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403 Two Different Groups, Something Boiling Deep Within

 Day 68 - 8:02 AM - Maryhill Retreat House, Ortigas Avenue Extension, Dolores, Taytay, Rizal

Since Mei was concerned about him, Mark readily told her about some of the things she needed to know.

It ended up with her staring at him seriously.

"Hmm??"

Mark stared back with a look that was asking for what she wanted to say.

"Promise me..." Mei spoke. "Promise me that you won't do dangerous things like that anymore. At least, not alone."

She spoke with a very serious face as she held Mark's hand tightly.

Mei was not wrong with what she said. Since Mark was likely to do more dangerous things in the future, he should not be alone anymore.

It was because most of the instances that he fell unconscious were when he was alone.

First was when he fought with Odelina when she was on a rampage. At the most dangerous moment, Freed came out and saved the day. Still, he fell unconscious because of his severe injuries while he received his regenerative abilities as an Evolver.

The second time was when he lured the Stone Clad Woman and the Frog Headed Infected away from the evacuation convoy. He became a Mutator at that time alone. If not for Freed securing his survival, he could have turned into a Failed Mutator.

Next was when he fought the Deity of Bloodshed. After absorbing the formless demon and ingesting the [Physical Crystal], he fell unconscious too. Fortunately, his Mutation at that time was too powerful and the miasma swirling around his body continued until he woke up.

This was the fourth time. If not for Ignis securing that he would not be consumed by the flames he conjured himself, although he would not die, he might have received injuries.

Hearing Mei's request, Mark felt rather troubled. He was glad to have her worrying for his safety. However, he would not be able to stomach it if any of them became injured while accompanying him.

Still...

"Alright."

Mark nodded.

If he did not want to make them fall into danger, then, he just needed to grown even stronger. Strong enough that no harm would befall even on a single strand of their hair.

Mark then paused and made a bitter smile.

Before the apocalypse, he was just a person like him rotting alone in a closed dark house. The only things he had were his video games, anime and the non-reachable idols he watched on the internet.

Who would have thought that a shut-in like him would have the motivation to grow stronger now? Furthermore, the reason for it was some 3d girls.

'I became a hypocrite of my past, don't I?'

Mark thought.

"Gege?"

Mei called out while tilting her head cutely. She was confused about why Mark was showing such expressions.

"It's nothing." Mark smiled and decided to change the topic. "By the way, what is that thing?"

Mark pointed at something wrapped with a cloth placed on a table near the door. He had been in this room last night and could not remember that thing being placed there. If not for Mei and the little girls sleeping around him, that would be the first thing he would notice.

Since that thing was wrapped with a thick cloth, all he could see was that it was something spherical about the size of a soccer ball.

Mei stood up and took the thing Mark pointed at. When she returned and sat on the bed, unwrapped the item revealing a black ball. No, it was not a ball but was a stone.

"Is this what I think it is?"

Mark asked as he turned towards Iola.

Iola nodded confirming Mark's thoughts.

This black spherical stone was nothing else but a very large-sized [Mutagen Stone].

In fact, Mark could feel some reaction from the Psycrystal on his arm when the stone was unwrapped. However, Mark could also feel that this thing could not be absorbed by the Psycristal because of a certain reason.

"Isn't this too concentrated? Where did you all find it?"

Mark asked with both amazement and confusion.

"Papa, we got this from the monster you defeated."

Iola answered. It was certain that she was the one that found it. However...

"Where? That thing had no real head at all."

Mark was confused. As [Mutagen Stones] were found inside the heads of Mutated infected, it was kind of unexpected that something this size was inside a headless monster. This thing would surely not fit on any of its hundred heads either.

"Inside here!"

Miracle interjected while pointing at the left side of her chest.

"The heart, huh..."

Mark scratched his head. This was getting confusing. Furthermore, what could they do with this thing? For sure, it could not be turned into an empty [Physical Crystal] since it could not be absorbed.

His workload after they arrive at the base increased again. There was also the Spirit Tree that he needed to plant...

One of the things he wanted to do was relax before starting to fulfill his promise to Freed. However, it seemed that his free time lessened further.

***

Day 68 - 12:16 PM - Recreation Area, Maryhill Retreat House, Ortigas Avenue Extension, Dolores, Taytay, Rizal

Soldiers roamed the vicinity ensuring the safety of the place. Still, it was unexpected that aside from the threat of the supposed ghost, there was barely anything dangerous to mention.

There were infected appearing outside the vicinity, however, the number was very small. They were barely a threat at this point.

Of course, it would not be for too long. The infected were drawn to places where people were staying. Since they were a large group, staying there for more than two or three days would start to call the infected from the surrounding areas.

While the soldiers were busy securing the place, however, a picnic was going on at the recreation area behind the retreat house,

The people in the picnic were no other than the members of Mark's group. Of course, aside from Mark, Mei, the three little girls and the main members of the Team Fairy, the others were having a hard time. It was even more awkward for the new members. After all, since the outbreak, they already forgot the carefree feeling of doing things like this. All they did was survive every danger that came their way.

"Karlene, is it really fine for us to join this?"

Analynn whispered as they sat inside one of the huts in the recreation area.

"It's fine! It's fine! Look at Jaeya, she's even sitting with Mark and Mei."

Karlene said while looking at Jaeya who was happily laughing while listening playing with Theodore on her arms. She was also showing the baby to Mark and Mei.

"Lynn, its better if you just enjoy things if we can." Phillip who also sat inside the same hut spoke. "These kinds of things are good for our mental health. Look."

Phillip pointed at Edward who was feeding Emi. Emi who seemed to like the current atmosphere was showing some response though a bit vague. Still, there was the creepy smile when her eyes fall on Mark's side.

Until now, no one could fathom what was going on with her.

***

Of course, the activity of Mark's group was not accepted by everyone. On the second floor of the Retreat House, a group of people was watching what was happening in the recreation area.

"Look at those people. Don't they know that the world is ending? They actually have the gal to have fun. They sure know how to waste time."

The one speaking was no other than Harold. The leader of the survivors that were rescued at the Municipal Hall of Taytay, Rizal.

He was frowning as he viewed such activities after the end of the world as nothing but a waste of time.

Furthermore, they should already be on the way to safety if not for the commander of these people returning injured.

"Yeah, there are wasting their time. Let's see if they can still laugh like that if we are suddenly attacked by the infected."

One of the people in their group chimed in.

"They can have fun like that since they are strong."

Kate spoke while staring intensely at Mark. With her natural disposition, it was easy for her to gather information from other people, especially, men. Of course, it did not mean that she would blindly share the information she gathered.

That was why these people were behaving like this. It was because they did not know the true strength of the group below. They think that most of their strength came from those odd vehicles and the three monsters.

Prince, on the other hand, was silently staring at the women below like a dog in heat.

At the side, someone was looking at them like idiots though.

He was nothing else other than Case.

Compared to these narrow-minded idiots, the carefree people below were more reliable.

As such, he decided to leave with both his hands on his pockets.

"Case, are you leaving again?"

Kaira immediately noticed him even though the others were oblivious.

Hearing Kaira's voice, the others noticed Case that already turned around to leave.

"Case, are you slipping out again?"

Harold questioned with a frown.

Case turned his head and looked at Harold with his right eye.

"You said that they are just wasting time right? Then, it will be better for me to leave than waste time watching others waste their time."

Case then turned around avoiding the angry glare of Harold.

Kaira looked at the two alternately before chasing after Case with a worried expression.

Of course, after the two left, Harold was fuming.

"Just let them leave," Kate spoke with her normal seductive tone. "Unlike us, they don't have powers. They are more anxious about things."

That made Harold take a deep breath.

"That's right." Harold nodded. "Just let those two be. We don't need weaklings."

***

"Weaklings... Huh..."

Case snickered.

Although he was already on the first floor, he was able to hear those people above.

"Case, you're being rebellious again!"

Kaira exclaimed in worry.

It had always been like this. Everyone would follow Harold's instructions since he was the leader. Everyone except Case though.

She also noticed that he was being exceptionally grumpy since this morning.

Case then turned to Kaira.

"Tell me. If you have to choose. Will you come with me or stay with them."

Kaira was stumped at the sudden question.

"Wh-why are you asking about that. Do you want to leave?"

Kaira asked in a panic.

Instead of answering that question, Case turned his back at Kaira and spoke.

"Last night... That pervert narcissist touched you again didn't he?"

Kaira's eyes went wide.

"How did you..."

"Of course, I will know. It happened several times before. He does that to any woman in our group if he is anxious about things. With what happened last night, that bastard is bout to do that. It's fortunate that he doesn't have the courage to do more or he will receive Harold's wrath. He's a dumb coward after all. I'm thankful for Harold that he made such rules."

Case looked up.

"Still, you didn't even ask me for help."

Tears fell from Kaira's eyes.

"I'm sorry... I don't want you to get in trouble. He's someone with powers. We are normal people."

"There's no reason to stay with those idiots anymore. I'm going to leave. Will you come with me? You don't need to undergo those horrible things anymore."

Case spoke with a sinister glint in his eyes.

"But... Sir Harold will not forgive us."

"Don't worry about it." Case grabbed Kaira's hand. "Their existence is already useless to us. I already talked with the commander of the soldiers last night, remember? That person is way better... No, he's incomparable to that tyrant."

"I'll try to convince him to let us join them."

Case added which made Kaira nod.

Receiving her affirmation, Case looked down. He had quite a guilty expression.

"Actually, I'm sorry. I let you suffer like that. Even though I knew, I didn't make any move. Don't worry, I'll personally erase that bastard after tearing his precious face apart."

"Case, what are you saying..."

Kaira asked but Case did not reply. He pulled her away. Their direction, towards the recreation area.