Nathan turned to the direction where the female voice was coming from.
There he saw the leader of Red Dust, Rose, who was about 20ft away and walking towards him.
She had her long, black hair down and was wearing civilian clothes: a white long-sleeve lace silk-trim blouse, high waist black pants, and a pair of 3-inch white heels.
Nathan squinted his eyes and sized her up.
'This woman… I can't tell if she's wearing any System items. Perhaps it has something to do with her powers as a Chosen One?'
All he knew about her powers was that she could turn her body into crystal and change the shape of her arms and legs.
Rose stopped about 10ft away from Nathan.
"I never expected you to be fond of babies. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rose Haven, the leader of Red Dust. I'm glad we could finally meet, Nathan."
Seeing her closer, this time around, Nathan studied more of her features. She was actually mixed raced (half Asian and half Caucasian) which came as a surprise to him. He had always thought she was Caucasian.
Womania was a country that was very open to immigrants and its natives were Caucasian people with black hair so his initial impression of her was that she was a pure native.
She was around 25 years old, about 6 ft (with the 3-inch heels), piercing blue eyes, red kissable lips, and she wore less makeup, showcasing her flawless skin and natural beauty.
And compared to Ashleigh who was a voluptuous 5'10" blonde, although both of them are drop-dead gorgeous, Rose's physique was thinner and she had this cool and mysterious air about her. But the thing that made her really attractive was this air confidence that she exuded as if nothing can hurt or put her down.
After studying her features, Nathan's eyes wandered around to see if there were other people in the area, like a sniper or something, before returning his gaze at her.
"He's perfectly safe – that I can assure you. As a matter of fact, I'm proud to inform you that he's a treasured member of our organization."
"You don't say."
"I have been meaning to meet you because I have a proposition to offer. I'm looking for powerful and capable individuals such as yourself to join Red Dust in helping us fight for the future of mankind. Our organization has many resources and we can provide you and your loved ones food and shelter."
"And if I refuse?"
"Zombies aren't the only threat. There's also –"
"Yeah, yeah… I get it. Humans, right? If that's the reason you're going with, don't bother. Just return my cousin to me."
"The government is –"
"I already told you I don't give a fuck about that."
Seeing Nathan's attitude, she tried a different approach.
She stepped forward and pointed at one of the corpses lying on the ground.
"This man here is Isaac and is one of the longtime members of Red Dust. He has many friends and family who are also members."
She pointed at another corpse.
"This one here is Gary and is also a longtime member –"
Nathan spat on the ground.
"Names of dead people I will never care about."
Rose maintained a cool and confident expression.
She let out a bewitching smile as she slowly approached Nathan and stopped until they were only at an arm's length.
He could smell her perfume. It was a floral scent and wasn't aggressive on the nose. Just right enough that leaves one would with a strong compulsion to lean over and smell more.
"A lot of people aren't happy about what you did. But I can help you to make things right. Let me help you fix it."
Nathan smiled that wasn't exactly a smile.
"Is that so? Well, it's kinda funny you say that. You see, in these past few days, many have cursed and hated me down to the marrow of their bones. But in the end –"
He suddenly grabbed her by the neck with his right hand and slowly squeezed.
"—Well, I guess you can figure it out with that pretty head of yours. So, would you please be so kind as to give me what I'm asking for right now? I'm really in a hurry."
Nathan increased the pressure of his grip, but Rose wasn't fazed at all. She looked at him straight in the eyes and held an expression that read: Go ahead.
When Rose's face turned red yet still remained unfazed, he let go of her neck.
"Fine. I will agree to join your little group. But I have a few conditions."
Rose massaged her neck.
"I'm very pleased to hear that. What are your conditions?"
"But first, let's go inside the house. I'm tired and I want to sit down," Nathan said while pointing Carl's house behind him.
He turned and picked up his [Grade D] Sword before heading to the house.
Rose followed suit.
Standing at the front door was Carl and his grandmother which was a surprise to him. He remembered knocking them out earlier before taking away the baby.
Both of them looked at him with pure hatred, but he didn't mind it at all and approached the two.
"Heh~ You two are already awake? I must've done a very sloppy job."
The two didn't say anything and took a quick glance at Rose who was acting as a spectator.
"Take your baby sister."
Nathan passed the baby to Carl and then went inside the house.
He headed straight to the kitchen to drink a few glasses of water.
After drinking, he removed his sword strap and inserted his [Grade D] Sword back on its sheath and wore his sword strap again before sitting at the dining table. He preferred pulling his sword behind his back but returning it was troublesome.
He could faintly hear Rose outside offering a few consoling words to Carl's grandmother who was sobbing and cursing Nathan.
After Rose was done, she headed to where Nathan was and sat opposite of him.
"My first condition: Give me Amir."
"Your cousin is with one of my associates at Saint Town and I assure you he's safe."
"Take me to him."
Rose pulled out a satellite phone from her pocket and contacted a number.
She placed it on top of the table and set it in loudspeaker.
Finally, someone picked up.
Nathan recognized the voice.
"Hi, Amir. It's me, Rose. I've got great news for you. Nathan's here with me and wants to talk to you. You're on speakerphone."
"Really? Thank you so much. Cuz, are you there?" Amir said.
Nathan looked straight in Rose's eyes and was thinking of something before finally replying, "Yeah, Amir, I'm here. How are you?"
He was honestly happy to hear Amir's voice. As a matter of fact, it caused some of the guilt and worries he was carrying these past few days since the start of the zombie apocalypse to be washed away from his heart.
"I'm fine, cuz. What about you?"
"I'm doing well. By the way, I'm sorry I wasn't able to return any of your calls and messages, I lost my phone."
"It's okay. The signal has been dead for days now so they're basically useless. Only satellite phones work nowadays or whatever the government uses these days. But enough of that. What's really important is that you're alive and well. I'm really glad to know you're okay. I'm so glad –" Amir sounded like he was about to cry or perhaps he was already crying.
Nathan couldn't help but be touched, but he didn't show it on his face.
Amir was an extremely good-looking guy with brown skin, short hair and was about 5'11". He was also what people would refer to as a "metrosexual".
Although he was a playboy, he was a very friendly and caring person. Yes, it was a weird combination – being both a playboy and a caring person, but that's just how he is. And for some reason, despite his promiscuous nature, the people in this very progressive country doesn't mind it at all and still finds him as a desirable partner.
Perhaps Amir was just too handsome and charming which is why they tend to overlook his promiscuous nature? Nathan could only wonder about the mysteries of human nature.
Back to the situation at hand.
Although Nathan was happy to know Amir is alive and he even got the chance to speak with him, he couldn't help but find this setup a bit odd.
'Why is Amir working with Rose and even joined her organization? Is he being threatened or something? What role did that bimbo play on this?'
Nathan doesn't know if whether Ashleigh and Rose were acquaintances before the zombie apocalypse or not. But he's assuming that after Rose learned that Ashleigh was a Chosen One, she must've offered her something, like to rescue the people Ashleigh cares about to gain her trust and cooperation, which is why she learned about Amir.
However, there are two issues here he could think of:
Firstly, why didn't Derek mention about Amir and only mentioned Ashleigh to him when they met at the bridge? Derek was even surprise to see him. Derek only started mentioning about Amir to him when they met here at Haven Town.
Secondly, assuming that Rose did promise Ashleigh to rescue the people she cares about, why didn't anyone search for him back at the apartment while he was recuperating there for three days before leaving? Perhaps Ashleigh just didn't give a damn about him and Amir? However, he wasn't sure if Ashleigh knew that Amir was known to be a playboy. Or was she assuming that he was already dead?
He glanced at Rose.
'This… What to do? Well, I guess I can try to talk to Amir using our native language, but I don't know if this bitch understands it or if there's a translator beside Amir right now. I can't risk it. Let's try something else.'
The national language of Womania is Regisian which is the national language of another country called Regis that also happens to be one of the most powerful countries in this world.
"Cuz, where are you right now?"
"At Saint Town."
"Where exactly in Saint Town?"
"Um... At the Saint Holy Child Hospital."
"I see. Have you talked to Ashleigh lately?"
"Ashleigh? Yeah, we've talked… Cuz, sorry, but I gotta go. There's an emergency."
Amir ended the call.
Nathan stared at the satellite phone for a moment before looking at Rose.
He placed his hands on the table and leaned forward.
"My first condition remains the same."
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