Chapter 10 Catch a ride
Walking in the forest, Ilea used the opportunity to ask questions since Alice was likely someone who would keep quiet “Hey Alice, I was wondering. I know this might sound weird but our order sometimes didn’t teach us basic things...”
Looking briefly in her direction, Alice kept walking “Ask away Ilea, I’ll gladly answer if I know anything…,”
Putting a fruit in her mouth Ilea chewed and swallowed.“Thanks...well I was wondering how skill growth is influenced by how you use the skill, the things you fight...how many people are in your group and...do you know about Elixirs?”
“Well yea, Elixirs are super rare. I think our order has some too but they don’t tell me that stuff. Only the genius students would get them anyway. It increases the growth of certain skills, often related to specific classes. That’s what I know. Skills level faster in combat situations, even if you just heal someone. It’s faster if you’re healing while you’re in combat. Additionally the general growth...also of levels, is decreased a lot by how many people are in your group. It’s still generally more effective to be in a group, that’s why adventurers go to dungeons together for example.”
Nearly stumbling on a rock in the way, Alice caught herself. In the pause that followed Ilea asked her next question “So if I’m fighting something alone instead of with four people, I level five times as fast?”
Alice nodded “Yea, well theoretically...only crazy people do that though because you normally really need a healer or someone to block damage from beasts as a mage channels his or her spells. Hmm...now that I think on it, you’re really not limited by that...is that why you travel alone?”
“Yea, that’s one of the reasons...” Ilea stopped for a couple seconds to get a sip of water before she caught up with Alice again.
“You asked about the levels too right? Well you get a lot of bonus experience for both your class levels and your skills by fighting monsters or people much higher in level than you. Again, that’s kind of crazy because they’re obviously stronger than you.”
‘That explains my fast growth. A combination of all those things...well we’ll see how fast my skills level once the Grass is used up.’ feeling her backpack, the last remains of grass were in there. Enough for maybe a week of training. She had learned that even though the light of the grass would fade after a while, the effects from eating it were still there. “You mentioned wanting to become an enchantress as your second class? Is there a limit to what second class you can chose?”
“They really didn’t teach you a lot in your order. There isn’t really a limit no, you can be a swordsman and a cook if you like. Or a water and fire mage at the same time. In general it’s more common for people to choose two classes that complement each other. Like for example a swordsman and shieldbearer. Or a fire and wind mage.”
Thinking on it Ilea had another question “Which class is seen by identify? And can people with a higher level of the skill see both classes?”
“Not really, well I mean I don’t know anyone with the skill in the second stage. It’s very hard to level that one up. They will see a generalization of your highest leveled class. I can only see healer when I use the skill on you.”
Ilea motioned for Alice to stop “We’ll eat lunch here.” sitting down on a mossy rock she opened her backpack and took out some food. Alice did the same before they both ate in silence. “What would you suggest to me as a second class?”
Alice was a bit taken aback by that question but seemed to concentrate on it quite intensely for a minute “Hmm, I don’t think I know enough to be of much help here...you fight with your body right, so definitely nothing with weapons. Some magic? Ranged doesn’t really complement you so maybe something with body enhancement spells?”
Ilea nodded “That sounds pretty cool… I’ll look into that… thanks for the suggestion.” They completed their meal in silent contemplation ‘Something like a lightning or rock enhancement combined with my current skills...that would be amazing...wait’ looking towards Alice her eyes sparkled a little “Is there magic to fly?”
Alice only nodded while she peeled a fruit “Sure, I mean most classes have a ton of skills to choose from, only five active and passive can normally be chosen though. I think a lot of magic schools have flight spells but they’re pretty advanced. High leveled mages normally travel that way. Not very high up though, there are some nasty creatures higher up in the sky and they don’t like to share. At least that’s what an old mage once told me.” She said and chuckled.
Giddy with excitement, Ilea listened intently to every word Alice uttered ‘I’ll be able to fly...oh my god, that’s fucking amazing!’ calming down again she continued her questioning “What about teleportation magic, like the skill I used in the fight...”
“Well again, there are a lot of spells like that too, they’re even higher up than the flight spells though. You must be a very high level! Normally they’re not anywhere near as fast. Yours helps you fight, more commonly mages use it to flee.” Alice replied.
‘Well I got it at level 10 so that’s awesome...although I didn’t get any other skills after that. I guess it’s a quirk with this class.’
“Oh… what about gear and stuff I carry while I teleport?” Ilea asked and again Alice knew the answer.
“Normally you can teleport the things you’re wearing including a backpack and some additional things. Here the spells differ greatly though. I hear it’s not very nice on the stomach though…,” a frown from Ilea confirmed the story.
‘She knows literally everything...guess their order or the college are pretty good….or this is all basically common knowledge here...’
Finishing up, the girls got ready again. Alice began walking but Ilea stopped her “Wait a second, I have an idea… I really don’t feel like walking for two weeks to Riverwatch…,” changing her backpack to the front, she crouched down. “Get on my back darling.” Alice just looked at her and raised her eyebrows.
“Are you kidding me?” the stern look on Ilea’s face made her move quickly though. With Alice on her back, Ilea’s runes started to shine blue as she began to run with a large grin.
Wild animals moved out of the way from the fearsome screaming predator. The two women tore through the forest at an incredible pace, Alice’s screams soon turning into laughter as she tried to hold on to her mighty steed. Four hours later they stopped for a rest.
Laying on her back, Alice smiled at the sky. “You’re fucking crazy you know that right?”
Eating something, Ilea smiled. “Oh girl, you have no idea. You feel like sleeping?”
“I don’t...” Alice sullenly mumbled.
Ilea put her backpack on again “Well me neither. Let’s continue then.” They ran through the whole night, occasionally stopping to drink, eat or relieve themselves. The sun came out again, yet Ilea didn’t stop. It was midday when the forest started to seem less dense. Soon they were standing in an open field, mountains taking up half of the skyline.
“Already out? Have I gotten this much faster…,” Ilea grinned mischievously. “Even with all this weight…,”
Tapping her on the head, Alice frowned down at her “Hey, that’s not a nice thing to say to an eighteen year old!”
Crouching down for her to get off, Ilea then sat down on the ground “You’re eighteen? Better eat some more then girl. We’re only a couple more hours away from Riverwatch. Ready to see your friends again?” Alice’s smile slowly waned as she nodded.
“Let’s get there then...my mighty steed.” Running off again, the two reached the river in half an hour. Following it, they soon found a bridge. “Let’s walk from here, it’d seem weird for me to carry you and I hate attracting attention." Letting Alice climb down, they walked over the bridge, the water rushing below them, a warm late summer breeze blowing through their hair.
Walking for fifteen minutes, they started to see the city of Riverwatch in the distance. Different to when Ilea came there last time, there were hundreds of tents in front of the city and all along the river. “Seems like this festival is the real deal…,”
Nodding next to her Alice takes in the sight “They do this every ten years ever since the founding of the city. This was supposed to be the first time I…,”
Getting closer to her, Ilea squeezed her hand lightly. “Believe me Alice, things will get better.”
With those words the two entered the mass of people. Food was being sold even in front of the city, as adventurers, guards and farmers mingled, everyone in a merry mood.
As they reached the city gates a guard stopped them. “Names and business please.”
Ilea was surprised as Alice took over, not able to use Dale as her ticket into the likely already overfilled city. “Alice Forkspear, with the Order of Corinth, and my lovely assistant, Ilea.”
The guard’s eyes went a little wide as his posture straightened considerably. “Lady Forkspear, please excuse me. I expected a more… well, bigger entourage.”
Alice waved him off and entered. Turning towards the guard, she asked for someone to lead them to the house they were staying at. The guard happily complied and another guard lead them through the busy city.
Walking for half an hour, they finally reached a rather big mansion near the mountain. The guards outside of it having different armor on than the city guards and stood at attention as Alice neared the gate. Another guard behind the gates ran to the mansion door. As they reached the gates, several people rushed out of the building and opened the gate.
A middle aged woman with graying hair nearly tackled the girl as she embraced her in a hug. “We worried SO much! Where have you been?? Wait let’s get inside first. Thanks for accompanying her adventurer, you’re dismissed.” talking to Ilea in an off handed manner Alice stopped her.
“Tell Inna I have to speak with her, alone, and this is Ilea, she is to be treated as my equal and is to be taken care of in one of the Guest rooms.”
The woman went through around thirteen different facial expressions at the uttered sentences, ending with a bow to Alice and then to Ilea. “At once lady Forkspear.” motioning another woman over, she told her to take Ilea to one of the guest rooms.
Raising an eyebrow at Alice, Ilea shruged and followed the woman inside.
“Oh my god...” standing in the supposed guest room, Ilea simply stared at the bed in front of her.
“Is everything alright miss?” the woman next to her asked.
In near shock Ilea manages to reply “Well...yes..more than alright to be quite frank.” the woman nodded.
“Would you like something to drink or perhaps eat?” Nodding at the request, Ilea stammered out a yes. Bowing deeply, the woman left the room. Ilea walked close to the bed and touched the corner… and then jumped on top of it with a squeal. The food arrived shortly after, Ilea nearly drooling at the smell alone.
“Thank you so much!” with tears in her eyes, she shook the servant’s hands who just stood there with a confused expression on her face.
“It’s fine my lady, it’s only food from the festival. The cooks didn’t have time to prepare anything yet...I hope it’s fine.”
Getting close to her ear Ilea whispered “It’s perfect darling.” Giggling, she took a bite from the potato dish in front of her. ‘How the fuck did I survive on Grass??’ she ate and lounged around for half an hour before lying back into the bed in a state of pure happiness.
Ready for a nap, a knock on the door snapped her out of her reverie.
The woman who had ran outside to greet Alice opened the door. “Miss Ilea? Lady Forkspear wishes for your presence.” Getting up from her perfect bed, Ilea nodded and followed the woman to a bigger room upstairs in the mansion. The walls were adorned with paintings and exotic looking plants.
Getting into the room, there were only two women in there. Alice and an older looking woman with a sad look on her face. “Hey there…,” Greeting the women, Ilea stopped in the middle of the room.
“Hello Ilea. So Inna, that’s the woman who saved me. She would like to keep the circumstances of the fight to herself and I shall respect that request.” The woman named Inna approached Ilea and abruptly hugged her.
Releasing her two seconds later she locked eyes with Ilea. “I thank you from the deepest of my heart for what you have done for us. We would be happy to reward you with anything at all possible.”
Shaking her head Ilea looked at Alice “She promised me some seats for the tournament. Food would be nice too…. Oh… and… the bed… the bed in the guest room, I’d like to have it.” A little ashamed at her request, she looked down at the ground.
Inna just glanced at her and then towards Alice “I told you Inna.” looking back at Ilea she continued “Ilea I want to thank you again too. I’ll leave today for Dawntree, I’d like to be with my family after… you… ” opening and closing her mouth, she caught herself again “I’m afraid I'll likely not see you for a while… a long while. I hope you do understand.”
Nodding at her, Ilea smirked “As I said Alice.. Things will get better and I believe in you. Do not worry about me, I’ll find my way.”
Alice then suddenly ran towards her, hugging her as deep sobs reverberated through the room while they stood there for a full minute.
Letting go, Alice brushed away her tears. “Come visit sometime in the future…,” with one last look at her, Alice left the room.
Inna solemnly looked at the door for a while “You know… some spark in her has gone… it’s terrible…,”
Ilea as well watched the door “As I said, I believe in her. She’ll find that spark again.” nodding after a while Inna turned towards her.
“I do hope you’re right Miss Ilea. We’ll get you the best seat we can at the tournament. Food will be supplied to you directly from our best cooks and the bed is for you to do with as you please.”
Shaking her head, Ilea smiled “A normal seat at the tournament is fine, I’d like to not attract too much attention. I won’t say no to the rest though.”
Nodding at that Inna thanked her again and excused herself. Leaving the room soon after, Ilea went back to her new treasure. Sitting on top of it, she removed her cloak, covering herself in a soft blanket and going to sleep in total comfort for the first time in what seemed like forever.