Chapter 78 Excursion
The woman nodded and punched the ground in a similarly fast and elegant way as the movements of her dodging had been. Adam didn’t feel any mana exit with the punch so she was likely only using her strength and innate skills which enhanced that. A loud boom echoed and a crack formed in the stone floor. A small crater showed where the woman had hit. Sidney smiled even more brightly though and nodded.
“I can take a couple of those, but don’t overdo it. If you even get a hit in...” she said and suddenly appeared next to the initiate. Adam watched the woman duck and punch at Sidney though the fist was dodged by a sideways swirl and a back step.
“You’re prepared...I like that...” Sidney said and attacked again. The two met in the middle as punches and swings were exchanged. The better reach of the swords meant Sidney had the initial advantage though none of her swings hit, they were all deflected by the woman’s arms or hands, hitting the blades at their flat parts. Even more attacks were simply dodged though.
After fifteen seconds of trading, the initiate finally managed to get in closer. Her fist was about to hit Sidney when she vanished and appeared five meters further back. To her surprise though, the initiate appeared as well and finished delivering her blow.
‘She waited until the teleport was used again...’ Adam thought as he watched Sidney cough up blood. Suddenly a reddish fire formed around Sidney as she grinned at the initiate. William walked up to Adam in the meantime.
“We should stop this if nobody should get hurt.” he stated. Adam knew the man simply told him out of obligation to the guild, he likely didn’t care either way. ‘I would usually stop this but it seems like they’re having fun...’ he thought and didn’t say or do anything to stop it.
Sidney’s speed accelerated and with each blocked hit the initiate was pushed back a little. Bruises were forming where she had been hit and she switched to a more dodge focused defense. Both started using their teleportation spells more frequently, appearing and disappearing all over the room. Both Adam and William had no problem following them but neither had the illusion of being able to match their mobility. ‘Not like this at least...’ Adam though.
The initiate started using her defensive shroud to reduce the impact of Sidney’s hits but still she was pushed back. Suddenly one of Sidney’s swings connected, the full force of it entering the initiate’s torso. With it though she held onto Sidney’s arm and delivered a punch towards her chest, sending her flying. Sidney landed on her feet and skidded for a meter until the initiate was upon her again.
Seemingly ignoring Sidney’s attacks the woman started trading blows whenever possible and pushed the sword master on the defensive. Soon Sidney had blood covering most of her face and torso. The initiate on the other hand didn’t look worse for wear. At least everything except for her clothes. Though Sidney’s was a little shredded in parts a well.
“Stop.” Adam said loudly and the initiate teleported backwards ten meters. Both were breathing heavily and Sidney went down to one knee, grinning at her adversary.
“Now you can show us the healing as well. Sidney how low are you?” Adam asked as he walked to the woman.
“Sixty five percent or so.” Sidney said and spit out blood. The initiate appeared next to Sidney and looked at Adam.
“Go on.” he said and watched. Upon her touch, mana flowed through Sidney and specifically healed the wounds and bruises she had sustained. It took a while but she was back to her top in under a minute.
“You can heal specific injuries at least. You have to touch the target?” Adam asked and received a nod.
“Yes, well as soon as you’re applying the healing spell I don’t think you’re much behind a more dedicated healer. Though I assume you can only heal one person at a time. The teleportation certainly helps with the touching requirement.” he said and ignored the woman’s still lingering hand on Sidney’s shoulder.
“For technique, Sidney?” he looked at the woman who slowly got up again, brushing away the initiate’s hand from her shoulder.
“Adequate or better for her level. Fighting skills at least in the second stage.” Sidney said and Adam nodded.
“You’re certainly a balanced warrior. Believe me though even for people like you a team is invaluable.” Adam explained though her gaze told him she knew as much already.
“I’m aware.” she said, confirming his feeling.
“Neither of you have used the edge of your weapons. I would like to see yours though.” Adam said and looked at the initiate. She nodded as he gathered his mana. A magical construct formed as he concentrated and one second later a fully realized level 50 drake stood in the room with them. Adam was confused at the big smile the creature summoned from the initiate but he concentrated on the task at hand. Soon he would be back in his office, there was no question about her capabilities already.
“Kill the drake. Use your full power, only skills you can use several times after one another.” he said and walked back to Walter with Sidney.
The woman walked up to the drake and looked towards Adam. He nodded and watched as she petted the monster and then punched. A wave of mana from seemingly both her classes went into the animal and tore its innards to shreds. The beast nearly exploded to its back as blood and guts cluttered on the ground, some of it getting on the woman.
“That’s a five or six.” William said and Sidney nodded.
“Again with something bigger...” Adam said and used more mana this time. A level 100 Monster toad came to life a couple meters away from him and lazily hopped towards the initiate. It was massive and would show just how far her powers would dig into an enemy. This time the woman didn’t hesitate and attacked immediately. The frog survived the first hit and died on the second.
“Thanks, that’s enough.” Adam said and the initiate walked towards them again. Only some pieces of clothing were remaining and blood covered at least a third of her body, little of it her own. “You can use another set of clothing before bathing.” Adam said but the woman looked at William.
“You’re ice and water?” she asked and the man understood. He summoned his mana and a stream of compressed water punched into the initiate, pushing her back a little. Her skin alone resisted the attack but the blood and guts didn’t resist just as well.
“Thanks.” she said and went back to where she had left her leather armor. This time William didn’t feel the need to erect an ice barrier. Two minutes later the initiate stood in front of them again.
“You’re more than qualified and can fill several roles in several teams. Though I would suggest a tank and healer combination for you as a main thing. Depending on the enemy you can help attack or distract. Considering how little damage a lot of warriors and mages can take I want to put that to use. Do you object?” Adam asked.
“No, that’s alright.” she said and Adam nodded.
“Great, then thanks again for the demonstrations. We will decide on your rating and put you into a team by tomorrow. You’re a paid member right? Then you can refuse a team once, though I assure you there are gonna be people you hate in each of them.” Adam explained. “At noon tomorrow please come to the main hall again, an assistant will take care of you.” he finished and received a nod in reply.
The initiate looked at them and even winked to Sidney before leaving the room.
“What’s her name?” Adam asked, a while later in a warded room at the end of the training corridor.
“She calls herself Ilea, Elder.” William answered.
“Resilience 10, Speed 10, Attack 6, technique 9. Do you agree?” the two others nodded at Adam’s assessment.
“She would be a great member for nearly any team.” Sidney said.
“Well three of the newcomers from this month are without a team yet and we have that Alymie who refused his first team.” Adam said and the others seemed uncertain.
“One attack mage, a trapper and two influencers...they do need a tank and healer desperately.” William said.
“I would say two attack mages...” Sydney said. Only the evaluators had a vague idea of everyone’s abilities. To form teams it was a must.
“It can work certainly. So it’s decided. Team 34 then.” Adam declared and Sidney chuckled at that.
“Not for long I think...” she said and Adam agreed.
“William can you handle the rest?” he more demanded than asked before he got up from his chair. William nodded as Adam exited the room. ‘Back to work then.’ he thought, his face getting serious.
“How’d you think I did?” Ilea asked as she sat on her bed and ate one of several meals she had bought right after the evaluation. “You saw everything right?”
“Yes, thanks for the placement.” Aki said. “I think you did very well and I agree with their decision to put you into the tank role. A good thing too that you are, too many choose something destructive and get blindsided by an assassin or ranger.” he explained.
“Something you’ve experienced?” she asked.
“Oh yes...more than a couple times. And assassin types tend to die just as easily to their own kind, not meaning race.” the dagger said.
“Mhm…” Ilea commented, falling backwards onto the bed. The ceiling had a surprisingly intricate design. ‘Not quite like the dwarves...’ she thought though it might’ve been a possible addition by somebody else at a later time.
“You think the dwarves built this place?” she asked, throwing Aki at the ceiling, disturbing some of the beautiful design by another cut. She was getting better at throwing for sure, though had still not received a skill for it.
“It’s certainly possible...a lot of underground cities were built by them and then abandoned for one reason or another. What they build tends to last though, especially the Taleen kind.” the explanation from the ceiling made a lot of sense to Ilea.
“You were inside a Taleen city, what was your last wielder looking for there?” she asked.
“An artifact of great power. The elf did not share a lot with me, a quiet one yet you saw my personality...” Ilea nodded in her lying position before blinking up to retrieve Aki.
“We have a day, and I have just the right place to visit...” she said and rushed out the apartment. Ilea had an idea what the powerful artifact might’ve been but she wouldn’t reveal quite yet what was held inside of her beautiful necklace. She walked out of Viscera at a quick pace and reached Ravenhall in a couple minutes.
Standing atop a building, she ducked for cover and summoned her notebook. ‘There it is...’ she thought and held her finger over the place indicated on the map. ‘Let’s see if we can get something cool...’ she spread her wings and flew straight towards her goal, not wasting any time in hiding her ability to fly. Why have something as useful as that and not use it?
Though it might come in handy as a trump card, never playing one’s cards could become an issue as well. Especially if it was something like her ability to fly, which substantially influenced her travel speed. ‘Or amazing armor in a boss fight...’ she thought back to the Praetorians while looking down on her leather armor. ‘If only I had mastered the clothing change ability….no, stop it Ilea. Regret will bring you nothing.’ her thoughts didn’t reduce her ability to perceive her surroundings and especially not the wind flowing through her hair.
A smile tugged on her lips as she started twirling and speeding up, farther and farther away from the city of Ravenhall. In the next hour of traveling through the mountain chain, Ilea tried to avoid any encounters with the wildlife. Further levels to her second class could be very detrimental whenever it would advance. Her skills had to grow.
To that end the air was filled by ash and ember, painting a trail of gray behind the flying warrior. Her body heat changed as often as her wings pushed against the air and ever so few were the minuscule pieces of ash controlled by her manipulation.
‘Oh wow that one looks cool...’ she thought as she stopped in the air to look at a massive level 180 troll fighting against a pack of direwolves. They weren’t nearly the troll’s level but their speed made up for it. The wounded were saved by their brethren while more of them would attack the slow moving troll from behind.
The fight dragged on to nearly half an hour when the troll finally fell, dead and bleeding from a hundred cuts and bite marks. The wolves went to enjoy their lunch as Ilea looked on from above, a little annoyed at the reproachful lesson dealt to her by nature itself. ‘And they call it lone wolf...’
She reached her goal twenty minutes later at a lower point of the mountain chain. A city around half the city of Ravenhall stood embedded partly into the mountain itself, as it seemed custom to build on top of mountains. Or at least it had been to whomever had build these cities. Though with magic a lot that would seem impractical proved the best of solutions, or the safest.
Ilea’s goal didn’t lie within the city of Morhill, but a supposed small village that would not be far from there. Landing a couple meters away from a guard on the walls of the city proved to be the right entrance, as the young man stumbled back and tried to shoot a flamebolt at her. Tried and succeeded.
Though the attack simply painted her face a little bit reddish. Luckily for the man he hadn’t aimed for her leather armor, though Ilea likely didn’t plan on finding out the process of how Morhill dealt with murderers that day.
“Stop that. I’m not your enemy.” she said in a neutral voice. The disappearance of her wings and time to realize his situation seemed enough for the man to calm down considerably.
“What...why did you, who are you?!” he babbled out more than said clearly.
“I’m not your enemy. I’m looking for a small village...and the smith who lives therein.” she said and didn’t give the man time to collect his thoughts.
“Balduur Birch, ever heard of the man?” she asked, walking closer to the man.
“Old Birch, yea he doesn’t smith for people anymore. Nobles from all over Lys and even farther have tried. Sure thing he won’t do nothin for you.” the man spat and chuckled.
“Where will I get rejected then?” she asked and moved her backpack, putting a hand inside and removing a silver coin.
“Oh miss, I apologize. It’s an hour south on foot, just go straight there, ya won’t miss it!” he said and pointed in a direction. The coin was flipped towards him as Ilea’s wings materialized behind her. She was gone before the coin reached the man’s greedy hands.
‘Gold really is useful...or silver in this case...’ she thought.
“You’re really bad with money...” Aki said a while later but she simply ignored him, looking out for the village in the distance. This time she didn’t intend to make quite the same impression and landed as soon as she saw the specks of houses in the distance. An hour on foot as advertised had been crossed in a mere minutes by her speed and ability to cross over any obstacles put in her way.
The last stretch took as long as the flight from Morhill but she was rewarded with a comfortable lack of attention as she arrived in the village. A sign read Indur and a rough looking man in heavy armor greeted her at the entrance of the village. There was a chest high stone wall and Ilea could spot five guards from her angle.
“Hella there travela. What’s ya buiness in Indur?” the man asked and moved the top of his helmet to reveal a surprisingly charming face. Though he was not smiling and had Ilea been in this position on earth she would’ve probably been quite a bit less confident.
“I’m looking for a warm place to stay for a while before I continue my travels. Ale and food are welcome as well.” she said and smiled to the man, pulling back the hood from her head. The gesture and answer seemed to soothe the man a little, though she didn’t know how much either played into the favorable result.
“The inn is the central building in the village. Toll is ten coppers.” the man said to which she nodded and removed her pouch from her backpack. Handing over the copper, she hung the pouch onto her waist. The armor did provide with several straps for just such an occasion.
The guard took the money and gestured for her to enter the village, closing his helmet again after she had passed.
Checking her messages as she walked into the village, Ilea smiled and dragged on the strap of her backpack.
‘ding’ ‘Ashen Wings reaches lvl 13’
‘ding’ Ash Surge reaches lvl 7’
Her flying skill had advanced on her way to Ravenhall a little as well though it was a welcome surprise that it did so again on her way to Indur. ‘Now, let’s see what this Birch can do...’