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154 The Person Hiding in the Shadows

 Day 5 - 9:32 PM - 2nd Grade Building, Queens Row Elementary School, Queens Row Area A, Bacoor City, Cavite

Under the shadows of the building, a person whose shock could not be concealed on his face, watched Captain Dela Rosa and Irene escort out Master Sergeant Keene Dela Rosa out of his confinement. He knew that Keene, Captain Dela Rosa's son, had turned into those they called "Failed Mutators". That was a condition that was supposed to be irreversible to the current knowledge of the scientists currently studying Mutagen in Bay City.

Yet, from what he saw, Keene was back to normal. Though the Master Sergeant seemed to be weak, he could see that he was conscious and his sanity had returned. The weakened Keene could even be seen weakly opening his mouth showing that he was able to converse and the two soldiers assisting him was also responding to him in an equal fashion.

'A Failed Mutator that supposed to be a goner managed to recover.'

The man who was observing the scene thought as his eyes exuded a sharp glint showing both his shock to the unprecedented scene and his loss for an opportunity he lost. There was also a trace of viciousness in his expression. He was eying Irene for some time now and the loss of Keene as his competition should have risen the odds of his success in courting her. His recovery dumped these thoughts into a puddle of useless, sticky mud.

'The Senator should hear about this.'

He thought and was about to leave. Since he left the shadows of the building, his face could finally be recognized. If Irene and Captain Dela Rosa were to see his face, it could not be any more familiar.

The person spying on them was actually, Alderick, one of the three soldiers in the 7th rescue squad that held the highest rank below Captain Dela Rosa together with Irene and Joey.

He was looking for Irene when he stumbled over a piece of news. Captain Dela Rosa dismissed the soldiers that were supposed to guard the containment of his son. The others might not think too much about this and just pass it as the father wanting to spend the last moments of his son but for someone who knew and was strict about military protocols, the strict face Captain would not do these actions. Even if he wanted to just spend time with his son, he would not chase the guards away specially with the fact that the tranquilizer could wear off anytime and his son would start another rampage.

It was for sure that there was something strange going on.

When he found the place, he saw Captain Dela Rosa and Irene anxiously waiting outside the confinement room. By their expressions, the two were not only here to guard outside. By the arrangement, there should be two people guarding inside the room and another two outside the doors. Considering that the Captain Dela Rosa and Irene were outside, it was impossible that there was no one inside to monitor the feral soldier.

It took about more than ten minutes and the people inside the room came out and to his shock, they were actually Mark and that hot servant of his.

While thinking of the reason why Mark was here, Captain Dela Rosa and Irene exchanged words with him. Unfortunately, Aldrerick could not hear what they were saying. After Mark and his servant left, the scene of Keene recovering was witnessed by him.

There was no need to think too much. Mark and his servant surely had a connection to this.

A person who could treat Failed Mutators... This news would surely give him quite an amount of merits.

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Alderick had just stepped his first step to leave when that voice entered his ears.

He froze and he turned to where voice came from and his eyes dilated in shock.

'How?'

His head was in turmoil as he racked his head for the cause as to how he was found out and a way to get out of this situation. Aldrerick knew that the person in front of his was not someone to trifle with. Out of all the people who would be able to discover him, the one who did was actually the person he wanted to report.

***

Mark stood at the opposite corner of the building staring at Alderick. Since he was in contact with Captain Dela Rosa's squad, he was never inclined to get in contact with this person. It was because he was way different from the other soldiers under the Captain's command. The eyes of this person were always scrutinizing every single thing around him.

When Mark was treating Captain Dela Rosa's son, all his concentration and attention was focused on the treatment as a single mishap could trigger a damage on the supposed to be healed part. Because of that, he did not notice when this guy arrived. Mark was sure that this guy was not here when he arrived with the captain.

After the treatment however, he noticed Alderick spying on them. He feigned to leave in order to flank this rat into a corner and prevent him from escaping.

"What are you talking about? I'm just here on patrol."

Alderick replied to his question. Under the light coming from the moon, Mark did not see any ripple of emotion on the face of the man that stood in front of him. Unfortunately, Mark could detect every single ripple of emotion in this guy's mind. This kind of façade would not work on him.

"Stop beating around the bush. A patrol won't stand hidden behind this building for more than fifteen minutes to watch Captain Dela Rosa's activities especially when he dismissed everyone away from this area."

Mark sneered. This guy was underestimating him. Before Alderick was able to retort, Mark continued.

"I won't hear your excuses. Don't think that I won't notice that you're different from the other soldiers. You're very observant, crafty, materialistic and full of intelligence. Yet, you try to step back, staying silent, not wanting to draw too much attention on you.

Despite your qualities, the Captain did not give the more crucial tasks to you and only gave them to Irene and Joey. It's not because he did not know about your abilities but because he did not trust you. If I'm correct, you're not one of his usual entourage, am I right?"

What Mark said did not make any obvious change in Alderick's face but his eyes still dilated and his mind was in turmoil. The soldier obviously knew that he was in deep trouble now.

"So? What of it?"

Alderick tried to maintain his façade.

"Nothing much. I'll just tell you case that you don't want to register it in your mind but all of what I said are qualities of a potential spy. So, I want to ask. Who are you working for and what is your mission here? Is it to monitor the movements of the squad? To poach Mutators and Evolvers or to poach the scientist that they were supposed to escort? Or maybe, all of it?"

Mark spoke, his sneer deepened even more as Alderick's mind became more chaotic. Nevertheless, this guy was still able to maintain his façade. There was almost no ripple of emotion in his face.

"What you are saying are all baseless accusations. Since you're being hired to help our squad, I won't pursue it. I need to continue with my duties."

Alderick started to leave.

'This idiot actually made it look like that I'm at his disposal.'

Mark thought.

"Odel."

Mark spoke and almost immediately, Odelina appeared from the blind corner of the other side of the building blocking Alderick's retreat. She was not wearing her usual attire but only a sports tube top to cover her chest despite the coldness of the night. The servant was already on her battle gear and was ready to cover her body with her bone armor anytime.

"What's the meaning of this?"

Alderick asked. Although there was no intelligence report about this servant of Mark, for her to block his path, it was implying that this woman was not simple either.

"I won't say sorry or anything. Whether you're a spy or not, you pried on our secrets."

Mark said which immediately made Alderick grip his assault rifle getting ready to fight. It was no wonder, he knew what Mark implied and it was to eliminate him to keep his secret of being able to treat Failed Mutators from others.

Odelina immediately covered her whole body with bone armor and was ready to start the confrontation.

Aldrerick was shocked to see her transform and knew that he was no way out to escape. He thought that he could only deal with the woman but to think that she was actually a Mutator! Furthermore, even though he had specialized training, he was surely no match against Mark who could contend and eliminate a whole faction without getting a single scratch face-to-face!

However, the cornered Alderick did not seem to be afraid of not being able to escape. Mark felt a sudden surge of energy around Alderick.

Under Mark's and Odelina's eyes, the moonlight illuminating Alderick's body bent. His body started to vanish as if he was being consumed by nothingness. In a blink of an eye, Alderick was nowhere to be found.

Odelina was shocked seeing this scene. Just what kind of sorcery was this?

Mark on the other hand also faltered a bit. As someone like him who was able to sense mental and emotional energies of people exist, although he had no way of detecting them, Mark knew that other people or creatures that were unexplainable by the current science exist. Nevertheless, he never expected that he would encounter one here. It was now clear to him why he felt that Alderick was too different from the other soldiers. Not only because of his suspicious behavior but also because he was actually another mental or psychic ability user.

Still, Mark did not let his surprise overwhelm him. After all, his enemy did not vanish into thin air, he was still here and they just could not see him.

"You won't fool me Alderick, I know you're... Here."

Mark suddenly pointed his assault rifle to his side as the last word of his sentence entered their ears.

***

Alderick was really cautious even though he wanted to eliminate the threat in front of him. He knew that Odelina might be impervious to attacks or even bullets with her armor so he went for Mark who seemed to be unprotected. Nevertheless, before he was able to attack, the assault rifle in Mark's hand was already pointed at his invisible body. He did not know how Mark was able to find him but he thought that it was just a fluke. He tried to move changing the direction of his attack but Mark's gun followed his movements with perfect precision.

"I'm done playing."

Mark's voice entered his ears. It was then followed by several muffled sound of gunshots.

The next thing he knew was the searing pain in his legs. He was unable to maintain his concealed state anymore and he appeared in Mark's and Odelina's eyes once more, crumpled to the floor with his legs bleeding profusely from several gunshot wounds.

"You... Just what are you?!"

Mark heard Alderick's voice that has no change in tone despite the fact that his mind was filled with shock and he was enduring the pain in his legs.

To his question, Mark did not say anything. Suddenly, Alderick winced in pain clutching his head. His eyes that were staring at Mark in horror started to bleed.

"You-! Your also an Esper!"

Alderick could not keep his façade anymore as his expression and voice finally crumbled.