Chapter 69 Return
‘ding’ ‘Your group has defeated [Zenorin – Stormbearer - lvl 232 / Lightning weaver – lvl 221]’
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated an enemy thirty levels or more above your own. Additional experience is granted.’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached level 201, 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘ding’ ‘Ash Wielder has reached level 192, 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘ding’ ‘Ash Wielder has reached level 193, 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘ding’ ‘Ash Wielder has reached level 194, 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘ding’ ‘Wave of Ember reaches 2nd lvl 1’
‘ding’ ‘Ashen Wings reaches lvl 9’
‘ding’ ‘Eyes of Ash reaches lvl 17’
‘ding’ ‘Body of Ash reaches lvl 17’
‘ding’ ‘Ashen Warrior reaches lvl 12’
The group stood over the dead enemy in silence. Ilea walked up to the corpse and tried to store it in her necklace. Mana left her body and the corpse vanished. “Oh so it works.” she said. Nobody commented on it.
“That was the three elves that would’ve followed you immediately. We probably have a couple days now until more will try to find the dead. More likely though they won’t even bother.” Sulivhaan said.
“What will you do then?” Ilea asked and the man looked towards the north.
“Dawntree is still under siege or has been breached. I doubt we will find many more stragglers here. I thank you for the help.” the man extended his hand which she shook.
Sulivhaan flew off right after and the rogue followed after nodding towards Ilea. Rock extended his hand as well. “Where will you be going?”
“Riverwatch will be the first stop, after that no idea...” she said and he nodded.
“Do visit in Ravenhall. We’d welcome you should we all survive.” he said and smiled before following after the others. Ilea watched after them when the ranger landed next to her and extended her hand.
“Navalis.” the woman said and Ilea shook her hand.
“I assume your name?” she didn’t receive an answer and took that as a yes “Ilea, I hope to see you again some day.”
“Navuur sevari Ilea.” the woman said and walked away.
‘I’ll just assume that was something profound.’ Ilea thought and walked off as well. The snow crunched below her boots as blood still dripped from her armor and onto the white carpet on the ground.
The snow kept falling lightly around her as she walked through the deserted city covered in blood and snow.
She reached the hideout soon after and simply smashed through the wall. ‘They won’t be needing this anymore.’ the designated guards tensed up but relaxed upon seeing the woman. Ilea passed them and reached a now fully geared up and prepared group of people. ‘As prepared as they’re gonna get...’ she thought about the expedition of experienced adventurers and couldn’t help but smile a little.
‘Let’s hope they don’t encounter any murder machines on the way...’ she thought as she reached Roland who was showing Lily how to get off her backpack in an emergency situation.
He looked at her approaching and showed a small smile on his face. “Hey, so the last one’s dead?” he asked and she nodded. People around them quieted down to listen to Ilea.
“He is. So where will you be going?” she asked.
“East, the first city intact is where we will decide on how to continue. It’s best if we stay together for as long as possible. Valery will take the lead, she’s well respected and has connections with the guild in other cities.” Ilea nodded at his answer and was mostly satisfied.
“What about you?” he asked and she locked eyes with the man.
“Riverwatch, then I’ll see.” she said and he nodded slowly while looking down.
“You did a good thing here...” he said. Nothing else came to him as he put a hand on her shoulder. Ilea nodded and mirrored his gesture. She then ruffled Lily’s head and left the hideout again, ignoring anybody else that tried to talk to her or thank her.
Ilea stood inside an abandoned house, looking into the old and expensive looking mirror before her. The woodworking on the mirror’s frame was something else. Ilea made her armor disappear and looked at the pieces of cloth that still remained before summoning another set of Taleen clothes. She got dressed slowly and then tried to summon the armor directly onto her body.
Sadly though the pieces just fell down and she got them on normally. First the chest piece and then the armor and legs. All the straps were put into place and fastened before she looked at herself in the mirror. “You’re not smiling Ilea.” she said and smirked a bit at herself. “Why are you not smiling?” she asked as she walked closer to the mirror and touched it.
Suddenly the mirror vanished and Ilea blinked up onto the roof. The snow was falling on her cheeks as she looked upwards. A cold wind was blowing as she looked around. ‘First Riverwatch then maybe I’ll come back here to look through some things...oh wait...two things I can’t miss.’ she thought as her wings spread and she flew at a high speed towards the library building. Blinking inside it she quickly touched the leather chair she’d been sitting on and made it vanish into her storage.
The same thing happened to the elven corpses before the main gate. She removed them from their grotesque presentations and made them vanish before flying eastwards. She saw a group of people around an hour on foot outside Salia walking east as she passed far above. Quite likely the survivors she’d found. ‘How high can I go?...’ she thought suddenly and went upwards at her top speed, helped by her newly strengthened buffs.
Five minutes later she was still going up and the clouds became more and more dense and stormy. The cold got so intense that only her ice resistance and shroud of ash held off the incoming damage she would’ve otherwise sustained. Though Ilea was smiling through the whole ordeal, the speed and air while flying hundreds of meters above ground were just as exhilarating as she had dreamed they’d be.
‘What if there’s a dragon or something?’ she suddenly asked herself and stopped flying upwards. Though she didn’t expect there to be something, the Praetorians flashed before her and made her dive again. If something just a couple hundred levels above her own could destroy her so easily, what would a dragon be able to do.
‘Why am I scared though? There’s nobody else here...’ she thought and kept flying straight, neither going up nor down. She had found that with the wings came a new instinct that let her know where she was in relations to the ground. A rather useful ability she’d found as she flew through the clouds, her embered wings cutting through the icy formations.
The adrenaline of flying and the possibility of danger made the whole journey even more exciting as Ilea started to rise again. ‘You can just blink or fly away...’ she thought as she got higher and higher. And suddenly she was in a quiet space between clouds. It reminded her of the rare times she’d used a plane to get somewhere. Though this time she was outside, feeling the wind against her skin and the cold brush against her body.
The clouds moved past the nearly stationary woman and Ilea found herself hovering above a sea of dark clouds, the setting winter sun in the distance managed to illuminate the scene slightly as Ilea looked up to see the mountain of Karth extend out from the clouds only to be swallowed up again further up. She felt small in that moment, small and insignificant, yet at the same time free and unstoppable.
“I can fly!!” she shouted and let herself fall downwards while laughing loudly. Half a minute later her wings sprouted again and she accelerated further towards the ground until she came out of the clouds and saw the winter landscape spread before her. Ilea slowed down as quickly as she could and found it to be very quick. With her strong body and all her skills, the force that would’ve probably killed a normal person simply stopped her motion.
She explained the stopping power as she did her ability to fly with the small wingspan, magic. She looked around and decided she’d check up on Dale now. ‘Enough fucking around...’ so she made her way east and passed distances that would take weeks for carts in mere hours. Only air stood in her way and she found its resistance lacking.
Luckily Ilea had a massive mountain to orient herself with, otherwise she was quite sure she would’ve already been lost ten times over. Nothing stopped her on her way and she reached Riverwatch in the same night.
It was a dark night. The stars were covered by a gray mesh of clouds and Ilea could only see anything thanks to the buffs that came with her classes and skills. Her sphere was second nature to her by now and she deemed it much better at perceiving her surroundings than her eyes were. At least should she have to fight.
She could make out some fires in the distant city and landed in the forest nearby, deciding to go the rest of the way on foot, should the worst have happened already. ‘Better do this now...’ she thought and put all her remaining points into vitality, getting the stat to 575. Certainly nothing to scoff at combined with her resistances and regeneration.
‘I believe I’ve missed something...’ she thought and looked at her freshly leveled Wave of Ember skill.
‘Active: Wave of Ember – 2nd lvl 1
Burn the inside of whatever your body hits with a surge of heat and embers.
2nd stage: The flame burns on. Targets hit will have fire burning through them. Time and consecutive attacks will increase the effect.
Category: Ashen magic’
‘Not a surprising change...it’s gonna help out in longer fights though...’ she thought.
‘And the last thing...’ Ilea was still crouching inside the dark forest covered in snow while she looked through the possible third tier advancements.
‘3rd tier skill points available [Azarinth First Hunter]: 1’
‘Skills available for third tier advancement in [Azarinth First Hunter]:’
- Hunter Recovery
- State of Azarinth
‘Well that’s less than expected and no further information?’ Ilea decided almost immediately on Blink. It was the skill that had saved her most often, the skill that had enabled her to move so quickly through levels, the skill that had made the first drake she encountered a stepping stone to her current power compared to the meal she would’ve otherwise been destined to become.
‘ding’ ‘Blink advances to 3rd tier’
‘Active: Blink – 3rd lvl 1:
Immediately appear at a distant place. Distance based on the level of the skill.
2nd stage: The time between blinks is reduced greatly. No ground contact needed between blinks.
3rd stage: You may set one destination you touch. You may change it every six months. You may travel to said destination once every three days.
Category: Teleportation Magic’
‘Hah, Edwin would be jealous...’ she thought and started walking towards the city. ‘Long distance travel...this will save me quite some time...though I’ll need a place to return to first...’ Ilea wasn’t interrupted in her walking until she came rather close to the city. She saw that the last couple dozen meters or so of forest were burnt down or otherwise removed. Likely to let the defenders know ahead of time of an incoming attack.
“Who goes there!?” a guard on the walls shouted. Immediately Ilea could see over ten spells materializing near the shout, some of them looking rather impressive. Ilea slowly walked out of the woods with her arms raised high.
“I’m not an elf.” she said, the snow falling quietly around her. “And I’d be happy to help defend against more of them coming, a bit difficult to do that out here though.” she said and smiled brightly, her eyes stayed cold.
“Come on up then, or do you need a gate?” someone shouted though some of the spells didn’t dissipate quite yet.
‘They’re nervous...so an attack already happened?’ Ilea thought and walked closer to the walls. She was completely confident that none of the currently displayed spells could hurt her, let alone reach her. Reaching the walls nobody was quite jumpy enough to let loose an attack so Ilea jumped up and landed next to the man who had shouted towards her at first.
“Lilith, adventurer and part time healer at your service.” she said to the man who looked at her sceptically.
“You’ll remove your armor and weapons. If you play by the rules you’ll be joining the next shift quite quickly and won’t end up with any further interrogation.” he said quite seriously. Ilea blinked her eyes and made sure the level 89 she saw above the man’s head wasn’t an illusion.
“I don’t think so mate. I’m human and on your side, I’d focus on the walls.” she said and blinked into the next house. Another couple blinks later she couldn’t hear any shouts anymore but didn’t stop quite yet before she came to a stop inside a basement. Turning off everything except her sphere and body heat manipulation, she simply waited and ate a carrot.
Finishing the carrot three minutes later, she blinked up and onto the street. Nobody could be seen so she started walking towards the guard station Dale was last stationed at. He would likely not be there at the moment as it seemed the city was on lock down and the guards would be well, guarding. She had to find out something though and it seemed the most logical step to take.
Ilea felt a little reminded of Salia with the empty and snowed in city. Though the architecture made it less creepy and more something you’d expect in a medieval city like this. At least she felt like that until a group of three people landed ten meters in front of her in the snow. She identified them to be two warriors at level 203 and level 188 respectively. The last member of the group was a mage at level 198.
“State your business in Riverwatch.” the mage said in a tired voice.
“I’m looking for a friend. Dale, he’s a guard captain here. Know where he is?” she said in a relaxed manner.
“Stop joking around, you breached the defenses without going through the normal channels. If you weren’t so high leveled I’d have put you down already.” the man said and Ilea sighed.
“Look, I’m coming from Dawntree and had quite enough shit today...just like you seem to have had. I’m on your side and will gladly assist you in smearing some more elf blood on my armor. I think we all have better things to do than this conversation.” she finished, surprised she hadn’t been interrupted.
The man sighed now too and stopped one of the warriors from unsheathing his weapon. “You’re right, just make sure to follow through with that first promise.”
“Are you fucking nuts?” one of the warriors said but the mage waved him off.
“Not worth the trouble, let’s focus on what’s important here. You’re free to hunt her down after this whole mess is over. For now please listen to me.” the mage finished and the warrior stopped touching his weapon, obviously not happy though.
Ilea walked off towards the guard station and the three people left again, presumably to continue their patrol or return to a checkpoint. ‘This whole war might actually help out at dealing with annoyances.’ Ilea thought as she started running. Quickly she jumped on top of the nearest building and continued her way.
Snow kept falling but now the moon managed to break through parts of the clouds to shine an eerie light onto the city below. As quickly as it came though, it vanished again and Ilea was in the dark again. Very few houses had lights on, Ilea assumed the residents either left, were already dead or they simply didn’t want to draw anyone’s attention to themselves.
A couple minutes later she jumped into the guard station and greeted a guard who quickly drew his sword with a wave. “Don’t shout, I’m friendly.” she said and the guard nodded.
She walked up to him and continued “You know you’re not supposed to just believe an intruder.” she said and crossed her arms in front of her.
“I know how to do my job princess. I’m just good at remembering faces, yours is not one easily forgotten anyway.” he smirked at her and she locked eyes with him.
“Dale around? Or is he dead already?” she asked and the man nodded.
“Not dead. The man seems to thrive in situations like these. You’ll find him in his office.” she nodded to the man and walked towards the place, ultimately blinking straight in front of the room. Dale was inside and reading through what she assumed to be reports. She knocked on the door twice and waited for him.
The man put the report down and rubbed his eyes slowly before looking up. “Come in.” he said and Ilea opened the door and walked inside, closing the heavy wood behind her. She quietly walked up to the desk and sat down on the opposite chair while he looked at her.
“Back so soon. I’m rather busy at the moment Ilea but it is nice to see you. I’m glad you’re alive.” he said and genuinely smiled at her. Ilea smiled back. “I’m glad you’re alive as well Dale.” she said and meant it.
“Sure you don’t need a pause in the canteen? I’m sure you’ve been working nonstop for days.” she said while looking at the stacks of papers on the table and the used mugs and plates on the ground next to it. ‘Maybe he has that tea...’ she thought when he rubbed his eyes again.
“You know what you’re right. On one condition though...you help me out after.” he smirked and she shrugged.
“Sure Dale, I’ll be here for a couple days at least. To be honest I have no idea where to go from here anyway. Wanna hear about some fucked up adventures?”
“I might I might. Just to make sure what kind of help I just acquired, what’s your current level?” he asked with a tired smile on his face.
“I fought elves alongside a squad of the shadow’s hand. That answers your question?” the man sat quietly for a moment before shaking his head and getting up.
“It was inevitable wasn’t it? You survived thus far and I hope you’ll continue to do so. Come, let’s have a drink. No alcohol though, as much as I’d need a drink right now.”
“I can heal the poison if you really want one. And I see you’ve advanced as well. Level 103 already? So the dungeon diving with the guard went well?” she asked and he nodded as he opened the door, gesturing for her to go out first. She nodded and exited the office.
“It went good and bad. We didn’t lose anybody to the monsters but some people chose to change their professions seeing the better pay as an adventurer. Though yes in general it was a success.” the two walked down the stairs and into the square where the guard from before waved to them.
“Not enough to fight elves to be sure but ten people with ten levels more does make a significant difference.” he said and saluted the guard. Ilea ignored the wave.
“It would appear so. Riverwatch still stands.” Ilea said which garners a chuckle from the man.