Chapter 68 Library
“What do you mean you’re cutting the pay?” Jasper was looking at Bjorn with disbelief on his face “We mapped nearly the whole dungeon...a Taleen dungeon. I’m sure you understand how difficult such a thing is.”
Bjorn walked up to the massive window behind his desk and looked out the window. The snow was slowly falling while occasionally flashes of magic could be seen in the distance and above, hitting the city’s defenses.
‘What a cunt.’ Lorcan thought as he watched the conversation from the side, leaning on one of the cabinets in the room. He locked eyes with one of the guards in the room while touching his bracelet. The man was close to his level at 204 while the second guard was even higher, though he was sure there were more guards waiting just outside or even above and below.
Bjorn didn’t seem like a man who would let two high leveled individuals into his office without a hundred percent guarantee of no danger. Though Lorcan was sure that Jasper could kill the man before the guards would even be able to blink.
“Jasper please mind your tone. You’re talking to your better. I am aware of the difficulties and of your findings. That is why you will receive a pay and not a prison sentence. You’re responsible for over half the expedition’s deaths, including Douglas Inström and a renowned member of the Corinth Order.” Bjorn turned around at the last sentence and looked at Jasper.
“With all due respect Mr. Forkspear the circumstance of their demise was completely out of my...” the noble shut him up with a gesture.
“I am tired. Jasper I am tired of hearing excuses all day long. You will take what you get and you will leave, so will the rest of the expedition. Now on to something else, there was a woman with you I hear. A healer with black hair and blue eyes. Do tell me, was she an approved member of your expedition?” Bjorn asked.
“She was not. We traded for information.” Jasper replied.
“Information? And what could be so valuable that you would listen to some lone stray lost in a dungeon?”
“The woman had explored some parts of the dungeon already Mr. Forkspear. She saved a lot of lives and time with the information provided.” Jasper replied.
“Well well, then maybe I should give the money to her and not you...but I digress. The woman you see, was spotted meeting with one of my dear little sisters. A sister whom as of now is missing. You wouldn’t know anything about that would you?” he asked Jasper who just shook his head in response.
“It was the first time I’ve seen the woman. Lilith was her name, she didn’t mention a connection to the Forkspears.”
“Lilith...well that isn’t her real name...or perhaps she lied to the poor girl. Well it is no matter. Did she survive as well? I would like to have a talk with her.” Bjorn asked.
“She did, she came out with us.” Bjorn at that nodded to one of the guards who left the room.
“The woman is still below level 100 I presume?” Bjorn asked.
“What?” Jasper’s eyes opened wide and Lorcan had to stop himself from smiling widely.
‘Below a hundred…’
“I think you’ll find that guard to be a little lacking should she resist...” Jasper said to a confused Bjorn. The man shook his head and sat down on his chair.
“You shouldn’t be joking in times like these Jasper Horim. Now then if that is all do leave. You will receive your pay downstairs.” Jasper just nodded and left the room without a word. “You, adventurer. A serf will write down your report, wait with Jasper.” Lorcan just followed Jasper out the door and walked with the man downstairs.
He was smiling as he started talking “Enough for the school?” Jasper gestured for him to shut up but Lorcan wasn’t quite in the mood anymore for this ridiculous behavior. “You could’ve just murdered them all. They’re not paying enough and you know it old friend.”
“That would not help my goals.” Jasper answered.
“Yea he had level 200 guards…bloody guards. What the hell are they offering?” he asked but knew the rumors quite well that circulated around nearly all the noble houses in Dawntree. They were the law after all.
“Don’t you want to save your new friend?” Jasper said as he stopped in the entrance hall. The chandelier above was quite eye catching to Lorcan.
“Hahaha...they’ll find her to be...rather uncooperative. I’m not even sure you could take her Jasper.” the other man just shrugged.
“You have a report to give.” he said as a man walked up to Jasper with a chest in his hands.
“I do, I do.”
“You want your money now?” Jasper asked as he received the chest.
“No. Give it to the others.” with that he walked towards the woman who gestured for him to follow. “See you old man.” a grunt was his response as Lorcan thought about what he should twist or exclude from his report without too much trouble.
The guard of course would find it quite difficult to find the described healer. Not having anybody check directly at the gate that led inside the mountain proved to be a mistake, one Bjorn Forkspear cared little about. It was a hassle to be sure that Alice had vanished though to him it didn’t quite matter if she did that in whatever city south of Karth or in the Forkspear dungeons. As long as she didn’t stir up trouble and rumors. The girl was too smart for that, or at least her butler was.
Jasper went to distribute the money and to inform the survivors about the bad news. Some were annoyed but most of them took it with a shrug, the pay wasn’t cut by much after all and there was an ongoing elven attack to worry about. Considering the Forkspears as future employers or enemies was something to think about at a later time.
“Have you seen the girl, Lilith?” Jasper asked Jeremy who he knew was at least on friendly terms with the woman. Not as much as Agor but close enough and he was quite sure his old friend wouldn’t share a thing with him.
“She went into the city before us, I don’t know where she is now.” Jeremy answered while looking up worriedly. A flash of purple lit up the evening. Jasper nodded.
“Should you see her, the Forkspears are looking for her. Bjorn specifically. I suggest she hide.” he left after that to join the city guard and its defenses. As he did with every attack in the past fifty years.
Ilea touched the bookshelf and found that she could take out the books quite normally. More and more of them joined the ground where she put them carefully. Some that interested her joined her storage which still had quite a substantial amount of free space.
“Natural wonders of the plains….” she flipped through and found some very impressive looking paintings. The absence of the internet and perfectly shot high resolution pictures made her really want to visit some of the depicted places. “...hot springs of Baz Ager, why not...I can fly after all.” she chuckled a little as her wings sprouted and absentmindedly touched her arms.
Ilea sighed and made the book vanish. “What am I doing...” she said out loud and hit her hand through the now empty shelf in the wall. There was no mechanism she noticed and she could see nothing behind the wall with her sphere. Her arm passed the wood easily and she removed a part of it when exiting again.
“Runes hmm?” she asked as she looked at the pieces in her hand. Three kicks brought down the rest of the wall and Ilea found that she could see a pathway now with her sphere. A small pathway and it led into a single room. “With people in there...Hey!!” she shouted inside and blinked right next to them.
A sword clad in purple flame was unsheathed next to Ilea and struck towards her. She simply moved her head slightly to dodge the diagonal swing and caught the arm that held the sword with hers before using her second arm to jab against the person’s arm. Bone broke and the woman screamed as people pushed against the walls to get away from Ilea.
“Calm down guys. I’m human.” she said and let the woman’s arm go. The sword fell down from her limp arm but she caught it with the other one and held it out against Ilea, a purple glow in her eyes.
“How did you find us!? Who are you!” the woman said, changing her stance to favor her non injured side. Ilea looked around to find only below level fifty people to be in the room. Except for the woman before her, she was level 167 and Ilea had seen her before.
“I know you...where have I seen you before...” she relaxed her pose but kept her buffs up just in case the woman would do something stupid. “I came here with the expedition that encountered a Basilisk...maybe there?” Ilea wondered, completely ignoring the woman’s questions.
She did lower her sword a little hearing that but was obviously too stressed out and tired to trust a stranger so easily. “Again who are you?” she asked but in a less hostile tone.
“Why is everybody so fucking hostile here? I’m obviously not your enemy, you’re starving.” Ilea said as food appeared from her storage. The people around the room looked at it hungrily as it fell to the ground but nobody made a move. “Oh my god.” Ilea said and kicked some of the food to the people who finally took it and started eating.
“There’s a group of people leaving the city soon, they have more equipment, food and money to build a new life somewhere else. We’re leaving in ten minutes, grab your stuff. I’ll bring you to them, they’re from Salia as well.” she said.
“More survivors??” some people said while others ate. More questions came for Ilea but she just ignored them and looked at the woman’s sword. It was a beautiful thing Ilea thought and the purple buff made it even better. The dirt and blood on the woman let her look like some hero from a movie she would’ve enjoyed back on earth.
“But now I’m here and this is real...” she whispered and shook her head. ‘How long until I accept that...’ she thought before the woman got her out of her own head.
“Why...” she said as her sword slowly came down “Why help us? You don’t know who we are...you don’t owe us anything...”
Ilea just shrugged before she walked towards the passageway to the big office “Dunno, you’re people. Isn’t that enough?” she said and blinked through the way too tight passage.
The group of people emerged ten minutes later and found Ilea sitting in the big leather chair reading a book about Salia cuisine. She closed it and got up. “There you are. Follow pleeease.” she said and walked out the room, a group of ten people followed behind.
“What’s your name warrior?” someone asked behind Ilea and only her sphere let her know the man had spoken to her.
“Warrior? Is that what you see when you look at me?” she asked. His body language made her thing he was afraid of her. Maybe he thought he had offended her.
“Yes ma’am, it’s what identify tells me. Though I cannot see your level.”
‘Interesting...so not a healer anymore...well I do only have one healing skill. Guess it changed with being a first hunter.’ she didn’t react outwards and just kept walking through the snow. The group tensed up at some Nazarks in the next street and the woman unsheathed her sword, ready for battle. Ilea just kept walking until one of the beasts foolishly ran at her.
Her fist lashed out and crashed into the beast’s skull, completely obliterating it in the process. Blood, pieces of bone and flesh splashed on her black armor and face. ‘Should’ve worn the helmet.’ she thought as the other Nazarks ran away quickly, having seen their mate splattered with one punch.
Ilea knelt down, taking some of the snow to clean her face before continuing onwards toward the survivor’s hideout in the sewers. The group hesitated for a moment but followed after her with a bit more distance between them.
They entered the sever fifteen minutes later and Ilea turned around in front of the hideout wall. “Earth mage?” she asked and one teenager came up to the front a little timidly. “Can you open the wall and close it behind us?” she asked and the kid started concentrating. Slowly the wall opened up before Ilea blinked through, walking up to the two survivors who had already drawn their swords.
‘Level fifty...they would be eaten alive in seconds...’ she thought and walked through. Everyone had seen her before so this time there was no hostility.
“Wasn’t she a healer before?” one of the guards asked the other one quietly as they walked to the opening to help the survivors through. Ilea reached a now thoroughly equipped group of survivors, quite a change compared to the raggedly clothed bunch from before.
Roland looked up from the axes he was checking and locked eyes with her. “You look tired.” he said after a couple seconds and she just smiled. She didn’t say that he looked the same, both of them knew. It was not a tiredness brought by lack of sleep either, but one only remedied through time.
“I found more survivors.” she said just as the first ones entered the room.
“Any fighters? We’re direly lacking.” he whispered knowing she’d hear. Just then the woman walked in and his eyes grew wide. “Valery Stormbound...” he looked at Ilea confused and then back to the woman. “Are you sure they didn’t find you?” he said but Ilea ignored the comment.
Valery walked up to them and greeted Roland. “You’re an adventurer from around here, I’ve seen you before. You lead these men?” she asked gesturing around.
“I’ve seen you before as well Ms Stormbound. I wouldn’t say lead, you can gladly take over.” he said and she nodded at that.
“I’m glad there are more survivors. We’ll have to get supplies for the journey, can’t stay here. And the city’s treasury. We’ll have to get the gold to start a new life somewhere else, further east. Provisions and weapons come first, did you send out scouts into the city already?” Ilea ignored the woman and just nodded to Roland while touching his shoulder.
“There should be one more of them coming for sure. We’ll get you when it’s done.” she said and he nodded lightly. Both of them quickly looked into a corner of the room where Lily was practicing with her dagger. Ilea left them then, to return to the library and possibly other interesting buildings in the city. She felt a little bad about being nearly as interested in exploring the city as in going back to Riverwatch to check up on Dale and Earl. ‘Still haven’t checked the 3rd tier skill either...’ she thought as she walked out of the hideout again, the wall closing behind her.
“Who is she? I don’t remember her from that caravan that encountered the Basilisk.” Valery asked Roland as she checked the equipment.
“She’s a friend.” was his response as he continued checking weapons. The woman grunted and looked through the things as well.
“You went through the city then? Got all this gear?” he shook his head but kept quiet.
“She did then? What did she mean with one more of them coming?”
“Another Elf I think.” he answered.
“Is she insane...what’s her level anyway...one warrior can’t stand against an elf...” she whispered in a worried tone.
“She’s not alone...the shadow’s hand is in the city. One squad at least. And they’re hunting elves.” he said which made her quiet down for a while. She shook her head and continued going through the gear before moving on to talking to the people. Roland was glad that someone like her had shown up, it was hard enough to keep himself together for Lily. For all the other people? He wasn’t sure how long he could keep it up.
Ilea exited the sewers and found the ranger standing there. “He’s here then?” the ranger nodded and jumped away. Ilea blinked above to see clouds gathering above, darker than what they’d been before and in an unnatural way. At least it looked that way to her eyes. Without magic perception it was much harder to tell if they had a magical origin or not.
The flashy blue flying person in the middle of the clouds told her all she had to know though. “Let’s get him then.” she said as her body started to glow and her wings spread. Ilea immediately rushed the elf, reaching him in the span of a couple seconds, her new speed translating to flying as well. A massive strike of lightning reached her a split second before she reached the elf but she didn’t stop, letting the energy flow through her.
She tensed up slightly but with her 2nd stage of Shroud of Ash and new class that made nearly all her defensive skills stronger she only lost around seven percent of her health to the hit and her fist landed with a crash that sent the elf flying through the air before he could stabilize himself again.
Ilea’s health was already topped off when the elf stabilized himself again. She looked towards him as several golden arrows were dodged by the already angry beast. She ignored his screaming and shouting and simply blinked closer, dodging some of the lightning as best she could. Its speed was hard to react to but the elf’s gestures were not.
She reached him again and landed another punch. He held on to her and a massive amount of lightning channeled through her as she released her own destructive mana into the man while smashing her fists into his skull. With her last hit the creature was sent flying and she herself couldn’t keep herself up in the air anymore.
Ilea flew downwards and crashed into a house, coming to a stop on the ground floor after crashing through two floors. Her body was sizzling as it rebuilt, the burnt flesh, muscles and organs reforming inside herself.
‘ding’ ‘Lightning Resistance reaches lvl 6’
She grunted as she got up. Her health had reached forty percent but she was sure the elf wasn’t doing very well either, considering the way his skull had dented with the last couple punches. She slowly got up and walked out the door and into the snow. A couple streets further she saw lightning strike from above. A person clad in shadows ran out from the roof of a nearby building, jumping towards the light show. Ilea smiled as the adrenaline flowed through her. Her buffs flared as she blinked closer and ran around the corner.
The elf was bleeding and stumbling while lightning arched around him to burn the houses. Ilea saw how the air distorted before spikes of iron flew downwards and scratched the creature before they entered deep into the earth. The elf buckled under the gravity magic and knelt down before the rogue landed with her daggers from above.
The elf dodged a little to the side but the blades still entered his shoulder and bit deeply into his flesh before an arch of lightning sent the rogue flying. The gravity left as the elf stumbled again, his words were drowned out by the blood coming out of his mouth and other wounds on his head.
Rock walked out from a nearby building in a brisk pace before the elf shot a bolt of lightning towards him. The strike was interrupted by a golden lance that deflected the magic.
“Oh...” could be interpreted from the elf before the massive war hammer landed on his side, breaking every bone in his side and fusing things that should not be brought together. Ilea was impressed that he still seemed to be alive as another burst of gravity magic pushed down on the elf. The group watched as the creature screamed and screamed. Ilea looked towards where the ranger stood in the distance and nodded towards her.
A golden lance entered the creature a moment later and ended its suffering.