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182 Lost, Finding the Way Back is not as Easy as it Seems

 Day ▋▋ - 2 Hours after Sunrise - Unknown Mountain Peak

Mark basked in sunlight as he stood at the highest peak of the mountain he found himself in. For hikers and hobbyists, this could be a satisfying achievement especially to see the sceneries from the peak but to Mark, it was a great dilemma.

After he woke up yesterday before dusk, the moved northeast while he tried to find any possible shelter. The most ideal was a precipice with a cave or at least a narrow hole on the face of the cliff. The cave or hole did not have to be too large but just enough for a single person to sit inside. It was to make sure that even if danger came, it could only come from a single direction. If there was a river nearby that shelter he thought of, it would be perfect.

Unfortunately, he did not find any. After observing the terrain as he walked, he concluded that the shape of the mountain was rather on the smooth side than a steep one. If he wanted to find something like a precipice, it would be likely that he needed to go to the peak. The time constraint would not let him do so.

In the end, he had to be content on a large tree that fell down with its roots hanging like a dome. In order to make the shelter more inconspicuous, he gathered leaves, branches and even uprooted bushes to cover the roots and block most of the entrance tying almost everything securely using vines.

He also felt hungry but as he did not find any river nearby, he had to make do with the wild berries he found. By the appearance of the berries, he was sure that it was wild raspberries so he did not hesitate to eat them. Even so, the berries he found was not enough to fully satiate his hunger but the juice from the berries made his throat feel better.

That night, he tried to get sleep but was unsuccessful. It was not because there were insects biting him because there were strangely none at all. The reason was that the shelter was really uncomfortable to sleep at. Furthermore, with his Empathic ability being repressed, he could not detect whether there was danger and he was not used to it. In a sense, he was feeling a bit paranoid. Due to all that, he ended up practicing his blood control. Although he could not see without light, in the least, he could familiarize himself with the sensation.

Another thing that made him dismay last night was...The current moon phase.

He clearly remembered that during the night he parted with everyone, the moon was past full moon. Even though the moon was not full, it had not reached third quarter yet. However, the moon last night was clearly past new moon. In three to four days, it would surely reach first quarter. Due to that, he was able to determine that he was out for ten days in the least or maybe two or three days more.

Just why did it take that long? He tried to recall some of Freed's memories to look for an answer but the only answer he found was that it took time due to three changes happening at the same time and even the Mutation being enhanced by his Evolution. If that was the case, there was nothing to think about it at all. He just wondered if Mei and his two daughters were worried that he was missing for too long.

When the sun had finally risen, he did not feel too tired even though he lacked sleep. It was likely to be the effect brought by the changes in his body. He wanted to find his way out of this mountain and observe the areas around him. Also, he needed to know where in the country he was right now. The best way to do that was to climb up to the highest peak and look at the areas around the mountain.

Even if his body was strengthened, it was not at an absurd level since most of the changes his Mutation affected were mostly his blood, blood vessels and chemical producing glands. Due to this, it took him more than an hour to actually reach the peak despite his speed.

Along the way, he also encountered enlarged insects and animals. There were those that attacked him and those that avoided him. The attacks became a way for him to practice his ability he called [Blood Whips]. He called it this name because calling them tentacles was quite disturbing in ways more than one. Actually, he could control his blood outside his body to change into different shapes and size to some extent but due to the liquid jelly state of his blood outside his body, shaping his blood like whips was more convenient except when using the other ability of his blood.

The second ability was what he called [Blood Metallization]. His blood could turn into metal. That was why there were metal spikes on the tips of the [Blood Whips] when he first saw it before on that large screen. However, his blood could not turn back into liquid state once metallized on command. His metallized blood would cut off connection to his mind and become like an extraordinary metal which he called [Blood Metal]. He could return it to liquid state but it was a lengthy process since he needed his [Blood Whips] to cover the [Blood Metal] and slowly dissolve it turning into blood once more.

One deficit of turning his blood into metal was that it actually consumed a volume of his blood. That was understandable since that blood would be detached from his body but it made him understand that the blood production of his body turned slow due to his Mutation. Mark did not question it though. He did not think that a type of blood that could move through brain commands and turn into metal was easy to produce.

That was where [Blood Absorption] came in. He could absorb blood of others converting the blood to refill the blood he lost or used up. The conversion was rather in the low side though since a liter of normal blood could only refill about a quarter of a liter. Furthermore, he could only absorb blood from animals and humans, whether it was infected or not, while his blood rejected others like insects which were also understandable. He really had not actually tried to do it on humans but it seemed that he could from what he had seen before.

Another discovery was it seemed that he could convert the blood of his victims without needing to absorb it. He just needed to control his blood to invade the blood vessels of the victim and slowly convert it. It was a more lengthy process depending on the size of the target but it gave him several more ideas. Once the conversion was ongoing, the victim would start dying because of two reasons. Not being able to cope with the new blood and blood loss due to the lessening volume of actual blood they had in their body.

One of the ideas was converting all the blood of his target and turning it to metal inside the target's body. That was like pouring molten aluminum to an ant or termite mound to create art. Quite a brutal to make art, he admitted it in his mind. He also wanted to try to see if he could prolong his victim's life by making the converted blood to act as actual blood to distribute the nutrients the victim's body needed but that would come in the future.

After that large distance he hiked and the battles he won, he finally reached the top of the mountains... Just to feel frustrated.Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.

He thought that he could find the right direction to exit the mountain once he reached the peak but what he saw around the mountain...

...Were several more mountains in all directions.

It seemed that he was in the middle of the mountain range somewhere and not the place he initially thought of. As he did not leave the vicinity of Cavite and only sometimes had gone to Metro Manila, he was not that interested in the overall topography of the Philippines and as such, he had no idea where this place could be. Why he was not interested? He was poor. There was no need to mention about coming to places like this hiking and having fun, he was even struggling to secure his future expenses.

What made his frustration lighter was because he saw a small village at the foot of the mountain. The village was built in the middle of the plain grassland between the current mountain he was on and the mountain range to the east.

In the least, he found some landmark that could determine where in the world he was now.

***

It took him about four hours and finally reached the outskirts of the village before noon.

He had already expected it by the time he saw the village from the mountaintop. There was not a single soul that could be seen in the village. The village was abandoned. No, the people here seemed to be annihilated. There might be people that were able to escape but there was no doubt that many people died here even if there were no corpses that could be seen.

There were stains left by dried blood not only on the ground and the plants but also the walls and floors of the poorly made houses. Mark could even see a worn out machete beside one of the larger splotch of dried up blood at the entrance of the village. The plants and smaller trees around the village had been toppled and broken. Claw marks could be seen on larger trees, the ground and walls of some of the houses.

'This village was attacked by a large Evolved Animal.'

Mark thought as he stroked the length of the claw marks left on the wooden wall of the house he approached.

'A feline animal about the size of a human.'

He concluded as he observed the size and length of the claw marks. Walking at the dirt stained with blood, he picked up the machete on its wooden handle. It seemed that it had been long since the place was attacked considering the thick rust on the blade of the machete.

Mark walked around the perimeter of the village containing less than twenty small huts and houses to ensure that there was no immediate danger before actually starting to search the houses. What he needed to find first was clothes that he could wear. This place might be a place where a certain tribe lived before since there was tapestry with tribal designs hanging on some of the huts but considering the houses made up of plywood and metal roofing, it was a village in contact with the modern civilization. Well, most mountain tribes in the Philippines were already tainted with the modern culture making it not that surprising.

The village was not bad at all. If he could find enough food and other necessities in this place, he might stay for a day or two or until his mental abilities finally consolidate. He did not feel like returning into the civilization like this at all. Just thinking how he would not be able to judge or feel the emotions of people he might needed to talk to would surely kick his anxiety towards trusting others on high levels.

Mark scratched his shoulders.

Nodding, he really needed to set finding clothes as his priority. The leaves and vines covering his body were really uncomfortable to wear.

With those thoughts in his mind, he started to make his way to the closest house that was made with plywood and metal roofing.