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282 After the Storm, The Events and Circumstances of the Eastern Settlements

 Day 42 - 11:23 AM - Tongohin National Highschol, Barangay Gumian, Infanta, Quezon

Inside one of the classrooms that was supposed to be occupied by students before the outbreak, the chairs with armrests were put in a circle and a temporary meeting room was made. It might look odd and awkward but it could not be helped as there was no way for the military to bring furniture with them during the evacuation. Instead of loading furniture into the vehicles, they would rather use the vehicles to transport people.

Right now, those wooden chairs were occupied by the same people that govern over the Port of Real Settlement. Both the military officers led by General Faustino were present along with a few scientists let by Professor Suzuki. On one side were the politicians and sitting beside the general was Joash who somehow looked like in a bad mood. Aside from the usual members, the head of Salvador Family from East Port Settlement, Darren Salvador, and his eldest son, Raybert were also present.

"Darren, if the two settlements merge, I doubt that your family will remain in its current position."

General Faustino spoke.

They were currently discussing issues they were facing now after that strange storm finally vanished. The East Port Settlement was ruined and with the loss of the Ruanto Family and the missing Cristobal Family, the Salvador Family alone would not be able to manage such a large population on their own. In fact, they only maintained being one of the three families in order to hinder the other two families from their evil acts but now that the two other families were gone, there was no reason for them to remain either. Because of those reasons, it was better if their settlement merged with the military that had the manpower and weapons to secure their bases.

"It's really fine with us. We also want to step down soon so we can concentrate on managing our family rather than others."

Darren smiled. If the merge was approved and he was able to step down, things would be lighter for him. Managing a business before the outbreak was hard not to mention managing a whole settlement.

"I see." General Faustino nodded and panned his eyes to others who also nodded in consent. "Alright, everyone seems to be in agreement. This will be announced later to the people. Let us move to the next topic and the most important one."

Hearing this, the faces of everyone inside turned serious.

"This early morning, our scouts returned to Port of Real to check the situation. Regrettably, it is bad."

"General, what do you mean?"

The incumbent governor of Quezon, Daniel Suero asked.

To that question, General Faustino looked at his secretary to speak.

Apparently, the residential area of the settlement was ruined. Many buildings and structures were destroyed and some were even missing. The likeliness that those missing buildings were washed away to the sea after the water from the storm surge subsided was very high. It was also the same for the military section. Although the buildings were reinforced to some extent, the damages incurred could not be ignored. With the damage inflicted to the settlement by the storm, it would be better to rebuild the whole settlement from scratch rather than repairing what was destroyed. Unfortunately, it might be different if the outbreak had just started but they did not have enough resource and equipment to do that now.

However, that was not the main issue. Many died in that storm whether it was humans, animals and even infected. Especially for the fleeing sea creatures that had come ashore, many of them died because of various reasons. The problem lay with the corpses left. There were too many and a lot of them looked inedible. Still, due to those corpses, the infected, evolved carnivore birds and even carnivorous sea creatures came in droves to feast on the corpses.

With all those gathering at the coasts, it would be dangerous for people to approach those areas. Among the areas affected however were the Port of Real Settlement and East Port Settlement that were both built by the coastline.

"So, we have no other choice but to relocate am I right?"

The incumbent governor asked.

"Unfortunately, yes. However, we still need to decide where. Since we still can stay here for another day or two, I expect suggestions from everyone here."

The general replied.

"Including us?"

Darren Salvador asked.

"If possible, yes." General Faustino replied with a nod. "It is better if more people could give a suggestion to this. It is better to have more options not to mention that your family is among the people here that know this area well."

"I see. Then, I'll also give my suggestions later."

Soon, the meeting was done and the government officials left first as usual. As for the others, they did not leave, especially since they still had something to discuss.

"Professor Suzuki, what are your findings?"

General Faustino asked which made the others look serious once more.

"Those heads and bodies, they were in the similar condition as Drake's and his men's corpses. This is why I totally think that our first assumptions about Mark were true. Well, at least not all of the heads lost their mutations though. For some reasons, Mark did not take all of them."

"I see."

General Faustino nodded in understanding.

After the events last night, the soldiers found the headless bodies everywhere around the ruined Death Valley Settlement. Furthermore, they found the house where Mark housed the severed heads after Mark left with the people he intended to take away.

Some of the heads inside that house were known to be Mutators especially because of their unique abilities. Since that was the case, the concentration of Mutagen in their bodies should be rather high but according to Professor Suzuki, their bodies were the same as Drake's which meant that their Mutator abilities had been removed.

"In any case, it is better if we keep on his good side. If he was really able to grant those abilities he had taken to others, it won't be long before he strengthen his people."

The people inside the room nodded in clear seriousness. Right now, not only that Mark helped them in many things but also their settlement had a debt with him. It was good that a person with these powers was at least in good impression with them. If he suddenly turned hostile, they would be in great trouble. They might follow the steps of Death Valley Settlement if they made him an enemy.

Because of this, it seemed that they had to agree about what Mark wanted. He asked general to give him the female spy that was caught by him back then due to some unknown reasons. However, they already had suspicions that Mark wanted that woman's ability to fly. After all, abilities that granted aerial movements were very rare even now.

Well, they really had no reason to refuse. In any case, they had a large debt to him and the woman could be served as another way of paying. Also they had no ability to deal with prisoners right now as they did not even have a settlement to stay at.

The meeting among them soon finished. Unexpectedly, Joash did not say anything all this time.

"What is wrong with him?"

The always curious Professor Suzuki asked Major Bautista. To that question, the Major sighed and let out a bitter smile.

"My daughter rejected him again before they left."

"Ahh, no wonder he looked so grim."

***

Day 42 - 12:02 PM - Mountain Base, Mount Malabito, General Nakar, Quezon

Inside the chambers dug inside the crevice, Mark stood in front of a metal cabinet he had just made. Together with him were Amihan, Miracle, Oracle and the other [BloodChildren] who helped with making this cabinet.

It was a multiple leveled display cabinet with glass frame and metal walls. Inside, rows upon rows of glowing crystals could be seen in a slanted slotted display rack.

There were eighty two crystals inside the cabinet neatly lined in several rows. All of these were [Physical Crystals] containing abilities of Mutators he took along with some that came from powerful infected he managed to get their mutations. As for the [Mental Crystal] he was still keeping those inside the [PsyCrystal] since he was able to borrow the abilities stored in those crystals to some extent.

Still, even though he had this many, he was still unsatisfied. After all, he had no choice but to abandon quite a number of heads due to the lack of [Physical Crystals]. The [Mutagen Stones] were quite rare to find after all. In the least, he managed to get those stronger abilities he saw when he was watching the Mutators fight the whale and the infected. Even the ability that created that corrosive liquid was among those.

"Father, it looks beautiful."

"Right! My Lord, this look amazing."

Miracle and Amihan could not help but say as they watched the shining crystals inside the metal cabinet.

Hearing that, Mark nodded. It was really a fascinating sight.

After the events last night and getting Miracle, Amihan and the [BloodChildren] that were left in the evacuation site, Mark brought the people he gathered towards the base in the middle of the night. Since it was impossible for Chaflar to carry that many people, he came back several times to bring everyone.

To say, Edzel, Hamlin and his grandchildren and even the slaves that already lost their good outlook in life were amazed when they arrived at the base for the first time. They never imagined that there would be a very secure looking base in the middle of the dangerous mountains.

Even though it was in the middle of the night, Mark was welcomed back by Huey and Jolleen. It seemed that these two really took their jobs in this base seriously. Even Nicole, Trisha, Ed and Ron who were the first inhabitants came out and helped with settling the newcomers. Some of the others like Althea that came later than Huey's group also came out to help especially Althea who looked way better than before and was able to smile now.

Hallie however... she was sleeping like a log at the female quarters.

Many were surprised seeing the unconscious mermaid that Mark brought home. It was also the reason why Mark just let Hallie sleep or it would become a big ruckus.

The mermaid was placed inside a large basin made of [Blood Metal] and was filled with spring water. Although they were not sure if the spring water was suitable since mermaids live in the sea, it was better than nothing.

Surprisingly, the mermaid's wounds started to heal faster after her body was submerged by the crystal clear spring water. It seemed that the clean water had effects on a creature of water like her. However, she still had not gained consciousness. Mark knew the reason and it was not her physiology that brought that issue but her psychology.

The mermaid was even uttering incomprehensible mumblings as she slept but her expression was awful. It seemed that she was in a loop of agony. Due to that, Mark had to channel the milky white energy to her to at least help her sleep at ease. It would not be good if something happened to a rare creature like her. That would be a big loss for Mark.

Another thing was about Tullia's sister that was caught for initiating chaos in the Military Settlement. Since they had a debt to him, Mark asked to give Audrey under his wing. In any case, he was also interested in her Mutator ability which was flight with her wings. She could serve as aerial support in his base and that woman did not have a bad personality at all but was just forced by the circumstances. Since Tullia was already here, Mark would have a better grasp at Audrey and be able to use her for the sake of his base. Mark would stop by the evacuation site later to fetch her.

Aside from those things, Mark was already preparing.

In one or two days, he would leave again. This time, he was going west instead of east. It was rather very far but it did not matter at all. All he wanted now was meet Mei, Abbygale and Iola and bring them here. As for the missions left unto him by Freed, all those would be done later on. He would do those things together with the people he wanted to be with.