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453 Joining the Meeting, The Mysterious Cause of the Hastened Invasion of the Infected in the Spirit Dimension

 Day ▋▋ - ▋▋:▋▋ ▋▋- Illusion Barrier, Eastern Mountain

With the invitation of the Rey of Eastern Mountain Hieromano, Mark and his team followed his lead.

Of course, it was not an all positive thing as some of the races had unsightly expressions and emotions towards the Rey's decision. After all, humans had been known to hunt down their kind in the Mortal World. It was even more apparent for the Sarangay, who did not try to hide his hatred towards humans.

Some of the races in the vicinity did not like humans either. It was very likely that they were among those that lived in the mortal world before retreating to this dimension. This was not surprising as according to Amihan's stories, during the Spanish Inquisition, many races were hunted and forced to leave the Mortal World.

As for the Sarangay, his hatred towards humans was not unwarranted. His kind had been hunted for ages because of the jewel embedded in their ears.

These jewels had been used by Rajas or Datus for expensive jewelry. Most of the time, it was sent as dowries to the family of the woman they want to marry. Of course, the Sarangays were not easy to hunt, and hunters would end up having casualties. That made the beautiful jewel even more valuable.

With that strange atmosphere made by the mixed emotions of everyone present, they all entered the forest.

Outside the forest with towering trees that even allowed Chaflar and Gifre to be under its shade, everything looked clear. When they entered, however, except for those that could not display emotions or had emotional disabilities, everyone else was shocked.

The real appearance of the forest could not be from the outside. Inside the illusion, however, everything was clear. There was quite a handful of infected roaming around. All of them were wandering randomly and did not seem to notice that there were living individuals passing by.

These infected, without a doubt, were under the effects of the illusion. They were too vulnerable that a lot of them were being killed by the races without them knowing.

This showed how effective their method of employing Tikbalangs to protect the fortress.

Mark noticed, however, that there were some kinds of infected that the races were trying to stay clear of. Probably, there were issues about those, and the folklore creatures were not able to kill these infected.

Going out of the forest, Mark and his group witnessed a wondrous sight that they could not see from outside.

The stone fortress was within sight even though it was still about five hundred meters away. As for the rest of the way, there was a magical community. It was filled with different kinds of creatures that were wandering about. Bizzare structures made of soil, plants, stone, and even trees filled the area. Even giant mushrooms that could only be seen in fairytales were present.

Of course, while Mark and his group were amazed by the wondrous sight, it was the same for the creatures they saw along the way. They stopped to give respect to the king, queen, and the representatives of the races, while they gave Mark's group a bunch of stares with different emotions. Some were positive, many were negative, and there were also curious ones staring at Gifre, who looked like a bizarre creature from another dimension. The context was not wrong, though.

More than that, Mei's appearance was getting too much attention. Amihan and Pefile whispered that many of them seem to be mistaking her for a new Diwata visiting the fortress. It was even though her clothes and Miracle that was on her arms indicated that she was not.

Under those stares, they arrived at the stone fortress. Seeing it up close, it was very huge, way bigger than they thought when they saw the structure from afar.

The whole structure was to wonder, that was what they thought as they entered the gates of moving vines. As it was made of magic, there were no signs of any structural system or construction method being used. The walls were as flawless as a river pebble. Under their feet, the floor was smooth but had enough resistance to keep everyone from falling.

There were no foundations nor connections between the walls, floor, and ceiling that indicated that each was built differently. It just showed the fact that the whole structure was raised from the dirt as a whole.

Gifre, Chaflar, and Logan were decided to be left in the front yard of the fortress. Their bodies were too large for the interior of the structure. The majority of the soldiers also left and had gone back to their duties. They only left a few to guard the king, queen, and the representatives. Still, these few soldiers left were not people to belittle. Mark could feel that some of them were even stronger than the king and the representatives.

The king spoke some words to the representatives. Amihan translated the language for Mark and the others. It seemed that the king told the representatives to return to the meeting hall as they would continue the meeting soon. The representatives left, and a few turned their backs while grumbling incomprehensible words.

Turning back to Mark's group, Hieromano spoke.

"You all seem to be tired. Let my Heneral, Merio, guide you to our guest rooms."

The king gestured to one of the Duendes that was wearing armor. This Duende seemed to have a decent personality as he humbly presented himself in front of everyone. Well, that should be the case if he could just remove that fierce glare he was directing at Teremillio.

Teremillio who was receiving the glare. Only shrugged his shoulders with a bitter expression. That gesture, however, seemed to have worsened the mood of Merio.

Although the king said to them that they could rest first, Mark did not want to waste time. Thus, he told the others to go, while he would join the meeting together with Pefile.

The king did not disagree about Mark's decision. In fact, he also wanted Mark to join the meeting. Information, after all, was very crucial at this point.

While the king guided Mark and Pefile to the meeting room, the queen took Felenia off to join Mark's group. Apparently, it seemed that she wanted to meet the others that Felenai deemed as sisters.

Arriving at the meeting hall, the presence of Mark and Pefile caused quite a change in the atmosphere. Fortunately, none of them voiced their concerns about letting Mark and Pefile joining. They also wanted to learn about everything that happened. After all, they already lost the means to go there and gather information while the ones they sent before never came back.

Thus, Mark and Pefile became the focus of the meeting at this point.

Without hesitation, Mark told everyone what had happened in the Mortal World and the cause of this the mess they were facing. Learning about Mutagen and that it was actually something that came from outer space, some of the hatred the representatives had was lessened. It seemed that some of them believed that humans were to blame about what was happening. After hearing that the Mortal World was facing the same catastrophe and humans were on the verge of extinction, their hate dwindled further.

Of course, the hate about the past was still there and was unaffected.

Mark had told them the general knowledge he could narrate and without the unnecessary specifics that he could hold back for advantage. He did not have to describe every detail, after all, and lose the exchange.

After his narration, Mark inquired about things started in this dimension.

The King of Duendes, together with the King of Sylphs and the Representative of the Anggitays, told the story.

***

Compared to the time that passed in the Mortal World since the outbreak, it had just been a month and a week since they noticed that something strange was happening in the mortal world.

At that time, the King of Sylphs sent soldiers to see what was happening as they were the only ones that had a Spirit Tree in the area. Unfortunately, not a single one returned.

Since then, some sort of rumor started to circulate and was passed by tribes and kingdoms. Apparently, they encountered some enraged humans that got lost into this world. As not all Spirits and Elementals hated humans, they tried to help then to return to the Mortal World, only to get attacked.

Luckily, the instances were rare, and there would only be one or two that would get lost. There were also no casualties reported as the humans attacking were immediately restrained by magic and were sent back.

After a week, the instances started to become more frequent. The residents of the Spirit Dimension was could already feel that the barrier between the Mortal World and this dimension was getting unstable.

That was when the term Infecta started to circulate as some casualties appeared and became like Infecta, attacking their own kind. The situation was still controlled at that time, and they tried to find a cure for their infected families and friends to no avail. There were also some odd-looking creatures and animals appearing in the same manner and having the same behavior.

They Spirits still managed to control the situation preventing it from worsening.

It changed about two weeks ago.

Some sort of disturbance happened on the western coast of the land. The surviving witnesses said that it seemed to be akin to two demonic deities fighting.

Cracks in space appeared, which caused Miasma and Flames to seep out of the cracks. Their assumption was hard to doubt as only some demonic races could control Miasma, and the Flames contained a demonic aura.

Although the disturbance did not take too long and vanished, it left the space in a seriously unstable state.

Many rifts in space appeared after two days until the stability of the space returned.

The problem was that, though.

In those two days, dozens upon dozens of Infecta were transported because of the rifts. They varied in sizes, strength, and appearance. They started to invade the kingdoms and killed the tribes they encountered. Many members of the races became Infacta with their magical abilities remaining intact. This caused another level of threat to everyone living in this land.

Just on the first day they appeared, the Infecta already conquered the western areas and was spreading fast. Many races tried to flee to the eastern parts to no avail.

Some made it, the majority did not.

Since then, this part of the Spirit Dimension had turned into a mess filled with deadly creatures that continued to mutate day by day.

***

Hearing this, Mark was keeping his straight face. Inside, he already wanted to slap his forehead.

'So, the majority of things that happened here were because of me and that flame demon?'

He thought.

No wonder that after the battle between him and Gar'Vlam, the whole Bay City Settlement was quiet for several days. The infected that should have been attacking the settlement could have been attracted to the rifts in space. After all, these rifts that connected to the Spirit Dimension would surely release strong magical energy to attract them in entering.

Nevertheless, there was no use to dwell in it. That was what Mark had decided. According to what he heard just now, the barrier between the Mortal World and Spirit Dimension was already getting unstable. It was just a matter of time before things ended up the same way.

The accident that he and Gar'Vlam caused only hastened the inevitable. It was already bound to happen sooner or later.

***

Mark also inquired about the thing that occupied the Kingdom of Sylphs.

Fortunately, it was not related to him. Apparently, during the spread of Infectas, a Berberoka, somehow, entered their Spirit Tree through the mortal world. It was still unknown how it was able to enter. The worst thing, that Berberoka was in the midst of turning into an Infecta.

It suddenly mutated inside the space of their spirit tree, filling the space with its mass. It attacked the Sylphs residing inside the space, causing the majority of the Sylphs to become Infectas because of its tentacles.

The King and the Queen, along with their close aides, managed to escape because of their control of the portal going outside.

But soon after they escaped, the space inside the tree collapsed, causing the more than three thousand infected Sylphs to swarm those that were outside.

Luckily, Danaya, who was gathering survivors from the western areas, was passing by and managed to save a good number of Sylphs, before fleeing.

While they were continuing with the meeting, the person in question, the young Diwata called Danaya, arrived.