Chapter 102 Lost Wanderer
Ilea was sure that after getting used to the new weight and her newfound strength, she’d be able to use the gauntlets like a heavy and slow troll would use their massive fists, good enough for the purpose they had to fulfill.
Checking the 3rd tier skill point Ilea found it only available for the Inheritor of Eternal Ash class and not for her Azarinth ones. After concentrating on it more she also found that none of the skills were ready for an upgrade, not a surprise as none were at 2nd level 20.
“How did you reveal them? I only felt their presence.” the conversation between Eve and Claire started after Ilea had stopped using her new skills. Probably a somewhat underwhelming display of newfound power when viewed externally. At least with the displayed skills.
“The runes reveal some hidden enemies. Only if they’re wounded or damaged, hence the needle storm.” Claire explained and nodded towards Ilea who was approaching them again, having moved a couple meters away to test her changed skills.
“Ash Creation, not bad. Weird for a close combat fighter to gain the highest form of manipulation in an element.” she commented and looked towards Kyrian who was apparently still reading. “Trian was right by the way, try to focus on the mission alright?” Ilea was a little confused.
‘Did she really just scold me?’ she thought and smiled at the unexpected feedback. She didn’t retort initially, after all there were now four other lives connected to the levels of her shenanigans.
“Considering me and Eve just saved your asses you should be grateful.” the comment couldn’t quite be blocked by her filter but the tone was obviously in jest. Trian looked down while Claire nodded towards her.
“You did, thank you. That’s why we’re all here, together. Next time it will be somebody else with the deciding ability. As our tank and healer you hold two very important responsibilities, just make sure to remember that.” Claire thanked her but Ilea was still a little annoyed.
“Unclench Claire. I’m aware of the stakes.” and that was that. The rune mage nodded, having locked eyes with the cold gaze of Ilea. It was understandable that the team didn’t yet trust each other in an unknown situation. Both Claire and Ilea knew that but the tension still lingered in the air.
“Ah, relax you two. Trian don’t you want to collect the dust you made? It’s quite valuable I hear.” Eve suggested and continued “Kyrian are you sure you can read?” she walked up to the man and waved her hand before his face.
“Might as well get some quiet.” Trian mumbled and walked around the cave to collect the dust and likely alchemical pieces dropped by the Death Spirits with his storage ring. They still didn’t know about Ilea’s and she wasn’t about to show them when the noble boy was made to collect some dirt, the scene already well worth her secrecy.
Ilea tried out her new body heat spell as well, still waiting for Kyrian and Eve who were now joined by Claire. Apparently the man had some difficulties understanding parts of his new class evolution. Her body went cold the same way it had before, until she was indistinguishable from one of the corpses in the room, at least temperature wise. The other way went a little different as the heat in her body increased and increased further and further.
Ilea checked her health and found nothing wrong but the ground below her feet was sizzling a little a little even through her armored boots. ‘So it did change...’ she thought, having been unable to have such an impact on her surroundings with the skill. Possibly a help in some ways and it made the skill a little more viable. At least now she was actually curious about its second stage.
Kyrian nodded and Claire called out to Trian. Apparently they would continue at last. Ilea was annoyed that she had left her pack at the entrance of the mine and she wasn’t about to reveal her storage necklace because she wanted to eat.
“Claire do you have anything edible with you per chance?” Claire shook her head to her disappointment, Trian joining them a minute later.
“So further in?” Eve asked, looking towards the only other exit to the cave they were in.
“Yes, there are only seven corpses in this room. Not enough to account for all the adventurers that went here.” Claire explained and looked towards Ilea who shrugged and walked onwards, activating her new Veil of Ash. Compared to the more chaotic looking shroud, the veil looked a lot more thin and slower moving.
Walking onwards the team was on much higher alert, having nearly been wiped out by a group of enemies fifty or more levels below them. Ilea didn’t care much and was just happy she had leveled up her class and could save the others but she surely would’ve been annoyed if she had been taken out by something like that. ‘That’s why I have all those resistances… one moment of bad luck or the lack of a healer and you’re dead. Even against something that should be weaker…’
The problem was of course the sheer number of enemies the team had faced and the mind attack bypassing most of their defenses. Considering the team had a mind mage themselves it was no surprise so many adventurers had died in this death trap when even Ilea’s team nearly lost.
“Stop...” Eve whispered behind her and Ilea stood still and crouched a little just shy of entering the next open cave. “Something’s in there I can feel it… it’s weird.” Eve continued, adding nothing but confusion to Ilea who just wanted to walk in and find out.
“Explain. We have time.” Claire said. Everyone looked towards Eve who was struggling with something.
“It’s like there’s hundreds of them in there… some sort of magical creature… I can feel some of their emotions, they’re angry and scared. There’s something else, it’s not quite sentient but nothing like I’ve ever felt.”
“Well that’s all fascinating. Can we go in now?” Trian asked but Claire insisted on waiting for a moment longer. Eve calmed down a minute later.
“Are you alright? Can you send an illusion to check?” Claire asked and was happy to find Eve nodding back at her. Something had obviously overwhelmed the woman a little and Claire wouldn’t ignore that. An illusion came to life next to the group and quickly vanished towards the open cave.
“It’s a glowing stone of some sort… I believe it’s the source of the weird feeling… there is something there… oh wow I’m not sure we can take that.”
“Eve tell us what you see.” Claire had a calm voice but Ilea was sure she was just as annoyed by the incomplete descriptions. The mind mage had to work on describing a scene, that was sure. Otherwise whatever they were looking for would be gone long before they even made it there.
“I can’t use identify but it looks scary. And strong. Some sort of black and thin creature with a silver skull. It seems to be attacking a glowing spot on the ground but I can’t make out what exactly.” the explanation gave them a little more than before.
“So in we go, smash skeleton, save glowing thing and recover weird stone. Blast whatever else is in there.” Ilea summarized and got some stares from the others.
“What she said.” Claire confirmed, not wanting to waste anymore time with the skeleton having some sort of agenda.
All of Ilea’s skills flared up and she felt magic surge behind her as well, even without the specific perception. The team followed her out into the cave beyond and the scene Eve had described played out in front of them. There was a bright blue crystalline stone shining out from its place in the wall, giving Ilea a headache when she looked at it. Close by was a massive and spindly creature with a silver skull resting on top of its black body that consisted of three black legs and four black arms. All of it looked more like branches of a black tree.
A black fire was being released by the monster towards a shining light on the ground. With her sphere Ilea could see some other guests in the room that seemed to avoid the conflict in the middle of it, gravitating more towards the shining blue stone.
“More Death Spirits I think.” Ilea immediately said as Claire threw runes all around them and the room. Trian started glowing red as he powered up and dozens of needles flew through the room, creating circles of runes that came to life a moment later with a short green light. Illusions of Eve came into existence and flowed into the room as Ilea summoned a thick cluster of ash around her, ready for whatever would come.
The headaches started as screams of cursed Death spirits resounded, quickly made visible by Claire’s runes the monsters advanced on them and were quickly dealt with by Trian’s lightning. Less than in the cave before but still a sizable amount. The skeleton stopped it’s black fire attack and turned its head towards the apparent intruders as lighting flashed around the cave to end the spirits.
“Whhh...whh..wheereee?” the sinister voice resounded inside Ilea’s head and she fought with all her power against the opponent’s assault on her mind. A globe of light formed around the team as Eve’s illusions were extinguished, Claire’s shield forming a barrier against the powerful pressure.
[Lost Wanderer of Elysium – lvl ??]
“Anybody see it’s level?” Claire asked but none of the team responded, Trian and Kyrian breathing heavily after the shield came up. The creature was advancing on them while Claire’s shield shook under the mental assault.
“Do we have anything on it?” no reply either. Ilea was sure the name wasn’t mentioned in any of the monster books she had and Liam hadn’t talked about it either.
“It’s an unknown. Blast it with everything you have, Eve and Ilea try to distract it. It if hits for more than half your health Ilea we’re out of here.” Ilea smiled brightly as she nodded to Claire’s assessment.
“I’ll distract it alright.” she said as the beast slowly walked towards the shining dome of silvery light.
“Focus and move out as soon as the shield breaks. Everyone but Ilea with me.” Claire said and laid out a half circle of runed plates on the back of the sphere that was being assaulted. The team moved behind the line and Ilea stood in front of it, ready to blink away as soon as the shield was broken.
The wanderer stopped and lifted its four spindly black arms, mana forming a black pulsing sphere between them before a roaring dark fire was unleashed onto the dome. It broke in just under two seconds, the team of mercenaries jumping into action.
Ilea blinked above the creature and kicked its silver skull with her full force and all destructive spells activated. The mana left her leg on impact as a loud noise resounded, her bone colliding with the creature’s head. Neither gave in but one of the creature’s arms whipped out towards her, making her blink away. A loud crack resounded as a massive bolt of lightning impacted the creature from above while runes were formed with metal needles on the stony ground below it.
A moment later the runes came to life and the creature wailed out in pain as the curse took root. More and more lighting impacted it while Ilea blinked in and out to deliver her attacks. The mental pressure from the monster was weighing on her and she felt herself getting slower. The second stage of Form of Ash and Ember kicked in soon after and counteracted that.
Eve was standing between the others with outstretched arms and closed eyes as she protected the group from the pressure. Claire’s shield shuddered as she threw out runed stones towards the monster. Just when the creature used its arms to cut through the runes on the ground, a massive explosion resounded as she ground below the wanderer was destroyed. Ilea narrowly avoided one of its arms with her next attack that she delivered as the monster fell into the hole below. The nearly three meter tall enemy sunk in nearly to half of its size.
“Ilea to me!” Claire shouted as more lighting was cast onto their foe. Blinking next to Claire, Ilea understood immediately and took the load of stones from Claire to blink back above the confused wanderer to drop the payload into the whole. A whipped arm brushed her leg and broke through her Veil, not able to penetrate her elven armor. Ilea landed as a massive explosion resounded behind her.
More lightning followed as Ilea moved all the ash she had created in the meantime towards the beast and surrounded it, forming small walls around the broken in part of the ground to make it even harder for the wanderer to escape. Wails resounded from it as the pressure lightened, lightning, explosions and cursed needles and spears rushing in to rob the monster of it’s life force.
Ilea stood back not to get caught in the now constant barrage of spells, choosing to summon her bow to shoot some ice arrows at the creature’s legs, hoping to make it even harder for it to move. She was flying above now, only seeing the wanderer through her sphere as a massive cloud of ash and fire was obstructing the view. Nobody relented, even when the beast started throwing black fireballs around the room.
When Claire’s shield went down, Ilea blinked in front of the group and formed walls of ash while trying to block the explosions of dark fire with her own body and wings. With her armor and shroud the damage was manageable and she stayed at full health thanks to Hunter Recovery. Claire shouted to her in the middle but Ilea just gave a thumbs up, letting the woman concentrate on her impressive explosion magic.
The rune mage made the wanderer fall deeper and deeper into the newly formed pit, being very accurate with her spells. Kyrian’s needles were constantly cutting into the creature as curse runes were formed and reformed around the walls of its prison. Ilea managed to quickly check on Eve in the middle of the assault and shouted for Claire to activate her shield again. She healed Eve, removing a big part of the mental pressure she was under.
Two minutes later the woman nodded again and Ilea went back to her defensive role with the shield down again. The now controlled encounter went on for another six minutes until they finally received a message.
‘ding’ ‘Your group has defeated [Lost Wanderer of Elysium – lvl 262]. For killing an adversary 50 or more levels above your own you receive bonus experience.
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached level 204. 5 Stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘You have learned the skill General: Dark Magic Resistance – lvl 1
You have stood against a being of true darkness. Its magic was not able to pierce your defenses and you stand to tell the tale. This skill will help you repeat such actions.’
“Wow, only one level for that. What the hell.” Ilea uttered a little frustrated.
“Welcome to the two hundreds. I didn’t get a single one. Plus you’re in a group now, don’t forget that.” Trian said but he didn’t seem to be annoyed at the fact. He would’ve died that day were it not for the team he was with and Ilea knew he was aware of that fact.
‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash didn’t even level and I have no idea how much it will take for another one there…’ the thought was a little sobering but then again Ilea had progressed at an enormous speed in the past year and she was at a point where actual fighting experience meant more than the experience gained from killing enemies. The latter would come in time. Considering the massive gains she had gotten that day already Ilea was quite confident in her newfound power. ‘One drake at a time.’ she thought as she checked on the team.
Eve was the only one with more than a little damage done to her but it was nothing a bit of healing magic couldn’t fix. Luckily her spell affected damage to the mind as well.
“What is that...oh my god...” the sudden exclaim by Eve made everybody look at her as she advanced on the still glowing spot on the floor. “Ilea come, we need your healing magic!” she shouted and the healer quickly blinked next to her, seeing the small figure on the ground before her. A shining silhouette of a winged creature.
[Fae – lvl 83]
“It’s dying.” Ilea said and started pouring her magic into the creature. Her attempts were blocked by the shining light glowing around the misty Fae. It had six wings on its back and had a vague humanoid shape. The creature was shaking slightly but looked up a moment later and met Ilea’s eyes.
The Fae’s head was round and held no discernible features other than two white eyes on its pitch black head. Ilea felt a pull on her mind and smiled as the creature didn’t recoil. It hadn’t been an attack, otherwise her second stage of mental resistance would’ve produced a feedback. She smiled at the creature as she continued to try and reach it with her hands and healing magic. Suddenly the light opened up to let her through, reaching the Fae a moment later as she perceived its confusing physiology with her healing magic.
She didn’t know what to heal or where the damage was but simply continued to pour in mana.