Chapter 142 It's just a Fleshwound
The five seconds passed as if in slow motion, Ilea’s organs and tendons healing at a fast pace, the injuries less severe than she had previously though. The world was frozen, all the beings who heard the monster’s scream stood unmoving as with the complete lack of sound the fissure in the air vanished. The massive squid like monster was parted as its noises turned from anger to pain, tentacle like extensions flailing around wildly as they tried to find the missing part of its body.
Ilea’s smile widened as she watched the monster slowly die as it fell downwards with almost magical slowness. She didn’t know if the Hand could’ve taken that one but now they didn’t have to worry about it anymore. The wale like monster was starting to move again though so they weren’t quite out of trouble. Of course she didn’t forget about the monstrous demon below her and the army of a couple hundred thousand standing inside the city of Ravenhall. It could be worse, she thought.
“One step at a time.” she said to herself as the five seconds came to an end, Ilea blinking downwards immediately, finding the demon falling slowly, its face and body still frozen. Another blink brought her behind the beast, quick punches delivered to the spine and neck, she tried to inflict as much damage as possible.
Sped up by the attacks’ impact, the monster flew downwards and landed hard on the cobbled street, stone crumbled below the two as more flew outwards and into the frozen demons. Ilea’s black obsidian gauntlets formed around her arms before she started her assault again, each punch pushing the demon further into the ground. A satisfying crack could be heard with the last punch before a kick from the beast made her blink backwards, her gauntlets vanishing again as she prepared for its assault.
Ash formed around her already, spreading into the surrounding immobilized masses of demons. The monster she had assaulted slowly got up before it walked sideways into the building next to them. The whole street was covered in ash by that point, Ilea using the moment to blink next to the monster, kicking at its leg before she jumped away again. The fight had been going on for quite some time, each time they touched she had pushed destructive mana into the beast and each minute let her become stronger thanks to Form of Ash and Ember.
The monster turned, sluggishly this time, the broken bone in its back giving it at least some trouble. It still stood and Ilea used every second to gain back some of her mana through Meditation. It had at least some difficulty locating her in the mist of ash as she appeared next to it occasionally to deliver single blows, the second stage of Wave of Ember slowly stacking as she started to hear a sizzling inside the demon.
Several big impact spells landed on the demons just a couple streets over as some of the Hand’s members likely had the Veteran skill as well. Slowly the world began moving again as the demons twitched and started screaming. Ilea weighed her options before the demon in the mist of ash spoke.
“Boring fight, coward. Green is tired.” the monster said and jumped up one of the buildings before its wings spread and it flew towards the south. Ilea blinked up and out of the ash, the masses of demons behind her starting to flow towards the northern gate as she looked at the already distant demon, its wings carrying it upwards towards the high mountain top overlooking Ravenhall.
‘It just left… Green was it?’ she thought and shook her head. First that asshat of an elder and now some shit demon. Both had overwhelmed her in power somehow. She had managed to stand against them but this wasn’t exactly a testament to her own power. Ilea was annoyed to have been overpowered again. With cunning and her skills, combined with the luck of having a beast like that squid use its paralyzing ability she had managed to gain at least even ground with the demon but she had to get stronger. Putting those thoughts on hold, she focused on the present again, especially the massive whale now floating above the city.
“Time to get some experience...” Ilea said as she turned around, bladed gauntlets materializing around her hands, her grip tightening as she focused on the whale. Shaking her head, she flew towards the next building as she continued her search for mind weavers hidden in the enemy forces. It would be easier to slaughter the demons and then focus on the massive magical whale if at least they weren’t coordinated.
Appearing in one of the houses, her blades cut through two demons’ throats before she ducked, claws flying past her head as she cut through the legs of her enemies, blinking behind the mind weaver before she slashed through its head. This time she didn’t vanish but faced the demons scrambling to their feet as her Meditation skill brought back the mana she had just used. Ilea stood still before she dodged the first attack, a small kick sending the demon stumbling before she caught the next enemy’s arm, a fist to its chin sent it backwards.
Two minutes later, Ilea was standing in the room surrounded by twelve demon corpses, all of them having been above level two hundred. A bonus of going after the mind weavers. Both something suited to her set of skills and the most efficient for leveling. They would take this city back. Her eyes were cold as she blinked outside again, looking for her next prey.
The enemy forces were destabilizing more and more, Sulivhaan ordering their mages further and further towards the city walls to deliver spells right into the clusters of demons huddled behind the protective stone barrier.
“Preparations ready boss.” a team leader said next to him as he turned towards the man.
“It doesn’t seem interested in us, are you sure we should engage it?” the woman next to him asked but Sulivhaan wasn’t going to change their plans.
“That monster was born here in Ravenhall, and this is where it will end.” he simply said as he took to the sky, his eyes fixed on the flying whale, its blood red eyes looking towards the Hand’s forces as it slowly floated towards them.
‘And another one...’ Ilea thought as she made her gauntlets vanish, looking around the room of dead demons. Looking outside, she saw that the demons in the streets were already fighting each other, confused at the magic coming from above and the chaos around them.
“Guess we’ve managed to break through...” she said as she got closer to the window, looking up to see the whale covered in explosions of differing elements. “Time to join in the fun...” she uttered before looking through the messages she had received since coming to Ravenhall. Her Meditation skill ran at top performance. Ilea wouldn’t want to engage that flying monster without a full stock of health and mana.
‘ding’ ‘Your group has killed [Striker - Demon – lvl 58]
‘ding’ ‘You have killed [Claw Master - Demon – lvl 207]
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached level 218 – Five Stat points awarded.’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached level 219 – Five Stat points awarded.’
‘ding’ ‘Blink reaches 3rd lvl 4’
‘ding’ ‘Body of the First Hunter reaches 2nd lvl 19’
‘ding’ ‘Hunter’s Sight reaches 2nd lvl 5’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth Perception reaches 2nd lvl 19’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth Reversal reaches 2nd lvl 11’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth Reversal reaches 2nd lvl 12’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached level 214 – Five Stat points awarded.’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached level 215 – Five Stat points awarded.’
‘ding’ ‘Veil of Ash reaches 2nd lvl 16’
‘ding’ ‘Veil of Ash reaches 2nd lvl 17’
‘ding’ ‘Veil of Ash reaches 2nd lvl 18’
‘ding’ ‘ Ash Creation reaches 2nd lvl 11’
‘ding’ ‘ Ash Creation reaches 2nd lvl 12’
‘ding’ ‘Wave of Ember reaches 2nd lvl 8’
‘ding’ ‘ Ash and Ember Manipulation reaches 2nd lvl 14’
‘ding’ ‘ Ashen Wings reaches 2nd lvl 11’
‘ding’ ‘ Ashen Warrior reaches 2nd lvl 12’
The twenty stat points were quickly spent on more Wisdom, Ilea’s new mana capacity now at 4050. With the low cost of her spells and her ability to regain some mana with each punch of reversed Destruction, she would be hard pressed to find herself completely empty. At least in a normal fighting situation. Finding herself in a battle with a couple hundred thousand demons and a giant beast of a whale, perhaps then even she might find herself relying on her Meditation skill as much as some of the long ranged and flashy mages.
Ten minutes later she was as prepared as she was going to get to face a monster capable of breaking through a city wall with its sheer weight. “Let’s see what kind of magic you can do...” she said, lifting her helmet to brush out some of the already dried blood. Luckily her Healing magic had the side effect of creating new blood and tissue, otherwise she’d be fucked by this point. Or half cyborg. Thinking on the possibility of Alchemy and science in this magical land, Ilea blinked outside and flew towards the demon in the sky, the beast feeling much more approachable than Green who had been a little much in terms of speed and strength.
Next time they met, it would be a great fight. Ilea promised herself as she rushed towards her target. Fire rushed towards the whale as spikes of ice flew downwards from above, enhanced by gravity magic it seemed because Ilea had never seen ice magic move that quickly. Could also simply be a higher leveled ice mage, not like she had seen many of the Hand’s members in action. She regretted a little at not becoming a long ranged mage, must be fun to throw around flashy spells that explode in the enemy’s face.
‘A bow is nice as well...’ she thought as she rushed closer. It crossed her mind to talk to Sulivhaan about her implementation in the strategy, seeing him floating in the distance with other people distributed around the sky let her know it was likely him coordinating the attack. Then again he knew her and probably had her eventual joining planned in. So she smiled and rushed towards the ever growing whale. Not literally, no but getting closer and closer let her realize just how big that thing actually was.
Considering it was straight out of another dimension or whatever the fuck on the other end of that portal was, Ilea was a little more cautious at her approach. There was a high chance of random teeth and bone spikes appearing all over that monster.
[?? - ???]
“Well that’s bloody informative isn’t it? Why even have this skill...” Ilea said out loud as she smashed sideways into the beast, all her offensive skills activating as she ripped into the beast’s flesh. A big opening was the result but there was no blood coming out, either her attack was too shallow or the monster’s body was built differently than more normal biological entities.
‘Maybe go for the eyes or just dig in...’ she thought and rushed towards the monster’s front, big spells landing around her, making her dodge under and over them. A massive wave of magic came from the whale’s head before it opened its mouth. Ilea kept going closer when a wave of sound ripped through her body, she braced against it and pushed with all her power as healing magic started repairing the building damage from the attack.
Seeing the landscape in front of the whale made her realize that the attack was mostly focused on a line before it. The snow had parted, simply pushed away towards the mountain nearly a kilometer away. Trees were snapped like twigs and the unfortunate members of the Hand who were caught in the wave were pushed away with it, most of them likely dead seeing their uncontrolled flailing bodies.
Ilea grit her teeth and pushed forward until she came up on one of the monster’s eyes. It moved and looked at her as its attack came to an end, the mouth closing slowly before Ilea used her bladed gauntlets to slash into its eye. That definitely got a reaction as its mouth opened again in a wail. The monster’s eyelid closed shut, pushing Ilea’s blades downwards, an enormous weight hitting her arms as the blades came to a stop at the bottom of the eye. Her arms held as she ripped out the blades, the beast still in pain from the precise attack.
‘Might as well...’ she thought and rushed towards the mouth. The mages had done some damage but it would take quite a while to whittle down the monster’s health against the though hide. And what was a tough hide against a downright suicidal bladed warrior with a high defense?
Ilea blinked inside the mouth before it closed, hopefully no magical sound attack would be unleashed in the next ten seconds. She rushed further in, seeing through her Sphere while looking for any weak spots or organs. The good thing was that she found what she was looking for. The bad news on the other hand was that there were simply too many things that could constitute as a weak spot.
‘To work then...’ she thought as she decided on her blades to do the job. Causing internal bleeding was likely better with such a big monster compared to the blunt trauma she could inflict with her heavy gauntlets or the magical damage with her fists and spells. Blades on hands, Ilea started to slash away at the whale’s flesh inside of its mouth. Being a butcher wasn’t on Ilea’s list of things to do in life to begin with but her current predicament pushed the profession even further down on it.
The wall of flesh was tough, even with her high strength and high quality blades. She had to cut into it bit by bit to get to the organ placed further in. Luckily there was an opening running behind the two meters of flesh she was working on that would lead right to her target as soon as she managed to break through.
And break through she did, blood rushing out at such a high speed and with such heat that her defensive Veil of Ash nearly broke down. Her sense of smell reduced to its utmost minimum she hoped that Aki would stay as mentally absent from this ordeal as he had been all day. ‘The fucker probably likes this...’ she thought and smiled before she pushed into the torrent of near boiling blood, her blades cutting into the flesh to stabilize herself as she pushed onward.
At least air wasn’t much of a problem as the blood only reached to her knees after a couple seconds. The boiling was more of a problem as her Veil slowly broke down. Good thing she had her old friend, a lack of pain perception.
The organ was massive, at least two meters high and wide. Then again she had heard a blue whale’s heart was as big as a car. That internet fact didn’t really help her in the moment as she slashed into the piece of important looking biological infrastructure to cause as much damage as possible. After twenty slashes, the thing exploded in a shower of blood and yellow mucus, causing Ilea to puke into her helmet. An experience generally reserved for soldiers and apparently adventurers.
Ilea stumbled backwards and out of the opening again as she made her helmet vanish to puke again, this time not back into her mouth and nose. “God FUCK!” she shouted when a magical surge ran through the whale as it opened its mouth, the light of the sun illuminating just how disgusting her current environment was.
Helmet back on, to her displeasure, Ilea rammed her blades into the ground of flesh before another sound wave came from deep within the being’s body, ripping through her as Hunter’s Recovery worked overtime to keep her brain and organs alive. Her health was down fifty percent after that attack. Standing in the middle of it might actually kill her immediately.
At least there weren’t smaller mouths and bones trying to kill her inside this massive scrotum. Ilea healed herself as she continued further in. This time she made sure to brace herself for the next organ’s explosion which incidentally didn’t come. At least waiting for the next sound attack was worth it as she could hide in the crevice where the organ had been, not sustaining much damage from the attack.
‘Doesn’t seem like this is doing much...’ she thought and considering there had been three attacks from the whale already she didn’t know how the Hand’s forces were looking out on the field. Hopefully they had distributed enough to cause only few casualties. She steadied herself as the whale moved around in the air before continuing, this time ignoring the organs she saw through her Sphere and simply going further in.
At least she could try to find and destroy whatever enabled the monster to use those sound waves. ‘Wait, can I...’ she thought and used her healing skill to check on the monster. As expected she could determine a little about the beast’s condition, being in direct contact with it. The damage inflicted by her was potent but with the size of the animal still minor. The mages outside were apparently working overtime as the hide was pierced in several dozen places and the monster was bleeding profoundly, its eyes both already blinded, one of them by her.