Chapter 140 Infected City
Eve knew the woman and trusted her. The owner that was, not the informant in front of her. Trusting an informant was not something one did. You simply entrusted them with only the information that you were sure wouldn't cost you dearly. And some risks had to be taken. In dungeons as much as here.
“It's me, yes. Empty today, is there a tournament or is everyone shitting their pants about the demon invasion.” Eve answered, sitting down opposite the woman in a casual way. She didn't plan to drink anything.
“You shouldn't talk too loud about demons, shadow. I heard some interesting tales regarding your involvement. Perhaps the imperial capital won't be just as safe for you in the coming years.” the woman replied, looking around and increasing the magical barrier around them.
“If someone has a problem then let them come and talk. You probably know more about what the hell happened back in Ravenhall than me at this point.” Eve answered.
“They left you know. There was a big demon horde taken care of yesterday and all the members of your order left after that. Perhaps that's why there are fewer people here today. Rather I think it's the increased shifts for everyone, there's war, and where there is war, there's gold to be made. Why waste your time on drinking?”
Eve didn't say anything about her lack of association with the Hand, that information the broker would have to get from somewhere else. So the Hand left, all of them? Perhaps to retake their fallen capital, there was little else she could think of. At least she knew now where to send her letter, not that many a courier would bring it into the south east mountain chains.
Eve casually opened her pouch and removed some of the documents she had found before, handing some of them to the broker who read through them and stashed them quickly. The woman took a deep breath. “That's quite valuable.” she simply said, leaving other interpretations open. Eve knew that she'd paint a target on her back for having those documents, perhaps some people would assume she was involved with the killings which considering her past years wasn't too far of an assumption to make.
“There are some people I'd like to know something about. Tell me if you have anything significant.” Eve started and proceeded to ask about the man she had fought, Edwin and the people she had taken out a week ago. The informant only had something about the woman who had managed to injure her. Not much but probably enough for Eve to continue her search. Running after Edwin didn't seem reasonable after the killings she had heard about. He was moving too quickly, so the next logical step for her was to continue her search with more stationary individuals.
Individuals that were a little less alert than the man she had fought.
“Are we lost?” Ilea asked, punching through another wall and stepping into the dark. “I think we're lost.” demons screamed as they ran towards her but she simply turned around again. “Trian!” she shouted as the demons in the next room over clawed at the stone walls, trying to get to the noise they had heard.
“Yes yes, calm down. We have another two hours until the attack starts.” the man said as he floated into the room. “Stop destroying walls, it's gonna be even more confusing.”
“Sure. Let me just go up, I'll let you know where we are in a few moments.” she asked, for the third time in the past hour. The man had previously insisted on using his map to navigate the tunnels but it was getting more and more clear that they had lost their way. Either the map wasn't up to date anymore or he wasn't the best navigator. Fighting hordes of demons and listening to Ilea's room descriptions were certainly a part of the issue as well.
“Alright, just make sure not to break into the city itself.” finally the man resigned, Ilea smiling and thanking him as her wings spread before she blinked upwards a couple times. The underground network of Ravenhall was certainly bigger than she had ever expected but then again with earth mages it was likely much easier to build something like this compared to what something like a big metro on Earth would've cost.
She thought about why more cities she had previously visited didn't have something like that but it might simply be too dangerous, having children with explosion or earth magic around. Plus most of the rooms didn't look to have been used recently. 'For storage or dungeons perhaps...' she thought as she finally saw something different through her Sphere. No further ceiling was beyond the next layer of stone, she was standing right below the city streets.
'That's a little concerning...' she thought, looking at the scene as she blinked around in the infrastructure below the city, looking for the right way to go without loosing herself as well. Two minutes later she was back with the others and pointed in a specific direction.
“We're four floors deep and Viscera is that way. By the way the streets are full of demons, half of them consisting of beasts I've never seen. Thousands, the streets are packed. The mind weavers certainly didn't just enjoy their newfound castle.” she reported and started running, the others followed.
“Sulivhaan was right then, good thing we're already here.” Trian said as he followed behind her. “Demon. The mind weavers seem to be working together, or do you know of someone able to control thousands of other demons?” he looked back to the monster floating behind them, his group of demons following him.
“I do not know...” the demon answered, a little out of breath at the speed Ilea set. “Some circles exist but this level of cooperation, I have never seen.” Ilea started simply crashing through walls head on, her Veil protecting her face from any damage. There were simply too many levels of the complex for some simple walls to cause a cave in.
“What if we just have the whole city collapse from below?” she asked, smashing through another wall, feeling like a certain red liquid man in a big jar.
“Would take too long, even if we used more firepower than just us. Plus how do you suppose we protect ourselves from the cave in?” Trian asked as he lazily floated through the hole she had produced. Ilea wanted to ask if he had ever heard of controlled demolition but then again she didn't know enough about it either to make much of a difference. Claire might've been able to help, with her remote explosion runes.
Then again they likely had the skies, and artillery against infantry was more than just a little effective, especially if they don't have trenches.
The levels ended in unchanged rock from the mountain and the group had to go upwards more and more until Ilea stopped the others. “We're right below the entrance. You guys are ready?” Trian and Kyrian nodded and the mind weaver was actually smiling, at least the closest thing he could produce with his hideous excuse for a face.
“Weavy, you sure you don't want to join the demons? This is your last chance I bet but I hope you know you'd die in the process.” Ilea said, reminding the monster one more time of his position. He had only his life to lose.
“Your concerns aren't unfounded but my kind has not informed me of this alleged alliance. I have spent over two hundred years in the salt lands and you have so far shown great hospitality to me, something your kind normally considers something to be destroyed on sight. I have not sat idle since coming here, Ilea. And I don't plan to find an early death like the others of my kind. Make sure to give them a painless death if you can.” the demon had talked more than he usually did, into their minds and completely without the pressure he had usesd in their first encounter.
“I like you more and more, sure you don't want a real name? And sure, I don't really kill anything not fast, if I can.” Ilea said. “We'll follow the plan then.” she said to the others.
“Weavy is a suitable name as any.” the demon said, only to her. She smiled under her helmet but didn't respond.
“Will do, good luck Ilea. Don't die.” Trian said.
“We'll wait for you inside.” Kyrian added, nodding towards her.
“I'm the healer so it's you who shouldn't die.” she added and shook her head, silly mages and their arrogance. She walked to Trian and put a hand on his shoulder before she slapped his helmet with quite a bit of force. “Your reflexes are shit mate.” she said and stepped to Kyrian before she hugged the man. Ilea wasn't quite sure if anything came of their hookup but she liked him well enough, as a friend and possibly more.
Ilea left them behind and motioned for the demon to follow her. He hadn't been informed about anything. Even the attack on the city was only communicated after they had started their travel from Morhill to the outskirts of Ravenhall while mind magic savvy members of the Hand had kept an eye on the demon during their stay.
“Alright then Weavy.” Ilea started after having ran for a couple minutes. “Your goal is to send up your demons and cause as much havoc as possible from the inside as soon as the attack has started. Take over demons as you lose them if possible. I suggest keeping a group of your highest leveled ones with you to avoid any retaliation. If you're in trouble just send out a pulse and I'll come for you, just don't move away too far so I know where you are. Oh and use the gullies and other sewage exits to enter the city, I don't think you can easily destroy the ceiling.” Ilea explained.
“Understood Ilea.” he simply said as his demons spread out. She walked up to him and used the same gesture as she had for Trian, without the head smacking.
“I like you, so don't go fucking it up right now alright? I'd hate to have to kill you. Thinking off, afterwards the humans will probably hunt down the rest of the demons for a couple months or longer, I think I know of a place that would welcome you with more than open arms.”
“More than open arms? I have thought about the after, where is this place?” the demon asked.
“Open bones even! And I'll tell you after we survived this battle, alright?” she asked and the demon nodded, imitating the gesture he had learned from the humans.
“Where will you be?” he asked.
“Around, I have my own part in this. Now just do what you can and don't die, I'm sure you'll get some levels out of it as well. Put that into Vitality and Strength, you really need it.” she said in a serious tone, worried about her newfound alien friend that had been on a meat only diet coupled with mind powers for two hundred years.
She left him there, more or less right under the center of the city. The mind weavers hadn't detected them yet or simply ignored the few pests hiding right under their noses which made Ilea worry a little. Either they simply didn't have the detection skills or didn't care. More likely they were arrogant or preoccupied enough to not at least send some of their own controlled demons down into the sewers. There were demons down there after all so they must know about its existence.
'They've probably never seen a city before... maybe the demons hunted down humans who fled into the sewers and the mind weavers don't even know about it?' she asked herself as she rushed through the broken walls they had left behind, quickly finding her way back to the entrance outside of Ravenhall. With her full speed it took barely five minutes, her Sphere making the darkness around her more into a friend than an enemy.
The sun blinded her for a moment as she rushed out into the snow covered surroundings, immediately alerting the group of people standing around, different skills and magic flaring to life as they prepared for the enemy who had suddenly approached. Ilea dodged an arrow that scratched against her helmet, having pushed through her veil with ease. An invisible barrage of blades pushed towards her from one of the mages, only visible in her sphere as she blinked upwards to avoid the attack.
Some of the people were shouting already for the others to stop attacking while Ilea twirled around in the air. “Yea guys, friendly here.” she said, motioning to her own black armor.
The two who had attacked seemed a little embarrassed. “Sorry, usually more safe to attack and ask questions later.” the bow wielding rogue said. “I owe you one.” The mage in the meantime was being scolded by one of her teammates, seeing her level at 202, Ilea thought she must've joined the Hand even more recently than herself. Might have gotten a lucky class to level easily and not actually seen much action.
“Don't sweat it guys.” she said as she landed, her wings crumbling and fading away in the wind.
“You're with the rogue group? With that approach I doubt you even know the word subtlety.” a man in light black leather armor answered, two curved blades on his back as he commented from a crouched position.
“Well I might've not been placed here if any of you had any healing magic Slavic Deadpool. Plus my glorious approach will hide you even more. I don't mind the demon attention.” she said, the man just shaking his head.
“Now come, we have barely an hour to scout out the city from below and find all the mind weavers.”
“Everyone's in position. The demon scouts have been taken out, they know something's coming but their troops aren't moving.” the warrior said to Sulivhaan who just scratched his mask.
“Well any surprises they have left we'll find out soon enough. Everyone has the time so we'll proceed as planned. Keep scouting around the city to see if anything changes. The man teleported away and left Sulivhaan to himself.
The man sighed and took out the amulet around his neck, looking at the picture inside. A small smile spread on his lips as he prepared himself.
“I'm pretty sure that is one of them.” Ilea said but the man next ot her disagreed.
“Doesn't look like it. The mana signature feels wrong.” he shook his head. Their group had different spells to detect and find the mind weavers in the massive city but it seemed they disguised themselves better than expected, either it was a normal practice for them or because they knew an attack was coming.
The mind weavers they could find were all surrounded by strong looking demons and there were many more than anybody had expected. Weavy hadn't even known about just two or three mind weavers working together so closely.
“Well fuck it then, you go and find one. I'll stay, the hour is nearly up. Once the chaos starts we can continue the search. Good luck.” she said. The man nodded and vanished.
Ilea prepared herself. The hosue above her was packed with demons, as were the streets around it. She couldn't identify through walls but was pretty sure they weren't the low leveled monsters she had fought in Morhill and outside of Varilya. This wouldn't be an easy fought battle. She waited for a minute, then two, humming the theme song of her favorite red haired spy's TV show. The demon in the house above was undoubtedly a mind weaver, his scrawny figure a nearly mirror image of Weavy and the monsters surrounding him were twitching with the urge to tear into fresh meat. She didn’t quite understand the last scout’s detection skill but to her own Sphere her target was clear.
Three minutes passed, only her humming heard as she created some ash that twirled around her, forming tendrils to touch the walls and the ground before they surrounded her armor and vanished again, an exercise she was slowly getting better in. She suddenly felt a light tremor through her feet, her Sphere confirming that the earth had been shaken from an impact quite a distance away.
“We’re starting...” she said but waited for another minute as more and more tremors formed, the demons above her moving towards the northern gate where a big chunk of the Hand’s forces would be stationed. Quickly tapping on her feet, Ilea prepared herself as she cracked the bones in her hands and neck.
“Shit one-liner...” she said and vanished, appearing in the second floor of the building above her, bladed gauntlets lightly reflecting the magical light illuminating the monsters who had taken residence inside of the house built from stone. They were quick to react, on guard after the impacts from magical missiles in the distance but Ilea was quicker, her blade already past the mind weaver’s neck as she turned to kick one of the surrounding demons.
A claw cut through her Veil of Ash, crashing into her side and making her unable to blink away. Truly these weren’t the average demons she had come to know in the past week, these monsters had survived the great salt plains. Though as she landed hard on the ground and felt more claws cut through her defenses, blocked by her black armor, she promised them that they wouldn’t survive Ravenhall.