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302 Killing the Physical Body of the Demon, The True Reason of His Late Arrival

 Day 44 - 11:52 AM - San Marcelino, General Nakar, Quezon

Mark glared at the demon as he continued to charge forward. The three [Mental Crystals] also continued to exude the brightest light it could while the crystals rotated around his body.

SWOOSH!

THOOM!

RUMBLE!

Different sounds echoed around the place as the demon blew miasma towards Mark and every single time, a strike of lightning blocked the attack. At the same time, Mark waved his blades towards the contaminated beasts that rushed towards him.

SHOOSH!

As Mark swung his blades towards two evolved monkeys while evading the other animals, a fast shadow rushed towards him from behind. Mark noticed the shadow and tried to retract his attacks towards the monkeys but the shadow was faster. The shadow jumped towards Mark targeting his neck.

CHOMP!

CLANG!

One of the metal limbs controlled by the [Blood Whips] blocked the mouth of the assailant. It was bald like the other contaminated animals but by the shape of its ears and its large circular eyes, it was possible that it was a wild leopard cat.

Knowing that the attack failed, the leopard cat tried let go of the metal limb and retreat but before it was able to...

BURST!

The other metal limbs sliced its body to piece causing its flesh and blood to scatter behind Mark.

SHING! SWOOSH!

The metal limbs behind Mark started to move faster and faster as more contaminated animals tried to surround Mark. Since the blades of the limbs had not poison from Ivy, Mark could only deal with the contaminated beasts by decapitating their heads and dismembering their limbs. Despite that, they were still alive but at least, they were immobilized indefinitely.

Nevertheless, the contaminated beasts were slowing Mark's charge. Not only was that but the contaminated beasts were getting stronger and stronger for some reason.

"Halt thy resistance, t is futile.  I pity yond this timeth hadst to endeth anon.  I can't alloweth anyone who is't kneweth of mine own 'rigins liveth.  FALLETH DEAD!"

As it saw Mark struggle with the contaminated beasts it controlled, the demon spoke with its strange language that was almost impossible to understand. However, Mark knew that it wanted to end things now. Not only Mark was in dire straits but the demon also seemed so.

Mark had already noticed it from the start but aside from talking, the only things that this demon could do was attack him with miasma and send the contaminated beasts to block him. In other words, it was nothing but a sitting duck under that dying acacia tree. That was why the demon was doing its best to halt Mark's charge while maintaining its façade.

Another thing that Mark noticed was that this demon should have been even more powerful but it was obviously weakened. It might be due to the fact that it had just awakened as it said before and it was awakened rather prematurely.

He should take advantage of it and kill it before it recovered. It was not like he had any other choice anyway. The place was already surrounded by a wall of miasma and the demon was keen on killing him.

"Cough! Cough!"

Mark coughed several times. For some reason, his breathing started to become heavier. His eyesight was even getting dimmer.

'Well sh*t!'

As he looked at the surroundings, he finally realized. The reason for the symptoms he was having and the contaminated beasts getting stronger was because the surroundings started to be filled with miasma. He did not realize soon since he thought that it was just the residue from the blocked surges of miasma the demon hurled towards him but the miasma in the air was getting thicker and started to form a faint fog.

Mark looked around while fighting the contaminated beasts. He was trying to find a countermeasure. When his eyes landed on the face of the demon however, he felt infuriated. The demon was smirking while looking down on him.

However, at that moment, he noticed behind the demon.

A small flame was burning. It was there since the beginning but no one noticed it due to the situation. From the explosion created when Mark attacked the demon earlier using the beam of light and the staccato lightning, some of the debris that flew behind the acacia tree continued to burn. Since the demon was facing Mark, it failed to see the flames and did not manage to extinguish it.

Around the flames, the miasma was thinner.

Mark's eyes glinted and a surge of lightning and high temperature light surged at the surroundings. Due to the high temperature, the trees started to dry up and burn. The black fog that started to gather vanished and Mark's condition became better.

"Thee lowly m'rtal!"

The demon bellowed after seeing what happened.

However, it was just the start.

RUMBLE!

CRACKLE!

RUMBLE!

Several lightning strikes landed in the surroundings decimating the contaminated animals and setting more trees ablaze.

As the fire started to spread, even the wall of miasma and the miasma the demon released started to weaken. Not only that, the movements of the remaining contaminated beasts started to become sluggish.

"I should have thought of this sooner."

Mark tried striking the acacia tree with lightning but the acacia, despite its dying state, was not normal and immediately dispersed the lightning strike.

Nevertheless, Mark now had the opportunity to attack. The contaminated beasts could not attack him as fiercely as before and he managed to charge forwards easier.

The demon still sent surges of miasma towards him but he managed to thwart the miasma with just a surge of high temperature light. At the same time however, the crystals started to dim.

Mark was running out of time. Luckily, it should be over soon.

He stood in front of the face pointing his blades towards the demon.

"Thee bethink thee can killeth me?"

The demon said with an amusing tone.

"It's hard to understand what you are saying. Just die."

Mark said in frustration as he pierced the metal limbs towards the flesh that made up the demon's disgusting face. As he did that, Mark frowned. He could feel that the metal limbs and his [Blood Whips] were being corroded by miasma inside the flesh but he could not bother about it.

FLASH!

FLASH!

He surrounded the [Blood Whip] with high temperature light inside the body of the flesh.

"GRUUUAAAAA!!!!"

With the disgusting smell of burning rotten flesh, the demon bellowed in pain. At the same time, blades made of [Blood Metal] rampage inside the flesh body and started to cut the body into pieces.

Sweat dripped from Mark's forehead as he kept several abilities working at the same time. There was also the deafening roar from the demon that could even reverberate inside his mind which he tried so hard to resist.

The three crystals finally lost its shine as the last of the energy in the crystals were used up. It would surely take quite a while before he could use these crystals again. And finally, despite the huge resistance, the final cut was made and the disgusting ball of flesh was no more. The roars of the demon and the miasma finally vanished.

Mark turned towards the remaining contaminated animals and rushed towards them. He started killing them one by one and now, they finally stopped moving. Mark could not detect any sign that the animals would move once more.

The rain clouds and the lightning strikes started to disperse with the loss of the energy to maintain them. Still, the forest was burning. Of course, it was a good thing and Mark had no reason or any way to stop the fire. The rest of the wide forest was still covered with red lichen after all. Even though the demon was gone, the red lichen could still contaminate the river even more if left alone.

It was strange that the acacia tree was not affected by the flames but at least Mark had a place to pass time until the fire was gone. He wanted to rest. He was tired both physically and mentally. His mental energy was drained to dangerous levels and his mind was affected by the malice the demon had. There was also the painful backlash from using his adrenaline more than how much his body could handle.

Mark moved at the altar under the acacia tree to look at it. The demon came from this altar after all. He wanted to check on it before resting.

Then...

Mark suddenly retreated. He felt a strong deathly aura. Nevertheless, he was late. After the fight, his movements were all sluggish.

The altar combusted and released huge amounts of miasma. Even the amount of miasma the demon released earlier could not compare to this.

As the miasma surged out of the altar, it all rushed towards Mark like a tidal wave. He was covered in miasma. Weakened, he was not able to make even an ounce of resistance.

His eyes started to grow heavy. Soon, he blanked out.

***

Day 44 -1:14 PM - San Marcelino, General Nakar, Quezon

Above the burning forest, a silhouette of a large flying lizard could be seen flapping its bat like wings. On the back of the silhouette, a young man, a woman, a three year old child and a small lady with wings could be seen. They were all stared down at the burning forest with worry in their faces while they seemed to be looking for something.

It was Chaflar and the rest of Mark's group that returned after delivering the children to the base. Despite hurrying as much as possible, they still took a lot of time. Not like anyone was at fault. They had to travel around mountains while maintaining a lower height due to the children. There was also the thick smoke above the forest which made it harder for them to traverse the airspace above the forest.

Using the link of Chaflar, Miracle and the other [Blood Children] to Mark, they were looking for him. Nevertheless, even the mostly emotionless Miracle that only showed her emotions around her father was worried. With that look, Karlene and Edzel knew that something bad might have happened. Even the [Blood Children] were too restless that they could not be kept inside their canisters. They forced the canisters open and tried to rush towards a certain direction. If not for Miracle forcing them to behave, they might have fallen from Chaflar's back already.

After a long flight, everyone saw a strange sight.

The fire that spread around the forest was strong and the smoke was thick enough to suffocate anyone. Even the evolved animals living outside the forest were alarmed and started to evacuate.

Nevertheless, amidst the burning forest, a huge acacia tree stood tall despite its sickly looking leaves. The trees around it had already turned into charcoal and dust but it seemed to be unaffected.

"A spirit tree!"

Amihan could not help but yell in surprise.

The others were confused about it but no one asked a question. Chaflar was heading towards the direction of the tree and Miracle along with the [Blood Children] was looking at the same direction. For sure, Mark was within the vicinity around that tree.

Soon, they reached the clearing around the tree and Chaflar landed. Despite the almost scalding temperature in the surroundings, everyone went down. Miracle immediately dashed towards the acacia tree and everyone followed behind her in a hurry.

They saw the remains of the fight and could not help but feel fear. Dozens upon dozens of dead contaminated beasts littered the area. Parts of the ground turned black after being hit by surges of miasma. There were also the chunks of rotting flesh from the remains of the ball of flesh.

It was then that they saw Mark. Miracle and the [Blood Children] tried to rush towards him but...

"STOP! DON'T COME CLOSE TO HIM!"

Amihan bellowed in panic forcing them to stop.

Everyone looked at the little sylph only to see her tearing up. She gazed at Mark and carefully approached him.

Mark was lying unconscious in front of a strange altar. His skin was turned black and his clothes were corroded. A dark aura emanated from his body that was releasing a sense of danger to anyone.

"Amihan! What happened to him? You know it right?"

Karlene asked Amihan. She tried to retain her calm but there were tears on the corner of her eyes.

"These signs..." Amihan lowered herself to the ground. "My Lord... A demon is trying to possess his body."