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166 The Source of Hostility

 Day 6 - 2:15 PM - Multi-Purpose Clubhouse, Citta Italia, Molino III, Bacoor City, Cavite

The sudden sounds of several vehicles leaving the convoy and the commotion outside also alarmed the military and government officials. They all entered the clubhouse with just a few of their subordinates to discuss things that the refugees should not hear. Apparently, it was about conditions and deal Congresswoman Lanie and Chief Mallari had with this group of criminals.

Apparently, aside from the given threats, this armed group also had hostages with them. Because of that, even if the people from the City Hall had enough firepower, they would still not be able to make a move against these criminals without sacrificing those hostages. Because of this, even the stern faced major could only agree despite how much he loathed doing so. They already lost too much people back at the settlement and they could afford to lose more if they could retrieve them peacefully.

Besides, would a gunfight suddenly start, they would just end up incurring casualties. The people of the syndicate were all positioned around the area and at the vantage points while their men were all located in the same area. In layman's term, they were surrounded.

In the least, these criminals would not clash with them since they also had their goals to achieve. If a fight between the groups happened, it would be detrimental to both sides.

Remembering how they voiced that this was cooperation, the Major shook his head. Rather than willing to cooperate, they were compelled to do so.

After the alarming sounds outside, Irene hurriedly entered the clubhouse and whispered something on Captain Dela Rosa's ear which made the latter frown. Another person entered and he was one of Chameleon's men and same as Irene, he whispered something on his superior's ear.

Chameleon seemed surprised at the news he received but it was soon followed with glee. He then spoke to the other leaders.

"It seemed that someone wanted to challenge our capability. Since it was the case, why don't I invite you all to a show?"

Major Lopez frowned. He really found the way this shrewd person speak irritating. It was as if this person viewed everyone aside from himself lower in status. It was then Captain Dela Rosa passed him the news about what was happening outside. Rather than being surprised, the Major looked rather exited.

Since the time he arrived at the settlement yesterday night, he had only seen Mark once but it was not the first time he heard of his name. Same as Captain Dela Rosa, he also received the same information about Mark from the general. He also heard several tales from the mouth of Captain Dela Rosa about him.

Still, he could not fathom how such small group was able to safely traverse the apocalyptic world when they who were part of the military were struggling hard. Due to this, he really wanted to see the capabilities of Mark and his group. Yet he was surprised. From what Captain Dela Rosa said, there were only three people in Mark's group to confront this group of armed men. Furthermore, aside from Mark, the two other members were actually a five year old girl and a woman.

Chameleon did not wait for their answer and walked out of the clubhouse making them follow immediately afterward.

What they saw outside was Mark and his two members being surrounded by more than a dozen men in a circle. All of them pointed their guns at Mark. On the other hand, Mark was looking at the van behind some of the men. The van outside was just to showcase some of the hostages. It seemed that for some reason, Mark wanted to approach the van and it ended up in this situation.

Seeing the situation, Madam Lanie and Chief Mallari were also surprised. The people surrounded by these men after all could not be any more familiar to them. The Major on the other hand seemed to notice something unfathomable. Despite the fact that they were surrounded by men with guns, none of the people, even the child, looked frightened. It was as if nothing was happening to them.

***

Standing in the middle of the armed men, Mark could feel nothing but calmness. For some reason, he was not feeling afraid of the weapons being pointed at him. After all, it was part of his scheme. The more people to surround them, it would be easier for him to take them down.

Actually, it was not surprising that they would be surrounded. Considering how they heavily guarded the van, the people should be very important. For example, bargaining chips to get the military's approval to cooperate with them. If it was just for that, he would not make this move but Carlo's sister was surely inside that van and these people was hostile towards him since the start. Once he made a move like approaching that van, they would surely try to take that as a chance to eliminate him.

Their current actions did not disappoint him. He just wished that more people surround his group. Still, these people had no notion to immediately shoot. It seemed that they were still waiting for their leader.

'Speak of the devil.'

Chameleon, Black Devil, Jumper and two more of the guards walked out of the clubhouse followed by the military and government officials.

That smug looking face of Chameleon, Mark wanted to punch it.

"Mark, Mark, Mark... You're quite hasty aren't you? I planned to take care of you a little bit later but you actually came to court death too early. Aren't you afraid of death?"

Chameleon spoke with his eyes looking like he was watching a dead person.

On the other hand, Mark sighed. Like a typical villain, Chameleon started to make his speech. However, it was perfect. He wanted to get answers from him after all. No matter he rack his brain, he could not come up of an answer why the two of the three leaders of this syndicate was bearing too much hostility towards him.

With an indifferent face, Mark looked straight at Chameleon who stood on the stairs of the clubhouse.

"To even know my name, you guys really did your research huh. Still, I'm confused. Except for your failed attempt to conquer Firenze, I don't think I remember anything that could incur that much anger from you and that bald guy beside you."

Mark fearlessly pointed at Chameleon and the man who was called Black Devil.

"You!"

That attitude of Mark seemed to have infuriated Black Devil and wanted to rush forward but he was stopped by Chameleon's outstretched right hand.Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.

"Quite perceptive aren't you?"

Chameleon spoke looking amazed.

"I think it's not bad telling a story to a dead person."

"Boss, is it really fine to do that?"

The lean man, Jumper, asked.

"What are you afraid of? Even the soldiers can't do anything to us now. Most of the government had already collapsed and they don't have much power to muster."

Chameleon replied while sneaking a mocking glance and the military and government officials not far from him.

The people who he directed that glance also saw it. Almost all of them except for the Major who did not have a change on his expression, seemed at a loss and were ashamed but what Chameleon had said was true.

The leader of the syndicate then walked forward and started to tell his story. No, their story that failed due to an unforeseen factor.

Their syndicate had been running for years dealing with illegal businesses. There was no need to elaborate what these businesses were. Using connections, rats in the government and police and careful planning, they were able to avoid being caught by the government.

Three years ago however, the crime cracking operation led by the president himself incurred a heavy loss on their organization. As the operation was led by the highest person with authority, their backings did not matter anymore and their rats had been weeded out. Several branches of their illegal operations got frozen and many of their men were executed under the reason of resisting arrest despite the fact that the allegation never happened.

It caused them to suffer setback after setback. In the end, they lost their funds, men and territory. The loss caused them to look for an alternative source for a while after the cracking ended. They started to plan on abducting people with rich backgrounds and ask for ransom. Using their most elite men to do the job, there would be no trace that would be left that will lead back to their organization.

"However, at our very first operation, an unexpected variable appeared. And it's you."

Chameleon stared at Mark without concealing his hatred. Black Devil and most of the men were the same. Jumper seemed different though, it seemed that he was not having the same hostility towards Mark for some reason.

Hearing their side of the story, Mark finally realized.

'Three years ago... Kidnapping...'

He remembered witnessing something like that. It was his usual routine when going home late. It was walking through non-populated shortcuts which were usually unlit roads mostly filled with grassy vacant lots and abandoned buildings. One day however, he saw a black van escorted by armed men forcing an about fourteen or fifteen years old girl who were tied up and gagged into an abandoned house.

Not wanting to get tangled with danger, he decided to go back the way he came from but unfortunately, he was spotted by one of the armed men and yelled at him to stop. However, he did not. He knew what kind of people those men were and his fate would be uncertain if he let them catch him. He tried to escape but four of the men were too adamant on chasing him.

Without any choice, he decided to fight back utilizing his abilities as an Empath. He hid behind another abandoned house and used the tall grass as a decoy since there was a path between those tall grasses that people usually use during the day. Using surprise attacks, he managed to take down three of his pursuers but the last one open fired on him.

After that...

He did not remember anything anymore. It might be because he lost consciousness or something like that. The next thing he knew after that was...

He was already at home, alone, riddled with injuries. It even took him several weeks before he was able to move without feeling pain in his body.

In any case, he did not have any recollection of what in the world that happened that night.

It seemed confusion in his face seemed to have given Chameleon a different impression. Black Devil looked even more enraged.

"Don't tell me, you still don't remember?"

"Yeah, I don't."

Mark answered. It was half-truth.

Hearing his answer, Chameleon was shocked inside. He knew how to read people's faces and Mark was not lying. Were they mistaken? He looked at Black Devil. The face of his right hand man was now red like a tomato because of rage. It was no doubt that they were not mistaken.

Black Devil was the only survivor of that night. Everyone else that participated in that operation died.

"You can't fool us by feigning ignorance. After all, that girl, no, she's nothing but a used toy now, is together with you. Who else aside from her savior could recover a broken doll like her after being ravaged by one of my men?"

Mark's pupils shrunk.

"Ohh, I like that expression."

Chameleon seemed delighted.

"That night, you killed almost all of my men and saved that girl. You might be able to hide from our eyes but not her. So instead of abducting that doll once more, I sent my men to keep an eye on her since there's still a possibility that you will have a contact with her. Apparently, those new young men I sent did not manage to hold themselves back after catching her, such a beautiful girl. But to think she'll be saved by you once more."

Chameleon released a very revolting smile.

"That broken doll is still with you right? My men saw her earlier. The princess of Xiao Industries, Mei Xiao."