System Change

Chapter 112: Zachary and Lucas

Chapter 111: Confrontation

Derek waited for the flustered City Lord to reply. After a couple of minutes of silence, he decided to continue. “I guess it really doesnt even matter.” His eyes shifted to the guard next to the City Lord. “Well, while he is broken, we might as well have a little chat. Im Derek.”

The guard narrowed his eyes slightly. “Captain of the City Lords guards, Herrett.” He replied.

Derek smiled. “Well now, we both know that you are much more than just a Guard Captain. What is someone like you doing watching over a couple of lordlings? Im sure thisjob is far beneath you, dont you think?”

Captain Herretts face grew even more serious. His eyes glanced at the silent Malcolm. “I do what my Lord needs of me.”

“Ah! So thats it.” Derek exclaimed. “And who might this lord be? No… wait… dont tell me. Its this…” Derek motioned to the City Lord. “Its his father, right? Of course it is. Why else would someone like you be here? So…” Derek leaned in. “Is it blackmail? Did he trick you into an oath? Oh, did he save your life on the battlefield and because of honor, you have decided to dedicate your life to protect him and his family?”

The man stayed stone silent.

“Oh, god. Its not money, is it? Please dont tell me its because of something so small…” Derek said, and watched the mans reaction. Still nothing… “Ill tell you what. How about I give you 1,000 gold a month and you can come work for me? Someone like yourself, Im sure deserves at least that much.”

Derek heard the clamor of the guards behind him when he mentioned 1,000 gold. It even caused the mans eyelid to twitch. So, he definitely doesnt get paid as much as what he should, if at all.

“Are you trying to recruit my Guard Captain?” The City Lord finally collected himself and managed to speak.

Dereks attention moved back to the City Lord. He cocked his head sideways. “Who were you again?”

The City Lord opened and closed his mouth multiple times before closing it shut and not saying anything. While the City Lord was trying to figure out what to do, Derek took a quick glance at his son, sitting in the chair next to him. Clay flinched when Dereks eyes landed on him. At least I dont have to worry about the kid interrupting me. I bet hes still shook up from the other day. He thought, then looked back at Malcolm, who was still silent.

Derek nodded at him before turning back to Herrett. “So, what do you say?”

Herretts face stayed serious, but he shook his head. “Unfortunately, I am not bound by money.”

Derek nodded, not pushing it any further. Its either loyalty or blackmail, or maybe an oath caused from loyalty. Im not sure how oaths work under duress. “Its my loss, then. Hopefully, this fool of a noble doesnt do anything bad enough to get you dead. Though, if not for Alanah, we would be having a very different conversation.”

Malcolm gulped, and Captain Herrett nodded gravely at the mention of Alanah.

Derek knew that Herrett had been sizing him up and was still unsure if he could win against Derek in a fight. Because of that, the Guard Captain had been serious and respectful, even with the way Derek had been acting. At least he doesnt seem like the scheming type.

Knowing he wasnt going to get much more out of the silent guard, he moved his focus back to the City Lord. “Earth to… err… Cydaria to Malcolm, is anybody home?”

“What?” The City Lord snapped.

“Woah there, no need to get so testy. Youre just in some mood today, arent you? Well, I would be too if I had a scumbag son like the one you have.” Derek replied.

“Dont talk about my son that way.”

“Isnt that why Im here? For us to talk about your son and what he did.” Derek said.

The City Lord, finally back to his old demeanor, scoffed. “So what if he tricked a lowly commoner, no… not even a commoner. It was a lowly villager, wasnt it? They arent even worth as much as a peasant beggar in the lower district.”

“Wow, just wow. You are not going to make it easy for me to keep my promise to Alanah, are you?” Derek quickly glanced at Herrett, who still hadnt moved.

Dereks aloof smile he had been wearing ever since entering the manor disappeared. Because the people in the hall were much stronger than those he intimidated out in the forest, instead of channeling only a little of the void through his system, Derek opened the floodgates and let it explode throughout his body.

He had never done this before. When he was using the void, it was always through a controlled channeling, except for when he used Void Call, which could not be controlled. This time, he made no attempt at controlling the energy. If he was going to get his point across, he couldnt hold back.

The void energy rushed through his body from head to toe. A visible purple hue fell over his skin, and both eyes changed to match. Derek could not only feel the void radiating through himself but also a small distance outside his body.

He had an idea about the so-calledaura that he was releasing. Hed been wondering about it since he first intimidated Bronson back at the village. Through talking with Walter, Stella, and Alanah, he had come to a conclusion.

Theaura seemed to be an outward projection of his combined stats. Of course, his void skills augmented his outward projection, just as other elements did for other people. It was something that people learned to do as they got stronger.

It also meant that projecting your aura was a conscious decision that one has to make. Hed heard rumors of a friend of the City Lords father walking around with his aura out. That meant that it was this mans decision to walk around terrorizing everybody on the streets.

Dereks combined stats was already on par with someone who had taken a rare class at level 10 and had leveled all the way up to level 250, so when he fully and consciously released his so-calledaura, those around him felt it, especially if he was focusing specifically on someone.

While releasing the void, Derek maintained eye contact with Herrett. He did not want the man interfering with anything.

Derek looked around the room to see that over half of the guards present had fallen to their knees, some even face down. No matter which guard he looked at, their faces were pale. One not so unexpected outcome was that the City Lords son had fallen unconscious in his chair and was slumped over.

The City Lord, however, maintained at least some of his dignity. He managed to remain conscious and, if it wasnt for his flushed skin and the shock in his eyes, Derek would have assumed that his display of power didnt have much effect on him.

Herretts outcome was much better than the rest. He did not seem scared or too shocked. Other than his eyes widening ever so slightly and his hand hovering over his sword, he was no different than before. Well, there was also the initial step backwards that he unconsciously took when Derek first channeled his energy.

Derek smiled at Herrett before his gaze fell over the City Lord once more. “Now, I just so happen to call some of those villagers my friends. And I can guarantee that not only are they notlowly commoners, but theyre lives are worth much more than yours or your spawns.”

“Now, you may ask me,Why are they worth so much? and to that, I say,Because I fucking said they are!” Derek shouted, causing the City Lord to shrink back. “Now, your son had to go and fuck with one of my people. I dont take kindly to that.”

“Normally, I would barge in here, and by the time I was done, the only heart left beating would be my own.” Derek smiled evilly. “But, I recently made another friend, and shes busy and doesnt want to deal with the fallout of one of her friends not so gently removing the City Lord from the city. Well, sub-city in this case.”

“So, because of my friend, Im going to give you one chance. Thats all you get, and its more than what you should. So, if you or your son ever does something to anger me again, dont think your daddy could keep you breathing.” Derek eyed Herrett up and down. “And dont think your Guard Captain here could even buy you a chance to escape.” He turned back to the City Lord. “Do you understand!” He shouted loud enough to cause even the guard to flinch.

“Y-yes, Sir.” The City Lord mumbled.

“What was that?” Derek asked.

“I understand… Sir.” Malcolm muttered.

Derek released his aura and stopped channeling void energy. His serious expression changed back to jovial. With a smile plastered on his face, he said, “Thats great. And I see you chose to call meSir. Good choice.”

Derek did a 180 and began his walk towards the entrance to the Great Hall. He looked over his shoulder back at the shivering king. “Ah, I forgot to tell you. Ive made some friends in this city, too. So you can add them to the list ofmy people. Just a heads up, you might want to make sure you and your son are more careful who you mess with. Im leaving soon, but I will be listening.”

After speaking, Derek walked out of the hall, whistling.

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