System Change

Chapter 13: Level Up

Chapter 12: Bloody Village

Thomas had never experienced such a feeling. The scenery was flying by, he could barely make out the trees and landmarks they passed. Somehow, he was able to keep conscious throughout the entire trip.

Soon, Derek came to a halt. They had arrived a short distance from the village. Thomas felt his feet on the ground and staggered, trying to remain standing.

“Look.” Derek pointed to the village in front. “You wanted to come here, so here we are. What do you see?”

Thomas looked ahead at the village, the sounds of fighting that he expected were unheard. He realized that Derek was right, they were too late. “There are no sounds. Its quiet for a village just attacked by monsters. Maybe somebody is alive inside.” He still had some hope left.

Derek had a much higher perception than a regular person. He could hear the beasts roaming around inside the village. He was unable to count how many, but he knew that there were a lot. “Im going to take you to the front. Then, Im going to go in and clear out whats inside.” Derek picked Thomas back up and took him to the broken gate at the front of the village.

When Thomas caught a glimpse of what was inside, he was disgusted and shocked. His face went shades lighter and he began to retch. It was a mess, a bloody mess. Not only was there blood and body parts of wolves, bears, and other forest creatures, there was an occasional arm or leg of a human being gnawed on by the remaining monsters.

He finally knew why Derek did not want to go with all the others, and why he brought Thomas along. He knew that it was going to be like this, and he wanted me to see it. Thomas was smart for a boy not quite 13, and realized Dereks intentions as soon as he was able to think again, after seeing the gruesome sight.

“This is what happens when youre not strong enough. Theres no saving this village anymore, just recovering whats left.” Derek looked at Thomas, then at his bracelet. “Here, wear this while I go take care of whatevers left in there.” Derek summoned his black armor and had Thomas put the ill fitting gear on. It was quite comical seeing the twelve year old boy in a set of armor many sizes too big for him, but Derek stayed serious.

“This too.” He summoned his helm and pushed it down onto Thomass head. Once the full set was on Thomas, Derek patted his head. “I dont think theres anything around here that can hurt you in my armor. You should be safe while I go clean up. At least safer than staying behind with a group that cant even handle a few wolf pups.”

Derek started walking into the village. At least Ill get some experience, if nothing else. Derek looked down and saw his shirt that he had brought from home. No sense in ruining one of the few t-shirts I have left. He was not worried about anything hurting him with his current Vitality, so he moved his shirt into his bracelet. He looked at his jeans. Nope, not fighting in my boxers, its a sacrifice Ill have to make. He laughed to himself and summoned his glaive.

Derek surveyed his surroundings and used Identify on the creatures around him. Well, the highest level is 27, but it seems like most are in the low 20s. How are people who live around here not strong enough to deal with these beasts? Have they gotten complacent having this system for so long? Is there no sense of urgency? Derek had many questions and concerns, but they were for a later date.

From Thomass perspective, he saw Derek walk forward and remove his shirt, revealing his scarred back once again. Why did he do that? Some bonus for fighting unarmored? Thomas wondered. Then he saw Dereks glaive appear in his hands while he was scanning his surroundings. Derek stilled then started shaking his head. Is he disappointed? Thomas could almost feel the disappointment radiating off of Derek, but he could not understand it.

Derek went straight for the level 27 bear he had found earlier. Once beside it, he swung his glaive vertically once and continued on to his next victim. Before the first monster had a chance to die, another was sent packing.

As Thomas watched Derek make quick work of the enemies within the village, he understood something about himself. He wanted to be strong, like Derek. He wanted to be able to protect his loved ones and others that needed it. But, he did not know how. Looking at Derek, he found his answer. He would need to adventure to get stronger, he could not just stay in his village, slaying a monster here and there while guarding villagers. He needed to seek danger, seek monsters to hunt.

As Derek mopped up the remaining monsters, he did his best to avoid being spattered with the blood from his foes. He succeeded for the most part, only being hit with the occasional droplet that came from swinging his glaive. Derek rushed for the last remaining monster, driving his blade through the skull of the unsuspecting bunny.

After Derek finished his tasks, he could see the notifications trying to appear. No time for that, Ill check them later. He dismissed the notifications and went back to the gate to fetch Thomas. Im going to have to look into getting some new shoes once I find a proper city. His boots were fine, but as they were part of his armor, they did not provide much comfort.

“Alright boy, now we search. If there is anyone left alive here, well find them.” Derek said as he reached Thomas. “Stay by me and dont venture off. The last thing we need is a monster jumping out from a closed door and killing you.” He warned.

After Derek took back his armor, the two began walking down the center of the village, avoiding the body parts and puddles of blood while looking. They went back and forth between houses, but were unable to find anyone living.

“I dont know kid. Its not looking good.” As they got closer to the back of the village, Derek suspected that no one had been able to hide.

“Lets keep looking. I dont see Chief Leon or Brandis dad anywhere. They were the strongest in the village, theres still a chance.” Thomas did not want to give up.

As the duo reached the end of the village, they heard a growl coming from just outside the back gateway. The two rushed out, Thomas still on Dereks hip. By the stream were two men being attacked by a small wolf. The wolf was snarling and nipping at one of the men. He did his best to hold the wolf off with his forearm, but he was in rough shape.

Derek threw a dagger and ended the confrontation. He and Thomas made their way towards the two injured villagers.

The man that was fighting the wolf looked up, confused. Then, recognition seemed to hit him. “Thomas! What are you doing here? Run, the village is under attack.” It had not registered to the older man that there was no longer any noise coming from their direction, not to mention that the wolf he was struggling against was taken out so easily.

“Chief Leon! Its OK, me and my friend, Derek, came to help after running into Brandi and the others.” Thomas explained. “Dont worry, Derek is really strong. He already took care of all the monsters in the village. Weve been looking for survivors for some time now.”

Leon finally noticed the young man crouched down, digging his dagger out of the deceased wolfs head. “Thank you for coming.” Leon said. “Did you find anyone else alive?” He could only hope.

“We didnt. Just the two of you. Is he…” Derek motioned to the man on the ground behind Leon. “Is he alive?” He asked.

“For now, but I doubt hell make it.” A sad glint appeared in Leons eyes. They were finally rescued, but it looked like only he would make it out today.

“Thats Brandis dad, Travis.” Thomas recognized the man.

Derek looked at the man and used Identify.

Human Male

Level 23

State: Dying

Time Remaining: 1hr 15min

Derek moved his hand over his bracelet, brows furrowed, lost in thought. Hes in a Dying state. Its been awhile since Ive last seen that. Derek looked towards Leon. “Hes in a Dying state, do you have a healer or a potion to allow him to recover?” Derek had two potions left that could recover someone from a Dying state, but he was hesitant to use one. They were outrageously expensive where he came from, and he did not even know if potions like them existed on this new planet.

“No. It takes a level 75 Healer to cast Recovery, unless its someone with a rarer class. And, though Ive heard of alchemists being able to create Recovery Potions, you wouldnt be able to find one unless you were in the Capital, even then, you wouldnt be able to buy one with money.” Leon answered.

Hearing this, Derek sighed and fought back the urge to use one of his remaining potions. He had initially been able to afford four potions back on Earth, but since, he had already used two, so he knew better than most how important these potions were, especially to someone like him, who prefers to hunt alone.

Leon noticed Dereks hesitation, but did not say anything. He knew that they were strangers and if he was in the same position, he would not waste a priceless item on a low leveled villager.

Thomas also noticed Derek running his hand over his bracelet, but was not sure why.

“Hes got just over an hour left to live.” Derek bluntly said. “Do you think you can get him conscious?” He asked.

Instead of answering, Leon moved to Travis and gently shook him. He awoke groggily.

“I can run get your wife and daughter to say goodbye if you want, but that is all I can offer.” This is all I can do to make up for not using one of the potions. Derek knew that he technically was not doing anything wrong, but it still did not sit well with him.

The mans eyes lit up and he nodded.

“Put this on again.” Derek had Thomas armor up for a second time, not trusting the injured Leon to protect Thomas.

”Ill be back soon. ” At the speed he ran with Thomas, they were able to make it in under 30 minutes, so he figured that it would not be a problem to get to the escapees and back in under an hour.

Derek sped off. While he was gone, Leon tried to get information about Derek from Thomas, but Thomas knew that Derek did not like talking about himself or his past, so he answered as vaguely as possible. Soon, Leon gave up and just looked after Travis.

Around 45 minutes later, Derek returned with a body over each shoulder. The two had just as hard a time getting their feet back under them as Thomas had. Once they caught their balance, the mother and daughter duo saw Travis and rushed to him.

Derek went over and lended Leon an arm to help him walk and motioned to Thomas. “Lets move over there.” The trio moved and left the family alone to say their final goodbyes.

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