Chapter 13 Relaxing afternoon
Back in the arena, Ilea eagerly waited for the fights to start. ‘I really don’t think my abilities are special or dangerous to show anymore. It might surprise people to see a fighting healer but it’s not witchcraft or necromancy. Maybe even that isn’t too frowned upon. I still don’t know if Dale was only joking about that.’
Feeling the heat of the afternoon sun, she put up her hood. ‘Ah, nice and cold…,’ the effect wasn’t mentioned in the item description ‘...maybe it’s the material… whatever it is, it’s great.’
“Welcome back to the arena! I won’t delay any further. Let’s start with the third match for today. We have Iris, the templar of light! Her opponent today is Atur from the distant mountains of Naraza!” The announcer shouted from his elevated position looking over the arena.
A knight in white colored full plate armor entered the arena. Getting the claymore from her back, she rammed it into the ground. Making a welcoming gesture to the crowd, she spoke “Children of the light I welcome you! It’s not too late to turn your sinful ways around! Join me in the crusade to enlighten everyone to Ataniel’s word!”
‘Oh boy,’ Ilea thought ‘I hope fighting healers aren’t some sort of sacrilege to the church...I’d hate to run from some inquisitors...’
Entering opposite of the fanatic, a barbaric looking man with two small axes greeted the arena. “You speak of a god that doesn’t exist fanatic!” he shouted. Chatter and laughter could be heard around Ilea. Nobody seemed too offended. “Who is this Ataniel you speak of? Are you trying to found a new religion on your own, mighty templar?” mocking her he spat on the ground.
‘So no church?’ Ilea sat there confused.
“The heathens shall fall to your blade. You shall gut them and hear their screams of agony as you cut away the foul stench of SIN.” pulling out the claymore with a yank, she held it out towards her opponent. “You shall burn in his fire.”
Shaking his head, Atur only chuckled “You’re crazy woman. Let us fight then, me against you and your made up god.” Iris started to shine a little as some magic settled on her. They circled each other for a while, until she rushed at him. The claymore striking at Atur in a blur, sometimes a clang could be heard when one of the strikes was parried.
Her assault continued for a full five minutes until suddenly a red mist burst out of the man. The word berserker was said around Ilea as even from her seat she could feel the power of the man, her hair standing up. ‘I want to fight too...’ a smile on her face she watched on as the tides turned in the fight below.
Atur now on the offensive, the two didn’t give each other an inch as blades were parried and deflected. A bright flash sometimes filled the arena as Iris tried to blind her opponent. He reacted to each flash by jumping back and then closing in again immediately.
Iris’s armor was dented in many places while shallow cuts lined Atur’s chest, arms and legs. “The longer the fight goes, the more your loss is certain.” He chuckled and continued the fight.
Iris didn’t seem to tire either, even beginning to laugh after a while, joining her adversary as they became one with the fight. Deflecting one of his axes with her sword, Iris ignored the second one ramming into her side as her fist came smashing into his face.
Removing the axe in her side, she kicked the still dizzy Atur in one knee. Light formed below her as the bleeding from her wound slowly stopped. The now kneeling Atur looked up to her and lashed out with his remaining axe. However a swift cleave removed his arm at the elbow, blood spurting to the sandy ground before he could land the blow.
The healers started to run towards him as Iris spoke “For insulting Ataniel, you shall pay with your life.” lifting her sword, she cleaved through the man’s neck. The arena was quiet as his head hit the ground, his body following quickly after.
The healers reached the corpse and tried to reattach his head. ‘Are you serious?’ Ilea thought before one of them started shaking his head after a few seconds, one of the healers signaled something to the announcer.
“Well it seems Atur is no more. Which means lady Iris is hereby disqualified from the tournament of Riverwatch.” Bowing to the crowd, Iris strapped her sword to her back and left the arena.
‘Nobody’s reacting much..some people are even cheering for her…,’ The corpse was removed quickly as the arena was prepared for the last fight of the day. The other four from the first round would be fought tomorrow.
After a ten minute pause, the fight was finally announced. “And now for the final fight of today, from the esteemed college of magic in Riverwatch. A professor that many here might know, please cheer for the shield and light mage Esteban!”
Many people stood up, the man seemingly quite famous in the city. “And his opponent today is Oliver, a pyromancer from the same college. Who will win today, student or teacher?”
The two people entered the arena. Easily distinguishing the two, Ilea checked out the old wizardly looking man. His robes a dark blue, he nodded towards his opponent. The pyromancer showed his respect as he bowed much deeper.
“It is a delight to see you have come this far Oliver. I hope you will not be too discouraged by losing so early in the tournament.” a small smirk playing on the old man’s face as he dusted off his robe.
Power surged around them and a colorful display shone before Ilea’s magic perception enhanced eyes. ‘They seem rather powerful but it’ll be a while until I can actually read anything with magic perception...’
‘ding’ ‘Magic Perception has reached lvl 9.’
The message brought a smile to Ilea’s face.
“Esteemed master. Even if I may lose, my display here will not disappoint you.” activating a spell, sand from nowhere started to take form around Oliver.
‘Can’t he use the sand around here?...might be an unfair advantage I guess...’ Ilea could feel the heat around the mage, the sand burned a white red.
‘He’s melting it?’ Forming into shards, only glass remained where the burning sand once floated around Oliver. With a gesture, the shards flew at Esteban at an incredible speed.
Completely unmoved by the display, the older mage simply stood there. The shards reached him but impacted on a shield, the created sparks showing its form around the professor. More shards impacted as the shield took on a slightly blue color, possibly strengthened by the mage controlling it.
While smaller shards were flung towards Esteban, Oliver prepared a larger amount of sand. The created shard looked more thought out and linear than its smaller counterparts. Seeing the monstrous shard approach at much the same speed as the smaller ones, Esteban changed into a defensive stance, three more blue shield walls forming before his first one.
Contrary to what Ilea expected, the shard didn’t impact on the formation. Out of the old wizard’s hand, a beam of light formed and impacted his own shield. Visibly multiplying its strength, the light beam repeated those steps until it left the last shield wall. A scorching beam of light, around one meter in diameter connected with the glass shard.
Ilea watched all of it, only able to process what was happening thanks to her high Intelligence stat. Only a second passed since Esteban cast his light beam. The shard exploded into a thousand pieces, the beam continuing on towards Oliver.
The pyromancer was no longer there though, several more shards from the smaller variety floating around him as he stood twenty meters above his previous location on top of a small glass platform.
A beam of light was sent towards him but a skillful placement of one small shard deflected the beam into the sky. ‘They’re being considerate of the spectators it seems… or there are shields… I can’t see anything though...’
Another three light beams later, the remaining shards in front of Oliver crashed together and formed a crude looking spear. Fire whirled around it, starting from the mage’s hand. Reaching the tip of the spear, the weapon was released.
A beam of light hit the spear but it didn’t explode like the bigger shards did. Flying right through the light, it impacted the first shield and shattered it. Another shield was broken before it stopped. Seemingly stuck in the air, the spear slowly fell apart. “Not bad young student. Let me show you something too that I’ve been working on…
A distant explosion stopped the old mage from his casting preparations. Looking into the direction of the sound, the old man frowned. The spectators started to murmur as a second explosion, closer to their location shook the ground.
A ringing bell was heard, louder than the explosions themselves. “Oh no...” Ilea heard a man next to her whisper. “What does that mea…,” she tried to ask but he was already running towards the exit, like nearly all of the other spectators too.
Being pushed and nearly squashed, Ilea jumped up. Just as a massive fireball entered the arena from above, the heat in the reverse dome rising by over ten degrees instantly. The meteor like fireball approached a chanting Esteban, as a shield formed above him.
This new shield was a radiant blue, clearly much stronger than any shown before. The meteor impacted and sent a shock wave through the arena, many of the people stumbling from the force.
‘I need space.’ Ilea thought and jumped down onto the sandy fighting pit below. The fireball melted and bent the shield before both slowly crumbled harmlessly, pieces of smoldering rock falling down. Nobody looked towards her, all eyes fixated on the origin of the attack.
Some others from the VIP seats joined them in the pit, quickly getting into some sort of formation. ‘They seem to know what’s going on...’ not wanting to distract the people around her, Ilea noticed that most of the contestants from the fights today and some guards had joined them. Others from the spectators joined too as they prepare for an expected attack.
Two more, much smaller meteors hit into the fleeing masses. The explosions sent what remained of dozens of spectators flying as cries filled the now burning arena. Another two attacks were blocked by magical shields, the explosions raining burning debris down on the fleeing people below.
“If there is more than one, I want everyone below level 100 to flee through the tunnels. Up here you’re just more targets to feed their long range mages. Glenn you will lead them.” Esteban commanded them.
One of the guards in full plate armor nodded at the last sentence. “You have the lead Esteban.”
The smell of blood and fire wasn’t bothering Ilea as much as they would have only half a year prior. ‘Who’s they?’ just when the thought reached her brain, three figures landed with heavy impacts in front of the group of around thirty people.
Clothed in mystical looking leather armor, the three figures recovered from their landing. Magic vibrating around them, Ilea had to deactivate her Magic Perception to see the figures. ‘Elves?’ she wondered, looking at their long ears as one of them opened his mouth to reveal sharp teeth.
[Mage - ??]
A smile nearly tearing his face apart, the creature spoke. “Quite unfortunate for you to be in this city on this day my dear general Esteban.” His voice a whisper, yet so loud in her ears that Ilea had to cover them with her hands.
“Glenn!” Esteban shouted, just as one of the attackers released a storm of fire from his hands. Four of their group answered as fire met fire, the roaring noise filling the arena.
“You heard the geezer, with me.” Glenn said as he started to lead a defensive retreat.
Jumping backwards, away from the fire, a guard shouted. “You’ll just be a burden in this fight.” Ilea saw how several shields formed in the air above Esteban, using the sun to channel a light beam through them.
The impact shakes the ground again, two of the attackers reemerging to the side of the swirling dust and debris. Massive arrows of fire impacted one of them, Jyraiu flying a couple dozen meters behind their group with his fiery bow in hand.
The attacks scorched the ground around the elf but he simply deflected them with his hands and sharp looking nails. Silvis teleported behind him but the elf twirled around grabbing the rogue by the neck before he even had a chance to attack.
A crunch was heard and a lifeless Silvis sacked to the ground. ‘Oh fuck, teleporting not safe… noted.’ looking for Glenn, she blinked towards him. Crackling lightning, ice shards and other magic filled the arena as the defenders tried to keep the Elves busy.
A few seconds later most of the people below lvl 100 were gathered near Glenn or running in his direction. Not wanting to attract too much attention he simply motioned for the others to follow as he started running towards one of the arena entrances for the fighters.
Ilea followed him, ready to blink away at any sign one of those monsters might possibly get her. Entering the gate, she foud herself inside of a tunnel but Glenn didn’t stop. The group of people kept running for ten minutes, occasionally turning around corners while hearing dulled explosions and roars from the city above.
“There were fucking three of them! What does this mean?!” a warrior type shouted from the back, immediately silenced by a hard punch to the side by Marco.
The tank from the Pranking falcons put a finger in front of his mouth. “You keep quiet, I don’t plan to die here today.”
“That applies to everyone.” Glenn said from the front while slowly coming to a stop. Continuing in a much quieter tone he motioned for the group to keep following “We’ve made good distance, hopefully none of them is following us. We’ll continue slower and much more quietly for now and try to get out of the city. One of those tunnels leads into a mine south west of here.”
Some people murmured at that. Aaron the bard walked up to Glenn “The Calys mine is abandoned and for good reason. I’ve heard stalker hounds have been sighted in the area.” some of the people around Ilea frowned at the mention of the hounds.
‘Haven’t heard of those...’ a small smile tugged on Ilea’s lips. ‘New things to fight, and an abandoned mine? If that doesn’t sound like a possible dungeon then I don’t know what does…,’
“Hmm...foooound you.” everyone froze when the voice reverberated in their ears. Turning around, Ilea saw one of the Elves standing around fifty meters away back in the tunnel.
[Warrior - ??]
“Prepare to fight, tanks to the front and back. The rest in the middle. If we die here we’ll at least take a chunk out of that fucker!” Glenn shouted and a couple of the men and one woman around Ilea roared at that as everyone activated their skills and got into position.
“Hmm… yes… you’re gonna taste… wonderful.” suddenly sprinting, the Elf smiled as his magic gathered.
“Try to move further down the tunnel as we fight, the mine shouldn’t be far. Mages, be careful not to collapse the ceiling!” spells sprang to life as a massive force slammed into the tanks up front. A crack was heard as an arm broke, trying to hold up a shield against the elven warrior.
Two swords pierced through the opening and left only the falling corpse of the man behind. Dodging the magic that was sent towards the elf, he spun around and kept slashing at the shields in front of him.
A healer next to Ilea tried to help the fallen tank, panicking a little. ‘He’s already dead...’ focusing back to the front, the tanks seemed to have stabilized. With supporting magic from behind the group steadily but slowly advanced through the tunnel.
Ilea saw some of the people around her shaking. ‘If he gets through...’ seconds passed slower than she had ever experienced, as the group continued on their way and clangs of metal against metal filled the tight space with noise.
Luckily the elf didn’t manage to break through and they soon reached a hall of some kind. The walls seemingly more rough and natural than in the tunnels before. “This is it! Mages, trash that barricade over there.” motioning to a construction of metal and wood, Glenn shouted to the group. “Tanks don’t exit the tunnel, we hold here!”
Some of the mages were chanting or channeling their mana to break through the sturdy looking barrier at the other end of the hall. ‘Around thirty meters… I should be able to blink that far.’
Just as the first shards of ice and rocks hit the barrier, another one of the tanks went down, gurgling as he held the wound on his neck. The elven swords quickly pierced right through the shield in front of them. Letting go of it, another tank slashed at his adversary.
The sword stopped suddenly, the elf having released one of his to block the attacker’s with his now free hand. Letting go of his weapon, the tank turned around but before he could even start to flee, the Elf was upon him. His claws dug into the man’s neck. An eerie quiet filled the room, the blood spurting the only noise as the elf slowly got up from his crouched position above his dying victim.