System Change

Chapter 180: Attackers

Chapter 179: Jake and Edgar

The familiar looking young man stepped forward. “Are you Mr. Hunt?” He asked.

Derek nodded slowly. “I am.”

The man reached his hand out for a handshake, Derek took it. “My name is Jake Herrett. My father is Jackson Herrett. He wrote to me about a week ago saying that, thanks to you, we could see each other again.”

“Oh…” Derek said, finally knowing why the young man looked familiar. If the man had the scar on his face, he would look like a younger version of Jacks. “No wonder I thought you looked familiar. Its good to meet you. Please… come in.” Derek moved to the side and held the door open, allowing the two men to come in.

“So…” Derek said once the two men were in the shop. “You and your friend…”

“Edgar, but you can call me Eddie.” The white-haired young man said. “Were members of the same adventuring team.”

“Edgar, then.” Derek said. “Did the two of you come to Savannah just to visit your father?”

“For the most part.” Jake answered while looking around. “In his letter, he said he had a lot of things we needed to talk about.”

“I imagine he does,” said Derek.

Jakes eyes jerked to Dereks. “Do you know what he wants to tell me?”

“I think I do, but its something the two of you should discuss. Its not for me to say.”

“This is a very interesting décor.” Edgar noted. “Its Pixy Yew, correct?”

“It is…” Derek replied. “I wanted something durable that wouldnt break the bank. The Pixy Yew fit the bill. It also gives kind of a magical feeling to the shop, dont you think?”

Edgar nodded firmly. “It does… but, if you dont mind my asking… why not use better materials? With your status…” He nodded to the badge on both his arm, and Dereks. “you could have gotten a much better deal at the same or even lower cost.”

That was when Dereks gaze shifted to the Onyx Badge that was on Edgars arm and the Platinum Badge on Jakes. I bet Jacks is going to be even more surprised than me about that. Jacks had stopped adventuring and gaining levels when he was contracted to Torith.

Jacks had told Derek that he hadnt seen his son in over five years, yet the young man was already at the same level as Jacks.

“I could have gotten everything for free, but the contractor I hired was very forward about everything, including telling me about the favors I could get because of my rank. I like people like that. I would rather not owe some scumbag a favor, if at all possible.” Derek said.

“Well spoken.” Edgar replied.

Derek looked over the Adventurers Guild Badges adorning the duos arms again. “I heard the Academy produced competent people, but I wasnt expecting Onyx and Platinum badges from people who look so young. Youre what? Almost 20 now?” He directed the question to Jake.

Jake nodded. “In a few months.”

“Im older than I look.” Edgar said. “Im on the back half of my 20s.”

So were basically the same age. Derek thought. “I see.” He said. “So how did the two of you meet? I imagine the age gap would keep you from the same classes.”

Edgar shrugged. “I was graduating the same year he joined the Academy. I took note of Jake during that year. He was headstrong and talented. He also didnt have servants waiting on him hand in foot, nor did he yell out his father this… his mother that… you know the type?”

“Oh, I know the type.” Derek said.

“So, after I graduated, I… moved my way through the ranks of the army and adventured on my down time. When he graduated, I was high enough ranked to move him to my company. Eventually, he joined my adventuring party, as well. Now, here we are.” Edgar explained.

“So are you here on official business, then?” He asked Edgar.

“Me? No. I have leave.” Edgar said.

Derek didnt fail to notice the slight eye-roll Jake gave Edgar when he mentioned having leave. Edgar was an interesting one. He seemed a bit too excited to answer questions, and he kept looking around the shop for no reason.

“Is there something I can help you with, then?” Derek pointedly asked.

“Oh, no… Im good.” Edgar answered. “You… just dont have much for sale, do you?”

“The building was literally finished just yesterday…”

“Oh… that makes sense then.”

“Is my father around?” Jake cut in.

Derek shook his head. “Im afraid not. He went out to train someone a few days ago, and hasnt come back yet. He left before I could give him a communications crystal. He should be back sometime today, though. Its the seventh day since he left. He said not to worry unless he was gone over a week.”

Derek saw Jake shiver when he mentioned training. “Who is he training? Does he have strong willpower?” Jake asked.

“She, but yes, she does have quite the strong willpower. Why?” Derek asked.

Jake shrugged. “Fath… dad isnt the easiest on people when it comes to training them.”

“Well, thats fine. Its best when youre hard on people. They live longer… and DONT choose a class they are unsuitable for.” Derek whipped his head around to see Thomas peaking out from the stairs. “Do they? Thomas?”

Thomas finished walking down the stairs and rubbed the back of his neck, a crimson glow appeared on his face. “No…”

“Thomas, this is Jake, Jackss son.” He pointed at the young man with red eyes. “And this is Edgar, a part of his adventuring team.”

Thomas walked over and politely introduced himself.

“They are both graduates of the Academy.” Derek added.

The boys eyes sparkled. “Really? How is it? Is it tough? Im supposed to go there in a few months. I just have to get some more levels before I qualify.”

Edgar stepped forward, crouched down, and put his arm around Thomass neck. “Its easy as pie. Do you want to know a secret of making it in the Academy?”

Thomas bobbed his head up and down. “I do.”

“You just have to be stronger than everyone else. If you get picked on, kick their ass. If someone doesnt like you, kick their ass. If you find yourself outnumbered… find other strong people and form a group. Then you know what to do next?” Edgar asked,

“Kick their ass?”

“Exactly… youre going to do fine.”

Jake rolled his eyes again. “Dont listen to him. Keep your head down, do the work, and train as much as possible.”

“Says the guy who lit half his class on fire the first week you were at the Academy.” Edgar said.

“I kept my head down after that, though.”

“Yeah, because you didnt need any more fame after the incident.”

Derek smiled. “Theres nothing wrong with being stronger than everyone else. Its worked pretty well for me.”

“See, this guy gets it.” Edgar said.

“What about the nobles?” Thomas asked. The boy was always worried about what nobles would do. Especially after the incident with Clay and Alicia.

“Your status doesnt matter in the Academy, only strength and willingness to learn.” Edgar said. “It doesnt matter if youre a high noble, low noble, or a beggar that came in off the street. The nobles can say this and that, but they cant do anything. Not unless they want the whole Kingdom against them. Differences are worked out between the students, family doesnt matter. Even a Prince or Princess will be treated the same.”

“What about after the Academy?” Thomas asked.

“Then you join the Kings army. Its less protection than the Academy, but by that time, you should be able to fend for yourself. Look at Jake, here. Hes only a couple years out of the Academy, but hes already a high ranked Platinum Adventurer.” Edgar explained.

“Thats actually good to hear.” Derek said. He wasnt sure about the whole, joining the army, but its good that the kid will have a good amount of protection while in the Academy. Especially if he comes out at a higher level and is well trained. About that…

“How well does the Academy train skills?” Derek asked.

“Theyre the best. They focus more on skills training that leveling. Anyone can get power leveled, but it doesnt mean shit unless you know how to use your skills. We… ahem… they have craftsmen that make training dolls that mimic real beasts. They dont help skills level faster than a real battle, but it is faster than even sparring.” Edgar explained.

Derek squinted. “Thats… good.”

At that time, Malorie came down from upstairs. “Oh, we have guests?” She asked.

Derek nodded. “We do.”

“Silvi and I were just about to get breakfast started.” Malorie said.

“Join us for breakfast?” Derek asked the two young men.

“I don…” Jake started.

“Of course we will.” Edgar answered.

“Great. Im sure Jacks will be back sometime soon. Might as well hang around until then… If you have enough leave, that is.” Derek said.

“Ive plenty.” Edgar said.

Derek led everyone to the dining room, as he didnt actually think about making a living room. The dining room would have to work.

“Oh… these chairs are great.” Edgar commented.

Derek smiled, but didnt say anything. The group continued chatting while Mal and Silvi prepared breakfast. Thomas was milking Edgar for as much information as he could about the Academy. Derek didnt think Thomas noticed the Onyx Badge on the mans arm yet, either.

During their time waiting, Rudy joined them, and Brandi ventured through. She went to the kitchen with Malorie to help.

About an hour later, Malorie came in with a ginormous spread. Eggs, bacon, toast, ham… everything one would need for breakfast littered the table. She also served some coffee and placed different creams, sugars, and honey on the table.

“This looks fantastic!” Edgar said as he grabbed a biscuit and stuffed it into his mouth.

Jake shook his head.

Soon, everyone was seated, including Silvi. She was at the opposite end as Derek. “Lets dig in.” Her voice chimed through the necklace, causing Jake to shoot a look at her, and Edgar to choke on a biscuit.

“She… ahem…” Edgar cleared his throat. “Shes not a pet?”

“Not at all.” Derek said.

Edgar shrugged and began stacking a plate full of food. Everyone else did the same. Silvi, unfortunately, didnt have exposable thumbs, but she made up for it with Telekinesis and Mage Hand. Soon, strips of bacon were flying to her plate as a blue hand gathered eggs and biscuits.

“Thats awesome.” Edgar commented.

The group didnt waste time eating. Soon, the table was empty.

Edgar sat back and patted his belly. “That hit the spot… and these chairs… I could fall asleep right now.”

He gets it… Derek was starting to like this outspoken man.

After breakfast, Brandi scurried to her basement. Rudy moved to his contract store, still trying to think of a proper name. Thomas ran off to train with Shae, and Silvi and Mal went back to the kitchen to increase their skill levels. Leaving Derek and the two young men alone in the dining room.

Not long after, the shop door crashed open and Raynas voice blasted through the air.

“Derek!”

Instantly, Derek was down the stairs in front of a disheveled Rayna. Edgar and Jake followed closely.

“Its Jacks… hes surrounded!” She cried out.

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