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230 Another Reason, An Unexpected Encounter on a Poor BloodChild Near the River

 Day 36 - 12:20 AM - Barangay Poblacion I, Real, Quezon

Like what Jones had stated before, the military had appeared. As usual, the authorities came late though. It had been the cliché of the military and police both in written literature and real life.

At this time, Karlene and Joash had gotten out of the smelly toilet and the two unconscious teammates of them were brought out on stretchers the soldiers had. As the soldiers escorted away their target group, they used flashlights to light up the way but they were trying too hard not to move the light outside of the path they needed to take outside the house.

Mark had already finished with his business with the heads of the outlaws. He retrieved their abilities at the same time at the second floor of the house. Jones surely saw the blinding light coming from the second floor but even if the soldiers asked, he had no reason to explain.

This time, Mark watched the whole process the military dealt with the aftermath of his battle with the outlaws while sitting on the roof of the house. Amihan sat on his shoulder as she looked at the soldiers below with interest. Even Mark found it funny that the military brought handheld searchlights and used it to light the area initially but the soldiers stopped using those lights when they saw the vicinity of the house.

The soldiers that were used to fighting and killing especially the infected this past month, could not even stomach the scene where the bodies of the outlaws were brutally mangled and killed in a gruesomely inhumane way. Mark even saw a few that ran away and vomited the moment they lit up their searchlights around the house.

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Mark suddenly heard Karlene's voice and could not help but turn towards her direction.

There, at the clearing of the dirt path north of the house, Mark saw Karlene hug a man in his forty's wearing a military uniform. Looking at the patched symbol on his shoulder, the man should a major in the military. No wonder the military would dispatch their soldiers for a private group. One of the members was actually a major's daughter.

"Well, it's none of my business really."

Mark muttered and laid his back on the roof. Since the military was here, he had already bagged his weapons. He wanted to rest and it would be inconvenient if the heavy weapons were still on his body. His fight for tonight was already over and everything else had nothing to do with him... Or it should have been...

"Mr. Mark!"

His back had not even able to lay flat on the roof when Karlene who knows how she knew where Mark was called unto him.

"Please, go down from there! I'll introduce my father!"

With Karlene's enthusiasm, Mark could not help but hesitate. Because of her tone and way of speaking, rather than introducing their savior to her father, it felt more like she was introducing her boyfriend.

"Should I go down there Amihan?"

Mark turned his head to his left and looked at Amihan who was sitting on his backpack and stretching her body while yawning.

"Why are you asking me, My Lord? Well, isn't it better if you go down there? You said before that you need something from those soldiers, right?"

Amihan replied which made Mark sigh and nod. It was then that Amihan added a few more unnecessary words.

"Let's go down! If something happens, I'm right on your shoulder! You can rely on me!"

Mark only looked at her with his eyes half closed. As if he could rely on what she was saying. He then pulled the backpack so suddenly that Amihan fell from it before he jumped off the roof.

"What is that for?!"

After landing on the yard, Amihan also landed on his shoulder painfully caressing her bottom.

"Mr. Mark, this is my father."

Karlene said while pointing at the major.

"Major Alfonso Bautista."

Karlene's father introduced himself with a salute and extended his right hand towards Mark.

Mark sighed. This gesture again... He was about to reluctantly accept the gesture when his hand was pulled forward and was clasped by the Major's hand. Mark turned his head to the culprit who was obviously Karlene.

"You can't leave my Dad awkwardly hanging, can you?

Ignoring Karlene who was rather behaving spoiled, he looked at the face of the Major who had his eyebrows twitching as he looked at Karlene.

With a sigh, Major Alfonso spoke.

"Sorry about my daughter's behavior. I heard the circumstances, thank you for saving my daughter and her friends."

"You don't have to thank me. They're just lucky that I needed some information. That's all."

"No, even if that's the case, you still save them, so, you still have my gratitude. If you needed something, I'll try to help if possible."

Hearing that, Mark's eyes lit up.

"Actually, I needed something."

"What is it?"

Major Alfonso asked while taken aback. He did not expect that Mark would want something immediately.

"You soldiers have a way to communicate with other military settlements, right? I wonder if you can help me contact Bay City."

"Bay City? That's pretty far isn't it? Fortunately, if that's all, I can allow you to use our communication line once we return at the settlement."

Mark became confused this time.

"Don't you soldiers use that Satellite Phone?"

"You even know about that?"

"I do. General Perez in Bay City, his daughter gave me one before but it's with my group in Bay City."

This time, not only Major Alfonso but also Karlene was taken aback. Mark had his group back in Bay City which was at the west while he was on the totally opposite side of the country. The father and daughter could not help but wonder what happened.

"The satellite connection stopped working a week ago. Right now, we are using a specialized transceiver connection to keep on communicating to other military settlements. The transceiver is nowhere compact and can only be used in the settlement."

"Is that so? Alright."

This time, Mark felt a little down. He thought that he would be able to communicate with Mei and the others already but he still had to wait some more.

Mark felt a tiny hand caressing his face. It looked like Amihan perceived the slight change in his thoughts.

The father and daughter could not help but look at the little fairy on Mark's shoulder. This was the first time they were able to see a creature like this up close in their whole life.

"Mark, that fairy."

Major Alfoso could not help but voice. Mark only raised his head straight and replied.

"A close companion."

The conversation did not take long and the father and daughter did not ask any more about Amihan as Mark tried to shut down the topic.

Soon, the cleanup was done although the cleanup only applied to the bodies of the Mutators that would be taken to lab studies. They even took the heads Mark abandoned at the second floor of the house. Unexpectedly, no one questioned him for his gruesome way of killing the outlaws which made him confused. While he was thinking of the reason, Jones came around and started pestering him once more.

Mark did not have many interactions with foreigners even before the outbreak but he was sure that not all Americans were as annoying as Jones. It even made him question the authenticity of his proclaimed line of work as he more visualized mercenaries as stern people. Jones on the other hand behaved like your typical overly friendly neighborhood guy. For Mark, his work attitude during then fight as Ogre was more suitable as he did not talk too much like this time.

The military convoy left as early as possible due to many factors. It was already too late in the evening, the smell of blood in the area might attract strong evolved animals and Tyson was in dire need of medical care.

While everyone rode on their armored vehicles, Mark took a K-Ninja Black motorcycle from the vehicles of the outlaws and rode it. One of the reasons why he did so was to get away from Jones while the other was because he was not a soldier. Riding inside a military vehicle when you were not a soldier made him feel more like he was being escorted somewhere than actually accompanying them.

Besides, he enjoyed the cold breeze while driving outside more than the cold by damp air from the air conditioner inside their vehicles. Furthermore, the insides of Military vehicles smelled more like metal and dusty which was not good for Amihan.

The convoy moved through the highway in the middle of the night, though it was the middle of the night, it was more like almost dawn already.

Fifteen minutes after they left the area of battle, Mark suddenly felt a jolt in his blood and mind. Even Oracle and Crimson inside his backpack felt that jolt. He looked to the left of the highway and saw that the Agos River was running side by side the highway in this area.

Without further ado, he stopped his vehicle at the side of the road and jumped off from the highway. Amihan was also surprised to his sudden action and held tightly on his face as Mark vanished together with her in a puff of black mist.

Oracle and Crimson was feeling restless. It was as if they were receiving a distress signal from somewhere.

Hurrying, Mark found the source of the tugging feeling. There was a stray [Blood Child] in this area and was about to be squashed by a monkey holding a large log.

Mark did not need to do anything as Mark's sudden appearance shocked the monkey to the bone. It ran away while releasing the contents of its bladder in fear.

Approaching the slow-moving and weakened [Blood Child], Mark felt even more surprised. For sure, it was a wild [Blood Child] but it rather than the clear reddish blood color, it had a greenish-violet color which somehow told Mark that it was poisonous.

Mark injected his blood first and it was delightfully received. The color of the wild [Blood Child] became darker and the violet color was eliminated as it turned into more of a greenish dark red color. Unlike the trained [Blood Children] under Mark, this one obviously could only drag its body to move which made it look even more pitiful.

He picked up the new addition to his loyal entourage with great care. The number of the [Blood Children] was already low in the first place and finding one here unexpectedly was a great thing itself. Still, Mark could not help but wonder how it was able to live this long and turn into a different color.

The little critter was still weak and was rather a shy one but it was really happy that it was not alone anymore and was clinging on Mark's arm like glue.

While Mark was appeasing the new child he immediately decided to name as Ivy which meant both green and poisonous, several shadows came down the slope from the highway to his position.

"Another one?"

Mark heard Karlene's voice who was unexpectedly leading the group. Behind her was Jones who had some sort of unexpected shock on his face when he saw Mark holding Ivy. He turned to Karlene as he heard her question.

"You said, another one?"

"Uhm, yes. I saw him earlier. He had two more with different colors."

Hearing that, Jones approached Mark which made the latter frown. Jones suddenly approaching caused Ivy in his hands to flinch.

"What do you want now?"

Mark said in displeasure.

"Do you know what these are?"

Hearing Jones' question, Mark stared at him waiting for him to elaborate further.

"A lot of these slimes had been washed downstream. Though it stopped several days ago and most slimes appear to be dead, there were quite a few that were caught alive by the people in Death Valley Settlement thinking that they are some sort of new creatures and were kept as pets."

Mark frowned hearing that. Since the crime district was in Barangay Pamplona, he knew that Agos River passed by that Barangay before the river connected to the ocean. He did not expect though that there were [Blood Children] that made it there alive.

In any case, due to his blood connection to these poor souls, he felt that these [Blood Children] were his kin. Not to mention the innocent affection they gave after he retrieved them which were not faked.

Jones had just given him another reason to visit that dangerous settlement brimming with criminals.