Chapter 43 Reasons and talks
Edwin had a determined expression on his face as he approached the platform and smiled upon touching it. “It still works...we’ve finally found one Felicia.”
“I’m happy for you Edwin.” Felicia answered, her tone earnest yet tinged with a little bit of sadness.
“Now we can finally go.” Edwin continued and let go of the arch he was touching.
“Don’t get too enthusiastic Edwin, they might be dead already.” Aliana said and walked towards the platform.
“Hah, his head would’ve been cleaved from his shoulders already were that the case. Both he and me know this.” Edwin answered, his eyes containing something Ilea hadn’t really seen before in him, anger.
Ilea debated about what to do and if it would be a good idea to interrupt them. She had some ideas to what the platform might be but couldn’t be sure yet. Edwin took in a deep breath and then hugged Felicia. The woman simply stood there with her arms to her sides before lightly hugging her brother back.
When they let go Ilea could see a tear running down Felicia’s cheek. ‘He’s going to kill me isn’t he?’ she thought and activated all the skills she had that wouldn’t show a visual effect.
“I’m not going to murder you Ilea.” he said and looked at her. Walking towards her, he locked eyes with her. A complicated expression hung in his eyes. “Thanks to you we’ve at least saved a couple days if not more. And I got to see some interesting skills. This is where we part ways though I’m afraid.” his tone was final and Ilea knew in that moment that there was no arguing with the man.
“So it’s a gate?” she asked while motioning to the platform.
“Yes, it’s a gate that links different Taleen cities together. Our goal lies in one of them. I won’t kill you because you saved Aliana from the centurion’s spear. Mostly though because my sister likes you. It’s been a long time since she’d smiled the way she did with you….This is something we have to do on our own though and I don’t see a need to shackle you further.” he answered her.
“No way for her to come with us?” Aliana asked, seemingly only for the sake of Felicia.
“She would die. As much as we likely will.” he said. Nobody disputed this and even Felicia didn’t look like she disagreed. “Come find us though, as soon as you’re stronger. Stronger than me.”
Ilea only shook her head. Aliana ran up to her and hugged her with all her strength. Ilea did the same. “You are a weird bunch. Why does it make me sad to see you go when I should be filled with joy to finally be rid of you?” she asked quietly while still hugging Felicia.
“Please Ilea, don’t do anything stupid. He really is protecting you. Do it for me at least.” Felicia said to her and weakly smiled while looking at the taller woman before her.
‘So blinking onto the platform in the last moment is not an option then...’ Ilea thought. She had talked to Felicia quite often in the past days and a bond formed through fighting is something quite special compared to the bond formed through working together in a fast food joint. Felicia didn’t feel to Ilea like a good friend but more like something to be protected. She could certainly take care of herself but there was an innocence about her that was hard to explain.
Even harder considering she nearly cut off Ilea’s head on their first meeting. Ilea cared little for Edwin. He was a capable fighter to say the least but to Ilea he simply was a pragmatic asshole that had used her as a trap detector.
“I’ll respect your wishes Felicia. Don’t you dare dying on me.” she looked at Edwin while releasing the hug “Especially not you you fucking dipshit. I’ll destroy you for using me like that and threatening to kill me. Cheers for the levels and advice though.” she nodded her head while showing her middle fingers to him with both arms outstretched.
“Take care Ilea. And I’d like to see you try...” he quickly smirked at her and simply turned around to walk onto the platform.
“Don’t forget to eat your meat little one.” Aliana said and nodded. Ilea simply replied with a nod, still too cautious around the woman to even think of vegetables.
“Ilea you’re great! Don’t die down here...as a tip, the guardians will probably wake when we leave. And do explore more, there’s probably some treasures hiding away. I also really like your new class, you’re gonna crush them all!” Felicia said to her in a quiet but excited voice while smiling.
‘How the fuck did you find out about my class??’ her eyes widening a little at the mention.
“When should I find you? And where?” Ilea whispered to her but Felicia shook her head.
“Brother is nearly level 200 now. It’s something to go on. No info to where...you’re smart, you’ll figure it out.” she said and winked at Ilea. The healer couldn’t help but smile widely at the pure joy and mischievousness radiating from the woman before her.
“Thank you, I’ll see you soon then.” Ilea said and continued smiling. Felicia turned around and joined the others on the platform. Ilea locked eyes with Edwin one last time and both had the same determined look on their faces. Both of their thoughts were along the same lines. ‘Don’t die.’
Felicia cheered and waved to Ilea. The other two simply stood there while Ilea responded to the wave with her own. Mana surged and Ilea could see a spiral of it forming around the circular platform before with a flash, the three were gone.
Nothing remained of them as she stomped the ground. “Fucking you’d die in there???! What the hell is that?? I nearly died like fifty times while fighting and disabling traps for that fucking shit!!” the guardians around the room slowly came to life as she shouted but Ilea didn’t stop.
“I’ll show you fucking stronger you bloodsucking maniac!! I’ll fucking smash your balls back to another dimension if there’s even any left down there!” she turned towards an approaching sword guardian that was slowly opening its torso. “What the fuck are you looking at asshole?!”
The guardian didn’t seem to comprehend anything shouted from the angry intruder and simply followed protocol. All of Ilea’s buffs came to life at once, blinking to the guardian with fury and reckless abandon, leaving a trail of blue and fiery light behind.
Ash shrouded around her as her fist impacted the machine. One of its swords cut her arm lightly, breaking through the shroud of ash but Ilea did not care, it only made her angrier. With all her skills and stats though the anger turned more into a need to efficiently destroy all of her enemies in the room and less so a mindless berserker state. A seething calculated wrath.
She was an Azarinth Healer and Ash Wielder after all and not a Berserker. Her blood tainted the ground as her fist smashed into the guardian and rocked the metal structure. More and more of them joined the fight while slugs of metal impacted around the healer, hitting more guardians than their intended target.
She blinked through the mass of blades while caring little about her own well being. Slugs impacted her but when they would have been deadly before, they simply slowed her down a little with all the new defensive and offensive power. Since the last fight with sword guardians she had gained another couple levels and she noticed that it was a little easier to see and react to their moves. Her hits seemed to pack a bit more of a punch as well but it still took over twenty two hits to fell one of them.
And so she fought, more and more cuts and bruises appeared on her body as she traded hits with the guardians around her without healing the insignificant injuries. The pain was dull and only spurred her onwards. “What about me? How would it make ME feel to simply be left behind??” she shouted before three slugs impacted her chest and threw her back several meters. She skidded on the ground before blinking inside the group of nearly forty guardians.
Although she had troubles fighting four of them at once before, that was when she didn’t take any blows from them. With so many and their big size their sheer numbers were more of a detriment than an advantage against a single teleporting close range mage. The ranged guardians injured their comrades, seemingly more focused on destroying any intruders than not attacking their brothers in arms. ‘Or sisters in arms.’ Ilea didn’t want to be sexist, maybe that was the trigger for the Centurion to wake that was still sitting inactive near the cave wall right behind the teleportation gate.
“And why do I care so much about a group that used me and didn’t share a single fucking thing about their plans or goals??!” kicking a guardian on its head, it cracked, signaling the first downed enemy after nearly ten minutes of continued fighting. Three swords impacted from behind, being redirected by the shroud of ash, changing the blows from fatal to simple cuts on her torso.
She blinked away right into a group of ranged guardians. The sword guardians followed her and the already chaotic battle turned even more so as ranged machines tried to get away while close ranged ones pushed them back from behind. “Should have gotten the gluemazone drone swarm firmware you shits!!” she shouted, finishing off another sword guardian with a punch to its side.
“I’m gonna find them and I’m gonna make them explain everything to me!” she shouted while dodging skillfully through seven blades directed at her before kneeling a guardian in its base. “First I’ll murder all of you fucks though!” three of the blades had sliced her and more blood fell to the floor and colored their blades.
“I’m gonna show Edwin how to get that 2nd stage of Pain Tolerance too.” the thought gave her some more energy as she downed another guardian. Five minutes of fighting later she had destroyed six more guardians which still left her with over thirty of them. Her health was reaching forty percent and her mana didn’t look better.
Having vented a little though, she was ready to make the right decision and blinked towards the entrance of the room. She didn’t stop and blinked further out, quickly reaching the room with chairs and tables. Another five blinks brought her back to the room that still held the squid monster. Not taking chances though, Ilea blinked upwards and crossed all the way back to the first trap room, even crossing the chasm that held the turrets.
Finally standing in the room where the spears had pierced her, she sunk down and started hitting the floor. Her body started to heal and her mana was reaching twenty percent of its capacity. The wounds closed as she hit the ground time and time again. No other skills but her Sphere and Reconstruction were active, giving her time to react to danger while at the same time using the least amount of mana.
‘Why did that hit me so hard. Why?’ she thought. Ten minutes later she calmed down a little more and started to meditate. The skill had a way of letting her mind clear, although she wasn’t sure how much of it was because of the skill itself or well...actual meditation.
‘I’m conflicted.’ she concluded after a couple minutes of meditating and regenerating mana at a rapid pace. Even though in the end they had used her, Ilea had grown to like them. She felt a connection to them that she hadn’t felt so far since coming to Elos. It hurt so see them throw her away so easily, she had believed herself more important to them than she obviously was.
‘Maybe I was naive again. To be this cold, maybe it’s normal in this world. I’ve adjusted to killing but I haven’t adjusted to this.’ she thought about it and wanted to get her notebook to write down some plans but then remembered that it was still in the room with the teleportation gate.
“So let’s be pragmatic here. First things first I have to get tougher, no more bullshit. Maybe I’ll start associating with someone or an organization that could back me up. Being alone and only having my own power won’t be enough forever. It wasn’t enough so far. I’ll start with Alice though. Talk to her and find out what the fuck she thought she was doing.” she said out loud to the demolished room.
“Personal power is important though and there’s still a ton to be gained here in this dungeon. Seeing how the adventurers in Salia were talking about a new dungeon this is an opportunity I won’t squander. So first fighting. As soon as I’ve cleared most of it I’ll go back and talk to Alice. If I’ve gained enough power then I’ll go look for Felicia. I’ll need information and backing though.”
“I need my bloody notebook.” she said finally and got up again. She walked slowly towards the chasm while continuing to meditate. Her mana was maxed again and so was her health. “Ready for the next round, this is gonna be a looong day.” she checked her messages while walking and was happy at the result.
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Taleen Guardian] x 9’
‘bing’ ‘You have defeated an enemy eighty levels or more above your own. Additional Experience is granted.’
‘bing’ ‘Azarinth Healer has reached level 117. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Azarinth Healer has reached level 118. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Azarinth Healer has reached level 119. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Azarinth Healer has reached level 120. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Azarinth Healer has reached level 121. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Ash Wielder has reached level 112. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Ash Wielder has reached level 113. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Ash Wielder has reached level 114. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Ash Wielder has reached level 115. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Ash Wielder has reached level 116. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘ding’ ‘Shroud of Ash reaches lvl 3’
‘ding’ ‘Wave of Ember reaches lvl 4’
‘ding’ ‘Eyes of Ash reaches lvl 3’
‘ding’ ‘Body of Ash reaches lvl 3’
‘ding’ ‘Magic Perception reaches lvl 13’
And so she went back. First things first she blinked inside, grabbed her backpack and went back outside before most of the guardians even reacted to her. Leaving the pack above the squid room as she started to call it, she went back and walked inside the gate room.
“I’m back motherfuckers, ready for another pounding?” she was happy to see that some of the guardians still had scratches and damaged parts. They needed maintenance and apparently there was no automated workshop nearby.
Cracks filled with a deep fiery color formed on her body and a mist of ash formed around her while blue runes shined on. A smile was on her lips, the anger gone only her joy for fighting remained. Not that it made a difference for the guardians, they would fall either way.
She blinked in and the dance of slugs and blades started again. This time she destroyed five of them before leaving. Although her health had reached a similar point. The numbers were still overwhelming. ‘Next time let’s see how much Azarinth Reversal can change my staying power...’ she thought as she sat down again to meditate.
Capping out her mana, she checked her messages.
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Taleen Guardian] x 5’
‘bing’ ‘You have defeated an enemy seventy levels or more above your own. Additional Experience is granted.’
‘bing’ ‘Azarinth Healer has reached level 122. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Azarinth Healer has reached level 123. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Azarinth Healer has reached level 124. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Azarinth Healer has reached level 125. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Ash Wielder has reached level 117. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Ash Wielder has reached level 118. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Ash Wielder has reached level 119. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Ash Wielder has reached level 120. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘ding’ ‘Blink reaches 2nd lvl 17’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth Sphere reaches 2nd lvl 9’
‘ding’ ‘Body of Azarinth reaches 2nd lvl 10’
‘ding’ ‘Form of Ember reaches 2nd lvl 4’
‘Glad they left me the machines in that room as well...I have a feeling even Edwin knew I could take sword guardians already. Maybe I’m paranoid though.’ she distributed the 150 stat points equally into Vitality, Endurance, Dexterity, Intelligence and Wisdom. 30 for each she quickly checked her stats.
‘Quite the tank...but it’s not even close to Edwin I’m sure. My high skill levels let me survive this far, let me fight against the fuckers that got Alice, let me kill stalker hounds and undead. Even just surviving that Elf chasing us was certainly not due to my stats.’ Taking out her notebook she started to look through her notes.
Ilea added the coco fruit to her list of interesting foods that she had started a long while ago. ‘Now to plan some...’ she wrote down her thoughts from before.
- Clear Taleen dungeon
- Smack Alice
- Smack Edwin (much harder, twice ten times)
She was drawing a blank after that already. It helped her to write down the three things at least. She thought of other necessities, questions and tasks that she had neglected and wrote them down as well. Suddenly her eyes opened wide. “Where will I get food without Aliana???”