AN: Lots of half knowledge on my part. Ilea doesn’t know more and knows that but tries explaining nonetheless. Please inform me if anything is so completely and utterly wrong that you can’t bear to read it. I’ll look it up and change it if it’s horrid Very Happy.

Chapter 239 Of the World

“It sounds like a workable form, yet you say it failed?” The elf was intrigued, writing down notes as quickly as she talked.

Ilea looked up at the stars shining in through the small opening in the cave ceiling. “Because while in theory fair there is always a party that takes over, their interests and personal desires leading to corruption and in the end more suffering for the people.”

“Are you perhaps a scholar?” The elf asked, finishing his notes. “Humans must be quite rich in ideas, a wonder none of them have been applied. Or perhaps…,”

“I am not from this realm.” Ilea stated bluntly, “Neither am I a scholar. This is common knowledge where I’m from, the history of our world and people.”

He just stared, for a whole thirty seconds, “Not from… what do you mean?” He was as close to the edge of his seat as he could possibly sustain. With his barrier magic the elf could probably go further though.

“First you. You said your people are split into different domains. Is it a political decision or something else? Is each just a family?”

His claws dug into the chair he was sitting on as he hissed, “It is more complicated. Politics and families matter, yes. In some domains more than in others. Most importantly it comes down to magic.”

She wrote it down and sighed, “Magic, explain.”

“You first.”

Ilea locked eyes with him and tapped her pen on her notebook. She wasn’t about to go into specific names or descriptions, lest they find some way to invade Earth. “I’m not from Elos. I woke up one day in this realm suddenly and without warning. I didn’t have a class nor any weapons.”

“With all that you have told me I am inclined to believe your words. Yet still, it is… not easy. Realm travel is exceptionally difficult. Many of the oldest of my domain have tried and yet I do not know of one to succeed. Summoning is a different thing but the demon realm is not the same.”

“What do you mean not the same? I’ve been there before actually.” Ilea said.

He noted some things down, “You’ve been there? How?”

“A powerful human summoned a bunch of them and managed to open a fissure to their lands. The Great Salt.” She explained.

“A name I have heard spoken by one of the mind weavers… you speak truth. A human. How have you found back? Where you summoned again?”

“There was technology there… far more advanced than anything I’ve ever seen. It reminded me of fiction created where I was originally from. It… I won’t share how exactly I got back. Not with what you have told me so far.”

He frowned and hissed but the smile remained, getting less creepy now that she was engrossed in the conversation, “The demon realm is special. Somehow realms can be breached more easily, at least with summoning magic. The existence of others have been theorized but elves rarely invest time in such research.” He hissed again, “Fight and kill, that’s all they do, all they strive for. And yet…,” He stopped himself and calmed down a little. Splinters of wood had fallen to the ground. Nothing was left of the two corpses that had been placed on the pyre.

Ash formed in her palm before she focused on recreating a city with streets, cars, planes flying by and skyscrapers reaching towards the clouds. She added trees and people walking around, power lines as well as rivers and lakes. Her ash manipulation skill was high enough for the detailed model although she couldn’t add a lot of density. Most of it looked like a murky view of a city, fading with every breath of the wind. “That’s what a city would look like where I’m from.”

He walked around the model floating in the air before her and pointed at some of the details, “Birds of some kind?”

“Planes we called them. I have no knowledge of their construction but the physics of our realm allowed for them to reach the skies, burning fuel to generate energy.”

“Mechanical… the wings would allow them to glide. Wind runes coupled with mana crystals or capable mages could accomplish such a thing perhaps but it is wholly inefficient.” The elf said as he continued looking at the model.

Ilea smiled, “There was no magic. At least to my knowledge. No status, skills, classes. We had fictional worlds and technology that would tell stories similar to what is reality in Elos. I’m still not sure this isn’t just a simulation of sorts, my mind simply trapped in some form of experiment.”

The elf opened his eyes wide and stopped his walking as he considered, his fingers moving through an ashen skyscraper, “That would mean I am an illusion as well, fabricated from your mind or the simulation too. I am here and I think, as much as a theory like that is plausible I have to believe this is real. Even if it isn’t, what difference would it make…,” He said before continuing, “No mana… no skills and classes. How did you accomplish all this then?” He gestured widely at the whole model.

“The plane flies with physics and burning fuel. Mostly fuel generates heat in some form like when you burn wood.” She gestured towards the ash left from the pyre, “That heat is used to make something move which in turn generates velocity. These things are called cars, they have wheels like wagons here but aren’t drawn. Instead small controlled explosions caused by burning fuel make the wheels turn. There are batteries that store electricity, another form of power. Like mana crystals here they can make lights turn on for example.” She explained, “Buildings are built with manual labor and the help of machines.”

The elf stared at her but didn’t write anything down as she continued, “It wasn’t always like this of course. This world here, the governments, kingdoms and empires. As well as the walls, architecture, the way people move around with wagons drawn by horses or oxen. It has similarities to my world, just a couple hundred years earlier.”

“Ingenious. To think technology alone would create all this. No a single ounce of mana. Are you sure it didn’t exist? Perhaps inside this fuel or electricity you had? The elf asked.

Ilea shook her head, “I don’t know. As I said I’m not a scholar. I am young, even for a human and haven’t learned a whole lot. Because we die early people have to specialize and learn for decades to be able to build planes for example.”

The elf sat down, still looking at the model, “The possibilities, endless. And yet we the immortal… protect the natural way of the world…,” He said and looked at her, his expression horrified before he looked up as if to check if someone heard him.

Not supposed to ask questions? She thought, “It wasn’t all good of course. Fuel isn’t endless. I’m not sure if mana is. We deforested large areas of the world, dug deep to get more fuel. Humans had no predators in the age where I was born and many other species had to move and die because we continued to expand. Our world was dying.” She paused and added, “Well to be frank, the world wasn’t dying. We were on the way there, we as a species. Slowly at first but at some point the ecosystem would simply crash and we would be wiped out, maybe some would survive, maybe not.”

“Your race does have the tendency to grow in large numbers and I can see the lack of foresight or care due to your low lifespan.” Then he surprised her and laughed, a weird sound coming from the predator.

“What’s so funny?”

He looked at her but didn’t reply for a while, “Humans are not the strongest species here, not by far. Perhaps we play an important role to keep them from doing what your species did to your world.”

Ilea shrugged, “Perhaps. As do all the monsters in the wild. Magic is still a power source and I think technology will advance nonetheless. The structures and machines I saw both in the Great Salt and Taleen dungeons speak for themselves although I don’t know if they were built by humans.”

“Dwarves. At least the Taleen, may they be cursed evermore. Even those still alive today have marvelous talent in creating machines to amplify their powers.” The elf spoke.

Ilea led the ash fade, “You mean the Taleen are still around? I thought they’re gone.”

He looked up and spoke, his voice soft, “Their machines remain. I do not know if they are dead. Dwarves not counting themselves to the race of old are still here. Have you not met them? Even in the north some venture for their never ending searchof metals, ruins and old technology.” He spat the last part as if mocking the very motivation.

How very stereotypical, maybe our fiction was somehow influenced by this world, connected dreams or something. Or I really am just inside of a simulation. “I’ve not met them.”

He grunted and then looked at her again, “The domains are separated into magic. Water, Wind, Fire, Ice, Light and Dark. It has been this way for time everlasting.”

“Which are you a part of. Barrier and curses, the latter seems like dark magic.” Ilea guessed.

He smiled, “It is not that simple, you are right in your assumption but it is merely a coincidence. An elf serving the domain of fire may wield water instead.”

“What separates you then? Who controls the domains?”

“I cannot say, thus I would betray all that I serve, all that I come form.” He replied.

Ilea nodded and sat back, writing down what she had learned, “Do you fight amongst each other?”

His smile waned, no teeth showing anymore as he looked away. He was silent for a minute before he spoke, “Elves… we. Yes, we fight not for political gain or power as you do. Merely as a sport, sometimes revenge or because of law. Mostly… because they want to.”

Ilea looked at him, “They… you don’t? Want to fight other elves I mean?”

He didn’t reply, staring into her eyes. “Why do you think they want to?” Ilea asked after a while.

The elf looked away, “Because, it is our nature.”

Ilea stood up and smiled, his attention shifting back to the book he had been working on, “I’d be hiding behind a wall somewhere far away if human nature was so one dimensional. But here we are, an elf calling himself historian and a human exploring dungeons that could easily take her life.”

He didn’t reply and continued reading, Ilea cracking her neck, ready to go back in and fight. Somehow it felt freeing to talk about Earth so openly, to someone that wasn’t part of her race altogether. Kyrian would try as well and she had shared some things with him but he didn’t understand, not truly. Perhaps a being as old as this one, having traveled further than most humans would dare had taken her stories as the truth. Had considered them in a way most humans here couldn’t.

“What’s it about?” She asked, nodding to the book.

He looked at her and smiled again, “The Wines of Ryvor, a guide to the vineyards of the future.”

Ilea shook her head and started laughing, turning around and going towards the double doors. “Speaking of which.” She said and placed the bottles of alcohol she had found on a nearby bench. “Maybe you’ll be able to sort them by quality.”

It was still night but the previously clouded moonlight brought enough sight that Ilea could spot the two knights patrolling in the distance. She had no wish to engage two at the same time. Nor would her abilities allow it. The question is…,” She thought and blinked down. At least their visibility seemed a little reduced as well, considering they had not engaged her yet.

Blinking again twice, she formed a tendril of ash behind the knights before touching one of them. He turned and looked her way, the knight next to him looking at the noise the first one had made. Using the ash again to touch his armor, he walked her way. The second knight just looked after the first one but didn’t follow. Ilea blinked again, getting a little further away but staying hidden. Again and again she moved her ash as far as she could and touched him without making any additional noise.

She let out a breath when the second knight continued patrolling, walking away from the first one who she tried to lure towards her. He had a sword and shield much like the fist one she had faced. Judging the first knight far enough away, she stood up and hit her traget with a projectile of ash. The enemy immediately charged into a sprint, rushing towards her before she smiled and giggled a little while she ran towards the meadow that had little grass remaining. I can separate them. She smiled brightly, blinking to avoid the blade that would’ve cut into her back.

Finally having the knight where she wanted him, she grinned and gestured him to come. Excitement clear on her face, her skills rushed to the max as she dodged his blade in a simple motion, chipped metal scratching against ash.

Ilea spent the next few days luring single knights back towards the meadow. Their range and skills were ingrained in her very mind after fighting with them for hours upon hours. Most of the ones close to the entrance were wielding sword and shield, some rare ones were dual wielding. So far she hadn’t found one with a halberd or large sword and no shield as she had seen in the palace. It was night and she was rather exhausted. None of the fights had taken as much of a toll on her as the first one, a combination of meditation and healing had kept her going.

Stripping the last knight of his armor and putting it into her necklace, she allowed herself to calm down. You need some sleep. The clattering of the armor set, sword and shield included made her focus and look around, her skills burning at the little mana she had left after the fight. “What?”

She looked at the armor on the ground and raised her eyebrows under her dented helmet. Shield bashes weren’t good for her armor. She had no idea how the knights gathered that much strength into their hits. Perhaps they had some skill to damage enemy armor itself. A possibility for sure. There you go…

Ilea found the problem and scratched her head after taking off her helmet, unable to store it in her necklace.

[Legate Guardian Necklace – Ancient Quality] - [Storage capacity at 250/250]

Well that sucks. I’m full. At least all the corpses had been stored, otherwise the smell would be annoying in the meadow she had claimed as her own. Sixty four storage units for eight armor sets? That’s insane. Of course it wasn’t necessary to keep them all but even with all her attacks it was hard to even damage them slightly. Very light dents and sometimes a ripped connecting piece but otherwise the knights fell dead because her intrusive mana had killed them.

Well it is how it is. Maybe the elf has an idea what to do with them. She thought and lied down near the stairs. Ilea was sweaty and bloody, not a condition in which she would sleep in her bed. Neither did she want to separate from her armor for now, even with the damage it had sustained.

Checking all the messages as she let herself calm down made her smile.

ding’ ‘You have defeated [Knight of the Rose – lvl 263] – For defeating an enemy thirty or more levels above your own, bonus experience is granted.

ding’ ‘You have defeated [Knight of the Rose – lvl 291] – For defeating an enemy sixty or more levels above your own, bonus experience is granted.

There were eight of them in total and this time she did level up.

ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 232 – 5 Stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 233 – 5 Stat points awarded’

ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 225 – 5 Stat points awarded’

Twice in Azarinth. She thought about where to put the stats and decided on five in each Endurance, Intelligence and Wisdom.

ding’ ‘State of Azarinth reaches 3rd lvl 4’

ding’ ‘Hunter’s Sight reaches 2nd lvl 10’

ding’ ‘Azarinth Reversal reaches 2nd lvl 20’

With the level ups only Hunter’s Sight remained below the maximum current level in the second stage. I’ll have to focus on stalking them for a while. She doubted it would be quick as the actual fights didn’t incorporate the skill’s usage at all.

ding’ ‘Veil of Ash reaches 3rd lvl 2’

ding’ ‘Embered Body Heat reaches 2nd lvl 6’

ding’ ‘Body of Ash reaches 2nd lvl 20’

Considerable level ups, finally after such a long time chasing other goals. Ilea smiled at the results and fell asleep quickly, dreaming of dodging a knight’s attacks as he threatened to reap her life.


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