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390 The First Day on the Road, A Rather Smooth Travel

 Day 66 - 10:15 AM - W Service Road, Parañaque City, Metro Manila

"Oww... Scary Uncle, let me down already..."

Emika's unsteady voice echoed behind Mark while riding on Chaflar's back.

It had been more than three hours after they left Bay City. Now, they were traversing one of the main service roads beside only skyway going through Metro Manila. As for their exact current location, they were more or less a kilometer away southeast of Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The first route they had taken was the very same route when the forces of Bay City Settlement tried to destroy the nest in the same Airport. Not only that the route should already have been cleared of the previous blockades, but most of the infected had also been cleared by the explosion that occurred in the airport.

Of course, it did not mean that they would not encounter the infected on the way. In fact, there was quite a lot.

If it was before the outbreak, from Bay City, their current location could be reached within less than an hour if the traffic was low. Yet, because of the infected, they still took this much time.

As for Emika, she was already complaining about her aching bottom.

Mark already expected this, but his predictions had been off. Emika lasted longer despite Chaflar rampaging around to fight the infected that came close to it. It took three whole hours before she noticed the effect of riding on Chaflar's back.

Unfortunately, they could not just suddenly stop the vehicles while being besieged by the infected on all sides.

Past the airport, it was already out of the activity area of the forces of Bay City. It meant that the number of infected here was larger than the areas around the settlement.

And they were currently experiencing it.

Since the road they were traversing was the main road going through several cities, there was a lot of commercial establishments could be found by the roadside and a few blocks and streets away from it. This meant that the population in this area alone was rather high.

Furthermore, main roads like this suffered more heavy traffic when the outbreak happened. As such, most of the road was occupied by abandoned vehicles.

They were currently experiencing one of the downsides of having a large number of people in a traveling group during an apocalypse like this.

Unlike when there were only one or two vehicles in Mark's group, they would be able to traverse smaller roads, branching streets, and back alleys. Because of that, they could avoid heavy road blockades by entering alternative routes.

That was something hard to do with a large group of vehicles.

Although they could do the same, entering smaller roads would need to separate the defenses of the convoy making it easily penetrable. Also if they encountered a dead end, it would be hard to backtrack with too many vehicles in the group. The group would be prone to getting stuck during those times and ambushes, especially from [Predator Type] infected, could happen.

Mark would have no problem if he or his group were the ones being attacked with the ambush. However, it would likely be a different story if the target of the surprise attack were either the soldiers or the vehicle with their families inside. Casualties could happen because of that.

***

While traversing the road, the vehicle leading the way was no other than the modified Lorry, the [Exceed: Disintegrator Fortress]. It had larger V-shaped rams in front of it and was heavy enough to push away most of the blockades on the road. The one driving it was Edward as he had the experience to drive a military truck before.

The Lorry was being followed by two military humvees, then the [Exceed: Personnel Carrier] in the middle of a modified van, ridden by Monique's family, and the modified armored carrier that was currently used by Rollan and Arvie's groups.

Behind the three vehicles modified by Mark were four military trucks with the families of the soldiers participating in the escort mission. The remaining vehicles were all military humvees that surrounded the other vehicles, especially the sides and the rear.

As for Chaflar and Gifre, the two large beings had no fixed positioning within the convoy. They would go where most of the infected were coming from to avoid things from going out of control.

While midway on traversing the service road, the convoy slowed down before going to a stop.

The soldiers from the humvees went down from their vehicles and took position around the convoy. This had been their routine when the convoy needed to stop.

As the Chance, Mark made Chaflar go near the [Exceed: Personnel Carrier] to drop off Emika.

"Scary Uncle! I'll get back at you for this!"

Emika shouted while sticking her tongue out as Mark left with Chaflar to see the situation upfront. Her threat might have been more intimidating if she was not limping as she approached the vehicle. When Emika entered the vehicle, everyone was holding back their laughter, Rosamie was included.

***

Mark and Chaflar went in front of the convoy and looked around. Of course, there was already the muffled sounds of shooting in the background as the soldiers shot the incoming infected.

"What a mess."

1st Lieutenant Baller said as Mark approached.

Edward was also outside the [E: DF] as he tried to see if there was a way to push through this.

They were already near Bicutan Interchange where they would turn eastward leaving the vicinity of Metro Manila Skyway.

However, the road was blocked, not by abandoned vehicles or the infected, a large part of the skyway had collapsed. The collapsed skyway filled the roads below with a large amount of debris.

"What could have caused that?"

Phillip who followed Edward out of the [E: DF] could not help but voice while looking at the destroyed skyway.

"It is better for us not to know."

Edward said as he understood a certain fact.

The Metro Manila Skyway was not something that would easily collapse even if a tank were to ram against one of its foundations. There were no signs of a large explosion either. The only thing they could conclude in this scene was that something unimaginable caused this.

"Aimee, can you get rid of this?"

Mark approached the [E: DF] and asked Aimee who was already sticking her head out of the carrier.

Unfortunately, she shook her head. Her light beams might turn flesh into dust and melt metal in seconds, but it would be hard to do with concrete without taking too much time.

"I see..."

Mark looked around and his eyes landed on the concrete walls under the skyway. These walls separated the northbound and southbound lanes of the roads under the skyway.

Opening his wings, Mark then flew to look over the walls and see the situation on the other side.

Looking down, the other lane just behind the wall was also blocked. However, running beside that lane was the track line of the Philippine National Railway or PNR. It was the oldest train line in the Philippines that goes through several provinces in central and south Luzon.

Fortunately, the train tracks were not that affected by the debris from the destroyed Skyway.

Lading down, Mark shouted.

"Everyone, get ready! We are going to open a way!"

As Mark shouted, Edward and Phillip, boarded the [Exceed: Disintegrator Fortress] once more while the other soldiers positioned themselves in a way that they could easily enter their vehicles and leave.

With that, Mark spoke on his radio and contacted Mei to call out Aephelia.

Aphelia came out of the vehicle and flew towards Mark.

"Master, need something?"

She asked.

"Control Gifre, we need to bust those walls."

Mark replied pointing at the walls on under the intact part of the Skyway.

With Chaflar and Gifre, they started to remove the metal barriers and break the concrete wall. As the wall was made that even a truck would have a hard time to break it, Chaflar would not have enough strength to do this alone.

Chaflar weakened the metal supports and barriers with its high-temperature flames before breaking those things while Gifre smashed the walls slowly. Since the insides of the walls were fitted with rebars inside, Chaflar also took care of the exposed ones.

The strong wall could not stop the coordination of the two and the path was opened. Doing the same, they broke the fences that separated the road to the train tracks and the convoy finally left the blockade.

Finally, they left the vicinity of the Skyway as they turned left at the intersection and entered the General Santos Avenue that would lead them directly to C-6 Road right beside Laguna Bay.

As they left the area, however, many of them could not help but take another look at the destroyed part of the Skyway, Mark was not an exception. They all wondered what could have caused such massive destruction on a road designed to be strong enough to last too long. A Skyway could not be too fragile to collapse that much.

Nevertheless, one thing was for sure, whatever that caused that would be dangerous.

***

After leaving the area around Skyway and avoiding other main roads, their travel became smoother. Of course, the infected were still blocking them and were trying to swarm them. But, just Aimee alone was enough to obliterate a large horde blocking the path of their convoy.

Of course, her ability was not inexhaustible. She would surely need a large amount of food to replenish her energy later.

***

Day 66 - 2:47 PM - Circumferential Road 6, Napindan, Taguig, Metro Manila

They were now near the end of the Circumferential Road 6 and they only needed to traverse the bridge going over Pasig River to reach its end.

However, they already decided to stop.

"Sir, should we build camp already?"

1st Lieutenant Baller asked as they looked around the area.

In response to that question, Mark took out his phone to check the offline map application. He then started to estimate the things he needed to mind on this journey.

"I guess, we already should."

Mark agreed after about a minute.

And thus, they started to prepare.

They cleared off a vehicle trade building south of C-6 Road near the bridge of the infected and decided to use the place for camping.

'Isn't it still early? It was just still before three in the afternoon.'

That was what most people would think of this circumstance. However, it was better to build camp this early that trying to find another suitable place before the sunset.

For the main reason, the military did not expect that they would reach this place this early. This place was one of the designated resting points for the first night of this journey. They expected to reach this place before evening. However, Mark's group decimated most of the threats and blockades easily which made the travel smoother.

Unfortunately, they could not take it for granted and continue to press on.

After crossing the bridge over Pasig River, the next resting point they planned was about more than a dozen kilometers away in Taytay, Rizal. It was because, from the other side of the bridge, the only roads they would be able to traverse before getting to the next resting point were all main roads.

The remaining time of the day was surely not enough to reach that place given the fact that what they would encounter at the road was uncertain.

Especially the collapsed Skyway they saw several hours ago, it gave them an uncanny feeling.

While they took camp, families of the soldiers also started to do their duties. The families of the soldiers might be noncombatants, but it did not mean that they could not do anything.

They started to prepare food for everyone. It was already a late lunch since they could not stop in the middle of the city to eat. The most they could do was to much on some crackers. Hungry soldiers would not better with empty stomachs after all.

The place was not too secure, but they could make do with it.

As the sun had set on the horizon, night came.

Many of them slept, however, it was just the time for the creatures of the lake to wake up.