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174 Incompetence

 Day 6 - 8:23 PM - Southbound E3 Expressway, Parañaque, Metro Manila

"What do you mean?"

Major Lopez ignored the two that called out to Mark and asked with his eyebrows knitted tightly. His expression told how much pressure the military officer felt towards their current situation. What Mark had just said was damping water on their confused heads without even explaining his side at all.

Mark turned towards the Major.

"That stone woman there knew that there are people here and anyone that will try to escape will be targeted by that woman first. It's not a coincidence that those two were getting closer and closer unto us when they are fighting each other. Look closely..."

He gestured the people to look at the two. That moment, the stone clad woman whipped away the frog headed infected with a swipe of her right hand. Before the infected could recover and attack once more, the stone clad woman had already taken three steps back towards the direction where the convoy was.

"See? She's going our direction."

The expression of everyone that heard him turned grave. They did not notice at first but now that Mark mentioned it, those small movements would not escape their eyes anymore.

"What do you suggest that we should do?"

Major Lopez asked after turning back to Mark once more.

"Major! Why are you asking a civilian for-"

An unfamiliar soldier tried to interrupt but he was stopped by the Major.

"We can't fight and we can't escape. Either way, all of us will get killed. Even if half of us fight while the others escape, how long can we hold those monsters out? We are also under equipped for this. Unless the reinforcements from Bay City arrive, we have no way surviving this and no one knows if we are still alive by the time they reach this place."

"But Major..."

"Enough, Julian. If you're not convinced, then think of a good plan yourself."

The soldier finally stopped. It may be degrading as soldiers that they needed to consult a civilian for a plan but he could really not think of a way.

"Now, say your piece. I doubt you're here just to ridicule us right?"

Major could not help but ask when he saw Mark sneering.

"There's no time so I'll get straight to the point and make it simple. You all stay here and don't leave. I will lure those two away as far as I can. When the people from Bay City arrived and I'm not here yet, you all should escape. Just wait for me at Bay City."

What Mark said was really simple but to do it was not simple at all.

"Isn't that dangerous for you to lure those two?"

Captain Dela Rosa worriedly asked.

"If you can name someone who can replace me and last long enough till the people from Bay City arrive, then, I'll gladly give the task."

None of them speak after that. The cue here was not to defeat those two but to last long as much as possible. Back in Citta Italia, Mark already showed that he had enough skill to react and dodge fast attacks.

"Besides..."

Mark continued.

"I'm not going to fight them. I'm just luring them away. You all needed to stay here to make sure that that stone woman won't he attracted to all of you suddenly escaping. As I said, the people to escape first will be targeted."

"What if you fail to bide for time? How are you sure that those that will escape will get attack first? Also, how are you sure that those two monsters will follow you in the first place?"

Councilor Palabrica posed several questions in succession.

"If I fail, then you can do whatever you want. For the second question, why don't you try to do it yourself? As for how I am sure that they will follow me, I already said it. Those who flee will become the first targets."

***

When Mark returned to where his group was positioned, almost everyone was nervously watching the fight between the two large monsters. The fight had already reached the forested area just on the other side of the expressway. The trees and buildings were already toppled and the fight between the two was getting more and more intense. Loud sounds were more audible to everyone every time the jumping frog headed monster landed on the ground or every time the stone woman stomp her stone covered hands.

He did not watch any of those scenes and started to prepare. Now, he started to feel thankful that the frog headed infected was there trying to kill the stone clad woman. If not, despite knowing what would happen he would lose the chance to think of what to do and prepare. Around him, Odelina and Mei waited for his instructions.

"Mei'er, Odel, mount this on the bike. Also get several M16 magazines and fill that box on the handle bar."

Mark said as he handed his M16 and bag to the two.

The box he was talking about was a metal box made of thin metal sheets and small metal bars. The gun mount he made the military install in front of the motorbike was something he designed. Following the design, that box there could be attached, slide and detached from the mount and the use of it was to make it easier for the M16 to be reloaded even if he was driving the motorbike. Mounting a machine gun at the motorbike could also do the same but the weight would surely hinder the maneuvering and that was why he came up with this.

While the two were following his instructions, he began to work on the multi-cab carrying the LPG tanks. Checking the now metal covered and tightly sealed back carrier of the multi-cab he noticed a smell of petroleum faintly escaping from the carrier. When he opened that door behind, he smelled the pungent smell of leaking gas and noticed that the metal roofing had a hole. Looking on the LPG tanks under the hole, one tank was pierced by a pointed rock.

"Odel, can you get me the duct tape from the car?"

Mark called out which Odelina immediately replied to.

Using the duct tape, he sealed the hole on the roof from the inside. The next thing he did was to open the valve of every single tank inside the sealed carrier. Upon closing the door, he also covered the spaces around the door with duct tape completely sealing the leaking gas inside.

"Oscar right?"

Mark called unto the soldier that had driven the multi-cab.

"Yes sir!"

"Your task here is done. Call your captain here and you can go back to your unit."

With a salute, the soldier went and called Captain Dela Rosa. While waiting, he chained that prepared motorbike unto the side of the multi-cab. The captain came with the other leaders in tow not long after he was finished.

"You're ready?"

Captain Dela Rosa asked.

"That's right. I will leave my group on your care. Don't forget our deal."

Mark said disregarding the others present. The word "deal" however raised an eyebrow on the other leaders especially Major Lopez, as they looked at the captain. Captain Dela Rosa shivered with cold sweat on his back knowing that it was likely for him to be questioned about this deal later.

Unexpectedly, before the other leaders could speak, a familiar person that came with them spoke. His arms were bandaged but his eyes sparkling for some reason. It was SP02 Agbayani.

"Mark, right? For you to sacrifice yourself for everyone here, I'm sure you'll be deemed by the people here-"

"STOP!"

Mark interrupted with a tight frown. He really could not stomach to let this person here to finish what he wanted to say. Just the tone and how this person spoke were giving him shivers.

"Police Chief, can you take this guy here away?"

Mark said to Chief Mallari.

"Wh-what? Why?"

SP02 Agbayani was flabbergasted. The first time he met Mark, the person did not even let him speak. Now he was being interrupted once more and was even requested to take away. While his eyes were widened with shock, Mark spoke.

"I'm not doing this to be view what you wanted me to be viewed alright? If there are others who can do this without failing, then exchange with me. I'm just doing this because all of you people are freaking too incompetent!"

Odelina slapped her forehead hearing that. Her master had really said it. She looked around and the expression of everyone around changed dramatically. Furthermore, what he said not only impacted the soldiers and the other people but also the members of his group who had just learned what was happening from the mouths of the other people.

But of course, no one here could refute him despite how what he said slapped their faces.

Mei on the other hand knew that he said that out of irritation. Her Gege had already done too much this past days and he was also tired. Very tired. He was just doing this for the sake of the people in their group and to finish what he started. She was sure that if it was just her, the two little girls and Odelina and her children, even with Laelaps and Fein, they could escape this without any problem. But he was keen on paying his debt to them and it led to him doing everything by himself. It was very easy to tick him off now that he was tried and things had deviated from what he prepared for.

Mark suddenly felt someone hugging him from behind.

"Gege, don't mind them. Don't be angry anymore."

Despite the piercing stares around him, he did not care and took a deep breath.

"Sorry, I lost my self."

Mark said calmly facing the two military officers.

Unexpectedly, it was Major Lopez who replied first and even with a smile unbefitting his stern old face. However, it did not look bad at all. Rather, his smile was filled with both amazement and amusement.

"Don't worry. What you said is true. All of us here are incompetent in terms of dealing with either that syndicate or those two monsters. Well, I never thought that someone would say that straight to our faces."

As their highest officer admitted, the soldiers felt crestfallen. That was right. They were now relying on a civilian that they were supposed to protect. What could they be called now other than being incompetent?

"I'm going already."

Mark said with a serious face and looked at the major. That statement the major said completely made him fit enough to become one of his groups support once they enter Bay City.

"I asked Captain Dela Rosa for some arrangements, you can ask him about the details. I wish you can help with that."

"If it's nothing harmful or illegal, as long as your plan worked and we made it to Bay City, I'll help with all I can."

Major Lopez promised and he was sincere with that.

"Actually, you don't have to promise me that. I'll tell you all. If something happened to anyone in my group... If I can make those two monsters follow me, think about what else I can bring towards Bay City."

Mark said with a sneer before he turned around and faced his Odel, Mei and the two girls that hopped off the vehicle after hearing that their father would be leaving. He hugged the two girls assuring them that he would come back with presents.

"Odel, I'll leave them to you alright?"

"Yes, Master. By the way, if possible, bring Fein with you."

Hearing that, Mark nodded. It would be another assurance for him to bring the oversized beetle with him.

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With a tight embrace Mark whispered.

"Take care of yourself alright? Don't leave Odel's side."

"Yes. We'll... I'll be waiting."

Mei replied before leaving Mark's arms.

Under everyone's eyes, Mark who took Fein with him boarded the multi-cab and started the engine.

"Time to get those two monsters away from this place."

Mark murmured while he shifted the gear and started to move the vehicle out of the defensive area. He looked at the two creatures on the vacant lot on the other side of the expressway. His eyes were glowing brightly with red light.