Chapter 26 Not a title
Leaving the guard station, Ilea was both in a thoughtful but content mood. The talk with Dale showed her a new perspective on things. ‘I’m glad I’m as free as I am. To be constantly afraid of dying and leaving behind a family or an unprotected town would suuuck.’
Walking around in the town aimlessly, the sun began to slowly sink. She heard mothers calling for their kids to come home and eat. Saw men closing down their shops with tired expressions on their faces, ready to go home.
A kid was playing happily with his dog. Perhaps the same she had seen earlier today.
Ilea found a bench on a hill with a nice view of a big part of the city. ‘I guess if I can be there to fight monsters and these people don’t have to. Kind of a win-win situation.’
She sat there for nearly an hour thinking about her purpose in life. Before it was more of an ongoing drag. Working out, consuming entertainment, going to work, school. In the future college and then work.
It seemed a bit pointless to her now. Of course she had enjoyed parts of her life back on Earth, other parts were annoying.
There was just something she enjoyed about her current lifestyle. The simplicity of it. ‘Maybe I should’ve gone into pest control instead of medicine…,’ She wondered. ‘Or maybe a farmer?’
What she knew for certain was that in this world, she was free. and she could forge her own path with her own strength. ‘The strength I luckily gained from an old ruin I accidentally stumbled upon…,’
She chuckled at that and decided that what she knew for certain was that she knew very little. There was no definite answer but she was happy, right here and right now. Getting up from the bench she stretched.
“Time to lose the sentimentality and do something.” So she did. She ran through the city in the evening glow of the sun with more and more lights coming to life around Riverwatch. Jumping up on a building, she continued on the rooftops, her Dexterity and speed leaving no mark of her passing behind.
‘Does the why really matter when you can run around on top of buildings, feeling the wind in your hair?’ Ilea didn’t care about the answer as she kept running, a smile on her face. Some people were wondering where the laughter came from that they heard, but it was infectious and many a face turned a bit more brighter at the noise. Others of course shouted at her to shut the fuck up but to her it was all the same.
The next day soon came. Ilea stayed in her expensive Inn bed reading the books Splicer had left in her possession after eating a rich meal and taking a long bath the evening before. Only getting up for lunch, she got dressed and walked downstairs.
Giving the room key back, she said goodbye to the innkeeper. The whole night cost her five silver.
‘So what to do today…,’ she thought as she stepped out into the road. It must’ve rained later in the night as she saw a cart being pulled through the muddy road. The sun was out and shining though.
She walked through the city, occasionally stopping to check out a shop or a stand with food. Finally she came up on the adventurer guild and went inside. The people inside immediately glared at her again and they started whispering.
“A healer above level 50??”, “Do you see her… no not the red haired one… what, yes I can see she has a great ass but look at the healer!”, “Matt, what team is she with?”, “Oh my god you bunch of creepy assholes.”, “Let’s go ask her, I’m sure she won’t decline your pure heart Legomo!”
‘I don’t have a great ass?’ She looked at the red haired woman and had to sadly agree. Looking to the guy who said that she raised her thumb. The man next to him freaked out but he just smiled and gave a thumbs up back.
“She heard me? What the fuck??”, “Don’t worry, she didn’t. It’s a language of the soul.”, “Your dick you mean…,”
She stopped listening after that and went to a notice board on the wall to check on assignments. Ilea completely ignored the people that came up to her and after the third one, they left her alone, back to their own conversations or on top of the next unlucky desirable that entered the building.
She noticed that very few people were alone. ‘Guess those are nutters like me.’ checking the notice board, she found a lot of different assignments. A lot of them were for protection of caravans or property. Some others for monster subjugation, many of those were posted by the city itself it seemed.
Gathering was a big aspect as well but those assignments were a bit different than Ilea expected them to be. Instead of going out and gathering, they were simply about protecting the person that wished to gather something.
‘Makes sense I guess… I’m not a herbalist or a miner after all…,’ She was interrupted by a clerk calling out to her.
"Excuse me, what's your name?" He asked as she approached.
"Ilea, why do you ask?" She said as she leaned on the counter
"Yea, not a lot of healers around. Fewer with black hair and blue eyes. There was a letter delivered for you. Please wait a moment." He said and went to a back room. A minute later he came back and handed her a sealed letter.
“Does this cost me anything?” She asked but he shook his head.
“Paid in advance but I do appreciate tips.” He smiled a bright smile to which she handed over a couple coppers. Returning towards the notice board, she opened the envelope and read the contents.
I have heard of the Elven attack and hope dearly that you are doing well. Please visit me in Dawntree as soon as you can, I have a job that you might be interested in.
‘Didn’t she say she wouldn’t see me in quite a while… it’s only been a month or so.’ She shrugged as she thought that ‘Not like I have anything better to do and traveling seems nice.’
Continuing through the list of posted assignments, Ilea found something appropriate and took it. It was about the protection of a caravan on their way westward. They would leave in two days, exactly when her armor would be done.
Seeing as she was a healer, the clerk didn’t even double check anything and immediately approved her. “Your contact is Arven. He’s gonna be the captain of the caravan guard. They leave at midday from the southern gate. Take this with you to identify yourself.” She got back the paper she took from the wall which now additionally held a stamp.
Thanking the clerk, she went back outside, folding the paper and putting it into her notebook. She visited the library again but didn’t find Maria so left soon after again. She had plenty of books to read for now so there was no need to get more.
Ilea decided then that she’d be spending the next two days relaxing. ‘Not in the city though… I need some time away from all this busyness…,’ She thought, as she walked towards the southern gate. Exiting the city, she ran for around an hour, reaching an area overlooking the city.
Normally one would assume that a place with an as wonderful view as the one before her would be filled with people, or at least someone trying to sell something. It wasn’t though, for the simple reason that it was outside the city walls. ‘At least something good comes from so many people choosing not to fight…,’ She thought as she jumped up a favorable tree to look for a nice place to rest and read.
The day went by and before Ilea noticed, she had read through three of the five books Splicer had lent her. ‘Not bad…,’ she thought as she looked at the cover of the best one she’d read so far. A fantasy story about a young man facing down a demon to protect his family. The demon then forces the man to help him, holding his family hostage.
Upon helping the demon find an ancient sword, he learned that his family had long been eaten by the demon. Being left for dead by some of the demon’s followers in a high level dungeon, his resolve was set and he struggled against impossible foes.
The latter half of the book was basically him entering the demon’s kingdom and finding his revenge. ‘Not really a fantasy story though… considering the world I live in now I guess…,’
‘I do like revenge stories…,’ smiling at the book with the familiar feeling of loss in her stomach, she put it back into her pack. Deciding that she had read enough, she prepared to sleep.
Sleeping on something like wood didn’t bother her much anymore. Her much stronger body barely noticing the normally unpleasant cushion. Although she did of course prefer a nice inn bed, there was something about sleeping outside in this strange world that she found captivating.
‘Maybe I should carry around a nice feather bed with me…,’ Ilea mused as sleep came to her.
The next day was spent much the same. This time she also went for a walk around the forest, trying to sneak up on different animals. It didn’t quite succeed as planned but being able to outrun them still allowed her to catch up to them easily. Being a bit sick of meat though, she usually just forcefully cuddled them or fed them some fruit. Some of the animals even tried to follow her around afterwards. ‘I’m a princess alright…,’ She smugly thought, as she tried her best at singing songs from a different world.
“You finished all of them?” Splicer asked as Ilea put the books on the counter. She had finished the two last books she had the day before and was now preparing to leave with the caravan. “I did, I did… this one was really good. Got anything similar or by the same author?” She pointed to the revenge story to which he chuckled.
“Didn’t take you for that type. Remind me not to get on your bad side. The author has another couple books as far as I remember. I only have one of them though.” She nodded and got her backpack on again.
“Could you check the books and diaries I brought?” He got something from below the counter. Nodding, he pushed over the coin pouch. “31 Gold for the diaries and another three gold for the books. Although I have to say most of their worth comes with the age and not the content.”
“Thank you. Although I have to say this is a LOT of money. Considering I had an armor made for four gold just a couple days ago… where’s the catch?”
“There is no catch my dear healer. Information and history is a pricey business and although one has to look hard to sell, there are some people willing to buy. Some very very wealthy people.”
Taking the money, she eyed him skeptically while jingling the pouch. “Like the Foundation of Glass for example?”
The corner of his mouth lifted a nearly unnoticeable amount at that. “Yes. For example the Foundation.” He affirmed. “Now would you like to buy the book I mentioned?”
Ilea chose three books, including the one he had mentioned. Totaling at one Gold coin it was one of the priciest investments she had made so far. Considering what she was paid before it was a fair exchange though. ‘Some old diaries by a bunch of junkies for thirty gold…,’ She thought. Indeed Ilea had been a Bluemoon junkie as well just half a year ago but she’s been clean for quite some time now.
She left the store soon after with her three first books that wouldn’t dissolve after a week. She didn’t count the history books by the order and all the rest was just borrowed.
‘I kinda like Riverwatch at this point. It certainly has it’s charm.’ She smiled to herself, while looking at the small restaurants and cafes. ‘Sometimes I forget that I’m in a medieval like world… magic really does change some things that would have only been possible via technological advancements on earth.’
She passed a tough looking adventurer team with blood and injuries all over them. “That girl there is a healer, come on Alex!” She overheard one of them saying. The man, apparently Alex just grunted and continued walking.
‘Dunno what that is about…,’ Ilea kept walking as well though, thinking about the possibility of bringing some of the technology from earth into this place. ‘I sadly know way too little about most things to really make a difference… and with magic being there, a lot gets easier or completely different as well.’
Before she knew it, Ilea arrived before Earl’s shop. Thoughts of becoming magical Ol’Musky left her at the prospect of what waited inside the store. ‘Nobody calls me that…,’
“It’s fifty silver or there’s the door.” Earl’s voice entered her ears, her entrance seemingly demonstrating where the exit was for the woman standing before the blacksmith.
“Well fuck this then…,” The woman said and stormed past Ilea.
“What was that about?” The healer asked, while approaching the counter. “Just another customer that isn’t used to paying for quality. Bunch of second rate hawks calling themselves smiths…,” Earl stumbled upon the last words but soon a smile formed on his face.
“You’re here though and a paying customer at that!” He said, gesturing her to follow. ‘Guess it’s done then…,’ She mused, following the bulky man.
“I finished it yesterday. Not my greatest work I have to admit but still better than most things you can buy out there. I’ll give you a discount or you can choose any weapon out front. Nothing worth more than half a Gold though.” He said, removing a piece of cloth from the armor stand.
What greeted her was something beautiful. Akin to seeing a nice sports car on the street. Not something that you could or likely even would buy, nonetheless beautiful to look at. ‘A sports car’s power is rarely used in everyday life though… I feel like with this it’s a bit different…,’ She thought, while approaching the armor.
It had a base of a flexible leather, dark brownish red in color. Drake bone would lay on top of the shins, thighs, parts of the chest. Additionally the bone covered parts of her upper arms. The sides of the legs, arms, the torso and the stomach were partly covered by red Drake scales.
Some scales also covered the shoulders, all there more to deflect blows than to absorb energy. The bone however seemed very sturdy. At least to Ilea’s untrained eye.
Walking around the armor stand, she noticed that the back of the legs were only partly covered by scales with no bones to be seen. Surely to allow better movement she thought. What seemed to be a mini skirt of leather and scales hung behind and to the side of the armor, not covering the front though.
Looking at it a bit skeptically, Earl finally decided to wake from his smiling trance and hastily explained. “It’ll protect your backside while not inhibiting any movements. I find it to be a good solution for female warriors of most races…,” He said and she just nodded.
‘Hips don’t lie apparently… hopefully I still get pockets though…,’ She noticed several places on the armor where pouches could be put or where a belt could be slung through.
The rest of the back was covered in nicely intertwined scales, with two rather big plates of bone covering the upper back. All in all the materials were very well used and left little room where the leather below could be seen. ‘Not a lot of weak points…,’ she thought while nodding.
She also liked the hooks below where her neck would be. Most likely to fasten a hood, not quite unlike the one she wore at that very moment.
Earl didn’t miss her smile at that which only made his even bigger. “How’d ya like it lass?”
She smiled back at him and again marveled at the armor.
[Drake Chest piece – High Quality]
[Drake Waist piece – High Quality]
[Drake Leg Armor – High Quality]
[Drake Boots – High Quality]
“I love it Earl, it’s beautiful.”
“Armor’s not supposed to be beautiful, it’s supposed to protect you. How’s your Strength looking?” He asked
“111, why?” she supplied while touching the armor. Earl was a bit taken aback by her statement. Both by the high level of strength investment for an apparent healer but more so by her casual information. Most people would be more secretive about their stats.
He knew she was a fighter as anybody else would question the intelligence of a healer with over a hundred strength. Not Intelligence, intelligence. Intelligence would be a quite intelligent investment for a healer after all.
“It’s pretty heavy all in all. With over a hundred Strength you’ll be more than fine though. The leg armor can be put on similar to pants. The boots and chest piece shouldn’t be a problem either. I’ll give you a couple minutes to change… or do you want to try it out later?”
She shook her head “I’ll call you when I’m done.” She said as he unfastened the buckles on the waist piece ‘Mini skirt…,’ and then the ones connecting the leg piece to the chest piece.
Ilea removed her backpack and leather armor and put it on the ground. ‘This is like Christmas…,’ She thought, removing the leg piece from the stand and hugging it. Putting it on the ground next to her, she also removed her traveling clothes. Earl had supplied a new set with a different cloth that would cling better to the leather above.
Ilea had usually washed her underwear and clothes in whatever water source she had found at the time. Being in the wild or being able to get there in but a couple hours made it easy for her to find secluded water sources. The fact that there were much much fewer people out there and her enhanced senses made it easy for her to be naked for a while.
‘I’ll have to get a bunch more clothes for winter probably…,’ She thought mostly of comfy underwear. With her stats and buffs to her body, it would take quite the unheard of weather conditions to even bother her a little.
Ready to move on to the armor itself, Ilea got on the leg armor. ‘It really is like pants…,’ She thought, as she easily slipped into them. The boots soon followed and then the chest piece. It was a bit bulky compared to the previous pieces but certainly no issue for the inhumanly strong woman. ‘I mean I am human and this is normal here isn’t it? Maybe unearthly strength?’
Thinking of that, she turned around to look at herself in a piece of polished metal that was conveniently placed near the stand. ‘Well ain’t that something…,’ A smile spread on her lips.