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192 Forked Roads, Taking Different Paths and Decisions

 Day 21 - 6:03 PM - Mountain Village, Mount Malabito, General Nakar, Quezon

The sun already started to set on the horizon though the horizon could not be seen due to the place being surrounded by mountains. When Mark turned around and entered the house after giving the group their first task, it seemed that they gathered for a short meeting first since he could hear soft whispers outside the house.

Mark was already preparing the fish in the kitchen when Hallie followed him. She was not alone however. Since only the bedroom was enclosed with both the kitchen and living room being in the same segment of the house, Mark saw Hallie the moment she stepped through the only door of the house. She came into the door being accompanied by the girl who sat beside her outside. Mark did not mind however since it was obvious that Hallie could not walk on her own.

"You can sit there. As for the other I did not call, you can go out."

Mark said while pointing at the bamboo sofa in the living room. Since Mark did not ask for the other woman, he shooed her away. The woman wanted to comply but Hallie held her arm preventing her from leaving.

"Trisha, don't worry about him. Stay here."


Trisha hesitated but Hallie insisted on making her stay. It was not because she was afraid of Mark but because she needed someone to help her walk. During the time Mark fought the other men, Hallie felt a bit of dread from Mark but it all vanished when he revealed himself in front of Nicole.

"Can Trisha stay? I need someone to help me walk."

Hallied told Mark and pulled down the already worn down knee high socks she was wearing revealing an open gash at the side of her left shin. The wound started about two inches below her knee and stopped about an inch above her ankle. It even looked infected and needed to be cleaned. It was no wonder she could not walk on her own.

Mark looked at the woman called Trisha and nodded. Since he was busy himself, it was better if someone else needed to help Hallie move around especially because he needed assistance in taking care of Nicole. Though he did not really feel anything at all even if he did the other things like changing her still wet clothes, it would still be inappropriate.

"Did you get that from the animal that attacked your camp?"

He suddenly asked making the two females surprised.

"How did you know?"

"I saw your abandoned camp on the other side of the river. I found your employee ids there. I didn't take your things since there's a chance that your group might return there. I didn't expect to find you people here though."

While he was cooking, Mark proceeded to ask what they were doing in this place and learned their struggles. Hallie also did not hide their experience when the outbreak struck since she knew Mark. If it was other people, she might not have said anything.

Looking at Hallie who was telling their story, Mark could not help but think that this short statured girl did not change at all. Despite how ragged she looked now, she was still exuding that aura that only Otakus could detect. Normies would not be able to sense it but the way Hallie spoke, behaved, her clothes and even her expressions basically tells that she was an anime character in real life. Even though her appearance was rather average, she exudes the aura filled with playfulness and confidence that somehow made her look cute and pleasing to the eye.

Even though it was already the apocalypse, Hallie was still wearing her already scrached red glasses with a large frame, a rabbit hairpin that already lost one of its ears, a pair of worn out black knee-high socks, a thick skirt with tears and an already torn open sweater bigger than her body that had sleeves even longer than her arms. Mark could not help but think how she was able to survive till now. Well, remembering that she was another Otaku, she could not be judged by her cover. Who knows how many infected had already been slayed by her hands or else, she would not have a good standing on her group. As Mark observed, aside from the Mutator and the Evolver, her standing in the group was just a step lower to that smart Chinese looking man.

"How about you? How did you end up here?"

Hallie asked after she finished her story.

"I got some circumstances going on."

Mark replied without even looking at her concentrated on cooking. Hearing his reply, Hallie did not ask anymore.

Even though he looked like he was concentrating on his work, Mark was actually thinking about another thing. Now, he knew where in the world he was. He did not really expect that he was currently in the eastern part of Luzon completely the opposite direction of Bay City. If he wanted to return, he needed to travel westward going through a lot of places and even severely populated cities. It was such a pain.

'Just how in the world did I get into this place?'

Even the memories he received from Freed had no answer to this question unfortunately which meant that it was the savage consciousness that was totally at fault.

At this time, the smell of cooked fish started to scatter inside and outside the house. Using the fish, he cooked two dishes. One was a boiled fish head soup with wild vegetables while the meat of the fish was fried with the last bottle of cooking oil he had found in this village. It was kind of unfortunate that such luxury fish only had wild chili and salt as seasoning.

Mark suddenly looked at the two women at the living room who had flushed faces. It was because the smell from the fried fish caused the empty stomach of the two to roar in hunger.

Picking up one slice of the fried fish fillet and let the two see him as he swallowed it. The two could not help but gulp their saliva before noticing that they were staring at Mark too much that they both turned their heads away almost at the same time.

"You two. There's extra clothes inside the room, go and change Nicole's clothes. After that, I'll give you two some."

Trisha seemed to hesitate a little but Hallie on the other hand pulled her without thinking twice. The two entered the room and went to their work. At that time however, Hallie started to become noisy.

"Mark!" Hallie called out. "I've been holding myself back but what is this fairy?! No, she's a sylph right? Are you a sorcerer now?"

Her Otaku mode switched on at a horrible time. When Mark peeked into the room, even Trisha was retreating away from her due to her enthusiasm.

"If you keep making noise, you can get your food from the monkey outside."

Mark said coldly making her shut her mouth. Luckily, both Nicole and Amihan did not get disturbed by her voice.


"Say... where did you get this fish?"

While Trisha was timidly eating her food, Hallie asked as she unceremoniously munched like a hungry beast on her share. She looked at Mark who was also eating in front of her with Amihan who already woke up on his shoulder.

When the little sylph woke up, Hallie tried to approach her but got denied horribly. Amihan immediately flew away from her while shouting in fear and hid behind Mark. Even now, Amihan was warily looking at Hallie while eating the wild berry on her hands.

"I caught the fish in the river."

"The one near the camp?"

"Yeah. Why?"

Hearing that, both Trisha and Hallie froze.

"It's not a contaminated fish isn't it? We saw small barrio upstream and it's full of zombies. There's also a small airplane that crashlanded landed outside the barrio it seems. Since the barrio upstream was full of zombies, then, the fish downstream could be contaminated right?"

Hearing that, Mark looked at the two.

"Your group doesn't know anything about the outbreak?" Mark then realized. "Right, your group did not get in contact with the military."


While Mark and the two females were exchanging information, the other members of the group of survivors were already grilling the meat of the monkey over a campfire. Even though it was just grilled and the meat was not fresh, it did not taste bad which made the group get their fill. However, the smell coming out of the house Mark was in was still more stimulating than what they were eating.

The group picked one of the larger houses to gather in though they would still split up in various houses once it was time to sleep since a single house could not accommodate them all. Both Sherwyn and Jefferson were already helped and since they were both men with abilities, their bodies were sturdier. Even though they both fainted, they only received muscle pains and bruises.

Still, Jefferson was gravely incensed. He could not help but think of how Mark toyed with him. The disgusting smell on his body was even more infuriating but he could not do anything about it since they needed to save on water as much as possible.

"Are all of you really fine with this?!"

Jefferson said with a quite loud voice as he could not accept the treatment that would expect to receive. What was more unacceptable was that the other members already did on of the things Mark ordered them to do and that was to burrow the dead monkey.

Even Sherwyn whose body was still aching nodded.

At the two's opposition, Huey looked at him with a disappointed expression though it could not be seen clearly since the only source of light they had was the swaying campfire.

"You have the most to complain about when it's actually all your fault. If you did not mess with that hanged dead monkey, then, there was no reason for that person to make a move on us. Not to mention that all you five took the initiative to attack him in his own turf."Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click for visiting.

Huey spoke.

"So, you're taking that mountain man's side?"

Jefferson said not wanting to shoulder the blame.

"I'm not taking any sides. I'm stating the facts and it's obvious that he's not a mountain man so don't degrade people unprofessionally. Besides, if any of you did not do anything, we could leave here anytime. You all gave him the reason to attack which made it all worse. It's unlikely that we can make it through these mountains when all of us are not injured not to mention now."

The argument between Sherwyn and Jefferson against Huey did not end in a consensus even after they all decided to sleep. Huey knew that their group now was bound to split up. Looking at the attitude of the two, it was likely that they would leave this place while everyone was asleep. However, he could not care anymore. He himself was already done dealing with Jefferson's blind confidence.

Jefferson was someone with a good ability being able to conjure metal blades on any part of his hands. He just preferred the three pairs of claws because of a popular movie character. The downside however, Jefferson was not someone to use his brain at all and was very bad at teamwork. Five of their group members died because of him and it was just that no one wanted to voice it. Even Hallie's wound was due to him dodging the tiger's claws and the place he dodged was towards Hallie's direction.

As for their current situation, Huey did not mind as long that they remained living. He was a compassionate person and during their journey chasing unto blind hope until now, they lost a lot of people and some who was close to him. Zombies, animals and even people, everywhere were filled with danger. He was already tired. Even though he came from a quite rich family, he did not mind if he became a slave himself as long as he and his group could survive.

Huey fell asleep with all those thoughts in his mind.


Under the faint moonlight past midnight, five shadows rushed out of the village escaping into the woods.