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399 Collateral Damage, A Disadvantage at Fighting the Enemy on Its Homeground

 Day 67 - 9:20 PM - Maryhill Retreat House, Ortigas Avenue Extension, Dolores, Taytay, Rizal

The sun had already set hours ago. Since the apocalypse started, people would try to catch as much rest as possible. It was because they would need the energy from that sleep to survive the next day.

Inside the Retreat House, however, almost everyone was still awake. With the unknown danger looming around them, who would be able to sleep at all? Only a few managed to sleep despite the current situation. They were either the children of the soldiers and a few adults that desperately needed to rest.

Especially the soldiers that fought the whole day almost without pause to reach this place.

As for the other people, they would not be able to sleep even if they wanted to. They were sleepy. However, the anxiety of the incident of a ghost appearing hit their minds hard. Many of them were skeptical about ghosts before the outbreak. The appearance of Mutagen on Earth, however, turned the beliefs of many around.

***

On the third floor, Mark's group was engaged in a group discussion to pass time.

Most of the topics were about Mark though. From Rollan and the other's perspective when they were in high school.

In the middle of the talk, they suddenly fell silent. It was because the roof of the Retreat House started to make noises. The creaking sound of the roof felt unpleasant for some reason. Aside from the roof, they also noticed that the trees around the Retreat House were also reacting to the strong wind that suddenly blew.

The sounds caused by the strong wind blowing stopped shortly.

Nevertheless, things had gotten worse instead.

It was because everyone suddenly felt a heavy and dark feeling inside their hearts.

At the side, no one noticed that despite acting normal, Amihan was shivering.

As an elemental spirit herself, she was more sensitive to this feeling. She felt that a very strong evil spirit appeared nearby. That strong wind that made the whole building shake along with the trees outside was the evil spirit displaying its prowess.

Furthermore, it was not just wind. It carried an aura that would make unknowing creatures to feel negative emotions. Luckily, it seemed that most of that aura was filtered by the wall of Miasma her Master made. If not, it would not be surprising if some people that were affected started killing each other.

This aura was something almost all evil spirits possessed. Normally, this aura could only make people fear the evil spirit unconditionally. Stronger ones, however, could affect people's mentality and turn them into murdering psychopaths.

There were two more frequent stances of this. One was no matter how people were close to each other, once they were affected by this aura, they would run away while leaving everyone else behind. The second was when "mentally disturbed" people go on a murder spree including their family members before committing suicide after the effect of the aura was gone.

Normal people would always think of those circumstances as normal events despite the dark secret behind it though.

While everyone felt the dark aura looming the area, they felt fear. However, that was not the end of it.

GRAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!

The high-pitched screech eerily composed of hundreds of voices entered everyone's ears. All of them could not help but cover their ears. However, it was not enough. The screech was it being heard through their minds instead of entering their ears. Many were not able to handle it and fell on their knees. Those that had the worse fell on the ground unconscious.

On the third floor, the members of Mark's group was not an exception. Amihan, being the most sensitive to this immediately lost consciousness. Aephelia who now dwelled in a Sylph's body was the same.

Most of the children were also not able to handle that screech. Both of Odelina's children, Siegfried and Odette fell down, unconscious. It was the same for Jester, Monique's son. Mikio also lost his consciousness while Emika was barely holding on.

Iola who had a mentality of an adult and memories of several years of fighting was able to endure without fall unto her knees.

Most of the adults though were not to endure it fully. Odelina who was worried about her children could not even sit straight as she tried to wake them up. The others were not doing any better.

Unexpectedly, there were five that managed to endure it. Some of them, it was questionable whether they were even affected.

Mei was not affected at all and tended to Iola immediately. Jaeya was the same as she worried about Theodore. The baby was not affected too though. Abbygale was able to endure it too and only clutched her ears with a frown.

And Miracle... She had no clue what in the world was going on. As almost everyone around her fell, she only looked around in confusion.

As what happened was rather serious, the first thing that came into Jaeya's mind was to contact their leader.

Before she was able to do so, loud sounds of destruction could already be heard north of the Retreat House.

***

At the steeply sloped area south of the seminary, Mark stood his ground as he endured the screech.

When the abomination in front of him started to release that long loud screech, he thought that it was just screeching out of anger or trying to intimidate Mark. However...

"Tsk!"

Mark clicked his tongue as his eyes turned red.

As he was directly in front of the monster, he faced the brunt of the invisible attack. He did not expect such an attack. Even despite his trait as a Mutator, having his emotions taken away, he still felt cold on his feet.

"To think that it's a mental attack."

Mark murmured as he jumped back. The attack was similar to his [Emotion Induction] where he could afflict his target with a certain kind of emotion. The difference was that what this monster used was more powerful. An attack equivalent to the fear, anger, and grief of its hundreds of victims.

To endure it, Mark started using [Emotion Induction] on himself.

BOOM!

In the midst of its deafening screams, the monster stomped the ground causing quite a number of dead bodies in the heaps to splatter around disgustingly.

That stomp, however, was the start of its attack.

Since the aura it released did not make its target fall, it started on a full brunt attack.

As the huge monster charged forwards Mark, he felt really uncomfortable.

It was not because of the mental attack. The reason was something else. As a loner, he always felt that the stares of other people were rather uncomfortable. Now, hundreds of pairs of eyes were locked onto him. It felt disturbing in its own right.

This monster was one of Mark's banes. At least, mentally.

"Flam, get ready."

Mark said which caused the sword sheathed on his lower back to tremble in excitement.

Flam was a sword made for bloodshed, battles like this were what made it the happiest.

Mark stood ran around as the monster approached. Along the way, it scattered more rotting corpses around while uprooting trees violently. The several-decades or probably older trees were snapped and destroyed like sticks from the hands of feet of this humongous monster.

The monster even started throwing things at him. Anything that its hands would grab would come flying towards Mark.

"Big Brother!"

Jaeya's voice suddenly echoed in his mind.

"What is it?"

Mark immediately replied while he dodged one of the rotting corpses thrown at him.

"What is that scream! Almost everyone is affected! Many fell unconscious!"

Jaeya started to tell what happened to Mark. Hearing that Mei and the little girls were fine, he was a bit relieved.

"You want to know what is happening, right?"

Mark asked.

"Of course! Sis is also asking! Everyone can also hear those loud sounds outside!"

"Okay then."

Mark replied with a mischievous smile.

VLAM!

Flam was suddenly covered in flames that illuminated the place. As the appearance of the monster became clearer, he ingrained the image into his mind.

Then...

"GUE!"

That was Jaeya's reply. It was obvious that her stomach was churning right now.

"What is that! Disgusting!"

Her voice was rather desperate to reply and was filled with both annoyance and disgust.

"You know what is happening now. Just wait for me to come back, this guy is more dangerous than the king type in many ways so I need to concentrate."

Mark calmly said.

He did not know what happened. Jaeya did not reply anymore. He turned his eyes towards the direction of the Retreat House and concentrated. As the range of his detection reached the Retreat House, he almost burst out laughing. Jaeya separated herself from the others and her mind was filled with disgust. It was kind of obvious what was happening.

As for the evil spirit that fed on negative emotions of people, it felt Mark's change of atmosphere. It became more aggressive. Evil spirits could either be stronger or weaker depending on the mentality of the one facing it. Like its mental attack, those with positive traits managed to endure it further than others.

If Mark's neutral mental state turned positive, many of its abilities as an evil spirit would have weaker effects. That mental attack for example.

Feeling the change in its aggression, Mark finally stopped on his tracks. He waited as the hundred-headed-headless monster approached.

"Yeap, what a fitting name."

Mark murmured as he faced the repulsive stares. A monster with hundreds of heads but missing its own.

As it approached, it tried to grab him violently. The humongous right hand stained with dirt while dripping of rotten juices approached Mark.

Ignoring the smell, Mark stepped back at the right time making the large hand swipe in front of him.

SHING!

The hand continued to swing the initial direction. The moment the monster realized, it was missing four of its fingers on its right hand with only the thumb remaining.

It only realized what was happening when it saw the burning fingers wriggling like a detached lizard tail on the ground.

GGGRRRAAAAAAAYYYAAAAAAAAA!!!

Another scream from hundreds of head ensued. This time, however, it was not a mental attack but a scream of pain.

Mark sneered. That reaction gave way something.

As a ghost, it lost its sense of touch. For might be more than a hundred years it was wandering while searching for its head, it grew accustomed to not feeling anything.

Unfortunately, it was different if it had a physical body.

The pain that it was not used to anymore became one of its greatest weaknesses.

Of course, with a gigantic body that it had, it would be hard to inflict enough damage that could make it truly fill pain. Even if you shot it with a gun, it might only feel like being pricked by a mosquito.

Losing its hard-earned fingers was one thing though. Most creatures would surely feel pain in that.

Unfortunately, its pain did not last too long.

The monster stabbed its hand into one of the heaps of rotting corpses. Like the growing roots of a tree in fast forward motion, its hand grew root-like things that enveloped some of the corpses.

Then, its missing fingers were replaced...

With whole bodies of rotting corpses. Its right hand now had four rotting bodies as fingers and the necks of the bodies were attached to the stumps where the lost fingers were before.

"GUH..."

Mark felt even more disgusted with that scene. Especially when it tried to wiggle the fingers causing the rotting guts to spill out of the rotting bodies.

Still, he realized how troublesome it was. Not only that it had that repulsive stares and disgusting body, it even had the ability to use the corpses around to fix its body.

He was fighting this monster on its home ground. He wanted to observe the monster a bit more while fighting it, but... Nevermind.

The longer he spent time, fighting this monster, the more disgusting this monster would become.