Chapter 29 Force of nature
'ding' ‘You have heard a mighty being’s cry, you are paralyzed for thirty seconds.’
The message appeared for all the present warriors, merchants and even Nazark. The time of paralysis was rather different for each individual. Ilea’s mental resistance and high Vitality and Endurance resulted in only thirty seconds. Some of them couldn’t move for up to three minutes.
The cave was quiet, not a single one of the monsters or people moving a muscle. An eerie quiet was what Ilea thought, just before she felt an incredible buildup of mana around a hundred meters behind her. She had never felt mana from that far away.
The mana vanished and the sound of approaching wind could be heard, even with Ilea’s only partially healed ears. The paralysis only affected the body and not skills or the circulation of mana after all and by now healing herself was mere instinct.
A massive wave of air disrupted the frozen scene as wagons, stone and people alike were flung in their frozen states. The circle of wagons was rapidly pushed together to first form an oval and then a line as people in between them were crushed by a cacophony of wood, stone and metal, their screams silent, frozen by paralysis.
The lucky long ranged guards atop the wagons were flung towards the Nazarks, while the unlucky ones were impaled by flying debris. A few of them got completely crushed while others were dismembered or torn apart.
Ilea was hit by a massive impact to her back, flung towards the monsters in front of the caravan. The bone plates and scales in her armor reduced the damage to only a cracked spine and around twenty shattered ribs.
She would’ve been torn apart like some of the other unfortunate souls on top of the wagons if she didn’t have her high defensive stats and the buffs she applied to her body.
The fighters fared a bit better as the second line of wagons somewhat stopped the first. Some of them were still crushed but most only got injured, the impact waking them from their paralyzed state.
Only a couple of the Nazarks were hit by debris, most of them remained in their frozen state.
Ilea was thrown towards the monsters, tumbling several times before heavily impacting into a large boulder. This injured her further but not as much as whatever had impacted her before.
The broken ribs however punctured her lungs and other organs as blood oozed from her mouth and newly made holes in her body.
Her second stage of Reconstruction shined as she focused on the most dangerous of injuries. Her consciousness a testament to the toughness of her stats, body and mind. She was lying with her face towards the caravan and to the side of the frozen Nazarks.
Bones were reset and regrown as new tissue formed in and around her organs. The cracking was unsettling to hear but Ilea was most shocked by the first injury she had already healed.
Her heart had been punctured by a rib. ‘How do you even survive that… that’s impossible…,’ her half working mind told her as her skills and instincts slowly reconstructed her body.
Groans and screams started to fill the space as flung bodies came to a halt, some only skidding for a few meters while others impacted into the waiting Nazark, breaking both their own bodies and the monster’s.
Ilea’s body started to twitch as feeling returned to her. Behind the caravan she saw two battered scaly wings rising. She gasped and started coughing up blood when a head lifted itself between the wings, a long green and scaled neck supporting its ascent.
Two white eyes stared into her blue ones just as another hiss entered her ears. She felt a pressure similar to the Demon’s, much more raw though and even stronger.
The still standing people and Nazarks fell to their knees, holding their heads as Ilea gasped for air, finally having coughed out more blood than she wanted to question.
She got on all fours when the hiss finally receded, checking herself up and down even though her healing skill told her she was mostly fine again. Her HP took a hit but she kept healing the damage as she slowly got to her feet.
Facing the monster nearly two hundred meters away, she finally managed to use identify.
[Basilisk – lvl ????]
Ilea in that moment didn’t want to know what the four question marks meant and simply stared at the mighty beast. People started shouting again while everyone that could move started running or crawling towards the rift’s exit.
“Flee!!! Run for your lives!” Arven’s voice overpowered the shouts and screams for a second as the seemingly uninjured guard captain walked towards the fleeing warriors and towards the Basilisk while unsheathing his sword.
‘What is he doing?’ Ilea thought, removed from her awed state by his display of stupid heroism. She noticed that some of the warriors and mages stopped running at his shout. Others apparently didn’t run to begin with.
“Do what you can then Ilea.” she said to herself as her eyes focused. She slapped herself on her cheeks turning them red and blinked towards the nearest fallen warrior.
‘Head injury but still alive…,’ her touch told her as she pumped mana into the half dead man.
“The fast one’s with me, we can’t tank that one. Rock mages form deflective plates. The rest try to save as many as possible!” Arven’s instructions were overheard by Ilea as she told the groggy man on the ground to run.
He looked at her confused and then towards the Basilisk and the carnage around them before nodding. “Don’t run too fast, you’re not out of the woods yet.” she said and blinked to the next fallen human.
Three of them she found to be dead, the next one was woken up from his unconscious state by a pulse of reconstructive mana.
Ilea continued her work as pieces of rock impaced close to her and gushes of wind sliced into the stone around the rift.
‘To know there’s a Basilisk so close to the entrance… new roads will have to be built further away...’ Arven thought as the mix of snake and dragon before him bit down on a too slow mage.
The victim managed to detonate a massive explosion inside the beasts mouth as his last act of defiance, managing to stagger the beast for a split second.
Seven warriors had stayed with him, four mages were still standing and even two rangers were firing their ineffective arrows at the monster before them. Five of the defenders with classes that didn’t have speed enhancements were rummaging through the wagon wreckage to find survivors. Their high stats in Strength helped tremendously.
A blue and fiery glow caught his eye as a smile spread on his lips. ‘Perhaps not all hope is lost…,’ turning away from the teleporting healer, he faced the Basilisk again.
“Deflect!” he shouted as the monster opened its wings. Ice formed before himself and the two mages that stood close to him right before the powerful wind magic impacted them. Most of it was redirected by the quickly cracking ice before them and cut into the ground or the rock behind them.
One of the mages was flung back but still standing. Mia focused back on the creature after having saved the three people’s lives. “Ice Blade” she said with her hands outstretched, wincing at the cut in her left side.
The massive blades of ice impacted the Basilisk’s head without doing noticeable damage. It did change its focus towards the woman though and slithered towards her with incredible speed and an open maw.
One of the warriors impacted the beast from the side with a powerful shield bash, redirecting it enough to miss the dodging Mia.
The snake smashed into the stone wall as the survivors regrouped. “We need to get further away from the carts! We still have a healer!” Arven shouted and gestured them to follow him.
“Keep attacking!” he shouted to the mages and Rangers who continued to shoot fire magic, rocks and arrows towards the beast that slowly emerged from the cracked stone wall.
Its mouth opened as Arven shouts “Fortify!” the hiss made them all clench their teeth but they were not overwhelmed by the pressure anymore with the support of his ability.
“Now COME! we’ll show you humanity’s power!” Arven shouted in defiance as the Basilisk lifted its head, towering nearly twenty meters high with a wing span of fifteen meters.
“RUN!” Ilea shouted at the slowly walking woman she had just healed. All the adventurers and guards that were still alive were now on their way outside the cave. Some of them started helping to clear debris and help the civilians out of the wreckage. The ones still alive at least.
Ilea turned back to the wreckage, working even faster at clearing it than the warriors and defenders close to her. She flung hundreds of kilograms worth of wood away as if it was tinder.
‘Another one…,’ she thought, as she grabbed the half mushed corpse from the wreckage. She held back a choke as she unceremoniously tossed the corpse behind her. ‘I don’t have time for respect nor revulsion…,’
She knew that she’d have to work over what she was seeing right now at a later time, should she survive. That time wasn’t now though, there still were lives to be saved.
A whimper could be heard as another piece of wood was thrown away. “Chloe… o no…,” she whispered as she carefully started healing the woman.
“Circulate the mana through yourself. I know you can do it!” she said, while working on the worst damage. The girl had miraculously survived. She was standing inside the cart circle with the merchants and civilians.
“S… Seb… Sebastian…,” the girl stutterd as Ilea stabilized her.
“Can you heal the rest… look at me, focus!” Ilea grabbed her face to which the girl nodded with tears in her eyes and blood all over her.
“Good. When you’re done you run outside.” Ilea told her while moving back to the wreckage. Behind where she had found Chloe was Sebastian and three other people, much less injured than anyone else she had found so far.
A half formed shield of battered roots was formed behind Sebastian although he lay there unconscious. Checking on the people around him, she healed him first.
Slapping his face, his eyes gained focus “The Basilisk.. Ilea.” he locked eyes with her and then looked around, immediately starting to heal the people laying there.
“Can you finish here then? I can help the others distract it.” she said to him, readying for a fight.
“I can feel the life energies of another five people here. I’ll get to it immediately.” He said as he stumbled to his feet. The people around him started to wake.
“You’ll have to exit the rift immediately after. We’ll hold it off as long as we can.”
He nodded just as a hiss ran through their bodies. Ilea stumbled but caught herself while Sebastian didn’t seem to be affected except for his frown deepening.
“It’s angry, we have invaded its domain… it’s… it has young…,” he said
“Great news for it then! I’ll go congratulate it!” Ilea helped up the people around her that had fallen down from the hiss.
“You don’t understand… it will not pursue us if we leave… it’s only defending. Leave as fast as you can. I’ll be done in… three minutes.” Sebastian finished as roots started to surgically push aside wreckage to reveal the battered body of a girl below.
Ilea nodded to him and blinked above the wreckage. “Defenders! Sebastian the healer is below me, he can sense the living. Help him get to them.” she finished but only half of the searching people heard her.
Sprinting forward Ilea looked at the massive Basilisk up close for the first time. It was nearly fifty meters long nose to tail tip, its head twenty meters above ground with its wings extended.
Blinking and running closer, she saw a small group of warriors and mages led by the black armored Arven shouting his defiance. ‘Let’s play then.’ she thought, as a smile spread on her face.
Arven’s shout was interrupted by a flap of the Basilisk’s wings. Ice and rock formed in an instant before them as the wind was redirected to their sides.
Both broke and through the splintered wall the monster’s teeth and eyes was all he could see. Raising his shield, the sound of an impact filled his ears but his arms told a different story than his mind.
The dust settled and Ilea stood before him, cracks in her expertly crafted not so new anymore Drake armor. A blue light shone through the cracks, runes of blue light exposed on her naked skin wherever the armor was ripped open. Red wisps of fire danced around her and blood covered her entire being, giving what remained of her red armor a sinister color.
Her head turned towards him and blue piercing eyes locked with his gray ones. A smile was plastered on her face as the tissue of her ravaged arm reformed before him, the bones and flesh completely ripped apart by the punch she had just delivered.
‘What.. are you..,’ he thought as a hiss from their left stole both of their attention.
“We need around three minutes. Sebastian will get the others out.” she said, seemingly not even bothered by the mental pressure that hammered against his Fortitude enhanced defenses.
“It’s defending its newborn. We’ve come at a bad time.” Ilea said, forming a fist with her already reformed arm. “Three minutes and we’re out.”
Arven nodded to her, knowing that Sebastian had some sort of druid class. They were renowned for feeling whatever a beast was thinking.
Ilea in the meantime blinked to Mia and touched her side. She winced but relief spread on her face, still focused on the enemy that was slowly getting up again.
A discolored dent could be seen on the beast’s head where Ilea had impacted it with all her enhanced strength and Destruction. It didn’t seem to bother the Basilisk a lot though as it immediately lifted its wings again to deliver another air attack.
The deflective ice cracked as all of the remaining survivors protected themselves with lifted arms. “My mana won’t last much longer. Buy me some time so I can meditate!” Mia shouted over the noise of battle as she slowed her movements down.
‘She has the second stage as well… neat.’ Ilea thought as Arven used Fortify to bolster everyone’s defenses.
“You two to the right, you two to the left!” Arven shouted as he gestures to the warriors and Ilea. Everyone fanned out at incredible speed while the rangers and mages continued to assault the beast with fire and arrows.
Closing in on the beast, Ilea blinked to its head again. The beast’s eye quickly focused on her though and its head impacted her with a quick movement, sending her flying.
With her arms before her, only cracks formed on her wrists that were healed even as she was flying through the air. In the meantime the warrior that was running with her managed to bite his sword into the snake like tail, before being flung away too.
Arven was more successful as his massive axe bit into the base of the Basilisk’s right wing. The cut seemed insignificant but the beast hissed and started to thrash around.
Arven was saved by the other warrior with him that managed to drag him away right before the beast’s jaw closed on their previous location.
The injury caused to the beast’s wing seemed to have more of an impact than whatever Ilea managed with her punch before as it seemed to be a bit more apprehensive of the humans before it.
Precious seconds were won as the beast took in its adversaries again and hissed. ‘It’s now or never.’ Ilea thought as she landed, skidding ten meters upon impact.
“Leave the cave now! I’ll get its attention!” She shouted and blinked several times towards the beast while running at full speed.
The others looked on as the healer disappeared and reappeared next to the Basilisk’s wing before a nova of fire extended outwards, getting another hiss out of the monster. The Heat Surge spell was not even close to powerful enough to damage the beast but it was certainly flashy enough to get the cave dweller’s attention.
“She’s right. The ones without any energy left leave. Injured also.” the other mages and the rangers nodded and started to run towards the rift’s entrance. Four of the warriors left as well, nodding to Arven with battered shields and armor.
“Tom, can you get Ryan?” Arven asked the Rogue next to him
He nodded and ran towards where Ryan had been flung before. Ryan was the warrior that had cut the Basilisk’s side after Ilea had been pushed away initially.
“Mia, you think we can give them some more time?” he asked the ice mage, who somehow still managed to look dignified with her dress destroyed and blood all over her. She smiled at him as her mana condensed.
Ilea blinked under the fast moving head of the Basilisk and delivered punch after punch into the hard scales of its body. Nothing even slowed the beast and it was too apprehensive at this point to let her get close to its head.
Both Ilea and the monster noticed the mana buildup coming from below. The Basilisk moved in on the mage as Ilea blinked above the monster’s head to deliver a kick with her heel to its skull.
The beast crashed into the stone below, while Ilea was propelled forwards by both the impact of her kick and the speed of the Basilisk. She felt the wave of ice pass below her before landing behind the remaining warrior and mage.
Turning around, the monster was fighting through a frozen wing and face, both stuck to the ground. Mia collapsed and was caught by Arven who quickly ran towards Ilea. “We leave!” he shouted and she quickly followed.
The Rogue managed to get the remaining warrior out and they were running a hundred meters parallel to Ilea and Arven. There was no sight of Sebastian or anybody else in the rift.
Another hiss resounded and Ilea looked back to see the Basilisk lifting itself up, cracking the ice in its wing. Its eyes focused on Ilea and Arven as it slithered closer to them. Its speed didn’t match theirs, apparently unsure if to let them go.
‘I’ll be back for you my friend…,’ Ilea thought while running as she stopped looking at the beast, quickly scanning the remains of the caravan and the pile of bodies before it. ‘...just you wait.’