Chapter 132 Recovery
Eve woke up with a start, the combination of clouded thoughts and bodily pain making her cough immediately, nearly retching up whatever little food was left in her stomach. She hated sleep, being rudely woken by the demons that sought her. Falling back down onto the hard bed, her eyes were focused on the ceiling. She wouldn’t be able to sleep again today, at least not sober.
The danger of being hunted was sadly too high to justify such an action. Checking her injuries, she found them nearly healed already, which meant she had slept for over ten hours. No light came into the cellar, completely closed off from the outside world.
She knew where everything was, the same layout as in any other hideout she had bought, stolen or simply taken in the past years. Both in the capital and any other place she’d been. Eve knew there was a certain risk of someone connecting the hideouts together but to her it was worth it. Otherwise she might’ve died the day before, unable to find the health potion for just a second too long.
A deep sigh left her. It was a little close the day before, too close. The woman had only been a couple levels higher and still managed to injure her so badly. The blade shifting skill the woman had threw her off, in the end a simple ruse had won her the fight, her opponent’s experience not quite as extensive as previously estimated.
These would leave scars, she thought as she brushed against the hastily applied bandage. No new bandage had to be applied, the woman quite proficient at doing them. Blood had nearly soaked them, so a change later in the day would be necessary.
Maybe she should’ve stayed at the Hand, should’ve looked for the others. She put the thoughts out of her head, focusing on the tasks at hand. It had been the single best opportunity to get out of the Hand’s deal with all the training she had received and no debt. For all they knew she was dead and a demon by now, or simply eaten.
“A healer would be nice though…,” she whispered to herself and held up her uninjured right arm. She refrained from moving too much, not to reopen one of the cuts she had sustained. It was however too hard to resist grabbing the bloodied letter sitting on the ground next to the bed. The woman groaned as the cut on her chest started bleeding again.
Letter in hand, she lay down again and breathed slowly. A little annoyed at herself for the lack of patience but even more so the lack of care she had fought in. Eve had learned a lot in her time at the Shadow’s Hand but a reliance on a nearby healer shouldn’t have been one of them.
She waited for an hour before moving again, this time only lifting her right arm with the letter, opening it with one hand. The paper was brown and thick, to not allow anybody to see through. On the page itself was simple ink. Names written down, dates and how the people died. The woman had apparently been looking for the murderer, in this letter only the name Red was mentioned, which could refer to anything.
Perhaps whoever this Red was, they could help her, could work together with her but then again it would likely be a waste of time. Another one trying to expose her, trying to use or control her. That time was over and she would find her own path. Alone. A slight pain in her stomach quite different than the one coming from the injuries made itself known.
A bitter smile formed on her lips as she carefully touched her belly. “I know. I miss them.” she said to herself but her mind steeled, the non physical pain soon leaving her. They were too soft, the lot of them. Though she didn’t doubt at least Ilea would be up for some of these hunts. The synergy of their skills was simply too unusable and the woman was a volatile, uncontrollable piece of fury. Eve liked her, something about her simple approach to life. It had crossed her mind that Ilea might truly be just as old as she looked. She had secrets, of that Eve was sure but as much as she fought and killed, she was no veteran in it. At least not yet.
Trian was completely useless to her, not one to hunt down his own people. The man would question every single decision she made. Him and Claire weren’t ones to follow, they were ones to lead. Not bad at what they did but ultimately useless to her. Kyrian was the one that got away. Had she encountered that boy before joining the Hand, she might’ve not gone at all. A powerful mage, yet so inexperienced in life, perfectly moldable.
The letter did mention a couple interesting things but nothing that would lead Eve to her next destination. It didn’t matter much, she had three people to look for anyway, people that likely knew enough to at least find more targets. The woman brushed through her newly colored and cut red hair. “I need to find a bloody healer...” she murmured before she closed her eyes, thinking on her next steps.
Loud pounding rocked through the heavy wooden door of her room, Claire waking up with bloodshot eyes. “Again, god fucking damn these fucking cunt ass demons…,” hissing to herself she got up, still fully armored as she made her way to the door, opening it with force.
“Again?” she asked and the captain nodded apologetically, his own face showing the strain of the past week as much as her own. The two started running, the captain letting her know about the direction of the attackers. The wall was manned, too thinly but still manned. Arrows and spells were shot out towards the yet unseen enemies as the two climbed the stairs.
The fresh morning air brought form to their breaths as they reached the top, looking over the walls to find a sizable group of demons running towards them. Two hundred of them at least but Claire calmed down, knowing that their rabid approach indicated the absence of a mind weaver, the true danger of these monsters. She simply hoped they would avoid her town and somehow all get cut down by the empire, the Hand and the adventurers signing up for such a ridiculous task.
She smiled, knowing that her team would take that job immediately. The idiots, coldly efficient and capable idiots at least. Her Hand was lifted and magic left her as explosions rocked through the enemy lines, the force pushing through their skin and bones as if they were mere paper. Blood and guts sprayed and burned to ash in moments as a big chunk of their numbers ceased to exist. Some lone creatures braved through the assault, an indication of their higher levels and resilience. Original demons most likely, summoned and not born from a human corpse.
The parasitic ability of the demons was the true bane to their existence. If it hadn’t been for most of Ravenhall’s population falling and turning to monsters, taking care of the summoned demons might’ve even been possible for just the Hand and their members. Doubtful but possible, especially with the demons hunting down the thousands of people in the city, distracted by all the targets. As it was, the city fell in mere hours, every fallen human taking ten more with them as soon as the demon curse made them rise again.
Claire was scared, truly scared for humanity in these past weeks. The elves had come and gone, ultimately uninterested in humanity’s complete destruction. Claire was sure that something kept them occupied or they simply enjoyed toying with humans. Like boys toying with insects, she thought as another set of explosions extended from the plates that covered the fields around the town. Barely any trees or greenery had survived the continued assaults.
Arrows were loosed around her, the morale of the defenders spiking with her arrival as it always did. A member of the Hand fighting alongside a city guard was a motivation rarely witnessed. The lower leveled demons were taken down by the ranged assault with time. Claire focused on the higher leveled targets, handing out her runed arrows to the archers and showing them where to hit. Each target impaled by an arrow exploded in a gory mess a moment later, the direct and internal attack too much for them to take, Claire’s skills and enhancements to them too much for their defenses.
Two hours it had taken, two hours of continued fighting until the last of the enemies fell. A single level for Claire but looking around she found that more than one of the defenders had grown considerably. The enemy waves didn’t relent but their expertise at fighting them increased daily. At least that was something positive. Their food reserves would hold for another couple weeks or even months, the hunters more successful than she had anticipated.
This was all only the case should no refugees arrive at all and Claire was a realistic as it got. There would likely be a whole city’s people arriving at some point, their walls having fallen and most of their population turned to the enemies they had been fighting.
“I’ll be back in bed.” she said to the captain who nodded, likely having the same thought before she jumped down the wall and walked the short distance to the barracks. Her house was a little more central, the minute or two of traveling too much to justify. The demons also attacked mostly from the south, though she feared the day a mind weaver would make the city of Vihal its target.
Claire drifted off into a meditative state as soon as she hit the bed, sleep taking her a moment later.
Ilea slowed down quickly and landed, taking a couple steps to stop her movement. The sun was high and warmer than it had been for the past months. “Fuck finally, I’m never escorting refugees again!” she shouted to the gods above, her wrath would find them in time, she was sure of it.
It had been an organizational disaster. The city was full already and even with the provisions the survivors brought they didn’t want to accept them inside at first. Luckily the soldier woman that came with them had a little more say than Ilea had assumed. Apparently the scouts were pretty high up in the empire’s hierarchy. Considering nearly all humans have at least heard of the Shadow’s Hand, Ilea did think a military unit comprised of level one fifty people was at least somewhat capable.
She summoned a meal and started eating. What really annoyed her were the demands and constant complaining of all the parties involved. She understood, both the survivors and the inhabitants of the city. It was a complicated thing to manage resources and a complete disaster to have a couple hundred more mouths to feed suddenly appear. Outside of an empire or kingdom, the people would’ve likely been shown the way off the lands or even attacked, their provisions taken.
The issue was that Ilea just couldn’t bring herself to care much. She had protected the people, they had cleared out Morhill and had looked for them, had given them food and warm clothes. That was as far as she would go. The politics involved afterwards were out of her hands, out of her abilities and out of her range of fucks to give. A blooming headache was quickly suppressed by Hunter Recovery as she nearly cried at how good the food was.
She would look for Keyla in the capital as well, pretty sure that the cook had some pan handling abilities to smack away some demons. Proud of her pun, she finished the meal and got up, summoning her notebook that at this point contained quite a treasure trove of information. At least for someone new to this world.
Ilea did briefly wonder if she should just go public with coming from Earth, perhaps more people like Cless would turn up. Then again that didn’t mean they knew anything about it and at this point she liked her friends and acquaintances here more than back on good ole Earth. Additionally she did have a somewhat unstable way of getting back, should she ever desire it. The demon realm. Both Arthur and Adam knew at least some amount about other realms so perhaps she would look for them at some point.
For now though, she blinked backwards and grabbed the approaching demon’s head before it was smashed into a tree, leaving only paste behind. “Fucker.” she said, throwing the limp corpse away. The things were part of the environment by now, the sheer numbers overtaking the local wildlife. Ilea wondered at what kind of impact this would have ecologically speaking but then again it couldn’t be as bad as cars or industrialization.
“Car dystopia or demon realm, not sure what’s worse.” she murmured to herself before wings sprouted on her back. The notebook summoned again, she checked for directions and sped off, a big smile blooming on her face at the sheer joy of flying. The woman spun around in the air, laughing as she made her way towards the central human settlement in the south east part of the plains, Virilya, capital of Lys.
Occasionally Ilea shot down and smashed through groups of demons, her gauntlets used in rotation to get a good feel for them. The ability of changing her weaponry at a whim was something she thought of as pretty important. More important than even that was her ash creation and manipulation skill. The higher the skill grew, the more she felt it to be immensely versatile and important. More and more she tried to attack with a tendril or spike of ash summoned in the midst of fighting.
The damage of course was negligible, even lower in impact than what her veil’s attacks produced, still she continued to improve her control and tried original ways of attacking and surprising her enemies. Ash had only been used as a distraction so far anyway, why not get better at that at least?
‘ding’ ‘Embered Body Heat reaches lvl 15’
“Finally...” she murmured, having used the skill through all the fights of the day. It had been a little forgotten, rarely useful but Ilea at least wanted to see what the second stage of it did before she inevitably discarded it for a better skill that might emerge from her class at some point.
She quickly checked her status and smiled. It wouldn’t be long for another set of 3rd tier skills and of course her Ashen skills were approaching the required levels as well. Considering the amounts of demons she had killed in the past weeks it was a bit of an impudence for her not to have reached higher results already. Another reason to find out about the existence of gods and their physical damage resistance. Hopefully nothing silly like an absolute immunity existed in this world.
Name: Ilea Spears
Unspent statpoints: 45
Unspent 3rd tier skill points [Azarinth First Hunter]: 0
Unspent 3rd tier skill points [Inheritor of Eternal Ash]: 1
Class 1: Azarinth First Hunter – lvl 217
- Active: Destruction – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: Hunter Recovery – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: State of Azarinth – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: Blink – 3rd lvl 3
- Active: Azarinth Hunter Sphere – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Body of the First Hunter – 2nd lvl 18
- Passive: Azarinth Fighting – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Hunter’s Sight – 2nd lvl 4
- Passive: Azarinth Perception – 2nd lvl 18
- Passive: Azarinth Reversal – lvl 2nd lvl 10
Class 2: Inheritor of Eternal Ash – lvl 213
- Active: Veil of Ash – 2nd lvl 15
- Active: Form of Ash and Ember – 2nd lvl 16
- Active: Ash Creation – lvl 2nd lvl 10
- Active: Embered Body Heat – lvl 15
- Active: Wave of Ember – 2nd lvl 7
- Passive: Ash and Ember Manipulation – 2nd lvl 13
- Passive: Ashen Wings – 2nd lvl 10
- Passive: Eyes of Ash – 2nd lvl 16
- Passive: Body of Ash – 2nd lvl 14
- Passive: Ashen Warrior – 2nd lvl 11
- Elos Standard language - lvl 5
- Identify - lvl 7
- Meditation – lvl 2nd 16
- Poison Resistance – lvl 17
- Heat Resistance – lvl 19
- Pain Tolerance – 2nd lvl 4
- Mental Resistance – 2nd lvl 10
- Fear Resistance – lvl 2
- Water Resistance – lvl 6
- Wind Resistance – lvl 7
- Lightning Resistance – 2nd lvl 5
- Ice Resistance – lvl 7
- Crystal Resistance – lvl 6
- Earth Magic Resistance – lvl 5
- Arcane Magic Resistance – lvl 6
- Corrosion Resistance – lvl 8
- Light Magic Resistance – lvl 2
- Mist Magic Resistance – lvl 1
- Curse Resistance – 2nd lvl 2
- Mana Drain Resistance – lvl 18
- Health Drain Resistance – lvl 16
- Blast Resistance – lvl 12
- Dark Magic Resistance – lvl 1
- Veteran – lvl 1
- Heavy Archery – lvl 4
Considering the somewhat easy time she had with the demons, the growth level was acceptable, even good. She had only come close to dying a couple times. Additionally several people had already told her that leveling after two hundred was more difficult. She was just a little bummed out because right now the demons were abundant. Ilea would try to hunt down as many as possible but at some point they would run out and she would have to find new things to fight. Hopefully some of her team mates would be alright with going to more dangerous places.