Chapter 117 Salt
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Arilla – Breaker lvl 196 – Demon]
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Sakin – Bone Warrior lvl 203 – Demon]
Ilea skipped through the messages regarding the demons she had killed. Most of them were around level two hundred with three outliers, one of which being at two hundred and thirty.
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached level 207 – 5 Stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached level 203 – 5 Stat points awarded’
Ilea put all her remaining points into Wisdom, bringing the stat up to 330.
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth Reversal reaches 2nd lvl 4’
‘ding’ ‘Veil of Ash reaches 2nd lvl 11’
‘ding’ ‘Embered Body Heat reaches lvl 13’
‘ding’ ‘Embered Body Heat reaches lvl 14’
‘ding’ ‘Wave of Ember reaches 2nd lvl 4’
‘ding’ ‘Ash and Ember Manipulation reaches 2nd lvl 10’
‘ding’ ‘Ashen Wings reaches 2nd lvl 5’
‘ding’ ‘Eyes of Ash reaches 2nd lvl 14’
‘ding’ ‘Ashen Warrior reaches 2nd lvl 6’
‘ding’ ‘Fear Resistance reaches lvl 2’
‘Not really helping me in this situation...’ Ilea thought as she kept flying at a high speed next to Trian, both of them quiet. The ocean was eerily still.
“What kind of third tier spells do you have?” she suddenly asked, trying to start a conversation.
“Lightning attack, I couldn’t yet chose any of my movement skills to get to the third level. Would probably make this situation a lot easier...” he sighed.
“Yea...” Ilea said as the two sped over the water. There were some waves now indicating that the ocean did change from time to time.
“Aki do you know anything about this place? I think at this point I’d rather know than hide you.” she suddenly said, Trian looking at her from the side. The two stopped and floated over the water, the moons bathing them in a pale light.
“Who’s Aki?” the man asked and Ilea unsheathed her dagger.
“This. And I swear you little shit if you act like you’re just a normal dagger to make me seem like an insane person I’ll put you back into the forge were you belong...” she held the dagger right before her face. Half a minute passed as Trian’s expression turned from confused to worried.
“Ilea I don’t think you….” he started but was interrupted by the dagger.
“Alright alright, I though it was funny. Hello Trian, nice to meet you.” he said and Ilea just sighed.
“You cheeky fuck...” the three continued flying onwards but at a slower pace. “Do you know anything about the demon realm?”
“I haven’t actually been here before. It’s fascinating. Thanks for being stupid enough to get into that portal. I’ve heard of a person going in before but that was a long long time ago. I’m not sure if they managed to get out again but apparently it was an accident. Now what I know is that you can’t just open portals on accident so this place might be a little different.” Aki explained.
“Nice to meet you too dagger. So you believe this realm is easier accessible? Demon summonings are rather known so maybe there is something...” Trian said.
“Exactly, you don’t hear about other beings being summoned. With a demon realm existing one would assume there are other realms as well. Why do we commonly only know about demon summonings?” Aki asked.
“There are other things one could summon. Animals and spirits would be among them but you have to catch them first or befriend them somehow. Perhaps we’ll find out something but if the demons can get out through summonings, maybe there’s a way out for us as well.” Trian added.
“Just make sure to not drop me down into the water. I’d rather not be trapped in that crap forever...” the dagger said.
“Where did you find him? He seems...” Trian asked.
“Familiar? Yea apparently he gets some influence from me so now you’ll be annoyed by two people at once. Found him in the Taleen dungeon I was in, truly a treasure trove though I compare this guy more to a cursed item you have to throw into mount doom.” Ilea said, sheathing Aki again.
“Again with the weird references...” Aki said. “Trian now that you know about me, fuck you for those lightning and draining attacks.”
“Noted.” the noble replied. The three continued onwards for another six hours before quickly stopping to eat and drink something in the air, not wanting to drink the salt water. Ilea was somewhat confident it wouldn’t be much of an issue for her body to make it work but they still had some resources stored away in their items.
“What’s that?” There to the right!” Ilea suddenly exclaimed.
“You’re dreaming Ilea...there’s nothing...” Trian said, flying onwards. It had been three days of nonstop flying and the man was getting a little delirious.
“She’s right, there’s something there...” Aki confirmed her observation.
“Come on, to the right!” Ilea said and took the man’s arm who followed without further complaint. In the distance the white speck Ilea had seen became bigger and bigger, behind it a set of another white specks came into view until the first one, a sizable chunk of rock protruding out of the water was clearly visible. The form of the rock didn’t look very natural to Ilea, too even and too many angles.
Finally reaching it, there was a platform they could land on on one side of the white rock. Trian immediately collapsed, sleeping in the span of ten seconds. “Weak.” Ilea commented in a joking manner. She bent down and licked her finger before touching it to the ground. Licking it again she spat on the rock. “Salt.”
“Of course you immediately lick the ground of the new place you’re in. Can’t level your poison resistance any other way...” Aki said.
“I regret revealing you Aki. This is all salt, rock salt to be exact...” Ilea commented as she sat down and summoned a meal. She made it vanish again a second later, thinking about their situation. They might need to ration at some point and they had eaten around ten hours ago already. She instead summoned her notebook and started sketching the surroundings, writing about their discoveries.
“What are you doing?” Aki asked, not seeing the page. She unsheathed him and put him on her lap.
“I’m documenting.” she simply stated.
“You surprise me time and time again Ilea. Is your brain going through random shrinking and growing processes occasionally?” the dagger asked but didn’t continue the banter upon not receiving an answer. He instead reminded her of some useful things she might want to note about the realm they had found themselves in.
“Does your hunting spell not pick up the thing you saw enter as well? Or anything else? I’d keep it running...” the dagger said. Ilea had already been doing that but found nothing so far except for water and salt.
“If I find something I’ll inform you.” she said and continued the drawing.
Trian woke up four hours later, obviously a little embarrassed for how long he slept, taking the next shift of guarding their little rock from anything that might appear. Ilea slept for around two hours before she got up again and saw Trian working on something quite similar to her own previous activity.
“Continue?” she asked in a tired voice, her buffs activating to rid her of the state, wings spreading behind her as Trian made his decorated leather book vanish. He nodded and followed. The last stretch of ocean was covered and the two landed on the bigger surface.
“I wonder if it’s just an island or something bigger...” Trian commented, looking out onto the rocky formations of salt, some of them going high enough to constitute as small mountains.
“I’m picking up things here… at least more than before...” Ilea said, using all her senses to try and locate something that wasn’t salt or water. There were some smells, dried blood at the edge of her Sphere and even a small bone left behind. “There were living things here and they’ve been here rather recently. I would assume this is where they live.” Ilea said, quite happy that they were standing on somewhat solid ground.
They decided to walk for a while, just enjoying the ground again until two hours later they started speeding over the difficult to navigate terrain again with their flying abilities, sometimes stopping so Ilea could check the surroundings. More of the same until finally another twenty minutes later they saw something move in the distance.
“That’s one of them alright...” Trian said, stopping in the air. Ilea looked at the thing running. It looked like one of the massive demons with an open ribcage. Suddenly the thing fell down and slowly got up again.
“Broken leg or what?” Trian asked.
“It’s hurt, yes. I don’t think it’s their own fault...” Ilea said, pointing to the left where another beast came into view. A massive ten meter long abomination with a worm like body and teeth all around and inside of the opening at the top of it. Ilea shivered just looking at it.
“Should we engage?” she asked, watching the scene before them.
“You should wait and see, fight the survivor.” Aki commented and the two others agreed, flying a little closer without alerting either of the monsters. The worm like creature tore into the other demon’s back, the latter stopping all resistance after half a minute.
“It’s eating isn’t it?” Ilea asked, the three now hovering above the creature.
[Demon – lvl 212]
“Yea, should we end it or follow it.” Trian asked, looking over to her.
“I can follow its trail now so we can finish it.” she said, her buffs flaring up before she blinked next to the creature’s perceived head. A kick made it stop eating and focusing on the newcomers. It cried out and was shut up by another kick, followed by lightning slamming into its body. Ilea dodged two of the beasts frantic movements before she lifted her hands in front of her, blocking the mass of teeth with her Veil of Ash as she pushed destructive mana into it.
The cries didn’t stop and while its attacks didn’t manage to get through her defenses, its own durability was rather impressive, outlasting both of their attacks for more than ten minutes until it decided flight was the better choice. Slithering away from them, the two mages didn’t relent until it stopped moving altogether.
‘ding’ Your group has defeated [Zar-Anil – Bone Warrior – lvl 212]’
“Not a single level up...” Ilea commented, seeing that not a single skill had leveled from the encounter.
“Only got a skill level… wanna find more of them then?” Trian asked as Ilea took in their surroundings, focusing on the trail left behind by the two creatures.
“I’m not sure we’ll find more of them that easily… at least we have a source of food should all else fail.” she commented, enjoying the look in his eyes. “Or is the though of eating demon flesh too disgusting for the noble...”
“Stop always calling me that. It’s not all I am and you know that.” Trian said, motioning for her to lead the way. Ilea just shrugged, running and occasionally stopping to take in the scents around her.
“I know it isn’t Trian.” she said after a while but didn’t elaborate on it.
“Is this the forbidden romance growing inside the demon realm?” Aki said right after her remark.
“Why again do you carry around that piece of metal?” Trian asked, the three coming up on a cliff side. There was no water on the other side but a flat plane of salt, single creatures visible in the distance.
“If I’m ever again stuck inside a temple I’ll at least have someone to talk to...” she said and twirled the dagger before sheathing it again. This time no remark came from Aki. “Wanna go hunt, maybe if we kill enough of the creatures we’ll lure out the boss of this place.”
“The boss? I’m not sure there is something akin to that Ilea.” Trian said but didn’t oppose to hunting. Fighting something after three days of flying over a nearly motionless body of water had certainly been quite boring.
“Hello, can you show us how we can get out of...” Ilea started and moved to the side, two of the shot bone shards scratching at her veil before they impacted the ground a couple dozen meters further back. “Well that’s rude my friend.” she said, staring into the massive mouth of the creature before her. Another set of bone shards slowly grew from the left behind holes.
“Though if I looked like that I’d be pissed as well most of the..” she couldn’t finish and blinked closer, both avoiding the attack and moving in to engage. Lightning crashed into the creature when her fists hit at the same time. The two didn’t relent as more and more blood and guts splattered on her before the creature burst completely.
“Eww, fucking tone it down man.” Ilea said, using her ash manipulation to push away the blood still sticking to her Veil.
“You’re shielded aren’t you. Just imagine if you didn’t have that skill.” Aki said.
“The smell is bad enough...” Ilea said, looking at the remains of the demon they had hunted down. The forth one already on the plane. And the forth one that didn’t respond to their questions with anything else but bones and a bad breath.
“I don’t see this going anywhere...” Ilea said, folding her hands before her. “It took what, three hours to hunt those and we’re not getting anywhere...”
“What else would you suggest? We can only follow their trails until we find something. Whatever that may be.” Trian said.
“Or we get you high enough for another third tier skill, just keep using that teleportation spell.”
“I don’t think that’s viable...” he shook his head.
“Better than nothing, at least I got a level from this so it’s not a complete waste.” Ilea said, putting the new stat points into Intelligence, her main class having reached two hundred and eight.
“Yea but we’re not… wait… what is that? Do you feel that?” Trian said slowly hovering towards a specific direction.
“Feel what? Not really. If you can sense anything then let’s go, whatever it is it’s better than following these bloody demons. Lead the way!” Ilea said and followed behind after he nodded, picking up the pace.
“It’s like it’s calling for me, a pulse of mana but it’s weak. Very weak and far away.” Trian tried to explain, five minutes later Ilea could feel it too. It was faint, so incredibly faint and she was impressed that he had managed to make it out. Might have to do with her lack of skill based mana sight.
“Look at that...” Ilea said a couple minutes later. “Seems like we’re not the only ones looking...” a winged gray blue creature with clawed tentacles for legs was moving in the same direction as them. “Should we take it down?”
Trian didn’t respond as a bolt of red energy left his fingers and impacted one of the creature’s wings, grounding it a second later. Ilea landed hard on it and smashed into it with both her fists until it wasn’t moving anymore, only a paste of blood and guts remaining before her. She got up again and followed Trian who hadn’t stopped to watch. The demon had been below level two hundred and no level up messages appeared after the kill.
“We’re getting closer.” he said when she caught up.
“Yea, I can feel it pretty well now too… look around you, that wasn’t the only one.” she said and watched as dozens of different creatures robbed, slithered and flew towards the intended destination. None of them seemed to care for each other or for the two humans in the mix and Ilea got a bad feeling about the whole thing.
“We should slow down, see where this is going.” she shouted towards the man who nodded, slowing down a little as the two continued to advance. Coming over a small hill they came to a halt, the scene before them a scene of chaos. Hundreds of demons were circling around one humanoid creature holding a crude looking staff of bone, its black eyes hollow as it pushed visible mana into the runes painted in blood all around the area.
“What the hell is that...” Ilea said right before the creatures all came to a halt and red energy was released from the runes below, leaving no track of the humanoid creature behind.
“It vanished… as did the pulse...” Trian said, the monsters around them slowing to a halt before some of them started screeching, looking around in a confused manner.
“Some of the monsters did as well...” Aki said, surprising the two of them. Chaos followed as the demons started attacking each other, having lost the binding of the mana pulse that had vanished with the staff wielder. Flesh and bone ripped as the battle commenced, Ilea looking over to her team mate with a grin below her black helmet.
“Feel like joining?” she asked, the man just sighing as red lightning crackled around his arms.
“Think they’ll gang up on us?” he asked, slowly hovering higher.
“I sure hope they will...” Ilea said, punching together her fists as her bladed Blue Steel gauntlets appeared, her chosen weapons for the occasion. “The one who gets less pays for dinner!” she shouted and ran in, appearing closer to the horde with a blink, the blades already cutting deep into an unfortunate demon standing a little too close to her.
“Fewer.” Trian murmured, lightning gathering around him before a massive explosion of red light ripped through a group of monsters.