Chapter 182 Murder
Three people appeared in the room while another two burst through the door, Ilea immediately jumping one of the mages who was charging up a spell. The two of them burst through the wall and into the hallway where more people ran around, most of them servants. Ilea’s fist landed on his face but was blocked in the last moment by a yellow shield that cracked under her assault.
A surge of wind blasted her upwards and through the roof, all the air leaving her chest as Ilea’s wings spread above the mansion, looking down on the mage who was already preparing his next attack.
Blinking away to doge the blast of wind rushing towards her, Ilea flew around the house, before she equipped her heavy gauntlets, pushing downwards and towards one of the mages in the previous room. The man was channeling a spell which was contested by Trian’s lightning, only interrupted by Ilea who smashed through the roof and into the man from above. Her speed combined with the weight and power of her attack broke his back and skull as he was pushed downwards, dead in but a moment.
Ilea felt like there was another resistance when she had landed the attack but she didn’t have time to contemplate as she broke into the room below the leader’s den. She saw in her sphere that the others were spreading out as well, Kyrian fighting the approaching guards on the ground floor as the others spread out to deal as much damage as possible to both case chaos and property damage.
Ilea dodged an arrow as she saw a young girl with a bow standing on her bed, anger in her eyes. She blinked close and grabbed her throat, squeezing it shut until she was sure the girl was unconscious, putting her down again on the bed when a man burst into the room.
He screamed as he saw the two and wood formed out of thin air before him, tendrils with spiked ends filled the room and rushed towards Ilea who blinked away again to the ground floor, intercepting an attack towards Kyrian’s back, punching the guard in his throat, the hit bending his armor. A kick sent him flying when she vanished again, this time appearing next to Edwin who was getting overwhelmed by three men, each warriors.
Trian appeared as well, chaos breaking out as Ilea healed Edwin’s wounds with each touch she could get in between punches and dodging. Seeing Trian charge his attack, she appeared in front of him, halting a blade with her armored hands, the enemy magic flowing into her as she counter healed. Ducking in the last moment, Trian’s lightning blast sent the man flying, out through the wall and into a nearby house where he slid off the side of it.
Edwin removed his blades from another man’s chest, the corpse dropping down as the last man in the room prepared his sword. Ilea rushed towards him when a new opponent appeared before her, his fists barely dodged as she moved backwards again, Edwin appearing next to the initial foe. Fist after fist followed as he stepped closer to her with each punch. Finally finding an opening, she countered but found him just as proficient in dodging than she was herself.
He wasn’t very quick but two or three blocked punches let her know that he had quite a bit more power in his attacks than herself. Still, each connection sent destructive mana through him and Ilea was quicker. She was engrossed in her fight, concentrating only on her opponent as they dodged and weaved through the narrow room. Finding himself on the wall, the man vanished and Ilea followed.
Before she could engage the man again, a shard of ice rushed her way, Ilea blinking towards the mage, punching the woman’s throat. Her second punch was again intercepted by a yellow shield. The man behind her had approached again, making her blink away into the room where they had started their attack.
“You killed them both…,” he uttered as he looked at the corpses. The man was in his fifties, blood flowing down his mouth, the accumulated damage showing when a sudden green shimmer flowed towards him from the door, his wounds closing before Ilea’s eyes. She used the moment to meditate and get some mana back as she too healer her wounds and assessed the situation.
Kyrian was in the cellar now, most of the guards on the ground floor dead or close to it. Edwin and Trian had finished the man from before and had cleaned up some of the mages in the corridors. The latter was currently engaged with the wood mage Ilea had previously encountered. Two women stepped into the room, one of them tears in her eyes as she healed the man Ilea had fought. The other one locked eyes with Ilea, a yellow shield floating before her.
‘Can’t fight all three.’ she thought and blinked, finding herself in the same room as before.
“You won’t escape, murderer…,” the woman with the shield said. A slight shimmer had formed on all walls, ceiling and floor included.
‘Enclosed room.’ Ilea thought and rushed the trio, ash spreading out around her, slowly filling the room as she continued her fight against the man. She knew that all the damage she managed to deal would be healed quickly and that the barrier mage would protect the healer. But before the room was dark, she wouldn’t do anything risky. It didn’t take long, Ilea vanishing into her ash as she formed her currently most effective projectiles, the screw like spikes rushed towards the healer when they were all blocked by small shields.
‘She can see…,’ Ilea thought and appeared next to the man, this time getting him on the defensive as he struggled to see her move in the darkened room, the ash starting to move around them, more and more volatile. A lot of the healer’s magic would be used up by the small cuts her ash would create.
Appearing next to the barrier mage, Ilea sacrificed three hundred health to activate her third tier stage, punching the woman’s shields until they started cracking. She blinked away when the man attacked her through the mist, Ilea managing to kick the healer after the reappeared. The woman was flung towards the wall behind her as Ilea continued hitting the barrier mage’s shields. Her destructive mana flowed into the yellow layer keeping her away from her enemy.
She watched the woman’s eyes widen as she pumped more and more destructive mana into the defenses until she could reach through, grabbing the back stepping woman’s throat and gripping hard. She didn’t manage to get through her skin but managed to create three more ash spheres inside the mage’s defenses, each burrowing into her body before the man reached her again. More spheres formed and rushed towards the healer who was getting up again, the damage taken care of when Ilea’s projectiles punched into her belly and chest, much more damaging than against the barrier mage.
“Stop!” the man yelled as Ilea jumped back, his flurry of attacks rushing past her previous position.
Ilea hid in the ash, panting heavily and recovering her stamina and mana slowly as she watched the healer struggle to stop the bleeding on her own body, whimpering at the pain of the nasty wounds. The barrier mage was grabbing at her throat, injured as well.
“Whatever we did to you please. I swear to you these two had nothing to do with it.” the man said when Ilea felt a presence behind her. The air had changed and her ash was pushed aside. She blinked to the side, looking to her right and seeing nothing. Her sphere told her otherwise. The room wasn’t cut off anymore and an invisible blade rushed towards her neck, making her dodge downwards before she punched the invisible woman. Her fist reached the enemy and she heard a yelp before she punched again.
This time her enemy fell down to the ground but right before she could finish it, the man appeared again, his fist moving towards her. ‘Fuck it.’ Ilea though and finished her stomp to her attacker’s head, hearing a crack before his fist impacted on her side, sending her flying through the wall and outside the mansion.
She watched the man grab the injured and moving her towards the healer as Ilea’s wings spread and she stopped her momentum, healing the sustained damage and broken arm. Arrows were fired at her from below when a weird noise of metal hitting metal resounded through the vicinity. She smiled as she watched the shrapnel shred through anybody too close to the ground and first floor. Military and guards were approaching from the distance as she rushed back in, blinking twice to appear next to Kyrian who had was ducking behind a metal plate impaled by shrapnel that quickly moved together again.
“We don’t have much ti…,” Ilea started as she looked at one of the walls. Kyrian’s bomb had destroyed what looked like a bunch of runes and a wall, leading to what she saw through her sphere to be the treasury.
Tapping him on the shoulder, she blinked inside and stored anything she touched in her necklace. She rushed through the spacious room, stealing gold, artifacts and documents. Anything that would damage the house.
“Go up and help the others.” she shouted back to the metal mage who quickly rushed upwards. The room was clean of anything valuable in the span of half a minute but they had to get out soon. Ilea watched as Trian was flung out into the gardens, bleeding from several wounds, Edwin landing next to him. She blinked up and started healing both of them.
“Who are you? To attack our house so openly, murder and destroy!” the wood mage shouted as he jumped out of the house, into the garden and facing them. He didn’t look quite as well as his voice made him seem, bleeding and burnt in many places. His wounds were recovering though but with Ilea’s help, the same was true for her companions.
She watched a black shadow fly out of the property and nodded. The time has come to make their escape.
“I will kill every last one of you. As you have done to mine.” Trian said, red lightning crackling around him.”
“Stick to the plan.” Edwin said and got a glare from the man.
“More are coming.” Ilea said as she looked up, seeing flying squads in the distance. The mansion was on fire.
The older man Ilea had fought appeared next to the wood mage, a much younger looking man in his twenties.
“Everyone who survived is safe. Don’t engage.” he said and prepared himself.
“Leave.” the man said, to Ilea directly and with a pleading look in his eyes.
“Come on.” Ilea said and grabbed Trian who followed with a grunt, the three of them vanishing and rushing through the city’s cellars and houses.
For thirty minutes they fled, seeing and hearing the commotion spread throughout the district but soon enough they felt safe. Ilea appeared next to Trian in a nearby cellar, the three of them having diverged somewhat to lead any hunters astray.
The man was bleeding still, below his armor. His flesh had been burnt somewhat and he was coughing, poisoned most likely. Ilea started healing him without a word. She had killed and destroyed, for revenge. It felt cold to her, neither good nor bad. Ilea sat down next to the man and continued healing him as the poison’s effects slowly diminished. Still, she felt what they had done was right. An example perhaps to other noble houses and their choices. And they weren’t done yet.
“Come. We need to meet up with the others. Change your clothes.” Ilea said and watched him switch out, doing the same herself before they walked out of the house, checking the street and walking towards the inn they had agreed on. Nobody gave them much of a look, likely assuming they were adventurers or mercenaries hired to defend the city. Ilea let go of the breath she was holding when she entered and found all the others inside, nobody dead.
All of them had at least hidden beneath cloaks before entering the inn but the scent of blood was thick around them. Luckily they were far from the only ones in the room with such a smell.
“Welcome back.” Edwin said with a smirk and held up a mug of ale. Ilea didn’t quite feel like drinking and smiling as she sat down.
“We should move to a room.” Ilea said and checked each of them with a quick touch, healing Kyrian’s minor wounds and Edwin’s more severe ones. Maria was casually sitting next to him so Ilea checked her last, finding a life threatening wound in her stomach.
“You should mention that next time.” she whispered to her as she moved closer. “Got a change of clothes?” she asked.
“Shut it.” Maria said with a hiss.
“I’ll lend you some of mine.” Ilea said and finished healing her, which took the better part of two minutes. Someone had managed to cut deep.
“Did you get them?” Ilea asked after a while. A band had started playing and more patrons filled the common room deep in the night. It seemed some people cared neither for war nor demons. The inn keeper did look quite suspiciously at all the new people but tried hard to avoid looking at their group. He didn’t want any trouble and new they were exactly that.
“I did.” Maria answered and took a sip of her drink. “Thank you.” she added with a whisper.
“We’ll go up then. Second on the left side.” Kyrian said and got up, followed by Trian.
Ilea sat there with Edwin and Maria for a while, the man drinking one pint after the other.
“Thanks for your help.” Ilea said and got up as well. “Come up if you want the clothes.” Ilea said to Maria, getting a look from Edwin.
The stairs creaked as she made her way up, checking every face in the common room through her sphere to make sure nobody was looking at her. There were two but they way they looked made her think her ass was the target and not her person.
Going into the room, she closed the door behind her. Trian and Kyrian were talking in a whisper over the prepared map. Ilea made sure nobody was listening in but found most of the other rooms unoccupied. The few people around were sleeping. She was sure of that after a minute or two, their breathing too regular. At least if they weren’t trained assassins.
“Definitely successful. We’ll continue in four hours when the search squads moved out or gave up. Let’s hope they’ll hide in their mansion or some safe house.” Trian said as Ilea joined them, leaning on the wall next to their table.
“They will, if that guy wasn’t the best actor I’ve seen in a while.” Ilea said.
“The wood mage? Seemed more like he wanted to hunt us down. Must be Graham, the oldest son. Never imagined him to be a wood creator.” Trian said and shook his head.
“No, the older guy. Fist fighter and a strong one at that.” Ilea said, remembering the hit that shook her whole skeleton before she was smashed through the wall.
“Wallace Birmingale. Perhaps it was good that he is alive. He definitely seemed afraid. Perhaps our plans will work then.” Trian said as he took off his helmet with shaking hands. His face had streaks of blood on it, the man soaked in sweat. Ilea casually summoned a clean cloth and soaked it with the water rune in the room, handing it to the man.
“Thanks.” he said and cleaned his face. Neither Ilea nor Kyrian looked much better but she felt like he needed it the most. She summoned two more pieces of cloth and handed one to Kyrian before she looked through her notifications while cleaning up.
‘ding’ ‘Your group has defeated [Eternal Pyromancer – lvl 230 / Catalyst of Fire – lvl 222]
‘ding’ ‘Your group has defeated [Unyielding Berserker – lvl 248 / Fire Wielder – lvl 241]
‘Good thing we took them out early on and together…,’ Ilea thought, reminded of her own classes by reading the descriptions. Had they any healing skills like herself, the operation might not have turned out the way it did.
There were some more kill notifications but none of them came close to the two initial ones. There were three more above level two hundred however, which surprised her. Other than the people she had personally fought, there wasn’t anybody she felt showed much of a resistance. Either they just weren’t very strong or the others had fought and killed them while she was busy herself.
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 225 – 5 Stat Points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 226 – 5 Stat Points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 221 – 5 Stat Points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth Reversal reaches 2nd lvl 17’
‘ding’ ‘Form of Ash and Ember reaches 2nd lvl 19’
‘ding’ ‘Wave of Ember reaches 2nd lvl 13’
‘ding’ ‘Eyes of Ash reaches 2nd lvl 20’
‘ding’ ‘Body of Ash reaches 2nd lvl 17’
‘ding’ ‘Ashen Warrior reaches 2nd lvl 17’
She was getting close now. Four skills in her ashen class were already at the second tier and level twenty. Checking for possible third tier advancements, Ilea found none available as expected. She would have to think about which skills she advanced, and soon.
Walking back to the others, she added her fifteen stat points into Strength, bringing it to 266. A lot of her skills, while magical, did use her Strength as a baseline. At first investing big into Intelligence was definitely the way to go but now that her buffs could stay active more or less indefinitely, a bit more of a base punch would likely help her more.