Abby was furious when she saw her father take a dagger to the stomach. Not afraid, just angry. She didn’t think the blow was truly dangerous as they had both taken far worse before and walked away easily.
Jake flew back and landed on the ground nearly a hundred meters away. A bit surprised at the speed at which the blast of space mana had reached him. He hadn’t really taken any damage from it, but he had to admit that it did hurt a little.
Standing up straight, he saw the man Donald also get on his feet again. His wound looked like it hurt a lot, but Jake knew it wasn’t fatal. He didn’t coat his dagger in either poison or his blood before attacking, meaning it only infected him with the innate poison found within Venomfang. Not to speak ill of his favorite dagger, but honestly, the venom sucked compared to any of the toxins tied to his profession.
If Donald knew these thoughts, he would have chewed him out without a doubt as he currently struggled with the venom coursing through his body. He could clearly feel his vital energy being consumed as he worked to eliminate all traces of toxicity in him.
“Be careful, his dagger is poisoned!” he warned his daughter.
“You okay?” she asked back, still keeping her gaze trained on Jake.
“I’ll manage. But don’t get hit,” Donald said back, as he also stared at the masked man in the distance.
Not feeling particularly in a rush to finish anything, Jake just looked back at them tentatively. In his sphere, he had already felt several presences behind him - some of Abby’s goons. Trying to launch an ambush without a doubt.
It very likely wouldn’t work on anyone at his level of power, but Jake was an especially lousy opponent to try and do that to. He counted three, which was very fitting. It just happened to be the limit of how many mana bolts he could summon at a time.
His three attackers saw three orbs shimmer into existence and transform into something resembling mana bolts. Except they practically crackled with power. That was all they had time to think before the three bolts flew out, one targeted at each of them.
None of them managed to even put up any semblance of defense before they got hit. Jake stood there unfazed as three explosions sounded out behind him. His eyes never leaving Donald and Abby.
For some reason, Jake hoped that killing those three off would warn the others. Evidently, that was very wrong of him. He soon found himself bombarded with arrows and spells from all directions as Abby’s followers attacked.
Their levels were low - the ones he had killed not even above 30. Many hadn’t even reached E-grade yet. But he had already made it clear what the consequences would be for attacking. So, he retaliated.
He didn’t want to use any more destructive skills or spells than necessary. This was his valley, after all. Why destroy the scenery for no good reason when he had a skill capable of killing without any blood or destruction?
His eyes landed on the ones above firing spells at him. Both of them glowing a piercing yellow color as Gaze of the Apex Hunter activated.
On the cliff, seven people stood. Two archers and five casters. They had just fired off an attack each when suddenly they felt his gaze. Followed by a sudden spike of pain before eternal darkness claimed them. Like puppets with their strings cut, all seven fell to the ground dead.
Sadly for his opponents, only a few had seen what he had done. And those that did see didn’t release a second wave of attacks. Abby and Donald, on the other hand, had seen it as clear as day. And both felt a cold shiver run down their spine. They had heard the term ‘if looks could kill’ but had never imagined someone who could make that literal.
Their fear only got worse as he did it a second time. Then a third. And a fourth. Small groups of people fell to the ground one after another. They noticed that with some of them, there would be a survivor or two who were just standing there, shivering absolutely terrified.
It ‘only’ took thirty or so people to die before they stopped attacking. Many were either just standing there frozen or hiding. A few even turned their tails and ran the hell out of there.
“What the fuck are you?” Abby asked with her eyes wide open in shock.
“I believe we’ve already had this conversation once already,” Jake just said while rubbing some dust off his cloak. He had taken a few hits from the small fry, but nothing that could do anything against his armor and high toughness.
“Okay, you fucking win, we’ll leave,” she finally said. Donald at her side, clearly agreeing, still a bit pale from the venom he had eliminated.
Jake could only sigh. “A friend of mine gave me some good advice not long ago. That leaving alive one whom you have sown bad karma with is stupid.”
“I swear that we will never come and seek trouble with you and your people again,” Donald said in an almost pleading voice.
“Fine, let’s make it easy,” Jake said, turning towards the lodge. “Hey Mark, you have seen everything. Are these two trouble or not?”
Mark completely flabbergasted by being addressed so suddenly wasn’t quite sure what to say. It didn’t help that this was the first time the masked man had talked to him. Even less so when he had literally stared people to death just a few minutes prior.
“I… I don’t know,” Mark hesitated, looking desperately at his father and Miranda for any kind of support.
Maybe not the best to put him on the spot like that, Jake thought before asking someone else. “Okay, a bit much to put it on you. Miranda, your take?”
“If you hadn’t come, they would have killed us without a doubt,” she said and then pointed directly to Donald. “And that bastard would have done even worse.”
Jake wasn’t quite sure what she meant for a second but saw the small shiver as she held her arms around her. While he wasn’t the most socially adept at reading people, he got that part at least.
It should be pretty clear that Jake wasn’t some moral beacon of any kind. Especially not after the system. He had developed a likely too lighthearted relationship with the concept of murder, and he was most likely far too quick to adopt violence to solve a situation.
And while he didn’t know about the moral stances of the multiverse as a whole, his own moral compass made that shit sit right at the top of the list of things that still wasn't fucking okay.
Stepping forward, he appeared right in front of a random group of goons. The guy at the front nearly pissed himself as Jake grabbed him by the neck and lifted him. “Is this true?”
Before he could answer, one of the guys behind him yelled out loudly. “Yes!”
Jake saw a rather scrawny looking young man staring back at him. Deep green eyes that were far calmer than Jake expected. He had noted this guy due to his relatively higher level than the others, but even more so as he was one of the few people that hadn’t attacked him.
“Chris!” he yelled back with the same vigor as the ‘yes’ before. And he didn’t even require Jake to enquire further. “He… he took my sister… used her… killed her.”
Through his mask, he saw the young man holding back tears without a doubt drawing out some painful memories. Jake let the guy he was holding up go, making him fall on his ass.
“I guess that settles it,” he said, turning his attention back to Abby and Donald. “Death it is.”
“Fine! Fuck you and fuck this!” Abby screeched as the air shimmered around her. Jake instantly felt her aura take a spike as she grew in power. If he had to guess, he would say she was using some kind of boosting skill akin to his own Limit Break.
Donald, too, no longer held back, fully realizing that this was not the time. Tears of dark blood came out of his eyes as his entire body bulged. One place disgustingly more so than any other. Him first.
For the first time, he took out his bow. Before, he hadn’t really been determined to necessarily kill them. Scaring them off was always an option. But now that he had made his decision, he was no longer going to restrain himself.
Jumping back, he avoided an attack as the space in front of him exploded. Donald made a swiping motion with his scimitar as he sent out a red wave of energy, but this too was easily avoided as Jake nocked an arrow, making sure to cut his own hand with it first.
Pulling back the string of his bow, he felt space around him constrict once more. He knew it would collapse around him in mere moments, so he once more released a massive blast of mana. The space mana was once more dispersed, but it also served to hide his channeling of Infused Powershot.
It wasn’t a long channel, but it was enough. He released the arrow in an explosion of mana and inner energy, sending it straight for the head of Donald. The man tried to use a skill to avoid it but suddenly felt himself freeze up as he felt the Gaze of an Apex Hunter pierce into his soul.
Just before the arrow hit, a slate of some kind appeared before him - a slate with a disgusting mural depicting dozens of naked women suffering and a figure with a remarkable semblance to Donald standing above them. Luckily for everyone but the disgusting man, the arrow smashed into the mural shattering it entirely. But somehow, it had been powerful enough to negate the attack altogether.
Donald stumbled back as he coughed up black blood. He raised his head only to see another arrow already coming straight for him.
Abby stepped in and blocked it while simultaneously releasing another barrier of some kind, heading straight for Jake. It was like he got a pane of glass thrown at him. Like one does when confronted with a big piece of glass, he kicked it hard, shattering it.
Could he have dodged? Sure, but he didn’t feel like it. His focus currently was to kill the lunatic of a man in front of him. He once more released a barrage of arrows with Splitting Arrow, trying to make it harder for Abby to block it.
She blocked it once more, allowing Donald enough time to get back in the game. Gritting his teeth, he summoned a specter of a wailing girl, looking no older than sixteen. It tried to run, but he grabbed it with his hand and forced it down into the sword, amplifying its glow and the mana it emanated.
Time to end this, Jake thought as he lifted his bow once more and channeled an Infused Powershot. Once more, a wave of crimson light was sent after him, along with another metaphorical pane of glass.
Instantly he released the Infused Powershot, at the final moment shifting the target to Abby. It broke straight through the pane of glass and forced her on the backfoot as she summoned a defensive barrier to block it.
Before she even blocked it, he was already channeling another Powershot. The wave of crimson light was still heading for him, but this one he didn’t fear at all. Before it hit, he covered his entire body in dark green scales. The wave hit him, and he saw a few scales sizzle with energy as it passed through him - a very faint sliver of the power invading his body.
But it completely opened up the man who fired it as he had expected Jake to evade or maybe block it. He hadn’t expected him to ignore it.
Donald tried to retreat as he felt something was off but found himself freeze up again. Which was the exact moment Jake released his arrow. In the back, Abby quickly tried to muster up some kind of defense for her father, but at the most critical time felt herself also freeze up as two yellow eyes landed upon her.
The arrow flew true, this time not meeting any obstacle before it hit Donald’s head, which didn’t stop it either. It didn’t just pierce through but shaved off his entire head and upper body as it was obliterated in the wave of power that was his Infused Powershot.
“NOO!” Abby yelled as she saw his headless body fly backward from the momentum of the arrow. Her feelings swiftly shifted from sorrow to absolute fury. “I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU!”
Once more, she exploded in power, as Jake felt a massive wave of space mana heading towards him, leveling the ground in between them. Several of her own men were also getting hit in the process as they were standing too close.
The wave destroyed anything it hit, but upon hitting the barrier surrounding the lodge didn’t manage to do jack shit. The only other place where it failed to do anything was upon hitting Jake, who simply tanked it with his scales still active.
He felt a few of the scales chip and break, but nothing a bit of mana wouldn’t fix. However, what they couldn’t fix was the floating mass of space mana she was collecting above her.
“FUCKING DIE!” She yelled as she threw it at him. Blood flowing from every one of her orifices, ears included. Showing it was a skill she couldn’t use easily at all.
This one Jake didn’t plan on blocking. But as he tried to dodge, he felt the space around him constrict more than ever before. Like he found himself stuck in a moat. With a giant unstable sphere headed straight for him.
But… luck was not on her side. Because while Jake could barely move, he could still manage to take a step forward. One Step Mile was utterly unaffected as he phased through space and appeared a few dozen meters away.
A pillar of shattered space exploded behind him, sending stone and gravel flying into the air. It was nearly ten meters in diameter and left behind a hole perfectly circular, with no bottom in sight.
Abby once more found herself completely flabbergasted. Her ace was nullified by the man simply taking a step forward. It was a complete joke that her strongest space magic skill was countered by a guy who had unlocked a skill utilizing the concept of space at a far higher level than anything she could do.
Yet she refused to give up, as she released yet another skill. Two bolts that looked a lot like Jake’s own bolts of mana appeared, as she fired them after him. Space mana bolts? Space bolts? he asked himself as he easily dodged them.
She threw out a few more as Jake began walking towards her. He had already dismissed his bow; it no longer being necessary. Her attacks had waned in strength after the sphere, and she was now just throwing out things in desperation.
Finally, she stopped as Jake fired a single set of Mana Bolts at her. Her space mana now so weak it shattered and made her fall. She was apparently unable to even summon a new one.
Jake kept walking as she crawled backward, fear in her eyes as she pleaded. “Do… don’t! I… I’ll do anything! I can work for you! Please! I… I can be your whore, do whatever you want, just let me live!”
He heard the words but cared more about what he felt. Very subtly, he felt a sensation around his neck as space mana gathered. Her attempt was just…
“Pathetic,” he said as he swung his head to the side just as a small ring of space mana collapsed where his neck had been milliseconds earlier - a failed attempt at cutting off his head without a doubt.
“Please, I didn’t mean it, you win! I will serve you, I wmgmh-”
Jake swept his hand down and held it over her mouth, muffling her. Tired of her shit. It was barely a fight... he didn't even have to use Limit Break...
The last thing Abby saw was two apathetic yellow eyes staring down at her as Touch of the Malefic Viper delivered her death. Her screams muffled for a few seconds before she went silent.