Chapter 14 It's a party!
As the elf grabbed his two swords from the downed shield the room exploded into motion. The mages stopped casting and ran towards the barrier, many of the warriors following.
Five or six people prepared to fight the adversary, Ilea included. ‘I can just blink away if it gets hairy… can’t let my chance at that leather armor get away… ’ next to her, Oliver prepared glass shards and Aaron was playing on his massive lute.
Glenn and another warrior prepared their skills. Completely ignoring the group in front of him, the Elf ran to the side with incredible speed. Dodging the glass shards thrown his way, he ran after the fleeing members of the group.
“Stand and fight!” Glenn shouted but few of them even heared him. Magic and weapons alike hammered against the barrier, at least from those already in range.
Quickly catching up with his prey, the Elf left severed limbs and deep wounds behind as he cut clean through bone and armor with his haunting looking swords. Running after him, the group got into a loose formation.
Glenn, the other warrior and Aaron in front with Ilea, Oliver and Eleonora in the back. The enchantress had a huge smile on her face. ‘Can’t really blame her now can I?’ Ilea thought, grinning too. The adrenaline from the danger, blood and smoke in the air but most of all her ability to actually do something about it and fight filled her with joy. ‘Now don’t do anything stupid… this guy rips through people much higher in level than you in one slash… no stupid teleports… together with the others…,’
They ran over the devastated corpses, not gaining an inch on the fast and skillfully moving elf. Some of the fighters at the barrier turned around to face him, a similar formation formed as the mages shot projectiles of elements towards the fast moving predator.
Around fifteen people were now facing the elf and six ran after him. He continued to advance while dodging or deflecting the magic and arrows of his prey. Reaching the first warrior the elf ducked under a sword swing and returned, cutting the warrior in half with a single clean slash.
Some magic managed to hit him in the chest but it didn’t slow him down in the slightest. Two more warriors fell as he jumped into the group of mages. A flurry of blades, blood and screams followed as he slashed through the group.
No longer smiling, Ilea activated her aura ‘That’s not a fight… it’s a massacre. We don’t stand a chance.’ Glenn seemingly having reached the same conclusion slowed down a little.
“We have to get through the barricade… let’s hope a dungeon has formed or we’re all dead. Give it all you have!” his sword started to glow and a beam of red energy flew over the mangled corpses into the battered barrier.
Wood shattered but it wasn’t enough to break through. Becoming rock, Aaron slowed down as he spun around, throwing the monstrous lute with his full body weight towards the barricade. Two massive fiery glass spears followed, the explosion nearly robbing Ilea of her hearing.
A swing of Glenn’s sword sent a wave of wind towards the barrier, clearing the dust. “It’s open, run for th…,” his shout was stopped when a sword pierced through his throat.
“RUN!” Oliver shouted next to her as they increased their speed. Only five meters away from the opening, the Elf reached Aaron. The bard blocked the two swords with his arms.
‘My chance…,’ trying to keep the blades away from his chest, Aaron fought back for a second as Ilea blinked above the elf. Already spinning in the air, her kick aimed for his head. Unable to block her as his blades were stuck in Aaron, the kick landed. Ilea’s shin cracked and splintered on impact but the warrior was sent flying. Aaron lurched as the swords dislodged from his arms, still held by the elf.
Landing on her feet, Ilea crouched and tackled Aaron hard enough to throw them through the opening. They landed in a clutter, moaning at the pain of their injuries.
‘ding’ ‘You have entered the Calys dungeon’
After healing her shattered leg a bit, Ilea turned to Aaron and used Reconstruction on his arms. One of them had nearly been cut through completely. The man only grunted as the cuts closed, his flesh forming new connections.
Finally looking around, Ilea saw Eleonora sitting next to her, fascinated by the healer’s magic. Oliver was standing a little behind her. They were in a small cave opening and the Elf was staring at them from the room they’d just escaped from, hatred in his eyes.
Oliver was staring back. The warrior that stood by their side was also with them. All the others seemed to be lying scattered around the ground next to the elven male. “Why is he not attacking?” Ilea asked.
“We’re in a dungeon. They don’t like dungeons… no idea why but many a time people survived simply because of this fact. If the elves don’t wait at the entrance for weeks that is… let’s hope this one has other plans.” Oliver talked but continued staring at the elf.
The elf calmed down a little, a smile once again spread on his face as he reached down to one of the corpses. Lifting the body of the small man, he bit into the neck.
“Oh wow that’s disgusting.” Finishing her healing of Aaron, Ilea stood up again to test her leg. It’s was already healed ‘I love my this skill...’
“That’s some very impressive healing. Thank you… for saving my life.” stretching out his fixed arm, Aaron got up “I’m Aaron. Bard and rock enhancer” She clasped his huge hand.
“Ilea, battle healer.” ‘I guess…,’ Nodding at that, Aaron looked around.
“I suggest we go a bit further in as well, we don’t need to honor that cunt with our presence any longer.” Oliver said and turned around before he walked inside the cave. Nobody seemed to be against it and followed.
Taking a last glance at the eating elf, Ilea locked eyes with him. A shiver ran down her spine but a smile soon came to her face. ‘In this world I can become as strong as him… fighting like that must be amazing… and being able to fight against that… even more so.’ Joining her fists together like she had learned in one of the Azarinth fighting stance books, she broke eye contact and left the elf to his lunch.
“Your magic is beautiful!” a female voice said next to her. Turning, Ilea found Eleonora staring at her with big eyes. If one counted the birds sitting on her shoulders, hair, arms, around her and on her bag, it was more than two eyes staring at Ilea.
“Not as brilliant as his...” she motioned to the elf “...but there’s a controlled flow to it… I’ve never seen anything like it…,” suddenly embracing Ilea, the birds joined as they landed in her hair and on her arms “..I like you!” the woman said. Ilea returned the hug a little apprehensively.
She started to move the two of them towards the others as she talked “I’m happy to hear that, let’s get moving though.”
A minute of walking later, the cave opened up into a bigger cave with several tunnel openings. Sitting on the ground, the remaining warrior rested his back and closed his eyes while chuckling. “What a fucking day. Hoped to never see those bastards again.”
Grunting at that, Oliver looked around the room “Should’ve gone east… and not stayed so close to the forest you idiot.” The smile on his face and his tone removing any possibility of interpreting the jab as an actual insult.
“I know I know but the laws are a bit looser here and the women…,” looking towards the two women that just entered, the warrior stoped talking.
“Oh don’t worry about us, I do believe we can take a joke about our gender.” Ilea said as Eleonora finally released her from the hug.
“I probably don’t have to remind you as you are all rather skilled fighters that we are in a dungeon. And if the story about the stalker hounds is true then we better at least be ready to work together.” Aaron said in a more serious tone. “Although I am glad we survived that… any of you lose anyone close?”
‘Is he checking our mental states? I vote him the leader!’ Everyone responded to the question with either a no or a shaking of their head.
“I did know Glenn… was a massive cunt though. Don’t get me wrong, the elves are more cunty but yea… plus I owed him some gambling money… you didn’t hear that though.” the warrior said as he jumped up and dusted himself off.
“Well then I’ll start. Name’s Geronimo, warrior and ranger. Around level 60 warrior, 50s ranger. I won’t tank and I lost my crossbow while running for my life.” Twirling his short sword around a couple times, he bowed.
“Oliver. You’ve seen me in the arena? Glass mage around 70. Ranged so I’ll stay back with Eleonora.” He said while looking at the woman.
“I’m Eleonora but you guys can call me Ellie. Wait I have to check my level… ah it’s 92 for tamer at the moment and 78 for enchantress. My birds can throw bombs and I can also make shields and other enchantments!”
“I’m Ilea. Healer and close combat fighter. Both in one class and it’s only lvl 47.” none of the others seemed to be bothered by her comparatively low level.
“I’m Aaron, bard and rock enhancer both at around 60. Glad to have a healer in the team… a fighting one at that apparently. So what do you guys want to do? We could wait here for a day or two gambling to see if he leaves. Or we could try to find another way out… I doubt this was the only entrance to the mine, it being a dungeon now doesn’t change that fact. I also doubt we have enough food and water to stay here?” looking at the group, only silence was his answer “Well then I suggest we start moving. Me and Geronimo at the front, then Ilea then Oliver and Ellie.”
Nobody seemed to question the leading role Aaron assumed, even though he was the second lowest in level. ‘Glad I didn’t land here with idiots.’ getting into the suggested formation, the group walked into one of the tunnels.
“Stalker hounds range to the lower hundreds in level so let’s try not to fight too many at once.” Aaron concluded and the group continued on without another word. All of them were working through what had happened just fifteen minutes ago in their own way. Talking apparently, was not part of it.
The group continued for twenty minutes in silence, always vigilant of any danger. They were in a dungeon after all. The whole mine seemed deserted, some tools and wagons still standing in the mine shafts. If not for Oliver’s fire it would’ve been completely dark. Reaching an old waypoint, they opened a shut door to find a rather spacious room.
“There’s wood here and those rags seem good enough for sleeping.” said Oliver, motioning to the old sleeping bags and the tools in the room. “Might as well stay the night.”
Immediately slumping down, Eleonora seemed to fall asleep almost instantly. “Oliver fire, Geronimo help me close up that door again. Ilea can you check supplies?” they started moving at Aaron’s words and soon a small fire was crackling in the room.
Light dancing on the cave walls around them, the door was barred once more. “That’s not a lot…,” looking over the things Ilea had found, Aaron obviously wasn’t pleased. “Guess it’s stalker hound on the menu from tomorrow on. We’ll plan more in the morning. This is as safe as we’ll get. I’ll take first watch.”
Everyone got to sleeping pretty quickly, the exhaustion from near death experiences and seeing a whole group of people completely wiped out not easily brushed off even by veterans.
Waking up a couple hours later, Ilea motioned for Aaron to go to sleep. ‘Man I’m glad for my class… I barely need any more sleep than this anymore. Although once I’m in a safe place again I’ll sleep for twelve hours… wait my bed! Oh no, I fucking hope those shitty elves didn’t ruin my beloved! I just got it!’
“You seem upset, bad dreams?” Aaron asked as he laid down. “Something like that yea.” answering with a thoughtful voice, Ilea took the place next to the fire and watched the barricade.
The night passed without any further disturbance. Ilea let the others sleep while keeping her Aura skill up until her mana reached half while moving through some stances as quietly as possible. ‘Dunno how common the class effect is.’
Aaron was the first to get up again to her surprise. Yawning he looked at her “Still up? Or did you rotate through and forgot about me?” his answer was Ilea’s shaking head “You have some passive skill or something that reduces your needed sleep time?” This time it was a nod “Nice, not too uncommon for healers. Many envy that trait but then again few envy healers, unless there’s one of em saving their ass.”
Chuckling slightly Aaron sat opposite of her, the fire had been kept alive by Ilea through the night. She smiled in return. “A shame what happened to those people. I’m new around here, how common are attacks like that?” Ilea asked after a while of silence.
“Yea, knew some of them. Nobody too close but it’s a shame. It’s been a while since the last elven attacks, maybe a couple months. We’re close to the Navali forest so it’s a given but this one was different. They haven’t directly attacked a city in years. Guess they just waited for us to shift our attention to other things. I mean what’s a couple years to an elf?”
Staring at the fire for a minute, Aaron continued “I just hope the city’s still standing and that we got some of them. Not likely though, they’re great at fighting and magic but even greater at running away.” Picking up a stick and playing with the fire, he returned to silence.
Trying to change the obviously difficult topic for Aaron, Ilea started again “You’re a rock enhancer right?” she took his silence for affirmation “I’m from a pretty far away healing order and we didn’t train in anything else but our fighting and healing. I saw some pretty impressive skills in the tournament though and thought of getting an enhancement class… seeing as I fight with my body. What would you suggest? Oh and I know very little about all this, my order literally ignored anything not having to do with their own greatness.”
“Hmm...well you’re rather open about your lack of knowledge. You saved my life though so I’ll help you anyway I can. Enhancements… well it’s always a personal thing. There are many elemental enhancements. Like my rock enhancer class. It’s a pretty defensive one. Ice, fire and lightning for example are more offensively oriented. Ice being precise and deadly, fire solely power and lightning is speed oriented.”
“There are many skills though in each one of them so one isn’t too trapped in one style of fighting. As well as a myriad of other enhancer classes, and I definitely don’t know all of them. Any ideas about where you want to go?” The man asked.
“After seeing Jyraiu I kinda wanna go for fire… are there differences in class strengths and how do I get said class? Also what if I want to change later on?” Looking a bit confused at her, Aaron stopped playing with the fire.
“You’re level 47 and don’t know about that stuff? Well… ok… sorry about that, your healing order’s education is a bit questionable to say the least… no offense of course.”
“None taken. Normally we don’t leave the order so it wouldn’t be as much of an issue…,” this fabricated information seemed to convince Aaron as he lowered his eyebrows again.
“Well there are some crazy cults and orders out there… to answer your questions there are definitely differences in strength between classes. Some rarer ones like I’d imagine your healing and fighting one to be can be acquired through specific tasks or requirements that have to be met.”
“There are stories of people getting very advanced classes as their first class. The normal way though is to get the most basic class in the area and work your way up from there.”
“So for fire enhancer or like Jyraiu’s I think pyro enhancer I’d suggest starting at simply being a fire mage. Once you reach certain requirements you’ll get a chance to upgrade your class. You’ll keep the skills normally or they change according to the new class. Plus of course the class bonuses themselves change.”
“The higher the level the more specialized people are, at least that’s normally the case. You don’t lose any levels in the class though so starting as a fire mage isn’t a bad investment. I know little about the matter but maybe Oliver over there can help you get started. Usually a service like that would cost you quite a bit of gold but these circumstances might change it a little… I suggest taking full advantage.” He winked at her before continuing.
“As for the strengths… well it’s mostly related to the skills you have and at what level they are. I won’t ask but a level 47 shouldn’t have been able to move that elf with a kick… I’m assuming your skill level in whatever you used is pretty high. More specialized or higher classes give you access to better or more specialized skills. A very highly leveled normal fireball can win against a low leveled sun meteor… although the base skills are very differently placed in power.”
“Hmm that’s very informative. Guess I’ll ask Oliver about starting fire magics later. What skill levels should someone at 47 have then if you don’t mind telling?”
Standing up and stretching, another yawn escaped Aaron “Maybe level 10… at most.”
Ilea then asked “In the first or second tier?” and Aaron immediately stopped his stretch, looking at her with big eyes.
“You don’t mean to tell me you have skills in the second tier? What in the hell did you do?” looking to the ground, Ilea couldn’t help but smile.
‘Maybe giving away that information is a bit risky but he seems trustworthy… plus I saved his life and I’m gaining enough information anyway…,’ “Mostly fought alone vs monsters with a much higher level than me.”
“Well…,” standing there for half a minute, Aaron seemed to be looking for words “..that would explain it… yea. Although I’m sure you’re aware of how incredibly stupid and risky that is? People normally go the safest route possible in leveling. Even in a group of five or more people with a healer and someone to tank the monsters, it’s uncommon to go against anything at the same level… let alone higher level… and alone. You’re one of those crazy people eh? I mean I’m not judging but take my advice here… not many of your kind live through their twenties. You’re a healer though so maybe you have better chances… STILL! It’s VERY dangerous to do what you’re doing.”
Smiling brightly at him she answered “I love it though!”