Chapter 101 Inheritor
All of Ilea’s buffs were running at the maximum as the group slowly advanced through the mine. Eve was carrying a lit torch, not needing her hands to fight. Their tank shrouded in ash was taking the front with Eve close behind, followed by a line of the other members with Claire in the middle.
Five minutes later they came up on the corpse Eve had talked about. It was a man who looked to be in his thirties, lying dead on the ground with a distorted face. The corpse was clad in leather armor but held not a single weapon on him.
“No blood...” Claire whispered as she turned the man around on the ground, checking for any obvious wounds.
“Good thing we all worked on mental resistance...” Ilea said and chuckled, failing to light the mood. It seemed not everybody shared her easy going approach when advancing through an apparently haunted mine. She shrugged and continued onwards to where the man had likely come from. The team followed her in the same formation as they had before, yet none too disturbed at the corpse.
Another tunnel later the group came into a natural looking cave system, Ilea rolling her eyes at the repetitive life she had found herself in. “We’ve got more corpses.” Ilea could see a little further than the others with her Sphere, an advantage she still held even after all the training they went through. The comment left her mouth just when her head was pressured suddenly. A headache came out of nowhere and with it blurred visions of death and murder.
Nothing was quite clear enough to Ilea to leave a lasting impression but a couple things became clear. They were most certainly under attack and the room was spinning, making her uneven on her feet, buckling down to one knee. Hunter’s Recovery came to life as soon as the headache started and slowly pushed against the mental attack. It felt like something between the demon’s and Eve’s attacks and Ilea found herself thinking on different kinds of mental attacks and their flairs when a sudden slap made her focus.
Again a slap landed on her face and then another one. The third one she caught with her hand, still resting on one knee her surroundings became clearer and the room stopped spinning. A feeling amplified a hundredfold through the perception of her Sphere, maybe something to turn off once a mental attack had such an influence on her.
“That’s for the next one...” Ilea said, breathing out and letting her resistances and healing power flow through her mind. The attack continued through but the slaps coming from the angry woman before her made her focus, the enemy had a flair to their mental attack and as soon as she found herself able to focus on it, it became easier to counteract.
“I didn’t know you were into that Eve...” Ilea said, smiling at the woman and focusing on healing herself. Deactivating the Sphere helped a lot already but it felt wrong to her, the enhanced perception something she had gotten used to too much.
“Y...you’re breaking..my….aaarm!” Eve said, sweat covering her face and concentration in her eyes. The comment interrupted her humming for a couple seconds.
“Oh...” Ilea said, looking down on the arm in her grasp that looked to be bent into a wrong direction. She softened her grip and focused some healing power into the cracked bone but was still a little disoriented. There was no enemy to be seen but her head was still pounding, less and less as she got used to the mental attack. Around Ilea were the other members of their team, lying on the ground and shaking. “Well.” Ilea said as she stumbled up from her kneeling position, a bad idea as it turned out. She decided to go back on all fours and moved to the others, grabbing them one after the other and moving them closer to Eve. “This is bad I think.” she mumbled as she finally had them all huddled together.
Touching them all at once, she started pumping out as much healing power as she could, including herself and Eve. She focused on the head and specifically brain as she had with Celene after the woman had summoned a demon. Slowly she felt each of them get better, especially herself and Eve. Her health had dropped a sizable amount in the short time, even with all her resistances. ‘Lucky we had a mind mage to train with...’ she thought and smiled under her helmet, concentrating on her healing spell and trying to ignore the eerie humming coming from their own metal spell caster.
“What the hell is that Eve?” she asked a couple minutes later, her teammates weren’t spasming anymore but still unconscious.
“Death Spirits is all I can see...below our level...they’re all around us Ilea...” Eve’s voice was strained, likely the girl was defending the group and counterattacking as best she could but time was of essence.
“Should we go out? How long can you hold?” Ilea asked, using her meditation skill to keep the mana cost for healing at a minimum.
“I can hold for a while...they’re evil and crude but...many. I’m getting better at dealing with them.” the response calmed Ilea down a little, they wouldn’t be overwhelmed immediately but the others had to get going. Nobody could know what else was luring in this cave. The first to wake was Trian, his eyes shooting open as he was pushed down again by Ilea’s hand.
“Calm down there mate and wait till Claire wakes up...” Ilea said and found the man actually listen to her, closing his eyes again and calming his breathing. Claire came to a minute later but continued lying there.
“You’re awake. Good. Apparently we’re surrounded by Death Spirits, whatever they are. Strong mental attacks but as long as I keep healing your mind you seem to be mostly alright. Eve’s defending us too.” Claire put a hand to her face and then carefully sat up, removing the pack from her shoulder and opening the whole thing up sideways. It looked more like a suitcase this way and held many different sections with strapped on stones and plates.
Claire chose a bunch of them and started throwing them around the room, some further some very close and in a circle around them. “I need a moment...” she said just when Kyrian came to as well. Another minute passed and Claire was now sitting up properly.
“A...” she started and coughed “Ilea you keep healing, Eve you keep defending, both of you inform me when you hit 20% of whatever resource you need to keep it up.” she held out her arms and closed her eyes “Kyrian curse needle storm in all directions around us, wait for my signal.” The man had barely any time to recover but all his metal spheres came out of his pack and started hovering around the room. A dome of light suddenly formed around them, the plates Claire had placed likely the source.
“Now.” Ilea watched the spheres split as she had many times before, the loud cracks filled the cave with noise and quickly after, a storm followed. Thousands of needles flowed through the room and impacted both the walls and the spherical shield around them. A sudden shriek of dozens of screaming voices flowed through the room as the stones placed by Claire started glowing and revealed creatures of pure shadow with no faces. They were screaming and what looked like their limbs were shaking, affected by the curse. “Trian give them hell.” the dome lowered at Claire’s command and a smile lit up on the lightning mage’s face as the room erupted in even more noise and red light.
[Death Spirit – lvl 148]
Ilea could identify the creatures as well at that point and watched their energy snuff out as they were hit by the potent magical blasts of vampire lightning. A terrifying light show that didn’t end for a whole minute as more and more of the dozens of creatures were destroyed. Ilea activated her Sphere again when only five of them remained and found only fluctuations in the space where she saw them with her eyes but the nausea didn’t get worse anymore, likely the attacks had stopped as soon as they started fighting back.
The last five were snuffed out as four more lighting bolts hit the earth above which they had hovered, followed by a battle shout from Trian. Ilea started laughing and Eve went to one knee. Kyrian had sat up and the metal in the room slowly formed back together into spheres.
‘bang’ ‘Your group has defeated [Death Spirit – lvl 148]
‘bang’ ‘Your group has defeated [Death Spirit – lvl 152]
The messages went on for quite a while and Ilea just skipped through to the end, finding a single level up to her Ash Wielder class. Her mental resistance had leveled once as well
‘ding’ ‘Ash Wielder has reached level 200, 5 Stat points awarded.’
‘ding’ ‘You have reached level 200 in your secondary class. 3rd tier skills are now available.’
‘ding’ ‘You have 1 skill point to bring a skill into the third tier.’
Ilea quickly checked on the others and found them to be recovering, Kyrian seemed to be busy reading as well. ‘Seems safe enough now...’ she thought and started reading.
‘ding’ ‘Requirements met for class evolution: Ash Wielder becomes Ashen Warrior. No current stats will be lost, be aware that other evolutions and skills may become unavailable –
You have fought and killed at least a hundred enemies while in the Form of Ember. Has Ashen Warrior in the 2nd stage. Has the Ash Wielder class at lvl 200 or higher.’
‘The Ashen Warrior has embraced Ash and uses it to confuse and fight her enemies.’
‘Would you like to evolve your class [Ash Wielder] to [Ashen Warrior]?’
Ilea just skipped through the text, immediately uninterested at the low requirements and the actual name of the class. She had a skill with the same name, all in all it looked more like a downgrade to Ash Wielder.
‘ding’ ‘Requirements met for class evolution: Ash Wielder becomes Bound Ash of Kroiin. No current stats will be lost, be aware that other evolutions and skills may become unavailable –
You follow the path of Kroiin, the great calamity. Has Ashen Warrior, Form of Ember and Eyes of Ash in the 2nd stage. Has the Ash Wielder class at lvl 200.’
‘The Bound Ash of Kroiin is frenzied by battle, the path of death and destruction following them to all places. As the great father of Kroiin has foretold his sons and daughters will bring death to all living and return all to ash.’
‘Would you like to evolve your class [Ash Wielder] to [Bound Ash of Kroiin]?’
A strong vibe of wrongness immediately filled Ilea’s gut and she decided not to chose that one whatever the other choices would be, even Ashen Warrior would be a more acceptable class. She couldn’t quite explain why she felt that way but perhaps the mention of a great father and following someone gave her cult vibes. ‘Not going there, even if it’s just a class description...’ Ilea thought ‘...I have one cult class already.’
‘ding’ ‘Requirements met for class evolution: Ash Wielder becomes Inheritor of Eternal Ash. No current stats will be lost, be aware that other evolutions and skills may become unavailable –
You have followed the path of Ash. Has Shroud of Ash and four other Ash Wielder skills in the 2nd stage. Has fifteen or more Resistance skills, three or more of which in the 2nd stage. Has the Ash Wielder class at lvl 200.’
‘The Inheritor of Eternal Ash has chosen to shroud herself in the powerful and eternal ash. Many have tried to end her and just as many have failed. She marches onwards, stronger and calmer but the Ember deep down burns hotter than ever, waiting to break out of its protective shell.’
‘Would you like to evolve your class [Ash Wielder] to [Inheritor of Eternal Ash]?’
‘There it is.’ Ilea thought with a big grin on her face and accepted the last possible class for her. Neither of the two other classes she had heard about from Dagon were even available to her but she didn’t care. Inheritor of Eternal Ash sounded right up her alley, especially with all those resistances. In her sphere she saw Kyrian similarly concentrated on something other than his surroundings. ‘So I’m not the only one it seems...’
‘Class change: Ash Wielder becomes Inheritor of Eternal Ash
Strength + 10
Dexterity + 5
Body enhancement magic is improved by 200%
All fighting styles using hand to hand combat are more refined
Your control over ash is enhanced greatly
‘Skills changed by Inheritor of Eternal Ash:
‘[Shroud of Ash] becomes [Veil of Ash]’
‘Active: Veil of Ash – 2nd lvl 10
A thin mist of ash forms around you to both protect you and attack nearby enemies. You are in full control. The veil increases your resilience by 74.5% [Effect after bonuses 372.5%].
2nd stage: Your resistances also benefit from the Veil of Ash’s bonus.
Category: Body Enhancement – Ashen magic’
The base level of the skill had gone up from fifty to sixty percent, which Ilea found to make just as much of a difference as the added one hundred percent to Body Enhancement magic. ‘So the higher I get the more the base of the skill will make a difference…’
‘[Form of Ember] becomes [Form of Ash and Ember]’
‘Active: Form of Ash and Ember – 2nd lvl 14:
Ember glows within you raising your resilience, speed, strength and dexterity by 51.5% [Effect after bonuses 257.5%].
2nd stage: The longer you fight while in the Form of Ash and Ember, the deeper it roots. Each minute of fighting adds 15% to the bonuses with a maximum of 150%.
Category: Aura – Body Enhancement’
Ilea had to read through twice to realize that Strength had been added back into the mix. It would make a ridiculous difference and might bring the change to finally be able and use her heavy gauntlets.
‘[Ash Surge] becomes [Ash Creation]’
‘Active: Ash Creation – 2nd lvl 4
Create ash in a certain radius around you. It can be used as a surge to blind or as a shroud to hide.
2nd stage: You can control the density of the ash to an extent.
Category: Ashen Magic’
Ilea wasn’t quite sure how versatile the skill would be now, combined with Ash and Ember Manipulation and the new notice in the class description but she certainly felt like trying it out. “Shall we continue then? I feel like we can handle them if an ambush like that happens again. Nearly no experience sadly...” Eve commented, taking Ilea out of her concentration on the messages. Claire looked around and Ilea found them all standing again, preparing to continue. Except for her and Kyrian.
“Class evolution?” Claire understood and checked on her runes that were still distributed around them. “We can wait a couple more minutes, no need to rush. Eve and I will prepare should anything come close again. It’s a miracle nothing did after the noise caused by Trian.” it was in no way an insult but the man still ground his teeth a little. Both Ilea and Kyrian nodded and continued.
‘[Body Heat Manipulation] becomes [Embered Body Heat]’
Active: Embered Body Heat – lvl 12
Regulate the heat in your body to protect yourself against harsh climates or even blend in your environment.
Category: Body Enhancement – Ashen Magic
Nothing had changed with the skill description, at least as far as Ilea remembered. She was pretty sure as well that the spell wasn’t Ashen Magic before but it didn’t matter much. It was one of the few skills she hadn’t focused on heavily in her training, hoping it would be replaced in her class evolution.
Sadly though that skill didn’t come. Not a single one was gained through her new class but Ilea just breathed out and focused on her surroundings again. Kyrian was still focused so she tried out the changes. The new Strength from From of Ash and Ember combined with a high amount of her skills gaining another twenty five percent in power would be felt quite a bit upon activation.
Mana flowed through her veins and the blue light of State of Azarinth came to life below her heavy elven armor. She noticed that the red glow from Form of Ember seemed to be absent but upon further inspection of her hands, the glow was simply much more subdued compared to before. Trying out her new Ash Creation skill, she simply focused before her and a mist of dark gray matter formed with her expended mana.
She tried to move it and found the process easy, natural even. The mist of ash spun around her as if a familiar bound to their master, it expanded and then formed into a ball. Ilea tried to make it as dense as possible and found the mist that had expanded around two cubic meters to be pressed into a ball the size of a marble. It was hard, not quite as hard as rock but it was getting there. The ball was obviously tossed at Trian’s head.
Lightning flared and destroyed the ball before it even hit and the man looked at her annoyed. “Stop fucking around, we’re on a mission.” the man said, finding Ilea both amused and a little embarrassed. He had of course been right and she knew as much but considering the gains she had just gotten it was hard to stay serious.
The throw showed her a little of her newfound strength and combined with all the other skills she definitely felt it. Not as huge of a change as when she had gotten Ash Wielder in the first place or even Azarinth First Hunter but she felt it. Ilea kept summoning and moving around ash before finally forming a spherical shield of it around her. It used up quite a bit of mana and time to summon the needed ash for a dense shield and she already deemed it impractical but perhaps it would be a viable defense in the future.
Attacking with the ash was a possibility as well but Ilea was more intrigued at tripping her enemies or having them walk into a newly formed wall behind them. Crouching to the ground, Ilea summoned her black obsidian gauntlets and found herself quite able to lift them. It was an ordeal to be sure but not an impossibility anymore. Moving with the Gauntlets proved difficult with the added weight to her body but slowly she got the hang of it as she swung the heavy weapons around, pulling her body with each swing. ‘Fantastic...’ she though and smiled before the gauntlets vanished into their bracelets again.