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230 He who fights and runs today...

 "Shit, now what?" Flanker cursed.

"We just need to take down the chieftain," Ralph shouted as he dodged the orc leader's battleax.

Dave's hands blurred as he made the ninja kuji kiri hand seals for casting [Dragon Ball]. Fire coalesced above him into a fiery sphere that shot toward the cluster of high orcs. The [Dragon Ball] impacted the orcs like a bowling ball striking the pins, giving him a brief respite from their attacks.

"What do you mean just take the chieftain down?" he asked Ralph.

Mercy jumped on top of the chieftain and locked her legs around his neck. She stabbed her dagger into the chieftain's skull. The orc leader groaned in pain but flung the assassin away.

"Orcs are cowardly creatures, if the leader is killed they will scatter and run. We just need to kill this big boy before the rest of the tribe gets here," Ralph said.

"But that's regular orcs, we don't know if that's true about high orcs," Dave said. There was no reason to believe high orcs would act the same as regular orcs.

"Guess we'll find out when we kill the chieftain, unless you have a better idea..." Ralph said.

Dave rolled his eyes at Ralph's carefree attitude. An orc warrior with his green skin mostly singed black sprinted at Dave, arms out to grapple him.

Dave sidestepped the charge like it was choreographed, switched to an overhand grip on his flamberge and stabbed the orc in the back.


The orc tumbled across the ground .

Dave was in a precarious position right now, his [Block] on cooldown with two orcs attacking him.

Lone and Perfect loosened arrows at the orcs harrying Dave. Coincidently they used the same skill, [Breaking Shot]. The orcs were Staggered by the archers, their attacks on Dave thrown off target.

"Thanks!" Dave shouted.

Dave's mind was racing, evaluating options until he reached a conclusion. Ten consecutive attacks on a target were needed to activate the flamberge's passive ability, [Embrittlement]. It would be almost impossible for him to get that many hits on one orc when five of them were chasing him at the same time.

'I can't keep using the flamberge.'

He replaced his sword and shield with his Sworn Stalwart gauntlets. He looked at the nearest orcs and grinned at them as he slammed his fists together.

"You're entering a world of pain!"

Dave sprinted at the first orc, reached down then lunged upward in a full body-powered uppercut. His fist struck the point of the orc's chin and a fiery coiling dragon materialized from the contact point.

Stunned, but too heavy to be moved by the punch, the orc was out of the fight for the moment. Dave used [Infernal Tornado], spinning like a top. Damage numbers rose from the orcs and notifications of the Overheating effect on the orcs started appearing..

Mercy and Ralph finally got the chieftain's HP down to less than 20%, at which point the orc became even more enraged. At that moment a dozen more high orcs emerged from the forest to join the fight.

"Aww crud," Flanker pointed "Do we retreat?"

"We almost have the chief zeroed!" Ralph shouted.

Dave was in a tight spot. He had the highest aggro, if the new orcs attacked he would die an ugly and painful death.They just had to buy a little time for Ralph and Mercy to finish off the chieftain.

"Spike, hit and run!" Dave yelled at the fiend.

The stag lowered its pronged antlers and charged the closest orc. One idiotic orc thought he could contend with the fiend's strength. The warrior tried to club the fiend only to be impaled on its antlers and then tossed across the battleground. Spike immediately swerved and targeted another orc, bloody antlers lowered for the attack.

Dave was very aware that Spike would only fight until he lost 25% of his HP. So they needed to finish off the chieftain quickly. Dave activated [Approaching Dragon] and blurred into a series of rapid attacks. Each orc around him was struck at least three times; punched, elbowed, or kicked.

Demeri twirled and danced as she plucked the strings of her harp, weaving yet another melody. Every orc in the vicinity, even the ones fighting stopped for a moment were bewitched by the song.

While the orcs were distracted Dave launched himself forward, his leg snapping toward the orc chieftain's abdomen in a [Dragon Kick]. When his foot made contact a fiery ethereal dragon materialized and engulfed the chieftain, but the attack also nullified the Charmed effect on the orc.

The chieftain looked around in confusion then went into a spinning spiral attack, his giant battleax extended out, humming in deadly circling strokes. Dave and Mercy managed to duck away. But Ralph, staring distractedly at Demeri's dancing, took a hit to his abdomen. He was thrown by the force of the blow, rolling across the ground groaning in pain.

Mercy blipped away into some form of assassin's concealed movement Skill, then reappeared crouched behind the chieftain and sliced through his Achilles tendons, inflicting the orc with a [Crippled] status effect.

Dave used [Demon's Maw] and prayed the orc chieftain was below 5% HP. A demon head materialized above the chieftain, its maw wide open and the tearing fangs snapped together, crushing through the chieftain.


You have slain:

High Orc Chieftain

Level 420


Dave looked at the remaining orcs expectantly, they didn't show any sign of retreating.

"Damn, guess I was wrong," Ralph said as he stood up, holding his middle and still wincing in pain.

"Look over there," Fortress said pointing.

Another orc chieftain stepped out of the trees with five more orc warriors.

"Retreat back to the city!" Dave yelled through the chat.

They were outnumbered and overmatched, they didn't have a chance of winning in this situation.

Ralph started running toward Urburg, "I won't argue with that, I can't risk resetting my EXP now."

The new chieftain raised his weapon and cried out in a gutteral voice, "Kill them all!"

The orcs and the new chieftain reorganized themselves and started chasing the Players.

Mercy entered stealth again, disappearing from everyone's sight. Perfect jumped to a branch in the nearest tree then started leaping from tree to tree like Tarzan. Flanker was surprisingly quick on his feet. The Pervert Priest turned and ran with everything he had, his white robes pulled up over his knees and flapping in the breeze. It made Dave wonder if the priest had put more points into his Agility stat than Intelligence.

Dave whistled for Spike and jumped on his back as the fiend galloped past. He guided Spike toward Fortress, Lone and Demeri, leaning down to pull each of them up. Then he nudged the fiend toward Urburg and urged the stag to make all haste.

The orcs pursued them relentlessly, some even threw their weapons at the retreating Players.

Even though Blaster was the first to run for the safety of Urburg, Flanker had already overtaken him and Spike was rapidly catching up to both of them. Dave directed the fiend to pass by close to the Swordsman so they could pick him up also.

As they came alongside Ralph, Lone extended a hand down toward him with a devilish smile on her face.

Ralph reached out his hand to grab Lone's but missed and stumbled. He recovered his stride, redoubling his effort in order to regain the ground he lost. He inched up closer and made another desperate grab for safety. But Lone moved her hand out of his reach again. This time Ralph stumbled and fell.

"That's just mean!" Ralph shouted as he sat up from his prone position and pounded a fist into the ground. Then he looked back at the orcs closing in and quickly scrambled back to his feet to resume running.

"Serves him right," Lone said snarkily.

"What the fuck was that shit, Zoe!?" Dave shouted, furious.

Zoe was shocked, Dave had never shouted at her before.

Dave was livid. Ralph was close to reaching level 412, if he got sent for respawn it would take immense effort to recover his lost EXP. Even though Zoe and Ralph were not on the best terms at the moment there was no excuse for what she'd done. Dave had tolerated Zoe's pranks and jokes in the past, but that didn't mean it was okay for her to betray and sabotage his best friend, especially when Ralph was also her own teammate.

Dave waved his hand and four glowing orbs appeared, floating around him. He waved again and the orbs shot at the pursuing orcs. When they reached the nearest warriors he snapped his fingers, detonating all the orbs at once, staggering and tripping the orcs. The disruption caused by the exploding orbs was enough for Ralph to gain some distance. That moment of respite also allowed the players to escape the orc tribe's aggro range. The green-skinned warriors stopped and returned back to where they came from.

Dave stopped Spike when they reached Urburg's crumbling walls, he dismounted without a word and walked back toward the forest.

"Davey, wait," Lone called after him, but Dave ignored her and continued toward the treeline to meet his friend.

Finally Ralph appeared, staggering out from the trees.

"You alright man?" Dave asked

"That was not cool of her. Thanks for the save, bro," Ralph gasped out, huffing and puffing.

"I always got your back, man. You've done for me more times than I can remember."

"Heh, don't go emo on me, Dave. Next you'll be giving out hugs."

"Yeah, no. Not happening. You just stand there and recover while we wait for Perfect and Mercy to join us. We need to come up with a new plan, going head-to-head with a whole tribe of orcs is not a formula for success."