Chapter 39 Traps
The smell of food didn’t wake up Aliana immediately. It did however help to have food around once she did.
“How are you feeling? You’ve been out for nearly an hour this time...” Edwin told Aliana after she had her fill of food.
“I’m ok. So it finished the centurion?” Edwin gestured to the piece of metal in the middle of the hall, answering her question.
“You did yes. With a centurion present there will certainly be a lot of interesting things to find here.” he said and got up from his crouching position.
“Looking for anything specific?” Ilea asked but this time she didn’t receive an answer. “Figures...” she mumbled and looked around the hall. A lot of it was bruised, a testament to the battle they’d fought here. “So this is the great hall? Doesn’t look very special to me. The stone seems to be a bit nicer and there’s more runes on the walls.” Ilea commented as she walked around a broken pillar.
She saw six doors in total, one of them being the one they entered from. All of the other doors were of a similar size and the only difference between the doors were different assortments of runes above, on and next to said doors.
“Any idea what they mean? I know I’m not the brightest torch in the dungeon but I know you’re here for a reason. And with your power it’s not some random riches.” Ilea talked with her head slightly inclined towards Edwin’s direction.
“We are here for something specific, I’ll tell you that much. I know that the runes next to the doorways explain what’s behind. And I know two of the ones in this room.” Edwin explained, walking next to Ilea and stopping. Felicia and Aliana were coming too, listening to what they were talking about. Although Felicia seemed more busy with cutting small holes into the magical lamps above to create patterns in the green light.
“Don’t hold me in suspense Edwin, what do they mean?” Ilea asked, walking close to one of the doors and nearly touching one of the runes before stopping herself ‘Maybe not the best idea...’ she thought.
“The one you’re standing in front of means prison, dungeon or something to that extent. I’ve seen it in a report on another Taleen great hall. The symbol over there means armory. That is where we’ll be going.” he gestured towards the door on the other side of the hall and started walking towards it.
“Do you like it?” Felicia suddenly asked Ilea from the side while gesturing above herself. Ilea looked and was impressed with the light show the wind mage managed to produce with some incredibly precise cuts.
Looking back down at the smiling woman, she couldn’t help but chuckle. ‘Sometimes she seems like a kid.’ she thought before hugging the woman. “I like you Felicia, you’re goddamn cute.” she said and released the grown woman who kept smiling.
“You may call me Fel if you like.” and with that Felicia walked after her brother.
Aliana and Ilea followed behind, with the lack of voices the sound of the machines took over again.
‘They really built all of this underground...quite an impressive race the Taleen.’ the healer thought as they entered the door which apparently led to the armory.
“So an ancient weapon maybe, a legendary shield?” Ilea tried to pry something out of Edwin, trying to distract herself from Felicia’s questions that started raining on her again. Receiving nothing in return, Ilea couldn’t help but listen to the woman again.
“...so if a wyvern and a lizard mate, do you think something more or less powerful will come out? A dragon maybe or just a winged lizard?” Felicia finished with a thoughtful look on her face.
‘She looks like she’s doing math...’ Ilea thought and answered “Realistically speaking I don’t think they can mate but my heart says baby dragons. They won’t ever grow bigger but they’re very cute.”
“What? Ridiculous. Haven’t your read The Breeding of Scaled Creatures by Rhywis Walt? Of course they can breed. It just depends on which power of the moon is relevant that day.” Felicia said, although her tone made it impossible for Ilea to tell if she was being sarcastic or not.
They were walking down a stairway after entering the door to the armory. Coming out inside a long hallway, the walls were completely lit with greenish runes. A perfectly straight hallway, stretching for over a hundred meters. Ilea kept listening to Felicia’s theories on different species’ mating capabilities before they finally came up to an opening on the other side.
Felicia quieted down at the sight just as all the others were seemed to be a bit taken at the beautiful room before them. Machinery, pipes and gears were exposed all over the place. Everything was moving in tandem, followed by the noise of surprisingly well oiled mechanical parts flowing into each other.
Different than the scenery Ilea had seen of the Taleen dungeon before, the metal used here wasn’t the greenish one they’d seen before but something that looked more silvery. It still had a bit of a green shine to it but much more subdued.
‘Well this find would certainly please Alice if what Edwin said about her is true. I’ll continue though and see how much I can profit from being with these guys before trying to sneak back out through the residential part of town.’ Ilea quickly glanced at the others. She’d become a lot more familiar with both the people and their powers but still it was a weird feeling to know they could put her down easily at any moment.
Ilea wasn’t sure what exactly Edwin’s deal was. The women seemed a lot more straightforward. Both of them she thought certainly had the capability of killing her if she said something wrong but Edwin was a bit more complicated. There was a reason he kept her around...or maybe several reasons. ‘I don’t care though, I gained over fifty levels already and I feel like if this continues I could maybe even escape his wrath if necessary...’
They walked down the broad stairway down towards a big round space. The stone used in construction here seemed different than the rest of the ruin. ‘Not really a ruin anymore...at least not this part...’ A white stone was used for everything compared to the normal stone from before.
The bright ground and walls combined with the silvery machinery gave the place a very different feel. There was still a greenish light coming from above but all of it seemed more bright.
“Ilea, if you would?” Edwin said with a cold voice and gestured to the round space at the end of the stairs. “This place will have traps and you will be the one activating them.”
“Aaaah, here we go. So this is the reason you took me with you?” Ilea asked and warily retracted some of her steps.
“It’s one of the reasons, yes.” he answered, ignoring her attempt to get further away completely.
Ilea stopped her movements. “I’m not getting away anyway….oh well, any idea what I can expect?”
“Not particularly, no. Spears, spikes whatever. We’ll support you as best we can from a safe distance. The Taleen are infamous for integrating traps into traps so we won’t jump in there.” he paused for a second and his eyes softened a little bit.
“Please don’t take this personal though. I don’t dislike you Ilea. You DO have the highest possibility of survival here with your healing and high Vitality. Before you ask, no I didn’t just suggest leveling Vitality because of this. My advice stands true….” he stopped and closed his eyes while sighing “...don’t look at me like that, the experience you got so far was certainly worth it for you and maybe...maybe if you survive this, you’ll be the one profiting the most.” he finished and stepped aside for her to continue.
“Thanks for the explanation at least. I did profit from this, you are right. Still you’re a fucking shitbag for doing this...” she said and walked past the man down onto the platform. It hurt her more that none of the women seemed to really care. At least Felicia cheered her on to survive.
‘She treats it like a game….’ Ilea thought, her frown turning into a grin while waving to Felicia ‘...maybe I should do that too...bonus points if I survive.’
As soon as Ilea reached the middle of the round platform, a mechanism below her feet activated. Immediately upon activation, Ilea blinked above, about halfway towards the roof. From both the ground and the roof spikes nearly ten meters long were released at a very high speed.
Ilea found herself suspended in the air between green metal spikes above and below. Seemingly in slow motion, her fall began again. The spikes were positioned with around half a meter between them. A bit of maneuvering let her land between three spikes without ending up skewered to one of them.
Landing on the ground, she felt something shift below her before she blinked above again. A spear shot out of the ground right where she stood. ‘What are those?’ she thought as she slowly descended and saw different greenly lit patterns around the spears on the ground.
“Any idea what they mean?!” she shouted as she again moved her body to land between some spears. The same thing happened as before, a spear shot out from where she landed and again she was in the air. She could’ve simply blinked back to the others but that would mean no safe passage would be possible for them.
“No, I don’t know the runes!” Edwin’s shout reached her ears as she landed again.
‘Well too bad...but if it’s a game, why not cheat?’ she thought at his answer. ‘Throw at me what you got dwarves. I have fists of iron.’ her arm shot out and punched into one of the spears. A very slight dent formed before she had to blink away again.
Edwin simply watched on as the spectacle unfolded. Ilea simply blinked around, kicking and punching at the spears where she could. Dents formed and soon she found herself balancing on top of a bent spear that couldn’t hurt her anymore from that angle.
Other spears around her shot up but couldn’t reach her on top of the other spears. ‘She didn’t solve the riddle...not that I could without the language...but this...this is out of the box thinking.’ he thought while his beloved sister cheered like a lunatic next to him. Even Aliana was clapping.
The healer made it a bit of a show as she bowed a couple times before continuing her assault on the metal spikes. After damaging nearly ten of the spears, a loud mechanical noise could be heard and the spears vanished into the ground. Some were stuck because of their bent state.
Ilea was still suspended in the air, when all the spikes were suddenly shot out from the ground. She tried blinking through them but there were simply too many of them. Two spikes smashed through her legs and five through her torso.
Felicia’s cheer turned into a scream as all the spears and a skewered Ilea landed on the ground. A lot of the spikes impacted on their respective opposite side from where they came and dug deep into the ground or roof. Aliana winced at the sight and Edwin stopped Felicia from running in.
‘She teleported smartly...maybe I underestimated her...the levels she gained certainly made a difference...’ Edwin thought. “She should be alive Felicia, don’t run in yet though the Taleen have a way of...” he was interrupted by a roar of fire that suddenly burst out from the still intact openings where the spears had come from.
The healer was bathed in fire as Edwin hugged his crying sister to his chest. ‘Well...’ he thought but his eyes widened as he heard another sound coming from inside the firestorm.
“HAHAHAHAHAHA...FIRE??!” the voice exclaimed before a cone in the middle of the storm seemed to stabilize. Suddenly some of the fire parted and a kneeling Ilea could be seen, the spears that pierced her held her up as blood soaked her armor. A bloody smile was on her face as she locked eyes with Edwin.
The man suppressed a shiver at the sight and activated his Aura instinctively. It calmed him down immediately but he was surprised the woman had such an effect on him. “Ferocious...” he said but his voice was overshadowed by the laughing and firestorm.
Ilea smiled as the fire died down. ‘Lucky that it wasn’t poison gas or something like that...’ she thought as she stopped manipulating the flames away from herself. She steeled herself, closed her eyes and removed her perception of pain while channeling Reconstruction on herself.
Fully buffed, she grabbed one of the spears that pierced her and pushed it out backwards. The spear exited with a lot of gore coming out as well, clattering on the ground behind her. Reconstruction did it’s job though as the wound slowly closed.
She gave it a minute before removing the next spear and then the next one. After removing all of them, she healed herself completely and activated her perception of pain again. A light soreness could be felt but nothing concerning. Her Reconstruction spell told her already that her body was fine. She was down to two thirds of her mana after the whole ordeal, most of it used to heal herself and push the flames away from herself.
She got up and waved to Felicia. The three still didn’t join her on the platform. “Open the door on the other side.” Edwin told her “And good job.” he nodded towards her.
“Doesn’t make you less of a dick...” she said to herself and walked to the silvery door. Nothing happened upon touching it. So the obvious course of action was punching it. The sound of bending metal reverberated through the hall as the door that led further into the complex slowly gave way to a slightly pissed off healer.
One last punch landed before what remained of the door clanged backwards into the hallway beyond. She bowed again to the other three and motioned for them to follow. “I’ll walk a couple meters in front of you...” she said and went inside, not caring if they followed or not.
There were no traps in the hallway that quickly changed into downwards leading stairs. ‘Down, down down we go...’ she thought as she heard the others enter the hallway behind her. A couple minutes of walking later, they came out onto a platform, a massive chasm below them and only a thin bridge leading further across the abyss.
A dull sound made Ilea duck as a metal slug impacted behind her. More noises came from far away before she blinked back into the hallway. Over ten impacts could be heard from outside, the slugs digging into the white rock that still made up all of the walls around them.
The chasm itself was still perfectly even, an impressive feat of architecture and magic. “I’ll cross the bridge and suggest you wait here.” she didn’t wait for a response from the still further away trio of adventurers before walking out again into the hail of bullets. ‘I should call them kidnappers at this point...’ she thought as she started running through the bullets.
Blinking and dodging for nearly twenty minutes left her rather exhausted as she reached the other side of the bridge. There was another closed door there that seemed a lot more sturdy than the one before. The shots came from mounted turrets along the walls of the chasm nearly fifty meters away on each side of the bridge.
‘I never tested how many consecutive blinks are possible but hey...’ she thought as she blinked towards one of the walls, below her the black abyss was ready to consume her. “...this is all I got!” she shouted and blinked to the side, dodging a hail of bullets. This continued until she reached the wall four blinks later. It seemed to her less like flying and more like throwing herself at the wall. The second stage of Blink had allowed her to use the skill while in the air.
‘How have I never tried this before?’ she thought, as she impacted on one of the turrets. She stomped on it several times in quick succession before blinking to the next one, dozens of slugs impacting near the turret she stood on before.
She made sure to remember testing the limits of blink traveling as soon as possible right when the first turret finally gave way to her abuse. The metal holding it in place got loose on her last kick and the whole thing fell down into the void.
Ilea smiled and continued her work. Nearly a minute later she got a notification.
‘dingggg’ ‘You have defeated [Taleen Turret]’
‘dingg’ ‘You have defeated an enemy fifty levels or more above your own. Additional Experience is granted.’
“Wow, the way down is far eh?” she asked the lifeless turret she was currently kicking. Soon after another notification popped up in her head but she ignored them and continued her work. It took her twenty minutes to clear out around a third of the one of the walls before her mana was running low.
Blinking back towards the bridge, she landed and ran back towards the entrance while dodging bullets. Coming up close to the door, she blinked inside and crashed into a smiling Felicia. They both fell down in a tumble before getting up again.
“You alright?” Ilea asked but knew already with her touch and Reconstruction that the woman was fine. Felicia nodded.
“Where are the other two?” Ilea asked at the absence of Edwin and Aliana.
“Preparing dinner, you coming too?” Felicia asked “That was quite the confusing teleporting, isn’t your head spinning?” she finished.
“Food would be nice, yes. I’ll continue after. It’s alright actually, you get used to it...” Ilea answered while smiling mischievously at the still appearing notifications.