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Chapter 40 Fire and Ash

 

 

‘Maybe I can sneakily check it out...’ Ilea thought as she looked at the food but concentrated on all the messages she got.

 

ding’ ‘You have defeated [Taleen Turret]’
ding’ ‘You have defeated an enemy fifty levels or more above your own. Additional Experience is granted.’
ding’ ‘You have defeated [Taleen Turret]’
ding’ ‘You have defeated an enemy fifty levels or more above your own. Additional Experience is granted.’
ding’ ‘You have defeated [Taleen Turret]’
ding’ ‘You have defeated an enemy fifty levels or more above your own. Additional Experience is granted.’

.

She had already destroyed nearly thirty of the turrets and more would be waiting to be reaped inside. ‘What a lucky trap this is...’ she thought as she checked out the messages that made her smile the most.’

 

bing’ ‘Azarinth Healer has reached level 101. 5 Stat points awarded.’
bing’ ‘Azarinth Healer has reached level 102. 5 Stat points awarded.’
bing’ ‘Azarinth Healer has reached level 103. 5 Stat points awarded.’

bing’ ‘Fire Enhancer has reached level 92. 5 Stat points awarded.’
bing’ ‘Fire Enhancer has reached level 93. 5 Stat points awarded.’

...

bing’ ‘Fire Enhancer has reached level 99. 5 Stat points awarded.’
bing’ ‘Fire Enhancer has reached level 100. 5 Stat points awarded.’

bing’ ‘New skills available for Fire Enhancer’

 

ding’ ‘Requirements met for class evolution: Fire Enhancer becomes Pyro Enhancer. No current skills or stats will be lost, be aware that other evolutions and skills may become unavailable – Become one with the flame. Have the Fire Enhancer class at lvl 100 or more. Leveled the skill Body of Flame to the 2nd Stage.’

The Pyro Enhancer is a master of the flame. She is both a master of the fire within herself and the one she wields in ranged battles.’

Would you like to evolve your class [Fire Enhancer] to [Pyro Enhancer]?’

 

It was hard for Ilea to hide the smile but the food she was currently stuffing into her face helped a lot at that. Her eyes widened a little though as another message appeared in her mind. Luckily Edwin currently had his attention on the map before him that he updated every time they stopped to eat.

 

ding’ ‘Requirements met for class evolution: Fire Enhancer becomes Ash Wielder. No current skills or stats will be lost, be aware that other evolutions and skills may become unavailable – You are the wielder of ash. Have a fire related body enhancement class at lvl 100 or more. Have a total of at least three Body Enhancement skills in the 2nd stage. Hand to hand combat has been used primarily in fights. Has brushed death more than ten times in the past week.

You are the smoldering heat left by fire. Ember glows within you as an ashen mist shrouds your form.’

Would you like to evolve your class [Fire Enhancer] to [Ash Wielder]?

‘Oh boi...’ Ilea simply continued eating as she thought over what she read. Pyro Enhancer was the plan from the start but Ash Wielder seemed more geared towards hand to hand combat. ‘Damn I wanted those fire wings...’ she thought, remembering Jyraiu’s display in the arena.

‘Though the requirements for Ash Wielder seem super specific. Assuming that the more specific, the rarer I should definitely go with that. It also said I wouldn’t be losing any skills so I should be fine...’ she made the decision rather hastily, the man in front of her who she lost all respect for made her a bit nervous.

She finished her meal and told the others she’d be continuing to clear out turrets and left. On the way down the stairs, she accepted the Ash Wielder class. Having thought a bit more about it, the hand to hand requirement was what finally sold her on the class. ‘It’s my main thing and so far any fire related abilities I could’ve learned seemed a bit useless...except Body of Flame which isn’t really a fire specific thing I guess...’

More information filled her mind as she continued downwards.

Class change: Fire Enhancer becomes Ash Wielder

Vitality +10
Strength + 5
Dexterity + 5
Intelligence +15
Wisdom +10

Body enhancement magic is improved by 100%
All fighting styles using hand to hand combat are more refined’

Ilea’s steps slowed down as she read the description while her eyes widened. The Body enhancement bonus was increased from 20% to 100%. Although the 25% bonus for fire magic were gone, this was still unbelievably huge. ‘My Azarinth skills will also be affected by this...’ she thought as more messages came to her mind’s eye.

 

Skills changed by Ash Wielder:

[Body of Flame] becomes [Form of Ember]’

Active: Form of Ember – 2nd lvl 3:
Ember glows within you raising your resilience, speed and dexterity by 46% [Effect after bonuses 138%].
2nd stage: The longer you fight while in the Form of Ember, the stronger burns its heat. Each minute of fighting adds 15% to the bonuses with a maximum of 150%.
Category: Aura – Body Enhancement’

Another step was taken by Ilea while processing the change. ‘The bonuses doubled...’ her foot seemingly impacted the white stone beneath in slow motion as she read the next message.

[Heat Surge] becomes [Ash Surge]’

Active: Ash Surge – lvl 2
Create a wave of ash and ember with you at its center. Distance, density and speed depend on skill level and mana invested (max 60 Mana).
Category: Ashen Magic’

[Fire Manipulation] becomes [Ash and Ember Manipulation]

Passive: Ash and Ember Manipulation – lvl 14:
Your control over Ash and Ember increases dramatically. Bend it to your wishes and shroud the path before you.
Category: Ashen magic’

Ilea quickly read through them but it wasn’t over yet. Her heart rate sped up to nearly as high as when she was fighting.

 

Skills gained in Ash Wielder:’

Active: Shroud of Ash – lvl 1
Shroud yourself in a mist of ash increasing your resilience by 50% [Effect after bonuses 150%]
Category: Body Enhancement – Ashen magic’

Active: Wave of Ember – lvl 1
Burn the inside of whatever your body hits with a surge of heat and embers.
Category: Ashen magic’

You have no more free slots for Active skills in your second class. Please chose a skill to be replaced by Wave of Ember or chose not to gain the skill.’

Ilea quickly selected her low leveled active skill [Flame] to be replaced. As convenient as it was, it didn’t really help her fight. The healer was standing still in the white corridor by now, her breathing turning hectic.

Passive: Eyes of ash – lvl 1:
Increases your perception by 30% when fighting without a weapon [Effect after bonuses 90%].
Category: Body Enhancement – Ashen magic’

Passive: Body of Ash – lvl 1:
Increases your reflexes and speed by 30% when fighting without a weapon [Effect after bonuses 90%].
Category: Body Enhancement – Ashen magic’

She had to steady herself on the wall next to her to stop the trembling and calm her breathing. ‘Not now Ilea, calm down...calm down, calm down...’ she thought and closed her eyes. Checking her status she simply stood there reading over all the messages again and again. Two minutes later, her breath had steadied and she took a last glance at the status information she’d been looking at.

Name: Ilea Spears
Unspent statpoints: 60

Class 1: Azarinth Healer – lvl 103
- Active: Destruction – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: Reconstruction – 2nd lvl 15
- Active: State of Azarinth – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: Blink – 2nd lvl 16
- Active: Azarinth Sphere – 2nd lvl 8
- Passive: Body of Azarinth – 2nd lvl 9
- Passive: Azarinth Fighting – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Magic Perception – lvl 12
- Passive: Azarinth Perception – 2nd lvl 1
- Passive: Azarinth Reversal – lvl 1

Class 2: Ash Wielder – lvl 100
- Active: Shroud of Ash – lvl 1
- Active: Form of Ember – 2nd lvl 3
- Active: Ash Surge – lvl 2
- Active: Body Heat Manipulation – lvl 1
- Active: Wave of Ember – lvl 1
- Passive: Ash and Ember Manipulation – lvl 14
- Passive: Heat Perception – lvl 1
- Passive: Eyes of Ash – lvl 1
- Passive: Body of Ash – lvl 1
- Passive: Free Slot

General Skills:

- Elos Standard language - lvl 5
- Identify - lvl 4
- Meditation – lvl 2nd 14
- Poison Resistance – lvl 16
- Heat Resistance – lvl 9
- Pain Tolerance – 2nd lvl 2
- Mental Resistance – lvl 5
- Fear Resistance – lvl 1

Status:

Vitality: 295
Endurance: 150
Strength 111
Dexterity 170
Intelligence 285
Wisdom 160

Health: 2950/2950
Stamina: 1488/1500
Mana: 1566/1600

The healer opened her mouth, letting out the breath she’d been holding and her eyes opened. A slight tug could be seen on the corners of her mouth as she started moving again. ‘I can’t let them see yet...I’ll deal with the turrets without any of the new skills.’ she quickly thought over the numbers and came to the conclusion that even without using any of the new skills, she was still stronger than with the Body of Flame spell she had before.

The new bonus to Body Enhancement magic that came with the Ash Wielder class alone had a higher impact on her fighting capabilities than the whole Fire Enhancer class before.

‘They did tell me that the classes before Pyro Enhancer wouldn’t be all that...but this...’ she balled her hands into fists as she exited onto the bridge, immediately being bombarded by the still massive amount of turrets.

“Let’s get going then bois...” she said with a wide smile on her face as she started to blink through the air.

 

 

Edwin was finishing the map with what they’d explored so far. ‘Finally...’ he swatted away some sweat. Fighting was one thing, a thing he was very good in but cartography was quite a different beast. He was certainly good at remembering all the different streets and corners but putting them on paper proved a difficult task for him.

“You should really do the maps Fel...” he said, repeating himself again in his frustration. The girl waved to him dismissively, still trying to produce sound with wind magic and some exposed tubes she’d cut in on the walls.

“We’d have to stop in every other room for that Ed...” she absentmindedly said.

He just nodded and walked back to Aliana who was trying to figure out the machines that had produced the fire storm that nearly burnt Ilea to a crisp. ‘Bringing her more and more proves to be a good decision...we’ll reach the gate in no time with that indestructible trap finder...’ he frowned at the thought of being caught between those spikes. A part of him had wanted to try but the more rational side of him had won out in the end.

“Aliana, can you store it again?” he asked, handing her the map. She took it in her hand where it quickly vanished.

“Why do you let her get all those towers?” Aliana asked when he started to walk away.

He stopped and looked at her a bit confused. “Why would you care? They’re far below our level, a drop in the bucket.” he said.

Aliana then looked at him for the first time in the conversation, her brown eyes had an intensity to them that they only held rarely. Usually it was connected to meat. “They wouldn’t help us. But they do help her. A lot. She’s already level 103 Edwin and she will only grow from here.”

He blinked at her and answered “I know. I’d like to see how far she can go...what an interesting combination of skills...and soon she’ll get an upgrade to Fire Enhancer. Pyro should be in her range of possi….” Aliana grunted which stopped his monologue.

“You always do that Ed...for how smart you are you can be blind and stupid. You’re aware that behind that interesting and deadly combination of skills is a woman? A woman that doesn’t like to be lied to and used.” she said to him, still looking into his eyes.

The man scoffed “You think she’d become a danger to any of us? Maybe if she reached our levels but that won’t happen while we’re here. And I believe her more rational than you think. I apologize that I brought up some bad memories but this is different...at least accept that.” he left her after finishing. No response came from the woman that sat there, her eyes having lost some of the life they held before.

‘She does have a point though...’ Edwin thought as he came closer to the sound of music his sister finally managed to produce. A genuine smile formed on his lips as a warm expression spread on his face.

 

 

Ilea didn’t return to the others while clearing the turrets. It took another five rounds of depleting her mana and sitting in meditation in between. The whole ordeal took her nearly two hours. It wasn’t fruitless though as she’d destroyed over a hundred turrets. The notifications came clashing in and she kept ignoring them as time went on.

Ten minutes after the last turret was destroyed, Ilea was sitting on the middle of the bridge. The last notification plopped up and she checked her gains.

‘Seven levels in Azarinth healer and five in Ash Wielder...’ she simply checked her status because the level ups were displayed in between the dozens of other messages. ‘Less than I expected. I guess the level difference getting smaller made a big difference...’

She then distributed all her remaining stats like Edwin had suggested to her. Not exactly though as 50 Points each went into Vitality and Intelligence. The remaining twenty went into Dexterity.

‘I think I’ll invest some into Endurance and Wisdom soon...stopping after half an hour of blinking around and fighting is annoying...’ she thought ‘..especially considering how much mana all my new skills will be using if I want to keep them up for long periods of time.’ she smiled at the thought.

Before she went to get the others, she tried blinking from one end of the bridge to the other in quick succession. ‘It’s certainly fast. But I don’t know if I want to risk having less than my maximum amount of mana ever. And if I blink into a trap it might be dangerous...having something come into my Azarinth Sphere at the edge is easier to react to than it suddenly being a meter away from me.’

She did consider using the method to travel through the air where she saw all of the ground or maybe as a way to quickly escape. She remembered having used blink in quick succession before to escape but never more than a couple times in a row.

Coming up in front of the closed silvery door at the other end of the bridge, Ilea continued her assault on it. It took ten minutes for her to break the door down when a rumbling sound came from below.

Suddenly the stone below her feet cracked and the sound of breaking stone could be heard going through the bridge as dust and pieces of rock flew into the air. Ilea simply stepped into the opened corridor and watched as the bridge collapsed.

‘Oh well...’ she thought and blinked back towards the other entrance. Walking up the stairs again, Edwin greeted her halfway up.

“Bridge collapsed?” he asked and shrugged to the nod he received as a response. “They tend to do that...” he said. “Before I get the others I have to ask you something.” he said and locked eyes with her. His face became the cold facade he had shown her when they first met.

“Interrogation face eh?” Ilea smiled but was a bit scared he found out about her class change.

“Yes, interrogation face….you’ve grown quite a bit. The turrets helped a lot in that as well. We’re using you as a trap detector but I hope you’re rational enough to see how much you’ve gained so far.” he said and she nodded warily.

“Good, then my question. If you had the ability, or maybe a tool, choice or other way to kill us. Would you do it?” he asked.

Ilea was a bit taken aback by the directness of the question. “You’re frank aren’t you?” she said, her smile vanishing. She thought about it seriously, as she knew anything less than the truth wouldn’t satisfy him. She had gained over fifty levels, amazing pointers from all three of them and experience fighting seasoned mages and a swordsman, let alone her new amazing class.

She might’ve not even gotten the class seeing the brush with death requirement. Of course she could’ve gone to a different dungeon or simply somewhere in the wild to level up but the speed at which she did here would be impossible without help. At least not with amazing luck. The sword guardians would’ve cut her apart a long while ago without her being able to isolate the ranged machines and destroying them.

If anything Alice said was the truth, then they would be helping there as well. Although Ilea was leaning more and more towards Edwin’s interpretation of her friend than the remaining hope she still held on.

Most important of all though, she liked the three. After realizing that Ilea was a battle maniac, most people she’d met so far had looked at her differently. They likely wouldn’t want to associate with her in fear of the risk. She didn’t blame people of course, she did live an incredibly risky life since coming to this world.

It felt disconnecting, few people really understood her. Roland was certainly one of them but even he had his family to worry about. Hell even she herself had a hard time coming to terms with her enjoyment for fighting. These three people she met in the dungeon understood her as well. She didn’t know the history and goals they had but felt comfortable around them. They didn’t look at her as if she were crazy, they understood completely.

Edwin using her seemed only rational and fair from an objective standpoint. Of course it hurt her but in a twisted way it made sense to somehow repay their help at all the power she’d found inside the dwarven ruin.

She shook her head. “No...no I wouldn’t kill you. I still consider the others companions. You? Maybe I would hurt you if I could. Kick you in the nuts for being an asshole. Fully buffed, mind you.” she said seriously.

They stood there quietly for a couple seconds before Edwin started chuckling. She smiled in return.

“See, I did think it wasn’t anything to worry about...to be honest I like you Ilea. You’re the first one in a long time that I can say that about honestly. Getting through this dungeon without losing too much time and without one of us dying is more important to me than your life though. I hope you can understand.” he said, starting to walk back upwards.

“Is the path clear?” he asked

“The bridge is gone but yes, the path is clear.” she replied.

‘If this is how he treats people he likes, I don’t want to be his enemy...’ she thought and turned back to look out over the dark chasm.

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