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142 The Start of the Storm After the Reunion of Classmates

 Day 5 - 11:09 AM - 4th Grade Building, Queens Row Elementary School, Queens Row Area A, Bacoor City, Cavite

As everyone inside the elementary school grounds and Mark started to complain about taking a break himself, they heard several soldiers speaking on megaphones trying to appease the panic of the refugees.

"Everyone! Please do not panic and calmly return to your current dwellings. There was an ongoing buildup with the number of infected outside the school premises and we are currently thinning their numbers. I repeat, please do not panic and..."

The soldiers speaking on the megaphone patiently repeated what he said several times while moving around the school. That announcement eased the panic immediately but the refugees still went back to their dwellings as a precaution. After all, everything that happened these past days were unnerving for most people and the current sound of guns never did anything positive to their current state of mind.

Mark then sighed in relief. Though the situation was not a false alarm, at least it was not something that needed their help. It not like the military could not handle a few hundred infected and Mutated Infected while standing atop the walls.

"Gege, you should rest."

"Uhn! Papa, tired."

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Both Mei and Abbygale reprimanded Mark who suddenly reacted to the sounds of guns.

Realizing his blunder, Mark sighed. He did not notice because of the sequence of events but his mental state was still in battle mode. Mark took a deep breath as he tried to make his mind calm down.

"I'm fine."

Mark patted the heads of the two.

"Anyway, what's the plan for lunch?"

Mark suddenly asked as he turned towards Odelina and Anna.

"Master, we haven't really thought of it."

Odelina replied with an apologetic bow.

Before Mark could ask why, Melissa spoke.

"Everyone here was worried about you to worry about what we are going to eat for lunch you know that?"

"I see."

Mark nodded.

"Then, start to prepare something light but filling. We have several new people after all. Also ready some extra."

Odelina and Anna nodded.

However, it seems that some people disagreed.

"Wait, we can't have your group handle everything alright?"

Nikky suddenly spoke.

"We also have our own supply so let us contribute."

It seemed that Nikky interjected for a good reason.

Everything then proceeded smoothly after that.

It seemed that not only them was thinking about lunch. It was because as Odelina and the others who went out to procure the ingredients back in their vehicle and Nikky and her group's dwelling, the people of the local government who were in charge of taking care of the refugees started to ration porridge to everyone despite the gunshots in the background.

While waiting for the lunch to be prepared. Mark made his way with Mei and Abbygale towards another room while being led by a Joey. When they were talking about lunch, Joey, the soldier tasked with searching if the people in Mark's list was among the refugees in the settlement stopped by to report that the search was done.

"It's unfortunate but among your list, we only found five people."

Joey spoke while walking.

"It's fine. It's already surprising that you found five. I won't be surprised if you found no one at all."

Mark replied.

"Actually, it should be seven but it seems that you already took one and the last one was out scavenging."

Hearing what Joey said, Mark nodded. He must be talking about Arvie. Arvie's wife on the other hand was just a tag along. In the first place, this was the first time he met Arvie's wife since Mark was not informed of his wedding. Even if Mark was informed, it was less likely for him to go anyway. Just how many people would be present at that time? He would not be able to handle that for sure.

Soon they reached the room. However, it seemed that the atmosphere inside the room was not that good. Looking through the window, Mark saw ten people, seven adults and three children. Mark shook his head as he saw the situation. It was no wonder. The present inside the classroom were some of Mark's closest classmates in college and their partners. Still, the past could still affect the present after all. Not everyone had a good relationship in the past especially when the other broke the heart of another.

There was no confrontation happening but there were two families inside who seemed to not have any intention of interacting to the other. On the other hand, there were the other three adults who seemed to have no issues and were properly interacting with everyone. The effect of the tension was still apparent in their faces though. Among these people, Mark knew six of them and among the six, five were his former classmates. He knew none of the children of course. After graduation, he had been too busy jumping jobs and became a shut-in making it unlikely for him to know the young ones inside.

Mei also peeked through the window and her gaze locked at one of the females inside for some reason. Mark could not help but suddenly look at her. After all, Mei suddenly displayed cautiousness after she looked inside.

Mark patted her head which caught her off guard.

"Papa, papa. There are people outside."

Mark heard a childish voice from the inside of the room. The girl was speaking to the man about the same age as Mark with tightly packed but thin looking curly hair. This girl was probably the daughter this classmate of his.

The girl's voice immediately made everyone inside wary. After all, they were all brought here by the military without telling them anything specific. They were only told that was someone was looking for them and they were to bring their families along.

Knowing that they had been found out, Mark slowily walked towards the door and showed himself.

Seeing him, there was a bit of silence but when they looked to his face...

"MARK!"

A chorus of yells saying his name ensued.

Scratching his head, Mark spoke.

"Do you all have to shout that loud?"

As it was confirmed that it was really Mark, they were surprised. The children and the mother of the girl who noticed Mark outside were in the lost though.

Among the people inside, his former classmates were Suzanne, a woman who was a year older than Mark but never looked old due to her short height and appearance and her husband, Loreto who was also a timid one but he had a lower level compared to Mark's behavior before the apocalypse. Next was Mar, the father of the girl who noticed Mark, who was close to Mark due to their hobby of playing FPS games. The other was Saime, it was her house that had been their base in their college days. The last one was Joan, the woman Mei was being cautious of.

As for Saime's husband, Rodel, Mark also knew him of course. Mar's wife, Julie Marie was lost seeing how these people and her husband was behaving after they saw the man with the scary aura around him. The children were the same. The children were Lexius, Suzanne and Loreto's son, Prince, who were Saime and Rodel's son, and Monique, Mar and Julie Marie's daughter.

Seeing that there were three families of three people here, he could not help but look at Joan. It seemed that this woman had not married yet the same as him despite the hobby this woman had. And her hobby? It was to change boyfriends like how she changed clothes. It was not like she was a slut either. It was because none of her past boyfriends were able to push her into their beds after all. That may also be the reason why she was left by them or why she left them.

Still, why was Joan here anyway? Mark knew her since she was her classmate but she was not in the list.

Though the people in the room were obviously fatigued, the reunion of friends had gone smoothly. They all realized that it was Mark who gathered them here after he said that he made the soldiers look for them. Then, someone pouted.

"Hey... Why am I not included in the people you were looking for huh? If I didn't come with Suzanne, I'll be left in the dark."

Joan said as she approached coquettishly.

Nevertheless, before she managed to close in to Mark, a beautiful girl blocked her path. Mei was told by Mark to stay put outside with Abbygale since she would be a distraction to the males inside for sure but it seemed that she was not able to hold herself back when she saw Joan approach Mark.

Seeing the fairy like appearance of Mei, the people inside, with the exception of the children, froze. However, Mei was not caring about their gazes as she stared warily at Joan.

Mark slapped his forehead seeing Mei behave like this. Patting her head, Mark spoke.

"Mei'er, calm down will you?"

"But... Gege..."

"It's fine alright?"

"Un..."

Mei retreated but did not leave anymore and stood beside Mark while grabbing Mark's left arm with both her hands.

Mark felt helpless to this but he did not shoo her away.

The scene shocked everyone and even made Joan back up as she saw the hostility in Mei's eyes.

After that short intermission, another one started as Abbygale came in calling Mark 'Papa'. Following that, the explanation came forward stiffly. Mark told them why he searched for them as his close friends. However, it was not as smooth as his previous encounters. Since none of these people knew of Mark and his groups' prowess, they were reluctant to leave the safety of the settlement. It seemed that it would still take them some time before they would be able to decide whether they would join Mark or not.

At that moment that Mark was in the middle of convincing them, Mark suddenly jolted and turned towards a direction.

"Gege, is something wrong?"

Mei asked as Mark suddenly stopped in the middle of his sentence.

"Mei'er, don't you think, the gunshots are getting closer?"

"I also think so. I was louder now."

At that time, Joey who left Mark to speak with his friends barged in in a hurry.

"What's going on?"

Mark turned towards Joey and asked,

"It's at the southeast side, within the high school campus."

Joey caught his breath.

"Hundreds of infected are climbing up the walls!"

Hearing that, Mark's eyes narrowed.

"Everyone, close the doors and stay here."

Mark then turned to Joey.

"Let's go."

"Yes Sir."

Together with Mei and Abbygale, Mark followed Joey without saying too much to the others inside the room.

"Why does it look like that that soldier was following Mark's orders?"

Suzanne could not help but ask but of course, none of them could come up with a good answer. It was different if Mark was following the orders of the soldier but it was the complete opposite.

"No, more importantly, why does that beautiful girl hostile to me?"

Joan spoke with doubt.

"You know Joan, what you're asking is not really important."

Saime interjected.

"But..."

Joan did not want to put down the issue.

"The question now is what we are going to do. Mark said that he want us to follow him. I know he won't do us harm but it's just too dangerous outside."

Mar interjected in the conversation of the women. Due to Mark's sudden appearance, the stagnant atmosphere inside the room was now gone. It was easier for everyone inside to converse now and they started to brainstorm about their decision.

On the other hand, Mark brought Mei back into the room where the others were staying. They were currently cooking food using the utensils borrowed from the military and were using the broken wooden classroom chairs and desks as firewood. It looked like that they were gathering attention though. Not only that the girls cooking were clean and above average in appearance, the smell of the food they were cooking was too appetizing compared to the porridge distributed by the volunteers.

After bringing Mei back, Mark together with Abbygale, Laelaps, Nikky and her group with the exception of Rollan's younger brother, Daniel, made their way to the area were Dominador and his men annexed before. Mark never thought that he would go back here once more after annihilating every single one of those criminals and it was even in a short period of time. The place was not even fully cleaned up as many bodies from the previous encounter were still lying on the ground.

Now however, the threat was not people but the infected that were climbing up the walls. It was good that the walls of the high school was higher compared to normal walls built around houses but it would not be long before these infected would be able to enter. No, considering the number of bodies near the wall, some of them had already made it inside. It was just the numbers were too small and the soldiers guarding the place.

Looking at the infected, Mark frowned. He was sure that these infected were the ones that surrounded his house before. He never thought that these guys would appear here several hours after they left them in disarray. Nevertheless, it was not the time to dawdle. If these infected made it here, it was impossible that the most dangerous one would not be here.

PLOP! PLOP!

As if answering his thoughts, two infected were thrown over the walls towards where the soldiers were firing from.

Seeing that, Mark removed the sniper rifle from his shoulder and aimed.

"I won't let you escape again."

Mark muttered.