Every adventurer has their fair share of tales to tell.
A time, in a dungeon, when they forgot to check for traps. How that lead to their party running for their lives from a giant boulder.
A time, next to a lake, when they had already set up camp for the night. How they didn't realise that the lake was home to a giant sea monster.
A time, in the mountain ranges, when one of their party members had been caught by the barbarians. How the rest of the party managed to rescue him, set fire to the barbarian houses, and get away without more than a scratch or two.
The three adventurers looking at James Tarker were no different.
Adventurer Swordswoman, Bathora. A veteran adventurer that leads a small team of three to take on low-risk escort jobs. During her younger years, her lean figure and brutal ways to kill her enemies coined her the name: 'Sweet Death'. She's since lost her finesse, but gained a greater strength to use more devastating attacks.
Adventurer Spearman, Murron. A veteran adventurer hailing from a distant dwarven kingdom. Before he met with Bathora, and joined her team, he took it upon himself to journey through the continents to meet new people and learn new cultures. He was never much of a craftsman, so his strong arms were put to good use in other fields: ending someone's life.
Adventurer Archer, Farren. A veteran adventurer who learned the way of the bow from the elves. Once a farmer, he was chased from his home village by bandit raiders. He collapsed in a forest, one protected by a tribe of elves, and was taken in for treatment. To fight back, he learned the elves' bowmanship. Years after, he returned to a deserted village that had been burned to the ground. He follows Bathora, and her team, while listening out for any information on bandit raiders.
The three adventurers, along with a few others, had only arrived in Jovial Town not two days ago. No merchants or guild contracted gatherers were in need of an escort team like theirs, so they decided to stay in town to recuperate with drinks. To their misfortune, on top of the lack of business, they encountered a horde of undead just as they started the night's drinking. Now their cheeks were rosy for another reason.
"Alright, James-y boy! We'll help you break through!"
"Thanks, aunty! You guys are the best!"
Murron, the dwarf, chuckled to himself as he smashed his spear through another skeleton's skull. Bathora nearly dropped her huge hammer, crestfallen from being addressed in such a way.
Farren had just fired three arrows, all at once, and accurately pierced the heads of three zombies. He called out to James Tarker saying: "We'll back you up! You make your way over to your friend."
"Yep! Let's do it! Aunty, I need some help opening a path!"
"I'm not your aunty, brat!"
Bathora's anger gave her a new found strength, one only women could ever possess, and her hammer knocked an entire row of zombies back. James Tarker dashed in, as though it were choreographed, decapitating the lot of them.
In the rear, Murron easily kept the skeletons at bay, his spear's reach had a huge advantage over the bone swords. Farren fired arrow after arrow at the undead, his body was feeling a little weighed down from having strapped multiple quivers to his waist, and his aim was flawless.
It was easy to see that the four-man team wouldn't be able to reach their goal in time. They were just a stone's throw away from Jun Long, but the waves of bone and rotted flesh only grew heavier as time ticked away. Bathora's ingenuity sparked an idea! If they weren't going to arrive on time by foot, where the obstructive undead kept bashing into them, then in which way would they be able to get behind them to save the dark haired boy?
If we can't walk there, we'll fly!
"James-y boy! We're flying!"
"Haha! The lass be using 'er ol' noggin!"
"We'll keep pushing through from this side! Go!"
"Dwarf! To me!"
"Aye! Lad, follow me lead!"
Not being given the chance to respond, James Tarker was pulled along by the stumpy Murron. He looked ahead at the muscle-lady, who had crouched down to wait for them, and saw that she had dropped her giant hammer! What was this aunty doing? Does she want us to die?
Arrows whizzed past James Tarker's head, flying close enough for the feathers to tickle his neck, and pierced a number skeletons that were rushing at the party. Murron's grip on his wrist felt like it had been welded on, not even giving him a chance to twist and shake, let alone freeing himself. Bathora's steel chestplate suffered a few hits from her flank.
James Tarker stabilised himself, after Murron released him from his 'Grip of Death', and ran after the jolly dwarf. He had no idea as to what the veteran party of three were planning, but he had no other options if he were to save his new found friend. Murron was a metre in front of him, and reached Bathora first. He watched in shock, and he tripped over his own foot.
In a split second, Murron, the dwarf, jumped into Bathora, the 'Sweet Death's arms, and then he disappeared over the wall of skeletons and zombies!
"D-did you throw him?!"
"Yes! You're next!"
James Tarker closed his eyes, throwing all caution to the wind, and flew into Bathora's embrace. As though he were a ball, James Tarker's body was thrown over the skeletons and zombies, too! The night air caressed his face as he flew. Landing with grace, he cut down a skeleton that stood over Jun Long with its bone sword raised in the air.
Murron's landing had not been as gentle as his human companion's. Bowling his body into a few skeletons, that had crowded over Jun Long's unconscious body, he was only able to regain his bearings after James' sword struck another.
James fed a red coloured potion to Jun Long, and his complexion instantly changed for the better. Time-wise, Jun Long had just been blasted away, so the one potion was enough to keep him from dying.
"Jun! Can you hear me, man?"
"J-James?" Jun Long coughed. He spat out the blood in his mouth. "I found you."
"More like I found you!" James was amazed. Did this guy not know what happened to him?
"Lads! We still got a wee problem over 'ere!"
"How's your mana? Do you need a potion?"
"I'm feeling fine. I can go on!"
"Let's clear these guys up!"
Murron's spear had brought down a couple skeletons, but he found himself being swarmed before he knew it. Making it just in time, James Tarker's sword cut down yet another zombie.
"Thanks, lad. Yer handy swordwork 'as saved me life."
"Can't live the guild's motto if you die, old man."
"'Get paid', huh? Then let's go!"
James Tarker and Murron, the dwarf, were left standing in place, their weapons at the ready. A blaze of fire streamed past them, instantly incinerating a large group of undead.
Jun Long made quick work of the army of undead, coincidentally opening a path for Bathora and Farren to regroup with them. He recast his 'Flame' spells, one from each hand, and cleared a big enough space to use as a foothold.
"Oh, my gods..."
"Who is this lad?"
"James-y boy! Is your friend an Archmage?!"
"More like the God of Fire!"
James Tarker and the three other adventurers watched, as Jun Long decimated a large group of skeletons and zombies, before releasing his magic.
"James," he said, looking to the moon. "There's some weird guy who attacked me, just now."
"We all saw you being sent flyin' into the wall. Who was it?"
"He's up there."
The four adventurers followed Jun Long's finger, as he pointed to the moon. Looking down on them was a lone figure, whose face was shaded over by the moon's backdrop.
"James-y boy~ That couldn't be the one behind the undead, could it?"
"Lass, ye an' I 'ave been through thick an' thin. If that ain't the one in charge-a this 'ere mess, then..."
"Who else could it-?"
Before Farren could finish his question, a shrieking laughter echoed throughout the town center.
"HA HA HA! You ants aren't too bad! BUT! Did you think that, with yooouur puny strength, you could beat ME? Forget it!"
Jun Long, James Tarker, and the three adventurers, didn't have the time to react. The figure had already invoked another explosive spell, aiming it at the group on the ground. They were knocked back, along with a few skeletons that had moved closer to them, and thrown closer to the edge of the town center.
"Know your place, you filth! All of you! I'll end all of you! HA HA HA!"
Slumped against a flower bed, Jun Long tried to support his head as he pushed himself off the ground. Explosive booms and the clackity sounds of bricks and rocks flying all over the place were muffled by the ringing in his ears. His vision cleared in time for him to dodge a bone sword that had been swung at him.
James Tarker had recovered faster than Jun Long, his body's constitution showing its worth, and he managed to cut down the skeleton to save Jun Long.
"I got you, Jun!"
"I could've handled it," he replied, showing the fire that had already ignited in his hand.
"Hah! You've only just started using magic, but why do I feel like you've been using it since you were born?"
"Maybe I'm not from this world."
"... PFFT! You're gonna make a fine adventurer, if you can joke about that kinda thing at a time like this!"
James Tarker had his arm around Jun's shoulder - showing a kind of friendship that Jun never really experienced back on Earth. He seldom stood out in the groups that he joined. There was never a time where he had done something that shocked the people he surrounded himself with. Jun Long, the high schooler, really was just that.
There was a plus side to all that, though: weekend-long eroge marathons went uninterrupted! BWAAAH! ♥♥♥
The veteran adventurer trio finally made their way to where James and Jun were standing, seeing James pulling Jun closer to him by the shoulder, and Jun's nose dripping with blood. They couldn't help themselves from feeling a little shy at the BL scene in front of them.
"Jun! Your nose is bleeding!"
"Huh?" Jun snapped back from his fond memories of Earth, and wiped the blood away. "I was just ... th-in-king... about things! I'm alright."
"That's good, lad! Come now!"
"James-y boy, grab your friend and let's get outta here! It's too dangerous."
"Can't we do anything about that guy up there?"
"Sorry, Tarker... I tried shooting him down with an arrow earlier. It looks like his clothes have enchantments on them!"
Jun Long watched on the sideline. He wasn't in any place to speak up. In front of him stood veteran adventurers, who have all gone through countless trials and journeys. He had only just come to this world, and was lucky enough to encounter good people such as them.
"Jun!" James turned to him. "What do you think?"
"What?" Jun asked, surprised that his input was needed. "I-I-I don't have a right to suggest anything..."
"'Jun' is it? My name is Bathora, and I lead a group of adventurers to do escort jobs all around Alexandria."
"... Nice to meet you, Bathora."
"Please listen to me," she smiled and continued. "For a fight like this, we are simply outmatched - overpowered. Before long, the adventurers that have been making a stand, for the past few hours, will be too exhausted to fight on. We must fall back before we are trampled by the undead."
"Wait, aunty," James interjected, once again making Bathora's veins pop out. "That guy up there has to be some sorta magic user. We might be able to beat him, if we use Jun's power!"
"Aye, lass. Them necromancers be students of the School of Conjuration."
"Perhaps... if we used magic to fight magic. My arrows did naught to help our situation."
"... Fine! We'll give Jun a shot! Just don't go complaining to me, in the afterworld, when we all die!"
James Tarker laughed with Murron and Farren. Jun Long smiled at the heartwarming scene. There was a problem that remained, though: his 'Flame' spell wouldn't be able to reach all the way up to where the figure floated in the air. Jun Long voiced his concern, talking in a way that didn't sound like he was belittling the adventurers, but was given an eerie grin back from each of them.
The group of adventurers looked to each other, having heard Jun's plight of not being able to reach the 'HA HA' person in the air, and knew exactly what the others were all thinking:
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