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462 On That Day... A New Threat came for the Stone Fortress to Face

 Day ▊▊ - ▊▊:▊▊ ▊▊ - Guest Rooms, Stone Fortress, Eastern Mountain

Their third morning in the Spirit Dimension had come. And for the first time in a while, Mei had woken up first while Mark was still heavily asleep. She opened her eyes, feeling his warm embrace, and noticed that she was holding him even tighter. That was when Mei remembered having a nightmare that suddenly vanished last night. Although she could not recall the details anymore, she was sure that Mark was the reason why she was able to sleep more peacefully.

Mei was still in his embrace, making her not want to leave the bed. It looked like Mark was quite tired but looked after her for the rest of the night, nevertheless. It made her pretty guilty. She snuggled closer to his chest until she could hear his heartbeat, thinking of ways to return the favor.

She then looked at his sleeping face, looking at how his appearance was improving ever since they met. It was not like he was transforming or changing his appearance. The situation was more like the impurities in his body was being flushed out as he got stronger.

When they met for the first time, Mark's skin and hair were totally unkempt and uncared for. His hair was ragged, looking dirty and sticky. His skin was rough too. Now, even though he was still uncaring about his appearance, his hair looked healthy, and his skin was smoother. Mei was happy for him.

Mei could not help but poke his cheeks a little while smiling.

While Mei was doing that, Mark woke up. He opened his eyes rather abruptly that he caught her. She immediately turned red, lowered her gaze, and burrowed her face unto his chest.

"Mei'er, good morning."

Mark said with a smile.

"Good morning, Gege..."

Mei replied in a muffled voice.

That was when Mark said something that made Mei freeze.

"You three too. Good morning."

Mei slowly turned her body to see the opposite side of the room like a broken toy. There, she saw Iola, Abbygale, and Miracle sitting on their bed facing theirs. Abbygale was still half sleep rubbing her eyes. Miracle looked curious while tilting her head. On the other hand, Iola was looking at Mei with a meaningful smile.

""Good morning, Papa, Mama.""

Iola said first, which Miracle copied.

"Papa... Mama... Morning... Yawn..."

Abbygale also greeted, although in a sleepy voice.

Mei could not hide her embarrassment. The moment she woke up, she was focused on Mark. She did not know when the three girls woke up. They might have seen everything.

"Iola, since when you woke up?"

Mei asked.

And, Iola only replied with a smile. Without a doubt, she saw everything.

"You three, come here."

Mark invited them into his and Mei's bed. And of course, they gladly complied. He told Iola to stop teasing her Mama, and she nodded in reply. On the other hand, Miracle started poking his face, obviously copying Mei. Abbygale, on the other hand, dozed off after she lay down beside Mei.

Mei felt even more embarrassed because of Iola and Miracle, but surely, she was happy. This was the kind of family she wanted, after all.

***

Unfortunately, their peaceful morning was short-lived.

BAM!

The double door leading to their room slammed open. Outside, Karlene was there.

"Ah..."

Karlene voiced in a daze as she saw what was happening inside the room.

Alana was also there with her palm on her forehead, behind her best friend.

"I already told you to slow down..."

By the looks of it, Karlene did not deliberately push the doors without thinking. She was probably running and ended up not being able to stop on time and pushed the doors by accident.

Seeing Mark, Mei, and the little girls in the room, she realized that she must have ruined their family time.

Mark did not mind. Actually, the reason he woke up was not because of Mei and the little girls. He was detecting some panic in the fortress.

"Is something wrong?"

He asked the two.

Seeing that he was not angry, Karlene sighed in relief. Alana then spoke.

"Well, Morana just came saying that a gigantic infected is seen in the north by the sentries. Everyone is panicking. The soldiers are getting ready to fight."

"So, that's why."

Mark said.

Because of that, they ate the breakfast that Morana already sent to everyone and went out. Mark had no intention to fight, he was just interested in what kind of gigantic infected appeared.

***

Mark and the others went out. There was no need to actually go out of the Stone Fortress to see what was happening. It was already enough to stand atop the tall walls of the fortress.

And they were amazed. The incoming enemy sure was gigantic.

Even the walls of the Stone Fortress looked nothing but a toy.

An about fifty-meter humanoid giant could be seen passing through the mountains to the north.

"On that day... Mankind received a grim reminder..."

Alana started to narrate.

"Stop..." Mark scratched his head. "That thing doesn't even look anything like that thing that kicked Wall Maria Open. These walls don't even reach ten meters, let alone fifty."

"I know!" Alana pouted. "I just want to say it!"

The others, even the soldiers on watching atop the walls, looked at the two in their playful banter. Pefile sighed. This group of abnormal people was surely fearless. Even with the incoming abomination, they felt no fear.

Looking back at the threat, it was really nothing like an anatomical model-like giant. It was an androgynous muscular giant with hairy skin. And despite having a humanoid shape, it did not have any many features on its body, except for things.

This giant had, who knows how many eyes on its body. Its whole body was covered with countless eyes of different sizes, to the point that a glimpse of it could make anyone have an itchy scalp. The largest one it had was a horizontal eye on the center of its face, covering about a quarter of it.

Under that large eye, was its very large mouth with a pair of fangs shaped like a mammoth's tusk. Its mouth was always opened like it was always smiling in a very ugly manner. Due to the way its mouth was opened, its bloody gums were exposed.

"It should be an overgrown Bungisngis, isn't it Diwata?"

Mark spoke, calling for someone who had just landed on top of the walls.

"Unfortunately, yes," Diwata Danaya, replied.

A Bungisngis, it was a giant known in Philippine Folklore. There was not too much information in circulation about this cyclops. However, it was known for its favorite diet, humans, and its dumb nature.

Still, for something like this to appear, it was surprising. This giant was the very first infected they had seen with this scale. If something like this appeared in the Mortal World, it was hard to say if this could be taken down by humans.

BOOM! BOOM!

Its gigantic steps echoed through the mountains. This made everyone very afraid.

Even Diwata Danaya was frowning. Without a doubt, that huge thing was aiming for this place.

"Want me to deal with it?"

Mark asked the Diwata nonchalantly.

The Diwata was surprised, and obviously, she was glad to accept the offer. However, she shook her head.

"I'm sorry, but I like to rely on you as a last resort. I'll be honest. We are still struggling to find a way to compensate you for Narquico's group. We can't deepen our debt anymore. There is also the reward we have yet to give to you regarding that thing in the Kingdom of Sylphs."

"If you say so," Mark said. "Well, I already found good items from that kingdom. If your people can take down that giant, just give me the body, and its enough for the reward."

"Are you sure?"

Diwata Danaya was surprised. In fact, they had no use for the body of the giant, aside from feeding some of its flesh to their carnivorous pets and livestock. Most of it would go to waste as the Bungisngis was more of a cryptid than a Spirit or Elemental. Its body would not turn into dust and just rot. Of course, some races would want its flesh as many races would not bother about unnecessary things as long as they could fill their stomachs.

None of them were bothered about being infected, though. They already knew that the infection could only be transmitted through saliva. In fact, some of the meat being circulated in the trade area was actually meat from infected animals.

"Think about killing that thing first before asking that question."

Mark said which made the Diwata nod. She immediately left to convey Mark's intentions to the representatives.

"Gege, won't it be faster if you deal with it?"

Mei asked.

"That's true I guess. That thing is large and physically strong but in terms of speed, its slow. It doesn't have magic either. Well, it isn't really our business. That giant is aiming for this fortress, which is not ours. We have no actual reason to participate."

"How selfish."

Felenia remarked with a serious expression.

"Oh, right," Mark remembered. "This is your parent's place. But unlike you, they are not under me. They even have debts to pay to me. You know that. Of course, I'll help if they wanted to. Remember, I already offered my help."

Felenia stopped speaking with a sigh. Mark did not say anything wrong. She was the one being selfish.

Furthermore, the actual reason Mark was not that keen on helping, was because he wanted to see the Spiritual and Elemental Races in action. He wanted to see their actual strengths and abilities. It was to assess whether they were worthy allies.

If they passed, then a mutual pact could be signed where Mark's base and the Stone Fortress would aid each other in times of emergency. There was also trade and such. That was his plan.

After all, after dealing with things around his Spirit Tree in this Dimension, he still needed to travel across Earth to search for inheritors. He had to make different layers of preparations and defense while he was gone. Even though Spera was at their side, it was not always sure that they would be able to travel instantly as her ability to open portals was still limited.

Thinking about the things he wanted and needed to do, Mark was feeling tired. He just wanted to relax and play games inside his base. However, the situation around him did not allow it.

While Mark was thinking things, the combatants of the Stone Fortress started to move. Each race had its own groups that would face the giant and was being led by the representatives themselves.

Seeing that, Mark was very interested in what these races would show him. Furthermore, each member of the groups they had below the walls had either strong bodies or strong magical fluctuations. It would surely be a good show.

There was also one thing, Mark could feel another observer like him. And the person was watching atop the mountain where the Stone Fortress was built. He was not sure if that was the old man Mei and Spera talked about, but surely, he would meet with that person once the giant was dealt with.

After all, whoever that observer was, that person had a far stronger energy fluctuation than both the Deity of Bloodshed and the Flame Demon combined.

Sure enough, this person was in the level of a deity or probably, higher.

Furthermore, Mark could tell. While he was observing that person using his mental and emotion detection, the person was also observing him with great interest.

In any case, Mark would see how everything played out.

"Everyone! Move!"

Diwata Danaya shouted as she led the groups of races out of the forest that was covered with illusions. They did not want the place to be destroyed because of the battle, as such, they would fight the giant before it reached the forest.