Chapter 51 That is no bird
Ilea enjoyed the bath for half an hour before getting out again. She went and grabbed her canteen and checked if the centurion had dropped anything. Other than some remaining shrapnel quite far away from the crater she didn’t find anything.
‘These dungeons must be super shit for normal adventurers who go in for the treasure...’ she thought but smiled as she touched her necklace. ‘Dunno how many would’ve gotten that one...’
She put all her fifty stat points into Vitality. ‘I can take on a centurion now but that blast...’ she thought and got her backpack that she had left at the entrance. “Why do I still have that...” she thought as she removed the green ivy from her pack. Shrugging she put it back in. ‘It’s everywhere, can’t be something special...’
The only other way out of the room was a big archway similar to the one that had led to the teleportation gate. It looked rather nice to Ilea, although not as intricately decorated as the teleportation device itself. She touched it as she went through, looking back at the seemingly idyllic scene behind her, were it not for the crater and burnt trees left behind.
In the next hour, Ilea walked through several big hallways with dozens of rooms to each side. She checked every single one of them with her sphere but couldn’t find anything other than some old stone beds and other furniture.
‘Not residential though...’ she thought as she walked through another huge spartan looking room with dozens of beds. “Barracks!” she suddenly exclaimed loudly as it finally clicked. There were weird contraptions on the walls that would likely hold weapons, the furniture was aligned perfectly symmetrical to allow the same storage for everyone that had claimed one of these beds.
‘So I’m in the heart of the Taleen military here...’ she thought and continued on. A couple big rooms later, she came up on a massive hall with hundreds of tables. “So this is where you ate hmm?” she asked nobody. There were no dwarves or even skeletons remaining who could’ve answered the intruder to their ancient home.
Ilea walked through the eerily quiet room. The absence of gears and noisy pipes was immediately noticeable. “How long since the last meal was served here?” She picked up a mug that stood on one of the tables. There was nearly no dust on it and the greenish metal shined on splendidly, reflecting the light above.
“Guess now that I have space...where’s the kitchen?” she asked and made the mug vanish. Four more followed as she made her way towards the kitchen. The fact that she had beaten a centurion made Ilea more and more giddy as she jumped on top of a nearby table and continued her way like that.
Wings sprouted from her back as she flew upwards and twirled before landing on the counter where the dwarves must’ve gotten their meals from millenia past. “Kitchen utensils here I come!” sadly there wasn’t as much left as Ilea assumed. A nice set of kitchen knifes joined her collection though, as did two pots, one of them looking quite similar to a wok.
Finding nothing else interesting, Ilea moved on. Three more doors led away from the big dining hall and she intended to explore all of them. One inevitably led to a massive cleaning room, sadly without any clothes inside. “If I have to wash an army’s clothes I know where to go though. Seeing the guardians I bet these weird as fuck washing machines still work as well...” she touched one of them and wasn’t surprised to see some runes light up on the side of it.
Not knowing how to use them though, she moved on to the next door that led away from the big hall. Sadly from the cleaning room only small storage rooms were attached that held what Ilea thought to be the taleen equivalent to cleaning pods. ‘Is this whole world an ad as well?’ she thought as she thought of eating one. She didn’t though, although with her resistances and healing power it would’ve been quite the miracle pod to actually hurt her in any significant way.
The next big door that led away from the mess hall held something quite interesting. Ilea took out her notebook and put the word Armory next to the rune she had drawn before entering the first door to the left in the great hall’s first room. The words Wash room, treasury, teleportation room and some others were already on the page of her interpretations. They were certainly no perfect translation but Ilea thought that good language professors could already do quite a bit with that.
She opened her arms and smirked as she greeted the room before her. “I had hoped for clothes...but this...” before her stretched several hundred meters of carefully placed gear on racks and tables. Admittedly most of it was missing but the things that remained were still more than plenty to arm a small town with incredibly high quality gear.
Ilea walked up to the nearest rack and took one of the spears into her hand. [Taleen Spear – High Quality] she balanced it on her finger and then shrugged. “I have no idea what I’m doing.” she then twirled the spear, surprising her at her own grace and made it vanish into her necklace. Ilea ran around the room, trying out different weapons and wondering at the uses of some of the devices.
In the next twenty five minutes, Ilea had stocked her necklace with over a hundred weapons and was ready to move on to the piles of armor and clothes that were both strewn around on tables while others were carefully put onto mannequins without heads.
‘Most of this stuff sadly doesn’t fit me...’ she thought but still moved through the things and looked at most of it. To her disappointment there was nothing that wasn’t at least a little green but she did find some clothes and armors that actually fit her. Apparently not all the dwarves were built the same, at least some taller and thinner dwarves must’ve existed. Or they made armor for other people as well, Ilea didn’t know. In total she’d found five whole armor sets that fit her somewhat well. Nothing comparable to her drake armor but at least it didn’t fall down after she got it on and fastened it with enough straps.
The clothes were easier as she could cut through parts and make them fit a little better. She kept ten sets of clothes that she thought fit her the best.
She got on one set of clothes and one set of armor on top. Checking her movements she felt it wasn’t particularly limiting. Even the sets for apparently very tall and skinny dwarves had rather short arm and leg pieces, leaving quite a bit of space free where Ilea’s joints were. The clothes were quite similar to the legate’s, plain and greenish with a bit of shine to them. The armor on the other hand was a little darker, albeit still green.
It was made from the same metal as the guardians but after Ilea went over it with a piece of cloth it shined much more. She looked into a mirror that was placed nearby and admitted that she looked like quite the warrior. ‘Although the blue eyes certainly don’t fit...’
“I have just the thing for that though...” she said and walked to the pile of helmets she’d tried on and deemed fitting enough. Where the dwarves were orderly and identical in weapons and armor, they seemed to have quite a bit of diversity in headgear. At least to an extent.
The helmets were of course all made from the same green metal but some had horns on top while others had spikes that reached to the side and downwards. Ilea assumed that some of them once held feathers or other things, looking at the old straps and metal rings and attachments that adorned some of the helmets.
In the end Ilea chose ten different helmets. Four with horns, two with spikes, three with wing like attachments and one that didn’t have any attachments. All of them covered her face completely, leaving only small slits for her eyes. Her necklace showed 181/250 holding capacity at that point. ‘I’ll definitely sell a bunch of this, food is certainly preferable...’ she thought as she put on one of the helmets with horns. They went a little to the side and then forward in a slight upward angle.
Activating her wings, she found they grew outwards from her armor without any problems. She looked into the mirror again and found a quite dangerous looking Taleen warrior looking back at her. Summoning one of the spears, she held it up in one arm and smiled. ‘Should’ve gone for a heavy spear or hammer class with all that gear...’ she thought but didn’t really mean it.
Thinking on it, Ilea grabbed five of the round shields she’d found and put four of them into storage. Getting into a fierce stance, she looked into the mirror and nodded. Storing the spear and shield again, she continued walking around the room while chucking her helmet upwards with one hand.
“I like these outfits...” she said out loud and continued looking through things. Sadly there were no lighter sets or hand to hand combat weapons among the armory but Ilea felt quite decked out, at least she could throw these weapons. Not seeing anything else interesting in the room after half an hour of searching, she left and went for the last doorway in the hall.
“Rotten...” she said as she held the dust in her hand. What she found was apparently the pantry. Sadly these dwarves didn’t seem to have any runes that would’ve kept the food fresh. Or they did and didn’t chose to keep them activated. Whatever reason there was nothing more to be found inside the room and Ilea quickly left, sketching down the rune on the door, Ilea sat down on one of the tables and summoned some bread and meat. ‘Haven’t tried to store a fully cooked and hot meal in here...’
Jeremy was in the third group to be brought over the chasm. ‘A great hall...I never would’ve dreamed of this...’ he thought as the wind mage made him land softly on the ground. His heavy armor and shield still made him bend his knees a little but he quickly jogged onwards to not block the passage of others. Whatever would wait on this side of the chasm, they had to be ready and they had to have a certain amount of firepower at their disposal.
Agor and Douglas Inström, two of the leaders were already standing near the massive doorway and inspected something on it that Jeremy couldn’t yet see from the angle he was currently at. Some other adventurers had joined them and started discussing. He walked up to them and saw what they were on about.
There was a one meter by one fifty big hole in the door, seemingly melted into it. “They’ve reached this far...” Agor said “I say we enter as soon as we have twenty people here. What do you see?” he said, the question directed towards all of the adventurers behind him.
“Nothing, the room seems empty.” one of them said. “There are no heat signatures...” another one said. “The spirits tell me of no danger.” and many more confirmations of safe passage followed before Douglas stopped them.
“We move as soon as the next group is down.” he said and just as he finished talking, four more people landed on this side of the chasm. Two of them having simply jumped over. “Let’s move then.” he said and motioned for Agor to lead. The man nodded and went through the hole in the door.
Jeremy watched as more and more of the people vanished through the door and into what was considered a great hall. He would’ve gladly given some additional insight or warning regarding the nature of the place inside but even to Jeremy most of it was myth. He knew that great halls were supposed to hold dangerous traps to ward off any intruders but that was about the end of his knowledge. Most of the others knew that much as well. ‘Time to change that lack of knowledge then...’ he thought and smiled while he entered into the much brighter room, the dozens of magical effects from their party reflecting on the white stone walls.
Pete walked up to Jasper, the old sword master currently standing over the map of the Taleen Dungeon they had explored for a couple days now. The whole group of adventurers and aides had been brought over the chasm in the past couple hours and had built their new base of operations inside the great hall. There were only destroyed machines remaining of whatever resistance had once resided there.
Now there were tents built up, pots with boiling soup were being tended to and a couple smiths were loitering about, talking about the dwarven metal they were inspecting. Some people had built up tables and were playing cards while they waited for the cautious leadership to declare the next move. No entrances had been touched at all until a couple hours ago. Scouts had been sent into the doors to the right.
In the first one, a trap had nearly cost the woman’s life but she managed to get to safety thanks to a short range teleportation skill. The second door had apparently been the one whoever came before them had chosen as a destroyed trap was reported until the scout had to return. There was apparently a large chasm that he couldn’t cross with his skills. People with flying abilities would have to explore further.
Seems like Pete would be the next scout to be chosen. ‘Hopefully not the big door in the middle...’ he looked nervously at the massive doorway that was as big as the entrance to the great hall. Some mages were standing around the entrance at that moment, trying to figure out how to open it. ‘It’s already open, why waste your time?’ Pete asked himself as he looked at the molten part of the door and shook his head.
“Pete right?” Jasper asked and didn’t wait for a response. “You’ll be the first one to enter the first door to the left. Two ways right are clear so far but I want to be sure no surprises will fall onto our backs.” the man said. Pete just nodded and walked towards the door. “Same procedure I assume" he asked while looking backwards. Jasper just nodded and absorbed himself again in the map.
Agor, Douglas and some other adventurers were standing over a stump of metal that stood in the middle of the room with somewhat concerned expressions on their faces. “Sorry to break up the gathering, I’ll be going into the next door. You guys free?” Pete asked and got some nods and yeses from the group.
They motioned and shouted for some more people to come until a whole twenty adventurers stood behind the waiting Pete, ready to strike at whatever unholy beast would be unleashed upon his trespassing. ‘Let’s hope it’s just another trap...’ he thought as he breathed in deeply and poured mana into the door. It lit up and opened. Pete entered and heard the door close behind him.
He walked down some stairs and let out the breath he was holding. ‘Just another chasm...earned my pay easily this time...’ his thoughts were interrupted as a sudden gust of wind blew him backwards a little. Looking up he saw a demon flying with ashen wings, embers burned deep within the wings as a deep and hateful glow shined onto him from inside the creature’s helmet.
‘Fuck this.’ he thought and turned tail, activating all his available buffs to make him swifter and to avoid any possible retribution for his intrusion.
Jeremy stood next to Rin whom he had gotten to know a couple hours ago when news of the great hall had spread. “He’s running back!” one of the mages said, her eyes glowing with a deep crimson. A moment later dozens of spells went off around Jeremy, people buffing themselves or others. Mages activating slower spells while some warriors infused their weapons with magical power.
A glance towards Rin told him that her two blades were drawn, a reddish glow coming from their thin metal. His tower shield got infused by his own spell as his body grew heavier. Whatever the scout was running from would find quite the surprise waiting for them.
Two slow seconds passed before the door opened and the scout ran out. “Demon!” he shouted and jumped over the line of waiting people.
“Did you identify whatever it was??!” Agor shouted but the word demon had already made its way through the whole hall while people canceled spells and prepared deadlier ones, his question drowned out by lightning, fire and earth cracking while people were shouting battle cries.
“Incoming!” the mage with a crimson glow in her eyes shouted as the door opened and out stepped an armored guardian. The green metal and horns made it clear that whatever it was, it was part of the dungeon. The red glow coming from inside its helmet made it understandable for the scout to shout the word demon but Jeremy had too much experience to simply trust a man like that and he was too curious to attack something so ancient without good reasons. Asking questions first might be dangerous yes, but asking questions later might be a loss of knowledge, forgotten for thousands of years.
The knowledge of his identify skill came to him just as the first attacks were let loose. [Healer lvl 165] he wanted to shout but the noise was deafening. An arrow was the first thing to hit the healer as a shroud of ash covered him and his arm shot out to intercept the projectile. Catching it, a bolt of lightning hit the healer and then hell followed. Jeremy tried to shout through the carnage but could only watch on helplessly as more and more fire, ice and many other ranged elemental attacks destroyed the healer and everything beyond.