13 Cruel Blood

Leonidas neatly set aside the materials he would need for their armor, and was now ready to start the next phase of their transaction. "Alright, so to cover the cost of your armor, you can part with the Viper Bear meat, and two sets of claws. Sounds like a plan, you two?"

With a nod from Zack, and a thumbs up from Diz, the man took the meat and claws and set them to the side as well. "Right then, time to talk copper. You now have two sets of claws to work with. Seeing as they're in good condition, I'll peg them at around five copper per claw."

Zack raised an eyebrow while pointing at the beast head, and Diz was quick to speak for him. "Yeah, what about the beast head? It has to be worth something."

"Yeesh, you two really are rookies. The poison sacks just behind its jaw are pretty valuable, but only to places like the apothecary down the street. As for the rest of it, you could probably pawn it off to one of the Lord's children for a decent price."

Immediately, a certain well dressed NPC came up to mind for Zack, but he quickly pushed the thought aside. Presenting himself as a clumsy savage was the last thing he wanted to do, especially in front of an important NPC.

"Alright then, we'll take you up on that deal of yours, Leonidas."

"Aye, don't get too comfortable, Diz. You still have a lot of work to do before you can call me by my name." He then took the last remaining claws, clearing the counter of the pair's hard earned game.

"You want me to divide the sixty copper between the two of you?" Leonidas said, fumbling with something beneath the counter. Diz hummed, scratching the bottom of his chin as he wondered how to fairly split it.

'Valerio did do most of the work, bringing the beast into position and all. . . Not to mention he helped me understand the nature of magic pretty quickly. . . Splitting it forty to twenty seems reasonable.'

Before Diz could speak though, Zack claimed that "Half, thirty each," was the way they would split their earnings. Diz raised an eyebrow at that, but he wasn't going to refuse the extra ten copper.

Leonidas took out a large handful of copper at that point, and to the pair's surprise, watched as his large hands nimbly placed down coins into two piles. Thirty each, just as Zack requested, in what couldn't have been more than ten seconds.

Zack's eyes widened slightly, while Diz couldn't hide his astonishment. "It comes naturally to you after thirty years, heh. Anyway, your sets of armor will be ready by this time tomorrow, so make sure to drop by."

The two nodded before grabbing their copper and saying their farewells, Zack having wrapped the sheet around his sword's scabbard. Then, the two walked out of the building into the bustling streets of Fair Wind's market area.

"Seems we're poised for another trip to the apothecary, right?"

Zack nodded, and the two ventured towards the apothecary for a second time. This time, rather than let his eyes wander, his attention was caught by the ring of another notification. Closing one eye, he saw that he had received messages from both Ivan and Nick.

[El Tres Amigos: Ivan]

[We spawned near a town called Fair Winds on both accounts, where'd you end up?]

[Sent At 9:48 P.M.]

[El Tres Amigos: Nick]

[Look behind you, jackass]

[Sent At 10:02 P.M.]

Before he could turn around though, he felt a sudden jolt, taking one point of damage. "Yo, Valerio! Where have you been?" Ivan spoke up first, having used a basic magic spell to catch his attention.

Turning around, Zack saw Ivan and Nick casually walking over, with much better equipment than what he had seen in the video earlier.

Nick had a beast's pelt wrapped around his waist, and his torso was covered in a thin layer of chain-mail, his vitals covered by leather fitted with thick iron plates.

And Ivan was wearing a tightly fitted black and yellow robe that went down to his knees; his book holstered in a complex looking utility belt.

Zack instinctivelly tried evaluating how strong they must've been, before saying "Aye, I hunted down a mighty Viper Bear with my newfound comrade here, Dith."

Diz turned around when he heard Zack beginning to speak, surprised to see two higher level players speaking to them nonchalantly. Though, he quickly put two and two together, realizing that the group must have been friends.

"Yeah, the name's Diz, pleased to meet the two of you." The two newcomers then shook hands with Diz, happy to make a new friend. "Right then, judging from where you two are walking and what you've got on hand, you're probably going to the apothecary too, right?"

Zack and Diz nodded at Nick's inquiry, and thus the group of four casually continued their travels. On their way there, Nick and Diz began casually conversing, walking at the front of the group.

Ivan, not one to stay silent, decided to see if Zack needed any pointers. "So, have you figured out how to use magic yet, Valerio? My class gives me an innate understanding, so I was wondering how you would be fairing."

Zack shook his head, sighing. "To put it bluntly, I'm not fairing at all. Dith managed to get it down while fighting the Viper Bear, but I don't even have an inkling of an idea about it. . . Though, I feel a strong desire to do it on my own, so don't tell me anything."

Ivan shrugged his shoulders at that. "Best of luck then, though I should warn you that the penalty for not completing that objective is having your magic capabilities sealed away."

Zack's resolve to do it himself faltered at that, but he quickly decided asking for help would be a blow to his pride, and remained adamant that he would do it himself.

As the group turned the corner, they witnessed quite the interesting spectacle. A large group of armed guards were carrying away some players, who were either cussing to no end or knocked out cold.

"Woah, I didn't think those idiots would actually do it, right WiseBro?" Ivan shrugged his shoulders in response to Nick, as if he figured this would happen. "In all honesty DarkMatter, I kind of did."

Noticing Diz and Zack's confusion, Nick took the initiative to bring them up to speed as they continued walking closer to the Apotehcary. "Alright, so a group of players annoyed with the apothecary's prices teamed up, and cooked up a plan to raid the shop. They all got along pretty well apparently, and decided to form an unofficial guild called Cruel Blood, announcing it publically and everything!"

"So I guess we just watched their first failure as a guild then?" Diz wondered aloud, not expecting the shake of Ivan's head. "Nope, we just watched phase one. Me and Dark here infiltrated their poorly put together ranks, and we intend to hijack any earnings they might get. Watch, in about two seconds-"

Before Ivan could finish his hushed explanation, they watched as a group of hooded men and women dashed from an alleyway down the street, chucking daggers at the shop's windows.

With a loud crash, shards of glass went everywhere as NPCs ran away screaming. Afterwards, the assault on the shop continued, as some of the players entered into the main room of the shop and others jumped through the now busted windows.

From inside, Zack could hear thrashing about, pots being smashed and the likes. "Alright, you two get out of here, otherwise you'll get killed by the clean up crew." Ivan and Nick then quickly ran off, jumping up to the top of a building and disappearing from their view.

"Alright then. . . But what the hell am I going to do about my lithp now damn it!" With the shake of his head, Zack patted Diz on the shoulder and the two began running in the opposite direction, going through the alleyway they had been standing in front of.

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While they were running, Zack suddenly noticed another pair of heavy footsteps above them that seemed to disappear as quickly as it came. Coming to a stop, Zack turned around and kicked Diz away before jumping backwards, as a player came crashing down from above, their great sword impaling the ground violently.

Before that player could say anything though, an arrow shot through the air and impaled his foot, causing him to curse loudly. "Agh, fuck! Now you're going to get it!" He then ripped his sword from the ground, raising a plume of dust that obscured Diz's vision.

Zack could see him just fine though. His username was ShortFuse22, and he was wearing some shabby equipment. He wore the same black hood that the other members of Cruel Blood had worn, but aside from that, Zack might have mistaken him for someone who just joined.

ShortFuse22's blade looked to be of an outrageously good quality though, but even then, it was too large to fight with effectively in that small space.

'A glass cannon and a newbie to boot, this shouldn't be too hard to handle as long as he isn't higher than level five. Otherwise, we'd have to run.' After Zack's short evaluation of his strength, Zack quickly rolled the beast head away.

With a smirk, Zack unsheathed his long sword and charged at his fellow swordsman. "Hey dumbath, you thouldn't be trying to overcompenthate!"

A vein seemed to bulge in ShortFuse22's forehead as he turned to face Zack. "Shut your mouth, you damn zero!"

He then went for a heavy overhead swing, trying to take out Zack in one blow.

It was painfully telegraphed, and just to flex on his opponent, Zack stopped to briefly jump side to side, his smirk growing into a full smile as he looked straight into his opponent's eyes.

And rather than dodge the swing of the greatsword, Zack met the swing with one of his own.

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