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341 Escape! Withdrawing from the Battle in Desperation

 Day 54 - 12:37 PM - Industrial Area, South District, Bay City Settlement, Parañaque City, Metro Manila

After retreating from the fight, Shin was running towards the direction where Dopp was last seen by Gar'Vlam. Still, while he was running, he was could not help but look back several times.

He could not fathom what happened to the enemy. A being who could contend with the flame demon could not have died easily. However, not having a will or consciousness could only say otherwise. Not only was that but the enemy seemed to have turned into a powerful mutated infected, an existence even more dangerous than before.

It was not new information in the organization. A Mutator that died with his head and body intact would turn into a mutated infected. The worst thing about this was that the infected the Mutator turned into would not only be stronger but could perfectly utilize the Mutator's abilities.

The worst thing about this was people with special abilities that turned into an infected could also use those special abilities after turning.

The current enemy was in both instances which surely became a huge threat to him and the flame demon that was already weakened due to the battle.

About the strange feeling he had towards the enemy, he decided to ignore it. Although he was also curious about this weird feeling, his life was more precious.

"Shin. I found Dopp and one of his subordinates. No one else is alive. What are we going to do next?"

The monotone voice of Spera was heard on his device which gave him a sense of relief in this dire situation.

The pressure he felt back then when he was attacked by the enemy was overwhelming even for an experienced fighter like him. If not for the generous payment they would receive and the possible reward from the Master of Volcanic Flames, they would have left this place immediately just by the sight of Mark overpowering Gar'Vlam who was a [False Deity].

Shin immediately pressed his communication device on his ear.

"Spera, fire a flare for us to know your location. Yoko, Tsukiko. Regroup at Spera's location. Also stop the song. It's not effective on the infected at all. Don't waste your energies anymore."

Almost immediately after Shin spoke, the song that echoed across the Industrial Area stopped. On the other hand, a bright ball of light was launched into the air marking Spera's current location.

***

Spera stared at the flare launched at the sky. She noticed that Dopp was waking up, probably because of the light that came from the flare above them.

Dopp opened his eyes and saw Spera's small emotionless face staring at him without even a shred of sympathy to his broken arms and legs. He was already out of their hooded robe revealing his rather good looking face. Unfortunately, he was all covered in bruises, wounds and dirt. The white colored clothes were all dirty and was already turned into black and gray.

"What took you all guys too long? I'm going to pay a large amount you right? My injuries are too painful that I passed out already while waiting."

The supposed severely injured Dopp spoke. It was in a manner that anyone would question if he was injured or not. Spera however did not pay any mind on what he had just said and asked.

"It's good that you're awake. Just how long are you going to maintain that state? You will pay us to open a path for you to retreat and not to carry you and your subordinate."

"Hah, seriously." Dopp sighed. "Where is that monster?"

BAM! BAM! BAM!

"Hear that? That big guy there is still fighting the... enemy. Shin said that he already turned into an infected and it's a very powerful one. It's better if we leave already. The big guy will not hold out too long. I'm really surprised you can sleep in a place like this and will all the noise."

Spera replied. However, it was noticeable how she hesitated in calling the current opponent of Gar'Vlam an enemy.

As Spera finished speaking, Shin arrived beside her. He reached the place fast but Spera was not surprised.

Seeing Shin, Dopp smiled.

"Finally, I can get out of this pain. It's killing me."

Dopp said as his body disintegrated turning into dust. It included his clothes and other things he wore. At the same time and at the same rate his body crumbled into dust however, a silhouette of a person standing behind his body slowly emerged.

The moment his body fully turned to dust and vanished, the silhouette finished materializing, revealing another Dopp who had no injuries on his body. His white clothes were unstained and his other belongings were all recovered. He was even wearing his gray colored robe once again.

"Damn, that is painful."

Dopp complained as he checked his body for anything wrong but made a satisfied nod soon after.

Shin and Spera ignored Dopp who was now checking Emmett's injuries.

"Spera, prepare the portal. We'll go when Yoko and Tsukiko arrived."

"Okay."

At Shin's command, Spera closed her eyes concentrating heavily on using her ability.

Soon, the space in front of her started to distort and a small hole appeared soon after which started to expand. The speed however was rather slow. Not only that they were in surroundings affected with Miasma but the distance where the other side of the portal was opening was rather far. She was also already drained from using a long distance portal earlier making it harder to construct another one.

***

BAM! BOOM!

The battle between Gar'Vlam and Mark continued and was rather going intense. However, the battle was tilting against the flame demon as the infected nature of Mark started to adapt further and further.

From jumping around like a jumping spider using his metallic limbs, Mark was not appearing and disappearing consecutively while releasing a large amount of miasma in the surroundings. Aside from his speed, Mark was growing stronger. His jumps and kicks that could barely do anything before was now cracking the pavement and was already damaging the flame demon's enhanced body.

Gar'Vlam's attacks could not hit Mark anymore and all his floating skulls were taken down already.

POOF! BAM!

Mark appeared behind Gar'Vlam and gave the flame demon a kick with his two legs and six metal limbs. The flame demon was pushed two steps forwards and staggered before falling unto one knee. That kick Mark unleashed not only pushed the demon away but also caused cracks on his body.

"DAMN IT!"

Gar'Vlam bellowed as he swung his sword making Mark jump back.

At this time, the song had already stopped and Gar'Vlam knew that the time to retreat was coming. Finally, he could feel a distortion in space as a portal was being opened by Spera quite a distance away.

However, Mark also felt it.

***

"Master, aren't you going to take over already?"

Flam asked as the song had already stopped. However, the infected behavior of Mark's body continued as he was still affected by the hypnotism and Mark had not competed for the control yet.

"Not yet." Mark said calmly. "Auraboros is filled with strange creatures and psychic ability holders right?"

"Yes."

"Then, you should know that the infected is highly attracted to psychic abilities especially when they are being used."

Hearing that, Flam became wide eyed. Just a few seconds after the ripple in space was felt, Mark's body turned its head away facing toward the south.

"See? They will think that I'm attracted to the appearance of the portal and will try to block me. That is when I will take them by surprise. Still, I'm surprised that that bastard seemed to be fine."

Mark narrowed his eyes in annoyance as he felt Dopp had recovered.

"Are you talking about Dopp?" Flam spoke. "That Dandy Guy is a Doppelganger. He can create another copy of him turning that into a real body after erasing the previous one. He can also change the appearance of himself and other people he was able to manipulate. The copies he can make using other people's bodies can be used as puppets connected to several people like how the speech was done before."

The existence of Dopp being revealed like this surprised Mark a bit. It seemed that Flam really wanted to turn over to his side and leave the organization. Still, it also surprised him that Dopp was actually a creature like that.

"So, it's like that."

Mark smiled. However, since Dopp's ability was of his existence and not a psychic ability, he felt pity that he would surely not be able to steal it.

***

Seeing Mark distracted, Gar'Vlan hacked his sword down ferociously.

Unfortunately, Mark dodged. The flame demon hurriedly tried to defend himself as that attack created an opening to attack him but to his dismay, Mark vanished into black mist and smoke which left the area of battle like a speeding racecar.

"Not good!"

Gar'Vlam was wide eyed. As he had just been reborn, he never knew that Mark would be attracted to the ripples of psychic energy and was not prepared to intercept Mark.

"KID! THE ENEMY IS COMING!"

Gar'Vlam shouted loudly which echoed across the Industrial Area. His body was too large and slow to catch up to Mark who was getting faster and faster as he fought.

***

It did not take long and the black smoke was already speeding towards Spera.

Shin hurried to intercept Mark and slashed the mist erasing the movement ability and forced Mark to appear. However, Mark's speed during the movement did not decrease after he was forced out and ended up ramming Shin. The swordsman used his sword to block and was forced back several meters.

PUFF!

Being hit by a speeding racecar was too much even for the inhuman bodied Shin. As his organs were rattled heavily by the impact he had just received, blood spurted from his mouth. However, he remained standing and did not fall down. Behind him were not just Spera but also Yoko and Tsukiko. He could not back down and let his members get killed.

STOMP! STOMP!

Gar'Vlam's loud footsteps could be heard from behind as the flame demon tried to catch up.

But then, something unexpected happened.

Mark who was charging forwards stopped and stood in place, a very unusual thing for an infected to do.

It was when Mark raised his head and looked at Shin and Spera that they noticed the anomaly.

"Would you all kindly surrender?"

Mark spoke which turned everyone's eyes wide except for Spera who was concentrating on the portal.

An infected gaining his consciousness back was unprecedented. For it to happen abruptly like this made them feel like all of this had been staged.

"Yoko! Tsukiko!"

Shin shouted prompting the two to sing.

However...

"AAHHH!!!"

"GAAAHHH!!"

The two women fell on their knees holding their heads. Mark stared at the two with his eyes glowing bright red.

"Unfortunately, I can't let you two do that again."

"Sh*t!"

They were pinned down. Even Dopp who thought that his safety was secured became worried.

As the portal was almost open, they just needed to make a distraction.

It was then that...

"BRATS! CLOSE YOUR EYES!"

The voice of Gar'Vlam shouting could be heard.

SHINNGGG!!!

Bright light enveloped the area which severely affected Mark whose eyes had been accustomed to the dark surroundings. He was blinded.

The only thing he knew that the presences of people around was moving rapidly as they retreated.

Knowing their plan, Mark waved his hands despite not being able to see. Miasma surged unto the surroundings which engulfed a large area around him.

Soon, the surroundings became quiet.

By the time his eyes recovered, the portal was already gone along with the people in front. Mark turned his head behind and saw a four meter tall statue left in the middle of the Industrial Area.

He did not expect that Gar'Vlam would leave his newly created body and explode a part of his spirit in order to escape.

The flame demon succeeded... Well... Almost...

Mark walked forward. Several steps later, he was standing beside an unconscious girl wearing a black cloak.

"Well, this is Maurellfel's inheritor right? It's a pity Eigrid escaped. That two singing girls are interesting too. I wanted to capture all of them including that Doppelganger. I want to know if there is a way to take their racial abilities. Well, I'll surely encounter again them sooner or later."

He said as he poked Spera's arms with his right shoe.

After checking that she was out cold, Mark stared at the space where the portal should have been before.

"I wonder if they will like the souvenirs."