Chapter 220 Cooking Dragons
Pushing out all the air from her lungs, Ilea stopped healing the wounds piercing her chest, instead ripping out the ice spears to allow the flow of water to occur more quickly. It did put a smile on her face that William had to use stronger attacks to even pierce her skin at this point, making him at least put in some effort. She told him to stop and recover when he ran out of mana but he was at least somewhat proud of his abilities it seemed, the man sweating when the nearly unconscious Ilea dropped to the ground, heaving before she started coughing, water and blood running out of the wounds on her body.
She was wearing shorts and a now ruined bra that reminded her more of a sports bra. Sadly they didn’t have any similar fabric here but simple cloth did the trick. She wasn’t exactly the bustiest woman around after all. A good thing as it wasn’t conductive to close combat fighting at all.
‘ding’ ‘You have learned the General skill: Harmony of the Drowned – lvl 1
You have been submerged in liquid for longer than you should’ve survived. You crave to become a creature of the deep and have proven that you will go any lengths to achieve that. While your biology doesn’t strictly allow for gills, magic has its ways. You can stay submerged in liquid for much longer.’
“Fucking…,” Ilea said and continued coughing, healing the pierced flesh before she tried to get up, slipping on water and her own blood. “… finally.” She finished, lying on her back as her lungs reformed, the muscles around them closing up to allow for breathing again.
“You got something? About damn time woman.” William said and got up, gathering his documents. “Which skill did you acquire?”
“Harmony of the Drowned.” Ilea said as he raised his eyebrows.
“Interesting. So you really do have no talent for the element of water.” He said. “Luckily it’s still one of the better skills to help you survive. There was no chance of you switching to another element anyway.”
“What do you mean switching?” Ilea asked as she got up, drying herself with one of the prepared towels that was still clean and dry.
“Changing your class from the dreadful ashen magic to something more civilized.” William said and looked at her with a haughty expression.
“Are you trying to start a fight with me William dear?” Ilea asked and saw the minuscule grin that came to his face before it was smashed away by his insurmountable professionalism.
“I have faced enough beasts for a while Miss Spears.” He said and made his way to the exit.
“Nothing else related to underwater survival you can teach me?” She asked, drying her face.
“You are a practical learner. I believe you now have the tools. Already you would challenge the toughest creatures I’ve ever hunted underwater. I daresay I can’t teach you more, not without a related class.” He explained. “Your tenacity at least, is commendable.” The man added and left.
“That’s the praise I get after what I went through for three weeks? Man I pity whatever poor soul would be his apprentice.” Ilea said to herself and finished up, stealing a couple more leather armors form the storage room each training hall had. She was glad they restocked them time and time again.
I did pay a hundred gold coins to join after all. And it wasn’t exactly expected that someone would go through several dozen of them per week. Knowing the cost of a good set of leather armor Ilea definitely preferred to get the free ones as long as she still could.
“You’re aware that it costs a silver per hour, even if you’re just watching?” The man asked his teammate who had read the same notice Keyla had just went through. One of the two eyed her but didn’t say anything, he only stared at her scaly feet. She tried to retract her claws as far as possible.
“Excuse me.” She spoke up and turned to the man, her reptile like eyes blinking. The man looked at her but didn’t seem repulsed. He’s waiting for a question you idiot. She thought.
“Have you been there before? Is it worth it? To level skills I mean.” The cook asked.
“Of course it is. It’s a Shadow and she can heal herself almost immediately. I even thought about dropping my second class and restarting as a healer myself.” The man explained, getting a smack on the head by his friend.
“You won’t do that idiot, we need you at your highest level otherwise we won’t be able to explore near the cliffs anymore. You have no knack for magic anyway.”
“You don’t know that.” The first one retorted before they started going into arguments about their team’s healer. Keyla ignored them and looked through the notice again. There was nothing mentioned regarding requirements, only the cost of a single silver per hour. She still had some money left, nearly sixty silver but while the investment was steep, maybe it would allow her to get a little more preparation before she went hunting again.
Leaving the adventurer’s guild, she made her way to the designated location. The new walls were a little irritating as she got side glances from nearly all the guards. They would know her in time but it had taken quite a while to get the trust of the previous guard. Going through the gate, one of them stopped her. Here we go.
“Show me your face please. Are you a lizardman?” The man asked, one of his hands on the handle of his sword. The other guard previously uninterested in the conversation, leaning on his spear butted in.
“Leave it alone man. We’re not in the western shit lands where you’re a dick to non humans.” He said.
“I’m just doing my job. Can I see your face?” The man asked again, Keyla pulling back her hood to reveal the scales and two small horns growing from the sides of her head.
“What in the fuck are you?” The guard asked, unsheathing a part of his sword when the spear man intervened.
“She’s a Breed. I’ve seen some of them before, don’t wet your pants. Where are you from?” He asked.
“I’m from Ravenhall.” Keyla replied, not trying to sound confrontational.
“You’re a fucking liar is what you are. We’ll have to ask you some more questions.” The man said but the spear man looked nearly as irritated now as Keyla was. Of course she had handled countless situations like this before but she had thought she was beyond that now.
Apparently not. She thought. With the imperial law she’d be questioned and let go after a couple hours, maybe two days at most. Not the worst but it was time she couldn’t use to work or hunt. With how filled the streets were with streetfood vendors already she’d be hard pressed to find a spot. People didn’t want to buy from a Breed, not if they knew one of them was cooking their food.
“Why would you want an explosive rune that can’t be thrown or set off from a distance?” A voice behind her asked, the two guards moving their attention to whoever was talking.
“Experience.” The reply came and Keyla’s world seemed to freeze.
“Trust me, sometimes you just have to explode to get out of a situation.” Ilea said to the hunter and enchanter next to her, the man frowning at the thought.
“I’d just use something like corrosion instead but if you can’t control it I guess an explosion is better. Very unsafe of course.” Philipp said and shook his head. “I guess I can make you something like that if you really want to. An explosion or fire mage would be better though if you know one that can enchant as well.”
“You think so? I actually know one.” Ilea said when they came up on the gate, some lizardman blocking the way as the two guards looked at them in awe. Hey wait a second. Ilea thought, looking at the lizardman through her Sphere.
“Are those horns? Hey do I know you?” Ilea asked, walking around the lizardman who seemed frozen in place.
“We wanted to take it in for questioning.” One of the guards said as Ilea crouched to look up the lizard’s hood.
“Ok help me out here, I’m bad at lizard faces.” She said and got a smack from the lizardman.
“We’re called Breed you damn idiot.” The Breed said. “And yes, I know you.”
“It’s you! Oh my god I’m glad you survived!” Ilea said and hugged Keyla, the woman’s claws digging into her leather armor. “Or is it? You don’t have to slice me.”
“Personal space…,” Keyla said as Ilea let go of her. “It’s me yes, Keyla, the cook. Can you help me find work please? Nobody wants to hire me.”
“What? Why? You’re level one sixty two and a bloody cook.” Ilea said, confusion evident on her face.
“She’s a Breed, people are racist.” Philipp said. “Nice to meet you.” He added.
“Same. And he’s right you know. The guard wanted to question me.” Keyla said, looking at the two of them.
“Really?” Ilea asked. “Why though? You’re like half dragon, that’s pretty cool isn’t it?” She asked which made Philipp laugh out loud.
“Wow. Damned woman.” He said and kept smiling.
“Ilea, it’s not good to look like to the cursed beings you just mentioned.” The woman said and sighed.
“She’s alright, move along.” Ilea said to the guards and focused on her again. “You said you needed work? Maybe I can help you.” She said and smiled. The guards looked a little lost but ultimately resumed their posts near the gate, not about to stop two shadows because of a Breed.
“That would be fabulous. Maybe I can start in Viscera again but few Shadows know me, only you actually and Eve. Is she around?” Keyla asked, Ilea’s smile quickly vanishing.
“She’s… no. Eve died. I’m sorry.” Ilea said in a subdued way.
“What? How… she…,” Keyla stammered out and looked at her as if it was a joke but Ilea shook her head slowly.
“Did she die in the demon summoning as well?” Keyla asked.
“No. She was murdered in Virilya.” Ilea replied.
“What?” Keyla asked loudly, fire erupting around her as she looked at Ilea with anger. “What are we doing here then?!” Ilea stood in the flames, ignoring the heat before she simply grabbed Keyla in a hug, waiting until the flames subsided.
“I’m sorry. It’s a bit more complicated than that sadly.” Ilea explained. “We can talk about it later. In a more private location.” She added, looking around to see if anybody was focused on them but the guards were the only ones close by, actively ignoring the conversation. Philipp was listening of course but as far as Ilea knew Eve wasn’t exactly well known. As long as she didn’t mention the Golden Lily it would likely not become a problem.
“What do you mean more complicated?” Keyla asked, not shouting anymore.
“More complicated as in we’d likely be minced meat by the end of the week. Come, maybe it’ll help you to blow off some steam.” Ilea said and grabbed the woman’s arm, dragging her through the gate and towards the arenas.
“I was going to train with someone anyway, you don’t have to babysit me Ilea.” Keyla said and pulled away her hand.
“Got a team? I didn’t think you’d be the fighting kind?” Ilea asked with a raised eyebrow.
“It’s a notice in the Guild… to train magic against a tank.” Keyla explained.
“Ah, I understand. I was going there myself. They’re capable enough.” She said with a serious expression. “We can talk after we’re done ok? Don’t shout it out, I don’t want you to get killed for no reason.”
“No reason?!” Keyla started, pointing a claw at her. “You call avenging her meaningless?” She added, her voice lowered again as she looked around at the people walking by, most of them certainly interested but more afraid to offend the Shadows walking next to the Breed.
“I will find them Keyla. And I will find out what happened before I think about what to do with them. Killing them however, won’t bring her back. She’s dead.” She said and continued walking, watching the woman’s mouth open and close behind her, her expression everything but understanding. Ilea had time to grieve and to process what had happened. She didn’t know how close they were but it seemed Eve was one of the few other people having known the cook.
They walked in silence, Philipp occasionally trying to start a conversation but failing with both Ilea and Keyla. They made their way down to the arena Ilea had rented, the people waiting already waved towards them. Ilea greeted them quickly and went inside.
“Where do we pay?” Keyla asked Philipp but he shrugged.
“I don’t think you’ll have to pay.” He said and walked in behind Ilea. She quickly jumped down into the sandy pit and clapped, getting the empty bucked from the side of the arena and placing it a little more to the center.
“Welcome back. For everybody new to this, it’s a silver per hour. I decide on teams to attack and might add or remove certain people as we go. You attack in waves and train with each other in between, or you simply recover your mana if you lack the Wisdom.” Ilea said and looked into their faces. Some new ones today. Perhaps there are one or two interesting classes among them.
Keyla looked at her and then towards Philipp, the man smiling at her. “She’s the tank?” She asked but shook her head. “Well that’s convenient then. Can I start?” The cook asked, fire forming above her hands as she approached.
“You may. Aim for my stomach.” Ilea said, the first fireball hitting her a couple seconds later, the cook smoothly throwing them her way before she summoned new ones immediately. The explosion surrounded Ilea with fire, singing her leather armor, the ninth one already if her count was still right. Looking at the angry woman’s reptile eyes she knew the armor at least wouldn’t survive this session.
Keyla packed as much mana as she could into her fireballs, the basic skill something she had continued to level during her teens when she was still adventuring. While working in Ravenhall she had little opportunity to get the skill higher but it was close to the level twenty in the second stage anyway. Perhaps now she had found that opportunity finally.
Her magic hit the coward of a woman before her, flames engulfing her in a maelstrom of heat and destruction, the fire gleaming in her reptile eyes as all her hate consumed the pretentious Shadow standing in front of her. The old witch was right, keeping a couple basic skills like fireball and flame and leveling them up to the highest degrees was more than just worth it. Their mana cost was laughable compared to more complicated magics and the effect was the same. She twirled and sent another fireball towards Ilea, her now free hand summoning the next one as she came around.
The flames cleared as she stood there, poised to continue her assault. I’m not going to kill her. But maybe burning her a little will teach her a lesson. The thought hadn’t processed completely when the flames cleared, the woman standing there as if nothing had happened at all. Her leather armor was burnt in places but she seemed completely unharmed. “What?”
“You may continue. Eight people below level one hundred may join. Jacque was it? You can join in as well. Philly, you too.” Ilea said, waving some of the bystanders in as her fire magic blazed in her hands, illuminating her face below the big hood.
She’s treating this as a joke? Keyla asked herself when a hand landed on her shoulder, making her turn to find the hooded shadow from before. Philipp?
“You can go all out. It helps for a while.” The man said with a smirk on his lips.
You understand nothing…, She thought but didn’t believe her own lie. At least she hadn’t spoken it and embarrassed herself any further. Maybe he’s right. Magic surged around her as spells of different schools and elements were sent towards the Shadow that suddenly didn’t seem just as cowardly as Keyla had painted her inside her head. Lances of ice shattered against her skin as if it was iron, fire and acid licked on her skin, its effects vanishing without a trace before the next attack came. Rocks the size of her own head struck Ilea on her legs, stomach and shoulders but she stood, barely buckling under the focused destruction.
The two people Ilea had called out by name joined in, their levels closer to Keyla’s. An ice lance formed next to her, making her look over just like many of the other mages, all distracted by the cold gathering before the massive lance cracked and groaned, shrinking to the size of a short sword before the woman whispered to herself. “…and pierce even the giants… spear of valir.” The chant ended and the weapon vanished before Keyla’s eyes, a dull impact making her head turn to see the thing stuck inside of Ilea’s belly before a deafening crack resounded, splinters of ice exploding in all directions, ripping through the Shadow.
Most of the ice going towards the group of mages was stopped by the woman but one of them buckled, clutching his leg as he breathed heavily, moaning in pain. Keyla kept her eyes on Ilea, her stomach bleeding from the attack but the wounds were closing before her eyes.
“Didn’t even take her down…,” The ice mage murmured with a smile on her face.
“Well done. That was the highest damage you’ve dealt so far.” Ilea said and vanished, appearing next to the injured man before she unceremoniously ripped out the splinter of ice, touching his leg right as he started hyperventilating. The small wound closed in the span of thirty seconds before Ilea walked back to her previous position. “Try not to injure your teammates.” She added. “There isn’t a healer around at all times.” She said seriously.