A note from Rhaegar

Aaaand another one. Hope you all have a nice Sunday :).

ETA next chapter, prolly next Thursday or Friday.

Chapter 81 Class

“I’m Kyrian. I’m a metal mage and will be able to slow down the enemy.” he said simply and looked down again.

“Can you speak up?” Trian asked in a mocking tone but was ignored by the others.

“My name is Claire, I’m a rune and explosion mage and I’ll be able to trap enemies. Additionally I’ll be your team tactics instructor, nice to meet you all.” she said and bowed towards the others.

Ilea already smirked before Trian even said something about the fact that a team member would be an instructor but to her surprise the man kept his mouth shut and simply looked at the woman with a glare. The last person to introduce themselves was the woman who had joined them mere minutes before.

“I’m Eve and I’m an illusionist and singer. It’s nice to meet you all.” the woman smiled brightly and waved at them.

Joseph clapped his hands then to get the attention of the team. “Alright, now that we all know each other’s names let’s actually get to know one another. You’re team 34, currently the lowest ranking team in the Shadow’s hand, not that I or anybody here should care too much about that. Ilea.” he said and looked at the woman. “How good is your healing? We would have to book one for these trainings if you’re not up to the task.” he asked.

“As long as nobody dies it should be fine, though I need longer to heal others than a full fledged healer at my level.” she said and Joseph nodded.

“Well only one way to find out the extent of your abilities then. We’re gonna do some bouts then. Who wants to face Ilea first?” Joseph said and looked through the group. Before anybody could say something though he pointed to the metal mage. “Kyrian. You two seem like you wouldn’t kill each other immediately. Come on, show us what you have.”

The man nodded and looked at Ilea, his eyes quickly sinking down to the ground again as he turned and walked to the middle of the hall. “Don’t worry about destroying anything, I’ll be able to repair it. Ilea, I hope you know the limits of your powers. If either of you don’t think you can continue the fight simply say so, or gesture if you can’t talk anymore for some reason.”

‘Doesn’t seem very safe...’ Ilea thought as she joined Kyrian in the middle of the hall with a smirk on her face.

“Now try not to go soft on me...I can take it.” she said and switched into a fighting stance. The others walked around the hall to either get a better view or a more comfortable seat.

“I didn’t plan to.” Kyrian answered quietly.

“Ready? Start whenever.” Joseph said from the side.

Ilea watched Kyrian focusing on her, the gray in his eyes seemed to intensify when a needle like object entered her sphere, making her move her head slightly to see the projectile pass. Metal balls, needles and spikes came out of the man’s backpack which he slid off his shoulders a moment later. The spheres started rotating round him as the needles and spikes hovered over and next to him.

The first spike was released and shot right towards Ilea’s chest. Though she perceived that the needle from before came at her back from behind. Something told her that she shouldn’t get hit by the piece of metal, even though it seemed so small and non threatening. With a small turn of her body, both projectiles shot past her, getting an interested look from Kyrian.

‘My turn...’ she thought and advanced on the man, dodging past the needles shot towards her. Her pace slowed as more and more projectiles flew towards her as she moved to the sides and even backwards. As the needles were distributed around the hall it became harder and harder to simply dodge them.

Ilea decided to show her first card as ash extended around her and took the view from anybody that wasn’t able to perceive through the black dust like substance. She was immediately sure that Kyrian had no way to see through it as the projectile attacks became less direct and more chaotic, random even.

It wasn’t a certainty that Kyrian wasn’t simply fooling her but Ilea didn’t have another choice but to advance further. More and more ash filled the hall around the two combatants as Ilea circled against the man. She had to admit that his control of the needles and frequency of attacks was incredibly efficient at keeping her at bay.

At this point there was ash all around the man and Ilea decided then to move in. A blink got her right next to Kyrian and her fist shot out to punch his back. The impact shot through her arm and his back as spikes extended from the closest metal sphere, cutting deeply into her skin. Her destructive mana shot through the man before she jumped away again, holding her side.

Kyrian had stumbled to the side, holding his shoulder while breathing heavily. Ilea on the other hand walked backwards slowly and back into the ash while her smile vanished. The cut on her side refused to heal and she knew exactly what the cold feeling radiating from the wound meant. Her hands started to shake as she perceived the man slowly steadying himself, the pieces of metal that had fallen down around him starting to hover again.

Acting on a whim Ilea unsheathed Aki and cut into her side, through muscle and flesh until she cut out everything around where she had gotten sliced by the sphere of metal. Confirming her suspicion, the wound started healing again albeit a little slower than normally. It took a while of dodging and healing longer before she was ready to engage again, her hands still shaking.

‘Let’s do this then...just a bunch of curses...’ she thought, her shroud coming to life for the first time in the fight and her wings spreading inside the ash still filling the surroundings. Jumping up, she spread her wings, blinking into Kyrian’s melee range to deliver a kick at his head. A needle scratched at her shroud but didn’t manage to get through right before her foot connected and knocked the man down.

She blinked away again before the needles and spikes shooting towards her managed to do any damage. The man got up again slowly, coughing blood this time but he didn’t signal for the fight to end.

Ilea felt as the mana gathered around the man even though she didn’t have her Magic Perception anymore. Suddenly the spheres of metal burst apart and thousands of needles flew towards her. There were too many and too spread out for a blink to really do anything so Ilea simply held out her hands to try and minimize the damage.

Her shroud of ash fought against the onslaught of needles as more and more pierced her defense to try and get through her armor and skin. Some managed to get through and the cold feeling of the now familiar curse spread from the small wounds through her body.

Half a minute later Ilea opened her hands and started to rip the needles out of her body. None managed to pierce too far inside of her. The ash around them was disturbed enough by Kyrian’s spell that she could now see the man panting before her, seemingly struggling to stay on his feet.

‘Used up his mana...’ she thought as more and more needles clanged on the ground with a metal noise, the cold and numb feeling leaving her body slowly. Though some of it remained even with the metal removed. It was not enough to get her down though and Kyrian seemed to realize that as well. He lifted his arms and opened his mouth.

“You win, I’m out.” he said and nodded to Ilea. “Good fight. I’m sorry.” he said, confusing Ilea a little. Until that moment she hadn’t noticed the tears streaming down her face and the shaking hands on her side. Her wound slowly but surely closed as the curse was pushed out of her body.

ding’ ‘Curse Resistance reaches lvl 4’

ding’ ‘Ash Surge reaches lvl 8’
‘ding’ ‘Ash Surge reaches lvl 9’

ding’ ‘Body of Ash reaches lvl 18’

“Not bad, not bad.” Joseph said as he slowly approached the two fighters, standing opposite each other. He completely ignored the tears and shaking Ilea was showing, likely having an idea where it had come from. “So Kyrian doesn’t seem to have enough to push through a heavily agile armored target. You did manage to slow her down and your defense was pretty good considering her ability to teleport right next to you. The spiked metal spheres are very useful but your mana ran out rather quickly.” Joseph finished, coming to a stop a little to the side of the two.

The others had joined the middle as well. Ilea tried to get the shaking under control and had her eyes closed as Kyrian commented on the analysis.

“The ash was a problem, I...I had to keep her busy while not being able to see her. More mana used than normally...” the man said while the scattered needles started to move towards him at a slow pace.

Joseph nodded and prepared to answer when Trian chuckled and pointed at Ilea. “Why the fuck are you crying? You won you idiot.” he said but Ilea completely ignored him, proud of that achievement. She still had her eyes closed and her hands were shaking considerably less than before.

“Leave her alone.” Eve said, her expression cold and hard.

“Now now, stop this now. You’ll all get the chance to face each other every single day in the next couple months. I’m sure she has a good reason to cry Mr. Alymie.” Joseph said and looked towards Kyrian again.

“It was not a good matchup for you, that is for sure. I think the offensive approach even at the cost of a higher mana usage was the right decision though try to be more mobile and get a bigger picture of the battlefield. The ash was not as spread out as you might’ve thought and a simple sprint to one direction might’ve given you enough to focus your attack again. Considering Ilea’s similarly offensive approach there was little you could do though. Get a skill to see through the ash for next time.” he finished and Kyrian nodded.

“How w..would I do that?” Kyrian asked and received a small smile from Joseph.

“Finally, a member of the hand willing to listen. Try to fight in the dark, train with a blindfold or even pierce your eyes out. We have healers that can deal with that. Fighting in a blinded state might at some point yield a skill for you to see with not just your eyes. A very valuable thing for everyone but especially someone like you, who needs that much precision to make use of their full power.” he explained and Kyrian nodded.

“I request to fight Trian next.” Ilea said after the man had stopped talking.

“Sure you can go again so soon?” Joseph asked while Trian smiled at her.

“Oh I’m sure. Kyrian can you remove it?” Ilea said. She wanted to see if Trian’s cockiness was grounded on any actual skill or simply a result of his upbringing. Either way it would be a fun fight. Hopefully he would not be able to curse her as well. Kyrian nodded and the little remains of the cold feeling inside her immediately vanished.

“Do you need healing?” Ilea looked towards Kyrian who was rebuilding the metal spheres.

“He’s fine, don’t heal everyone if they’re still able to walk and fight. It would be detrimental for us to have a healer at hand at all times for every little injury.” Claire said from the side and Ilea found herself agreeing. She would’ve healed the man anyway but considering he would be having her back for likely at least the next six months, she decided to go with Claire’s way and nodded, joining the waiting Trian in the middle of the hall.

The others walked back to the sides and Ilea just now noticed the walls of earth and scattered runed stones on the ground next to the people watching. The last attack at least not only had her as a target, though doubtfully an intentional circumstance.

“Now that was certainly an impressive shower of metal but seeing you would be our tank I’d have to test your defenses with actual power. Don’t cry again please.” he said and grinned at her.

“You’re talking a lot. Kyrian’s metal has a certain specialty to it that I’m sure you’ll experience quite soon. Come then.” she said and activated her buffs and shroud.

Trian nodded as blue lightning sparkled between his fingers. A sudden crack sounded through the hall as a bolt of lightning hit Ilea’s defenses with a loud boom, shredding through her shroud and washing through her body.

“That’s it already?” Trian said as he looked at her, though he prepared again quickly as Ilea’s smile didn’t waver even for a second.

“Isn’t that supposed to be my question?” she asked, the little damage healed nearly immediately. Her lightning resistance doubled by shroud of ash reduced the damage of his attack by a significant amount, not forgetting the shroud itself that had to be pierced first.

Contrary to Ilea’s expectations, her opponent wasn’t tricked into any rash actions with her taunting but instead his smile widened as he launched the next attacks. She got into motion and advanced towards him with unpredictable movements, the lightning striking into the ground next to her. Some strikes singed her shroud or her skin but nothing did any significant damage.

As she got closer though she noticed the strikes getting stronger and quicker in execution, the lightning manifesting closer and closer to her, leaving very little time to react. Though with her reflexes and speed that time was enough to change a direct hit to a mere glancing strike that did little to stop her unyielding approach.

Three more steps and Ilea reached him, standing face to face with the man her fist advanced towards his sternum but the mage vanished right before her fist reached him. Instead she found a pulse of electricity flow through her as a massive bust of power and heat flashed through her, burning a part of her insides.

She turned again to face the man as hunter’s recovery repaired the damage impressively fast. Half of it was already healed before her head even turned to him.

“You’re still standing?” the man said, though his tense stance and light panting betrayed the tone of his voice. “That would’ve killed an ice troll...”

“Impressive power but if that’s all you have you’re not going to win this...” she said, now completely healed and meditating in the calm moment to keep her mana as high as possible. A sudden pull had her blink at the man, with her eyes that is. She noticed her mana ever so slightly dropping faster than before.

“I’ve never seen this...what are you doing?” she asked and locked eyes with the man.

“It’s a very rare class. And you will learn why quite quickly...” he said as lightning materialized above Ilea. This time though it wasn’t blue in color like it was as a natural occurrence but red. She dodged in the last moment but still felt a part of her power leave her when the next strike already came down on her.

‘You’re not gonna win this...’ she thought and blinked towards him. He vanished again, leaving behind the same pulse of lightning as before but this time she was prepared and vanished as well, just before she was hit. A battle of teleportation ensued as the two mages vanished and reappeared in quick succession. Ilea noticed a little amount of her power leaving her constantly in addition to the mana required to uphold her skills.

Deciding to use a similar tactic as she had against Kyrian, she started using her ash surge after every blink. She was rewarded by Trian trying to go to places where no ash was, leaving him slightly predictable. The third blink left Ilea arriving a moment before him and her fist connected satisfyingly with his stomach right after he appeared, her mana flowing into him and the hit pushing all the air out of his lungs as he was thrown backwards.

Trian rolled twice in the air, hitting his shoulder hard on the ground before he skidded to a halt when Ilea appeared in front of him. The moment of shock and the disruptive mana that had flown through him left his reaction time a little slow when she grabbed his arm and squeezed, breaking the bone below his coat. Immediately she felt her power drain and not just her mana.

She swung the man by his arm and landed his body hard in the ground below them. The drain continued but less strong. She landed on top of him and started punching into him. Three punches landed hard on his face before a massive burst of lightning shot Ilea away and dragged more of her mana and life energy out of her. She landed on her feet and looked towards the man who was rising with red lightning manifesting around him, levitating him above the ground.

It’s been a while since someone pushed me this much...” he said and smiled. Ilea couldn’t help but feel excited as well, her wings sprouting as she felt the power from all her buffs flow through her.

A note from Rhaegar

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