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253 The Municipality of Infanta, Entering the East Port Settlemen

 Day 40 - 10:05 PM - Barangay Dinahican, Infanta, Quezon

The Municipality of Infanta, it was a first class municipality in the province of Quezon. It was located at the east of the Municipality of General Nakar and to the northeast of the Municipality of Real that belonged to the same province. Infanta was the largest manufacturer of lambanog, the only native alcohol traditionally distilled in the Philippines. However, that was only before the apocalypse came. Now, Infanta was nothing but an easily defensible place against the infected and feral evolved animals.

Infanta, Quezon was filled with branching rivers of various sizes and there was only one way to make it to the easternmost part of the municipality due to these rivers. However, also due to these rivers, a large number of farms and fisheries could also be found in this place. While these facilities and businesses relied on water, another larger part of the municipality was covered with plantations of coconut trees which were the main ingredient to make lambanog.

At the easternmost part of Infanta, at the Barangay of Dinahican, the Infanta Settlement, also known as the East Port Settlement was located. It was because the core area of the settlement was built at the past Infanta Municipal Fishport. It was the most secure area in the settlement and the newly built manors of the three leading families of the settlement lived near the port.

The settlement was being led by the three main families. First was the Ruanto family which was the family of a local politician in Infanta. The second was the Cristobal Family which monopolized a large share in the fisheries in the municipality. Third was the Salvador family which was a rich family that owned the largest coconut plantations in the area before the outbreak.

With the effort of the three families, the East Port Settlement was built even before both the Port of Real Settlement and Death Valley Settlement was finished. Due to that, they managed to avoid the full brunt of the attacks of the infected and the evolved animals and managed to keep the majority of the population in the area near the settlement. In addition to that, the other two settlements were nearer to the city than this settlement. Because of its location, most that East Port Settlement needed to fend off against was evolved animals from the forests and the sea. Of course, there were still times that Mutated infected would be able to wander near the settlement due to their erratic behaviors.

This time, four people were walking at the northern entrance of the East Port Settlement, an average looking man, two beautiful women and a three year old cute girl. The three adults were wearing jackets with strange ornaments and armors on different parts of their bodies while the child was wearing a simple dress.

Of course, it was Mark, Miracle, Alana and Karlene. On Mark's shoulder was Amihan while on a clear divided tube that was hanging beside his backpack was Oracle, Crimson and Ivy.

Mark was wearing his usual clothes and weapons but Alana and Karlene looked quite different. Inside their jackets, the two girls were wearing the armor Mark made for them. It was a different design and was made lighter due to their bodies. Karlene and Alana both had pistols on their waists and an assault rifle hanged on their backs but that was not the most eye catching thing.

On Alana's hands, a pair of different sized gauntlets was equipped. The gauntlet on her right hand was normal sized but the one on the left was slightly bigger. Not to mention that it had a large and thick disk around the wrist and the back of the gauntlet had a rectangular protrusion.

Karlene on the other hand had her pistol on her right waste but a strangely shaped long dagger sheathed on the left. If it was unsheathed, it looked like a double edged long dagger with a wide blade but the placement of the handle was odd as it leaned to the one side of the blade than the center. It looked like a double edged cleaver shaped dagger that was should be held the wrong way. She was also wearing bracers on her arms but the bracers were normal defensive armor unlike Alana's.

Their group was walking towards the gates after leaving Chaflar quite a distance away from the settlement. The place Chaflar was left was a secluded part of the forest where it was free to hunt other animals as long as it would not burn the forest. It was fine to leave it there as Mark was connected to it and he prepared a sort of signal to make it come when needed.

"Stop!"

Their group was stopped by the guard atop the gates. Soon, the gate opened and people to check the newcomers came out.

"Who are you people?"

A man in his thirties led the group of eight people. They were all armed with guns and cold weapons. However, it did not matter to Mark that they all had weapons but...

'They are all Mutators.' Mark thought as he looked at every one of the guards. 'Low level Mutators.'

Out of the eight guards, seven of them had obvious mutations on their bodies like arms covered with animal fur, strange colored eyes or fangs. Only the leader that spoke did not and looked like a normal human.

Mark glanced at the two girls and they nodded. The two had been here before and with their popularity as actresses, it would be impossible that no one noticed the two before. It was just that the two were wearing the hoods of their jackets now that their faces could not be seen clearly.

"We came from the Military Settlement. The two of us had been here before with the army on a mission."

Alana spoke as she and Karlene removed their hoods. The men, seeing two beautiful women froze. It was just the leader who kept his composure but it was obvious that he was also surprised.

"So, it was Ms. Bautista and Ms. Garces."

The guard leader smiled respectfully. It seemed that rather the two's status as actresses, he knew their other status as the Major's daughter and the niece of the leading scientist of the Military Settlement.

"You know us?"

Alana asked.

"I am Epifanio Mejia, I was there at the previous trade. I belong to the house of Cristobal family so I was there to help with the matters that time. If you two misses did not notice, I was one of the guards of Mr. Cristobal when Major Bautista introduced the two of you."

Mark nodded when he heard those words. It seemed that there would be no problems for their entry here.

"Miss Garces, who are these two and why did you come from this direction? Normally, we would welcome military delegations at the port."

The Guard Leader, Epifanio asked.

"We are here for personal matters this time so we can't use the military boats for transport. As for our vehicle, we decided to abandon it quite a distance away since it broke down after we were attacked by a large animal."

Alana bitterly smiled and told the answer Mark prepared.

During Military missions like hiring Mutators or trades, the military would use boats to go to this settlement due to the fact that the only road that led to Eastport Settlement was close to the Death Valley settlement and the possibility of encountering the ruffians was very high. However, the sea was not without a threat and as such, the boats only traveled near land and where the waters were shallow.

"What is that?"

One of the guards asked while looking at Mark, no, he was looking at his shoulder where Amihan was sitting. His question took the attention of the other guards away from Alana and Karlene towards Amihan who could not help but flinch and hug the side of Mark's face.

Feeling her anxiety, Mark spoke with an indifferent tone but the fierce glint in his eyes could not be concealed.

"Don't stare too much. You all are scaring my companion."

His indifferent tone caused a change of expressions on the faces of the guards.

The Guard leader noticed that glint and signaled his subordinates to stand down.

"Please, pardon my men. It is just anyone would be attracted to the little girl with wings on your shoulder."

Epifanio then turned back to Alana and Karlene.

"You're group are free to enter but we needed to list your names first in our ledger and everyone needed to sign the ledger. Please follow me."

Led by Epifanio, Mark's group entered the gates surrounded by the guards. The names were listed in their ledger and were signed. Of course, Miracle and Amihan were exceptions to signing with just their names being listed.

"Please take these cards." Epifanio handed three silver colored cards to Mark, Alana and Karlene. "It will allow you to access the middle district. I would not elaborate about the rules and regulations here since Ms. Garces and Ms. Bautista had already visited before. Just please, follow the rules to avoid trouble. We won't be consuming more of your time."

After accepting the cards, Mark and his entourage left being led by Alana and Karlene who had been here before.

***

Epifanio and the guards watched the strange group as they walked away.

"Captain, we really don't like how that guy stared at us. Also his tone..."

One of the guards said which made Epifanio sigh and reply.

"You all needed to learn to read the atmosphere and people. You all stared at his companion without respect. Of course, anyone would be angry at that. It's also better that you all won't mess with that man. I may be just being paranoid but my intuition tells me that that person had killed people that cannot be counted by your fingers on your hands and feet. The bloodlust around him is thick."

The guards were surprised. They knew that their captain's intuition was right most of the time. If it was really the case, it was good that their captain stopped them from making any rash moves.

"But all of us here in guarding the gates are all Mutators. Why would we be afraid?"

At that point, Epifanio shook his head.

"All of you don't have direct connections to the family so all of you might not know. Remember the news about the four-thousand-infected horde that attacked the Military Settlement four days ago?"

"We do. They said that a powerful Mutator jumped in the middle of the horde and decimated the [Leader Types] to weaken the horde. He killed over a hundred infected while being surrounded by thousands of infected and still came out unscathed."

One of the guards said the exaggerated rumor he heard from the other people and the other guards nodded as they heard the same rumor.

The guards then froze.

"Captain, are you saying that the Mutator in the rumors could be that man?"

"I can't tell for sure but the possibility is very high. It was impossible for just anyone to be accompanied by the daughter and niece of the two of the most important people in the Military Settlement. Also, didn't all of you notice? Ms. Garces and Ms. Bautista seem to be his guides here."

Hearing those assumptions, the guards shivered.

"Captain, if someone like that is here, shouldn't we inform the house?"

"Alright. All of you stay here and continue guarding. I'll go inform the house head."

With that, the Guard Captain, Epifanio Mejia, left to inform the House of Cristobal about the arrival of Mark's group.

***

"Hey Mark, we came here peacefully. Why would you do that?"

"Yeah. That glare was just looking for trouble."

Alana and Karlene complained to Mark about his actions.

"Well, there's no problem right? I just want to test things."

Mark replied with a shrug.

"Test what?"

Alana asked.

"Test if they have information about me. You saw how respectful the leader of the guards. For sure, what happened in the Military Settlement several days ago had already made it here. That guard leader sure is fast to catch things around him."

Hearing that, the two finally realized. It was very possible for that to happen since there was a constant trade happening between the Port of Real Settlement and the East Port Settlement. In that case, Mark's arrival here would surely stir things up in this settlement.