System Change

Chapter 152: Ranking Up

Chapter 151: Shae

The unknown adventurer dragged Thomas through the Adventurers Guild until they came upon a certain room. Once outside the room, the man placed his hand on the door for identification and the door opened up.

Then, he pulled Thomas inside and closed the room behind them. Thomas immediately fell to the ground and struggled to get to his knees, an odd pressure was weighing him down. Needless to say, Thomas was terrified. When he woke up that morning, other than some light training at the guild, he hadnt expected anything else to happen.

“Dont tell Judy I told you, but the hourly rate they charge newbies is a scam. Youre better off finding an empty courtyard or area outside the city to train. Though, its not safe outside the city. Every time you rank up your badge, the cost goes down.” The man said.

Thomas, still stunned, finally managed to say something. “T-thats not fair.”

“The world aint fair, kid. Hell, I just dragged you away basically by the scruff of your neck and not one person said or did anything. Thats basically kidnapping.” The man scratched his bald head. “Though, I guess most of them knew nothing too bad would happen to you… and its not like Judy doesnt know where I took you.”

The man then walked over to the runes on the wall. “This room is basically free for me, and its the top room in the guild. Do you know why that is?” He asked as he placed his hand on the wall.

Immediately, the pressure that was on Thomas disappeared. Finally, he was able to stand. “What was that?”

“Gravity rune.” The man said nonchalantly. “The increased pressure from the outside helps increase some resistance type skills. It also lets you get used to auras. Of course, there is more to auras than just pressure.” The man explained.

“Why did you… kidnap me?” Thomas asked as he leaned against a far wall.

The man laughed. “Because youre interesting, kid. Like I said, young adventurers that choose to wield a spear are hard to find. And I dont suppose your dream is to become a low-level guard, right?”

Thomas shook his head. “No.”

“Good.” The odd man said. “Now, why did you choose to use a spear?”

Thomas hesitated before answering. He wasnt sure if he should answer. He didnt know the man. Was he just supposed to trust a stranger who basically kidnapped him? I did trust Derek, though. He thought. Finally, he chose to answer the man. Surely it wouldnt hurt to give out a little information about himself. “I chose the spear because I was… shit with daggers.” The boy remembered one of the phrases Derek had used to describe his ability with daggers.

The man busted up laughing. “Thats the most honest answer I think Ive ever heard. Thats good, honesty is good in certain situations.” He complimented. “Did you have someone help you make the decision?”

Thomas frowned. He didnt want to talk about Derek without him being there. Heck, he couldnt say much about Derek without breaking his oath. Thomas thought about the proper way to word his answer. He nodded. “A… friend tried to get me to use the spear at level 10. He said I was made for it.” Thomas lowered his head. “I ignored his suggestion and chose a stealthy class. I changed to spear at level 25.”

“Everyone makes mistakes, kid.” The man said. “The goal is to learn from them and not make them again. It seems that you learned from that mistake. Now, what did you say? You were made for the spear. Well see.”

The bald man stepped forward and summoned a spear. “Attack!” He yelled at Thomas.

The shout surprised Thomas, but he was used to sparring sessions with Derek. Thomas pushed himself off the wall and summoned his spear. The man was an Onyx Adventurer, Thomas knew not to hold back.

“No abilities.” The man suddenly said as Thomas made his approach. “I want to see your skill only.”

Thomas slowly nodded. Then, he stepped forward within reach of the man. Thomas thrust his spear towards the mans midsection. The man parried Thomass attack with his own spear.

Instead of falling back, Thomas let his spear move with the momentum. Instantly, the spear was behind his neck. He grabbed it with both hands and jabbed forward at the mans head multiple times. Unfortunately, the man was fast. With small, subtle moves, he dodged each thrust.

After Thomass third thrust, using his own neck as leverage, he bent the spear and let go of it with his left hand. The spear orbited around his neck in a wide arc. Using the spears momentum, Thomas swept out at the mans legs. The man hopped over the spear.

Thomas grabbed the middle of the spear with his left hand and drew it back, ready to strike again. He fell back. In the short exchange, Thomas was parried and dodged multiple times. It seemed to be a bad outcome, but instead, the man was grinning ear to ear.

“Thats damn sure not something you pick up by being a guard, and youre quick for your level.” He said. “Its good to go with the momentum but have to be careful when facing someone faster than you. Thats why you have a spear.” The man said. “You can gauge your opponents strengths while keeping a distance.”

Thomas agreed. “I know.”

“Then why didnt you do that?”

“Because I already know that you are far stronger and faster than I am.” Thomas replied.

“Thats true…” The man said. “Go again. This time, pretend that I am a random enemy that you know nothing about.”

Thomas went forward and did as commanded. This time, instead of rushing forward, Thomas circled his opponent, throwing out an irritating thrust occasionally.

“Good.” The man said as his spear vanished and was replaced by a short sword.

The manrushed towards Thomas. Of course, his speed was even slower than what Thomas had displayed earlier. For every step the man took forward, Thomas took one backward or to the side, attacking all the while.

Thomas made sure not to forget his surroundings. The worst outcome in a situation like the one he was in would be becoming cornered and letting a sword user close in. When he would get pushed close to the wall, he would maneuver his retreat to take him closer to the middle of the room.

After some time, the man put his sword away. “Great.” He praised. “If you keep fighting like that, your opponents bound to get so mad he makes a mistake.”

Thomas nodded. Derek had called the techniquekiting. Thomas had to agree. Retreating and peppering the enemy with attacks while they got angry and wasted their stamina was a good battle strategy. It worked well on beasts as well.

With a big smile on his face, the man held his hand out for Thomas to take. Thomas hesitated, but finally put his spear away and took the mans hand.

“Its so good to meet another natural born spear user.” The man said. “My name is Shae. Shae Holmes. As you can see…” He pointed to the badge on his upper arm. “I am a veteran member of the Adventurers Guild.” He smiled even wider, if that was even possible, then leaned in conspiratorially. In a low voice, he said, “Actually, Im the head of the Savannah Adventurers Guild.”

Thomass eyes went wide. He thought the man was some renown adventurer, or even an instructor of the guild. He never in a million years would have thought the man before him was the actual Guild Master at the Savannah Branch.

Savannah was the most popular city in the kingdom other than the Capital. That would put the man who was standing before Thomas close to the top when it came to influential figures in the kingdom. Thomas audibly gulped.

He took a step back and bowed. “Its an honor to meet you, sir.” He said.

Shae waved off his honorific. “Just call me Shae. Were friends, after all.” The man said.

“We are?” Thomas asked.

“Of course we are.” Shae said. “Us spear users have got to stick together. Were an endangered species in this kingdom.”

“R-right.” Thomas muttered.

“Now, youre very talented with the spear. Maybe even more so than I was at your age. With the proper resources and training, you will do well. What are your plans? Why are you in Savannah? I dont recall ever hearing of anyone like you. By the looks of your spear and clothes, you have money. Who are your parents?” Shae asked.

“T-that…” Thomas didnt know how to answer. Finally, he shook his head. “I dont have money.” He said. “Im from a village near Wilmette.” Thomas gave a self-depreciating smile. “Im just a poor villager who got lucky.”

“No matter how you got here, you got here. Being a villager is nothing to be ashamed of. Maybe thats why I took an interest in you to begin with. I didnt grow up in a village, but I wasnt well off. Most people get opportunities orlucky breaks in life. What matters is how you take advantage of them.” Shae said. “So, Ill ask again, what are your plans?”

“My friend… the one who gave me the spear and helped me choose my class, he asked me if I wanted to join the Academy. So that… that is my current goal.”

“I see…” Shae rubbed his chin in thought. “Well, there is a little over three months before the next enrollment opens in the Academy.” He said. “Ill tell you what. You can use this room as much as you want while youre here. Ill let Judy make the arrangements. Ill be here at this time every three days to train you. Thats the best I can do because I have other responsibilities.”

Thomas was stunned. Why did this man pick him? He didnt deserve such a boon. He didnt know what to say. What would he tell Derek? Training with a spear master would have to be better than training with Derek, right? So many thoughts went in and out of his head.

Finally, Thomas nodded and bowed again. “Thank you.”

The man smiled again, this time his teeth showed. The grin was more feral than happy. “I wouldnt be thanking me yet.” Shae said. He jumped back to the middle of the training room and drew his spear. “Again!”

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