Dante groaned. His stomach was killing him. The last thing he remembered was getting hit by the crazy 'Wave' guy. It must have knocked him unconscious. He could hear the others cheering about something, but his head wouldn't focus on anything. But if they were cheering, that must mean they beat him.
That was a relief. He groaned again and tried sitting up. The room swam in front of him, but he could make out everyone gathered around a couple of people lying on the floor. He almost panicked, but then he heard the excited voices again and calmed down.
His vision started to clear, so he could make out Lucinda and Julio lying side by side. They didn't seem hurt, so there was no need to worry. It must have been a close call though. Because Sara was practically wrapped around Lucinda and crying her eyes out.
He looked around groggily. The place was a mess. There were gaping holes in the floor and walls. Not to mention the demolished tables and chairs. Even the job board was broken.
He staggered over to one of the holes in the wall and peered out. And then froze.
"Guys!" He shouted.
Everyone stopped their celebration to look over at Dante. But before they could ask what was wrong, someone from outside started yelling.
Almost everyone recognized that voice. Charlotte, Crest, and Erk in particular were stunned. "It can't be…" Charlotte said, her hands over her mouth. "He can't be here."
Erk could only gulp while Crest just stared outside in shocked silence.
Bertrand managed to get his cane back and was using it as a crutch. He glared at the door. "Cheeky bastard." He growled. "This is just adding insult to injury."
Rosemary nodded as she helped the old man stagger forward. "It can't be coincidence that he showed up right after we were attacked.
Becky merely narrowed her eyes and got ready to pounce. She was hurt from her last fight, but she was confident that she had the energy to take on someone like him.
Tamashi, Lorelai, and the other newer members were completely confused by everyone's reactions. But then Jack started slowly for the door. Everyone watched him as he went, eventually falling in line behind him. Saraphina alone stayed behind. Her attention was for Lucinda alone. She needed to stay with her friend.
Even though there were holes large enough for him to walk through, Jack calmly, so very calmly, opened the door and stepped outside of his ruined guild to stare at the man standing on the outskirts of his guild. They shouldn't have been able to hear him so clearly at that distance. He must have magically amplified his voice.
"Glad to see you're all safe and sound." He said sarcastically. In truth, he was a bit disappointed that there were so many of them left. He had hoped Wave would at least kill a few of them before getting caught. "I can only guess that I won't be seeing Wave anymore?" He asked with a raised eyebrow.
"I believe I told you to never return." Jack said back. He had already dealt with too much. It was taking every ounce of willpower not to go on a rampage. "I should have made that clear when I burned our mark from your hand, Alec."
The slime wizard only laughed at that. "That was back when I was a puny wimp!" He grinned maniacally. "But I'm more powerful now that any of you guild wizards." He laughed hysterically. "I could kill you all here and now!"
Jack narrowed his eyes behind his mask. There was indeed something different about Alec than when he was still in Pumpkin King. He commanded a stronger presence. Even from this distance he could sense power humming through his veins. But there was something dark about that power. It was twisted. It wasn't something he wanted to willingly put his seedlings against.
Becky stepped up next to Jack. "Do you want to prove that, you snake?" She hissed.
Alec rolled his eyes. "That's rich coming from you, snake princess." But then he looked back at Jack. "But I'm not here to fight. I'm just a messenger."
Jack could feel anger boiling up in Becky. He didn't want them fighter here. Not with injured people so close by. "Then deliver your messenger and leave. Or else there will be more than one casualty this day." He said sternly. "And if you ever come here again…I'll kill you."
Alec just grinned wider and eyed the guild up and down. "Fine then. I don't want to stick around a shack like this anyway." The smiled dropped from his face. He was quiet for a long moment before taking a few steps forward. "We are the dark guild Nightmare's Begin!" He shouted, putting as much power as he could into his voice. "Our demands are simple. Surrender peacefully and we'll spare your lives. If you wish to fight, we'll kill each and every one of you."
Tamashi smirked. "Great. Another dark guild that wants to tango with us." She looked at Erk. "Let's finish this one quickly. That last dark guild took too long."
A few of the other guild members chuckled at her words. But Jack stared at Alec suspiciously. With the amount of power he had, he couldn't believe he was part of some regular dark guild. There had to be something specific they wanted with Pumpkin King.
As if reading Jack's thoughts, Alec smiled and announced as boldly as he could. "What we want is something none of you know about. Something your Master has kept secret from you." A dark pool of slime started gathering at his feet. The guild tensed, but no attack came. He simply started sinking into the slime.
His laugh rang through the air as he sank deeper and deeper until only his head was above ground, leaving them with only one sentence.
"Bring us the Valmagus!"