To the Pannu Islands near the equator, the difference between winter and summer was negligible.
The sea breeze from the South Pacific Ocean carried the salty taste unique to the ocean; it swayed the green palm trees as well as the desolate smokes.
No one had expected that the shadow of war would cover this isolated and small country.
As to who shot first, no one remembered.
The Liberal Party, with the support of "unknown force’s" funding as well as the firearms purchased from American arms dealer, quickly equipped an anti-government force of five hundred.
Their original plan was to start the uprising at the end of March. With the force separated into two, one force attacking Johnny’s mansion while the other capture the presidential palace. They wanted to end president Edward’s corrupt reign and support the new regime.
But the truth stated that they were still too naïve.
The uprising experienced hardships from the beginning. While the Liberal party, with an ample amount of funding and the extreme disappointment of the people towards Pannu's current regime, could quickly gather a force willing to fight. But because of the abundance of people as well as the dismay in management, Pannu’s current government seemed to have received information beforehand. The moment the uprising started, the military reacted.
The riot first started in Pannu Islands’ capital Coro. The anti-government soldiers, wearing masks printed with the new state and the city's camouflage were equipped with M4A1s. They were quickly tossed into an intense fire with state forces who held the same equipment.
Then they were forced to retreat multiple times.
The result completely surprised the Liberal Party.
They originally thought that the moment the first shot was fired, the government military would join forces with them under the banner of justice.
But their plan failed.
The government military immediately started firing, and the soldiers wearing the new flag was quickly gunned down on the street. Then the armored vehicles headed onto the road as the 50 caliber heavy machine guns began to unleash its power on the rioters, concrete debris as well as broken limbs scattered everywhere.
Although the government force was made up of only100 people, they were all professional soldiers. Even if they used the same American equipment, the combat ability of both sides was not on the same level. Especially since the government forces had armored vehicles and a tank on top of everything!
It was slaughter.
The new flag symbol didn’t bring courage to the coup but instead became the identification symbol for the government force to identify the enemy. The strategy of a direct fire was wrong. Although the Liberal Party’s cause was deeply instilled in every Pannu citizen’s heart, they still vastly overestimated their own influence and power. In modern warfare, numbers are not the decisive factor in winning a battle.
Blood flowed from the front of the presidential palace to the north bank of Coro Island. The rioters attacking the palace had to continuously retreat. Those who were intelligent ripped off their masks and fled, pretending to be citizens. However, the slow reacting rioters were pushed out of the rural area and forced to jump off the cliff at the north end of Coro island.
The vibrant blood made the passionate young men calm down. Although ideology was necessary, so was life. To the enemy they could not beat, they had no desire to fight for their life.
On the other side of the battle, the same group of people attacking Johnny’s mansion also suffered heavy defeat…
Sparks jumped everywhere as the bullet shells dropped onto the ground.
A white man in a bulletproof vest leaned against the wall as he maintained a professional stature. The SCAR assault rifle accurately eliminated the rioters across the street.
"Headshot, the fifth one.
" The corner of Ouburn's mouth, holding the cigarette, curled. He adjusted his gun before pressing the trigger one more time, "Now it is the sixth one… You have lost."
"Sh*t." The black young man leaning in front of the other window cursed as he felt the pain of losing the 200 USD bet.
The rioters with M series assult rifles were no different than monkeys with sticks. Without receiving professional military training, they couldn’t even use their cover to create crossfire coverage.
"How is the situation outside?" Johnny walked behind them as he carefully peeked out of the window.
He had thought that he was courageous. One time for a pound of weed, he even whipped out a pistol to exchange fire with people from another gang. But that courage didn’t seem to be too useful on the battlefield. He looked at the concrete debris scattering everywhere as it was the first time he felt so fearful.
Ouborn spat out the cigarette butt in his mouth and laughed. "Boss, don’t worry. Even if 100 more came, they will only be targets."
As he said this, the heavy machinegun on the roof unleashed fire and pinned ten something rioters, who were attempting to climb into the mansion, dead on the ground.
"Just like this," Ouborn gave a thumbs up to the window on the other side as he said casually to Johnny.
They were mercenaries from Australia and part of the Australian special force before leaving the army. Now, they receive a high salary of 5000 USD a month to protect this American rich man.
Johnny felt relieved. He sat on the sofa before standing up again.
On the table was wine produced from Australia. Although the cap was removed, the anxious him didn’t take a single sip out of it.
"Boss, perhaps you need to relax." The black man with rifle comforted him as his smiled exposed his white teeth.
It was too easy to take care of these rioters.
"Sh*t, of course, I know." He sat back on the sofa again as Johnny grabbed the wine bottle before pouring a cup for himself.
But because his arms were trembling, the red liquid spilled onto his hand...
"What a waste." The black man longingly moved his sight away from the wine as he shifted his attention back to the scope of the assault rifle.
"Pay attention. Make sure you secure your position."
The mercenaries didn’t know why their boss was so frightened. The rioters had no deterrence at all. Although they conducted a massive scale attack, that soon was stopped by the heavy machine gun on the roof.
Just a little longer, the military force will arrive. Johnny was the star businessman on Pannu Islands, as Edward has easily taken more than ten million USD from Johnny’s hands.
But only Johnny knew himself that the money didn’t belong to himself, and instead, a man called Robert gave it to him.
He previously didn’t feel uncomfortable at all as he freely used the bundles of cash to do business, bribe, and cause havoc under Robert’s directions. But with Johnny International starting to expand, he almost possessed a monopoly over the entire Pannu Islands’ economy.
Until this point, he started to listen less and less to Robert’s direction, at least he thought so. They didn’t have a debt relationship. Without Robert's help, Johnny International could operate smoothly now.
And once the area Linhua Group was developing is complete, the tourism on Pannu Islands would exponentially grow, and his Johnny International would reap the benefits.
That was true until a phone call two days ago woke him up from his sweet dream.
"Two days later, the Liberal Party will face an upheaval." That day, Robert told him on the phone.
"That’s impossible, they are only an underground party without power or money," Johnny remembered as he rebuked immediately without hesitation.
"Is that so? I am only reminding you. It’s up to you if you want to listen or not."
After this sentence, Robert hung up the phone.
Johnny didn’t think it was a big deal, but he felt uneasy as he spoke with Edward about it. He said that he had heard from an employee about the Liberal Party planning an uprising…
But the uprising actually happened.
The rioters were weak, weak to the point where his bodyguards didn’t suffer any injuries to block all of them out of his mansion. As to the bullet holes in the walls, it would only take a few thousand dollars to repair, his only loss…
But what frightened Johnny was not this, but everything had been under Robert’s control.
How did he know the riot would occur? Isn’t that guy in Los Santos? Dammit.
Confusion and fear tangled in his heart, he couldn’t bother with the wine on his pants as he took a big gulp from the cup.
The red colored alcohol rolled down the corner of his mouth, along his neck, and passed beneath his collar.
He swung his hand as he smashed the glass into the wall.
"Sh*t! Sh*t!" Johnny swore out loud as he stood up from the leather sofa. He walked to the stairs and headed down.
"What’s happening with boss?" The black guy glanced at the stairs and cursed.
"War anxiety? I think all the new recruits suffer from this during their first," a bodyguard who hadn’t spoken said in a low voice.
Ouborn didn’t say anything as he vision remain locked 500 meters away, the scope’s crosshairs behind a rioter running away.
He had already dropped his weapon, but Ouborn didn’t plan to spare him.
"Thirteenth," Ouborn pressed the trigger as he muttered out grimly.
Johnny arrived at the basement downstairs.
Four women were locked here barely covered in clothes. Their skin colors differed with varying identities. Three were locals while a blonde was a news reporter for New Zealand who has been locked here for less than a week.
They wore eye masks, face masks and locked in cages. When they heard the door opening, their feeble figures began to move, followed by a pleading whimper and the sound of shaking chain.
Breathing heavily, Johnny loosened the belt on his pants as he only wanted to unleash his anxiety through hormones.
The phone suddenly rang as it made the aroused Johnny jump.
He took out his phone, wanting to smash into the wall. However, he saw the caller.
His fingers began to tremble as he instinctively wanted to hang up the phone.
But after debating for a moment, he gulped as he picked up.
"You picked up? I thought you would hang up on me," Robert mocked.
"Sh*t, tell me what the fu*k you want." Johnny no longer respected him like when he first came to Pannu Islands as he shouted back angrily.
"No wonder you are an Irish that lives inside booze." Robert grinned. He cleared his throat and then continued, "Let’s talk about something serious. If you want to live, follow what I say right now. There is a boat on the North shore of Coro Island, take it. It will take you east to Australia, and you can spend the rest of your life there in peace and wealth.
There was no response.
Robert paused for a moment as he moved the phone away.
He didn’t know when the phone disconnected.
Robert shook his head while laughing. He didn’t bother with Johnny anymore as he called Jiang Chen.