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397 A Missing Important Detail, Locking Down the Living Area

 Day 67 - 8:02 PM - Maryhill Retreat House, Ortigas Avenue Extension, Dolores, Taytay, Rizal

Walking around the first floor with the Lieutenant, he ran across Case once more. The boy was surprised to see Mark already on the first floor before he and Kaira could even go down the stairs. Mark did not mind the two, and Case did the same. Although they said nothing about this, the two already understood that it was better not to regard each other if there were people around.

It was because it would make other people suspicious, especially when Case was hiding his abilities from the people around him.

On the other hand, 1st Lieutenant Baller following behind Mark had a lot of things on his mind. Without a doubt, what Mark had told him was one of those.

Mark said that he chose this as the resting point, knowing how haunted the place was.

Many people were skeptical about these kinds of things. Spirits, ghosts, demons, and the like, many people did not believe in their existence. Lieutenant Baller also belonged to that camp.

"Isn't it ironic, Lieutenant?"

The Lieutenant suddenly heard Mark ask him a question, which made him confused. However, when he was about to ask what it was, Mark continued.

"Many people deny the existence of ghosts, elementals, and spirits. Saying that there is no way such things exist."

Lieutenant Baller felt awkward. Then, he heard Mark's next sentence.

"Yet, those very same people believe their gods, angels, and miracles. They believe in the existence of heaven and hell."

The Lieutenant felt even more awkward.

"Don't worry. I'm not ridiculing you or something." Mark continued. "What I'm saying is be a bit more open-minded. You have the lives of your soldiers in your hands. Just because you don't believe about something could cause them to lose their lives. There's nothing bad about being more cautious."

"I'm sorry, Sir. I'll bore those words in my mind."

Lieutenant Baller understood what Mark wanted. Mark had no responsibility to protect the soldiers as they should be the ones doing the protecting. However, as the commander, their carelessness would leave dirt in his name.

At the same time, the Lieutenant accepted that Mark was serious about the things he said.

"Sir, is this place really haunted?"

Lieutenant Baller asked.

"You still don't believe me? I have two Sylphs with us. Sylphs exist, why not ghosts? There are also those creatures from Auraboros."

The Lieutenant scratched his head. He totally neglected the fact that Mark did have two supernatural beings in his group. The individuals from Auroboros were mostly non-humans too.

"But Sir, why did you choose this place if you know that this might happen?"

To that question, Mark contemplated a bit before he decided to tell the soldier.

"It's more of a personal reason. Well, I guess you people will notice this soon." Mark spoke. "Not only the mortal world is affected by Mutagen. Even the paranormal world is the same. So, it won't be surprising if we encounter infected supernatural creatures."

"That's..."

The soldier had a loss for words...

Just infected humans, animals, and insects were already something that the remaining population could not handle. If infected paranormal creatures were added to the mix, it might be better to kiss this world goodbye.

"So, Sir. You wanted to investigate this place?"

"Right. We will stay here for only a night. At least, I want to learn a few things. I've been searching for the ghost since we got here. The woman that screamed had beaten me to it, though."

It did not take long, and they got to their destination, the room where the frightened woman was being tended by her husband.

"Sir! Lieutenant!"

The young soldier hurriedly saluted after Mark and Lieutenant Baller entered the room.

"How is your wife?"

Lieutenant Baller asked.

"Lieutenant, she had gotten better, but she's still shivering."

The young soldier replied as he looked at his wife worriedly. As for the wife, she sat on a sofa while hugging her knees. She was trying hard to ease her shivering. Nevertheless, the terror in her eyes was still there. It was already good that they could converse with her to some extent and got the story out of her.

Without saying anything, Mark approached the terrified woman.

"Sir, what are you-"

The young soldier was worried, but the Lieutenant grabbed him and told him to calm down.

Mark looked at the woman in different angles first until he noticed something. He parted the woman's mid-back long hair around her nape. Then, he reached his hand like he was about to grab the woman's neck. His hand was clad in miasma making it look sinister.

It made the young soldier even more worried.

However, before Mark could even touch the woman's neck, he closed his hand as if grabbing on something. He then pulled his hand back with an intense rise in miasma around his hand. At the same time, the woman released a painful moan.

After that moan, her body slumped as if she lost her energy. The young soldier hurriedly grabbed her as she was about to fall off from the sofa.

"Belle, are you okay?"

The soldier asked as he checked on her. He was panicking.

"Sorry... Nel... I made you worried."

The woman's weak voice was heard. It seemed that aside from being weakened, she already returned to normal. Her complexion also had gotten better.

"Sir, just what happened?"

Nelson, the young soldier asked Mark. Although he was confused. He understood that Mark did something to make his wife recover, at least, mentally. In the tone of his voice, he was obviously grateful.

"Corpse energy," Mark replied. "Her body was invaded by energy emitted from a ghost that became a strong evil spirit."

The other three people would have not believed such magical stuff he was saying if they did not saw what happened with their own eyes. The sudden recovery of the woman was the concrete evidence of what Mark was saying.

As Nelson made his wife lie down on the sofa comfortably, Mark asked the woman.

"I have a question for you about what happened."

"Sir, I think, she already said everything she saw."

Nelson tried to intervene as he did not want his wife to force herself to recall such a terrifying experience.

To the young soldier's intervention, Mark had no problems with it. He was the same if it came to Mei after all. However, what he wanted to ask would be crucial to everyone.

"She might have told everything else but a single important detail, you see. Don't worry, it will be a short one."

Mark assured the soldier.

"Nelson, Sir said that it's important."

Even Belle seemed to have no problems with it making Nelson agree.

Seeing that the woman was ready to answer, Mark asked.

"I just want to ask whether you remember if the headless priest you saw is carrying his head in his arms or not. Or at least, if he is carrying something that might fit a person's head."

To the young soldier and the Lieutenant, that question was quite hard. Most people would not be aware of such details when they experienced a frightening event. However, the woman responded contrary to their expectations.

"Sir, I don't think that the priest I saw was carrying anything. Both his hands are on his side while walking."

"I see." Mark nodded with a stern expression. "Okay, that's all. Also if you felt something strange, find me. Being exposed to Corpse Energy can cause side-effects."

"Yes, thank you."

"Sir, thank you."

Both the husband and the wife thanked Mark as he left with Lieutenant Baller.

"Lieutenant, I'll add two new rules for tonight."

Mark spoke when they stepped into the hallway.

"Just say it, Sir."

"First, don't let anyone go alone, even the patrols. Be sure to inform everyone. If they want to go out, even just in the hallway or inside the toilet, be sure to be in a group of a least three people. As for the second one, do not leave the area we designated as our dwellings for tonight."

"Yes, Sir!"

After letting the Lieutenant return together with a few soldiers, Mark climbed to the third floor.

There, he was greeted by the disturbed Amihan. He was also bombarded with questions about the scream. They were also curious, but Mark told them not to go out unless it was really necessary.

Of course, he told them what happened. He also told that he knew about this place before. He had never been here though.

"So that's why!" Amihan exclaimed. "I've been feeling odd since we got here!"

It seemed that she could feel the presence of the ghost in this place.

Mark observed everyone. Now that they knew that there was a real ghost in this place, everyone had different expressions on their faces. Especially Karlene and Analynn, both of them were really scared. Even Jaeya was also afraid. On the other hand, there was no change to his little girls. Mei was also not afraid as it looked like.

"Anyway, all of you should stay here together. The one we have here should be aggressive."

Mark warned.

It was the reason he met the woman and confirmed that detail. In some rumors and urban legends, a headless priest might be either harmless or harmful. The indicator of that was whether their detached head was present around their body or not.

If the headless priest was seen carrying its head, consider it harmless and was just passing by. On the other hand, if the head was totally out of the picture, some bad things could happen to the people that saw it.

They said that it might mistake the head of the person that saw the priest as his head. In that case, the headless priest would take it. It would not matter how many people saw it at the same time. It could either be the closest person or anyone in the group. There was no restriction on gender either.

As for the said witnesses, most of them would run away. Those that were really frightened would not even care if one or two of their friends were left behind. Unfortunately, the person slowest to run would not be seen again. It was even more dangerous if the person was alone.

Luckily, the soldiers managed to respond quickly or that woman might have vanished into thin air already.

"Gege, what are you going to do?"

Mei asked. From what Mark said, all of them should stay together. He was not included.

"I will search for that guy. I have a few things I want to know."

Mark replied. He knew that Mei was being worried.

"Then, be careful."

Mei grabbed his hands.

"Don't worry. I'll be fine. I don't think that that priest will want my head to replace his."

Mark smiled.

With that, Mark made sure that everyone was protected as he planted a wall of miasma around the area occupied by the whole group. It included the first and second floors which made some of the people terrified.

After all, the incident about the headless priest had just happened. Now, everyone was being imprisoned by this black misty wall. The soldiers knew what this was and worked hard to pacify everyone.

While everyone was already secured, Mark, alone, went to the other parts of the retreat house.

On the other hand, it seemed like no one would be able to sleep tonight. It was all because of their curious leader.

"Is Big Brother always like that? To bring us somewhere dangerous as this haunted place."

Jaeya's voice echoed in everyone's head as she complained. She noticed that even Theodore was disturbed. Luckily, the baby boy was not a normal baby that would cry at the slightest disturbance.

There, Rollan sighed.

"Mark had always been like that."

These words made everyone look at him.

"Back in high school, he had something like an occult book he always brought to school. It contains a lot of weird stuff he wrote such as information about ghosts and magic spells. He even had a deck of playing cards he used for fortune-telling."

Unknown to Mark, his dark past was being uncovered.

As it was about her Gege, Mei was also interested. Then, a weak tug on her side took her attention. It was Miracle.

"Mama, what is a ghost?"

The little girl asked. No wonder she was not afraid.