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146 A Sudden Twis

 Day - 12:48 PM - Parking Area, Queens Row Elementary School, Queens Row Area A, Bacoor City, Cavite

While everyone else was waiting at the parking area, Odelina noticed that Mei was staring up at the roof of the building. Knowing the meaning of her behavior, Odelina imitated her and watched the area where Mei was staring at. What the two did bewildered the others and even made Captain Dela Rosa think how Mark's group was filled with unfathomable people. Not long however, at the area of the roof where Mei and Odelina were staring at, the man they were waiting for, Mark, appeared.

After Mark scaled down the building, Mei hurriedly approached him.

"Gege, you took too long. We have a problem."

Mei grumbled but worry was apparent on her eyes. She then whispered a few things to him making him frown as he swept his eyes at the people in front of him.

Mark then patted her head.

"It's fine. I'll handle it."

Mei's eyes squinted because of his patting but she also felt relieved at the same time. Even though her Gege called on the radio to tell what happened, he was still late. After the call, more than half hour had already passed. She wanted to call Mark herself but decided not to. Mark also told her not to call when he was outside as it would be a distraction if he was in the middle of something dangerous. Furthermore, due to some circumstances, things had gotten complicated now.

After that, it was Abbygale's turn. The little girl went towards her Papa and demanded to be carried on his arms.

Mark consented immediately to this as there was no issue with a small request like this. If Mark was dirty, he might not agree but he was careful not to dirty himself as he did his disgusting work earlier.

The three approached the people waiting and Odelina immediately bowed like what most servants do. On the other hand, Laelaps sat beside Odelina like a loyal guard dog.

Seeing this display, Harvey and the men on his group were had their lips twitching. Monique on the other hand approached Mark carrying her son who was still struggling in her embrace. It could be seen that her arm was stained with blood as the claws of his son dug and scratched her skin bit it seemed that it did not matter to her. Despite the pain, she still kept her tight embrace on her son, not letting little boy go.

Seeing her approach, Mark signaled her to wait stopping her from her tracks. Mark then faced Captain Dela Rosa.

"Why are you here?"

Mark asked with a frown. Though Mei had already informed him of what was happening, Mark wanted to hear it from the squad captain's mouth.

To Mark's tone that was not even a little bit respectful, Captain Dela Rosa did not mind.

"I know that my intention will be an uncouth one so I will apologize in advance. Still, I have to ask."

Captain Dela Rosa looked at Mark with a stern face.

"I heard from this woman that you have a way to save her son. If I'm correct, this little boy is a Failed Mutator. Do you really have a way to do so? I tried to ask these ladies but they won't answer."

When the black van arrived led by a three meter dog and a five year old girl riding on the dogs back, he was alerted by the soldiers on guard. It was then that he was also informed that the women from Mark's group went to let the newcomers in. He had already heard the report about the golden dog which gave him whole new level of shock and when he saw the three meter golden dog outside the gates, he could not help but rub his eyes even though he already received the report.

Since the dog belonged to Mark's group and his daughter was the one riding on the dog's back, the two were let in with the black van. After they arrived at the parking lot however, a woman who was tightly carrying a bipedal kitten about the size of a four year old took the squad captain's attention. After asking intently about the kitten that was actually a boy, the mother's tongue slipped their intention in this place was revealed to the squad captain.

After confirming that the boy was a Failed Mutator, he knew the severity of the situation. It was no doubt that these people met Mark to be led back by his daughter and pet dog. The most serious thing however was that it seemed that Mark claimed to have a way to save this boy that turned feral.

When Captain Dela Rosa heard that, he immediately looked around if anyone else heard what the woman said. Fortunately, he did not bring too many soldiers with him and they were told to wait further away. He then dismissed the soldiers back to their works and stayed to wait for Mark.

He tried to inquire Odelina, Mei and Abbygale about the truth but he did not get any answer from them. Odelina only apologized and said that his question was inappropriate for her to answer. Abbygale would only stare at him without saying anything while he could not even approach Mei as she would step back for every step forward he made.

Mark looked at the Captain with a frown before turning towards Monique. Monique's countenance paled. Because of her excitement and worry along with the vehement questioning of the soldier in front of her, her tongue slipped. When Monique saw what happened afterwards, she and her husband knew that she made a grave blunder.

She wanted to approach Mark first to apologize as soon as she could but Mark stopped her from being able to do so. Still, even though she knew that he made a wrong thing, Mark was her only hope for her child. Even if she had to kneel in apology and grovel on his feet for him to save her son, she would do it without hesitation.

Mark's eyes then fell on the boy. Though weakened, the boy was trying his best to struggle free. It was strange however that the boy was trying to flee rather than trying to kill his mother. To Mark however, it showed that there was still a part of the boy's consciousness preventing himself to attack Monique.

Mulling over those things, Mark nodded. It seemed that this boy was worth saving after all. But Mark would surely not do it for free though.

Mark then turned back to Captain Dela Rosa who was staring at him waiting for an answer. With a cold face, Mark spoke.

"That question could cost your life you know that?"

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"That means you really..."

Captain Dela Rosa's voice trailed off.

"That's right. If several conditions are met, I can."

Mark admitted it.

Hearing Mark's reply, a sudden burst of agitation enveloped the squad captain's mind that it even surprised Mark.

Before Mark could say anything, Captain Dela Rosa plopped on his knees in front of Mark. Hope could be seen in his eyes as he stared at Mark.

"I implore you. Save my son!"

Captain Dela Rosa said as he bowed towards Mark's foot.

Everyone was dumbfounded due to the sudden twist. Luckily, no one was around to see what was happening aside from the people who really should be here. If the soldiers under the squad captain were to see this, their jaws would probably fall to the ground in shock.

Mark however, frowned. As the large part of the school fell inside his detection range, he did not detect any Mutator aside from Dominador earlier and even now. So, where was this son that he was talking about?

As if knowing what he was thinking, Captain Dela Rosa rose his body by he still knelt on the concrete parking. He then started to narrate what happened.

"Another squad will be arriving sooner or later and my son was one of the soldiers assigned to the squad. We received a radio transmission just now that my son had been bitten on his hand. As we knew about the existence of Mutators, it was a protocol for us soldiers to not kill a person bitten immediately but observe first what changes would happen. If the soldier turned into an infected, they would be executed but if it turned out that the soldier turned into a Mutator, they will be sent back to Bay City. It would be fine for the Successful Mutators but the Failed once would be tranquilized and sent back for scientific studies."

It was not hard for Mark to imagine the situation. Captain Dela Rosa's son became a Failed Mutator and if left alone, he would become nothing but a savage beast that attacks everything on sight.

"So, if I could really save your son, what can you give me?"

Mark asked. He was not a saint. Everything should come with a price. For the little boy in Monique's embrace, he would not give them a too high price since he also owed the kid for what happened earlier but the squad captain was different. Mark owed him nothing and they were also the one who needed his group's help.

"That's..."

The squad captain was stumped. Mark and his group surely had no need for weapons at the moment and they also had no urgent need for supplies either. Well, it was not like they had much extra in their supply that he could take.

Seeing this, Mark started to give suggestions.

"If your son met the conditions, I can save him but I have several requests to you in exchange. I know that you don't have anything to pay me so you can't say no to these requests or else, not only that I won't do anything to help your son, you will also die here."

Mark spoke with his eyes that were coldly staring at the squad captain. Captain Dela Rosa on the other hand could not help but feel that his stare was peering into his heart for some reason he could not understand.

The others who were watching with the exception of Mei, Abbygale, Odelina and Laelaps could not help but shiver at what he said accompanied with that look in his eyes and the dangerous vibe he was exuding.

'I knew it! This guy is dangerous!'

Harvey thought by the side.

"What requests?"

Captain Dela Rosa asked.

"First, no one else should know that I have a way to save Failed Mutators. Not even your closest kin. What you know, you'll carry it to your grave. That doesn't only apply to you but also your son."

Mark said sternly.

Hearing that, Captain Dela Rosa could only nod. Even though he was an upright soldier, he was now begging for his son. Being upright did not apply when your only family was in the brink of danger. Even if what Mark could do could benefit mankind, if it was known to the trashes in the government and military, it was likely that trouble would come to Mark and his group.

Mark then turned towards Monique and her group.

"That also applies to all of you."

Seeing Mark turn to them and say those words, everyone on Monique's group nodded like broken toys. The world was already ending and they survived the onslaught of the infected with great difficulty, they did not want to die just because of being a blabbermouth.

Turning back to the squad captain, Mark continued.

"Second, I want you to pledge allegiance."

"What?"

Captain Dela Rosa was stumped once more.

"Don't worry, I won't tell you to betray your duty or something. I just want you to be around when we need support especially once we arrive at Bay City."

It was a way for Mark to gain more backing. Even though there was General Perez who was grateful for him, Mark was sure that he was tied up with his duties in the Bay City. Someone with a high rank but lower position that the general was a good candidate and Captain Dela Rosa was not a perfect one but a good example.

"Is that all?"

Captain Dela Rosa sighed in relief. He thought that Mark would make him betray the general or something similar to that.

"There is a third one. This would be a disgusting thing but I want you to tell your subordinates to search for the brains of mutated infected they kill if they can find stones like this one."

Mark showed the general the stone Laelaps found that still reeked of blood.

It was strange stone and Mark's third was also a strange one of if that was all, the squad captain could agree to it.

"That's all. Also, you should stand up now. If you failed to keep any of what I just said especially the first one, you can kiss goodbye to the world, I warn you."

Mark said with an insidious stare. Though Mark did that, he knew that the soldier in front of him was not afraid at all. Why? It was because Captain Dela Rosa had no plan to renege on this deal. Mark could feel how resolute his emotions was.

He then turned towards Monique. It was now time to do what he needed to do and also ask for compensation. Even doctors from the government always ask for payment, how could not he?

But then, when he turned around, he saw Harvey rummaging at the dashboard compartment of their vehicle. When Harvey walked out of their car once more, he was clutching a nail sized pebble similar to what Mark had just taken out.

However, Mark also noticed one thing. As Harvey was searching on the dashboard, the door of the vehicle was widely open. At the passenger seat on the second row of the car, an infected girl was idly sitting.