Chapter 143 Bloody Entrails
Perhaps it wasn’t quite an impossibility to beat it and maybe not a lot more people had to die to accomplish it. Ilea pushed on deeper and deeper into the beast before she felt mana gather again, this time much closer than before. She quickly found the best cover she could found and cut into the flesh to keep herself more steady. The sound shattered her freshly healed eardrums immediately, as her whole body shook from the vibrations running through it.
Ilea felt her bones slowly crack at the sheer intensity of the attack. She gulped, thinking that perhaps it was a little too brave and stupid to simply rush into the monster’s mouth. One thing she had realized though was that the beast could only use its sound attack every minute, or simply chose to only do it that often. Looking back she also saw through the closing mouth that the target this time had been a big part of Ravenhall itself. They had managed to turn the whale around and used its attack against the demons now splattered in the rubble of the once proud human city. A big chunk would be destroyed and it likely wasn’t the last of its attacks.
Ilea was back at nearly full health as she pushed further, too far to turn back now. At least she could use Meditation whenever the monster attacked so her mana was looking fine still. She could take another one or two attacks before it became too much to recover. At least as long as one of them didn’t outright kill her.
Another attack later she had found it, the source of the vibrations and the monster’s attacks. It was a massive red organ with hundreds of holes, held in place by dozens of tendons. So Ilea got to cutting. The minute was barely over when the organ started vibrating, Ilea having cut through around half of the tendons connected to it. Sadly she needed around ten strikes to get through just one of the thick connections.
Being in the same place as the organ allowed her to blink behind it where the force of the spell was considerably lessened. She breathed out, having though that being this close might’ve been enough to kill her. Her recklessness prevailed, perhaps it had been inflated by her inability to win against the demon and the elder. The sound attack wasn’t enough to kill her outright from further away and with her safely cutting through more connections behind the organ, it was now irrelevant if it would’ve had killed her had she stood right in front of it.
The attack ended and Ilea finished removing the last three connections at the top of the massive ball like object which fell down with a loud squelchy noise. “Absolutely fucking disgusting.” she said.
“Indeed. Good job on not dying.” Aki commented, finally saying something.
“You alright? Didn’t know you slept in the day.” Ilea asked.
“Oh I was awake but you get easily distracted. And I believe you did a good job there. This last one might’ve been a little risky but hey, it paid off. There’s a reason for your fast growth after all.” the dagger said and Ilea found herself agreeing. Though others might deem it stupid or too risky, the feeling of pure adrenaline, sheer power and bliss of overcoming something this gigantic and overwhelming was worth every bit of risk involved in it.
“Now let’s finish this beast.” she said and worked her way back, this time taking care of every single organ she could find. It was a hard and long job to do and the whale moved around much more by now, reduced to using its body to smash the opponents. Its speed was surprising for the size but likely not enough to catch any of the flying adventurers off guard. Ilea didn’t feel a heavy impact at all, so the beast probably wasn’t intelligent enough to smash the people on the ground who couldn’t fly.
A whopping twenty minutes later, Ilea got a message in her head and the whale started sinking down towards the ground. A big grin spread across her face before it vanished just as quickly as it had come. “Probably need to leave.” she said to herself as she rushed towards the mouth of the beast. Ilea nearly made it before a heavy impact went through the whale and Ilea found herself on the monster’s throat as the full weight of its upper body pushed downwards.
The only saving grace was that this wasn’t a cave coming down on her but a body of flesh and blood. Considering the monster’s size, a lack of air wouldn’t become a problem either for quite some time. Ilea got up again after the corpse had settled and started making her way outwards.
‘ding’ ‘Your group has defeated [Rel Kazuuk – Bane of the deep – lvl 823] For defeating an enemy six hundred levels above your own, you receive bonus experience.
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached level 220 – Five Stat points awarded.’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached level 221 – Five Stat points awarded.’
‘ding’ ‘You have gained one 3rd tier skill point in [Azarinth First Hunter].’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached level 216 – Five Stat points awarded.’
‘ding’ ‘Veil of Ash reaches 2nd lvl 19’
‘Hmm, something good after all...’ she thought after reading through her messages. Choosing the next third tier skill to advance would probably be difficult but she had a favorite already. For now she wanted to check on the situation outside. There was still a demon horde waiting to be destroyed and possibly survivors of the Hand to be healed. Ilea sang a song in her head as she pushed through the flesh and blood of her fallen enemy with closed eyes, using her Sphere to navigate as she tried to not burn the slimy experience into her brain.
“Aaaaaah, air.” Ilea exclaimed as she came out of the whale’s mouth, covered nearly completely in blood and pieces of flesh.
“God you stink.” a man said who was standing at least four meters away from her. “Larina, can you spare one of your spells?” he asked and looked over to a woman dressed in shiny blue armor that sparkled where the sun hit it with its light.
“We have more important things to consider than smell.” she said as magic gathered in front of her hands. “Oh goddess of water and rebirth, send thy power through me.” she exclaimed before a torrent of water shot out with the speed of a flying arrow. Ilea watched as a charging group of demons was pushed back, their bodies smashed as if hit by the weight of a metal hammer. Ilea was pretty sure the prayer like line wasn’t really needed.
“She survived, we can go back now.” the woman said which got a nod from the man who unsheathed a curved sword before he vanished, appearing near the stragglers of demons still approaching. Ilea watched as the demons suddenly fell apart, their limbs removed by slashes nearly too fast for her to recognize. She summoned some ash to try and clean herself, surprised that this time it actually worked. Well it did somewhat, removing a big part of the mess, leaving her presentable enough for a battlefield with thousands of demons and seasoned adventurers.
“All forces unattended should find a team leader or the commander.” the woman said towards Ilea who nodded.
“I’ll find him. Thanks for checking on me.” she said, receiving a nod from the woman who started floating upwards as small spear like objects of water formed in front of her before they were loosed in a high arch towards the city. What remained of the city at least. Ilea was standing on a small hill outside Ravenhall, still mostly covered in snow and with the corpse of the whale to her left. Wings spread behind her as she slowly ascended, Meditation flowing through her and helping her recover her mana more quickly.
Ravenhall was demolished. A big chunk of the city had been completely mowed down by the sound attacks from the whale. Sulivhaan had likely considered its destructive capabilities sufficient to attack both the city and the demons while placing a smaller priority on the infrastructure. They could rebuild it, of that Ilea was certain. Where the town had been hit, a massive breach opened the walls and demons were pouring out in the thousands, loosened by the death of likely most of their commanders and not caged anymore by the city’s high buildings.
A second breach where the whale had initially landed showed the same scene, thousands of monsters pouring out and running into the destructive spells of dozens of high leveled mages. Ilea ascended higher and found a big part of the city burning. The Hand had moved closer together and with the enemy command crumbling, they could show their true capabilities. A fire storm was unleashed, its light bright enough to blind Ilea for the fraction of a second as it incinerated hundreds of demons in the blink of an eye. Above the seconds breach a mage unleashed a storm of wind, cutting apart several dozen running demons who fell down, bleeding from hundreds of cuts each.
The demons already had difficulties funneling through the two massive breaches, so high were their numbers. The building corpses on the ground combined with all the blood, ice and other elements still lingering from spells made the run even harder. However few demons made it through to the defensive line of warriors, rogues and rangers were completely demolished by an assortment of teleporting monsters of men, blades flashing as everyone displayed their skills honed with years of experience.
There were fewer members than had initially gathered in Morhil, that was for sure but Ilea was glad the casualties hadn’t reached higher numbers. She flew over and quickly found Sulivhaan flying somewhat behind the defensive line while occasionally using a spell to slow down parts of the enemy hordes.
“Guess I’ll join the defensive line?” Ilea asked, really wanting to join in on the fun.
“Ilea, you survived. Of course you did. No, our healers are doing all they can, I want you to help.” he pointed towards a small group a little behind the line of melee fighters and Ilea nodded.
“What about Trian and Kyrian?” she asked as she flew backwards towards the few healers they had.
“I sent two teams in already, a scout should return in the next hour. We got most of the mind weavers, good job out there.” he said and nodded before turning back to the field of death were an endless number of demons rushed through monstrous magic before they came into a grinder of blades.
Ilea looked away and increased her speed, her mana was at around sixty percent as she landed near the supposed healers who looked tired to say the least. Around them were around twenty injured people, some screaming, their bodies showing wounds that no human was supposed to survive.
Ilea joined in without a word, checking on the six people immediately around her as she stabilized them one by one. It took a while with her somewhat secondary healing spell that worked best on herself but she managed. With the slow movements she could at least use Meditation while she conducted her work. “Any more critical?!” she shouted as her group stopped slowly dying, each stabilized.
“I’m done here.” a man in robes said, sweat, blood and dirt covering his face. He removed his hand from the inside of a woman’s chest as the wound quickly closed. Ilea watched on as a magical pulse left his hand, his eyes focusing for a moment before the woman gasped. “You’re fine.” he said, holding a hand out towards her.
“Thanks, put it on my tab.” the woman said, ignored his hand as she jumped up. She spit out some blood before two blades appeared in her hands before she started running towards the defensive line again. Ilea smiled at the scene as she looked around. For now at least the situation seemed in control as the robed man joined another healer who was clad in armor, not a primary healer either it seemed. They were only six people, three of them likely pure healers.
“We’re fine for now. You can fly right? Some were thrown towards the mountains from the first couple whale attacks.” a woman in a perfectly clean white dress said towards Ilea while pointing towards the mountain top to the north. Ilea nodded and flew off.
The country side was devastated. The whale must’ve hit that part at least twice, two lines cutting into the ground for at least five meters as all trees had been cut down. “Aki help me spot.” she said and unsheathed the dagger as she flew towards the several hundred meters long devastation covered in broken trees, rubble, snow and earth.
Five minutes she searched until she recognized a human form through her Sphere. The heart was still beating and Ilea sheathed Aki and started moving away the tree trunks and rocks covering the woman, likely a mage who seemed to be unconscious. Twenty seconds later she got to the woman, a touch revealing that she was close to death but not quite there yet. Mana was still flowing through her and quickly it was joined by Ilea’s helping hand.
It took nearly four minutes for her to fully heal the woman. When her body seemed fine, Ilea slapped her lightly. “Come on, wake up.” she said and the woman opened her eyes, a deep brown staring back at Ilea in disbelief.
“Whale is dead, you got hit. More people might be buried here, can you help me look?” Ilea quickly said as she helped the mage up who shook her head to gather her senses.
“Y...yes, give me a minute.” she said and Ilea nodded, flying off again and over the rubble to spot any more people.
Two she found were already dead, one of them with all of his bones broken. Not everybody invested the same amount of skills and stats in defensive measures it seemed.
“Over here!!” the mage she had rescued shouted which made Ilea blink towards her, flying at her top speed before she landed softly next to the woman who was using her magic to fling away tree trunks as if they were mere sticks. Ilea found the injured man lying below them and blinked towards him before she started pumping healing mana into him.
“God…,” the man said and coughed up blood. “Finally… I’m fine, I’m fine.” he said, stopping Ilea and getting up. He wasn’t quite fine but certainly better than most of the injured people Ilea had treated previously. “I couldn’t lift up those trees. Next twenty stats are going into Strength, I swear to the Mother herself.” he said as he looked away, obviously a little embarrassed.
“Got any spotting skills? There might be more people here.” Ilea asked but he declined.
“I’m more help at clearing those demons, there are still some left are there? The whale is dead?” he asked as golden light came to his eyes.
“The whale is dead. And there’s plenty. Leave some for me.” Ilea said and watched him get up.
“Good, good. Just do your work healer.” he said before teleporting at least fifty meters high into the air. The light in his eyes intensified before a small sun formed in front of his face, a beam of light shooting out a moment later towards the city. Ilea didn’t know how much damage it would do but she felt the heat from down on the ground.
“Another cannon back in action.” she said and nodded to the woman who had found the man before continuing her search.
The next twenty minutes were spent on scouring through the mess of a landscape the whale had left behind before Ilea was pretty sure they wouldn’t find anybody else. In total they had found four additional corpses and three more survivors, two of them apparently just too weak to lift up the rubble on top of them. A trend with mages it seemed.
“That should do it, we’ll send some rangers back here when the city is clear or if we can spare them.” the woman said to her before holding out a hand. “Can you take me, you’re faster than me.” she said and Ilea nodded, grabbing the woman around her chest from behind, flying off a moment later.
The situation surprisingly hadn’t changed much in the time they were away. There were less injured people near the healers and there was a group of resting people nearby, some even preparing food while the demons still spilled out of the big city streets and houses towards the opened parts. Spells continued to rain down onto the masses, each of the Hand’s mages must’ve racked up thousands of kills by that point.
The defensive line was fighting just as they had before, their numbers thinned a little with some of them resting to gain back their resources. On the field outside the city, between the stand of the mercenaries and the enemy hordes massive walls of ice and stone had sprung up, funneling the enemy into concentrated spells from specialized high level mages who took turns burning through their mana before switching with another of their kind. It was not a battle anymore, it was an extermination.