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280 The Fleeing Crystal, An Unusual and Very Unexpected Encounter

 Day 41 - 9:40 PM - Barangay Gumian, Infanta, Quezon

Situated beside the main road, the Famy-Real-Infanta Road, that connected several municipalities in the Quezon Provice were the three compounds of South Luzon State University - Infanta Campus, Tohongin National High School and Claro M. Recto Memorial Hospital. Before the apocalypse, this area was highly populated especially with high school, college students and the families of the patients confined at the hospital. When the outbreak came, it became one of the most dangerous parts in the province.

Fortunately, the situation was contained due to the fact that the main road was frequently used by the military. Thus, the area was mostly cleared of danger although the infected and evolved animals would still wander around this area from time to time. Previously, this place had been used as an ambush point by the outlaws but with their defeat several days ago, the place returned to being an empty dilapidated area.

Now however, almost all the rooms that could be found in the buildings of the three compounds were occupied with people, as for those that were not, those rooms were being used for other important things. The facilities of the buildings in the three compounds were not even enough and tents and temporary dwellings were built at the grounds.

Soldiers from the military consistently patrol the open compounds to provide security and protection. It was despite the bad weather and the time. The temperature was cold and the ground was muddy but that did not stop the upright soldiers from performing their duties.

These three compounds beside the main road and near the entrance of Marcos Highway were where the people from Port of Real Settlement evacuated due to the threat of the storm. This place was about six kilometers away from the settlement and was further away from the sea. Although the place was still within the area affected by the storm, they were away from the threat of the storm surge and the emerging sea creatures.

In the compound of South Luzon State University - Infanta Campus, people from East Port Settlement temporarily settled. Still, most of them were still confused because of the ups and downs they suffered and the strange events they experienced. After all, they were almost caught by the people of Death Valley Settlement and were surrounded by a very large number of infected. And yet, they were still alive and intact. They even managed to reach this place and finally able to rest.

They fought the people of Death Valley Settlement and even Karlene and Alana joined the fray after securing the safely of Miracle and the [BloodChildren]. However, when they prepared the bloody fight against the infected after the men of Death Valley Settlement started to retreat, a miraculous sight awaited them. The infected ignored them and went after the escaping criminals leaving them all with dumbfounded expressions.

After that event, more people were injured and the march became harder. Due to that, Karlene tried to contact her father for assistance and luckily made contact despite the choppy communication. Soon, the military vehicles came and transported the injured, children, women and elderly first while the others continued to march the rest of the way but with the assistance of the soldiers that stayed behind to help.

Inside the main building of the college campus, Karlene was currently spending time with her father that she had not seen since she left with Mark several days ago. Together with them were Alana and her uncle who was pestering her for her finds when both girls spend the past days with Mark. Of course, both the girls did not say anything unnecessary. Well, even if they wanted to talk, there was really nothing to say. After all, Mark did not reveal his vital secrets to them and the two were not privy about it either.

All they could talk about was Mark's amazing base. Although Mark forbid the others to mention anything about the base, that did not include Alana and Karlene. It was along with the fact that the military should already have an idea that Mark had somewhere to settle about, a base of his own. As long as it was not about things that could potentially harm the base, they could speak about it.

Still, the faces of the two looked anxious. Not only them but majority of the people in the evacuation site saw that huge lightning strike. The brightness that overturned day and night in less than a second was really bad for the faint of heart. Not to mention the deafening roar of the heavens that followed after the strike.

TOK! TOK!

A knock was heard from outside.

"Come in."

Major Bautista let the person from outside the door to enter. The person was a soldier who looked hurried. That expression made the atmosphere inside the room rather tense. They did not know whether it would be a good or bad news.

"Major. The General was calling for you."

The soldier saluted and told his business.

Hearing that, Major Bautista was confused. The Major had been busy running about because of the evacuation and was finally able to rest with the permission from the general. Yet, the general was calling for him in his free time. It could only happen if something very urgent occurred.

"Did General Faustino tell you why?"

"Yes..."

The soldier seemed to hesitate.

"Say it."

Major Bautista urged.

"Actually Sir, it might sound unbelievable but we just received a report." The soldier took in a deep breathe. "Death Valley Settlement is destroyed. Apparently, the person with Miss Bautista and Miss Garces, Sir Mark, appeared there and was likely involved in its destruction. This news was received from our spies there."

"HAH!"

Hearing that, all the four people inside the room stood up at the same time with incredulous expressions.

***

Day 41 - 9:44 PM - General Nakar Central Elementary School, Barangay Poblacion, Infanta, Quezon

At the main building of the school, the slaves Mark collected stayed. There were only twenty people before when Mark left, but now, there was about a hundred slaves gathered inside the building.

After Mark left the slaves under the protection of Chaflar, several criminals went into the building. Seeing the escaped slaves, they obviously wanted to either play with them or take them back into captivity. However, Chaflar turned all those imbeciles into charred corpses that were currently left outside the building. Seeing that the twenty slaves were being protected, the other slaves that managed to take advantage of the situation and escaped their owners but had no ability to protect their selves took refuge here. Although they wanted to escape as soon as possible, their weakened bodies would not be able to handle it under the storm. It would be more likely that they would die due to cold if they did so which would contradict the whole reason they wanted to escape and that was to live a free life. Although it would be impossible to return to the life they had before the outbreak, in the least, they wanted a life free of torment and suffering from those who viewed themselves to be superior. They were already fed off from their life without a shred of self-respect.

To their dismay, the dragon that served as their protector suddenly flew off several minutes after that huge lightning strike happened. Furthermore, a large group of armed men appeared outside the building which caused them even more disappointment and regret for not escaping beforehand.

No one noticed that while all these things were happening, a glowing crystal passed by above the ruined settlement.

***

Day 41 - 9:45 PM - Ungos River, Barangay Pamplona, General Nakar, Quezon

At the sky north east of Death Valley Settlement, Mark rode at Chaflar's back as they chased for the crystal that flew away. It was unknown why the crystal that should have just fallen to the ground after absorbing the psychic ability of the whale suddenly flew off. However, the manner it flew reminded Mark when the crystal containing Freed flew towards him six years ago. Still, that was due to Freed choosing him. As for this crystal, it was impossible that a sentient soul was controlling it. Even if the consciousness of the whale had survived and was accidentally absorbed into the crystal, it surely would not be able of doing this.

When the crystal suddenly flew off, Mark tried to chase it immediately but he was hindered when a [Mental Crystal] suddenly popped up from the [PsyCrystal] on his arm. After all, the thick psychic energy in the air was still there and was being absorbed continuously. In fact, it was already the twenty-first crystal since the storm started. While Mark was doing many things such as killing the Mutators and destroying the settlement, the [PsyCrystal] did not stop absorbing the psychic energy in the air.

After storing the new crystal, Mark jumped off to chase but the crystal he called [Stormcaller Mental Crystal] flew rather too fast that he even needed to call for Chaflar to be able to maintain the distance. Although his [Shadow Mist Movement] was fast, he would gradually slowdown in the air due to the lack of propelling force and would not be able to maintain the distance with the fleeing crystal.

Luckily, the crystal continuously glowed which made it impossible for Mark to lose it due to the dark sky. However, it also made him feel that it was actually leading him somewhere than actually fleeing.

After flying for several minutes, they reached the estuary that connected Ungos River and the sea. There, the crystal that was flying at the same altitude all this time started to make its descent.

The estuary below was rather large and there were several islands could be seen with the larges one being about more or less four hundred meters in length. However, due to the rain that made the river overflow, the islands that could be seen were lesser in number while the visible ones looked smaller than normal.

Mark saw the crystal descend on the largest island in the middle of the estuary. It was rather dangerous since the rain made the river rather wild. If the crystal suddenly fell unto the water, everything he did was for naught. Fortunately, it seemed that the crystal was actually moving towards the island and not anywhere else.

Then, Mark noticed something. There was a figure lying slightly near the center of the island. The figure seemed to be human...

...to be precise, human... at least, the upper body.

It was a woman, lying on her back without moving. As the crystal closed in to her, Mark had no choice but to rush down. Due to the sudden descent, Mark and Chaflar managed to catch up to some extent. After reaching a close distance, Mark kicked off from Chaflar's body and vanished into black mist. Just before the crystal could touch the woman's body, Mark had already grabbed the crystal.

The crystal did not struggle or flee however but settled on his hand as if it already fulfilled its responsibility. Somehow, Mark could feel that the crystal was pleading for something.

Mark looked at the woman whose upper body was literally naked. Her face, body proportion and hair looked beautiful. She even looked enchanting. The ornaments on her hair which were made of colorful shells and stones further enhanced her beauty. However, her body had a lot of wounds and she was breathing weakly.

Storm, Whale, this woman...

Everything clicked unto place and Mark understood what had happened and where the Mutator whale had stolen its ability to call forth a strong storm.

There was a myth that if you caught one if this woman's race, the king of the sea would call forth a never ending storm until the captive was released back to the sea. It was very likely that their kingdom under the sea had already been destroyed and it would not be surprising if the whale was the culprit. Another possible thing was this woman could be the last member of their kingdom.

Still, Mark would not have thought that he would encounter someone like her this time.

After all, Mermaids were very elusive creatures.