glared at Bell Grant's team who was stunned into silence. "Those agents could have lived." Despite its size, the strange giant waves spared the higher ground. If those people were allowed to leave their guard post, they would not have died. Being told off by Gu Jun, the faces of Bell Grant's team darkened.

    "I know it's hard for us to really cooperate with each other." Gu Jun took a deep breath. "But we are not politicians, there is no reason to commit to any political maneuvering. How to survive and how to complete the mission should be our utmost priority." The Problematic Team could not control the minds of the other agents. All 25 members of the team were squeezed on the highest cliff and watched cautiously around. The mindless savagery of the storm tore at their heart. First the agents posted by the lifeboats were swept away, then came the agents who unfortunately ran too slow. Their faces were frozen in despair and panic as they were claimed by the sea. In just a short moment, the joint team lost 45 agents.

    "So we are supposed to stay here and do nothing?" Michael J. Bruce grumbled, "That's **ed up!"

    "Big guy, what do you suppose we can do considering we have no idea what we're even dealing with?" Lou Xiaoning berated. "We've already told you the mission does not need so many participants but none of you wished to listen."

    Gu Jun remained silent as he paid attention to the surroundings. The sea continued to rage but suddenly a lifeboat passed through the storm. It was a German lifeboat that was recorded in the Pentagon's file... Was he mistaken or was there a person in the boat?

    "Mother**er..." Lou Xiaoning noticed this as well. The others soon caught up. Everyone skimmed through the related file before they departed. That person on the lifeboat appeared to be Jack Wales. The figure on the boat paddled ferociously towards the island while laughing maddeningly...

    Gu Jun's heart chilled. When Wales escaped the island, he claimed to be caught in a storm. He could hear the thunder and many people screaming the name of Dagon.

    Was this an illusion or a temporal twist?


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