Chapter 7 Broken Bones

Getting ready to leave the city in the evening of the same day, Ilea had visited the library again and bought a lot of food. As much as would fit in her new backpack. She had also visited a tailor to explain to her how she had to put on the leather armor. It was surprisingly complicated. In addition she bought a piece of flint for fire making and a small pouch for her money, leaving her at 1 Gold, 1 Silver and 25 Copper coins. Luckily there were bigger pieces of copper coins to prevent having a one kilogram heavy pouch.

‘Seems like I’m ready for now. I’ll continue to work on my skills till the festival. Hopefully I can fight and kill some Drakes...’ thinking on that she left through the same gate she came from. Sadly compasses weren’t a thing here but some questions she asked at the library on her second visit about the sun and stars left her with a vague ability to navigate. At least at night. ‘Perfect really with my cloak...’ she thought while walking down the same path she had traveled on yesterday with the guards. She could easily join an adventurer team but was still unsure if any of her abilities weren’t common or even forbidden. Getting killed because of that wasn’t on the top of her list. ‘I’ll probably see a ton of abilities at the tournament in three months.’

Running nearly the entire way back she was faster than before and even leveled Endurance once. She had put the remaining ten of her stats in both Vitality and Intelligence, both now at 45. Apparently no additional stats were known least it wasn’t common knowledge. ‘If I get one someday I’ll handle it then.’ the other stats were pretty much the way she thought of them. It seemed a little more fluid though, the strength of a spell could be improved by Strength too and not only by the magic related stats. Many people had at least a certain amount of points in all stats.

Finding the slope again she was happy to not have been lost. She had known how long she traveled and more or less in which direction. Back at the temple she warped downstairs and smiled. ‘Home sweet home...or prison...whatever’ Depositing her new stuff on the ground next to the bed, she used the blankets she got from Dale to make it a bit more tolerable. The shelves were dusted and stocked with the food she bought. ‘I’ll have to ration it for the next three weeks, hopefully the preservation runes work on food as well as they do the books. And I do have to eat the grass.’ According to Maria, skills normally gained levels only after weeks of training...without killing anything that is. Expensive Elixirs could supposedly speed up the process. Only very rich or powerful people had access to them though. ‘I mean using the grass and killing things can only be better, right?’

Sitting on top of the temple and looking at the forest and the stars, Ilea enjoyed some of the smoked meat she bought. ‘I do like it here...the feeling of freedom is something else...I never felt like this on Earth...if this is virtual reality then they fucking nailed it...’ lying down on her rather comfortable cloak and using one of the blankets as a pillow, she enjoyed the sky nearly as much as the meat. ‘Tomorrow I’ll find one of the Drakes and fight it. Apparently they can breathe fire to an extent, are very fast and tough. We’ll see if they’re too tough for Destruction...’ looking at her fist absentmindedly ‘...that Golem certainly wasn’t.’

Blinking back down to her chamber she was much happier. She had food, blankets and even a backpack. ‘Damn I should get candles or something...not for down here though, this place is a fire hazard. In the main hall though...maybe.’ Ilea fell asleep to thoughts of candles and a burning chamber of awakening.

Morning came and Ilea left for her hunt. Not before eating a generous amount of Bluemoon grass though. Blinking upstairs Ilea looked at her hands and wondered “Hmm...I’m not nauseous anymore at least not with Blink.’ looking suspiciously towards the room she was teleported from she turned again and left the temple.

‘Now I just have to wait for a roar.’ running around in the forest she collected any Cinderberries she could find and patiently waited for her prey. Or predator, she wasn’t quite sure yet. After half an hour she heard the first one.

Running into the direction of the sound Ilea soon lost the trail. ‘Back to square one I guess.’ waiting again she used Magic Perception to look around. There was only a faint glow, nothing especially bright. ‘I really have to use it more often...’ another roar got her out of the thought. ‘That one’s closer.’ again speeding into the direction of the roar with her Aura skill active she soon reached the place where it came from.

Standing there was what she was looking for.

[Drake – lvl ??]

It eyed her suspiciously as she slowly approached. “Nice kill you got there...” she gestured towards the corpse of some now unrecognizable animal at the ground. The Drake opened its maw and roared at her.

‘You have heard a mighty beast’s roar, movement is slowed by 15% for one minute.’

“Well it seems your food is g...” she couldn’t continue as the beast opened its mouth again but this time it was not a roar that came out. Immediately Blinking ten meters to the right the place she stood in before was obliterated by fire. Heat filled the area and a smell of burned wood and leaves penetrated her nose.

“Let’s play then!” the woman said with a smile on her face that might have seemed uncharacteristic on her for everyone in her old life but her kickboxing friends. The Drake turned his head towards her and breathed fire. This time she was ready and jumped to the side with all her force. It wasn’t quite enough to dodge completely, her left arm got badly burnt. Immediately using Reconstruction on herself the arm began to heal as the Drake advanced. Its speed was just as described. Ilea barely managed to dodge to the side as a swipe from its maw passes next to her head. ‘Teeth...’ she thought as she kept channeling Reconstruction into herself. The healing magic was being absorbed by her burnt arm, skin reformed and turned a bright pink.

Gritting her teeth Ilea was glad for her pain reduction, otherwise she wasn’t sure if she would’ve even been standing. Rushing at her again, this time she was ready. She dodged to the side at the last moment and kicked the beast in its side with Destruction. Getting further away through the kick she landed, she looked at the beast. It turned and breathed fire again. This time she blinked directly behind the beast and kicked it on its neck. It turned to swipe at her with its teeth but she was already ten meters further back, the kick having propelled her.

Turning around it charged again. The same event repeated several times until the beast was too cautious to approach. ‘I’ve hit it at least ten times now...come on, no reaction?’ just as she started to become frustrated, blood leaked out of the monster’s maw. Her smile broadened, immediately after having to dodge another assault of fire. She appeared next to the beast and used a series of jabs with Destruction to attack its side. The Drake staggered, not able to dodge the teleporting mage and not able to hit her with its fire. ‘It’s definitely weakening’ a sudden kick of the Drake sent her flying. Blood coming to her mouth, she stopped herself on the ground ten meters further back. Wincing she activated Reconstruction. ‘Ribs broken ey?’

She felt her bones bending back to their original shape but had to stop healing because of the pain. Even with the 50% reduction, it was too much for her. Losing concentration in a fight like this could prove fatal. Still she was smiling. “You’re one tough motherfucker, you know that?” talking to the beast only made it more infuriated. Roaring at her, it charged again. Its steps not as sure as before. Just when Ilea dodged, the beast used a sudden change of movement to tackle its body into her. Her half healed bones cracked again and she fell to the ground, the monster on top of her.

Both are barely breathing, blood collected on the forest ground. The air was thick with smoke, and a strong smell of blood, burnt wood and flesh lingered around them. Coughing up blood Ilea tried to push away the Drake but it was too heavy and her injuries limited her too much. The glow of her Aura spell faded as she was no longer able to sustain it. All her mana was going into Reconstruction, barely keeping herself alive.

They lied there for ten minutes, her HP was going up and down at the same time. Soon after the Drake stopped breathing.

ding’ ‘You have killed [Drake]. For killing an adversary 30 or more levels above your own you receive bonus experience.’

ding’ ‘Azarinth Healer has reached level 14. 5 Stat points awarded.’

ding’ ‘Azarinth Healer has reached level 15. 5 Stat points awarded.’

ding’ ‘Destruction reaches lvl 15’

ding’ ‘Reconstruction reaches lvl 6’

ding’ ‘State of Azarinth reaches lvl 11’

ding’ ‘Blink reaches lvl 8’

ding’ ‘Body of Azarinth reaches lvl 5’

ding’ ‘Azarinth Fighting reaches lvl 13’

The smile never left Ilea, even though the pain was terrible. ‘Why do I feel so good when there is so much pain...I’m not into that kinda shit…fighting is the best!’ coughing up another load of blood her regenerated mana went directly into healing her body. Slowly she stabilized. After that she entered a meditative state and restored a third of her mana. Healing herself up to her full HP, she activated her Aura again and pushed the Drake off of her. The body was heavy. Looking down at it she spoke “Can I eat you?” trying to lift it she barely managed to drag the beast. ‘Well I guess this is training too...’ It took nearly an hour to drag the corpse back to the temple. Luckily nothing else attacked her on the trip back. Using Blink left the beast behind, so that wasn’t an option.

Arriving at the temple she deposited the drake in the middle of the main hall. Gathering wood in the forest, she returned and built a fire. There were enough holes in the ceiling for there to be plenty of airflow. The flint worked like a charm with the knife she got from the killed adventurers. Trying to cut into the drake proved hard though. Impossible really. “Well only one thing to do then...” activating her Aura spell she used several jabs to loosen the scales and finally penetrate them. Making the opening bigger, she made a huge mess with Drake blood squirting all over the place.

After half an hour of struggling, she had finally removed enough of the scales to cut some of the meat inside. Continuing her work on the scales the meat grilled over the fire. She used rusty remnants of kitchen utensils to build a makeshift grid above the fire. ‘These scales could be amazing as some sort of protection. Maybe someone can help me put them on my leather armor. They were a dark red. ‘Will have to find a blue Drake...’ she thought as she peeled off some leftover skin from a severed Scale.

Already being midday, it was evening when she was done. The meat tasted horrible, even with applied salt that she had brought from the city. ‘Too much muscle. I should hunt some domesticated cows...’ finishing up she stored the scales in the chamber library. There was plenty of space after having removed all the rotting shelves. Ilea had to use Blink several times to get all the Scales downstairs, seemingly having a weight limit on the things she could carry with the skill. This weirdly didn’t apply to the backpack she had used before. ‘Next time I’ll put the scales in there and then use the skill...’

Putting out the campfire, she looked at the bloody Drake. Only flesh remained. ‘The bones...I bet I could use those...’ being too tired to remove all the bones from the Drake though, she dragged the corpse outside and threw it into the forest. ‘Dinner for whomever...’ going back inside she warped to her chamber and slept upon hitting the bed.

Waking up, Ilea was hungry. She ate more Grass than she had ever before, continuing with some smoked meat. ‘I eat too much meat...’ she thought but still continued to eat. Warping upstairs she was greeted by a very close roar. ‘Oh man...this day starts great...let’s nearly die again...’ smiling already she put the ten gained skill points into Vitality and walked outside.

The nearby Drake with green scales looked up at the intruder. “Eww, cannibalism! You’re gross man...’

[Drake – lvl ??]

Looking at her the Drake growled and prepared to breathe fire. Tattoos coming to life Ilea immediately blinked to the Drake’s side and punched it three times. Warping to the other side to avoid a kick, she repeated the punches. The kick came and she dodged to the left, now standing right under the Drake’s head. A strong uppercut sent destructive magic through the beast and right when it tried to bite her she blinked above it and sent a powerful kick into its neck.

Blink at level 8 cost only around 15 Mana to use, less if the distance was short. Combined with the hits of Destruction it was a considerable mana drain, but with 500 Mana at her disposal Ilea wasn’t stingy. ‘The higher the level, the cheaper the skills will be. And how do you level skills?...’ the Drake ran away a couple meters and turned around while breathing fire at its previous location. ‘ using them...’ blinking again next to the beast she again managed to hit it three times before she had to back away from a kick. Growing desperate, the Drake charged at her at a slow speed, sometimes bursting in speed to make her use the teleportation spell. Occasionally she brought in a punch or two before having to blink away. Blood already visible on the Drake’s mouth it took only another two minutes for it to go down.

“This time not on top of me!”

ding’ ‘You have killed [Drake]. For killing an adversary 10 or more levels above your own you receive bonus experience.’

ding’ ‘Azarinth Healer has reached level 16. 5 Stat points awarded.’

ding’ ‘Destruction reaches lvl 16’

ding’ ‘State of Azarinth reaches lvl 12’

ding’ ‘Blink reaches lvl 9’

ding’ ‘Azarinth Fighting reaches lvl 14’

“Nice...Reconstruction didn’t level but I mean I wasn’t hit...” deciding not to move the corpse inside the temple again, she dragged it to the clearing in front of it. With some experience it was a little easier to remove the scales. Getting them all into the backpack and then using blink actually worked. ‘Interesting...will ask about this when I get back to the city.’ settling into meditation to restore her lost energy, she Blinked back outside. Checking the bodies, she realized that the one from yesterday had less meat on its bones. ‘I mean the green one did eat some of it...maybe I can let the beasts do my work...’ leaving the corpses there she searched for more Drakes.

‘My skills and levels are growing astronomically kinda feels like cheating. Is that all the Bluemoon Grass? Or maybe because I’m fighting alone against monsters with a much higher level. Will ask about that in the city too...’ grabbing every Cinderberry she could find, Ilea listened for another roar. After another hour of walking around she heard it. The fight went much the same. Knowing the Drakes and their abilities she overwhelmed it with her Destruction spell and blinking. ‘No level up this time huh?’ sitting down next to the downed Drake, she started to remove its scales again while restoring the lost mana and stamina.

“And so the grind begins...” standing up with a smile on her face, she ran back to the temple to get her backpack. This process repeated another four times that day, her levels progressing steadily. Coming back to the temple, she ate some grass and cheese on the roof of it while looking at the sunset. ‘Only one more thing for today.’ finishing up, she Blinked down into her chamber. Going to the library she ignored the already sizable amount of scales. Crouching down next to the pile of Cinderberries she collected, she smirks. ‘Reconstruction, here I come...’ eating one berry, then two, then three she healed herself steadily while her health depleted and then came back again. Half an hour later she received the message she’d been waiting for.

bing’ ‘Reconstruction reaches lvl 5’

“Well it works...but it’s fucking boring...maybe I can let the Drakes hurt me….nah, that’d be crazy. This is safe and easy. I can read some of the other diaries from the other chambers...will get some books from the city during the festival. Hopefully they’re not too expensive.” Going to sleep, Ilea smiled and dreamt of fighting Drakes.

Three months pass like this. The amount of Drakes she killed increasing every day, even though she had to search farther and farther for new prey. Her speed increased with every Stat point she put into Strength, the time needed for rest after each fight lessened with each level in Endurance and Wisdom. The rapidly leveling skills amplified her damage the stronger she got. After three weeks she even stopped collecting the scales, the way back too far to justify the trip. Her first skill to reach the 2nd stage was Destruction, the skill becoming far stronger than before. Additionally the ability to choose how much mana to use per strike was added to the skill. Most of her mainly used skills reached the second stage after around another week of fighting, the progress slowing down extremely after that.

Running through the forest at full speed with her Aura activated, Ilea scanned her surroundings, the trees flying by. Ignoring any wild animals, she was searching for more of her prey. ‘Where are you Drakes...’ she had only found two so far today. ‘I’m behind...the first time in three months I’m behind. They don’t seem to respawn as they do in video games, that at least is sure.’ running into a big clearing a loud roar made her stop.

Looking to her right, a Drake walked out from the tree line. It was the biggest Drake she’d seen so far.

[Drake – lvl ??]

‘Not a different name, looks different to me though...’ heat gathered around her as the Drake unleashed his fire breath, a much bigger cone than usual.

A note from Rhaegar

2019 June: Updated to address issues with tenses, spacing, paragraphs and dialogue.

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