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486 The Conclusion of the First Skirmish, A Short Talk at the School Grounds

 Day 125 - 9:11 PM - Agos River, Barangay Banugao, Infanta Quezon

A silhouette on a man was walking by the riverside, dragging two non-moving corpses using the only arm he had left. Blood dripped from the stump left of his left arm. He traversed the rocky path, cursing unto the heavens.

The man was Huo Long Yue, who had just escaped from the battle.

"F*ck! F*ck!"

He repeated with deep resentment.

The resentment he had was not because of his lost arm, the two bodies he was dragging, or the defeat he had experienced. What he resented was the fact that the enemy toyed with him. The act was not apparent when he was in the middle of the battle, but when he decided to retreat, the man with the sword suddenly grew more powerful and moved faster.

Before he was able to react, his arm had already fallen to the ground. There was also that two sniper shots that destroyed the talisman on the foreheads of the two Jiangshis.

It seemed that they had the idea to make him leave them behind. However, even if he could lose his life, these Jianshis were different. Tan Sitong uniquely cultivated these bodies. They were bodies of some of the greatest warriors in his time. They were irreplaceable.

Even if he had to leave his dismembered arm behind, Huo Long Yue would not leave these two bodies.

With his curses, he reached the area where they should have gathered those that they already abducted. Even if they had to retreat, it was still good as long as they had some people to bring back.

And the harsh reality welcomed him.

The gathering area was almost empty, only left with ash-covered robes and a few weakened members of Auraboros.

"Sir..."

The robed shadow person that currently leaned on a large rock called out weakly as he saw Huo Long Yue.

"What happened here?" Huo Long Yue asked with a frown. "Where are the people we already gathered?"

"Sir... They all escaped. Two women ambushed our encampment."

After seeing that, the shadow person's life came to an end. His body turned to ash, and his gray-colored robe fell to the rocky riverside.

The mission was a total failure. Huo Long Yue could not deny that anymore.

He turned towards the other shadow people.

"Gather everyone left! We will return immediately!"

***

Day 125 - 9:12 PM - Military Camp, New Infanta Settlement, Barangay Banugao, Infanta, Quezon

The battle had already ended. Mark stood in the middle of the school grounds together with Mei and Amihan, who came with him, and Odelina, Aephelia, and Spera, who followed afterward.

Since the vision Mark had, came rather late, he went through the Portal Spera made with Mei and Amihan. Then, he left an order for the other three to get the equipment he prepared and go to a location to disrupt the mission of the Auraboros further.

Thus, with that order, Odelina and Aephelia followed after and went to ambush the camp where the enemies gathered the kidnapped people.

And sure enough, they returned successfully.

As Mark had already seen what the members of the organization wanted to do with those people, he would not let it happen. He would not care much if it happened elsewhere, and he had nothing to do with it. However, they would use the innocent people they captured against his base and his people.

He would not let that happen.

The base existed so that he, his family, and the people important to him would have a place to belong. He wanted a beautiful place and environment for Mei and the others and not a bloodthirsty one that had no value for life.

Once the people in his base learned that they killed innocent people turned into monsters by the enemies. Although they would not say it, the scar would remain in their minds. That would affect everyone's way of living, and it would slowly break down the foundations he laid down.

He rather not have that happen in his watch.

The enemies could come after him and his base all they wanted. Just don't involve innocents that would affect the morale and mentality of his people.

Or else, he would not just stand by.

Furthermore, one of those people they targeted was someone he favored. As if he would let them go just like that.

Odelina, Aephelia, and Spera reported to Mark about the success of the orders he gave. Mark praised them for it.

Of course, the three did not accept it just like that. After all, even if the three were able to fight, it was almost impossible to deal with the enemies. It was thanks to the weapons Mark made to deal with these kinds of enemies.

The most highly numbered individuals in the Auraboros were not humans, but the shadow people. Their bodies were almost ethereal and non-physical. The robes they wore had magical properties to be able to be worn by them.

In direct words, the bodies of the shadow people were impervious to the usual weapons that humans used against each other. However, while Mark was working in his workshop, he made weapons with parts made of the dying spirit tree that sealed the Deity of Bloodshed.

Thus, these weapons had magical properties that could harm ethereal entities like the shadow people without the need for magical or psychic abilities.

Combined with their other abilities and trained close-quarters combat, just Odelina, and Aephelia was able to overwhelm the number of enemies they faced. Not to mention that there was not that many in the first place.

The most that the enemies could send to abduct people was a quarter of their personnel. It was because they had other things to do, and they also had to watch out for their current base. Furthermore, the shadow people that infiltrated the settlement were all scattered, leaving even fewer to guard the abducted people.

Thus, because of the interference of Mark and his entourage, the enemies lost miserably in this battle.

"Oi! Uncle!"

Emika's gleeful voice echoed from the balcony of the second floor of the north building.

Seeing how her switch flipped too fast, Mark shrugged his shoulders. She was as lively as ever.

Furthermore, no matter how the others started to respect him and even fear him, Emika never changed. She still called him Uncle, even Smelly Uncle whenever she could. She never changed at all.

While Mark had those thoughts, Jones approached.

"Are you sure letting them go like that?"

The mercenary asked.

"Why are you asking me? You let them go too."

Mark replied, causing Jones to scratch his head.

"I just noticed that you are holding back, so I also did."

That reply made Mark unable to retort.

Mark only wanted to test the enemies and give a bit of a warning. And to get a few benefits as well. That was why he told Mei to watch out for people with papers stuck on their faces and shoot the talismans if they were about to retreat.

In that process, he might be able to get one, in the least, and study the corpse. That was why he also chopped off Huo Long Yue's arm to limit what he could take back.

But who would have thought that the crazy cultivator would leave his arm behind and take back the two non-moving corpses?

It seemed that the two corpses were far more valuable than his missing arm. In that case, Mark did not try to chase. It was not like the enemy would not send those corpses again to him. He just needed to wait a bit more.

"By the way, are you sure about revealing that identity of yours like that?"

Mark asked with a frown. He came here because Emika and her family were in danger. If that reveal was to attract more attention from Auraboros, then the move Mark made was for naught.

"If you are worried about that, you don't have to." Jones Galley smiled. "Auraboros only moved for either profit or revenge. But the former always came first. I learned that when they started to lay low on chasing after me. I wasted too much of their personnel and resources. With a world like this, it will be harder for them to move around between countries and would take more resources to do so."

Hearing that, Mark understood.

"Going here to deal with you will not only waste resources, but they will also pose themselves to danger, am I right?"

"Right. Going to this edge of the country would not profit Auraboros at all. And my existence here will pose a warning either."

"I wish you are right about that."

Mark said with his skeptical eyes.

Nevertheless, there was some truth to it.

Right now, the Auraboros was targeting his base because of the Spirit Tree and probably, because of other things they deemed valuable.

If his base had none of those, the Auraboros might only think that it was nothing but a gathering of mountain people.

Sometimes, wealth and resources could invite trouble. However, it was already late for Mark to dwell on that. He could only shrug his shoulders.

On the other hand, Mark stared at Jones Galley. This person being a Supersoldier that was cultivated by the organization, was quite a surprise.

But what was more was that Mark was not able to see any of his appearance in his vision. This situation made him disturbed.

Then, something entered his mind and tried to test.

His eyes glowed purple. It was the ability he had to see a few seconds in the future.

And to his surprise, it did not affect Jones.

There was no future, and there was no past.

This ability of his did not work on only a few people. The examples were Odelina, Mei, Iola, and his own. People who were supposed to be dead and yet, still living. It seemed like Jones had the same destiny as them. The connection to him and the world's string of fate was gone.

No wonder now how he was able to grow strong like this, away from human standards.

The atmosphere made by Mark's stare made Jones quite uncomfortable. Thus, he made an unexpected move.

"Ladies, how do you like my body?"

Jones asked the women with Mark while flexing his highly muscled body.

Mei disregarded everything. She did not even respond with a blink to his voice. On the other hand, the others did not say anything, they looked at him without expression, but their eyes were looking at Jones filled with disgust. Only Spera, who had a problem controlling her emotions, was very readable, and sure enough, she did not fancy it either.

"You know that I can kill you just for that, right?"

Mark smiled sinisterly.

"Alright! Alright! I'm just joking! Just stop those stares!"

Jones knew that his joke was not that offensive. But for some reason, the response he received was disheartening.

"Yeah, old man. Your muscles look amazing, but not everyone had such standards."

Emika further broke Jones' heart as she skipped towards Mark and his group.

But more than everything, Emika was more curious about something.

"Uncle, you added another servant?"

She asked Mark as she stared at the new face among Mark's entourage. The new one looked beautiful, and more than that, she looked dignified, serene, and loyal.

And to her shock, that servant replied with a smile.

"Young Miss Emika, long time no see."

"Eh?"

Of course, Emika would be confused.

"She's Aephelia."

Mark said with a playful grin.

"Aephelia?"

Emika was confused at first. Then she remembered.

"Eh? EEEEEHHHHHHH?"

She shouted like that in shock. It was a very comical manner that everyone around could not help but laugh.

Well, of course, the soldiers around were very disturbed.

After all, that group was having their fun while being surrounded by dead bodies of their comrades. They were thankful for their interference against the enemies. But still, they should find a better place for jokes.