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421 The Group of Raiders, Expectations Turning into a Nightmare

 Day 73 - 10:32 AM - Mansion, Padilla, San Jose, Antipolo, Rizal

A hundred and two kilometers away from New Infanta Settlement, this mansion could be found.

It was a mansion previously owned by a business tycoon. That was what he was known outside. A kind, rich man who had several blooming business and several volunteer foundations.

Not known to many, in the underworld of this country, the very same person was known as a smuggler. Drugs, weapons, and even people, he could get them in and out of the country without problems.

He had a bunker under his mansion. This bunker served mainly as his storage for his wares. The items he smuggled from outside the country. Despite being a rich person, he was extremely fearful of suffering losses. That was why he made a tightly hidden bunker just for his underground business.

However, the bunker did not only serve as secure storage for his wares. It also protected him, his family, and trusted people from dangers outside. Being wealthy on the surface and well-known in the underground market, various threats were aiming for his life.

When the apocalypse happened, however, the man was on a business trip to meet a client in Southern Luzon. Being caught in the middle of the apocalypse away from his trusted mansion, he perished along with his guards.

As for his family and employees in the mansion, they all perished in a quite similar fashion. The only difference was...

His family and trusted employees were already dead. The wealthy man, however, was still roaming the infected streets as a Mutated Infected.

There was no one else left in his mansion. His supplies and weapons were left in the bunker for the taking of anyone lucky to stumble upon it.

In this case, it was Mark's group that was returning from Bay City settlement several days ago. Since they did not have enough capacity to carry everything, they could only leave more than half of what they found inside the bunker.

Because of that, however, it became a sight for the sore eyes of someone envious.

\"Is this the place?\"

A man with a solemn aura around him stepped out of his vehicle in front of the mansion. Just by the looks of his face, it was easy to tell that he was not a person to be trifled with. He asked that question as he glanced at the man still sitting inside the vehicle.

\"That is right, sir. This is the place.\"

The man inside the vehicle nodded respectfully.

Hearing that, the solemn-looking man signaled towards the other vehicles in their group, making everyone not designated to drive go out.

The man with a solemn aura was known by the alias Combustion. The leader of the survivor group called Hell Bombers. It was a group that was known for their delinquent members.

They belonged to the survivor groups based in New Infanta Settlement. While they did follow the rules and regulations of the settlement, it was different outside where the law was already nonexistent. They were known for blackmailing and forcing people to hand over parts of their loot, calling it a protection fee.

It was a group undesired by most people in the settlement. However, it was also risky to confront them. Among their thirty members, half were Mutators, and the remaining ones were Evolvers. Furthermore, it was known that three of their Mutators, the leader and his two henchmen, were double ability Mutators.

A Mutator was already rare in a sense, not to mention one with two abilities. And for some reason, three of them gathered in this group of unlawful bandits.

This time, they were here because of the tip their newest member gave. The man inside the vehicle that Combustion asked earlier. As he went out of the car to show everyone the way, his face was open for everyone to see.

It was no other than Harold.

Harold already left his group filled with useless baggage. He wanted to lead a group of strong individuals, similar to what he saw when they were being escorted to the settlement.

Unfortunately, Prince was already as good as dead while Kate did not follow him. Still, no matter how frustrated he could be, he knew his limits.

There was no way for him to convince anyone to join his group easily. And thus, he thought of a plan. He decided to join a group that even the military would have a hard time dealing with. He would climb the ranks, and even if he did not become the leader immediately, he would have enough authority over the group.

He would make each member trust him as much as possible. And when the leader suddenly died, it would be easier for him to take over that position and eliminate opposition.

For the first step, it was to sell the group some valuable information. After all, who would be able to resist a large amount of supply and weapons lying around for taking? Once they managed to retrieve those supplies and weapons, his value in the group would surely rise rapidly.

\"Boss! The gates are locked by some kind of black metal! We can't break it.\"

One of the men trying to open the gates called out to Combustion.

The leader also checked. This was the first time he saw this kind of very strong metal. The lock that jammed the gates surely made it hard to open it without actually breaking the gates. Furthermore, he assumed that his ability would not be able to destroy this lock at all. Nevertheless, it also made him assured that something valuable could be found inside the mansion for it to be locked in such a manner.

\"Clear the way.\"

Combustion spoke which made the others run away from the gates immediately. He then searched where the hinges of the gates were located.

\"Pui!\"

Taking a step back, he spat on one of the hinges.

Then...

\"POM!\"

A fist-sized explosion occurred once his saliva landed on the hinge. From the explosion, the hinge was damaged immediately. He then moved onto the next hinge and did the same.

Combustion got his alias for a reason.

His mutation made his saliva explode after it was exposed to some elements in the air and the surroundings. The most common catalyst that could make his saliva explode was metal. Furthermore, as the explosion caused by his saliva was more of temperature than impact based one, it was very effective in melting metal in an instant.

Because of this ability, that alias stuck onto him easily.

POM! POM! POM!

After several small explosions...

BAM!

The whole gate fell down with a loud deafening sound.

After the gate fell, the other members around immediately carried the gate out of the way. Then, their vehicles drove in without hesitation.

Of course, they remained cautious with their surroundings. They had their weapons ready for any confrontations that could happen.

On the way here, they had to fight some Mutated Animas, Mutated Insects, and Stray Infected. It was not that easy to reach this far from the settlement. Furthermore, they had to pass by several towns which hindered them further.

They left the settlement way before sunset to reach this place and arrived just now. That was how far this place was and how time-consuming the journey they had.

In their minds, Harold should better be telling the truth or just their current fatigue was enough to make them beat him up senseless.

Still, if they really managed to get something valuable, they would be grateful. Searching for things around the settlement was not that easy anymore. The longer time passed, the lesser things they could find and scavenge. Or else, even with their delinquent attitudes, they would not risk harassing other groups. Even though they were strong in their own evaluation, there were others that were the same.

Blindly provoking others could lead to a lot of deaths. They did not want that. Once the strength of their group dwindled, a lot of people that they offended would come after them. The military was included.

\"Harold, where is the entrance to the bunker that you are talking about?\"

Combustion asked Harold who stood beside him.

\"I only saw two entrances,\" Harold replied. \"One is under the statue in the garden. Another is under the swimming pool behind the mansion.\"

\"You guys heard him!\" Combustion shouted at his men. \"Go check the locations he mentioned.\"

With that order, the men divided into three groups. One group went to the garden to look for a statue, while another group went to the back of the mansion to check the swimming pool. As for the third group, they stayed at the parking area ready to back up the two other groups if necessary.

As Combustion and Harold waited at the parking lot, voices were heard from the leader's radio.

\"Boss, we already found the statue! We are trying to remove it from its place!\"

The first group seemed to have found the statue easily. After all, it was too conspicuous in this place.

Then, the second group also contacted them soon after.

\"Boss! We located the secret door at the bottom of the pool. The door is closed and we can't see any way in!\"

\"What do you think?\"

Combustion asked Harold for his opinion.

\"Sir,\" Harold replied. \"I think, it is better to enter through the door in the garden. From what I remember, the door at the bottom of the swimming pool should have a broken elevator inside the bunker. Maybe, the way to open it is inside.\"

\"Alright,\" Combustion nodded. \"We're going to the garden.\"

The leader then signaled half of the members around them to follow.

While they were on the way, the first team contacted them through the radio once more.

\"Boss, we managed to remove the statue. There really is a metal hatch underneath! We are trying to open it but something like the metal that locked the gates are blocking the way.\"

\"Wait for us. We area coming.\"

Combustion replied.

\"Yes, boss!\"

Combustion and Harold arrived at the garden. The members of the first team still tried to break the strange metal. However, their metal saws were broken instead.

As their boss arrived, the men trying to break the metal hatch retreated to make way.

Combustion then analyzed the hatch and as his men stated, a black metal lock prevented them from opening it. As such, the leader tried his way of opening it once more.

\"PUI!\"

POM!

He spat on the hatch and a small high-temperature explosion happened.

After the explosion disappeared, they saw that the surface of the hatch was a bit damaged. It was surprising and they were amazed at how sturdy the hatch was.

Nevertheless, as the damage was properly made, they knew that their leader only had to spit on the hatch several more times, and they would be able to open it.

As such, Combustion repeated the process and slowly whittled the metal hatch open.

POM!

Finally, the last hit needed to create an opening on the hatch was reached. As the remnants of the explosion disappeared, they saw that the hatch was almost opened. They only needed to remove some of the parts that held it in place.

They immediately approached the hatch to try and open it.

It was then when Harold felt odd.

As a part of his ability, his sensitivity towards danger was heightened. He could detect vibrations in the surroundings with his skin. Right now, he could feel some vibrations coming from the other side of the hatch.

It was odd because there should not be anyone right now inside the bunker as he estimated. He started to think that the explosions Combustion caused made some reactions in the air outside. It was possible since the bunker was an enclosed space.

Then, he knew that he was mistaken as he felt the vibrations started to become more violent. By instinct, he took a few steps back before actually bolting off and take distance away from the hatch.

The others saw him and felt odd. Combustion, on the other hand, saw Harold's expression and felt danger. He immediately used his second ability. He spat on his hands and clapped. Then, he spread both his hands in front of him. An explosion occurred in front. However, unlike earlier that it looked like a ball, the flames this time made a wall to protect him.

After securing that the front was blocked, Combustion also retreated.

The leader tried to warn his subordinates to run away. However, it was already late.

Black smoke leaked out of the hole on the metal hatch. It immediately swallowed everyone in about three meters radius around the hatch.

\"AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!\"

Painful screams ensued.

Some of the men managed to run out of the area covered by the black smoke. However, they still fell down... suffering...

Their bodies festered and rotted at an alarming rate. It was like watching the process of a dead body rotting in a fast-forwarded video. The only difference was that the rotting men were still alive. They kicked a fuss and screamed as rotting holes on their bodies appeared eating them slowly.

It did not take long and those that managed to get out of the smoke died.

Combustion turned towards Harold. His eyes filled with fury.

\"WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!\"

To that question, Harold could only swallow his saliva. After all, he had no idea at all.