Chapter 111 Useless Ruins
“London?? In En….” Ilea started but stopped herself in the last moment, looking at Eve with a panicked expression on her face. The woman seemed completely lost in the painting, now even closer to the wall than before. “Eve...” Ilea said and waited but there was no reaction. She wasn’t sure if it was played but the woman didn’t know about the importance of the slip up which made Ilea question the possible reason for feigned ignorance.
‘She’ll confront me about it if she heard it which is fine. Not like me being from another planet or dimension practically changes anything…’ Ilea thought and calmed herself down, something only possible due to her meditation skill, high stats and skills that enhanced her body and mind.
“Where are you from?” Cless asked, bringing Ilea back into the moment. This was the first insight that could be gained to her appearance in Elos, all the random thoughts she had about it came back to her and with them the attached feelings.
‘No reason not to gain some info about it...’ she thought and continued her talk with the girl.
“I’m from far away, just like you. I’ve never heard about this London you speak of. How was it there?” Ilea’s question was more centered around the slight possibility of a shape shifting memory stealer but the added confirmation of the story would be helpful as well. Might just be a different London after all, who would put it past the British Empire to have their colonial interests even here.
“I like it. We have a house. Do you think I will have to go to school again? I’ve not been there for so long...” the girl said.
“Do you know how long?” the girl shook her head lightly at the question, with tears coming to her eyes.
“Do you know where mommy is?” Cless asked and Ilea just went for the hug, feeling a little bad about her own interests and the fact that there was a little girl in front of her that had lost their family and life. Of course she kept her buffs up just in case the girl decided to turn into a demon or something. She didn’t though and simply sat there, tears rolling down her cheeks.
“It’s gonna be ok Cless, alright? You can come with us and we’ll find a school for you.” Ilea said and released her hug, looking at the girl. “One with magic and mages. Did your mom read you things like that?”
Cless frowned at the question and crossed her arms in front of her “I can read myself!” she stated “And I am a wizard already!!” suddenly the top of her index finger started to glow as she drew a rune in front of her. A pulse of mana left the girl as a shimmering barrier appeared around her. A big smile was on her face, the home sickness completely forgotten. Sparkling eyes looked at Ilea who smiled back.
[Mage – lvl 6]
“Indeed you are, which house would you belong to then?” Ilea asked, guessing at the girl’s thoughts.
“That’s a secret!” Cless exclaimed as the shield was released.
“Girl where did you see that?” Eve suddenly interjected and looked at the girl while pointing at the painting next to her.
“Albert showed me, it was in the books. He has a loooooot of books.” she smiled.
“Albert? The guy you saw Ilea? Is he your dad?” Eve asked, finally looking at the girl. Ilea wasn’t sure what the painting was but Eve seemed more apprehensive than earlier with the other girl.
“No, Albert is not my father. He’s nice.” Cless answered, getting up from her chair. “Is he there? It’s nearly time for dinner.” she said as Ilea got up from her crouched position as well.
“I’m afraid he might have left, an important mission but that’s why he got us here. He told us to take care of you.” Ilea said as she took the girl’s hand and led her outside.
“Oh, he is busy like dad...” Cless said a little sadly.
“What did you dad do, do you know?” Ilea said, refraining from trying an Austrian accent.
“A doctor.” the short answer came quickly as the two walked out into the bigger main room where Trian and Kyrian were working on collecting everything. Both shot a quick glance at the two but didn’t stop what they were doing.
“I’m somewhat of a doctor too...” Ilea said and let some healing mana pulse over to Cless who giggled at the pleasant feeling.
“A wizard doctor!” the girl said and hugged Ilea’s side.
“Exactly. Hey Cless, we’ve been called by Albert but he didn’t tell us a lot about this place. Do you want to show us around?”
“It’s not very big… not here. There are tunnels below, I don’t want to go there...” Ilea immediately stroked her hair, hearing the frightened voice.
“Were you in there alone?” Ilea asked and felt the girl nod weakly. “Were there monsters?” another nod but this time Ilea hugged her again. “It’s alright now, we’ll make sure you don’t have to face any monsters again for a long time. Never if you don’t want to...” she said and the girl hugged her back then.
“Did you get here with Albert or did he find you here?” Ilea asked, still more inquisitive than she’d liked to be but she was more than just a little curious at how a girl from London got here.
“No he found me. And I could leave after so long. It was scary...”
“I’m sure it was and I’m glad the man found you. Do you remember how you got here in the first place?” Ilea finally asked.
“Hmm...” the girl concentrated for a while before she looked up to Ilea. “I was playing in the woods and then it was dark… like in a movie.”
‘Yea I don’t think there are movies in Elos… hopefully people won’t think her stories too weird. I’ll definitely keep an eye on her here and then…’
“As soon as we go up it’s not gonna be dark at all, there’s a whole continent there with magic, animals and people. Would you like to see it?” Ilea asked and the girl nodded, obviously excited. She ignored her team mates working around her as she walked up and towards Claire, with Cless in tow. The way out was still blocked as the team leader was standing in front of it, waiting for the adventurers to break through. It wasn’t a matter of difficulty but more a matter of bravery. They didn’t know what could’ve happened to the people inside after all.
“You’ve found another one… a mage, one of the youngest I’ve seen.” Claire said in a worried tone, looking at the girl and then Ilea. “She must’ve been down here for a while… what did you find out?”
“I’m not sure yet about her circumstances but she must’ve been stuck down here for a while. The others are finishing up but apparently there’s more further down. A dungeon perhaps. I’ll quickly bring her to the Hand before I come back.” Ilea said, hoping that Claire wouldn’t question her too much.
“We could wait here or let the adventurers take care of her. You seem adamant about this, just make sure you tell me why at a later time. We’ll start exploring. Get back quickly if you want a piece of the pie.” the woman said and smiled at her from below her hood.
“I will. Now Cless, did you ever fly before?” Ilea asked, starting to remove the massive stones from the hallway.
It took a couple hours for her to fly back to Ravenhall with Cless and while the flight was certainly exciting for the girl, Ilea grew more and more frustrated at the lack of knowledge she had about her circumstances. Not that she knew any more but hearing the girl was from Earth had sparked a hope in her, to at least find out something. All the girl yielded was the knowledge that there were others out there. Others who just like her, appeared in Elos without knowing anything about how or why it had happened.
For enough gold the Hand took Cless in with welcoming arms. William himself vouched for the girl’s future education and training. He mentioned again how rare it was that someone so young had gotten a class. Apparently a rare one at that as well. Ilea mentioned that she had been in contact with a strong mage above level two hundred, a researcher it seemed so most of her comments related to Earth would probably be attributed to that. Or fiction. She would check in on Cless from time to time, telling the girl that she just like Albert would have to go on missions. Ilea wasn’t very good with kids but the girl seemed brave and very adaptive to new situations, remembering back she probably would’ve cried for her mom or dad until she would’ve attracted some wolves that would’ve eaten her promptly.
Back in the ruin, she found that Eve was waiting for her return already. The adventurers were still waiting in the same hall they had been in before. “Back I see, come on then. We need a tank.” Eve said, motioning for the woman to follow. She explained more as they walked, getting glances from worried adventurers behind. “So I scouted in and most of the clones were destroyed before I could find anything. The first three floors or so only house insignificant critters but further below the ruin continues.
She started running as Ilea followed. “Rooms riddled with traps and golems. It’s a little difficult to navigate and attack without destroying the whole place. It’s a bit fragile and I’m sure it’s somewhat intentional...” the woman explained when they came up on a less natural looking entrance.
“Fucking finally, did you really have to take care of that girl for so long? Could’ve just left her there.” Trian complained as he got up from his lunging position. “In you go then, you hold it down and we blast it. Claire and Trian will make sure that the room doesn’t collapse.” Ilea followed him into the room, glad to be able to dodge any further questions about Cless with the help of Trian’s impatience.
“The golem there? I can see traps around… what do they do?”
“They spill acid into the room. No we can’t drain it, it just keeps coming. Feeling up for it?” he asked, sparks coming to life around him. The golem’s eyes started glowing a dark blue as its stone body came to life.
‘Aren’t they supposed to be clay?’ Ilea thought as she blinked in and immediately stood opposite the stone guardian.
[Stone Guardian – lvl ??]
“Let’s hope this one doesn’t explode. Claire you better prepare...” she said as the fist of the golem slammed into her defenses, making her skid backwards a couple meters. Her veil didn’t break, nor did the bones in her arms used for blocking. The name already suggested an inferior version of the Guardian they had faced above but she would continue to be careful. The way out of the room looked closed, covered by stone and more traps she saw with her Sphere.
Another fist rocked through her and this time she felt herself shake from the power. “You can start now you know?” she shouted backwards to her team, blinking around the next punch and landing one of her own. Her mana didn’t seem to do a lot here either so she quickly put on her gauntlets, continuing the somewhat slow dance around the golem. It was faster than the bigger one above, but still miles away from the speed of a Taleen Guardian.
Lightning hit the golem sporadically as Ilea’s heavy gauntlets chipped away at its health and body. She would get hit sometimes but it was manageable. The monster relied on its pure strength, something Ilea could match with technique and equipment. As the fight continued, the room slowly filled with an acidic broth, steaming as it exited from the dozens of holes in the wall. Why Kyrian didn’t just plug them with metal was beyond her but they must’ve tried at least some things before she had arrived. The others were flowing further back, Claire and Eve carried by metal plates controlled by Kyrian while all of them concentrated on their tasks.
Eve was the only one without a defined one but she would continue to scout ahead once they had navigated through this room. The acid didn’t even manage to get through her armored boots, the ones she had lost against Albert. It would likely help her level up her Corrosion Resistance in time but she didn’t plan to bathe in it. Not today at least.
Another boom resounded through the room as her fist connected with the side of the golem’s chest, its arm outstretched past Ilea, open for her attacks. Another two booms and a bolt of lightning landed on it before the light in its eyes went out.
‘ding’ Your group has defeated [Stone Guardian – lvl 231]. For defeating an enemy twenty levels above your own, bonus experience is granted.’
‘ding’ ‘Ashen Warrior reaches 2nd lvl 5’
The acid didn’t stop pouring and was already up to Ilea’s knees when they finally downed the tanky monster, its only redeeming quality. ‘Stall people with the golem while the acid wears them down...’ she thought as she walked through the not quite water and stood in front of the doorway covered in stone. Seeing behind it, the way continued only two meters further in. “At least this one didn’t explode...” she though and punched into the wall with her gauntlets. The structure shook and the rest of the team quickly made their way towards Ilea.
“Let me do that...” Claire said and motioned for Kyrian to float her closer to the doorway. Ten runes later and a shield summoned to support the room’s structure a controlled set of explosions dug deep into the doorway. Another summoned explosion, this one not conjured by runes broke through the rest of the way, the team ready to advance.
Magical light filled the halls beyond, much bigger than any room they were in before. ‘Another humongous ruin with magical guardians…’ Ilea thought, trying not to figuratively yawn. The slight tingle she felt in her back where the scythe had pierced through made her concentrate. Even with all the advancements she had made since then it wasn’t quite on her immediate to do list to face the Praetorians.
“What do you think this is?” she asked into the room.
‘ding’ ‘You have entered the Karul dungeon’
“Well that doesn’t answer anything...” she said and heard the nearly inaudible groan coming from a certain vampyr.
“We have incoming...” Eve said as the group got into formation. Four sets of glowing blue eyes could be seen in the dusty hall. The loud steps resounded as everybody prepared their spells.
“This one’s going to be a little more chaotic...” Ilea exclaimed, a smile spreading below her helmet.
The fight definitely was less controlled than the previous one but the room allowed for them all to use their flying abilities making the whole thing much more trivial than expected. The golems were the same thing as the one Ilea had stood against in the acid room, only a matter of time until the team dealt with them. The four of them netted Ilea a single level up in both of her classes. The points were distributed among all Stats except for Strength and Dexterity.
Out of all the skills she had used in the fight, only Ashen Wings leveled up by one. She was still checking through the messages when a loud rumble resounded through the hall, dust falling from every little crack in the room. “Guys check this out! I think we should leave...” Trian shouted from one end of the room as more and more rumbling made even walking an unstable thing.
Ilea flew towards his voice and saw the words engraved in a massive stone plate before them. Most of it was too worn down to be readable but some parts were still plain to make out.
….the last stand of the Karul… here we rest undisturbed… shall be buried with us…
“Alright, that’s our call...” Ilea said, made out Eve and Claire in the room before she blinked to the first one, grabbing her and jumping to the second. The two women in tow, her buffs flared and she shot towards the exit, rocks falling next to her, avoided with her speed and perception. Trian and Kyrian were close to follow her lead as the team punched through the stone getting in the way.
They were back in the room Albert had been standing in under a minute, the destruction following them upwards. Luckily the group of adventurers had been fleeing the moment the rumbling had begun and were waiting outside of the ruin’s first entrance. Ilea stumbled out of the cave and let go of the other two, fresh air filling her lungs as the dozens of people looked at her. Trian and Kyrian broke through behind her a moment later.
“We’re not getting level three for that one either...” Eve said and looked to the sky above.
“Don’t worry about it, we just did three level ones in a day, I’m sure they’re at least gonna acknowledge our abilities...” Kyrian said and pat her on the shoulder.
“I’m afraid this expedition just turned into an excavation.” Ilea said while Claire shook her head.