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355 Discussions, Information About the Spirit Tree and A Request to Return Favor

 Day 57 - 5:13 PM - Military Residences, North District, Bay City Settlement, Pasay City, Metro Manila

The information Amihan brought to everyone quite a surprise. Who would have thought that the strange seed that Mikio accidentally found during his transformation and gave Mark for returning the golden fruit turned out to have such origins?

From what Amihan had said, it was a tree that was exclusive to the royal families or leaders of races in the so-called Elemental Spirit Dimension. It was the grand place where almost all-known spirit, elementals and evil spirits known to man came from. Even the spirits like Amihan knew whether it was a parallel dimension to Earth or just a large magical space pocket on Earth. But, one thing was for sure, it was a separate world of its own inhabited by magical beings.

Even though that world was called with such magical name, it was not a special and ideal world. In fact, that world was filled with conflict. A lot of races, especially the evil spirits liked to wage wars which render a lot of places devastated and uninhabitable. Due to such things, it was not a very safe place to live in despite the beauty it had compared to the Earth inhabited by humans.

That was where Pure Spirit Trees came in. Unlike normal spirit trees that were normal aged trees that accumulated magical energy to their old age and could only house a small space, the fully grown Pure Spirit Trees had enough space inside to house a whole race. That was how a lot of spirit races managed to preserve their kind despite the raging wars in the dimension they lived in.

The space created by the Pure Spirit Tree was no different from an actual world. Inside, the laws of physics was the same as outside but it was just the appearance of the world was up to the owner of the tree to decide.

It could emulate the outside world having day and night, being able to grow plants and trees or just a plain desert with never ending day. That was how the royal families could maintain an optimal living space for their kingdom.

Furthermore, once a Pure Spirit Tree was fully grown, it did not matter whether it was planted in the mortal world or the spirit world, it would exist in both planes of existence. The space inside it would have two portals that could serve as both entrance and exits. One portal was connected to the mortal world while the other was connected to the spiritual dimension.

It was a trait of the Pure Spirit Tree that even the royals of the magical races could not explain.

Due to its existence in the middle of both plains, Pure Spirit Trees were more prone to danger. In the Spirit Dimension, the tree could be sieged by enemy races. While in the mortal world, it could be accidentally cut down by unknowing people. It was because if a Pure Spirit Tree was planted in the Spirit Dimension, it would appear like a normal tree in the Mortal world.

However, the opposite was not the same. If a Pure Spirit Tree was planted in the mortal world, it would appear in its actual form in both plains making its existence more vulnerable to other humans.

Fortunately, a Pure Spirit Tree being cut down would not normally happen. In the Spirit Dimension, a Pure Spirit Tree was a precious thing and enemies would rather keep it than destroying it. On the world of mortals, however, humans who would try to cut one would end up facing the wrath of the owner of the tree. Not to mention that the tree was capable of protecting its self.

It was because a Pure Spirit Tree was an actual sentient being.

***

Amihan narrated all that she knew about Pure Spirit Trees. Actually, Amihan had only seen one before and it was owned by a royal of sylphs. Unfortunately, she was a sylph born in the mortal world and did not have the qualifications to enter an actual kingdom inside such tree. In fact, she had never stepped in the spirit dimension before and all that she knew came from her mother and father.

"Are you really sure that it's a seed of the tree you are talking about? I don't see or even sense anything special on it."

Mark asked as he carefully observed the seed on his hand in every angle. As he said, he could not sense anything special aside from its strange size and color.

"Of course I'm sure!" Amihan insisted. "Try releasing magical energy on it!"

"Magical energy? Is miasma fine?"

Mark asked jokingly. Although he had different sorts of energy in his body, the strongest was miasma after all. He thought that Amihan would panic due to the destructive properties of miasma and might be able to destroy the seed.

However, to his surprise, Amihan nodded.

"It's fine! My father and mother said that royal demons and other beings with negative energies managed to plant their own Pure Spirit Tree. They said that its seed can absorb any kind of energy."

Hearing her, Mark circulated one of the energies in his body. Of course, he wanted to channel the milky white energy he had instead of miasma because he was not trying to risk it.

Nevertheless, something strange happened...

Instead of the milky white light, Miasma burst out of his hand which immediately covered the seed entirely.

Due to the strange event, Mark hurriedly stopped it. Despite the small amount of uncontrolled miasma, it was more than enough to kill a dozen normal people not mentioning a small seed like this.

Yet, they all could see the miasma swirling as if being sucked by the seed. It took just a second and the small amount of miasma was all absorbed by the seed. There, they saw a strange reaction. The red seed from before was slowly turning purplish black. Fortunately, though, it was not destroyed.

"Amihan, what is this?"

Mark asked which Amihan replied to while looking smug with both her hands on the both sides of her hip.

"That should the thing my mother called [Branding]. It will ensure that the seed will not grow unless Master is involved in the process. This time, the seed absolutely belong to you now. Even if others try to steal it, they won't be able to grow it at all."

She proudly grinned.

Everyone here thought that the seed would only try to absorb the energy and did not expect such a reaction from the seed. By Amihan's current expression, they knew that she did it on purpose.

"So, how can we plant this? I doubt that it will be the same as normal plants."

Mark asked deciding to let Amihan off as her intentions were really not harmful.

"Master should plant this in a good place like the base in the mountains. It can serve as both a protector and an escape route for your people in times of emergencies. Also growing a Pure Spirit Tree is not that hard and complicated but it doesn't mean that everyone can do it. As far as I know, like what happened right now, the seed will only absorb the most dominant energy its owner has and absorb other energies as a supplement. However, it will require quite a large amount of energy every day and that is why not just everyone can plant one."

As Amihan had said before, Pure Spirit Trees were owned by royals of the spirit races for a reason and that was because compared to other members of their race, the members of the royals were way more powerful.

Mark looked at the seed in his hand. Unexpectedly, there was a trump card just lying near them just waiting to be discovered. With this seed's existence, another assurance for his base was secured.

"By the way, how long does it take for a spirit tree to fully grow?"

Mark asked the most crucial question. Even if he planted it and it actually needed years to grow like normal trees, it would be unusable for the most part.

"How long? I don't know." Amihan answered while scratching her head. "They said that it depends on the person that planted it. The more powerful the person, the faster it will grow."

***

Day 57 - 8:01 PM - Government Officials' Residences, North District, Bay City Settlement, Pasay City, Metro Manila

The discussion continued until dinner. Not only about the discovery of the seed but also Mark's plans to gather more blood to use.

After dinner, Mark and Mei put the little girls to sleep early and left.

The two went out for the appointment Mark scheduled.

It was the same building they observed for a few days due to Senator Estrada's schemes. Unexpectedly, it seemed that unlike other higher positioned government officials that took higher floors of the former hotels for safety reasons against potential breach and attacks, the family of Senator and Congresswoman Villa were on the first floor.

Appearing like ghosts in front of the political couple's room, Mark and Mei knocked on the door.

As Mark informed them of the meeting, Senator Ramon and Madam Lanie were prepared and readily opened the door. Seeing the two, Madam Lanie smiled.

"We're sorry that you two have to come here because of us."

Madam Lanie apologized after the four were gathered in the living room of their suite.

"It's fine."

Mark replied.

"It's really hard to have a meeting with you. I'm sure you already know me but I'll still introduce myself. Ramon Villa at your service." The senator spoke. "I wanted thank you for helping my wife back when they are stranded in the City Hall of Bacoor, also when they were caught by that drug syndicate in Cita."

"You really don't have to thank me though. It's a fair trade."

Mark spoke. Back then, in exchange for the claim of the weapons and ammunition, he agreed to escort them to Firenze. Also due to that, he managed to find his best friend, Rollan. What happened in Cita Italia was also not to be included as he was working as an escort for the military and he also had bad blood with the syndicate because of the things they orchestrated that not only harmed him before but also did the worst to Mei.

"It's unfortunate that we can only convey our gratitude through words. I don't think that we had something that will interest you now."

Senator Ramon smiled bitterly.

Mark looked around, compared to the lavish living of the other government officials on the higher floors, they were more modest. There were no luxury stuff in the room and were just necessary things for living every day.

"Are you thinking about why our place looked simple like this?"

The Senator bitterly smiled. His eyes were full of sadness.

"We decided to stop all luxuries. It is to mourn our children and family."

Mark already heard about it. Senator Villa and his wife had seven children. Out of those seven, only two were here in Bay City Settlement. Another two were missing and three were already declared dead as their death was personally witnessed by the Senator.

As for their other family members Mark knew about, the current Mayor of Bacoor, Senator Ramon's brother, died due to his injuries a few days after reaching Bay City. There was no news about the others and they were either missing or dead.

"You don't have men under you like others?"

Mark asked as he did not even see a guard guarding their room outside. There were no maids here either.

"We have a few people loyal to us like our men and the Bacoor police and we still have connections to the military. Aside from those, we find expanding our influence further unnecessary."

"I see. That should be enough I guess."

Mark smiled.

"Do you need anything from us? As long as it will not harm us or betray our morals, well do it."

Madam Lanie said. She could still remember how cold looking Mark was when he killed people back then.

"Actually, I do have one." Mark replied. "Only the military knew about it but I will be leaving with a few of my friends. We won't be coming back. Most of my friends will stay behind because of many reasons, so aside from the military, I want you to back them when needed. Can you two do it?"