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447 Preparations at the Mountain Base, The Blood Children and the Many Layers of Defense

 Day 87 - 10:29 AM - Mountain Base, Mount Malabito, General Nakar, Quezon

The next morning, the base had entered a new phase. Those people called by Mark yesterday were now being seen checking out their new abilities outside the walls. After all, they were also excited to try out the powers they had received.

As for those that did not receive a crystal from Mark, they could not help but feel a bit of envy. However, the old couple that did their best at managing the fields were among those Mark had called. This just showed that giving enough effort to be recognized in the base would lead them to the outcome they wanted.

Of course, unlike Huey and the others close and directly under Mark, the older couple and a few people that came first in this base were just regular people. And thus, they were only given an empty crystal for them to become Evolvers. Still, it was already something others would want to have. No one would not want to receive even the slightest powerup they could get, after all. Everyone wanted one way or another, to survive and protect themselves in this harsh world that became even more dangerous.

In fact, a few days after arriving in the base, Mark tasked Edward to start a training session for the combatants. Being in the army before, he was capable of leading such sessions. Nevertheless, not only the combatants were joining and watching the sessions. The majority of people, even the slaves, were carefully learning fighting techniques, self-defense moves, and the strategies he learned when he was still in duty.

That was the extent of how the people here did not want to go back to their previous lives. There was no need to tell them, and they were finding ways to get stronger by themselves.

With this reasoning, the people in the base would surely work harder for Mark to recognize their efforts.

***

Outside the base, Edward could be seen watching over the others as they tried out their new abilities. Since they needed to get used to their powers, the usual routine they had for this day was canceled. Nevertheless, they did not want to waste their time. As such, their current training used the trees at the south of the base as targets. It was because those trees were planned to be cleared out in the future.

It was hitting two birds with one stone.

Of course, Hallie was an exception. If she did the same using her abilities, it was not hard to start a forest fire. She was currently on the side, getting used to her staff.

The others were also using trying out their abilities with the weapons and equipment they received.

Huey was practicing with a needle launcher pistol in a strange shape. Being a support type, he could only attack within range. The strange shape of the pistol, however, was not because of the muzzle, but the ammunition. It had two needle compartments that would allow him to change ammo without needing to remove the magazine.

Jolleen was given another wakizashi. The new one looked cooler, however. It also had some movable parts that could make its blade either longer or wider.

Trisha was given some sort of gunblade being the all-rounder. Furthermore, it used the same ammunition as Huey's pistol.

Nicole, on the other hand, was given a crossbow that could retract or contract its body. It was made to be useful in both short-range and long-range combat.

Ed was given a pair of gauntlets and a transformable kite shield. The shield could be folded for easier movements and had a pile bunker to affix it on the ground when needed. Furthermore, the pile bunker could also be used to attack after flipping a lock and make the large nail fly towards the enemy.

As for Ron, he had a quite larger crossbow that was specialized in long-range combat. Its bolts were also larger and came with different heads that could fit any occasion.

To the other side, Karlene and Alana were also practicing with the pretty envious Analynn watching them.

The weapons Mark gave the two were improved versions of the weapons he gave them originally.

Alana had some sort of Pressure Gauntlets that uses heavy springs to further enhance her already absurd punching power. The needle launcher around the brace of the gauntlets was also improved. Not only that it could shoot farther and faster, but another kind of needle was added to the ammunition it could fire.

It was called Tracker Needles as the needle was made with [Glowing Blood Metal]. The needle was shaped strangely, in order not to sink on the body of the target. This needle was very useful in the dark as it would glow brightly indicating where the enemy was.

Karlene's Retracting Knife also had improvements. Now, not only that the blade could be retracted, it could even be shot towards the enemy when needed. Then, it could be pulled back, with a string of [Blood Metal] attached to the handle and the blade.

Pearl and Edzel were practicing on their own. Edzel was teaching Pearl the basics of what he learned from Mark, Karlene, Edward, and Alana.

What Pearl received from Mark was different from others and she did not have it right now. Her's was a robe made of leather brought back by Pefile. Mark had a hard time processing it as the leather was as tough as metal despite not being as hard. And according to Pefile, it had magical properties. However, he was not disclosing what kind of property it had.

As for Edzel, the weapon he received was a set of sword and shield. This way, he could attack and defend depending on the need. Furthermore, both the sword and the shield had compartments that could shoot projectiles to enemies.

Mark watched them all from the top of the wall. Some of them were already capable of using their abilities to sufficiently. It was despite just becoming Mutators. Among them, Alana came at the top. In a sense, she was a genius too in many aspects.

Right now, she transformed herself, looking like a red lioness. It was quite a different look from what Mark remembered though. Sure enough, the presence of her Blood Demon genes in her body caused the ability to mutate even further.

"Ah..."

Alana's voice was heard in a disappointed tone as she released her transformation. Of course, it was not because of her transformation.

"Mark!" She called with a wave. "My nails are turning into claws when I transform! Can you fix the gauntlet so it will not block my claws?"

Mark scratched his head. He did not expect this. In fact, the Mutation she had now looked very different from the previous owner. This ability came from the leader of the outlaws that chased Alana and Karlene's group when Mark saw them for the first time. For her claws to be hindered by the gauntlets, her claws surely were larger.

He had no problems modifying the gauntlets and nodded. He should make this into gauntlets that could adjust its size a bit.

Their training continued until before launch. Still, their enthusiasm had yet to go down. They would probably go on it till sunset.

As for Mark, he went on other things after lunch.

The first one was...

To mutate some of the [Blood Children].

There were still a number of those that retained their normal body structures among the [Blood Children]. Mark actually wanted them to Mutate naturally like Crimson, Ivy, Salacia, Alaula, and Ruby. However, the situation called for the opposite.

Thus, he ended up picking five crystals that could be of use to him if the [Blood Children] were to use it. Of course, he would not be biased let the [Blood Children] if they want the crystal or not. Unexpectedly, children's brawl and tantrums for the crystals did not happen.

Mark could sense them actually talking with each other through their connections on who would want the crystals. It was quite unexpected for Mark. Nevertheless, it made him smile. Compared to a lot of people on Earth, these kids were more sensible.

In the end, five [Blood Children] stepped forward to each of the crystals.

The first was Methyl, one of the three [Blood Children] that was handed to him by Professor Suzuki. She chose the crystal with acidic ability. The one that came from the criminal in Death Valley known for eating the flesh of little girls.

The second was Currant who was among the first [Blood Children] Mark found. He chose one of the new abilities Mark had. The one that came from the strategist of the raiders that Harold brought to steal the stuff at the bunker. It allowed that guy to release electricity from his hands along with being able to move fast.

Third among the [Blood Children] was Merlot. He chose the crystal that allowed a person to turn his skin into copper. This one came from the criminals fighting the berserk whale back then.

As for the fourth crystal, that also came from those criminals, Candy jumped for it. She was among the [Blood Children] he picked up from Annica before. The ability she chose was a rare one that Mark only encountered once. It was a magnetic ability. Unfortunately, the criminal that had this ability before was too dumb to use it and was just shooting bullets at the whale before he was killed.

Lastly, the Mutation to release high temperatures similar to Hallie's ability as an Evolver. Compared to hers, however, it was much stronger and could reach to a degree that could melt metal. This ability was received by Vermillion who was also among the three that Mark got from Professor Suzuki.

Mark wanted all of them to Mutate. However, most of the crystals he had would either have the same kind of abilities or something that did not seem to be useful to the [Blood Children]. The best example were the abilties that would mutate people to have animal parts or fur. What would the [Blood Children] turn into once they absorb those? A peice of metal puffball? Because of that, he could only wait for new abilities that he would encounter in the future and mutate the [Blood Children] if they wanted to.

The five absorbed the crystals into their bodies and immediately fell into a deep sleep. Their bodies were slowly growing to a change. Furthermore, the first ones that Mutated first before being enhanced further by Mark's blood, they were the complete opposite. Furthermore, their characteristics as Blood Demons were already awakened. By the looks of it, their mutation would take longer than the previous ones.

There was no problem with that though. The other [Blood Children] presented themselves to guard over the five.

Thus, Mark moved to the second part.

It was to create hidden weapons to be planted around the base.

One thing that would give the Auraboros their advantage during their attacks was because they thoroughly investigate and observe their enemies before they attack.

However, what if there were weapons hidden around the base that was to be used specifically when they attacked? These weapons would surely catch them off guard. After all, they would have no data about it if they had no chance to see the weapons being used.

The only people that would be allowed to know about this were Huey's team. This way, even if the chance that the enemies used brainwashing or hypnotism to gather information, they would only know if they used it of their team. And to step it even further, the information and location about the hidden weapons would be separated among their team without any of them knowing.

As such, the weapons Huey knew would be different from Jolleen knew. It was the same for the five. And they were forbidden to talk about the weapons to anyone, to avoid it from leaking.

The only way for the Auraboros to know all the details was to hypnotize all of Huey's team.

And that would be hard to do.

Especially since Chiyo would be watching over the whole base. It was impossible for the Spirit Tree to not detect something wrong with the people living under it.

Mark was not going to let his and his people's hard work fall into the enemies' hands. He would try to fix every hole.

The enemy could enter the place, with the consequence of not being able to go back outside.

And along with all those preparations, Mark finalized his team. He proceeded to make weapons and armor for them. He also taught the newly Mutated [Blood Children] on how to turn themselves into armor and weapons if needed.

The days passed by with Mark busying himself too much that the others were being worried about him. Because of that, however, he managed to ready his team and his base for their departure.

A week later, after all the busy days that Mark had been through, they were finally stepping into the Spirit Dimension.