February 26, 2030
On the eightieth floor of the Dark Tower.
The warning light in the whole arena flashed nonstop, and the ceiling above their heads flickered over and over again.
A white light flashed in front of Cayden.
"Cayden! Cayden! Get up! Nico! Cayden’s down, heal him!"
A sharp roar ripped through the silence. Dizziness, nausea, and a strong sense of numbness almost overwhelmed him.
"Graaaaawwwwrrr!!!!" The clear sound of continuous bones breaking apart, accompanied by the tearing of skin and flesh, stopped the whole world.
The desperate voices of his comrades rang in Cayden’s mind. He gritted his teeth and forcibly moved his dislocated arm to pick up the sword that had fallen. With his torn fingers, he straightened his dislocated elbow.
He took the emergency patch from his inventory and placed it over his elbow. A soothing cold sensation overtook him. Cayden took a deep breath, and after he felt the bones and tendons mend themselves, he discarded the patch.
One of the demon puppets conjured by the enemy has started to gather around their Healer Class teammate, Nico. Cayden met Nico’s gaze before the life in Nico’s eyes slipped away from his bright gaze.
Voices from the past echoed in his mind. "Senior! Senior! Please recruit me! I promise I will be useful!"
"What can you do?"
"I can heal! My class is a Healer, so if you raid instance games, I will heal your injuries and support you all!"
The youth that used to smile ear to ear as he excitedly wags his tail, is now nothing but a pile of dismembered limbs. Cayden forcibly tore his eyes away and swiftly looked at his side.
Anton, who had his spear bitten down by two demon puppets, was forced to back down. He cannot make a move; his strong, beefy arms are limited only to defense. Cayden ignored the nauseating pain of an ugly gnash at his back and raced to Anton’s aid.
In the darkness, his figure moved around like a black panther. In just a blink of an eye, he had appeared behind the two demon puppets, swiftly slicing their necks and kicking them aside.
"Thank you," Anton grunted.
Cayden just nodded and ran to where Jayson was. When Cayden was struck down earlier, it was Jayson’s voice that was rising higher than the roars of the demon puppets.
The late afternoon sun filtered through the gaps of the monster world. Abandoned broken down buildings and almost destroyed houses were illuminated, showing the coming end of humanity.
A golden glow cast onto the charred asphalt road. In the almost sinking light, was a group of people.
To be more precise, it was a dead group of people turned into demon puppets.
They are different from zombies.
At least zombies die when you slice their necks; demon puppets will regenerate their beheaded necks and attack again.
There was a pool of flesh and blood in the opposite direction of the wide road. It could be seen that it was a fresh corpse, with all its inner organs scattered outside the stomach. There’s a group of demon puppets crouching down to feast on the corpse’s limbs and internal organs. Behind them are hundreds more waves.
Cayden appeared behind Jayson and pulled him away from the mob of demon puppets.
"NO!!!" Jayson had been screeching his voice off since the start of the instance. And it's been 24 hours since then.
He had gone hoarse from all that screaming. "No… noo… Not Rosie, please…" His heartbreaking sobs stirred Cayden’s heart.
Rosie is Jayson’s younger sister. At the start of the instance game, Jayson insisted not to be separated from her sister’s side.
But they are now.
The sound of chewing mixed with hoarse and low growls could be heard very clearly, even from a mile away.
There used to be one hundred of them. Cayden managed to convince all the last members of the stronghold players in the Dark Tower to come together and conquer the eightieth floor together.
He managed to lead them inside. He managed to make them temporarily forget the disputes, the hatred, and the tension among the teams.
It was all to survive and clear the Dark Tower.
Now, there are only three of them left.
The enemies are as many as the grains of sand on the beach.
"N-no wa – ay.." Anton looked around. He finally noticed that there were only three of them left. Everyone is gone.
Everyone became the food these demon puppets excitedly munched inside their stomachs.
Cayden suddenly felt dizzy; he staggered in his steps.
The wound on his back seems to be moving. He can feel it digging into his flesh and piercing through his spine.
Was he poisoned?
A small tug forced him to lift his pale lips.
He’ll gonna die?
Suddenly, somebody pushed Cayden to the front. That person’s hand pressed his wound, and he vomited blood because of the extreme pain. He already has a hard time standing on his own two feet.
One of his ankles was broken. His four fingers on his left hand were crushed. He can only lift his sword with his right hand.
Cayden fell flat first to the hard pavement. A huge explosion erupted close to his ears. He was sure it did not come from one of his comrades. Because after he looked behind him, there was no one standing.
A warm liquid dripped from his neck down to the hard asphalt ground. It was human blood, and tidbits of human flesh.
Cayden’s heart is ramming against his chest. He’s already losing too much strength because of his wound, but he forces his neck to look up. A shadow had crept behind the three of them.
On the spot where Cayden used to stand, two dismembered lower bodies lie lifelessly. The torso and head were missing.
"So, some human trash is still alive?" A voice not belonging to a human sounded above Cayden’s head.
Before Cayden could react, a large fireball expanded in front of his eyes.