The bullet that shot through Nathan's chest caused him to stagger a few steps back.
He felt this intense burn coming from his gunshot wound which was quickly followed by this buzzing feeling and then a severe aching pain.
He palmed his wound and looked at his hand.
This was his first time getting shot.
To his surprise, he didn't die or fall to the ground. However, he felt his movements became a little sluggish. Based on his estimation, it dropped by at least 10%.
'So this is the power of 29 vitality points?'
He couldn't help but smile while a drip of blood flow from his lips.
This time around, he was shot on his right cheek, destroying the flesh and some teeth. The impact of the bullet forced him to violently turn to the right and fall to the ground, releasing the [Grade D] Sword on his hand.
He was still alive though and felt the same feeling when he was shot earlier.
But this time around, he didn't choose to marvel from the experience of being superhuman.
He could hear the sound of boots rushing towards him followed by gunshots.
Panicked and in pain, he quickly activated [Coward's Way].
He grabbed his [Grade D] Sword, leaped over the picket fence and ran to the backyard of the next house.
He didn't stop and continued running as he opened 5 [Small] Healing Potions one by one from one of the pockets of his police vest. He poured 3 potions on his right cheek and drank two.
When his gunshot wound on his right cheek and chest were finally healed, no new teeth grew back from the ones that were destroyed. It was a weird sensation to him.
He used two bottles of [Grade D] Repair Kit for his [Grade D] Sword and Long Dagger as well.
"Those fucking ants!"
Hearing his voice, it sounded a bit weird due to the loss of his right teeth. However, he didn't care.
At the moment, although it felt weird having no teeth on the right side of his mouth, he had only one goal in his mind.
He turned back.
Derek, who was in [Maximize] mode which makes him 2.5 meters tall with bulging muscles, was currently standing outside of Carl's house with Isaac and a group of people.
As for his stats:
• Str - 52 (26)
• Vit - 56 (28)
• Agi - 8.66 (26) (+12)
• Int - 25
• [Grade D] Leather Cap (13/15): +1 Agi
• [Grade D] Leather Armor (11/15): +2 Agi
• [Grade D] Leather Gloves (10/15): +2 Agi
• [Grade D] Leather Boots (11/15): +2 Agi
• [Grade D] Ring: +1 Agi
• [Grade D] Ring: +2 Agi
• [Grade D] Necklace: +2 Agi
• Level X [Maximize] - Multiplies base strength and vitality by 2 and divides base agility by 3. Immune to the zombie virus. No mana required and no cooldown.
There were also other people (aka the civilians) inside the other houses peeking through windows, not daring to step outside.
Carl and his grandmother were outside. He was hugging his sobbing grandmother and the cries of his baby sister could be heard from inside the house.
"We checked the house. He isn't here," said one person who just stepped outside of Carl's house.
"Goddammit! We almost had him! We were this close! This close!" Isaac made a gesture with his two fingers.
"Why didn't that dumbass of a sniper aimed for the head in the first shot?! Where is that fucking sniper?! And will someone please make that baby shut up?!" Isaac roared and kicked the picket fence.
Carl's grandmother released herself from her grandson's embrace and quickly rushed to the house to pick up the baby and soothe her.
Everyone was silent.
When Isaac finally calmed down, Derek opened his mouth, "We have no choice but to spread out and search for him."
Isaac looked at Derek and raised one eyebrow, "And do what?"
Everyone felt lost. The enemy was not only strong but could also disappear and is a mass murderer, and they just blew their only chance. And to make matters worse, the leader of their organization wasn't doing anything at all.
Freddie was about to step forward and open his mouth when suddenly…
They were being bombarded with a hail of bullets.
As they were all caught in surprise, many of them got caught and died, including Isaac.
Only Derek and 3 other people were lucky enough to survive from the hail of bullets.
Derek was standing in the middle blocking the bullets with his body while covering his face with his massive forearms.
"Get behind me!" he roared.
With his vitality at 56 points and large physique in [Maximize] mode, although high-powered guns (shotgun, magnum, rifles, etc.) can still penetrate his skin and hurts just like any other wound, taking a couple of shots wouldn't greatly affect his movements, allowing him to perform at his peak. But if the wounds he received were far too severe or he lost too much blood, it will affect his movements, just like what happened back in the bridge when two grenades were thrown at him.
Moreover, if he gets shot in the head, specifically on the brain, he would die after 30 seconds if he can't heal himself with a healing potion. Meanwhile, in the heart is after 60 seconds. And if his head gets blown away or if he gets decapitated, he would die immediately.
The hail of bullets finally stopped.
Derek dropped his arms to search for the shooter.
He saw a completely healed Nathan on the other end of the street threw the two rifles to the ground and pulled out a sword from his back before disappearing.
"You guys run! I'll take care of him!"
He quickly pulled out his Glock. He started firing while running towards where he last saw Nathan.
The 3 survivors; Freddie, Carl and someone named Gina, exchanged a quick glance at each other before deciding what to do.
Carl went inside the house to get his grandmother and baby sister.
Meanwhile, Freddie was about to tell Nathan that he's going to offer his life and ask for Nathan to spare his loved ones but was beaten to the punch by Gina.
"I know where Freddie's family are! I can take you to them! Please, I don't want to –"
A blade was swung through her neck, decapitating her.
Nathan didn't waste any time and immediately disappeared.
Derek noticed what just happened and fired.
Freddie, who just thought about giving himself up, just stood there, not knowing what to say.
"FREDDIE, RUN!!!" Derek shouted.
Images of his loved ones flashed through his head and…
Just like Gina, he too was decapitated.
Derek ran to Freddie's corpse.
"FIGHT ME, YOU COWARD! FIGHT ME!!!" Derek screamed at the top of his lungs and beat his chest.
Seeing no sign of Nathan, he slammed his fist to the pavement, causing a web of cracks to appear.
Still no sign of Nathan.
He decided to reload.
A blade sliced off his right hand and three fingers on his left hand.
"Aarrgggh!" Derek groaned in pain and delivered a kick to Nathan who was right in front of him but missed.
With Nathan's agility at 26 (+14) points and Derek's agility only at 8.66 (+12) during [Maximize] mode, he was able to evade it despite the close range.
Nathan had a frown on his face before disappearing.
Ignoring the fingers, when his sword cut off Derek's right hand, he had to exert a great amount of force. It was like chopping off a tree that was as fat as a child's arm using a dull blade.
'Stabbing would be easier, but…' Nathan thought.
Despite Derek losing his right hand and three fingers on his left, he didn't run away and was waiting for Nathan to attack him once more.
"COME OUT, YOU FUCKING MURDERER! COME AT ME AGAIN!"
Seeing no sign of Nathan, he tried to lure him.
He ripped his utility belt from his waist using his left hand and tore the pouch that had his Small Healing Potions using his teeth. He placed the potions on his mouth and crushed them.
Crack… Crack… Crack…
He threw away his utility belt and waited.
His wounds healed, but his right hand and the three fingers on his left didn't grow back.
Nathan swung his blade behind Derek's right thigh. It penetrated deep in the flesh but got stuck on the bone.
"Aaaahhh!" Derek roared in pain and sent a backhand punch to Nathan who was on his right side but missed because Nathan immediately let go of the [Grade D] Sword and backed away before disappearing.
Derek raised his right knee and slapped the [Grade D] Sword that was stuck at the back of his right leg with what was left on his right arm.
He waited for Nathan to attack.
There was no sign of Nathan once again.
"COME ON, FIGHT ME!"
Still no sign of Nathan.
"YOU'RE JUST A PITIFUL COWARD WHO LIKES TO BULLY PEOPLE WEAKER THAN YOU! COME FIGHT ME LIKE A MAN! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? COME AT ME!"
Time continued to pass.
With each passing moment, a sense of helplessness and frustration grew and grew inside of him until he couldn't bear it anymore.
After letting out his frustration, he dropped down to his knees and stared at the corpses of his companions
He heard someone humming from Carl's house so he turned his head there.
There he saw Nathan slowly walking out of the front door. He was carrying a baby on his arms.
Nathan stopped and looked at Derek. Their gaze locked with each other.
"You know, I read a book once. If a baby starts crying, you just need to gently shake them in your arms. However, other books also say that shaking is harmful to the baby and it could even lead to death. Wanna know what I think? I think science is really confusing, just as confusing as religion sometimes. They release some new discovery but then a few years down the road a new discovery will appear that contradicts the previous one. And then you're left there wondering which discovery to believe in."
Derek just stared at the baby with a blank expression, not saying a word.
"Oh, so you finally calmed down, huh? Great! Now we can talk like civilized people."
Derek still remained silent and expressionless.
"You mentioned that you guys have my cousin and your leader wants to talk to me. Well, I thought about it and want to meet her now."
Derek stood up and walked away, ignoring Nathan.
To Derek, everything tonight felt like a very bad joke. Even after all the mess that Nathan did, the lives that were destroyed, Rose still didn't appear. And for some reason, he couldn't shake the feeling that she wanted him and Nathan to fight.
'Was this part of her interest in knowing more about the System? Or was it something else?' Derek asked himself.
He knew Rose was ambitious, which can either be labeled as something good or bad, depending on one's opinion. And although she may seem cruel due to the rules she set in the town, he believes that deep down she's a good person who had no choice but to do so to maintain order in this town against the threat of the zombies and humans like Nathan.
But thinking about tonight's events, he started to doubt if it was really a good idea to team up with Rose.
But he decided to put it aside for now. At the moment, there was something he must do: secure the safety of Freddie's family.
As for whether Carl and his grandmother were alive or not, he suspects the former. His gut told him that they were still alive – he witnessed Nathan hesitating earlier.
Nathan didn't move from where he was standing and just looked at Derek's depressing figure, walking away to God knows where.
As for killing Derek, he decided to postpone it for now.
Based on what he saw and experienced, without any high-powered weaponry, it would be quite difficult to kill him.
He now understood how Derek was able to survive the battle from the bridge.
Moreover, there were also other factors to consider.
One was whether they really have Amir or not. He had to clarify this. Seeing that the Rose hasn't shown up yet, she must be planning something.
Two was the possibility of a third party joining the fight between him and Derek.
Third was thirst and hunger. Being a one-man army without an AOE skill was a strenuous task.
And lastly was his easy to provoke ego partnered with his blinding bloodlust.
What happened to playing smart? So far most of his decisions were based on emotions.
He already made too many mistakes tonight yet still survived, making him even start to believe that Lady Luck was his lover. However, he knew that it was absurd to depend on such thing as luck and shouldn't push any more of it or else this lover of his would leave him.
He looked at the baby with a smile and brushed her rosy cheeks with his gloved finger covered with the stench of death.
"Sweetie, do you think I broke that big bad man?"
The baby stared at Nathan with her big blue eyes and stretched out her tiny hands.
"Yeah, I guess I have no choice to ask your big brother to take me to Rose, huh?"
As he was about to turn and go back inside the house to wake up Carl and his grandmother, he heard a woman's voice.
"That won't be necessary!"
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