Chapter 59 Boss battles are easy
Five hours had passed and as time went on the contestants reduced their boasts and some of them even managed to pull off what they had claimed. Ilea was quite sure at that point though that she could crush this expedition’s members with ease were it one on one battles. The only people she wasn’t sure about were the three leaders.
Warriors, rogues and rangers had joined the bets and tried different skills and challenges against the healer. People lost and won money and soon more than half of the expedition’s adventurers owed Ilea a favor or two. Of course she wasn’t sure what that meant to them exactly but what she was really happy about weren’t the favors but the skills she had gained and strengthened.
Shroud of Ash had leveled three times, reaching eighteen. Many resistances had leveled while some more were gained.
Corrosion Resistance – lvl 3
Many substances can be corrosive. Even the strongest stone will be cut through by the right combination of chemicals. You have been exposed to more corrosion than many others and with this skill your resistance to many substances will be heightened.
Light Magic Resistance – lvl 2
The power of the sun harnessed and enhanced by magic. You have experienced the burning heat of light and pushed ahead. This skill will help you be more resistant.
Mist Magic Resistance – lvl 1
Mist magic is a rare talent, found in students of the arcane adept in both wind and water magic. It is an elusive power, difficult to wield yet ultimately destructive and impossible to avoid. You have faced it and lived. This skill will help you do so again.
Additionally Ilea had learned that pure warriors on a similar level were as strong if not stronger than her with all her buffs active. One of them even managed to make her skid away for more than five meters upon a blocked hit. ‘Guess they have their own way of enhancing their strength...’ Ilea only had a base Strength of 111 but with State of Azarinth that was increased to over 250.
‘Guess I’ll increase that at some point to at least 150...Edwin was probably right but I can’t be losing arm wrestling so easily...sucks that Form of Ember doesn’t increase my Strength anymore...’ she thought.
“It’s time guys.” Agor had entered the trap room. “We’re going for the last door.”
“God finally.” someone said while others got up and prepared themselves.
“Half an hour and we go in, prepare yourselves, it will likely be the hardest trial we’ve faced thus far.” Agor said and left the room.
“The boss then...” a mage said and a ranger next to him nodded.
“Likely, let’s go and prepare then.”
Ilea also followed and got some food from the cooks. The others started preparing as well but most of them seemed to just want to get it over with already. They had been waiting for hours already and finally the leaders had decided to tackle the last obvious route in the dungeon. They had already found a lot of gear in the dungeon so a good pay was a given at this point.
Ilea overheard an adventurer questioning going into the last door, saying that they had already fulfilled what they were contracted to do and then some. Jasper apparently didn’t agree to that though and led the adventurers forward.
“Whatever lies beyond this door we’ll be prepared to tackle it.” he said and then went on for twenty minutes ordering people into groups and explaining different roles and possibilities.
‘Is this what those games like WOW felt like...glad I’m not the leader here...’ Ilea thought. Her role in her group of five was to get the attention of whatever enemy was waiting for them inside the door. If it got overwhelming she should distract it and then move out after the others had fled. It made sense to her. She was pretty good at being an annoying punk to stronger enemies, especially slower ones that couldn’t teleport.
Her healing ability might save one or two people’s lives but like this she could both output her damage and protect the mages and other ranged or slower adventurers in the expedition.
They had lost quite a high number of capable people so far and Jasper wanted to make sure to keep it at a minimum. Though considering the otherwise successful expedition the Forkspears would likely not care much about the lost people. At least considering what Ilea had heard about Bjorn specifically.
“So what do you think we’ll face in there?” she asked Agor who was standing next to her. “Faced anything bigger Taleen made than a centurion before?”
He shook his head and looked at her through the thin eye slit in his helmet. “We’ll see soon enough. Just follow Jasper, he’s a good tactician with this amount of people at least...”
‘There seems to be more there...’ Ilea thought but focused on the task at hand.
“So everybody knows what to do then. We’ll start with groups one and two. Three and four will follow closely after, fifteen seconds between entering. Scouts ahead of everyone. Make sure to dismantle as many traps as possible. Tanks ahead of each group.
Ilea apparently was considered the tank of her group, especially after her resistance training just hours before. ‘Why doesn’t he send in scouts before, without all the groups...’ she asked herself but was sure the man had a good reason to do what he did.
And so they entered. The door opened to Jasper’s touch and his mana flowing into it. Ilea was in group two so entered right after the first one. There was a small hallway spanning only about ten meters in length and five in width right after the entrance. Beyond that was a big hall. One of the biggest she had seen yet in the dungeon. Even bigger than the hall they had entered from and where the whole expedition had made their camp.
Inside the hall there were pillars on each side. In the middle and far back of the room stood an empty throne. It was a very simple thing, quite free of any complicated carvings, runes or designs. ‘Cold...’ was what came to Ilea’s mind as she entered the room and spread out to the left with her group as planned. Group one had spread out to the right and soon the more range oriented groups three and four would enter behind them and cover the ones who came in before.
‘There’s nothing here...’ Ilea thought as she looked around. The same green lamps as always were lighting the room in an eerie green. There was no moss here and the sound of gears and pipes only came from the hall behind them, much more subdued now as they had entered the throne room.
As the group advanced closer to the throne a large amount of the adventurers tensed up and immediately signaled for retreat. Ilea too, felt an ominous presence that made her hair stand up. Behind them the door shut again and with it closed as well the corridor that led into the throne room.
‘Another trap...’ she thought as everybody prepared to fight. The ground in front of the throne slowly opened up and two machines slowly came into view, lifted up by an elevator below. The same green metal as the centurions and the guardians made up their armor. They had the same heads and the same legs but they were bigger by quite a bit.
‘Different weapons as well...a mace and...two scythes?’ she looked at the two machines and in that very moment their eyes started to glow green.
“Intruders.” one of the machines said in an eerily human voice. “The throne room has been breached.” the machine said and looked around almost lifelike.
‘These guys are creeping me out...’ Ilea thought as she identified them.
[Taleen Praetorian – lvl ???]
[Taleen Praetorian – lvl ???]
“Get me those doors open! Team three and four, send two mages each to burn through!” Jasper shouted as magic gathered around him.
“Prepare for battle!” he shouted, enticing many of the adventurers to do the same.
“This feels wrong….these guys don’t feel like the others at all...” Ilea whispered and just then the Praetorian with the mace looked at her and she swore she saw its eyes glow a little brighter.
‘We have to get out of here...’ she thought and wanted to say just that when the mage behind her started shouting.
“This feels bad guys...we should get out of here!!” he said while preparing his spell. Arrows started flying towards the machines as the warriors advanced steadily. Magic joined the arrows and a big fiery impact followed by lances of ice and crystal hammered into their enemies in quick succession.
Out of the dust flew one of the scythes faster than an arrow, piercing through a warrior’s shield and his arm. Blood started to spray from the screaming man. The fight had started.
Ilea quickly buffed herself and advanced towards the enemies, ranged attacks still rained on their positions. Her magic perception was rather unusable with all the explosions and projectiles but a couple steps later the two machines were in her range of perception. A mace was suddenly in front of her, ready to crush her.
Blinking away to the left, she looked at her previous position to find the mace praetorian standing there and then moving to its next target with a powerful leap. It landed between one of the ranged groups who barely managed to react to what happened before its mace splattered the crystal mage Ilea had trained with just earlier that day. The massive metal weapon destroyed the woman’s body and left little recognizable behind.
Spells rained on the machine but it didn’t seem to do a lot as it simply turned and attacked again. “Fuck this is bad...” she said and blinked closer to the Praetorian. The mage that would’ve been killed next managed to teleport away just as Ilea had done before. She quickly glanced to the left to see the second enemy wade through the group of close combat fighters with both scythes dancing gracefully around its body.
She blinked again, reaching the Praetorian’s head with a kick. Her spells activated on impact but something felt wrong. Like the energy that was supposed to be released inside the enemy was rejected. Ilea flew backwards with her wings that sprouted from her back as more spells impacted the machine.
‘What was that...’ she thought and blinked in again. This time she chose one of the beast’s legs and paid close attention with her magic perception. The energies created by her offensive skills were blocked by something layering over the machine. Looking upwards she saw that most of the magic used by the other adventurers had the same fate.
‘We’re not dealing any damage...they have shields….’ she thought as the hammer swung her way. She prepared to blink when a sudden wave of mana rippled through her, emanating from the mace. Her blink was disrupted and all she could do was fly upwards. The mace caught her in the legs, making her spiral through the air before she impacted hard on one of the pillars.
She hung from the pillar while healing herself and looked around the room. Four of the warriors were dead already, sliced in half or their heads removed. Another mage had died right after Ilea had been hit by the mace, his remains colored the ground red near the Praetorian who looked around, oddly focusing on the close combat fighters.
Suddenly the machine jumped to join its scythed counterpart which in turn threw both of its weapons towards the mace Praetorian’s last position. A mage was cleanly sliced in half while two more managed to dodge the hit. Jeremy who was with the close combat fighters took the mace head on and Ilea could see the dent in his shield as he was thrown backwards, sliding to a stop only fifteen meters further back.
“This is a massacre...we have to get out of here...” Ilea said out loud and checked the door where four mages were burning through the stone with different magics, looking backwards sometimes with sweat covering their faces. Ilea blinked downwards and checked away a warrior who was focused on the weaponless machine while the other’s mace was about to impact his back.
Ilea got up from the man and turned around just quickly enough to blink away from a flying scythe. “We need to get out!” Agor shouted in the middle of the chaos, deflecting a flying scythe with his great sword. The warrior Ilea had saved was back on his feet and joined Jeremy, quickly advancing on one of the Praetorians.
“Everyone too slow and with no teleports to the door, crack that stone open!!” Jasper shouted and deflected both scythes with quick movements of his sword, aided by blue magic. Ilea blinked in again and punched the scythe machine but the same thing happened again as when she had attacked the other Praetorian.
She still managed to get the machine’s attention and had to dodge the scythe coming her way. Reduced to her physical damage only, her impact had been reduced nearly completely. Ilea was sure that the shields wouldn’t last forever but the enemies didn’t show a single reaction to anything the over thirty people strong expedition had thrown at them so far.
‘Jasper’s right...we have to get out of here...fuck...’ she thought and glanced at the door. More and more mages and close combat fighters were working on getting through the stone but it would take a while to break it all down. Time they certainly didn’t have as another warrior was smashed by the massive mace.
Ilea dodged two more swipes of the scythes when the mages finally broke through the door and started running out in single file. “They’re getting out!” a scout shouted next to Ilea and started running towards the door only to be pierced by a scythe and thrown away, spattering on a nearby wall.
“We need more time, stand firm!” Jasper shouted. No magic was hitting the Praetorians anymore as everyone was trying to get out of the deathtrap they’d found themselves in. The two machines concentrated fully on the few remaining close combat fighters quick enough to dodge their blows. Ilea, Jasper and Lorcan were three of them. She also recognized the girl Rin and had seen the other three warriors before as well.
They worked hard to dodge and attack as best they could but one of the warriors was hit quickly after. Ilea blinked towards him but could only watch as the mace of the other Praetorian landed in front of her, splattering her with blood and guts. “AAAAAH!!” the scream left her lung as she blinked away again.
Appearing behind one of the pillars, she saw with her sphere that one of the scythes was flying towards her from behind the stone, prompting her to dodge to the side quickly. The stone was pierced and quite a bit of air as well where she had stood a moment ago. Nearly all the adventurers had fled through the opened pathway by that point. Ilea slid to the ground next to the pillar as the blade was recalled to the machine again, glowing faintly and sliding out of the rock again.
Her hands were shaking as she tried to wipe away the blood from her face and neck. ‘Fuck….fuck fuck...’ was all she thought before slapping herself in her face. She got up again and blinked towards the others. Lorcan took a direct hit from the mace right then. The swipe sent him flying, ending in a hard crash into a pillar.
Ilea could see his armor was bend too far. ‘He...he’s dying...’ she thought and forgot about distracting the machines, blinking to them an immediately. She started healing him while bending the metal backwards to allow his bones and organs to recover.
“LEAVE!!” Jasper shouted and the remaining people started running to the opening in the door. Ilea shouldered Lorcan and ran as well. Glancing sideways she saw Jasper jumping backwards before an incredible amount of mana gathered at the tip of his sword. The Praetorians looked at him and advanced slowly before they were engulfed in a storm of blue fire emanating from the tip of his sword.
‘That won’t stop them for long...’ Ilea thought as she ran and nearly tripped on some of the corpses that littered the floor. Just then she felt her hairs stand up and time slow down. She saw the scythe advance behind her and blinked away. The angle would allow for the blade to pass harmlessly below Lorcan’s body. She appeared a couple meters away and ran back to catch the falling man.
The blade passed both of them and sliced into the wall. She caught him and spun around. Aiming for the doorway she threw the man with all her strength. Lorcan had regained consciousness a moment ago and managed to move slightly in the air not to hit the stone. Ilea watched on as he landed outside safely before she blinked through the wall. At least that was what she had planned to do before she looked down and saw a meter long blade sticking out from her stomach. An incredible pain spread through her immediately, accompanied by a cold she hadn’t experienced ever before.