Chapter 215 Of Ash and Ember
Healing the minor damages she had sustained from the ascent, she looked around as her smile vanished. Three creatures of the same form as the one that had just vanished exited from an opening in the cold stone, their unfeeling forms looking around as they tried to find their fallen kin.
Ilea’s ash spread around her, her body cooling as ice reformed on her armor and the very stone she stood on, the air growing still as their magic took hold of the environment around them. Silently, she checked the messages in her mind and thought about how to proceed.
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Spirit of Winter – lvl 312] – For killing an enemy eighty levels above your own, bonus experience is granted’
‘ding’ ‘Embered Body Heat reaches 2nd lvl 2’
‘ding’ ‘Body of Ash reaches 2nd lvl 19’
‘ding’ ‘Ashen Warrior reaches 2nd lvl 20’
There it is… The thought made her focus on her ashen class’ third tier advancements and her grin returned as she looked at the possibilities.
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]: 1
Skills available for third tier advancement in [Inheritor of Eternal Ash]:
- Ash Creation
- Ash and Ember Manipulation
She had to make a quick decision. Either didn’t seem that amazing and while she was annoyed that none of her more directly damaging skills had the third tier available, she was at least somewhat content that Ash and Ember Manipulation had popped up, a skill she had previously not been able to advance to the third tier. Either could give her a damage increase but it was a gamble as no further information was available. So Ilea gambled.
‘ding’ ‘Ash and Ember Manipulation advances to the 3rd tier’
Passive: Ash and Ember Manipulation – 3rd lvl 1:
Your control over Ash and Ember increases dramatically. Bend it to your wishes and shroud the path before you.
2nd stage: Ash and Ember have become your ally. Your control increases greatly.
3rd stage: You have proven to be a master of ash and ember. The elements themselves become an extension of your body, an extension of your will, for as long as they stay in physical contact with you.
Category: Ashen magic
Ilea barely read through the skill when the still air turned into a whirlwind of ice. Her eyes opened wide when the first blades of ice shattered against the ash around her. Not the Veil of Ash that clung to her body but the loose ash that hung around her while the apparitions further away were shredded and frozen by the assault.
She was pushed back a step when the spirits howled, the ice on the surface of the cliff cracking, the splinters floating in the air as if moved by telekinesis before they joined the maelstrom of frozen swords and stones around her. Trust your skills. Ilea remembered Dale’s words and closed her eyes, her sight utterly useless in the growing storm as her Sphere told her exactly where she was and where the spirits were.
She was too close to the edge of the cliff. While she could fly, she preferred hard ground and blinked into the very midst of the magical creatures that threatened her and the people on their way to Ravenhall. Her smile widened when she found the ash around her had come with her, moved by the teleportation skill as if it was her very own self. Adding more ash to her own whirlwind of elements that fought against the icy storm around her, she found the ash easier to move while it felt more substantial to her mind. She didn’t know what exactly that meant before three tendrils of ash broke through the icy around her, punching into the creatures like swords, releasing Wave of Ember before her reversed healing spell sent destructive mana into them through the connections.
They howled in pain as her ash heated up, her mana recovering constantly due to her stationary position and her Meditation skill while she pushed as much of it into the creatures as she could. The spirits moved their element to attack the ash connected to them but found it troublesome to sever the connections, their blades glancing off the ash as if it was solid, the cuts that formed recovering through Ilea’s healing in turn, helped by ash creation to rebuild it right before more of the enemy spells hit.
Two of the spirits destroyed the ash and started focusing on her but while the ash she used to attack them was heated, she herself was not. Many of the magical ice beams and bigger swords failed to hit their target but what they lacked in perception and tactics, they packed doubly in attack power. A shard of ice as big as Ilea herself smashed into the ash around her, digging through the element as it slowed down until it was stopped completely by the veil clinging close to her, expanding to block the ice before it reached her armor.
The properties of her ash had changed without a doubt but while Ilea’s instincts taught her about the new possibilities with her skills, she had three elemental creatures of ice trying to get the best of her. Another ice shard nearly made it to her armor while she tried extending ashen tendrils to the two spirits that had managed to sever the connections. Her ash fought its way through the storm, rebuilding again and again while the magic shredded off layer after layer. Ilea activated her second stage Pain Tolerance, finding the feeling more than a little unpleasant.
To her relief, the feeling subsided letting her focus on the task at hand, or as she thought. The task at ash. She giggled, a beam of ice and magic digging into her defenses before it sent her stumbling backwards. A second one followed while she focused the ash before her into a shield like form, pushed back again by the raw power of her foes.
The first tendril was still connected and ilea decided to focus on that one spirit when her other tendrils were cut short time and time again by the magic around her. The lack of movement allowed her to meditate while she pumped the recovered mana straight back into the creature, rebuilding the ash around her in turn. Her cooled down body made for a hard target, Ilea sending off parts of the created ash towards the beasts, keeping a thin connection to herself before she heated up the part and watched them throw all their might at the apparition until there was nothing left of it.
While her ash froze to its last atoms when she had faced the first and single spirit of winter, this time it took them considerably longer to destroy her decoys, the time allowing her to whittle down one of them. Their approach didn’t seam to change as time went on, their rage only increasing as they wailed and howled in pain and fury. The sheer magical prowess of them pushed her around, some of the blades and shards cutting through all her defenses before they shattered against her armor, her body squashed below by the tremendous power and weight before she could heal it again.
Embered Body Heat allowed her to stand still, all the hits coming her way random strays in the destructive environment the three elemental creatures had created. She made out a shout from a new voice before a beam of red cut through the cold, arcane magic pulsing before it burnt into one of the creatures, its body pushed backwards as the ice and stone cracked below. Ilea could make out a floating red dot in the distance before another three beams hit the wailing creature, its corporeal body standing in defiance against the newcomer clearly visible to it before it channeled its mana into an icy beam towards the flying enemy.
All three of them focused on the mage immediately, Ilea not squandering the opportunity as she blinked to the one she had been working on, enveloping it entirely in ash before she heated all of it up, small tendrils hitting the beast as each of them released Wave of Ember, building up the second stage of internal fire with frightening speed, the spirit glowing quickly from within while Ilea punched it to add Destruction. Her connected tendril of ash never stopped releasing reversed healing into it and now that their attention wasn’t on her, she could fully focus on attacking.
The beast quickly noticed her of course, now that the heat around it was obvious but that didn’t change its fate as Ilea released a third of her mana faster than she ever had, consecutive executions of Wave of Ember coupled with all her other skills burnt down its health in a quick manner, the heat around it and building from within its barely graspable body reduced the effect of any magic coming its way while its brethren were focused on the arcane mage using up at least as much mana as Ilea in their unstoppable assault. She had a good idea who it was and understood the rage completely.
The spirit before her dissolved into nothing, making one of the others turn her way but Ilea was faster, blinking behind it and continuing with the next one in the same manner. A sudden beam of magic freezing the ash around her and sending both her and the spirit through the snowy cliff made her spin in the air before she smashed into stone, her veil taking the brunt of the force as the stone broke and splintered from the force of the impact. The second remaining spirit had apparently looked her way as well.
Ilea coughed up blood as she healed the internal injuries. She checked her surroundings before she ripped herself out of the stone prison around her, ash forming immediately as she cooled down her body again. The spirit she had fought was getting up as well, the creature of course barely impacted by its kin’s attack as it looked around to find its enemy. A ball of fire exploded near the monster making it howl and turn to find the source. Ilea looked as well and found a group of barely visible people sending all sorts of magic their way. Ilea’s ash split into several tendrils before they rushed towards the creature, each ending with an impact and Wave of Ember before she added reversed healing and all the heat she could summon into the element.
Ice swords were sent towards the flying attackers but the spirit quickly turned to face Ilea again as she stopped cooling down her body. The magical power of the fireball had been considerably lower than the arcane beams distracting the spirits at first, letting her know enough about the people coming to help them. A shard of ice flew her way and she stepped to the right, twirling as it rushed past her, cutting into the mountainside with a loud noise.
The tendrils of ash rushed out, two of them destroyed on the way before they impacted the spirit and sent another set of spells into it while Ilea slowly advanced, her meditation recovering a big part of what she had just spent on the attack. More spells came flying from above, impacting the raging beast as its health lowered under the assault. It sent out a group of flying swords of ice to all attackers before it stopped its focus and started moving towards the mountain.
Contrary to Ilea, the spirit didn’t have any teleportation skills nor quick flight or movements making it an easy target for the first hunter who blinked next to it and enveloped it in ash, grabbing into the beast and using all her strength and ash to stop its movements while her destructive spells quickly brought it to its end. The ranged supporters didn’t continue their attacks in fear of hitting her instead but when the ash lifted and the tendrils moved around her in the air, there was nothing left of the spirit of winter.
Ilea’s wings spread before she jumped off, blinking towards the last remaining enemy as her speed increased, the cold winds pushing against her ash and armor. All she found was burnt and glassy ground, the arcane mage flying over where she assumed the spirit had found its end.
The woman turned her head and her red eyes met Ilea’s before she nodded approvingly. “You did not show that kind of power in our sparring.” She said with a frown.
“I just learned it.” Ilea said, feeling the ash around her and smiling at the newfound power. She had gambled between two skills and it had paid off. Perhaps she could’ve waited until she unlocked something like Form of Ash and Ember for a third tier advancement but at this point she doubted it would’ve had an effect even close to what she got.
Sometimes the impulsive approach is still the most rewarding. She thought. In the end she knew that planning was the better way to go but little accidents happen and sometimes, they weren’t all that bad. Thank you kind afro painter man. She thought and looked up, nodding towards the sky.
“So you did not mock us? And you would have me believe that?” Gan said as she landed.
“I don’t care mate.” Ilea said and jumped off the cliff, flying straight towards the area where the initial attack had happened. There where at least four people moving, one of them being the tank healer that had protected the Gan. He was kneeling over a young girl’s body when Ilea landed.
“Anybody still alive, I can heal.” She said and he immediately pointed at two frozen people, Ilea blinking to the latter of the two and checking them with her magic. His heart was barely active but a focused channel of healing mana helped the man out as his body immediately strengthened. She spread her ash in the surroundings and heated it up a little to heighten the still near freezing temperatures to help the survivors recover quicker.
One healer from the city guard was there as well, the woman looking at the spreading ash in awe while she channeled her magic into four people simultaneously. Ilea touched two more people with tendrils of ash and send her healing mana their way but found it hard to focus it on specific parts of their bodies. Still, it would likely save their lives as her healing still helped stabilize them while she focused primarily on the man before her. It would take practice and experience to use her ash efficiently in such a manner but Ilea was sure she’d find a way.
The healer was done a minute later, moving over towards Ilea and focusing her magic on the people the hunter was already working on. She was at level one twenty but Ilea felt how the people around her recovered, their frozen flesh and stopped organs finding their life again when the mage’sspells touched them. The woman breathed heavily as the sweat on her brow joined the frozen water in her eyebrows. The people they healed started coughing, one of them sinking to his knees when their health reached a reasonable height.
“There are more, come.” The healer said to Ilea and walked past her. Ilea blinked further down the valley and checked the ice and snow for corpses and possible survivors as she continued heating up the surroundings with the bed of ash that covered an over ten meter radius around her. Her sphere let her see the people and her blink let her reach them before her healing skill checked on any vital signs. Many of them were dead but she called out to the healer whenever she found someone still alive, trusting in the woman’s ability to get them back to life as she continued looking for more, outclassing the healer in that skill.
They found twelve more people still alive, twice that dead. “What’s your name?” Ilea asked the woman when they finished healing the last of the victims but didn’t get a response. The healer’s eyes were glassy and she poured her mana into the little boy before she fell forwards. Ilea caught her and divided her healing to both of them. The woman wasn’t injured but Ilea knew her spell had a pleasant effect anyway. She looked at the woman with a serious expression before she helped up the young boy, patting away the snow on his head as he looked around, starting to cry right after.
“It’s alright. Come, you’re safe now.” Ilea said, grabbing his arm and moving him away from the frozen corpses she could only hope weren’t related to him. Bataar joined them and looked around.
“All of them?” He asked and she nodded in response, the man looking at the boy before turning his gaze to the bulges in the snow around them. “Back to the city.” He added, his expression unreadable under his helmet.
The squad of flying guards joined them a minute later, as did Gan. Their armor told Ilea they were likely the strike team the imperial guard had called for when the spirit was reported about an hour earlier. They all nodded towards them respectfully, helping the survivors move towards Ravenhall, some of them still digging in the snow and ice as they cried out or cried in silence. Ilea focused on her meditation skill. There was nothing she could no, not anymore.
“She lied to us Bataar. The bitch could have defeated you easily.” Gan said when she joined them, smiling towards Ilea.
“This woman saved my life, as did she save yours.” The man said after a couple seconds of consideration, making her frown and roll her eyes. She did however not insult her any further. Ilea didn’t feel like acknowledging the remarks and simply carried the healer while holding the crying boy’s arm. She wouldn’t forget it either.