Chapter 246 Knights Knights Knights
‘Despair’ Ilea wrote down in her notebook, taking his words seriously. First Dragonrider Ilea – The legendary warrior healer returns from her journeys. She could already hear the proclamations of the newspaper boys. If newspapers have become a thing by the time she reached the apparently ludicrous goal. To be fair, they are usually supposed to be game changers for whole empires. “I get it. Don’t fuck with dragons.”
“Your little human body will combust even getting close to one of those creatures. The forces are something completely beyond your imagination.”
“I said I. Get. It.” Ilea said again, not letting the elf destroy her dream so easily. If her levels weren’t somehow capped at some point or her body vaporized, she didn’t see how it would be written off as unachievable. I guess it kind of rules out that the elves are serving dragons… they wouldn’t go look to fight them if that were the case. She considered.
She got up from her chair and made her way back into the dungeon, “You’re not the source of unlimited information I thought you’d be elf.” He only grumbled something in return, continuing his work. Would a truly strong elf really hang around here, in front of a dungeon he could instead explore himself? I doubt whatever pain, fear or religious beliefs keep him from entering would stop someone with a mission.
At least she could take her time to clear out the whole place on her own without an annoying second person stealing her experience. Another knight would fall before she left the cave to train with the stalkers of the mist.
‘Tenth day of Nul, 358
The Soul Rippers have proven to be most dangerous, even to experienced veterans in the ranks of mercenaries as well as adventurers. Queen Invalar has ordered the dungeon entrance to be shut, to avoid further incursions from the beasts at night time.’
Ilea read through the translated log book by the guard captain. Kingsguard captain likely… can’t imagine how powerful that one was…, Around half of the log book was already translated, Elfie really doing a good job. Just over a month after he had cracked the code, the elf had already transcribed so much of the book. He was still frantically deciphering, telling her about the new discoveries he had made.
A looming war with an unknown nation, a previously rather unproblematic dungeon suddenly taken over by a beast described as Soul Ripper as well as the daily business of the guards. Assassins and spies apprehended, questioned and likely tortured. All overseen by the man called Reyker. He didn’t seem to be quite a fan of the king but never missed an opportunity to praise a decision by the queen. Invalar was the name of the two and Ilea had a feeling there was more than just loyalty keeping the man in his position of guard captain.
She left the book and checked her armor again. The fourth one already and it was time to switch again. Dents and cuts lined both her arms as well as her torso, the knights usually not trying to hit her legs or head. Ilea changed to a fresh set and chucked the barely usable one to the collection of armors growing in the corner of the cathedral.
The elf hissed at the noise, “The metal. It bothers me. Are you even trying to find anything new in there?”
Ilea rolled her eyes and summoned her notebook, flipping to the page where her map of the dungeon was growing by the day, “Look… all the buildings with nothing in it are marked. The kingsguard is too strong for me so I’m not bothering with the palace yet.”
She closed the book after he had taken a look, calming down a little. She knew he was just struggling with deciphering the book still. Apparently the captain had changed the algorithms every month, giving Elfie a new riddle every fifty pages or so. That was at least how many days the months in Rhyvor had. Be happy it isn’t thirty. Even if he hissed at her sometimes, the elf hadn’t attacked her a single time. He did leave from time to time but then again Ilea sometimes stayed in the dungeon for over a week at a time, only going out to get rid of the armors.
She had killed another twenty four knights but the only reason she knew the number was because of the corpses stored in her necklace. Ilea tried not to think about it too much. Getting to the last usable set of armor, she was inclined to visit Goliath again. Fighting through the Tremor dungeon proved to be a long term project, the knights making it harder and harder for her to separate them and while she was getting more used to them, she was a long way to fighting two or even more at the same time. Still, she had gotten a couple levels and perhaps a new step to further power with the last month’s worth of fighting.
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 237 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 238 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 239 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 240 – Five stat points awarded, 3rd tier skill point awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 230 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 231 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 232 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 233 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Hunter’s Sight reaches 2nd lvl 12’
‘ding’ ‘Hunter’s Sight reaches 2nd lvl 13’
‘ding’ ‘Embered Body Heat reaches 2nd lvl 8’
‘ding’ ‘Embered Body Heat reaches 2nd lvl 9’
‘ding’ ‘Wave of Ember reaches 2nd lvl 19’
‘ding’ ‘Ashen Wings 2nd lvl 17’
‘ding’ ‘Health Drain Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 5’
‘ding’ ‘Health Drain Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 6’
‘ding’ ‘Mana Drain Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 4’
‘ding’ ‘Mana Drain Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 5’
While her levels were steadily rising, the knights still providing good experience, her resistances against the Miststalkers were taking a long time to grow. Considering how long she had trained with Trian, Eve and Kyrian, she was certainly prepared for the time consuming resistance training. Still, some of the nights Meditation was all that prevented her from just going back into the dungeon and fighting more knights instead of sitting near the sea of mist. She kept telling herself that in the long term it would be worth it.
Ilea was at level 240 already and in another thirty to fifty, she would get little experience from the normal knights. Either she had to face whatever lay deeper in the dungeon or she could simply kill a couple hundred Miststalkers. The latter would probably be easier considering the hard time she had with the knights. Her forty remaining stat points she distributed into Endurance, Intelligence and Wisdom. Twenty into her main damage stat and ten each into her resources. She was now at six hundred for both Vitality and Intelligence, the two skills she considered most important next to Wisdom.
Her skills enhanced a variety of things like Resilience which likely had something to do with how much damage an attack actually did to her or with Vitality directly. Her speed wasn’t listed anywhere but a variety of skills enhanced it as well. Strength and Dexterity were a little weird. Even the base stat improving from an initial five to now 266 didn’t make sense to her, especially coupled with the fact that several skills improved both properties additionally. Her corresponding strength wasn’t exactly what one would expect. At first her strength and the physical impact of her fists had done the majority of the damage, later replaced by the mana intrusion damage of both Wave of Ember and Destruction.
If this were a game, there was no reason for her not to simply invest into Intelligence and Wisdom alone. With her ashen limbs and Wave of Ember it would likely result in the highest and longest available damage. The problem was that perhaps a monster would arise with a weakness to physical damage and near complete immunity to mana intrusion. The knights she was fighting were resistant against physical damage, at least the blunt type Ilea was dishing out. Their bodies were already dead and even if she managed to break a bone or rupture muscle, the magic keeping them animated would simply ignore it. Having seen the bodies afterwards she was sure of this.
They required all her Dexterity, making her able to dodge and weave through attacks, her Strength allowing her to deflect their attacks, to stand against their kicks and to deliver punches that would damage them if they were alive. Her resource stats kept her going, Wisdom being the most important one of them. Vitality was usually left somewhat untouched, quickly healed back to the max but considering the ludicrous damage all of the monsters here dealt, she had to have enough for a couple hard and direct hits at least.
Perhaps increasing her Strength and Dexterity would be beneficial again in the future but for now she focused on her magical damage as well as how long she could fight. Next to the stats and more importantly, she had received another skill point to advance one of her Azarinth First Hunter skills to the third tier. With how big of a change the third tier of Ash and Ember Manipulation had brought, she hoped for something good.
‘3rd tier skill points available [Azarinth First Hunter]: 1’
‘Skills available for third tier advancement in [Azarinth First Hunter]:’
- Hunter Recovery
- Azarinth Perception
- Azarinth Fighting
I said I’d take Recovery first…, Ilea remembered, sitting down on a chair and thinking about it. She had enough knights in there to last her a while at least. Enough probably to reach two sixty at a reasonable pace, maybe a couple months. Increasing her healing capabilities didn’t seem to help that goal for now. Perhaps with the miststalkers but her mana drained as well while fighting against them. Fuck it… Fighting or Destruction.
Summoning a coin, she flipped it in the air. Heads for Fighting. Tails Destruction. She caught it and opened her palm. Destruction it is. Anything that would increase her damage somewhat would bring a big improvement to how quickly she could reach the next third tier skill. Depending on how many knights were left she might even chose Azarinth Fighting the next time instead of her healing skill.
‘ding’ ‘Destruction advances to 3rd tier’
Active: Destruction – 3rd lvl 1:
Send a destructive pulse of mana into your enemy with every punch or kick. Your Intelligence stat enhances the damage potential.
2nd stage: The amount of mana used per strike can be regulated with a maximum of 20 mana per strike.
3rd stage: Due to the healing nature of Destruction it partially ignores protection against Mana intrusion.
Ilea read through the newly added third tier before a big grin spread on her face. Fucking worth it. Well she didn’t know exactly how much this would change her damage output but against the knights she was sure it would be significant. A big chunk of the magic from both Wave of Ember and Destruction simply rebounded against the knights of the rose, their armor either enchanted or something else preventing her skills from being fully effective.
Before she wanted to continue, she had thirty nine sets of rose knight armor to deliver to Goliath. As well as plenty of armors to be repaired or completely remade. Still, it was hard for her not to go back in immediately and test out how long she’d need for a single knight. Even a ten percent improvement would shave off over thirty minutes per fight at least.
The elf was looking at her, “What?” She asked and he just hissed again.
“Perhaps you could check one of the other dungeons on your map. Find some new things there. The book on wines is translated and it is… difficult to keep working on deciphering this one.”
A plea? Really? “You’re bored.”
“If you want to call it that.”
Ilea smiled under her helmet and walked to the damaged armors, “I’ll see what I can do.”
It would take her a couple trips to get all the armors to Goliath but it was soon nightand she’d be able to travel through the terrain quickly, ignoring the valleys and rushing down towards Hallowfort. Stepping towards the platform at the end of the cathedral, she spoke, “Your fire cube thing?”
The elf simply summoned the item and threw it her way, Ilea looking it over before pushing some mana into the ten centimeter cube. A swath of flame burned into her helmet, singing her eyebrows within. The elf just looked at her and shook his head when she summoned a bunch of wood, spacing it out enough to allow for all the dead knights. It took her a while but ultimately, she had a pyre going with all of the corpses she had collected over the past month. She waited until the fire had consumed them all.
The first trip went without problems, Ilea rushing over the dark landscape, keeping her orientation through the valleys she saw in the distance, the cracks in the earth already filled with mist. Whatever creatures had occupied them now pushed aside by the Miststalkers. She had to travel a short distance through their territory but near the Penumra dungeon the mist already dissipated, allowing her to quickly make her way towards the small town.
Coming out into the cave after navigating through the darkness, she spread her wings and jumped down towards the sea, finding it the quicker way to the blacksmith than walking through the streets and down the stairs. Ilea hung in the air, stopping her momentum as she looked over the endless mass of water below. The crystals shining into the underground cave illuminated not water but mist, like a blanket covering what lay beneath. Pillars of stone covered in crystals rising interspersed as they gave the abyss a newfound eerie feeling.
Knowing there was water below the mist didn’t make it much better. Ilea wasn’t sure how the mist had gotten down here but it certainly was a sight to behold. Advancing in speed again, she quickly reached the side of the massive statue, finding the spot where Goliath had destroyed the wall and blinking inside. No enchantment stopped her from entering and the smith didn’t react, hammering on something on one of the anvils. “Hey. I’ll be dumping some things here. Couple trips for everything.”
The smith didn’t interrupt his swings and replied, “Welcome back young human. Do as you please.”
Ilea dumped ninearmors and blinked out again. There were thirty nine from the knights she had killed and four damaged ones from herself. Nine per trip meant five total trips. The next hours were spend flying. On six of the trips she had to hide from a swarm of leathery birds, the Famine Crows circled the territory but were gone again when she sped towards Penumra for the last time tonight.
“There you go.” She said, another five armors appearing on the growing stack that by now filled nearly half the forge. Goliath had sparkling eyes, having finished the helmet it was working on.
It moved towards the armor and touched one of the pieces, “How many do you wish to have this time?”
Ilea summoned the armor mold and placed it in the middle of the room, “Nine sets, the rest you can keep.”
“I am in your debt then, huntress.” It said as the armors vanished. It really did seem like once people hit the two hundreds, storage items became more common. Either that or Ilea just happened to run into those kinds of people all the time.
She looked at the smith and nodded, “Well if you have anything more sturdy than the Stonehammer steel I’d love to trade it. Another question, you’ve been around for a while right? I was wondering if I could bring an elf here, he calls himself a historian and I thought he might be interested in this little town.”
The smith looked at her for a while and then spoke, “I do not have what you desire, not at the moment. You may bring me any armor or ingots and I may reforge it for you. In regards to the elf, I of course welcome the opportunity to share stories with one so rare to find here. I doubt many in the town above would be against such a visitor. I however suggest you discuss it with the dwarf at least.”
Ilea nodded and walked towards the exit, “I’ll do that. How long do you need?”
“Six hours. May I multiply the mold? Then I might be done earlier.”
She smiled and clapped her hands, the idea hadn’t come to her earlier. Without the mold it would likely take a smith days if not longer to finish a single set for her. Perhaps in the future Goliath could make her ten sets in the span of a couple hours, “Sure, however many you think makes sense. I doubt I will need more than ten sets made simultaneously though. I’ll look for other metal as well, maybe something comes up.”
Waving at the happy smith who quickly got to work, she made her way up the stairs, to Terok’s house with quite a lot of work for him as well as some questions. She had to optimize this as well, maybe ordering armors beforehand. Still, she’d simply go back and fight more knights while the dwarf enchanted everything. Her set was fresh and would hold at least a couple days if she didn’t do a stupid mistake.