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448 Entering the Spirit Dimension, An Immediate Battle Upon Entry

 Day 93 - 8:35 AM - Mountain Base, Mount Malabito, General Nakar, Quezon

Marking the arrival of the fourth month of the Apocalypse, everyone gathered around the Night Everred Spirit Tree.

Of course, even though knowing that everyone here managed to stay alive in the four months that the world they knew collapsed, they were not here to celebrate. All of them gathered to bid farewell and best wishes for Mark's team that would enter an even more dangerous world.

The people here had already been accustomed to the miracles that occurred in the base. Thus, they did not question the existence of the Spirit Dimension and wanted a glimpse of it. However, after hearing the current state of the Spirit World to those that knew, their eagerness turned into worry.

The Mortal World became enveloped in chaos, and it was already deadly for everyone. For a world filled with magic to face an even worse state, just who knew what danger awaits everyone on that side.

Unfortunately, investigating that side was also crucial to the future of mankind. Mutagen managed to slip into the Spirit Dimension and cause chaos, the opposite was not impossible to happen. In the least, if the investigation succeeded, they would have an advantage against any possible encounter against the infected that came from that side.

Soon, it became noisy. It was because the team that would enter the Spirit Dimension was about to depart.

The team was being led by Mark, Mei, Iola, Abbygale, and Miracle. The first family of the base. On Mark's shoulders were Aephelia and Amihan. Behind them were Pefile, Edzel, Pearl, Spera, Karlene, and Alana. There was also Mara and Janette, who tagged along behind Mark.

All of them wore their armors and equipped their personal weapons.

There were also two large creatures behind as both Chaflar and Gifre were present to serve as transportation and supply carrier for everyone. Logan also tagged along as Aephelia would not be able to control the Mutated Infected while she was in the other dimension.

On the back of Chaflar, Terremillio and his wives were present. If this was just a typical trip into the Spirit Dimension, they might be waving towards the people around. However, they could not do that, mainly because of Teremilio and Felenia.

That was all the members of the team. Along with some of the [Blood Children] that were all currently residing inside containers inside Mark's backpack.

These were all the members that Mark decided to bring into the Spirit Dimension. He actually wanted several more people, however, considering how dangerous it could be, he decided to focus on the strength of the group, while minimizing the number as much as possible.

There were also other reasons. For example, Odelina. Putting her two children into thoughts, Mark decided to let her stay at the base. As for his male friends, they had their wives and children here, they could also help with the construction and expansion. Thus, he could not pick among them who could go.

And thus, he decided on this line-up.

Drowned by the noise of the people around the wishing them a safe journey, everyone was enveloped by the blinding light. Even after they vanished from everyone's sight, the people stayed for a few more minutes before going back to their duties.

***

Inside the Etherial Night Subspace, Mark stood in front while everyone waited behind him. He was checking first if it was safe around Chiyo on the other side of the portal.

Unfortunately, it was surely not a hundred percent safe.

Because of the barren land on the other side of the portal, it was easy to see the surroundings. Although the number of infected on the opposite side was little, many of them were near the Spirit Tree. If they entered carelessly, they would be spotted immediately.

Then, the chance finally came.

"Everyone ready?"

Mark asked.

Everyone, except the little girls and Janette, nodded in response.

Of course, it would be a lie to say that they were not nervous. It was even more apparent to Mara and Pearl. Mark actually wanted to only bring Janette. However, Mara did not want her sister to go alone, which made Mark allow her to come.

With Mark's signal, he jumped into the portal, and everyone else followed behind him.

Entering another dimension, it gave everyone a bit of nauseating sensation. The only one that did not was Spera.

Even with that sensation, Mark did not idle the moment he felt the feeling of stepping on the earth under his feet. He did not wait for everyone else to recover and kicked into a dash.

He pulled Ignis from his scabbard and charged forward the nearby monsters.

The first creature that fell from the sharp blade of Ignis was a black wolf-like creature. Mark could not sense a high concentration of magical energy from the creature, indicating that it could be nothing but an animal living in this dimension. It was infected without a doubt, though. Half of its body was already eaten and rotten.

Mark then charged unto another animal that could not be recognized anymore but bloated of flesh with green colored maggots. The largest one could be seen with its head protruded on a hole at the forehead of the animal. Seeing the maggots, Mark frowned. He immediately conjured a ball or black flame from his left hand and threw it at the animal without hesitation. The animal was just a normal magical creature. The maggots, however, were not ordinary at all.

It made him remember about the insects that Mambabarangs would use to curse their targets. However, he could not be sure about it and would rather not confirm it. He could tell that those maggots were several times more dangerous than the animal itself.

As he burned the animal, Mark almost cursed.

SSCCRREEEEEEEEE!!!

The largest maggot released a screech before exploding. The screech was not ear-piercing or too loud. However, with nothing else making a noise in the area, the sound traveled as if someone shouted on a microphone.

Mark expected all the creatures around to be alerted. That was when he felt some fluctuation surrounding the area around him. When he looked behind him, he could see Amihan using her magic to seclude the sound as much as possible.

Still, while the sound did not travel far, the use of Amihan's ability alerted the other infected nearby.

The worst, the eight feet tall blob of flesh that was around since the time Chiyo awakened was still here. That was one of the infected that charged towards Amihan. However, it was not running. It was rolling its disgusting body down the slope.

Even though the sound it gave as it rolled down was different, Mark could not help but hear an imaginary sound of flesh being squished in his mind.

By this time, everyone had already recovered from the nauseous feeling they had. Seeing the enemies charging towards them, everyone jumped into action.

With Aephelia's command, Gifre charged to stop the rolling blob of flesh.

Mei took out the new sniper crossbow Mark made for her and aimed at the animals. As for the little girls, they stayed beside their Mama to support and guard her and the others.

"Amihan! Teremillio! Pefile! Guide everyone else which one to fight! Avoid fighting those with high magical concentration upfront and deal with them from far away!"

Mark commanded, which they immediately followed.

The infected animals and insects were fine to fight. However, those with a high magical concentration in their bodies could be considered as walking bombs. No one knew what they could do in order to attack. The best way to face them was to be cautious.

With Mark's order in effect, the incoming enemies were properly dealt with.

"Master! Gifre is having a hard time!"

Aephelia called out in a hurry.

Everyone then saw Gifre struggling.

Not because the infected that looked like a blob of flesh was physically strong. The reason was after Gifre tried to grab the infected, its hands sunk into its body as if it was trying to devour him. The body of the infected was solid by looks but it seemed to be actually semi-liquid.

Mei and Karlene shot the blob to no avail. Even their poisoned ammunition was not working.

Hearing Aephelia's call, Mark immediately charged to help. Black flames covered the blade of Ignis as Mark slashed the blob open.

There was no resistance at all and it felt like Mark tried to cut water. Furthermore, the black flames on the blade that could not be put out easily were actually extinguished. Fortunately, it seemed that the slash also had an effect as the part Mark slashed remained deformed.

"Make Gifre retreat!"

Mark shouted which Aephelia immediately complied with.

Gifre pulled its arm out of the blob's body. Because of the strong and thick scales of Gifre, he was basically unharmed. However, if one was to look closely, the surface of his scales looked scratched and melted a bit.

There was no doubt that the body of this thing was not just normally corrosive but magically.

As Gifre retreated, the blob's target changed to the closest person. And that was Mark. It rolled towards Mark, although a bit slower since he was on the higher part of the slope.

In response to its charge, Mark tried to find its head. However, he could not find it as the infected was rolled into a massive blob of liquid flesh. Without a choice, Mark created a ball of miasma on his hand and threw it at the enemy.

The ball of miasma exploded and covered the whole body of the infected.

Being covered by black smoke, the infected blob started to shrink. Sure enough, the magical energy that composed most of its body started to get drained.

Finally, among the miasma, Mark managed to pinpoint where was its head. With a flash of the black flame covered blade of Ignis, the infected enemy lost its life. As he dispersed the miasma, everyone was finally able to see its true body.

"It's a Berberoka isn't it?"

Mark voiced in which Pefile affirmed.

The beheaded creature, although mutated, had the same appearance and body structure to the illustrations Mark saw before. Normally, a Berberoka's body looked either a tall and fat mudman or had an entire body made of water. And this one mutated to have flesh which was unnerving. Its stench was bad too.

With the fall of the Berberoka, the last of the infected in the near vicinity was dealt with.

It was bad for the heart of almost everyone. The moment they arrived, they landed with a nauseous feeling. Before they could even recover properly, a number of disgusting infected were already charging towards them.

Now that there was no danger anymore, everyone could finally take a breather and look at the environment. Sure enough, Pefile, Teremillio, and Felenia did not feel well while looking at the surroundings.

Not only the three, but the others also felt unsettled.

After all, the appearance of the place was no different from the landscape of the base. It was just the whole place was dead with only the Spirit Tree remaining alive.

If the base fell, would it also become like this? That was what entered their minds. And sure enough, it was not an impossible thing to happen.

"But if everything here is like this, how is Chiyo able to survive?"

Karlene asked while patting the large tree.

To her question, Mark said the answer that came to his head. He also asked himself about that question before and the answer he came up was that Chiyo's needs were being filled on the Mortal World where the Spitirt Tree was planted.

"So, where are we going next?"

Mark turned to Pefile, Teremillio, and Felenia and asked while he tried to see if the could take the ability of the Berberoka into a crystal.

The three looked at each other and nodded.

"Let's try the mountains in the north first," Pefile said. "The nearest kingdom of Sylphs should be there.

Hearing about the kingdom of sylphs, the eyes of both Amihan and Malaya lit up. After all, it would be the first time they might be able to see the kingdom of sylphs.

Hopefully, it should be able to stand, right?

And thus, traversing the barren and arid mountains, the headed towards the north.