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351 Speras Longing, The First Step to Get Her Loyalty

 Day 56 - 11:02 AM - Hospital Area, Military Laboratory, North District, Bay City Settlement, Pasay City, Metro Manila

On the white hallways of the laboratory, Mark walked with a soldier designated to process things for him if needed.

After the arrangements in the workshop were finished, Mark decided to return here for his unfinished business. On the other hand, General Perez and Major Lopez had other work to do leaving him to go with a designated guide. Especially since the two also needed to process his request for a large amount of blood he needed.

Fortunately, they had quite a good amount of unused blood bags retrieved from nearby hospitals. A fresh blood bag could only last for forty-two days and the quality deteriorated for the time it was stored unless frozen. Unfortunately, freezing blood was a bad way of storing it and was not advisable. As almost two months had already passed, there were a lot of blood bags in storage that were not usable anymore.

These blood bags should have been disposed of already along with expired medicines and food in the storage. However, a facility to dispose of the waste was not fully implemented yet in Bay City. The scientists were against indiscriminate disposal of wastes in an unmonitored area due to the high sensitivity of Mutagen. If the waste disposal was not properly done, new types of mutated infected might appear because of it.

As such, aside from food waists and non-biodegradable wastes, most medical and chemical wastes were secured instead in a maintained warehouse just on the northernmost part of Bay City that was not occupied by the settlement.

For the stale blood bags however, these items were still stored in a freezer in the laboratories since the blood could still be used for different experiments.

It did not take long and Mark was in front of Spera's rood once more. He made the soldier assisting him to stay outside with the guards who let him in after he removed his mask.

***

Spera did not get enough sleep last night. She was thinking carefully about the offer Mark had given her.

During her contemplation, however, she found out that Mark was playing with her. He said that she had a choice but thinking about it further, there was no choice at all. The choices that she was given were to join his group or stay here. However, she could only choose the first one. While it was true that she could stay here, there was no doubt that she would end up as a hopeless criminal to be held in prison. Since Mark would also not return her ability if she chose the second choice, there was really no other choice for her to pick.

Another thing that kept her awake was her current condition that she herself could not fathom why this happened. Since the time she felt being a useless person even as a slave, her emotions from her childhood vanished. Now, however, she could not control it no matter how she tried. Her actions were affected by these emotional bursts too. She even hugged Mark's legs and begged when she would have never do something like that before even if she was about to die.

Nevertheless, she found something good. The head pats Mark gave her was really comfortable despite his scary aura.

"It seems you already decided."

She suddenly heard a voice which made her flinch.

When she turned, she saw someone wearing a tattered occult-like robe with a familiar sword on his back. She was about to panic until she saw his face.

"Do I look scary?"

Mark spoke with a grin.

"You should have knocked before entering a girl's room."

Spera huffed. She was grumpy both from lacking sleep and Mark tricking her.

"This is not your room but your prison. I think you already figured that out."

"That's..."

Spera was stumped.

"So, you're joining me, right?"

"I don't have any choice, do I?"

She replied dejectedly.

"Then, get your things and I'll get you out of here. Also..."

Mark approached the confused Spera and reached for her forehead.

"GAAAHHHH!!!"

She could not help but yell in pain. Tears accumulated at the corner of her eyes as she felt a head-splitting pain.

It only took a few seconds but Spera was sweating and gasping for breath afterward. She tried hard to endure but tears still overflowed from her eyes.

"Wh-what... did... you... do...?"

She tried hard to ask.

Then, his hand fell on her head and caressed her comfortably.

"Sorry about that but I can't just let you roam around freely. I told you last night but I have a way to deal with the possibility that you will stab me in the back."

From the pat on her head, the pain started to ease but her pain started to turn into fear.

"Don't worry. I only planted a ball of miasma in your head. It is something that is usually used to possess someone without harming the body. I can't possess or control you since I don't have that ability but I can do this much. The moment you tried to escape or think of something against me or my people, that miasma in your head will explode and rot your brain."

Mark smiled.

"So be sure to behave. By the way, I also took care of that Dopp the same way. Your previous teammates might have been injured because of him detonating like a bomb."

"I see..."

Spera sighed. She figured as much. Mark would not give her a chance as a previous enemy if he did not have any assurance.

"Hmmm?" Mark looked straight at her. "You don't seem to be worried about your teammates despite your unstable emotional state."

"It's... It's not like I'm with them because I want to. Shin used his merits to take me to request the higher ups to put me into their team. Yet, he treats me as nothing but an item. Yoko treats me like a toy and Tsukiko did not care much at all. Even if they are worried about me, I'm sure it's just because of the convenience I brought to them."

She then realized and looked at Mark with wide eyes.

"Wait, you knew about what is happening to me? Did you do this to me?"

Spera stood up to approach Mark in a burst of her suspicion. However, her body was kind of unstable due to what Mark had done just now and she almost fell on the floor face first. Fortunately, she was just at Mark's arm's reach and he caught her.

"Calm down, will you? Who knows what happened to you. I just know that you are having unstable emotions since I met you yesterday."

Mark made her sat on the bed.

"Rest a few minutes I think. Your body is too weak... I didn't expect you to end up like that when I just planted energy in your head. We will immediately go out once you recovered. I don't have much time to waste now."

He said and sat on the chair thinking.

Spera's suspicion about her current emotional state was not baseless. Actually, Mark also thought that it could have been his fault. When he saw Spera the other day during the battle, he was sure that her emotions were locked up inside her subconscious. However, it seemed that when Mark sent a chaotic surge of different emotional energies in their heads that time which made her faint immediately triggered that lock. Now, she could not control even the slightest change in her emotions.

Well, it was not his problem since the situation made Spera easier to read and manipulate.

***

Day 56 - 12:21 PM - Military Residences, North District, Bay City Settlement, Pasay City, Metro Manila

Mark had returned for lunch. However, he was not alone. He brought Spera with him. Right now, the girl was timidly sitting on the sofa while being guarded by the two sylphs. They knew that she was among the enemies the other day and they could not let their guards down around her. Amihan and Aephelia even started to instigate Laelaps unto helping them guard her.

"Seriously, you two should stop. She can't do anything harmful even if she wanted to unless she wants to die first. Also, stop pestering Laelaps. She's not fully healed yet."

Mark could not help but reprimand the two as he removed the clothes he wore earlier. The outfit was not bad in his eyes but it was kind of stuffy. He felt like a cosplayer after a cosplay convention was held.

"Gege is right, Amihan, Aephelia. The food is ready so let's eat."

Mei also joined in after she and Odelina finished preparing the dining area.

As the two sylphs were already reprimanded by their master and mistress, the two decided to stop. Nevertheless, the two did not want to be easygoing around Spera since it was their duty to protect their master's family.

The dining area in the suite was not really large and only had a small table for three to four people before. Nevertheless, it was not an issue for them as they could just request furniture from the military and now, all of them could eat at the same table. Today, there was an extra seat, however.

Mei approached the girl who sat on the sofa without moving. She grabbed Spera's hand that was surprised by the gesture.

"The food is ready. Join us."

Mei smiled and pulled Spera up.

"But I..."

Of course, Spera would hesitate. She could only turn to Mark. Unexpectedly, Mark nodded.

"Don't mope around there and join us. If you don't, we will eat all the food. Let's see where you will get to eat lunch."

With those words, Mark sat down on his seat.

Mei pulled Spera to the vacant seat and when all of them were already around, they all started to eat.

Spera was not used to an occasion like this. At the time she was with the team, she preferred to eat alone unless they were in the middle of the mission. Still, even at those times, she did not feel anything.

This time, however, despite the fact that she was eating with actual strangers, she was feeling warm. Three curious girls were watching her from the side but there was not a tint of hostility in their eyes. They even talked happily to their current parents while they ate. The youngest girl was not eating normal food though, but it did not matter anymore.

As she ate her food timidly, there was a small smile on her face. It was a lonely and envious smile. In her heart, she wanted to be part of a warm scene like this more than anyone.

Mark ate his food while glancing at Spera's expression. Even Mei, Odelina, Amihan and Aephelia could notice her longing. He could not help but smile mysteriously.

Spera was like him and Mei. Even Mei could tell that. Mark did not know what this girl had gone through in her life but he was sure that she was looking for a place she could belong to. However, while she had prospects in that organization, it seemed that she never found what she was looking for.

And thus, this scene came. This was the first approach he did to ensure Spera's loyalty. If she wanted to be a part of the warm scene in front of her and not just watch from the background, she needed to make an effort and prove her worth.

If she managed to fully turn over a new leaf, Mark would not mind helping Spera grow even stronger. Together with Edzel and Jolleen, he could make a group of strong people to follow his bidding.

However, Edzel still needed quite a work though. Not physically but mentally.

Of course, Mark was sure that the time would come soon. Edzel was soon turning eighteen. If Mark was right, that was the time Edzel would start to learn about his true origins. And for some reason, even Edzel's father would appear out of nowhere on that occasion.

For now however, he must concentrate on his preparations.