Nathan continued picking up rifles from dead people and firing them at the members of Red Dust from afar.
He also used up his other last two grenades -- However, it became harder to kill them with grenades because they don't stick together anymore and they were always a certain distance between each other.
They were now down to 13 members.
Ashleigh, Derek and the others felt so helpless.
The moment he appeared and they charged towards him, he would just disappear and appear at another spot and shoot them.
It was mentally mind-numbing and frustrating to fight him.
There was also the issue of the armored angels.
Tata! Tata! Tata!
'Tch! No ammo left again…'
Nathan threw the rifle away before activating [Coward's Way] to find another.
He noticed a few rifles that he hasn't picked up yet. However, they were from corpses that were near or close to the center of the battlefield.
From the 93 people (including Nathan) that entered this arena, there were only 57 left.
As for the armored angels, from the 100, they were now down to 30.
Before the armored angels get defeated on this first stage, he planned to thin Red Dust down to Rose, Derek and Ashleigh.
As for who will go first between those three Chosen Ones of Red Dust, he planned to capture Rose and Ashleigh to torture them.
For Ashleigh, he would torture her, let her heal herself, torture her, let her heal herself -- until she runs out of mana.
Meanwhile, for Rose, if possible, he wanted to kill her loved ones right in front of her before killing her.
Nathan decided to go to the center of the arena to pick up a rifle.
A few bullets and spells ran pass him that he decided to shield one side of his head with his [Grade D] Large Axe.
Given that there were now 30 armored angels left, he decided to deactivate [Coward's Way] before picking the rifle and activating his skill.
Unlike earlier, almost everyone was busy fending off the armored angels so it was hard to notice a rifle floating in thin air and moving. And plus, this was the center of the battlefield, not the edge.
The moment Nathan appeared, someone shouted.
He was suddenly bombarded with bullets and fireballs.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
Boom! Boom! Boom!
The bullets came from the members of Red Dust, while the fireballs came from the Chosen One who had the skill [Burning Fighting Fighter].
Regarding the fireballs, each one burns for 3 seconds, and has no mana cost and cooldown.
Nathan immediately dropped the rifle.
He shielded one side of his face with the blade of his [Grade D] Large Axe and the other side with his left arm as he ran away and activated [Coward's Way].
The fireballs were too slow so it didn't manage to hit him. However, the same can't be said about the bullets.
A couple of bullets pierced through his body, causing him to lose his invisibility and slow down.
But still, he continued to activate his skill and ran away.
In his mind, eventually, those people would have to reload.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Because he started to slow down due to the injuries, the fireballs were now able to hit him.
He was engulfed in flames.
"KYAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!" Nathan screamed in agony from being burned alive.
He was like a human torch desperately trying to run and flickering every now and then because of activating [Coward's Way] but it keeps getting deactivated due to the bullets and the fire.
"ROSE!!! RED DUST!!! I CURSE YOU ALL!!! I HOPE YOU ALL DIE HERE!!!"
Nathan finally stopped running.
He let go of his [Grade D] Large Axe and fell to the ground.
The members of Red Dust stopped shooting and Burning Fighting Fighter stopped throwing fireballs as well.
Rose took out the Dust of Appearance and was about to charge towards where Nathan was but she was met with three armored angels, a white one and two black ones, so she had no choice but to fight them.
They cast curse spells.
A few members immediately provided back up.
As for the rest of the members of Red Dust, they figured that Nathan was either already dead or no doubt going to die soon.
And plus, there was still armored angels remaining.
Many people, who witnessed the barbecuing of Nathan, felt disgusted from the sight.
By the time Rose finally reached about 15ft away from Nathan, he was nothing but a burnt corpse and he doesn't seem to be breathing.
Aside from that, the stench coming from the burnt flesh was also so strong that it would give anyone a strong urge to vomit.
Ashleigh quickly approached as well.
Rose transformed her right arm into a sharp blade in order to stab Nathan in the head to make sure he was dead.
Ashleigh suddenly grabbed her arm.
Rose stopped and turned towards her.
"What are you even talking about?"
"This is not what we agreed upon!"
"He killed Brezine and the others. Does that not mean anything to you?" Rose coldly said.
Rose pulled her arm away from Ashleigh's grip.
But Ashleigh grabbed her arm once again.
"He's already dead! What are you doing?! I feel like I don't know you anymore!"
Rose looked at Ashleigh and saw the expression on her face.
Since she learned about Ashleigh's powers, she was adamant in making her part of Red Dust so she presented herself as this kind but strict leader, while secretly manipulating her.
The same goes for Derek.
And so far, everything was going well until...
She "invited" Nathan to join Red Dust.
And from there on, her relationship with Ashleigh and Derek started to turn sour to the point where the possibility of losing them was a real threat.
And not only that.
Due to Derek's unselfish nature and Ashleigh's power, their influence was so great within the group that if they decided to leave, it will be a huge blow to Red Dust because some of the members were willing to leave with them.
In the light of what has happened so far in the zombie apocalypse, although it would be a waste to lose Derek, it was a loss that she could afford.
But Ashleigh? She couldn't afford to lose her.
Her power was far too useful.
And although everyone was caught in surprise by the Second Phase, in Rose's mind, this was just a temporary setback.
Once everyone recovers from the surprise, all those weak camps will be devoured either by the zombies or the powerful human camps.
She still wants to be a powerful force so she could not afford to lose a Chosen One like Ashleigh.
Sure, she can force her, but that wouldn't work in the long run.
She now understood the wisdom that her father was trying to tell her.
Rose was still in [Cystal Body] mode as she reverted her arm back to its normal crystallized state.
"You're right. He's already dead. I've overreacted."
Unfortunately, their conversation was cut short because a White Armored Angel was headed towards them, reminding them that the battle wasn't over yet.
Seeing Nathan's death, in the case of Crawler and R.R., they felt relieved.
Meanwhile, Derek and Germaine were indifferent but thought that it was such a painful way to die.
As for Kaija, she felt conflicted.
Harry, who was watching on the side with his group, didn't do anything.
They already killed the armored angels on their side and was waiting for the other groups to kill the ones on their side.
"Harry, why didn't you help? It seems that that person too shares a great hatred towards Red Dust like us," asked a man.
The man was Joseph. The same man that Nathan saw the first he visited the mall.
Joseph was a married man in his mid-20s. Before the zombie apocalypse, he used to work as a plumber as his main job and did some other part-time jobs.
Harry, on the other hand, was a Caucasian male in his late 20s.
Just like Nathan, Harry's group shared a great hatred towards Red Dust.
In Harry's case, it was personal, something deeply personal that happened years before the zombie apocalypse.
Red Dust was a powerful organization. The group had their hands on many businesses. However, not all of it was legal.
Some involved destroying the livelihood of other people.
When Harry was still in middle school, his family used to run a small pet shop and a salon.
But one day, a group of people from Red Dust came in offering to buy the place.
Harry's father disagreed.
A week later, his mother had a car "accident" which left her in a vegetative state.
But the weird thing about it was, his mother detests driving cars and it would take heaven and earth to convince her to drive.
However, the problems didn't stop there.
The insurance company also refused to pay for the treatment of his mother so his father had to borrow money to pay for everything.
During those months, the people from Red Dust would come weekly, driving the customers away and trying to force his father to sell the businesses.
His father tried to ask help from the police, but they proved to be of little help as if something was stopping them.
He also tried to go online to start a crowdfunder, but it went nowhere.
Stricken by grief, guilt, debt, expenses and all, his father decided to sell the two businesses.
However, even after that, their problems still didn't stop there.
Two months after his father sold the two businesses, his mother died.
Two weeks later, his father committed suicide.
After his father's death, Harry had to go live with his aunt and uncle in another city. Fortunately for him, they were kind folks.
However, he could never forget those painful memories.
The image of his mother's vegetative state and his father's suffering burned through his soul.
He decided that he would become a lawyer one day and return here to Cram city to his get revenge.
Unfortunately for him, although he already became a lawyer and was on the process of exacting revenge, the zombie apocalypse happened.
Speaking of the zombie apocalypse, back when Nathan saw him severely injured, the group that he and his team encountered at that time was actually Red Dust.
In fact, it was Rose whom he fought before the hoard of zombies led by D1 and N1 came joining their battle.
Rose even tried to "recruit" them, but Harry, of course, flat-out refused the invitation.
There was no way he was going to forgive Red Dust.
As for Joseph, he used to live in the same block back when Harry's parents were still alive, but they were never close because Harry was 4 years older than him and they went to different schools.
However, they shared the same hatred.
Just like Harry, his family was also bullied in some form or another by Red Dust.
"Harry?" said Joseph.
"He's already dead. And plus, all of the groups had an agreement to have a ceasefire."
Joseph was silent.
Unlike Harry, he wasn't the smart type nor was he the leader type. He was the sidekick type that would blindly follow whatever the leader would say as long as their goals match, but he was a good-natured person nevertheless.
All of the armored angels were cleared out and a red portal appeared at the center. There was also a message from the System.
'Congratulations on completing Stage 1 of the Divine Tower. Please proceed to Stage 2 through the portal.'
"There's a Stage 2?" Everyone gasped.
Aside from the few Chosen Ones, no one had an attack-type magic skill that doesn't require mana points. Although they can recover 1 mana point every 4 minutes, there was also the issue of the food.
However, what was the point of complaining or worrying? They chose to enter this Divine Tower. No choice but to continue moving on. Perhaps the portal will teleport them to an Eternal Village.
Moreover, it's also important to point out that armored angels doesn't leave any body behind because it immediately disintegrates when they die so there was no nucleus to extract.
Before entering the portal, the remaining survivors started checking their loses and opened the [Green] Treasure Chests.
Upon opening the treasure chests, people were surprised.
Some of the loots include [Grade D] Black Chain Mail, Black Full Helm, White Chain Gloves and White Chain Boots.
Now, what was shocking to these loots wasn't the stats because they only gave a +3 random combination. The thing that surprised them was the "Bonus Effect" that each equipment gives.
For the "Black" type equipment, it gives a 1% chance to block any physical attack. Meanwhile, the "White" type gives a 1% chance to block any magical attack.
I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter. Thank you for reading!
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