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443 The Space Inside the Spirit Tree, A Grave Discovery on the Other Side

 Day 85 - 11:52 PM - Mountain Base, Mount Malabito, General Nakar, Quezon

Mark stood by the window of the room together with Iola and Miracle. Not only the three, but almost everyone in the base was alarmed by the sudden event. Who would not be? The bright red light emanated by the Night Everred Spirit Tree enveloped the whole flatlands between the mountains. It was bright enough to wake up those that were sleeping.

Furthermore, being seen from far away, it looked like the sun started to rise between the mountains. Even the people of New Infanta Settlement that was about twenty kilometers away northwest witnessed the light. It was although a few mountains separated the two places.

The others might not know. But as the master of the Spirit Tree, Mark knew that it was finally gaining its sentience. Just as how sudden it had fully grown, the birth of its consciousness was the same.

Mark could feel this connection to the tree was growing stronger. There was even a faint light being emanated by his body as it was happening.

"Is this the aura the Duendes spoke of?"

He murmured as he examined his arms enveloped with a faint film of light.

While he watched the Spirit Tree, he could feel its consciousness growing like a balloon slowly inflating with air.

Mark did not realize his eyes were also glowing.

He wanted to approach the tree. However, he could not leave Mei and Abbygale amidst the transformation of their bodies. Moreover, their state was different from Iola. They were directly turning into his kin because of the Spirit Tree. It was quite faster and a bit more painful. Unlike Iola, whose body slowly changed, before the blood Mark gave her awakened.

SWOOOOOMMM!!!

An invisible shockwave echoed across the mountains. It caused the air to be disturbed. The leaves of the trees rustled violently, while the shockwave almost pushed back everyone watching.

Then, Mark felt a call inside his mind.

There was no doubt that the call came from the Spirit Tree.

Sure enough, the young sentience of the Spirit Tree was fully born.

The feeling of this connection was the same as his link to Ignis, although the manner was closer to the bond he had with the [Blood Children].

It could be said that the construction of the consciousness was similar to Ignis, who was a sword that gained sentience. And like the [Blood Children], the Spirit Tree had sentience comparable to a human infant.

Mark wanted to continue watching over Mei and Abbygale. However, the Spirit Tree repeatedly tried to call him. The more times it called him, he could feel that it was getting sad.

He sighed.

"Iola, Miracle. Watch over your Mama and Gale for a bit."

Mark patted the heads of the two. Iola had a mature mentality, and Miracle was smart. The two girls nodded as they knew that their Papa needed to do something.

After caressing the heads Mei and Abbygale, he went out of the Cliff House and flew towards the Spirit Tree.

Feeling that he was coming, the Spirit Tree's consciousness became livelier. Fortunately, it seemed like it could not move its body as it was still a tree. If it was able to, it would probably be waving its branches now.

Everyone saw Mark flew towards the tree because of the light it was emanating. There, they saw him land by the roots of the tree and touched the base of its trunk.

Then, they all covered their eyes as a brighter flash of light appeared.

The moment they recovered, Mark was nowhere to be found anymore.

***

"So, this is the space inside a Spirit Tree."

Mark murmured while looking around.

Feeling the call of the Night Everred Spirit Tree, he did what it instructed and touched the trunk with his right palm.

He felt something prick his hand, and a drop of blood was smeared onto its bark before a door opened. He did not need to enter the door on his own. It was more like he was swallowed by the door.

Around him was a vast open space. A vast grassland with red-colored grass under the starry night sky. There was even a red-colored moon illuminating everything.

Mark bent down to touch the ground and snap a few grass leaves. He was making sure whether everything he was seeing was real and not just an illusion.

To his surprise, everything felt real.

Being inside this space, he had the feeling that everything was surreal. Nevertheless, he could touch everything and affirm that the things he could see exist in reality.

'Was this the feeling of people who were transported to another world had after they were transported?'

Mark thought.

While his thoughts were wandering deep, trying to comprehend the unbelievable things around him, a ball of red light fell from the sky and floated in front of him.

"You are the consciousness of the Spirit Tree, aren't you?"

Mark immediately recognized the ball of light.

In response to his words, the ball of light bobbed around, flying around him. It was like a kid that saw its father for the first time.

Unfortunately, like the [Blood Children], the consciousness of the Spirit Tree could not talk yet. It was still too young and could only send its thoughts to Mark to respond.

With the ball of light flying around him, Mark wandered around the space. It was not an endless one. It seemed to be a flat-shaped world. Once Mark reached the edge of the world, the only thing he could see was darkness. It was the void as it looked like.

He tried entering it as the Spirit Tree told him that it was not dangerous. Entering the void, it was as if... Everything had vanished. No sight, no noise, there was nothing. He tried to continue a few more steps forward. That was when he realized that he returned to where he entered. He stepped out of the void and saw the ball of light waiting for him.

It was really not dangerous. Once one tried to pass through the void, they would just return to where they entered despite walking straight. The feeling was kind of strange. Nevertheless, understandable.

The space that the Spirit Tree could support was only small. Still, the expanse inside it was comparable to the whole of Mount Malabito. Where his base was just a tiny part of it. With how wide it was, Mark could probably build more than a hundred bases of the same size, and there was still some space to spare.

Unfortunately, Mark noticed one thing.

The moon and the stars were not moving.

It meant that it was very likely that this space was under an eternal night. This was rather understandable since the name of the Spirit Tree said it. Amihan also told him before that the space inside the tree would depend on the individual that planted the tree and the kind of tree that had grown.

And this was the space created by him and the Spirit Tree. He could not blame anyone for it.

However, it also meant that it was impossible to practice agriculture in this space. Plants needed light to grow. A place under endless darkness was not suitable for plants.

"Can you turn it into daytime?"

Mark asked the ball of light.

Unfortunately, it shook in disappointment. Mark could not blame it though. Well, he might be able to find a way to modify the space inside the Spirit Tree in the future. He should take things slowly.

"Can you open a portal to the Spirit Dimension?"

Mark asked.

Knowing what he wanted from their connection, the ball of light warped its shaped into something like a large hole with a mirror in the center.

Sure enough, it was a door to a different place as Mark could see what it looked like on the other side through the mirror.

And Mark was shocked.

Like Pefile had said, a Spirit Tree growing from the Mortal World could get the attention of the Spirit Races on the other side. Thus, it would not be surprising if there would be armies of spirit races rallied to take action whenever the portal was opened.

"Move the entrance, let me see more of the other side."

Mark said and the Spirit Tree complied.

The mirror panned around the Spirit Tree inside the Spirit Dimension.

The scene made Mark frown.

Not like it was surrounded. Rather... There was nothing.

From what Amihan and Pefile described the Spirit Dimension, it should reflect the shape and appearance of the Mortal World.

On what Mark had seen on the portal, while it did reflect the mountainous terrain where the Spirit Tree and his base was located in the Mortal World, everything else was dying.

The supposed lush green grass was dried and brown. The soil was dry and arid. The trees were lacking leaves. And the whole mountain seemed lifeless.

However, Mark found some creatures. He was not happy about it.

Each creature was as disgusting as it could be.

One of what he saw was an eight-meter humanoid blob of flesh with bluish-green skin. Its black colored blood vessels were apparent and seemed bloated. Greenish ooze dripped from its mouth and its eyes were filled with rage.

Another was a half bodied naked woman with wings. Without a doubt, this was a demon that was called Mananagal. The strange thing was that it was crawling violently on the ground with its wings that were bent in the wrong way. It was like a ferocious animal walking on fours with its arms and wings.

Aside from the two, there were also others. They were wandering around the tree and it seemed that they were here by coincidence. These creatures did not even seem to be interested in the Spirit Tree.

While Mark observed the disgusting creatures, a small creature with clear wings passed by the portal. It seemed to notice the portal and flew towards it.

As the portal could be described as an oneway mirror that allowed Mark to see outside, the little creature could not see him. This gave Mark the opportunity to observe the creature up close as it investigated the portal. Furthermore, as long as Mark did not allow it to enter, it would not be able to enter the space inside the Spirit Tree.

The creature was in no doubt... A female sylph. However, looking at her mindless behavior as it investigated the portal, the veins visible on her skin, and her pale-colored lifeless eyes, Mark knew.

"So, it's not just Earth, huh."

Mark murmured as the unsightly truth was revealed before his eyes.

Mutagen also invaded the Spirit Dimension. Furthermore, they had it worse than the Mortal World.

For the supposedly beautiful mountain to turn into a wasteland, just how devastating were the effects of Mutagen in the Spirit Dimension?

Looking at the monsters on the other side of the portal, something clicked inside Mark...

"These appearances," Mark said as he stared at the unsightly monsters. "They looked similar to the infected that appeared in Eriellis."

The Spirit Dimension was filled with beings capable of using psychic abilities and magic. Thus, Mutagen likely turned them into beings similar to those infected with Psypathogen.

"This is not a good thing, isn't it?"

Mark murmured with a grave expression.

Mutagen managed to invade the Spirit Dimension. The opposite was not unlikely to happen. If that really did happen, things on Earth would become worse than it already was.

This discovery made Mark want to know the details as to how this happened. To do that, he needed to venture into the Spirit Dimension and find survivors in that Dimension.

Who would have thought that the vacation they wanted to do on another world would become a quest for survival instead?

Mark needed to prepare for this. That was what filled his mind after he made the Spirit Tree close the portal.

"Oh, right," Mark remembered something. "Do you want a name?"

Mark asked the ball of light.

To that question, it bounced in the air, filled with eagerness.

"Alright, I have a perfect name for you. From now on, you're called Chiyo."

Hearing the name, the Spirit Tree as surely glad. Then, hearing the meaning of the name, the Spirit Tree was even more delighted.

"It means Blood and Night joined together."

It was a perfect name for a blood-colored tree that glows during the night.

After giving the name, Mark decided to return to the base. He needed to discuss it with the folklore creatures in his base, especially Pefile and Amihan.

Little did he know, this piece of news would cause Pefile, Teremillio, and Felenia to panic.