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342 Bad and Good, The Two Endings of the Battle in Bay City

 Day 54 - 1:45 PM - ▋▋▋▋▋▋, ▋▋▋▋▋,▋▋▋▋▋,▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋, Japan

A hole appeared in the middle of an Expressway and expanded over the span of seconds. Before the outbreak, sudden phenomenon like this in the middle of a busy road would cause accidents. Now however, there were only infected around that could witness the disturbance.

The hole appeared like a disturbance in space than an actual portal. Then, a bright ball light suddenly flew out of the hole followed by a sudden burst of black smoke that covered about four meters around the hole before disappearing.

After running away from the black smoke, the ball of light burst out a blinding light before five figures emerged on the middle of the almost empty road. Unsteadily, four of the figures stood up taking a look at the hole they escaped from as it vanished like it never appeared. On the other hand, one of the figures that had no arm remained lying on the ground unconscious.

That was then that they noticed...

"This is not our base. Spera! What happened?" Shin bellowed in his usual scolding tone. However, when he looked around..."Spera?"

"Kid, don't bother looking." A ball of fire that looked like boiling lava flew down to the level of his face and spoke. "If you are looking for that small girl, she's left back there."

Everyone was surprised seeing the talking ball of fire but the voice immediately let them know who it was.

"Your Arkhes?" Shin spoke in a question. "What did Your Arkhes mean? Spera is..."

"You should just be glad already." Gar'Vlam spoke in an annoyed tone. "I forced all of us into an incomplete portal because that small girl had already fallen unconscious. I saw the Miasma cover her so I was not able to retrieve her like you brats here. If I spent more time to get her, don't even mention speaking and standing here. All of you will be in the hands of that monster."

Hearing those words, Shin's fist tightened to the point of his palm bleeding. Yoko felt crestfallen as Spera was left behind. As for Tsukiko, she looked like the usual although her eyes had a tint of worry.

"Just what is that guy?" Yoko spoke. "Shin, you said that he turned into an infected right? Why can he speak?"

That question echoed inside their minds. Shin looked at Gar'Vlam who was the person who noticed the changed at first.

"Kid, don't look at me like that. That monster returned from being a soulless one back to his previous state after the song stopped. I even had no choice to leave my newly created body there to enable all of us here to escape."

The tone of Gar'Vlam was grave. After many tries and sacrificing thousands of human lives, he was finally resurrected. Just to fight a monster like that and escape in his weakened spirit form. With his current state, who knows how long he had to spend to recuperate his spirit and create another physical body. The setback he gained from this defeat was overwhelming.

"Dopp, we lost a lot in this request of yours. You better give us a raise."

Shin turned to Dopp who was not speaking since earlier but when all of them turned to the latter for his reply, their eyes widened.

Dopp was not speaking not because he was just keeping silence but his body kept on the state of destruction and creation. For some reason, Dopp was trying to recreate another body but before he was able to, the new body disperses and the body he was trying to replace was getting reconstructed instead.

"Curse that Bastard! All of you get away from him!"

Gar'Vlam bellowed in unprecedented panic. However...

He was late...

BOOOM!

Dopp, wide eyed, exploded. Black smoke burst forth from his body enveloping area about five meters around him. Shin's group was within that area as they were standing together with Dopp.

At the last moment however, Gar'Vlam burned another part of his spirit and created a thin film of light around Shin, Yoko and Tsukiko. The three managed to run out of the area covered in smoke. However, there were parts of their bodies touched by the smoke which immediately festered. Fortunately, the protection Gar'Vlam gave then stopped the contamination in their skin from spreading.

"Thank you Your Arkhes."

Shin immediately conveyed his gratitude while enduring the pain in the injury he received.

In exchange for burning his spirit once more, Gar'Vlam became smaller. The burden in his spirit became larger but he would not let these three die. Not only that they assisted him in fighting but these three was the only way for him to reach the base of the organization in this country.

Shin, Yoko and Tsukiko inspected their hands and feet. The cloak that covered their bodies protected them but their hands and feet was not covered and was hit by the miasma. Now, their hands and feet looked unsightly and for sure, it would be hard to heal these injuries.

Still, they were alive. Both Dopp and Emmett were no more.

"Damn it. We lost Spera, we are injured and Dopp is gone. How are we going to get paid for this?"

Shin bellowed in anger. At the side, Yoko and Tsukiko stepped away from Shin as if afraid that he would turn his anger towards them.

"We should leave this place first. The soulless ones are already gathering."

Gar'Vlam suggested which the three nodded to.

"Where are we anyway?"

Yoko asked which Tsukiko responded by pointing her finger at a certain sign beside the road.

"Nagasaki Expressway... What? We need to travel almost the whole country to get to our base! How are we going to do this without Spera?"

Yoko started to throw a tantrum just to get a smack on her head.

"Stop shouting, we need to leave. There's no point in crying over spilt milk."

***

Day 54 - 12:45 PM - Industrial Area, South District, Bay City Settlement, Parañaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines

"This armor looks hideous."

Mark complained while touching the spikes protruded on the armor he was now wearing. Not only that his body was covered in this unsightly armor but the armor he previously wore was not fused with this one due to having the same kind of material used to create the armors. Now, he needed to make another.

While shrugging his shoulders, the metal limbs on his back started to slowly liquefy as he tried to return the [Blood Metal] covering his body back to liquid state and return the blood inside his body. As the amount of blood used to create the armor and the metal limbs was rather large, he was kind of feeling lethargic.

He looked around, fire still raged everywhere. Since this was a bad thing, he took out the [Stormcaller Mental Crystal] and activated it.

DRIP! DRIP!

The swirling clouds started to pour heavy rain... Just inside the Industrial Area. It was quite a sight.

Mark faced the sky eyes closed as he embraced the refreshing feeling as the cold rainwater fell on his face. He was kind of tired already he needed some refresher.

He then approached the unconscious Spera. To say, he was quite interested in this girl. She was giving the same vibe he and Mei both had. He wanted to know the details about it when she woke up.

However, there was a thing needed to be done first.

Mark removed Spera's hood revealing her rather cute face that was being splashed by the drops of rain. By her looks, she seemed to be of Russian descent unlike her teammates that were all Japanese. He then pressed his right hand on her forehead.

The [PsyCrystal] on his arm glowed brightly which even seeped out of his hideous armor. By the time he removed his hand, a crystal was already held by him. It was a [Mental Crystal] with a black swirling orb inside with bits of lightning in it. The orb was a symbol of space, black, bottomless and unstably chaotic.

With a flick of his hand, the crystal vanished as it entered the [PsyCrystal] for safekeeping.

Now, there was no way for Spera to escape and he would be able to question her about many things.

Still, Mark did not expect that Spera that was lacking emotions would not be able to handle his empathic ability. The other two women only screamed in pain but she directly fainted.

"Well, it is a good thing anyway."

Mark waited until the spikes on his hands and arms were melted before he picked Spera up on his arms and walked towards the exit of the Industrial Area.

On the way, he stopped by the area where the jib of the crane had fallen. He had purposely led the fight away from this area because of one reason.

"It's good that they held out."

Mark put Spera down and started waving Flam against a large portion of the wall of the fallen building. The wall crumbled revealing several soldiers that were trapped under the jib. They luckily survived because the jib served as the shelter above blocking the fallen buildings and created a safe area under the debris.

Seeing that the wall crumbled, sounds of joy could be heard from the conscious soldiers. They had been trying to find a way to go out but were not able to and the tremors that they felt only bolstered their anxiety further. When the they saw Mark however, the became cautious.

"Don't worry and just get out. The fight ended already."

Without saying anything further, Mark picked Spera up once more and left.

The soldiers went out and shielded their eyes from the rain. Some walked out while carrying their unconscious comrades. They finally saw the destruction that was created by this battle. They could not help but feel glad that they were still alive.

After leaving the soldiers, Mark went to the only building left intact in the Industrial Area. It was the building where the Senator and Devon were left before.

With a puff of black mist, Mark appeared inside the same room where he retrieved Aephelia. The Senator was still alive but was in a very bad condition. On the other hand, Devon had already passed away. His face was warped in agony. His death was surely painful.

Mark then let out an empty [Mental Crystal] and let it flew above Devon's head. With a bright glow in the room, the crystal turned from being empty to having a glass like orb inside.

"This will come in handy."

Mark smiled at this harvest before turning at the unconscious Senator with his expression turning grave. The unconscious senator was still in the position like how he was left before, sitting on the ground while leaning on the wall.

"I would not mind if you led the settlement. With your ambition, you could have pushed our country further if you really became a president. Unfortunately..."

Mark stomped on the man's head.

BAM!

"You picked the wrong people to mess with. You're lucky you're asleep."

Carrying Spera out, Mark left the senator whose head turned into a mush of unrecognizable flesh and bones. Just the way he died could make anyone feel the anger of the killer that did it. Even the wall behind the head of the senator was dented by the impact.

Soon Mark stepped out of the Industrial Area with his armor finally gone leaving his tattered clothes behind. As he walked out, the miasma around the area could be seen flying into his body as if being sucked by a worm hole. In a few seconds, the dark wall of miasma surrounding the Industrial Area had already vanished into his body.

Mark smiled. Outside the gates, everyone was waiting for him. He was not surprised that Mei and the children along with Edzel and Karlene were here but for some reason, Odelina was also here along with the friends he searched for in Bacoor. Many of them had tears on their faces seeing the familiar face of Mark.

"""PAPA!"""

The three little girls ran towards him and hugged him ignoring how we he was. Without a choice, he could only put Spera on the ground and hugged the three girls.

Then, another person approached making him raise his head.

With a smile...

"I'm Back."

"Gege, welcome back."