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144 The Black Ca

 Day 5 - 12:01 PM - Queens Joy St., Queens Row Area A, Bacoor City, Cavite

Laelaps landed in the middle of the street after jumping off the roof of another house. They were already three blocks away from the school compound. The current street was even the one after the street where Rollan's house was located. Still, they were still nowhere near to catching up with cunning fellow. Mark could not help but frown due to circumstances.

In terms of speed, Laelaps was several times faster than the muscled infected but the current location prevented her from exhibiting her full potential. The lowered power lines, trees on the yards, uneven heights of houses, the badly maintained roofing and many more factors hindered her large body from running faster. If this place was the same as Citta Italia where Mark and the others first encountered Laelaps, there was a huge chance of catching up. Unfortunately, they were not.

If Laelaps was to make her own size smaller, she could run with Abbygale and catch up but it increased the danger the two would face. In terms of running speed, both Laelaps and Abbygale were twice as faster and he would surely lag behind since the Muscled infected seemed to run about more than half faster than his speed. In that case, there was very little that Laelaps and Abbygale could do without Mark's help and compared to the danger the two would face to confront a smart infected was not worth the risk.

"Tsk!"

Mark clicked his tongue as he watched the Muscled Infected run away towards the south east.

They could still continue to run away after the muscled infected as the chance of catching up was still not zero but if it continued to run towards that direction, they would reach the former squatter's area in this place. If was former because the land was granted to the settlers years ago but before that, it was nothing but a place for the penniless to build their homes. Once this infected reached that place, there was no way for them to catch this fellow. Not only that that place had very narrow pathways that only bicycles could enter, the place would surely be brimming with infected.

"Hmm?"

Mark noticed something.

"Laelaps, go to that building. Go around the building and hide on the back."

Mark sternly said as he pointed at the four story concrete building to the southwest. It was a private school called Crest View Academy.

Laelaps seemed to be confused to her owner's order as that direction was not the direction their target was running towards. Still, she did not dally and ran towards the direction Mark pointed at. It seemed that not only Laelaps was confused but also the little girl who was steadily sitting on her head. Because of her Papa's instruction, Abbygale turned her head to the back and asked.

"Papa! We're not going to chase that macho uncle anymore?"

"Cough! Cough!"

Hearing what his daughter called that Muscled Infected, he almost burst out laughing. However, since he was sitting on the back of Laelaps who was currently running, his laugh turned into choking with his own saliva. Clearing his throat, he replied to Abbygale's question.

"We won't make it even if we chase that guy. Let's go on the roof of that building. I want to try something."

Hearing that, Abbygale looked a bit disappointed but she did not voice anything. She knew that her Papa must be thinking of doing something.

Laelaps changing course seemed to have startled the Muscled Infected. Its running speed slowed down as it watched the three meter golden dog run to a further direction. Its running became slower and slower until it came to a stop at the very entrance of the former squatter's compound. It stood unto the roof of a house at the corner of the entrance as it gazed at the golden dog that was chasing it before vanish behind the four story building.

On the other hand, Laelaps did not take too long to reach the building. As per Mark's instructions, Laelaps jumped onto the roof of the house behind the school building. There, Laelaps reduced her size back to normal as they made their way to the roof top. Even though Laelaps should be able to jump onto the roof in her enlarged form, it would surely reveal their current location to the Muscled Infected. No, not only to the Muscled Infected but also another person Mark had just detected.

Mark noticed some faint but unusual fluctuation further ahead of the infected. As it could be something unexpected, Mark would not try to jump in without knowing anything. As that person was on the same area where the Muscled Infected was going, it would be likely for Mark's group to be entangled with the two if they did not do the approach correctly.

Making their way to the rooftop using the emergency ladders of the school, Mark rushed into position. He looked around for a good place to put his sniper rifle on while facing the direction where the Muscled Infected should be. Using the scope of the sniper rifle as a telescope, he immediately found the Muscled Infected. However, it was not rushing towards back the school and it did not continue on running either. Mark immediately found the Muscled Infected because he felt the mental fluctuation of the person he detected soar. That person was now entangled with the Muscled Infected in a dangerous fight.

Mark was not surprised. The person he detected after all was not a normal person after all. Furthermore, the person's faint mental fluctuation while having a savage emotional fluctuation gave the person's identity right away. The person was a child who was another failed Mutator.

In his sight, he could see the child and the muscled infected exchanging and dodging blows. Looking at the child he was surprised as he glanced at Abbygale who had no clue what was happening.

"Gale, come here. Look."

As her Papa called her to show something that seemed to be interesting, Abbygale hurried and took a peek from the scope.

"Wahh! A black kitty!"

Abbygale said while her eye was fixated at the scene several dozens of meters away.

The child fighting with the Muscled Infected was a boy about the same age as Abbygale by his body structure. His appearance however, he looked like a large black kitten wearing clothes. His arms and face was covered in black fur while his hand that was bent like a claw had fingernails that could truly be called claws. On his head, there was two triangular ears while on his bottom was a long bushy tail. All in all, he looked like a bipedal cat.

The Mutator boy clashed with the Muscled Infected without fear due to the savage consciousness taking over his body. He was moving fast though it could not be compared to Abbygale's speed for sure. Looking at the fight it seemed that the Muscled Infected did not regard the boy as threat at all. The Muscled Infected was even overpowering the black cat boy.

The boy swiped his claws several times while charging and lunging towards the Muscled Infected but none of his attacks managed to connect. Rather, there were several times that the boy was punched rolling several times on the roof. Finally, the boy was defeated. The boy was unable to stand anymore. Though the savage consciousness was still active, the body seemed to have lost any energy to obey the will of that consciousness.

The Muscled Infected seemed be gleeful for the delicious meal that suddenly appeared in front of it. It grabbed the boy's right arm and pulled the boy up. The boy tried to struggle but he was not able to. The Muscled Infected moved the boy closer to its face and opened its mouth intending to bite the boy's neck.

BANG! SPLAT!

The Muscle Infected's head exploded scattering blood and brain matter in the immediate vicinity. Even the helpless child was showered with blood. As the body of the infected fell down, the grasp on the child was unfastened making him fell hard on the roof. The flowing blood started to flow down the slope roof before dripping unto the roof gutter.

Due to the existence of the Mutator child, the Muscled Infected completely forgot about Mark's existence. Furthermore, with the distance between the Muscled Infected and Mark, it was no surprised that it did not notice.

However, that shot did not come too easily. Mark had to wait for the Muscled Infected to stop moving and even moved his position several times to find an angle that would not harm the boy at all. The boy had not fully turned yet and could become a good asset. Still, he would admit it. He took advantage of the boy to take the attention of the cunning Muscled Infected. It was better for him to do so than have a macho stalker that could be lurking behind them without them knowing. Just the thought could make anyone shudder even if it was before the apocalypse.

"Laelaps, full form again! Jump down the building and rush towards those two!"

Hearing the order, Laelaps' body inflated once more before letting Mark and Abbygale on her back. Laelaps jumped several meters down denting the roof of the house where she landed with a loud sound. Then she rushed towards the direction the two fell.

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Soon, Mark reached the roof and saw the weakened child and sat in front of the boy. The boy was weak and even shivering. Clasping his arm and pinching it a little, Mark now knew why the boy lost. It seemed that it was just recently that the boy was bitten but at the time he was bitten, he seemed to be malnourished. However, aside from the blood that splattered on the boy's clothes, the clothes seemed to be clean too.

Looking at another aspect, Mark sighed in relief. The boy had not fully turned yet. As a child, Mark had a hard time accurately pinpointing the state of the boy's original consciousness. Touching the boy's head however made him sure that the main consciousness had not been fully snuffed yet. Still, it was close. Probably, if Mark did not see the boy in at least an hour or two, he would finally turn into an existence the military called Unknown.

Unknowns were creatures that could not be determined whether they were high mutation infected or a failed Mutator. It was due to the similarities of the two turning into something else that could not be determined thus giving them the name. If this boy was to be left as it was, it would likely that he would turn into a beastman type of unknown. Still, he looked cute as a cat though.

Mark then looked at Abbygale with a helpless smile.

"Here, here. Don't get angry. We won't hurt you."

Abbygale was gently patting the head of the boy who was savagely glaring at her without any care. Furthermore, it looked like that the little girl found a wild pet on the street forgetting the fact that she was a kitten too.

"Rarf!"

Laelaps who already turned back to her normal size suddenly barked as she called Mark's attention.

"What is it Laelaps?"

Mark approached. In front of Laelaps was the splattered brain of the Muscled Infected. Strangely however, there was nail shaped stone. It was not a crystal but really looked like a pebble. The peculiar thing about the pebble though was that Mark felt some sort of energy coming from it after Mark picked it up.

"Is this similar to that violet crystal from the huge cat before?"

Mark pondered.

Suddenly, Mark looked towards the south east. He felt several people coming. It seemed that they were riding a vehicle considering the speed they were traveling. Noticing the mental fluctuation of the two people among those incoming people, Mark got a complicated look on his face.

"Gale, time's up for that. There are people coming. We should welcome them I think."

Mark let out a bitter smile while he grabbed the body of the weakened feral boy.

"Why Papa?"

Abbygale asked in confusion. Considering the almost five days they spent together, she knew that her Papa was not the type of person to welcome strangers.

"We have to return something that is not ours after all."

Mark answered but his answer just made Abbygale even more confused.

With Mark in the lead, they passed over the gate that intersected the former squatter's compound, Queens Row Area A and the Camella North Subdivision where they passed through before arriving at this area several hours earlier.

The three waited for a bit while Mark tightly grasped the weakened boy dangling his short arms at his side.

Soon, a black van that had many dents on its exterior stopped not far away from them. Eight people went out of the vehicle but two of those people were intently staring at the cat boy on Mark's arms. The two were a woman that looked younger than Mark and a man that seemed to be the same age. The people who came out of the car were staring warily at Mark. Some of them were holding guns while some were holding melee weapons.

The woman tried to walk towards Mark but the man held her shoulder holding her back.

"Harvey, let me go. I can handle myself!"

The woman removed the man's hand from her shoulder.

"Monique, calm down."

The man intently stopped her.

"Jester is there! Why should I calm down?"

Hearing the conversation of the two, Mark bitterly smiled.

That was right. These pair of cautious man and worried woman was the parents of this feral cat boy.