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298 The Miasma, The Cause of Death and Danger

 Day 44 - 10:51 AM - San Jose, Antipolo, Rizal

Feeling the pain on his hand, Mark hurriedly and forcibly waved his hand to the side causing the majority of the red liquid to fly off and splatter on the ground. He then ripped a part of his shirt and wiped the remaining liquid on his hand and through the cloth away. Looking at his hand, the part splattered by was damaged despite the fact that he immediately cleaned the liquid.

A small part of his right palm and the majority of the back of the hand along with his ring and pinkie finger was scorched black and were even emitting black smoke with a very pungent smell. He also noticed that the dirt the liquid was splattered and the cloth he had just thrown away turned black and were also emitting the same kind of smoke.

Mark frowned. This was the third time he received an attack while inside the subspace of his [Shadow Mist Movement]. First were the thorns released by the black barnacles covering the sixty feet whale, the second was the bullets Sherwyn specifically prepared to deal with him while this was the third time.

However, two of those three had the same thing in common. The energy these things had. Mark still had not confirmed before it but he had the same feeling about the thorns and this red liquid. Now that he saw this black smoke, he could finally tell. It had something to do with miasma. He could not really see the energy but he could feel it strongly. Now that the miasma materialized in the form of that smoke, he managed to deduce it further.

"Guh!"

Mark retreated and clutched his hand even more. His fingers were cramping and his hand started to move on its own. He could even see the blood vessels in his hand starting to swell and turning red in color. It was the same symptom of the contamination. Furthermore, it seemed to be several times more potent than what the sick people in the school had.

The worst part, the being that was controlling these beasts was trying to control his hand.

This could be a good opportunity to shout, "CALM DOWN MY RIGHT HAND!", like some kid with a certain syndrome. Of course, there was no way he would do that. It was both pointless and embarassing.

If it was other people, it would have been a dangerous situation. The contamination would surely spread in several minutes or worst, seconds, and the person would be one with the beasts being controlled.

Unfortunately for the enemy...

BURST!

The contaminated parts of Mark's hand and fingers burst open and the contaminated flesh and skin fell onto the ground. With the contaminated flesh gone, a gaping wound was left on his arm. Some parts of his bone could even be seen. Along with the flesh and skin, quite an amount of black colored blood also splattered down to the ground.

He controlled his blood inside his hand and severed the contaminated parts. Since the blood he used to remove the contaminated parts also got contaminated, he pushed the contaminated blood out causing the bloody scene.

Mark's forehead started to perspire as he endured the pain. His bloody hand was even shivering but at least, it was just a normal reaction now. Fortunately, this wound would heal soon as he was given enough time. His absurd regeneration rate was not just for show. Of course, it was still painful. If possible, he would never do something like this again. Furthermore, regenerating a chunks of missing flesh and skin was not too easy.

Since he could not use his right hand, he had to let go of his spear and returned it to being a baton and stored it. He needed to bide time first until the wound was healed and would use the needle launcher on his left wrist for now.

He then started running around avoiding the attacks while shooting the needles accurately. With the [Shadow Mist Movement] being unusable for now, he could only try to not let himself get surrounded.

***

"He's injured?! How?!"

Karlene became wide eyed when she saw what happened to Mark after he used his [Shadow Mist Movement]. She already saw it firsthand how Mark was invincible to bullets while using that ability. Since she had accompanied him for a while now, she also learned things about it. This was the first time she saw Mark getting hit while using that ability.

Rewinding the scene, she saw Mark vanish after he was attacked by the surrounding beasts without a way of escape. Then, the usual wavy mist appeared in his place and the mist moved out of the encirclement. As the mist passed over one of the dead bodies, the swelling burst open and splattered that red liquid. At that time, she saw the mist vanished a bit and she saw Mark's blurry body for a split second before the mist continued and Mark appeared.

The scene as the red liquid splattered made her remember a stone was suddenly thrown into the water causing the water to be pushed downwards and if the water was shallow, it would reveal the bottom of the water for a short period before the water returned.

While Karlene and Edzel were shocked at Mark receiving that injury, Jennivive, Imee and the children were all shocked at the scene where Mark vanished and appeared. They all could not help but gaped their mouths although it was not the appropriate time for gawking.

Everyone then heard a cute voice shouting.

"My Lord! Don't use that for now! The miasma will corrode any energy humans deemed as supernatural! Not only that the energy will be corroded but it will also strengthen the miasma!"

Amihan shouted with worry. Her voice was amplified and was heard by everyone in the area. She seemed to be using the things Mark taught her well.

"You should have said that earlier!"

Mark shouted back causing Amihan to flinch.

"Did you just say miasma?"

"Uwah!"

Karlene could not help but blurt out that question which caused Amihan to be taken aback.

"Uh, sorry. You said miasma right? The one that caused by evil spirits?"

"Yes!"

Hearing that, Karlene's expression became serious. She turned to Edzel.

"Edzel, stop shooting and help me refill the empty magazines! We need to kill these things faster!"

"O-okay!"

Edzel was flustered. This was the first time he saw Karlene this serious.

With all her attention on the enemies, Karlene sped up taking the beasts out.

***

Soon, before Mark's wound could fully heal, the all the beasts that came attacking fell using the poisonous needles and bullets. This time was quite dangerous as he could not use his [Shadow Mist Movement]. Nevertheless, he managed to learn something.

Miasma, it could be the very weakness of not only his ability but also other psychic and magical powers.

The battle had just ended and the schoolyard was littered with dead corpses of huge animals and insects.

Before everyone could breathe in relief however...

"MY LORD! GET AWAY FROM THERE!"

Amihan's panicked shout reverberated inside everyone's ears.

Mark also felt something dangerous and at the same time as the little sylph's shout, he jumped back and retreated.

SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT!

Under everyone's eyes, the large swelling on the bodies of the animals burst open splattering the red liquid everywhere. As for the insects, their bodies burst out entirely.

Black smoke permeated the large part of the school yard. Even though Mark was outside the area covered by the smoke, he still felt suffocated and had to retreat even more.

"GUHAAAAA!"

"GHHAAAAAA!"

But then, anguished cries entered everyone's ears.

Karlene, Edzel, Amihan and the children could not help but turn their heads towards the source of the cries. Their eyes turned wide in shock.

Jennivive and Imee were both crying in pain as they slumped to the floor. Their painful screams could cause anyone to feel chills in their spine. Then, their bodies started to bloat and red lichen like substance burst out of their bodies.

"Miss Jennivive! Aunt Imee!"

"Teacher! Aunt Imee!"

The children cried out in horror. They hurriedly tried to approach the two adults but...

"STAY AWAY!"

"DON'T APPROACH US! GO AWAY!"

The two women suppressed their anguished cries and shouted at the children. Looking at what happened to the beasts at the schoolyard, they knew their end was approaching.

"PUH!"

Black blood started to drip from Jennivive's mouth but she still tried to look at Karlene and Edzel.

"Please, take the children away..."

With tears at the edge of her eyes, Karlene nodded and stopped the approaching children. Edzel did the same and his expression was very unsightly. The children wept out loud and kept calling the two women's names as they were pushed away. Dakila, knowing that it would be the last time they would see their teacher...

"Teacher! Aunt Imee! Thank you for keeping us until now!"

With his voice in the lead, the other children echoed.

Hearing those voices, Jennivive and Imee cried. It was black blood that came out of their eyes but they were surely crying. The two smiled at the children.

BURST!

Their bodies exploded.

It was good that the children were pushed away or else, the red liquid that suddenly burst out of the two women's bodies could have contaminated the children. Amihan also helped by making a barrier of wind to push away the splattered liquid. The wind was weakened because of the miasma but it was able to defend the children.

Not only the two women but several splatters could be heard from the room were the sick people was kept and two bursts could be heard from the room where the corpses was placed.

The younger children slumped on the floor and cried while the older ones tried to keep their cool since they were the only ones left to take care of the others.

Karlene consoled the children while Edzel was at a loss on what to do. Amihan was affected by the children's cries and also wept but her attention was mostly on the school yard.

***

Marks saw everything that happened at the second floor. It was really unexpected that the deaths of these two came too sudden. Now, the children were left on their own prematurely and the reason was because Mark's group arrived here.

However, it was not the time to sympathize with them. The children might have lost their guardians but that was not the pressing issue.

Not only the corpses of the beasts were emitting black smoke but also the bodies of the adults that died inside the school. Furthermore, some of the graves on the other side of the schoolyard also started to emit that same kind of smoke.

Still, the smoke was not moving upwards or scattering outwards. All the smoke was moving toward the center of the corpses of the beasts that littered the schoolyard.

The materialized miasma started to gather and thicken. It even started to form a large whirlwind. There was no wind blowing around but the gathered miasma kept of spinning around. The area covered by the whirlwind started to become larger and the smoke finally started to spread.

Mark stared at the whirlwind as if waiting for something.

Then a large shadow flew above the school. The shadow covered a large area and its wings tried to blow the smoke away from the school. Looking up, it was Chaflar who Mark finally called.

Mark had not called unto the dragon before since it was still an animal. One mistake could lead it to being controlled by the enemy. Now however, he had no choice. The smoke was spreading and he needed something to blow the smoke away. Since it was a thick concentration of miasma, it was very questionable if Amihan's ability would work and he could only call unto Chaflar.

With Chaflar's large wings, gusts of wind started to push the spreading smoke away. The miasma still tried to spread but without wind helping it, the wind Chaflar's wings could only push the whirlwind of smoke further away.

The smoke from the surroundings finally thinned and disappeared but the concentration of miasma in front was still spinning.

Suddenly, Mark's eyes widened.

"Chaflar! Burn it quick!"

With the order, a huge burst of flames came out of Chaflar's mouth and swallowed the concentration of miasma whole.