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The Alley

Mark spent those past days learning some essential pieces of information about Ray’s and Kura’s schedules. They were seniors in High School, and this was their last year, meaning they would soon head to a college.

The last year was also the most important, as it would get them a scholarship if they were outstanding students, and from what Mark’s research showed, they tried hard to get for since last year.

He assumed it to be the case from the story he heard from Maria. If they wanted to leave home and live by themselves, college was an excellent opportunity for them to do so without letting their parents know the truth.

From his understanding, the rumors about them were around the school, and only a few knew them, and even fewer believed them, as in the school, they didn’t act like they did at the store. Even how they acted on the store wouldn’t be too suspicious for anyone unless they paid close attention to them or were aware of the situation as Mark was because of his System Assignment.

Since they were trying hard to keep their grades high, they also took part in private tutoring to cover any difficulties they had.

A coaching school was quite expensive, but both their mothers were reasonably wealthy to easily cover the cost. Mark didn’t know what they did to have that much money. He just learned that they were good at investing.

So he found the schedule of the coaching school and learned that other than the two of them, only one other student was supposed to take part in the classes, but she wouldn’t do so for some time.

She was the young girl that had found Tam’s body, and it surprised Mark to learn that she was actually in the same grade as Ray and Kura. She looked closer to the age group of his granddaughters, but it seemed like she had skipped grades because of her brain and her father being the CEO of WonderCorp.

Mark learned all that information by doing something he didn’t have the chance to do for a  long time. He had drinks with an old pal of his.

The owner of the coaching school was actually his General when he had served in the army. Mark never took part in a big battle or mission, but he was proud to have helped his country even a little.

He didn’t stay long in the army, compared to others, and asked for a discharge after his wife gave birth to his daughter. He mainly was a driver back then, and according to his general, one of the best he had worked with.

They used to get together and have drinks after the General retired from the army and spent his money to open a business to help educate the next generations. Still, it was an education program that not everyone could afford, but not everyone could survive a war either, as he kept saying when people asked him why he did his business like that.

His General was a tough man in a  fight, even at his current age, but he wasn’t a good drinker, and when he got drunk, he was a talker. He knew that, of course, so he never drank unless he was with close friends, like Mark.

On the other hand, Mark had an excellent constitution and could handle his drinks, but he noticed they had even less effect on him than usual. He had this encounter on Thursday, meaning he had lost 3 HP, so he had a little more than half his HP left, but the changes from losing them seemed to have also helped him handle booze even better.

So it seemed there were some benefits to those changes, but he would prefer not to let his HP get low for no reason.

During those past days, he found out more about how his System worked, and especially what else his phone could do. Other than having a call with Truck-kun for a limited time per day, he also got access to the second app, other than the store.

The app had a list of Feats, which were extra actions that he could use with some UPGRADES he had unlocked. But all the Feats were locked, unless he used a Feat Point to them. He couldn’t use TruckCoins to them even if he wanted.

An example was his SEEKING FIREBALL, which was a Feat related to his FIREBALL. It was making the FIREBALL to go around obstacles to reach its assigned targets, hitting nothing else. There were even Feats to change the Element, giving him the choice to make it an ICEBALL, which would freeze the target instead of turning them to ashes.

On Friday night, he sneaked out of the house after ensuring that Maria and Melinda went to sleep early. He told them he had a surprise for them tomorrow, and they would have to wake up early the next day.

He went with his Truck at one alley, which was big enough for his truck to fit, and waited.

Ray and Kura’s lesson should be over soon, and they would head back home, passing from where he was. While he waited, the thoughts of how everything started, and how much he had changed in just a short time of days, amazed him, but he didn’t blink for a moment. Instead, he embraced his new task, and he knew what he did might not seem moral, but it was for the good of everyone.

He had changed the form of his truck, to look like an armored vehicle, something that is possible the army would have. Even if its front seemed to be covered with metal plates, Mark could see through them as the illusion didn’t work entirely on his eyes since he was the Systems user, so the illusion was semi-transparent to him.

He also had changed his clothes, wearing a ski mask and a long black coat, and black pants and shirt from within the coat. He didn’t even wear his glasses, which made things harder to see, but Truck-kun could let him know what was happening.

He learned that Truck-kun was aware of his surroundings, similar to the bats, using a sonar-like ability. The range was two meters, the same as the range of their telepathic link, but Mark could increase it by unlocking Feats in the mobile app.

The door of the coaching school was barely within range, so Truck-kun would detect when someone would get outside. Still, they wouldn’t be sure who the person would be, but since Ray and Kura were close, if it was two people together, then it was who they expected.

[You are taking precautions,  old man. I like it. You probably will last for a long time in this  business, unless you die from a heart attack or something]

Mark didn’t mind the comment, and he actually got used to them over the past few days.

[I detect some movement….there… three people are heading our way.]

Mark didn’t expect this to happen. Who could the third person be?

He got out of the truck and went over the edge of the alley to take a peek. There he saw Ray and Kura standing just a little over a meter away, and who he knew was their physics tutor. They seemed to discuss something while slowly making their way towards them.

This was messing with Mark’s plan, as he planned to let the two of them pass from the alley and shoot a fireball at them. But if there was a third person, he would also get hit, which would be innocent blood on his hands.

As Mark thought about what to do, a fourth figure, get out of the coaching school. It was a familiar figure, once more doing the same thing that Mark had seen him do each time—- eating a banana.

“Dad, can we go to the store now?“ the banana boy said toward the tutor.

“Oh…Did you eat the last one already? *sigh* Forgive me, Ray, but I need to go before the store gets close. Email me your questions, and I will send you an answer as soon as possible,“ the tutor said and headed back to the boy, and they walked the other way.

Mark headed back into the truck and waited for the right time. The alley was quite dark, and he had actually designed the illusion of the truck for it to blend as much as possible.

Soon he saw one foot, following by slowly the rest of the body of Kura, who was moving in front but was looking back towards his sister.

He seemed pretty happy and doing some turns like he wanted to dance, while she didn’t seem to be in the mood to do so. Then Kura stopped and looked down at his feet as he had stepped on something.

It was a one hundred dollars bill that was stuck between the pavement. As he stepped on it, it made a  brief noise, and since it was pretty late and quiet, he barely heard it.

Ray went next to him, looking at what her brother found, and then Kura tried to unstuck it without damaging it.

But then a noise was heard,  similar to the sound a lighter made but in greater volume, and the next thing the two siblings felt was that everything became incredibly hot.

And then everything turned to ashes, including the bill.

Mark didn’t enjoy using a distraction like that, but he knew that even those rich kids would have stopped on something like that, and he wanted them to stay on that spot for a few seconds.

When the fire had utterly disappeared, he started his truck and drove outside. He had already had a route in mind to take and where to change the truck’s appearance, but he wouldn’t change it to its standard form until he was back home.

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