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The ambush was a huge blow to the Black Tigers’ morale. Still, Steve retained some confidence in his men. Though they were nothing more than scumbags and trash, they possessed many skills. They would be able to stay alive despite the bad situation they currently found themselves in.
For what it was worth, they were pirates after all. Land fights were never their forte. Their true expertise lay in bombing, boarding, and fighting with ships. If he could only retreat to the ship, it would be perfectly easy for him to mount both offence and defence. It could even be possible for him to turn the tables.
‘When the moment comes, I must absolutely wring this daring bastard’s head off!’ Steve thought to himself viciously.
With their captain’s signal, the crew began to draw closer to the ship. However, a wave of burning heat suddenly approached them, causing the colour to drain from Steve’s face. “Sheet! Dodge, quickly!”
*Boom!* The enemy’s fireball landed less than five metres away from him, and the resulting sea of flames engulfed almost everything in its vicinity. Steve managed to escape, but the rest weren’t half as lucky. Even his trusty second mate, the one with the head of a tiger shark, was burnt to a crisp.
“Fireball! They have a wizard!” This sudden news was like a slap across Steve’s face. Not only was his opponent sufficiently equipped, they even had a strategic resource like a wizard.
Just then, he caught an eye of the said wizard. It was a young lad, his curly golden hair matching his deep blue eyes. He was barely an adult.
A wizard of this age? Steve furrowed his brows as he realised that the young lad looked faintly familiar.
“Hold up, he was one of the target of this mission! That’s the Faulens’ young master!” Steve was immediately reminded of him, and he had the urge to curse at his informant, “Wasn’t he supposed to be rank 5 at most? It doesn’t seem like it…”
“I want his head!” Steve was rid of any other choices at this stage of the game, and he could only roar orders as his muscles constricted.
Leylin spotted Steve at the same time. The extraordinary vibes he gave off showed that he was their leader, and he shouted as well, “He’s the head of the pirates. 50 gold coins for anyone who can finish him off, and on top of that you don’t have to pay tax anymore!”
“50 gold coins? And you get to not pay taxes? Charge!” Many of the guards went into a frenzy. This price alone was enough for ten lives; the guards charged up front without any second thoughts.
Of course, Leylin didn’t stand and watch idly. Two powerful buffing spells descended upon his men, increasing their drive and strength. “Bear’s Endurance, Bull’s Strength!”
‘The wizards of this world are supported by the Weave, allowing them to use magical attacks and buffs extremely quickly…’ Leylin knew better than to neglect the importance of the Weave. The fact that it was able to continue to exist for so long meant it had to have some advantages.
And during the battle, Leylin realised that his men usually fared better if he enhanced their abilities using his power. Moreover, the Fireball from earlier was like a missile. Common people would not be able to escape its destructive powers.
‘With the support of the Weave, won’t a wizard with enough spell slots be a walking cannon?’ Leylin smiled, if the power of this world was how he imagined it to be, the status of wizards would probably be even higher.
At the same time, Steve showed what it meant to be a rank 10 warrior. “AH! Rapid Charge!” His entire body was enveloped in a hazy light. After triggering his distinctive warrior skill, it was as if he had turned into an armoured steel tank as he charged towards the guards.
*Thump! Thump! Thump!* With his great energy, he knocked down many of the guards. They were sent flying, as if they’d been hit by a high-speed train, and every now and then the sound of bones cracking rang out.
But the damage went both ways. Steve was injured by many of their spears and swords, and many bloody wounds appeared on his body.This degree of injury posed no hindrance to him, but the blood continuously leaking from his wounds would cause a bit of trouble. This was especially true as the pirates were surrounded, about to be wiped out by the oncoming soldiers.
“Surrender now, and in my name as a noble I’ll treat you right as a captive.” Leylin said. As long as he could capture Steve alive, maybe even have him become an eye witness, he would’ve gained incredible advantages for the Faulen Family.
“Surrender? To a brat like you?” Steve mocked back. It was like he’d seen something ridiculous.
“Or should I say… Do you think I’m limited to just this ability?” A sinister smile slipped onto Steve’s face as a sacred light engulfed him wholly.
‘Is this… Divine force?’ Leylin stepped back. He had little experiences with this sort of power, but the impression it left was engraved deeply in his mind.
“Bless, Cure Light Wounds, Nightshield!” In the blink of an eye, Steve cast three rank 1 spells on his body. Leylin’s brows wrinkled as he watched Steve’s wounds recover quickly under the brilliant light of divine force.
‘Divine force is indeed troublesome! Instant spells like these can be restored through daily prayers, so even with the usage limitations it’s still unfair…’
Steve was back to his prime condition after the buffs, and his injuries had healed.
“Kill!” He charged towards Leylin with great power, and a clandestine glow covered the sword in his hand.
“Eldritch Blast!” The qi of a rank 10 fighter concentrated in his hand to become a shining blade which blasted out.
*Schlick!* The soldiers in front of Leylin were hacked into two halves, and blood and gore splattered in all directions.
‘Well, this is troublesome…’ Leylin sighed, massaging his temples.
[Data collection completed! Creating target entry.] The A.I. Chip reported, quickly projecting Steve’s details in front of him.
[Name: Steve. Gender: Male. Estimated stats, Strength: 10+, Agility: 7, Vitality: 6. Spirit: 4. Professions: Rank 10 Fighter, Rank 3 Cleric! Evaluation: Undecipherable undulations in his right hand, target is extremely dangerous!]
‘Right hand?’ Leylin looked at the iron hook in Steve’s right hand. The originally dull blade was now drenched in blood, with strips of flesh hanging off it. It looked exceptionally macabre.
“I’ll go up to block him! You wait for an opening to try and cast spells!” Isabel drew her black sword out as she saw Steve nearing Leylin, becoming a human shield.
“Where did this wench come from? Piss off!” Steve’s eyes were bloodshot. The sword in his left hand slashed down mercilessly, violent like a gust of evil wind. It had none of the protective care one normally held for a lady.
*Clang!* The machete was blocked by a black sword, and the collision created a profound noise.
“My revenge starts with you!” Isabel’s expression was ice-cold.
“There’s so many incompetent idiots I’ve killed, who knows which ones you’re from?” Even with such a reply, Steve had already grown wary of Isabel. Considering that she could hold off a rank 10 fighter who was going all out, she was no easy opponent.
*Thump!* The iron hook in Steve’s left hand shot out like a venomous snake, but it too was blocked by Isabel’s sword. Sparks flew everywhere.
The impending battle between the two caused many pirates, and even her own soldiers, back away subconsciously. They didn’t dare to get caught in the fight.
‘Looks like I still don’t have enough manpower to kill a rank 10 fighter.’ Leylin thought in worry as he watch the gruesome exchange between the two.
‘According to the data, I’ll need at least 200 fully armed elites to kill Steve, and even they will have to be willing to give up their lives and pay a painful cost. Of course, if we have more Professionals the injuries would be halved, but all in all I don’t have enough manpower right now…
‘And although Isabel had enhanced her own strength through demonic sacrifices, she still isn’t enough to be an opponent…’ Progress in one’s profession wasn’t as just incremental. And anyway, Leylin didn’t believe that those demons wanted nothing from Isabel anyway.
“Ugh…” Suddenly, a groan sounded from the battlefield. It was Isabel’s.
One of her arms had been fractured, and she was forced to hold it in her sleeve. And yet, she remained as stoic as ever. Things like that which could have caused ordinary girls to weep and scream did not disturb Isabel at all.
“I’m afraid this cannot go on, I’ll have to unseal it! But…” Isabel throw a glance at the onlookers and hesitated.
“Isabel! I think it’s time to withdraw!” Just as Isabel was about to give it her all and charge at Steve, Leylin’s voice came through. Out of her confidence in Leylin, she abandoned her original plan and start backing away.
“Thinking of leaving?” The expression on Steve’s face was sinister as ever, but that changed when an arrow was shot.
*Shoo!* The arrow was like a venomous snake. Its angle was tricky, leaving Steve with no choice but to retreat.
*Splat!* The arrow shot into the ground behind him, its feathered end still quivering, making it look like a small snake trying to burrow into the ground.
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