The darkness of the night loomed over the end of the world once more.
Being far from the middle of the city did not lessen their wariness towards their surroundings, however.
The nighttime in the middle of a city filled with infected was scary. Yet, spending the night in a place surrounded by nothing but trees and darkness was scary in its own way.
Along with the fact that the retreat house itself was giving them strange feelings, no one would be able to rest properly in this night.
As they decided to spend the night here, they used one corner of the building as their resting area. This way, it would be easier to gather everyone if something bad happened in the middle of the night. They occupied the rooms around the stairs from the first floor to the third floor.
The first floor was occupied mostly by soldiers. The second floor belonged to the rescued survivors and the families of the soldiers. Lastly, the third floor was occupied by Mark's group. Of course, the soldiers on shift to be on the lookout would patrol the first and second floor. Although there was no need to, it was to make the people on the second floor relieved. Most people would feel secure when they knew that there were guards outside than having nothing, even if it was unnecessary.
For the third floor, Mark made it off-limits unless it was an emergency. The soldiers knew that Mark's group did not need any guards. If fact, if it came to a shove, even the little girls in Mark's group would perform better than the soldiers.
Mark's rules for not allowing entry on their floor aside, there were not many rules that restrict the others. Although the soldiers told their families and the rescued survivors to stay inside their rooms unless necessary, they did not strictly restrict them from going out. It was as long as they stayed away from restricted places and they had at least a single to escort them.
It was to maintain their psychological state. Some might feel safe by confining themselves inside closed spaces, but there were also those that get more anxious as they would not know what was going outside. It was especially the case since they knew nothing about this place.
Furthermore, the survivors were feeling uncomfortable with the place for some reason.
"You guys saw that girl, right? How beautiful. They also had cute girls and women. There's also Miss Karlene with them. How lucky."
A man's quite annoyingly toned voice echoed in a room on the second floor.
"Hah... Prince, can you stop that already. You're just being annoying again."
A voice of a woman complained at the man although her voice showed obvious jealousy with her tone.
"It's both of you that is annoying."
Another voice chimed in. It was a man's stern toned voice reprimanding the two.
There were also other people in the room. By listening to their muffled voices and tones, the relationship between these people was not bad. Well, except for one person it seemed.
These people were the survivors they rescued from the Municipal Hall of Taytay, Rizal.
The leader of this group was no other than the stern man, Harold Buenavista. As for the other two, the annoying man was Prince Jeremy Mendoza and the jealous woman was Kate Torres.
These three people led this group to survive in that Municipal Hall for these past two months. Actually, there were more of them before along with some of the municipality's officials. However, those that were not here did not make it. If not for these three, the ones left would not have made it either.
"Still, we are finally away from those bastards."
Kate voiced out which affected everyone in the room. They all knew who she was talking about.
"Those bastards left us alive but made our lives miserable."
Another person in the group voice out and everyone agreed.
What they were talking about was the group that made the resort hotel as their base. Those people were a group of notorious gangsters. Their group was not stationed here in this part of Taytay before and was more known in the urban and squatters areas. A few days after the outbreak, they moved on that less populated area and started to terrorize other people that managed to survive the initial outbreak.
It did not take long and their group was the only ones left. It was because to deal with their group having three mutators would not worth the risk. Instead, that notorious gang lured the infected away from their base and gathered the infected outside the municipal hall. The gang used them to lessen the threat on their base by luring the infected to another.
That was the reason why they started to have a harder time surviving. Because there were more infected around the municipal hall, the infected in the surrounding areas also moved there and left the resort hotel alone. Luckily, before the supplies they managed to gather ran out, the convoy with strange vehicles and soldiers passed by and rescued them.
While they were talking, someone knocked on their door. Although the knock was not hard, the material used on the door made it sound like someone was pounding on it.
Kate being the one close to the door, opened it to see who was outside. There, a soldier stood.
"Sir, do you need something?"
Kate asked with a bit of a strange tone. This made Harold shake his head. This was one of Kate's odd sides. Every time she faced someone with higher standing, her tone, and actions turned like this all the time. It was the same when she was talking to him. She looked like she was appealing to be treated well every time.
The soldier outside was not prepared for it. As the door opened, a good looking woman fidgeting like she had seen her crush talked to him. He froze for a bit and saw the other people behind her. That was when he regained his composure and cleared his throat with a cough.
"Ahem. Dinner has been prepared. Please go down to the first floor and our men there will guide you all to the dining room."
After telling them the message, the soldier turned around not waiting for any reply. However...
"Thank you for telling us."
The same woman's voice echoed with a suggestive tone. The soldier felt goosebumps. He's a married man with two children and his family was with him in this mission. Such temptation should not affect him.
Thus, he scurried away.
"Kate, can't you do something about that habit of yours?"
Harold immediately spoke as the soldier left.
Kate replied which made Harold rub his temples. That was the problem, Kate was oblivious to her behavior. How could she change if she did not understand what she was doing?
"Yeah, what did she do?" Prince chimed in. "Anyway, let's go! We can finally eat proper food. Maybe, those girls are also there!"
And here was another. He was not just narcissistic but was also an idiot.
If not for their abilities, their position as his left and right hand were not worth their personalities.
"I see, they said that they only have three Mutators."
Mark said while tapping his chin.
He was currently on the first floor which listening to the report of 1st Lieutenant Baller.
From his report, the survivors did not seem to hide too many things. They even told the summary of their survival up to when they were rescued. It included the information they knew about the gang that hid in the resort hotel.
The strange thing was that...
It seemed that they did not know that there was a fourth Mutator in their group. That was very odd.
As Mark received the names of the Mutators and their descriptions, he immediately knew who was missing. If there was a chance, he would surely ask. After all, that Mutator was the one he thought that he could recruit.
"Alright, I'll go now."
Mark said as he already heard what he wanted to hear. He also wanted to explore this place a bit.
"Are you not going to eat with us, Sir?" The Lieutenant asked. "Dinner should be prepared already."
"Hmmm. I'll see if we will."
Mark replied and went out of the room designated for the that did not have their families in the convoy. Sad to say, it was not because they left their families in Bay City Settlement. It was because they had no families left. 1st Lieutenant Baller was the same.
As Mark climbed the stairs, he ran into the rescued survivors. Of course, he did not bother with them although he glanced at the Mutator not know by the soldiers for a second.
Since Mark did not even pay attention to them unlike the soldiers, he got the attention of the rescued group. Well, most of them. One did not and proceeded the way without stopping.
"Just who do you guys think that man is?"
Prince said not minding if the person would hear him.
"Can you just shut up?"
Harold reprimanded while taking a glance back at the person they passed by just now.
Unfortunately, Prince did not seem to hear him. Or probably, did not care at all. He continued talking.
"That man rides that dragon, right? I also saw him with those women. Why is such an ugly person like him had the gall to be with those beauties. Someone handsome like me is more appropriate to be with them."
Harold then felt cold. No, it was just no cold. It was killing intent. Surviving for this long was not just a show for him. He survived undertaking dangers while leading this group. His people might be naive but not him.
To make him feel this thick killing intent, there was no doubt that the source of this killing intent would not hesitate to spill the blood of other people.
He had to act fast before it got worse.
"I said, shut up!"
Harold stealthily kicked oblivious Prince who was walking in front of him and fell for the rest of the stairs.
There were still about a dozen steps remaining and the fall was quite hard. However, Harold already had the circumstance in his calculation. To Prince, this might hurt bad but it would not injure him badly. He did not even have a single bruise after his hard fall.
Feeling the killing intent lessen, Harold sighed in relief.
"What are you doing Prince? Did you become too handsome that you want to suicide?"
Kate chuckled. No one had seen Harold kick him. To them, Prince lost his footing and fell.
Kate's remark made the others release stifled laughs.
"I didn't! Someone kicked me!"
Of course, no one believed the narcissistic idiot.
They all continued to the dining room while being escorted by a soldier that witnessed what happened. As their attention was all on Prince. They did not notice that they were missing someone.
Mark did not continue to climb to the third floor, he went in a different direction because he sensed something. He walked across the hallway of the second floor with a strange feeling. Before the outbreak, he was quite sensitive to feelings like this. Now that he had miasma inside him that was the bane of any kind of supernatural and even natural energy, that sensitivity became higher.
The place was dark and creepy. And the kerosene lamps that the soldiers hanged around contributed to the eerie ambiance.
While walking on the hallway, alone, almost in the dark, something flew by at the end of the hallway.
Mark rushed towards it even using his [Shadow Mist Movement]. That thing that flew by, however, was nowhere to be seen.
As he lost that thing from his view, the strange feeling also vanished. However...
A frightened scream was heard coming from the first floor.