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478 On the Other Side of the Fog, The Enemies Goals and Plans

 Day 119 - 10:15 AM - Central Area, Mountain Base, Mount Malabito, General Nakar, Quezon

A vortex of magical energy, it was not wrong to call it that. The fog was too thick, but instead of the usual scientific water vapor, Magical Energy caused this phenomenon instead. Fortunately, there was some visibility inside the base because of the lights that they installed before they left. There was also the red glow from Chiyo, the Night Everred Spirit Tree, that seemed to lessen the fog inside the base.

Looking towards outside the walls, however, the visibility was a total zero. The mountain tops in the northern areas outside the base were not visible at all. Not to mention the forest outside, there was only about a dozen meters area outside where the fog was thinner.

Because of the fog, no one was unnecessarily outside their dwellings. That was why it made the place look more like a ghost town.

"Some bandaged nurses and a man with a pyramid on his head won't appear, right?"

Alana asked. No one could tell if she was joking or not. After their experiences, no one could tell which was a joke and not after all. Even fictional creatures could be real. All they could do was glare at Alana. She should not try to be a devil's tongue.

While they banter around due to the appearance of the surroundings, Chiyo celebrated the return of its master. It tried to release a glow from its body.

However, before it was able to do so, Mark spoke.

"Chiyo, don't. I know you're happy, but you might alert unnecessary people."

Hearing that, Chiyo settled down. But it still released some of the red wisps from its leaves. This thing, however, was its daily routine. Even though it currently did it for the return of its Master, Mark, it would not raise any suspicion from anyone.

Mark then closed his eyes for a second. Using his abilities as an Empath, he tried to detect everyone in the base. And fortunately, everyone was alright. Although, their mental state was at the negative right now and was rather heavy. Luckily, the number of people here at the base was not that high. If the population was at the scale of a military settlement, and they all had these collective negative emotions, Mark would surely feel weakened.

While they were observing the surroundings as they had just arrived, someone passed by.

She was quite surprised, but the surprise in her expression immediately turned to glee.

"B-Boss! Everyone! Thank God, you're all back!"

Trisha, who was returning to the kitchen area with empty cups on her tray, exclaimed.

Alana became worried that Trisha would end up throwing the stuff she was carrying all over the floor. Fortunately, it was not the case, and instead, she received an "Are you serious?" stare from Mark.

Turning back to Trisha, Mark asked.

"What is going on here?"

There was no need to ask why Chiyo contacted him. It was definitely because of this thick fog. However, he still needed to know the details.

"Please, just ask Huey," Trisha replied. "He's savvier about the situation than me."

"Okay, I'll meet him first," Mark said as he turned to the others. "Mei'er, lead everyone back to the house first. Aephlia, lead Logan, and Gifre to the shed."

"Un!"

"Yes, Master."

Mei and Aephlia replied, respectively.

On the other side, Trisha, who was watching them, was confused, totally.

Currently, the only members of Mark's group that were present were Mark's family of four, Alana, Karlene, Amihan, Mara, and Janette. Furthermore, there was a little girl with violet hair, several horse-headed people, a dwarf with a white beard, a man with red skin, and a beautiful but snob lady with greed hair. As for the Dragon, Chaflar, Pefile, Edzel, Pearl, and Teremillio's harem, they were not present.

What made Trisha even more confused was when a cute but stern-looking lady in maid uniform replied to Mark when he called for Aephelia. The other Sylph that followed Mark everywhere was not even present.

Fortunately, even though his appearance had changed, Logan was still recognizable. Her shock towards the all-eater was lessened.

Even with her confusion, and a bit of curiosity, however, Trisha still managed to speak.

"Wait, we relocated the shed. It's better if I lead you there."

"Why?" Mark asked.

"Annica managed to add more animals. It became easier to deal with the waste if they are near the walls. Many of the new animals are not trained yet. Also, we combined the shed for Gifre, Chaflar, and especially Logan there too. We thought that we can let Logan Deal with the waste after you all returned."

Mark nodded. It looked like Huey, and the others put more thought into this.

"Lead the way," Aephelia said to Trisha. The latter immediately nodded as she led Aephlia and the two Giants in a different direction.

Mei also led everyone else to follow her. The slaves were really curious about their current surroundings. Furthermore, when they saw how Mark and the Pure Spirit Tree communicated, their reluctance to serve their new master immediately vanished. It was also the case to the Dryad. Although she was quite a snob and picked on Mark's appearance, if her master was a ruler and even had a Pure Spirit Tree of his own, then, there was no need to resist. Well, it was not like any of them could resist the crests tattooed on their chests.

Mark watched everyone leave first while he observed the fog even more. As for the others that were not here, Mark tasked some of them of something else while Pefile and Termillio decided to stay and gather information about their homelands. The most important task was that of Felenia, who he told to translate the transcripts written on the leather scrolls in their library.

After all, Mark could not read the Spirit Language, and the scrolls were too small that looked like some bandaid strips rolled together. It was definitely an item made for their race and not for others.

While playing with the fog, Mark smiled.

"So, this is food for me, isn't it? I wish I didn't leave Crimson back to protect the others, or he will also benefit from this."

Mark murmured.

Crimson, he the strongest among the [Blood Children], including even Miracle. The very first [Blood Child] Mark found had turned into a monster capable of dispersing itself into the surroundings like mist, and absorbing energy to grow stronger. That critter was getting even more powerful while they were in the Spirit Dimension, similar to Ignis.

"Ignis."

Mark said, and the Demon Sword on his back flew out of its sheathe.

"Yes?"

The voice of Ignis echoed in Mark's mind.

"Fly through the fog and see if how far it goes. Also, look for anything suspicious around. Fly low to the ground, and don't let anyone notice you."

"Okay!"

With the orders it was given, Ignis flew out of the base. It then dove near the ground before charging towards the forest in the distance.

Mark then vanished from his spot, turning into a black mist that flew towards the southern walls.

***

Day 119 - 10:14 AM - Daraitan Elementary School, Barangay Daraitan, Tanay, Rizal

The barangay that served as a tourist spot in the area, it was Barangay Daraitan.

At the center of the barangay, there was the area ripped by the plane that crashed towards Agos River. Mark and the people of his base looted most of the things in this place. At some point, a group of survivors managed to reach this place and settled down at the small elementary school.

Who would have known that it was the worst decision they could make? They should have asked the group of strong people up in the mountains to join if they knew that this would happen.

Right now, the group was no more than lifeless corpses. And the most unfortunate thing was that they were not killed by the infected as they expected the most. Furthermore, their bodies were fed to the beasts brought by the new occupants, the killers, the people in robes.

There were about two hundred people currently wandering about in the vicinity of the school. And at the center of the school grounds, about twenty-five people in Emerald colored robes formed a circle while continuously chanting at the magic circle they laid on the ground.

Unlike with the Grey Robed ones, who had semi-transparent dark-colored bodies, the pale-white colors of their skin of the Emerald Robed ones were particularly noticeable.

Obviously, the difference in the colors was either based on their abilities and race.

The ones overseeing the ritual was there were two men. One had a grey robe with a golden seam, while the other was a man in black robes with a silver lining.

It was very apparent that they were the current leaders of this group.

Currently, the two sat on the balcony of the second floor of one of the buildings in the school. While the Grey Robed leader was watching over the ritual, the Black Robed one could be seen wiping a rather unique kind of sniper rifle.

"How long will the leader arrive?"

The Black Robed man asked the other while checking the scope of his sniper rifle.

"Not long. Another two or three days at most."

The Grey Robed one replied. Unexpectedly, the voice told that the person was a woman.

"That long?" The Black Robed man shrugged. "We are here for about three weeks already. I say that we should just raid that place."

The woman turned toward him. Although her face could not be seen, she was obviously looking at him smugly.

"We are not tasked to do that. Our orders are to test the waters. Besides, you already tried to stray from your orders and fired at who you thought to be the leader. Yet, you failed miserably. You're getting dull, aren't you?"

The man was quite offended, but he did not react that much. He removed the hood of his robe. There, his face was revealed.

He was a human without a doubt and of Chinese descent. Yet, there was a subtle aura around him that could tell anyone that notice that he was not normal either.

"What can you say? Those people there are not normal at all." Just those that are stationed at the walls are Mutators and Evolvers. Shouldn't they be rare? Just why is a large number gathered in a small group like that?"

"You should expect the unexpected even more. Remember that they had a Spirit Tree. A pure one at that. We don't know whether the tree grew naturally or someone raised it. Both ways, we can't be careless. We don't even know what kind of material they used to build that fortress or where they are getting it. The needle that you managed to bring back was pure metal but had a stench of blood despite not looking like normal Iron or steel. And its properties are poisonous despite not being a magical projectile. Also looking from afar, it is really strange that they were able to shape metals seamlessly. Their walls are definitely connected altogether without any welding or junction. It was as if the whole wall around their base was smelted as one."

The woman also took off her hood. Sure enough, she was a shadow person. However, her body had a more physical form than others.

Then, while turning back to the ongoing ritual, she added.

"In any case, the spies I sent were all eliminated, and we can't gather information from inside that metal fortress. We can only wait for the leader and reinforcements since our leader might have thought of recruiting those people."

"Okay, you said it."

The man shrugged and did not pay attention to the woman anymore. He went back to cleaning his gun.

As for the woman, she was observing the ritual in front of her. It was a ritual to isolate the whole place they were targetting. This way, no one would be able to leave and get out until their leader arrived.

A fog that would not only lower the visibility in the area but also disorient anyone who would try to cross it. And then, it would bring those people back to the part where they tried to enter or leave.

It was going quite smoothly. By the time the leader arrived, that metal fortress around the Spirit Tree should also be weakened considerably. All due to the lack of their supplies and sunlight.

As she thought about those things, however...

"Puff!"

One of the Emerald Robed people around the Magic Circle spewed out blood from his mouth and collapsed.