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129 A Small World

 Day 5 - 7:16 AM - Queens Row Elementary School, Queens Row Area A, Bacoor City, Cavite

Captain Dela Rosa and his subordinates found it hard to believe what they were seeing in front of them. As they were keeping in contact with the Bay City after they settled in this place, they knew that within the ranks of the military at Bay City, they only had fifteen Evolvers that were strong enough to fight trained soldiers despite the lack of training. Still, despite their current strength, the difference between those Evolvers and Mutators were vast with the exception of one Evolver that came from the people that was rescued from the City Mall.

As for the number of Mutators that the military managed to recruit, there were only two. This was how rare for people to become Mutators. However, seeing the number of confirmed Mutators in Mark's small group, these soldiers totally felt that it was inconceivable. Furthermore, Mark who was the leader of this group was an Evolver that was reported to have strength on par with the Unknown.

While the soldiers were bewildered with the unfathomable group Mark led, the attention of the other people was on Janette who was chained and was obediently following behind Odelina who was pulling the other end of the chains. Most of the spectators were bewildered but there was someone who was looking at Janette with agitation.

It was one of the women in Nikky's group. The only female seated in the back of the jeep before.

Feeling his agitation, Mark could not help but look at her. It was because the change in her emotions was too sudden from the bewildered expression she had before. When Mark saw that she was looking at Janette, several guesses immediately appeared in Mark's mind.

'What a small world.'

Mark thought as he assessed the appearance of the woman who seemed to be about nineteen or twenty that had a few similarities to Janette.

"Sister..."

The woman called out with a stifled voice confirming Mark's thoughts.

"Mara, what's wrong?"

Nikky also noticed her peculiar behavior.

The woman called Mara could not hear Nikky anymore as she sluggishly walked towards the chained Janette while her eyes started to tear up.

The spectators were also bewildered to her actions and they started speculating while murmuring.

While she was walking towards her sister, someone blocked her path. Looking at the person, it was the man who seemed to be the leader of this group, Mark. Realizing that this person should be the one responsible of chaining her sister, she glared at him.

Seeing the actions of Mara who was blindly walking towards Janette, Mark gave Abbygale to Mei and blocked the woman's path.

"She's your sister?"

"She is! What did she do? Why did you people chain her?!"

Mara bellowed with tears in her eyes.

The gallery that was watching looked at Mark and his group realizing that the chained woman was actually her sister.

Learning about the fact, the other two members of Nikky's group moved forward to mediate. They were not blind and they realized that there should be more to this. There were other women in Mark's group so it would be unreasonable if Mara's sister was the only one tied up. Despite the leader's appearance being scary, the eyes of the beautiful woman and the little girl were giving him could not be faked.

"Mara, calm down. There should be a reason why your sister is tied up."

The woman who was driving the jeep earlier held Mara and gently pulled her back. The man on the other hand was also glaring at Mark as he also seemed to recognize Janette and it looked like that he had a relationship with Mara.

"Please, answer her question."

The man was glaring but he was still rational and politely asked. Given how the soldiers treated this man, it was better for them to not get on his bad side.

However, it was not Mark who spoke after but the female soldier who was always beside Captain Dela Rosa.

"Mr. Mark, if I'm correct, this woman is that infected you was rearing."

Hearing that, Mark turned to the female soldier with surprise.

"I didn't expect that you people even know that."

"It was within the report we received about you."

Mark was further bewildered. It seemed that the report they received about him and his group was very detailed prior to the time they separated with the people and soldiers at the mall. Still, he could not think of the reason why. After all, if it was just for gratitude, that much detail was not necessary.

As if reading what was in his mind, Captain Dela Rosa spoke.

"It had something to do with what we were going to ask of you. That is the reason we tried to procure as much information about you and your group."

Hearing that, Mark nodded with realization. It was really not just for gratitude. There was sure something these soldiers needed from him.

On the other hand, everyone around could not help but take a second look at Janette learning that she was an infected. Mara could also not believe it either. Looking at Janette's current appearance, there could be no one that would be able to associate her from the infected.

"All of you are lying! Look at my sister! There's no way that she's an infected!"

Everyone could only nod at Mara's claims. Even the soldiers were bewildered. If not for Mark confirming their thoughts and the report they received before, they would also question it.

To everyone's skeptical looks, Mark did not speak but walked in front of Janette and unbuttoned the buttons on her clothes.

"What are you doing?!"

Mara bellowed and charged towards Mark.

"Odel, restrain her for a bit."

Mark spoke while removing the second button.

Odelina immediately went forward and restrained Mara locking her arms.

"Let me go!"

Mara tried to escape from Odelina's grasp but like a clamp, Odelina's arms locked her in place.

Seeing that Mara was caught, the other two members of Nikky's group also charged in.

"Let go of her!"

The man bellowed and charged in with his iron pipe. However, before he could attack, Nikky's voice echoed into their ears.

"Maverick! Delia! Stop! Mara! Look at your sister!"

Nikky's voice brought the three to their senses and looked at Janette. After Mark removed three buttons on Janette's blouse, he pulled her left collar exposing her shoulder. On the shoulder, a bite sized wound that had yet to heal was revealed. A part of the flesh on her shoulder was even missing. Despite the fact that would was deep, it was not bleeding anymore. It was the bite that turned Janette into an infected. It had yet to heal or maybe, it would never heal at all without using any extraordinary means.

Seeing the bite wound, Mara lost her energy and slumped on Odelina's grasp. Odelina gently let her go and pushed her towards the man.

"Take her."

The man who was also shocked absentmindedly took Mara from Odelina before she walked away.

Mark then fixed Janette's blouse and gave the chain to Odelina once more. Actually, he did not want to show such scene but in respect to Janette's sibling, he showed the proof. Now that he did, there was no reason to stay here and become everyone's entertainment anymore.

"Captain, let's head off already."

Mark said after picking up his bag and a few things from the vehicle.

"Alright, follow us."

The squad captain agreed.

However before they could even turn around, Mara shouted.

"Wait! If my sister is already infected why are you bringing her? Also, why is my sister not attacking anyone? And why does she look like no different from a human?"

Mara suppressed her grief and asked.

Mark looked at her with an expression that looked like an idiot.

"I really have no reason to answer but let me tell you. When I caught her, she's already like the others you see outside, someone who won't live without infecting others. However, while in my captivity, she turned like this for some unknown reason. As for your third question, I can't answer that here."

After saying that he turned to the captain and nodded before the soldiers started to lead Mark's group away.

"Wait!"

Mara bellowed again. The other people in Mark's group glanced at her but seeing that Mark did not look back anymore, they could only follow leaving everyone else.

As for Rollan, he would remain with his girlfriend for now as it seemed that the Barangay Chairwoman needed something from Nikky.

Seeing that the commotion had calmed down, the spectators around started to disperse leaving Nikky's group and the Chairwoman's group in the place.

The chairwoman then led Nikky and Rollan towards their quarters while the members of Nikky's group decided to return to their resting area.

***

Day 5 - 7:25 AM - Queens Row Elementary School, Queens Row Area A, Bacoor City, Cavite

At one of the buildings at the far eastern side of the school, a man was drinking wine in the topmost central room.

It was then that an armed man barged into the room.

"Leader!"

The man bellowed.

The person who was called 'Leader' was a man in his thirties. He looked quite muscular but that was not his most noticeable feature. If one would see him for the first time, what they would first pay attention to was his limbs that were filled with thick fur similar to a monkey.

"What are you yelling for?"

The leader frowned as he reprimanded the man that barged in.

"Sorry leader. It's just there seemed to be a formidable group of people that had just arrived."

"Formidable? What do you mean?"

The leader asked with a skeptic expression.

"Boss, you won't believe me but Captain Dela Rosa was too polite with the leader of that group. Also it seemed that the captain knew of that person."

"That stubborn captain was being polite? That indeed is strange. If that group is not formidable, that captain would surely not put them in his eye. Do you know where that group had come from?"

"No leader. After they arrived, the soldiers escorted them away. It seems that they needed something from that group."

"Need something, are they perhaps soldiers?"

"I don't think so. Their group was filled with beautiful females and strange looking people. Their man who seemed to be their leader looked like a criminal though."

Hearing that reply, the leader was bewildered further.

"What do you mean by strange looking?"

"There is a girl with green hair, a boy with skin on his arms looking like a tree bark, a golden dog and they also seemed to be rearing a strange infected with them."

"Strange infected?"

The leader further asked making the armed man recount what happened.

"It looks like I need to meet this group you're talking about."

The leader downed his glass of wine into his mouth and stood up heading out of the room with the armed man following behind him.

***

Mark and the others who were following behind the soldiers were now walking across the pathway that led to one of the buildings at the southwestern end of the school.

Along the way, they could see the unfortunate state the people living in this settlement had. The people looked famished and had not taken a bath or even wiped their bodies for some time. Even the children had no energy to play around like how it was before the outbreak.

Sadness and fear were apparent in the eyes of most people they saw.

"Even though we are rationing food to them, it's not enough. We could only eat here twice a day. One in the morning and one in the evening. As for hygiene, we barely even have water to drink so no one could even think of taking a bath."

The female soldier beside the captain took the initiative to explain as she saw that everyone was observing the state of the place.

As the soldier took the initiative to explain, Mark took the opportunity to ask something.

"Are there different factions here? You soldiers seem to have a separate group from the chairwoman and the city councilor."

"That's right, there's three factions here leading this settlement. First is the faction led by Ma'am Kat and Sir Reynald Palabrica. They were the ones who took the initiative to establish this settlement. They are also the ones in charge of the welfare of the survivors. As you can see, they are not doing a very good job at it.

The second are us, the soldiers that came from Bay City. Due we actually came here to rescue people but we ended up being stuck here ourselves. We run the security in this place and we also do supply runs everyday.

Though ours and the first faction are not on bad terms, both factions don't want to be under another. They wanted to rule this place and we can't be under them either since we have orders directly from the government. Still, it can be said that we are on allied terms.

The third faction however is different. It is led by someone who calls himself Dominador. No one knows if it is really his name or an alias. He came to this place and established his authority along with a huge group of armed men."

Everyone was intently listening to the female soldier. Mark however frowned as he asked a question.

"That Dominador is a Mutator, am I right?"

The female soldier was shocked, no, not only her but also the other soldiers. They all froze in the spot.

"How did you know?"

Captain Dela Rosa asked.

"I have my means. More importantly, that guy is on the way here right now with his men."

Mark said as he draw his shotgun out and pulled the pump after releasing the safely of the gun.