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314 Misplaced Atmosphere, Minding Their Business Inside the Control Tower

 Day 47 - 2:28 PM - Control Tower, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Parañaque, Metro Manila

Leaving Umbra to his miserable thoughts, Mark and Mei looked outside the control tower. It might be just about two hours and a half past noon but the wind that was blowing was rather cold.

Mutagen had caused a drastic change in the world. The change was not only on the creatures but the overall state of Earth. Back before the outbreak, it was already kind to say that the air in Manila was bad. In fact, the pollution was too bad that when viewing the sky above Manila from outside its boundaries, it always looked like it was about to rain due to the gray colored clouds.

The air before was too dry and hot and always with thick dust and smelled like smoke and gasoline. Now, not only that it was cold but was rather refreshing. Of course, it would still depend on the location. In some parts of Manila, there were still fires that were still emitting smoke and for sure, the air below would smell bad due to the number of infected around.

While feeling the cold wind, Mark looked towards the direction where the flyover defended by the main forces of military was located. Of course, by the distance, there was no way for him to see what was currently happening there.

"Gege, are you worried about Gale and Iola?"

Mei asked.

"A little, but they should be fine. The military decided to retreat early. If not, then I will really be worried."

Mark replied while caressing Mei's hair.

'It felt like a very long time.'

He thought as he felt the comfortable sensation on his arms.

The sounds of gunfire echoed with the distance as the forces from Bay City that participated in the mission prepared to depart. Mark would have been worried about his daughters and Odelina if the retreat was a bit later. He knew the plot were the enemies lured a lot of infected along the way to make them waste ammunition and resources. If they did not retreat now, the likelihood of being stuck within the horde due to lack of ammunition and other resources would be very high. Fortunately, it seemed that the military noticed the problem and decided to pull out early.

In any case, they already failed this mission from the start so it was more rational to retreat as soon as possible.

In Mark's view, even though they were careful, the military still underestimated the infected in this airport. Even if the enemies did not try to hinder them, it was still very unlikely for them to succeed. The only thing that the enemies did was just to ensure that they would have no way to escape and everyone would get annihilated.

Another thing, Mark left a bodyguard to guard his daughters. If this was three days ago, the little guy would not be able to guard them but now, he was the best one to do it.

'Now, to think of it, it was both fortune and misfortune, my encounter with that demon in that forest.'

Mark turned to Mei. She seemed to have something in mind.

"Mei'er, what's wrong?"

"Gege, I'm just thinking. Why did that creature inside that portal as what Gege is?"

"Haha, I don't really know myself."

Mark took off his mask, it felt suffocating.

"Let's see... How should I say it..." Mark tapped his chin. "It's like this... My mind and consciousness is connected to emotions of others. My soul is a fusion of different entities and creatures. My eyes can see the past and the future while my thought can open up space. My blood is the result of Mutagen while my right wrist is the embodiment of PsyPathogen. Aside from that, my body contains miasma and my genes are fused with a demon's."

Mark then looked at Mei's eyes.

"What do you think?"

"I don't understand everything you said but it sounds confusing and chaotic."

"That's right. I don't even know what to call myself now. Actually, everyone started to stray away from being human after Mutagen invaded Earth. It's just that my body and actions kind of overdid it."

Mark smiled bitterly.

"But..." Mei smiled brightly. "Gege is still Gege, right?"

For the first time, Mark stared at Mei as if he was hypnotized. That smile surely captivated him and those words really hit him home run.

Although he was a loner and preferred less contact with people as much as possible, the thought of people unable to accept what you were was still unnerving. Even demons and devils were confused and afraid to what kind of being he was now, he would be hurt of Mei and the others were not able to accept him.

However, it was an unnecessary thought.

He felt kind of ashamed now.

While in deep thought, a tight hug pulled him back to reality.

"I missed you."

Mei whispered in his ear. Both the genuine sentiment and the feeling of her breath were ticklish.

Hearing that, Mark returned the hug and replied.

"I missed you too."

A pink atmosphere started to form inside the control tower surrounded by the infected.

That was when...

"Your Majesty, please mind the time and place..."

A cute but stern voice interrupted them.

In surprise, both Mark and Mei stepped away from each other. Being interrupted, the emotions inside Mark's mind were swept away and he became calm once more. On the other hand, Mei was totally blushing and confused.

Mei looked forward and saw a creature she never knew that really existed.

"Aephelia, is the scouting done?"

Mark asked the little creature.

In front of Mark was another sylph similar to Amihan floating with her semitransparent wings. Behind the sylph was Miracle who was staring at Mei quietly.

"Yes, Your Majesty. I also brought the princess since she was looking for you. But seriously Your Majesty, why did you not call us if the things already settled?"

The sylph started to reprimand Mark who left Miracle outside the control tower. Although he left her in a room and was safe, the royal maid who was overprotective of the princess was angry. Not only that, the couple started flirting while a stranger was watching and there were dead bodies inside the room.

"Alright, alright. My bad." Mark scratched his head. "Miracle, come here."

"Father."

Miracle approached steadily but her eyes did not leave Mei even for a second.

On the other hand, Aephelia was also scrutinizing Mei albeit stealthily.

Right now, Aephelia and Miracle had been separated from each other. Since Aephelia was a soul, she just lacked a soulless but functioning body. That was why the body of the guardian of the altar where the Deity of Bloodshed was sealed came in handy.

That was right. Aephelia was now using the body of the sylph that lost her soul due to the possession of the demon. With the help of the [PsyCrystal] in Mark's wrist, taking Aephelia out of Miracle's body and putting her soul inside the sylph was easy. However, Aephelia was still adjusting to her new body. After all, although the size of the soul and container did not matter, the body of the sylph function differently than that of a human.

Another thing was that due to miasma, the body lost most of its capability to control wind and Aephelia could not use it aside from flying which she practiced for hours with Mark's and Amihan's help. Even now, she could not control the wings freely. That was why she had another mode of transport which was left outside.

"Gege, they are..."

Mei's bashfulness was washed away but the current scene.

Even Umbra who was weakly watching by the side was dumbfounded seeing a high status spiritual being standing before an embodiment of miasma.

Before Mark could say anything, Aephelia spoke.

"Please to meet you, Her Majesty." Aephelia gave a curtsy towards Mei. "This one is called Aephelia Miferiel. The personal Maid of the previous king of Eriellis who is now serving under His Majesty."

Mei was thoroughly confused now.

"Aephelia, can you do a normal greeting?" Mark sighed before he turned to Mei. "Mei'er, as she said, that sylph is Aephelia. This one here is Miracle. Just don't think of that his majesty and her majesty stuff. That's just how Aephelia is."

Mark pointed at Miracle who was currently hiding behind his legs while steadily peeking at Mei.

"Gege picked up another one?"

Mei asked while trying to beckon Miracle to approach her.

"It's not like I wanted to. It just happened."

Mark sighed and tried to push Miracle forward towards Mei. He was not lying, he never expected Miracle to call him father. It just happened and he accepted since there was really no demerit for him to have such a powerful daughter beside him.

He then lowered his body and spoke to the little girl.

"Miracle, she's your new mother."

"Mother?"

Miracle voiced while looking at Mei. Mei tried to approach the little girl but to her dismay, Miracle ran back and hid behind Mark once more.

"Hahaha, let's just take it slowly."

Mark felt happy seeing Mei's distraught face. It seemed that she did not mind Mark introducing another daughter to her.

Mark patted Mei's and Miracle's heads before turning to Aephelia, this time, with a serious look.

"How did it go?"

Mark asked.

"Your Majesty, I tried to control the infected mutated by the spiritual energy but they are harder to control than the others. It is more efficient to just have the normal ones."

"I see."

Mark nodded.

When he set up the net for the enemies, he sent Aephelia and Miracle to do several things. One was to try to control the immortal infected and the other was to scout the perimeter of the airport, especially, the area where the nest was. As for their transport, they had a human sized infected eagle that they encountered on the way. The infected's body was in good condition which prompted them control it and use it as transport of Aephelia and Miracle.

Currently, the infected eagle was outside waiting for Aephelia's next orders.

"How about the large infected in the airfield? Can you control it?"

"I think, I can, Your Majesty. I actually wanted to try earlier but..."

Aephelia's voice was filled with uncertainty.

"But what?"

"The large pod at the center of the nest is baffling me. It felt like there is an infected inside but at the same time, it was not an infected either. It's really strange. That is why we did not dare approach carelessly."

"I see. Good work."

Mark said with a frown.

From the information Mark had gathered from the military and from Karlene and Alana, infected nests were a total mystery for the most part.

Infected nests were different from most people thought off. It was natural to think that infected nests were formed after a large number of infected was gathered in a certain area but it was actually the opposite. The way and reason infected nests form was still a mystery but because of the nest forming, the infected around the area was attracted to the place where the nest was.

As for Mark however, he had a vague theory. The nests were places where the highest concentrations of Mutagen were located and the infected were being drawn to it. Those infected that were lucky would mutate to stronger kinds and that was why anyone would encounter stronger infected as they closed into the nest.

In this nest however, it seemed that something other than the infected would be born in the near future.

"Say Aephelia, how long do you think before that pod hatch?"

"I can't say but I have the feeling that it should be today or in the latest, tomorrow morning."

"Good, we still have things to do here while waiting for Chaflar to arrive. We can also wait for that pod to hatch. If we can take what is inside, we'll take it. If not, we'll destroy it."

Mark smiled. He could not help but feel the desire to collect more strange creatures as pets.

He then turned to Umbra.

"I'll tell you what you need to do and you can go. Be aware that I'm watching you using that miasma inside your body. Do something undesirable and you will know what will happen."

Mark said with a sinister smile which made Umbra drenched in nonexistent sweat. Instructions were filled into the mind of the Shadow Person and he scurried away from the control tower.

Starting with Umbra, Mark's plan to raise the status of the senator inside the Bay City started.