Chapter 56 Cleanup crew
Jeremy blocked the thrown spear with his shield and managed to deflect it towards the nearby wall. Jasper looked back at him and nodded before engaging the centurion again. They had managed to stand against the machine for twenty minutes already with their group of seven. It had suddenly appeared from behind them and had nearly taken two of their lives immediately.
‘Were it not for Jasper...’ Jeremy thought and looked at the man who glowed with a slight tinge of blue, holding his fragile looking sword with a confident posture.
The centurion slashed towards the man but its strikes were deflected with seemingly slow moves. The sword was precisely where it had to be. Jasper’s sword struck the centurion again but didn’t manage to cut deeply. ‘The fact that he can even cut it...’ Jeremy thought as another bout of magic was released from the three mages behind him. The centurion swiped away two of the attacks with its spear and blocked the last one, a crystal spear with its arm.
Another spear throw followed towards the mages but Jeremy held fast. The rogue and warrior that were with them stood behind him as well but couldn’t help out in the fight at all. Their speed and skills weren’t on par with the centurion which had nearly cost them their lives at the beginning of the fight. Jasper reassured them to get behind Jeremy and try to protect the mages. With their ranged attacks they were a great distraction for Jasper and got in arguably more damage than the sword master did himself.
Jeremy didn’t use any ranged attacks to focus all his energy on defense. ‘I hope Rin is doing alright...’ he thought. The woman had been with a different group. Inström had led them. ‘We’re gonna be fine with Jasper though...’ he thought just when another spear throw was sent their way. This one wasn’t aimed at the mages though but at the warrior who was standing a little too far to the right. Jeremy moved to the right but only managed to deflect the spear slightly.
Combined with the dodging attempt by the slow warrior it was enough to save the man’s life. The spear punched through his armor and exited on the back but didn’t hit anything vital. “Get him behind me!!” Jeremy shouted as the people behind him tried to become as small a target as possible while moving the screaming warrior who was losing blood quite quickly.
The centurion tried to circle around Jasper to get to the group but it proved rather difficult in the small room. It’s movements were fast, nearly too fast for Jeremy to follow but luckily Jasper was there to block the machine’s advance. ‘Like a shepherd protecting sheep...’ Jeremy thought and couldn’t help but chuckle at his own lack of power. Still the excitement of seeing and facing a live centurion made him smile. ‘A story to tell if we survive this...’
Another spear throw struck his shield, hitting it dead center. The enchantments, metal and his buffs to the shield held true though and the weapon didn’t penetrate. Suddenly the wall next to Jasper exploded and two armored people jumped through it. Jeremy looked on as Agor immediately charged the centurion while Lilith looked around the room and then vanished.
He needed a couple seconds to realize the woman had appeared behind himself and had started healing the warrior who had gone silent a small while ago. “Is he gonna make it?” Jeremy shouted as the centurion now fully focused on the two expedition leaders.
“He’s gonna be alright, give me a minute and then you guys are out of here...” she said as Agor was thrown back by the butt of the centurion’s spear. Jasper managed to make a direct hit at the opening.
“Don’t attack! It can’t reach it’s third phase!!” Lilith shouted to the man while her mana entered the warrior who was lucid again but breathing heavily. “We have to get everyone out of here!” Agor nodded at her and then towards Jasper who moved back a little to make space between himself and the centurion.
“Just hold him off the others, they go berserk when they near death and self destruct in the end.” Agor shouted, swiping the advancing spear away with his great sword. “Lilith get them out and then help us out here...” he shouted and circled the centurion to keep its attention.
‘How can she help out with her level...’ Jeremy thought but looking at the woman he was somehow reassured she could.
“Hey Jeremy, you saw the crater near the armory?” Lilith asked him as she got up from her crouching position. The warrior slowly got up as well. She continued after he nodded. “You think you can take a blast like that point blank?” she said and he nodded again.
“Should be able to, haven’t found anything that got through my shield before.” he said and she motioned for everyone to follow. They left the two warriors to fight the centurion and ran towards the elevator.
The rogue screamed and advanced on the dead scout in the elevator room before one of the mages ran after him. “You’ll stay down here...the self destruct is gonna be difficult to avoid in these tight hallways.” Lilith told him.
“You guys need to leave, now!” she shouted to the others. The mage dragged away the mourning man, telling him they’d burn the corpse at a later time. The warrior nodded to Lilith as they entered the elevator. “Make sure to send the lift back down afterwards...” Lilith said to the man and then went back into the dungeons. Jeremy followed.
The two ran back to the room and found a bleeding yet smiling Agor and an expressionless Jasper both facing the centurion. “Backup is here...” Lilith said and threw away her helmet, revealing a grin that mirrored Agor’s.
‘How will she...’ Jeremy thought as Lilith suddenly vanished, only to appear behind the centurion’s head while delivering a kick. The machine buckled a little at the hit, opening up a chance for the other two to attack which the experienced warriors didn’t miss.
“Let’s whittle this fucker down!” Lilith shouted as she dodged a spear thrust coming her way.
‘She’s ridiculously fast...how can she keep up with that level...’ Jeremy thought and prepared all his defensive buffs. He hadn’t forgotten about the explosion that was supposed to come and even though he was sure he’d be able to take much more damage than the three others in the room, he was not a hundred percent sure he could take whatever had created that crater.
The fight went on as he applied layer upon layer of dense rock on his shield and body to both heighten his defense but also his weight. “He’s going berserk!” Agor shouted after nearly seven minutes of relentless attacking. The machine grew more savage afterwards, taking more and more blows at the chance to land a counter.
All three of the warriors managed to avoid serious injuries though, becoming much more defensive in the last phase of the fight. The damage was still done though as the more reckless machine left more openings than before until Jeremy saw a bright glow emanate from the centurion while all three adventurers jumped backwards.
“Behind Jeremy!” Lilith shouted as she vanished and appeared behind him, holding on tightly to his back, strengthening his position. Jasper and Agor reached them half a second later. Agor pushed his back to Ilea’s and smashed his great sword into the ground, giving him more hold.
The centurion’s spear vanished as it slowly advanced towards the group, its chest glowing too bright for Jeremy to see. Jasper held out his hand and concentrated before blue runes started floating before them. A second later the blast followed. Jeremy’s ears popped immediately and a massive shock wave of force and fire struck against his shield, pushing the whole group backwards a whole meter. Agor’s sword cut through the ground as if it were mere earth while the layers of stone on Jeremy’s shield were shattered on impact.
Jasper’s defensive rune had been obliterated as well, barely slowing down the explosion but as the dust settled they stood. Lilith let go of Jeremy and stepped out as Agor removed his sword from the ground.
‘ding’ ‘Your group has defeated [Taleen Centurion – lvl 305]’
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated an enemy one hundred and thirty levels or more above your own. Additional Experience is granted.’
‘bing’ ‘Ground Caller has reached level 173. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Ground Caller has reached level 174. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘bing’ ‘Heavy Paladin has reached level 167. 5 Stat points awarded.’
“Another one down...” Ilea said and quickly checked through her messages. She had used up all stat points before the centurion fight to make sure she was at the best she could be. The guardians weren’t a challenge and she preferred to feel a big change every time she used stat points. She had destroyed a total of 83 sword guardians in the past couple hours and had gained fourteen levels in both Azarinth healer and Ash Wielder, netting her a whopping 140 stat points which she had invested into Vitality, Dexterity and Intelligence. Some skills had grown as well. Additionally the fight against the centurion had given her another level in both her classes. She quickly checked her status after all her stats were distributed.
Name: Ilea Spears
Unspent statpoints: 0
Class 1: Azarinth Healer – lvl 183
- Active: Destruction – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: Reconstruction – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: State of Azarinth – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: Blink – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: Azarinth Sphere – 2nd lvl 17
- Passive: Body of Azarinth – 2nd lvl 13
- Passive: Azarinth Fighting – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Magic Perception – lvl 15
- Passive: Azarinth Perception – 2nd lvl 9
- Passive: Azarinth Reversal – lvl 13
Class 2: Ash Wielder – lvl 175
- Active: Shroud of Ash – lvl 15
- Active: Form of Ember – 2nd lvl 8
- Active: Ash Surge – lvl 6
- Active: Body Heat Manipulation – lvl 1
- Active: Wave of Ember – lvl 16
- Passive: Ash and Ember Manipulation – lvl 15
- Passive: Ashen Wings – lvl 6
- Passive: Eyes of Ash – lvl 13
- Passive: Body of Ash – lvl 13
- Passive: Ashen Warrior – lvl 8
- Elos Standard language - lvl 5
- Identify - lvl 4
- Meditation – lvl 2nd 14
- Poison Resistance – lvl 17
- Heat Resistance – lvl 14
- Pain Tolerance – 2nd lvl 2
- Mental Resistance – lvl 5
- Fear Resistance – lvl 1
- Water Resistance – lvl 5
- Wind Resistance – lvl 3
- Lightning Resistance – lvl 1
“Alright people good work but let’s move on, there are other groups that might have been ambushed. We’ve lost enough people already...” Jasper said and walked out of the room. All of them had gained at least one level from the fight. Ilea herself had certainly enjoyed the fight but afterwards the deaths of the other adventurers she’d seen happily playing music or cards started weighing on her. She hadn’t known any of the ones she’d seen dead but still they were people.
‘Focus on what you can do...’ she thought and followed Jasper. The group ran through the dungeons trying to find other adventurers by following the trails of destroyed guardians. Jasper was luckily the one who had planned on where the groups would be going and they quickly found the traces of a recent battle.
“He’s still alive...” Ilea said out loud and blinked to one of the piles of metal. The destroyed guardian was removed with ease and Ilea quickly started healing the man who had been caught below the wreckage. Twenty seconds of healing later he opened his eyes.
“You’re...Lilith...the others...” he coughed up blood but Ilea just kept on healing.
“Where are they, centurion?” she asked after he had stopped coughing.
“Yes...straight ahead...” he managed to get the words out between the blood. Ilea ignored the smell of urine and nodded to the others. She had put on her helmet again after defeating the centurion.
“Go ahead, I’ll stabilize him. Need another minute or two.” she said and the others left immediately, whatever buffs they had for speed were applied. Ilea was done with the man a minute later. “You better stay here, it should be safe as long as you don’t move. If we’re not back in an hour go for the elevator.” the man who was a warrior at level 160 nodded to the woman, her reputation likely convinced him.
Applying both State of Azarinth and Form of Ember, Ilea rushed forward. She dodged the strewn around destroyed machines and finally reached the biggest room she’d seen so far in the dungeons. ‘The mess hall...’ she thought and focused on the centurion that was currently engaged by Agor, Jasper and several mages that were protected by a bulky woman, some warriors and Jasper.
A little above the group flew Inström, his eyes blue, firing down lightning at the machine. ‘The Thor is here...’ she thought and was surprisingly elated at the fact that there were no more corpses in the room. They had held off the centurion and might’ve even destroyed it in time. With their help it wouldn’t be a problem to deal with this.
Ilea blinked towards the group of adventurers and checked them quickly. None were badly injured. She looked upwards as she saw drops of blood falling down from Inström. She sprouted her wings and flew to the man before starting to heal him.
He just grunted and gave her a quick glance before concentrating on the enemy again. Spells were fired from the group of mages that now had two tanks to protect them against any ranged attacks. Some of the present warriors again would’ve only been a liability when fighting the centurion.
Fire and ice hit the centurion while Agor and Jasper kept the machine busy up close. Ilea stayed in the air, watching the overwhelming victory unfold. She didn’t feel like engaging the enemy anymore and simply stayed in the air. ‘Just get it over with already...’ she thought when the centurion reached its final phase and kept getting battered from ranged attacks.
A minute after it started to glow and everyone retreated behind the tanks before the explosion shook the room. Ilea stayed in the air and tried hard to push against the shock wave. Partially successful, she landed again, a couple meters behind where she’d been floating.
‘ding’ ‘Your group has defeated [Taleen Centurion – lvl 305]’
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated an enemy one hundred and twenty levels or more above your own. Additional Experience is granted.’
‘bing’ ‘Azarinth Healer has reached level 184. 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘No wonder people have difficulties leveling in groups...’ she thought and put her points into wisdom.
“Anybody injured?” she asked as she approached the group but none seemed to be more than battered or simply tired. Some people looked at her, one of them even nodding. Inström didn’t say a thing about her healing him.
The group was still recovering when she reached Agor. “I’m gonna continue with clearing. You feel up for it?” he just nodded and motioned her to march on.
“Thanks for the help Lilith.” Jasper said as he reached her. “You saved some lives today. We’ll regroup and get the corpses out of here, feel free to clear as much as you like...” he said almost in a resigned way before going back to the group.
“Let’s go then...” she told Agor and led the way. It would likely take a while until the expedition came down here again and there probably wouldn’t be as many of them so she decided to slow her pace a little. “So ever found an ancient item?” she asked the man while they were walking through the dark corridors.
The lights in the dungeons were actually less bright than in the rest of the dungeon. “No, sadly not but I’ve seen some. Why do you ask?”
Ilea gambled a little but at this point she was pretty sure she could get away from the expedition if she tried and Lorcan didn’t seem like he really cared about the others. “Well let’s just say that there’s something the Forkspears won’t be getting from this place...” she told him.
“Hahahaha...well I for one think whatever you found is better in your hands than theirs. What is it?” he asked but Ilea continued in silence for thirty seconds. “Come on Ilea...what iiiis it?”
“It’s a storage necklace...” she said and prepared for any reaction he might have.
“Eh, well that’s disappointing. I mean sure it’s useful and if it’s ancient it probably has a ton of space inside. Just you know...I was more hoping on a great sword or something...I hope you’re not angry that I would’ve taken you out for that...” he said, continuing onwards without even pausing.
“On a date? Well you can do that anyway if you like...” she said but he didn’t respond for a while after that. The mood had gotten a little heavy after that and Ilea wasn’t quite sure what to say anymore. The sword guardians they soon came across were quite the welcome distraction.
After destroying five of them the two walked on, Lorcan breaking the silence after a couple minutes. “I apologize but I have to decline.” Ilea waited for a while too while thinking his words over.
“Don’t worry about it. I’m sure you have your reasons. Do tell if I can help somehow though.” she said but didn’t wait for a possible response. Trying to change the obviously unpleasant topic for Lorcan, she continued on the necklace. “I have another question on the ancient item...is why I mentioned it in the first place really...it asked me to claim the necklace. Do you know what that means?” she asked.
“I do...well what I heard and I think this should be reliable...it’s bound to your mana. If you die someone else can take it. If someone steals it from you and you were bound to it for a month, the person would have to wait for a month to be able to claim it...as long as you’re still alive. You can also will other people to be allowed to use it or to access certain items inside. Someone I worked with did that once so I’m somewhat familiar with the enchantment...and of course this.” he gestured to the bracelet on his arm.
“Thanks for the explanation...glad to hear people can’t just steal it. There’s no way to access anything inside otherwise?” she asked.
“None I’ve heard of but there’s magic for nearly everything you know. Now stop talking, we have company...” two sword guardians stood up from their deactivated position and approached them slowly as Ilea’s slit in her helmet started glowing with a colorful mixture of blue and fire.