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226 Team Leader, Thank You!

    Half an hour later.

    Amir, Mina, Alexia, and Nellie appeared before the entrance of the wild garden. They have walked through the same track as Kiba and Ashyln.

    The medicinal aroma from the garden lingered outside as if inviting them inside.

    "Alexia, what do you feel?" Amir asked as he tried to see inside the garden.

    Sadly, the thick bushes and the flowers in between hindered his vision and made it impossible for him to notice anything important.

    "There is no human presence inside," Alexia answered after some time. "There are traces of battle but they have been covered up."

    Depending on her ability, it was hard for her to know what the plant was currently doing. After all, Blood Demon Flower always acts as if it is an ordinary plant with no free will at all. Its ability to fool others through its camouflage was hard to evade.

    Amir knew this so he didn't inquire about the plant. Nevertheless, his eyes flashed with happiness.

    "That means Blood Demon Flower consumed those two!" Amir started laughing in delight. "So now it should be in short hibernation after having such a rich meal."

    "Most likely," Alexia nodded in agreement.

    Maybe from a human perspective, the act of a plant consuming human body is sinister and evil. But from nature's point of view, it was just a part of the food cycle.

    Blood Demon Flower followed nature's cycle to the core, and just like most carnivorous plants, it enters a deep sleep to digest the food.

    The time of hibernation depended on the nutrients it was trying to absorb.  The higher a lifeform, the more time is required to digest the energy.

    "Ashlyn is a strong mutant so it would take a long time for the flower to fully devour her," Amir contemplated with a smile. "Then there is that Kiba. He is also strong for his age so they both would buy us plenty of time in the flower's stomach."

    He was truly happy that such useful special members joined his team and sacrificed themselves for him. Obviously, the two didn't know about it, but that didn't matter at all.

    "Let us go," Mina beamed a smile as they entered the garden.

    They wore gas masks to not breathe the fragrance from the flowers. There was a possibility of the pollen being harmful so they wanted to avoid the risk.

    The ground inside the garden was as stable as before as if there was no battle at all. Amir knew the flower always hide its battle activities to fool its victims.

    He then brought out a medicinal capsule from his pocket. The capsule was hard-shelled, filled with black miniature pellets.

    Amir pressed the capsule between his fingers and broke the shell. The pellets fell down on the ground.

    Just as they touched the surface, they dissolved into a misty black substance. A buzzing sound came from the substance as it seeped inside the soil. The black substance mixed with the vines that originated from Blood Demon Flower.

    "This should further put the flower into a deeper slumber."

    The capsule was actually a psychoactive compound with sleep-inducing properties created for man-eating flowers. Of course, its functioning depended on the level of the flower.

    Amir reasoned now that the flower was already in hibernation, the capsule would definitely work.

    ~step~

    The group slowly moved forward with Amir in the front. His eyes were rooted on Stardust Mushroom and he imagined the riches he would earn from it.

    Initially, he planned to hunt for some beasts and low-level herbs before targetting this mushroom. But after witnessing Ashlyn's power, he wanted to get rid of her as soon as possible, so he decided to change his priorities.

    "This really was easy," Mina smiled as they arrived in front of the mushroom. She took out a glass container as Nellie proceeded to pluck the mushroom.

    Just then, the pistil of Blood Demon Flower opened up, exposing its sharp teeth and a bloody mouth. Without any warning, the flower rushed forward and swallowed Nellie's head.

    "AHHH!" Nellie cried for less than a second as the flower chomped away her neck.

    THUD

    Her headless body fell down on the ground, twitching.

    "What?!" Amir's expression turned ugly, his eyes wide open in shock.

    Shouldn't the flower be in a deep sleep?!

    Alexia and others were equally terrified, their bodies trembling as a chill went down their spines. They were rooted on spot, almost in a trance, unable to believe the sudden turn of events.

    They were supposed to get rich and live a happy life forever! Not die and consumed by a flower as food items!

    "Shit! Run!" Amir's body transformed into a thin sheet as he evaded the mouth of the flower.

    RUMBLE~

    The ground split apart and hundreds of vines came in sight. A few of the vines pierced the corpse of Nellie and devoured her flesh and blood.

    The other vines penetrated the air and transformed into blurry lines as they shot towards the surviving members.

    Blood Demon Flower was in no mood to spare anyone. If anything, it was angry after it failed to swallow Kiba and Ashyln.

    This was the reason it pretended to be in deep sleep until the final moment. It didn't want these puny humans to evade it like the two before.

    The narcotic capsule used by Amir has slowed its speed, but the flower was still a Level IV lifeform.

    Even in its worst form, it was far stronger and faster than the low-level mutants here.

    Alexia didn't get time to even plead as dozen of vines penetrated through her. The vines released a heavy sucking force, swallowing her insides in no time.

    The pink-white texture of the vines turned into a darker shade of red for a moment as it devoured her corpse.

    Mina waved her hands and released columns of sandy liquid which fell on the vines. The liquid solidified on the vines like a cube.

    "Amir, help me," Mina shouted as Amir took advantage of the opening she created. They were a couple and every time, they have helped each other no matter the crisis.

    Alas, this time Amir ignored her call for help. He continued to run as more vines targetted him and Mina.

    "Bastard! I gave you everything!" Mina's eyes were filled with tears as she cursed.

    ~cough~

    A vine penetrated her heart from the back and she coughed up blood. Her vision turned dark and she entered into the embrace of death.

    Blood Demon Flower left its spot to chase Amir as he effectively dodged the vines thanks to his rubber-like body. The flower opened its mouth wide, emitting a sucking force.

    Just then, in its former spot, a column of white light appeared out of thin air.

    Kiba and Ashlyn once again arrived in the garden!

    "Team leader, your plan is truly great," Kiba loudly said. "You have mine and Ashlyn's gratitude."

    Both Amir and the flower were startled by Kiba's arrival. Amir instantly realized he was the one who was conned and not the other way around.

    Even before his eyes could register or he utter a single sound, Kiba plucked Stardust Mushroom. Ashlyn stood beside him, her eyes observing everything.

    "Please ignore us and continue," Kiba waved his hand in a good-bye motion. "We have no intention of disturbing the romance between a flower and a human. After all, it is not every day that a flower chase behind a man like a maiden deep in love."

    Mother**er! What romance! Everything is your fault!

    Amir's eyes were bloodshot and his veins were bulging like worms. He was so incensed by Kiba's actions that he coughed up blood.

    "Dear flower, please take care of my team leader," Kiba said as he noticed the flower and vines rushing towards him. "And Amir, please don't ever cheat on this frail flower."

    Son of a bitch! What care?!

    "The flower is trying to eat me and you are talking about cheating?!" Amir found it hard to breathe as the anger got the best of him.

    Kiba placed a hand on Ashyln's shoulder and they once again teleported away just as the flower arrived at their place.

    Blood Demon Flower was furious as its mouth once again missed the two at the final moment. It turned around and spread its vines throughout the garden.

    "Fuck!" Amir wanted to choke Kiba to death, but now, he realized he would never have the opportunity.

    As the flower and vines attacked him, he heard a faint voice in his ears.

    "Happy honeymoon."

    These were the last words he ever heard as hundreds of vines pierced through him...
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