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104 Spending the Rest of the Nigh

 Day 4 - 1:42 AM - Firenze Townhouse Complex Subdivision, La Joya St., Buhay na Tubig, Imus Cavite

"Why don't you girls go back to sleep already?"

Mark said as he sat on the chair beside the dining table.

He sat there with a bowl of steaming hot soup and a plate of fries to the side on the table. Apparently, when Mei started to make a racket around the house trying to find him, Odelina moved to heat his share of soup and fries they had for dinner. She was a really convenient servant. There was no need to tell her what to do.

Despite there was the food in front of him, Mark could not start eating. It was because except for Cielo, the dog and the children, everyone else was present watching him. He did not really care whatever they wanted to do but it was still uncomfortable being watched while eating.

Still, no one left after he told them to go back to sleep. He decided to ignore them and started to eat.

"Gege, where did you go?"

"I just woke up and felt stiff so I decided to move around. I also surveyed the area along the way."

Mark replied while waving his spoon in front of him.

"You should have woken me up."

"Why should I? You need to sleep or you won't have energy tomorrow when we leave."

"But..."

Mei looked down. She looked angry but she did not want to scold him for some reason.

*Flick!

"Guuu."

Mei suddenly held her forehead with both hands. She had just been flicked on her forehead.

"If you want to say something, say it."

"No. I..."

Mark sighed and shook his head slightly. Mei really did not dare to scold him no matter what, even though he was waiting for it. In the end, he just ruffled her head.

Around them, the other women were watching the scene with bitter smiles. The two had already created their own space ignoring the fact that they were still here.

"Master."

Mark looked at Odelina after she called him.

"What?"

"You looked different for some reason."

"Different? How?"

Mark looked confused.

"I don't know how to explain. It just felt like that."

"Really? Maybe, it's because of the changes in my body after evolving again."

Hearing his reason, Odelina nodded. It was the only possible reason to explain what she felt.

"By the way, did anything happen after I fell unconscious?"

Mark suddenly asked.

"Nothing much happened, Master, aside from attracting quite an amount of infected outside Citta Italia and Janette making a mess inside the car."

"Making a mess... Ah, I see. Is that why you're inside the car earlier?"

"Yes. I just finished cleaning."

Mark nodded, he understood what Odelina meant by saying that Janette made a mess.

"We should get an adult diaper for her."

He said after swallowing a mouthful of the soup.

On the side however, the faces of the other women changed. How could he keep on eating while talking about disgusting stuff? Since Mark was unconscious, he did not experience it but the smell of feces that Janette excreted smelled awful specially in a closed environment.

Mark then looked at Charmaine.

"How is Cielo?"

Charmaine was surprised. She already knew that her Big Brother could detect people using their emotions but it was amazing experiencing it. No one had told him that Madam Lanie had already sent her younger sister to them and yet, he knew it. It also seemed that he knew that something happened to Cielo for him to ask that question.

To Mark's question, Charmaine looked downcast as she replied.

"Cielo is fine now but she had bruises all over her body and she seemed to have received trauma from what happened to her."

"What happened?"

"Madam Lanie said that the inner area of the subdivision we live at was occupied by a gang syndicate after the outbreak. Cielo was caught by them along with other women. The police under Madam raided the place when most of them went out to get supplies and rescued the captured women."

"No wonder..."

Mark muttered while thinking deeply.

"Is there something wrong?"

Melissa interjected as she noticed his unnatural behavior.

"Actually, when I went for a walk, I detected some men monitoring the area outside Firenze. If my guess is correct, it should be members of that gang syndicate."

Everyone's expression changed. It seemed that the infected aside, there were other dangers around this place.

"Anyways, what is she doing here?"

Mark pointed at the short woman standing behind Melissa and Charmaine in silence.

"Big bro, Anna doesn't have anywhere to go so we let her stay with us."

Mark looked at the woman who was apparently called Anna.

"Is that so? But we're leaving tomorrow, what are you going to do?"

"I-I... I don't know."

Anna stammered to reply after being questioned like that too suddenly. She could not help but look down as she really felt that she had no idea what she would do.

"Big Bro, can't we bring her with us too?"

Charmaine interjected making Mark frown. Even if he wanted to fulfill his sister's request, the space within the vehicle was not too large. He also needed to find his other friends. If he just let anyone they encounter to come with them, the space in the vehicle would not be enough.

Seeing Mark not replying and just frowned, Charmaine looked down. Actually, Cielo also wanted to stay at this place. However, she knew that this place would not be safe either. Considering what she witnessed in the past few days, things would only get worse every passing day. The only place she could feel safe at the moment was beside her Big Brother. That is why she did not suggest anything about letting anyone stay behind.

Mark then sighed. He could feel and understand what Charmaine was thinking. He decided to grant her request one last time. If there was not enough space in the vehicle, they will just find another one. Looking at the circumstances, it would also be possible that he would end up bringing away the family and relatives of his friends. Finding another vehicle might be inevitable.

About Anna, he just needed to confirm something.

"Alright, this would be the last one Charm."

Charmaine was surprised.

"Big Brother! Thank you!"

She said her gratitude with a wide smile before looking behind her.

"Quick! Thank my tolerant Big Brother!"

Charmaine pulled Anna forward.

"T-Thank you."

Anna tensely thanked Mark.

"Anna right?"

Mark pointed his spoon at her.

"Yes!"

"What's with that high pitched reply? Anyways, I will let you come with use because of Charm but what can you do? I don't want any useless baggage with us so you should show your worth to the group."

Mark sounded really strict making Anna even more nervous.

"I-I don't have any outstanding skills bu-but I can cook."

Then she pointed at the soup Mark was eating.

"I cooked that."

Mark then looked at Odelina for confirmation and she nodded.

"All right, you'll be in charge of the food. Do your best."

Mark decided on her role. He could say that the soup he was eating at the moment tasted good. Furthermore, the other members had their own roles but no one was placed to be in charge of cooking. Odelina would be able to but she was the main driver and one of their combatants. She also had to do other things so removing the management and preparation of the food would be good for her. As for Charmaine cooking food...

Mark did not dare think about it.

While they were talking, a white shadow flashed into the dining room.

PAK!

Mark caught a little girl with cat ears on her head with his left hand.

Everyone was surprised. They only saw a shadow pass by and yet, Mark effortlessly caught that shadow with one hand without even looking.

"You little girl, don't always charge in like that."

"Muuu... Papa!"

The white shadow was Abbygale who had just woke up. Noticing that her Papa had already woken up, she came charging into the dining room in attempt to hug him but she got caught like that.

Mark then picked the little girl up and let her sit on his lap while he ate.

"When the adults are talking, you shouldn't do that alright?"

He strictly said to Abbygale. He knew that he should work on building up her manners slowly.

"Yes..."

Mark was about to continue eating but...

"Papa."

Mark looked at Abbygale.

"What is it?"

"Sorry... And thank you... For the doggie."

With that, Mark's bad mood was washed away.

He continued eating his food while they started to think of a name for the Dog who was silently curled up in the living room.

They all suggested names like Goldie, Butterscotch, Bretagne and Biscuit but they all settled up with the name Mark suggested which was Laelaps. Laelaps was the golden hound from Greek mythology that was in charge with protecting the future king of Gods. It fit thoroughly with the dog's fur color and also had those golden spikes around its body.

With that, Mark finished his meal and they all turned in for the night. Unfortunately for Mark, Mei and Abbygale could only sleep in his room as the other rooms were already occupied.

***

Day 4 - 6:01 AM - Firenze Townhouse Complex Subdivision, La Joya St., Buhay na Tubig, Imus Cavite

Following Mark's plans, they were all awake already and were preparing for departure. Even the unreliable looking Anna was already awake and was helping with the preparations despite looking half-asleep.

While they were preparing, Carlo and Sundra arrived.

"Bro!"

Like how he was several years ago, this guy ran towards Mark and greeted him with a bear hug. However...

Mark agilely dodged and he ended up hugging an electric post.

"Bro! What is that for?!"

Carlo said while rubbing his forehead.

"Seriously, look at your age already. You're still doing that."

"What's wrong with that? It's just a bro hug."

"Yeah, yeah. A bro hug."

The two men looked at each other silently before letting out a snicker. Mark stretched out his fist and Carlo bumped his own.

"Bro, thank you saving us."

"You should thank Charm. If she didn't tell me where you are then, I'd still be looking for you now."

"Yeah. I didn't think that she coming over to ask for discount coupons ends up becoming the reason for us getting saved."

Hearing that, Mark suddenly turned behind him and looked at Charm whose face had already reddened in embarrassment.

"Carlo! Do you really have to tell that to Big Brother?"

Charmaine bellowed.

"What's wrong with it?"

Carlo replied with innocent look making Mark and Charmaine shake their heads.

It was because this guy really never changed at all.

"Cielo!"

Carlo suddenly shouted calling unto Cielo who had just came out of the house. He then ran towards her.

"This guy..."

Mark was speechless. They had not even finished talking yet.

"Uhmm. Sorry about this."

Sundra who came following behind Carlo apologized for her boyfriend's behavior.

"No worries. I'm used to this guy being like this."

Mark said with a sigh.

Mark approached Carlo and Cielo together with Sundra.

"You three are coming with us right?"

"Of course!"

Carlo answered without second thoughts.

"And you Cielo?"

"I don't have a choice, do I? I don't know why my sister trusts your group too much but at least, I can trust her words."

"Well, that's enough. You don't really need to trust us if you didn't want to. If your concern is about safety, I can at least say that it's safer around us than staying here."

Cielo nodded and Charmaine who was behind Mark took her into the vehicle. Sad to say, Cielo's state of mind was on a bad condition. Even if she was talking to Mark, her eyes were empty and devoid of any plans for the future.

BARK!

"Alright, you too."

Mark squatted on the ground and patted the golden horned dog in front of him. He was quite pleased with this dog. It was sensible and independent. If Mark was correct, this dog was an Irish Wolfhound. It was just hard to determine because of the changes on its body. Furthermore, for some reason, it always stayed around Mark while they were preparing even making Abbygale jealous since Laelaps did not want to play with her.

Half hour later, they were finished with the preparations. Looking inside the vehicle, almost of the seats would sure be occupied. The whole vehicle should accommodate twenty people along with the driver and twelve was occupied now making it quite crowded. It made Mark more determined to find another vehicle to use. He was not interested with any of the vehicles Madam Lanie brought with them so he had no choice to find one outside. At least, he would try to find a minibus or an armored van used by banks to transfer money. Another thing that made it more crowded was because none of them dared to sit beside Janette at the back end of the vehicle.

When everyone outside was ready to board the vehicle...

BANG! BANG! BANG!

Several gunshots echoed coming from the direction of the gates and those several gunshots were just the start of it.