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111 The Mystery behind the Golden Frui

 Day 4 - 7:52 AM - Firenze Townhouse Complex Subdivision, La Joya St., Buhay na Tubig, Imus, Cavite

"Well, now, where should we start?"

Mark indifferently spoke while he while sitting down at the left side of the shorter sofa. Nevertheless, he could not help but sigh inside. It was because just after he sat down, Mei immediately took his right side while Abbygale jumped back on her territory which was her Papa's lap.

Everyone else around was speechless to this scene. They were even more amazed that it Mark gave no reaction to the behavior of the two. They just did not know that he just already gave up on thinking of reprimanding the two as he had also grown getting used to it. Besides, it was not like the two meant any harm.

Rollan who sat on a single sofa on the opposite side was grinning at this scene. His best friend's spring had already come in his eyes. Also he had already asked Mark about Abbygale back when they were inside the vehicle on the way here and of course, his answer was the usual even making Charmaine who received the same answer before feel helpless hearing her Big Brother's answer one more time.

"Bro, why don't you introduce him first?"

Carlo suggested while looking at Rollan.

Mark looked at his best friend and said.

"Lan, you heard him."

"What? I'm not doing it. They are your friends, right? YOU introduce me to them."

Mark glared at Rollan but the latter just shrugged his shoulders, obviously that he would not relent on this. This guy knew that Mark hated to do introductions so he was purposely doing it. Since Rollan also that the point in what he said, Mark swallowed this grievance for now, and will just get back at him later. Or maybe not.

"Well, guys, you see, this is Rollan Jaco, my best friend since high school."

As Mark paused there, they were expecting that there would be a follow up, however...

"Why are you guys looking at me like that? That's it."

"That's it? Why don't you add some more details?"

Rollan voiced his dissatisfaction.

"What should I say then? Something like, despite your looks, you're a womanizer or your peculiar taste on women?"

"Stop! STOP! You're ruining my image!"

Rollan almost stood up in panic trying to stop Mark from continuing. Now he regretted asking Mark to say more things.

Still, the exchange between the two caused stifled laughs from the others watching the scene.

"These two uncles are really close, aren't they?"

Emika voiced her opinion making everyone agree inwardly.

After that short but funny exchange between the best friends that just had their reunion, the introduction of the other members followed. And of course, they did their own introduction or they might have the same experience as Rollan if they let Mark do it.

After the introductions, the serious business started.

The first one to speak was Rosamie.

"Before everything else, I want to know what is happening to us. About the zombies and also why my children ended up like this. Going back to how my children described you, you knew something right?"

Rosamie looked at Mark.

At her question, Rollan, Carlo, Sundra, Cielo and even Ann who was listening from the kitchen waited for the answer. They also wanted to know after all, they all knew nothing but vague ideas about the outbreak.

"So, we have to start from there huh?"

Mark muttered before relaying the information the military disclosed before back in the mall. He actually did not want to go all over these things again as he just did the same yesterday in front of Chief Mallari and Madam Lanie. Nevertheless, he had no choice. The conversation would not proceed correctly if they had no clue about the happenings within this outbreak.

After a few minutes...

"So, you are saying that my children were Mutators?"

Rosamie asked while she looked at Emika beside her and Mikio in her arms.

"There are no other explanations to that right?"

"That's true but. Why did my son turn into that tree?"

"Well, now that you mention it, I have a guess about that."

What Mark said made everyone turn towards him. Seeing that he had Rosamie's attention, he continued.

"You see. I wasn't able to think of it at first but it's probable that children that became Mutators can't control their ability that well. Mikio might have lost control of his ability after mutating and you know the story afterwards."

"Are you sure?"

"As I said, it's just a guess but we have another example here."

Mark patted Abbygale's head.

"Gale, this would be uncomfortable so endure a little."

Abbygale who looked confused just nodded even though she had no idea what her Papa was talking about. It was then that she suddenly felt agitated and afraid. Her hair turned white and she transformed back into her cat eared form.

Everyone who had seen her transform for the first time was shocked. Still, since they were already briefed about Mutators and Evolvers, they managed to calm down almost immediately.

Except for one person...

"Uwa~! Kawaii~!"

Emika shouted as she jumped off her seat and ran towards Abbygale before everyone could even react. She ran towards Abbygale and tried to hug her. Well, of course, the little Dryad was caught by the Cat Girl's father failing her intention.

"Mu~! Scary Uncle, let me hug her!"

Emika said as she struggled to break free from the hand grasping her forehead. She even used her hair and controlled it to try and escape but she failed.

"If you don't stop, I'll get angry. You're scaring Gale, look."

Emika looked at Abbygale who was now hugging her Papa while looking at her warily. Crestfallen, she finally gave up and went back to her seat.

Since Emika finally settled down, Mark continued his previous explanation.

"As you can see, Gale is also a Mutator but she can't control this transformation at will yet."

Mark patted the little girl's head. It might really have been uncomfortable since he had just used his Emotion Induction to trigger her transformation.

"But she had just transformed right?"

Carlo interjected.

"Well, I'm the one who triggered her transformation so she had nothing to do with it."

Mark shrugged. However, what he had just said triggered another round of shock not only to the new people around but even to Mei and Odelina who was with him first.

Analyzing the situation, Mei realized something.

"Gege, is that ability something you gained after you fell unconscious yesterday?"

"Hmm... You can say that."

Mark neither admitted nor denied what she said. It was just he could not go into specifics as Rosamie and her children were not part of their group.

However, what he had just showed everyone that not only he could return the Mutators that had gone out of control back to at least what can be called normal and now also had the ability to trigger their abilities.

"Now that I answered your questions, can I ask mine now?"

Rosamie nodded in response to Mark's question.

"It's about that fruit Mikio desperately took away from us up to the point of almost killing us. What happened to it?"

Hearing his words, Mikio looked down. The four year old boy understood what he had done. It might be because he was smart or might be because his mind had been enhanced by his Mutation. He was desperate to take back the fruit he painstakingly created to the point of almost killing the person who helped him turn back into human form afterwards.

Rosamie had already heard of the story so she also felt ashamed.

"I'm really sorry about what happened. It was because the fruit was intended for me that my son did that."

With those words, she started to narrate what happened back then and what happened to the golden fruit.

"So you say that this Dryad Chibi fed you the fruit so you will wake up from your comatose state?"

"That's right! So Scary Uncle shouldn't blame my little brother for that! Also I'm not a chibi!"

Emika raged on her seat.

"Emika, settle down."

Rosamie reprimanded her noisy daughter.

"I get the situation now. Still, what is that fruit if the first place? Also, can Mikio create another one?"

In response to Mark's question, Mikio stretched out his both hands and spread his fingers in front of him.

"What does that mean? Ten?"

Mark looked as confused as everyone around them. Mikio then turned to her older sister. The two looked at each other like they were talking mentally. While the two children were staring at each other, Mark spoke to Rosamie realizing something about Mikio.

"Mrs. Rosamie, is Mikio perhaps, mute?"

Hearing that question, Rosamie could not help but let out a down cast expression. She patted Mikio's head and replied.

"It's unfortunate but yes. He was born prematurely so he had some implications that he almost didn't make it. It led to this but it's lucky that he managed to live back then. Being a mute was nothing compared to dying."

Those words of Rosamie turned the atmosphere a little down cast. Fortunately, the lively green haired girl cut off that atmosphere.

"Nee~ Scary Uncle, my little brother told me the answer to your question."

Emika puffed out her chest as she spoke.

"My little brother said that he needed ten days to create that fruit but he also needed to be in his tree form during that duration. Also he did not know what really the fruit was but he said that it was a concentration of something he was gathering from the air."

Emika spoke like a machine gun.

"Gathering in the air... Is he perhaps turning the Mutagen in the air into that fruit?"

Mark blurted out his thoughts but of course, there was no one here who could answer that.

"Wait, wait. How did your little brother told you all that?"

Carlo interjected as he found the scene peculiar. Mikio was mute and the siblings just stared at each other for a minute or so. There was no way for the two to communicate.

"I don't know? I could understand my little brother but I don't know how."

Emika tilted her head.

Carlo was about to speak again but Mark called unto him.

"Carlo, you also have an ability now right? I'm sure you know about it without knowing where you learned it from. It's the same so don't ask them about it since they won't be able to give a concrete answer."

Hearing that, Carlo calmed down. After he woke up yesterday evening, he knew what changes he had in his body but also did not know how he knew about it. Since it was the case, then it might be the same to others right?

Looking back to Mikio, Mark asked another question.

"The fruit before is just about two and a half days from forming right? You just said that you needed ten days."

Mikio relayed his answer to his older sister and Emika spoke afterwards.

"Little Brother said that the fruit before was still not mature. It managed to wake up mom but that's it. It had no other effects. If the fruit matured, my little brother was sure that it will have other effects. He didn't know what the effects are though."

"If I'm correct, then a mature fruit could help both Evolvers and Mutators."

Mark held his chin and continued since everyone was looking at him with eyes looking for further explanation.

"The Mutagen can cause people to Evolve and for lucky ones to become Mutators. As long that a person is not bitten, the Mutagen can positively help the people infected with it like me and Carlo. The chances however were by luck. Still, if that fruit is really a concentration of Mutagen, then, it could make a person evolve for sure at a faster rate. It's just a guess though."

That explanation enlightened everyone here. Even though it was just his speculation, the possibility for him to be correct was very high.

The only demerit was Mikio needed to be in the form of a huge tree to create one. If that was the case, he needed to do it in a both fixed and secure place.

This also made Mark have the idea to recruit this family into his group no matter what. However, he did not know that these three already had notions to join their group given that the group had a greater ability on confronting the infected compared to the police in this area.

After that information exchange, the group went to plan their new routes and approach in searching the people they wanted to find.