Chapter 202 Old Friend
The stairs led down for quite a while, parts of them covered in blood and one or two corpses of Redleaf guards lying in the way. Finally, the exit opened up into a big white room, Arthur standing at the end of it.
“You really are a disappointment. Years of research ruined because of your petty revenge. Grow up!” Arthur said in a harsh tone.
This room isn’t good for us. Ilea thought when his magic was released, a cone of wind pushing against them as she dug her hand into the ground, her Veil unable to keep the damage off completely as she was pushed backwards even with her hands in the stone. Edwin had been pushed away completely but Kyrian stood next to her, his metal forming a barrier before him that split the wind, his armor digging into the stone as he looked at her.
“Well we’ll see if any of them survive.” Arthur said when Zoy appeared in front of Ilea, her back towards her.
No The thought went through her head as she activated her blink but it was too late. Instant. Even her heightened reactions weren’t quick enough as a white light enveloped her before there was darkness.
Darkness only to her eyes, her Sphere recognizing the ground below her, her feet standing as securely as before as she crouched down and kept as still as possible. Something in her vision moved and Ilea blinked to the side, again and again she blinked until she found rock, cover.
She stayed as quiet as she could, her sphere not delivering any more information but the fact that she was standing on an even floor, next to her natural rock and a space to hide. Her healing took care of the injuries the wind blast had caused. Kyrian and Zoy. The thought went through her when she heard a clicking. Metal on stone. She looked towards where the noise came from and her whole body went still. Her eyes widened and she knew what stood before her before Identify kicked off.
[Taleen Praetorian - ???]
The thing looked at her in that moment as well, lifting its scythe as its glowing green eyes locked with her own blue ones.
“Intruder.” It said.
Ilea instinctively took a step back but stopped herself. Get a grip. She thought as her eyes steeled.
No Kyrian, no Zoy. No Arthur or Edwin. “Being teleported against my will seems to be a common theme at this point hmm?” She asked the machine, the hairs on her neck standing up as it slowly advanced. Slowly at first and then quick, like the wind.
All her skills were pushed to the max, her third tier State of Azarinth activating as she sacrificed a chunk of health. The blade rushed over her as she slid under it, ash spreading around her to distract the machine. She blinked and found the blade waiting for her, crossing her arms as it impacted her and sent her flying. Her gauntlets were scratched and a little dented as she slid to a stop, the Praetorian advancing even faster than she was flying backwards from its previous attack.
Again the blade came at her but this time she blinked towards its head in the last moment, her fist landing on the green metal with a loud clang. Nearly none of her destructive mana made it inside she noticed, either a barrier or an enchantment placed on the machine. The scythe moved again when she landed on the ground, bracing for the blade. Her hand moved upwards as she ducked slightly, impacting the blade and sending it over her as she moved closer, a kick delivered to one of the machine’s legs, its counter avoided with a swift twirl to the right.
The Praetorian moved backwards to be able to use its weapon again but Ilea didn’t let it get away, delivering attack after attack against the same leg, her whole being one with her skills, all her conscious focused on destroying the enemy. A sudden burst of magic sending a shock wave of arcane energy out in a sphere around the machine made her stop. She wasn’t pushed back but her Veil was destroyed, quickly rebuilding as she continued onwards. She didn’t deal a lot of damage, she knew that much but as the ash spread around her, Ilea knew that she would win. She would fight this damned thing for however long it took.
At least that was the plan but when a second scythe suddenly appeared in her Sphere, spinning and getting dangerously close to splitting her in two, Ilea blinked away and watched not one but four of the damned fuckers approaching her from a distance, only their bright green eyes visible in the darkness.
A feeling of despair spread in her body and mind but she soothed it with her Healing and Meditation skills. Just a bunch of drakes. She told herself and retreated, dodging the blades whenever necessary. The things were fast, definitely but with her Sphere and knowing them a little better by now, she felt confident to show her back as she ran off, her wings spreading and taking her upwards and away from the monsters lurking in the dark.
Further and further she went, flying scythes being dodged even a hundred meters in the air. Metal spheres shot from turrets and machines invisible to her joined in as she rushed and blinked through the dark space. There you are. She thought and rushed to the wall, her fist smashing through one of the turrets before she continued her way up.
I have to get back to the others. She thought, her head clearing up a little after her encounter below. Ilea reached the top of the wall and glided over it, the bullets behind her impacting the stone she now knew to be white.
Stunned and in silence, Ilea was kept in the air by her wings that slowly flapped up and down on her back. Her small form was lost in the vast space of green and gold she had found herself in. A golden sphere shined in the distance, levitating over an endless space of darkness below. Around her a city spread, more massive than anything she had ever seen. Definitely Taleen in nature but nothing like the ruins she had visited so far.
The golden sphere seemed so far away she had no idea how big it actually was. The walls of the cave weren’t visible but she saw roads and houses, buildings as big as mountains and thousands of Guardians standing motionless on top of it all. Fields filled only with machines, many of them even Praetorian or even bigger in size. Most of the light came from the golden sphere itself but little lights in the sky and on the ground gave the scene a busy look.
Some of the flying lights seemed to move towards her as well. Move. The thought didn’t seem to do anything as she gasped. Move.
This time she heard it and her body followed. I just fucking hope Kyrian wasn’t teleported as well.
Noise came from the walls behind her and as she turned, she saw at least ten Praetorians climb over, on the hunt for her. I need to get out of here. She thought and sped up, going to the first set of houses she found that didn’t swarm with Guardians.
One of them was inside, its eyes starting to glow green when her fist smashed its torso, denting the metal inwards when its green lights vanished again.
A single hit now…, She thought. If anybody knows where the fuck I am and how the fuck I got here, it’s Arthur.
Ilea looked outside and saw a sea of green light in the distance. Flying machines with mechanical arms and flood lights searched the surroundings, Guardians and worse hanging on their bellies, ready to drop at any sight of her.
What the hell is this place. She thought and walked around the room. It’s too big and probably too dangerous to search for a single person. If he really was teleported then I have to get back to Arthur, back to whatever he used to teleport me. Find out where Kyrian went and go there. The plan was a gamble of course but she didn’t expect to be sent to this magical fucking city in the first place.
I have to go back.
She sat down and activated the third tier of her Blink ability. Let’s see if this works. The skill charged up and her mana flowed into it. More and more of it as she started to become anxious. It takes around twenty to thirty minutes to activate and if she interrupted it, she had to start from scratch. Ten minutes passed as she saw lights float by from time to time.
Twenty minutes passed when she heard a machine move right beside the house she was in. It crawled on the walls outside for a minute before it reached her floor.
[Taleen Guardian – lvl 150]
The machine turned its torso towards her, its green soulless eyes staring at her, the opening on its chest letting her know that it was one of the ranged machines. Her wings, ash and Veil formed before her as she continued to funnel mana into her teleportation skill.
The first slug was fired, crashing through her hastily built wall of ash before it was stopped by her Veil, the piece of metal falling down before a second one hit. More noises came from outside and soon the tapping of metal against stone was all she heard. The room was flooded in greenish light a moment later, her eyes nearly blinded by the flying machine hovering right outside the house. A sharp noise drowned out the metal tapping as energy gathered in its core.
The world went white again and Ilea let herself fall on her back, touching the wooden floor of her home as her breathing slowly calmed down. Her helmet vanished into her necklace as she stared at the ceiling.
“What the actual fuck was that?” The question remained in the room as she let her Meditation take care of her adrenaline filled body. A minute later, she stumbled up and went to the table, summoning some of Walter’s ale and pouring herself a cup and then another one.
“Found the fucking motherload didn’t I. First demons then taleen, what the fuck is next?” She asked and poured herself another. Meditation was still working, mostly to get half the mana back that she lost in the use of her Blink ability.
“You need to get to that island again.” She said to herself and hoped that Arthur wasn’t dead already. She needed to know what the fuck had just happened. Although she could guess some things.
Her wings spread as she appeared outside. At least she could simply follow the coast and would find the isles at some point. And this time she didn’t have to hold back her speed.
A hundred health left her and were near instantly replaced by her healing skill, red runes visible on her face as her wings spread. She blinked northwards, reaching her top speed quickly as she continued to use her teleportation to cover over thirty meters every other second. More and more health was sacrificed to keep her speed at the maximum. She would have to stop at some point to recharge but seeing how little mana she had to use to keep both her blink and healing active made her smile. A good thing she opted for more balanced stats than explosive but short lived power.
Still, she would need several hours to reach the Isle of Garath. Enough time to decide on her first third tier ashen skill.
‘ding’ ‘Your group has killed [Harmony Mage – lvl 225 / Blood Enhancer – lvl 218]’
‘ding’ ‘Your group has killed [Barricade Berserker – lvl 205 / Blood Berserker – lvl 183]’
‘ding’ ‘You have killed [Taleen Guardian – lvl 150]’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 227 – Five stat points awarded.’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 222 – Five stat points awarded.’
‘ding’ ‘State of Azarinth reaches 3rd lvl 3’
‘ding’ ‘Form of Ash and Ember reaches 2nd lvl 20’
‘ding’ ‘Ashen Wings reaches 2nd lvl 15’
‘ding’ ‘You have entered Iz dungeon’
She immediately thought about the third tier of her second class. A big grin spread on her face despite the circumstances.
3rd tier skill points available [Azarinth First Hunter]: 0
Skills available for third tier advancement in [Azarinth First Hunter]:
3rd tier skill points available [Inheritor of Eternal Ash]: 2
Skills available for third tier advancement in [Inheritor of Eternal Ash]:
- Veil of Ash
- Ash Creation
Only two of them. For now the choice is easy. Ilea thought and selected Veil of Ash, one of the few defensive skills she had available and the skill that next to Blink had saved her life just a couple minutes ago in the newly discovered Taleen dungeon. Well I do have no bloody idea where it is. Though considering what she had seen, it was currently at the very bottom of her list of places to go.
‘ding’ ‘Veil of Ash advances to 3rd tier’
‘Active: Veil of Ash – 3rd lvl 1
A thin mist of ash forms around you to both protect you and attack nearby enemies. You are in full control. The veil greatly increases your resilience.
2nd stage: The strength of your Resistance skills also benefit from the Veil of Ash.
3rd stage: The density of your Veil of Ash increases, now affected by your Ash and Ember Manipulation. Increases the defensive capabilities of all ash and ember you control.
Category: Body Enhancement – Ashen magic’
So the walls of ash I create might actually do something other than look cool. Ilea asked herself, quite happy about the change. She quickly activated her Veil in flight, just in case anything changed so drastically that it would surprise her as soon as she was back in the fight. The ash formed around her a little more quickly than it did before, not hovering barely visible in front of her armor but a little closer to it and more visible while being darker than before. She couldn’t see herself but looking at her arms, the ash as before didn’t cover it completely, instead twirling around it and moving to give the impression of a living element.
Checking her third tier advancements again, Ilea found the expected result.
3rd tier skill points available [Inheritor of Eternal Ash]: 1
Skills available for third tier advancement in [Inheritor of Eternal Ash]:
She had advanced one skill which meant that now she only had four skills in her second class at the highest level of the second tier. She would have to advance another skill to level twenty before she could chose her second skill. Seems like Ash Creation is the only one available for now anyway.
Ilea kept up her speed as she looked through her stats.
She had enough Vitality to tank nearly everything she had been confronted with so far. Of course at some point she’d invest into it again but for now it was her highest leveled skill. For good reason of course and she’d keep it that way. Thinking about earlier, she remembered the mage she had killed with just three attacks. Not something she wanted to happen to herself when someone of a similar level attacked her.
Although Arthur’s Wind magic fucked me up pretty badly as well. Even the Sound mage’s attacks were pretty bad. Without her healing she would’ve had issues continuing the fight at the same efficiency. It made sense why a lot of mages seemed to put all their stats towards attack power. But I’m the one still alive and that magical music guy isn’t.
Still, she didn’t quite understand why someone at this level of strength would disregard Vitality to such an extent. You only had one life after all, at least she was pretty sure about that.
Endurance and Wisdom kind of went hand in hand and so far she had rarely experienced stamina exhaustion before her mana ran out. Meditation was good for both so she saw little reason to increase the former for now. Strength and Dexterity let her move quickly and punch hard. Things that didn’t as much contribute to her damage as Intelligence did but still paramount parts to her power.
They were both at a good base, where even if the enemy had near complete mana intrusion defense, her hits would cause a reaction. Her speed combined with all the skills that enhanced it allowed for effective dodging and movement. Leaving the stat she chose for the newly gained ten points to distribute, Intelligence. Now at 535, it was closing in on Vitality and would enhance most of her skills. She found that a combination of Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence were necessary to allow for efficient fighting, at least with the necessity of moving around and getting in close compared to shooting a laserbeam from your forehead while standing still.
Combined with Meditation long ranged magic seems like such an overpowered skillset. She thought and smiled. It made sense why so many people were mages compared to warriors. And also why it seemed to easy to deal with those exact long ranged mages. They rarely fought people capable of avoiding their attacks or circumvent them entirely, at least lower level ones.