Now that they had their plan all set up for going into the haze, it was time to get all of the alliance members organized beforehand. At the moment there were a total of seven hundred and sixty-four people that would be grouped together for the support group that would be grabbing all of the attention.
After a few minutes of debating between Isabella and Henry they decided on putting everyone outside of the main group that would go on to challenge the bosses into groups of fifty. The groups would be balanced depending on their spot in the overall formation. The groups closer to the front would have more tanks with front line damage dealer's right behind them. The groups closer to the back would have the ranged fighters and mages as a priority for their composition. In the center of the formation the healer focused groups would be in the safest position where they had the most coverage to reach anyone that needed healing at any time.
In total there would be fourteen groups of fifty set in a formation with three rows of four groups lined up. At the far back there would be two groups at the back. The other sixty four explorers that were left over from the group formation were made up of left over close range fighters that would stay at the back and take care of any haze creatures that tried to sneak up on the formation from behind. With this set up they would be able to hold out without putting anyone out of position for a long time.
With everything ready they gathered together just outside of the haze before heading in. Along the way to the gas station they came across a few haze creatures. Instead of allowing the creatures to rush over and make a lot of noise right away, Joshua's group took the front with Becca using her echolocation to find them all out before the creatures could even get near the group. Members from the main group out front would then go off and take care of any creatures they came across until they reached the gas station. This method worked extremely well up to that point since killing the weaker haze creatures was simple for all of the members of the main group and they didn't come across any hoards on the fringe of the town.
When they reached the gas station though their tactics were going to have to change. It would be difficult to silence all of the haze creatures around and inside of the gas station before they could cause a commotion. They didn't know how many exactly were in the gas station, but if they missed a single haze creature then it could let out a scream and get things started before Joshua's group could set up.
'Any ideas on how to clear this place out quietly?' Joshua asked the rest of the people that were connected through the mental link.
'Hmm I think I may have something that might just be perfect for the situation.' Madalyn responded. Everyone could hear the confidence in her voice so they knew that she was up to something interesting. 'We just need them to be quiet while we take them out right?'
'Yeah. As long we can take them out without attracting any more attention from other creatures in the area then we're in the clear.' Joshua said while turning to look towards Madalyn with her smug grin.
She just nodded in response before stepping forward ahead of the group. She took out two canisters out of her inventory that had a bit of a different design than the usual models she used. She then tossed them towards the gas station causing them to become active the moment they crashed into the pavement. The canisters started to discharge a large cloud of smoke that was white in color. It took on a different tone from Madalyn's usual poisons so everyone was interested to see what exactly the poison was supposed to do. It didn't take long for them to get their answer as the white cloud completely surrounded the gas station and most of the area nearby just in case in any stragglers made their way into the immediate surroundings.
It took a few minutes for the cloud of poison to settle down, but once it did the area seemed to be perfectly fine. They could even see one of the haze creatures stumbling out of the gas station and looking around the area thanks to Becca's echolocation. It didn't take Joshua long to figure out what was different about the creature as it stumbled around the area. Most Haze creatures or zombies would make noise or scream when a target was within their vision, but even though it could clearly see their group as it scrambled in their direction it wasn't making any sound outside of its own footsteps.
'Your poison made it impossible for them to scream?' Henry asked as he turned to look at Madalyn.
'It completely ruins their vocal cords.' Madalyn responded while nodding. She took out one of her throwing daggers and tossed it directly towards the head of the approaching haze creature. It pierced right through its skull killing the creature in an instant. 'Now that they can't make any sounds we should have no trouble clearing them out right?'
'Thanks to you this will go a lot faster.' Joshua said with a grin. 'Let's clear them out quick so that the support group can get set up in the area without any trouble.' It didn't take long for more of the haze creatures to come shuffling out of the gas station with some even coming from around the nearby area since they had been effected by the poison. None of them could scream or shout so there shuffling footsteps were the only noise they were able to make.
Natalie was the first one to take action as she started firing away with her arrows at a rapid pace. Thanks to her ability to twist the arrows around in the air with her telekinesis she was able to hit true with each shot even with the creatures constantly jerking their bodies around. Aito decided to not get involved with taking out the creature since his gun shots would draw attention to the area. He could have put on a silencer, but at this point it wasn't really necessary seeing as the rest of the group easily had things handled.
Joshua took the lead and made his way towards the gas station first since there could be zombies inside with abilities that might make them harder to take down. He had already seen a few zombies come rushing out of the gas station at a much faster pace as they ran towards Natalie who was taking most of the haze creatures down. Of course they didn't get anywhere near Natalie as her barrage of arrows took them out as well while Becca and Marcus joined in on the fun and started firing their own arrows.
Eventually the area went quiet as only one more zombie made its way out of the gas station. It seemed greatly angered by the fact that most of its kind had been killed off. This zombie however was different from the others as it was female and therefore Joshua could tell right away that it would have some sort of extra ability gained from the system. It didn't have any gear so it was the corpse of someone that had died during the first phase.
The zombie lifted its head up before opening its mouth wide as if it was trying to scream in their direction but nothing happened. It seemed perplexed by this fact and tried to do the same thing over and over again, but no matter what it tried nothing would change. It was rewarded for its efforts by getting an arrow through its mouth and a couple more through its eyes as it fell over onto the ground. Joshua made sure to finish it off by cutting off its head so it wouldn't have any chance to regenerate. The rest of the group followed his example with all of the other zombies they had come across in the area. The haze creatures would crumble and fade away on their own so they left them alone.
'Seems like we lucked out when it came to the ability of the empowered zombie.' Joshua said through the mental link as he moved on to inspect the inside of the gas station.
'What do you mean?' Amy asked while looking at him a bit confused.
'Whatever ability it had must have been related to its voice since it wasn't able to use it after being surrounded by Madalyn's poison.' Joshua replied before going quiet once more as he stepped through the shattered glass doors of the gas station. He looked around the area and didn't have much trouble killing off any of the stragglers inside of the gas station. Most of the ones that were still inside were either stuck on something or trapped inside of a room. Joshua and the rest of the main group had no problem killing them off quickly and making their way to the roof of the gas station to check the surroundings out.
Henry and Isabella decided on how they were going to set up the support group around the area. Of course they didn't plan on having them completely stay near the gas station since it could end up getting some of them killed if one stray spell ended up causing a massive explosion. Being high level explorers most of them would be just fine under those type of circumstances with a few protective spells or abilities, but there was no reason to take the risk. Instead they would clear out the surroundings a bit more so that they could move the group forward and use the gas station as a fall back point when things started getting to problematic.
They could all see that there was a decent area between the gas station and where the other buildings of the town started to come into view. That area would be where they would set up the support group to draw attention. This would give them a fall back point and a rather useful trap when it came to the water tower to take out several haze creatures at once. Before they could set the group up in the area they would have to clear it out first, so it was time for them to get to work.
Madalyn was the first one to take action as she started tossing more of the canisters of white poison around the area. Taking out the vocal cords of any of the zombies and haze creatures in the area would make keeping things discreet much easier. They left the gas station in the care of the support group while making their way around the area to clear out any nearby enemies that could be a danger to their plan. The first place they went to clear out was the area around the water tower. It didn't have many creatures around it since it was close to the edge of town just like the gas station, but they did come across a few empowered zombies there.
One of the empowered zombies had super strength as it tried to overpower Joshua in a straight on fight. It outclassed him in sheer strength simply do to its ability and the fact that it didn't care about the amount of stress it put on its body, but its fighting style simply boiled down to lunging at him and trying to pin him down. A few quick dodges to judge all of its abilities and a slash to the back of its neck was all it took to put the thing down.
The other empowered zombie was a bit more annoying to deal with since it was able to camouflage itself with its surroundings. It couldn't make any noise do to Madalyn's poison, but that also made it hard to pinpoint. They eventually took it down when it tried to grab onto Joshua who was out front. It didn't have the same amount of power as its counterpart, so Joshua was able to easily overpower it and slam it into the ground before stabbing it through the skull.
They made similar trips around the nearby areas to clear out any creatures they could find, so they could create enough space for the large support group to have enough room to set up for the upcoming challenge. By the time they made it back from their violent trek around the area it was time to get things started.