System Change

Chapter 23: The Problem

Chapter 22: Meeting

“Leon, what happened?” Rayna asked.

Leon shuffled from one leg to the other, nervously. He had been going over in his head what he was going to say when he arrived at Raynas village. When he was finally asked the question, he froze, unable to answer the question.

Leon knew the answer, he knew what to say, but once it was said out loud, it would all be real. He took a moment to gather himself. He took a deep breath in and let it out. Finally, he slowly raised his head to look Rayna in the eyes.

“I failed. The village is gone.” He made a simple statement that summed everything up. “It was overrun by a horde of monsters.” Leon turned and his gaze fell over each of the surviving villagers. “This is all thats left. Nobody else made it out.”

He could see the pitying look in Raynas eyes, but he did not say anything. “Rayna, will you take us in? Our village is lost, and our people are dead. We have nowhere else to go.” The hard part over, he waited for Rayna to give her reply.

Rayna looked over the group of survivors, taking in everything that Leon had said. She had been put on the spot, but there was really only one answer. “Of course. You are all welcome here.” She saw the relief wash over many of the refugees in the crowd. There were not many survivors left, so adding them to her village would not be a problem.

“Thank you so much. I will forever be in your debt.” Leon said, then lowered his head as if ashamed.

“Raise your head. There is no reason to feel shame. There will always come a time when you must rely on others.” Rayna consoled Leon while scanning the crowd again. There was a man that she had noticed earlier that seemed off. What a strange dress. She thought while examining the mans t-shirt and jeans.

It looks like he is daydreaming. Almost like none of this concerns him. The oddly dressed man was just staring with his head tilted up. Occasionally, he would furrow his brow or nod to himself. It doesnt seem like hes interacting with the Great System. Maybe hes slow. She stared directly at him, but he did not seem to notice. That has to be it. Though, I dont remember anyone like that from Leons village.

Derek was standing in the middle of the refugees, letting Leon and Rayna talk. None of what was going on mattered to him, anyway. Hmm… So, leveling is slow with this scam system, and there seems to be a sharp drop off of experience when killing higher leveled beasts.

I do need to find something over one hundred levels above me to kill so I can get the next Giant Slayer award. I bet its just another Skill Point, but every point is needed when it comes to this stingy system. He furrowed his brows, then relaxed. I bet if I go deep enough into the forest, I could find something one hundred levels above me. He nodded his head, not noticing the stare that he was receiving.

I should probably do that soon. He thought, then he frowned again. I have to be careful though. I really want to go do that dungeon that Thomas was talking about. I need to stay under level 25 to do that though. Dammit, I dont even know if Identify will be able to show me the levels of anything over level 100. Its level 8, so I think it will only show me enemy levels up to 80, plus my current level, so… 91. Im really going to need to level it. I guess I can just wander around and Identify different things until it gets to level 11 or so.

Derek nodded his head twice now that he had somewhat of a plan. I wish that Void Beast would have had levels. It was definitely above level 100. He finally snapped out of his thoughts and looked around. He saw Thomas standing beside who he guessed were his grandparents. Maybe I should take the kid to that dungeon when I go. If its the way it sounds, there shouldnt be a problem with the two of us entering together.

The discussion between Leon and Rayna seemed to have finally come to a conclusion. The woman turned around. “Follow me. Well find a place for you all.” She said as she started walking into the village.

Derek watched the pretty blond woman as she fell in beside Leon and began chatting. “Whats with the oddly dressed person in your group.” She whispered to Leon, but Derek was close enough that with his stats, he was able to hear the conversation if he focused.

“Oddly dressed person?” Leon looked back, his eyes fell on Derek. A slightly surprised look appeared on his face as he turned back around. “I think youre talking about Derek. Thats another thing we have to discuss, but I would prefer to do it in private.” He said.

“Very well, though I dont see why we need to discuss it in private. He looks odd, and he was staring out in space earlier when we were talking about the future of your people. Is he slow? Mentally challenged?” Rayna let her suspicions be known.

Dereks eyelid twitched at that statement. Mentally challenged? Ill show her mentally challenged.

Leon had turned just in time to see Dereks facial expression change. “Slow… No! No, hes not slow at all.” Leon moved even closer to Rayna and whispered something as lightly as he could. This time, Derek was unable to make out what was said, but he could guess by the reaction Rayna made.

Her head rapidly turned back to look at Derek. This time a look of shock appeared on her face. He could not stop himself from smirking ever so slightly. Hmm… Serves you right for calling me slow.

***

The group eventually stopped about midway into the village. Here, Rayna made an announcement. “Okay, everybody, listen up. Davis here.” She pointed to the other man that had been with the group that greeted the villagers. “Davis is going to help you all get situated. Well figure out more in the upcoming days.”

“Okay, follow me.” Davis led the refugees away, leaving only Rayna, Leon, Derek, Thomas and Thomass grandparents.

With the six of them alone, Rayan spoke. “My residence is just up this way, I think we have a lot to discuss. Leon, Richard…” She paused and looked at Derek. “Derek, if you will follow me.”

The older woman reached for and grabbed Thomass hand and began leading him away. “Lets go, Thomas. Im sure they have very important things to discuss.”

“Stop.” Derek called out. “The kids coming too. I need to talk to him once weve finished.”

The woman frowned and looked at Rayna, who slowly nodded her head.

“Relax, the boy will be fine. Youre his grandma, you might as well come too.” Derek said, to the older ladys relief.

Rayna led the group to one of the bigger buildings in the village. When inside the building, she showed them to a room with a table and chairs. “Lets all have a seat.” She gestured towards the furniture.

Without ceremony, Derek pulled out a chair and let his body fall into it. “Whew, actual furniture, its been awhile.” He moved around on the chair. “Though, it could really use a cushion or something.” He remarked.

The others all stared for a moment until Rayna took the initiative and sat down at the head of the table. The rest, including a very nervous looking Thomas, soon followed.

The six people sat at the table in silence, Derek was waiting for someone else to speak. Finally, Rayna broke the silence. “Derek, you already know Leon, and little Thomas.” She gestured to the man and boy. “Beside Thomas is his grandpa, Richard. He is one of my aides and the head trader of the village. And beside Richard is his wife, Delilah, who is Thomass grandma.”

Derek looked over and nodded to the two.

“Im sure the both of them will be very grateful to you by the time this meeting is over.” Rayna continued. “From what Leon has told me, which is not much, you are the reason that both Thomas and the survivors of Leons village are still alive. This was all I could get out of Leon, it seems that you have made quite the impression on him.” Rayna looked over to Leon and smiled.

Derek chuckled, amused at the way Leon was acting. He had been very reserved with Derek ever since he came back from fighting the Void Beast. He focused his attention on the chief. “Well, theres not much of a story to tell. I was in the forest when Thomas ran into me, apparently after being separated from his companions. He was being chased by a wolf, which I took care of.”

“After that, Thomas helped me out a bit, so I agreed to bring him home.” He looked over to Richard. “You have quite the grandson by the way.” He spoke to Thomass grandparents, then continued. “We made it out of the forest, and soon after we saw the small group of villagers. Thomas knew them, so he asked me to help. I did, and now we are here.”

Leon looked as if there was something more that he wanted to add, but he did not make a sound.

“Thats it?” Rayna appeared doubtful at Dereks words.

“Yeah, pretty much. There were some beasts and fights in between, but other than that, thats all. Found the kid, saved what was left of the village, brought them here. Thats the cliff notes.” Derek replied.

“Cliff notes?” Rayna asked.

Derek laughed. “Dont worry about it, its just a saying where I come from.”

“And where do you come from?”

“Thats a good question, but I have a better one.” Derek paused for dramatic effect. “What do you plan on doing about your forest problem? If what Im thinking is correct, it wont be long before all the villages in the area end up like Leons.” He stared deep into Raynas eyes.

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