Chapter 2 Generic wolves – who would’ve guessed
Running at a full sprint for over half an hour, Ilea finally collapsed near a pond of water. Catching her breath for several minutes and trying to not puke, her thoughts were in complete turmoil. Tears came to her eyes as she rolled up into the fetal position. ‘No no no no no no no!’ her training in kickboxing took over as her breathing slows down, her body not able to distinguish this situation from a mock fight she used to have with other people at the center.
Laying there for another two minutes, her mind calmed down.
‘ding’ ‘Reached limit of Endurance – Recalculating value – Endurance +3’
‘Calm your mind Ilea. There’s a beast out there. It just ate but it can find you. You’re lucky nothing else was on your path. The trail is there though and the smell...’ looking down at herself, most of the urine still sticking to her had dried. Starting to move, she put her legs into the small pond and started to scrub.
‘I hope that thing had enough for dinner...’ clean enough she exited the pond. ‘I need to move away from here.’ carefully not treading on anything that would make too much noise, Ilea started to walk in a different direction.
‘I need to focus on my surroundings, I’m obviously somewhere weird. Maybe some island with dinosaurs or some military testing facility...that wouldn’t explain the weird noises in my head though. A magical fantasy place in a different world? I always liked the multiverse theory, not when Drakes want to eat me though...I’m not even sure if it wanted to, maybe it’s friendly? Could be virtual reality too, they did make some improvements lately, nothing to this extent that I ever heard of. I don’t want to try dying though with the off chance of a respawn.’ she walked on for another fifteen minutes before coming to a stop at the edge of a clearing.
Sitting down next to one of the trees she gathered her thoughts. ‘I’m in an unfamiliar place. There are Drakes and I have notifications in my head. Maybe it’s a new social media product, they would definitely do this for money.’
Looking at the sky, now free of any leaves in the clearing, she noticed something different. ‘Two suns, so we can rule out Military facility or island on earth. So either a completely different world or virtual reality. Or some weird drug? Mental illness? There are too many possibilities, what I know though is that I’m here now. In a fucking forest. With fucking Drakes. In my pajamas. With piss all over them.’ taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes “Fuck.”
‘I’m still not thirsty or hungry so those aren’t immediate concerns. I’ve read somewhere on the internet that shelter should be your first concern when found in an unknown place in the wilderness. I’ll walk around and do that first then. No idea what would be considered shelter though. For all I know a cave here might be hiding another one of those monsters.
I did get a skill though didn’t I? What was it? Something related to the Drake I saw. There must be a way to see what I have, like in RPGs.’ She thought of different words that would describe a status table or character sheet in a video game. What did the trick was simply thinking of her own name. ‘Ilea Spears’ A list formed in her mind.
Name: Ilea Spears
Class 1: None
Class 2: None
- Elos Standard language lvl 5
- Identify lvl 1
‘Ok so it’s like an RPG, just that everything feels like real life. So basically real life with numbers to show how fucking dead I’d be against a Drake. The question is if I can advance beyond what a normal human can or if progression is like on earth. What about technology? Well those are thoughts for later. First I need to find some form of shelter. 36 Stamina for now, I’ll check it in another minute and see how much it grows.’ A minute passed. Checking her stats again, her stamina was now sitting at 44. ‘So 8 per minute, or at the moment 10% of my maximum. Might be a coincidence. Doesn’t seem too bad though.’
Standing up she started to walk in a random direction ‘I’m not going back to either the pond or wherever that Drake was last.’ ten minutes passed without anything happening, the forest was alive. The hot sunlight was broken by the sea of leaves above. Sweat dripping down Ilea’s brow she soon realized that the ground wasn’t flat. ‘It’s a slope. Going further up might lead to more rocky terrain and maybe shelter.’
The forest itself would mostly shelter her from rain or the suns and the temperature didn’t seem to be an issue either. Yet it felt wrong to Ilea to sleep where something like the Drake would tread. Not that it would simply stop higher up but she knew that feeling even remotely safe would be difficult in the forest.
Walking on for another twenty minutes, the forest didn’t seem to change at all. She was sure though that there was at least some incline. Stopping and holding her breath whenever she’d hear the now familiar roar in the distance. They came from different directions so she was sure there was more than one of them out there. Her only goal was to walk upwards and perhaps out of this forest, without getting eaten first that is.
The Drakes seemed to have a rather large territory though and she saw several seemingly harmless animals that even felt familiar. There was enough for them to hunt, she’d be unlucky to fall prey to one of the Drakes. At least that’s what she hoped. Using her skill on every creature she saw she didn’t really get useful information. [Red stag lvl ??], [Woodpecker lvl ??], [Worm lvl 3] and several other animals were identified by her. ‘Seems to work on any living creature. How important is the level though. I wouldn’t want to fight a level one Drake...’ thinking on the world around her she continued upwards.
Thirst was starting to grow as she climbed the slope but the thought was soon overwritten by the sight before her. ‘Ruins...looks like a temple, damn this place is super fantasy. Well let’s hope it’s not a dungeon or something. I don’t even have a knife or anything.’ Carefully walking around the temple, or what was left of it, she realized that this was the highest point of the slope. Ilea found herself on the top of a hill, standing in front of the broken down entrance to the temple she heard a low growl behind her. Turning around carefully, she checked the intruder. ‘What if I am the intruder...’
[Red Wolf – lvl 4],
Three more of them with similar levels, the highest being 5, emerged from the trees and slowly advanced on her.
‘So the Drakes aren’t the only predators here...figures. I’m lost in the forest, they’ll tire me out and kill me. Only one place to go then...’ Ilea wasn’t surprised by how calm she was. Compared to the Drake these wolves weren’t as frightening. They even had a sort of calming normalcy about them. She had actually seen wolves in zoos before coming here but they held a familiarity that made her less scared. Of course wolves could kill people but on Earth Man was king, and a bit of that feeling now welled up inside her. She knew that in this world, wherever it may be, that might not be the case anymore.
The wolves advanced as she slowly retreated backwards to the entrance of the temple, the growling steadily intensifying as they began to encircle Ilea. To completely close her in was impossible now but she had only one way to go. Ducking under a broken down pillar she entered the temple, the wolves on her heels. Light filled the hall she was in now through many cracks in the ceiling and walls. Stone everywhere, she didn’t look closely at the statues. ‘A way out of here...’
There were several doors in the room but they seemed sealed shut. One was thankfully broken down and she quickly entered. Running down a hallway, hearing the wolves close behind her she entered another room. There was a wall with a statue depicting a man in a fighting stance. His arms held high, poised for his adversary. Which it seemed was Ilea. His eyes held empty sockets. Remnants of a campfire could be seen in the room.
‘There were people here...no idea how long ago though…’ checking around the room franticly Ilea couldn’t make out any way to leave. There was a hole in the ceiling, yet it was much too high for her to reach. Her thoughts were interrupted by the first wolf entering the room.
She turned towards it and her more or less calm feeling from before was completely gone. There was no way out. Backing up to the the wall with the statue Ilea was afraid. ‘Is this it already...well at least I can test if I have more than one life...’ Looking at the statue next to her she smirked and copied his stance. ‘Not too far from kickboxing I guess...’ looking at the wolf, she put on a determined look.
“Just a puppy...with sharp teeth...” a growl the only response, the wolf leaped at her. Fast, yet not too fast for her to handle. A powerful kick caught the wolf’s head from the side and sent it sprawling to the left. Two more of the beasts had entered the room in the meantime.
Concentrating on the newcomers Ilea ignored the whimpers from her left and prepared for another charge. The wolves broke out into a sprint and jumped at her from two sides. The left one was caught by a kick to its jaw while the one on the right was blocked by her arm. The wolf bit deep before she was able to shake it off. Several punches to its stomach were needed to make it release her arm. Regrouping, the now four wolves stared at her, now more wary of their supposed prey. Blood dripped down her arm as she prepared for the next attack.
The pain was a numb feeling in the back of her mind, adrenaline helping her cope with it. A sudden loud humming noise made her lose concentration. Luckily the wolves were just as startled as her and before long were whimpering while they scrambled to leave the room. “Hahahaha got you, you shitbags!! Overgrown puppies go to hell!” not noticing the blue glow below her, Ilea only shouted after the wolves, elated by her victory.
The world shifted violently before her and she immediately knelt to the ground, retching up whatever was left in her stomach. “What the….” wiping her mouth after puking again “...fuck.”
[You have proven strength and dexterity beyond your limits +2 Strength +3 Dexterity]
‘At least something for that fight...’ looking around her she found herself in a long hallway. There were more of the statues. Only a faint blue light came from a moss growing on the walls. All the walls and the ceiling were overgrown with it. ‘Magic? Teleportation?’ thinking on the ways she might have gotten to this place Ilea scanned her surroundings. ‘The statues look the same. Different stances though. I’m still in the temple? Maybe one of the closed off rooms from the main hall?’
Standing up she winced. “Fuck that hurts….fuck fuck fuck” her arm was still bleeding, the adrenaline gone it quickly became the worst pain Ilea had ever been in. ‘Worse than when I broke my leg for fuck’s sake!’ trying to steady her arm she looked around and saw a fountain a dozen or so meters away. ‘I’ll have to clean this...’ walking up to the fountain she held her arm into the water. ‘Can’t be worse than some wolf’s spit.’
To her surprise the pain lessened immediately, the wounds closing faster than anything she’d ever seen, not even leaving scars behind. “What the hell….the fountain of youth or what? This is amazing!” elated by her discovery she remembered that she was thirsty and started drinking the water. ‘Wow this tastes amazing...’ feeling much better than before Ilea sat down and rested her back on the wall next to the fountain.
“What a day...” making herself move again she got up and started to walk to one side of the hallway. An open door greeted her. Inside the room it was dark. No moss seemed to be growing inside. Ripping some moss from the hallway wall she entered again, happy that the moss kept glowing. Inside there was what once might have been a bed.
The room was empty otherwise. ‘What a weird room…seems like a cell.’ walking back into the hallway ‘I wonder’ she looked at the moss in her hand and used identify.
“Well that’s not really helping me, now is it?” walking to the other side of the hallway, she checked out the statues on the walls every couple meters. Both sides of the hallway were adorned with them. ‘They all have certain stances…some kind of fighting style I assume. The detail is insane...and the eyes...’ she noticed that the eyes weren’t empty sockets like the statue in the room she had fought the wolves in. ‘Some kind of jewel...blue jewels’ it was hard to see because of the blue glowing moss growing all around the statues.
Reaching the other side of the hallway, another open door greeted her. Inside was something far different than just a bed though. “Books...” A large room littered with hundreds of books greeted her as she enters.
The only light source the slowly fading Bluemoon grass in her hands. No other entry or exit could be seen. “This is weird. Like a study place for some sort of hermit or maybe a cult?” Taking one of the books, it instantly crumbled into dust.
‘And it’s old...how long does a book need to be somewhere until it literally crumbles into dust?’ checking out the rest she realized that some are in better condition than others. Getting closer, she noticed weird writing on some of the shelves ‘Runes maybe? I’m assuming if there’s magic here, there should be some kind of runes. An enchantment maybe.’ Checking the shelf where she removed the dust book, she saw that all the books looked deteriorated there. ‘Maybe the power went out or something...these look fine though.’ Taking out a book from one of the few shelfs where the enchantments seemed to be working still, she walked back into the hall.
The light brighter, she looked at the cover. “Azarinth Advanced Stances Part III”
‘Oh wow I can read it! Must be that weird skill, doesn’t look like English to me.’
“But I don’t think Part III of some advanced stances helps me a lot here. Maybe there’s something more useful in there.” Going back inside Ilea grabbed all the books that were still intact. Sadly not many remained out of the once hundreds of books. The immediately most interesting one was a small journal. “Gregory Pale – Days of Awakening” flipping through it there seemed to be dates. ‘A diary of some sorts?’
“Day 1 of my Awakening, or shall I call it imprisonment? I question my decision to join the Order but such thoughts are for naught at this point. I entered the chamber of awakening of my own free will and shall either succeed or succumb. I shall become a warrior of Azarinth, more powerful than any before me….” reading the first couple days it seemed that this place belonged to an Order of some sorts. Calling themselves the Order of Azarinth. Mages, fighters and healers were mentioned.
‘So I’m in the chamber of awakening myself now eh? Well that’s just great’ continuing to read Gregory thankfully described the process of awakening in great detail.
“Well he probably would, seeing all the time he had down here alone with a bunch of books that he’s probably all read before coming here...”
Apparently the order had classes regarding a special way of magic they called Azarinth. ‘The whole order is named after the magic...bunch of nerds...’ chuckling to herself she continued to read. The Bluemoon grass seemed to be of great importance to that magic and the process of awakening the class and training the related skills.
It could apparently be reached normally too, with a lot of study and time, meditation and patience. Most of the people reaching the class in this manner were very old. After likely horrible testing they discovered a way to speed up the process. Being enclosed in the chamber, only able to eat the Bluemoon grass and drinking from the fountain of clarity would have many of the people reach the class far faster, not to mention the speed of their skill growth would increase.
‘Fountain of clarity...holy shit this is so bad...they should get better writers...’ the method of course had downsides too. For one, around 35% of the initiates would immediately die upon eating the grass. It changed parts of the body and was highly poisonous if not compatible. The order was very secretive, losing just over a third of their members was disastrous. Many still took the risk.
The fast skill growth would leave many of the fighters overconfident though, able to use the skills but not having trained with them enough.The faster skill growth was mostly dependent on how long a person could stay in the chambers. The grass grew very slowly so only a limited amount could be used by the Order. Leveling the skills up to the third stage in the chamber was apparently not possible. The needed grass would increase dramatically after the second stage was achieved until it showed no discernible effect anymore.
Most would only advance to the early second stage because of the limited availability of the grass. “Wow so they were basically junkies...weed man...” Gregory apparently advanced some skills up to the later second stages and then left. Leaving apparently only possible by using a skill acquired through the Bluemoon grass.
“Well fuck...means I have to eat it. Not like I’d have much of a survival chance without a class out there anyway. If classes work like they do in RPGs that is...I’d still be level 1 without killing anything...” looking at the glowing moss suspiciously she went through the books still in an alright condition.
“Azarinth: Basic Stances I”, “Azarinth Basic Stances II”, “Azarinth Basic Stances III”, “Azarinth Advanced Stances III”, “History of the Order Part IV”, “History of the Order Part XII”, “Azarinth Healing”, “Azarinth Healing Advanced”, “Mana conversion and flow by Magus Izalar”, in addition there were dozens of diaries from members of the order. Apparently it was a must to write one when in the chamber to help guide initiates following in their steps.
“I’m glad some useful ones remain...it’s a shame that so many of the books were lost.” She checked through the chamber and rooms to see if there was any way out or food other than the grass on the walls. After nearly two hours of searching every nook and cranny she sat back down next to the fountain and sighed.
Looking at the Bluemoon grass on the wall Ilea got up “Well….might as well get it over with. Either I live and become a badass fighter or...well let’s not be negative here shall we.” grabbing a healthy fistfull of the moss from the wall she put it into her mouth and ate it.
A minute passed….another….approaching ten minutes still absolutely nothing happened. “Well...that’s wei..” her voice was cut off as her whole body convulsed.
Falling to the ground in a sprawl of limbs Ilea started to scream. The pain was worse that the wolf’s bite. Nobody had mentioned the pain in the diaries. Likely out of consideration of the initiates. Ten minutes passed and Ilea was still writhing there screaming, the pain not diminishing in the slightest as each beat of her heart ended only to bring a new eternity of torment.
The screams stopped after half an hour, yet the pain didn’t. She twitched every couple minutes as she felt each and every nerve in her body tear itself apart. After an hour a blue glow started to radiate off of her. Forming a pattern not unlike the runes found on the shelves, just on her body. The glow died down after another hour and the human on the ground groaned weakly. “I hate this world...”