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46 Sudden Situation

 "What's the next one?"

Mark urged Paula.

"This should be the last. I just want to know the real reason you saved us."

"The last huh? Then after this one, you two should also answer my questions alright?"

Paula nodded as response to his question.

"Well, let me tell you something first. For me, there are three kinds of people who help others. First are the selfless ones. They just help people unconditionally just because the wanted to help. Second are those who wanted to be heroes. They help and save people to fulfill their ego and be revered by the people they saved. The third are those with other motives. That's self-explanatory I think.

Which of the three kinds do you think am I?"

Mark asked which Paula replied without hesitation.

"The third."

Mark nodded.

"That's right. I saved you two because I had other motives."

Mark then looked at Ange incredulously.

"What are you doing?"

Ange was now hugging her body while backing up on her seat and looked at Mark like she was looking at someone who would eat her.

Her ear was then harshly pinched and pulled by Paula.

"Ahhhh! That hurts!"

"That's for not taking things seriously."

"But he had other motives for saving us!"

"Yes, he had other motives but I don't think he had that 'motive'!"

Paula sighed at her airheaded friend. Ange on the other hand looked sullen. It was embarrassing for her to get her ear get pinched and pulled in front of other people.

"Sorry about Ange. Can you say your motive now?"

"Well, it's nothing much really. I just want some people who could guard my back without stabbing me when I turn around."

The two of them was surprised.

"If you want some people to guard your back, why did you choose us?"

"Because of all the people I saw in the mall, only you two had a different reaction towards the zombies. I just said that I'm an Empath and I never had felt the fear of zombies from the two of you."

The two girls contemplated as Mark continued.

"Paula, you were giving up that time not because you were afraid of the zombies but because it was truly hopeless in that situation. As for Angeline, she was never afraid. She was running and pulling you that time because the two of you were outnumbered.

At times like this, it was easy for people to turn their back on others even if they are their loved ones. The main root of it was fear and yet, you two only have a speck of it. And you two showed fear but not because you two were scared of the zombies but rather, you feared losing people and the danger that the zombies bring."

When Mark finished, the two came to a realization. They did not really noticed much of their own emotions back then but now that Mark said it, they realized that what he was saying were true.

It shows how true that there were times that other people knew you more than yourself.

"Satisfied now? You know, I have my circumstances and prefer to be alone most of the time but I'm not an idiot. Even if I can move and deal with things myself, I can't do everything on my own. And unlike the others below who could only cry and shiver from fear, I wouldn't suffer too much mental exhaustion because of you two."

Ange and Paula looked at each other with a bitter smile. They could not think of any reason to deny what he just said. There were times that they also felt sad and down earlier but unlike others who would dwell on it too much, the two of them could adapt and recover faster. Still, most of it was Mark's efforts though.

Then, the two girls nodded at each other and face Mark.

"Since you trust us to watch your back, then we promise not to let you down."

Paula said and Ange showed a resolute expression.

"Alright, thanks. Then, can I ask my questions now?"

Mark smiled but his smile now looked refreshed, different from his usual clouded and bitter smile.

"Yes. You answered all my questions so you can also ask."

"Hmm... My questions are just about the backgrounds of you two since you two don't seem to be simple people either. Another is about your own ability, Paula."

"Nothing else?"

"Nothing else. Just knowing your backgrounds should be enough for me to gauge the answers to some minor questions."

"Okay. We'll tell you about our families then."

Paula was about to start but Mark turned his head towards the west wing of the mall.

Mark sighed.

"Just tell me later, they need us below."

The three girls were surprised.

"Did something happen?"

Ange asked with worry.

"I can't read minds remember?"

"I know! But you can at least guess a little right?"

Mark stood up and prepared to go back. They readied their things and left together.

"Do you have any idea?"

Paula asked Mark as they walked.

"Not much, it's just about what I told you earlier, Uncle Bernard seemed to be confused and anxious right now. Calvin is the same and they are together with the other employees. The other is Mrs. Reyah. It should be about her daughter since she seemed restless."

The countenance of the three girls changed. Did it mean that something happened to Sariya?

Mark closed his eyes for a bit to concentrate and spoke after opening his eyes.

"Sariya seemed to be... In pain?"

"Why are you not sure?!"

"It's harder for me to read and detect emotions of children. I don't know why but I might be because their emotions are very much lighter than of adults. Anyways, let's hurry."

Mark and the three girls picked up the pace and left towards the west wing. For Mark, he might not care about other people but nicely raised children were different.

***

They just entered the emergency door after going down the ladder and they immediately bumped into Bernard who was about to go out. Worry was visible on the face of the old man along with a tinge of confusion.

"Uncle Bernard, what's wrong?"

Paula asked and Bernard faced Mark immediately.

"I was looking for you Mark. We already put the Biter and Eater you caught in a room but there are issues with the Fat Mutant."

Mark was surprised.

"What happened?"

"It's better for you to see."

Bernard then led the four towards the corridor on the south wing.

They reached the barricade Mark built before but now, the barricade was reinforced and looked stronger. Still, the appearance of the barricade did not register in their eyes as they were all focused on the view beyond the barricade.

Calvin, Joseph and Fernan were also there along with several employees watching and guarding the place. However, Joseph was less spirited and did not dare to look at Mark.

Mark looked over the barricade and saw the disgusting Fat Mutant that looked even more horrifying now.

The Fat Mutant looked half of its body bigger and the parts of its body that were filled with fat looked like swelling. Large blisters already appeared on some parts of its body. There was also a faint fume being released around it.

Sniffing the air, there was also a tinge of disgusting smell. He was worried at first that it would dangerous but looking at the other people here, it should be fine. Mark then realized.

Mark knew this smell.

"What's this smell?"

It seemed that the girls also noticed the smell.

Mark looked towards the men and said with all seriousness.

"Don't try to light anything flammable."

"You also knew this smell? Don't worry I already told the others about that. I also did not let anyone approach since the stench gets stronger when we're closer to that guy there."

Calvin spoke and Mark nodded at him.

"Gege, what is this smell? It smells like rotten eggs."

Mei who was beside Mark hiding from the men around them asked.

"It should be methane isn't it?"

Paula said while pinching her nose. Mark nodded in confirmation.

"It seems we can't keep that guy anymore."

Mark said and he readied his crossbow. The people around him saw his crossbow and could not help but feel amazed. Just where he found such a cool looking bow!

"Everyone, get back. We don't know what will happen after killing that pig there but we needed to be careful."

Everyone did not question him and started retreating away from the barricade. Mark and the three girls did the same.

Mark aimed his crossbow from afar calculating the angle he should shoot.

He aimed for a bit and concentrated wanting to hit the head. He pulled the trigger and released the crossbow bolt.

Unexpectedly, the Fat Zombie moved and the bolt that supposed to have hit its head hit its back. Then...

BAM!!! SPLAT!

A loud sound which sounded like a balloon made of flesh popping up echoed across the corridor as an explosion of blood, human flesh and guts ensued.

Luckily, they retreated or else, they would have been showered with all those disgusting mess. The pieces of flesh from the Fat Mutant even flew over the barricade which was seven meters away from the body.

Mark stared at the corridor. Though he expected that guy to explode, he did not expect it to be this devastating. Blood sprayed in a large radius and chunks of flesh scattered about. He was also sure that the sound made by its body exploding might have attracted zombies to this place.