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283 A Slaves Thoughts, Her Past and the New Life She Could Look Forward to

 Day 42 - 2:03 PM - Mountain Base, Mount Malabito, General Nakar, Quezon

Everyone had just finished eating lunch and spending some free time before continuing their work. Near the small river where clean water was flowing from the spring, one of the new inhabitants that arrived last night sat alone. She was one of the slaves Mark brought here from Death Valley Settlement and one of those that had already forsaken trying to witness the future.

Tullia Ocampo. That was her name. One of the three slaves Mark had helped first after he arrived at the settlement under that storm. Her curly hair was waist long and she had a lean body with traces of malnutrition. She had a small cute face and she had intelligent looking eyes. Unfortunately, those eyes showed the extent of suffering she had before.

She was blankly looking at her reflection on the flowing water while her experiences in the past weeks played in her mind.

Two weeks after the outbreak, her sister, Audrey, was injured after the last time their group scavenged outside. Due to that, Audrey had to stay behind the next time their group had gone out. That was the last time she had seen her. Not because Audrey had gone missing but it was actually the opposite. Their group that had gone out to scavenge in the areas near the settlement was ambushed by the denizens of Death Valley Settlement.

On the spot where she was caught, her chastity had been sullied by a dozen men. Due to that experience, she did not even remember how they were brought back to that forsaken settlement. If not for Naomi and Aaron that was there with her and was also members of her group, she might have taken her life already. That was what she was envious of Naomi, despite them having the same horrific experience they had gone through, she was able to stay positive for the future.

In that settlement, they had gone through "training" to become slaves. Rather than actual training, it was a session to plant fear and despair in their minds. Although she was aware of that, she could say that those demons succeeded. In fact, even Naomi and Aaron had values ingrained in their minds even now. Example of this was about calling their savior Master than Sir or Boss. For some reason, they felt that addressing him who was the leader of this base with names other than "Master" felt off. That was how being a slave was ingrained into their minds.

Just this fact could justify that their minds were broken.

Tullia was the same. If fact, even if Naomi and Aaron was there, she would have committed suicide long ago. However, the thought of meeting Audrey once more despite the slim chance kept her going. That was until she was informed that she was being used to blackmail her sister into being a spy.

How did they know that? There was no need to ask. For sure, they had ears and eyes in the Military Settlement.

She could not accept the fact that her existence was being used to torment her sister into doing things she did not want to do. Because of that, she had another reason to end her life. However, there was no way for her sister to know that she was dead and would still serve as a material to blackmail Audrey. Dying at that time was pointless.

Being a young girl barely eighteen and having a rather above average face, she became one of the favorites of the person who bought her from the slave hunters. Day by day, she became a woman to satisfy that man's desires and at times, being used as a reward to his subordinates. She started to feel that her existence only served to satisfy the desires of those people. Because of that, she started to accept that there was no future for her.

And then, that person grew tired of her. It was because she was not struggling anymore every time she was being used. Apparently, the more she struggled and rejected them pleased them even more. As she became that, a toy that did not even satisfy their desires anymore, she was set aside and the despairing truth was conveyed to her.

"Your sister was caught. You don't have any value now that she'll likely be executed for espionage."

That man grinned when he saw her despairing face. Then, she was returned to the slave hunters to be sold again. That was the time the storm came. It felt like it had been a long time but that was actually just yesterday. Hearing that her sister could be dead, her reason to live dwindled. However, it would not be anytime soon. She was so tired that she had no energy to even kill herself. Tullia never ever felt so weak even when she was being tormented by several men in bed.

The criminals gathered together and as she overheard things, it seemed that they would be catching quite a large number of people this time. They surely wanted to replenish the dwindling number of slaves in that settlement. After all, the way they handled people killed them most of the times.

Who would have thought that it would also be the day that the hellish settlement would be destroyed. When the commotion broke out, many of the slaves saw that as an opportunity to escape. Tullia on the other hand along with a few slaves, felt that it was meaningless. Emaciated and weak, there was no way for them to escape without being caught. Not to mention that there would be nowhere for them to go.

Returning to the military settlement? There was no way that she would do that. Spies were everywhere and the government could not be trusted either. After all, the man that owned her all this time was a former government official. He even had ties to people in that supposed to be safe settlement.

Thus, she just sat there in her cage under the rain. She wished that the cold would kill her soon. However, Naomi and Aaron did not give up on her and tried to help her even to the extent that they were almost caught. Fortunately, their new Master, Mark, came at that time.

They were saved but she did not feel that it would be different anywhere. Looking at his face that looked even worse compared to some of the criminals in Death Valley Settlement, he would probably treat them the same. She would not be surprised if he asked her to satisfy him in bed soon.

To her shame, she was mistaken.

When they were brought to his base, they were amazed. They thought that it would like be a barbarian village since it was in the middle of the mountain but they were gravely mistaken. Sturdy tall walls mounted with weapons, huts that were being used to manufacture things, houses that could protect them from cold, clean water to drink and delicious food to eat. Anything they wanted and things they struggled to have after the outbreak could be found here. Not to mention that everyone they met had those happy smiles in their faces.

Tullia wanted to apologize to their new master for thinking about bad things about him.

Strange enough, their new master, Mark was being surrounded by strange things. A dragon was already amazing but to think that he also had a fairy and those slimes with him. He even brought back a mermaid together with them. He was really a man of mysteries.

"Tullia, what are you doing here?"

While she was in daze, a familiar voice was heard behind her. There was no need to look back. Tullia knew that it was here friend, Naomi.

"Nothing."

Tullia replied emotionlessly. It was not like she wanted to but she did not really feel like replying anything else. Then, she felt some soft sensation on her back as Naomi hugged her from behind.

"Seriously, stop sulking like this. We're already saved from that place. This place is really good there is enough food for everyone. We have to work to be able to eat though but its fine! We can eat until we are full! They even gave us meat, unlike those bastards that only gave us salted water!"

Naomi spoke with her usual energetic style.

'She never really changed.'

Unconsciously, Tullia let out a hidden smile that Naomi was unable to see. Realizing that she smiled, she was rather surprised. She never knew that she would be able to smile again.

'I guess, I'm starting to see hope for the future once more. I just wish that Audrey is with me...'

Tullia felt complicated.

"Are you thinking about Audrey? Be positive, she'll be fine. Master left earlier, maybe, he will take her here."

"Maybe... right?"

"Hey! I said! Be positive!"

Naomi released Tullia from her embrace and sat beside her.

"You think Master will make use warm his bed?"

With a curious tone, Naomi asked.

"What made you think that?"

"Because there are many girls here. I just thought that he might be collecting us or something like those bastards back in that place."

"Don't think too much." Tullia admonished her friend. "I don't think master is like that."

"Right, I also think so. That thought just passed my mind. I doubt he even view us as the opposite sex at all. Miss Karlene and Miss Alana are really beautiful and popular stars back then. They had good bodies even but I don't see Master's eyes going at unnecessary places."

Tullia looked at Naomi. This friend of hers was always this observant. She then looked down on the water once more and spoke.

"It's understandable that there will be more women than men inside bases. Compared to men, women are more meticulous in doing things needed in the base like managing food and cleaning things. Also the fact that men go out to gather food and protect others, it is easier for them to die leaving more women alive. It is the same for me and my sister. Our father protected us and died leaving the two of us alive. We had no one to rely to and thus, we go out to scavenge in order to have something to eat and drink. It's also the same for you right?"

"Yeah... I guess, I never thought of that."

Then, Tullia stood up.

"Let's go."

"Huh? Where?"

Naomi asked with confusion.

"You forgot already? Miss Trisha asked us to help with the seafood Master brought back remember? We need to help with processing and drying the fish or the food will rot."

"Ah! Right!" Naomi scratched her head. "I really forgot."

Tullia then started to walk away just to stop and turn back once more when she realized that Naomi did not follow. There, she saw her friend staring at her with a gentle smile.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing. I'm just glad that you looked better now."

Hearing that, Tullia turned her back towards Naomi and spoke.

"I said it before. Don't think too much."

Tullia then walked away making Naomi hurry to catch up.

That was when a large shadow appeared above the settlement. Looking up, it was the same dragon that transported them here. The dragon landed outside the base in order to avoid destroying anything inside because of the wind from the dragon's wings. Huey and Jolleen could be seen hurrying to open the main gates to the south of the base.

Once the gates opened, their new Master entered with the dragon following behind while carrying a lot of stuff on its back. Beside Mark, a woman could be seen walking with hesitation in her eyes and actions.

Seeing that woman, water started to flow from Tullia's eyes as she froze in place. Naomi realized what was happening with her friend and smiled as she took her hand and pulled her towards the gate.

***

Unknown to anyone but their new Master, he added a new chapter in Tullia and Audrey's stories. The two were supposed to be dead already but both of them were affected by Mark who was not bound by destiny anymore.

At the destruction of Death Valley Settlement, Tullia was supposed to die during the time Naomi and Aaron tried to help her escape. They were supposed to be caught and tortured for trying to escape. Naomi and Aaron were able to survive with broken minds and souls but Tullia should have died. However, Mark interfered and Sherwyn who was also affected by Mark appeared when he was supposed to be not there.

As for Audrey, even without Mark, she would have been caught by Jones after the incident. That time, there was no way for the people of the Military Settlement to catch since she was able to fly. Because of that, her escape was met with bullets that were supposed to cause her death. That however, never happened as Mark caught her the moment she tried her escape.

Both those times, Mark realized the aura of death looming on them and wanted to experiment what would happen if he interfered. He also knew that both were related to one another using their emotional energies. Now, their futures were blank after being liberated from the book of destiny. It would be good to see what lay on their path for their tomorrow.