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45 Empath

 Mark was surprised about the question Paula asked him. Nevertheless, his shock did not appear on his face.

On the contrary, Mei had almost forgotten her sad feelings as she turned to Paula in shock while Ange looked at her friend incredulously.

"Paula? You're not sick right?"

Ange could not help but ask as she put her hand on Paula's forehead. However, Paula just let Ange did what she was doing and kept on staring at Mark seriously.

"I didn't expect you to ask something like that."

Mark said with a bitter smile.

"It may sound ridiculous but I noticed it since the time you saved us. You've been predicting things and even answering our questions before we could even say anything. Also when you told us why you saved us earlier, how do you know that I was about to give up that time? It bugged me too much. Just now, you knew that Mei is the same as you are but it's obvious that she hasn't told you about it before."

Paula finally removed Ange's hand on her forehead and continued.

"You also said that you have something to deal with your Paranoia. The main symptoms of Paranoia are about distrust and anxiety towards other people. Major part of this is because no one could predict what is in the minds of other people. There, one of the possible ways you could deal with it is being able to read people's minds."

What she said made Mark scratch his head.

"So, I made a blunder don't I? Well, I didn't think anyone would notice. So, will you three keep it a secret?"

The three girls stared at him. Did Mark mean that what Paula said was true?

"You really can read minds?!"

Ange asked in shock.

"Well..."

Mark dragged his reply before smirking.

"No."

The three girls felt that they were being played with, especially Paula. It was because she knew that he was not lying when he denied it!

Then, how can he? She knew that what she observed of him was not wrong. However he did not lie when he answered.

"Seriously, don't be at such a loss. You're even making that face."

Paula heard Mark's voice when she was thinking deeply. And there it was again. He just said out loud what she was feeling right now. Paula was making a sullen face as she looked at Mark. When she saw his face that looked like he just succeeded with his prank, she felt angry.

Knowing that Paula was feeling angry, Mark decided to stop playing.

"Alright, alright. Since you are the very first person to take initiative to know and ask about me, consider it as your prize. But the three of you should promise first. It's not like I'm really hiding it but there's really no advantage for everyone to know. So, you girls have to keep it a secret."

Seeing that he was finally serious, Paula nodded and promised to keep whatever he wanted to confess a secret. For Mei, she would unconditionally agree with him while Ange also nodded.

"I don't have such profound ability to read minds."

"Then, how did you?"

"Have you girls heard about emphatic people?"

Ange and Mei had a blank looks on their faces while Paula came into a realization.

"You're an Empath?"

"Yes, and a severe case of it. You can also say that this is both the reason for my personality disorder and a method to deal with my Paranoia."

"I see."

Paula nodded.

"Hey Paula, Mei and I can't catch up with you two. What does Empath mean?"

Mei nodded as Ange asked that question to Paula.

"It's not really a common topic so it's not surprising that you two can't keep up. You see, Empaths or empathic people are people who are highly sensitive to emotions of people around them. There are other things but that's the main idea."

Paula turned back to Mark.

"What do you mean by a severe case?"

"You just said it, we are highly sensitive to emotions of people around us but how far does 'around' mean? I don't know about others but I mine can reach up to dozens of meters away. Remember how far you two are from the central area when I ran over to save you? Do you think that it can be described as just 'around'? I can even feel other people's emotions through walls accurately."

Mark breathed deeply and closed his eyes a bit before continuing.

"I can even distinguish people using the emotions absorb. Like now, there is something strange happening just below us. It should be Uncle Bernard and Calvin. It's likely that they would be looking for us soon."

"That makes sense doesn't it? Just by accurately knowing people's emotions, what they are thinking can be predicted just going by intuition and clues."

Paula voiced her assumption.

"That's right."

Mark affirmed what she just said.

"But, don't Empaths get drained by negative emotions of people? Then you..."

"You think I don't? Just with how negative the emotions of the people inside give me the urge to kick them all out. If Mei'er did not wake up on her own earlier then I would have done it myself and pulled her up here."

Mark looked helpless.

"Gege, what do you mean by getting drained by negative emotions?"

Mei asked in concern.

"You see, when people around me are feeling negative, the examples are sadness, anxiety and anger, I get exhausted easily like my body was being drained with energy and mine is even faster than common empaths."

"Then I..."

Mei started to feel down as she felt that she was putting wood on the fire that was Mark's concerns.

"That's right. So you better start to cheer up already or I really will have a hard time with you crying every time."

Sensing her emotions, Mark patted Mei's head gently.

"Yes..."

Then Mark looked at the Ange and Paula who looked like they had been forcefully fed with something sweet and told another fact of his life.

"Actually, I being an Empath was one of the reasons for my job hopping back then. Every time I get used to my work, my co-workers would start to feel negative towards me and starts to alienate me. The feeling was just suffocating not to mention that I was already exhausted absorbing all the emotions of people around me while I am commuting to work."

"But why would they alienate you?"

Ange asked in confusion.

"Well, one of my best qualities is that I'm a very fast learner. In every work I tried, I can grasp everything that I needed to learn in a very short time and start producing results that even my bosses praise me for."

"But what is wrong with that?"

Ange asked again but this time, it was Paula who answered her question.

"If he learns fast and produced results in a short period of time, then the older workers would start feeling jealous of his achievements. They will start to resent him for taking up the limelight and thus, alienating him."

"That's right."

Mark confirmed what Paula just said.

"That's just harsh."

Mei muttered feeling aggrieved because of her Gege's past experience.

"Well, this ends that question right?"

Mark asked making Paula nod. Mark then continued.

"Well, I don't understand why you said that it would affect our future interactions though."

"It's just I don't know how would I face someone who would be able to read what I am thinking."

"Hmm... you don't have to worry about me though. I have no interest in what people think as long as I'm not included in it."

Paula smiled and replied.

"That's true I guess. Just with your Personality disorder, I don't need to worry too much."

"It's quite strange that it's coming from you though considering that you're a walking Lie Detector Test."

Mark smirked.

Paula did not reply anymore and just let out a bitter smile. She knew that she managed to observe and make guesses about his ability but that did not mean that he could not do the same to her. She just kept her silence to affirm what he said.