Chapter 60 Scythes and Swords
Touching the blade, she felt as it slowly slid backwards out of her body before her sphere recognized the mace coming down on her. As the blade left her she blinked through the wall, falling down on her knees on the other side. She gagged and puked all of the remaining contents in her stomach out on the ground before her as she healed the wound.
‘...it...s...not...closin...g..’ she thought and looked down on the blood soaking her hands that tried desperately to keep inside what wasn’t supposed to come out. Her vision was getting blurry as a warmth started to fill her. She looked up to see a mage helping her stay on her knees. Looking down the man was holding together her wound and burning it shut.
Ilea didn’t feel any pain but screamed nonetheless. She closed her eyes as tears joined the blood on her face. The man continued with her back to stop the bleeding. The arcane mage collapsed on his knees, having used his powerful beam attack to destroy the stone above the door to the throne room.
More spells followed and a wave of dust took everyone’s visibility as more and more of the stone fell to block the path they had created. Ilea entered a state of meditation as she took in the damage with her healing spell. The blade had luckily not pierced an important organ but a lot of other important things were sliced through. More unsettling though was the fact that she wasn’t healing.
Whatever that blade was it fought against her healing spell and her natural regeneration. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Ilea found herself losing mana much faster than it was supposed to go. She deactivated any buffs that wouldn’t aid her in healing and simply sat there trying to fight whatever it was that tore at her body.
The mage that had saved her life was running away towards the chasm before the great hall, joined by many other adventurers. The smiths, cooks and other workers were either frozen or running as well.
“Will they come for us??!” someone shouted to the left of Ilea, joining the shouts of others and she forced herself to open her eyes. Her mana was draining fast and she had to do something quick. Suddenly a wave of mana coming from the throne room silenced most of the people still standing near the entrance. Quickly thereafter a massive boom resounded. The Praetorian was trying to get through the wall of stone.
“Run.” the word was spoken in a moderate tone but quickly everyone started running backwards and then towards the door. Ilea was happy to see Agor among the people running although he wasn’t moving quite straight. She got to her feet and started moving, falling down three steps later.
Gambling a little with her mana, she activated her wings and made herself move through the air. The wings didn’t make the rest of her body and muscles move as much as her legs did which irritated her injury less. She still felt the cold spread inside her and was quite grateful again for her Pain Tolerance skill that had likely already saved her life. ‘Now to keep it that way...’ she thought as more and more powerful blows echoed from the throne room.
With her wings she quickly passed the lower leveled workers and some of the less speedy adventurers. Ilea suddenly looked to the left of the hall where a centurion had exited from the door to the treasure room and threw his spear at one of the smiths, killing him instantly.
‘Why are they...’ she thought as another blow echoed behind her. She glanced back to see the Praetorian crawl through the debris while its eyes glowed a bright green. The centurion’s eyes glowed similarly as it slashed through the fleeing expedition.
Ilea reached the door but seeing the bottleneck and over a dozen people trying to squeeze through, she blinked through the stone and kept flying. ‘I can’t save them...’ she thought as her body grew more and more cold. Her mana was reaching an end as she flew over the people entering the residential part of the dungeon.
Contrary to a cleared road though the adventurers found sword guardians and ranged enemies advancing through the roads. Ilea looked on as Jasper rallied some survivors around him to push through. Many of the guardians from the road to the right joined their brethren in the middle, effectively standing between Ilea and Jasper’s group.
Checking her mana Ilea’s eyes opened wide. She continued flying with full speed, entering the nearly clear road to the right. She had only a couple hundred mana remaining and it was dropping fast. Blinking inside one of the buildings in an effort to lose the guardians that had seen her, her wings disappeared as she slid on the wall on her left, steadying herself with her arms.
She quickly activated her sphere and saw a guardian entering the house below her and blinked a house further into the road. Another two blinks later she had reached the square and blinked again inside the big building that accompanied nearly all of the squares.
The Praetorians had apparently called all the guardians to themselves as Ilea heard more of them advancing from the side roads. ‘We should’ve cleared all of it...’ she thought as she entered the next house through a door. The woman coughed into her arm as quietly as possible before continuing. Door through door she walked until she came up on the next square. ‘I’m nearly out...’ she thought and hid again as she heard more guardians advancing through the roads.
Using her last remaining pooled mana she summoned the Dark Elf armor and got it on. Luckily she had quite some experience with taking on and off armor and the elven one was even simpler than many she’d worn before. The helmet fit snugly on her head, two black horns protruded downwards and to the front of the helmet while her face was covered by metal with openings for her eyes.
It took her two minutes to get on the rest of the armor. Afterwards she checked outside and found no more guardians advancing. ‘I need to get further away...’ she thought and exited the building. Limping through the next square, she reached another side street and went into the houses. Three minutes later she reached the next square and continued this for another two streets.
‘I should be far enough...’ her mana had reached a critical state when she could hear a noise right next to the house she had entered a moment ago. Suddenly a sword guardian was entering through one of the windows and was upon her. Without her active buffs Ilea was moving at less than a fourth of her full speed and was considerably more vulnerable.
Her health was still at the twenty percent it had been left with after the Praetorian’s scythe had pierced her and it was declining slowly. She saw the blades coming but her body reacted sluggishly, the blades scratching at her resilient armor before one of the sworded arms found purchase between her left shoulder blade. Ilea didn’t feel the pain and used the chance to punch the guardian with her reversed destruction spell, gaining little amounts of mana with each hit.
The machine pierced her right leg at the knee before Ilea activated all her buffs. Suddenly the tides turned and Ilea’s blows rattled through the machine, destroying it in less than ten blows. The healer collapsed together with the machine but before landing she used a big part of her remaining mana to blink upwards and to the other side of the street, right into one of the houses’ attics.
Collapsing on the ground, she made sure to lie sideways in case she would pass out. Seeing no other way Ilea summoned both the remaining potion she had stored a while ago and one of the dwarven shirts she had. Her hands were still shaking as she opened the potion and drank its contents. Other than the warm sensation that went through her the liquid didn’t change her state greatly.
She ripped the shirt apart and used some of the clothing to bandage her new wounds she had gotten from the sword guardian. Having stopped the bleeding with as much pressure as she could apply without causing more damage, she focused internally and started meditating. Her mana was still not regenerating any quicker but she didn’t have trouble anymore keeping her Reconstruction spell up. She also decided to let State of Azarinth burn at a very low intensity as it enhanced her hearing as well. Quickly checking to see how much mana it used Ilea also activated Body Heat Manipulation to make herself as cold as the stone beneath her.
Her eyes were closed as her body fought whatever that scythe did to it and Ilea for the first time in quite a while felt afraid. Some tears formed in her eyes yet she refused to cry and tried to calm her breathing. ‘I’m tired.....’ she thought of the bed back in her apartment on earth as tears fell to the floor beneath her. ‘..I wanna go home...’ exhaustion took her then as her body continued to try and heal itself. Luckily for her most body enhancement and self healing spells would continue to work after the user had fallen asleep and didn’t wish for them to end. Sadly though Reconstruction’s ability to heal the mind did not seem to apply this time.
An undefined while later the healer woke up coughing, stopping herself immediately, hearing a slight irregularity in the hums of machines outside and in the walls. Her lips were dry and her body was cold. Blood had soaked the shreds of cloth that were used as makeshift bandages around her wounds and filled the room with the smell of iron and death.
Ilea could make out a distant scream as her eyes closed and her consciousness faded again.
She woke up again and felt that some of her mana had returned. The cold in her stomach was still there but she summoned her water canteen close to her face and struggled to remove her helmet. Using her shaking hand that was still covered in blood, she opened the bottle and splashed some water into her face before putting it to her mouth to drink deeply. Coughing immediately, she stopped while nearly a third of the remaining water poured onto the stone below her.
She let go of the bottle, trying not to cough again. The helmet was lying next to her head on the ground. Ilea summoned some jerky and made herself eat some of it. Checking her status she found she had received a message while being unconscious.
‘ding’ ‘You have learned the General skill Curse Resistance – lvl 1
Curses are seldom cast and even more seldom survived. You are one of few individuals to tell the tale. Not a pleasant one to be sure but with this skill you might be able to survive it again should the need arise.
‘Ok got it...don’t get cursed...’ she thought and drifted off to sleep again. Ilea dreamed of earth, of a world where survival meant having a job and putting a meal on one’s table.
“Welcome to shitty fastfood place, what can I do...” the customer turned into a Praetorian before her eyes and Ilea woke up in a cold sweat just when the scythes reached her face. The woman breathed heavily and started to cough again. ‘Fuck I hate this...’ she thought and grabbed the canteen before her and drank some of the water.
Checking herself she found that her injury was still there but she was at more than half her mana and it was slowly rising. ‘I’m recovering then...’ she thought and smiled a little. ‘So many died...’ she tried to not think of the people who died in the throne room but the images came to her head nonetheless. She didn’t know the people who she had seen dying but still remembered their faces.
‘I have to get out of here...see if others survived...’ she thought and made herself move a little. Activating her pain she nearly screamed and turned it off again. ‘How is this possible...’ she thought and looked down on herself, touching her stomach with her hand. She was shaking less now but it was still there. Before doing anything else, Ilea removed the lower parts of her armor and relieved herself in a corner of the room, using some of the dwarven clothes to clean herself as well as possible.
Considering the amount of blood that stuck to her, hers and others’, it didn’t really make a difference. She drank half of the remaining water and used the rest to wet some of the cloth to clean her face.
The blood soaked tatters of clothing were removed from the wounds, reopening them partially. She saw quickly though that they were closing slowly, her mana draining again but at a much slower pace than before. A normal pace.
She sighed and sat down on the stairs. ‘What the hell were those machines...’ she thought and stopped an upcoming sob in her throat. She deactivated her absence of pain and gritted her teeth, the physical pain a distraction to the mental images that had replayed in her mind the past minutes.
Her fists clenched and tears started falling from her eyes before she bit down on a rolled up wad of clothing. She had to stop the pain again. ‘I’m a mess...’ she thought and chuckled to herself, reminded of the time she had faced her first Drake at level one. ‘Guess there will always be a drake...’
She looked upwards and started meditating. It was hard but the high level of the skill managed to calm her down a little. The images were still there, and the pain. Though it calmed her a little. ‘Glad I got that skill….’ she thought as she heard a noise outside. ‘Guardians?...’ her sphere activated and she saw three people sneaking through the house on the other side of the street.
‘Wait what if they’re being followed...’ she thought and immediately scolded herself. ‘You’re afraid...why are you afraid...’ she tried getting up once, then again and finally made herself move. The people had settled down in the other house, one of them coughing heavily, a substance falling to the ground before them.
‘You’re a healer damn it...’ Ilea slowly walked downstairs, the cold in her stomach was nearly gone, just a lingering of what she had survived. She looked both ways on the street and then walked to the other side. Her body should’ve mostly been fine, at least that was what Reconstruction told her but still it felt stiff and unresponsive.
She reached the other side without alerting the people until she entered the building. Knocking on the wall slightly the three turned towards her, two of them drawing their weapons. “It’s Lilith...” she said and came around the corner.
She saw Jeremy, battered and bloodied looking at her, his helmet was missing and many cuts had broken through his armor. No shield could be seen and even his sword was cracked in places. On the ground was Rin, a big diagonal cut through her chest was covered in dried blood and pus. Fresh blood colored the ground before her, her eyes glassy.
The last one in the room was the ice mage who had first helped her with the Resistance. He was holding a small dagger covered in icy spikes.
“Let me look at her...” she said immediately, ignoring the stares and still lifted weapons as she limped past them and knelt down next to Rin. “Praetorian?” she asked Jeremy who looked towards the street before kneeling down as well.
“No...guardian.” he said, his voice dry and hoarse. Ilea checked the woman and used some of her mana to heal the wounds. Luckily without a present curse it wasn’t an issue and two minutes later Rin was as good as new, closing her eyes in exhaustion. The others hadn’t spoken a word and only looked on as she saved Rin.
Jeremy’s eyes softened a little but he soon focused on the street again. “I will hear them if they’re coming, you can relax a little. Were you followed?” Ilea asked, walking up to Jeremy and touching his shoulder lightly.
“No...we finished them. Stevan first...” he said and motioned to the ice mage who had started leaning on the wall behind him. Ilea nodded and walked over to the man, touching his arm. He twitched quickly but relaxed as the healing magic flowed into him. There were several cuts and bruises on the man and a part of his torso was seemingly frozen.
‘Does that happen if he uses too many spells?...’ she asked herself as she fixed the damage. ‘I need to conserve my mana a little.’
“Let’s go upstairs, its a little safer, Jeremy, let me take care of your worst wounds and then we go up. My mana is regenerating slower so I’ll need some time to completely take care of you two...” the man nodded and walked up to her. Twenty seconds later she had taken care of the worst and he nodded to her and grabbed Rin from the ground.
They reached the attic two minutes later where all of them sat down, Rin’s head resting on Jeremy’s thigh. “I thought we’d die, Lilith...” he whispered a couple minutes later, getting her out of her meditation.
“I thought so too...” she answered quietly. “Those enemies...how can we stand against something like that...” she asked and he just shook his head slightly.
“Taleen dungeons...well I certainly learned some history...” he said and looked down on his battered armor.
“I have some things that might help...” she said and summoned three suits of armor. Rin and Stevan would have no problems wearing them and Jeremy would be fine with some straps.
“A storage device...” Stevan said, touching one of the armors.
“I don’t have anymore water...” she said and summoned half of the meat and bread she still had. Looking at Jeremy’s sword she spoke while dividing the food through four. “Short sword or bigger?”
Jeremy’s eyes opened wide as he took the offered food and stuffed it in his mouth, slightly shaking. “Short sword...” he said and she summoned the Legate Guardian Sword with one of the round shields, handing them to the man.
“I...I can’t...” he said as he identified the sword.
“If we’re planning on surviving this you’ll need it.” she answered in a final tone. “Stevan you just need mana I assume, so meditate.” the man was nibbling at some dried meat and looked at her.
“I am...” he whispered coldly and she nodded.
“What happened out there?” Ilea asked Jeremy who stopped looking at the sword as his eyes turned cold again.