Leave the Monster alone Chapter 58
The burial tombs were made out of local stones and some residue material he had in storage. It was mostly junk but still better than nothing. Rika did not seem to be troubled by it so Mark supposed that it was well enough to get by for now.
This time, they did not stop in between at all and soon the party made their way back to the base. As soon as Mark made it back to the base, he knew that it would not be a peaceful success.
"I told you not to involve my brother in all this. Are you purposely ignoring me?" Luna was there, seemingly waiting for them. His face looked calm but there was no hiding the small inferno that seemed to be brewing behind his eyes.
Mark ignored the 'ding' of his system and focused on the angry man in front of him instead.
"Liam assigned him to my team. If you have a problem with all this then take it up with him. Besides, Alan is old enough to make his own decisions" Mark spoke, coming out of the HMMWV with a worried Alan behind him.
Rika watched it all with a concerned frown on her face, Kuro held in her arms now that she was small.
"I did but he's not the problem - you are. First, you drag me into this mess and now my brother? Just what are you playing at? Who are you even? You died back there and yet you are alive right now?" Ah, so it was not all about Alan, now Mark knew that. There was a personal factor there after all.
"I told you before, you mistook me for someone else. It could be a PTSD case for you? I'm just a doctor doing his best to survive this situation, just like you" Mark assured the other but it seemed to be having no effect at all.
Luna's confusion was clear because he was sure he had seen right. The other was supposed to be dead and dead people did not come back at all. But Mark never exposed his secrets and Liam covered for the other.
It just served to make him angrier. Not to mention, Alan's blatant favourites for the other.
"Mark saved my life, I told you this before. We had this talk before, I'm going out with Mark because I want to and you don't want me there with you" Alan's defence made Luna turn toward him, his expression softening just a little bit.
"You're thirteen, you don't know what you want yet" Luna rebutted but even Mark knew that was the wrong thing to say.
"And you are seventeen. Mark is an actual adult so doesn't he know better than you brother" a furious expression bloomed all over Luna's face which made even Mark take a step back. He genuinely felt a sliver at that expression.
And without another word, the other stormed off.
"Charming personality he's got. He's your brother?" Rika asked, looking at Alan and then at the retreating figure. Her confusion was clear to pinpoint, the brothers did not look alike at all.
"He's adopted and doctors did say he might have abandonment issues. He'll come around though, I'm sure of that" Alan sounded confident and Mark just sighted. It was already turning out to be an exhausting day for him.
"I'll go and report to Liam. You can go back and rest" The other two agreed easily because of course, they would. No one wanted to face the end report when they could be resting and relaxing.
Not that Mark was going to say all this - he had too many secrets to keep for now.
Walking down this very corridor was becoming a routine to him. As before, he got curious looks aimed at Kuro but people generally left him alone.
The door opened without a hitch as he neared it and even before he entered he could tell that Liam was inside. His voice was far too known to Mark to be mistaken for someone else.
But it was the other voice that gave him a pause because it was far too familiar to him too. He grew up hearing that voice and it had gotten him through some pretty tough times.
He froze right before the door, his mind yelling at him to run from there.
But the door did not give him a chance to do so as it opened up as soon as it sensed him. Mark stood frozen as the door opened to give a view to Liam and En in an almost argument.
"-isn't appropriate. We should tell them about it-" whatever En seemed to be saying seemed important enough but if only Mark could make it register inside his head. The sight of his friend (former friend?) left him a little dazed.
Liam was the one to spot him, his front-facing Mark directly. As soon as he saw recognition flash in those brown eyes, a hand rose and all the noise stopped.
"Let's discuss this later. I see you were successful Mark, good job" Mark felt nothing at that acknowledgement. It sounded hollow, even to his own ears and he was sure there was a certain mocking aespect to it.
En turned around at that statement too, his face containing a little shock and a hint of betrayal before he turned back toward Liam.
"We agreed to keep him out of things. Liam, what are you doing? Things have already started to derail, like with the divine beast and Maya Stellers" En's voice was an almost loud shrill and it pinched Mark. Was he being called useless by the other?
"I know but things already spiralled out of control the second we agreed to pull him in. Might I remind you that you have an equal hand in all this? Besides, he's doing a fine job" En seemed to be getting angrier too which was a hilarious coincidence.
Looked like all he was doing today was to piss off people with his presence.
"Rika Jones is back in the base. I just wanted to report this but I can see I'm not welcome here" Mark was just exhausted at this point and he really did not want to deal with En. Kuro let out a hiss at the other which made En flinch.
He wanted to leave but Liam's voice stopped him.
"It's good that you are back. Can you go and meet Maya before you go back to rest? En would take you to her" En looked startled at his words but not surprised.
"Do I need to do this today? I'm exhausted and Kuro needs a bath" Mark tried to wiggle out of it but it seemed to be unsuccessful.
"It might be important or it might not be. We can't say for sure but I think you should head to see her. Mostly because of plot reasons" Ah, it was a fancy way of saying that Kuro needed to be present with the girl for it.
The ugly head of insecurities once again reared its head and Mark did it is best to force it down. He had to believe in Kuro for now.
"I see I don't have a choice" Mark wanted it to come out jokingly but the tone was far too bitter to be considered as a joke. "Lead the way En"
En nodded, a thoughtful expression on his face as he looked on with an almost dazed look before he righted himself.
"Alright, let's go. Are you not going to put a leash on it?" En asked, pointing toward Kuro who let out a small growl. Clearly, she did not appreciate being called a thing.
"Kuro is alright as she is, you need not worry. Both intelligence and loyalty are far too high to hurt someone without cause" that was a low blow, one Mark was happy to make. But if it hurt En, he could not tell at all.
The other was far too composed to let it show on his face which was irritating but not too unexpected for Mark to face. It felt good to know that not every part of En he knew was a facade.
"Mark, I.you see, I wanted to tell you all this but too much depended on our silence. I'm not sorry but I can't say what I did was right" En's voice made Mark pause for a second before he continued to walk once again.
"I see. We both have different priorities and I understand that now. The situation was far bigger than I anticipated. After all, I'm not that hurt and I'm still alive" Mark was hurt but there was no way he would let the other know it.
They did need to bury the hatchet.
"Ah, g-good to know that we are alright now" the air was still awkward between them and Kuro could feel it. It took an effort to calm Kuro down but he ultimately succeeded. Whatever hurt he felt was personal at this level and it would remain as such.
He could be the bigger man here and think about all this in private. For now, he would need all his cheers and smiles.
He had a kid to entertain after all.