34 Chapter 33: The Bosses are Starting to Awaken
It had taken another week since the incident at the factory for Joshua and the farmers to finally complete their major project. With a big grin on his face Joshua took in the view in front of him. Alongside the inside of the fence line there were now walking stands with wooden railing on each side. There were gaps in between the stands whenever they approached one of the wooden towers and on each side of the stands there were stairs that led down to the ground. There were also a couple of ladders along the newly made walkway that went up to the top of the railing allowing people to get to their positions along the fence faster if necessary.
Now with one big project done Joshua allowed people to take a bit of a beak before deciding on what they could improve next. That included the people of his smaller group who were now all off on their own doing their own things. After having reached level seven and half way to level eight there was no way they would be able to gain enough experience to level up again anytime soon, so they decided to focus on strengthening themselves another way. Of course Joshua playing the part of the leader had spent time with each of them throughout the week.
Laura was busy focusing on learning how to wield her spear more expertly. Throughout the week Joshua would give her lessons and would even spar with her from time to time. At first she was extremely sloppy and wouldn't even last more than ten seconds, but the more they sparred together the better she became. It wasn't long before Joshua had her using faints and using other parts of the spear to attack outside of the bladed tip. By the end of the week he was proud to say that she was competent enough to hold her own against multiple zombies at once if it came down to it.
One other thing that Laura had been testing was using her fire spear in conjunction with the spear she usually wielded. The results were to her liking as it greatly reduced the amount of energy she had to expend while using the skill, and it also worked in a similar way to Madalyn's poison. It made her weapon more effective causing burns on impact and increasing the penetration of her stabs. The only problems were that it wasn't permanent and costed her energy over time, and that no one else could touch her weapon when it was like that except her.
Madalyn on the other hand was more focused on testing her new abilities out then working on her skill with using daggers. Joshua had helped her with her close combat skills from time to time, but she seemed to already be fairly good at it. He didn't know why that was the case, but decided she would tell him if she ever wanted too. So instead she spent most of her time finding ways to use her poison and acid more effectively. She had hit a wall with the acid after seeing it pretty much melt through every single container she tried to put it in. On the other hand she had been able to create some make shift poison gas grenades that would be useful in the future.
Though her experiments did not come without their own issues. The first time she tested out one of her experiments in her room, there was an explosion that let green gas float out the window along with acid melting down the door. They were lucky that Joshua got there first to warn everyone else to stay away from the danger zone. They were able to explain it away as Madalyn trying to make a grenade that would work even in the current circumstances, but from then on Joshua made sure all experiments carried out by Madalyn would be done in an unused storage shed far away from the mansion. Even now he would see puffs of green smoke coming from that building every so often. Usually they were followed by enraged screams and curses.
Natalie on the other hand mostly worked on her skills alone. No one else was nearly as good at archery as she was, so they left her to her own training most of the time. She even spent some time training some of the farmers in better ways to use their bows. What they were able to train in was getting more oriented with the use of her mental link. They started having conversations with each other daily through the mental link only. They also got use to sending each other memories of trivial things for practice. Nathan kept sending everyone memories of different video games until Joshua had to tell him to cool it.
Mentioning Nathan, he was a little ball of energy that was always up to something. He was either online trying to keep up with any new news going around what was left of the internet, showing the group combination ideas from different video games he had played, or unhappily being drilled through work out routines by Joshua in order to increase his strength. Over the past month since the start of the first phase, outside of the time he was sick Joshua had made sure to drag Nathan's butt outside to go through a daily workout routine. Although Nathan didn't look like a body builder now, he was at least not constantly out of breath from the long trips out scouting, or struggling to keep up whenever the group had to move out of a dangerous area.
Then the other three members of his group in the Carsen brothers were all busy handling things around camp. Joshua showed them better ways to fight with their axes whenever they had free time, but for the most part they were busy handling things with the towns folk. Of course Dave had to keep his two brothers in check seeing as Devin would sometimes get caught being lazy and napping during watch and Dillon would be found doing some of the weirdest random things. One time they had found him in the middle of his night watch on the top of one of the wooden towers using a self-made camp fire for roasting marshmallows. When asked why he just simply smiled his goofy grin and replied "I'm Hungry?" in almost a questioning tone. Dave knocked him across the head so hard that there was a giant bump in the spot he hit him in the next morning.
Things were going quite well and sadly for Joshua whenever things started going his way in this situation then something big was right around the corner. Just as he was heading back to the mansion to grab a shower after having worked up a sweat finishing up the walkways he was met with a familiar sensation. A loud ringing met his ears and caused him to hold his head in pain. The ringing was the same as before all this started and seemed to grow louder and louder as the pain forced Joshua down to a knee. Booming sounds seemed to crackle from the sky as the ringing continued to grow louder until just as Joshua felt as though he was going to pass out everything turned quiet.
Joshua picked himself up and looked at his surroundings, but nothing seemed to have changed. There were a few other people nearby who were picking themselves up from the ground and looking around in both fear and confusion. Joshua calmed himself down before shouting loud enough for everyone to hear him. "Meeting in the entrance hall NOW!"
The others looked towards him and nodded before following him inside. It seemed the people that were still in the mansion had heard him as well since most had already started making their way to the entrance hall whether they came from their rooms upstairs or the kitchen down stairs. Soon the room was filled up with Madalyn being the last to arrive. Joshua was grateful she hadn't caused havoc with an experiment gone wrong due to being interrupted by the ringing.
Joshua took a deep breath before saying what was on his mind. "As everyone probably heard, that ringing has returned once again." Joshua looked around the room gaining nods in return from everyone. "Last time it happened nothing good came of it. We all passed out and woke up in this horror movie like situation. Although none of us seemed to have passed out for long this time around that doesn't mean nothing has changed."
"What do you think the reason for it to occur is this time around?" the mayor asked with a worried expression. Things had just started to settle down after the factory incident and if something worse happened then Joshua and his group might not be able to handle it like last time. It seemed like many of the people in the room were thinking along the same line.
"I hate to say it, but I think that it's probably something similar to the last time around. In the first go around the purple haze appeared and started to surround big cities and towns. This time around I'm willing to bet the sources of the Haze are about to wake up." Joshua started to explain his fears of what was happening. The people from his group were tensing up at the idea of what he said, but most everyone else seemed confused.
"What do you mean?" Thomas was the first to ask.
"Well back at the factory there was an egg creating the haze. The creature we had to kill must have hatched from it." Joshua explained.
"So will it just be something similar. You guys could handle it before, now we have a chance to get more prepared for it so it shouldn't be too hard to handle right?" One of the farmers asked hoping he was right. Many of the people in the room brightened up at his question.
"No, it will be far worse. The egg at the factory was the size of maybe ten feet at most. It was large, but the haze created from it only covered the area around the main building. Now imagine an egg that is three times its size that's able to grow big enough to fill up a three story building. That's probably the size of the egg back in town by now. When I first saw it was already almost two floors high, but was still growing. How strong do you think a creature hatching from that will be? That's not even mentioning the ones from cities that must be far larger." Joshua explained dampening the mood of all the hopeful people in the room.
For a while the room turned to complete silence as everyone took in the information. Before anyone could respond the sound of a phone ringing shattered the quiet atmosphere. Joshua felt his phone in his pocket vibrating and pulled it out to check the name and was surprised to see that Adrian was the one calling him. At this time of day it would be the middle of night over there so he wasn't expecting any contact till maybe later that night.
"Hello." Joshua answered with the whole room listening to his end of the conversation.
"Josh, I'm glad you picked up. Must mean you're still ok over there." Adrian's voice responded. Joshua was confused at first, but then he could hear an extremely loud roaring sound in the background. It was so loud that even the people listening in could hear over the phone.
"What the hell was that?" Joshua said worriedly. He didn't like the idea of two of his best friends being anywhere near something that could make a sound like that. It made the monster from the factory sound like a baby.
"That's the boss monster Josh. After that ringing sound the large egg at the center of the city hatched, I'm miles away back at the airport outside the haze yet I can feel its killing intent from here. Some of the girls from are group are all stuck in a daze while most of the guys besides me and Henry have already passed out." Adrian said with a rare seriousness. "I'm afraid were coming upon the end of the first phase. If someone doesn't kill one of the small town bosses soon then everyone in the cities will probably be dead within a couple of weeks I'm afraid."
"Are you in a safe place? Got supplies and all that?" Joshua said after taking in a deep breath.
"For now, we've got enough to last about a month even with are large group. Though I don't think that will matter in the long run. At the rate the haze is spreading now we've probably got about a week before it reaches here and another before the bigger creatures start heading over to inspect the area." Adrian replied.
"Damn. How's Henry?"
"He's alright, but still shaken up like most of the girls here. He's not as use to killing intent as you and I are. Hell Aito is probably even more use to it than me. I hope he's alright." Adrian said as his voice started to distort due to the connection starting to fail.
"Aito can handle himself, it's you two I'm worried about. Are you sure you guys can't move positions?" Joshua asked.
"If it comes down to it the girls, Henry, and I could probably survive moving through the city. I highly doubt the rest of the group would make it out alive and even some of us might die."
Taking in a deep breath Joshua made a decision that very moment. "Alright stay as safe as possible. I'll handle it." Joshua said getting a laugh from the other end.
"We can always count on you isn't that right….good luck Josh and don't get yourself killed out there. God knows your mother would have my balls if that were to happen." Adrian replied before the line finally cut off. Joshua continued to look at his phone for a moment as he calmed his self-down before looking towards his companions. It was in that moment that a beeping sound came from the laptop that Nathan had brought with him.
"That must be the broadcast channel. I set it to do that whenever the channel became active." Nathan replied. Everyone in the room tensed up as they headed towards the TV to see what was going on. From what Joshua heard from Adrian it was probably nothing good.