Chapter 70 Bait
“It does indeed.” Dale said and opened the heavy door to the canteen. A few people were already inside and looked at the newcomers with interest, specifically Ilea.
“Captain.” the group closest to them said and nodded to the man, who returned the gesture.
“You sure about this healing alcohol poisoning thing you have?” he asked to which Ilea looked around the room for a while until she decided on who seemed to be the drunkest. She blinked next to the man and started healing him with Hunter’s Recovery.
Nowhere in the skill description was it mentioned that it would remove the effects of alcohol, but it did help Ilea sober up quite quickly herself. And it did help with other poisons as well it seemed. The man blinked after a while and stood a little straighter before he held his hand up to his head.
Apparently a premature hangover which soon was healed as well. “Drunk lad?” she asked and the man looked at her with big eyes.
“What the hell did you do?” he said, the slurred speech from before completely gone. Ilea turned around and walked back to Dale, having gotten the attention of all the patrons.
“It does seem to work, so knock yourself out captain.” she said and smiled at the man. He shook his head and waved to the man behind the bar with two fingers outstretched.
“So you are still a healer... was wondering what the class change meant. Second class got higher then?” he asked but she shook her head.
“It’s due to an evolution.” she said and sat down on a nearby table. Most of the others were already involved in their own talks again. Ilea made a gold piece appear in her hand under the table and started playing with it in her hand. “So how’s Riverwatch holding up? The elfs came here too then?” she asked and Dale nodded.
The barkeeper brought them two mugs of presumably ale and Ilea placed the gold on the table. “Drinks on me tonight.” she said loudly while nodding to the still confused man she had robbed of his desired state. Some people cheered while others nodded quietly.
“Didn’t think you’d support alcoholism...” Dale said and held up his mug. She hit his mug with hers and took a deep gulp.
Putting the mug back down, she looked at him. “I’ll heal them again, alright?” she said and waited for him to answer her previous question. He leaned back and started.
“Nearly a week ago now they came again. Of course a lot of people already left eastwards after the previous attack at the tournament. The rest was somewhat better prepared and we still had some mercenaries and representatives stationed here in case of another attack. A bloody shame though because of the already rebuilt houses. Now there’s even more destroyed...” he took a sip from his mug and put it back down again.
Ilea listened in silence and waited for him to continue. “The Kroll kingdom responded rather quickly though. We only had to hold the city for two days until reinforcements and specialized squads arrived. The shadow’s hand is also here, in case you wondered.”
“A lot more have died this time though to be sure...” he finished.
“How bad is it?” Ilea asked, moving around her drink from side to side. Dale didn’t answer but shook his head slowly. She took another sip and went to relieve herself.
Sitting back down again, she decided against telling Dale about the Taleen dungeon, simply because the man didn’t need more negativity right now. “Can I ask you for some advice?” the man nodded to her question, and Ilea leaned in.
“My second class is gonna hit level 200 soon. You think I should train some skills up first before I try and level? It might take ages though, and I’m not sure it’s worth it.” she said.
“200, well you have problems. You know this isn’t information one just gets at the guild or in a tavern?... of course you do. Well Ilea, honestly I don’t know. I’ve got some rumors but nothing substantial enough to inform you.” the man said to her disappointment.
“I understand.” she took a drink “Don’t worry, I think I know some other people who might be able to help. Something else I’ve been wondering about though...well the shadow’s hand and I... well we did manage to finish off an elf. And I got substantially more experience for that than for dungeon monsters of similar level difference. Do you know why?”
“You killed... well that is impressive, and thank you for the service to humankind. Well, for one thing, I assume the monster had only one class, the elves are similar to us, so I assume they have two.”
“They do” she confirmed.
“Well, there you go. And it also depends a little on how difficult the fight was and how much you contributed. The levels you likely gained are a part of the life force you take upon killing something... at least that’s what I believe. Higher leveled beings usually have more life force, as simple as that.”
“What do you base that on?” she asked.
“Personal experience.” he answered and took a sip of his ale.
“Do you know the blacksmith Earl?” she suddenly asked, trying to steer the discussion to a different topic. Dale nodded in response.
“Yea, patrolled in his district when I was younger. Though I have no idea where he is right now or if he’s even alive.” To Ilea, it didn’t seem like he was a massive fan of the man.
“I’ll find him myself then.” she said when a sudden explosion nearby rattled the wooden building they were in. Two people stumbled, one of them falling down.
“Guess it’s time.” Ilea said, finished her ale and got up before healing Dale from the alcohol.
“Thanks, ignore the others though. They’re not on duty anyway.” they ran outside to see a fire a couple streets over and a burning figure flying above while dozens of spells were being fired at it.
“So you told me you’d help out?” he asked, but Ilea’s wings were already extended and she sped up towards the creature with her buffs activating.
‘Another one...’ she thought as she got closer. ‘Alone it seems...’ she looked around and saw the mages who had started the assault on the elf spread around on different houses. Riverwatch certainly had some rather prepared personnel. Nobody was engaging the elf directly though, at least yet.
Seeing that circumstance the elf looked to enjoy himself and fired volley after volley of destructive yet slow fireballs at the nearby houses, making mages jump or teleport away while the simple architecture burned and crumbled. Ilea decided to distract the elf until reinforcements would arrive and back out should he prove too much to handle, though she doubted it.
‘Why are they always men...’ she thought as she closed in on the creature, who shot a much faster fireball towards her. ‘Free resistance training on top... how nice you are.’ she thought as she simply took the attack that burned her arms lightly, which she had extended in a defensive manner before her.
With her shroud the attack was nearly completely negated. Her armor seemed unaffected as well, a testament to the dark elf smiths, who had likely created it. Heat resistance was one of her highest skills on top of it all. Her healing immediately kicked in as well and she was nearly topped off again before she even reached the elf.
More prepared for resistance than her previous adversaries of the race, the elf teleported a fair distance away and was now focusing on her while still dodging or countering the many spells that were fired at him. He didn’t simply let them hit and Ilea smirked at that. ‘Not a defensive powerhouse then...’ she thought as she simply advanced on the elf again. She couldn’t see his level, so there was at least some danger.
Ilea felt reasonably confident though as she brushed off another attack and the elf vanished again as she reached him. Slowly though the monster was pushed towards the city walls as more and more mages and ranged fighters joined on the ground, others were even flying.
The elf vanished again long before she reached him as a warrior with drawn sword sliced thought the air where the elf had floated a fraction of a second before. The sword had a gray aura around it and Ilea felt a chill go down her back as she looked at the armored man. She couldn’t discern his level nor could she see his face which was covered by a dark red full plate armor.
‘So at least four people around 200 in the city then...it starts to feel like elfs aren’t as much of a danger as they’re made out to be...’ she thought but quickly remembered Salia and that there were at least eight dead elfs, she didn’t know how many living ones had attacked then.
‘Half the city against one of them...’ she thought as she watched the warrior try and reach the elf again as dozens of spells rushed towards the creature. She advanced again as well but decided not to blink as two more seemingly high level people joined them. The elf was quickly forced back and outside the city as even he couldn’t dodge this many attacks and experienced warriors and mages for much longer.
Ilea followed the elf over the city walls but quickly noticed that no other human came with her. Stopping a hundred or so meters outside the city she looked back to see the warriors and mages she had deemed at a similar level to her own waiting near or above the wall. They were shouting something but Ilea couldn’t hear the mixed voices.
Suddenly a searing pain shot into her head and Ilea wobbled a little in the air but steadied herself quickly, trying to orient herself. “Dad...” Ilea said as she looked at the familiar face before her, tears filling her eyes as the pain in her head increased.
“The idiot! Why is everyone so high leveled this stupid?!” Tason listened to one of the elites from the Kroll kingdom talk about the woman who had flown out after the elf. His night shift on the wall was coming to an end when one of the beasts had come from high above right over the walls to assault the city.
The firework of magic had been spectacular and as many times before, the elf had been pushed back outside. The woman with dark gray wings had followed at a speed that scared Tason while everyone else stopped at the walls. Some people had died before when they had followed, even a member of the shadow’s hand.
It seemed the elfs wanted to lure out strong prey and then kill them. Though some people argued about it being a tactic to lower morale in the city, Tason felt the monsters were probably just hungry. Whatever he had seen of them in the past week and at the attack a couple months back made him think of them as much less tactically inclined.
‘And my shift was just about to end...’ he thought of the unfinished books at home but concentrated on the scene before him. His eyes were sharp even in the night, a perk that came with being a level one hundred ranger. Sadly though, the elves never showed themselves for him to loose an arrow and the fiery one from before had easily dodged all his attacks. ‘And the attacks of dozens of other people as well for that matter...’
Different from the last person that had followed the elf out, the woman didn’t immediately crash to the ground, to be swallowed by the trees and snow below. She seemed a little unstable in the air and rocked to the side a little, but she didn’t fall.
“She’s not down yet...” someone commented. “Interesting... should we go rescue her?” one of the elites asked though nobody moved a muscle. “It’s too risky still...,let’s see what happens first. If they show themselves in force, we attack. Mages and rangers prepare...” one of the highest leveled Riverwatch guards said at last.
Tason tensed up as he nocked an arrow and scanned the woods. Suddenly, three green arrows shot towards the woman from further away in the forest than Tason could see. ‘So they have a ranger as well...’ the arrows seemed to hit their mark as the woman rocked backwards a little on impact. Though contrary to what he expected, the woman stabilized quickly after and vanished, only to appear closer to the city.
Again and again the woman came closer before appearing on the wall right next to the guard, still having his arrow nocked. Three arrows stuck out from joints in her black armor, and a sizzling noise could be heard from them.
Her blue eyes seemed to shine out from the black horned helmet she was wearing as she ripped out the arrows one by one. “They have a mind mage. And I assume an illusionist if something like that exists.” she said as the last arrow clattered to the ground, immediately starting to burn into the stone of the wall.
The smell of burning flesh filled the surroundings as a guard shouted for a healer. The warrior woman held up her hand though. “I’m fine, don’t worry.” she said, but nobody seemed to believe her as people were running to get help.
“What else did you find out?” Romulus asked. He was what Tason assumed to be the highest leveled man in employ of Riverwatch. Contrary to the smell and noise coming from the woman’s wounds she straightened and didn’t seem bothered by the pain at all as she answered the man’s question.
“Ranger with corrosive arrows. Did he never try to shoot anybody?” she seemed confused as she grabbed one of the arrows. Touching the tip, her fingers immediately started to melt and Tason recoiled at the scene.
“Why would you touch that?” a mage who landed next to her said.
“And who are you anyway? You’re an idiot for following him...” the Kroll elite who was floating a little above commented.
The woman ignored the comments completely and seemed to simply be interested in the arrow in her hand. She quickly grabbed the others on the ground as a healer finally appeared.
“You’ll answer my question woman.” the Kroll warrior floated closer to her as the healer pushed through and a spell of his extended to engulf the woman. His face turned to confusion as the woman looked at him.
“I told you I’m fine. If this fuckface doesn’t stop talking, you’ll be able to heal him though.” she said to the healer. Immediately the man drew his sword as Romulus stood in front of Ilea.
“Stop this right now. You’re here to defend the city not govern it, boy.” Romulus said in a harsh tone. The Kroll elite seemed torn at what to do, but looking around he realized that he was alone.
“This is not over bitch.” he said and flew away while sheathing his sword.
The woman again focused on the arrows while Romulus watched the elite depart. He just shook his head as everyone’s attention focused on the woman again.
Ilea looked at the arrows in her hand and was absolutely fascinated. ‘This stuff is amazing...’ she thought as she touched the arrowhead again. Immediately her hand began to sizzle from the acid on the arrowhead though it didn’t seem to lessen at all. It had taken a considerable amount of mana to counteract the corrosion inside her body and if they had stayed inside she would have probably been in trouble at this point.
Though the elf had gotten her out of the mind mage’s grasp. ‘Or whatever the hell that was...’ she shook her head as the image of her dad came to her again. ‘What a creepy ability...’ The people around her had been looking at her for quite some time. Her wings extended, and she flew back towards the guard station.
The man who had defended her followed though. Ilea sighed and landed on a building nearby, waiting for him. “What do you want?” she asked.
He landed with a thud. “You must be the warrior I was told about. You came to the city today. I wasn’t sure about what to do with you, but it seems your claims weren’t lies. I would appreciate your continued help with defending the city, the pay would be good I promise.”
Ilea smiled and looked at the dark night above. “You seem to be quite in control. Though that can’t be said about your defenders.” she said and only got a grunt in response. “I’m here for a couple days probably. Not for you though. The elfs will probably get bored soon anyway.” she said and started flying again. This time the man didn’t follow.
Ilea took an arrow in each hand and rammed them into her legs, right at the knees. The pain was laughable compared to the mind attack she had sustained a couple minutes ago. Though still it seemed less powerful than that demon.
Checking her messages, she continued on towards the guard station.
‘ding’ ‘Corrosion Resistance reaches lvl 4’
‘ding’ ‘Corrosion Resistance reaches lvl 5’
‘ding’ ‘Corrosion Resistance reaches lvl 6’
‘ding’ ‘Corrosion Resistance reaches lvl 7’
‘ding’ ‘Ashen Wings reaches lvl 10’
‘ding’ ‘Mental Resistance reaches lvl 8’