Chapter 119 Bone dog
“I might have some info on that but won’t give that to you just like that. We came here to find someone, they entered right before we did.” Ilea said.
“And they came here on their own? A realm traveler then… Perhaps they can bring us away from here then. It is decided, non spawn human. You will serve me on this purpose to find the realm traveler.” the demon said.
‘It’s interpreting quite a bit but nothing too far from the truth...’ Ilea thought, looking at Aki. “What do you think?”
“Well this way you’ll get help from the thing and whatever group its part of. Just make sure it doesn’t realize you have nothing to offer in regards of realm traveling as it calls it.” the dagger said and Ilea nodded.
“Sure, we can work together. I’m not gonna be following your orders but we’ll find the thing faster if we work together...” Ilea said, thinking about the thing that had entered the portal. If it went into another direction and this plane was as vast as Elos, they had very little chance of finding it.
“Do you have any idea where to start? Are there cities around here or places of power or something?” Ilea asked, not sure she would follow the being in there should it suggest such a thing. Right now she assumed it wanted out of this place as much as her considering the demon actually agreed to work with her. Of course it would betray Ilea and Trian the first chance it got but at the moment she felt reasonably safe. Should escape be needed, it would be trivial to flee from the slow moving mind mage.
“Beings wander the salt. There are some places I can think of but it would be dangerous to go there. I saw you fight so you distract whatever being there is and I check what’s inside.” the demon said.
“We switch up the distractions, then I’m fine with it. As you’ve attacked me before you will distract the first thing we find.” Ilea stated. “And you stop using your magic on my friend here, otherwise this partnership ends now and I kill all of you.” Ilea finished, smiling below her horned helmet.
“You threaten me? Aaaah...alright, I agree to your terms.” the being said after a while, the prospect of leaving this place likely more compelling than throwing away such an opportunity. Perhaps it was fear that drove it as well, seeing the woman unharmed by its magic.
Ilea checked through her messages when Trian finally woke up a couple minutes later, the two following the mind weaver through the flat environment, only clouds and nearly white ground visible in the distance.
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Ptulin – Breaker lvl 184 – demon]
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated….’
She skipped through the names and levels of the demons, noting that some of them were more than twenty levels above her own, making her proud of the fight. Though she didn’t want to think of demons armed with armor and specialized weapons and magical gear. Perhaps the result would have been different in that case. Her armor and gauntlets certainly helped her stay efficient against the different enemies she had fought. Checking the more interesting notifications, she found quite a bit of level ups.
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 209: 5 Stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 210: 5 Stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘ Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 204: 5 Stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘ Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 205: 5 Stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Hunter’s Sight reaches lvl 20’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth Perception reaches 2nd lvl 17’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth Reversal reaches 2nd lvl 5’
‘ding’ ‘Veil of Ash reaches 2nd lvl 12’
‘ding’ ‘Form of Ash and Ember reaches 2nd lvl 15’
‘ding’ ‘Ash Creation reaches 2nd lvl 6’
‘ding’ ‘Ashen Wings reaches 2nd lvl 6’
‘ding’ ‘Eyes of Ash reaches 2nd lvl 15’
‘ding’ ‘Ashen Warrior reaches 2nd lvl 7’
Ilea’s Mental Resistance didn’t level even after the strong assault which actually made her even more confident at working with the demon, at least if it was only one of them. The staff wielder they had seen before wasn’t anywhere to be found so she wasn’t quite certain the demons worked together. There was of course the possibility that the one that vanished couldn’t take another sentient demon with him or it did something completely different, like blowing itself up with a new spell it tried out.
Ilea chuckled at the idea and looked down to Trian, having finished checking her messages. “Awake sleeping princess?”
He rubbed his eyes as her healing mana continued to flow into his head specifically. ‘Can’t cure a retard but it’s worth a try.’ she thought when he answered.
“I’m not a princess, what happ….” his wings came to life as Ilea let go of the man and lightning formed around him.
“Chill out, we’re working with them!” Ilea shouted, blinking between the group of demons moving in front of them and Trian.
“What?” the man simply stated.
“She struck a deal with the thing, it wants to get out of here as well it seems. I theorize what we saw the staff wielder do was just that… getting out. And the other demons wanted a piece of that.” Aki explained quickly before Ilea started talking.
“Basically that, yea. Don’t worry I know it will tear us to pieces as soon as it gets the chance but right now we should try and work with it. It knows the place and its inhabitants.” Ilea supplied as well.
Trian just floated in the air and looked at them a little confused before he sighed. “What the hell have I gotten myself into...” he thought and looked around. “Well I agree it’s the best way for us to find a way out but honestly, this is bloody ridiculous.” he commented.
“Well you’re the one without a third tier teleportation spell...” Ilea mumbled as she watched the man fly closer to the group in front of them before she followed behind.
“You don’t know if your blink works from here you know?” Aki said and Ilea had to agree but something told her the skill would manage just fine. If a horny necromancer could summon a demon then her third tier suicide moss cult skill would do the trick.
“Demon!” Trian called out, making the being stop and with it the group of horrors around it, their bodies of flesh and bone slushing to a stop on the salt ground.
“What is it other human?” the voice resounded through the surroundings but Ilea had to wonder how the sound moved, it felt different than normal noise, magical in nature.
“I understand we are to work together to get back to our plane.” Trian said “I would like to understand some things about you and your kind first before we continue. Answer my questions and ask yours should you have any. If you don’t this arrangement ends.” he finished.
The demon looked towards them with its dark abyss like eyes before it started speaking a full minute later. “You are aware of our plight but do not think yourself superior or in control human. Should you overstep yourself I won’t hesitate to end you with all the power I can muster.”
Trian looked towards Ilea who just shrugged. “Ask your questions...” it said with a hiss.
“You are sentient. Your goal is to reach another plane, why?” Trian said. “We hear legends of demon summonings and appearances all over our continent with promised contracts and control assured.”
The demon made a noise Ilea couldn’t quite interpret. Perhaps an ethereal chuckle would be the closest thing. “Look around you human.” it said and gestured, the beings around it sloshing a little further away. “There is nothing but blood and salt in this place. The flesh we eat is of our own. There is nothing but pain and struggle here… that is reason enough to seek another realm, something all the sentients learn of early on. Some manage to leave but we do not know where to. It may be better or worse but having lived in this place for two hundred years I want nothing more than to see something different, to feel something else. The gift of sentience and mind magic is but a curse to bear… but also an opportunity. You are not meant to have this knowledge but I have lived to long to care. I want. To get. Away.” it finished, turning away and continuing to move towards their destination.
“That’s more than I expected...” Trian said in a quiet voice, Ilea flying next to him.
“Seems like a shit place to be in honestly. If we can all get out then that’s great.” she said to the man before they followed the mind mage.
“How should we call you?” Trian asked towards the being.
“Names hold power human, do you not know that?” it asked. “Demon is sufficient or if you like mind weaver, you know of my abilities already.”
“What does it mean?” Ilea asked.
“Alright, mind weaver it is.” Trian said. “I’m not sure regarding the name thing.” he looked towards Ilea and shrugged.
“Why don’t you ask it?” Aki suggested.
Trian nodded. “What do you mean by names hold power?” he asked.
“That is a question for which I will want an answer of my own.” the demon said. “You will tell me of fire and lightning as you have promised.”
Trian looked at Ilea and she smiled at him. “They apparently don’t have that here…” she said.
“Deal.” Trian accepted the proposal.
“Very well. I know of more than one skill that if at a high enough power it can reveal things about a being of which you know the true name. The extent of said knowledge I do not know about but be wary.” it said.
“Interesting… maybe that’s why?” Ilea murmured “The Hand doesn’t usually share their names with outsiders right?” Ilea said to Trian.
“Perhaps, yes. I’m sure the elders know more.” he said.
“Or Dagon will...” Ilea commented.
The group flew for quite a while, their tempo reduced considerably by the demon that was now carried by one of his minions. It didn’t seem like the beasts had any way of fighting back against the mind weaver’s hold. Trian had explained a lot about lightning and fire to the demon who listened carefully, asking questions from time to time.
“Do they not get resistant to your magic at some point?” Ilea asked, the mind weaver looking towards her.
“They know what will happen should they fight back. And they know that if they follow me their chances of getting away are considerably higher. Even their degenerated brains understand this.” it explained, Ilea nodding and looking at the monsters. She smiled at the though of none of them actually in control, more a symbiotic relationship. Somehow it made her feel a little more at ease. Maybe not all of them would try to slaughter them on command but instead flee. In the end it was better not to find out.
Five hours of traveling later the demon slowly came to a halt. They had exchanged knowledge but found the being either lacking or unwilling to tell them about some of the questions they had asked. Specifically about their kind, the beasts under its control and the ocean. Ilea feared the massive body of water enough as it was, this eldritch demon unwilling to talk about it didn’t quite help ease that feeling.
“We have arrived. Can you feel it?” the demon asked and both of the humans looked out onto the area before them. There were pits here, all around hundreds of meters before them. Ilea strained her senses and could feel a soft pulse but nothing substantial.
“I can. It’s of magical nature. Is it one of the beings inhabiting the place?” Trian asked.
“Perhaps, yet it is more likely a facility of the Old. A place to start our search.” the demon said.
“The Old? You haven’t mentioned those before. Who are they? Another race from here?” Ilea asked.
“It is possible. I only know of the facilities. It is said they come from the Old. I have not met a being declaring itself one of them in my life.” the demon supplied.
“The facilities aren’t guarded? Are they some kind of ruin?” Trian asked.
“Ruin? I’m not sure what you mean. They are not guarded but their power attracts many a being. The craters you see are likely from a fight between beings trying to claim it.”
“Have you ever been inside one of those places?” Ilea asked the demon.
“Yes.” it simply stated. “Do not try to comprehend the runes, should there be any. It is… unwise.” it said when one of the monsters under its control started running towards the craters.
“Trying to lure something out?” Ilea said more to herself. “That demon is below two hundred...” a loud noise resounded when a hound like demon emerged from one of the craters, smashing one of its four clawed legs onto the scout demon, smashing it completely.
“What the hell is that...” Trian asked, the monster looking like a greyhound on steroids with bones growing out to form spikes, its bloodshot eyes staring at them.
“Dunno but it looks hungry.” Ilea said.
“I will distract it while you explore as we have discussed.” the mind weaver said but Ilea had other plans.
“That seems manageable, do you wanna fight it sparky?” she said to her team mate, not wanting to use his name in front of a potential enemy anymore.
“Sure, not like the hours we save would help us much...” Trian answered as the two flew over the allied force of demons and towards the monster.
“Attack its mind and use your ranged fighters to weaken it. Don’t try anything stupid.” Trian said to the mind weaver before following Ilea.
“If the demon tries anything we fly up, doesn’t look like that one can fly...” he said, looking at the dog that sniffed the air in front of it. Getting closer, the demon started running towards them, its paws crashing into the ground below.
“That dog isn’t even cute...” she murmured before the monster opened its mouth, red energy filling it before a blast nearly engulfed them, both Ilea and Trian teleporting to their respective side and avoiding the attack. “Bad dog.” she said as she dodged away from the paw that moved towards her. The thing was only showing question marks but the usual two so she wasn’t too worried about fighting it.
A moment later the beast looked towards the group of demons in the distance and growled, the mind weaver’s attack not going as unnoticed as Eve’s attacks were to some monsters. It didn’t have long to be distracted before both Ilea’s and Trian’s attacks started hitting, much more physical and imminent. Ilea’s bladed gauntlets cut through the tough muscles on the monster’s legs while Trian focused mostly on its head, melting away the beast’s eyes before the counter attacks had him dodge again.
Ilea overextended a little with her slashing and was blown away by the sudden and unnatural movement of one of the beast’s legs, moving backwards and against its supposed joints. Blood burst out of her mouth as her veil was pushed into her chest, blowing her ribs backwards into her organs. Nothing broke but Ilea would be out of the fight for at least half a minute until her healing would take care of the worst damage.
She blinked backwards twice and found the beast advancing on her again, already at the first blink’s position. Ilea was injured still and this time moved upwards, carried by her wings and teleportation when more lightning hit the monster’s back. Set on its target the monster ignored both Trian and the demon and jumped, intending to intercept the flying warrior. Ilea’s sphere told her exactly when to move as she blinked downwards right below the beast’s maw, using her heavy gauntlets to deliver a punch to the soft flesh.
With the impact came an unexpected counterattack, a bone suddenly extending out of the dog’s neck and straight into Ilea’s defenses. It scratched past her veil and armor, sending the woman spiraling through the air, unbalanced by the force of the attack. ‘Fucking hell what is this thing...’ she thought, blinking away from a beam of energy it sent her way.
The monster wasn’t slowed down by the other mages’ attacks yet and continued to barrel towards her, its body opening up in some places to reveal even more teeth and spiked bone. “You ugly fuck.” Ilea said and engaged, this time without any gauntlets but with her traditional fighting style, unable to determine if cutting or blunt damage would even be effective against this monstrosity. Blinking on top of the beast, she released a kick with her destructive mana into the beast while her recovery finished taking care of her internal bleeding.
A set of tentacles rushed out of the beast nearby, making her dodge downwards and to the right, with every movement releasing punches and kicks into the beast. Both her own damage and the one sustained by the enemy would increase with time, aided by Wave of Ember and Form of Ash and Ember. Knowing the monster only looked like a solid dog instead of the blob of meat and bones it actually was. The dodging continued, Ilea dancing around the monster’s surface, delivering punches and kicks as she evaded bones and grabbing arms of flesh shot towards her. The flesh below her opened up more than once, leaving her no choice but to blink away. With her second stage of Azarinth Reversal, Ilea would be able to keep this up for quite some time, practically reducing her Destruction mana cost even more, each hit removing a little of the monster’s mana pool and adding to her own.