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371 Upgraded Abilities, The Last Memories of the Blood Infected

 Day 59 - 11:01 AM - Temporary Blood Bank, Perpetual Help Medical Center Central Compound Building 1st Floor, Alabang-Zapote Road, Barangay Pamplona Tres, Las Piñas, Metro Manila

Mark rested his back on a blood storage freezer while Mei leaned on him silently. It was such an intimate display in such a dark enclosed room. Since they had met in NAIA, they were barely able to do such simple things. The main reason being Miracle and Abbygale trying to hog their Papa most of the time.

"Won't they worry about us if we took this long? My radio doesn't work for some reason."

Mei asked while feeling Mark's warmth.

It would not be a lie if she said that she did not feel scared with how Mark behaved earlier. But it did not matter anymore as it was also out of his control. Just the genuine guilt and worry in his eyes were enough for her since Mark seldom displayed such real emotions.

She rather enjoyed her current position, but it was not good if they made everyone worried since they spent too much time in here.

"Don't worry, remember that I communicate with Miracle and the [Blood Children] to a certain extent? I already told them not to worry. Just tell me if you're already fine, then we can go."

Mark replied in a calm tone.

"I'm already fine... But can we stay like this for another five minutes?"

"Okay, no worries."

Mark smiled. Of course, there was no problem for him as Mei rarely act this spoiled after she became a Mutator. Her Mutator trait was [Devotion]. It was quite a vague trait that could target almost anything. To Mei, however, the target of her [Devotion] was her current family. To be precise, towards him and the little girls. She would put their interests first and would not even wrestle with the little girls for Mark's affection no matter how she felt envious. That was why some times, Mark would approach her first instead.

In fact, she was still displaying such traits this time. She said that she was already fine because she did not want to waste Mark's precious time. Nevertheless, she did not know that her face still lacked color. It was too obvious to see even in this darkened environment.

***

Five minutes passed in the blink of an eye.

The first thing Mark did, however...

"Gege, what are you looking for?"

Mei asked as she saw Mark looking around the displaced and fallen freezers.

"Here..."

Mark seemed to have found what he looked for and beckoned Mei to come closer.

The thing Mark found was at the back of several blood-storage freezers that had fallen to the sides. Looking at the freezers, however, it seemed that these freezers had not fallen accidentally. It was more like the freezers had been arranged for something like a shelter.

Mei then saw what it was. A set of skeletons. It seemed to have belonged to a female nurse because of the clothes that it wore.

"Is she perhaps..."

Mei turned to Mark and asked.

"The blood creature earlier."

Mark confirmed knowing her assumption.

He reached for the name badge on the nurse's uniform. It seemed that her name was Rihanna Asuncion. The nurse whose memories Mark saw inside his subconscious after he absorbed the blood creature. What he saw were just her memories after the outbreak started. The memories of her last moments. It surely was not a pleasant one.

***

Since this was a hospital, many injured and presumably, infected people, were sent here at the start of the outbreak. It was even though this was a medical center that treated patients, it was unlike normal general hospitals. This hospital was built mainly to give training for the medical students of the University behind it.

As the state of emergency was released, the government forced every medical institution to operate even if it was not their opening hours. Doctors and nurses were called to come and Rihanna was included among them.

It was still fine when she arrived and even managed to attend to several patients with minor injuries. Everything went down however when the defense line of the military and police in this area was breached open.

The medical center descended into chaos.

Because of the danger, the military tried to evacuate as many medical practitioners as possible. Their field of expertise would be needed by the military without a doubt.

Rihanna, however, did not make it.

She was blocked by the infected before she was able to exit the building. In order to survive, she could only run back inside and find a place to hide to wait it out. It was not easy as the hospital was already brimming with infected. In the end, she found the Temporary Blood Bank and holed up inside... Alone...

The room was cold but she could only endure. It did not take long and the electricity was cut off.

Without food and water, she would not last long. However, she could only shiver in fear as she thought of every time she came out, the corridors filled with infected was what she would see.

Without food and water, along with her degenerating mental state, it resulted in her doing a drastic method to quench her hunger and thirst.

Her eyes landed on the most abundant thing in this room, blood.

Opening the blood bags with difficulty, she drank the contents of the blood bags one by one until she was full. Of course, she knew that it was harmful but she did not care anymore.

Furthermore, after a few days of surviving and asking herself how consuming blood kept her alive, she decided that she would go out. She could not stand this dark cramped place anymore. She was sure that there would be no rescue that would find her. She opened the door just to find that the doors were blocked with a disgusting membrane of flesh.

Desperate, she tried to tear the membrane open using a broken shard of glass from one of the freezers.

It did not go well.

She had to retreat into the blood bank and unfortunately, she was bitten before she was able to do so.

In her last moments, she could only think of how unfortunate she was.

***

"Instead of becoming a normal infected, her luck sucked further when her body slowly melted into blood leaving her skeleton behind... Is it?"

Mark murmured.

"What are we going to do with her remains?"

Mei asked.

"Why do you ask?"

"Because Gege won't try to find her if you don't have any plans, right?"

"Yep." Mark smiled. "She aided my upgrade so I should give something in return. In the least, we can take her remains and give her a proper burial later."

Mark then let out his [Blood Whips] and tore open several blood bags to create a metal box where they could place her remains.

There was something that he did not tell Mei though. The silhouettes he saw inside his subconscious, although the woman seemed to have the shape of Rihanna, she was not the same person either.

Nevertheless, Mark confirmed something.

Despite being infected and without consciousness, they still carried the memories of the past to some extent.

This gave reason to how Aimee was able to recover her memories before she became an infected.

However, a question popped out. Was Aimee still the same Aimee before she became an infected or another consciousness that was born and inherited her memories. It was really hard to say, but the likelihood of it to be true was very high since Mark knew that once a person turned into an infected, their consciousness would collapse into nothingness and there was no way to recover from that.

***

With those thoughts in mind, Mark and Mei proceeded to do the work they needed to do.

Since they already found the Blood Bank, they needed to bring the blood out and inform the others to help.

Mark went out of the blood bank for a bit and looked for a wheeled stretcher. He saw one almost immediately but he had to remove the flesh membrane that covered it and stuck it on the squishy floor.

Using some blood bags, Mark remodeled the stretcher into a wagon which was then filled with as many blood bags that it could carry out.

Then, they started to make their way out of the hospital once more.

"Gege, you can control more of those [Blood Whips], right?"

Mei asked as she saw Mark take out twelve just earlier.

Mark could only take out seven before but it almost doubled this time.

"Yeah, it's quite hard to control all of them at the same time though. I still need a lot of practice. My blood seemed to more concentrated too."

"Is that all?"

Mei asked. Although the number of [Blood Whips] doubled, it felt lacking compared to how scary the process of his upgrade had been.

"Hmm, let's see... Well, just take a look."

He stopped pulling the makeshift wagon and turned towards Mei.

Then, the blood vessels in his body started glowing. It was just like his appearance before. However, it was not just the visual appearance but something else seemed to have changed.

Mark then let out his [Blood Whips] once more. Each of the [Blood Whips] was glowing bright red.

"It's like this. It seems like my [Adrenaline Rush] and [Blood Control] fused. I can use my blood to stimulate my body with adrenaline and doubles physical abilities. I can raise it further if I concentrate on empowering just a part of my body."

The glow then vanished from his face as he concentrated the glow on his lower limbs. He kicked his foot on the flesh covered floor and he appeared at the other side with a blurry flash.

Mei was both happy and surprised seeing that speed. Even with her [Bullet Time], it took quite an effort to see Mark move.

"Gege is as fast as Gale now."

"Well, that's only if I concentrate it on my feet. If I concentrate on my whole body, I'm still slower."

Mark smiled.

There was something else but he could use it here without confirming it fully. And thus, this was enough for now.

The two then continued on their way out.

For some reason, their way back was quite easy. They still saw the infected babies lurking at the vicinity of the nest but all of them were steering clear of the two as if they were afraid.

Sure enough, the intelligence of these babies and their survival instincts were higher than normal infected.

They probably felt Mark being too dangerous and there was also the pressure he let out earlier which alarmed almost everyone in the vicinity.

The moment the two went out of the Medical Center, several figures jumped towards them, especially Mark. It was Miracle and the [Blood Children].

"Papa, hungry!"

Miracle cried out. Not only her but the [Blood Children] were asking the same.

Mark scratched his head. As if he did not know what these kids were up to. He decided to shut them down.

"There's still a lot of work to do. I will feed you all later. That's only if all of you behaved."

He reprimanded them all with a bitter smile.

The children were all troubled and wanted to complain like spoiled kids but with one look from Mark, they lined up neatly in front of him. Later or never, that were the only choices they have.

Mark shook his head.

Since he gained a power-up with his blood, these children would also benefit from drinking his blood.

Like normal infected and creatures of the apocalypse, even the Mutators and the like, they all wanted to grow stronger. These children were the same.

Since they were his family, he would not hesitate to give them the same benefits. Just at the right time and not now.