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452 By the Raging River, Meeting The Rey of Eastern Mountains and the Representatives of the Surviving Races

 Day ▮▮ - ▮▮:▮▮ ▮▮ - Border River, Eastern Mountain Foot

Halfway down the mountain, Mark and his team encountered fewer attacks from the infected creatures. Furthermore, the closer they get to the border where the dry land and the fertile soil transitioned, the lesser infected they encountered.

What bordered the dry mountain and the other claimed by the Duendes was a river flowing from north to south. The river was about fifty meters wide, and the flow of the water was considerably strong. Even a fully grown human adult would have great difficulties crossing the river without a bridge.

Nevertheless, the strong current of the river did not matter to both Chaflar and Gifre. At the deepest parts, Chaflar just flapped its wings and flew to the other side while Gifre just crossed it normally.

Not minding the strong current, everyone in their team could agree about one thing. The river was beautiful. Even in the deep parts, the water was crystal clear. Sadly, they could not find a single fish swimming at the shallow parts where the current was not strong.

Reaching the other side of the river, Mark signaled for everyone to stop and rest.

"Whew, finally! My legs are numb!"

Karlene exclaimed as she jumped off from Gifre's back. After shaking her legs, she then went towards Mark, who was assisting Mei and the little girls to get down from Chaflar's back.

"Hey, Mark. I don't think they needed assistance to go down, right?"

She blurted out the first question that came into her mind. That caused Mark to turn to her with a sigh before he replied.

"Because they wanted to."

"You really spoil them, aren't you?"

"Said the woman spoiled by her father."

That exchange made Karlene stop. She could not refute his last sentence, after all. There, she finally asked the real question that made her approach Mark.

"By the way, why did we stop here? That stone castle is just about a kilometer away."

Mark did not need to answer as someone else spoke behind her.

"Bessie, it's because we can't."

Alana replied while staring at the entrance of the forest in front of them.

That made Karlene, Edzel, Pearl, and Mara confused.

Hearing Alana's deduction and seeing her reaction, Pefile spoke.

"You're quite something too." He complimented. "It hasn't been long since you awakened your Demonic Blood, and you can already feel unusual magical fluctuations. For others, it might take months or even years."

"Is that so?"

Alana replied with a bit of uncertainty.

"Then, there's magic applied in the forest in front of us?"

Karlene asked.

"There is." It was Spera who replied. "If I'm correct, its illusion magic to disorient the sense of direction of anyone who enters."

"So, if we enter the forest carelessly, we might get lost? Even though the forest doesn't seem to be too thick?" Mara asked.

"Correction," Mark interjected. "Not might, we will definitely get lost and travel in circles. They probably set this up to deter the infected from approaching that stone castle if they enter through the forest."

Mark then turned to Teremillio and the others.

"This should be a work of a Tikbalang, right?"

"It should be." Teremillio agreed. "Normally, Tikbalangs use this magic to play tricks to their victims. I never thought that they are clever enough to use it to deter the infected."

"Well, doesn't this magic gets canceled when the victim wore their shirts inside out?"

Karlene asked another question.

There, Pefile playfully replied.

"It's not like the infected can take off their clothes and wear it inside out. Infected animals and insects don't wear clothes in the first place."

Karlene was stumped as she was made fun of. Alana tapping on her shoulder to sympathize did not help either.

"Papa, how are we going to enter?"

Miracle, who was stretching her arms up in front of Mark, asked.

Knowing what the little girl wanted, Mark picked her up and carried her in his arms.

"I can destroy this illusion, I guess."

"DON'T!"

Felenia, who knew how important this illusion was for her kingdom, could not help but shout.

"I'm joking, alright?"

Mark shrugged his shoulders.

"Please! Don't even joke about that!"

Felenia retorted.

"Felenia, calm down, alright? I'm not the type of person to bypass my allies. Besides, some guys are already coming to greet us."

There was no need to elaborate on Mark's words. Everyone immediately knew what he meant.

Now knowing why they stopped, they took the opportunity to rest a bit. Even though they just traveled for a whole day, they somehow felt that it was too long. They felt too tired than they were supposed to be.

Abbygale could not handle it anymore. Mark had to give Miracle to Mei, and he carried Abbygale, who took a nap in his arms.

It did not take too long, and a fluctuation of energy was felt by Mark and several members of his group.

They turned their heads towards the forest in front. That was when they saw the forest distort, and several figures of varying sizes went out of the distortion.

These creatures were being led by a pair of Duendes in golden clothing, riding a large golden bird that was hovering in the air using magic. There were also other eight individuals standing directly behind the couple. Behind them, many creatures that appeared to be either soldiers or warriors were standing with their weapons ready for battle.

"What an assortment."

Mark murmured as he recognized the races of each creature in front of him. As much as he was an Otaku for Anime and Video Games, the thing that took his interest in his own country was its mythological creatures. Although there were many inaccurate depictions of these creatures, the main features of these creatures were at least correct, which made it easier to recognize them.

While Mark was staring at the group of creatures, they were also observing his.

And to say, the group of creatures had unsightly expressions. They could still tolerate that some of their visitors were humans. However, they were able to recognize that Gifre, Logan, and Janette were Infecta. For their visitors, to have three Infecta in their group, they started to have doubts.

Still, the king of Duendes decided to keep it cool.

"I am the ruler of this kingdom. The Third Rey of the Eastern Mountain, Hieromano." His eyes then landed on Mark. "Are you their leader? I want to know the reason for you and your people to come into my territory."

Hieromano exuded an aura of authority as he inquired for the purpose of the visitors.

Mark did not reply and made a rude gesture of looking away from the king. He did not plan to be rude, though. He was just signaling for Felenia to show herself.

The kind and queen did not mind the rude gesture. However, the soldiers among the Duendes seem to take that offensively. A high ranking one was about to call Mark for his rudeness. Before he could speak, however, he froze.

"Father, Mother."

Felenia, who was escorted by Teremillio, went forward.

Almost all of the Duendes froze as they recognized Felenia. The shock was more apparent to the king and queen.

Hieromano still managed to keep his cool. Unfortunately, his wife did not. Before anyone was able to react, Malabinia had already turned into a fast blur as she ran towards Felenia while disregarding her safety.

The next thing Felenia knew, she was already in a warm embrace of her mother.

"My daughter!" Malabinia sobbed.

Teary-eyed, Felenia returned the embrace.

"Mother, I'm back."

"Welcome back."

Seeing their queen jump towards a potential danger, the soldiers were ready to attack at if Mark and his group made a single threatening move. It was unnecessary, though. Mark's group only reacted warmly to the scene. Teremillio's other wives even shed tears to see the reunion between Felenia and her mother.

Ignoring the mother and daughter, Mark turned to the king.

"We are here to gather information. Also, Felenia is worried about her kingdom. That is why we are here."

And of course, while they believed the reason about Felenia, they would not easily believe Mark.

"What information?"

The king asked. This time, his aura was toned down. The queen was currently with the princess, at Mark's camp. They did not want to trigger them into making dangerous moves.

"Mainly, it's about how the outbreak reached this dimension. Also, about that thing that occupied the Sylph's Kingdom."

Hearing the second part, the king and queen of Sylphs flinched.

"What do you mean by outbreak?"

The king of Duendes questioned once more.

"If you want to hear about it, its a long story. It is better if we find a better place to talk about it. Well, the most important thing is that the outbreak I'm talking about is about those."

Mark then pointed on the other side of the river where three infected Sylphs could be seen rushing towards them. It seemed that these ones felt the fluctuation when the illusion was opened.

Seeing the three Sylph Infectas, the soldiers formed a defensive line in front of their king. Some were ready to use magic to intercept.

Mark, on the other hand, spoke.

"Amihan, capture those three."

"Okay~!"

Amihan, who was hiding behind Chaflar, flew out to face the three Infected Sylphs.

The three Infected Sylphs started to throw clumps of air towards Amihan who shielded herself without problems. When she got close enough, she controlled the air around the three and encased the three in an invisible prison.

With the force of the wind trapping their bodies, the three Infected Sylphs could only growl. They tried to use magic to break the prison to no avail.

Amihan then flew back to Mark with the three Infected Sylphs hovering behind her.

This display shocked the group of creatures. Even more so for the King and Queen of Sylphs.

"Well, what do you people think?" Mark asked. "Can we enter? I want to talk about these guys. We can exchange information."

Information, that was what they really needed. Everything happened without any warning or chance to gather proper information, after all.

They felt the disturbance happening in the mortal world, since the start. And because of that, the only kingdom here that had a Spirit Tree, the Kingdom of Sylphs, sent some of their people to gather information. However, none of those they sent managed to return.

That was why these races were lacking the information they needed. After all, who would not want to know the cause of the catastrophe that they were facing at the moment? Furthermore, it was a catastrophe that could potentially wipe them all out.

"I would like to exchange information as much as you do," Hieromano replied with a stern expression. "However, I can't do that without hearing an explanation about those three."

The King of Duendes pointed at Gifre, Logan, and Janette.

Mark then smiled.

"I know that you will ask that." He said.

He already noticed that these creatures were wary about the three since the start. That was why he asked Amihan to capture these three Infected Sylphs.

"Aephalia, it's your turn."

At this moment, these creatures witnessed a scene that made them question the Sylphs. It was because Aephelia displayed an ability that a Sylph never had as she gained control of the tree Sylphs. She even made the three Sylph dance, which made the audience stare agape.

"My Sylph here has the ability to control these creatures. That is why you shouldn't worry about these three, they are under our control." Mark patted Janette's head which she voluntarily rubbed her head unto his palm. "They won't make any trouble."

What could the King of Duendes say after seeing that? Besides, Mark's group brought Felenia home. The reason for him to disagree was diminishing.

"Don't worry father, we can trust him," Felenia added. "We had been under his protection for some time already."

Hearing that, the king finally gave in.

Hieromano then turned to the creatures behind him and spoke in a language Mark could not understand at all.

"Master," Amihan whispered. "That is the local language they use in these parts of the Spirit Dimension."

"That's right," Pefile added. "Not everyone can communicate using Tagalog that humans in the Philippines are using. They have their local language and only a few can speak human language."

"I see..." Mark murmured while the others also nodded in understanding.

In the Philippines, there were about a hundred and seventy languages known to be in use. It was not surprising for the Spirit Dimension to have a different language considering that it was a different world.

The creatures spoke for a few minutes. There seemed to be some disagreement according to Pefile and Amihan. In the end, the King had to resort to his authority over HIS territory to shut the opposition down.

Finally, he turned to Mark's group and said.

"Follow us."