Chapter 93 Workaholics
The members of team 34 walked up to the middle elevator and Claire showed the guard there the document signed by Joseph. The man nodded and motioned them through, scratching a 34 into the stone tabled that was lying on a table next to the entrance.
Magical lights lined the corridor that led towards the elevator and after a two minute descent the group came up to a hall that held another five elevators, likely there to better distribute the people and goods being transported. The blueish light in the hall gave Ilea the feeling of a club or late night bathroom lighting.
The brief thought on the existence of heroin in Elos was swept away a couple minutes later as the side of the elevator opened up to reveal something beautiful. A massively diverse and vast landscape illuminated by what seemed to be an artificial sun covered in runes spread before them, sporting mountains, trees, lakes and even a small desert in the distance.
The roof of the place was covered in magical lights and crystals that added to the illusion of a sky above. They were speechless as they descended for another five minutes, the ground coming closer and closer, the height change letting them grasp just how vast this place was.
The sound of the platform landing and the kinetic force associated with the action jump-started Ilea’s brain again and made her walk forward and out of the half opened elevator shaft. The smell of different vegetation and the blinding sun above mad her hold up her hand to her eyes. Birds sang in the distance and there was no question in her mind that Spring had come around.
Through her Sphere she saw everyone else wander about just as aimlessly though likely focused on different things. Ilea closed her eyes and breathed in and out several times before her wings spread behind her and she quickly ascended again. The view changed as she flew up and the vast landscape spread out before her again.
There was a forest to the west, with lakes and even a marsh in between. Two mountains could be seen in the distance, with their size they wouldn’t have to hide behind the very mountains they were residing in. ‘This isn’t possible...’ Ilea thought as she descended again, her mind rejecting the truth of this place. The sci fi side of her thought of some sort of pocket dimension, perhaps something like her storage device. She hadn’t noticed anything when descending with the elevator though.
“This is marvelous...” Claire exclaimed, making the group focus on her.
“Is this real? No illusions?” Eve asked.
“I believe there are some illusions at play in the distance but I think what you see is real.” Claire answered.
“Impressive.” even Trian commented on it.
“The metal is singing to me….” Kyrian said and showed a rare smile. “There is so much of it here, below the ground. The runes carved inside are strong and... old...” he said and walked in a circle.
“Good place for vacation in the winter...” Ilea said and got a chuckle from Eve.
“Oh you say it…” the woman commented before picking up a rock from the ground. “This is all real...” she said after a while.
“Eregar’s quite a guy huh?” Ilea said.
“Well he didn’t build all of this himself… there were hundreds if not thousands of mages involved and they worked on this for over a thousand years. Still they expand it today.” Claire explained.
“But why?” Trian asked, looking into the distance.
“Why what? Build it? I’m not sure. There are plenty of theories around but likely only the elders know, if at all.” Claire said and shrugged.
“I’m just glad they added forests and natural light compared to the Taleen green this is quite the improvement.” Ilea said and got a side glance from Trian.
“You’ve been inside a Taleen dungeon?” he asked.
“Yea, how I leveled up so quickly.” Ilea answered and started walking up a nearby slope covered in healthy grass.
“Against Taleen Guardians? Well there’s certainly easier ways to level up. They’re pretty much the most dangerous things we know of at level two hundred, at least when it comes to monsters without specializations.” Trian said and there was a hint of admiration in his voice.
“You know they’re not monsters right? They were made by the Taleen Dwarfs, at least that’s what I assume.” Ilea said and looked around. “Just like this was made by humans...”
“True, well let’s hope there are not Guardians here then. And let’s train. Where should we go?” Claire asked, joining Ilea’s side on the slope overlooking the proximity. They were standing in a field of grass, interspersed by hills and the occasional tree.
“We don’t know how everything looks like yet. I think something near the mountains would suit us best but let’s move around a little...” Ilea said and started walking, seeing with her Sphere that the others followed. Eve and Trian close behind followed by Claire and Kyrian.
After the grassy hills came a section of forest with some low leveled creatures inhabiting it. None of them chose to attack and neither did anybody of their team feel the need to lash out. Ilea was quite surprised there hadn’t been anybody just killing the monsters for fun. Perhaps there were ways to prevent it or maybe there were rules against that.
Claire explained upon her question. There apparently were rules in place and the possible repercussions weren’t usually worth whatever sadistic tendencies the person would satisfy. There was a whole world filled with monsters out there after all.
After around an hour’s travel at running speed, the section of forest opened up to reveal a small lake, reflecting the artificial sun’s light coming from above. Ilea saw fish inside of the lake and breathing in she found nothing in the air indicating them to be inside of the biggest cave she’d ever seen. ‘If we really are in a cave...’ she thought, repressing the upcoming thoughts on the whole nature of Elos. There was nothing these thoughts would give her except for uncertainty.
Elos was real and so where the people in it, including herself. The group ran around the lake on one of its shorelines, entering a rocky terrain covered in cave entrances and rocks that would be useful as cover. “Something like this?” Claire shouted from her position at the back of the group.
“Yea why not.” Eve said, tired of running but likely not actually exhausted.
“This will do well as a training ground. Just bouts?” Trian asked, looking towards Claire who seemed surprised that he would consult her.
“We can start with bouts, yes. I want to continue with Kyrian and his runes for a while anyway. Eve just join the others and train your magic on both of them.” Claire finished, shooing them away before getting out her notes from her pack again.
“With pleasure.” Eve said with a smile and a glint of malice in her eyes as she looked towards Trian.
The terrain made it quite a bit more interesting than the simple training hall Ilea and Trian had fought in before. Of course the earlier bout in the forest had already been an improvement but the trees were simply smashed away. Rock and small caves weren’t as easily destroyed.
Ilea certainly had the power to smash through a rock wall but the several meters thick ground made it a little more difficult. Her Sphere showed its overwhelming power in this terrain as Trian didn’t know from where she would come from, trying to find places that gave him enough space to react. He was pushed onto the defensive for the whole training session while trying to avoid Eve however possible.
It turned out that her mental attacks only worked when she actually saw her target which made the session into a bout between Ilea and Trian who in turn tried to avoid Eve as best as possible. Eve found that sneaking up on the two worked much better than trying to keep up. She would use her attacks to distract either of the two in vital moments of their fight to simulate and actual mind mage intervening in the conflict.
Ilea was much better at dealing with Eve which pushed her advantage even further. It was mostly due to her higher resistance and Trian would catch up in time.
In one of the pauses where all of them consulted together they decided to do resistance training for every member. The impact Eve’s mind magic had on Trian was nothing short of fatal. She could’ve simply taken him out at any time if she had chosen to do so. Ilea couldn’t stay the only one ready for a diversity of attacks.
Claire joined the bout soon after and laid traps all over the caves while moving strategically through the terrain, keeping herself as safe as possible behind her shield runes. Ilea still managed to surprise her often enough and again demonstrated the advantages of her perception skill.
Kyrian focused on his manipulation skills as he sometimes joined the fight to attack Claire who was the least mobile target. Nobody interfered with him as his sole focus was the movement of his metal.
Nearly eight hours later the group finally decided it was time to move back up. Ilea was glad that even Eve chose to stay for this long. Likely the group pressure of having to stay with the whole team or perhaps even the enthusiasm everyone showed in training convinced the woman not to leave early as she had the day prior.
Ilea said her goodbyes to the others as the group dispersed in Viscera. She went straight for her apartment and lied down on her bed, sleep taking her in a matter of minutes. It had been a good day.
Aki watched his wielder sleep who had forgotten to move him inside the storage device she wore on her neck. Her name was Ilea and more and more he was glad that she was the one to find him inside that lost dungeon of the dwarfs. The team she had joined would prove to be useful as well, if only to strengthen his wielder.
Today alone she had progressed further than some of his previous holders did in weeks or months. She was young, ready to improve and adapt and most importantly having fun with it. Her enjoyment of fighting alone wasn’t what Aki determined to be important in itself but it would push her to take risks that others would disregard. It would push her to challenge monsters that would improve her instead of fleeing from them.
Still he thought she was experienced enough not to die against an unbeatable foe. At least he hoped so. It was a thin line between those who chose their fights wisely and improved and those who died with the odds stacked against them. The thin line that distinguished the elite from the elite who lay dead.
The woman woke just an hour later, ready to face the next day after such a short rest. Aki knew she would compare to even the most promising of the elven youth but the fewer people who knew that the better. Even Ilea herself. Her newfound team members had similar potentials. Perhaps in time, one of them would find a way. And what else did he have but time?
The next days flowed into one as Ilea slept quickly, ate the delicious food from Keyla and most importantly trained. She trained like she had never before. Even her time trapped inside the Azarinth temple didn’t compare to the intensity of her newfound routine. She was afraid her team members would not be able to keep up but contrary to her expectations they each spurred each other onwards.
Ilea was left with little distractions as the others demanded her to be there. Kyrian and Claire gave their all to reach the other’s levels, their control and cunning improving by the hour. Eve was dragged along and seemed happier and more in control of herself as time went on. Ilea wasn’t sure what exactly caused that change but she never pried and was simply happy for her team mate.
The only small issue they faced was the difference in needed sleep. Both Trian and Ilea needed one to three hours less than Kyrian and Claire. Eve still refused to comment on it.
Trian went to deal with his family business in those times. There wasn’t much but he still had some obligations as a noble living in a city in Lys.
Ilea herself used those hours to look for craftsmen and women to build some things for her. After a week she finally got to participate in the classes she had signed up for. The three hours were enough for all of them but she had to stop any other activities, at least for the first day.
The classes on both healing and hand to hand combat were a complete waste of time for her. Both Ilea’s healing and fighting skill gave her the knowledge to use them efficiently. She even had some experience in both fields at least interest wise from her time on earth.
Everything left for her to get was experience at using both and she certainly was getting more of that from her training sessions compared to the classes. The theory on fighting wasn’t too shabby but Ilea already knew the basics from her time in kick-boxing. The skills she had gained and the fights she’s been part of have formed these basics into something fearsome.
She was sure that she hadn’t veered off enough for her fighting to be inefficient, quite the contrary actually. The teacher on the other hand was obviously coming from a different style and didn’t seem to comprehend that there is more than a single approach to fighting hand to hand. Instead of arguing with the man Ilea decided to fight him without using any active skills.
She won five times out of five. Granted the man was only level one hundred and fifty but she felt superior in technique, strength and speed. He grudgingly admitted that he could not teach her anything if she didn’t chose to change her path which was quite fine for Ilea. She would find strong fighters one way or the other and would implement what she would learn whenever the time came. Sadly nothing the man did in their bouts was helpful for her.
The healing class was somehow even more disappointing. Her modern knowledge of the human body combined with the immediate knowledge she gained whenever she touched somebody with Hunter’s Recovery activated gave her an advantage in healing that her teacher didn’t seem to be able to bridge. Even with her being a pure healer.
It was certainly interesting to listen to the woman but Ilea was a little shocked at how much her teacher seemed to trust in her spell instead of actually understanding what was happening to the body.
Ilea decided not to quit on the first day already. Another input on her skills would certainly be helpful in some way. So she told the teachers that it would be a weekly thing. Additionally she informed the person managing the classes that she’d like another teacher in each of the two courses.
“Do you want the classes to be at another time or do you want both teachers to give their class at the same time?” the clerk gave Ilea a good idea with her question. It would be more like a discussion and perhaps she could gain more out of it if the teachers had to argue against each other as well. Or she would realize that it just wasn’t worth it.
“At the same time would be perfect actually. If at all possible get me somebody that is as different from the first teachers as possible...” Ilea said and walked away while the clerk nodded and wrote Ilea’s wishes down. It was time for her third and last class. Archery.
“Hello, you must be Ilea Spears. You can call me Martha. I’ll be your archery teacher, nice to meet you!” The level 183 ranger smiled brightly at Ilea who walked into the otherwise nearly empty hall. Only a couple of targets could be seen distributed throughout the open space. And of course her teacher, the red haired, thin and beautiful Martha.
“Nice to meet you too Martha. So where do we start.” Ilea asked, ready to shoot some arrows.
“First please tell me how high your archery related skills are and what class level you have. I assume your second one is related to it. Or do you have archery skills in your warrior class?” Martha asked, obviously expecting something quite different than what she got.
“Ehm, no. Well I don’t have any skills related to archery at all. It just seemed fun and maybe it’s a good way to attack from a distance.” Ilea said. Martha’s smile vanished and she just blankly stared at her pupil to be.
“I’ll get a new bow next week though! A big one probably so I can rely more on strength and pure impact compared to related skills.” Ilea tried to revive the woman.
Slowly Martha looked up to meet her eyes. “So you want to learn to use a bow… from scratch? With no supporting skills… how’s your Dexterity and Strength?” Martha asked.
“Exactly, do you think you could teach me that? I don’t have to be amazing at it but it would be quite a helpful skill to have. And I heard you can gain skills even without having a related class, isn’t that the case?” Ilea said, it was mostly the fun of using a bow that drew her to the class but she felt like she was already walking on a thin line with Martha. “Oh and I have 300 Dexterity and 200 Strength.” she added, underplaying her stats just a little.
“At least the numbers aren’t abysmal. You’re a warrior though at 200? That seems rather low to be honest. Well whatever. Yes you can learn the archery skill this way but it’s going to take quite a lot more work than any class related skills. And it’s going to be weaker than any specialized skills, at least for the first… well a hundred years or so I assume.” Martha explained, waving her hand at the estimate. Ilea just nodded happily, accepting the odds.
“Do you have a bow at least?”
“No.” Ilea said, not wanting to reveal the bow she had found in the Taleen dungeon. “But I’ll get one next week. Can you lend me one for now?” she asked, smiling at the teacher.