System Change

Chapter 181: Somewhat of a Prince

Chapter 180: Attackers

“Woah, woah, woah…” Derek ran up to Rayna. “Take a breath… calm down… then tell me whats going on.”

Rayna took a deep breath and let it out. “Jacks… we… were finishing up training and about to come back when we were ambushed. Theyre not that strong. I think Jacks is stronger than any one of them, but there are a lot. He sent me back here and stopped them from chasing after me.”

“Where is he?” Jake stepped forth.

Rayna only just then seen that there were others there besides Derek. “Who… it doesnt matter…” She shook her head. “We were training at the apes…”

“The Cudgel Apes?” Jake asked.

“Yes.” Rayna confirmed. “We were just inside their territory when we were ambushed.”

“Do you know where that is?” Derek asked Jake.

“I do.”

“Good. Can you lead the way?”

“I can. Lets go.” Jake was already moving towards the door.

“Malorie!” Derek yelled upstairs. “Take care of Rayna… well be back soon.”

Derek ran out the door and followed Jake, who was already a good distance away.

“Im coming too!” Edgar shouted, as he caught up with Derek in an instant.

Fast! Derek thought, seeing the man move.

Soon, all three of them were together, with Jake in the lead.

***

Dammit! Jacks spit out a mouthful of blood as fist sized rock struck him in his chest. Twelve, there were twelve hooded figures who ambushed him and Rayna. All of them had the strength of someone in the Platinum Ranks at the Adventurers Guild.

He had blocked them all from pursuing Rayna with a giant wall of fire surrounding them. It lasted long enough for the woman to get away. Since she was a wind user and had increased her level so much over the last few days, there wasnt much of a chance of her being chased down. The group that attacked seemed to know this as well, and chose not to chase once the wall of fire calmed down.

Unfortunately for Jacks, the skill had taken a large portion of his mana to cast, and the mana potion he drank immediately after wasnt able to keep up with his current expenditure.

The question he kept asking himself was “why?” At first he thought the group that attacked was sent by Torith over his feud with Derek, but that changed when one of his strikes knocked the hood from the ambushers head.

He was a half elf. Jacks got a good look at another, and he was also a half elf. Why would a group of Platinum Ranked half elves be ambushing him and Rayna? He couldnt allow his mind to linger on this question as more and more attacks landed.

Three half elves already lay on the ground, unmoving, two more clutched at their wounds and let out agonizing cries. They were three close ranged attackers who didnt expect Jacks to explode with his fire mana when he did. He used Blazing Fury, the same skill he used to attack Derek.

Of course, he didnt dump all his mana into his sword attack this time. He used the skill in a balance between his sword and body. The surrounding flames kept close range attackers hesitant, or it would have had he not timed the activation perfectly and injured a whole group of them.

The flames also reduced the incoming damage of other attacks. It was great against the two half elves who apparently specialized in wood magic. Two other half elves were seeing to their wounded, which left three attacking.

One was an earth user, who was causing the most damage to Jacks. The flames over his body keep the stones from becoming lethal, but that was it. The water mage kept launching attacks, but her water wasnt as strong as Jackss flames, so when they met, her attacks turned into steam, causing an even more blistering atmosphere around the battlefield. One that Jacks preferred. He was almost immune to heat based attacks.

Finally, the last half elf was a bow user. There was another bow user, but he was caught up in Jackss initial blast and was having a hard time dealing with his charred arm. He had been the loudest. Serves him right.

Regrettably, the remaining bow user had not moved in closer at that time, leaving her fresh. Also, she seemed to deal with poisons and toxins, as one arrow had made it through his flames and nicked him in the leg. The toxin was slowly eating away at his remaining Stamina.

Jacks thought about fleeing, but realized he wouldnt be able to. His Stamina would run out before he got too far, and the toxin wouldnt allow it to build back up. He would essentially be a sitting duck. His body would enter the paralyzing state of Stamina fatigue once it hit zero. His potions slowed the Stamina loss, but didnt recover any. The toxin was strong.

He had two other options. He could go all out, hoping to take them all out before he fell unconscious, or he could bide his time and hope Rayna alerted Derek. If Derek came, they wouldnt stand a chance. He hated relying on people, but thats what he ended up choosing, it was the only one that, if worked, guaranteed his chance at survival, and therefore, his chance to meet his son again.

Though, once his Stamina reached a certain point, he planned on putting all his mana into one final attack. There was no sense in saving mana if his Stamina was exhausted.

Something felt odd about the attack, like they didnt want to kill him, only greatly injure him. He didnt know if this was for kidnapping or to send a message, but it allowed him to stall.

He had already held on for quite some time, and Rayna should have made it back to the city. If she could give Derek proper directions to the Cudgel Apes, Derek would arrive in a matter of minutes. But, this was all based on the half elves not having anyone else in their party to intercept Rayna.

Another arrow darted towards his head. He raised his flaming sword and blocked it, letting another stone crash into his gut. It was a tactic that caused him to lose Stamina faster, but he had to block his head.

The archer was able to shoot four arrows in the time it took the mage to summon a stone and launched it at Jacks. Jacks was fast enough to deflect one attack at a time, but when they both came, he had to allow one to hit him. As a flame user, speed wasnt his strong suit. In that front, he envied Rayna.

The ambushers continued to wear Jacks down. He did his best to preserve his Stamina, but the toxin showed no signs of letting up. As time passed, his Staminal pool dwindled. In minutes, he would be under five percent, and have no other choice than to hit the remaining half elves with one last attack.

Seeing his Stamina tick under five percent, Jacks sighed. Sorry Jake… Sorry Derek… I wont be able to repay you. His grip tightened on his sword, and the flames began transferring to it from his body. His sword slowly began taking the shape of a greatsword.

The remaining attackers grabbed their fallen comrades and backed away, causing Jacks to release another sigh. It looked like his final attack would fail. Who in their right mind would stand still for an attack like the one he was charging? Who except for Derek?

The attackers all spread out. Jackss eyes locked on one of the half elves. The archer that hit him with the toxin. Since he could only go after one, he chose the archer. If Jacks was going out, he would take that bastard out with him.

Jacks shifted his weight to his back foot and prepared to launch himself forward. With a vast amount of effort, he pushed off the ground… but didnt move. He couldnt move. A weight had fallen on his shoulder, one that held him down.

“Looks like we made it.” A voice that struck joy into Jackss heart sounded in his ear.

Jacks turned his head only to see a set of cold purple eyes staring back at him. Jacks heaved a sigh and released all his skills. He fell onto one knee.

“She… made it, then?” He managed to ask between pants. His Stamina was dangerously low.

“She did.” Derek answered. “Whats wrong with you?” He asked in a concerned tone.

“Toxin… eats Stamina.” Jacks gasped.

A wave of… something then fell over Jacks. Healing? No… this is a curative skill… Jacks glanced at his status to see his Stamina slowly going up. The skill didnt completely removed the toxin, but it slowed it down enough for his potions to recover some. In any case, Jacks was no longer in risk of losing consciousness.

Another wave of mana fell over him. This one is healing. He still managed to have a decent amount of health left, so whatever skill Derek used only topped him off on health. It was his Mana and Stamina that were critically low, but they were recovering.

“Theyre running.” Dereks voice broke him out of his thoughts.

“No theyre not.” A voice Jacks didnt recognize came from above. Thats when he realized that more than just Derek came.

Jacks tilted his head up to see the newcomer. An attractive young man with white hair floated in the air above them. Small charges of lightning shot out at different angles from his feet. Crown Prince Edward? Jacks thought, then immediately dismissed it. The man looked like the Crown Prince, but he was younger.

It had been over a decade since Jacks caught sight of the Crown Prince. He already looked older than the man above him. Hes definitely related to the Cydaria family. He thought.

The young man clapped, and Jackss ears nearly exploded. Thunder reverberated for miles around the area.

Jacks turned his head towards his attackers. Multiple small bolts of lightning fell from the sky and struck them. They had no chance to escape. Jacks was sure that none died, though. He moved his eyes back to the man in the sky, then shifted to behind the man.

A young man who he hadnt seen before stood in the air behind the Cydarian Royal. Flames covered his feet, combusting to keep him in the air. It was a skill Jacks knew all to well, a skill he also had.

But Jacks ignored all that as his eyes fell onto the young mans face. “Jake!”

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