Chapter 17 Bracers and Books
Moving the remaining scales to the blacksmith’s shop Ilea smiled as she arrived at the still standing house. Earl was working inside, talking to a city guard about repairs as Ilea entered, trying not to drop any of the scales in her arms.
Dropping them on a nearby empty table, she simply leaned on it and waited. The shop looked ransacked. Most of the weapons she’d seen only a couple days ago were gone. Only some older looking pieces remained.
‘Guess war isn’t the worst for everyone…,’ Finishing his business, Earl looked at her and smiled.
“The healer! You made it, glad you survived. Any stories?” He asked.
“Yes but for another day, there’s still business to be made in this chaos don’t you think…,” winking at the blacksmith she motioned to the scales. “Care to store some more of my stuff? For the appropriate price of course. I seem to have misplaced my backpack. I don’t suppose you have time working on anything?” she put a couple silver coins on the table as Earl started to move the scales.
“You’d be surprised. I honestly lack the metal stock to work on the ridiculous requests that came in from the city and other parties involved in this mess. Without the Windpuma I’m afraid little will be possible… little additional that is…,”
Breaking out into an enormous smile, the blacksmith placed two beautifully crafted scaled bracers on the again empty table. “I couldn’t quite resist and I had some strong hide on hand… I suggest replacing them with Windpuma as soon as you get it but they’ll do the job.”
Her eyes glowing a strong blue and her mouth nearly watering, Ilea grabbed the bracers and hugged them close to her chest. Identifying them, her smile grew bigger.
[Bracers of ash – High Quality ‘Additional protection against fire’]
“They look fucking awesome man, I think I love you!” Earl just laughed as she looked closely at the bracers. They were long enough to nearly cover all the way up to her elbows but left enough room for her wrists to stay flexible at the front. The whole way around was covered in the drake scales, joined together masterfully and fixed to a strong leather below.
As Ilea got them on she was happy to feel they were very smooth on the inside. On the outside they were a little bit bulky and weren’t as smooth but that was a given considering what they’d been made with. “Thought you could use a bit more bulk to block and the scales are rigid and extremely tough, perfect to deflect blades… I wish I’d see you do that…,” his grin matching her own as he told her about the bracers.
“They’re amazing. Really. What do I owe you?” holding up two fingers he shrugged.
“Two gold would be the price as most of the material came from you. I did need quite a while to make them… don’t tell the guard I kinda neglected some of their contracts to make this. I love working with scales.”
Handing him the two gold coins she simply nodded “You’ll be able to make more than that as soon as I get you a good hide. Seeing the guard Earl was talking to before leave the shop, Ilea blinked behind the smith and gave him a strong hug, lifting him up a little. “Thanks for those, have some other business to attend to though.”
Earl caught his breath as he shouted a weak bye her way. “That fucking monster… now about those two hundred new spears and swords… oh I have some days ahead of me.” the grin on Earl’s face and a glint of gold in his eyes showed the true way he felt about this whole ordeal.
Appearing behind the guard, he spun around drawing his sword. “Whoa whoa easy there mate, just have a question.” She quickly said, calming him with a defensive gesture. Breathing out, the guard sheathed his sword again and glared at her
“You’re aware that nerves are a LITTLE on edge here?!” Nodding extra excessively she put an arm around the guard.
“Yes yes, those were some days. To business though, I didn’t see any injured people. I’m a healer and would be able to help out if you show me where they are.” His eyes opened a little, the guard simply pointing into a direction.
“Most of the injured were taken to the closest guard center, although the eastern one isn’t more than smoking rocks at this point. I’m sure they’ll welcome you with open arms… if you don’t teleport behind them…,”
Ilea ran into the suggested direction while waving and saying thanks as he muttered “...damn teleporters…,” she jumped up on top the nearest house and continued on that way “Hey! that’s not allowed…,” the guard shouted after her but quickly stopped and scratched his head “Guess we have bigger problems than that healer…,”
Running towards the general direction of the closest guard center, Ilea crossed over the buildings. Sometimes she had to move back down to a street to cross blown up sections. Not like she couldn’t cross but more collateral damage wouldn’t help. ‘It wouldn’t hurt much either…,’ she thought before she jumped a couple dozen meters towards the gates of the guard center.
The man standing at the gate just looked at her while cleaning his nose when she suddenly facepalmed “Fuuuuck. I forgot to ask Oliver about the second class stuff… oh well, he wasn’t that helpful anyway. Guess I’ll go get one of those overpriced books if they’re not burnt down. Or watered down… now that I think about it water magic in a library… scary scary.”
Having reached the gate while talking to nobody in particular, she greeted the guard. He let her in rather quickly as soon as he identified her and got the info that she was there to help with any injured.
The guard and members of a taskforce of adventurers in the city were organizing the defense, rebuilding, logistics et cetera and assigned Ilea a tent with a lot of injured people inside. Most of them weren’t badly injured or at least not in a critical condition. All those were already dead or stabilized.
Rubbing her hands she silently started her duty. Just an hour later she emerged and informed the guy in the fancy armor that she was done. “Good job, you didn’t strike me as so diligent…,”
‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ she thought as the guy quickly whispered to one of the men next to him that ran to the tent.
“Thanks for the service though, the other three healers we had are sleeping off the night shifts they had to pull. I’m sure the injured are glad that they don’t have to suffer any longer.” Receiving a nod from the man he sent to apparently check if she had done her job right, he handed her a small bag with coins. “Three silver, plus two for a job well done. Mostly for doubting you though.” he winked at her and refocused on the map in front of him while talking to another fancy looking man that had just approached.
‘Guess I’m done here… not as much work as I expected.’ She walked through the smouldering city towards where she remembered the book shop being.
Not the fun one. On the way she bought a couple of things to eat, not really caring exactly what. Standing in front of the thankfully not demolished bookstore, Ilea finished the last of the potatoes filled with cheese that she had bought and entered.
‘Ah, much fewer people than last time. Let’s browse then, at least this time I know more or less what I’m looking for.’ After nearly four hours and a fee of twenty silver coins later for not buying anything yet, she approached the counter.
‘There are really some very interesting classes, styles and magic… I just hope this third class isn’t as mythical as people say and that I get there at some point. Sadly there wasn’t anything more interesting than the pyro enhancer class that I found here but some of those styles seemed fun…,’
Nobody was in front of her. Barely three people including the attendant were in the shop at all. “Business not going well?” she asked as she placed her four books on the counter.
“No ma’am. After the attack I’d wager buying expensive skill books isn’t on the top priority list for most people.” She nodded at that.
“Any room for haggling then?” She asked but he just smiled at her question.
“You’re not the best at this are you?” Sighing he took the books “Can’t really blame you though. We even thought about moving parts of the shop to a bit of a more… well… stable city. Seeing the worth of these books.”
He looked over the books “List prices it’d be 10 Gold. I can do 8 and 50 Silver, only on the condition that you show me those bracers clad in fire at some point though.” he said smirking.
“Oh caan do. But I’ll need a while for that. As you can see I’m a bit of a beginner in the subject.” motioning to the Basic Magic theory book.
“Sure, well then enjoy reading and don’t get yourself killed out there.” She handed him the money and nodded, leaving her at just above three gold pieces.
‘Alright, what else do I need before it’s back to that mine…,’ leaving the shop thinking about supplies, she needed more time than expected to find the basic things she was looking for. And it cost more than expected too. Seeing the dire state of the city it made sense of course.
“Thirty silver for a small backpack, some food and another canteen… man.” Seeing the dwindling funds, Ilea decided to sleep outside the city and just start on her way back to the Calys mine. An hour outside the city, the suns started to set and Ilea found herself the nicest tree in the vicinity and jumped up.
Climbing a bit she gothigh enough to see the city in the distance. Most of the fires and smoke she had seen before had already been put out. The sundown and the bustling city in the distance made for a very nice view as she stretched her legs on top of the tree.
“Might as well nap… let’s see if the sphere thingy works while I sleep. First though I still have like thirty stat points to distribute.” she said to herself, putting ten points into Vitality, Endurance and Intelligence each.
“I feel just a bit sharper, I hope this Intelligence thingy also works for witty comebacks. Oh yes, all seeing gods, I am stranded in a fantasy world with war and monsters and I use my stats to get better comebacks…,”
Ilea activated her Azarinth Sphere hoping to get some levels out of it. Five minutes later she prepared to sleep. Having checked the mana it took to keep the sphere up for five minutes, she realized it would take a couple more levels in both the skill and Wisdom to be able to maintain it indefinitely. Shutting the skill off again, she closed her eyes on top of the tree as the last light slowly drifted over the horizon to reveal the stars above.
She woke up only two hours later, thoroughly rested. ‘I mean it’s nice to wake up so rested after so little sleep but I kinda miss waking up as the suns come up… maybe I should just go to sleep later in the night.’ Activating her aura skill, the faint blue light was enough for her enhanced eyes to make out everything around her.
It was a cloudy night and mist had gathered in the forest around Riverwatch. One wouldn’t be able to see the glow of her skill from below the tree Ilea was lying on. She opened her backpack to reveal the books she’d bought for most of her remaining gold. The first one being Basic Magic theory. ‘Guess I’ll start with that one...’ she began reading through the night. She had bought three more books next to the Basic Magic theory one.
[Body Enhancement and you]
[Fire Magic for dummies]
[Fire Enhancer, Is the pain worth it?]
The books became more expensive the more specialized they were. Not having a lot of pages, Ilea burned through all of them in about six hours when the suns were slowly rising. ‘Well Magic theory didn’t help much. Guess I gained that understanding by surviving the Bluemoon grass.
‘Apparently most mages didn’t have it that easy… or is it magi? Magister? No wait, that’s latin…,’ Looking at the book and putting it into the backpack, she removed some bread and meat to have breakfast while enjoying the view of the rising suns.
‘Body enhancement seems very interesting. Didn’t learn that much there either because my aura comes so naturally to me. Apparently that’s also because of the class and the grass I ate in the ruins. Luckyyyy me. Plus apparently my class is amazing.’
All the examples in the book for class bonuses were at 20% to 30% bonuses for body enhancements tops. Most also had other bonuses such as elemental damage bonuses, cast time bonuses, resistances and much more. ‘My class only has three bonuses although those three are so good I don’t really care about any others...’ The book also confirmed what Ilea already felt to be true, increasing her Intelligence stat would help her more with raw power than the Strength stat.
Putting the book back into her backpack too, she finished eating. The fire magics book explained different ways to look at fire. Different existing religions, theories by archmages and science related explanations.
Apparently it was paramount to have a great understanding of fire, in different viewpoints to become a fire mage. The way mana was released in fire magic was also a little different than the spells Ilea used in her Azarinth healer category. The Azarinth style was more explosive, be it the healing spells or the Aura. Once activated it was certainly controlled but the initial activation of the skills was rather intense.
Fire needed a more gradual buildup apparently, at least until you achieved much better control. That’s why having a cast time reduction bonus on your class was important to them. Apparently the speed of Ilea’s spell activation was incredibly high for her level. The body enhancement book explained that a little though as apparently body enhancements and often associated Aura spells were much faster.
It was theorized that manipulating your body which was already used to your mana and it’s flow was easier than creating a ball of fire for example in the air in front of you. Ilea took most of the theories in the books with a grain of salt.
In a world where personal power was this important and magic books were this expensive there was probably quite a bit of non shared knowledge out there. ‘Doesn’t matter as long as I learn how to set myself aflame… in a non dying way.’ She thought as she put the last two books into her backpack.
At the start of each book it was mentioned that after first reading the book it would dissolve in a week’s time so that reselling or simply gifting it to another person wasn’t possible.
‘Couldn’t I just copy the knowledge into another book? Eh maybe there are laws or something… like with piracy on earth, seems a bit difficult to enforce and they do have libraries here…,’ getting up to stretch, Ilea realized that most of the mist had been broken by the suns. “Back to grinding it is then. This time no distractions.” smashing her fists together, she jumped off the tree with her backpack in tow.
Ilea ran at nearly full speed until she reached the mine entrance. ‘Back to the underground.’ she thought as she entered. The big room they had fought in as they left was now empty. ‘Guess I’ll just walk around exploring. Ilea had a crude map on a piece of half burnt paper that she had copied from Geronimo as he was scribbling down the information they had gathered so far on the night before they left.
She basically doodled some tunnels and would continue to occasionally do so as she explored, not trying too hard to maintain scale or accuracy. There were two ways to go from the big room and Ilea chose the one she hadn’t come from with her party before.
It didn’t take long to her first encounter.
[Undead Warrior - lvl ??]
There were two of them slowly shambling her way, holding crude rusty swords in their rotten hands. ‘Well here goes nothing, let’s try the new skills I got… the passive should activate automatically once I fight…,’
Activating both State of Azarinth and Sphere of Azarinth she blinked right behind the Undead that was further away, spinning into a sweep kick, the zombie fell down. One of its legs cracking in the process.
The second Undead reacting to the sound slowly turned toward her but not before Ilea stomped on the other leg of her downed enemy. ‘I still have time… is this the perception skill I got?’ Not wasting anything, Ilea jumped up slightly and crashed down with a full power stomp on the first Undead’s head. A slight crack was heard but the head didn’t give yet.
Four more stomps and mushy flesh covered the ground. ‘Still… fucking gross…,’ The second Undead had reached her at that point. Dodging a swing that felt too slow for her, she punched the sword arm of her adversary upwards, cracking some bones as it flew above her head.
The weapon was dropped and Ilea continued with her proven method of leg braking. She blinked behind the Undead, dodging the wild flailing of her foe and broke both of its shins with swift kicks. The rest of the fight went much like the first Undead. A couple stomps on its head finished it soon.
‘ding’ ‘You have killed [Undead warrior] x2. For killing an adversary 40 or more levels above your own you receive bonus experience.’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth Healer has reached level 55. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth Perception reaches lvl 3’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth Sphere reaches lvl 2’
‘Well that was easy...’ Deactivating the sphere skill Ilea realized how dark it was inside the cavern already. ‘I saw them perfectly fine though… must be the skill.’ Activating it again, she perceived the Unundead in her radius perfectly. ‘It’s not exactly sight… but I know where they are… I’d argue it’s better than sight, I also perceive what’s behind them and I have no blind spots… this skill is phenomenal. Then again I got it as the first skill in the class in a while and that at level 50.’
She simply stood there for a minute, activating and deactivating the skill, getting used to the sensation and slightly different way of seeing the world. It was a very different way but having the skill meant it came naturally to her.
‘Still it costs quite a bit of mana still… I barely notice the drain of my main aura. Guess it’ll change as I level it.’ She grabbed the two rusty swords and then thought better of it, throwing them away ‘This is stupid, I don’t want to gather this rusty junk and carry it around for the scrap money I’ll get.’
‘If I continue as I do, I’ll get better stuff to sell at one point or another.’ She walked on, deeper into the cavern ‘Plus the only thing I need money for is food and maybe stuff from Earl…,’ looking at her bracers, she hadn’t used them at all in the fight before. The faintly glowing figure of Ilea slowly descended into the cave system, only a faint blue glow illuminating her smile as she lifted the black hood over her hair.